Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tres Leches

When I was a wee lass, I used to help my mom make sopes. I'd sit there on the counter and tortear the masa (tortear comes from the word tortilla. Its has become a verb), pinch the little edges and make little baby sopes for myself. That is the only memory I have of cooking with my mom. Growing up, she was the cook. She provided all food for us. If we wanted to help, she's hush us along to do our homework. Fast forward to a 19 year old in college and I knew NOTHING of how to cook.
This is what a sope is supposed to look like:

What I have more memories of, however, is baking. I'd help my mom crack eggs, use the hand blender to make pan as a desert for my dad. Of course, the pan was actually Betty Crocker pound cake or chocolate baked in a bunt cake mold. Not until I was about 13 did I learn how to make an actual cake with frosting in the middle. It always seemed like the whole "ship in a bottle" thing. How did these AMAZING people get the frosting in the middle? Well, I learned. Just how I learned how to make french toast when I saw Kelly dipping a perfectly beautiful white piece of bread into egg yolk . . . my sophomore year in college.
Now, what I am most comfortable with is baking. I love to bake. I never really knew I did. I know I enjoyed it with my mom: scooping up the cookie dough, tasting the vanilla cupcakes raw, etc. But I never knew it was something I could accomplish myself, let alone make elaborate things like Tres Leches.

Tres Leches is a pretty traditional Latin American dessert, much like flan and arroz con leche and tamales dulce (sweet tamales) strawberry or pineapple flavored, however, this is a cake. I hadn't tackled it yet because I thought it was just too hard. How do you get the milk to soak up in there? It must be magic, is what I thought. But this last weekend, I decided to challenge myself in honor of my mom's birthday. My family doesn't have a HUGE sweet tooth, but one thing they all can agree on is that Tres Leches is yummy. I thought, its now or never.
I went to one of the many food/baking blogs I go to called Lottie + Doof They have the most amazing display of (mainly) sweet stuff I have seen. The photos make my mouth salivate, and even though most of their food looks fancy and gourmet, its is still looks easy enough to make and not intimidating at all. So I decided I'd make their recipe of Tres Leches because by looking at their gorgeous picture, I asked myself "how can I pass this one up!". So I was going to get armed and ready. Usually the day before I go shopping, I look at the recipe to figure out what I have at home and what I need to get, I write it all down on the recipe and add up all the ingredients if it calls for one item more than once. I had a question about the sugar, so I asked my friend Devon, (pastry chef extraordinaire) and sent her the link to the recipe. She suggested to me that I try a different Tres Leches, something a little more traditional. Looked at the ingredients of one and the other and agreed with her. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this as authentic as I possibly could, but I just could NOT get the image of that whipped almond topping and blackberry coulis out of my head. I decided: I'll add them together.
So that I did. I used the Tres Leches recipe she found for me on and I used Lottie + Doof's blackberry coulis and almond cream. A little bit tradition, a little bit fancy, which is how I roll. Instead of blackberries though, I used my favorite berries: raspberries.
Needless to say, the cake was a hit, even I was impressed. I was worried the whole time because with all the milk it said to add to a punctured cake (with a fork) it was not absorbing. But since I took it to my mom's set it in the fridge, then we cut it 2 hours later, all the milk had finally sunk it. With each slice, I added a little bit of raspberry coulis and tada, success.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I want a damn banana!

Yes, this is day 9 and I want food. Mainly fruit, but food nonetheless. I've not craved much in these nine days except for a turkey sandwich from Ken's, dried apples and last night, a banana. My mind, instead of staying calm and waiting for the last day, is starting to think of the ways I can gorge myself when I'm off, which is NOT the idea I had for this cleanse. My idea was to come of this feeling clean and free of toxins to smoothly transition into a healthier state of vegan eating, and slowly introduce meat back into my lifestyle but excluding dairy for now.
Instead, I'm angry, frustrated and want to eat grilled cheese sandwiches, beef-ka-bobs and what not.
So, I've decided that today will be my last day. I pondered it last night while I sat on the couch lounging and heading to the bathrooms more times than I liked to admit. I was done with this. I'm not sure I feel anything different. Perhaps I did do it wrong, but I did it. Maybe not all 10 days, but I did 9. Nine is better than none. So I bought some extra lemons before I decided this and I will be giving those left overs to my co-worker. I will THROW AWAY the cayenne pepper packet that I have and I will leave the maple syrup here at work. I am also worried about being in 85 degree whether tomorrow with nothing but water for oh 7 hours.
What have I learned:
Mentally: this cleanse should have been 5-6 days. Around those days were my high. I was feeling gung ho and good about everything. I was ready to eat healthy and craved nothing.
Physically: I think I could go longer without eating much, which will probably be the plan now that I start eating. Physically, I noticed no difference. I lost a bit of weight, but not as much as I expected. I had eaten a lot of food and not worked out the week of my birthday and well, my body just likes to pile on the pounds. So that was kind of a bummer, but oh well. This is a good starting off point and I can continue.
Eating: I don't need as much food to fill myself up as I think. So this time around, I will be very deliberate about what I eat and consume. Oh, I will be no angel about this, I'll have a cupcake or pastry here and there, but I'll try very hard to keep all the portions small. I enjoy that my stomach gets full after two glasses of water, so that is what I will try to keep up: a small stomach.

