Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fresh Juice Cleanse

Last week I embarked on a week long fall juice cleanse. It was quite the journey. To be quite honest, it wasn't quite the roller coaster I expected. No huge fluctuations in energy, crazy cravings or bouts of hunger. A few times I felt like I was dragging a little, and sometimes I would get that rumbling in my tummy, but for the most part it passed quickly and I went right on my merry way.

I like to do a cleanse when the seasons change, it helps clean out my systems and bring my body back into equilibrium so it can embrace the next season and the changing ingredients that come along with it. It allows the filtering organs (such as the kidneys, liver, gall bladder and colon) the chance to take and break, undergo a deep clean and recharge their batteries, resulting in better efficiency and less stagnant waste. It may seem like some hippy-dippy weirdo idea, but I guarantee it does make a difference and can benefit anyone, especially those fighting illness. Just ask Ghandi, he partook in cleansing fasts on a regular basis.

It has been a week now since I ended, but I have continued to make juices to supplement my diet all week in an effort to ease my way back. It is the perfect time of year for a cleanse, with the tomatoes bursting off their veins, fresh kale and chard shooting up and fall apples begging to be juiced. Just look at that collection of colors, not a bad lunch, right?? A week later, I am feeling light and springy, but happy to be reunited with warm soups and hot meals! I think that I might pick one day per week to do a mini-cleanse on a weekly basis though, to help maintain the benefits. Monday maybe?

During the cleanse, I usually did two juices at once, in order to save some time and energy. I have a heavy duty Champion juicer and I highly recommend it. Sometimes you can find good deals on used machines, and they are build to last so it is worth searching around. Sometimes I will just throw together anything I have on hand, but when I was planning it out last week I got into the habit of making a green and a red juice. They look so vibrant and appealing that way, which helps when juice is the only thing your taste buds have to look forward to!

Ingredients for red juice:

red chard
chili pepper

Ingredients for green juice:

yellow tomatoes

Let me know if you get inspired and decide to go on a cleanse yourself! They recommend 6-10 days, as well as a few transition days focused on raw fruits and vegis on either end. I would love to answer any questions that come up if you feel like you might enjoy some support!

Relax. Eat Well.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad

I just met with Barry from New England Kitchen Depot for the first time and my head is now spinning with thoughts of kitchen layouts, stainless steel and storage space. I never thought I would spend so much time understanding the ventilation system of a hood or the three-sink requirements for a commercial kitchen (as well as how to get around all the regulations!).

So I haven't officially mentioned it before because I didn't want to jinx the process, but Gregg and I are now SERIOUSLY building a house, commercial kitchen and all. CRAZY. We staked out the floor plan last sunday and excavation starts next weekend. CRAZY. Don't ask me how it happened, but it is...... Morgage and property tax, here we come!

When all is said and done we will hopefully have a cute little country home with a modest commercial kitchen where I can create my CSK (community supported kitchen) meals, as well as offer cooking classes and complete small catering gigs. uummm... CRAZY! It is like I am dreaming, except that it is becoming a reality before my very eyes.

Anyway, back to the juicy stuff (food), I prepared this Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad along with a Smoky Corn Risotto last week and brought it down to a neighbor (and friend) I prepare meals for on a weekly basis. I am not sure I ever got her reaction, but I loved it!!! A wonderful vegetable side dish that could easily become the center of attention tossed with a whole grain and a few cubes of marinated tofu. I hope you all enjoy it as well, and I would love to hear your impressions if you try it at home!

Miso is a powerful immune booster due to it's live beneficial bacteria, similar to yogurt or saurkraut. It adds a depth to sauces and soups while imparting a nice salty punch. This recipe works well with a variety of other hardy greens, such as kale or spinach, if you are not a chard aficionado. I have also tossed in summer squash (where don't you try and hide it this time of year?) and winter squash to the roasting team, which amps up the color and texture diversity. Be creative and adapt it to your tastes and seasonal garden bounty.

Miso Eggplant and Chard Salad

Serves 6 as a side


2 medium eggplants, cubed

2 tbs. olive oil

salt and pepper

3 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 tbs. brown rice vinegar

1 tbs. agave

1 tbs. red or barley miso

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bunch Swiss chard, sliced in strips

2 tbs. green onion, sliced


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the eggplant with the oil in a large bowl and spread on two baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown, stirring half way through.

In the same bowl, combine balsamic vinegar through garlic and whisk to combine, making sure the miso is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the chard. Stir until just wilted, about one minute. Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Add chard to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to separate the leaves (use your hands if necessary). Add the eggplant, stir and set aside to let the flavors marry together for about half an hour. Garnish with green onions. This dish can be served at room temperature or chilled, depending on your preference.

Relax. Eat Well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Amaranth Porridge

Breakfast is quite possibly my favorite meal of the day. It seems like I get in grooves with my morning meals and will eat the same thing everyday for a month before I move on to something new. And I love every minute of it. I could never do that with dinner, I need total variety at my other meals, but breakfast is different. Usually it is something easy to prepare, a tad sweet and definitely flecked with ground flax seed. In the summer it might be a fresh fruit smoothie with almond milk and golden flax seeds. In the winter it might be a hot cinnamon multigrain cereal with big chunks of banana.

Lately it has been a gingerbread inspired amaranth porridge sweetened with a generous drizzle of molasses and a splash of vanilla almond milk. While I was in California I sent my mom a canister of the dry mix with instructions for finishing it off, and that is the recipe I am including today. It is easy to make the mix in bulk to have in the pantry for the week. If you are like me and eating it every day, go ahead and make a batch for the week and keep it in the fridge so you can heat up a single serving each morning for a super easy start. Just make sure to keep the flax separate (ground in your freezer) to stir in last minute once it is off the heat, as their volatile oils go rancid quite easily when heated or exposed to oxygen for too long.

Amaranth is an small ancient grain native to South America. It cooks up quickly (10-15 minutes) and has a nice gooey consistency, which is why it lends well to a morning porridge. I also like to throw in 1/2 a cup or so when cooking rice for a fun variation. It is a non-glutenous grain, making it easy to digest, and rivals quinoa in its protein content. A high quality protein, it contains a wide range of amino acids including lysine, one that is lacking in more commonly consumed grains such as wheat. It is also impressively rich in iron, calcium and magnesium.

Spiced Amaranth Porridge Mix

Serves 6


2 cups amaranth

¼ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup date sugar or raw cane sugar

½ tsp. freshly ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. freshly ground cloves (about 10 cloves)

1/8 tsp. ground ginger


Mix all ingredients and store in the freezer until using. To prepare, mix 1/3 cup mix with 1 1/3 cups water or almond milk and ½ tsp. vanilla. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until it reaches your desired consistency. Place in a bowl and top with a few tablespoons of ground flax seed, a dash of vanilla almond milk, a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of blackstrap molasses.

Relax. Eat Well.