5-Day “Cleanse” Diet

I associate the word “cleanse” with a much more hardcore, potentially unwise set of dietary guidelines than is strictly true for what I’m about to present. One of my BCFs (Best Coworker Friends) has done his share of juice cleanses, keto, paleo, and Atkins diets, and the like. But with the nutritional precepts that 1) juice is all sugar anyway and 2) dietary changes that you aren’t going to stick with won’t do you any good in the long run, I prefer to take a less extreme approach.

So yeah, I’m not big on cleanse diets. The only time I tried one was when I got home from a 2 week vacation, feeling like i could never even look at pasta sideways again and completely lacking the mental faculties to come up with my own grocery list, let alone a moderately healthy one. So that’s what this is: a decently healthy* grocery list and recipe guide, for those weeks when the idea of planning yet another week’s menu makes you want to hide under your couch.

* Caveats

  • these suggestions are based on my 2-adult, non-picky eating household
  • we aren’t gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, oil-free, or dairy-free — although if you are, this list should be fairly easy to modify
  • this list is carb-friendly, but doesn’t contain pasta or refined grains

veggie-soup

Groceries

(This assumes you have general pantry staples like olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and your favorite spices on hand.)

  • quinoa or bulgur – whichever your palette/wallet prefers
  • vegetables group 1
    • peas
    • carrots – orange or yellow ones, unless you like gray soup
    • broccoli
    • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • vegetables group 2
    • eggplant
    • zucchini
    • red onion
    • Roma or Campari tomatoes
  • salad mix of choice
  • chicken broth
  • turkey or chicken breast — more than what you and your +1 would eat in one night
  • salmon or fish of choice (fresh or frozen)
  • sausage (optional, depending on how your stomach feels)
  • bread (rec: 100% whole wheat)
  • sliced cheese (rec: havarti)
  • plain whole greek yogurt
  • honey or jam
  • eggs
  • pesto (optional)
  • tea — for drinking when you get tired of water
  • dark chocolate — for dessert, every day!

Meal plan

Evening after grocery shopping

  • Roast the turkey or chicken for dinner
  • Eat with salad
  • Put leftovers with bread and cheese into sandwiches for later (you can freeze them if you want!)
  • If there are more leftovers, awesome. Put them in the fridge.

Day 1

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with honey or jam (and coffee, if it needs to be said!)
Lunch: Add sliced tomatoes and salad to the sandwiches. Mustard or pesto are good additions if you’re into condiments.
Dinner: Use the chicken broth, any leftover chicken, and about half of all of your group 1 veggies (yea, even the broccoli and tomatoes) to make a soup. Spice to taste. Some turmeric and sausage are great here.

Day 2

Breakfast: Eggs and toast. (Make a breakfast sandwich by adding pesto and sausage, it’s great!)
Lunch: Leftover soup and/or another sandwich
Dinner: Cook enough quinoa for everyone and add the rest of the group 1 veggies. Any remaining poultry/sausage and chicken broth are nice in this too.

Day 3

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with honey/jam
Lunch: Cold quinoa salad (yes, the leftovers)
Dinner: Bake the salmon with your spice rub of choice. (Lemon and dill are also nice.)

Day 4

Breakfast: Eggs and toast, or torta if you’ve got leftover salmon.
Lunch: Use up any remaining leftovers from previous nights. If you have enough salmon, make a sandwich with that, pesto, and tomato. If you’ve managed to make your way through everything, go for some pb&j.
Dinner: Roast the Group 2 veggies along with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar, plus spices.

Day 5

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with honey/jam
Lunch: Last night’s roasted vegetables over quinoa. I like it heated up, but it’s fine cold.
Dinner: At this point, I’m usually ready for a break from home cooking. But if you’ve got enough of any remaining ingredients on hand, do one of the recipes from the previous nights, or saute everything and eat it over quinoa.

Cleaning the Kitchen in a Big Hurry

clean-counter

Proof that my counter has been clean at least once.

I’m not one of those people who can make a plan to keep their kitchen clean and stick to it. I’m more the type who cleans it “pretty well,” keeps it up for a bit, then lets it slowly degrade further and further until things get to “Oh crap, [my parents/friends/landlords] are coming over and will think I belong on Hoarders”-level.

Having had two such incidents within the past month (to be fair, a wedding + houseguests were involved), I looked to the internet to tell me what to do. These instructions from Housekeeping.about.com were probably the most suited to my needs, but I modified a bit and I’ll share them now, as much as for my own reference as for the use of anyone who happens upon this page during a cleaning emergency.

It deserves to be repeated that it’s much less painful to clean with some music playing.

