Showing posts with label Detox Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Detox Challenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Whole Living 28-Day Challenge in Review

Yay! It's finally over!  ...which means I went to get all you can eat wings tonight on a date to a fish place and ate "healthy" (as healthy as eating out goes).

That's right, this whole 28-day "detox" thing was pretty brutal in the beginning.  I would HOPE that it would be hard for anyone, because just eating just fruits, veggies, and nuts is, well, NUTS!

The Whole Living 28-Day Challenge incorporates whole grains and meat towards the end, and by then I really started to like the way that I felt.  Abstaining from eating dairy and gluten made me more energetic, but I think the BIGGEST change in how I feel comes from not having caffeine to boost my mornings.  I don't get that sleepy sluggish feeling before lunchtime, and I certainly get better sleep (even though I hardly EVER drank coffee after lunch).  I don't notice much anymore the fact that Mr P twitches as he falls asleep as I lay wide awake (ha! which means I'm falling asleep before him sometimes!) ...doesn't mean I will completely cut out coffee, I will still revert back to my weekend treat of 44 North Coffee, but I will just not drink office coffee during the week (that stuff is nasty anyways!!)

I've sustained a moderate exercise routine throughout the 4 weeks, making it to the gym on average 4 days per week.  I think that's a good goal to stick to because there are bound to be things that come up during the week or the weekend that prohibit me from going (and sometimes you just need a break!)

In addition to feeling much better, I've lost 7 pounds!  Portion control has always been my problem, so sticking to foods that are lower in calories (fruits and veggies) and eating leaner proteins, my gym time is finally starting to pay off!  I think I could have done better if I would have stuck to the challenge 100%, but after having visitors, going to a wedding, and hosting a dinner party, it was just too much and I would have isolated myself from my social surroundings. So, 7 pounds on a Mon-Fri schedule for 4 weeks ain't too shabby :D

Now, let's see if I can just stick to these new eating habits to get bikini ready by summer time since Mr P and I decided we NEED to take advantage of going to the beach this summer since we live SO close!

What are your best healthy eating habits? Do you follow them religiously? Or are you one of those people who KNOWS how to eat well, but fail to do so on a regular basis?

Tonight we celebrated the end of the detox and the beginning of new eating habits by having dinner at le pescadeux in SoHo... fish and greens it is!  It's a good thing they have (my fave) brussells sprouts for a side dish!! 

I'm pretty much date-ready all day except for putting on some date night shoes ;)

Wish me luck in continuing the new healthy eating habits, and I wish YOU the best in sustaining (or starting) yours :D


Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Obsession: The Sweet Potato

i know i know, you're probably thinking "sweet potatoes? really? what's so new about sweet potatoes?" 

nothing.   it's just that i never liked them before, always had my 5-year-old tastebuds telling me they were gross, so i never ate them.  i tried them with my (nearly) 25-year-old tastebuds, and loved them! end of story.

(well kind of)

mr p and i tried making a sweet potato soup a few months back and it was AWFUL! i mean, it just didn't suit our tastebuds.  i managed to eat my first portion, but mr p couldn't even make it halfway through without saying he can't eat the rest, and ate something else for dinner. (see!! even WE make bad recipes sometimes!)  so, i still had it in my mind it was totally because of the sweet potatoes.

last weekend when we went to philly and ate at sabrina's, my meal came with sweet potato fries (yay! good for detox plan) and i actually liked them.. scratch that... i LOVED them!!  who woulda thought?

so last night when i decided to make (our own version of) bubble and squeak, i split it between two pans, and made mr p's with regular russet potatoes, and mine with sweet potatoes.  sooo good!  it was the first time i had made it in a while, and we definitely used too much butter and oil, but i think i will stick to having sweet potatoes in mine... and i think i will be eating them MUCH more often!

(well... why did you like them now but not a few months ago or when you were little??)

mr p explained it to me like this:
savory is for dinner, sweet is for dessert.  don't mix the two.

he's totally right!  i had only had them prepared sickeningly sweet (ugh, like paula deens recipe for sweet potato bake here... check out the ratio of potatoes to sugar and butter... makes me nauseous!! )  when there's almost a 1:1 ratio between the sweet potatoes and the sugar and butter, there's something wrong!!  even the soup we tried had some maple syrup in it... sweet potatoes are sweet enough!! zero sugar needs to be added to it to be tasty!! ...or... zero sugar should be added for a dish to be a part of a meal instead of a dessert.

my point is, sweet potatoes are delicious when just baked and eaten plain.  or turned into fries just like regular potatoes. or fried into a hash sort of like bubble and squeak.  just like regular potatoes!

