01.06.2016

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If you are not on a January food cleanse you probably know someone who is or has, at the least, made some resolution about food. I have mixed feelings on winter cleanses (I write this while I am on day 4 of one – ha!). The benefits are pretty clear – from reestablishing healthy eating patterns to zapping that steady steam of holiday alcohol consumption. The tough part is that it is winter. Sure, there are fresh vegetables to be found but the offerings pale in comparison to warmer months.

If you are in some eating state between vegan, gluten-free, raw, dairy free, or some creative combination of these, here are my favorite cleanse recipes that fit most programs. But really, when it comes down to it, simply cutting out packaged and processed foods does 95% of the work.

I’m off to make a kale salad and hide the final half bottle of pinot under the sink.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado & Pumpkin Seeds

serves 6

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and leaves separated
2 tablespoons raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Whisk together lemon zest and juice and mustard in a bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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Winter Juice

makes 2 small glasses

6 carrots
1/2 a cucumber
2 apples
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
4 celery stalks

Simply juice the fruits and vegetables according to your juicing machine’s instructions. We start with the softest produce and work our way up to the hardest (typically carrots). Pour into glasses and enjoy.

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Spinach & Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes

makes about 15

1 cup quinoa

2 eggs

1/4 flour of your choice

3 tablespoons tahini, almond butter, or peanut butter

1 tablespoon red or white vinegar

1 package (10-ounces) frozen spinach or kale, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup finely grated sweet potato

1/4 cup finely diced onion

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper

Olive oil, for the baking sheet

Start the quinoa cooking immediately so it can cook white you are prepping the other ingredients. Combine the quinoa and 3 cups water in a pot and boil it until it is soft, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

Transfer the quinoa to your favorite mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, tahini, vinegar, spinach, sweet potato, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir, knead, and smoosh all the ingredients together until they are one tight-knit family. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 400 F with the rack in the middle. Oil a baking sheet. To shape the cakes, first wet your hands. For each patty, scoop up 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture with your hands and form a 1/2-inch-thick patty, firmly patting it so it stays together (loosie-goosies will fall apart). Arrange the patties on the baking sheet.

Bake until the cakes are lightly browned and crisp, flipping them over once halfway through the baking time, about 25 minutes. Serve warm with a dipping sauce.

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Farro Kale Salad

From Kale, Glorious Kale by Catherine Walthers

5-6 cups kale leaves, stripped off of stalks and torn or chopped into small pieces (1 small bunch)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, minced (or in my case sliced thin)
1 cup of farro
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 1 tart apple, diced, or 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries (or any combination)
4 ounces feta cheese

Dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash and spin dry the kale. Chop into small pieces. Add to a large bowl, lightly salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Vigorously toss and massage the salt and oil into the kale until well coated.

Place farro in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes. Farro has a similar texture to barley when cooked, and has a nice toothy texture. Drain well, and combine with the kale. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Chop the onion, dill and parsley, and add to the kale and farro along with the pomegranate seeds, and apple or dried fruit, if using. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and gently toss. Place in a serving bowl or platter and top with the feta cheese.

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Winter Muesli

makes about 4 cups

2 cups classic rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
5 dates, pitted and chopped
Milk (hemp, nut, coconut, cow) or yogurt for serving

Using your hands, simply toss everything together in a large bowl. Be mindful of the sticky dates as they tend to clump together but once everything is in contact with the oats the clumps will loosen up. Muesli can be eaten with milk like a traditional cereal, sprinkled over yogurt, or soaked in milk overnight to soften up its texture. I like it all three ways. For those who like a little sweetness, simply drizzle over some honey or maple syrup.

A large mason jar filled with muesli, tied with a ribbon, and small recipe card attached would make a great gift for those left on your list (especially beloved teachers and neighbors). Because muesli is gluten free (if you purchase certified GF oats), vegan, and easily adapted to be nut free (substitute walnuts for pumpkin or sunflower seeds) it works for everyone. If you want to make a few personal mixes some additions that I especially enjoy are dried unsweetened cherries, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and dried blueberries.

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Detox Smoothies

Choose between a sweet or tart green smoothie.

 

Sweet Green Smoothie

1 pear, roughly chopped

2 cups baby spinach

1/4-1/2 a lemon, peeled (depending on how sour you like it)

1 cup water or coconut water

Tart Green Smoothie

3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped

1-inch piece peeled ginger root

1 grapefruit, peeled and roughly chopped

3-inch piece of cucumber

1 cup water or coconut water

Blend everything together until smooth.

02.13.2015

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Getting a new cookbook in the mail is my kind of fun. I flip through it right away, bring it into bed at night, start folding down pages, and ultimately create grocery lists for a handful of first choice recipes. We cook and eat those, check out the other folded pages, again shop and cook, slowly eating our way through it. I’m in the middle of a love affair with this new book, Clean Slate, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, and am giving away a copy. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing and I will pull a name early next week!

