“Detox” Soup

On Friday I got home from a fantastic trip to New Jersey and NYC. It was a little bit of a challenge to stay on my diet, but it was definitely worth it. I didn’t get sick at all and got home feeling remarkably well. Oftentimes after traveling I would spend a week recuperating or would arrive home feeling overwhelmed by all the junk food I consumed during the trip.

All of that to say, I didn’t really feel like I needed to detox or anything, but I saw an interesting recipe for detox soup on Pinterest and thought it might be fun to try. As usual, I did quite a bit of modifying to the original recipe.

Much of the detoxifying properties supposedly come from the large amounts of spices and herbs added to the soup. So I started with sautéing some ground beef and about four cloves of garlic. I added some water and a bouillon cube. After letting it simmer for a bit, I threw in the carrots and sweet potatoes. And lastly, broccoli. Throughout this process I was generous with the garlic powder, chili powder, ginger, onion powder, curry powder, basil, italian seasoning…and cinnamon. I feel quite confident saying that this soup tastes unlike anything you’ve ever eaten.

I made about 2 1/2 quarts of soup, so I put it in mason jars to have throughout the week. When I warm a serving of it,, I cook a few rice noodles and add a handful of kale leaves about 5 minutes before I’m ready to eat. In hindsight, it might have been good to do this with the broccoli too because it is pretty overcooked at this point. I like having a base soup that I can just grab, but also having the option of adding other ingredients just before eating. This keeps the noodles from getting soggy or the kale from being overcooked.

I am also really happy with the flavor of it. I tend to think of veggie soups as being on the bland side, but this has a little kick to it which I really like. I don’t know how detoxifying it all is, but at the very least, it is a healthy and easy meal option for busy days!

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Fish Taco Salad

One of my favorite meals is fish tacos. There is a local restaurant that has pretty good ones, but the best was definitely down in Galveston, Texas. Nothing like eating fish tacos as you overlook the Gulf of Mexico!

With my limited diet now, it is really easy to get into a rut of making the same two or three dishes every day. At least it is easy for me to do that because I don’t mind eating the same thing several times a week, and it saves me from having to find another recipe with acceptable ingredients.

But last night as I pulled some tilipia fillets out of the fridge, I decided to do something adventurous. After looking through some recipes for inspiration, I settled on trying my own fish tacos.

Since I haven’t found a tortilla or tortilla substitute that works for me, my fish tacos would become a fish taco salad, which works out better for my ketosis diet anyways!

There are three elements to this meal: the fish, the salad, and the salsa.

I made the salsa first so there’d be time for the flavors to meld. This is not a traditional tomato based salsa. The primary ingredients are: peaches, corn, celery, onion. All these items were finely diced (besides the corn). This is what I happened to have on-hand, but you could certainly experiment with other veggies or fruit, such as mangoes or peppers. I added a little olive oil and lemon juice to give it more of a salsa consistency. For seasoning I put in salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt.

For the fish, I decided to just bake it. I put the fillets in a pan with a little lemon juice and butter. I sprinkled the fish with salt, pepper, and chili powder and baked it at 400 deg for 10 minutes. It ended up with a lot of extra liquid in the pan. On the good side, the fish was very moist! However, for my salad I wanted the fish to be on the drier side, so it didn’t get soggy. I drained the excess liquid, shredded the fillets, and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. So next time I might not put so much butter or lemon juice on it.

For the salad, I shredded some greens, drizzled the salad with olive oil, and sprinkled some salt and pepper on it.

When the fish was done, I placed it on the lettuce and then added the salsa.

This was definitely one of my all-time favorite meals. The spice was nicely balanced by the sweetness of the corn and peaches. It was very satisfying, and yet not heavy. You could easily scale this up for a larger group or offer several options (fish or chicken, tomato salsa or peach salsa, etc…) for a unique buffet meal.

Sweet Potato Truffle Balls

With the holiday season upon us, I am excited to try some healthier treats. My first experiment was with Sweet Potato Truffle Balls. These are for my family’s Christmas tree trimming party tomorrow. I wanted to make sure there’d be enough for the gaggle, so I avoided any recipes with a lot of nuts or nut butters because that gets pretty expensive. I still haven’t had my fill of fall flavors, and the idea of sweet potatoes as the base for these “truffles” sounded pretty good! There’s a cookie recipe I want to try out, but since I didn’t have time to make anything until 9.30 tonight, I figured I should go simple.

My truffle batter is chilling in the fridge right now, I’ll finish it tonight or tomorrow morning. I improvised by adding raisins and chocolate chips too. I’ll also be rolling them in the shredded coconut as suggested by the recipe. I played around with the sweeteners, and used a combination of agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup. 

Update: I just checked on the truffles, and after over half an hour in the fridge, it hasn’t solidified at all. I have this bad habit of not tasting food while I make it (a habit which makes no sense, I admit) so I sampled the dough. It lacked some sweetness, and just had a strong sweet potato flavor. So I added a bit more honey. I also decided to put the shredded coconut into the batter. I’m not sure why, it was just an impulsive intuition I guess, haha.

Anyways…I am hopeful that they’ll turn out to be at least tolerable! I’ll update with pictures tomorrow!

Update 2: My sister was kind enough to take pictures as I making the truffles, but my WordPress phone app isn’t cooperating, so I can’t upload photos. So…final verdict: Eh.

