Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Things I Just Love....

I keep an inspiration folder in my kitchen. If I'm ever flipping through a mag & think, "wow, I want that!" Or, "man, I wish my bathroom looked like that", I just rip it out & save it.
I do something along those lines while I am surfing around the internets. My bookmark folder for those sorts of things is getting unmanageably huge. So, I thought maybe I could start sharing some here. That way, maybe I could turn someone on to some cool stuff & selfishly have items I covet archived for my convenience. Above are a few things from those lists.

a. a Pendleton throw blanket. I really need one of these for all the ice cold hockey bleachers I sit on.

b. La Natura Shea Butter Lip way too many to choose just one flavors. I was turned on to these by my SIL & I am thoroughly addicted.

c. Square Bento Box Containers by Vivo. These are on my wish list. I love them! Way out of my, what I consider appropriate lunch box budget, however.

d. Divine Twine. This is some super high quality & fun bakers twine. I already nabbed some of this for next years Christmas cookies! A girl has to plan ahead.

e. Nikki McClure's "Remember" seasonal journal. A good friend got me one of her amazing calendars a few years back. Her art is so inspiring. I love this journal for it's looks & the fact that it is divided by seasons. I want it to be my 2010 gardening journal.

f. Brooke Sheeting by Pottery Barn. If only I had a little girl, this would be mine! Unfortunately, I think I am a bit too old for them. I also love the whole collection.

Chicken & Dumplings

Oh, how I love chicken n' dumplings....let me count the ways.
This is by far my favorite comfort food. When Dh & I lived in Brooklyn, we used to go to this southern restaurant, called "Mama's". I would always order the chicken & dumplings and he would order the chicken fried steak. Sometimes, I find myself dreaming of those days & that delicious food. I had one of those days recently & decided it was time to make some.
I have used several different recipes in the past. But, this was the first time trying this one. The dumplings are probably the best damn dumplings I've ever had. The key to their yummy goodness is the addition of cornmeal. Something I have never even thought to do. It's fantastic!
I think he may have been exaggerating, but DH declared it the best dinner I've ever made.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kitchen Tool of the Week...{Plus a GIVEAWAY!!!}

A Food Mill.

For me, a food mill, is an essential kitchen tool. I learned how to use one from my grandmother, who called hers a "Mouli". It's perfect for making smooth sauces, especially marinara. It's also great for making homemade baby food, applesauce, or pureed soups.
The difference between using a food mill to puree foods vs. a food processor, or blender, is that it removes all the skin & seeds. So, you can skip the peeling, or seeding when using it. Such as I did in my post about making homemade applesauce. You can also control how pureed you want your foods to be with the interchangeable for coarse, medium, or fine.

This week, I will be giving away the food mill pictured above to one of my lucky readers!!
{WooHoo...My first GIVEAWAY!!}
Simply leave a comment to enter! I will be announcing the winner on Friday, Jan. 29th.
As an extra special bonus, you can enter this giveaway multiple times by sharing it with the public, through twitter, facebook, or your own blog. For each shout out, you can enter your name again...just provide a link, showing how you shared it.

A special Thanks to CSN Stores for sponsoring this giveaway! An amazing retailer with over 200+ online stores...where you can purchase anything from a garden shed to a stool. And, of course, my favorite... cookware!

Update: Congratulations to the winner, Annalene!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

After my detox attempt ended, I will admit I went a little nuts with the food. Right back to my pre-New Year's resolution ways. But, I realize now that more than anything, I need balance. Soup is a great healthy lunch, or dinner. Especially when it's cold outside & I have no desire for a salad.
I picked up a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living & this recipe was inside. It makes a big pot of soup, so you can halve the recipe for a smaller crowd, or freeze the leftovers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Stamford Nature Center

My sister, Lauren was in town this past weekend. She celebrated her birthday on MLK day & since the Bozos were off of school, we had a little outing. As it was her birthday, she picked the spot. She had lots of great memories of visiting the Stamford Nature Center as a kid & wanted to bring her daughter, Penny there. So, that's where we went!
It was a perfect day to go. Warm enough to play outside & lots of sunshine, for some great pictures. Here's a bunch...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

R.I.P. Chico

a.k.a. cheeky-cheeky, chico the man & the cheekster. We will miss you & your always loving & affectionate spirit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kitchen Tool of the Week...


Wonder if it's really necessary to buy organic? Is it really worth the extra cost? Well, with some things it seems it is. According to the Environmental Working Group {EWG}, some of the conventional produce you could be purchasing can contain up to nine different kinds of pesticides per serving. And, that is after being washed & peeled. Scary.
I certainly don't want to serve these to my family. So, I find having the knowledge about what's best for them, helps me avoid the things that are not. The EWG has released two for the cleanest fruit & veggie options out there {or the ones with no pesticide residues} & one for the worst.
They even have an iPhone app for the easy way to keep it handy while out shopping.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Translated, Ribollita means "reboiled". It is a Tuscan peasant soup, usually made from leftover stale bread & a reheated vegetable soup, like minestrone.
This version is a quick & hearty winter time lunch, or dinner. You can use any vegetables you'd like in this...zucchini, spinach, potatoes. I stuck with tomatoes & kale, as I had loads of kale in the fridge...leftover from the detox. Plus, I love kale.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Goop Detox~Day Six