I can’t wait for one of you to bring this home. There is so much important information in here from an overview of nutrients (including super detoxifiers, antioxidant powerhouses,  inflammation fighters, and digestive aids) to a simple pantry restock approach, and two specific mind/body detox action plans (one is 3 days and the other is 21 days – both come with full menu guides and recipes). Personally, I’m starting with the 3 day detox plan (call it trip prep or snow distraction strategy #99) and really appreciate the ease of it. You just cook three big batch meals (a smoothie, salad, and soup) to enjoy over the 3 days. It’s so simple that I may even be able to talk Nick into it.

I have at least a dozen recipes dog-eared but started in the kitchen with these two salads and loved both.

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Farro, Pea Shoot & Goat Cheese Salad
serves 6

1 cup farro
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh shelled peas
2 ounces pea shoots, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup small fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1 ounce)

Place farro in a medium saucepan, and cover with 4 inches of water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender; 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; let cool completely.

Meanwhile, cook peas in a small saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Add peas, pea shoots, mint, almonds, and lemon zest to farro. Toss with lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with goat cheese.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado & Pumpkin Seeds
serves 6

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and leaves separated
2 tablespoons raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Whisk together lemon zest and juice and mustard in a bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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PS. Tell your friends to enter too and here’s a look inside…

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01.07.2013
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Are you salty or sweet? I’m a salty girl through and through. I can count the number of times on one hand that I have craved a cookie but left alone in a room with a bag of chips? Deadly.

Luckily, good roasted vegetables often satisfy that savory craving. Like most people, the little crispy bits leftover in the pan or the almost burnt bite is my favorite. I decided to experiment with making little Brussels sprout leaf chips for snaking. I finished them with a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a quick shaving of Parmesan. You gotta try them out – super good.

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Nick and I have a tradition of walking the beach New Years Day. Years ago we’d come to the island just for the holiday then return to our city home. Our first walk was with our dog Finn, then baby Dylan in a carrier, now toddler Dylan jumping off the rocks and digging for sharks teeth in the dunes.  Call me sappy but looking out across the Atlantic ocean at the start of a new, fresh, exciting year feels pretty damn good.

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Brussels Sprout Crisps:
makes about 2 cups

10-ish ounces of Brussels Sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, sliced into wedges

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1. Pre-heat oven to 425 and grab a baking sheet.

2. Prepare the sprouts. This is a bit tedious so I suggest turning on some fun music. Rinse the sprouts, trim off the bottom, slice in half, using the tip of your knife cut out the small triangular stem, and finally peel apart the leaves onto the baking sheet.

3. Toss leaves with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let roast for 10-12 minutes or until half the leaves look dark and charred.

4. When ready to serve, dish out portions and squeeze fresh lemon juice over, then a few grates of Parmesan cheese. Do this right before eating as the juice and cheese will wilt the leaves if let to sit out.

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Cheers to 2013!!

08.02.2012
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This is what food looks like when I take a night off. There is no cooking involved, no photos of the beautiful Brussels sprouts or finely chopped almonds, and no sink full of dirty dishes. But there is a delicious raw slaw, a new way to enjoy Brussels sprouts, and a whole lot of lazy fun.

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This is the first time I’ve prepared a raw Brussels sprouts dish and it was really yummy. No soggy mushy stinky sprouts here. Only fresh, crisp, green, and tasty.

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I’d like to try stuffing this slaw into a sandwich or topping it with something hot off the grill. Because it’s mayo free (one of my few food repulsions) it would be a great potluck, picnic, or beach salad.

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Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Dijon Vinaigrette 

1 quart Brussels Sprouts, shaved very thin by hand or on a mandolin
1 cup roasted/toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup cubed fresh salty cheese, I used an aged cheddar but feta or goat would be great (leave out for vegan)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and pepper

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Whisk vinaigrette together in a small bowl then simply toss everything together. The slaw can sit for a few minutes out or in the fridge but don’t let it rest too long as the thin sprout ribbons will get limp.

Maybe you should make this, take the night off, and hitch a ride around a summer green yard.

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01.09.2012
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That’s my advice. You should roast more vegetables and you should probably cut your hair. Both are easy and leave you with great satisfaction.

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Winter Vegetables ~ Roasted: 

4 carrots, chopped into 1/2″ dice
5 red potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ dice
2 cups of brussel sprouts, either cut in 1/2 if large or left whole
olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat oven to 425. Chop all vegetables so they are more or less the same size. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

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Then, make a hair appointment. Walk up the street to salon, read magazine, sip coffee, stare into space.

I cut 10 inches off of my hair once before – it was 2007. I was unmarried, living in Boston, working at a creative firm, going out at night, running along the river, and wearing really cute clothes every day.

Doing it again took me right back to that place – a place I felt I could never get back to. Not with a toddler, unending chores, sleepiness, and constant attachment. I feel good. And now maybe people won’t think I’m Dylan’s nanny because I have an actual hair style!

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