Aroma heaven or torture?

My sense of smell has heightened since I started this cleanse. Mostly for the food items that I have deprived myself of; for example, chocolate. I walked into Urban Fare in Yaletown today at lunch to buy more yams and I kid you not, the second I walked in I smelled dark chocolate. It was not being given out by the sample lady and was not on display – it was halfway across the store in the gourmet section. Later or I smelled the wonderful smell of the hot dog vendor cart at Granville and Georgia before I even got halfway up the station escalator to the street. Sigh.

Today is day 2 of nothing but veggies (excluding potatoes, tomatoes and corn); the root of my aromatic sensitivity, I’m sure. Also the root of both Sean and I still feeling hungry despite copious amount of yams, cucumber, veggie laden lentil soup and chickpeas (which I made last night without the olive oil and they were still delicious!), and various other veggies. We both have high metabolisms, which doesn’t really help things and we’re both active people. So when I got home from Pilates feeling famished and ready to fall over, we decided that would activate the stated “if feeling lightheaded, white fish is permitted” clause of the cleanse. We need protein and no amount of chickpeas or lentils will be able to provide it. (Nicola, a friend from work, does a MONTH long cleanse with just veggies but she adds fish, which I think is very wise.)

So I bought some basa fish filets from Urban Fare – they were on sale and I’ve never tried or heard of basa before, I think. (After some googling by the fish counter I can tell you that it is a white fish (catfish to be precise) of Vietnamese and sometimes US origin.) We are banned from olive oil and lemon but with some dried herbs and fresh rosemary and 20 min in the oven, we had tasty catfish. Mashed yams and a spinach salad rounded it all out, if not as fillingly (new word) as we would have liked.

If you ever decide to be crazy and do this cleanse, yams are a lifesaver and are fantastic morning meal with some cinnamon mixed in. (Thank you, Claire!)

So now I sit here, catching up on my “Castle” and “Grey’s Anatomy”, with what is at least my tenth glass of water for the day. I’m wondering why there are ten (TEN?!?) movies nominated for Best Picture this year and I really, really want a glass of wine and that chocolate that I smelled in Urban Fare. Maybe some yoga will take my mind off that lovely smell.

Getting around the wall for bread and cheese, not crashing into it

As we prepare to enter Days 8-10 which involve nothing but vegetables for 72 hours, I find myself thinking about the top two things that I miss A LOT right now:

1. BREAD – I nearly cried when the bread basket was put in front of me at Joe Forte’s last Tuesday – it smelled SO good. Kamut and spelt (wheat alternatives) loafs smell good, but they are small and just aren’t, well, bread. This morning’s berry smoothie was accompanied by two pieces of spelt flour toast with honey and I pretended it was my cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter – it didn’t work. I don’t eat a lot of bread per say, but I love me a good bagel and I’ve been known to buy tortillas and nice fluffy baguettes (for Sean’s fabulous garlic bread). I would really love to sink my teeth in my Joeys ahi tuna club sandwich. But all these things have wheat in them – the top no-no of the cleanse.

2. CHEESE – I would do almost anything for a slice of pizza heaped with mozzarella or some creamy macaroni and cheese.  (Pasta is something else I miss a lot, which could have been avoided, but not being able to have eggs and starch put a damper on experimenting with making different kinds of noodles this past week.) If you look at your diet, you will probably see that cheese plays a pivotal supporting role. There is a reason that there is a marketing campaign tag-lined “All you need is cheese!”

Sean and I each miss the above so much that I searched and searched until I found a simple Kamut flour tortilla recipe and broke down and bought soy mozzarella – which, believe it or not, actually tastes like real mozzarella. The burritos turned out so well and as burritos should be, a little messy. We were happy campers.