(ok ok, so now you like them. what's the big deal? why do you WANT to substitute them for regular potatoes??)

i always heard they were good for you, but i didn't know why.  so last night during dinner i looked it up here, but here's a quick breakdown.  just 1 cup has:

- 7 grams of fiber (need 25-ish a day)
- 4 grams of protein
- 769% daily vitamin A
- 65% daily vitamin C
- 8% daily calcium
- 8% daily iron


(at least we had some roasted broccoli to go with this hearty meal to feel like we were still getting some greens!!)

once we perfect the art of the right about of butter and oil for bubble and squeak, we will share the recipe.  until then, my friends, i urge you to try using sweet potatoes in a dish that normally calls for regular potatoes (nothing different), and let me know what you think!!!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a Wedding Weekend

whaaat?  who has a wedding in JANUARY!!??  well, i suppose if your dream honeymoon is to spend a week in vail snowboarding (THEN another weekend in sunny beach weather), there's no better time then january to get married!  my work buddy caroline became a Mrs. this weekend to her hubs jason (congrats, again, you lovebirds!)

the wedding was in NJ outside of philly, so we decided to stay in philly with our friend zack instead of driving the 1.5 hours or so to get there.  after a late night in the office for mr p, we hit the road, got to philly later than we expected, so we had the party come to us!

more friends made their way to zack's for a night of drinking games and an impromptu ke$ha dance party.  coors light, ke$ha, and trashy dancing... sounds like we were having one of the parties in her trashy songs! haha  (no... we're definitely classier... i DON'T throw glitter to make it rain and i DON'T brush my teeth with a bottle of jack)

the wedding on saturday was a blast! our whole table was filled with girls from my company and their dates, so it was a fun time to dress up, put on some heels, grab a drink, and let loose with the girls instead of being all "professional" at work.

totally kicking myself in the butt for not bringing a camera to the gorgeous wedding, but i at least had the notion to take pictures of a few items from the RIDICULOUS dessert bar!  this wedding had by far the best food of any wedding i've been to.  we were halfway convinced that there was no real dinner after stuffing our faces with the amazing hors d'oeuvres. luckily caroline's mother came up to us and told us to save room, because a full dinner and desserts were still to come!

for some reason i feel guilty for loving cake pops.

needless to say i did NOT stick to the detox plan this weekend.  i've decided that if staying on the plan prohibits me from having a good social life, i won't do it.  and i will make it up during the week (hopefully). 

when we returned to zack's after the wedding, we were surprised to hear we were expecting another guest!  his brother had a layover in philly to go home to ireland, missed his flight due to bad weather, delays, etc.  since we had another person tagging along, we decided to get a good brunch before hitting the road back to jersey city.

zack ALWAYS talks about a place called sabrina's, so this was finally a perfect time to go!  i got a chamomile tea and fish tacos!! soooo good!  surprisingly the only detox UN-friendly part of my meal was the sour cream and cheese on the tacos, otherwise i was good to go!  mr p ordered a burger on a brioche bun (he swears it's the best kind of bread for burgers) with bacon and some kind of sweet chutney on top.  the place was super trendy on the inside, and pretty packed full of hipsters, but the waitress was really fun, the food was amazing, and we all had a great time!

we got home in time to unpack, clean the apartment, and make one of our FAVORITE go-to meals, pasta with avocado pesto (see recipe from an earlier post here)!! regular linguine for mr p, gluten-free pasta for me... all detox friendly except for the cheese (...pesto without cheese just ISN'T pesto)

again, great weekend with great friends and great food.  sometimes, it just doesn't get any better than that!!

cheers to a positive start to a great week ahead :D

Friday, January 20, 2012

the difference: volume 1

it's not uncommon for our friends or family to tell Mr P and I how much we are alike, and (like many other couples who have been together for a while) we often find ourselves finishing each other's sentences (except those times when Mr P is TRYING to tell me something, and i just KNOW what his answer is going to be, so i finish his sentence, and he says "no..", then starts telling me again, and again i KNOW what his answer is going to be so i finish his sentence... "no, babe"... and sometimes it makes him so frustrated he just stops trying to tell me what he was going to say... am i babbling or do any of you know what i'm talking about???)

