Monday, November 21, 2011

Roasted Broccoli

I love broccoli.  While I realize that might make me seem a bit odd to some of you, I really think the cruciferous vegetable is delicious.  When it shows up in my CSA box, I get kind of excited.  Cooked or raw, dunked into a dip or on it's own, I love the stuff.  That being said, I've been getting a bit bored of my usual recipes and recently did an online search to find new ways to prepare it.  I came across one for roasting, and became intrigued.  I usually steam or stir-fry broccoli, so the idea of eating the vegetable cooked yet still crispy (and even a little caramelized) was an exciting one for me!  I modified the recipe slightly, and came up with what you see below - my new favorite way to eat broccoli!

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli
1 head broccoli (ideally organic)
3-6 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2" piece of ginger, minced
2T olive oil
1T soy sauce/tamari

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Wash broccoli, remove bottom end of stem, leaving most of it.  Slice the entire head of broccoli lengthwise until you have edible-sized pieces.  This should look like a long stem with the floret at the top.  Place into a large bowl.
2. Put other ingredients into the bowl, and massage everything together with your hands.
3. Put broccoli on a baking sheet, and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  It's done when the edges have turned slightly brown.
4. Put on a plate, and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Juice Attempt #2

After a weekend of not completely adhering to my cleanse diet (too much refined sugar!), I wanted to start Monday off right.  That meant juice for breakfast!  I knew I wanted to incorporate some veggies this time, so I took a look at what I had around, and came up with this combination: Carrot, Orange, Strawberry and Red Kale.  Oh, and I threw in a little chunk of ginger to spice it up a bit.

The end result doesn't look so great in the photograph, but I assure you, it was pretty darn delicious!  And I was proud of myself for including some greens.  Next time I'll try adding more leaves!

Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was full of activities, but also included lots of relaxation and quality time.  It was a pretty close to perfect combination!  And having the Veteran's Day holiday meant that my sweetie and I could enjoy a three-day weekend together to celebrate both our anniversary and my birthday.  I was especially excited that we were able to go to a restaurant to celebrate.  While I've enjoyed cooking all week, it was a bit tiring and involved a lot of planning to follow my restrictions, and the break from it was something to enjoy.  At Greens Restaurant, I was able to mostly follow my cleanse diet and my sweetie was also able to eat a meal that he enjoyed.  I started with a soup of winter squash and coconut milk that was absolutely amazing, and for my entree had a tagine of mixed vegetables served on top of delicious brown rice, with half an artichoke.
Vegetable Tagine

Linguine with Spinach, Pine Nuts and Tomatoes
Looking out the huge pane window toward the lights of the Golden Gate Bridge, we had an amazing meal and very much enjoyed each other's company.  And I was happy to discover that with a little planning ahead and online research, it's possible to eat out even while following dietary restrictions!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Juice Experiment

My first attempt at juicing this morning turned out too sweet for my taste, but it was a delicious start to my day!  I tried a blend of Apple, Orange, and Carrot Juice.  Maybe I'll add some greens next time, I was a little scared to try them the first time.

New kitchen toy!

Blog post #2!
As part of my attempt to understand how my body handles different foods, I decided to do a fall cleanse.  It is not a fast, but a two-week attempt to eat whole, unprocessed foods and make some goals for changes in my lifestyle.  While I opted to not do the vegan version, looking back on my past three days I realize that I haven't eaten any animal products, go me!  My main goal was that I wanted to cut out dairy, sugar and caffeine to see how I feel.  My usual diet doesn't include much dairy anyway, mainly some yogurt, cheese and butter, but I wanted to see how my body feels without the stuff.

Another aspect of the cleanse is to get enough sleep!  I think I usually do pretty well with this, but I took advantage of daylight savings to shift my sleep schedule.  For the past few days, I've been going to bed before 10 and waking up around 6, and I must say - I feel GREAT!  Maybe it's just the full night's sleep, maybe it's the dietary changes, I don't really know, but there's something about this schedule that feels really good to me.

While doing the cleanse, we are encouraged to make lots of fresh juice and smoothies.  Thankfully, my roommate already had a juicer that I can use.  And my mom bought me a Vita-Mix blender for an early birthday/Christmas present this year (thank you, Mom!).  This machine is amazing, it can seriously make anything: hot soups, smoothies, ice cream, grate cheese, you name it!  It even comes with a whole bunch of healthy recipes to try.  If you're in the market for a new blender, you should give it a look.  And no, I am not paid by this company, I'm just really excited about the product!

For breakfast on the first day of the cleanse, I followed a recipe we were given for an Apple and Almond Smoothie.  It was a lot of liquid early in the morning, but the flavor was nice, and my new Vita-Mix blended it up perfectly!

Recipe for Apple, Almond & Spice Smoothie:
2 Apples, quartered
1C Almond milk
1T fresh rosemary (I didn't have any, so I didn't use this)
1/2T honey or agave
1/2T vanilla

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup

Hello out there! Here is my first ever blog post, which is very exciting. I'm still figuring out what the formatting looks like, so don't judge to harshly yet. And please, stay tuned for more!

To start out, I'm going to talk about a dinner I made a few weekends ago. I recieved a Sugar Pie Pumpkin in my CSA (community supported agriculture) box, and had no clue what to do with it! Luckily, they included a soup recipe, which turned out delicious! We paired the soup with half an organic avocado filled with olive oil and home-made red wine vinegar, and a whole-wheat sourdough toast topped with goat cheese. A delicious way to celebrate Halloween!

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup
1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin, about 4-5 pounds (make sure it's the edible kind!)
1/2C Shallots, minced
3T Butter
1t Salt
1 1/2 T Maple Syrup
1/4t Nutmeg
1/4t White Pepper
5C Chicken (or veggie) Broth
1/4 Cream (optional)

1. Wash the pumpkin, and cut in in half length-wise (from top to bottom). Scoop out the seeds and stringy parts, and set aside the seeds to cook later. Line a baking sheet with foil, and put the pumpkin cut side down. Bake in the oven, 375 degrees for about an hour, until the pumpkin is soft. Let it cool, then scrape the cold pumpkin out of the skin. Put in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher until it is smooth. (This part can be done in advance.)

2. When you're ready to make the soup...Peel and mince the shallots. Heat butter in a large, heavy saucepan and cook the shallots over low heath until soft.

3. Add broth and turn heat up to medium, heat until it just starts to simmer. Add all the spices and stir. Add the pumpkin a little bit at a time, stirring until until blended.

4. When everything is mixed together well, turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Serve!