WIAW — A Modified Food Lover’s Cleanse

Late in December, I received an email from Bon Appetit about a New Year’s Foodie Cleanse.  I bookmarked the details, but was unable to do the “cleanse” at the time.  Lately, I have not been listening to what my body needs, and instead have made unintelligent and unhealthy food decisions.  I decided to jump-start my return to conscious eating by doing a modified Food Lover’s Cleanse.  Based on my schedule, tastes, and single status, I have edited the meal plan.

I started on Sunday, and have enjoyed it so far! For today’s WIAW Party, hosted by Jenn, I’ll be showing you my meals from the first three days of the plan.

WIAW GOES GREEN

Day 1: Sunday

Oatmeal and tea

Oatmeal and tea

Sunday morning I topped a bowl of oatmeal with half a banana, berries, and chopped walnuts.  I’m cutting back to just 1 cup of coffee while on the cleanse, so I paired my oatmeal with a cup of tea.

I indulged in my one cup of coffee for the day before heading into the grocery store.  Limiting my coffee intake makes me savor it so much more!

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

For lunch, I had a kale salad with tuna, white beans, and homemade sherry vinaigrette.

Apple-Blackberry Smoothie

Apple-Blackberry Smoothie

I had an apple-blackberry smoothie, modified to use soy yogurt instead of normal Greek yogurt, as an afternoon snack.  Yum!

Butternut Squash-Shiitake Ragout with Bulgur

Butternut Squash-Shiitake Ragout with Bulgur

Dinner the first night was delicious!  I made butternut squash-shiitake ragout and bulgur with parsley and lemon zest.  I ended the night with a dessert of fresh fruit.

Day 2: Monday

Raspberry Muesli

Raspberry Muesli

I had an early morning shift Monday, so I packed up breakfast and lunch the night before.  Breakfast was a tasty bowl of muesli, made with oats, raspberries, half an apple, soy yogurt, fresh squeezed orange juice, and walnuts.

Spinach salad

Spinach salad

Lunch was a spinach salad with lemon tahini dressing, topped with a hard boiled egg and some leftover grains.  I love the lemon tahini dressing!

Leftovers

Leftovers

For dinner, I had a bowl of leftover ragout and bulgur.  It was just as tasty the second time around.  I enjoyed another dessert of fresh fruit before hitting the hay.

Day 3: Tuesday

Smoked Salmon and Avocado

Smoked Salmon and Avocado

I normally go for sweet breakfasts, rather than savory, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the breakfast for day 3!  Mashed avocado and smoked salmon atop rye crackers made a very tasty meal.

I snacked on a hard boiled egg before a noon ballet class.  Hard boiled eggs are another simple food that I often forget, but always enjoy!

Butter lettuce salad with ragout and radishes

Butter lettuce salad with ragout and radishes

I opted to combine the butternut squash ragout and butter lettuce salad in one big bowl, rather than serving them side by side.  Topped with sliced radishes and lemon tahini dressing, this salad was filling and full of flavor.

I “cheated” on the cleanse for dinner, and instead went out with a friend to discuss her wedding plans!  I’m thinking of this cleanse as the start to some permanent changes in my diet and lifestyle, so I am not being too rigid with the rules.  I am eating mindfully, avoiding processed carbohydrates, cutting back on sugar, and decreasing my alcohol and caffeine intake.  That sounds pretty clean to me!

Happy eating!

-C

Linguine with White Beans and Tuna

I am moving away from San Francisco at the end of May, so I’ve been trying to enjoy the city as much as possible.  I have an ever-growing list of places to go and people to see!  I’ve balanced my galavanting with extra shifts at work, and while it’s been nice to be able to fund my frolics, I have no time left to take care of myself.  These days, I feel accomplished if I eat 2 homemade meals a day.

