So...this happened... I just finished a 3 day juice/soup cleanse the other day. JUS by Julie is run out of Brooklyn which was one of the reasons I decided to go with her company. It's always nice to keep it local! Let me first say that all of the juices and soups I had were delicious (honest)! Everything tasted fresh made. You could tell you were eating quality food with no additives.
The cleanse itself is very easy to follow. Information on what to do before, during and after is provided in their pamphlet, as well what to do if you really must have other foods during the cleanse (i.e. recommending eating raw/steamed green veggies or egg whites). My one big issue with the juices, included in my package, was that they were all pretty sweet... therefore having a fair amount of sugar in each one. When added up, it's quite a bit of sugar intake for one day. I think I was just expecting more of a mix. Meaning most juices being vegetable forward (less sugar) and a couple sweet treats along the way. Though I was uncomfortable with the amount of sugar, I still wanted to give this cleanse a try.
The hardest part for me ended up not really having to meal plan or prep food. I didn't realize how much a part of my life food prep, farmers markets and cooking were, until I had to spend just 3 days without! ha Be sure to drink lots of water during the cleanse, more than you normally would. I found the one day I was slacking on water, I would get abdominal cramping. So be sure to drink up! Overall this cleanse isn't too "tortuous" because you have the addition of satiating, tasty soups as well as the juices.
I ended up sticking with all my HIIT and weights classes for the 3 days, mainly to counter the sugar/carbs consumed, but also because I love my classes! Because of this, I ended up being pretty hungry in the evenings. A couple stalks of celery or sliced cucumber paired with lots of water curbed my hunger until morning though :-)
Once I finished the cleanse, I did notice a flatter belly as well as a little more energy in the morning, which is always nice! This was a good challenge for me in many ways, but overall I don't think I'd do another one. But if you're interested in cleansing, I would definitely check out JUS by Julie’s customizable cleanses. This way you can pick all of the juices according to your taste and preference!
This time I only used baby bella mushrooms, but I highly recommend adding in some king oyster and/or white button mushrooms as well. Sauté the minced mushrooms on a medium-high heat with a little extra virgin olive oil. Once they are less "watery", mix in the rest of the ingredients: fresh diced red tomato, sliced garlic, minced shallots, a dash of vegan worcestershire sauce and a splash of water. Cook at a simmer for 30-45 minutes. The longer it simmers the better. If it gets too dry, you can add a little (like a tbsp or so) water. And as always season with fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste.
To keep this meal a bit lighter, I served the sauce over raw zucchini noodles and a little whole wheat spaghetti. I keep the zucchini noodles raw because i prefer a little crunch. The heat from the pasta and sauce will cook them enough.
***And if you happen to have basil olive oil on hand....I recommend a little drizzle along with some extra fresh cracked pink himalayan salt.***
SEARED FLUKE & GREEN TOMATO SANDWICH
Instead of bread I prepared some baked green tomatoes. It worked out beautiful! Definitely a knife and fork kind of sandwich, but highly recommended. I simply prepped my sliced green tomatoes as I would my eggplant for eggplant parmesan. Dredge in white whole wheat flour, shake off the excess, dip in almond milk/egg mixture, coat with panko. place on parchment lined baking sheet. I baked them in a preheated 425º oven and kept an eye on them until golden brown and crispy.
First things first, set your oven on preheat to 425º.
Then get prepping all of the fall veggies you just picked up at your farmers market! I cut up some carrots, butternut squash and purple cauliflower this time. Chop all of your vegetables, drizzle with a little olive oil, toss and lay evenly on a lightly oiled baking sheet/dish. Cook until tender... somewhere between 25-45 minutes, depending on the vegetable and the size of your chop. Toss the vegetables a couple times throughout the cooking time.
I'm still seeing tomatoes at my farmers' market so I'm taking full advantage! Recently picked up a few varieties of smaller tomatoes and decided to try an oven roast. They came out delicious.
I added them to pastas, salads and just ate them plain as a snack. Thank you Smitten Kitchen for the idea!
