Oh, it is hard for me to move on from gravlax. Because it was the holidays! And it was the best! And I wanted it to get cold, and now it is finally cold, only the kids are back at school and my all-cheese diet has come to a sorry end, so where’s the fun in that? Just cold work days? Please. Plus, longish-time readers may know that this is the brutal, boring three weeks of my life called The Cleanse. No coffee, alcohol, dairy, sugar, meat, or wheat. Just mugs of seaweedy green teas and frothing cashew whatevers that are terrible, terrible, terrible, until they’re suddenly not, and then you worry about the kind of person you’re becoming. The kind of person who likes a nice hot drink that tastes like tilapia and the swamp in which it laid its eggs. The kind of person who says things like, “Oooh, maybe I’ll treat myself to a date!” which Birdy cannot stop making fun of me for, because that is a thing I actually said.
|Remember this old friend?|
The children turn cruel and unhelpful, feeling, as they do, abandoned to their hot buttered rye toast and maple-glazed donuts and clothbound cheddar by their usually fun and food-loving mother-turned-nun. “Want some FETA on your salad?” Birdy asked last night, like a naughty baby. “Want a bite of my ICE CREAM?” Yes. And yes. But no. I nursed an inch of cherry juice in a wine glass and admired my own energy level, which, I’m sorry to report, is high. “Eat this,” Ben said, pushing a candy cane into my face. “Eat it.” Who are these people? But when I threaten to cheat, they turn encouraging, so I know they’re on my side. Deep down, at least.
|Alarmingly named "kelp noodles" with veggies, cilantro, and a Trader Joe's salmon burger, cut up so it looks fancy.|
Oh, clean eating. It’s kind of great. I kind of hate it. I might write more about it, depending on your interest. Because there are actually clean things I can get away with feeding the family, such as rice-noodle soups and grain bowls and cashew cheese (!). And it’s all very high-fat and umami, laced as it is with nuts and avocado and coconut oil, with nutritional yeast and miso. As far as self-created problems go, it’s an excellent one.
Meanwhile, this smoothie. It is simply fantastic, cleanse or no. It actually tastes startlingly like blueberry cheesecake, but then again the last normal thing I ate was a 9- by 13-inch casserole of artichoke dip on New Year’s Eve, so I may not be the best judge. Still, it is rich and creamy, tangy and nutty and deeply satisfying. I really think so. The particular regimen I follow has you drinking a smoothie for breakfast, hence all the fat and protein. If you were going for a lighter snack-type thing, you could eliminate some of the nuts.
|Ben's bowl had more romaine lettuce than anything else, but hey, he was satisfied! Just kidding. He ate an entire package of deli turkey afterwards.|
Happy new year from my cold, clean world where you feel the exact same way all day long from morning to night. Sigh.
|The greens turn things a little browner, if you know your color mixing.|
Blueberry Pie Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
If you have a high-powered blender, definitely add the greens. We just got one, and I can’t believe the extent to which greens disappear into a smoothie. Otherwise, add the greens only if you don’t mind the flecks. The dates are for sweetness; add a different sweetener if you prefer.
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup almond milk, coconut milk, or normal milk like a normal person
A tablespoon or two of toasted pecans (optional)
¼ cup almonds, ideally soaked in water overnight and then drained
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
Pinch of salt (if the almond butter is unsalted)
1 tablespoon vanilla (Turns out, I am the kind of person who sneaks booze into my smoothie.)
The juice and grated zest of half a lemon
2 pitted dates
A small handful of spinach or kale (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a blender jar and whir them together until smooth, 1-2 minutes.