I’ve been reading Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It’s a romance book set in Italy and I’m halfway through but there are so many mentions of good bread, cheese drizzled with honey & oh my the olive scene in the olive grove. (You should read it! Hot. Then check out all her Chicago Stars books – CANNOT PUT THEM DOWN)
While reading about her characters and the delicious food they were eating I began craving bruschetta. I decided to make a healthy version and I picked up all of the ingredient at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods has only one Whole Grain bread that is freshly baked. I always have them slice the loaves for me and I buy two loaves every time I am there and freeze the second. It’s the only whole grain bread my husband actually likes and it took this find to wean him off Wonder bread.
I defrosted a bag of white beans I had in my fridge the day before I made the bruschetta.
These herbs are such a time and money saver. I use them many times a week for homemade salad dressings, stuffed peppers or stir frys. These are frozen basil and crushed garlic cubes that easily pop out from their containers. I got these at Whole Foods but they have them at Trader Joes too. I use one cube of basil and scrape a little garlic for most of my recipes. I find one entire cube of the garlic is too much.
To make the bruschetta I chopped up cherry tomatoes & a little bit of shallots. I mixed the tomatoes and shallots with the white beans, one cube of basil, a small amount of crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper and olive oil. I let this sit and mixed it up occasionally to help the frozen basil and garlic melt.
I toasted 2 slices of bread while that marinated and then I simply topped the bread with the mixtures and drizzled a bit more olive oil on top.
You must top it off with some Parmigiano Reggiano. I love to use a vegetable peeler and slice some over the bruschetta. Whole Foods has delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and a good chunk of it will set you back about ten bucks but a little goes a long way with this flavorful, nutty cheese.
I made extra of the tomato and white bean mixture. I put it in the fridge to use later to mix in with lettuce to make a salad.
Woohoo! That is an average of 1.8 lbs a day for me. I lost 3.6 lbs on Day 1. I lost 0.8 lbs on Day 2. I lost 1 lb on Day 3. I think my husband didn’t lose as much because he was left to his own to make a couple of his meals and he has never read the Sass book. We finished our cleanse on Sunday night and I worked all day Sunday and fell asleep early so I just got 3 meals into the day and my husband made himself a Mexican salad while I was working.
Here were our four meals:
Breakfast: Cottage cheese with pineapple, blueberries and almonds seasoned with Vietnamese cinnamon and vanilla extract.
Lunch: Strawberry goat cheese salad with almonds, parmesan cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Dinner: I skipped this meal and my husband made his own salad.
Snack: Strawberry, blueberry, banana smoothie with avocado and Vietnamese cinnamon, vanilla extract, yogurt and milk.
We woke up early Monday morning and worked out. As soon as we got back, the coffee was set to brew and I popped 2 beautiful slices of fresh whole grain bread from Whole foods into the toaster. I couldn’t wait to have a crunchy, warm slice of bread and it didn’t disappoint. I put a little olive oil on it and topped it with a slice of smoked gouda cheese and had some fresh pineapple as well. I relished every single bite of it!
I love eating the 4 small meals spaced throughout the day. It really does fuel you and we both felt a difference in our energy levels. It’s just a lot of work preparing 4 meals a day completely from scratch. Overall, we were both very happy with our weekend cleanse and the true test will be to see if the cleanse weight loss stays off until Friday. I have 3 more lbs to go to get back to my pre Thanksgiving day weight. Damn you holiday wine, cheese and desserts! I better be good this week too. We have a reservation at my favorite Italian restaurant Friday night for our anniversary/Valentine day celebration.
Christmas Eve I was dropping a small fortune shopping at Whole Foods for our Christmas night get together at our place. Of course they had samples out to try and no doubt will end with me adding 20% more to my grocery cart and this beauty was one of those samples. Mediterranean Feta Salsa! One word: Dill. Okay more words: Feta, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives. This stuff is amazing. Kerry came to visit the day after Christmas and I had some left over. She literally shoveled it in her mouth until it was done.
I went back last week and picked up another tub of this heavenly salsa. I used it as a topping for a delish salad. I made a simple mustard vinaigrette and added celery, carrots and peppadew peppers. Then topped it with a little parmesan cheese. Side note: next time you are in Whole Foods pick up some mild peppadew peppers. So amazing. I found them on amazon here. But they seem really expensive. I’ll have to check how much they were at Whole Foods.
When I cook Mexican, which is quite a bit, these are my go to herbs & spices.
The Chipotle Tabasco sauce is my new favorite find. It has this delicious smokey flavor that adds another layer to every dish and it is not too spicy. I’m not sure if this is Cinch approved. But I just use a couple of drops.
I found this salt free Mexican Fiesta herb mix, in the middle, at Whole Foods and really like it. A little goes a long way.
I go through Cumin almost as quick oregano. I add a ton of it to beans to give them a lot of flavor.
The other must is cilantro. I love cilantro and I can never have enough on Mexican food. I try to get it fresh but it doesn’t last long in the fridge. I have a small shaker of dried cilantro but I honestly don’t even taste it when I use it. I think I need a potted cilantro plant for my window.
Just as Cinch points out, using herbs & spices can really help in avoiding adding salt. With all of these flavors I doubt you will miss the salt too much.
A touch of freshly ground nutmeg, a lot of Vietnamese Cinnamon, a lot of pure vanilla extract & a lot of fresh mint. That is my special blend of herbs & spices that go in all my smoothies, parfaits and most meals with fruit.
As you can probably tell I’m pretty obsessed with mangoes. I’ve posted about the dried mangoes in Whole Foods, mango smoothies & last week my discovery of Mango Salsa! Also, I LOVE Mango Margaritas. So, here is yet another spicy Mango!