Weekly Menu: March 31 – April 6, 2013
Sunday: Whole Roasted Chicken, Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta and Asparagus Shiitake Sauté
Monday: Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile Salsa
Tuesday: Leftovers: Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup 
Wednesday: White Fish with leftover Parmesan Bread Pudding & Grilled Asparagus
Thursday: Leftovers: Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile
Friday: Leftovers: Fish Tacos with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
Saturday: Eat Out
We're not big Easter people, but since this Sunday is Easter and we do like a reason to celebrate and cook good food we're amping up our typical Sunday dinner and making it a bit more indulgent than usual.  Mostly in terms of this delicious Bon Appétit recipe I just found for Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta...gluten free it is not, but like I said we're splurging a bit.  Served alongside a nice whole roasted chicken and a seasonal sauté of asparagus and shiitakes...sounds like the perfect Easter dinner to me!

Monday we'll get back to our more traditionally healthy routine with another new recipe from Bon Appétit that is a simple yet yummy sounding twist on beans and rice.  We'll then turn our roast chicken from Sunday into a lemony orzo soup and finish off the week with some white fish served alongside leftover parmesan bread pudding and more of that delicious spring asparagus that we can't get enough of these days.

Happy Easter everyone...hope you have a wonderful, delicious day with family and friends.
M.Y. China – Yan Really Can Cook!

Chef Martin Yan...renowned chef, cookbook author and cooking show personality extraordinaire has recently opened a new restaurant in the Dome Collection at the Westfield San Francisco Shopping Center. I know, mall restaurant doesn't typically scream fabulous food and atmosphere, but trust me, M.Y. China is an exception.  The atmosphere is fun, lively and entertaining and the food is to die for. Seriously...To. Die. For. Eating at M.Y. China makes you feel like you are eating from an authentic stall in the streets of China.  And for a gastronomic traveler like me, that's a real compliment.  No Americanized Chinese food here...fresh flavors, beautiful colors and authentic spices and ingredients. Hungry yet?  All right then...let's take a little i-Phone enabled photo journey through M.Y. China!

First up, house-made spicy green papaya pickles! We love green papaya salad that is so common in Thai food, but this was a nice tangy twist on green papaya as we know it.  Perfect to snack on throughout the entire meal to add a bit of acidity between courses.

Next, Wild Boar Juicy Dumplings. Served piping hot...so the hardest part is letting them cool down a bit before popping them into your mouth. If you've never had juicy dumplings before, it's important that you eat the whole thing in one big bite so when the delicious juicy filling squirts out you capture it in your mouth instead of all over your face! Gingery, garlicky goodness.  Delish.

We followed our juicy dumplings with Dan Dan Noodles.  An amazing, traditional Chinese dish that has chilled noodles flavored with a delicious mix of vegetables,  pork, peanuts, Szechuan pepper and chili-garlic oil. Makes your lips all tingly and your fork keep digging back in for more.  I could eat this every day of the week.

Weekly Menu: March 24-30, 2013
Sunday: Chicken & Chickpea Stew
Monday: Shrimp & Artichokes with Grits & Asparagus Salad
Tuesday: Lentil Country Supper
Wednesday: Leftovers: Chicken & Chickpea Stew
Thursday: Leftovers: Shrimp & Artichokes with Grits
Friday: Leftovers: Lentil Country Supper
Saturday: Kristen’s Birthday Dinner!
This is a week of oldie-but-goodie SavoryGirl favorites.  All of these recipes are nice and easy, healthy and delicious...starting off with Chicken & Chickpea Stew. Hearty, rustic and soul satisfying for a cool almost Spring Sunday dinner. On Monday we'll make one of my very first "gourmet" meals.  Doesn't feel quite so gourmet to me anymore, but it still holds a special place in my heart...creamy Parmesan Grits topped with a flavorful Shrimp & Artichoke mixture.  In a nod to Spring, we'll serve this alongside a fabulous, easy asparagus salad.  Our local asparagus has just started appearing in our farmer's market last weekend so I'm just dying to start eating it up!

Last, but not least we'll make one of our favorite easy dinners, Lentil Country Supper.  When looking at the recipe it sounds as though it may be a bit boring, but trust me, there's just something about the flavor combination here that elevates the simplicity of this dish and makes it divine. This dish always makes me fantasize about being a farmer and living the simple life...sometimes simple really is best.  The rest of the week we'll rely on leftovers and finish off the week with a fun birthday celebration for a good friend.
Fad or Fixture? One Week After the Whole Living Detox

It's been a little over a week since we ended the three week Whole Living Detox, and a lot of people have been asking me if there are any lasting effects on our diet or if we've completely fallen off the wagon and returned to our old eating habits. To be honest, it's a little bit of a mix.  The first few days off the detox we fell off the wagon hard...I mean it's Girl Scout Cookie and Cadbury Mini-Egg season after all! But there were a few things that we found ourselves maintaining with relative ease...likely because they were the components of the detox that we also felt made the most different in our lives. So here is a run-down of each detox component and where we stand:

Meat - this is a resounding no...not going to give meat up. We both just love meat too much, but even before the detox we only ate red meat 1-2 times a month so I don't feel too badly about this.  We do eat fish, chicken, turkey and pork relatively often but we try to balance it week by week so that we eat fish at least once a week and one other meat only one-two other times each week with the rest being vegetarian or eggs. One of our favorite new vegetarian meals is the one shown above from the detox...Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew. Delish.

