Quinoatmeal

Quinoatmeal

 

Quinoatmeal? Why not! Get the recipe here at Bon Appetit. This was the last recipe we tried as part of the #BACleanse, and was certainly interesting. While I did like the taste, I’m not sure I can see myself eating quinoa for breakfast, especially when regular oatmeal does the trick for me. Still, I appreciated trying something new! This was a very easy recipe, and the apples and toasted walnuts were a great addition. Let me know if you try it…

What Cleanse?

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Okay, we really tried! We’re still eating healthy, but definitely no longer following Bon Appetit’s cleanse. Leave it to me to find the most Asian-inspired cleanse to kick off 2014. We’re choosing some of the remaining recipes, but mixing up the order and skipping a lot of the suggestions. Mackerel… Wegmans didn’t have any. More salad with miso dressing? Nope. Sardines on rye crackers? Hell no!

I like planning out my own menu. And while I do like most of the dishes in the cleanse (especially all the new oatmeal varieties), I’m getting antsy and want to find new meals. Plus, I still need to use my beautiful new Le Creuset (10 points to whoever guesses the color!) from Mom and Dad. None of the #BAcleanse recipes require a French oven. My luck.

Anyways, I think we did a good job trying new foods, and I’m looking forward to cooking more with agave, “pepitas”, and fresh citrus and can honestly say that I will no longer wrinkle my nose when someone mentions tofu. (Next up is trying it roasted…)

So to not draw this out any longer, here are the remaining meals we made (sort of) following the daily guide:

Chicken, Cabbage and Tangerine Salad – You know what? The best part of this diet might have been trying new greens. We’re so used to just grabbing a head of romaine. I liked keeping it interesting. Also, at our apt, this salad became chicken, cabbage and orange salad with tofu. Sriracha chicken. Yum. I’d make it again sans the nasty miso dressing. I gave it a second chance, and it won’t be getting a third. Au revoir miso.

Hanger steak with orange oregano chimichurri and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with garlic and chili – Yes to the sweet potatoes. Love ’em. ‘Eh’ to the steak. Is hanger steak usually tough? It might be because it was me, the V, who cooked it. Mom’s suggestion of chewing 50 times before swallowing was no problem with this hunk of meat. While it was nice having greens on my steak, I wasn’t wild about the orange flavor. I think this meal is just a nice reminder that it doesn’t take much effort to season your own steak, without using Montreal Seasoning, or something else super salty.

Hanger Steak

Orange Date Muesli – BOOM. Made muesli. The first time I had it was in SWITZERLAND with Rachel, and I loved it. I’ve always wanted to make some, and here we go. Delicious. Delicious and rich… you just need a little portion to fill up for the day. I love the dates, and next time will add apples for more crunch.

Orange Date Muesli

Warm Carrot Salad and Garlicky Bok Choy with Lemon Mahi Mahi (not on cleanse) – Say goodbye to brown sugar and butter on carrots. Even kids will eat this recipe. Lemon and olive oil with SPICE made these the best carrots I’ve ever had. You don’t even need the pepitas. Did I mention they took me 5 minutes to make?

Mahi Mahi with carrots and bok choy

I will eat anything with “garlicky” in the name. While I did love the bok choy, I was not a fan of the soy sauce. Why does it need to be so salty? I’ll definitely use this green veggie in my cooking again, but I’d like to find a recipe that’s less saucy.

This fish was amazing. I did not use dill or onion powder, and did add white wine instead of chicken stock (obviously). Easy and yummy. A goal for 2014: fish at least once a week. With frozen fillets, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

See? We’re being healthy! And… using the cleanse as a guide for our meals. We have a few more we’re planning to make, and I’m most excited for Quinoatmeal tomorrow morning!

“I’m a foodie” #BAcleanse day 2

My oh my we are eating well, and today’s meals were a bit easier to prepare, tapping into leftovers from last night for lunch, and no crazy sides for dinner. II should note that we did not participate in the Bon Appetit smoked salmon suggestion this morning. I just can’t get past the idea of fish for breakfast so we had nooo problem duplicating day 1’s delicious oatmeal.

As part of the cleanse you’re supposed to stay away from coffee and alcohol, but that hasn’t been so easy since we have a friend in town visiting plus is TWENTY degrees out. This means I require a constant flow of coffee and tea to keep me warm and toasty (and not retreating to bed for some serious cat naps). Meow.

Lunch was delicious. I make the same vinaigrette often, but loved the roasted beets in the salad even more so than I did at dinner. Since we didn’t have the other roasted veggies I added raw carrots and sun dried tomatoes. The quinoa kept us full for the rest of the day too. Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Salad.

Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

BA Cleanse Lunch #2

Since we forgot to try the avocado smoothie during day 1’s meals I whipped it up to accompany lunch. By whipped up I mean made up a new recipe since I grabbed coconut milk instead of water at the grocery store. I opened up the can to what looked like crisco. Mmm. My solution: scoop some coconut milk into the blender with water for, voila: coconut water! Can I get a fact check here? No idea if that’s a real thing, but the smoothie was delicious. Only thing is I’m not a big fan of that texture, so I’d rather drink it in a shooter between meals like at fancy multi-course dinners. Just a sip would have been great. But hey. Now I know how to make an avocado smoothie.

avocado smoothie

Madison had to stop at Trader Joes on his way home from work for a few dinner ingredients, which turned out to be a breeze. With just a few mishaps (smoke alarm went off while roasting the peppers and I realized I used all the mint for the Greenist Tahini Sauce) everything turned out yummy. The pan roasted chicken (we used boneless thighs) was simple and made the apartment smell great. I went to town with the garlic, which paired really well with the red pepper walnut relish. My favorite part though, was the White Bean Salad, with pomegranate seeds. I will absolutely be making this again. Super easy and fresh.

Red Pepper Walnut Relish

White Bean Salad

Pan roasted chicken

Since we had some burrata (poor us) in the fridge, we decided to add a quick caprese salad as an additional side. YUM. What a pretty plate. One of my favorite parts of this cleanse so far is how much fresh citrus is involved. Lemon and lime are such great flavors, and so easy to incorporate. I gave this little gadget to mom and dad for Christmas, and might have to get one for myself too.

Eat well –

V

 

2014: a great time for a foodie cleanse

Some people go on a diet in the new year. I, apparently, eat more.

Cookie Baking

All the cookies!! Aka why a cleanse was needed, and yup, this is a snap.

Happy New Year! Madison and I are embarking on a new challenge… to stick to the Bon Appetit foodie cleanse for the first two weeks of the year. Well… almost. 🙂 DC Restaurant Week is coming up, and there is NO way I’m having sardines, so we’re for the most part sticking to the cleanse. It’s healthy too! Not completely paleo, but almost there. Limited to no dairy, and a big focus on veggies with no processed foods.

The hard part is cooking every meal with a lot of flavors. I love cooking, but don’t typically make breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Lunch is usually leftovers, and dinner doesn’t usually have 7 ingredient sauces on my roasted vegetables. I decided to challenge myself because there are a lot of ingredients that I normally wouldn’t buy and I was interested in trying out (ahem, tofu, miso, mustard greens, steel cut oats, hemp).

Check out what we (that’s right – we- Madison is helping cook!) made today… not a bad kickoff for the new year:

Rise and Shine: Breakfast was Steel Cut Oats with Hemp Seeds and Blackberries

Breakfast ingredients

Steel Cut Oats

This was a fairly easy breakfast to throw together. The blackberries were sweet and I liked adding the soy milk for extra flavor. Plus, I love hemp. I usually buy the hemp granola from Whole Foods, and this added taste reminded me of that snack. Madison says he’d eat it again.

 

Lunch: Spinach, Tofu, and Shaved Carrot Salad with Sesame Dressing and Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch

Spinach, Tofu, and Shaved Carrot Salad with Sesame Dressing and Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch

Leave it to me to choose a diet based heavily on Asian flavors (the only cuisine I don’t care for). UGH. I was surprised that I liked the tofu, and will definitely be adding it to future salad  creations for added protein. The pepitas (why not just call them PUMPKIN SEEDS??) >> (#fancy?) with sunflower seeds and cashews were delicious. I could definitely see myself making that on an ongoing basis in addition to the normal toasted walnuts with sugar and cayenne. I subbed tomatoes for radishes and while I ate all of my salad, I was not in love with the dressing. I’m not a fan of soy sauce, and turns out miso tastes a lot like it… very salty. Yay for new flavors – Madison loved it, and I’m proud of myself for testing my taste buds.

Dinner: Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Jerusalem Artichokes with Lemon and The Greenest Tahini Sauce with Quinoa and Shallots and Walnuts

Yup. Ate too fast to take a photo of what I created. :)

Yup. Ate too fast to take a photo of what I created. 🙂

I loved our dinner, but have to say it was a bit more work that I was ready to tackle on my first day back in the office after the holidays. We love beets, and liked the idea of adding tahini sauce, but we kept out the other veggies. I wasn’t feeling the carrots, and it turns out that Jerusalem artichokes are a bit different from regular artichokes, which is what I get for scanning recipes too quickly before heading to the grocery store. I’ll have to look for them the next time we make it up to Wegmans. 🙂

The quinoa was good! I added an exclamation point to show my surprise. I’ve tried making quinoa in the past and wasn’t impressed. I liked the [red] quinoa and I added toasted almonds instead of walnuts which came out to just the perfect amount of sweet. We also cooked up some spicy sriracha chicken to accompany BA’s planned dishes and were so glad we did. The sides were delicious, but we didn’t want a huge portion of either one. I’d make both dishes again.

It was great eating healthy superfoods today. We were so full from lunch that we didn’t even need to make the avocado smoothie that was suggested. If you’re interested in trying out the foodie cleanse, it’s not too late! Do it with me and we can share notes.

xo,

V