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Vegan Fudge (or Another Super Easy Recipe)

I’ve been testing a few new recipes lately since I’m working on meal planning and cooking at home. I usually am trying one new dinner recipe each week or every other week. I’m trying to find simple recipes since I don’t want to have to buy a ton of ingredients that cost a lot of money or something that takes forever to cook. So my searches tend to be for pretty basic stuff. And sometimes, I need something to inspire me to find a new recipe.

A friend of mine had a loss recently and I wanted to do something nice for them. They are vegan so most of my guilty pleasure foods wouldn’t work for them so I did some searching for good vegan treats. So many of them had lots of ingredients that I don’t have or don’t use. It’s not worth it to buy something that will just be used in that one recipe (the problem I’ve had with cooking in the past) so I just kept searching for something easy to make. And finally I came across the perfect recipe!

I found a very basic recipe for vegan peanut butter fudge that pretty much only had ingredients that I already have! It was so easy and fast to make and so good that I know this will be something I will be making for lots of people in the future! And as I have before, whenever I find an awesome recipe I want to share it with you all!

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge (from Spoon University)

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup natural nut butter (this was the only ingredient I had to buy because the only peanut butter I had in my house had honey which is not vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened or melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do:

  • Combine all ingredients and stir until combined
  • Pour into a container that is lined with parchment paper
  • Put container in freezer and freeze for 45 minutes
  • Take out of freezer, cut, and enjoy!

That’s it! It’s so simple that I can’t believe that I haven’t made this before! I actually have not been able to get the fudge to my friend yet (so they might be finding out that I made something for them by reading this blog), but I know that they will be a hit!

This isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to eat, but it’s so much healthier than most desserts that I know how to make. And I’m sure this recipe is easy enough to switch things up so the basic recipe can be used for a bunch of different things. I was thinking that this could be a really good topping to the gluten-free brownies I know how to make. Those brownies are sometimes used as the base for triple layer brownies with brown butter frosting. But I think using this fudge as a frosting could really be amazing! I might have to try it out sometime.

Every time I try a new recipe, I’m so anxious that it’s not going to turn out ok. I had that happen a few weeks ago with a new soup recipe that I tried. I thought it was going to be amazing and I was so excited about it. And then I tried it and it was horrible. I tried to fix it but there was no saving the soup and it had to be thrown out. I felt awful doing that because it is a waste of food and money (and I did try to see if any of my neighbors wanted it), but I knew I couldn’t eat it.

Having a recipe go wrong was a blessing in disguise because it wasn’t the end of the world like I thought it would be. It was unfortunate, but nothing horrible happened because I made something that tasted horrible. I’m not as scared now as I was before that I will do something wrong. And more often than not, the recipes will turn out awesome (like this one did) and it will become something that I will want to keep making!

The trial and error in my kitchen continues each week. But I know that this vegan fudge is going to be something that I make over and over again.

Thanksgiving Prep (or So Little Time)

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I knew there was a lot of stuff I had to get done and I was really trying to plan things out the best I could. Of course, things never work out the way you think they will. I’m just glad I got all my prep work done before I left last week!

The main part of my Thanksgiving prep was getting the food made that I knew I was bringing. I only was bringing 3 dishes with me, but when you have a tiny kitchen making 3 dishes can seem overwhelming! Especially when I don’t have multiples of the kitchen things I was using!

The first thing I made was banana bread. This has become a tradition over the past few years and I’m glad I’m able to make it to help out. It’s a pretty easy recipe to make and I happened to have some bananas that were overly ripe that I could use. I had almost all of the ingredients that I needed for the recipe at my house (except some of the dairy and the blueberries) and it was a quick thing to put together and get into the oven so I could make the 2 other things I needed to make.