Today after work, I'm going to buy a ton of fruit and some nuts. I'm not sure how my tummy will fair with this, but we'll see. I really am worried about being out in the heat with nothing else to eat, so I'm goign to stash said nuts and dried fruit in my underwear! (I kid!)

So that's it. The master cleanse is over, one day short. And again, remind me NEVER to do this particular one again. If it has the word "CAYENNE" in it, I'm running.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

They say . . .

Day 8
Two more days. Can I survive?

They say day 1, 3 or 4 are the hardest, but I completely disagree. I think day 7-9 are the hardest because by now, one has gotten so damn sick of this stuff that its no longer fun and exciting, its nauseating. Perhaps I'm doing it all "wrong" and not seeing the actual benefits. Honestly, I can't really tell. One thing I noticed today was that my sinuses are cleared in the morning. But still, its not enough for me to want to ever do this again. So please, if I EVER mention that I'm thinking of doing the cleanse again, direct me back to my blog and make me read all entries out loud. I'll say this right now to my future self: ANDREA DON'T DO IT! NEVER EVER AGAIN!
But with anything, eating the same dang thing day in and day out and running to the bathroom in the middle of the day and before you go to bed, is just not for me. No no. I've also come to realize that as much as I find routine comforting: knowing what to expect next, knowing what I'm doing tomorrow, etc. eating and doing the same thing over and over again is quite boring. I like the way my life is right now, its quite pleasant for me. Its not the most exciting, but I think its enriching. But, throw this dang cleanse in the middle of it and I feel tied down and want to burst free.
So what have I learned? Don't eat the same thing too often, no matter how convenient it can be. Yesterday, I volunteered at the food bank, packaging, well, food. And I've never craved oatmeal and cereal so bad! I love cereal, but I've decided to give up on it. I'm also going to cut back a bit on soy milk and use rice milk or almond milk (whichever is not so watery.) I'll leave the soy for lattes.
Anyway, two more days and I want to die. Ok, that's dramatic, but I want to eat, just out of spite, out of anger, out of frustration but I won't. I shall persevere.

And on another note. I want to go camping. I never have, but I'd like to, with the right people. I'm envious of everyone's Facebook post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 7

Well, just 3 more days to go. That doesn't sound like much, right? Well, when trying to down 6-10 glasses of this sh*t, well it does. Yesterday, I played with the idea of giving up. Not because I can't do it, but because I'm bored and this crap is getting nasty. I start to feel nauseous when I drink it, and I don't know about you, but I hate nausea. What else has been happening? At night, if I don't go to bed at a decent hour, I start to feel a bit high, and the first few days my legs have been aching, but that also might have been dehydration. But, the headaches have gone away as well as the leg aches. I only hit the gym once this week and then had tango that same night. I probably won't be hitting the gym for the rest of the week. I just want to take it easy. I've been a bit tired and like I've said, a bit bored, so the feeling of wanting to stop is getting a bit more powerful, but I won't do it. Unless something horrible happens, I won't do it. I am looking forward to Friday when I have MONEY and I can actually shop for food again. That's actually what I miss. Not necessarily the food to eat, but the shopping that goes a long with the eating of the food. I guess I'll appreciate the taste of the food more now. I plan on hitting the farmer's market on Saturday market to stock up on fruits and berries as well as veggies to make a yummy veggie soup. Sunday is my Mom's birthday and Krista's celebration, but I won't be eating. I'll even be making the cake and not eat it! Plus that cake will have tons of dairy and that's the ONE thing I want to cut out for a while. I want to stop eating cheese, milk and yogurt and see how I feel. But for now, I must keep trucking, no matter how grossed out I am. Just 3 more days . . .