And now to make mashed yams for tomorrow’s breakfast – we’re told they taste good with cinnamon so we’ll see how that goes. I love mashed yams, but it’s going to be a long three days. 😉


Spicy Turkey and Red Pepper Kamut Burritos


Kamut Flour Tortillas


  • 2 – 3  Cups KAMUT® Khorasan Flour (can be found at Whole Foods; 2 1/2  cups works fine)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1/4 Cup Oil of choice


Combine water and oil in mixing bowl. Add in the dry ingredients, mix well and knead lightly. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 10 balls. Roll out each tortilla very thinly on a floured pastry cloth or on a floured board or counter. In an ungreased hot skillet cook on one side until bubbles form then turn over. Cook on other side until brown “freckles” appear. Bubbling and air pockets can be accentuated by pressing down with a dry cloth after it has been turned over. Store in plastic bag to keep soft. Makes 10 tortillas.

Burrito Filling

  • Leftover turkey – however much you have or choose to use
  • Enough gravy (see below) to accommodate the amount of turkey you use
  • 1 large red pepper and half of one large white onion, sautéed (onion first) in olive oil with a dash of chili powder
  • Soy cheese (however many packages needed for the amount of burritos being made)

Sean’s Spicy Gravy


  • Vegetable broth
  • Kamut flour
  • Pure apple juice
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder and a pinch of


As previously mentioned, Sean is very “a bit of this and a dash of that”, so I can’t really specify quantities for the above list of ingredients. Enough gravy should be made to accommodate as a thick bath for the turkey being used. Use a large pot or sauce pan.

Before gravy is ready, add the turkey to the gravy bath. The juice from the turkey will run into the mixture and help the gravy thicken,

After a few minutes, add the sautéed onion and red pepper to the mix and let simmer.

Pile on to the tortillas, wrap them up and enjoy!

A new tradition is born

It is intermission of the Canucks vs Flames game and we have just finished our inevitable and wonderful leftovers.

I’m not sure yet if the title of today’s post refers to this cleanse (we’ll see how the three days of nothing but veggies go,) but definitely to an annual turkey dinner in January. Just because. Despite and/or because of our food limitations, dinner was a success. We had awesome company in our friends Matt, Dori, Claire (the catalyst of this food thing and fellow cleanse participant), John, my Aussie friend from work and a later addition of Claire’s buddy, Brent – another Aussie. (They are everywhere and such good fun!) Our neighbours must hate when we have people over because I swear, it’s nothing but very (loud) animated conversation and a lot of laughter.

Everyone arrived a bit after the indicated 7pm time, which was lovely because being stuck on a stand still train put me behind at least half an hour. As I had to work during the day, Sean got the turkey in and cleaned the house. And then he had to wait for me to get home with the groceries needed to make the last half of the meal. You should have seen me zip through Whole Foods with my list and cart – Whirlwind Yasmine was in fine form. A taxi ride got me home with about 45 minutes to spare. Phew!

A Cleanse Friendly Turkey Dinner – Served Family Style

Spicy Baked Chick Peas – As previously blogged, so delicious and as my recipe source of Sarah Robinson from “5 Ingredient Fix” promised, a crowd pleaser. Who knew?

Turkey – Thank goodness we can eat white meat in Week 1! Sean cooked the bird beautifully and, as we later found out, upside down. 😉

Gravy – Juice from the turkey, whole grain spelt flour, sugar-free vegetable stock, pure apple juice and herbs. I would put quantities, but Sean is very “a bit of this and a dash of that”, so make the gravy based on your consistency preference.

Vegan Stuffing – Really good. Sean says this recipe was more of a guideline. See above as to why. Breads used were half a kamut loaf and half a spelt loaf.

Cranberry Sauce – This recipe called for orange zest, but guess what? Not allowed, so lemon juice went in instead.

Garlic Mashed Yams- a Sean creation

  • 4 mid-sized yams – peeled, chopped, boiled (until tender)
  • Drain and mash yams with 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Add a splash of soy milk
  • Add pepper to taste

Caesar Salad – Courtesy of Dori. Croutons, parmesan and dressing were served separately as the cleanse trio looked on longingly over their greens.

