Cranford’s Cocoa Madness

This started out as a quadruple batch of Quinoa Cocoa Cinnamon Avocado Mango. Tell me about it. That is a ridiculous name to explain to people in a serving line. As it turns out, I was in too much of a hurry at the Produce Junction. I did not properly examine the avocados and mangos. the first few I squeezed and sniffed were ripe. I was in a hurry, so I grabbed more that looked and felt roughly like those in rapid succession.

As they say, Teachable moment: Don’t rush while choosing your fruit. The Avocados turned out to be underripe and a bit hard. The mangos were more tart than sweet. The avocados were so hard that they took so long to peel that the quinoa was done expanding before two of us could finish cutting and peeling them.

I baked the whole dish to try to soften the avocados and sweeten the mangos; then chilled it overnight. I liked it, but I don’t eat refined sugar, so my palate is not average. I feared I would come home with 3/4 of it.  April & the boys stopped by to drop off a Kitchen Jumpstart kit. I asked her to taste it. She said, “Daddy, we need to do an intervention.” So we went to work quickly and made something that the people thought was cookbook worthy. So here is a recipe you can use for tart Ataulfo mangos and hard Hass avocados.

Ingredients: franksredhot

  • 6 cups quinoa
  • olive or avocado oil
  • water
  • 2/3  cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 7 or 8 medium to small, Hass avocados
  • 7 or 8 Ataulfo mangos
  • 3 Spanish onions, diced
  • 2 large green peppers, diced
  • 2 large red peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons oregano
  • ~1 teaspoon  hot sauce
  • ~3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • ~1 pound fresh baby spinach


Cut and peel the avocados & dice. Peel & dice the mangos. HaveIn a large stock pot, toast the quinoa in oil. Stir constantly. Do  not let it burn. This brings out flavor. Have 3-1/2 quarts hot water ready to add. Add the water,  cocoa & cinnamon as soon as some of the quinoa appears a darker shade of brown. Stir vigorously. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 6 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat. Add the diced avocados & mangos. Cover.
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, never Teflon, saute’ in oil the diced onions, red & green peppers, cumin, oregano, hot sauce & vinegar, until onions begin to caramelize.
Combine all ingredients from the stockpot and the skillet, plus the fresh spinach into a large turkey roasting pan.
Bake at 350º for an hour or so.

The flavonoids in cocoa have been shown to aid in arterial wall strengthening, stress relief, relaxation, pain relief, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Quinoa, avocados, and spinach are all considered “super foods”. So to have three in one vegetarian alternative is quite a coup. A number of the people have grown to truly appreciate the care we take in the preparation of our offerings. We try to do our best and to consider interesting food that we can afford to make, that will be excellent and healthy. It’s not even a Golden Rule thing for me. I am having fun. It is only natural. It is fun! It is right. It is the task God made me for. The Golden Rule only came to mind since I’m trying to write something to get others to get on board.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand why it’s like pulling teeth to get support and why we are always going under. We need more monthly support or we will have to do another house rescue in short order. Pray that my SSDI hearing will come up soon and it will be decided in my favor. That will rescue us. It may be too late, though. You all may have to come out and serve me on the street. I just hope you know how to cook!

Oh yea, the guys loved this dish! While April and I were in the kitchen , it felt like one of those reality shows on HGTV or DIY.  It was a successful intervention! Several of the people said I should write a cookbook. I told them I had already started.

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