Detox: Days 9-13

June 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm (Detox Diet) (, , , , , )

Oh, my GOODNESS!!  It has been such a whirlwind of a week and I have hardly had time to keep up!  Between work and class and housework and client vacation planning, and everything else…

I did cook some, but we also filled in the blanks with leftovers and salads.  Here is the salad dressing I have been using.  I still have some lettuce in the garden.  We like to put cukes and tomatoes of course, and sliced celery, diced red pepper and red onion, sprouts when we have them (can’t wait for my sprouter to come!!!), and we are allowed a tiny bit of feta.  On my salad I also mince some deli style pepperoncini slices.  NUM! NUM!

I must say, when I found this site earlier this week, I could not stop looking at it!!  I wished I had found it earlier so I could plan more meals with it. I do plan to try out several of these recipes even after the diet.  It will take me a while to acquire some of the more expensive and harder to find items.

I also made strawberry coconut ice cream from this recipe from their site.  Sweets are the one thing we have missed most on this diet and I didn’t really have a good solution for it.  This ice cream froze solid for me!  I had to take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before I planned to have some.  But I think it hit the spot, even though it was not as rich and creamy as what we are used to.  It was definitely a great cool and refreshing alternative and very simple to make.

I don’t have a picture of the ice cream because I made the mistake of making it in the food processor and made a gigantic mess of it all.  Then it froze in my ice cream maker within about 5 minutes so I was all flustered about getting my mess cleaned up while wondering if I should put the whole ice cream maker in the freezer or try to scoop out the frozen mass into another container before I made an even bigger mess.

I remember what I made on Monday, because I actually remembered to write it down on my meal planner.  Every other day is kind of a blur.


I basically mix these ingredients in whatever quantities I so desire:


fresh parsley

green onions

fresh mint



olive oil

lemon juice


black pepper


feta cheese

I usually eat the salad in a pita or on its own.  Josh was craving carbs so I gave in and wrapped the salad in a whole wheat wrap.

I also made Sunny Corn Muffins!

I followed the recipe (using spelt flour and safflower oil), but when I tasted the batter, it seemed a little flat.  I thought it needed a sweetener and maple syrup was the first thing that popped into my head.  I also added corn kernels and a dash of cayenne to the second half of the batch.  While these muffins were in the oven, it smelled like someone was cooking up a yummy southern breakfast!  Not that I know what a southern breakfast smells like, but again, that was the first thing that popped into my head.  🙂

Green and White Bean Salad

green beans

navy beans (soaked overnight or cooked)

pear or cherry tomatoes

feta cheese

1 TB lemon juice

1 TB Balsamic vinegar

1 TB olive oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1 TB chopped dill

I make this salad for my own lunches because Josh doesn’t care for it.  I like my green beans on the crunchy side so they add a nice bit of crunch to this salad.

(I think it was) Wednesday night I made this Black Bean and Quinoa with Raspberry Chipotle salad.  I love raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce and I knew I would love this salad.  I actually doubled the amount of raspberries just because I never feel like recipes with sauce make enough sauce.  It was very good, but lacked sweetness. I pulled out the maple syrup again and tipped some in.  Actually, it came out much faster than I expected, but it ended up being a perfect amount.


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Detox: Days 7&8

June 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm (Detox Diet) (, , , , )

One of the great things about this diet is that I find new things and try new recipes that I probably would not have thought of when my choices are a bit more limited.  I have never tried any kind of corn soup, but lately I have been on a sweet corn kick and I thought this might be a good choice.

Latin Corn Soup

From Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

2 c thinly sliced onions

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 fresh chile, minced

2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

2 c water or vegetable broth

1/4 c thinly sliced radishes

2 c peeled and diced sweet potatoes

1 c diced red bell peppers

1 15-oz can hominy, drained

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 TB lime juice

2 TB chopped fresh cilantro

avocado cubes (optional)

1.  In a soup pot on medium-high heat, cook onions in oil for about 5 minutes, until just beginning to soften.  Add the garlic, chiles, coriander, oregano, and salt and stir constantly for a minute.  Stir in 1 c of the water and the radishes, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  While the vegetables simmer, in a blender, puree the hominy with the remaining water and the coconut milk until smooth.  When the vegetables are tender, add the puree and the tomatoes and corn and bring back to a simmer, tirring occasionally.

3.  Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Top each serving with ripe avacado cubes, if you wish.

I will definitely add this to my soup list for winter!  Heck!  I will even make this in warm weather again!  It is not heavy so it doesn’t really make you that hot.  Or maybe it was refreshing to me because I am ALWAYS cold when the air conditioner is on!