IMG_0773

I modified a recipe from Bon Appetit to make a quick and easy lunch dish earlier this week.  This pasta salad of sorts can be served warm or cold.  If serving warm, I’d suggest sauteeing yellow onion and wilting the spinach, rather than fresh red onion and greens.  I did a sort of awkward in-between version with wilted spinach and raw red onion.  You could also mix things up by using whole wheat or spinach noodles.

IMG_0771

Linguine with White Beans and Tuna

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 10 ounces canned tuna packed in water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 cups spinach
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Flake tuna into the bowl.  Add spinach, pasta, beans, and onion.  Toss gently to coat.  Season lightly with additional pepper.

IMG_0768

This was a great meal to pack up and take to the studio with me.  With beans and tuna, it’s full of protein… Just what I need when I’m on the run!

I’m looking forward to a day off on Sunday.  I’m having some friends over for brunch (Tiramisu pancakes!), and then intend to spend the rest of the day in the kitchen.  I’ll get ready for another busy week by preparing some nice, healthy, home cooked food!

IMG_0770

Happy eating!

-C

Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes I think I am the human incarnation of the Cookie Monster. “Me want cookie” all the time.

IMG_0762

I don’t just like eating cookies, I like baking them. They don’t take much time, but keep me occupied for long enough to clear my head. My mind has been racing for the past few weeks as I completed another round of auditions, accepted a new job offer, and re-entered the dating scene. All of these experiences and changes have given me lots to think about… and stress about… so I needed to zone out for a bit!

IMG_0758

Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery has an incredible Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip cookie. I like to pretend it is healthy (duh… oats and wheatgerm are good for you!), even though it’s loaded with sugar and is about the size of my hand. For my cookie therapy Monday afternoon, I decided to re-create this tantalizing treat.

After a successful first experience baking with coconut oil a couple weeks ago, I decided to use coconut oil instead of butter. The combination of coconut oil and wheatgerm gave the cookies a delicious nutty taste. Whole wheat flour, a dash of cinnamon, and Madagascar vanilla extract added more complexity. This is possibly my new favorite cookie recipe!

IMG_0764

Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 5+ dozen cookies

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheatgerm
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease large baking sheets and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, wheatgerm, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In another large bowl, beat coconut oil and sugars together with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the oat mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch rounds and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake on center rack for 12 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

IMG_0760

Unless you have a lot of people to share these with, I recommend halving the recipe. Having 5 dozen delicious cookies on my hands is really challenging my self-control! I’ve split the remaining cookies into packs of 6 to give to friends/co-workers/random strangers tomorrow.

What are your favorite cookies?

IMG_0766

Since Easter is right around the corner, I busted out my bunny apron while I was baking and included it in my photos. As you may notice, this is the same apron Lindsey used in the Buckwheat Granola post. Shout out to Mama T, the giver of the bunny aprons!

Happy Eating!

-C

Touring and Tasting San Francisco

Last week, two of my best friends from Texas finally came to visit.  I’ve talked San Francisco up quite a bit over the years, so I knew they were arriving with high expectations.  One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the diversity of the city.  Each neighborhood is distinctly different, and I wanted to show them as many areas as possible.  We ate our way through the city, taking in the sights as we went.

San Francisco, from the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco, from the Golden Gate Bridge

Day 1: Come Fly With Me

Before picking my friends up at the airport Wednesday night, I made a batch of banana muffins, using Jenna’s banana bread recipe as a guide.  If you have not yet read her book, White Jacket Required, I highly recommend it!  These little muffins were great to have available for breakfast or snacks while my friends were in town.

Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

The girls arrived hungry after a long flight.  We dropped their luggage at my apartment, then went straight to the Blue Jay Cafe for dinner.  This colorful little spot serves up hearty comfort food at low prices.  They have an extensive side list, full of tasty options, so 2 of us ended up ordering plates of sides.  Our favorites were the mac and cheese and brussels sprouts, with sweet potato fries close behind.  We chatted the night away, finally falling into bed in the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2: Coffee, Carne, and Cacao

Cafe Au Lait

Cafe Au Lait

Thursday morning I had a client to see in the Financial District.  My friends came along and stopped at Coffee Bar, a small cafe that I frequent, while I went to the studio to teach.  As soon as I was through, we hit the ground running!  My roommate, another friend from Texas, joined us as we walked to the Ferry Building and grabbed lunch at Il Cane Rosso.  All 4 of us ordered the sunchoke soup.  I paired it with half a pork sandwich, and the girls both had half a beef brisket sandwich.  It was all delicious!