anyways, sometimes it just hits us how much we are NOT alike, and i like to just point out our differences.  this is why i am going to start a series called "the difference".  it might be differences in the way we eat our food, our clothing style, our design sense, things we enjoy in our free time... just whenever i get one of those moments when i sit back and say "wow... we are just SO different"

last night was one of those nights.  i may or may not have told you that when Mr P first moved here he UNINTENTIONALLY lost 20 pounds (can you tell i'm still bitter about it??). after we started going to the gym, my intentions were to LOSE some LB's and inches, and Mr P was trying to GAIN LB's and inches (in all of the right places of course... so he can have that sexy triangle upper body with big sexy arms... or should i say sexiER triangle upper body and biggER sexiER arms ;)  he's blushing right now as he reads this, i'm sure)

last night was one of those we're-leaving-for-the-weekend-have-nothing-to-eat-but-don't-wanna-go-to-the-grocery kind of nights, so we scrounged the pantry.  our usual go-to meal is pasta with basically any sauce we can whip up from leftovers in the fridge.  but... even our 4 packages of rice noodles and 1 package of egg noddles had wheat flour in them.  we opted for making refried beans with brown rice, and i chopped up every bit of green veggies i had and tossed them in a salad with oil and balsamic vinegar.  not the most prestigious or fancy meal ever, but it surely beat eating out or buying more things from the grocery!! 

for the refried beans we mixed refried black beans with canned whole black beans, leftover salsa, and Mr P's random mix of spices.  for the salad, we happened to have romaine lettuce, green onions, dill, basil, celery, and cilantro just "hanging out" in the fridge....


Mr P's meal:

My meal:

(the photos totally don't show my point... Mr P had AT LEAST double rice and double beans AND had 2 fried eggs on top... hmph... boys ...)

on a brighter note: looking forward to yet another great weekend on the road!  staying in philly again, but for a wedding this time! congrats to the (almost) newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Peddle :D


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Week 3 Detox Update: Adding in Gluten-Free Whole Grains

Starting Tuesday night, I began introducing carbs back into my system. NOT eating carbs wasn't so bad after all! But, I definitely couldn't go on forever eating like that.

Tuesday night we made red thai curry a different way than we have in the past (see original post here) This time we added cabbage, onions, bamboo shoots, water chesnuts (ahhh my fave!), lentils, baby corn, and shrimp, served over brown rice.  I suppose the first thing I learned after eating the rice, is that I REALLY need to watch how much I put on my plate!  After going without carbs for 2 weeks, it seems that my body learned to be full after much less food, and adding rice to the mix made me full even quicker!  I feel sort of silly putting such a miniscule amount on my plate when we ate leftovers last night, but I didn't feel nearly as stuffed as the first night.

(not exactly the prettiest meal, but it was pretty tasty!  hit lots of tastebuds with sweet, savory, and spicy, and incorporated lots of texture, with the baby corn, water chesnuts, lentils, and cabbage)

I haven't tried any other gluten-free grains yet (since we made such a huge amount of curry and rice that we're still eating it), but I hope to incorporate quinoa and farro in the coming week.  We also bought tapioca flour after eating AMAZING cassava rolls in Chicago, and we want to try out hands at making something with that awesomely sticky, gummy, chewy dough.

Conclusions from the Detox:

1. My portions used to be WAY oversized (probably why I always felt so grossly full after eating dinner)

2. I don't really need caffeine, and coffee will be a treat on the weekends instead of a necessity to start my morning.  I still enjoy having a hot drink in the morning (and at night too sometimes), so I have replaced my weekly coffee with caffeine-free teas such as mint and chamomile.

3. I enjoy eating a animal-protein free (vegan) diet, though when Mr P cooks up some fresh bacon (the GOOD kind from the butcher in Ohio) in the morning for his bacon egg and cheese sammich, it really makes me lose my appetite for the cantalope and apple breakfast I have packed (yep, picture that scene, it happened this morning).

