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

Massaged Kale Salad with Carrots, Raisins, and Walnuts

Back home in Charlottesville, but not yet back to work, I took advantage of my afternoon at home and planned a lovely lunch recipe to share.

Love my kale!

Love my kale!

This simple salad featured kale, carrots, walnuts, and raisins. The dressing included (among other things) turmeric and Himalayan pink sea salt. As part of my New Year’s resolution to really learn about the foods I eat, today I decided to focus on walnuts, turmeric, and salt.

I perused The New Food Lover’s Companion for basic information on each of these ingredients, and then turned to Google for additional information.

pink salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements (including magnesium, calcium and potassium). “It is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from abundant salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in certain geologic pockets around the earth.” (Source)

Ground Turmeric

Ground Turmeric

Turmeric comes from a tropical root that is similar to ginger. Ayurvedic science hails this spice for its natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and blood cleansing properties. It is used to give American-style mustard its distinctive yellow color.

Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are the fruit of the walnut tree. Among all nuts, walnuts pack significantly higher amount omega-3 fatty acids, and are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E (Source). Black walnuts and American walnuts are the most common varieties. Once shelled, walnuts keep best in the refrigerator, for up to 6 months.

These ingredients gave my salad a lovely flavor, as well as added nutrition.

Yum!

Yum!

Massaged Kale Salad with Carrot, Raisins, and Walnuts

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ~5 leaves of curly kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Method

Combine kale and carrot in a large bowl; set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Massage about 3 Tablespoons of the dressing into the  kale and carrot, until the kale leaves soften and turn a darker green, about 2 minutes. Add more dressing if desired. Top with raisins and walnuts.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

The tanginess of the dressing is off-set but the sweet raisins, and the walnuts provide a nice “crunch”. While I enjoyed this salad for lunch with some pita chips, it would also be great as a side dish for dinner, perhaps with some grilled chicken (I’m making myself hungry just imagining this meal…).

Enjoy!

-L

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Holiday Memories and Recipes

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming!

As you probably noticed from our Thanksgiving post, our family goes all out for the holidays.  This year, Christmas is going to be a little different than normal, since I am performing until Christmas Eve, and both sisters will be spending the big day with their in-laws.  Mom and Dad didn’t want to be home alone, so I will be meeting them at my Aunt’s house in Southern California.

The table will be set for less guests than usual, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be having excellent meals!  My aunt already sent out the proposed menu for Mom and me to weigh in on.

Proposed Menu, Christmas 2012

Proposed Menu, Christmas 2012

Looking at these incredible suggestions, I started thinking about some of my favorite recipes from past Christmases.

One of the best desserts was a Tipsy Spiced Fruit Tart with Buttermilk Whipped Cream.  Lindsey and I made this delicious recipe from Southern Living back in 2009.

Tipsy Spiced Fruit Tart

Tipsy Spiced Fruit Tart

In 2010, we started our Christmas dinner with a delicious Arugula-Orange Salad with Pomegranate-White Wine Vinaigrette.  This salad had a wonderful, fresh taste, and beautiful, festive colors.  It looked great on the dining table!

Beautiful salad for Christmas Dinner!

Beautiful salad for Christmas Dinner!

A tradition that we’ll be continuing this year is our family Holiday Party!  After Christmas, the whole family is convening in Texas for our 12th (I think) annual holiday party.  Over the years, we’ve provided food at the party through cooking, catering, and/or Costco.

Party 2009

Party 2009

For the past 5 or so years, we’ve always had a big platter of Caprese Sticks.  This simple appetizer is always a huge crowd-pleaser.

Caprese Sticks

Caprese Sticks

We also always do a special cocktail.  A few years ago, we made Champagne Mojitos, but my poor brother-in-law got so worn out muddling enough mint leaves for 80+ cocktails, that we decided to do something more simple in later years.  One of my favorites is “Special Cider”, apple cider with bourbon.

Big Sis with Champagne Mojitos

Big Sis with Champagne Mojitos

I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with this year!  Do you have any holiday traditions or favorite holiday recipes?  We’d love to hear about them!

Happy Eating!

-C

P.S. If you have not yet entered our Awesome Bar Taster Pack Giveaway, it’s not too late! We will choose and announce the winner tomorrow morning.