Monday, February 4, 2019

10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse - Modified

Interestingly enough, as much as I enjoy food, here I am writing about basically avoiding food for 10 days - well, avoiding "chewing" food and avoiding all "unclean" foods.

I have attempted the 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse in the past but gave up around day 3. I just couldn't take it! I still had to cook to feed my family and smell all their delicious food. I work in an environment where there's always food.. Even foods I didn't like suddenly smelled SO GOOD!

At any rate, I'm here again with the moral support of 5 girlfriends who are also on the smoothie cleanse journey. I will say that although I didn't make it through the whole cleanse last time, I felt nice and "clean" from the inside out from the time that I did spend cleansing.

I know myself well and know that I REALLY enjoy the process of 'eating food', not just consuming nutrients, so this time I decided that I would do the Modified 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. In this version, two meals a day are replaced with green smoothies and dinner is baked or grilled fish or chicken or veggies (or a combination of those).

Day One

(Boy, it really helps to be prepared. I blended my smoothie and chopped my veggies last night)
Today, I began with the Berry Green Smoothie. As non-rigid as I am, I used a touch of agave nectar to sweeten my smoothie instead of the recommended Stevia (bleck). I know, I know, added calories and such. But for me, the goal of this cleanse is to actually 'cleanse' my system, not shed lots of pounds. I digress. The smoothie was actually a bit too sweet for me. Tomorrow, no agave. 
Today was actually pretty smooth. I am used to having vanilla chai tea in the mornings sweetened with honey and enhanced with a touch of heavy cream. I did miss that this morning. It seemed that my day went by pretty quickly, and so did my smoothie. I certainly did use the bathroom a LOT! I attempted to consume the recommended 64 ounces of water. I may have been off by a few ounces. Today's snacks were half an apple, sliced red and yellow peppers (I didn't like those, something must be up with that crop) and red grapes which I didn't eat. Tomorrow's snacks must be better planned. Dinner was simple: Cubed chicken breast atop a bed of onions, kale and tomatoes seasoned only with herbs and fresh garlic and baked for about 30 minutes at 375. Pretty tasty. I do miss the salt but I'll manage.
Clean Chicken Dinner - Pre-oven

I weighed myself before bed - 140.2. Surprisingly, I weigh more than I did on Saturday - 138.6.
As I prepped for tomorrow's smoothie, I snacked on a the red grapes that I failed to eat earlier at work.

Day Two

This morning I woke up pretty hungry with a very mild headache. Before getting ready for the day, I chugged some water from my nightstand staple water bottle to quell the hunger. It worked. As I got ready, I forgot about the headache but it slowly increased as the morning progressed.
Today I was actually hungry. Gladly I prepared a snack of  veggies with vegan house dressing.
"Vegan House Dressing", not bad

 At lunch time, I drank more smoothie - today's version was apple strawberry. I grabbed a store-bought water bottle today so that I could keep better track of the amount of water I'm taking in. About 5 of these will do the trick.
This afternoon, I decided I'd try mayo-free tuna salad for a protein pick-me-up. Surprisingly, the cilantro that I added to the dish (per the recipe) was a nice touch. I'll keep this in my rotation for times when I'm not cleansing along with the vegan dressing.
There was more smoothie today and it lasted all day at work and through dinner time, so no actual dinner for me today. I did notice that I haven't "moved" since I started this cleanse and I'm usually a daily mover so I grabbed some Smooth Move at the store to help with that. (I try to be a rule follower most of the time, but not always with my eating habits. The book totally recommended a daily detox tea, I just chose not to buy it initially. Looka there, they got me!)
Tonight's weight - 139.7

Day Three

I woke up this morning severely lacking in energy. Partly because the Smooth Move tea kicked in at 3AM...The directions say to drink it at bedtime. NEVER AGAIN. I relish my sleep more than anything! I decided to munch on some grapes before leaving home to give myself a boost of energy for work. They eventually kicked in and did the trick.
Today's smoothie was Apply Berry. Eh, it was ok. I added a touch of agave nectar because from past experience, frozen blueberry smoothies aren't quite as sweet. Good thing I did. This smoothie is ok, but I won't make it again.
I was STARVING at work today. My assumption is that it's because my stomach and intestines are now nearly empty. It was rough, I get a daily email from Food Network with recipes to try and today's issue featured game day favorites ðŸ˜Ŧ One of my favorite things about football season is the game day food... (I'm cheating for the Super Bowl this Sunday. Sue me.)
The snacks I brought today were 'deviled eggs' - I brought 6 halves but only ate 3, chopped veggies and cashews. I decided to eat only 3 cashews since these are heavy in calories and the were the main ingredient of the "Vegan House Dressing" used to flavor my eggs.
Each time I ate a snack or consumed smoothie, I felt pretty full but when I got hungry, I was HUNGRY. I decided to eat dinner (baked chicken and veggies left over from Sunday) so that I wouldn't be disturbed in the night with hunger pains.