4. Eat what I need, nothing more, nothing less.  If I am going to be working out after work, I need to eat some carbs and protein or I won't make it to mile 2, but if I'm just going to be sitting in my cube at work all day and then be a couch potato all night (everyone needs those days once in a while, right?), then maybe I should cut back on them.

5. The detox is a limited time for a reason.  Living in the NYC area, it's HARD to be social with a diet that I can't eat meat, dairy, or drink alcohol.  Even most garden salads have cheese on them, and it's definitely no fun when everyone else around you is having a beer or a glass of wine and you are not.  Plus, like I told Mr P a few nights ago when I ate roasted broccoli for dinner and he ate something else, doing this whole thing takes all the FUN out of cooking together at night.

All in all though, I'm looking forward to eating normal again, but eating the "detox don'ts" in moderation. Hoepfully I will give at least some conscious consideration before stuffing the Friday work bagel into my mouth, or debating whether or not I can get through Target without picking up a sweet treat!

Wish me luck on the 2 weeks left!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

winter stroll through the city

it was a cold and blistery day on those crowded streets of new york.  as the snow began to fall....

whoa wait a second... that's not the picture i wanted to paint!  EVERYDAY of an east coast winter is cold and blistery!!  what does any local do on a day like this? bundle up and get outside!!!  so that's just what we did, and we had a great time!

first stop: brunch!  after getting a late start into the city, we decided to find a place along our way to meeting up with a friend at grand central.  usually this turns into a disaster and we end up settling for pret-a-manger or some other chain (or standard pizza by the slice).  mr P walks past this gem on his way to work everyday, so we decided to stop in! it's called piccolo cafe.

my detox plan gave me pretty limited options, so i settled for a mesclun greens salad with apples, walnuts, and goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette (goat cheese is the bad one, no dairy for me, but i ate it anyways... oops!)  i also got a chamomile tea, and i think i may have fallen in love.  i think i could settle for just smelling it and not actually drinking it.  PLUS it's natually caffeine free!!  (this wasn't the last chamomile tea of the day, just an FYI)

nicole got a latte and mr P ordered a sammich (not sure what was on it, but i surely was jealous watching him eat that sammich with meat and toasted bread...)

and wwwweeeeee're off to see the wizaarrdd!  ...or, to grand central.  but it really was a nice day, despite the bitter cold and skin-stinging wind.

i totally forgot there was THE new apple store at grand central until we walked into the main corridor and saw the big white apple hovering over the east balcony.  i remember when i heard that apple was introducing their largest store in the main room at grand central station, i thought "how tacky, grand central is such a beautiful place with an amazing history.  everything looks original and historic, why taint it with something that's a symbol of today and the future?"

well, i'm here to tell you that it's pretty much as elegant as it can get.  there's no storefront, there are simply tables and stations set up in the east balcony, with pretty white lit-up apple signs here and there (and a bunch of blue shirts, of course).

after embarassing everyone by yelling out "joe!" at the top of my lungs inside the main corridor (come on, it's totally quicker than trying to call him in a place where you get no reception, then try to tell him where we are, when we could see him anyways), we found joe, and continued our stroll through the city.

we passed by rockefeller center and watched the ice skaters, passed by bryant park and watched more ice skaters, and finally decided it was time to eat again, and journeyed down to the lower east side hoping to snag a seat at The Meatball Shop. cheap delicious meatballs served with just sauce, with pasta, or "smashed" into a burger.  sounds delicious, right? well, apparently enough people for a 1-2 HOUR wait at 2pm thought so too.

onto plan B we said!  we took our chances strolling through the lower east side and stumbled upon schiller's liquor bar (definitely more of a restaurant than a bar... at least at 2pm on a saturday).  i had wanted to eat there because i saw it on the movie Morning Glory, but really knew nothing about it.  the inside was decorated with old liquor bottles, and the windows, antique metal seats, and old laquered white tiles sort of made me feel like i was in a locker room from my ancient middle school.  Still it was comforting and cozy and fun to look at everything.  

i ordered "seared salmon" with cauliflower, and out came my very unexpected meal. WELL DONE salmon over chopped cauliflower (maybe you could call it cauliflower stuffing?) in a brown (probably beef) sauce.  though the meal was delicious, it was hardly what i expected when the menu said "seared salmon," and i didn't think i would go against my detox plan by eating beef (in the sauce) and bread (i think, in the stuffing). eating out is so hard!