I love cilantro, so I added tons extra.  You either love cilantro or you hate it, so leave it out if you don’t like it.  I also love lime, so I added a bit more.  I don’t like radishes, but I put them in anyways because there was a note in the book about being surprised about the flavor it adds.  I left all ingredients in (except the avocado, which I ONLY like in MY guacamole) and it was fabulous!  I did puree the hominy with the coconut milk, but I also suck my immersion blender into the whole pot of soup and blended it all up before I added the corn.  I did not puree it completely smooth.

I love the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks.  I first had one in Scotland.  I picked it up at a charity shop, probably when I was on this same diet.  I had to leave that one behind, but I bought another one when we got here.  The one I got this recipe from in on loan from the library.

We loved the portobello sandwich so much, we wanted to do it again.  Why is it that when men grill, they think they are giving we ladies a break from cooking, while we are slaving away slicing and chopping in the kitchen, preparing what is about to be grilled, then doing the clean up afterwards?  And then when we ladies grill, it is all the MORE work, because not only are we grilling, but we are running in and out of the house trying to keep up with all of the slicing and chopping, etc?!

ANYWAYS, I also wanted to do a repeat of a recipe I had tried a while ago that Josh loved.  I am not a big asparagus fan, but I did enjoy this side dish.

Citrus Asparagus

1 lb asparagus

2 tsp olive oil

4 tsp fresh lemon juice

4 tsp orange juice

generous pinch of cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

Snap off the tough stem ends of the asparagus spears.  Rince the spears and cut them into 2- or 3-inch peices.  Steam the asparagus


in about an ince of water (or use a steamer basket) for about 7-10 monutes, or until just tender.

Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, cayenne, and salt and pepper.  As soon as the asparagus is ready, remove it to a serving bowl or plate, pour the dressing over it, and serve warm.

I believe I also got this recipe from a Moosewood Restaurant book.  I just made a copy of it and didn’t write where it was from.

Since I had the grill going, I cooked the asparagus for a few minutes, then threw them on the grill until they were starting to show hints of brown.

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Detox: Days 5 and 6

June 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm (Detox Diet) (, , , )

Yesterday and today were pretty boring as far as food goes.  We just had leftovers yesterday since I had to study all day for an exam.  There were lots of leftovers left to be eaten, as well.  Josh often does not have time for lunch and when I work I just bring something like and snacky for lunches.  I did find time yesterday to make maple almond butter cookies.  I have made these cookies before and love them!  And Josh loves them, too, which is even more amazing!!

The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, but since we can’t have wheat, I used spelt.  I know, spelt is technically a wheat product.  That is why I felt guilty and mixed it with potato flour (just because that is what I happened to have on hand) and ground almonds.  Bad idea!  They really didn’t turn out that great.  I think I will make another batch and just stick with the spelt.

Today will be leftovers again, just so we can try to get stuff eaten up rather than having to throw anything out.  I had a recipe in mind for today, but hopefully I can do it tomorrow.

I did make some guacamole with my avocados that have been ripe in the fridge for a couple of days now.  That will go with our lentil tacos tonight.  Since the cookies didn’t turn out yesterday, we are in need of some sweetness to satisfy our sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), so I picked up a TON of fruit and made the best fruit salad ever!  Cantaloup, red grapes, pineapple, strawberries, nectarines, mango (the orange ones like what I had in the Philippines, not the red/green ones), and flaked coconut.  All of it fresh (except the flaked coconut).

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Detox: Day 4

June 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm (Detox Diet, Recipes) (, , )

We love, love, love bolognese, but my usual recipe has dairy, ground beef, pancetta, all the good stuff.  I actually make this once in a while for a change of pace.

As always, I altered my recipe to suit my needs and taste.  We cannot have regular semolina or wheat pasta.  I don’t like corn pasta, so I use brown rice pasta.  There certainly is a different texture and for a person (like me) who finds texture to be almost as important as taste, it is a little hard to get used to.  But the taste is not bad.  We had baby portobello mushrooms from Costco (yum!).  Rather than buying a jar of marinara, which usually has salt and sugar and hydrogenated stuff, I used a can of tomato puree and added Italian seasonings, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper, stuff I usually add to spaghetti sauce anyways.  I did not use the wine.  I’m not sure if we can have it for cooking since the alcohol cooks out anyways, but I knew if I opened a bottle of wine, Josh would want it with his dinner.  🙂

I was trying to do too many things at once and I let the mushrooms saute too long so they got very watery.  Rather than let the water boil out, greatly reducing my mushrooms, I added some TVP to thicken it up.  I also added some green bell pepper and zucchini (corgette).

