Living Gracefully

Carpe diem

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Gooey, Sweet, Chocolatey Brownies…with avocado??

I love to bake. If I could just make cupcakes all day and get paid, that would be fantastic. (As long as someone else did the dishes.) Yesterday, I found this interesting recipe on Pinterest. I have seen chocolate-based recipes incorporating avocados before, like Chocolate mousse, but it was the first brownie one I came across. Needless to say, I pinned it. Here’s the recipe, in case you’re curious (per ireallylikefood, a blog):

Ingredients

  • 1 C White Flour
  • 3/4 C Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 C Raw Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda 
  • 1 t Flax
  • 3 T Water
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1/2 Cup to 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1 t Vanilla

Directions

  1. Peel and cut 1/2 of an avocado and blend in a food processor until it’s a creamy texture.
  2. Add 3 T of water and 1 t of ground flax to the avocado to make a flax egg. Let it sit for a few minutes while combining the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking soda.
  4. Blend the avocado and flax egg in the food processor to combine.
  5. Add the avocado flax mix to the dry ingredients and mix as much as possible.
  6. Add the Milk and Vanilla so that it creates a batter.
  7. Bake in a 8 x 8 baking pan for 20 minutes at 350°

I made a double batch so that I wouldn’t have half of an avocado left over. I also skipped the flax, substituted soy milk, and switched out about a third of the cocoa powder for some chocolate protein powder. I used the max amount of milk suggested and ended up having to bake them about 32 minutes; I tested them with a toothpick in the center, which should come out semi-clean/slightly crumby. They smell fantastic. I have to taste them, so I’ll save that for the next blog; check back to see! I think I’ll make a quick peanut butter frosting to top them off. Here’s a basic recipe that looks nice and fluffy.

Anyone have a great recipe with a surprising ingredient? Please share!Image

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Day…Well, Day 1: Moving On

I had complete confidence in succeeding for at least 5 days. I made it three. Could I have kept going? I think so. I made a final decision last night to go back to eating solid foods. I will continue to work juices into my diet, and that will be the greatest benefit of the whole experience. I advise to anyone interested to be ambitious and go as long as you can (if you are feeling reasonably well and making HEALTHY choices). I am proud of myself for making it three days, considering how many food cravings I had over the course of those 72 hours. Sure, I had a couple of snacks during that period but my sole source of nutrients and energy was 100% raw, natural juice. I am surprised by what vegetables and fruit can do for us, even when stripped down to their liquid components.

Although I have converted back to a ‘solid food’ diet, I feel both a need and desire to eat more whole foods. I had a small granola bar (at just 90 calories), a handful of almonds, and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Then for lunch, I decided to treat myself to Panera with the extra tips I made at my restaurant job last night. My chioce: a Mediterranean Veggie Cafe Sandwich…

  • If you have not tried this sandwich before, please do so. It is the best! I don’t even like red onion or large pieces of raw tomatoes, and I can never get enough of this zesty, fresh sandwich. Perhaps the bread contains a few too many carbs but I feel good about all of the vegetables I’m consuming and the absence of fatty meat.

…AND an apple, rather than chips. The apple was my favorite part. It was crunchy, cold and sweet, and I was sad when I got down to the core. I don’t usually care for apples too much, especially when they’re not cut into chunks. (I hate the sensation of biting into fruit. I know. Weird.) I am crossing my fingers, hoping that I choose wisely for dinner. Since I work at the restaurant tonight, I will probably eat whatever the kitchen prepares for the staff. As long as it’s not the chicken fingers, it should be a decent meal.

I hope that I have not lost your support after ending my juice journey early. I did not intend to promote nor demote any type of cleanse. I simply wanted to give you a firsthand, honest account of its ups and down, so that you may have at least one more source of information on the matter. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

 

Thanks for reading!