Pork Sandwich and Sunchoke Soup

Pork Sandwich and Sunchoke Soup

After perusing the shops at the Ferry Building, we continued up the Embarcadero to Tcho, my favorite chocolate maker in San Francisco.  I loved the chocolate tasting at Tcho after my tour a few months ago, and I was excited to experience it again.  The second tasting did not disappoint!  My friends liked the milk chocolate best, while I was partial to the “Nutty” dark chocolate.  This stop reminded one of my guests of a visit to Ghirardelli when she was a little girl.  We decided to make it a chocolate day, and continued walking to Ghirardelli Square.  We checked out the views from the square, rested briefly by a fire pit, then got some ice cream at the cafe.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square

I had planned to take the girls to Absinthe, but after a day of rich, sweet food, we were craving something a little lighter.  We ended up going to Lers Ros, also located in Hayes Valley, for Thai food instead.  We shared a green papaya salad with prawns, pad thai, and red curry with chicken.  By the time we walked home, we were all worn out!

Red Curry with Chicken

Red Curry with Chicken

Day 3: Around the World in 12 Hours

Anxious for something “normal”, I started Friday with coffee and a bowl of oatmeal at home before going to ballet class at ODC.  One of the Texas gals joined me, and we had a great time dancing together for the first time in 3 years.  The three of us teamed back up after class and went to lunch at La Boulange.  This French bakery has a number of locations in San Francisco.  It has good coffee, delicious pastries (almond croissants… mmmm), and nice salads and sandwiches.  My Nicoise salad was great, and the girls enjoyed their egg salad sandwich and quiche/soup combo.

Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad

We were joined by another dancer friend of mine, and journeyed through the Gates to China Town.  Spotting a familiar sign for free tea tasting, I led them into Vital Tea Leaf.  Lindsey and I had an amusing visit to this little store during her first visit to SF years ago.  Our favorite teas of the day were a rose green tea and lychee oolong.  The young woman helping us was full of information, and also full of smiles.  We hit the street again, taking in the sights and sounds of Chinatown.  Turning right on Jack Kerouac Alley, we ended up outside the famous City Lights Books.

Tea Tasting

Tea Tasting

We continued walking on Columbus Avenue, into North Beach.  After a little pick-me-up, AKA gelato, at a sweet shop, we walked up to Coit Tower.  We opted not to go inside, but we enjoyed walking around the tower, seeing the beautiful views of the City and the Bay.  Walking back down the hill, we stopped at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, arguably the best pizza in SF.  We shared a Cal Italia and a Margherita pizza.  All I can say is “YUM!”  The tour continued as we walked across Lombard Street to see the crooked block, consisting of 8 sharp turns.  Fun fact: Vermont Street is actually the most crooked street in San Francisco, though it is less of a tourist destination.

Cal Italia at Tony's

Cal Italia at Tony’s

The day concluded at the War Memorial Opera House, where we watched our friend perform with the renowned San Francisco Ballet.  The highlight of the program was Yuri Possokhov’s new Rite of Spring.  After the performance, we went to get a drink at Dobb’s Ferry with a couple dancers.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Day 4: It’s Always Sunny in the Castro

I had to neglect my post as tour guide on Saturday morning and go to work!  I met up with my friends to see the matinee performance of San Francisco Ballet’s Program 4.  I thought Scotch Symphony looked more solid than when I saw it last season, but my favorite piece of the day was Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour.  I was feeling restless after working at a desk all morning and sitting through the performance, so I was happy to move as we walked to the Castro.

