Monday, April 30, 2012

Farmer's Market Fixation

I adore going to the Farmer’s Market. I eagerly await Saturday morning every week when I can jump out the covers, grab my basket and thermos brimming with local coffee, and briskly bounce a mile or so to Cherry Street. I let the whole market envelope me with its smells, early morning smiles, cute children groggy with bed head (my son and husband are included in this bunch), and the sweet smells from strawberries and sun kissed flowers.

I am daydreaming drearily as I write this post dear readers because alas it is but Monday and I have days ahead before I can indulge in my farmer’s market fixation again. Maybe the few photos from Saturday will sate me until then, and to sate you…how about carrot juice? I couldn’t think of a better and clean way to use up a bunch of carrots! I had a little glass myself yesterday and am craving another! I know my basket will be piled with a few bunches this weekend and definitely some more strawberries which didn't last longer than 2 days between the three of us.

Now if that juice and these pictures don't satisfy you, I beg for a day or two to refine a devilish delight I have been toying with in my kitchen. I won’t disappoint my friends!

à bientôt.

Breathtaking Flowers!

Luna Bread's enticing options on Saturday! Loved seeing more gluten free on the street!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Spring in My Step

The weather is warm, the trees budding, the flowers blooming…spring is here and for once I am welcoming its presence instead of cursing my allergic reactions. I don’t even mind the nose drips or the dry eyes that consume me while devouring the delicious delights of mother earth. Maybe it’s the calming strolls in the dewy grass of the nearby park in the early morning, or the blissful breezes that brush against your skin while running. Or maybe it’s the invigorating bubble in your soul that flickers excitingly with the sounds of rebirth. Whatever the reason, consider me a changed woman when it comes to my thoughts on the season.

Another reason to adore spring? Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available to remedy any dinner! I am breathing better (despite the pollen) and thinking more clearly about what dish will satisfy our hunger pains. I don’t despise cooking on the spot, hunkering down in the hot ovens while the winter chill baits me, but rather indulge in the process while basking in the spring winds that flow through the open French doors into my kitchen, spreading the aromas throughout the house like wild fire.

Last night’s dinner was a product of my husband’s craving and imagination. A brown rice pasta base smoothly snuggled with warm puttanesca, roasted asparagus, cremini mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes. It’s early in the morning and yet I could definitely take another bowl down right now. Simple and satisfying without weighing too heavily on a tummy recovering from a fast evening sprint.

Spring Puttanesca Pasta
This recipe can easily be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. We had store bought puttanesca in the pantry but of course making your own would be fantastic! I had some leftover asparagus from the farmers market so I baked it quickly for some green nutrition. Makes 4 servings.

• ¾ bag Tinkanyada Brown Rice Pasta
• 2 chopped tomatoes
• 6 cremini mushrooms sliced
• I bunch asparagus
• Salt & pepper
• Garlic and herb seasoning
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 1 red bell pepper, slicked
   ½ jar puttanesca sauce
Toss asparagus with a little olive oil, garlic and herb seasoning, and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the asparagus bakes, bring a large pot of water, 2 tbs olive oil, and pinch of salt to a boil. Add pasta and cool for 13-15 minutes.

In a saucepan add mushroom and red pepper tossed in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and cook until soft. Drain pasta and add back into the pot with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauce. Mix well and divide up into four bowls. Top with asparagus (chopped if you please) and serve!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nirvana Asparagus & Strawberry Salad

Yesterday was fruit and veggie nirvana. I felt inspired, light, and maybe a little light headed but nonetheless content. I love the energy I get from vegetables, the spikes of happy juice from fruits. Talk about getting down to earth!

I bought many vegetables to roast and rummage through throughout the day which eventually brought me to dinner. I couldn’t decide if I was craving something savory or sweet. So I got a little selfish and satisfied both!