after meandering our way back to the PATH station, we headed home, picked up some beer and wine along the way, and had a blissful night in instead of spending $$$$$ at the bar. (wait... did we? i think we DID go to the bar.. too much wine i guess :P)

it's weekends like this that i'm happy to have moved to the east coast.  friends in far away places aren't SO far away at just few hours (some just a few minutes) away, and sometimes we just get lucky and they all come to US!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

1 (no) fish, 2 fish: week two means fish!

yep! i can add fish and beans to my diet this week!  last night Mr P cooked up a delicious lemony veggie soup (with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth), pan-fried tilapia, and put the fish on top with some green onions and dill (yeah, dill! one herb we need to use more of considering it's only $0.50 a bunch at the bodega around the corner!!).  simple as that!  he chopped up veggies we had at the house, let them simmer with the veggie broth, added lemon juice and spices, and let it do its magic.

(orange juice with a **splash** of cranberry juice in the back)
(and don't worry... that baguette-that-contains-gluten is for Mr P... )

the green onions, dill, and lemoniness of the soup totally made the dish.

my cooking this night did not go quite so well...  i tried to roast chickpeas in the oven.  they were tossed in veggie oil with spices, spread out on  a lined cookie sheet, and baked on 425 for 20 minutes.  they were browning before they were crunchy, and i TOTALLY forgot the salt!!! so, they turned out sort of crunchy on the outside, mushy on the inside, and lacked flavor.

does anyone have any tips on roasting chickpeas??  i really WANT to like them, but the ones i made were just blah.

(even though they look pretty)

my tip for YOU is to add pan-fried fish to your next veggie soup!  the tilapia was ok, but i think we will try a heartier white fish the next time...

on a brighter note, we finally have heat in our apartment!! (wait, it's JANUARY....) well, we've had a pretty mild winter, our stove and oven keep us warm for the few hours we are home at night, and we don't go to bed without the heated blanket turned on.  silly us just thought our heat was broken, and it wasn't SO bad in the apartment, so we didn't look into trying to see how to fix it... then Mr P found that the pump was unplugged (hit forehead with heel of hand several times).  now we have heat for our guests this weekend :P

having an awesome weekend with some of the best visitors :D


{simple} smoothie

do you have a blender??  PERFECT!!

do you like fruit??   PERFECT!!

have you ever bought frozen fruit??  ...well... you should.

WHY?  ...because smoothies are so good, better when they are made with frozen fruit and some orange juice or almond milk anyways, AND AND AND they are cheaper than fresh fruit! ...usually...  in the winter for sure, but you can get some good deals on fresh fruit in the summertime, so i suggest getting frozen fruit only if you don't have time to watch for sales at the grocery store, and only out of season.  (check out the Target brand frozen blueberries... RIDICULOUSLY cheap compared to even in season blueberries!!)

anyways, smoothies are my favorite right now with the whole detox thing.  they are pretty tasty, simple, and super healthy!!  getting lots of good vitamins to start the day really makes me feel good.

here are my pointers for a good smoothie:

1. lots of liquid: make sure you have enough liquid or your stuff will get stuck and the blender won't be blending anything.  i usually use orange juice because it's naturally sweet (and cheap) and it won't make the smoothie tart, but mango nectar would be good too, or pineapple juice.

2. add a green.   like spinach!  it will make even the berry-est smoothy look like baby poop, but spinach basically has NO flavor in the smoothie, but it's packed full of vitamins, so just do it!

3. make a big batch:   fill up the blender when  you make it.  the leftovers will last, and you won't have to wake up your neighbors EVERY morning blitzing through those frozen strawberries.

4. banananananananaasss.   never ever throw away your brown bananas.  they are perfect for smoothies!  just toss them in the freezer when you think you won't eat them fresh, peel and all.  nuke them in the microwave when  you want to use them so you can get the peel off, and toss it in the blender.