Cosmos and Food

Cosmos and Food

My SF girlfriends and I used to frequent Cafe Flore to take advantage of their Saturday 2-for-1 special on Cosmos.  I was happy to share this spot with my Texas girls.  Cafe Flore has a a beautiful outdoor patio (with heat lamps), good food, and an entertaining staff.  After a drink and a late lunch/early dinner, we moved on to Hot Cookie.  As we ate our cookies, we continued wandering.  I gave a brief history lesson when we passed Harvey’s, but mostly stayed quiet as the girls took in the sometimes odd, but mostly awesome, neighborhood.

We ended the day at Cafe du Soleil, chatting over wine and coffee with a good local friend of mine and her out-of-town guest.  It was a great place to wind down!

Coffee

Coffee

Day 5: International Orange

Breakfast

Breakfast

The one thing my friends really wanted to do was walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Sunday morning, after grabbing coffee at Mojo Bicycle Cafe and pastries at the Divisadero Farmers’ Market, we made the trek to the bridge.  It was my first time to actually walk on the bridge!  I’ve biked across twice, but never have tackled it on foot.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we had a lovely walk across.  We wandered down through the Presidio, stopping to play around in Crissy Field, then went to the Marina.  Our first stop was lunch at The Grove.  After fueling up, we went window shopping.  We stopped at Kara’s Cupcakes for a treat before heading home to rest.  I had the special Bailey’s flavor, and my friends both had red velvet.  I want to play around with Bailey’s baked goods now!  It was so good.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

My roommate joined us for dinner.  Tapas and sangria at Picaro!  We ordered calamares fritos, broccoli con almendras, pollo al ajillo, tortilla de patata, and patatas aioli.  The broccoli and tortilla de patata were my favorite dishes.  We had a great time catching up all together, and laughed a lot.  I’ve had some great nights at this restaurant, but Sunday will join the ranks as one of the best.  We moved on to Lion Pub, where we enjoyed some delicious margaritas.

Bailey's Cupcake

Bailey’s Cupcake

Farewell

We stopped at Cafe Abir Monday morning before driving to the airport.  I was sad to see them go, but was happy to have had so much time with them.  I hope they understand now why I love San Francisco!  We laughed a lot, ate a ton, and walked a grand total of 23 miles.  It was a wonderful few days!

San Francisco

San Francisco

Happy eating!

-C

Almond Meal Pancakes and Raspberry Compote

Brinner

Brinner

Without a doubt, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Breakfast, Brunch, Brinner… I’ll eat breakfast food any time of day!

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Garlic

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Garlic

I’ve been wanting to make buckwheat pancakes, but couldn’t find buckwheat flour at the store.  I decided to experiment with almond meal instead!  They didn’t hold their shape well, but they tasted delicious.  I whipped up a simple raspberry compote to serve on top, and made scrambled eggs with spinach and garlic to have on the side.

Pancakes, Eggs, and Compote

Pancakes, Eggs, and Compote

Almond Meal Pancakes

Serves 1

  • 1/2 cup almond meal**
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup soy or nut milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Raspberry compote, recipe below

Stir together almond meal and baking powder in a large bowl.  Add banana and milk, and beat until smooth.

Melt coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour batter into rounds, 1/3 cup at a time.  Flip the pancake when the batter starts to bubble.  Cook until both sides are golden brown.  Serve with raspberry compote.

**Almond meal can be replaced with buckwheat flour.

Almond Meal Pancakes

Almond Meal Pancakes

Raspberry Compote

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice.  Cook until sugar dissolves.  Add berries and cook, tossing gently, until berries are warm and juices release, 2-3 minutes.  Serve warm.

Raspberry Compote

Raspberry Compote

I enjoyed this for a Tuesday evening Brinner (breakfast for dinner), before heading out to see the lighting of the Bay Bridge.  It was a great, simple meal before a fun night out in the city!  Such fun!

Another view

Another view

Check out Lindsey’s Almond Pulp Crackers for another exciting (and more successful) use for almond meal.

Happy Eating!

-C