Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year's Cleanse

My friend and I have decided to do a cleanse to start off the new year. It was actually her idea. I have only done a cleanse once before ... a three-day juice cleanse that only worked because The Mr. was out of town. So I was a little leery of this idea. However, when she told me it was a Bon Appétit cleanse, I was seriously intrigued.

When I checked the recipes, I was sold.

It's not really a cleanse. It's more like a reboot. But after the gluttony of the holidays, which included four days straight of rich seafood dinners, as well as cheese, wine, bread, desserts, champagne, bloody marys, more cheese, more wine, and then some pork and brisket thrown in for good measure, a reboot is exactly what I need.

I won't list all the recipes here. You can find those at Bon Appétit or at my friend's beautiful website.

But for my own record, I want to keep track of how it's going, what I did, what I ate, what I did differently, or how I'm feeling.

I started about half a day late. We went out for breakfast on Day 1 while our car got a tune-up. Instead of healthy oatmeal, I split an order of eggs benedict with The Mr. Not exactly healthy, but at least we shared a dish for a change instead of each chowing down our own huge plate of food. Baby steps!

Afterward, we grabbed the rest of the ingredients from the B.A. shopping list so I could get going on the prep work. It took me all afternoon to put together the various delicious sauces and the chocolate bark (Chocolate bark? Really?! I told you this is my kind of cleanse!!). The upside of a day of cooking (other than the fact that I thoroughly enjoy it) is that I skipped lunch, other than the occasional taste. And after eggs benedict, skipping lunch wasn't such a bad idea.

That night we started in on the real thing with roasted veggies. My variations: (1) We had leftover couscous from a pre-Christmas dinner, along with some leftover lamb tajine gravy, so I mixed the two together in place of the red quinoa salad. I did add the toasted walnuts and sauteed shallots to the couscous. So delicious. (2) For the same dish, I couldn't find the sunchokes, so we added in roasted cauliflower.

Since we missed the oatmeal on Day 1, I decided to make that for Day 2's breakfast, in addition to the real Day 2 breakfast (smoked salmon and avocado on rye wasa crackers). My variations: (1) Instead of hemp seeds I used flax seeds, and I added the milk to the pot while cooking rather than after. I also added cinnamon for extra flavor and a dash of maple syrup for a little sweetness since we were using frozen blackberries instead of fresh. (2) I halved the cracker combo breakfast, since eating two full breakfasts seemed a little indulgent. The oatmeal was mediocre, but I loved the salmon/avocado crackers. I am just not sure if four of those would be a substantial breakfast for the Mr., as I had a hard time divvying up the allotted avocado and salmon between just two crackers. Maybe they thought we'd use smaller crackers?

Lunch was fabulous ... leftover couscous and veggies with tons of salad greens and the mustard dressing. And dinner was delicious. My variations: (1) For the mustard dressing, I didn't have walnut oil, so I replaced that with an orange-flavored olive oil. (2) For dinner, we couldn't find bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (at least not organic ones) at Winco. So we got a whole chicken and grilled it. (3) At the last minute, we invited our friends to join us, so I also threw in an extra green salad with the mustard dressing and some of the cashew/sunflower/pepita mix. (4) I added some leftover anaheim chili in the white bean salad, which may be yet another favorite.

I did cheat with one glass of pinot noir, but I was able to keep it to just one glass. I rewarded myself with a piece of the aforementioned chocolate bark. Yum!

The test was that evening, when we went to Cosmic Bowling to celebrate a friend's 40th party. There was fried food, a delicious-looking cake, and plenty of beer. I refrained from the greasy food (which is usually my downfall), I had one small sip of beer and a teeny-tiny little bite of the chocolate cake. All in all, a pretty successful outing, albeit not completely guilt-free. I was still hungry when I got home, so I nibbled on a carrot and a couple pumpkin seeds. We were tempted to eat some ice cream or popcorn, but those small nibbles were enough to tide me over until I fell asleep. A lesson to remember when this is all over and we get those late-night hunger pangs.

This morning was lovely. I had my first latte in two days, but I used coconut milk instead of regular milk. I did grate a teeny bit of Mexican chocolate on top, but it's a small guilty pleasure. I even made a rather tasty two-egg omelet (no cheese!? the horror!!) topped with roasted pepper relish. The only variation is that I used an orange and yellow pepper in the relish rather than red. All in all a ridiculously easy, delicious breakfast. I will be making that one again for sure.

I am so looking forward to tonight's dinner! Steak and potatoes?! Have I mentioned ... I love this cleanse!?

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