They were okay, but not that compelling. I felt like the sweet potato taste was too strong, and not sweet enough. I’d be interested to try with homemade sweet potato puree, to see if there’s an improvement. But I probably wouldn’t make them again. :-/

Making It Up As I Go

In my new food endeavors, I have realized that I am not really into recipes. I look for recipes just to give me ideas, and then I basically do my own thing. It is kinda like the Doctor, as he and his friends were confronted with the Weeping Angels, he assured everyone he had a plan. When River inquired as to the details of his plan, he admitted, “Don’t know yet, I haven’t finished talking.” So my plans for cooking basically happen as I am doing it. Things just happen. Anyways…This means I probably won’t post a lot of recipes, as proper recipes, but simply just ideas for meals that are a rough sketch of recipes.

Case in point…

I’ve found it works well to make a huge pot of soup on the weekend, because then I have plenty of meals for my week. Since I’d been eating chili for nearly two weeks, I decided to do something different for this week. This soup turned out to be my “everything” soup. I literally spent 2 hours throwing together everything I could find in my kitchen.

It started with sautéing some garlic and onion in olive oil. After that, I added a little water and veggie broth with carrots and sweet potatoes. As these things cooked, I just continued adding other ingredients. I had a few partial bags of frozen veggies, so I decided to use those up. Since I was cooking chicken for some other meals, I threw some of that in, too. For more protein, I put in a can of kidney beans. As I was going, I made sure to put in plenty of seasonings. Lots of salt, pepper, all-purpose seasoning, and basil. Of course it needed more liquid with all this other stuff, so I added more water, veggie broth, and a bouillon cube.

I was thinking you could also add quinoa, rice, or another grain (or maybe even rice pasta?), but I am trying to limit my intake of carbs, and I’d rather have rice in my stir fry instead of soup, so I left that out.

After it had all been simmering for a while, I decided it was too watery. I like my soup a little bit thick (think stew-like). While I wanted to avoid cornstarch, I read that arrowroot doesn’t hold up well with prolonged heat, so I did add a mixture of cornstarch and water (what is that called? Flurry? Slurry? Anyways…) which helped to thicken it up. So yeah….that’s my soup of the week. It was even good enough to offer to my friend. She said it was excellent! So that’s proof you don’t need a recipe…just an adventurous spirit! : )

An Adventure with Curry

I seem to have an insatiable craving for Asian food. I’ve branched out in the last year from egg rolls and stir fry to other dishes, like curry. Since I eat a lot of rice and chicken anyways, I figured it’d be fun to try making my own curry. I found a dairy free recipe here which uses coconut milk. So last night I was in the mood to experiment, and made my first curry! I was ready for it to be an epic fail, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it turned out! I halved the recipe for just one serving, but then I ended up having to add more broth and milk at the end because it had reduced so much. I didn’t want the rice to absorb all the curry, I wanted to have some extra sauce. I also didn’t have all the seasonings on the list, so I made do with curry power, chili powder, lots of garlic, and my all-time favorite seasoning: ginger! It was a bit on the spicy side, which I didn’t really mind. I don’t have much tolerance for spice, but I do enjoy eating foods that are a little too spicy. Maybe I like the sensation of my tongue burning? Haha…

I’ve been reading up on ways to  improve circulation, since I think I might have Raynaud’s Disease. Everywhere I read, they say to eat spicy foods! That should also help with the remaining congestion I have. So I am excited to have another delicious spicy food recipe!

I couldn’t remember what veggies traditionally go with yellow curry, but I didn’t have a lot of options anyways, so I threw in a mix of frozen Thai-style stir fry veggies. It was okay, but probably isn’t the ideal veggie complement. So I’ll have to do some research before my next curry and try something else!

But overall, it was surprisingly successful. I thought making curry would be this very difficult and daunting process, but it was a lot easier than I had anticipated.

What’s This Thing Called Breakfast?

I’m famous (well, “famous” in a limited sense…) for my complete disregard of breakfast. I am rarely hungry in the morning and food just doesn’t seem appealing. I don’t begin getting hungry until at least 9am, usually later though. But with the onset of cold weather, I’ve been wanting some hot breakfast cereal, oddly enough. I don’t get it because I have never been fond of foods like oatmeal. I realized though that this would be a nice fallback meal for when I don’t have time to prepare anything else. I did get a muesli mix from Bob’s Red Mill and had it once, only to find that it contains gluten. There are so many things to keep track of when looking at labels, I apparently forgot to check for that! So last week I went searching again, and found a hot cereal mix with ancient grains, flaxseed, and chia seeds. I am trying to limit my carb intake, so I figured this mix would at least have a better balance of carbs and protein. And in the words of Sherlock, it was “surprisingly okay.” Actually, it was quite good! The cereal is supposed to cook for about 15 minutes, and then sit for a few more minutes. I added some apple in the last 5 minutes of cooking, along with cinnamon and raisins. This gave everything time to “steep” together. Rather than cooking the cereal in almond milk (as the box suggested), I just used water but then added a dash of almond milk when I ready to eat it. Good stuff!

Despite my ambivalence about breakfast, I think this is going to be a good meal for when I’m out all day (as I will be today) and will just be snacking until I get home this evening.

Add a cup of coffee (which I am enjoying right now!) and this is a pretty good breakfast experience! 🙂
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