Detox Deliciously

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Detoxing, a culinary fad or a health trend? What once was seen as a retro crash diet has been newly deemed as socially acceptable and healthful! In fact, if you go to any of your local co-ops or Whole Foods markets, you’ll find dozens of different ways to detox your body and cleanse your corrupted colon. But, how do you know that your actually doing something healthy, or may just be shelling out dollars for the next big gimmick? Well, I’ve got the scoop on how to keep your money in the bank on the road to health, while also updating this retro food trend for the everyday health nut.

First, keep in mind the importance of your health. Detoxing is not something that should be done everyday. If you do decide to juice your days away, I recommend limiting it to three, maximum. Any longer could really derail your metabolism and very well cause you to binge for the next two weeks on unhealthy fats and carbohydrates. I usually limit my detox to two days, with a protein packed dinner on the second night.

A juice detox can be quite expensive, like that new Blue Print cleanse. Eighty bucks for juice? No thanks! Invest in a juicer, if you don’t already have one. They are well worth it and can be found at great discounts all over the internet. With one, juicing is much less expensive and you can control what you put in it, how it tastes, and how much you make.

For Breakfast:

I love starting my cleanse with a small bowl of fruit, hot lemon water, and juice! This one is a perfect wake up call.

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Simply, juice equal amounts of pineapple, carrot, and orange. Throw some mint in between, or pulverize it like making a mojito. This juice is full of carotin, vitamin C, and the pineapple & mint produce slenderizing effects.

Mid-Morning:

Feeling fatigued yet? Mid-Mornings are the worst for me. I always have to have a little something to perk me up and keep me going.

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Try broccoli, cucumber and mint, with a squeeze of lime! This juice has a lot of vitamin A & C. The cucumber is a fabulous de-inflammatory from too much salt in your diet.

For Lunch:

Protein time! By now, I’m sure that tummy screaming for something satiating. I am a true lover of smoothies. They are a great way to add protein and calcium into your cleanse. I usually try to keep mine low-sugar as well.

Simply blend fortified almond milk, soy protein, half of a frozen banana with a tablespoon of cocoa powder. For a little extra calcium and probiotics, I blend in half a cup of plain soy yogurt.

Mid-Day:

By now, my tummy pangs usually wear out, but to keep my blood sugar in check and metabolism revving, I resolve with some antioxidant dense beet juice.

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Juice equal parts of carrots and beets. Squeeze a touch of lime ontop for some acid to balance the sweetness. Yes, I said sweet! Im not sure why beets have such a bad rap. They are delicious and sweet, even more so then carrots.

For Dinner:

Don’t undo your day of wonderful detoxification with a scary midnight binge! I always end the day with a large salad of dark greens (like spinach, kale, and arugula) with roasted or steamed veggies. Ontop, I keep it light with a little Braggs apple cider vinegar, hummus or lemon. If your jonesing for some protein, try having a unsweetened soy or greek yogurt.

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A detox that involves mainly juicing comes at a price: hunger! Be sure to drink a lot of water all day to curb your hunger and prevent your blood sugar from jumping high & crashing quickly. Though you are drinking juice, that doesn’t mean you are getting enough of the stuff! I always carry a water bottle with me that is laced with lemon, lime and mint. It keeps me hydrated and helps me stay motivated. I also reccomend drinking green and mint blended teas. If slender is what you’re searching for, the tea will definitely help, while also helping curb your hunger. One last piece of advice I have is to remember to take your daily vitamins and probiotics. Though you are drinking in many different vitamins, you’re probably skimping out on a lot of them too (especially calcium), which can stifle the effects of your cleanse.

Though detoxing comes with an array of confusion and dilemmas, It is a great way to shimmy back into your bikini while also gaining a healthful, youthful glow. I hope I have saved you from spending a fortune on some miracle, slenderizing scheme. Feel free to ask me questions in the comment section.

Now get juicing!

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The Culinary Institute of America News

Check out my recent article on Going Green with Elizabeth Meltz in the C.I.A’s Newspaper! She is the Food Safety and Sustainability Director at Batali and Bastianich restaurant group.