Monday, July 13, 2009

The half-way point

So, I'm a perfectionist. I hate to do things wrong the first time. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do something right the.first.time. I've been like that since I can remember. When I moved to Mexico at age 9 and was held back because of the difference in academics (how they explained it to me was that being held back into 3rd grade was really like going into 4th grade), I decided that I was NOT going to act held back, so I became an over achiever. I did all the homework first and well. Obviously, that first year was tough, as I did not speak, nor read or write, in Spanish, but once I hit 4th grade, I was at the top of my class, and of course, the Mexicans hated me because I made them look bad. In 5th grade, I switched schools and people were much nicer. Since I was at the head of my class there too, I had the privilage of holding the Mexican flag (along with two other girls) during one of the important ceremonies. I felt good. So when I came *back* to Portland for the rest of the half of 5th grade, I had the same mentality. I had lost three weeks of school for one, but had missed 4 months of American-English PPS so I was behind. But I didn't let that bother me. I ended up doing ALL the school years' homework in a short 4 months. Again, the kids did not like this. I'm sure they thought this "Mexican" was making them look bad too. So that's how I lead my life: as a perfectionist. If I got a problem wrong, I'd work hard until I figured out how to get it right. I never cheated because I felt it was AND I really wanted to know how to get the answer. This later turned into NEVER getting anything wrong, I couldn't have it. I think as I got older, the sense of control and power that comes with "getting things right the first time" began to consume me until I did NOT allow myself to get anything wrong . . . ever. My friendships had to be perfect, my body had to be perfect, my life had to be perfect, my boy friend (at the time) had to be perfect, I had to be perfect . . . all on the first try. No matter how many times my brother told me "You think Jimi Hendrix picked up the and was sweet on the first time?" (and yes, I do believe he was "sweet" on the first time,) I didn't believe it. I thought, *I* had to be perfect on the FIRST time.
So, my world got put on its head about 5 months ago. Things that I thought were true, were not. Things I thought would happen, did not. They way my perfect life was going to turn out, did not. This all made me do a lot of thinking. What if I allowed myself to make mistakes, to just try and see what happens, to even if I'm not good or right "the first time" I allowed myself to continue forth, because I liked it. What if. . .
So that I've been doing, with a lot in my life. There have been many changes going on, but they are lurking under the surface of what you see on the outside. Sure, I don't wear as much black, and my hair is shorter now, but that's just the tip of the ice berg of what's going on inside. I think sometimes I don't give myself enough credit for what *is* actually going on. I get down on myself for not already having this "perfect" life I envisioned (on the first try), or the Oscar I thought I'd win, or the movie I thought I'd direct, or heck, the children I thought I'd have by now.
So now, comes the cleanse. This is my first time. I've done a "detox" but that honestly, did not work. I'm not even sure if this one is working, but I've finally have lost a bit more weight than the first few days and I'm starting to feel the symptoms that they were talking about in the book: I'm tasting things even though I've eaten NOTHING. Apparently, its the toxins that are coming out. But one thing I learned by mistake or well, more like trial and error, is that I really should take the salt water flush at night and my tea in the morning. I took the tea at night two days in a row and barely slept. My tummy was all crampy and I had to head to the bathroom more than once, and I need my sleep! So, if I had not tried the tea at night, I would not have known I shouldn't do it.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the moral of my story. I have to not be afraid to fail. I can try, make a mistake and still go for it. I can try and get it "right" on the first time, but not have it consume me or get it "right" on the third and forth time. I'm at my half way point and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm a little tired (but I attribute that to the early morning wake up calls) but I've not felt this all consuming need to eat. I just feel calm about food. But one thing I did learn is: I miss cooking.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 3

Day 3
So I'm going to try to change my tactic today. I went to bed super late and woke up early. Late because I drank two lemonades in a row and then the salt water flush and had to wait for it to go through my body before bed. I have to wake up early because I volunteer. Honestly, I'm not sure if its working or not. Perhaps I'm not that toxic. I can't tell if I'm eliminating enough or not. I'm not sure if I'm over doing it with the water. I'm really scared to get faint, but I'll just try to cut back on the lemonade and definitely the water and make my laxative tea a little stronger in the mornings and see if that helps. I'll take one at night too. I read in the book that the author only did the salt water flush 3 times and the rest was laxative (but he took pills, I don't want to.) So we'll see. Up the laxative strength, lower the lemonade intake to no more than 8 and lower the water. I just don't know what the water to lemonade ration should be.