Spelt Crust and Honey Apple Pie – I used Spelt flour for the crust and honey replaced the sugar in the apple mix. My go to apple pie recipe is from, but I think any recipe would work with these replacements. Tenderflake is my preferred shortening. While I realize that, in theory, it may have been against the cleanse rules to use lard, olive oil wouldn’t have cut it, vegetable shortening has hydrogenated canola oil in it (can’t have canola on cleanse and hydrogenated is not a good word in terms of food), and the fancy-dancy organic pig kidney stuff is just expensive. I would rather use what I know – rules be damned – and it was a fabulous pie. The spelt flour gave the crust a sweet taste and it felt good to be eating dessert. 🙂

(Speaking of the rules, when I got home to help with dinner, I relayed my tomato story to Sean and when we looked at the list again, we saw that bananas weren’t allowed either. Sean’s smoothies of the past day or so had bananas but as Claire states, these are not set in stone rules. So this is Sean’s pass.)

There was a lovely Tinhorn Creek Merlot, courtesy of John. Rather unfortunately, I only know it was lovely because the smell was divine and Matt and John seemed to enjoy it. Brent came with a lovely (from past experience) Baron Philippe de Rothschild white and all I could do was wish I was having a glass. Jan 31 is a day I look forward to with great anticipation… I will have definitely earned a very large glass of red.

So now, after eating the inevitable and awesome leftovers, the second period has started and Edler just tied it up 2-2 against the Flames. Time to pay attention.

Tomatoes, the health crisis and turkey dinner

I am patiently (sort of) waiting for the skytrain from our Burnaby office that I am on to get going again – ah, delays. Anyhow, Day 5 and there I am at Moxie’s with Rebecca, one of my best girlfriends, for her birthday lunch. I had looked at the menu online this morning and carefully selected my meal – Chipotle Mango Chicken – grilled. Upon asking, it seems that there is no sugar in the rub for the chicken, just spices. Awesome. It came with rice, which wasn’t brown, so that hwas a wash, but also with avocado, mango slices, steamed broccoli and a lovely fresh salsa.

It was delicious. And as I’m eating said delicious meal, I am reading the cleanse list to Rebecca. And what does it say but “all vegetables but potatoes, tomatoes and corn,” – Wait, what? Tomatoes. Crap. Of course by this point I’ve already had the salsa. I almost never eat tomatoes except in fresh salsa and pasta/pizza sauce – I guess we aren’t going to do our vegan pizza with tomato sauce on the weekend :s. Maybe homemade pesto… – so this was all rather ironic. Slap on the wrist for me for not remembering tomatoes were a no go. But I’ve been very diligent and I think I get least one pass. This is a learning experience and if I don’t make a mistake then it’s just not an “experience”.

On the topic of vegetables, despite eating more veggies in the past 4 days than I do in a span of 2 weeks, and the fact that I am eating super healthy and drinking gallons of water, I have been feeling off kilter. (And it’s not just because I’ve been stripped of my morning bagel.) After some googling, it turns out that I am going through a health crisis – a common thing for people on a long cleanse. My body is in shock and this explains a lot.

But after further pondering, I realized that this also how I feel when I run out of my multivitamin and forget to buy more for four days. My face breaks out a bit (not cool) and my energy is just meh. Now, vitamin supplements are not allowed on this cleanse but I’m assuming that this is because many have traces of dairy, wheat, yeast, and all the things that ate a no-no on the program. So last night, I got the bottle out and there is no dairy, wheat or any of the no-no’s in my multivitamin. So, I took two and guess what? I woke up this morning feeling MUCH better. Sean has decided that this means he has “won” the cleanse (such a boy reaction) and that I’ve cheated but there aren’t any of the forbiddens in my faithful capsules of health so I’m putting my high heeled foot down. This is what my work friend Janice would say is going around or climbing the wall instead of crashing into it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for a health crisis. 😉

Tonight Sean and I are making turkey dinner for our friends Matt and Dori, John – a new friend from work, and Claire – who got us started with his cleanse business. Everything will be according to cleanse – even the stuffing and my apple pie – so it will be an interesting meal.

Sean is home with the turkey and I am en route to Whole Foods Cambie to do a last minute grocery shop at my current second home – Whole Foods. I swear I will probably know that place by heart at the end of this.

And my train is still at a stand still. This is a time where I wish I could apparate Hogwarts style to where I need to go. If J.K. Rowling ruled the world… At least I have a book.

