Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Whole Living Healthy Detox: Week 3

I would feel incomplete if I didn't post about week 3 of the detox (the FINAL week YAY!) but I don't have much to say.  By this point I was very tired of all the work I had to do to eat - I couldn't reach into my freezer to grab lunch for work, I couldn't eat anything in the cafeteria, I kept buying more veggies than I had time to actually cook.  It was getting stressful and I'm glad it's over.  During the final week, I was able to add back eggs and gluten free grains, so I sustained myself on scrambled eggs (extra whites), hardboiled eggs borrowed from a coworker, and oatmeal with chopped nuts and dried fruit mixed in.  Rice played a big role as well.  All in all, I managed to lose 4 pounds, which has really come in handy lately as I am squeezing into suits from 2009 for job interviews :)  But I'm so glad to be back to eating normal, trying to be mindful and incorporate some of the lessons learned about my relationship with food over the course of the detox.  It's clear to me that I rely heavily on grains in my diet, and that if I deprive myself of something it comes back to bite me later when I binge on 20 of that thing and 500 other things!

Would I do it again?  Maybe... but not for quite a while!  I feel that if I try to incorporate the lessons I learned and make a point to "be good" during the day at work, I can keep my weight in check without having to do an extreme diet like this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Swiss Chard and Smoked Gouda Frittata (Dark Days 5)

I am so behind on the Dark Days Challenge, but I think it's better than not doing it at all!

This week I made a local breakfast!  Using the technique I've picked up from the Frittata recipe in Super Natural Every Day, I made a local frittata.  I used potatoes and garlic I got several weeks ago at the Princeton Farmers' Market, onions labeled local from Whole Foods, Swiss chard (leaves and stems!) from Chickadee Creek farm, picked up at the most recent Princeton Farmers' Market, and a smoked gouda cheese that was labeled local at Whole Foods (I can't seem to remember the name of the farm now, but I believe it was in PA).  The eggs came from Lima Family Farms in Hillsborough via the Princeton Farmers' Market.  I had intended to crumble in some breakfast sausage from Cherry Grove Farm, but didn't remember to take it out of the freezer until after the frittata had been cooked.  The exceptions, as usual, were olive oil, salt and pepper.

The frittata was fabulous, and I especially enjoyed the smoked gouda, which gave the frittata a meaty flavor, probably a connection made due to the smokiness.  I enjoy making up frittatas using whatever I happen to have on hand.  This is a great go-to technique for a local meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Whole Living Healthy Detox: Week 2

Well, week 2 is over, but it was much easier than week 1.  We made quite a few tasty meals.  We started  the week off with a family Christmas party - we brought baked salmon with chimichurri sauce.  We also revamped one of our favorites, lemon pepper shrimp, to be detox-friendly (and MUCH healthier).  Typically, this dish consists of whole wheat orzo and broccoli sauteed with garlic, topped with shrimp in a lemony, peppery, garlicky, buttery sauce.  We left out the orzo and we left out the butter, making the shrimp with only the lemon, pepper, garlic, and a bit of olive oil, so there wasn't much of a sauce.  We were very pleased with the results!

Throughout the week, we also ate our Dark Days meal of beans and cabbage, and I improved upon my favorite smoothie from last week, the Carrot Mango Smoothie, by adding some strawberries to it as well.  We used up the only soup in the freezer that we can eat, a veggie-filled base for Soup au Pistou, to which we added white beans and a cube of basil puree to give it flavor.  One day for lunch at work, I had half a bag of frozen edamame for lunch, which surprisingly filled me up a lot!

I also managed to squeeze in another recipe from Plenty, one of the two featured cookbooks for January.  The recipe is for Saffron Cauliflower, shown up above, which we ate as a side with salmon.  Because you cook the cauliflower, onions, and golden raisins in the oven, covered, the saffron flavor steams into them.  If you really like saffron (I find it overrated, but that's just me) you will probably like this dish.  I would have preferred if the cauliflower mix was left open to roast and crisp up a little, but it was an OK dish.  I probably won't make it again.

This week is week 3, the final week of the detox.  It's going to take all my willpower not to go straight back to sugar and coffee and bacon!  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Salmon with Red Pepper and Hazelnut Salsa

As you probably already guessed, this detox is tough.  There is such a limited amount of things that I am permitted to eat.  Salmon is one, and even with chimichurri sauce (OMG, I love it) I was starting to get bored of it really quickly.  I also want to be able to participate, at least a little bit, in the featured cookbook thing for the month - we're doing Ottolenghi and Plenty together, two books I've been dying to cook from, and there are only a select few recipes I can make from them while doing this detox.  As it turns out, I had this salmon recipe flagged already, and I was excited to be able to try it.  I knew when we started mixing together the salsa ingredients that it was going to be a huge hit.