So far, its 3:10 and I've only had 3 lemonades and my tea, no water. I feel a bit murky in the sinuses which the book said would happen. I feel stuff and my throat feels coated. I just woke up from a nap and want to take another. I hate taking naps in the middle of a sun shiny day, but oh well. I think I'm finally feeling a difference, but not sure. They say day one, thee and four are the hardest, but I don't know in what sense they mean. Hard in the not eating thing, or hard in the getting rid of waste thing. If its the waste, I hope so, If its the food, well its not that bad really. I got really hungry while being out in the garden, but when I came home and made a lemonade, I felt fine. It made me realize how MUCH I rely on eating food for comfort. On good days/months, I eat on a small meals on a schedule. Its hard to do on the weekends. On bad days, I eat whenever I'm hungry. I do like the first tactic because it doesn't give me a chance to starve and I am only using food to fuel my body. Right now, since food is cut out of the equation, I don't even think about it. I do think about how sad it is not to invite friends out for a happy hour or lunch because everything relies heavily on food or drink, so I'm being a bit of hermit, I know. I did go out last night with some friends, and surprisingly, I was fine. I did end up leaving a bit before they did cuz I was super hungry (it had been 5 hours between lemonades) and I smelled baked bread and wanted it really bad. So now, I can kind of see the difference between a craving and wanting. Once I removed myself, I didn't want the bread anymore. But yeah, I usually give into cravings, but now I'll think twice before I really want to do that to my body, cuz a craving is usually a slice of bread or a cupcake.

It's midnight, I have a headache and I'm hungry. Other than that, things are good. I do think perhaps two more glasses would have sufficed. Now I know, but all is still well so far. Six is perhaps not enough.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 2

Day 2

After a night of hanging out in the bathroom, (don't ask, I won't tell.) I woke up this morning hitting the snooze. I think my neighbor is still noisy which kind of sucks for me =( Oh well for now. I didn't wake up hungry, nor running the the bathroom, so I got up and went to the kitchen to start the water on my tea. I'm the kind of gal who likes to plan the night ahead because I'm usually rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off, so planning my outfits and packing my gym bag the night in advanced is always a saving grace. So I made my tea and relaxed a bit reading some online news, then began to get ready.
Again, so far so good. I do have a slight headache again, but that could be that the caffeine that I got off of last week is finally hitting me, but its nothing I can't handle for now. I am still a bit sleepy, but that's only cuz I don't go to bed at a good time. Tonight might be the same deal as I have a birthday party to go to and then in the morning I'm volunteering at the farm, so I might just take a few glasses before I head out to tie me over.
It's actually kind of nice not having to deal or think about food. Don't get me wrong, I like food, but I do have a love hate relationship with it. I love to eat it, but I don't like what it does to my body. I work out and I'm pretty healthy, but I started out a chubby kid so I have to try hard to stay fit. I mean, by BMI starndards, I'm "over weight" and sure, I feel a bit squishy around the edges, but I actually think I look and feel pretty good. I think the rest, for me, is vanity. There is a certain weight I wish to attain where I feel just fine. If I really were to go down to day, 110 pounds or something, I'd just be solid muscle with bone, if that. But that's not my goal. I don't want to just be bones and muscles.
So at the end of the day, I'm feeling pretty ok. Onto day 3.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Master Cleanse-Day 1

9:30 am
My alarm went of at 7:15 but I didn't actually roll out of bed until 8am. I had planned to get up, make my tea, drink it, take a shower, let the tea coarse through my body and drink my lemonade concoction at 8am. Well that didn't happen. Instead I hurriedly made my tea, checked my emails, sipped my tea (cuz it was too hot to actually drink), finished half of it, hopped out of the shower, finished the tea and off to the kitchen to make my lemonade: 2 tablespoons of lemon, 2 tablespoons of maple, 8 oz of water and 1/10 of cayenne, but I only had a measuring spoon for 8. Well, there I went 8:30am and drinking my drink. Reaction: tons of coughing. As Kristin pointed out, I don't like hot things, so the fact that I probably put more cayenne in it than I should have didn't help. Second reaction: its too sweet. I like sugar, but I think I'm done with it for now. Usually, I don't like sugary drinks, I just like them to be sweet. And I've decided, before all this went down, that I'd make this every hour until I got home. I'm supposed to have 6-12 cups in a day, more if I'm working out, so my last one will be 5pm before I hit the gym. After the first drink, I immediately downed some water and vowed to put less cayenne and less maple syrup.
Time to make another glass.

