I wish I could relive this moment over and over….
Despite the fact that our wedding day has passed, Jason and I continue to create and enjoy memories that are tender, loving, and sweet.
One fond memory is this weekend’s feast in celebration of our upcoming anniversary – made from scratch and made from love.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we wanted a fun and exciting meal, but we didn’t want to gorge ourselves into utter guilt and discomfort. Our meal was made from just about all clean ingredients (we did have some wine spritzers!). Eating clean simply means that you are staying away from processed foods. Slightly processed items such as spices and extra virgin olive oil are perfectly fine, but the key is staying away from packaged goods with chemicals and scary toxins.
I will be the first to admit that I am not always good at eating clean. Cake and ice cream just tempt me beyond belief (you know, the kind with all that high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors”, which are nothing more than chemicals), but just know that it is okay to eat that kind of stuff as a treat every once in a while. Just don’t make it a daily ritual.
I am reminded of an episode of Oprah I watched last year; a girl in her twenties was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was basically handed a death sentence. She decided that it was not her time, bought a juicer and began consuming loads of fresh fruits and vegetables. Her clean diet saved her life. She is now in remission. REMISSION!!! Healthy food has power, people! It saves lives!
Now that I have said my piece, I will step off of my soap box and focus on our anniversary meal ;o) …
Jason and I thoroughly enjoyed our clean meal. We ate until we were full and an hour later, we felt great! (Even ready to eat a little more!) The next day, my little pudgy belly was flatter, and I felt incredible! Need I say more?!
Here is our wonderful pre-anniversary dinner menu with recipes:
Roasted Eggplant Dip with Herb Rubbed Pita
Adapted from: Martha Stewart Living, July 2009
Serves: a hungry crowd
Ingredients for Dip:
3 medium eggplants
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (the recipe calls for full-fat, but I used non-fat and it turned out well)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from two lemons)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Chop up eggplant into small chunks. Place on baking sheet, toss in 2 Tbs. olive oil, and bake for 20 minutes or until browned and tender.
Using a knife, press the flat side of the blade back and forth across the garlic with 1.5 tsp. salt to create a garlic paste.
Add eggplant and garlic into food processor. Gradually add the remaining olive oil while processing. Once done with processing, place mixture into a bowl. Gently stir in yogurt and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Ingredients for pitas:
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Coarse salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 pitas, sliced horizontally if thick
Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Stir herbs together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Rub over pitas, and slice into triangles.
Place on baking sheets and bake for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.
Pumpkin & Pear Soup
Source: Oxygen Magazine, June 2009
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup fresh ginger, minced
3 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 small cans pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups chicken broth
Put first four ingredients in a large soup pot and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree in batches in a blender or use a stick blender to blend until soup is smooth.
Moroccan Chicken and Lentils
Source: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, p. 150
Serves: 12 (we made 4 servings for our meal)
8 cups water
3 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed drained and picked over
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. ground cumin, divided
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. chili powder
2 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken or turkey breast, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
Combine water and 1 tbs. salt in stock pot over high heat. Add lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain well. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup oil, vinegar, 2 Tbs. cumin, 2 Tbs. chili powder, garlic and 1 tsp. salt. Pour all but 2 Tbs. of this dressing over lentils. Toss gently and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. oil. Add onion and saute until well cooked, about 5 minutes. Onion should appear dark brown and soft. Add chicken or turkey and saute 2 minutes more. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbs. cumin, 2 tsp. chili powder and cinnamon. Saute until chicken/turkey is cooked through.
Arrange lentils on a large serving platter. Place sliced chicken on top of lentils. Use any remaining dressing to pour on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.
Marinated Zucchini with Mint
Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2009
3 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 Tbs. olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh mint
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. On two large rimmed baking sheets toss zucchini with 2 Tbs. oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and brown underneath, about 10-15 minutes.
On a serving platter, sprinkle zucchini with garlic and 2 Tbs. oil and vinegar. Let stand for an hour. (If you don’t have time to let it stand, don’t worry about it. It tastes great served immediately!)
Sprinkle with fresh mint.