My picture doesn’t look very yummy because I started eating it before I remembered to snap a shot.  You will have to believe me that this is delicious and worthy of even a non-detox diet.  🙂

Penne with Mushroom “Bolognese”

1 lb penne or other pasta

12 oz sliced mushrooms

2 lg cloves garlic

2 tsp olive oil

1 26oz jar marinara sauce

1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary

2 Tb chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c dry white or red wine (optional)

Cook pasta as package directs.  Meanwhile, pulse mushrooms and garlic in food processor until finely chopped.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add mushrooms and garlic; saute over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in wine (if using); boil 1 minute.  Stir in sauce and rosemary; bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes to blend flavors.  Stir in parsley.  Spoon over pasta.

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Detox: Day 3

June 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Today we are ships passing in the night.  Work and class are overlapping for us and I have NO time to prepare anything.  Good thing for leftovers!  Sloppy joes are great, if not better reheated.  I also have tons of lettuce (and fixin’s) in the fridge for us to make salads whenever we want.  Since prepared dressings  have lots of sugar, salt, and the wrong type of oil, I made this one up with olive oil.  Oops, I am doing pretty bad with the ‘we’re not supposed to have that’ foods.  We are not supposed to have olive oil but I have not been able to make a special trip out to look for rapeseed or other cold pressed oils.  Oh, no!  I have lost the link to the recipe I used, but it is something like this, but regular vinegar instead of wine vinegar.  And more mint.

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Detox: Day 2

June 14, 2011 at 1:57 am (Detox Diet, Healthcare) (, , , , , )

I really only knew of one vegan person in the past.  He was a co-worker who basically only ate potato chips and fries.  THEN when we were in Scotland we met Brett.  Actually, I knew him before Scotland from an American Expats in the UK forum.  The first time I did this diet he gave me this recipe and I’ve used it ever since.  Even Josh likes it!  🙂  This is what we had for lunch.

Brett’s Vegan Sloppy Joes

Sautee 1 large onion and 2 medium green peppers in 3 TB oil

Add:  1 1/2 c boiling water

2 1/2 c tomato sauce

1-2 TB chili powder

good pinch pepper

1 tsp salt

3 TB soy sauce

4 TB American mustard

2-3 TB sugar (or honey, maple syrup, etc)

1 1/2 c dry TVP

I served it on some super-duper whole grain bread from Costco (this stuff was HEAVY), even though we’re not supposed to have wheat.  But it was WHOLE GRAIN!

My friend Lara has made this fruity couscous salad a couple of times at gatherings.  When I asked her for the recipe she told me she had one, but doesn’t really follow it.  I made the mistake of ‘sort of’ following the recipe.  It’s not like me.  I tend to go on my instincts.  The recipe was much more savory than I remember Lara’s dish being, so I knew I should not have made the quinoa (which I always substitute for couscous) with broth, but I did.  Which made it taste salty (though the broth was salt-free).  I ended up making extra quinoa just to blend in and reduce the salty flavor.  Lara told me she puts in some orange juice and cinnamon and whatever fruit is around.  I adapted it still more to add coconut milk yoghurt, dehydrated lime and orange peel, lemon juice, and agave.  I added whatever fruit I had in the house, which is a lot because, did I tell you?  I’m on this detox diet right now.  Fruit I added: mandarin orange, blackberry, raspberry, frozen mango, frozen peaches, dried coconut.

THIS is what I was looking forward to all day!  Years ago when Josh and I worked downtown I had my first portobello sandwich and was in love!  I tried to replicate it at home without great success.  It was messy!  But even before we started this diet, Josh had told me that he would like to grill portobellos rather than beef burgers, so I just had to fit this into our repertoire.  And we were not disappointed!  I used this recipe, minus the mayo and cheese (I even grilled red pepper!), but I used instructions from Cook’s Illustrated for the grilling.  Basically, seal the mushrooms in foil.  Grill for about 10-15 minutes, then take them out of the foil and grill for a couple of minutes until you have grill marks.  I will definitely do this again and again!  I served this on the same bread from lunch.

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Detox: Day 1

June 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm (Detox Diet, Healthcare) (, , , , )

Some of you know I have done a detox diet a couple of times. The first time was in Scotland. For some reason it seemed so much easier to live a healthier lifestyle there. I find it much harder here to make healthy choices on this side of the pond. Or maybe it is just a Midwest thing.

All other times I have done this diet Josh has given me a hard time of it. He refused to join me or even support me! He took great fun of waving ice cream and cookies in front of me (I have such a sweet tooth!). Lately he has been talking about eating healthy and getting in better shape. Partly because of the backpacking trip he has planned in a couple of weeks. So I took this opportunity to ask if he would join me this time in my detox, and he conceded!