The other dishes I was bringing were dips. I made the feta dip that is a tradition with the family (usually my mom makes it but it is now my thing to make). This is another easy thing to put together, but it is something that I usually don’t have the ingredients for in my house. But once you have everything you need, you just throw it all in the food processor and it is done! The other dip I made was a white bean dip that I found online. It was another really easy thing (just white beans, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and lemon) that was a food processor dip. The only complication I had was I only have one food processor bowl. So I made the feta dip, washed and dried the bowl, and made the other dip. Between the dips and the bread, I got everything done within about an hour.

thanksgiving-food

Packing was something else I tried to plan out, but it ended up being something that I was doing while I was working the day I was going to be driving to San Diego. My family now does casual Thanksgiving and that does make things easier with packing. But because I have lost a pretty significant amount of weight lately, I’ve been realizing that many of my clothes don’t fit anymore. So I grabbed all of the things I was thinking of packing and was trying them on between customers. I guess I should just feel lucky that my work is online chat and phones and my customers can’t see me!

Between packing and cooking, I felt like I had enough on my plate. But I also ended up having my liver MRI the night before driving to San Diego. I was at the hospital for a few hours getting it done so that was a bit of a time suck. The MRI itself wasn’t too horrible. Once the IV was in and I was in the machine, it was about 45 minutes. And at this hospital, you can listen to music while in the MRI tube. They had Pandora as an option and I requested the Broadway station. All the songs that played were things that I knew, but the best moment was when I heard my friend AJ singing on the “Heathers The Musical” soundtrack in-between 2 songs from “Hamilton”! That really made me happy and forget about all the stuff I had to do to prepare for San Diego the next morning.

And because all that craziness wasn’t enough leading up to San Diego, on Monday morning as I drove to my workout the power steering in my car died. I’ve never driven without power steering before and I knew that it was something that needed to be fixed before driving down. I took my car into the shop around 10am on Monday and discovered that the power steering in my car isn’t the standard one used so it would be tough to find a replacement part. They were hopeful that my car would be fixed by Friday, but that meant I wouldn’t have my car for Thanksgiving. Fortunately my mechanic offers free loaner cars so I got one of those and drove that to and from San Diego. As I’m writing this, my car still isn’t fixed. They got the replacement part in on Friday, but it’s still not fixing it. I’m hoping I’ll get my car back this week, but at least I have a loaner car to use so I don’t have to pay for a rental.

My Thanksgiving prep did end up being a bit stressful, but it all worked out in the end. I got everything done that I needed to (plus some things I wasn’t expecting) and I had an awesome Thanksgiving trip. But my Thanksgiving recap won’t be until tomorrow’s post!

Still Cooking (or It’s Almost A Habit)

I’m scared to be too excited about this, but I’m happy to report that I’m still doing a lot of cooking at home. I’m not doing this because I have to for a specific reason (like a diet plan or limiting food options). I’m doing this because I want to.

Most of my cooking is still pretty basic. It’s not as much of a lazy thing, it’s more because I don’t want to have to buy a ton of ingredients or risk a recipe coming out badly. Turkey burgers and sautéed veggies are still a staple for me. It’s super easy and fast to put together and while it isn’t the most flavorful meal it keeps me full. And when I’m getting home late after a workout, I really don’t want to have to spend a long time putting together food.

But when I do have the time, I’m testing more and more recipes so I can have more things that are easy enough to put together and are very tasty. So many cookbooks seem to have dozens of ingredients (and things that I don’t always keep in my house), so I’ve been doing a lot of searching online for recipes that include a lot of what I already have (or something that I decided to pick up at the store that week).

This past weekend while doing my grocery shopping, I decided to pick up some ground beef. I honestly had no plan of what I would do with it, but I figured I could make meatballs or hamburgers or something. So I did some searching online for fun ground beef recipes and what came up most often was meatloaf. I’ve made meatloaf before and it didn’t come out so great because the outside was overcooked and the inside was undercooked. But then I started to do a search for meatloaf muffins and found enough basic recipes to put something together myself.

I made meatloaf (made pretty simply with a pound of ground beef and added a minced onion, diced a red pepper, added some ketchup (about 4 tbs), some Worcestershire sauce (about 1 tbs), a cup of bread crumbs, an egg, and some salt and pepper) and mixed it up pretty well. Then I took a disposable cupcake tin and divided the mixture into 6 portions. I baked it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (I waited until a meat thermometer got to 160 degrees in the middle of one of the muffins) and they looked pretty amazing. I also made smashed potatoes (I microwaved baby potatoes until they were soft, smushed them onto a baking sheet, and baked them with some garlic olive oil while the meatloaf baked) and my food looked pretty incredible.