Raw Juice Recipes

Here are a few links to sites that I have been referencing:

http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/30-days-of-juicing/

http://www.designsponge.com/2013/01/blueprint-juice-recipe.html

http://mymansbelly.com/2013/01/10/how-to-financially-survive-a-juice-cleanse-7-vegetable-juice-recipes/

http://myjuicecleanse.com/juicer-recipes/mean-green-juice-recipes/

Hope you find them useful! [If any links give you trouble, please leave a comment!]

Day 3: I have a confession.

I made a vow on the first day of my cleanse. I promised all of you that I would provide an “honest account” of my experience, and after shadily looking for ways to cover up what I did last night, I have decided to come clean.

I ate Jimmie John’s; it was amazing. Why? Think what you want…but the real reason was simply because I had not prepped enough juices for my day and didn’t have easy access to obtaining one after work. I’m not going to go into detail because it is what it is, and I do not feel guilty. I was hungry, and I had to make a decision. So, I broke the rules. I did learn a little something, though. I felt so stuffed and sleepy after. I ate the same amount that I usually do, and compared to how I feel after a large juice, it wasn’t enjoyable. Obviously, I have no intentions to live off of juice forever because the sensation of simply chewing, combined with the variety of flavor, is much more satisfying. In retrospect, though, I can see how I shouldn’t eat until something is gone but rather until I feel satisfied – not stuffed! Bottom line:

  • Do what feels good. If you are starving, and believe it is a good idea to have a real snack or meal here and there, do it. You do not have to do a full-out juice ONLY cleanse. The benefits (vitamins, antioxidants, etc.) will still be reaped simply by working raw juices into your diet.

I woke up early for work today to throw together some juices. On my morning drive, I drank one made with carrots, gold beets (a little milder than regular beets), and ginger. I added a little too much ginger, and I wouldn’t drink it for breakfast again but it was alright. I started to get hungry around 12:30pm, and decided to try out the apple-papaya spritzer I made (with sparkling water and a splash of lemon). It’s a really pretty color, and it tastes great.

  • Spritzer: a drink consisting of wine mixed with sparkling water (aka seltzer) or soda, depending on preference; OR a healthy replacement for soda when mixed with your favorite raw fruit juice

The main point I want to make today is that I am proud of where I am, even after a broken rule and less than 3 days in. My face looks brighter, I feel energized and motivated, and I have been in a very steady good mood since I began the challenge. At this point, I recommend some sort of juice cleanse to everyone.* Do it for fun; do it for your health; do it for you.

*Be sure to check with your doc first if you have any concerns or health issues; I assume no responsibility!

Day 2: Feeling Fabulous

As I shared last night, I was exhausted on the first night of the cleanse. I felt weak, hungry and a little nauseous. I slept a solid 9 hours, waking up a little late for work. Surprisingly, I didn’t have that feeling I usually get when I have to rush off to work without time to mentally prepare for the day. I felt awake, refreshed, and rejuvenated, even without a shower. My face, unlike yesterday, looked bright and healthy. My eyes were no longer pink and my cheeks seemed to have more color in them. Maybe I caught up on sleep…maybe it’s the juice. The fact is, I feel great today.

I finished the green juice from last night on my ride to work. The kale and spinach flavor wasn’t exactly a yummy breakfast but I knew that my body needed it, and so I finished it quickly. The morning went by fast at work. I was hesitant to take an early lunch (as I usually do) because I felt like I had such a great momentum going to fly through orders at work. As of now, 11:45 am, I have had about 18 ounces of juice and a glass of iced tea. I could eat but I am not starving. Yesterday, I purchased a box of assorted herbal fruit teas. I am excited to try the blueberry – it smells like blueberry pie. It’s kind of ridiculous how excited I am for a glass of tea. I guess it just seems less mundane than the juice.

