Dinner,  Gluten-free,  Quantum Wellness: 21 Day Cleanse,  Vegetarian

Gina’s Surprise Visit and Dinner

Now into the second week of my cleanse and halfway through the 21 days!  I can honestly report that my meals have been satisfying and filling.   I still have a long list of dishes I would like to prepare.   And being prepared is key to enjoying good meals and feeling satisfied.  I realized this over the weekend when spontaneity took over and I wasn’t prepared to whip up a dinner on short notice!  That night I simply snacked on corn tortilla chips (legal), raw veggies and guacamole!  It was a late evening “dinner” as I had been busy all day and plans just seemed to keep changing!  I did have a glass of wine as I had planned to only indulge over weekends. 

It was exciting to be in a Mexican restaurant Friday night and be able to choose dishes that fit into my plan.  I have more ideas on other types of restaurants that I will be able to eat at, such as, Sushi where I can order a California roll with brown rice, edamane and a seaweed salad and miso soup!  I experimented with a gluten-free pie crust and was very pleased with the results!  It was not something I could eat at this time as it does contain butter.  I do like how I feel without having gluten in my diet, so I may begin incorporating gluten-free foods into my “normal” eating after the cleanse. 

While all good, I will be honest in sharing my longing for a bagel, a real bagel; a grilled chicken breast or salmon or gorgonzola or goat cheese which I seem to top on a lot of what I eat.  I have been trying to avoid looking at amazing dishes I would like to prepare as the realization I can’t have any is too sad to think about.  I have not cheated in the categories of sugar, animal products or gluten.   Alcohol is my glass of wine over the weekend and a morning espresso is my caffeine.    I simply don’t have a desire to cheat, but I do have a longing and am extremely thankful that I do not have any medical reason to not enjoy those foods.  As someone who adores food and all that surrounds it; I am truly thankful and this cleanse definitely opened my eyes to this appreciation.  I do believe though that I would be able to continue to be satisfied if I did have to medically avoid these foods as my health is more important than warm brie and sourdough bread. 

 This upcoming weekend is going to be very busy, including a dinner party and tailgating.  I’m ready for the challenge and I will post my results next week!

The following are my meals since my last Cleanse post:

Day 5:  Breakfast:  Oatmeal with pumpkin, cranraisins and almond milk.  Lunch:  Leftover Pasta alla Simmered Norma.  Dinner:  Mexican Restaurant – salsa and chips, veggie fajita on corn tortilla.

Day 6:  Breakfast:  Oatmeal with pumpkin, cranraisins and almond milk.  Lunch:  Millet gluten-free bread topped with hummus, avocado, cucumber and tomato slices.  Dinner:  Veggies and plantain chips with salsa and a glass of wine!

Day 7:  Breakfast:  Oatmeal as above and above.  Lunch:  Veggie quesadilla, guacamole and corn tortillas.  Dinner:  Tomato sandwich on gluten-free millet bread. 

Day 8:   Breakfast:  Gluten free waffles with pumpkin almond butter.  Lunch: Pasta alla Simmered Norma.  Dinner:  Large chopped salad.

Day 9:  Breakfast:  Waffles, as above.  Lunch:  Lentil Soup.  Dinner Veggie quesadilla

Day 10:  Breakfast:  Waffles, as above.  Lunch:  Large chopped salad.  Dinner:  Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus Risotto and Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

Day 11:  Breakfast:  Oatmeal with pumpkin, cranraisins and almond milk.  Lunch:  Lentil Soup.  Dinner:  Leftover Risotto.

Today I came home from work to a surprise visit from my daughter.  She told me she was spending a long weekend in Captiva so when my doorbell rang I was completely taken aback!  As any Italian mother would do, I headed into the kitchen to start making dinner! 

The Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus Risotto and Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce seemed hardly like cleansing food, but they were!  My daughter thought there was a different taste to this dish than I have made in the past.  I think it was more due to the vegetable broth having a stronger, earthier taste than the use of chicken broth.  I also did not use any wine, butter or parmesan cheese.

A pot of lentil soup kept me going for lunch on several days.  I never tired of this soup and even Gina really liked it.  She had never had lentil soup as she didn’t think she would even like lentils!  Oh, my little girl is growing up!

Wellness Cleanse Version:  Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus Risotto

1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths

Olive oil for roasting veggies and for risotto

1 small finely chopped onion

2 ½ cups risotto

6 cups vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried sage

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place squash on a large baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, pepper, oregano, sage and cayenne pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, add asparagus and continue to roast until both veggies are lightly browned and tender.

Warm vegetable stock in a saucepan and maintain a low simmer.  In a separate larger saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onions until tender.  Add in the risotto and stir until beginning to brown.  Add a ladle of broth to the risotto and begin stirring.  Continue to stir and add broth by the ladle full as it absorbs into the risotto.  The entire process should be about 20 minutes.  Add the roasted veggies with the last ladle of broth.  Stir to combine well.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve immediately.

Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Adapted from The Quantum Wellness Cleanse

For the cakes:

¼ cup diced red onion

½ cup diced roasted red peppers

2 garlic cloves minced

2 cups cooked black beans, drained

½ cup bread crumbs made from gluten-free bread

½ teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:

2 roasted red peppers, peeled and chopped

1 roasted garlic bulb

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 – 2 tablespoons veggie broth

Salt and pepper

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and lightly process.  Scoop out ¼ cup portions and shape into round cakes.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with oil to medium high heat.  Slowly add the cakes and allow to brown before turning, about 5 to 6 minutes, adding additional oil if necessary.

To make the sauce, combine one or two roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, cilantro and veggie broth in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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