5. fiber. if you can stand your smoothie being not SOOO smooth, add in some Wheat Germ or flax seeds for some extra fiber.  most of us don't get enough in the day, so why not throw some in where you probably won't taste it?  it's better than adding that super processed powder to your water to get those "pipes" flowing properly...  what's IN that stuff anyways??

this was part of my week 1 breakfast:

(would be a pretty pink if it wasn't for the spinach)
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • banananananananass
  • orange juice
  • orange
  • tangerine
  • cantelope
  • fresh ginger
  • spinach
  • flax seeds
  • unsweetened coconut flakes (not shown)
i think the ginger was a little over-bearing, so i don't think i will add it again, and the coconut flakes AND the flax seeds added a bit too much texture, so maybe i will cut back next time or just add one or the other.

today i made a smoothie with just orange juice, strawberries, and a banana, and it was much simpler, and still just as delicious!

what is your favorite smoothie combo?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week 1 Detox in Review

I feel great.  End of story.  I didn't think I would make it through the first few days... but... now it's almost like I don't know any different.

(Well, haven't you only been doing this for 8 days?  8 days can't possibly change your life). 

Well, yes.  You are correct.  But when you are eating just fruits and veggies and nuts for SEVEN DAYS, those SEVEN DAYS feels like ETERNITY!! (until you get over that hump and it feels normal).

I think I will stick to a animal-protein-free, gluten-free diet for at least breakfast and lunch and just keep it to a minimum at dinner.  I like that I don't get a food coma in the afternoons after eating leftovers for lunch, and I like that I can get my day started right away without waiting for my first coffee to kick in (though I will continue to drink coffee on the weekends, ahhh it's so good!!)

Today was supposed to be my first day adding fish and legumes (fancy shmancy name for beans), though because I was in the field for work today, and because Mr P went out with a friend for beer and wings after work, I just extended my week 1 diet one more day.  I got home early, worked out, then met a friend in Hoboken for smoothies and a nice chat :D

Fancy shmancy fish dinner coming right up... tomorrow!

I had hoped to show our delicious fish dish tonight, but instead I will give you a sneak peak into my week 1 meals:

roasted veggies (new best friend)

sauteed green beans in Mr P's special "it tastes good, but i don't remember what i put in it" sauce

wooo... best smoothies EVER!  mango juice with banana and mango.  appropriately named "bango"

Wish me luck with Week 2 of the detox!  Hopefully we can post more recipes since I will be eating more real food :P


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Detox Update & Cauliflower Steaks

Does having added-sugar-free, alcohol-free, caffeine-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and meat-free food have to taste bad?

No so.  At leat in THIS household!

As you well know, I'm jumping on the New Years Resolution bandwagon and doing a cleanse/detox/gateway to eating better/whatever you want to call it, and I "can't have" those things while during my plan.  Later in the plan I can have grains that don't contain gluten and fish.  But for this first week it's simply fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds (yikes!)  

I'm doing well so far, slipping just once when the boss took me out for lunch at a diner ( bad new bears for diets like mine!!) and once on Friday when our friends asked us to go to a new restaurant with them.  I wasn't soooo bad though, having a bit of cheese and bread on my french onion soup at lunch and added sugar in the dressing on my salad at dinner.  I figured, there's only so far I can go before this whole thing affects my whole life.  You can't say no when the boss wants to take you to lunch, and I can't say no to friends wanting to go to dinner when we hadn't seen them in a while.

I've started to get headaches in the morning from not getting my normal minimum 2 cups of coffee a day, but I think that will go away eventually. That's the only real negative so far, but it's really a positive in the long run.  I get hungry faster, but I am supposed to snack on things a few times a day, so if I'm feeling groggy I just grab a handful of nuts and I'm back to normal in no time.  I've been eating a lot of smoothies, fresh fruits, roasted veggies, and nuts.  I ate a whole cantaloupe in less than 24 hours (yikes!) but it's ok because that's part of the plan!  

Usually at night I've been roasting broccoli or other green veggies, but tonight we made a real meal out of the things I can eat!  I saw this recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce on Bon Appetit's website and knew I had to try it.  It was pretty tasty, but definitely not as satisfying as dinner should be, so in the future we will eat it with some grilled cheese toast (like Mr P did tonight) or another piece of meat, like chicken parm or something like that.

