Not your average french fry

The vegan clease allows for potatoes…okay, so not what I’d usually have on a ‘cleanse’ but since I’m opting not to have corn or any flours at all (even GF), I’ll take an inch when its ‘allowed’.

Being the creative kitchen gal I am, I wanted to raise the potato bar and do something fun.  Besides, it was day 4 and Matt was starting to get might cranky, missing his favorite dairy and meat foods.  We decided to make  a vegan burger and fries meal:

Grilled portabello with spices
Green lettuce leaf ‘buns’
fixin’s: mustard, red onion, and tomato
“cheezy” fries.

See video below for the fries, but basically I cut up 2 lbs of red potatoes, marinated them in EVOO, salt, pepper and brewer’s yeast (what gives them the ‘cheezy’ appeal) and baked at 400 for about 17 minutes.  Delicious!  The whole meal was tasty!

Afternote: I definitely ate too many fries and it made we me want sugar.  I satisfied my urge with a not-so delicious apple, but it worked.  And hey, part of this clease is about facing those cravings and realizing the feeling is transient, relatively meaningless, and I feel much better having gone for the apple and not for some other treat!

Enjoy the video, and remeber, it is homemade (AKA, not perfect)

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A juice story

Summer is just perfect for making juices of all shapes, sizes and varieties.  True, you need a juicer (or a friend with a juicer who is willing to share their time and appliance), but the investment is worth it.

My trusty juicer is simply a Jack LaLaine juicer, circa 1995.  Lucky for us, a client gifted this apparatus because they didn’t use it and we got it just in the nick of time before it mades it’s way to the goodwill.  I bet that a little time on Ebay, Craigslist or even Freecycle (www.freecycle.com – look for your town) will give you some low cost options for juicers.

Once you have a juicer, there is no stopping you.  Juicing can add the vitamins and ‘phytonutritents (translatet = plant chemical that are so vital for our health and can’t be duplicated in a lab, despite tremendous efforts), and help build your taste buds for the bitter greens, like kale.

Also, like we demo in this video, juicing those excess veggies and fruits from the garden helps you minimize waste.   Juices in grocery stores are spendy, and you can easily pay $3-$4/12 oz juice whereas the yield in this video was OVER 32 OUNCES of juice!!  That’s like having $8-$12 right in your pocket!

Aside from the juice demoed, which is a great beginner juice or a way  to ween off of pure fruit juice, here is another option:

Rebecca’s off-white juice of the week:

Green based juices help curb sugar cravings, ehnance skin health, and contribute to optimal digestion.  I’m interested in thiem this week because of all the not-so-ideal eating I’ve done inthe past two weeks: tortilla chips 3 days last week, a sandwich on wheat yesterday (with cheese, gulp), and even a diet soda.  Not like these foods are criminal, but if you have a wheat and dairy sensitivity and are an O blood-type (shouldn’t eat toto much corn, if that is even possible in our modern food culture), then your body needs a break.

You can think of this juice recipe like the V-8 commercials in the 90’s: the guy walks into the office sideways because he’s off balance, and all he needs is his v-8 to get back to health.

Move over V-8, there’s a new recipe in town:

1/2 bunch parsley
5 carrots
1 bunch kale
2 green apples
2 large cucumbers

This juice yieled about 48 oz because the cucumbers were HUGE and naturally very watery.

I’ll drink 6 oz 2-3x/day until it is gone, keeping the juice for no more than 2 days.  If my stove worked (replaced on Friday, thank GOODNESS), I’d make pulp muffins but since it’s not that pulp is headed to my AM frittatas or to my AM smoothie, which ever i choose.

Secret to getting in all your veggies: Go VEGAN

I have a secret, which I shall reveal……one of the ways in which I get all my veggies in and learn how to cook with those weird ones, like collards and turnips, is that I go vegan.

Those of you who know me are saying “wait a minute, you totally eat meat”.  yes, this is true, but I also think like a vegan when it comes to getting in my veggies and I use a lot of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks to help me out.

Here’s my thought: meat is relatively easy to prepare, at least in basic ways.  I can broil, bake, pan fry, bbq, etc and get a nice tasty lean protein.  But I can only eat baby carrots and spinach from a bag so long before I really want something creative with vegetables.

I now cook dark, leafy greens, like collards or kale at least once a week, and often 2-3x/week.  But if you knew me 10 yrs ago, this was soooo not the case.  I was your basic American.  I though canned green  beans and canned corn were pretty fine choices to fill my veggie requirement, especially if I ate them with ketchup (yes, gross, I know – but I was all about making them sweet).

My mom gave me my first vegetarian cookbook, entitled “Vegetarian cooking for everyone” by Deborah Madison about 5 yrs ago when I started to seriously change my diet and wanted to know how to make veggies taste better than ice cream.

I give myself permission to write in my cookbooks.  I see  them as living, breathing entities that capture both the author’s perspective and my own about a dish.  Plus, I’m just a geek and like to make note in books.  it make me feel smart.

thank God I have a very compassionate husband, as some of my adventures did not turn out well…such as the lasagna which had about 5 lbs of mushrooms and a bechamel sauce.  I’m sooo not a French chef, and totally underestimated the importance of cooking fine sauces in a tender way with a proven method.   I think we went out to Mexican that night instead…..

So, I want to share one of my favorite recipes from this book.  This one usually comes out pretty well – even for first timers!  I modified it a bit from the original. It makes an awesome summer salad and you can absolutely go carnivorous with it by adding chunks of chicken or turkey to it, or on the side.

Enjoy!

PS: other cookbooks I like are :”Greens”, also by Deborah Madison, and the Blossoming Lotus cookbook.

Quinoa or Bulgur and Green Lentil Salad with Chickpeas

Serves 2-4, depending on serving size

½ cup French green lentils, washed
1 bay leaf
¾ cup fine or medium bulgur or quinoa
5 scallions, including some of the greens, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
Grated zest of 2 lemons
6-8 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1.5 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained if canned)
2 cups finely chopped parsley
1 – 1.5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice: cucumber, colored bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, etc
½ cup chopped mint

Cover the lentils with water in a small saucepan, add the bay leave and ½ tsp salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 25 minutes, until lentils are tender but firm.  Let them stand another 20 minutes.  Cook the grain (bulgur or quinoa as needed)

Whisk together scallions, garlic, lemon zest and juice, oil, paprika, and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl.  When lentils are done, drain them and add them to the dressing.  Press out any excess water.  Add the bulgur along with the chickpeas, parsley, mint, and vegetables.  Toss gently and then taste for salt/pepper. Can be served warm or cold.