Sep 082014

Another recipe adaptation, yay! This one used to be a lamb ragout, and it’s from the same Spanish cookbook as the lentil recipe. It continues my love affair with tempeh. Nomz. This was was a pleasant surprise and success! You could use tofu, too, but probably would want to freeze it, thaw it, and press it before cooking.


Mmmm another adapted recipe. Tempeh and by CanadianAEh, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  CanadianAEh 



  • 250-300g tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces (if not fresh, steam for 15 min first)
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (or veg equivalent)
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (use tamari if unavailable)
  • 1kg-1.2kg of small white potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed and quartered or cut into bite-sized pieces — peel only if necessary
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 250mL white wine (you could try with red, too)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (use cremini for a different flavour!)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and separated
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped coarsely and separated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 1-2 tsp salt, to taste
  • Water


Season the tempeh with the worcestershire sauce and liquid aminos, as well as with the 1 clove of chopped garlic. Leave in a non-reactive dish to marinate for 20-30 minutes or more. When ready, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the tempeh. Remove and put in a large pot or casserole pot. Add the sliced carrots.

Add 1-2 cups boiling water to the mushrooms. Let them soak 15-20 minutes.

Fry the chopped onion in the same oil used to brown the tempeh. Add a splash more of oil if needed. When onion is brown, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Put 1 Tbsp of garlic in a mortar and crush it with half of the chopped parsley. Put the parsley-garlic mixture in a separate small bowl and mix with the white wine. Pour the entire mixture — wine, garlic, parsley — into the casserole pot with the onions, carrots, and tempeh. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the potatoes with the rest of the chopped garlic. Sauté them in another tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When lightly browned, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the tempeh-carrot mixture, which should still be on medium heat.

In the same frying pan used for the potatoes, sprinkle the flour and stir over low heat until it turns golden brown. Add water and stir, cooking for a few minutes. When slightly thickened, remove from heat and add to the casserole pot.

Check the mushrooms and slice coarsely. Add them to the casserole pot. Add the mushroom soaking water to the casserole pot, too, and stir. Add water to cover all the vegetables, and cook 15 minutes uncovered on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.

After 15 minutes, check for salt, and add as necessary. Cook for another 5 minutes or more, until potatoes are fork-tender. Serve piping hot. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley.

Mar 202012

Okay, so I made this up. And it was yum (I ate every last bit!) but not as yum as it could've been. What's below includes what I would've changed / added, as noted by a *. I might even add some celery next time for a bit of crunch!

2 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced into 1-2 cm cubes
2 dill pickles, minced 
2 shallots, minced or 2 T. red onion
1/3 cup corn (I had fresh corn from the cob I'd taken off a few weeks ago and frozen, but canned or frozen would work well)
a handful (maybe 10-12) cooked medium-sized prawns
1-2 T chopped fresh dill*
3 T chopped cilantro*

3-4 T of Lemon Sesame Dressing (from Moosewood Cooks at Home)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and sweet potatoes together in a big pot of salted water. Check for doneness (about 7-10 minutes) and remove from heat when fork-tender. Drain, put into a bowl, and pop into freezer to cool.

Prep remaining ingredients, including the dressing if you've not yet made it. After prepping all ingredients, or after about 10-15 minutes, remove the potatoes from the freezer. In a large mixing bowl, put potatoes, dill pickles, shallots, corn, prawns, and dill. Toss gently to combine. Pour over dressing. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Dust with chopped cilantro just prior to serving. 

Serves 2-3. 
Jan 182011

{Edit as of 2 Jan 2018: I have updated some of the links here and made a few minor edits since I first wrote this 7 years ago. Most of what’s below is still true, though I might write something separately about how my thinking on this has evolved over the years. Spoiler alert — I still detox once a year. However, I try to stay away from calling it “detoxing” as that term is now widely misused and often employed to try to get people to buy products and join dubious groups. My own “detox/cleanse/whatever you want to call it” is rather me taking a break from some of the things I know my body finds difficult to digest and process. I say more about this in detail below in the section where I quote Kathy Freston. Enjoy… }

People who know me know that this is the third time I’ve gone the detox route. Those who don’t know me so well may have heard me talk about it before but don’t know really what I’m talking about. If you don’t know me at all, you’re scratching your head right now. However, people in all of these categories often scratch their head when I tell them that for me, a detox means eliminating (or trying to) alcohol, caffeine, animal products, sugar, and gluten from my diet for 21 days. Such people scratch their heads because they can’t quite figure out what the heck a person eats if not those things.

