Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (cleanse friendly)

Hello Everyone! It is day 19 of  cleansing, I’ll be done this Wednesday!  I feel great and have learned some really great new recipes using different grains, new vinaigrettes, new salads, soups, protein boosters and I can say I’m a new tofu fan!  I will definitely be using a lot of these new techniques well past the cleanse and try to keep it as healthy as I can throughout the year, and of course some indulgences along the way!  This past weekend I was craving buttery, sweet homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I knew if I could make the cleanse friendly pancakes then there was a way to make cookies.  So no eggs, flour, butter or refined white sugar– all the great things in a normal cookie needed to be removed but still taste great, was going to be another challenge.  I found a pretty good recipe using coconut oil, which I took as the butter substitute.  I didn’t have coconut oil but  I did have almond butter and thought this might be a good alternative and it worked out great! I used almond meal, oat flour , vegetable oil, pure maple syrup, flax seeds and dark chocolate chips.  I like the combo of oat flour and almond meal but you could easily just use almond meal and no oat flour.  These tasted so good! I only waited a minute or two for them to cool because I love the fresh out of the oven taste with the dark chips melting in my mouth!  I dipped mine in almond milk.  It’s the perfect guilt free dessert! Enjoy

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (cleanse friendly)

1 1/2 cups Almond Meal

1/2 cup Oat Flour  (alternatively you can skip the oat flour and do 2 cups of Almond meal)

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons almond butter

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons of flaxseed

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl (flours, salt, baking soda)

2. Then using a wooden spoon stir in the oil, syrup, almond butter, flaxseed and vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Using a small scooper drop rounds of dough onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Flattened dough with a fork or spoon.

4.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Enjoy with Almond or soy milk!

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Adapted from this site: Vegan Cookies


Egg Free, Wheat free and Dairy free Pancakes

I love pancakes, like really love pancakes. While on my cleanse I didn’t think it was possible to have pancakes. I figured even if I got whole grain or wheat free flours, how was it possible without an egg to make it nice and fluffy. And I wanted it to still taste like a good ol’ pancake should. I did some research on pintrest, and of course there are boards of egg free pancakes. Most of the recipes I found had oil and butter. Oil I can use, butter I could not. Then I remembered these chocolate muffins I made from the book Naturally Thin from Bethenny Frankel, she used applesauce in place of eggs in this recipe. The recipe was great and worked perfectly. (recipe here:http://www.bethenny.com/2011/03/08/low-fat-fudge-chocolate-chip-muffins/) So I figured the oil and applesauce could work here in place of an egg. I love cornmeal in my pancakes so I know I wanted that, I had oat flour and on my recent trip to Trader Joe’s I purchased almond meal. Almond meal is ground whole almonds and it works great in cakes and other baking applications. The 3 flours, cinnamon, vanilla and applesauce made a really amazing pancake. And a very guilt free pancake! When on a cleanse its not about being starving and taking away all the things you love to eat, it takes a little work but you can still enjoy some of your favorites. Try this great and easy recipe!

First combine the 3 flours, raw sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and pinch of salt
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Use unsweetened natural applesauce
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Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. I used almond milk, but you could use any other nut milk or soy milk.

Heat on medium and spray with cooking oil. I found coconut spray at Trader Joes!
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Once it bubbles, flip and start to stack. These are going to be a little darker because of the flours. I drizzled mine with a tablespoon of pure maple syrup I got at a local farmers market.
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Egg free, Wheat free and Dairy Free Pancakes

1/2 c oat flour
1/2 c almond meal
1/4 cup of cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teas. cinnamon
2 TBS unsweetened apple sauce
1 c almond milk
1 teas. vanilla
1 TBS vegetable or olive oil

1. Combine oat, almond and cornmeal in a bowl. Add baking powder, cinnamon sugar and a pinch of salt.
2. Whisk in milk, vanilla, oil, and applesauce. Mix well
3. Transfer the pancake mix to a measuring cup for easy pouring into the pan, alternatively you could us a 1/4 measuring cup to keep your pancakes the same size.
4. Heat skillet to medium heat. Pour batter into pan and cook until tiny bubbles start to form. Flip with a spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat. Enjoy with fruit and a little sprinkle of powdered sugar or a tablespoon of pure maple syrup!