More Home Cooking

Between the prep time, the baking time, and the time to let things cool down so I could serve myself; it was only about an hour from start to finish (and I was able to do all the dishes while the food was cooking). That’s not bad at all and the food tasted pretty great! The potatoes could have used a bit more olive oil on them (and maybe some actual garlic on them too) and the meatloaf had a bit too much Worcestershire in it, but overall I was pretty happy. And I know the next time I make the meatloaf I’ll add some more veggies in the mix because you couldn’t tell they were in there at all. Maybe I’ll add some mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini since I usually have those in my fridge anyway. And the recipe is pretty easy to double, so I can always make even more and freeze them so I have easy microwave meals on days I’m too tired to cook (instead of having limited time to eat leftovers in the fridge).

I’m seriously proud of myself for cooking when there isn’t a specify reason I have to. This is the start of making cooking more of a habit for me. And I know that this habit has started and stopped for me a couple of times in the past, but this time things are different. I’m not trying to be trendy (by following a specific plan or tying to bulk cook). Those trendy cooking things work for so many people but I guess it doesn’t help me. I just need to cook when I feel like it, allow myself to have easy meals on nights that I don’t, and to have enough variety to not get sick of what I’ve made and want to go and order delivery food instead.

Honey Dijon Chicken (or An Easy Sheet Pan Dinner)

I’ve been seriously slacking on cooking lately. I was doing so great doing bulk cooking and then cooking less often last year. But this year cooking just wasn’t something I felt like doing. I haven’t just been eating freezer meals or delivery, but my cooking was limited to making turkey burgers or something really easy to throw together. And I knew that I needed to get myself back into the cooking game because while I don’t know if I want to cook every night, I do want to eat more home cooked meals.

So the other day I was browsing through Buzzfeed (it’s something I do between customers at one day job after I’m done doing the other day job), and I saw a recipe that looked good to me. So I decided to test it out, and I’m actually super happy with how it tasted! It wasn’t perfect, but the chicken was super juicy and the flavorings were really awesome. So here it is!

Honey Dijon Chicken With Potatoes and Carrots

Honey Dijon Chicken

What you need:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium red bliss potatoes (about ½ lb), roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots (about ½ lb), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or sage leaves, divided
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

And here’s what to do:

  • Remove the chicken breasts from the fridge, dry them with paper towels, and season them with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Place the potatoes and carrots on a large sheet pan and toss them with ½ tablespoon canola oil, ½ tablespoon chopped herbs, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining canola oil, the honey, mustard, the remaining chopped herbs, a big pinch of kosher salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Dry the chicken breasts again with paper towels. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl and toss everything together to coat. Place the chicken on the sheet pan with the vegetables, spreading everything out.

Before the oven

  • Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with no pink in the middle. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 165°F.
  • Let everything rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

Cooked meal

I used more chicken than the recipe asked for (I couldn’t find just 1 lb of chicken breasts at the store), so I decided to do more carrots and potatoes than it asked for as well. And the carrots at my store weren’t looking so great, so I used baby carrots instead. If I was doing this over, I’d cut the baby carrots in half (they were very crisp) and I’d cut the potatoes a bit smaller too. But nothing was tasting raw or not cooked, so I was happy. The only other modification I might do in the future is to change the herbs in it or add garlic since I love garlic so much.

I turned my cooking into 3 servings. I had the first serving on Monday night when I cooked it and then put the other 2 servings into storage containers in my fridge. I know that sometimes leftovers don’t heat up that nicely, but I ate this again yesterday for lunch and it was still just as good as the night before (and I was shocked that the chicken was still juicy and not dry at all).

The fact that this came out so nicely the first time I made it really made me feel great and made me remember how much pride I feel when I cook something from scratch. It’s not easy to do all the time, but I really do want to make more of an effort in the future. And now that I’m feeling more confident in my cooking abilities again, I think I’ll be ok with trying new recipes again (I’m always nervous that I’ll spend a ton of money on ingredients and then the food gets ruined or tastes bad).

