I would have to say that an Avocado smoothie  is hands down–my go to summer guilty pleasure.  It’s wonderfully rich and refreshing–and for all you cynics–tastes nothing like guacamole.   Really, I promise. No onions, lime juice–nothing of the sort.  Yes, it’s strange looking–but have a try and I promise you–you’ll be hooked.

My mom once owned a Sinh To (smoothie) stand in Vietnam before migrating to the US in 1981.  She often reminisces about how successful the stand was and how much ice my brothers had to pick away at to keep up with demand.  So growing up, if you wanted an avocado smoothie–stories came hand in hand.  Plus, it was always a good idea to keep your eye on her–my mom would always try to sneak in some durian into the shake–thinking it was the best combination.  What’s a durian?  A putrid and extremely pungent smelling fruit consumed widely in South East Asia.  Gym sock in in my smoothie–no thanks!

The recipe for the smoothie is very basic–ripe avocados, sugar, milk and ice.  Basic, basic, basic.  You can make the smoothie with condensed milk to take the shake to a whole new level of rich (I won’t pretend–it’s tasty!), but definitely not necessary.  Order an Avocado Shake at a restaurant or boba shop and you can be sure they add condensed milk, but if you’re looking to enjoy this at home–stick to the basics.

Alot of this is simply done by taste, so there’s really not a rock solid recipe.  But here’s a great starting place and change proportions to fit your taste.  Please note that Vietnamese Sinh To is generally a bit thicker than your everyday shake.  Think of it more as a dessert and not so much a shake and you might not be caught too off guard.  Either way, if you prefer your smoothie thinner–play around with the milk proportions until you get the right consistence.  I always start with the basics and end up modifying it as I go.


Avocado Sinh To

Makes 2 servings

1 large ripe avocado
1 cup ice cubes or crush ice
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk (or you can use just sugar)
1/4 cup milk

Scoop avocado and place into the blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse, then blend until smooth. If needed, adjust for sweetness and consistency.  Not sweet enough, add more condensed milk or sugar.  Too thick?  Add more milk.


I fried the egg the first time around before I learned to poach...and I had no avocado. 😦

MIA much?  I know, but I’m still quite dedicated to this blog–I’ve just been so wrapped up in…life.  The last few weeks have been mighty busy.  While I would love for my first blog back to be on something wonderfully chocolaty, I think I’ll be going the healthy route.  Yes, friends  I am capable of churning out healthy foods.

If you’re from Long Beach (…summertime in the LBC..), then you know the 3rd/4th street street area is home to a handful of amazing breakfast joints.  I’m going to highlight The Coffee Cup. Mike and I love getting brunch on Sundays–so we hopped onto yelp to find a new go to spot.  All the rave reviews lead us to a really busy and beloved local spot.   So after a few minutes, Mike decided to have the black bean soup.  Black bean soup?! For breakfast?  I wasn’t really too keen on the idea, especially since we always switch plates halfway thru.  But he was adamant–and black bean soup it was.  And thank goodness he ordered it, because it was phenomenal.  I’m totally an eggs or french toast for breakfast kinda gal…but man, this soup was great.   Wonderfully savory and well flavored, they kicked it up a notch with some freshly sliced avocado, 2 poached eggs, heaping pile of salsa, and a dollap of sour cream.  YUMMY!

So my friends, I knew I could replicate it…I knew I could make my own version.  And guess what? It tastes great and it’s super healthy–so much that I’ve made it twice in the last 2 weeks.  It’s definitely a versatile recipe so do with it what you will.  I like to have my soup with a dash of Tapatio or Sriracha!

Black Bean Soup

Makes about 3-4 servings

2 cans of black beans, mostly drained.  Reserve 1/2 liquid in from one can.
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 can of Italian stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 qt reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1 poached egg per person.
Some sour cream for garnish
Sliced avocado


In a heavy pot, saute onions and jalapenos until cooked (about 4-54 minutes).  Throw in garlic and saute until fragrant.

Empty canned beans, reserved liquids, stewed tomatoes, and broth into pan.  Add paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Stir until mixed thoroughly.  Bring mixture to a boil and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Lower heat to medium-low.

Take 3/4 soup and place into blender.  Puree until mostly smooth.  Pour puree back into soup.  This will make your soup thick and stew like.  Mix until puree and remaining solids are combined thoroughly. Soup is ready!

Serve soup with one poached egg (instructions follow), avocado slices, and sour cream.  Enjoy!

How to Poach an Egg

Crack one egg into a small bowl (this will help to preserve the shape when placed in water).  In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 2 tsp of vinegar to a boil.  Lower the fire down to medium, until the water is on the verge of boiling.  Gently drop egg into hot water.  Using a slotted spoon, gently push whites into the center. Cook for 4 minutes (you’ll still have a runny egg–the only way to eat it my friends!)

Remove egg using a slotted spoon.