Dairy  - we have actually made a change here. When it comes to milk I'm no longer using it at all and Christian is only using it for his coffee in the morning.  Otherwise we use either Soy or Almond milk depending on the situation.  Soy milk steams beautifully for my morning Chai Tea Lattes and almond milk works well for cereal, oatmeal and all other purposes.  The reason we use both is because we are a bit wary of using too much soy...all sorts of research about potential negative hormonal side effects. Let's be clear though...I will never give up cheese completely.  I am being a bit more discerning about when I choose to indulge in it though, so no more automatic cheese on sandwiches or scrambled into my eggs. It has to be a really yummy cheese and worth it.

Coffee - Christian didn't even give this up during the detox, so no change for him here but I did give it up and am fully satisfied with my new Chai Tea Latte morning substitute.  This isn't the powdery, sugary mix that most coffee shops have, but instead it's simply a Black Chai tea back brewed with half hot water and half steamed soy milk.  I add a bit of honey or agave nectar and I have a fabulously decadent tasting morning beverage. I will likely indulge in the occasional latte after working out on the weekends, but for the most part I think my giving up coffee has improved my sleep habits so I'm going to try to stick with it.

Weekly Menu: March 17-23, 2013
Sunday: Chicken Dijonaise with crispy roasted potatoes
Monday: Orange Fennel Salmon with quinoa & swiss chard
Tuesday: Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Chicken Dijonaise
Thursday: Leftovers: Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew
Friday: Eat Out with the In-Laws
Saturday: Tomales Bay Late Lunch with In-Laws
It's been a while since I've pulled out the slow cooker so we're starting this week with a new recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever". Nice, simple dijon chicken and crispy roasted potatoes with rosemary...perfect Sunday dinner. Monday we're pulling out an old SavoryGirl original, Salmon steamed with orange slices and fennel...bright, healthy and delicious.

On Tuesday we're going back to a detox recipe.  That's right, we've only been off it one week and we're already going back for more...I told you the recipes we're good!  This red lentil & sweet potato stew is hearty and beautifully spiced with cumin, curry and ginger. The rest of the week we're either eating leftovers or eating out. Christian's parents are in town so we'll go out to dinner one night and then on Saturday we're heading up to Tomales Bay for some oysters, Cowgirl Creamery cheese and some fresh bread from Bovine Bakery.  One of our all-time favorite things to do in the Bay Area.
The 2013 Whole Living Detox – Week 3 Update

Week three of the Whole Living Detox has come and gone and it was pretty darn delicious! As a recap, this detox is full of healthy, nutritious foods but it does completely exclude dairy, gluten, sugar, meat, alcohol, coffee, and all processed foods from your diet. While the first week is the most strict the second week you get to add back non-gluten grains and fish and during this last week we added back soy and eggs. To be honest, I wasn't really missing soy as a regular part of my diet but I was definitely excited to see the return of eggs!

So this first dish, above, was a simple dish of Poached Eggs with Rice and Edamame. So straight-forward and wholesome but really satisfying. The sautéed kale and red cabbage give it a nice crunch and the runny yolk of the egg brings it all together perfectly...although we did also add a bit of red chili paste to spice it up a bit.

This next dish sounded pretty bland, but was surprisingly good.  Spinach, Brown Rice & Baked Tofu. I think the genius of this dish comes from the great texture and flavor of the baked tofu.  It's really easy to make, but you can make it a couple of days in advance and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it. Nice umami...perfect for a cold winter night without getting weighted down by traditional "comfort" food (that often ends up making you feel the opposite of comfortable!)

Weekly Menu: March 10-16, 2013
Sunday: Chickpea & Kale Soup with Diavolicchio
Monday: Baked Salsa Verde Halibut & Black Bean-Mango Salad (DIY)
Tuesday: Leftovers: Fish Tacos with Cabbage & Avocado
Wednesday: Leftovers: Chickpea & Kale Soup
Thursday: Orecchiette with Braised Broccoli Rabe  & Sausage
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Orecchiette
It's our first week back to our own menu planning after three weeks on the Whole Living Detox and while we feel great and are certainly going to try to keep some of the new habits we've developed we are looking forward to adding a few of our favorites back into the rotation.  Namely meat and the occasional pasta! That being said, most of this week's menu would still fit perfectly within the Whole Living detox guidelines while still being delicious.