Scottish Oatmeal with Flaxseed, Clementine peel, All spice, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Honey

I have had all the oats; rolled, instant, steel-cut, and Scottish, and I have found a true winner. In terms of consistency, time cooked, and taste, Scottish oatmeal blows the competition away. It is true oatmeal, what I mean by this is that this is the true form of oatmeal or porridge (original name) many years ago there were not machines to break down or roll oatmeal, so it was grinded into a meal. Therefore making it the least processed and healthiest along with steel cut oatmeal. I jumped on the steel-cut bandwagon because it was the least processed and healthier than rolled or instant oats. It just took SO long to cook and after all that cooking, it was still hard or just not as soft as I would like my oatmeal to be. But because I needed it for cleansing and my mantra of eating less processed foods I continued to buy it. Until one day I was browsing a specialty market and there it was, Scottish oatmeal. I had never heard of it, but it was a whole grain and wasn’t rolled, so it has the same benefits as steel-cut oatmeal, and it cooked in half the time, so I figured I should try it. Because Scottish oatmeal is not rolled or cut, but ground up into a meal it makes for much better consistency, and cooking time is around 8-10 minutes. For further explanation on the difference between these different types of oatmeal check out this article from Bob’s Redmill (rolled, instant, steel-cut, Scottish?)

So I loaded up on the Scottish oatmeal for the cleanse and made up a batch on Sunday morning. I love putting whole spices right into my oatmeal for maximum flavor. I had allspice, nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick. I wanted something with citrus so I thought of an orange, but I didn’t have any, I did however have clementine and figured it would do the trick. If I don’t have an exact ingredient I always find an alternative from something I already have, in the end it always works out. I added some flax seeds for that extra crunch (and amazing health benefits). The combination was a breakfast home run. All the flavors came together in a subtle yet refreshing way with nothing over powering the other. In the words of our favorite little fairytale theif, it was “just right”, Goldilocks herself would have jumped all over this porridge, seriously it is that good. The piping hot oatmeal filled my kitchen with smells of warm spices and citrus it reminded me of apple pie baking in a hot oven. Each bite got better and better, and I was sad when my bowl was empty. I have never been this excited about oatmeal before, this was just that amazingly delicious.

Bob’s Redmill products has never failed me and everything is whole and minimally processed.
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Boil your water with salt, whole allspice, freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon stick and a couple slices of orange or clementine peel.

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Now add your oats and milk (almond, soy, cow, goat)

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And a drizzle of honey or raw sugar

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Let cook for about 10 minutes. The result; soft, creamy, sweet oatmeal = Breakfast heaven

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Scottish Oatmeal with Flaxseed, Clementine peel, Nutmeg, Allspice, Cinnamon and Honey

1 cup of Scottish Oatmeal
3 cups of water
3 TBS of whole flaxseed
1/2 milk (I used almond)
5 all spice berries
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 slices of clementine or orange peel
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
A drizzle or two of honey (1-2 teaspoons) or raw sugar
Opt: few dashes of vanilla or almond extract

1. Add water to a small saucepot and let boil along with a pinch of salt, whole spices and grated nutmeg. NOTE: You can do this a couple different ways. I like to add my spices to the pot and let it cook with my oatmeal and I don’t mind picking everything out at the end (lazy method). Another way is to steep your spices in the milk first, heat your milk, then let the spices sit in the milk for about 15 minutes, drain your milk with fine mesh strainer, and you can now add flavored milk to the oatmeal pot (chef-y method). You can also wrap your spices in cheese cloth and stick that in the pot with the boiling water and can stay in the pouch until the end of cooking (smart cook method). Your choice!
2. Once the water is boiling, add the oatmeal and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. Turn heat down to medium/low and let cook for about 10 minutes.
3. Drizzle honey, stir and serve

Spicy Tomato & Kale Soup

Cleanse or no cleanse this soup is a keeper.  It’s just so delicious and healthy, and perfect for  that cold winter or a rainy day in the house.  It is so easy to make and it takes all of 45 minutes from start to finish.  If you don’t make much soup at home this is a great “starter” soup to try.  When I first started making this soup, which I adapted from Rachael Ray’s Creamy Tomato Soup (found here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/quick-creamy-tomato-soup-recipe/index.html) I always used to add spinach and spicy peperoni, which you can still do if your not on my 21 day cleanse with me, but I wanted to switch it up with kale because I love the earthy flavor it adds, especially in a soup .  From my initial cleanse shopping I purchased chickpeas and added a half cup and i’m so glad I did, it was a great accompaniment to the kale and tomatoes.  Also for my non cleansers, please do yourself a favor a make a grilled cheese sandwich to dunk in the soup, you will thank me later! Like I said earlier, this soup is very simple, the only chopping involved is cutting up onion, garlic and the kale.  I like it rustic and usually rough chop everything but you can cut as fine as you would like!

