D is for Detox Diet

Apologies to anyone noticing the long gap between posts . . . One of the lessons of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (combined with being “highly sensitive”) is that you never know what minor experience might throw your life for a loop.  For me it was a simple, routine, colonoscopy . . . or rather the sedation they used during it.  The procedure went fine, but I’m STILL recovering from the Midazolam and Fentanyl they gave me.  Most people walk out of the procedure after about an hour, “loopy” but okay.  I was immobilized for two days and still having bouts of light-headedness and upset stomach almost a week later.

So two days ago I decided to take some measures to try to clear out my system.  For me this involves yoga (including meditation) and diet.  The yoga is helping my body (1) “ground” itself again, (2) work out any lingering “air” stuck in my GI track and/or absorbed in my system which might be making me feel like a giant floppy helium balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and (3) coax my system into resuming normal activities.  The meditations involve visualizing healing and balancing my chakras (more grounding).

Many “detox diets” are floating around on the interwebs (i.e., http://www.pureinsideout.com/detox-foods.html ) but I knew that what I needed most was lots of water, fruits, and vegetables.  I also was craving SPICE (remember I was on a low-roughage diet for five days before the procedure, so now it had been over a week since I had anything tasty).  SOOO, I decided to combine the yoga with some spicy Indian dishes full of veggies, especially onions, garlic, kale, and ginger.  I also drank lots of green tea with lemon and ginger.  So far it seems to be doing the trick.  I’m not fully recovered, but I’m getting there.

No recipes to post, but below are some pics.  I should also emphasize that, due to my CFS, I never cook multiple-course meals all on one day.  Tuesday night I made Cauliflower-Carrot Curry and had it over Basmati Rice.  Last night I made some basic Dal to go with them and a version of Saag Paneer that uses potatoes instead of cheese (and kale instead of spinach).  The curry recipe I made up (basically sautéed onions, carrots, cauliflower, ginger, and garlic simmered in a little water with Penzey’s Sweet Curry Powder).  The Saadi Masoor Dal and Paalak Wallae Aloo (spinach/kale with potatoes) came from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran.

Enjoy the pics!

Cauliflower Carrot Curry
Cauliflower Carrot Curry
Kale with Potatoes
Kale with Potatoes
Indian Home Cooking
Indian Home Cooking




Beets, Yes Beets!!

I know . . . most people HATE beets!  So did I.  When I was growing up, mom would serve them (out of a can, or fresh, boiled and then peeled) . . . the only thing I hated more than beets was lima beans!

Well, I’ve seen the error of my ways.  I also found a couple of recipes that make even beets taste great!  Now I have them every couple of months or so . . . (so, still not my favorite food, but a great way to add some color to your plate).

First, a few notes on preparation . . .

(1) I always peel my beets with a vegetable peeler.  I know other folks recommend other ways (e.g., bake and then rub off the skin) but I’ve never been able to get those to work satisfactorily.

(2) When I work with red beets I wear gloves (either rubber dish gloves or the thin clear vinyl gloves sold at pharmacies), and an apron.  The red juice WILL wash off . . . but it is easier not to get it on you in the first place.

Okay, here are the recipes:

The original Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen contained what became my regular Thanksgiving meal—”Comprehensively-stuffed Squash” and “A Colorful Accompaniment.”  The “Colorful Accompaniment” was grated beets cooked in orange juice.

Quick Stovetop Beets

  • 2 good-sized (fill your hand) red beets (or several smaller ones)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 Tbls oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel the beets and the carrot (see note on preparation above).  Grate/shred the beets and the carrot (use either the side of your box-grater with the 1/4″ holes or a food processor with a grating attachment).  Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes (be careful not to burn it, if you do, start over).  Add the grated beets and carrots.  Sauté for a few more minutes.  Add the orange juice; cook gently 5-10 minutes or until everything is heated through.  Season to taste.  Serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Beets and Shallots

Baked Beets & Shallots (gold)Baked Beets & Shallots (red)

from the Penzey’s Spices catalog (date unknown)

  • 4-6 beets, peeled and cut into large chunks (use red or gold or a combination)
  • 4-6 shallots, peeled (if small, leave whole after peeling, if very large, cut into chunks)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2-1 tsp. cracked rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place the beets in a cast iron skillet or heavy metal roasting pan.  Add the shallots, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss it all together.  Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes or more.  (To test the beets for doneness, poke with a knife or fork.  When they offer little resistance, they’re done.)  Remove the beets from the oven and place in a serving dish.  Pour any juices over the beets and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Note:  I remove the foil and check the beets after about 30 minutes, if the pan seems dry, I add a few tablespoons of hot water.  Most of the time the beets and shallots make enough juice of their own, but if the foil seal is loose the moisture can escape and the pan can get dry.



C is for Carrot-Ginger Soup

C is for Carrot-Ginger Soup . . .

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Here’s a great way to eat more carrots and enjoy a sunny bowl of goodness on a cold January day!

Carrot Ginger Soup


  • 2 Tbls vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinnly sliced
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
  • one 3″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 red potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • dash ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp curry powder (optional)
  • splash orange juice (optional)
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock (see recipe below for homemade gluten-free veggie stock)


  1. Heat the oil in a big soup pot.
  2. Sauté the onions over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions start getting tender, add the shredded carrots.  After a few minutes, add the potatoes, ginger, and cashews (if using).  Cook and stir for a few more minutes.  Add the salt and whichever of the other spices suit your fancy.
  3. Once the spices start releasing their aromas, stir in the stock and the orange juice (if using).  Bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the veggies are all tender.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Purée using immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender.

Serve and Enjoy!
Makes 2 quarts


  • I had not intended to add curry powder, but when I went to add the cinnamon, much more “dashed” out than I had intended and the soup smelled too much like cinnamon.  Adding the curry powder covered it just enough so that it didn’t taste like dessert.  (BTW, both my cinnamon and the curry powder come from Penzey’s Spices . . . check them out for a great herb & spice selection!)
  • Many recipes for carrot soup add some dairy (plain yogurt, half-and-half, sour cream) or coconut milk either at the end of cooking or when serving.  It will help cool the spicy punch of the curry.  I’m avoiding dairy so I omitted it, but feel free to add some if you are able.  The soup tasted fine without it.

Vegetable Stock

  • 2 Tbls oil
  • 1 onion, thinnly sliced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 10 cups water

Heat the oil in a big soup pot.  Sauté the onions over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  When the onions get tender add the carrots and celery.  Cook and stir for a few more minutes.  Add the potatoes and garlic.  Cook and stir.  Add the bay leaf and spices.  Stir to release aroma.  Finally, add the water.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 1-1/2 hours.  Cool.  Strain out the vegetables with a slotted spoon.  Place 3-4 layers of cheesecloth in a strainer and strain the stock.

Makes 2 quarts.  Store in frig, use within a few days, or freeze.


  • Most of the time I want a clear stock, so I remove and discard all of the vegetables.  Occasionally, I leave some of them in and purée the stock rather than straining it.  If you do that, remember to locate and remove the bay leaf first!

P.S.  The focaccia in the photo was made using the recipe in Annalise Roberts’ Gluten-Free Baking Classics, 2nd Edition . . . an excellent source for recipes for GF baked goods.  More on my GF baking adventures in a future post.