Happy Friday!!

Smoothing out my day

It’s the end of Day 3 and after some inevitable tears from chopping onions, I have a lentil soup slow cooking away in the Cuisinart and spicy chick peas baking in the oven. They come out nice and crispy and are super delicious. Thank you, “5 Ingredient Fix”! (Recipe below.)

Being in a mad rush to get out the door this morning, I forgot my spinach salad and cucumber. Smart. But I had a nice big piece of rice flour blueberry cake – the hero of week one – and an apple for breakfast, so the day didn’t start completely amuck.

I have been very label conscious since this started and you know what? There’s sugar in almost EVERYTHING. As I discovered today, vegetable broth, as sold at IGA, has sugar in it. Seriously? So off to Whole Foods I went after work. The non-sugared organic vegetable stock wasn’t more expensive and it was a bigger container – a rarity, so this girl was a happy camper with this and various healthy items for the next few days.

We have been talking about smoothies as a bit of a loop-hole to the many restrictions of this cleanse. It’s not really a loop-hole but it made me feel good when I went on the Jugo Juice site and found a few smoothies that don’t have bananas (yuck) or frozen yogurt (dairy). And the juice is just juice. Believe it or not, one Pom-E-Berry smoothie is basically a meal – really filling. So that and my faithful trail mix kept me going through the afternoon even when I looked at my stationary tray and saw the macadamia nut Hershey Kisses that one of the SE’s brought back from Hawaii. My gazed lingered but I was good.

I am on my own tonight with Sean at the theatre, so dinner was left over mashed yams and a very large spinach salad. (I will be so done with spinach for a while after this.) The soup has a few hours to go so the chick peas will have to supplement along with some fruit.

Speaking of which, the timer has gone off so time for chick peas and to put my feet up and see what kind of rom-com selection Netflix has in store for me. If I can figure out how to find Netflix on the Xbox…


Spicy Baked Chickpeas

(Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010 from
Prep Time:10 min / Cook Time:35 min

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpea
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Kosher sal


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas and dry by rolling them around in a
    kitchen towel.
  3. Combine the oil, paprika cumin, cayenne and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add chickpeas and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Transfer the chickpeas to a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread
    them out in a single layer. Bake until golden and crispy, 25 to 35
    minutes, shaking the tray to toss after 15 minutes. Remove the baking
    sheet from the oven and transfer the chickpeas to a serving bowl.

Temptation – I CAN resist

Have you ever had the bread at Joe Forte’s? It is GOOD. Like beyond good. And it smells divine and when the basket got placed smack where I was sitting at a work dinner, I managed not to a) drool or b) grab a piece soak it in the lobster infused olive oil/balsamic mix and wolf it down. Same with the yummy wraps and desserts (I swear the chocolate brownie was sticking it’s imaginary tongue out at me) in the catered lunch that I ordered for today’s off-site meeting. I was a good girl an ate my salad with deli turkey and because I forgot my faithful trail mix, I just ate more salad. And for my mini dinner at Joe’s I had some really lovely oysters and a half order of the Spa Salad with chick peas but sans tofu. (I just can’t bring myself to eat it. I just can’t.) I had a brief sniff of the cab blend that was ordered and just sighed. Claire tells me not to feel disheartened but OMG, I wanted that glass of wine.

Post-Joe Forte’s, I bought some fresh halibut at Urban Fare to go with the planned mashed yam stuffed rice pasta ravioli. Well, the pasta recipe is not being published on this blog because it was a spectacular failure. lol. But I made makeshift dumplings and Sean boiled some and fried some. The dumplings were mediocre at best – not for lack of trying but I’m not trying that recipe with rice flour ever again. Or perhaps, since the dumplings were somewhat bread-like, I will attempt tortillas… Anyhow, the fish was very good and it was accompanied by a spinach, blueberry and cucumber salad.

