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Legendary Sweet Potato Fries: Cleanse Days 4 and 5

Gina Iannitelli
iBerkshires Contributor

Days 4 and 5: Let’s catch up from the weekend!

This weekend, one of my best friends from school came into town to visit. Poor Liz had to put up with my constant, unrelenting headache and epic exhaustion. Luckily she comes from an exciting and hectic life in NYC and was just fine with watching reality TV and doing some experimental cooking with me all weekend (one of our experiments wasn't a success…more on that later…)
I am totally exhausted today. I’m thinking that it might be a combination of Monday Madness and my body still going through the detoxifying process. I asked Renee if this is normal and she said that some people do not experience the “switch” to higher levels of mood and energy until Day 8 or 9. So freaking close. I also need to pay attention to my intake of quinoa, rice, and protein shakes, and make sure that I’m getting enough and not depriving myself.  This lack in energy has definitely hindered my desire to go to the gym but I do some cardio and weights yesterday (thanks to Liz!)  as well a snowy hike on Saturday. I would definitely say that my cravings, especially for coffee and cheese, reached an all time high yesterday and today. And now I need to think about something else.


Gina Stats, Days 4 and 5:
Weight Loss: 2 lbs
Headaches: Still pretty intense; also, I’ve been experiencing neck aches
No diet cheats as of yet! Fingers crossed.

Dylan fell off the bandwagon a bit this weekend but is returning with a vengeance. We have pinpointed that one of the triggers that causes his cigarette cravings is the moment when he is hungry but does not have a “cleanse friendly” meal readily available (this happens especially at his work, where he is sometimes surrounded by other smokers). Fortunately, he says that he “feels great!” and would definitely consider altering his diet even after the 21 days are up in order to experience the increased energy.  He feels as though he has lost a few pounds and is concerned that he is also losing muscle mass.
We are definitely visiting the gym tonight…

Dylan Stats, Days 4 and 5:
Cigarettes since Day 1: 6
Joint pain: Improving!
Diet cheats: An order of beer pretzels from Water Street Grill, 3 Kentucky Bourbon beers (Guys night…)

                                                              New Recipes!

Rice Noodles with a Garlic Bean and Cauliflower Sauce

I wanted to experiment with foods that might replace the flavors and textures I’m craving so badly. I also needed to be a good host to Liz, who wanted to go vegan and gluten-free for the weekend with Dylan and I (That's Liz on the right, a fellow redhead)! I couldn't just feed her vegetables all weekend and I wouldn't be able to survive off of that anyway. The first dish we tried on Saturday was Rice Noodles with Mushrooms and Broccoli in a Garlic Bean Cauliflower Sauce. I was desperately hoping that the smooth texture of the whipped cannelloni beans and cauliflower (with some rice milk) might be a passable alternative for an Alfredo sauce.  This premonition was partially correct; while the consistency was perfect, it was clear to both Liz and I that it was calling for salt. We added a pinch of sea salt, which definitely helped, and should have continued to experiment with seasonings and fresh herbs. We were famished, however, and ate it as it was. It definitely helped to throw some sautéed garlic mushrooms into the sauce mixture and then hit it with the immersion blender, which is my new best friend! What a cool piece of kitchen equipment. The broccoli was cooked to perfection and we ate a lot of it on the side.

Because this recipe was not perfect, but definitely has a lot of potential, I’ll just give you the basics: soak dried cannelloni beans overnight and then let them simmer in a covered saucepan for about an hour (or until soft). Steam cauliflower on stovetop until soft as well. I would highly recommend using about a 3-1 ratio of cauliflower to beans; the beans have a surprisingly strong flavor and you do not need too many to reach that creamy texture. And, personally, I love the taste of cauliflower without too many additions. Sautee garlic and sliced mushrooms in pan. I then added the garlic and half of the mushrooms right into the sauce and blended with the immersion blender. Add rice milk or unsalted organic vegetable stock until you reach a sauce-like consistency. Fresh herbs or caramelized onions would almost definitely be a nice touch! Please let me know if you try this out and find the perfect combination...

Kale with Lemon and Garlic:
This is a secret obsession that both Liz and I developed our senior year of college when we were roommates on a budget. Kale with Lemon and Garlic is Obsession #1; you’ll find Obsession #2 below. Liz was taking a class on Food Sustainability Literature and read somewhere that kale and lemon, when combined, form some sort of “supergroup” and supplement each other nutritionally. I took a recipe for Mediterranean Kale from my mother and simplified it (basically, I just throw all the ingredients into one pan instead of mixing a dressing). It’s so good, no lie.

Take a bunch of kale and rinse well, especially if it is organic or locally grown—a lot of dirt and other things can collect in the curly leaves and stems.* Cut the leaves from the stems by laying the kale flat, smooth side up, and slicing with a knife along the stem. Discard the stems or save them for homemade veggie stock. Add EVOO to a frying pan with some minced garlic. Once the garlic is cooked through add the kale along with a few teaspoons of water. While this is cooking (remember to keep stirring it or it will brown) juice a fresh lemons. Throw that in the pan with a pinch of sea salt. And that’s it! Add some red pepper flakes if you want some spice.

* I actually found a cute green little bug—alive—when I was making kale last week; if this happens to you, don’t be freaked out! This just means that your veggies haven’t been blasted with chemicals and most likely have not been sitting in a storage room, truck, or store for very long.

The Legendary Sweet Potato Fries:
Cue Obsession #2. Such a lifesaver when one is on a budget.  Microwave a couple of sweet potatoes, poked with a fork, for a few minutes until they are soft enough slice (about halfway cooked).  Be sure to nuke them one at a time or else you will be sitting forever with nothing to do! When one is soft enough, slice it into uniform shapes, whether rounds or wedges. Arrange in casserole dish or baking dish. Drizzle with EVOO and mix them around.  Add some garlic powder, turmeric (an awesome “brain food!”), pepper, and sea salt. These are so flavorful that you may not even need salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for about a half an hour, depending on how well done you like your fries as well as the thickness of your slices.

I didn't get a very good picture of the fries...we started eating them and were almost done before I remembered to snap a photo!

That’s all for today, unless I make some awesome discoveries tonight! Positive thoughts for my energy level and D’s smoking… 



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