21 day detox recap

To be honest, the detox went shockingly fast. It was over before I knew it. It’s a really well laid out plan if you are looking to reset your taste buds and reboot your body.

I’m not going to lie. The first 36 hours sucked. It felt like I had the flu. My whole body ached and I had horrible headaches. All those nasty toxins leaving my body. After that, it was no big deal. Granted, I ate fairly healthy before the detox started. I rarely to never eat fast food, so this detox could be much more challenging for someone who hits up the drive thru on a regular basis. I did have a caffeine addiction to kick.

It’s going to sound unreal, but the most amazing thing is that the things I gave up don’t even tempt me anymore. This past weekend I was in Texas  and pretty much maintained the detox even thought it was over, because you simply don’t want those foods anymore that make you feel like crap. The only cheating I did was to have one margarita at dinner one night. Oh, and I had some store-bought(Jif) peanut butter with my apple one morning. Oh my gosh, that stuff tasted like plastic and chemicals. I couldn’t believe it. I used to love Jif. Choosy moms chose Jif, right? Wrong. Your taste buds become hyper sensitive and foods start to naturally taste much sweeter. Almonds are my sweet treat now. Yes, almonds. My new favorite snack/dessert is an apple dipped in homemade almond butter.  I don’t think I could stomach a cookie.

I think the key to this detox working is to feel the benefits of cleansing your body of these foods all at once. It was a great bonus to drop a few pounds and to have co-workers rave about how great your skin looks, but for me, it’s all about how I feel. It sounds weird and cheesy, but I can feel my body working so much more efficiently. I love the energy I have, less irritability, better mood and am getting great sleep. If someone could sell that in a magic pill, I’m sure most people would want it, but you can do it all for yourself, and you should. All you have to do is have a little will power and spend a little time in the kitchen fixing delicious recipes from their list of options. After 21 days, I really am a changed person.

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Chickpea-brown rice veggie burger

The third week of the detox brought a new set of recipes and a very welcome recipe of chickpea-brown rice veggie burger. It was a nice change from the endless soups and salads that I had been eating.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mash chickpeas and brown rice together until a thick paste forms.

Stir in onion, garlic and parsley.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg.

Form into four 1/2 inch thick patties.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes each side.

I found the patties to be a little bland. In the future I would probably double the amount of garlic in the recipe and maybe add in some more spices like some cayenne pepper or curry powder or some chopped finely chopped celery or carrots.

I saved this batch by placing them on a bed of baby kales, smearing them with chipotle hummus, salsa and avocado. Soooo good.

You can easily make this recipe vegan by using flax egg instead of an actual egg.

Roasted garlic and beet soup

About the only way I like roasted beets are with some nice, tangy goat cheese. Being that I’m broadening my horizons on this detox, I decided to go ahead and make the roasted garlic and beet soup. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is and how complimentary the lemon is in the soup. It would be a great, vibrantly colored soup to serve at a dinner party for adventuresome eaters…especially with toasted points smeared with goat cheese for dipping. Mmm mmm…

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 large leek, well rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups water

Preheat oven to 400F. Drizzle beets with oil and roast in a foil packet for about 1 hour until tender. Drizzle garlic cloves with oil and roast in a separate packet for 30 minutes.Unwrap beets, let cool, peel and quarter. Unwrap garlic, let cool, squeeze garlic from skin, set aside.

Heat two tablespoons oil over medium heat in pot. Add leek and cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. I love how pretty leeks are.

Add beets, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and 3 cups water. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Let cool slightly and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend small batches in blender until all soup is smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

I also sauteed the beet greens to eat as a side dish. Beet greens have double the potassium, folic acid, and iron as the sweet roots. Now that’s a whole lot of nutrition that shouldn’t go to waste!

Secretly healthy mac and cheese

What is the secret to this mac and cheese that makes it oh-so-creamy and much healthier for you than regular mac and cheese? Pumpkin. Yes, that’s right. This mac and cheese has pumpkin in it. You can’t even taste it, except for how creamy it makes the dish taste.

Adapted from That’s so Michelle:

Ingredients(serves 4):

  • 8 oz of pasta, I used elbow
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, slices or shredded, or any combination of cheeses
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • fresh cracked pepper

Cook pasta as directed.