Here is a very, very brief description of the diet.  They left out the ‘no meat’ part.  The first time is meant to be 28 days, then 14 days every year after that.  It is not mean to be a lifestyle diet, but it does bring about some lifestyle changes.  At least for a while.  🙂  I have been menu planning for it for a couple of weeks.  It is not easy to just come home and whip something up off the top of your head, unless you are already used to a vegan lifestyle.  In the past I was also more purposeful about using household products that are chemical-free, but lately we have been less on the ‘environmentally friendly’ side of things and more on the ‘whatever I can get cheapest’ side, and we have no extra money to change that up right now.  But I do buy Ecos detergent for our clothes, which is what you keep close to your body all the time so I feel this is one of the most important things for us.




For a variety of reasons, we officially started the diet for dinner last night.  We these yummy Ancho Lentil Tacos.   I usually make cilantro lime rice (brown basmati) and black beans as a filler, and it went great with this meal!  I also made sour cream from some homemade soy yoghurt I had in the fridge (strain it through a coffee filter for a while to thicken it up) and chopped up some tomato and lettuce.  I served the filling on corn tortillas, but they fell apart and Josh ended up using the filling as a dip with blue corn chips (technically shouldn’t have the chips because of the salt, but if I don’t allow some things I will lose my husband in this diet!).  I made my special guacamole to top it all off!

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When You Think You’ve Seen It All

June 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm (Employment, Social Services) (, , )

We had some pretty strange conditions that we worked in.  I remember going with Josh to a site before I even started working with the agency.  I arranged to do my PCM (Practical Christian Ministry, required every semester at Moody) at one of their sites on the west side.  I don’t remember how we arranged this, but I visited once at a site on the southside, Englewood, the roughest place in the city.

It was a store front church.  Services were provided by our agency in the basement while the church was passing out bags of groceries upstairs.  I don’t remember much of that visit except the damp, dank, dark.  It was a basement that felt very much like a basement.  I could hear scufflings around in the corners.  There were stains on the underside of the floor above us.  Later when I was employed by the agency, I came to know the place well.  But we were moved upstairs in the ‘sanctuary’ with everyone else.  In a room next to us was where they kept the food before it was sorted and distributed.  I laugh now (and cringe and feel a little sick) as I remember one scene as clear as day like it was yesterday.  We had just set up shop at the tables they provided us in front of the stage, waiting for clients to sign up to talk to us.  My coworker next to me slammed her hand down, lowered her head to the table facing me, and said urgently, yet quietly, “I just saw a RAT shuffle across that floor!  It was THIS big!  It was just moseying along!”  And this was not a skiddish woman.

Summers at that site were brutal.  No air.  No circulation.  Sometimes the stench was more than one could bare.  That was when the cockroaches were worst.  We already knew better than to leave our bags on the floor.  One of our collegues had already taken a roach home with him.  This was a year-round problem.  Casually brushing roaches off paperwork without squealing was an art.  But in the summer?  That was when we had the FLYING roaches.  They were smaller, but they were pesky!  And the regular roaches were so bad they would just start dropping from the ceiling.  Once during the summer while we were used to roaches dropping from the ceiling, my collegue thought they were being particularly annoying dropping from one certain spot in the ceiling, only to look up and find that there was a dark stain from which liquid was dropping.

There was another site on the southside at a parachurch organization where we saw clients while lunch was being served.  After all the years we had been going, the workers never quite got a grasp on what we were there to do.  As we came in they announced (EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!) “Doctas is heya!”  This caused us incredible frustration because medical services was indeed something that was greatly needed on the southside, so everyone would quickly sign up thinking they were going to be seen by a nurse.

This site also seemed to be forever under construction.  It was just myself and my female collegue at this site.  The workers would usually forget that we were coming (yep, it’s Tuesday.  yep, we come every week.) and have to empty out a room that was completely filled with clothing and other donation.  This room was right next to the men’s restroom.  This room, as well as the men’s restroom also…did not have a ceiling.  And there were LOTS of homeless men eating lunch right down the hall.  Needless to say, it was a challenge creating a professional atmosphere for our clients.  Another scene I remember like it was yesterday:  my collegue on the cell phone trying to arrange services for her client, probably trying to find a bed in a shelter or treatment center.  She looked bored with her head in her hand, elbow resting on the table.  Probably having a hard time getting the right person on the line.  LOUD grunting begins in the room next to us.  My collegue instantly looks up at me, her eyes bulging, and she covers the mouthpiece on her phone.  We stare at eachother wide-eyed, not sure if we should laugh or be furious.  That must have been our first time there because it became old hat after that.

Our favorite site was at a fransiscan church in a gentrifying part of the west side.  We didn’t have to deal with these issues, we were supported by the church members, and we were able to see the most progress in our clients here.

Updated to say: As Josh and I were talking, I remember that it was not ROACHES that were dropping from the ceiling.  FHEW!  Thank goodness!  It was maggots.

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