Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trader Joe's Tuesday - Spring Cleaning

You'll understand why I am a wee bit late on this Trader Joe's Tuesday entry. I wasn't quite focused on FOOD yesterday, and I'm still not today because I am doing a fast of sorts...the Master Cleanse!

The super cool thing about this cleanse is that all the ingredients you need -- and you want to have high quality ingredients since there are only a few --- can be found at Trader Joe's:

  • Lemons
  • Trader Joe's Maple Syrup - Grade B (not Grade A, which is more diffuse)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Trader Joe's Pink Himalayan Salt Grinder (so you can fresh grind the salt and the taste is much milder)
  • Herb Tea

I've done the Master Cleanse 10 or 15 times in my life and I always feel extraordinary by the end of the fast. But, this fast, I started feeling literally FANTASTIC after just a day and a half. The last time I did it, though, was the worst: even so far as throwing up. The more toxic your system is the more intense the nausea, headaches, aches and pains are. I was worried about how this time might go because over the past few months I've had to be on one round of one antibiotic and two rounds of another. I wanted to get my system cleaned out after this AND I wanted to break a cycle of hunger. The last couple of months, I've had what I think are hormonally-related hunger attacks, where I seemed to get hungry very soon after eating a perfectly good meal.

So, oddly, even though I'm on a fast, I have broken those raging hunger attacks. I get hungry, of course, and when I get hungry I drink the drink, but then I'm satisfied.

The ONLY hard part of this fast is SMELLING FOOD. And, when you drive a convertible, boy oh boy, the smells are everywhere!!! Oy! But, none of that outways the benefit of feeling as fantastic as I do. I literally have high energy from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to bed, and I am so effective ALL DAY LONG!

It's driving Aaron crazy too because a lot of what we do is around meals and it's a wee bit disconcerting for him to have me on this, and I have to make him eat his crunchy snacks and chewy chocolate treats in the kitchen!

There are a million websites out that can tell you how to do the Master Cleanse, but I think I've posted the official one with this post. I recommend you buy the book by Stanley Burroughs so you really get the why, how, what, and where because you really want to do it right and really understand it so that you truly get all the benefits you are working toward.

I recommend it, because it's always been a positive (only one time slightly negative, but even then it ended positively) experience for me, and gives my body a fresh start, breaking my addictions to white sugar and flour -- for a time, sometimes a very long time. But, you need to read the book to see if you really want to do it.

Happy Spring Cleaning --- in whatever "space" you find yourself cleaning the cobwebs!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trader Joe's Tuesday - It's Spring!

Aaron took me to Los Olivos to celebrate my birthday this weekend and it was beyond fabulous. One of the highlights -- or should I say THREE of the highlights -- of the trip were three of the most divine meals I've ever had. Petros is a divine Greek-inspired restaurant located in Fess Parker's Inn. Breakfast at Petros is included with your meals, but we stopped in for drinks and appetizers a couple hours before we had reservations at another restaurant in Los Olivos and were so incredibly impressed that when we went to dinner and saw the menu that was far from inspired, we high-tailed it back to Petros for dinner.

What does this have to do with Trader Joe's? Well, we now have a very powerful addiction to feta cheese, and all things Greek cuisine related. So, I went to Trader Joe's searching for the ingredients to recreate the most delicious Greek salad I've ever had. And, I did it!

I made a large salad so we had leftovers the second day which were even more steeped in their flavors the second day.

3 cucumbers (peeled)
1 carton of baby tomatoes
2 avocados
1 package of Feta Cheese
Lemon and Olive Oil
Dried Oregano, Salt and Pepper

Chop two of the cucumbers up into baby cubes, take one cucumber and cut it into spears, halve the baby tomatoes, cut the avocados in baby cubes, crumble the feta cheese, and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss it all together and create a little tower of salad, which is bound by the cheese. Accent the tower with a few cucumber spears, laying them playfully at the base or resting them against the little tower.