After examining the fresh local spread in my refrigerator I plucked the plump local strawberries and ostentatiously green asparagus from the crisper and set to work. What followed was so tempting it felt sinful and heavenly at the same time. Roasted asparagus sprinkled with herbs and roasted to fork tender perfection. Ripe ruby red strawberries sliced thin, waiting to be married with its merry partner. Ah my mouth begins to pool with drool just remembering the burst of flavor that flooded on first bite. A dish that would sate any palette at any time of the day. Have I teased you enough?

Well if that is not enough to convince you, it took only 15 minutes to make and mate the two contenders and quite less to devour. A perfect spring simplicity that dotes on every taste bud.

Roasted Asparagus and Strawberry Salad
This salad was easy to throw together and tastes like you spent a pretty penny. As long as you use equal parts of both ingredients you can make it as large as you want. This recipe below was overly filling for one and would make a great side dish for two!

• 1 bunch asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
• Mr. dash garlic and herb (no sodium) seasoning
• Strawberries, sliced thin

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse your asparagus and trim the bottoms. Toss in the olive oil and seasoning to coat. Lay flat on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes, tossing once.

Slice strawberries, and chop roasted asparagus. Eat a couple right off the baking sheet while your husband looks away...then toss together and enjoy!!

Still craving ASPARAGUS recipes? Check out Carole's featured asparagus recipes on her blog this week!
Carole's Food on Fridays

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wonder Soup!

I look at the title of this soup and automatically the superhero chime dings along side it in my head. And here it is…WONDER SOOOUUUP. No? You didn’t get that bouncing melody while reading it? My overactive imagination must be in high gear today. Maybe it is from the large potato I consumed for my breakfast this morning. Honestly it wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be…I just should have “baked” it in the microwave versus baking in my oven. 1 hour and I couldn’t call breakfast well done.

Potato insides that are tougher than my stubborn streak aside, I am delighted to share with you this delicious and healthy recipe acquired from our GM diet. If I don’t get anything out of this week besides this soup recipe I’ll be satisfied. I will definitely be adding this soup to my weekly menu as it is fiber packed and simple to throw in your crock pot OR stock pot. But you know which one I chose already right?

WONDERful Detox Soup
A versatile veggie soup based off the GM diet’s Wonder Soup, you won’t have any trouble filling up with one fill of your bowl! I cut the recipe in half and put it in the crock pot to slow simmer all afternoon. You can put whatever veggies you like but my advice is to not skip the cabbage! It was my favorite addition.

Ingredients• ½ head cabbage, julienned
• 1 can Amy’s Organic whole fire roasted tomatoes
• I bunch celery, chopped
• 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
• 1 packet Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup Mix
• 24 ounces water
• Kosher salt & pepper
• 1 green pepper, sliced
• 3 large onions, sliced

I combined all the ingredients in the crockpot and simmered on high for 5 hours. It was delicious! It made 4 servings so much to munch on for tonight and tomorrow. You can add other vegetables to your liking to switch it up and keep your taste buds from boredom.

Diet Diary Update

Today I honestly don’t feel much different...yet. My husband and his fellow male companions have already dropped a few pounds. Oh you men and you're easy peasy attempts at dropping LBs. Hopefully I will follow suit with at least feeling lighter. My goal has never really to pipe down the scale but rather feel a different fit when zipping my dress up, or taking on a long run with ease due to a heatlhier diet.
I can’t complain about all the yummy food I get to eat though and definitely have not felt deprived. I think I may have overdosed on the fruit yesterday but it just made me want all these veggies today.

Toasting my tea to you dear readers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Cleaning...for the Body!

Have you started your spring cleaning? I take extreme precautions on when to start mine these days and know not to touch my fleece and feather trimmed dresses until at least the middle of April. In the past years when I have finally moved all my winter weather wear into storage the weather has inevitably turned icy, mocking my attempt to jump start on organizing. I refuse to be fooled by the Oklahoma weather this year my friends and will keep super superstitious.