Day Four

I forgot to weigh myself last night. This morning, the scale showed 134.6. Progress.
My child had a fever through the night so again, I'm lacking sleep here. I felt pretty weak this morning, not as weak as yesterday though. I consumed two of the three leftover deviled eggs around 9:00. Since I was home laying around with my sick young one today, I didn't really feel hungry. Or maybe I'm over the hump and can finish strong? At any rate, at least half of my smoothie was still left at dinner time. My family ate burgers - one of my all time favs. It smelled so great, but to be honest, I didn't really desire to eat a burger. I didn't really desire to eat anything. While the family ate, I had the rest of my "lunch portion" of smoothie and felt very full from that.
(Interestingly, lack of sleep and lack of desire to write go hand-in-hand.)
Tonight's weight - 135.6

Day Five

I'm OVER IT! To be honest, at this point I can sit right next to someone with food, I can cook food for my family and not think twice about eating it. I'm not hungry. But I'm BORED! Even with different fruits and greens in each smoothie - today's was Peach Berry Spinach - they're All. The. Same. Texture. I need variety in life, crunchy, sour sweet, firm, etc. I barely finished my smoothie throughout the day. I was just in a negative place regarding that thing today.
But negative feelings aside, I do feel great! I feel pretty weightless today, muffin top shrunk considerably. I'm a few pounds down from the beginning. I call this smoothie cleanse a success.
Today's snacks were spicy tuna - a lil too much heat 😰 - and sliced veggies. Again.

Today, I decided that I'm done with this cleanse for 5 reasons:
1. I thought I was starting with 5 girlfriends. As it turns out, only 3 of us were down for the cause at the time. Slight buzz kill.
2. I lost 5ish pounds. I'm already pretty slim, so I can't afford to lose too much weight. Also, my muffin top shrunk quite a bit. (I know, slim with a muffin top. How Sway?)
3. One of the 3 lone participants quit on day three for understandable reasons. I lost even more motivation.
4. My blender cracked on night three. I rigged it in hopes that it would last a bit longer because LAWD KNOWS it will take me a minute to find a new one. For me, it's not as simple as walking into a store, selecting a replacement and purchasing it. I need details, reviews, green in color. On night four, said blender operated efficiently. On night five, said blender spilled green juice all over the counter. I was already in a negative mood. Icing on the cake.
5. On night five, I decided upon several lifestyle changes. For example, I'll have to ease up on my love affair with bread and potatoes. I'll lighten my lunch at work and take a few light snacks to keep my metabolism up. I'll have a vegan or vegetarian meal or two here and there. Less fried foods...

Take Aways

The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse wasn't for me, but the self-made 5-day version worked quite nicely! I feel clean, light and refreshed. I would recommend the cleanse to anyone who needs to clean themselves out or lose weight - even if you only do a partial cleanse. But I would also recommend lifestyle changes following the cleanse in order to maintain the new healthy weight and clean body. In my opinion, the only keys to success would be a strong-willed mind and a good blender.

The smoothie recipes and baked chicken dinner idea came from the book 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith.

The dip which I called "vegan house dressing"* - Raw Cashew Ranch Dip, deviled eggs and tuna salad recipes came from Divas Can Cook.

*I named it 'vegan house dressing' because my husband says you can't say it's 'ranch' if it's not. I can agree with this for the most part. Don't roll up to me calling something 'chicken' fingers when it's really tofu. Just be honest.

Though I'm a pretty balanced eater, I will certainly be attempting to have more good, less bad at home and on the road. Follow my culinary journey @CltByThePlt.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Charlotte By The Palate - Episode 2

Stop two on our tour of Charlotte by the Palate: Famous Toastery. We stopped by the University City location for a kid-free late Sunday breakfast.

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed the large crowd waiting outside to be seated. Always a good sign. I went to put our name on the list and was given a wait time of 35 minutes.
Note: this will NOT be a quick place to eat on the weekend unless your going for call-ahead take out.
Alas, we were seated in an intimate little nook in the middle of the restaurant. The vibe here is pretty chill. We kind of just rolled out of bed and were not at all out of place. It's a bit noisy, as expected when the place is always packed.
When seated, you’re given the name of a person who will come and take the order for the table but they say, if you need anything, grab anyone who walks by.
Shortly after being seated, we were greeted by a friendly waitress whose name slips my mind. She took our drink orders and returned with cornbread and apple butter. The small cornbread cubes had just the right amount of sweetness although they were a little dry. The apple butter was a bit sweeter than the cornbread and added just enough moisture to each bite. It’s always nice to get ‘free’ bread at a restaurant, but this I could’ve done without. It wasn’t badbut wasn’t much to write home about.

