Tag Archives: red bell pepper

I Think My Detox is Making Me Fat

23 Feb

So I originally planned this “detox” to cleanse my body of all the heavy foods I’ve been indulging in over the last month.  Temporarily going back to my vegetarian ways, I’ve even sided more on the vegan outlook, minus the sweet touch of honey now and again.  I must say, this diet change has been revitalizing!  Rejuvenating!  I feel born again into the wonderful world of herbivores!  So why, with this plethora of fruit and veg, is my belt tightening?

Because I have a problem – a cooking problem.  Can anyone else subscribe to Indulgence Anonymous?  Anyone?  Here’s the situation: I so LOVE cooking and food and eating that I am tastifying stereotypically dry nut-and-berry diets, thus filling myself to capacity.  Maybe I can coin the next fad diet: Overeating Detox.  Hmm… kind of sounds like Jumbo Shrimp.

Take, for example, last night’s Chinese Peanut Lettuce Wraps.  All raw veg – carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, red peppers, iceberg lettuce – accompanied by a peanut sauce.  Sounds pretty blah, right?

Rob and I were *this* close to licking the plate.  There is something so innate about enjoying fresh food straight from the ground – it’s difficult to equally compare it to a grilled steak.  And Rob was so sweet to give me the leftovers for lunch today, not that there was much leftover. We both ate way more than our share.  Our meal was healthy for sure, and a cinch to whip up, but our overindulgence negated any healthy change we were initially aiming for.

With our bellies full and warm (from the addicting spiciness of the peanut sauce), we slept like babies and woke up excited about what today’s detox cooking adventure would bring (well, at least I was excited).  Next up, Spicy Black Bean Burgers.  I’ll try to be more European in serving size, but with such lovely fresh ingredients, I can’t make any promises!

Chinese Peanut Lettuce Wraps (serves 4, about 2-3 wraps each – well, it’s supposed to, but if you eat like Rob and I did, you won’t have much leftover)

  • 1/2 a small Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • about 7-10 crimini mushrooms, wiped, stalks removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves carefully removed 1 at a time.
  • 1/4 c hulled peanuts, roughly chopped (cashews work well, too)
  • Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • lime wedges, to serve with wraps

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tbsp all natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (or more for more heat)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime

To make the peanut sauce, add all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.  Taste for seasoning (if too strong or pungent tasting, add a bit more olive oil).

Pour sauce into a salad bowl and mix with the chopped veg and nuts.  Taste for seasoning.

Serve with a plate of refreshing lettuce leaves, to act as a perfect fresh wrap for the sweet and spicy veg.  Pile them high, squeeze over some lime juice, and lick your fingers of any dripping sauce.


When Arby’s Shuts Down

11 Jan

So, I’ve never seen a fast food restaurant closed during eating hours.  Since a seriously bad guilty pleasure of mine is McDonalds, I’m thankful that the 24-hour drive thru is available to quell my cravings.  I’m not incredibly versed on the exact hours of many fast food restaurants (and actually thankful for that), but I do know that Arby’s was closed yesterday evening.  Anyone craving a famous a famous Beef ‘N’ Cheddar or those crunchy curly fries dipped in a vanilla shake (I promise, it’s awesome), would just have to wait.  For what, you might ask?  Well, for Oregon to win, or lose, the BCS National Championship.

I’m constantly leaving new things about this emerald state, and the latest tidbit is that the area almost literally shuts down for an epic football game.  I mean, the Beavers and Ducks do football just about as well as Texas!

Last night was the big game between Oregon and Auburn, and I must admit, it was an exciting game to watch.  It was the first time that Oregon has made it to the National Championship, and our town was in full support and shouting its enthusiasm.  Even my first graders, all decked out in green and gold, were asking me if I was excited about watching the game (if only I could get them that excited about math!).

I went to the gym after work, and noticed the eerie solitude of my repetitive thump-thump-thump on the treadmill.  The only other person there was an old man, relieving a flashback to the 70s with his high socks and sweat band.  I’ve never been a fan of working out with a ton of people around, especially at a coed gym.  But being one of the only people there made me wonder how many people ruined their ever-motivated I’m-going-to-work-out-every-day New Years Resolution, just to watch “the” game.

However, the highlight of my night was coming home to a green and gold laden husband wearing the biggest, goofiest smile, and literally jumping up from the couch to tell me the game was about to start.

Game?  What game?  Who’s playing?

But seeing the expression on his face quickly turn to concern, Rob voiced his worry for Oregon’s chances of winning because of the – believe it or not – the cheerleaders.  The theory: the more scantily the cheerleading uniforms, the worse the team will do.  And while Oregon has always had quite tastefully dressed dancing supporters, the attire last night was, well, delicately covering.  Patting the big green “O” on his chest, I reassured him that they would probably be OK.

We cheered, we yelled, we cuddled on the couch, we ate, and it felt like a stay-at-home date.  However, the theory proved true, as Oregon lost last night, to the sadness of many.  I felt especially bad for those poor saps who got the double whammy of Oregon losing AND not getting their Arby’s fix.

But at least our food was good.  I had promised Rob I would make his favorite football food – pigs in a blanket – but had to throw in a lovely winter salad.  After all, we have to keep our resolutions of eating healthy.  The salad was chocked full of lovely greens (arugula and baby lettuces), red bell pepper, sliced apples, and hearty chunks of parmesan.  With a tangy, citrus dressing, it was the perfect compliment to the buttery crust delicately encasing the small mixed-meat product (dipped in mustard, of course).  I had a glass of lovely ’05 KJ Reserve cabernet, and Rob enjoyed a beer (made in Oregon), both also seeming to adequately fit the mood and the food.

Though the excitement of the day was tackled by a last-minute field goal by Auburn, I was thankful for the night.  It was the perfect relaxing, entertaining way to start off the week (and learn more about Oregon’s, and Rob’s, love of the game).

Apple and Bell Pepper Salad with Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette

  • A few handfuls of baby lettuces and arugula, rinsed and dried.
  • 1 apple (I love the Honey Crisp variety this time of year), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c parmesan regiano, chunked off the brick using the tip of the a pairing knife.

Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • juice and zest of 1/2 mandarin orange
  • 1/8 tsp hot paprika (make it heaping if you like the spice)
  • 1/2 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • s&p

Take the garlic clove and rub it on the inside of the serving bowl.  In the bottom of the bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil.  Using a whisk, mix the ingredients while pouring in the extra virgin olive oil, emulsifying the dressing.  Taste for seasoning.

Put the salad ingredients in the bowl, and toss.  Taste for seasoning, and serve.


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