I highly recommend this recipe (thanks again Buzzfeed!). It’s a nice meal to make for yourself, but it also looks impressive if you are making it for other people as well. This is definitely going to be saved in my collection of favorite recipes!

Thanksgiving Meal Prep (or Hopefully Everything Tastes Great)

Soon, I’ll be heading down to San Diego to be with my family for Thanksgiving. It’s probably going to be a long drive (a combination of holiday and rush hour traffic), but I’ve got lots of podcasts to keep me company while I’m making the drive.

My mom is making pretty much everything for Thanksgiving this year (technically my family is hosting it at the house we are renting in San Diego), but I really wanted to help out. I know that my mom works hard to get everything done, so if I can do a little of that work for her I know that she’ll have some extra time to be with everyone.

I first offered to make the feta, pine nut, sun-dried tomato dip that I made last year. I know that it’s a pretty easy recipe and that everyone seemed to like it when I made it last year (although I personally think that my mom makes it better than I could ever do). I also said that I’d make the blueberry banana bread since everyone likes that too and it can be breakfast for a couple of days. Then I thought about what else I could make in advance that my family might like. And I decided to make the black bean dip that I love for veggies. I’ve personally been adding salsa to the dip to make it a bit spicy, but it’s doesn’t last as long that way (maybe it’s too watery?) so I made it the normal way.

The only time I’d have before driving down to make all the food was on Sunday, so I made that my cooking day (even though only one thing actually has to be cooked). The first thing I got done was the blueberry banana bread since I figured I could do the dips while it was in the oven. It’s simple enough to make and within about 10 minutes I had that recipe done and in the oven to bake.

Next I worked on the black bean dip. Again, it’s super easy to put it together. I think the most time consuming task was to drain and rinse the beans. I got that done and in a disposable Tupperware container to bring with me.

Then I ran into a big of a snafu. I only have one food processor bowl and both of the dips needed to be made in the food processor. I had washed the bowls for the bread and the food processor after finishing the bean dip, but I used my kitchen towels to dry the bowls (not sure why I did that but I did). So I couldn’t really dry my food processor. So I took a break while that dried and then about an hour later got started on the feta dip.

I’m hoping that the feta dip turned out ok. It seemed more difficult than last year to make. The food processor didn’t want to process it. I had to start and stop several times and try to mash things down myself. I finally got it to look the way I feel it should look (it’s a bit smoother than I like it to be), and it seemed to taste ok to me. It has a few days for the flavors to meld together. Hopefully it just gets better with time.

I know that making 3 things for Thanksgiving is much less than most people have to make. But for someone who has been struggling to make more things from scratch, making 3 things from scratch in one day is a lot! But I think that it all looks pretty good to me!

Thanksgiving Food

Hopefully when my family gets to eat them that they enjoy them! I’ll have to let you all know how it goes when I do my Thanksgiving recaps next week!

The next few days of posts will be written before Thanksgiving, so they won’t totally be Thanksgiving related. But I want to share with you all what I’m thankful for this year, the gift that I had made for my mom that she will be getting tonight, and what my mom, dad, and I worked on to give to everyone in my family this year for Thanksgiving.

Needing To Get Back Into The Kitchen (or Can I Blame The Heat?)

I’ve gotten pretty bad about making my own meals lately. Part of it is because of the heat, part of it has been a laziness thing (I’m embarrassed to admit that). The heat doesn’t look like it will be getting much better anytime soon, so I do need to look up some alternative solutions. I know that eating frozen and already prepared meals is not the answer.

So many of the things I know how to cook do require either the stove or the oven, so I know I don’t want to do those. I’m not a big salad person, but I’m trying to remember some of the salads that I liked to make during the cleanse so I can make those for my meals. I’m also looking at some alternative kitchen gadgets that can help me make healthy meals without having to use any heat appliances.