More Greek-inspired, Petros-inspired recipes to come!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trader Joe's Tuesday - Flu's Day

In bed with the flu that's gone into my chest, so today I am grateful to Dr. Joe for the following items:

  1. Grapefruit Juice -- I love their grapefruit juice (refrigerator section) and years ago I literally cured myself of pneumonia with grapefruit juice, so I'm downing it and it's also keeping me from overeating since I'm not working out! But, my body is loving it. You can tell when your body is happy about something you're giving it, can't you?
  2. Emergen-C Acai Berry -- I love this new favor and I'm really loving anything Acai, frankly. This flavor isn't too sweet or too tart...Goldilocks would say "it's just right."
  3. Ezekiel Bread Toasted with Almond Butter and Fruit Only Preserves -- Just one piece of toast with one tablespoon of almond butter and a tiny bit of strawberry preserves and I'm a happy, happy camper. It's the perfect amount of food and the perfect amount of comfort foodishness --- crunch and cream, what more could a girl ask?

I love you Doctor Joe. I love you so.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trader Joe's Tuesday Slips Lazily Into Wednesday

I am late with this Trader Joe's Tuesday tip because I was traveling yesterday. When I'm on planes I don't normally speak to the people next to me, but I had the great pleasure of sitting next to a magical 90 year old woman from Oklahoma. Jean was on her way to Los Angeles to visit her 90+ year old cousin and his lovely wife, who I had the pleasure of meeting for a brief moment at LAX. Her cousin invited her to come out for a lovely trip out to the desert to view the Spring flora and fauna that are now gracing the dry landscape.

We didn't speak the entire time, but food was a good part of our conversation because when we started to take off we both mentioned how ravenously hungry we were. So I gave her an energy bar I knew I wasn't going to eat, and later we both bought snacks. I bought a turkey and cheese sandwich, and she watched as I dismantled it, halving its size, when I removed the turkey. I told her I was a vegetarian who eats fish too. Later she said "Well I don't eat as many vegetables as my doctor would like..." So, I threw out some ideas for her, and had some more up my sleeve but didn't want to overwhelm her.

For people who hate veggies, gather up these goodies at Trader Joe's:

Cucumbers -- They usually have at least two varieties at TJ's. Slice up a few cucumbers, drizzle with their Red Wine Vinegar, a little Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Red Chili Flakes -- yes, RED CHILI PEPPER FLAKES -- kicks it up a notch and gives the cooling dish a wee bit o' heat.

Corn -- Grill it to give it an extra caramelly taste -- yes, even if it's not grilling weather -- but if it really is too darned cold, steam it. Then rub with butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and CUMIN...yes, CUMIN! It's unbelievable.

Avocado -- Mash one up, squeeze in a lime (or lemon), add salt and pepper. Spread on your favorite toast.

Asparagus -- Preheat the oven to 450. Trim and rinse a bunch or two of asparagus. Grate the rind of a lemon. Throw it on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice of the lemon. Add the lemon zest, salt, pepper and toss. Bake for about 7 minutes, toss it around so it evenly cooks, then cook for another 5 to 7 minutes (depending on how thin the asparagus). It's good if they get a few burnt edges...yummy!

Green Beans -- Steam them up (TJs also has the packets you just clip and put in the microwave), toss with toasted almonds, lemon juice, olive oil, maybe a tablespoon of butter just for a little added flavor, salt and pepper and some grated parmesan cheese.

Buon appetito!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Trader Joe's Tuesday - Losing Weight With the Help of Our Hero TJ

I knew I'd been gaining weight but I didn't really want to look at it until this weekend, when I finally weighed myself after about a year of burying my head in the sand. So, now I know what is so, and that I'm going to lose 15 pounds.

The first thing I realized is that one key to me losing and maintaining my weight is drinking tons of water. I seem to need more than most people. The ideal amount of water for me each day is more than most people need: two liters. So, the first thing I did was buy the big one liter bottles of water that have electrolytes. I love the size, and it's really delicious water!!!!

The second thing I started doing was what always works for me which is eating small meals. These are some of my favorite Trader Joe's 200-calorie - or under -- yummy snacks that all have a little crunch and/or comfort food element to them:

  • Non Fat Vanilla Yogurt with one tablespoon of Unsalted Dry Toasted Slivered Almonds = 175 calories
  • Large Apple sliced and dipped in one tablespoon of Almond Butter = roughly 200 calories
  • One half of a Pita bread toasted with one ounce of cheese added inside = roughly 150 calories
  • One slice of Ezekiel Rye toast with two tablespoons of one of the wonderful Goat Cheeses spread on it -- I like the herbed and peppery versions = roughly 160 calories
  • One ounce of Whole Dry Roasted Almonds -- about 22 whole almonds = roughly 170 calories

Buon Appetito without the worry-o!