While pondering my start date I got to thinking about spring cleaning and the extreme gratification I feel after, and decided that I can apply it to other parts of my life. Enter the GM CLEANSE DIET. My husband wanted to “jump start” his diet regime and decided this was just the ticket. Passed down from his boss who had great success, the diet’s outline landed in my mitten free hands on Friday. Still not touching those clothes my dears. It intrigued me although I am both a skeptic and cynic with “cure all diets”. Nevertheless, I will give you one guess on who his fellow cheerleader/motivator is…

Me. Anti-fan of fad diets Me. Nevertheless, he needs a partner in crime and well you all know by now that I am always a willing guinea pig. Best part? The diet is gluten free so I didn’t have to do any leg work there. Worst part? I am starving right now. My Inspiration? Curiosity and a white bathing suit I will be slipping into in 2 weeks. Scottsdale here I come!

delicious local strawberries for inspiration today
We started the diet today and I am keeping my fingers, toes, and bikini strings crossed that it is a success. I will let you know how it goes friends! To join me on my journey see the detailed instructions below. I have included the vegetarian version at the bottom, which I will be following since I personally feel better with a plant based focus diet.

I have the special soup in the pot as we speak and will report back with photos and feelings in the next couple days. Hopefully with a little less of pooch ;) I will also let you know any alterations I make for better/worse.
PS- winter clothing still snug as a bug and holding up permanent residence in my downstairs closet for one more week. I advise you to follow my lead fellow Oklahomans.

This plan can be used as often as you like without any fear of complications. It is designed to flush your system of impurities and give you a feeling of well being. After seven days you will begin to feel lighter because you will be lighter by at least 10 lbs. You will have an abundance of energy and an improved disposition.

During the first seven days you must abstain from all alcohol
You must drink 10 glasses of water each day

Day One All fruits except bananas. Your first day will consist of all the fruits you want. It is strongly suggested that you consume lots of melons the first day. Especially watermelon and a loupe. If you limit your fruit consumption to melons, your chances of losing three lbs. on first day are very good.

Day Two All vegetables. You are encouraged to eat until you are stuffed with all the raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. There is no limit on the amount or type. For your complex carbohydrate, you will start day two with a large baked potato for breakfast. You may top the potato with one pat of butter.

Day Three A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice. Any amount, any quantity. No bananas yet. No potatoes today.

Day Four Bananas and milk. Today you will eat as many as eight bananas and drink three glasses of milk. This will be combined with the special soup which may be eaten in limited quantities.

Day Five Today is feast day. You will eat beef and tomatoes. Eat two 10 oz. portions of lean beef. Hamburger is OK. Combine this with six whole tomatoes. On day five you must increase your water intake by one quart. This is to cleanse your system of the uric acid you will be producing.

Day Six Beef and vegetables. Today you may eat an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables. Eat to your hearts content.

Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

Tomorrow morning you will be 10-17 lbs. lighter than one week ago. If you desire further weight loss, repeat the program again. You may repeat this program as often as you like, however, it is suggested that you are allowed two glasses of white wine in addition to the instructions on the program. You may substitute champagne for white wine. Under no circumstances are you to drink any other alcoholic beverages with the exception of beer which is allowed. Any liquor (bourbon, vodka, rum) is forbidden. Cream drinks are especially forbidden. You may have an occasional cordial such as crème de menthe or schnapps, but you must always limit yourself to two drinks. If you wine, drink only wine that day. If you have beer, drink only beer that day, etc. Alcohol adds empty calories to your diet. However, after the first week it will help your digestion and settle your stomach.

G.M.’S Wonder Soup

The following soup is intended as a supplement to your diet. It can be eaten any time of the day in virtually unlimited quantities. You are encouraged to consume large quantities of this soup.
28 oz, Water, 6 Large Onions, 2 Green Peppers, Whole Tomatoes (fresh or canned), 1 Head Cabbage, 1 Bunch Celery, 4 Envelopes Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Herbs and Flavoring as desired.