I recently purchased a spiralizer, which can help me turn vegetables like zucchini and carrots into pasta-like strips. This is very new purchase so I have not had a chance to use it yet. But it didn’t come with a free cookbook and I’m starting to get excited about some of the recipes inside there.

I’ve also been looking at some free cookbook downloads. I don’t have the money to spend on cookbooks right now, so these downloaded cookbooks are really great option for me. I’ve found quite a few of them and I’m keeping them on my computer desktop instead of printing them (maybe I’ll print one or two recipes, but I don’t want to print the entire book).

Cookbook Downloads

I think part of the reason I haven’t been cooking for a while is I feel like I’ve lost some of my inspiration I had in the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking when I was doing it. But now that I’ve stopped, it feels hard to start up again. It’s like workouts. When I was in a groove before, everything was fine. But when I took a break, I always found it very difficult to get back to a regular workout schedule. This may be one of the reasons I’m so scared to do fewer than three workouts a week at Orangetheory. I don’t want to lose the momentum that I’ve worked so hard to get.

Even with the heat making me lazy, I’m still trying to make the best choices that I can even with using frozen foods. I’m not getting the usual low-calorie frozen foods I used to get. There are so many chemicals and things I don’t want to eat in those. I’m focusing on the all-natural frozen foods that I can get at the grocery store (I like Amy’s), mainly those that have ingredients that I can pronounce. That seems to be a guideline that many health websites seem to use for which frozen meals are ok to have.

The one thing that I haven’t slipped back into doing is getting delivery food as often as I have in the past. There are those rare times that I realize that I haven’t eaten in a while, my fridge is a bit empty, and I need to get some dinner. And I don’t want to go to the grocery store with at empty stomach because then I will buy everything I see. In those circumstances, it’s almost safer for me to get delivery food than it is for me to go to the grocery store. But those situations are becoming less and less frequent because I’m getting better about going to the grocery store on the regular and finding things that are good choices to keep in my house.

I hate using the heat as an excuse, but that really does feel like the thing that is the setback for me. I want to believe that when it cools down, I’m going to get back into my routine of cooking at home. But I also know that it’s possible to get into the habit of not cooking at home again. That’s what I’m trying to prevent now.

Hopefully I can break out of my cooking rut (again) and get back on track with preparing my own food and eating as healthy as I can.

Black Bean Dip (or Another Super Easy Dip Recipe!)

2 recipe posts in one week! Who have I become?!?

All joking aside, I needed to find another recipe that would work for my lunches. While I’ve been happy with apples and nut butter or a salad for a while, I’m looking for other options. It didn’t help that my salad the other day was ruined by almost all the vegetables having gone bad (I have no idea how that happened).

So I was trying to think of what else I could do with uncooked veggies or fruit (since that is what I eat for lunches on the cleanse). I love having dips with veggies, but most of them have ingredients that I cannot have like dairy. And while having guacamole would be amazing, I needed something with more protein.

So I did some searching on Pinterest and found this black bean dip that seemed super easy to make! It’s from Edible Perspective and it is super yummy! I might even make this when I am making dips to bring to Thanksgiving!

Super Easy (and Vegan) Black Bean Dip

What You Need:

Bean Dip Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper (I had to skip this because salt and pepper are not allowed on the cleanse)

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

smoked paprika (optional)

What To Do:

In a food processor, pulse the garlic clove until it’s finely chopped.

Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper/cayenne if needed.

Making Bean Dip

Refrigerate and enjoy!

Finished Bean Dip

Seriously, that’s it! It really does need the salt and it’s a little bland without it. But after this week is over I can add salt back into my diet.

I’ve seen a lot of other recipes online for black bean dip that have salsa added to it, but I don’t know if I’ll do that. But I do like the idea of adding things like onion, tomatoes, and red pepper into this mix. Again, something to try when I made this again (which will probably be this weekend!).

I ate this dip for lunch yesterday with some carrots and celery. Celery is a new vegetable in my life lately. I hated it raw for so long, but I forced myself to try it again. And with this dip (or nut butter), it isn’t so bad.