As your pasta is cooking, melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the milk.

When your milk and butter comes to a boil, add your cheese slowly, stirring constantly. A think cheese sauce will form.

When all your cheese has been added and a thick sauce has formed, add in the pumpkin.

Whisk until combined.

Drain pasta and pour into cheese sauce. Mix to combine.

Add freshly cracked pepper and serve piping hot, topped with a little Parmesan cheese, optional.

No one will ever know that there is pumpkin in the mac and cheese unless you tell them. Brian was absolutely clueless until I told him what he was eating was much healthier than regular mac and cheese.

Chicken broccoli and rice bake

Brian was getting tired of having to fend for himself as I have been making detox recipes for myself for the last 2 weeks. So, I showed a little compassion and make him a big dish of chicken broccoli and rice bake so he’d have meals for a few days. He seemed to really like it.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 to 1 lb of chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, florets and pieces, steamed
  • 2 cups wild rice, cooked
  • 1 can low-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Put ingredients into oven safe baking dish. I used a 9×9.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through. Makes 4 large servings or 6 smaller servings.

This is a quick and easy all-in-one dish that is full of flavor. Grains, protein and veggies without the hassle of three separate dishes.

Raw kale salad with pomegranate and toasted walnuts

I was really excited when I saw this salad on the detox plan. I really loved the kale salad the first week and was sure this one would not disappoint. It was eh-good, but not the va-va-voom of the last kale salad. There was just too much raw kale taste with not enough flavor to the dressing. But a decent salad with indisputable health benefits, so I’ll give you the recipe and maybe someone out there will love it more than me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, torn
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 2 tablespoon red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • coarse salt and pepper

Place the kale, pomegranate, walnuts and red onion in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice and ginger.

Pour over dry ingredients. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Red lentil soup with turnip and parsley

This is more of a stew than a soup. A thick, hearty stew for those cold winter days. A detoxifying stew for those cold winter days when you find yourself moving around less and hibernating more.

Ingredients(serves 8):

  • 1 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper(optional)
  • cinnamon(optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

Increase heat to high. Add tomatoes, cook one minute.

Add dry lentils, turnip and 6 cups water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until lentils are tender 20-25 minutes.

Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.

At this point, I tasted the soup. It was good but I felt like it needed a little kick, so I added in a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper. That really took it to the next level and made it even healthier. I was also really curious to see what the turnip tasted like as it cooked in the soup. Had I not known better, I would have thought the turnip was pieces of potato. I think I am going to start substituting turnip for potato as a healthier alternative. As I heated up each bowl, I would often add in a little cinnamon which gave it great depth of flavor and more antioxidants. Both of these are optional but do give the soup even more flavor. This soup isn’t very pretty but was a very filling and comforting soup to eat. I will be making it again once the detox is over.

Avocado vanilla smoothie

I adore adding avocado to my smoothies because it makes them incredibly creamy. Using the avocado as the base for a smoothie was something I had not done. The original recipe called for one cup of unsweetened pear nectar. I didn’t have any pear nectar and wasn’t going to go buy any so I made some substitutions.

Ingredients(for 2):

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into blender.

Blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary.

I would have liked this to be a little sweeter, which it probably would have been if I had followed the original recipe. Next time I might try 2-3 pears instead of a pear and an apple. Very smooth and creamy.

Bundle up

I’m working all weekend and have a busy next week ahead of me, so I spent a little time in the kitchen this morning with big pay off. I made 4 recipes so that I have food for the next week. The majority of my cooking done for the week in only a few hours. Excellent!

I made another batch of the detox kale salad that I’m so in love with.

Then I bundled up and went out in the snow to go to the dentist and get not one but two cavities filled.

Stay warm, stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

Detox tofu scramble with kale

I am enjoying the hot breakfasts included in week 2 of the detox.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 6 kale leaves, stems removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 14 ounce package organic, firm tofu, drained and crumbled

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, onion, turmeric and ginger until tender, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in kale and 1/4 cup water. Cook until greens are bright green and tender, about 2 minutes.

Add crumbled tofu. Stir to mix in and cook until heated thru, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings. Good news, you just made a hot breakfast for yourself for the week.