Liver Cleansing Medley

There’s a lot not to like about Sunday nights. Lazy Sunday morning spent lingering over the breakfast table has disappeared. Spontaneous Sunday afternoon adventures have come and gone. And before you’ve gotten anything productive done, it’s 7 pm on a Sunday evening, and Monday morning feels way too close for comfort.

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There is one thing I like about Sunday evenings, though. There’s the feeling of a fresh start, the setting of good intentions, and a hushed hope that this week won’t kick your butt quite as much as last week did.

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I managed an hour in the kitchen tonight, prepping food for the week. This salad took 20 minutes to make, and although it’s not really the food I want to be eating (Smitten Kitchen’s cinnamon toast french toast stole my heart this weekend) I know this salad will help me feel healthy all week long. medley1.jpg

As I’ve learned before, change begets change. Something as small as a few cucumbers and radishes could propel you to get out for a run, do a few yoga stretches before bed, or ditch scanning your morning emails in bed for a few minutes of meditation instead.

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A book I’m reading, The Woman Code, describes this recipe as a “liver cleansing medley”, which sounds a lot more appealing than just “salad.” Author Alisa Vitta writes: “The liver is responsible for removing toxins from your body, and it does this by turning fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble ones so they can be excreted through your large intestine, kidneys, and skin.” If you have a hormonal imbalance, as many people do, your liver can’t operate optimally. Choosing certain foods, like lemon and cruciferous vegetables, give your liver a break. medley2.jpg

I hope you can find some time this Sunday evening to just sit quietly, and enjoy your last few hours of calm before Monday’s rush of deadlines and demands. If you have an extra 20 minutes on your hands, give this medley a try.

Liver Cleansing

Spring Mix Medley

From Alisa Vitti’s The Woman Code

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, chopped finely with mandolin
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Dress with apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Mix ingredients in a big jar and store in the fridge, store dressing separately. OR, store medley in individual containers with the dressing on the bottom (see pic above). Medley will last up to 1 week.

 

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Looking Up

This weekend was a kaleidoscope of soft snow, roaring wood stoves, homemade food (cooked by someone else!), big hugs, sweaty mittens, unbeatable views, and the happiest of happy hours.

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It felt as if we had gone through the closet doors and found ourselves somewhere near the lamp post in the Narnian woods.

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The joy of being outside, with people you love, in a place far less touched by the 21st century does something to you- no cell reception meant there was no thinking about responding to emails, checking Instagram, or texting back a friend. I was free, breathing in and out nothing but gratitude.

 

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As two young twenty somethings (one still in grad school), we live on a tight budget, and often say no to expenses that fall outside of our needs. But trips like this are a need– a few times a year, we budget for experiences that break us out of our ruts and help us to look up, above the tree line. The views up here make me want to hold on to this perspective for dear life.

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I hope wherever you are this winter, you have the chance to go somewhere that lets you slow down and reflect…preferably somewhere with a piping hot, enormous slice of homemade gingerbread.

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Magic Apple

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We’re about 3,500 feet up and my head is spinning. My heart is pounding everywhere except in my chest- in my ears, in my temples, in my feet, and OH MY GOD my quads are on FIRE. I’m out of breath, and hating myself for not being in better shape. For not being able to propel myself up this mountain as fast as the rest of the group. The self-doubt comes rushing in and I lean up against a tree, wheezing. And then, Trevor hands me an apple.

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It was a magic apple. Bright red and small. Sugary but not too sweet, juicy and crunchy and purely satisfying. It lifted me out of my own head and put the pleasure back into hiking. The last 1,589 feet weren’t easy, but they were far from torturous. My thoughts changed from shit-talking my abilities to positive reinforcements of my own strength. We summated Mt. Lincoln, all 5,089 feet, in an hour and a half.