Regardless of where you are on the How Well We Know Adrienne And Her Detox Methods spectrum (it’s a very wide spectrum! haha), this post is for you. However, I will admit it has been inspired by those who fall into that last category, who may imagine I am sitting at home alone sipping water and gnawing on carrots all day.

O ye of little culinary creativity.

I’m currently unemployed (read: time on my hands) and so I thought I’d blog a bit about what the heck I’m actually eating every day, in an effort to show you that detoxing/cleansing (I use those words interchangeably) is not that difficult and in fact can be quite yummy!

But first, a brief longish note as to why I detox in the first place.

My yoga teacher, Twee, first turned me on to the concept of detoxing. I will admit at the time — two years ago now — I thought it a crazy idea. I’ve always been a big believer in “all things in moderation” and am usually pretty good about living that philosophy. I didn’t believe in cutting things out of my diet, fasting, etc. It seemed silly to me. I really believed (and still do, mostly) that our bodies are quite capable of taking care of themselves. Fast forward one year – the beginning of 2010. My only New Years Resolution of 2010 was to continue to cut red meat out of my diet. I had done this before — years ago when I lived in England, and the previous year, my last year living in Vietnam. The first time, in England in 2002, it began when I became very very ill — I have (had?) a host of health problems which I won’t go into detail about here, but if you’re really curious, catch me on Twitter or email me and we can compare notes. Suffice it to say that I was at the end of my rope and finally heeded my friend Kate’s sagely wisdom: “Get thee to an acupuncturist!” I was not a believer in acupuncture or any holistic therapies, but I was quite ill and Western medicine’s specialists of specialists, drugs, and surgeries had failed me. I had nothing to lose except a bunch of quid, and so I went. My acupuncturist quickly assessed my situation and one of the many immediate recommendations she made was that I cut red meat out of my diet. Being from Alberta, land of steak and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding (nomnom!), this was a bit of a shock. But I was desperately seeking wellness and so I agreed. I cut red meat out of my diet and soon I was energetic and symptom free — I know that sounds cheesy and like something you see on an infomercial, but I’m really not lying. I have witnesses! 🙂 There were several other dietary changes I made that contributed to this, but the single biggest one was cutting out red meat, and being selective about poultry (free-range only, hormone-free, etc.).

Fast forward again. I moved to Qatar and fell in love with Lebanese lamb chops and kofte and schwarma and well… you can imagine what happened to my “no red meat” rule. Notsogood. Unsurprisingly, I became riddled with symptoms of sickness again. I aimed to have some balance; I felt couldn’t give up red meat completely — those lamb chops were just too dang good! — but I tried to eat less of them. I moved to Vietnam and tried to maintain this same balance. In Hanoi, I met a yoga teacher who helped me understand my body based on Ayurvedic health, and discovered my main dosha is Vata. Upon further research, I discovered that it is recommended that Vata dosha types should avoid red meat. This gave me pause. Twice now — once from a Chinese traditional medicine perspective, once from an Ayurvedic medicine perspective — it had been recommended that I should avoid eating red meat. Maybe I shouldn’t ignore this fact? I resolved that year (2009) to again cut red meat out of my diet.

So, in 2010, one year after meeting Twee and learning more about the concept of detoxing — and having already been mostly red-meat free — I decided to do a bit of research into this detox thing (btw, I say “mostly” because I’m not super finicky about not eating red meat; I will have a bite of someone’s burger from time to time, and at Christmas I usually succumb to Italian cured meats). In my research I came across many different types of detox — from eating nothing but cabbage for 3 days to juice fasts to alkaline only diets to eating nothing. You name it, it is out there. As you might imagine, some are safer than others. Some just sounded like pure nonsense!

