Food Lover’s Cleanse with Bon Appetit

For the past couple of years I’ve kicked off January with Bon Appetit’s “Food Lover’s Cleanse.” It’s not too strict of a cleanse, but limits alcohol, processed white carbs, dairy, red meat, and added sugar. I was too excited to start planning it out before they posted this year’s recipes, so I started going through the recipes from the past few years, and put together my own version. I also made sure to put the more project intensive recipes on the weekends, and planned on left overs and easy dishes during the week.

I didn’t know San Diego was going to flood last week and all I would want to eat was soup, but was able to make an early change to the meal plan resulting in less salads and more soups for more satisfying lunches.

Cabbage slaw with Kimchi, Peanuts,  and left over rib eye steak (not on the cleanse but not something I was going to toss!) with a Kimchi Miso Dressing – So good, fresh, but with a decadent tasting dressing. I couldn’t find any silken tofu, so I used their Kimchi Miso Dressing as a base, and adjusted the oil ratio until I got a consistency that worked for dressing. My intent was to make a week’s worth of salads with left over protein from dinners, but alas the rain made that just not sound satisfying.

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Porcini Broth, and Barley Pilaf with Leeks and Lemon – the Porcini broth turned out really good, and the soup was even better the next day. I ended up making a big batch of barley for the barley pilaf as well as some morning meals, and had enough left over to toss in the soup and make it hearty enough to have as a meal on it’s own. I also made some sauteed beet greens instead of their suggested chard side, which was lovely tossed into the soup. This recipe served the two of us two nights of dinners and one lunch for me, and I still had left over barley pilaf to pair with another protein and veggie. While I liked the buttermilk in the barley pilaf, I didn’t think it was necessary.

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Red Rice Congee with Chicken, Kimchi, and Mushrooms – I was unable to find red rice at my Asian market, but got a black rice that worked nicely even though it was almost unsettlingly dark. I absolutely LOVED the mushrooms and wish I had doubled that element. Bon Appetit paired this with a spicy roasted squash, but the squash that I thought I had in the fridge had gone bad, so I paired with this with some Garlicky Bok Choy, which went really nicely in the soup. This recipe served the two of us two nights of dinners, and one lunch for me.

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Mahi Mahi with Smashed White Beans and Sage – I had some cod in my freezer, and attempted to substitute it for the Mahi Mahi. I also cooked it in the oven (400 degrees for 20 minutes) but sadly it was a little bit rubbery. I’m not super versed in cod and I wonder if it just does better with direct heat. I will say that the marinade for the fish was delicious, very aromatic, and the smashed white beans were very satisfying. We paired this with more Garlicky Bok Choy. (What can I say, the Asian market sells it by the pound!)

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After a mad dash to the grocery store in the rain, I moved up the White Bean Chili with Winter Vegetables to this week, when I’d originally had it slated to next week. Excellent choice! This chili had so much flavor and was so satisfying. I did swap out one can of white beans for kidney beans just to add a bit of visual diversity to the dish.

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Breakfast has consisted of three days of  Quinoatmeal with Apples and Toasted Walnuts. I had originally intended to mix in a yogurt parfait this week, but have been craving a hot breakfast to get me through the rainy commute. I had some of the big batch barley with peanut butter, bananas, almond milk, and a sprinkling of flaxseed for another three days. Both grain bowls have been more filling than oatmeal alone, and have kept me going through to lunch.

In general this Food Lover’s Cleanse has been a nice way to start out the year, focusing on using different grains and lean meats, and getting my fill of vegetables. I may or may not continue on for a second week, as I’m already building a list of new recipes to try!

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