I decided to order the southwestern omelet (filled with chorizo, tomatoes, bell peppers and cheddar cheese) with breakfast potatoes and cinnamon raisin toast.
Southwestern Omelet Plate
My partner in crime chose the #4 burger (bacon and cheese, customized with only onions and mayo) with breakfast potatoes.
(#2) Burger

So let's begin with the dish I have the most experience with - The Southwestern Omlette. At about $12 I'd say this is worth the price tag. There was chorizo, tomato, bell pepper and onion in EVERY bite. The egg was cooked perfectly (nothing worse than overcooked eggs... except undercooked eggs). In case you're wondering, there is a bit of spiciness thanks to the chorizo. The true star of this dish for me was the breakfast potatoes. By FAR my favorite food is the potato in almost any form and these were Dee-VINE. Nice little half- to one-inch cubes sauteed ever so carefully with onions and specially chosen spices then steamed to tender perfection ðŸ˜Ē It was truly an amazing experience for the palate. The cinnamon raisin toast was average. Nothing special per se, but I do appreciate that this was an option verses the typical "white or wheat" offered at most places.

On to the #4/#2 burger. As mentioned, the initial request was a #4 burger (bacon and cheese) but the kitchen forgot the bacon hence, the #2: cheese burger. Very average choice right? No! Not at the Famous Toastery. The first thing you'll notice is that the burger is wayyyy too big for the bun. And that is A-ok in our book. Upon first bite, my partner in crime noticed how fresh and flavorful the beef was. As an onion fiend, I was thrilled to see how many grilled onions the kitchen blessed this burger with. Of course I took a bite (for research purposes). I too, noticed that the beef was extremely fresh and flavorful paired with a perfect egg bun. The omelette was great, but I had burger envy indeed. I will return to this brunch spot for a burger.

Overall, I give this place 4.5 out 5 stars. I think I'd prefer to have a waiter/waitress who was "assigned" to my table so I don't have to keep an eye up to flag one down if needed. I dig the concept though.

Keep tasting, folks.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Breakfast Meal Prep

I’m a habitual Pintrester. To me, that word describes one who pins thousands of articles, recipes and ideas...and that’s it. Well, I was a habitual Pintrester. Recently I became a PinTESTER and started actually trying some of the 50 million things on my boards. I’ve tried a few art projects, hair styles, cleaning methods. But my favorite things to try are the recipes. 
I have the most friends who are on a new diet every few months - keto, smoothie, meal prep - and they inspire me to save more pins ðŸĪŠ One day, I was at work eating a microwaved sausage I picked up at the grocery store at the last minute and someone said to me “That’s bad for you. Too many preservatives.” That got me thinking. Preservatives are one of the things that cause us to hold on to so much weight and contribute to many health problems. What to do? I only like hot breakfast, need protein to stay full, but don’t want to wake up early enough to cook food everyday. Enter: Pinterest. In my routine hold-and-save operations, I saved a few breakfast meal prep recipes. I decided to try one so that I can have real, hot food for breakfast grab n go style.

On this weeks menu: Eggs, Bacon, “Home Fries”
As one who has enjoyed cooking from childhood, I certainly did not need a recipe for any of the items in my breakfast plate. But I definitely benefitted from the suggestion found in this pin. I spent about an hour Sunday morning scrambling 8 eggs, baking slices of bacon, and cooking home fries.
I forgot to snap the eggs.

The eggs and bacon were the easiest part of this of course. I used my favorite cast iron skillet for the eggs. I cooked them in melted butter until they were just set then divided them evenly amongst my to-go dishes. Meanwhile, I cut the bacon in half, placed it on a cookie sheet, then baked it in the oven for bout 20 minutes at 400 degrees. When finished, I let it drain on a paper towel. I also boiled my cubed potatoes for about 7 minutes so they wouldn’t take long to cook in the pan.
Yummy 😋 

After finishing the eggs, I wiped out my skillet, melted more butter, diced some onions and three in my potatoes. This is my favorite part! I LOVE potatoes. Usually, I season them with salt, pepper, paprika and Italian seasoning then toss em. I tried to let em get a good sear before flipping. That’s when I added the onions. The potatoes took about 15 minutes to finish. I gave them a light press to make them more home fry-ish. 

I must say, I was really happy with the results and happy with myself for trying this meal prep. It worked perfectly with my schedule. 
To heat these up, I loosened the lid and microwaved for 30 seconds. Remove, stir, repeat. Eggs were perfect, bacon was perfect, potatoes were PERFECT! Fresh, hot breakfast in a minute with NO added preservatives. 

