Boy, October came and went before I had time to blink twice. I always think I am prepared for the frenzy that is fall, but looking back, I never am. The culmination of crazy for my family is always the first weekend of November, as both of my children’s birthdays fall at this time…one day apart.
- November 3rd, 3:42am – Kayley’s 14th birthday
- November 4th, 4:30am – Ben’s 12th birthday
Two years and one day separates them. Wow. I’m always excited but never ready for them to turn another year older. Kayley is frighteningly close to learning to drive – yikes! – and only one more year before we are officially the parents of two teenagers – yikes again!
We’ve tried every which way to celebrate their birthdays so that they each will feel special. And man, when they were small, I would break my back trying to do it. But in the last few years, we’ve settled into a nice tradition that both the birthday girl and birthday boy seem to be happy with. We pick one night for our family to celebrate together (with separate celebrations with friends for each plus a few extra little surprises on their actual days). Most years, our family consists of my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. The kids pick a location for dinner or a meal for me to make, I bake 2 cakes of their choosing, we sing to them both, and they open their presents together. But this year is the first year we’ve celebrated with just the four of us – grandparents are enjoying two weeks in Italy, and my brother is getting MARRIED in Bora Bora! Congratulations Cam and Brandi! We love you!!
It’s a busy time for our family, and now that the weekend is over, I’m beat. Whenever I start feeling this way, it is time for me to cleanse. I try to detox once every season, and I find that after the whirlwind that is September and October, I have a couple of short down weeks at the beginning of November, after the kids’ birthdays and before Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities begin, when I can hunker down and focus on me. Here are a few of the indications that I need to detox…
- I don’t feel like myself
- I feel tired
- My temper is short for no reason
- I feel overwhelmed
- I’m not sleeping well
- I feel “puffy”
- A little too much sugar (even natural sugar) has seeped into my diet
- My self-control with food is slipping
- We are eating out at restaurants too much
- I just need a good re-boot or re-start to get me back on track
- I need a week to get my life back in order
Cleansing is so much more than just cleaning out my insides. It is a mental and spiritual detox too. After a week of cleansing, I feel like a new person. Not only does my energy bounce back, but I feel really good “in my skin”. I sleep better, and I have a better, more positive outlook on life. When I cleanse, I take time out from EVERYTHING because it is so much more than food; it’s like hitting the reset button on my life. I will fill you in next week on how my week of detoxing goes…
This carrot ginger soup is an example of a meal I will be eating this week. The inspiration came from the Vitamix carrot ginger tofu recipe. I don’t eat tofu, so I made some simple adjustments to the recipe to come up with a comforting winner. And it’s beyond easy to make. I don’t do hard while cleansing. Everything I will be preparing this week will be a breeze.
To start, I soaked a third of a cup of raw cashews in a 5.4 ounce can of Native Forest Coconut Cream in my large Vitamix container. The healthy fat in cashews and coconut helps you absorb the fat soluble carotenoids in the carrots. Plus, fat makes everything taste better, bringing out the natural flavors in the veggies. Most of us grew up fearing the fat, but good fats are not only beneficial for your body, but they are also absolutely necessary for good health, especially brain health as the type of fat in coconuts has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. In addition, coconuts are packed with vitamins C, E, Bs, and magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, and selenium.
While the cashews were soaking in coconut cream, I steamed a one-pound bag of organic baby carrots, a small purple onion (peeled and cut up), and about 8 cloves of garlic (peeled) for about 30 minutes in my George Foreman electric steamer. I love this appliance. I can prepare freshly steamed veggies in minutes. Carrots are naturally sweet vegetables. I choose to steam them over roasting them for this recipe, so less of their natural sugar will caramelize and they won’t be as sweet. The high fiber and nutrient content of carrots makes them a good cleansing food, and the sulfur-rich onion and garlic provide a key component for liver detoxification plus lots of other valuable vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids.
I added 4 cups of chicken broth (either homemade or organic, free range from a box), sea salt, pepper, and about a 1 ½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped) to the Vitamix with the cashews and coconut cream.
I added the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix and firmly secured the lid. I placed a towel over the top to avoid getting burned by any splatter and turned on the Vitamix on low first, and then moving to high. I blended the ingredients into a soup for about one minute and then transferred it to a medium saucepan to thoroughly heat the soup over medium heat. I plan to enjoy this carrot ginger soup with a simple green salad.
- 1 pound bag of organic baby carrots
- 1 small purple onion, peeled and cut up
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- 1 5.4 ounce can Native Forest coconut cream
- 4 cups homemade or organic chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1½ to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- Soak the cashews in the coconut cream in the large Vitamix container.
- Steam the carrots, onion, and garlic for at least 30 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and ginger to the Vitamix container.
- Add the steamed carrots, onion, and garlic to the Vitamix container.
- Firmly secure the lid on the Vitamix, and cover with a towel to avoid injury.
- Turn on the Vitamix on low, then moving to high, and puree the ingredients into a soup for about one minute.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat thoroughly over medium heat.