Honestly, I could eat this salsa every day, on anything.  It is so good.  It sticks to your expectations about what a salsa should be while totally blowing them away.  I am obsessed with it and I can't wait to have it again.  This is the way salmon was meant to be eaten.  I had my leftovers for lunch the next day, but Ken ate that second serving right after finishing the first, and I was tempted to do the same.  (I'm glad I prolonged my gratification by saving it.)  As a huge bonus, this was really simple and easy to make, so I expect it to become a staple in our house.

A few notes on the prep... mainly reminders to myself :)  Roast the hazelnuts and the peppers at the same time.  Cook the salmon opposite of the recipe directions, so that you get a crispy skin.  Make the salsa the day before if possible (oh, and double it while you're at it!) and this will come together in a flash.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beans and Cabbage (Dark Days 4)

I am way behind on Dark Days!  The detox is kind of hard to locally source, so I'm trying to think of things to "localize" wherever I can.  This week's local meal was beans & cabbage from Super Natural Every Day.  I've made and posted this before, but not with local sources.  The cabbage and potatoes came from last month's Princeton farmers' market, the shallots from my CSA, and the Jacob's cattle beans (first used in another Dark Days meal) from Cayuga Pure Organics in New York state.  The beans were much better suited for this than for what I previously used them.  They go from undercooked to exploded in a matter of minutes, so they were still all broken up, but it worked out fine for this dish.  Lesson learned, local is not always going to be better quality, and you have to make that decision for yourself.  I don't anticipate buying that type of bean from that source again in the future, though they may have just been a little bit older.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Whole Living Healthy Detox: Week 1

I'm doing the 2012 Whole Living Action Plan, which is kind of a healthy 3-week detox.  This first week, I ate only fruits, veggies, nuts, and plant based oils.  It was hard at times, because I was seriously craving sweets from the holiday season, but we made it through the cravings and I even dropped a pound or two of unwanted weight!  We cut this week short to 5 days instead of 7 because we have another family Christmas gathering to attend and we wanted to have more options than just the veggie tray.  I'll write more about week 2 next week.  I've been too busy during the week to post, so while I'm doing this detox, I'll do a summary at the end of the week.  Hopefully when I'm done I'll be craving nutritious foods instead of all the sugar I've been craving.

Here are some of the foods I've eaten this week...

Fruit Salad Smoothie - from the Vitamix cookbook, which came with my Christmas gift :) and this was the first smoothie I tried with the Vitamix.  It was delicious.  It had a bunch of different fruits along with carrot and cucumber.

Berry Delicious Smoothie - also from the Vitamix cookbook, some pineapple and berries, including cranberries, which provided a really nice flavor.  I plan to make this again this week.

Orange-Berry Smoothie - This one was pretty good, kind of tangy from all the orange juice. I would make it again.

Beet and Carrot Smoothie - This was my least favorite. I couldn't even force myself to eat it. I don't like beets, so I thought this would make them easier for me to stomach so that I could get all their nutrients without the flavor and texture I don't like, but the beet overpowered the smoothie and the ginger didn't help either.

Carrot, Mango, and Herb Smoothie - I'm drinking this one right now and it's one of my favorites from the week, probably because it doesn't have any veggies in it... just carrot juice, orange juice, mango chunks, and mint.  I put about half the amount of mint in because it can be overpowering, and I just get a slight refreshing coolness from it.

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage and Carrots - I had this for lunch a few times, and I really liked the tangy dressing and the crunchy pepita seeds and the hemp seeds were good too.  I liked the refreshing bite of parsley though toward the end of the week I got lazy and it was just kale, cabbage, the nuts, and dressing.

Steamed Broccoli and Squash with Tahini Dressing - We had this for dinner one night and it was one of our least favorites of the week.  The broccoli with the tahini sauce was the best part.  I definitely wouldn't make this one again.

Roasted Peppers, Cauliflower, and Almonds - This one was pretty good.  I liked the roasted peppers and the saltiness from the kalamata olives.  One thing I would do differently is to make a better dressing, since this one was mainly just lemon and oil.  This would also be really good with feta.  Boy do I miss cheese.

I've already started week 2, and I've moved on to making mostly my own recipes either improvised or from other sources.  One in particular deserves its own post, and if time allows, I will share it this week.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I finally got around to making the Oatcakes from Super Natural Every Day.  Ken wanted a muffin to bring to a work holiday celebration breakfast potluck thing.  I was looking for something that I had all the ingredients to make (and that I would want to eat) and settled on these.  With all the butter in them, of course they were delicious, they were chewy and hearty, like eating a really sweet bowl of oatmeal.  I want to try making these again, but I intend to health them up a little to make them a more appropriate breakfast option.

Starting tomorrow, January 2nd, I'm going to try the Whole Living Magazine's 21-day (or 28-day if you're feeling ambitious) detox plan.  So I will be posting mostly about that, and I won't get to try too many of the recipes I've been flagging lately - but I know it's only a temporary thing, and I think it will make me feel a lot better after all the sugar and junk I've been eating lately.