This issue also introduces me as the Editor in Chief, which I will be taking on from now on. This is a new, fabulous step in my life and I’m excited to see where this will take me!

Happy Memorial Day! Looking forward to cooking this weekend? Grilling is on my to do list for sure!

Cheers

Cheating on the classic Trifle

Every once in a while its good to cheat! I made these great, berry cupcakes and it took me very little time and effort, but the payoff was fantastic.

I spent most of my weekend running errands and spending time with my family so baking from scratch was on my ‘not to do’ list. I had some berry compote leftover from the previous day, though, and I wanted to bake it into something to see how it would come out. By using the compote I didnt have to use any added fat to these cupcakes and they were very moist. The only trade off is that they have simple carbohydrates in them (sugar and non-whole grain flour mix) but they have a lot of antioxidants from the berries and are a great sweet treat. A great trade off from eating a walloping piece of trifle cake with whipped cream; less fat and sugar by far, but just as satisfying! I also sprinkled some chia seeds on-top for added omega-3’s.

I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free vanilla cake mix for this recipe, you can use any of your favorite vanilla cake mix recipes, just nix any fats or oils & 1/3 of the sugar.

To prepare:

1/2 pint of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (you can add strawberries in as well!)

3 T of honey

2 T of lemon juice

Cake Mix

3 eggs (or whatever your mix requests)

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The night before wash all of the berries really well in cold water. If you use strawberries as well, cut all of the tops off and quarter them. Mix berries with lemon juice and honey until they are beginning to macerate. It is important that they do this so that they end up having 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of liquid. Put the compote in a sealable plastic bag, in the fridge, until tomorrow.

Preheat the oven at whatever teperature is recommended by the cake mix recipe. Add the berry compote into the vanilla cake mix. Lightly beat the eggs and add them in as well. As you can see, my cake mix ended up being a really smooth consistancy, if you feel yours is too thick add in some applesauce or just a splash of almond milk to smooth things out.

Spray your cupcake tin with fat free spray (you can easily find this at your local grocer) and pour mix into baking cups. Using an ice cream scoop is the best way to keep them consistently sized. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top, or perhaps some flax if you have them.

Bake until the edges are lightly browned (**use a cake tester to make sure they are not gooey in the center).

My dad liked them hot out of the oven with a little butter (or earth balance). Lemon icing would be great as well. I personally thought they were very sweet and moist so they were perfect on their own with a mug of coffee.

Let me know what you think!

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Cookies

I wasn’t sure, at first, how this recipe was going to turn out. I was trying to create an uncomplicated cookie recipe that was low in carbohydrates, low in fat and sugar, but tasted really great. Most gluten free desserts are extremely high in fats and carbohydrates, and are usually very complicated. Gluten free recipies normally include several different types of flours as well, which can take too much time and effort for a busy college student like me!

This recipe is great because it has none of that complicated mumbo-jumbo and requires less effort then making basic chocolate chip cookies! I used some of the idea of my chocolate almond torte recipe when making this. Using almond meal greatly lowers the amount of carbohydrates and adds the benefits of calcium and iron. The cocoa and bittersweet chocolate as well add iron and lots of antioxidants which is great for your skin.

I used 85% dark from Godiva. It was a little strong in the cookies so if you are not a bittersweet lover like me, I suggest a 70% chocolate or lower. I recommend adding 2 T of agave to the recipe as well to increase the balance of sweetness.

I added Bob’s Red Mill gluten free ap flour to add a little depth to the cookies. If you prefer not to add ap flour, try bumping up the almond flour. If you wish to make these cookies vegan, omit the eggs and use a replacer. I recommend adding oil as well if you do so.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Cookies:

1 c. cocoa

1 1/2 c. almond flour/meal

1/4 c. bob’s red mill gluten free a/p flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 eggs

3 T of almond milk

1/2 c. cane sugar

1 oz of bittersweet chocolate

Heat oven on Convection Bake at 325. Chop up chocolate into chunks & reserve. Sift together cocoa, cinnamon, ap flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs with sugar and milk. Combine sifted mixture to the egg mixture. Fold in almond meal and chocolate chunks. The batter should be somewhat wet, but not runny. If it is runny add more flour.