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One of my very favorite parts about hiking, aside from the spectacular views and the sense of invincibility, is that food takes on a whole new meaning. Whether it’s a handful of trail mix or an apple on the way up, a hummus-cheese-and pickles sandwich at the top, or even downing the last drops of your water bottle, you can taste with every bite or swallow new strength coming into your body.  You can almost feel every glorious calorie finding its way to the parts of your body that need the most repair.

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It made me think about all the meals I have when my body isn’t being heavily strained. “Food as fuel”- the notion that we should eat solely to keep our strength up- has never been a motivating concept for me before. I believe food has purposes far greater than simply caloric intake. Food brings friends and family together, it can connect you with the seasons and to your community, it can bring back memories of wonderful times and people, or food can be just be simply fun.

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But there’s nothing like a long hike to help you take stock of how much food for fun vs. food for fuel you’ve been enjoying recently. Last weekend’s hike helped me to re-evaluate my diet. I noticed that my portions have been a little large lately, and that there really isn’t a need to snack between meals unless you have a workout you’re prepping for, or unless you’re really, really hungry.

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And if you are really, really hungry- eat an apple.

Healthy chips, 3 ways

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In our quest to eat healthy, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about which foods you should cut out. “I’m quitting sugar!”, “I’m going cold turkey on alcohol,” and “No more snacking for me” have all come out of my lips at one point in time. These blanket statements sound really appealing- but usually by lunchtime I find myself thigh-high in cookies or halfway through a bag of chips.

icecream 2 For many people (including yours truly), complete denial of our cravings usually leads to binging out on that very food a little later. I find I’m much more successful in losing weight when I approach it through moderation and finding healthy alternatives to my favorite unhealthy foods. Enter:

Healthy chips, 3 ways!

 Cheesy Carrot Bits, Spicy Zucchini Crisps, and Rosemary Garlic Potato Chips.

Let’s get to it.

Cheesy Carrot Bits:

  • 7 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inches
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt + Pepper

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with coconut oil, line with carrots and top with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of oven, use tongs to flip carrots. Bake another 10-30 minutes, until brown around the edges and crispy. Lay on cooling rack to cool, sprinkle with more nutritional yeast, and enjoy!

Spicy Zucchini Crisps

  • 2-3 TB flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Salt+Pepper
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced 1/4 inches (slightly thicker than a quarter)
  • 1 TB coconut oil

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Mix together flour, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with coconut oil. Dip your zucchini slices in the flour mixture, then lay on the baking sheets. Flip once so that both sides have a small coating of oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Take out of oven, use tongs to flip zucchini. Bake another 10-20 minutes, until just brown and a little crispy. Lay on cooling rack to cool.

Rosemary Garlic Potato Chips:

  • 3 medium sized potatoes or 6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin on a mandolin
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

Put potato slices in a bowl, cover with cold water, and refrigerate at least an hour (this helps the chips get extra crunchy.) Dry thoroughly with a towel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two baking pans with oil. Lay out potato slices on pan, flip once to coat both sides. Bake for 15 minutes, take out of oven and use tongs to flip. Bake another 20-30 minutes until brown and crispy. Put in a big bowl straight out of the oven and mix with rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Lay on cooling rack to cool.

Serve the chip (or chips) of your choice with lots of hummus and fresh veggies!

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Foraged Summer Feast

mushroom harvestWe’re into August already, but this weekend was the first one that really felt like summer. Our good friends Jill and Joe came up for a visit, and reminded us of the pure joy that can only be found in a full day with absolutely nothing to do.

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We took a long nature walk, talked about our dreams for the future, and ate really, really good food.
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During our walk in the woods, they showed us how to look for coral and oyster mushrooms. We harvested them and added them to our CSA chanterelles and black trumpets. We then paired them with our new favorite pasta recipe, good Pecorino Romano, fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil.

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Oh, and big goblets of Wild Sumac Margaritas!

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This dinner was the perfect nod to summer’s bounty. I insist you find some good mushrooms, good friends, good tequila, and make this immediately before summer starts to disappear.

 

Foraged Summer Feast

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