10:30 am (three glasses)
The drink sucks ass and makes me nauseated, but must keep trucking along. So far nothing horrible. I am hungry, but not STARVING like I expected to be. I think that as long as I take them on a scheduled basis, there will be no excuse to get super hungry. Like I might have mentioned, I have a bit of a headache and feel just a tad fuzzy in the head (I couldn't remember someone's name a moment ago) to the point of a bit of light headedness, but other than that, I feel pretty ok. I will say this: I don't think I'll be having any maple syrup with my pancakes any time soon after this . . . YUCK. I also think I'll look for an alternative to maple syrup. I know the book says something about raw cane juice . . . that might suit me better, make me less nauseated? Hopefully.

What I hope to achieve from this is the just clear out my body (my tummy and the intestines) of all the yucky I've accumulated through out the years. I know I have some reactions to a lot of good: onions, celery, garlic, milk, etc, so I want to slowly start introducing those things into my system, with milk being at the end of it. I want to start of my healthy eating fresh. Yes yes, I will indulge in cake and pie and pastries, but I'm hoping that after this, the craving for them will have gone down. I just want to know what it feels when things are functioning properly.

3:00 pm (seven glasses)
Its mid afternoon and I'm feeling sleepy. Just a few minutes ago, I started to get the hunger pangs. I knew it was time. Instead of letting just one hour pass between feedings (um, that's a weird way to put it), I let an hour AND A HALF pass and well, I guess that half hour was just too long. So quickly, I got up and made my drink. With the previous drink, around "lunch" time, I made myself some herbal tea. I decided to stop drinking so much water because I was afraid it would dilute its effects on me, but I think I'm going to start picking it up again.
What I am really looking forward to is going to sleep. After work, I plan on going to the gym to have a light work out, getting some more lemons at trader joes (cuz I don't think I've bought enough) then heading home. Depending on how I feel, I'll either sit and relax with a bit of Bones, or just head to bed. I've been needing a good nights sleep and if anything, this would be the night to do it. The relationship with food, however, has been interesting. Either I don't crave it or the idea of it makes me sick, much like after a hangover I suppose. I walk by the bowl of treats and chips at work and I take a mental "thank you" note to myself because I'm not "supposed" to have it. I mean, I'm not supposed to have candy anyway, I don't even like it, but I will, just cuz (which is the worse reason), but this time, I'm just happy I really "can't" and therefore, won't.

7:45pm (ten glasses)
I just got back from the gym and made my 10th cup. My lips are burning a little bit, but that's pretty much all the discomfort I feel right now. The gym was fine. I decided to take it easy. I did my stretching, then I did some ab work out and hopped on the bike for 20 minutes. When I walk home, I try to take it easy on the cardio as the walk home is exercise enough sometimes. The order of business is this: shower, salt water drink, an episode of Bones and hitting the sack. I think 10 glasses of this stuff is good enough for day one, don't you?

You might wonder whether I have some discomfort from drinking the laxative tea (which I am supposed to twice a day or once and then the salt water flush thing). And yes, it's there and no I will not go into detail because I'm a lady.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm gonna do it

Tomorrow, I will start off with day one of the Master cleanse. Yep, here I go. I'm not following the directions very well right now for the "ease" in cuz I'm just too poor to buy any extra ingredients except for what I really need (lemons and maple syrup.)

Since I got back from Mexico last spring, I'd been wanting to do something like this, but I just didn't find it. I did a detox, but it didn't work. So here I go, a year and a half late, but here I go. I'm gonna do it.

So far, I've eaten like sh*t today and I've had cramps for 2 days (sorry, TMI but its true.)

I think I will round off the night with some longed for Burger King and just start fresh tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can hit the gym too cuz lately my cramps have made me feel very unattractive and tired.

So tomorrow: the torture, but apparently, I'm a masochist. So we'll see.


Hopefully, this cleanse will bring some clarity back to my brain too! How many times can I forget where I parked my car?!

So my symptoms:
Digestion issues. I seem to have an averse reaction to almost every food.
Clarity: I need to learn how to focus again. I feel like I'm in a fog.
Fatigue: Yeah, I've been tired.
Aches and pains: Yeah, I have those too.
Slightly blue mood: yeah, its so, but it could also be the period.

Off I gooooooooooo!