Bean Dip Lunch

I love that I’m discovering new recipes that are cleanse-friendly but also something that I can see myself making even when the cleanse is all done. It makes me think that I can keep up the weight loss that I’ve experienced on the cleanse (although most likely not at the same speed) even after I’m done. The more healthy options I know how to make myself, the better!

Vegan Portabella Mushroom Pizza (or Testing Out A New Recipe)

I’ve been eating a lot of the same things for dinner while on the cleanse. While it’s great because I’m getting the right number of calories and nutrients, I know that I can’t keep this up for forever.

I’ve tried doing a little experimenting with my food and it’s all been pretty successful. But I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

I had seen portabella mushroom pizzas on Pinterest a lot, but I’ve never been motivated enough to try them. I had to make them with soy-free vegan cheese (made from peas) to make this cleanse-friendly. But I will totally make this again with real cheese!

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

What you need:

Mushroom Pizza Ingredients

Portabella mushroom caps

Pizza or marinara sauce

Cheese

Whatever toppings you like (I had olives, onions, garlic, and spinach)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to about 375.

Clean and prep the mushroom. Clean off the outside with a damp cloth and then remove the stem and gills from the inside. I used a spoon and it worked pretty well.

Step 1

Put the mushrooms on a foil-lined baking sheet. I saw online that by making little cups for the mushrooms to sit on, they wouldn’t get as soggy.

Step 2

Take some of the pizza or marinara sauce and spread it on the mushroom.

Step 3

Cover the sauce with the cheese and then add your toppings.

Step 4 Step 5

Once the oven is at the correct temperature, stick them in to bake. I kept mine in about 15 minutes and I think they could have used a bit more time. But a good judge is once the cheese is browning and bubbly, it’s ready.

Step 6

I made a few decisions with my pizzas that could be considered mistakes (too much sauce, not enough toppings, not baking them enough), but honestly it was still very yummy! With a few adjustments, this recipe will definitely be in a regular rotation at my house.

I’m still so shocked that I’ve gone from never really cooking to cooking every day (and making up my own recipes!). This is such a positive change in my life and I’m looking forward to continuing it even after the cleanse is done this week.

A Day Of Being Vegan (or What Do I Actually Eat On The Cleanse)

I’ve had lots of people ask me what exactly I eat (or what I’m allowed to eat) while I’m on this cleanse. While I do share pictures online of some foods that I’m enjoying, I figured I would break it down meal by meal.

This breakdown doesn’t include the tonics or detox drinks I’m having. Those are spread throughout the day. At the phase I’m in now, I have a detox drink when I wake up, a liver tonic between breakfast and lunch, another detox drink 2 hours after lunch, another liver tonic about 90 minutes after my last detox drink, and my bowel tonic about 2 hours after dinner. I mix all the drinks and tonics with orange juice, so that’s something I’m consuming over the course of the day that I’m not including on this meal breakdown.

For breakfast, we are supposed to have fresh fruit of smoothies. While I’m getting much better about being lazy in the kitchen, I don’t want to bother with making a smoothie in the morning. It’s too much effort for what I want. My old breakfast was toast with peanut butter. I’m not a huge breakfast person normally and while I’m being careful on the cleanse, I’m keeping that pattern.

Most days, I just eat a banana for breakfast. After having my detox drink in the morning, I’m pretty full so a banana is perfect. Sometimes I get a little fancier with my fruit.

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I really like cantaloupe and strawberries and when I find some good ones, I love to add them to my breakfasts. But lately the selection is pretty bad, so I’m just eating my bananas.

For lunch, it’s supposed to be something that is not cooked (I like this since normally I am preparing lunch between working with clients on the phone or on chat for my box office job). I started out making broccoli slaw salads, but I quickly tired of broccoli slaw. Now, I’m eating either an apple with cashew butter and a little salad or a big salad.

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I’m not a big lettuce person (I try and unless it’s got some sort of dairy on it I just don’t love lettuce), so my salads are pretty much tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, avocado, and walnuts. Then I top it with balsamic vinegar (I use good vinegar so I don’t feel the need to add oil). I also eat some dried apricots with my lunch most days. I forgot how much I love them and they add a perfect sweet touch to my lunches.

