The 2015 Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse

Let that long title serve as an indication that this post is going to be equally lengthy.  I’m sorry, but keeping it concise has never been my strong suit.

BA Cleanse

Well, we did it!  Fourteen days, 86 meals, a million dishes to wash and more salads than I thought it possible to consume and we have officially made it through the 2015 Food Lover’s Cleanse.  And here’s the thing: food lover’s cleanse > juice cleanse.  Because fact: food > juice.  Always.

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Anyway, I’m renaming it the “cook every single night for two weeks, pack a lunch every single day, make (almost) everything from scratch, cook things you’ve never cooked before and not go crazy in the process” challenge.  And to that challenge, I say SUCCESS!  And actually, even though we spent A LOT on groceries, cooked something new every night and had to add breakfast and lunch recipes into our lives, I felt it was all very manageable.  And somehow, magically, the cooking was very quick and simple and didn’t dirty that many dishes.  Dare I say, the clean up at the end of the night was much easier than usual?

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To sum it all up, here’s what I loved.

Trying new things.  Recipes, techniques, cuisines.  It’s exciting to know I can indeed cook a bone-in turkey breast and an entire chicken.  Who knew it was so easy?  Also, it was nice try a new recipe source that wasn’t the same three blogs or Cooking Light.  I have a new found love for Bon Appétit.

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Having a partner.  Actually, full disclosure, Joey’s been sick all week so I did all the Week 2 cooking (and cleaning) myself and dang, doing it single handedly is harder than sharing the responsibility with someone else.  But, it was nice to have someone share in the grocery shopping, meal prepping, cooking and general commitment to the cleanse.

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Lunch salads.  I like the idea of having a salad for lunch and re-using dinner leftovers to make that salad.  I just don’t think I need to do it every single day 🙂

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Being told what to do.  I know I run the risk of sounding like a total follower here, but it was so dang nice to have someone else do all the work.  I get really caught up in making weekly meal plans that are “just right” and contain the “correct” balance of meat, greens, grains and expense.  It was so awesome to just leave it up to the professionals, give up total control and do what they said.

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Chocolate bark.  Wait, I’ve said that before, haven’t I?

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Cleanse complaints?  My one and only complaint was the breakfasts.  They were all really tasty, but some of them were significantly less filling than my normal oatmeal breakfasts.  A 150-calorie chia seed parfait is not going to get me from 7:30 AM to lunch time.  Oh and I guess the cost was kind of hard to wrap our heads around, but considering we spent $0 on going out to eat, we’re calling it a fair trade off.  Also, Joey’s complaint is no breakfast burritos being on the meal plan…

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Favorite meal: Unanimously, the pork tenderloin with barley pilaf.  More of that please!  Though I’ll definitely be adding the scrambled eggs, roast chicken, butternut-tahini purée and a few of the other dinners to my usual rotation.

Now, please enjoy a pictorial recap of the past 14 days.  And have a good weekend!

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FLC: Half Way There!

Happy Friday!

After a day of 50° temperatures and sun, it snowed last night.  Why, Colorado, why?!  Just kidding, as much as I utterly detest being cold, I don’t mind snowy weather.  Maybe because it makes hot tea, oatmeal breakfasts and wearing comfy clothes that much better?  Who knows.

Anyway, today marks the halfway point for our Food Lover’s Cleanse, so I thought I’d share some thoughts, hopes for next week and favorite meals so far.  Also, sorry to use the word “cleanse,” for what I consider to basically be my usual diet/cooking habits, but on steroids.  It’s Bon Appétit’s word, not mine!

BA Cleanse

In a nut shell, I’m in love.  Or should I say I’m obsessed?  I’m checking the #BACleanse hashtag on Instagram 929384749586 times a day, I’m looking forward to cooking dinner every single night, I’m posting food pictures at a rate that’s probably annoying every single follower I have and I’m loving every food-filled second.

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Joey, on the other hand, probably won’t eat a salad again after next week and I swear I saw him wipe away a tear as he passed up the rum cake and leftover candy in the break room earlier this week.  It’s a much bigger change of pace for him than for me, but he’s being such a trooper.

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Both of us, however, have been loving this whole cook-dinner-and-transform-the-leftovers-into-a-lunch-salad-for-the-next-day thing.  Love it in a way that I hope can become a habit that lives on past the end of this “cleanse.”  Also, turns out eating a massive amount of greens at lunch means a salad actually can be filling.  If only I’d known that was the key all along.

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As for the actual food, it’s all been amazing.  Like “why is this the first time I’ve used a recipe from BA?!” amazing.  Like “how is there this much flavor without butter, bacon or mass amounts of cheese?!” amazing.  Like “I don’t even miss pasta or pizza!” amazing.  Okay, just kidding, we already decided the new deep dish pizza place that opened last week is the first place we’re going once this cleanse is over.  But aside from pizza cravings (and the mild desire for spontaneous dinners out or occasional coffee shop visits), this meal plan has been totally, completely, 100% satisfying.

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Favorites this week have included the Bistro Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Beet Soup with Caraway (that color!), Scrambled Eggs with Caramelized Onions and Chèvre, Mahi-Mahi with Fennel, Olives and Orange (that Joey hated, but I loved) and last night’s Bean and Walnut Salad with Fried Eggs.  Oh and did I mention that Spicy Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Bark?  Gimme.  Gimme all of that.

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We’re hitting the store (or two…) again tonight and though I’m super excited for everything on next week’s menu — Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Celery Root with Walnuts and Thyme, Braised Chicken Thighs, Curried Brussels Sprouts — I’m also terrified of that grocery bill.  Wish us luck!