I'm still here. I'm hanging tough. I woke up this morning with renewed energy to finish this thing out. Today will be much easier. No social plans. No shuffling to sports. I can concentrate on getting my meals ready for the next 2 days.
I think the struggling was due to being super busy. Eating healthy, whether you are detoxing, or just trying to eat a better diet, is time consuming. On a busy day, it is so much easier to order a pizza, or Chinese take out. Making homemade dressings, marinades, smoothies & juices takes time.
I like this plan. I mean, it is very low calorie....Day One=650 calories. That is low. But, I like the food {most of it} & I hope to keep several of the principles. I can use the smoothies as meal replacements. I can use the dressing & marinade for more healthy lunches, etc.
If I ever think about doing another cleanse/fast type thing, I think 3-5 days is my limit!
7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {still doing black coffee}
10:00am {breakfast}: Blueberry & Almond Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water
1:30pm {lunch}: Mixed Greens with Steamed Salmon, Olive Oil & Lemon Juice
4:00pm {snack}: Super Greens Juice
6:00pm {dinner}: Detox Teriyaki Chicken, brown rice & steamed zucchini

Friday, January 8, 2010

Goop Detox~Day Five

Last night & today have been a real struggle for me. I am hanging on by a thread here.
I am dying for something more filling & satisfying than pureed raw fruits & vegetables. Half the day today was spent traveling to a hockey game nearly 2 hours away. I didn't bring enough food with me & was so hungry & cranky I'm surprised my husband is still living. I was really ready to rip someones head off.

It's amazing to me that just a few short days ago the idea of eating all this healthy food was something I was actually craving. That's how much my body needed it. And, now? Well, I've had enough & I'll take a cheeseburger & a beer, thank you.
One of the three of us doing this detox has had enough & is done. Which, I am so jealous of right now. The other friend is hanging on {by a thread as well} & determined for us to finish this thing out. So, I am here, hanging on. Barely.
I keep on telling myself it's only 2 more days & I will feel so defeated if I cave. And, then I'm like, 2 MORE DAYS?! Hell NO!
This is a very low calorie plan & sticking with it this long has been very hard.

7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {still doing black coffee}
10:00am {breakfast}: Peach & Almond Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water
1:30pm {lunch}: Raw Crudite {carrots, green beans, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini} with Carrot & Ginger Dressing
4:00pm {snack}: Beet, Carrot, Apple & Ginger Juice
6:00pm {dinner}: Cucumber & Avocado Soup

Goop Detox~Day Four

Have I really made it FOUR days?! Can't believe that I am halfway there! The weekend will be a challenge. We have tons of sports going on, which will make it difficult for me to make the time to cook & be home for mealtimes. I have to plan ahead & be prepared.
My friend, Mamalizza, who is doing the cleanse with me, is feeling great. I feel pretty good. But, not fantastic. I have been sleeping better, I definitely feel less bloated & my pants are buttoning with ease. So, that makes me happy.
Yesterday was rough. The oatmeal at breakfast was great & then doing liquids the rest of the day was hard. I really like some of the food on this plan & some of it I really don't like. If I wasn't blogging, I would probably just repeat all the things I enjoy over & over. If you haven't figured it out yet, each day involves ONE meal that's chewable {I know juice gurus suggest you actually chew fresh juices, but come on} & the rest are all liquids. Tuesday was a salad, a soup & a smoothie. Wednesday was chicken, soup & a smoothie, etc. Then, a few chewable snacks here & there.
Well, it looks like the last 2 days of the detox have a bit more real meals. I assume that's intentional & maybe meant to ease your body back into real food? Don't know. But, I sure am looking forward to it!
Today's dinner is Salmon. Which, I do love. But, with hockey for 2 1/2 hours in 2 separate towns tonight, making salmon will be a challenge. So, I might have to switch that meal out for something. Or, get my butt to the fish market & make it ahead.
7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {still doing black coffee}
10:00am {breakfast}: Mango & Coconut Milk Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water
1:30pm {lunch}: Miso Soup with Watercress
4:00pm {snack}: A handful of blueberries
6:00pm {dinner}: Steamed Salmon & Greens

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miso Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Bokchoy

After yesterday's terrible miso soup experience, I searched out a better recipe & found one. Miso soup is a big part of the Goop 7-Day Detox that I am doing, as it's to be eaten at four meals. I adjusted the recipe I found slightly, by omitting a few things & adding a few. Adding some vegetables to the soup is recommended in the plan, to make it more substanial. I decided to add in some sweet potatoes & bokchoy.

Goop Detox~Day Three

Day Three! And remarkably, I'm not miserable. So far this hasn't been bad at all. Had some solid food for breakfast {oatmeal} & that was a treat. But, now that I've had my solid food for the day, it's all liquids after that. Might be a long afternoon.
Today, I will try for a new miso soup as it's on the menu for dinner tonight.
She doesn't mention portion sizes for anything. So, I am eating what I imagine a normal serving size would be.