Here goes!  Hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce

(as provided by Bon Appetit, see comments at the end for our own recommendations)


1   large head of cauliflower

- 1/2 cup  pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped

- 3  sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

- 3 1/2 tablespoons  olive oil, divided, plus more

- 2 tablespoons  chopped flat-leaf parsley

- 1 teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

- 3  garlic cloves

- 2 plum tomatoes, cored, quartered


  1. Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into four 1/2" "steaks" from center of cauliflower (some florets will break loose; reserve). Finely chop enough loose florets to measure 1/2 cup. Transfer chopped florets to a small bowl and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. oil, parsley, and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, return skillet to medium-high heat and add garlic cloves and tomatoes, one cut side down. Cook until tomatoes are browned; turn tomatoes over and transfer skillet to oven with cauliflower. Roast garlic and tomatoes until tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 Tbsp. oil to a blender; purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide tomato sauce among plates. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate; spoon relish over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

cut cauliflower into 1/2" "steaks"

roast in pan on stove, then transfer to baking sheet and bake until soft 

quarter tomatoes and cook in skillet with garlic

flip and transfer to oven to roast the rest of the way

had an extra tomato, so I had my favorite snack, fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper!

roasted tomatoes and garlic ready to go into blender

roasted cauliflower ready to serve

blended roasted tomatoes and garlic with salt, pepper, and olive oil

bon appetit! (sorry no pics of making the relish)

Notes from J&H:
- Make double the sauce and relish, you'll end up having too many steaks and not enough of the sauce and relish.
- I'm not a huge fan of olives, but Mr P is, so we used half as many as we were supposed to, and we used green instead of black because that's what we had.
- Mr P ate his meal with a piece of Italian bread with brie, toasted under the broiler so the brie got all melty (and delicious... I totally wanted just a bite, but knew I shouldn't and should stick to my plan!!)
- We also didn't use parsley (because we forgot it at the grocery store! Grrr!  ...and didn't want to run back.  I definitely suggest using parsley though)

Hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did!  We tried a new restaurant in Hoboken called the Turtle Club (not really new, but new to us), found a GREAT Chinese take-out place a block away (Called Grand Sichuan, many Asian people eating inside is a sign it's good too!!), I spent 4 hours shoe-shopping in SoHo with my friend (so awesome to spend the day outside in the sunny and almost 60 weather in JANUARY!! ), we did laundry, and cleaned the apartment.  Not bad for a no plans-planned weekend :D

Cheers to a great week ahead!  Only 3 more days until I can eat legumes and fish!!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

fresh start

I think you all know that Mr P and I are crazy about food.  ALL food.  There aren't many things we don't like.

So, when I had thoughts about doing a detox, I knew I was up for a challenge! 

No meat (well, sort of)
No dairy
No wheat
No caffeine
No added sugar
No processed foods
No alcohol

I know, I'm totally nuts for even attempting this.  My sweet tooth is bigger than anyone I know, I drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day, and when I need a snack, I don't exactly go reaching for the carrots.

But, with that said, I crave too much sugar, too much caffeine, and I overeat.  Hopefully this 28-day challenge will curb some of those cravings and put me on the right track for eating healthier!  I want to be able to eat healthy and spend 30 minutes at the gym and WANT to go, feeling great about the short workout, instead of feeling guilty that I couldn't pass up the Friday bagels at work and need to run 5 miles to burn it off (then NOT go to the gym because the long workout seems so awful).

I researched a few websites that had pretty intense programs.  I'm not doing a liquid diet, and I'm not going to buy crazy expensive ingredients that I will go to 5 groceries to find and end up spending double my budgeted grocery bill. 

I'm doing the 2012 Whole Living Action Plan .  I used to get Whole Living Magazine in the mail, and LOVED it, so I'm hoping it will go well!

Towards the end of the challenge, some of the boycotted foods slowly enter back into your diet, so it's not like I have to boycott the foods forever. At the same time though, I hope I don't dive right into old eating habits either.

Wish me luck! Week 1 is just fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds (glad I made a huge pot of brown rice last night thinking I was allowed to eat it this week..)

Have you done any detox plans in the past? Are you doing one now?  Do you want to try this one with me? Let me know!

just J (no H... Mr P likes his milk, bread, and meat too much to join.... but it will curb his eating habits a bit too I think... He'll just have to go back to my advice I told him after he unintentionally lost 20 pounds, "Eat a Big Mac on your way home everyday, but don't tell me")