Supplies and Prep

  • paper or kitchen towels
  • a trash can or bag
  • a recycling bin or bag (optional if you hate Mother Nature)
  • cleaning fluid*
  • dish soap
  • sponge
  • dishwasher detergent
  • hot water on tap — if your sink takes a while to heat up, start it now
  • a large-ish container like a moving box or laundry basket

*You can use a ready made cleaner, but I like a mix of 1/4 c vodka or white vinegar, 1 c hot water, a couple hearty shakes of baking soda, a squirt of dish soap, and a few drops of an essential oil of your choice (I recommend lemon). As far as ready-made cleaners, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day in Rosemary is my favorite.

“Need to Have” Steps

  1. Put away your clean dishes. This includes anything sitting out to dry or hanging out in the dishwasher. (Even if it’s still a bit wet! You’re in a hurry, aren’t you?)
  2. Put every dirty dish that can go into the dishwasher into the dishwasher. Run it. If you don’t have a dishwasher, feel sorry for yourself and move on to the next step. If you have more dishes than will fit in the dishwasher, give yourself an early start so you can do two loads.
  3. Fill your sink with hot water and a few squirts of dish soap, then put remaining dishes into it to soak. After you’ve completed the next few steps, return and finish washing them by hand. If you have more dirty dishes than will fit in your sink at a time, try handwashing some of the less nasty ones first or in a different side if you have a segmented sink.
  4. Throw away trash that’s on the floor/counter. Random wrappers, onion peels, those little fruit stickers…
  5. Put away any food that goes in the fridge/pantry. Or you know, eat it or feed it to someone real quick. If you have spices, or random pieces of fruit, try arranging them decoratively like they’re supposed to be there.
  6. Put away any appliances/measuring cups/cookbooks/assorted kitchen utensils that don’t live on the counter.  You can use the cleaner to wipe them off if they’re grimy. If you have room, put them away even if they’re normally out, because it looks nicer.
    (6 1/2.  Check on those dishes from step 3. Once you’ve handwashed them, start soaking the next batch while you hand-dry. Drain the sink once everything’s done soaking.)
  7. Put anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen in the box/basket. Best case scenario: you put these items where they belong when you’re done with the kitchen. Worst case scenario: store the box somewhere your visitors aren’t going to go.
  8. Wipe down the counters. By now you should have cleared yourself some counter space. Use your cleaner and towels to wipe down the counters.

“Nice to Have” Steps

  1. Sweep or mop the floor. Depending on the state of your floor, this may fall under “Need to Have” 😛
  2. Wipe down the sink, including the faucet and knobs. The cleaning mixture is great for random sink goo.
  3. Take out the trash and recycling. Did you know there are some people who can smell garbage? Crazy, I know.

Extra Credit

Make yourself some kitchen potpourri – in a saucepan, add couple cinnamon sticks, some slices of lemon, a teaspoon full of cloves, and some apple slices if you’re really fancy. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let simmer.

Fish Fry Day

So, my boyfriend’s cousin cooked this absolutely delicious Filipino-style fried tilapia. She also said things like “It’s easy” and “You just cut off the fins” and “It’s easy.” So, I thought I’d give it a try.

Does anyone else hear the "Fishheads" song playing in their mind?

It smells about as great as it looks.

I bought a pre-gutted frozen tilapia at Kenmore’s T&T Market. Pretty inexpensive! Unfortunately, as it thawed, it bled nummy fish juices into my refrigerator. Eventually I realized that the large tupperware my roommate left behind was an excellent alternative.

Then came the “easy” part — cutting off the tails and fins. I took out my butcher knife, aimed it roughly at the end of the fish’s tail, and began to make my incision. That’s when I remembered…

I am afraid of food that looks at me.

It didn’t help that the knife wasn’t really doing much damage. I took a moment of moral quandary, and then woke up my boyfriend, made sad eyes, and explained that white people weren’t accustomed to food that looks like it did when it was alive. (Sorry, fellow white people! I know it’s not true for everyone!) So he begrudgingly went into the kitchen, and spent about 20 minutes hacking the fins off this fish. I also said things like “This was a terrible idea” and “I won’t have a fried fish experiment again.” In retrospect, maybe a fresh fish will be easier!

I have an easier time when it doesn't have eyes.

The rest of the adventure went fairly okay. I put a dollop of canola oil in the frying pan on medium heat, and let it go for around 10 minutes until the flesh on the bottom part whitened up, then flipped it over and did the same.

My boyfriend’s remark was that the whole condo would smell like fish. Lucky for me, I have a terrible sense of smell!

The only addition was to dip it in Sili suka, which is a spicy vinegar with chilis, garlic, and onions floating in it. I added salt and pepper to it, and probably would have added chopped garlic and onion if I’d had any. Turned out yummy!

We don't need no stinkin' plates.