I will certainly try this again. Thank you Pinterest!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Charlotte By The Palate- Episode 1

On our first stop, Charlotte By The Palate visited The Nappy Chef, an unassuming new restaurant on Albemarle Rd. When you visit, you’ll see the Nappy Chef himself getting dirty in the kitchen.
The Nappy Chef

Initially, I wasn’t sure that we should try it, but the lack of parking, full outdoor seating and long line of (dare I say) Black people made me feel like this may be a winner. Generally when there’s such a long line of people the wait at a small place like this is RIDICULOUS. On this Saturday however, we were in and out in under 20 minutes.
The Nappy Chef offers what I like to call “bar food” = wings, burgers, fries, tacos. They also offer specialties like chicken n waffles on Sundays. You’ll need to tune into their Insta for the latest on new and short-term menu items. Also, there’s something called a “Boss Plate” that I kept hearing people order. This consists of 6 wings, a burger or taco and fries for $15.
We decided to go for the wings on this trip. After scanning the flavors on the menu, we were immediately intrigued by Henny Honey Hot. Yes, please. We also chose to order a Sweet Thai Chili wing plate. A wing plate comes with 6 wings and fries and will cost you $9.95. Pretty steep in my opinion. The ranch is sold 2 for $1. Red flag.
After a brief wait, we received our food sprinkled with paprika for extra pizzazz I suppose. We were greatly underwhelmed when we opened our boxes to find what looked a bit larger than Cornish hen wings fried and tossed in sauce. (For $10??? Can I get a drink with that?)
Baby Wing Plate

Size aside, the sauces were decent. The wings were cooked pretty well. The fries are your average run-of-the-mill pre-fab frozen potatoes. But the ranch. My goodness that was the worst part for me. Ranch is always in the same sentence as wings in the south and Charlotte By The Palate is definitely a self-proclaimed “ranch connoisseur”. I knew by the cheap cost of extra ranch that this was gonna be terrible, but I had hope.... Alas, it’s not as bad as Kraft.
Overall, I give The Nappy Chef 2 out 5 stars. There are definitely better local spots the get wings from that are cheaper and offer better ranch. I do applaud the small business for branching out and opening up a store front. I may be convinced to go back and try a burger one day.

For pictures and other restaurant news, follow us on Instagram @CLTbythePLT

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Charlotte By The Palate

So I consider myself to have a pretty decent palate.. I enjoy various types of foods from various parts of the world. I'm always seeking a new kind of delicious. What will follow is my take on some new spots and a few classics in the Queen City.
This is the beginning of my new blog series Charlotte By The Palate.
Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My best winter break breakfast ever!

So this morning i drew the following conclusion: i have homemade cinnamon raisin bread (gift), eggs and milk - French Toast it is!
So i proceeded to crack my 2 eggs then added some milk and a sprinkle of sugar. Got my elbow grease working, then i realized: i have no syrup!!! So i scramble through the pantry just to be sure.. well, there's honey. No.
Google! Google has been my best friend for years now. So i type: "homemade syrup", browse a few recipes and come up with this:
         1/2 cup white sugar
         1/2 cup brown sugar
         1/2 cup water
         1 tablespoon vanilla extract (because i didn't have maple extract and who knew they even made that??)

This is like the best food mishap i have ever had. When i say flippin amazing?! Whooo!
I have a thing for vanilla-y, custardy, creamy tasting stuff anyway so this is right up my alley. And it's Baby Soup approved!  It's a definite must try. One thing i will say is the syrup, even when cooled was a little thin for my liking so next time i may cut down on the water just a touch. We'll see. Oh and this is definitely not a meal for diabetics or those conscious of their sugar intake...
So here's my "recipe" for your success:


3 slices of (preferably) homemade cinnamon raisin bread
2 eggs
Some milk (maybe 1/2 cup?)
A sprinkle of sugar (a teaspoon??)

1. Crack the eggs into a flat container wide enough for the bread slices to lay flat. Add the milk and sugar. Get a fork and beat it!
2. Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat.
3. Add some butter to the pan and wait till it gets foamy.
4. Dip the bread one slice at a time into the egg mixture then place it in the pan. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom. Flip and cook until lightly browned.
Serve immediately.

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water (a little less if you like thicker syrup)
(approximately)1 tbsp vanilla extract - i used a bit less

1. Place the sugars and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the vanilla and reduce the great to medium low.
3. Simmer 3 minutes.
Serve warm. (At these measurements,  the syrup was a little thicker than water bit still delicious).

****usually people have pictures in their blog posts.. idk how to do all that on my phone yet lol, plus i started eating before i took a good pic or two****