marrakesh carrots

So! We are DONE! We made it through all ten days of the liver cleanse, *plus* a fast on the eleventh, finishing with cheddar chive waffles made into BLCATs (turkey bacon, of course). That is the best use for a savory waffle. You might want to try it.

Those ten days of liver cleanse did not pass quickly for me. They did not fly by. I did not feel extremely hungry throughout, as I might have expected. The protein shakes they had us taking really staved that off. But being kind of achy and having a slight headache for pretty much an entire week is not a recipe for time passing quickly.

I will say this: at the end of the fast on the eleventh day (something we specifically planned, so that we were not fasting during the cleanse, as that would be a mistake), when we had waffle sandwiches with turkey bacon (not part of the cleanse) and cheese (reintroduced cheese on Day 10) and also downed a full glass of wine (definitely not part of the cleanse), I felt fine. I ate *two* sandwiches (fasts make you hungry!) and had wine for the first time and I did not go to bed with that kind of alarmingly full feeling that I generally get after a fast (because your eyes are SO much bigger than your stomach at that point). I really feel like my digestive system is working better, more efficiently. I’m really hoping it keeps up the good work!

**This is the part where I tell you to ignore all of my ranting and moaning about the liver cleanse and do it yourself if you need/want to. It wasn’t that bad! I mean, not in hindsight. 😀 And if you want my menus, you are welcome to them! Happy to share! Did so much work on them!

I asked the doctor today what I could be doing to keep this newly-cleaned liver in tip-top shape, since obviously I don’t want to trash it after putting so much effort into cleaning it up. She said we’d talk on Thursday………. hum.

Anyway, in the meantime, I will leave you with the Marrakesh Carrot Salad [from Joy the Baker] I made to bring to our congregational potluck on Saturday. It has feta in it, which is how Joshua and I reintroduced dairy that day (followed by several slices of white cheddar as a snack at home – yum!). It’s one of my go-to recipes for a time when I need a dish that doesn’t need to be kept hot or cold. Because of the preferences of my family (i.e., my mom doesn’t like cumin), I leave out the cumin. 😀 Sometimes I replace it with coriander, but I didn’t this time, and I think I liked it better. So there’s that. Enjoy!

roasted cabbage with mustard sauce

Guess what! Well, two things. Last night’s dinner was actually delicious and I would make it again off the cleanse, AND tomorrow is kind of the last day of the whole cleanse and we are *so excited*!!

So last night’s dinner! It was cabbage. I mean, literally – mostly cabbage. I pulled from my memory and a few websites for inspiration, but this is mostly made up. Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Cabbage with Mustard Sauce

1 head green cabbage
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 small shallots, diced very small
6 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
3 small-medium Fuji apples, thickly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut the cabbage into 8 equal wedges (I cooked only 6 of my wedges, because that’s how big my pan was). Lay each wedge in the center of a square of aluminum foil (one square per wedge), drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Wrap the foil and crimp the ends around the cabbage wedges so they are sealed. Lay the foil packets on a metal baking sheet and bake for 55 minutes, or until you can push gently on the top of a packet and feel that the cabbage is meltingly tender inside.

While the cabbage is baking, put the shallots and 4 tablespoons of the mustard in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer uncovered until the water is evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in remaining mustard and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the cabbage comes out of the oven, combine the apples and onion slices in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and thyme, mixing thoroughly – break up the onion slices, make sure everything is well-coated. Throw the mixture onto a baking sheet in an even layer and put it into the oven – same temperature as the cabbage was – for about 15 minutes, maybe a few more, depending on your oven. The red onion should be soft, sticky, and maybe a little charred, the apples should have golden brown spots on them.

Serve the cabbage wedges with a dollop of mustard sauce and a spoonful of apples and onions on the side. If you’re not cleansing, maybe a link of chicken sausage? And a beer? 😉

there will be light

We are winding down day six of this cleanse. It has been a tough row to hoe. I really didn’t think I would say that! I mean, I’m a foodie, but…it’s just food. And it’s only 10 days. Really, how bad could this be?

Well, pretty bad.

On Saturday, Joshua and I were staring at each other, just reeling off all the things we were craving. Burgers, cheese, ice cream, pasta, rice, coffee, wine, cocktails…the list was kind of endless. And that was only day three!

No meal felt satisfying.

We were full, we didn’t need to eat more. We just weren’t satisfied.

And then on Sunday, we were kind of dragging all day. We helped a family move in the morning, which  took two hours, and I felt so worn out at the end of it. I didn’t even really do any heavy lifting, but for the rest of the day, I felt like I just needed to sit down. Standing up was work. All my bones felt tired. And achy.

Monday was day five, the start of the hardest days of the cleanse (with regard to food). More restrictions, more limitations. Lots of apples and beans and spinach, not a lot of anything else. Oh, except Metagenics protein powder. <gag> The berry one is not bad! But when you have two scoops four times a day………… And on top of that, more aching. Joshua said he felt like he had the flu, and I was like, “That’s good! That means it’s working!”, because that’s what they tell us. And I do believe that. We couldn’t feel like this and it not be doing anything. Right? Right???? Right.