Having never “dieted” before in my life (I’m generally blessed with a good metabolism), I wasn’t sure where to start, but I knew I wanted something that was healthy and addressed body, mind, and spirit. That’s what led me to Quantum Wellness, by Kelly Freston. Yes, she’s been on Oprah. Yes, the foreword is by Dr. Oz. And yes, I’ll admit that gave her some cred in my mind. I began reading the first few pages and knew immediately this was the book I was looking for. I continued to do more research; I spoke to friends and learned that most of my friends who detox do something very similar to what Freston recommends, though most of them had never heard of her (it seems they’ve based their detoxes on what their yoga teachers / alternative health practitioners recommend). My friend Brighde recommended Crazy Sexy Diet, by Kris Carr, which I admit I did not look into right away, but in the past year has garnered more of my attention. I also looked at, as I said, literally HUNDREDS of websites. I can’t even begin to tell you which ones, but some are better than others. Eventually I was able to piece together a cleanse for myself based mostly on Freston’s book, but also with some bits from The Great American Detox Diet, by Alex Jamieson, and other bits I found online here and there.

In my research I learned that detoxing is not unhealthy when it is done properly. In fact, I learned that many doctors from all backgrounds recommend some kind of detox at least once a year. Many say it’s one of the best things you can do for your body. People who detox report all kinds of wonderful effects, from clear skin to increased energy to better sleep. Several studies have even suggested that fasting in general can reduce chances of Huntington disease and diabetes. Eventually, I thought that if I did enough research on health and nutrition — ensuring I had enough vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and carbohydrates daily — I would probably be fine to detox. I thought I’d give it a go. I mentioned it to my doctor, who supported it fully and was if anything rather surprised at how much I already knew. She agreed that no matter what, I had to make sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed. She’s not pro-vegetarianism, I will add, but is supportive of anyone who does their research and doesn’t just do a “fad” diet to lose weight, as those are very unhealthy. We agreed that what I was doing was not a fad diet, but rather an experiment.

So off I went!

One of the best passages that gives explains why I detox is this one, from Freston (2008, p.68):

It takes a lot of work to break down food, keep all the organs and systems running, and deal with stress. The body doesn’t have the luxury of putting everything else on hold so that it can tend to the deeper issues of processing and releasing the stored toxins, extra fat, and waste that have accumulated over the years. When you put certain foods on the back burner for a bit, your body has a reprieve from its normal everyday chore of digesting difficult things, and it can really dig into that much-needed heavier work.

Even as our bodies are uniquely designed to survive under less-than-ideal conditions, we still need to take proactive steps to maximize our ability to heal, regenerate, and operate at optimal capacity. When the body is overburdened with too many toxins, it simply isn’t able to function efficiently and, over time, we will feel “off our game” and perhaps get sick.

So, as Freston says, I tend to think of my cleanse as a short vacation from all the toxins, some of which I have control over and many of which I don’t (e.g. pollutants). If you’re curious about why the above food “toxins” have been chosen, please leaf through Freston’s book — she explains the reason for cutting out each of them. And note that I’m not saying here this kind of detox is what’s best for everyone; I chose it for myself based on my own health situation and individual needs. I know many of the toxins she mentions do affect my body, mind, and spirit, and so cutting them temporarily out made sense to me. I firmly believe each person has to choose what makes sense to him/her. 🙂

And for me, the part that’s most difficult to cut out is caffeine. I’m a true coffee addict in every sense. Further research revealed that many doctors do not recommend cutting out caffeine cold turkey, and so the first time I detoxed, I allowed myself 1 cup of coffee each morning. The second time, I kept the 1 cup of coffee, but tried switching to green tea after the first week, with some success, but not wholly. This time, I’m going to try to completely switch to green tea in the last two weeks. It’s tough! Especially with recent research indicating that coffee helps women deal with stress! Now I know why I’ve been an addict! [Edit: I’ve given up on trying to cut out coffee — I instead have managed to control it to reasonable levels all year round. This is a result of repeated annual “detoxes” like this one.. so, I’m calling it mild success. I have come to the conclusion that I genuinely will not be able to cut out caffeine completely unless my life depends on it. Trust me, I have tried sooooo many times… It’s just way too painful and for me, the (purported health) benefits do not outweigh the (very real mood altering) risks.]