On days that I work out, I eat a small handful of cashews before going to my workout to add little extra protein and energy. I really need it on my workout days and even though I’m not supposed to snack on this plan, I have to do what allows me to work out and not feel sick and light-headed.

Dinners are a cooked meal. I’m eating a lot of rice and beans bowls. I think of them almost as my own version of Chipotle (which I love!).

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Most dinners have sautéed onions, zucchini, and squash. Sometimes I add mushrooms or red peppers to the mix. I just sauté them down in the pan with a tiny spray of Pam (no oil). I cook them until they are pretty brown (I don’t mind them if they are overcooked). Then I put them onto a bowl of brown rice and black beans. Most of the time, I top this with avocado.

Last night, I tried a new dinner (it wasn’t the prettiest thing so I didn’t take photos). Potatoes are allowed on this plan, but when I made a baked potato earlier in the cleanse I didn’t like it. I’m used to using greek yogurt with some spices as a sour cream substitute and I missed that. So last night, I diced up a potato and cooked it in the microwave for about 4 minutes to soften the pieces up. Then I added the almost cooked potato to a pan with an entire sweet onion in it. I cooked it down until the potatoes were nice and browned and the onions were almost caramelized. It was so yummy and reminded me of hash browns!

That’s pretty much my meal breakdown! It’s a little boring and I’m figuring out how I will start adding things back into my diet in about 2 weeks (I think dairy will come first). But as you can see, I’m not starving or just drinking shakes on this plan. It is all “real” food and I’m eating quite a bit to make sure my calories don’t dip too low.

A lot of what I’m eating now will continue to be meals for me. I’m finding out that the amounts that I’m eating are working for me and while I want to add some things back (mainly dairy and eggs), I don’t feel deprived. It’s so funny how this cleanse has changed my mindset on what my body really needs to have each day. Things that I thought I had to keep in my diet (like my toast in the morning so my stomach didn’t get too upset) are no longer important to me.

One of the reasons that people go on this cleanse is to get clarity in their life (weight loss is just a bonus). I’m getting to see the results that this clarity brings to me and it’s really awesome!

Honey-Dijon Pork (or Inventing My Own Recipe)

Since I was getting a little bored with basic chicken every week when I did my bulk cooking, I decided to spice things up a bit this week. I did a lot of searching online for ideas that seemed yummy and easy.

I found a lot of great ideas, but they all took so many ingredients! So I decided to take the ideas that I was finding online and simplifying them to make it something that I wouldn’t have to buy a ton of ingredients for.

And this is what I came up with.

Honey-Dijon Pork Chops

What You Need:

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Dijon Mustard

Honey

Garlic

Pork Chops

Here’s What To Do (it’s seriously so simple!)

Put the pork chops in a zip bag.

Measure out about 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard and pour into the bag.

Measure out about the same amount of honey and pour into the bag.

Finely chop some garlic (I used 2 cloves because I love garlic!) and put that into the bag.

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Zip up the bag and let most of the air out. Then massage the mustard/honey/garlic mixture all over the pork chops.

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Put the bag into the fridge and let it sit for about an hour or two.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 425.

Take each pork chop out of the bag and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Pepper the top and bottom on each pork chop.

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Cook in the oven until they are done (for me it took about 25 minutes).

Take them out of the oven and set them onto a chopping board or other surface to rest (you don’t want them to stay on the hot baking sheet or they will continue to cook).

Since I was doing this for bulk cooking, I portioned out my pork into my dinner containers (I forgot to get a picture of how beautiful they looked before I cut them up).

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Seriously, that’s it! They were so delicious, flavorful, and juicy! When I made them, I used closer to 1/2 cup of the mustard and honey and that was way too much. There was so much marinade on the pork when I removed them from the bag that I had to wipe them off a little.

I’ve had this for the past 2 days so far, and I’m really enjoying it! You can probably use the same marinade for chicken and maybe for fish as well.

This will totally be a part of my regular food planning from now on and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have!

Seriously, I can’t believe how far I’ve come in my cooking over the last month. I started out scared to cook at all and now I’m creating my own recipes!