And now I sit here with a castor oil pack and hot water bottle on my stomach contemplating the menu for the next couple of days. Made a rice flour blueberry cake this evening as the breakfast muffins are now long gone. Sean works all day/evening tomorrow so he is going to have to visit a Jugo Juice for some smoothies. My plan is to make soup tomorrow, which I am relieved to say does not involve anything fancy dancy – just lentils and vegetables; and I am going to attempt home made tortillas.

On the plus side, I have eaten about 5 days worth of veggies in the last 48 hours and actually feel better for it. And now, sleep so I can dream of eating that damn brownie.

Trail mix is my friend

Vegans, Celiac and allergy sufferers: my hat goes off to you. Day 1 and I feel like a smoker trying to quit – one day without my peanut butter smothered cinnamon raisin bagel, green tea and Activia yogurt for breakfast and I’m a mess. It makes me feel slightly better that Sean had just as painful of a day as I did.
Quote of the day: Sean – “I don’t feel cleansed yet.”
On the bright side, the blueberry rice flour muffins turned out lovely. 🙂 (Recipe below.) When I make the next batch, I am filling the muffin tins more so that they turn out bigger. Sean and I each had to eat multiple to feel full. But they are delicious!

  • 1 c. rice flour (Use brown rice flour for this during cleanse.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. ground oats
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. sesame oil
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • 2 eggs – (For this cleanse, I replaced with 2 tsp flax seed meal mixed with 1/2 cup of water)
  • 1/4 c. nuts, ground
  • 1/2 c. raisins or fresh blueberries
Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Lightly oil and flour a 12 hole muffin tin. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix contents of two bowls and spoon into muffin tins. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

NOTE: To make this as a cake or squares, pour batter into a 9×9 cake pan.

It was a hungry day – I don’t even want to talk about lunch. Note to me: get a bigger salad if I’m going to continue to take the stairs between floors at work. Trail mix will be forever my side on this interesting journey.
Dinner on the other hand, was very filling. Baked yam fries (I managed without my herb chipotle mayo), chicken and a spinach salad with some lovely fig vinaigrette (courtesy of Karen Dar Woon). Some blueberries and almond tea for dessert and we’re okay.
We’re getting in the spirit though. Tomorrow we make rice pasta ravioli stuffed with yams (or butternnut squash, TBD) with the lovely kitchenaid mixer. I may even bring home some quinoa, who knows?

It’s going to be a long two weeks…

Tomorrow marks the beginning of what could be a rocky two weeks for me and Sean – we are doing a cleanse. Yes, a cleanse. Two weeks of no wheat, sugar (aside from honey), caffeine, red meat, citrus fruit (excluding lemon), potatoes, corn, peanuts, dairy, vitamins supplements and no oils (excluding olive and flax). As you can imagine, this will be difficult for two people who drink a lot of green tea (yes, it’s caffeinated) and red wine (ah, Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, you will be missed) and eat a fair amount of pasta and chocolate. I make a point of eating at least close to what I should be of fruits and vegetables (I <;3 cucumbers) but I'm not sure I am mentally or physically prepared to eat nothing but vegetables on Days 8-10.

So after ballet this afternoon, I came home with things like brown rice flour, flax seed meal and soy milk. I've been googling recipes and learning what to substitute eggs with (silken soy, anyone?) and my poor husband asked me

“So, what am I actually aloud to eat starting tomorrow?”

In preparation for my not being able to having my daily cinnamon raisin bagel smeared with peanut butter, Sean not being able to have virtually any cereal out there and neither of us being able to eat yogurt for two weeks worth of breakfasts, rice flour blueberry muffins blueberry are cooling on the counter rack. I will post the recipe if they turn out well – if they don’t back to google I go.

The bright side of this is that I get to pretend I am at the spa every two days with castor oil packs. At least that’s how I am choosing to look at it – we’ll see how I feel about it after experiencing the fist one.

There will be a lot of “Oh we can’t eat that,” and we will probably bicker a bit and laugh at ourselves A LOT. Sean cleaned out the fridge and I have hidden the chocolate I will be craving in a place I am have chosen to forget for two weeks – particularly sad in light of an annoying recurring event that happened today.

So we raise Sean’s last glass of lovely Edradour whiskey for a while to what will be an entertaining fortnight. Wish us luck!