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I like to lay out everything I need to get to the end result faster, and stay organized. In cooking school we call this a mise-en-place
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Now your ready to start cooking. You let the onions and garlic cook together in olive oil for about 5 minutes, then add the kale and keep stirring until the kale wilts down a bit, another 4-5 minutes.
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Add your diced and crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy your pallet is you can add as little to as much as you want), beans, salt and pepper. I also added a few dashes of my favorite hot sauce, feel free to do the same.
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Spicy Tomato & Kale Soup
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 onion chopped
4-6 garlic cloves chopped
2 cups of Kale, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of chickpeas
3 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of red pepper flake
Optional: few dashes of your favorite pepper sauce

1. Heat a deep pot on medium-low heat and when hot add your onions and garlic, cook for 5-8 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the kale to the pot and stir and cook for another 5 minutes. The kale will wilt down a bit.
2. Add the crushed and diced tomatoes to the pot and stir everything together. Add your crushed red pepper flakes and hot sauce if using, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add vegetable stock and chickpeas, then cover the pot and let cook for 15 minutes.
4. Serve in bowls with rice crackers (if your cleansing) or crusty bread, grilled cheese or crackers. ENJOY

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The 21 day Cleanse

The holiday season has come to an end, and as cliché as it is, its time to get rid of all the bad eating habits I have developed over this holiday season. All the ham, cakes, cookies, chocolate, macaroni and cheese, meats, cheeses and bread has made me feel so bloated and left me with zero energy to do much of anything. This was the perfect time to start a cleanse that I did with a few family members a few years ago. I used to watch The Oprah Show everyday with my mother and on one of her shows she started this 21 day cleanse. She got the idea from a book called Quantum Wellness by author and spiritual counselor, Kathy Freston. I remember at the time thinking this is something I can really do because even though you are cutting out the really good stuff, there was still plenty to eat. And it was fun to follow along Oprah blogging what she was eating, it was like we were doing it together. (okay ill admit it tiny obsession with Oprah) I got through it before and haven’t done it since so I figured this would be the perfect time to start, and track what I’m eating with some really great recipes to try. So here is how the cleanse works: For 21 days you must eliminate complex carbohydrates, meat (any animal products), dairy, sugar (natural sweeteners are permitted ex: agave, honey) caffeine and alcohol. I know that seems like a lot but it is very doable! This is the type of cleanse that will reset your body and set you up on a path to really good whole food eating for the rest of the year.

Yes, there is a lot of food you are probably very use to in your diet that you can’t eat but lets think glass half full here because there is still a lot you CAN eat. You just have to be organized and plan out your meals in advanced. First get a shopping list together. Yesterday I did a little shopping to get started and I wanted to get stuff in case I got stuck in the house with this looming snow storm coming. Here what I got; Kale, parsley, garlic, apples, oranges, garbanzo beans, black beans, crushed and whole tomatoes, rice crackers, brown rice, natural peanut butter, honey, tofu, almond milk and steel cut oatmeal. You can eat all vegetables and fruit, stick to leafy dark greens like kale, spinach or mustard greens, these vegetables will give you fiber and keep you full longer, in place of dairy you can get soy milk or any nut milk like almond or hazelnut (also very easy to make your own, will post a recipe later on!) beans, whole grain brown rice, udon noodles or rice noodles, vegetable stock for soup bases, corn or bean pasta, tofu, potatoes and the list goes on.

The key to making your dishes really tasty and different are going to be different sauces and flavors you add to your food. This is super important, I will be using ginger, rice wine vinegar, coconut milk, Asian fish sauce, pepper sauce, cumin, smoked paprika, Chimichurri sauce (a flavorful green sauce from Argentina) fresh vinaigrettes and so on. This will make your dishes pop and you will want to make these dishes well past the 21 days!

So who is with me? Lets do this together and break our attachments to certain foods. My biggest attachments are bread and cheese, this will be hard for me but I don’t want to be attached to any one food so im happy to break the attachment. What will be your biggest challenge? Share in the comments below. First up, for dinner tonight tomato soup with kale, I will post recipe and pictures tomorrow along with everything else I ate for the day. Good luck everyone!