The Chickpea & Kale Soup with Diavolicchio (olive oil infused with red pepper flakes...so good!) is one of our old favorites.  We've been making it for years and it is so rich and satisfying yet completely healthy and very easy to make. Don't skip making the diavolicchio, it makes the dish and you'll find plenty of other things to drizzle it on throughout the week.

The Baked Salsa Verde Fish & Black Bean-Mango Salad is a DIY dish...so feel free to get creative here.  It's inspired by a fresh salsa verde I saw at the Farmer's Market last weekend. I'm basically just going to put some Halibut (or whatever white fish looks good this week) in a baking dish, pour the salsa over it and let it bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes (until it flakes easily).  I'll mix up a can of black beans with some freshly chopped mango, cilantro, red onion and jalapeño and there you have it...easy breezy weeknight meal!  Make sure to make a double batch of fish so you have leftovers to turn into fish tacos the next night.

Thursday we're looking forward to one of our absolutely favorite dishes.  This one would not be detox approved since it has pasta (gluten) and we're adding sausage, but it's so much better with sausage. If you've never made this from my previous menus try it out...easy and amazing.  But if you're using spicy sausage be careful because this gets spicy fast so you may want to dial back the red pepper flakes.

Happy, healthy eating everyone!
The 2013 Whole Living Detox – Week 2 Update

The 2013 Whole Living Detox is still in full swing in the SavoryGirl household...two weeks down and one to go!  I'm still feeling pretty great...the turbulent tummy and headaches of week one are gone and I'm still sleeping really well. I'm not waking up naturally as easily and early as I did week one, but I guess it's to be expected that your body would adjust. I don't think I've lost any more weight but I have maintained the same weight since week one so certainly not gaining any back. Week two brought back gluten-free grains, fish and the sweet relief of real breakfast again which made me extremely happy.  Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day so the smoothie-only breakfasts of week one were a little tough!

The Cardamom Quinoa Porridge with Pears and Toasted Almonds shown above was really good and probably something I'll continue to make even after the cleanse is over. Kind of like oatmeal, but a bit lighter and more savory. Christian could practically live on pancakes so he was thrilled to see them included in this week's menu and these healthy Banana-Oat Pancakes with Orange Segments and Honey did not disappoint! Nice and crispy on the outside (which I love!) and fluffy on the inside.  The only thing we would likely omit next time around is the coconut...the unsweetened coconut flakes that we can usually find are just too large and firm so it kind of messes up the texture you're looking for in a pancake.

One of our first meals this week was this Baked Salmon in Coconut Broth served with brown rice and thinly sliced carrots, red onion and bok choy.  In theory this sounded delicious, in reality it was a bit bland. So we had to really season up the broth with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Once we did that it was quite tasty and clearly a very healthy and wholesome meal.

Weekly Menu: March 3-9, 2013
Sunday: Halibut with Roasted Beets
Monday: Poached Egg with Rice & Edamame
Tuesday: Leftovers: Halibut with Roasted Beets  
Wednesday: Stuffed Acorn Squash
Thursday: Spinach Tofu & Brown Rice
Friday: Leftovers: Stuffed Acorn Squash
Saturday: Avocado and Black Bean Tacos
The final week of the Whole Living 2013 Cleanse that we've been doing for the past two weeks has arrived. The basic guidelines of this cleanse that we have been following are: no alcohol, no coffee (tea is okay), no dairy, no sugar, no gluten, no meat and no processed foods for all three meals every day. Now normally this is something SavoryGirl would want nothing to do with since I love food so much, but the beauty of this cleanse is that it has a 3-week menu plan for all three meals that so far have all been really clean, back to basics eating pulled together in completely delicious and satisfying recipes. So I honestly don't feel like I've been missing out on delicious eating at all!

This week we get to add back eggs and soy (organic, non-GMO) into our diets.  I've really been missing the first one...eggs are truly one of my favorite foods, particularly on weekend mornings. I have to say though, I'm not necessarily craving soy out of all of the things missing from my diet.  Don't get me wrong, I like soy-based foods, but not to the point that I miss them when I don't have them for a while. Cheese on the other hand...

My full consolidated shopping list for all three meals per day for this entire week is attached here.  Here you can find the breakfast recipes and lunch recipes.  As a reminder the shopping list is made for 2 people following this plan so if you only have one doing it in your household make sure to cut all of the ingredients in half.  I also didn't include any snacks on the shopping list, but the Cherry Date Oat Bars and the Toasted Coconut Trail Mix are both pretty yummy.  Happy, healthy eating!

Oh, and you can also read my Week 1 Debrief if you're just getting started to get a sense of how the first week went.  My Week 2 Debrief will be coming soon.