WIAW — Cleanse Continued

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been following a modified version of the Food Lover’s Cleanse from Bon Appetit. I’m now on Day 11 out of 14, and have gotten more flexible with my interpretation of the meal plan as time has gone by. Even so, I’ve been making better decisions, I’ve successfully cut back on my coffee intake, and I’ve felt generally more healthy.

Here are some of the highlights of the past week of my “cleanse”.

Day 4

Yogurt Chicken, Carrots, and Bulgur

Yogurt Chicken, Carrots, and Bulgur

For dinner last Wednesday, I made yogurt chicken with ginger-cilantro chutney and carrots with mint (both recipes on Day 3 on cleanse plan), and served them up with the last of my bulgur with parsley and lemon. The chicken was moist and full of flavor. I’ll definitely make it again!

Day 5

Thursday was a series of leftovers and repeat dishes, most of which were enjoyed whilst sitting at work.

Day 6

Applesauce with Walnuts

Applesauce with Walnuts

Friday, my afternoon snack of applesauce with walnuts was surprisingly enjoyable! I want to make my own applesauce, and make this a more frequent treat!

Chili and Salad

Chili and Salad

For dinner, I made white bean chili with winter vegetables (recipe from Day 5 on cleanse) and a spinach salad with clementines. I loved the avocado on top of the chili. It was a fresh and creamy addition to the complex flavors of the chili.

Day 7

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

I had a long shift on Saturday, so I packed up a fruit salad and almond milk for breakfast and a big salad with kale, smoked salmon, tangerines, and radishes for lunch. I took a break from the plan that evening, and went out for a drink and dinner with one of my girlfriends.

Day 8

Blackberry Oatmeal

Blackberry Oatmeal

Sunday’s breakfast was a new twist on my usual bowl of oats. I cooked the oats in almond milk (nothing unusual), mixed in some berries while the oats were still cooking, and topped it off with fresh berries and a bit of chopped sage. The sage added an extra oomph to an otherwise basic bowl.

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi

Afternoon smoothies are definitely going to become a more regular thing for me! Sunday I made a mango lassi with one mango, some Greek yogurt, a pinch of chile powder, and a dash of salt.

Radicchio Salad

Radicchio Salad

I used up all of my leftover produce from the week in a giant dinner salad! Radicchio, pear, avocado, and dried cranberries were mixed in with sherry shallot vinaigrette and white beans. Yum!

Day 9

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Monday was another crazy workday, so I packed up smoked salmon and avocado on rye crackers, an apple, and a big salad with chickpeas, arugula, clementine slices, tahini dressing, and a leftover dollop of ginger-cilantro chutney.

Day 10

Oatmeal with Berries

Oatmeal with Berries

I’ve enjoyed mixing up my breakfast routine, but I still always enjoy a nice bowl of oats in the morning! I kept the berry theme going with a smoothie later in the day, made with apple cider, half a banana, and frozen raspberries and blackberries.

Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothie

For lunch on the run, I had another “clean the icebox” type of salad, using pineapple, smoked salmon, arugula, tahini dressing, and the last bit of ginger-cilantro chutney.

Salmon and Pineapple Salad

Salmon and Pineapple Salad

Dinner, vegetable pot-au-feu and soft thyme-scented polenta, was listed on Day 11 of the cleanse. I am realizing how much I LOVE parsnips and carrots. I could eat them every day! I’m looking forward to the leftovers.

Vegetable Pot-Au-Feu

Vegetable Pot-Au-Feu

I love how many fruits and vegetables I’ve been eating! I intend to keep this trend going once my 14 days are up. Even though I haven’t followed the full cleanse, I feel as though I’ve cleaned up my act.

Thanks, Jenn for hosting this “What I Ate Wednesday” party!

WIAW GOES GREEN

Happy eating!

-C

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

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip Cookies

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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

Maca for Breakfast

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Maca and Pistachio Pulp Overnight Oats

When Casey and I were home in Texas at the holidays, we went to two or three stores in a search of Maca Powder, which we needed to make Sarah B’s Superfood Haute Chocolate. I was lucky enough to bring home the bags of Navitas Naturals Maca powder and raw cacao powder, and I have been having fun adding them to various kitchen experiments.

Last week, I went on a Maca kick, adding a teaspoon or two to a variety of breakfast dishes.

Maca, cacao, raspberries, and coconut milk + oats

Maca, cacao, raspberries, and coconut milk + oats

Maca is the root of a plant that is native to the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru. The root is ground to make the powder, which was prized by the Incans for its ability to energize naturally. Maca powder contains essential vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and fiber (more details). The taste is a bit strange at first, but it is somewhat reminiscent of butterscotch, and tastes great in oats, smoothies, and yogurt. I particularly enjoy it combined with ginger and a pinch of cayenne.

I also saw a suggestion for replacing morning coffee with Maca powder mixed with apple cider, and it provides energy without stressing the metabolism first thing in the morning. I might have to try this, as stable blood sugar throughout the morning hours tends to be an issue for me.

Here are a few of the ways I have been enjoying Maca powder in my breakfast creations:

tilted bowl

Oats, maca, and pistachio pulp

Maca and Pistachio Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup pistachio pulp
  • 1.5 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • dash dry ginger
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • toppings: pistachios, diced apples
Maca Mango Smoothie

Maca Mango Smoothie

Maca Mango Smoothie

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup frozen mango
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch each dry ginger, cayenne
  • Top with raw buckwheat groats and popped amaranth
Maca Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Maca Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Maca Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup Coach’s Oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • pinch each ginger and cayenne
  • banana, divided
  • Peanut Butter
version 2, bowl

Maca Cacao Overnight Oats

Maca and Cacao Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • Frozen raspberries
  • top with sliced banana
Smoothie in a bowl!

Smoothie in a bowl!

Have you ever tried maca powder? Any suggestions for ways to use it?

-L