I kept my version very simple.
Preheat your oven to 250º. Toss the tomatoes with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cooking will vary depending on your tomatoes and oven. My oven is a bit off, so my cooking time ended up around 3-4 hours.
Don't forget to save some tomatoes for a light salad with some extra virgin olive oil, basil and a little salt and pepper!
Thanks to Alton Brown we can all always count on making perfect rice!! If you have the time this is my all time favorite way to make rice now. I use brown jasmine or brown basmati rice. It comes out perfect every time. The best part, our home will smell like delicious toasting rice!
BAKED BROWN RICE (slightly tweaked from Alton's Baked Brown Rice recipe)
brown rice of your choice (I use Trader Joe's Brown Jasmine Rice)
1 tbsp butter or olive oil (I omit this ingredient)
1 tsp fresh cracked salt (I omit this ingredient)
aluminum foil (Alton calls for heavy-duty, I just use two sheets of regular)
Preheat oven to 375
Measure out ingredients based on your package stovetop cooking instructions.
Trader Joe's Brown Jasmine Rice calls for:
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Place the rice into an 8" square glass baking dish.
Bring the water (butter/olive oil and salt if using) to a boil in a small pot.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, pour it over the rice, stir to combine and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove from the oven, fluff the rice (scraping the bottom) and enjoy
Perfect for an on-the-go breakfast or an afternoon snack! Simply spinach, fresh dill, feta
and egg whites. (You can easily make this vegan by taking out the cheese and swapping flax egg for the egg.)
DILLY SPINACH BITES
***TIPS: 1. Spray your muffin tins (even the liner if using). 2. Let set for a few minutes once out of the oven.***
1 bag frozen chopped spinach
fresh dill, chopped - about 1/4 cup
fresh cracked pepper
egg whites (or 2-3 whole eggs/2-3 flax eggs)
12 muffin baking tin
Preheat oven to 350
Defrost and drain the spinach.
Mix 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill with the spinach, season with fresh cracked pepper, set aside.
If you're not using egg whites, now is the time to prep your eggs:
For whole eggs: whisk until well incorporated.
For flax egg: mix 1 tbsp of water to 2-3 tbsps flax meal (per egg) and set aside.
Put a couple rounded tablespoons chopped spinach in each tin (NOTE: I used 6 muffins tins, not all 12). Top with some crumbled feta (to your taste).
Now add equal amounts of your egg white, egg or flax egg to each bite.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before removing from muffin tin.
Trader Joe's has come out with a red lentil pasta that I think is absolutely delicious! Organic Red Lentil Sedanini has a fair amount of fiber and good amount of protein (nutrition info at bottom of link). I'm finding that just a small portion is super filling!
For lunch today I made some fresh tomato sauce, sautéed kale, and Trader Joe's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini. It is absolutely delicious!
The tomato sauce I made is very basic (see rough recipe below). I also sautéed about 1 1/2 cup chopped kale on a high heat for roughly 5 minutes. Once all of the elements were cooked (pasta, tomato sauce, kale) I tossed together 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup cooked pasta and all of the kale together. I highly suggest topping it with some crushed red pepper flakes and a drizzle of EVOO. It is very satisfying lunch!
***note: I add the garlic near the end of the cooking so it doesn't burn***
1 rounded cup fresh grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 - 1/2 cup onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1-3 tbsps of balsamic vinegar (depends how sweet you want your sauce)
fresh cracked salt & pepper
Cook (tomato, onion, olive oil) for 5-10 minutes. Season with fresh cracked salt and pepperStart breaking down the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Add the garlic, continue cooking and breaking down tomatoes. Once most of the tomatoes are broken down/mashed, transfer the sauce to a food processor. Pulse a few times until a mostly puréed (not too smooth!). Return to pot, add the balsamic vinegar and simmer for another 30mins.
OPTIONAL (but highly recommended): top with crushed red pepper flakes and drizzle or two of EVOO.