7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {for me, black coffee}
10:00am {breakfast}: Oatmeal {make with rice or almond milk instead of water so it's a bit more substantial}
11:30am: Coconut water
1:30pm {lunch}: Blueberry & Almond Smoothie
4:00pm {snack}: Cucumber, Lime & Basil Juice
6:00pm {dinner}: Super Greens Juice/Miso Soup with Watercress

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Goop Detox~Day Two

I've made it to Day Two. The first day was a success, minus having some black coffee. I got a massive headache from caffeine withdrawal. Doing this plan is hard enough & taking away my coffee is just not going to work. But, I am drinking it black...something I never do. So, I'm proud of that.
I actually liked the food. Most of it, I really liked. Other than the disgusting greens in the smoothie & the tolerable soup {not bad, just tolerable}.
I slept like I was in a coma last night. I awoke very groggy. Feeling like I had slept on a brick. I was so out of it, that I momentarily forgot I was on a cleanse. When I remembered, that bummed me out a bit.
I actually forgot to weigh myself yesterday. Which pisses me off. I would love to see if there was a difference today. I weighed we'll see.
I'm not doing this for weight loss. Although, a girl won't complain about loosing a few. Because I know that it's all water weight & will jump right back on. But, I thought it would be a good jump start into something more livable. Plus, like I mentioned yesterday, my body needs a detox...from everything.

Some things she mentions, that I neglected to yesterday...
* She recommends deep breathing or gentle yoga during the cleanse.
* Take a couple of spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil at night to help stimulate your liver to eliminate bile & keep its circulation flowing. {haven't done this yet}
* If your bowel movements get sluggish, you can accelerate things by drinking half a cup of castor oil {um, no thanks} or using a mild herbal laxative. Bowel elimination is paramount for correct detoxification.
* The skin gets rid of many toxins so it is important to sweat, either by exercising or taking a sauna.
* Make sure you eat whole organic foods, which have the best chance of having all the nutrients needed for your liver & general detoxification.
* Adjust the times to your schedule & the meals to your taste. Just be sure not to eat any of the foods I mentioned are off limits in yesterdays post.
7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {for me, black coffee}
10:00am {breakfast}: Raspberry & Rice Milk Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water
1:30pm {lunch}: Detox Teriyaki Chicken with Steamed Greens
4:00pm {snack}: Miso Soup with Watercress
6:00pm {dinner}: Pea & Basil Soup

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Goop Detox~Day One

Today I began Day One of the Goop Detox plan. So far I am up past lunch & it's going well. I have done cleanses before & I know that the first day is always the easiest. You are full of will power & whatever you may have indulged in the day before starting is still carrying you through. For instance, I never care much for eating anything until lunch time. But, once I begin a diet, I am suddenly ravenous when I wake up. Tomorrow will be harder, I'm sure.

7:00am {or upon rising}: A glass of room temperature lemon water
8:00am: Herbal Tea {for me, green tea...I need my caffeine}
10:00am {breakfast}: Blueberry & Almond Smoothie
11:30am: Coconut water {brands like Zico, or Vita Coco are good}...I love coconut water!
1:30pm {lunch}: Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
4:00pm {snack}: A handful of pumpkin & sunflower seeds {raw}
6:00pm {dinner}: Broccoli & Arugula Soup

Carrot Ginger Dressing

This dressing is from the Goop Detox plan I am following. I love the carrot ginger dressing at Japanese restaurants. I mean really love it. If we all go out & the Bozos don't finish their salads, I do. In fact, I have been know to drink the last from the bowl.
This recipe tastes exactly like it. Now that I know how to re-create it, I will be making this all the time.

Almond Milk

As I mentioned yesterday, I am beginning a 7-day detox today. Many of the smoothie recipes include almond milk.
DH loves the stuff. I drink regular milk in my coffee, or cereal. But, when it comes to making smoothies, I don't like using cow's milk & often use almond, or rice milk.
I knew that making almond milk was simple. So, I thought it would be cool to make some. It came out really tasty {that is, if you like it to begin with} & I think I'll be making it often.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Two of my bestie's announced to me this morning, that starting tomorrow, they are doing a 7-day detox cleanse & asked if I'd like to join them. My first thought, was hell no! But, then I thought about how terrible I've been feeling after doing nothing but eating & imbibing since Thanksgiving & decided maybe I should.
I also thought that having this blog would be a great way to document my progress, share the recipes & keep me from giving up. I'm hoping, anyway....
We'll be following the Goop cleanse. From what I have read from people who have tried it online, it's hard & the food hasn't received any high reviews. In fact some could barely stomach it. But, most of it looks super good for you & involves lots of health food...something I actually like. So, maybe I'll feel differently about it?
One of the girlfriends I'm doing it with already did the detox last New Years & liked it.
You eat small portions every few hours. Lots of smoothies & soups...things that are easy for your body to digest. No sugar, no dairy, no shellfish, no red meat, no anything processed, no fatty nuts, no condiments, no nightshades {potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant}, and no alcohol, caffeine or soda.
Am I really doing this?!
I have to admit that I doubt I can give up caffeine. But, I'll try to stick to just green tea.
Starting tomorrow folks.