Sunday, January 26, 2014

January Cleanse Part 4...

I really love everything I’ve been eating this month. I love clean meals, and whole foods prepared simply, but I also love decadence, and I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so this week was kind of weird for me. I feel entirely satisfied by everything I’m eating but my brain keeps day-dreaming about things like pizza and dessert. Unfortunately I had a few ‘slips’ this week but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t all that bad.

Monday started off the same as all the other days, water and a orange/grapefruit juice. - Definitely a favorite combo of mine. I followed that up with this Luscious Fruit and Flax Smoothie that I talked about earlier this week. Seriously it’s so good! And that actually kept me going right until dinner. Monday was kind of busy for us, we were out and about and so there wasn’t a lot of time to stop and make lunch, plus we ate dinner earlier then normal so it kind of worked out.

Fruit and Flax Smoothie 

For dinner I made these delicious Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burgers from Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” they’re full of black beans, sweet potato, onion, brown rice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, tamari, and cornmeal, and they are amazing! No lie, I could probably eat these everyday. Instead of eating them on a burger bun with all the fixin’s though I opted for a healthier approach and served them atop a green salad that had romaine, spinach, diced tomato, green onion, and avocado. The greens were lightly dressed in the leftover Organic Green Garlic Dressing I bought the night before.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers 
On a salad 

Monday night I was also feeling something of a sweet craving. After being so good all month I really just wanted something that felt decadent, but I didn’t want to fall completely off the wagon and so I made these Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies from Kathy Hester’s book “The Great Vegan Bean Book” Now. I know what you’re thinking, “Chickpeas in a cookie?” it sounds wrong, and maybe even a little bit disgusting but they are AMAZING! Even my husband loved them and he’s skeptical always skeptical about beans. What’s really great about these cookies is that they’re simple and not all that terrible for you. There are only 81 calories per cookie, and they’re made with whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chickpeas, non-dairy milk, vanilla extract, sugar, and chocolate chips. I only used ½ Cup of sugar instead of the recommended 1 cup so they were even better! The cookies are also suppose to have chopped pecans which I love, but my husband doesn’t like nuts and so I opted to leave those out. I was truly amazed at how moist and fluffy these cookies were, and I’m super excited to try some of Kathy’s other beany desserts. Of course I probably ate one or two more then I should have but I also started going back to the gym Monday - FINALLY - so I think it works itself out.

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Throughout this cleanse I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not going to be very realistic for me to train my body/tastebuds to not want sugar or sweets ever, but I think re-training myself to be satisfied with only a little - rather then gorge myself on a lot - is doable for the long term.

Tuesday I stared with a green juice and then another Fruit and Flax smoothie. For lunch I made a big green salad. It was kind of like a coleslaw only it was full of collard greens, green cabbage, shredded carrots, green onions, sunflower seeds and cranberries. As a dressing I made Kris Carr’s Artichoke Cashew Aioli which is made with cashews, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, agave, garlic, salt, artichokes, tarragon, parsley, shallot and lemon zest. I thinned it out with a bit of water so it was more like a dressing and it tasted amazing over my salad.

Collard Green Cabbage Salad
With Cashew Artichoke Aioli

Dinner was left over Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers atop another salad. The salad was basically the same this time except it had corn instead of avocado and was dressed with chipotle olive oil and pineapple vinegar. Delicious!

Wednesday started off with another green juice, but instead of following it up with a smoothie I decided to have some home-made cereal. I felt like something chewable, and I wanted something fiber-rich and filling. So I made my favorite cereal. It’s a bowl of rolled oats, flax seed, chia seed, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, raisins, fresh banana and almond milk with a few drops of vanilla stevia. I also added in some fresh diced pineapple since I had some. It’s so good, and kept me full all day.

Home-made Cereal 

Dinner was new, and it was kind of a feast. First we had Zucchini Carpaccio from Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Kitchen” which is raw thin sliced zucchini drizzled with olive oil and garnished with parsley, sea salt and black pepper. Super simple and yet so flavorful.

Zucchini Carpaccio

With it we had the Sauteed Chard from CSK which was super simple too. Just chard, garlic, shallot, tamari, olive oil, and nutritional yeast.

Sauteed Chard 

I also made the Pastrami-Spiced Carrots with White Bean Sauerkraut Puree from CSK which was AMAZING! Truly the standout dish, I mean this may be my new favorite recipe for carrots. All you do is rub them in a little olive oil, then some Montreal Steak Seasoning - Quebec Beef Seasoning in my case - and roast them for about 25 minutes until they’re tender but still crisp. Then you pari them with a deliciously flavored white bean puree. Kind of like a hummus but it’s got that tangy umami flavor thanks to Dijon Mustard and Sauerkraut. What an inventive way to use kraut by the way, I never would have thought about it!

Pastrami-Spiced Carrots 
White Bean Sauerkraut Dip

Lastly we had the Polenta Squares with Marinara from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s book “The 30 Day Vegan Challenge” I like polenta well enough, but I’d never had these fried - or you can grill them - polenta squares before. Since I was really craving fries I thought why not go for a healthier option, and it was magical.

Polenta Squares with Marinara 

Later for dessert I had 1 square of Endangered Species Dark Chocolate. Just one square! Do you know what an accomplishment that is for me?

Thursday was pretty much the same as Wednesday except I started with orange/grapefruit juice. I had the same cereal and that kept me full all day.

For Dinner I was feeling like noodles and so I decided to make the Double Mushroom Jap Chae from Terry Hope Romero’s “Vegan Eats World” Her recipe is pretty simple and still tastes really traditional. It uses Sweet potato noodles, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, gochuchang, shiitake mushrooms, black cloud mushrooms, bok choy, onion, carrot, green onion, and sesame seeds. Only I didn’t have shiitake or black cloud mushrooms and so I subbed in Woodear Mushrooms and Chinese Black Fungus. I also didn’t have bok choy but she says you can sub in spinach if you prefer so that’s what I did. I also took her suggestion and added some diced baked tofu. The end result was incredible, and so satisfying.

Double Mushroom Jap Chae

Friday began the same again. Orange/Grapefruit Juice, and a small glass of green juice as well. I had a small bowl of cereal, and then in late afternoon I had some leftover polenta squares with marinara and the remainder of the Pastrami-Spiced Carrots and white bean sauerkraut dip.

Around six I grabbed a Suja Mango-Feugo Juice which was incredible.

And when I got home from work that night I enjoyed a nice steaming bowl of this delicious Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. It’s got chickpeas, carrots, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, lemon, raisins and olives. Along with red pepper flakes, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. It was suppose to be green olives but I didn’t have any and so I used kalamata instead. I served it with couscous and it made a wonderful hearty meal for a cold winter night.

Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine 

Overall Aside from a few cravings I felt pretty good. Good energy level, felt pretty accomplished, was in a positive mood etc... but the biggest thing was I started back at the gym. Weights, and swimming how I missed thee! Due to schedule conflicts I only got to go 3 nights out of the week, but 2 nights I did some exercise - light weights, sit ups, pushups - at home, and now that I’m no longer sick I started walking again. Each day I went out for a thirty minute walk in the afternoon. Though I’d like to have gone longer I think 30 minutes in this arctic temperature is about as much as my dog can handle.

Until next time.

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