The Cleanse: Week Two Highlights

I am officially (almost) through two-thirds of the cleanse!  At this point, I’m feeling good.  I’m looking forward to enjoying some chocolate in another week, but I think my sugar cravings have subsided enough that I’m not worried about immediately going on a cookie binge.  I’m enjoying that over half of my grocery list is produce… I want to keep that going beyond the cleanse.  And I’m pretty sure my jeans are starting to fit a little better, which is always nice.

I wasn’t quite as excited about a lot of the Week Two recipes, but there are a couple I’d like to share:

Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Walnuts (serves 4; adapted from Whole Living)

And to think… six months ago, I hated kale.  Or I thought I did.  Now I’m eating it raw?  Crazy.  I love using lime juice in this- a nice change from using lemon or vinegar in salad dressings.  I’m not a huge fan of fresh ginger- actually, that’s not true.  I don’t have anything against fresh ginger, I just hate grating fresh ginger.  So I sprinkled a little bit of ground ginger in the dressing instead.

Whisk together two tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon lime juice with a dash of ground ginger (if you are a fresh ginger snob, use 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger instead).  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, tear one bunch of kale into pieces.  Pour dressing over kale and toss to coat evenly.

Add 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (what you would get from 1/2 fruit), two tablespoons chopped red onion, and 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cannellini Beans (serves 4, adapted from Whole Living)

Things I like about this recipe: the balsamic vinegar is different from how I usually season roasted veggies, and I never would have thought about throwing cannellini beans in for some protein.  Things I don’t like about this recipe: it only calls for 8 Brussels sprouts for 4 servings.  Only two sprouts per person?  I upped it.  Also, I’m terrible at estimating how long various vegetables will take to cook.   If you’re just roasting one vegetable, it’s no big deal to just poke them periodically until they’re tender.  But Brussels sprouts, unless they are huge, are going to turn to mush before all the root vegetables get tender, unless you chop them super-tiny.  So it would be awesome if the recipe was more specific about what size  to chop everything.  I obsessively cooked this three times this week trying to perfect it, and I’ve yet to get everything to the level of doneness I would want.  I thought about adding the sprouts and leeks later on, but I didn’t know how far in to add them, and I didn’t want to have to remove all the chopped up root vegetables while those were still cooking.  If anyone has any suggestions, I welcome them.

Sorry for the rant.  Why I am sharing this if I had difficulties with it?  Well, I still thought it tasted really good, even if some things were more or less cooked than I’d like.  And I’d like to think that maybe this is just my weird thing, like how I seem to be unable to cook dried beans.  Maybe it will work better for you, or you know something I don’t.  It’s worth a try.

1 large leek, sliced

5 garlic cloves, peeled (or use a couple shallots… I think they taste better and add even more color to the plate)

1/2 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped (this seems to take the longest to cook, so I recommend chopping it smaller than everything else)

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (I suggest using at least 12)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon for drizzling

1 1/2 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans

Heat oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss leek, garlic (or shallots), rutabaga, parnsips, carrots, sweet potato, and Brussels sprouts with olive oil and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.  (If you have my luck, you might want to pull the Brussels sprouts out after 15 or 20 minutes.)

Remove from oven and stir in cannellini beans. Roast until beans are crisped, about 5 minutes. Toss with one teaspoon balsamic vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.

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