Back to my main purpose here…

I had thought about starting a separate blog for Adrienne Does Detox Take 3, but decided against it because of the pressure to post each day, and I’ve simply got too much coming up in the next few weeks to be able to commit to that. Instead, I will post here what I’ve eaten on given days… perhaps I’ll have time to post each day, perhaps not. At any rate, my goal is to show you that you can do a detox and still eat incredibly yummy food!

Here’s what I ate today:

Upon rising — first thing out of bed: (usually I do this before yoga, today I did it after)

  • half lemon, squeezed into a glass of tepid or warm water, with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of ground flax meal mixed into a glass of tepid water


  • A giant smoothie made from banana, apple, spinach, agave nectar, soy milk and vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup coffee


  • 1 cup vegetable broth, warmed
  • Garlic-sauteed spinach and tomatoes in olive oil with chili pepper flakes, fresh orange juice, and pumpkin seeds over quinoa cooked in vegetable broth
  • a glass of water



  • Rooibos tea, sweetened with agave nectar
  • a clementine

Just before bed:

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp of ground flax meal mixed into water

A few notes:

  • I decided to include veggie broth in my detox after reading several articles that advocate that its ingredients help flush out toxins. Reading about the benefits of an alkaline diet, I decided to give it a shot — and I do think it’s beneficial. The past two detoxes I have made my own vegetable broth, but this time I am supplementing with high-quality preservative-free organic store-bought broth.  Normally I would drink veggie broth as part of dinner, too, but tonight’s dinner was just super filling, so I will opt to have it before bed instead.
  • Lemon juice mixed with warm water first thing in the morning has long been known (since the ancients!) as a healthy tonic for many reasons. Firstly, it’s a major antioxidant, high in Vitamin C. Secondly, it helps digestion, particularly the bowels — so it’s a great jump start to metabolism in the morning. The bit of cayenne pepper helps to do this, too, and is a warming agent (I tend to omit the cayenne in the summer). [Edit: While all of the above is true, I have removed a sentence here about lemon juice being a liver cleanser. Lemon juice is not a liver cleanser, and apologies to anyone I may have misled with that sentence intact. I was wrong and misguided.]
  • The ground flax mixed with water is not only full of nutrients, but it also acts as fiber to make sure everything stays regular and all those toxins do indeed make their way OUT! Eventually, after a few days or the first week, I will probably be able to cut the evening flax + water combination. Will have to see how I feel.

And that’s about it! See, not too difficult! All meals were very easy and were prepared in less than 30 minutes, although I will admit this is not always the case. Often, I am using beans or other legumes which require much more cooking time. And I’m sure that will be the case again at some point over the next few weeks. But really, my point is here — it’s not that hard to cut all those things out of your diet and still eat delicious, yummy food!



Nov 162010

So I recently decided to start using Basis Foods for my produce, after having been introduced to them at a recent visit to the New Amsterdam Market. I’ve only tried them once, but so far I am quite impressed. They brought me a big bag of produce straight from the farms — both fruit and veggies — as well as eggs, cheese, and bread. My only complaint is that two of the eggs were broken when the delivery arrived but really, everything else has been so fabulous that I can’t complain too much. Their friendly service, reliability, and of course the yumminess of all the goodies they brought me really do make up for a couple of broken eggs.

Speaking of those goodies… one of the things in this week’s delivery was buttercup squash, which I had never heard of before. I consider to be quite a food connoisseur so I of course had to do some research. I do love squash, so I knew this was the perfect challenge! After viewing and subsequently drooling over a plethora of recipes online when I should have been writing my thesis, I decided that I was going to take bits and pieces from various recipes and make up my own recipe. The delivery also included Russian Red kale (another yum!) and so I knew I wanted to include that. Here is what I came up with.

Buttercup squash


  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic — minced
  • 1 leek — quartered lengthwise, cleaned, and then chopped (most people use only the white part but I used it all!)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper — seeded and minced (reduce this if you don’t like kick, or substitute cayenne pepper if you don’t have access to jalapenos)
  • 1 bunch leafy Red Russian kale — cleaned, tough stems removed, and chopped roughly (you can use any other kind of kale you have, of course)
  • 3 medium carrots — peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 buttercup squash — peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (the peeling is tricky; use the sharpest knife you have and be careful)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (if you prefer a richer broth, use chicken; I used 3 cups of vegetable broth and ended up adding 1 cup of water also)
  • cracked or freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or add to taste
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute sour cream, or omit altogether if you want a vegan recipe)
  • cilantro — chopped for garnish

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, and leeks; saute until leeks are translucent and fragrant. Add kale. Saute over medium heat until kale is wilted and soft; about 3-5 minutes. Add carrots; allow them to saute over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add squash, broth, and black pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat low or medium low and allow to simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

After 20 minutes check to see consistency. By this point the squash and carrots should be soft enough that you can crush them with the back of a spoon. If they are not yet soft enough, return the cover and give it another 5-10 minutes. When squash and carrots are completely soft, remove from heat and puree in batches, or with an immersion (stick) blender. Add additional stock or water if consistency of soup is too thick, and adjust seasonings at this point (check — if you add more stock or water you may need to add salt at this point).

Return to heat and heat soup until it is warm again.

Serve each portion warm in a bowl with a dollop (1 tablespoon) of cream cheese or sour cream (optional) and a half-tablespoon of cilantro as garnish.

Serves 4-6

Buttercup Squash by greeny_meanie

Jul 222010

Okay, so I'm detoxing again. And adapting recipes again to ensure they are gluten, sugar, and animal-product-free. Here's my latest, adapted from this wonderful recipe at Epicurious. I was really quite surprised by the richness of this recipe. Normally we see tofu in Asian-style dishes, not Mediterranean ones. This one was delightful — very rich flavors. I did not deep fry the tofu, but shallow fried it instead. I used safflower oil because it's what I had in the cupboard. I also didn't have any mirin, so used some white wine with a tablespoon of brown rice syrup dissolved in it (yes, I realize detox means no alcohol, either, but the alcohol gets cooked off in this recipe, so I'm not too worried).

  • 4-8 tablespoons safflower oil, for frying (variable)
  • 1 1/4 pound firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 Roma or 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 4 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup green onions, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
  • lemon wedge


Heat oil in a deep saucepan, wok, or frying pan with tall edges. Working in batches, shallow-fry the cubes of tofu until golden brown, making sure they don't stick to each other. Drain tofu on paper towels.

Dissolve brown rice syrup in white wine.

Heat olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Do not let the garlic brown, but allow it to turn golden. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring carefully, just until tomatoes are soft and begin start to break down. Deglaze with white wine and cook for approximately 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the wine to burn off alcohol (you will smell it). Add the tofu and green onions, stir, and season with salt to taste. Squeeze lemon wedge over top just before serving.

Serves 2.

Feb 162010

Are you feeling overwhelmed with the price of organic fruits and vegetables?  In a perfect world it would be great to protect the environment (soil, air, and water pollution), protect our health, and protect the welfare of animals by eliminating the use of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, toxins, hormones, and antibiotics. However, to many individuals and families a grocery cart full of all organic fruits and vegetables is beyond their financial means. Therefore, I have created a list to help make your decision a little easier at the grocery store.

This is a great list! Very comprehensive guide to when you really SHOULD buy organic, and when it doesn’t matter and non-organic is okay.

Jan 162010

So, I’m still on my detox diet. And struggling. But that is another story.

The story I’m here to tell you today is about my new favorite vegetable: beets!

Today, I made beets, beet greens, and quinoa. Yum!! I bought organic beets with the tops (greens) still on. I chopped off the greens, scrubbed the beets, and roasted them as per this recipe (see the very bottom of the page: ROASTED ROSEMARY BEETS). But what to do with those greens? I knew they were good for something. Sure enough, I found this recipe, but it was not vegan, and it also had refined sugar in it. (FWIW: is quickly becoming one of my favorite recipe sites.) I adapted this tangy and tasty vegetable side dish, and and here it is:

Beet Greens


  • 1/2 pound beet greens and stems
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (less if you don’t like garlic – I love it!)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (you can use honey or regular sugar too, just reduce the amount slightly if using sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Chop stems into 1-inch pieces and separate from greens.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil on medium heat. Add onions. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes, then add stems only. Cook onions and stems over medium heat another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan and to mix thoroughly with onions, garlic, and stems. Stir in brown rice syrup and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Add the beet greens and gently toss them in the onion mixture so the they are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the greens are tender.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice.

Serves 2.