Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Clean 2014

We ended 2013 with gusto, and GUTS, tis the season to stuff your face and we sure did! The past is past and there is no future like the present, so we decided to embark upon a clean eating challenge to kick the new year of right and truly embrace a #Clean2014 in as many ways as possible. I am not much of a "resolutions" gal, but I do feel that there's something about the start of a fresh year that's special, different than any other time- and it makes for some great reflecting, goal setting and getting motivated.

A friend of mine posted an interesting article about three words (you can find it HERE) - and I like the concept.
I decided to pick three words of my own for 2014 and here they are: Family, Prosperity, Courage.

On the courage front, we decided to try something new that we've never done before and embark upon a "cleanse" to get this party started RIGHT. We'd toyed with the idea for ages, but when my dad texted me these two photos-

...and noted that he was juicing and eating vegan for January, that was my call to action. I've seen this man complete a very well executed conference call with a cigarette in one hand, beer in the other, laptop, smart phone and tv with the game on all at once. I'm pretty sure sharp cheddar and a good ole log of anything from Hickory Farms are among his favorite regular snack items. I'm not arguing with him on that either.

For some fitspo to keep me moving, my beloved Bar Method rang in the new year with a fitness challenge to take 18 classes in January. Challenge accepted. The stars aligned, this is the way we're doing a #Clean2014 January!

After doing a bit of research, dusting off our juicer and gearing up by indulging in some thyme and Parmesan popcorn last night- it was time to dive in.

I will post the 7 day road map of our cleanse as soon as we complete it, with notes, recipes and all the info.

Today is day 1- all juice. (see image above....)

The lovelies over at Pressed Juicery are hosting a sale on all cleanses till this Friday (1/10/14) so we opted for a 1 day to really start this crazy endeavor off in a truly clean way.

It's almost 4pm as I write this, and so far so good. I'm most looking forward to the epsom salt bath that's coming at the end of this day, and the early bedtime. Stay tuned, all the fun details of this clean, green adventure are coming soon!

In the meantime, for some inspiration- check out some of my favorite green smoothies to start your day HERE

Or check out my CLEAN, GREEN, VEGGIE, VEGAN pinterest board

HAPPY NEW YEAR & a #Clean2014 to you all!!

Happy 2014! Amazing (easy) Crab Cakes

Well. Here we are, in 2014. How did this happen? Last year was amazing, full of love, loss, triumph, stress, family, laughter and everything that makes us real and makes life worth living. As usual, we celebrate & survive all of the above with great food. This year went out as it arrived- on a bullet train- a blur of toddler, house, fun and, we decided to celebrate the blessing of our new home by having our dear friends and their son over for a quiet dinner, some Cards Against Humanity and a toast at 9pm (East Coast New Year style).
Of course the boy decided that naps are overrated on the 31st seriously cutting into my dinner making prep time- but because I'm a mom who knows to always expect the unexpected, I had planned a super easy menu that really only took a short time to throw together some major deliciousness.
We had a variety of cheeses, crackers, quince paste & fig jam to start- along with Trader Joe's goat cheese & caramelized onion puffs. Then after the bedtime routine commenced and my little angel was tucked in and dreaming, the grown-ups dined on arugula salad with almonds, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes & avocado, Crab/Corn Bisque, artichokes,and these scrumptious crab cakes.

Because I've made the soup many, many, many times I knew I'd have some leftover crab- so when I went to Trader Joe's I bought 1 of the large (16oz) crab claws and 1 of the 8oz lump meat containers (in the refrigerator section between the meat and cheese).

Here is what you need for these show-stopper crab cakes & garlic dippin sauce:

Crab (16oz total- I used a mix of claw and lump)
2 sleeves of Butter round crackers (like TJ's version of a Ritz)- CRUSHED to smithereens
4 green onions, minced
Juice from 2 lemons (I used home grown lemons from our tree- they are petite so it took more than 2, but if you are using store-bought 2 regular size lemons will do the trick- buy 3 though- I used some for steaming the artichokes and the juice of 1/2 a lemon for the dippin sauce)
Mayo- about 4-5 spoon fulls for the crab cakes, and then about a cup for the dippin sauce (see below)
1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
pinch of salt
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
(THEN, for cooking):
bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
butter & olive oil

Dippin Sauce
Mayo (about a cup)
garlic (2-3 cloves, super finely minced)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
a few dots of Siracha hot sauce, you can always add more right before serving- go easy, it's powerful!

In a large bowl combine the crab, crushed butter crackers, minced green onion, lemon juice, mayo, Old Bay, lemon pepper, salt, & pepper flakes- mix well till all ingredients are completely intergrated.
Form crab cakes- we made about 8 cakes about 3 inches in diameter- for cocktail sized cakes this recipe will make 16-20.
Lay on a baking sheet covered in wax paper, cover and refrigerate at least a hour, or till ready to cook.

Make dippin sauce:
in a small bowl combine mayo, minced garlic, lemon juice and siracha- stir, cover & refrigerate 1 hour to overnight for flavors to get really well married.

When ready to cook- in a large skillet, heat 2 table spoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat, coat each cake in a 50/50 mix of bread crumbs and Parmesan and pan-fry about 5 minutes per side/ till golden brown. Serve with fresh avocado & yummy dippin sauce!

Wishing you all the best for this New Year~ Happy 2014~