Spoon drop batter onto an ungreased sheet pan. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes. Make sure to not over-bake them or they will turn out very dry!

Enjoy with a glass of almond milk. A perfect treat for a cold, wet day like today.

 

the love part of my cooking

Whenever I am asked as to how I was inspired to go to culinary school images of my grandmother and mom cooking in her kitchen flash into my mind. I remember peering over the breakfast counter, pulling myself up with my little fingers and my mouth watering at the smell of garlic and tomatoes stewing. After my grandmother passed, I would relive those memories over the stove with my mother. She taught me how to cook pasta and tomato sauce, beef stew with mashed potatoes, and just about everything in between. Cooking has created a strong bond between us.

My mother is a huge part of my life and sometimes I wonder how I would be able to function without her. I don’t go a day without talking to her or asking her for advice. Her determination and work ethic has been my inspiration to keep pursuing my career and to keep broadening my horizons. She works very hard alongside my dad and still manages to get dinner made and all of my siblings where they need to be. Not to be cliché, but could call her superwoman. I hope one day to be just as wonderful as she is when I have my own little family to raise.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the mothers out there and to my beautiful mother who truly is like no other!

21: I’ll ditch the Cuffs for Cabernet and Steak.

As a now Senior in College (gasp!) I have seen my fare share of eventful drinking; drinking to celebrate. I have had many friends turn 21 over the last three years of College. It seems to be a relentless, ever-occurring, theme that when you turn 21 you have to get rip-roaring, three sheets to the wind drunk and it begs me to question: Why? Why is it so very critical for the generations of the last two decades (the legal drinking age of 21 came into full effect in 1988) to become inebriated beyond comprehension on your 21st birthday?

Let me, first, set the record straight.

I, just as the rest of my generation, have a healthy curiosity when it comes to alcohol. You could say it is in my blood, as my mother has told me stories of my grandfather making wine when she was growing up. Going to The Culinary Insitute of America has flourished my curiosity. Here, we learn about the complexities that is the world of wine. The agriculture, viticulture and history of how grapes became an entire separate entity of the hospitality world. You can spend a lifetime learning about wine and still not know it all. During these classes I have been able to taste an array of different wine and spirits. It is a fascinating and large part of our industry that I am always curious to pursue knowledge in.

What I can’t seem to rap my head around is why everytime someone turns 21, celebrants have to act as though they are Romans in a bathhouse? I don’t find it attractive.

There is a romance and a cultural depth that is so beautiful about drinking. Can we nod to the Prohibition era? Such a sultry, dark, and intrinsic part of alcohol’s history. Everyone was breaking the law one way or another and the business thrived through it.

Though, it seems in the eighties and nineties, even now still, the consumers and marketers have bastardized drinking. I mean, cupcake flavored vodka? Who are they trying to entice with that one, a little kid with a sweet tooth?!

For me, however, I look to it as a culture. I know that when I turn 21 in a few weeks, I will be spending it with the best of friends, eating amazing food and drinking well made cocktails and beautiful wine. I’ll throw in some champagne as well for good luck and fortune.

Many may say that that is stuffy, just go to the nearest bar. But where is the fun in buying some cheap vodka and pickling my liver?

I know that I will not find any social-depth in a pounding, soaked to the core brain. There are no mysteries that lie in the bottom of a clear plastic cup. Life does not excel through downing a pink drink garnished with a week old, corn-syrup soaked cherry.

That goes without saying, there are many who may think that I sound condescending, but I’m really not.  I just have seen what drinking until your pie-eyed gets you and it’s not an enriching conversation. It’s a pounding head or a court-ordered AA sesh. I think I’ll skip the cuffs and go for a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with some steak instead.

So on that note I say Cheers to another year of accomplishments and life to celebrate! In a few weeks I’ll be 21 and just that much closer the adventures that await. Next stop: Seattle!

 “I think the future of food is going to be in the hands of people like you…

                                                                                                                   …who are going to take it to the next level.”

Tune into Cook for Love & Fire for my next interview with green advocate Elizabeth Meltz of Batali & Bastianich.