My mom suggested we take an epsom salt bath to help draw out the impurities, and I abhor baths. I really hate them. It’s totally a mental thing, but I have a real aversion to the feel of a bath. Guess what I was doing on Monday night?

So yeah. The cleanse has pushed us to our limits in some ways. We had big plans of doing half-workouts for the week of the cleanse, but we quickly threw that out, once we realized what this was doing to us.

Today, we feel better. Maybe it’s the bath, maybe it’s that the toxins are almost out of our systems, who knows. More importantly, and more apropos to the subject matter of this blog, we are having one of my favorite recipes tonight, with only a few minor tweaks. Spiced Indian Lentils. Instead of serving them in tacos, as I usually do on Taco Tuesday, I’m doing a roasted cauliflower base. Most of the meals we’ve eaten during this cleanse have been very simple and usually just one dish.

So that’s where we are! Don’t think that the cleanse is horrible – it’s not, it’s just harder than I thought it would be. But we will survive! And in the meantime…

…dreaming of waffles.

spicy black beans

We made it through day one of our cleanse! Not that it’s a huge accomplishment, because day one is so easy. Today, day two, is pretty much the same, so I’m not too worried. Things get a little crazier tomorrow, when we cut out nuts, seeds, grains, starches, dairy alternatives, and sweeteners (stevia and monk fruit extract, which we aren’t using anyway).

Last night’s dinner was a huge success. I would make it again on a non-cleanse day! It was really just beans and rice, which sounds boring, but the beans were really tasty (i.e., Joshua loved them). I served mine over white rice, because it always feels like a special treat to have white rice if you grew up with only brown. But whatever. Here is the recipe for the beans (adapted from the Metagenics instructional booklet):

Spicy Black Beans & Tomatoes

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chopped organic stewed tomatoes or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used fresh from my garden)
1-2 fresh jalapeños, deseeded and de-ribbed, diced
2 cans black beans, undrained
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder

Note: I used a heaping teaspoon of my new Chipotle seasoning from Penzey’s Spices, so it added this awesome smokiness to the dish. I didn’t use the cumin, cayenne, or chili powder – just the Chipotle instead. I would definitely do that again. My jalapeños provided enough heat.

Saute chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add tomatoes and jalapeños. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for 6-8 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in beans and spice(s). Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, and cover until ready to serve.

P.S. – these would be great in a taco or burrito!

the joy of cleansing

Hello! It’s me!

I’m back.

I was recently reminded that this blog of mine existed when my brother-in-law was laughing about the title (so literal, he said!). And then I’ve been keeping up with my sister’s new blog she launched a few weeks ago, and I thought, wait a second! Don’t I like to blog? And I thought, yes. I do.

So here I am! Another reason I am jumping back on the blogging bandwagon now is because my husband and I are actually starting a liver cleanse today.

Oh joy.

I know, you’re so excited about all the amazing and tasty cleanse recipes I’m going to post.

I know how you feel.

No, it won’t be exciting. But I thought I would post throughout the cleanse (it’s only 10 days), not every day, but enough to tell how it’s going. And then next year, maybe we’ll cleanse again and I will know exactly what I did and how it went and we can just replicate the process. #soeasy And then maybe you would also like to cleanse! And you would have my plan at your disposal. 😀

So, for starters, we are using the Metagenics brand UltraClear protein powder and method for our liver cleanse. It comes with a little booklet of instructions and lists of food you can eat and a handful of recipes in the back. If you like to cook healthy food, the cleanse doesn’t sound too hard. I do, and I also like to plan things out very carefully, so I spent what turned into a couple of hours planning out the breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks we would be eating for these 10 days. It took me a while, probably because it was nighttime and also because I didn’t have any caffeine in my system, and then also because I wasn’t hungry. My mom says to always plan your menu when you’re a little bit hungry. She is so right.

Anyway. We are starting today! Yay! This first day is one of the easiest. We are having oatmeal for breakfast (homemade, unsweetened), with berries and bananas. Joshua is having brown rice pasta and a homemade tomato sauce with mushrooms for lunch. And then we are having a spicy black bean recipe over rice for dinner. We are allowed to eat some starches and grains at this point, so it’s relatively easy to fill up and enjoy the meal. We’re having sugar snaps and clementines for snacks; life is still very good.

The liver cleanse booklet says that being hungry the first few days is normal, but that it will subside. Also, they say if we feel muscle aches, that’s normal, and it means the cleanse is working. (!) They also say to lay off strenuous or prolonged exercise while cleansing, as your body needs the calories you’re consuming, and it can’t really spare any for rebuilding muscle and such. So we’re cutting our workout routine in half for the days of the cleanse. (It’s actually kind of exciting.)

If the spicy black beans are tasty, I will post the recipe. If they are not, I will save you from them.

In the meantime, cheers! And here are a few of my favorite recipes I’ve made the in recent past – enjoy:

  1. Spicy Vegan Pad Thai
  2. Baked Corn & Tomato Risotto
  3. Grilled Chicken, Burst Tomato, and Artichoke Skewers w/ Goat Cheese Dip
  4. Nigel Slater’s Banana Bread
  5. Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka