Happy Saint Joseph’s Day!

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Now, does anyone know where I can get a gluten free sfinge or zeppole? I’d cut off my right arm for one!

xo,
Elle

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Catalyst Juice Cleanse Review

Hi my loves!

I recently did a juice cleanse and wanted to share my experience with you. So I snapped some pics and took notes daily about how I felt.

After hearing M rave to me about how much she loved the Blueprint Cleanse she did, I was on the lookout for a cleanse to do myself.

Finding Catalyst Cleanse on RueLaLa for about 30% off with free shipping sounded perfect so I ordered it. (Here is there website. Check it out.)

The customer service department at Catalyst was so friendly and accommodating (even when I scheduled, cancelled, and rescheduled).

I chose to do a four day cleanse. It shipped overnight in an insulated package surrounded by ice packs.

20130313-153257.jpgice packs are still frozen, so that’s a good sign!

The cleanse consists of six juices per day, plus lots of water in between juices, and herbal tea (if you want. And I did want).

Here is exactly what you get:

20130313-154241.jpgAs far as taste goes, they’re pretty delicious. Except for the beet. Ugh, the beet. By day four it didn’t taste as bad, but it never tasted remotely good to me (which is odd, since I like actual beets).

20130313-154620.jpgmy fridge, stocked full of juice.

I’m going to copy and paste directly the Bridget Jonesesque notes I took for you:

Day 1
Some hunger around 5-6 and 8-9. LOVE tea! Tea is amazing. Tea is Godsend. No caffeine no problem. Who am I? Oh, and beet juice is icky. Hard to suck that one down.

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Day 2
Hungry if wait too long between juices. SO cold. Frozen. Goosebumps. I am incredibly cold. And have to pee a lot. A LOT. Beet juice doesn’t taste as bad today. Still not good though. Definitely not good. Skin glowy. Psoriasis flair up pretty much gone.

Day 3
Not really hungry at all. Waterlogged and sick of peeing constantly though. Juices are pretty dense. Take much longer to drink than water. Forty minutes to an hour and a half to drink a bottle. Carrot ok. Beet I could live without. Green and cayenne lemonade delicious. Cashew milk divine. Heavenly. Nectar of gods. Skin glowy. Energy level waning. And feel very cold. Tongue feel weird after juice five. Icky and coated. Yuck. Starting to get a canker sore.

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Day 4
Psoriasis completely cleared. Don’t even need concealer. Two compliments about my glowing skin. I want to juice cleanse once a month! I feel so clean. Except for the canker sore. That shit is gross. Thinking of drinking green juice for breakfast daily now and a glass of cayenne lemonade every day.

Post Cleanse
Lost 9.8 pounds.
Feel amazing. Like I don’t even need coffee. More alert during and after cleanse. Cleaner feeling.

Skin is SO GLOWING!!! Without makeup I look like I have foundation and blush on! Psoriasis completely gone! I would gladly give up solid food forever to look like this all the time.

Eating raw on day 1. Strangely enough, I’m not as full eating food as I am drinking juice.

20130313-155359.jpgsee? Glowing! This is my amazing post cleanse skin with not a drop of makeup on within minutes of waking up.

It’s been about almost a month since I did the Catalyst Cleanse. I’ve continued to drink a green smoothie for breakfast everyday. I also try to drink a cayenne lemonade once a day, and stay as raw as possible until dinner. It’s amazing how much cleaner you feel after cleansing.

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Honest to God, if the juices weren’t $60 a day, I would do a juice cleanse one weekend every month. I hope you’ll try one out!

xoxo,
Elle

Eggplant Polpette!

Happy Thursday, my loves!

I’ve been fully vegetarian (with the exception of fish occasionally) for over a year. I honestly don’t ever find myself missing meat.

Except meatballs. I could wax poetic about the joys of meatballs. The thought of a life without them makes me sad. Partly, because they taste so amazingly delicious. But mostly because my grandmother made the world’s most amazing meatballs and just the smell alone can transport me to her kitchen, where she’d be frying meatballs while I played at the table and my grandfather yelled in from the living room in broken English. They’re pretty much the taste of happiness.

20130313-140928.jpgThere’s Grandma, frying up meatballs!

Grandma used ground beef/pork/veal, eggs, and bread as her base. Then she mixed in copious amounts of sultanas (or raisins) and pignoli (or pine nuts), and fried them in a cast iron pan half full of olive oil.

I became resigned to the fact that I would never again taste the deliciousness that is a meatball. I’ve tried a few frozen vegetarian meatballs, but they all taste like, well, frozen meatballs. Ick. And I’ve been hesitant to try a veggie meatball recipe since all that I’ve seen look like they would taste very different than the meatballs in my head.

So imagine the joy I felt when my mother mentioned seeing a cute little Italian grandmother on The Chew making vegetarian meatballs (the link is right here. Click it. Watch the video, then read the recipe and come right back!).

Isn’t Mama T adorbs? I made a few modifications* to the recipe (doubled it, made it gluten free, added sultanas).

Here is my modified version, complete with a photos and nutritional information for both baked and fried versions.** (This made 32 meatballs. The calorie count is per meatball.)

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You’ll need:
2 eggplants
1 1/2 cups (more or less, depending on humidity in the air and moisture level of eggplant) of seasoned gluten free breadcrumbs***
2 cups of finely grated pecorino
A few handfuls of sultanas
Gluten free all purpose flour for dusting
Olive oil for frying (unless you’re baking)****

Cut eggplants in half, place skin side down in a pan half full of water. Simmer, covered, until soft (maybe 20 minutes). (If you watched the video, like I told you to, you already know this.) remove from pan, and place in colander, flesh side down. Let drain for one hour (or longer– eggplant absorbs a lot of water).

Once drained, chop the eggplant up (skin and all) and dump in bowl. Also dump in cheese and breadcrumbs. Mix it all up really well, them add sultanas. Form the mixture into balls and coat lightly in gf flour.

If frying: heat about a half an inch of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and fry meatballs until dark golden brown, turning to get all sides (frying meatballs is really a labor or love). Drain on plenty on paper towels.

If baking: preheat oven to 400. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet, and spray with a tiny bit of olive oil. Bake until done (seriously, that’s what my grandmother would tell you). About 15 minutes should do it.

Serve with your favorite sauce, with or without pasta! Enjoy!

xoxo,
Elle

*Why modifications? Two reasons. One, I’m gluten free. Two, as the descendant of many Italian cooks, I can’t follow a recipe to the letter. Or won’t. Whatever. Cooking is personal and I truly believe that you should put your own spin on anything you make.

**I cook for health probably 90% of the time. This time I was cooking for nostalgia, so I fried.

***All of the gluten free breadcrumbs I’ve tried are pasty and weird, so I’ve started making my own. Just toast sliced gf bread, blitz it in the food processor, season to taste (I use granulated garlic, dried oregano, dried basil, sea salt and pepper), then dry them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

****I don’t care who says you shouldn’t fry in olive oil, I do it and I’m not stopping. It’s healthier than vegetable, canola, or corn oil. Yeah, it smokes so you man up and open a window.

Elle’s Favorite Snacks

My criteria for snacks are pretty simple: they must be delicious, healthy, convenient, and as minimally processed as possible. Oh and they must be vegetarian. Preferably vegan. And I’m conducting a gluten free experiment (partly for health and partly for Lent– whatup my Catholic peeps!), so they’ve also got to be gluten free. Simple, right?

Remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Harry explains that Sally is the worst kind of girl? A high maintenance girl who thinks she’s low maintenance. Just popped into my head for some reason. Weird.

Back to snacks…

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I do most of my shopping in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but I’m fairly certain that all of the snacks I’ve mentioned are available everywhere now. With the exception of the 50% less salt almonds. Why is Trader Joe’s the only store that realizes we want an option in between salted and unsalted? I want a little salt sometimes, please!

(And I know you can make your own kale chips, but let’s be real here. Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

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Sadly missing from the above photo is hummus and red pepper strips since the worst has happened and I ran out of both.

(Hint– life is easier if you cut a crapload of celery, carrots, and pepper strips when you come home from the store. There are many days a week when it’s so easy to grab a sandwich bag full of those veggies and a little container of hummus or nut butter, throw it in my purse and lunch is done!)

What are your favorite snacks?

xo,
Elle