Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cleaning or Greening out the holidays (greens on greens)

The holidays were a feast and that's no joke. Chopper ended up with stomach bug symptoms and blamed the chocolate and rich foods. When I kept going (eating cookies, chocolate, and drinking eggnog 2 days after Christmas) he took the opportunity to give me a tisk tisk look and a few comments until I told him to "watch it" (that's a direct quote). So now I have caught up with Chopper, and I too, am relaxing on the sweets. I'm looking forward to the cleanse I have planned for the island at the end of January, and realize the prep for that starts now.

Because it seems that the exhaustion of over-eating and indulging, is a common sentiment this time of year, I will share with you my personal plan of attack to combat the sugar high and addiction that ensues. I get bitten with the sweet bug every year just like everyone else and every year the sweets linger past the holidays. I also usually feel a bit down once all the celebration comes to a hault and it can be quite cold and lonely come January/February (especially here on the island). We all know that cold, lonely and depressed are never the emotions that help us to make healthy choices for ourselves. So, that being said the sooner you start the shedding process the better.

My personal plan: Starts with Greens! Always. If you talk to any of my clients (perhaps you were one) you will recognize this pattern. Once your body starts to get the minerals, nutrients, and oxygen it needs, it will want for less. Dark leafy greens.

So for step one I've included a recipe here that is one of my favorites. It is a recipe from one of my teachers and mentors, Andrea Beaman.

Greens on greens (Andrea Beaman)

1 head of kale
1/2 bunch of scallions
1/2 bunch of parsley
3 Tbl soy sauce
3 Tbl Ume Plum Vinegar
1/3 cup Tahini
1/2 cup water

De-stem the kale and tear into bite size pieces (for a great how-to video go HERE). Then steam till bright green (using a steamer basket will keep the kale from getting to watery).

Put the rest of the ingredients into your food processor or blender (if you are not using a high-power blender you will want to chop the scallions and parsley first) and blend until smooth.

Pour the lovely green sauce over the lovely steamed greens.

Sideways parsley and scallions, chopped. Don't they look pretty sideways?

Kale steamed till bright green.

This is delicious as is, or you can add other veggies, a protein, or even soba noodles are yummy.

Stay tuned for step 2, in the meantime green away. You can never green too much.

Christmas Eve Feast (spinach salad with cranberry vinegarette)

Our tree colored lights and all

And now back to the food...

Christmas was a good time this year. My last post ended quite abruptly so here, I would just like to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.

On Christmas Eve we had a nice dinner with Chopper's family. There was Baccala, pea soup, salad, and shrimp enchiladas. It was a cultural feast. Chop's father is Portuguese and so brought the traditional dish, Baccala, which is salted cod and potatoes with olives, pimento peppers, eggs, and a few other ingredients. Apparently it is best with a little olive oil and vinegar drizzled over the top. Because of the tradition of eating fish on Christmas eve this is a popular dish, personally it is a little fishy for me, but those who like it, reaaaally like it. The pea soup was brought by Chop's brother and his wife, another family tradition from another culture. Kristen's family is polish, pea soup and pierogies is their Christmas Eve tradition. She made the pierogies for Christmas day, they are always delicious and the pea soup was yummy too (made vegetarian with no ham). The enchilada's were not family tradition at all, but they were delicious! Chopper's mother Natalie brought them. Natalie has a food blog of her own, her blog highlights eating local, and all of her recipes are made from foods that are sustainable in some most cases because they are all grown in very close proximity to where they are being eaten. She said she would have the enchilada recipe posted at some point and I would suggest seeking it out, they were really yummy.

The delicious enchiladas, obviously being eaten!

The baccala

It was a lovely evening around food and family, which had just the energy one would want to christen their new home for the holidays. Chop and I felt very lucky and our house is feeling more like home every day, it is amazing to think of the memories that have been created there in just the few short monthes we've been in the house (ok 6 monthes but still!).

Grammy with her new picture of Wesley.

Chop and the Boy

Wes and his new organic cotton penguin

The salad I haven't yet mentioned was my contribution to the evening. I don't like to usually put "green salad" recipes on my blog except for in my ode to salads post from last year, because they seem a bit simple and I don't want to undermind my readers. But I brought this salad to a brunch with friends a few weeks ago and then served it again on Christmas Eve and the comments were a flowin. People like this salad, as "simple" as it may seem to me and so I shall share it with you. This is a salad you can get in many restaurants, but what I think makes it stand above (besides the local mixed greens) is the love, that has got to be it. So if you make this salad, make sure to love what you're doing while you're doing it, otherwise it could come out rather pedestrian.

Salad and Dressing
baby spinach (or mixed greens..I used both)
toasted pecans (put on tray in toaster and toast for about 5 minutes)
crumbled blue cheese
sliced pears
finely sliced red onion

Cranberry Vinegarette

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic (I used white balsamic, I don't know how they clarify it-shouldn't matter-use what you have)
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 of a red onion chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Blend all ingredients except for the olive oil. Then with blender on a low setting pour the olive oil in the top. This will allow it to emulsify.
salt and pepper to taste