Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the cleanse

My insides are kind of broken.
I was diagnosed with several gastrointestinal issues in my early twenties. I had the faulty valve at the base of my esophagus repaired after two years of not keeping food down and not understanding why. I finally had a 24 hour PH test and they established that my valve wasn't working and I needed a Nissen fundoplication.

That fixed one problem, but all of my gastrointestinal system is a mess. I eat a fairly clean and wholesome diet, I eat a little red meat sometimes and I do love cheese, but I try to limit it. It hurts my tummy and never really feels worth it.

The past few months I've been feeling really unwell. My tummy is constantly sick, bloated and I live with chronic pain. I'm used to it, it's really not a big deal, but the past three weeks were more than I could stand.

After doing a little research, I decided to try a juice cleanse. I've done the Wild Rose Cleanse many times and love it, but I didn't want to take all the pills and drops this time around. I needed to start fresh.

Enter the Blueprint Cleanse. If I could afford it, I would order online and have it delivered to my door. I just can't justify the $271 (including $20 shipping) to have three days worth of juice delivered to me.

I did some research online and discovered that people had come up with a way to make the cleanse at home. I combined a few methods found here and here, bought my groceries at the market near my office and got started.

I have a juicer, I bought it at a garage sale for $20 a couple of years ago. It's not fancy, but it works great. I've read that you can make these drinks in the blender and then strain the liquid out using cheesecloth - sounds like a lot of work.

To prepare for the cleanse, I eliminated all dairy, gluten and meat for two days before as suggested here. I primarily ate steamed veggies and a little bit of fruit. I'll be doing the cleanse for three days.

Following the Blueprint cleanse program, this is the order I drank my juices in:
Green Juice
Pineapple Apple Mint
Green Juice
Spicy Lemonade
Cashew Milk - dreamy, delicious cashew millk
Here's the recipes that I used. 

The Green Juice (makes enough for the 2 servings)
10 ribs of celery
1 cucumber
4 green apples
6 kale leaves
1 peeled lemon
2 handfuls of parsley
6 romaine leaves
2 handfuls of spinach
1 inch piece of ginger
Juice it! You want 32 ounces, so if you come up a bit short, add a bit more cucumber and apple. Split into 2 containers.

Pineapple Apple Mint
1/3 of a pineapple
2 green apples
small handful of mint (to taste, I love mint so I use quite a bit)
Juice it! You want 16 ounces, if you come up a bit short, add a bit more apple.

Spicy Lemonade14 ounces of filtered water 
1 peeled lemon through the juicer
a few dashes of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp of agave nectar
Mix together. Don't add too much cayenne, I did the first time, ugh.

1 apple
2 beets with the greens
4 large carrots
1 tbsp ginger
1 peeled lemon
Juice it, again, you want 16 ounces, if you come up short, add more apple and carrot.

Cashew Milk

The best part of the day.
1 cup raw cashews
16 ounces filtered water
1 tbsp agave
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1" piece of vanilla pod of 1 tsp of vanilla extract
Soak the cashews in water over night, just enough water to cover them. In the morning rinse them off and dump into the blender with the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and put it in the fridge to enjoy at night.

From my research on the cleanse, you'll want to start the day off with a glass of hot water with a little lemon in it. Try to space your juices out, about 2 hours apart. It's recommended that you drink 14 ounces of water between your juices. I did what I could, but was too full. Have your cashew milk 2 hours before bed.

I've finished my first day and it's been really easy. I am a little bit more tired than usual. I was expecting to be more hungry, but as soon as the hunger pangs hit me it was time for another juice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

happy anniversary!

Six years married, thirteen together. Through sickness and health - I love you more every day. 

Thank you for our life together and for our Hannah.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yaki Onigiri

We had a quiet Sunday night, snuggled in on the couch with a friend to watch Game of Thrones, only to discover that our PVR hates us and had decided not to record the show. It was all good though, we watched tv, hung out on Pinterest, checked out the Ikea PS collection for 2012 and fell in love with a few things. Best part of all was the dinner. We had homemade Yaki Onigiri, sesame green beans and sesame corn on the cob.