In the work fridge, I have two juices left from what I made last night. One is Gazpacho flavored (found online), which I am a little nervous for. I don’t love raw tomatoes but I do enjoy gazpacho, so I’m hoping it tastes more like the latter. Another is a purple juice, made with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, 1/2 of a beet, red grapes, and a pear. For dinner later, I am anxious to try out the gold beets I found at the produce market. I’ll probably throw in a couple of carrots and a little ginger, too. Tip of the day:

  • If you’re worried about not knowing how to make pleasant-tasting juices, follow recipes in the beginning. After a while, you will start to learn what you like and what you don’t, and how much of each item to use. Then, you can come up with your own creations that you will be comfortable with.

I’m glad to say that I feel much better today. It almost feels as if I just finished a large coffee but without that jittery feeling. I am wide awake, ready to work, and set on powering through that laundry piling up at home. I said, “I can do this,” and today, I have not a single doubt.

Day 1: Is it worth it?

It has been just over 24 hours since I have chewed solid food…four bites of a delicious chicken quesadilla from Qdoba, to be exact. Do I miss food? Yes. Am I hungry? A little; more so mentally than physically. So why tease myself? You’re probably thinking, “that can’t be healthy.” I would have been right with you if I hadn’t done a little research. It was an inspiring documentary on Netflix that ultimately pushed me to believe in the, “Juice Cleanse.” About two months later, here I am, sitting in my bed thinking about all of the great things I’m going to eat in seven days. Apparently the first three days are the hardest, and so I keep telling myself that in the end, it will all be worth it. The prize: glowing skin, a controlled appetite, increased energy levels, a renewed appreciation for fruits and veggies, and obviously, a hefty helping of pride.

Through this blog, I vow to give you an honest account of my seven day journey. Now pause right there. Feeling light-headed…time to juice! My first tip:

  • Juice ahead of time. When you drink a juice, you feel great right after but the bad feelings (nausea, light-headedness, etc.) also come very fast. Having a few juices ready in the fridge helps make that feeling fade quickly, rather than having to slave over a juicer while feeling weak and loopy.
  • To go along with that…avoid that feeling in the first place! Drink plenty of juices throughout your day, not just three ‘meals’. Have snacks in between (maybe fruity, simple juices), along with herbal teas and LOTS of water. Therefore, be prepared to take many bathroom breaks.

Sunday, the day before my cleanse, was suppose to be a normal day of eating for me but for some reason I didn’t have much of an appetite. I drank a Bolthouse Farms juice I had in my fridge in place of a normal dinner. Side note – do not be fooled; I eat a lot. I made a trip to the grocery store, spent 49 dollars, and started creating my drinks for Monday. I followed recipes I found online (I will share the good ones when I finish), ending up with 3 meals and 2 snacks. I work full-time, so making them ahead of time is vital. I packed them up along with some herbal teas, and headed to bed. I woke up feeling pretty groggy, and I’m guessing it had something to do with eating poorly. On my way to work I sipped on my first juice: a combination of lemon, grapefruit, sweet pepper, and carrot. It was a little sour but refreshing. I felt about the same as I usually feel after my usual bagel or egg. I tend to be cold at the office, so I am always sipping on hot tea or coffee. This didn’t change (but I am only drinking tea this week). Around ten o’clock I had a slight headache and my eyes were burning. I think this mainly had to do with the seasons finally changing in MI, flaring up my allergies, but for research’s sake I am including it. I enjoyed my favorite drink of the day around 11: a pineapple mint spritzer, made with pineapple, fresh mint leaves, and then topped off with sparkling water. I will definitely be making that again. The afternoon dragged a little, as it always does when I’m working. Every time I looked at the clock, I couldn’t help but think of what I wanted to cook and EAT for dinner. I love cooking…I love food…this is tough. I got another small headache around 5, so I drank my fifth juice of the day on my way home from work. Since then, I have had a Venti Iced Green Tea from Starbucks and am still sipping on that juice from the beginning of this entry: kale, spinach, green apple, lime, and celery.

My motivation is lacking. I didn’t expect that. I should be doing laundry but I just don’t feel like I have the physical energy to move around. I might be heading to bed pretty early tonight. So, cheers to tomorrow – to a smoother, more satisfying day. I can do this.

 

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