Additional Comments

Vegetables as may be taken in the form of a salad if desired. No dressing except malt, white or wine vinegar, squeezed lemon, garlic, herbs. No more than one tea spoon of oil.

You have been given a recipe for the WONDER SOUP which can be eaten in unlimited quantities. This soup is a supplement while you are on the program and it should be a pleasure to eat. Not everyone likes cabbage, green peppers, calory etc. This recipe is not inflexible. You may substitute vegetables according to your taste. You may add any vegetables you like: asparagus, peas, corn, turnips, green beans, cauliflower, etc. Try to stay away from beans (lima, pinto, kidney, etc.), however, because they tend to be high in calories even though they are very good for you.

Beverages you may consume while on the program :

1. Water (flavoured with lemon/lime if desired).
2. Club Soda is OK.
3. Black Coffee. No cream or cream substitute. No sugar or sweetness.
4. Black Tea = Herb or Leaf.
5. Absolutely nothing else except the fruit juices which are part of day seven. No fruit juices before day seven.

How and Why It Works

Day One you are preparing your system for the upcoming program. Your only source of nutrition is fresh or canned fruits. Fruits are nature’s perfect food. They provide everything you could possibly want to sustain life except total balance and variety.

Day Two starts with a fix of complex carbohydrates coupled with an oil dose. This is taken in the morning for energy and balance. The rest of day two consists of vegetables which are virtually calorie free and provide essential nutrients and fiber.

Day Three eliminates the potato because you get your carbohydrates from the fruits. You system is now prepared to start burning excess pounds. You will still have cravings which should start to diminish by day four.

Day Four, bananas, milk and soup sound the strangest and least desirable. You’re in for a surprise. You probably will not eat all the bananas allowed. But they are there for the potassium you have lost and the sodium you may have missed the past three days. You will notice a definite loss of desire for sweets. You will be surprised how easy this day will go.

Day Five, Beef and tomatoes. The beef is for iron and proteins, the tomatoes are for digestion and fiber. Lots and lots of water purifies your system. You should notice colorless urine today. Your allowance calls for the equivalent of five “quarter ponders”. Do not feel you have to eat all this beef. You must eat the six tomatoes.

Day Six is similar to day five, Iron and proteins from beef, Vitamins and fiber from vegetables. By now your system is in a total weight loss inclination. There should be a noticeable difference in the way you look today, compared to day one.

Day Seven finished off the program like a good cigar used to finish off Victorian meals, except much healthier. You have your system under control and it should thank you for the flushing and cleaning you just gave it.

Schedule for GM Diet Vegetarian

Similar to the typical GM Diet, the vegetarian version of GM diet also requires you to follow a seven-day schedule.

Day 1 Only fruits. Just like in the regular GM diet, only fruits are allowed to be consumed on the first day. All fruits can be consumed in generous quantities except for bananas, as they are high in carbohydrates and potassium. Water intake should also be observed at 10-12 glasses during the whole day.

Day 2 The second day involves potato and vegetables. A cup of baked potato would serve as the body’s main energy source for the day, and then it can be followed up with vegetable dishes during lunch and dinner. Vegetable soup is highly powerful during this day, as it provides all the energy the body would need.

Day 3 Fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables may be served the whole day, from breakfast to dinner, including midday snacks. Fruit juice can also be taken aside from water, although no bananas or potatoes are allowed.

Day 4 Bananas and milk. Banana and milk combos may be consumed all day, with vegetable soup servings during lunch and dinner. Banana and milk may be taken in the form of shakes, during breakfast and midday snacks.

Day 5 Brown rice and tomatoes. Instead of beef, brown rice is used on Day 5. One cup of rice is good to last for the day together with tomatoes in order to induce cleansing.

Day 6 Brown rice and vegetables. On this day mixed vegetables may be consumed all day, together with one cup of rice.

Day 7 Up to two cups of brown rice may be consumed, together with fruit and vegetable servings.