I'd never made Yaki Onigiri before and somehow thought it would be complicated. It isn't, and it's delicious! Japanese sushi rice, cooked, plain or seasoned and the formed into balls, squares, triangles and pan fried until the outsides are crispy and the insides stay creamy.

Yaki Onigiri 
Makes 6-8 onigiri
1 cup uncooked sushi rice
1 1/4 cup water

Optional fixings:  shibazuke (japanese pickles), soy sauce, furikake rice seasoning. sesame seeds, finely chopped toasted nori, sea salt
Serve with: soy sauce and optional: shibazuke (japanese pickles), sea asparagus

Rice cooker instructions:

Put rice and water in a rice cooker, turn it on. Once it's cooked, remove lid and let sit without stirring for 5 minutes to let it cool.
Stovetop instructions: 
Put water and rice in a heavy bottomed pot, bring to boil, turn to medium low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Once your rice is cooked and slightly cooled, you can start forming the onigiri. I find that if you let the rice cool too much, or stir it, it tends to fall apart when you shape the balls.
Have a bowl of water ready so that you can really wet your hands, that way the rice won't stick.

To make a plain onigiri.

Take a little handful of rice in your wet hands, about 3 tbsp. Form it into a triangle or oval. If you're lucky enough to have an onigiri shaper, or a cookie cutter that would work - use that, I didn't. Once you have it formed, put it on a plate until you're ready to cook them all.
To make a shibazuke stuffed onigiri:
Take a little handful of rice in your wet hands, about 3 tbsp. Form it into a triangle or oval and push a few shibakuke, into the middle and form the rice to hide the pickles .  Once you have it formed, put it on a plate until you're ready to cook them all.
To make a seasoned onigiri:
Mix a few tbsp of furikake in to the cooked rice. If you don't have furikake you can mix the rice with sesame seeds, nori and salt. Form it into a triangle or oval. Once you have it formed, put it on a plate until you're ready to cook them all.

Grill the onigiri in a lightly oiled medium-low pan until all the sides form a golden crispy crust. Brush all sides with soy sauce and re-fry quickly. Serve with soy and enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Zaru Soba at home

We've had a long week. Hannah has been really, really sick with gastroenteritis. We had two trips to emergency with a listless, dehydrated little girl. After five days, she's nowhere near all better, but very slowly on the mend.

I needed a little break today and went out and ran some errands and stopped by Fujiya, a Japanese grocery store and picked up some treats. I wanted a tasty and light dinner and Zaru Soba is one of Matt's favourite foods. This might not be the most authentic way to make it, but it's really delicious, light and refreshing for warm days. These ingredients are all available at most regular grocery stores if you don't have a Japanese grocery nearby.

 Zaru Soba
 serves 2-3 people

200 gms of soba noodles (1/2 a standard package)
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely grated daikon radish
wasabi, about 1 tsp prepared (I use the powdered wasabi and add water)
a corner of a sheet of nori, cut into little strips with scissors (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Dipping Sauce
1 cup dashi stock (you can make your own, I use this recipe or use premade) 
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar

Cook noodles in boiling water, they can turn mushy fast, so try to catch them while they are still a little al dente. Drain the noodles and run under cold water, rinsing completely. Throw them back in the pot with cold water and a handful of ice cubes.

Mix the sauce ingredients together and split it up between a few bowls (how many people are eating). Put the grated daikon and green onion in to bowls.

Drain the noodles, plate them, sprinkle with nori and it's dinner time!

Each person can mix a little wasabi, daikon, green onion and sesame seeds in with their dipping sauce and then with chopsticks take some noodles and swish the noodles through the dipping sauce and eat! nom nom nom.

We had ours with some steamed green beans tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil, herb salt and sesame seeds and some shibazuke (japanese pickles) on the side.