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Archive for July, 2010

Working in the Premium Chocolate industry has its downside, believe it or not. It seems like these days, no matter how much I work out, I just can’t seem to burn off all the chocolate calories!  Combine that with summer food festivals, restaurant week in NYC, and a weeklong vacation in the Outer Banks filled with mindless munching of snacks beachside, and soon enough I find that my jeans are way too snug for comfort. I knew that it was time I took drastic measure.

Cooler Cleanse is the brainchild of Juice Generation and the ultra-glam and talented Salma Hayek. It’s also what I’d call the “cooler”, tastier version of the Blueprint Cleanse, from what all the reviews say. This great tasting juice cleanse rids your body of toxins so that you feel cleaner, lighter, and healthier. With only 1,110 calories/day, weight loss is also often a perk 🙂 In any case, consuming raw, organic juices does make you think more consciously about what you put into your body and helps kickstart a healthier approach to life.

To be honest, I never thought I would be able to give up cheese, wine, yogurt, and chocolates, but I barely cheated during this sort of difficult 3 day cleanse, and I reincarnate as a lighter, brighter being here to tell my tale and adventure.

The Regime:

Green Monster:

This green juice, rich in kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, and the secret tempering ingredient – pear – was my least favorite. It wasn’t exactly terrible. It was grassy, fresh, and herbaceous. These green veggies are meant to sweep out toxins in the kidneys and liver. If this flavor was used as seasoning, I would’ve quite enjoyed it, but drinking 16 oz of herbs was trying, and it usually took me quite some time to finish a bottle.

Grapefruit Mint:

This Juice was quite the delicious jewel. It wasn’t too sweet and tasted like grapefruit juice + peppermint tea, refreshing and comforting at the same time. Grapefruit’s function in this cleanse is to fat-burn and antioxidize, whilst mint soothes your tummy. I definitely welcomed the touch of sweet after the green monster.

Red Ambrosia & Young Coconut Water:
The Red Juice and Young Coconut water were hands down, my 2 favorite stars of this cleanse, without which I would never have gotten through the day. The succulent red juice, made with beets, carrots, apples, and lemons, is packed with vitamin A to make your skin oh-so-glowy, and boost blood oxygenation to enhances cleansing. I could drink this everyday and enjoy every drop of it. It was deliciously sweet, with a touch of citrus from the lemon to balance, and the Trueblood fan in me fantasized about playing Vampire with this richly red drink.
The young coconut water, extracted straight from the freshly cracked nut, is full of electrolytes and minerals – like a more natural Gatorade. THE best coconut water flavor I’ve ever had, and I believe I’ve tried every brand. Imagine a Zico, but 10 times tastier.

Almond Joy:
The Almond Nut Milk was a welcome dessert at the end of the night – a creamy, rich drink sweetened naturally with dates and vanilla beans to nourish your body. The only thing was, I had already consumed so many liquids at this point that delicious or not, it was a challenge to finish the last of this, especially when the consistency is a bit thicker than the other 5 juices. Nonetheless, it’s a drink that few would find fault with, and a great way to end the night. It’s like having ice cream – kind of…

The Verdict:
Day 1 and Day 3 were definitely the most challenging, trying to discipline yourself to this routine and resisting all other temptation. I did end up getting a bit cranking at 6pm on days 1 & 2 and had to reach for a handful of raw almonds (note: you’re allowed to snack on raw fruit or nuts if your stomach needs it), and that’s what I meant by “barely cheating”. Day 3 was when the Mister flew home from work and started eating sliced just-out-of-the-oven baguette and creamy brie in front of me. I almost lost it then, but was able to stay on track 🙂
All 3 days, I woke up feeling fresh and full of energy, my skin glowed and felt great, and I acquired a healthy habit of consuming liquids more freqently (I’ve always been somewhat of a camel). My tummy did feel much flatter and less bloated, but I only lost 2 pounds, which was a bit of a bummer. Overall though, I definitely think this has put me back on track for healthier eating. After all, if you can survive fruits and veggies for 3 days, do you REALLY need to have that savory piece of Foccacia bread? I found a Juice Generation near me and look forward to my 2-3x weekly fix of my Urban Detox smoothie to continue this lifestyle. All in all, SUCCESS! Now…where is that bag of Pop Chips?…just kidding!

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First off, I apologize…I have been irresponsibly neglectful of this blog (a space so precious to me), but I do have some good news to share and hopefully a good excuse for the neglect. I have landed a new job, one that has me waking up giddy every morning and skipping to work in joyful anticipation. That’s right, I am now in the Chocolate business! I go to work everyday cranking out the brand marketing work I love, and come home every night satisfied that I have contributed to the endorphin production of millions of consumers. Eat your chocolates everyone, because Chocolate = Happiness!

Since EC Pursuits was my means of expressing my repressed creativity during my old job, it was easy for me to save all my energy and inspiration for this blog, but it just means I will have no other choice but to indulge in extra chocolates during work to keep that inspiration and passion ignited for ECP 🙂

As long as I am riding on this happiness cloud, I’m going to post about the trip of a lifetime. For my official entrance into my “late 20’s”, the mister swept me away with a trip to Paris! Ah, Paris – the lights, the romance, the FOOD. It was there that I experienced “The best thing I ever ate” at Les Papilles.

Les Papilles is a small, unassuming, and cozily charming winebar/delicatessen/restaurant near Jardin du Luxembourg. The pleasantly unpretentious atmosphere with exposed bricks, enchanting orange glow, bottles of carefully selected wine collection, and jars of delightful gourmet condiments dotted all around made me feel like I was dining in the middle of food haven. The handsome owner Bertrand Bluy graciously tolerated our terrible (almost nonexistent) French, gave us excellent wine suggestions, and was more than happy to accommodate my vegetarian diet. For a mere 30 Euros, we enjoyed a relaxing four course “no choice” prix fixe meal. The menu varies daily, depending on the seasonal ingredients available, and the chef’s creative fancy, but you can trust that it will always be delicious.

The first course was a delicious Creamy Endive Bisque – pure silky perfection balanced with the impeccable crisp of toasted summer greens, croutons & bacon (optional), and an indulgent dollop of cream. It was a harmonious marriage of sweet, savory, & creamy. It tickled my senses and left me wanting for more long after we devoured it all.

The main entree was what I nicknamed “Sunset Glory” – A simple baked dish made especially for the vegetarian, consisting of fresh snowpeas, carrots, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes, broiledwith 2 sunny eggs atop. Such a simple dish should not impress, but I took one bite, and then another, and another, thinking, “How did they make this sooooo good? How can anything so simple possibly taste this heavenly?” The dish brought out the sublime unadulterated flavor of each vegetable as they swirled and danced around in my mouth. It was like visiting a French grandmother’s country home and being treated to a dish cultivated through decades of experimentation into a flawless masterpiece. With every bite, I was transformed into another world. I could visualize the stone walls weaving through the village, the sound of the nearby babbling brook, the aroma of the fresh herbs and vegetables harvested straight from the garden, and the view of the glorious sunset in the horizon, pops of intoxicating orange, pink and purple haze, signifying the culmination of a satisfying day. If you think I’m sounding a bit crazy right now, just wait until you hear that I spent weeks relentlessly trying to recreate these flavors back in my own little kitchen. I must have made 10 different versions before I finally found one that comes close (teaser – recipe to come!)

The meal then followed with a small cheese course and ended with a fabulous panna cotta with a frothy caramel emulsion, so light and airy it melted in my mouth and left it with only the sweet memory of the meal.

We had many more meals in that wonderful city, but Les Papilles occupied our minds the whole time and nothing was able to hold a candle to its glory. http://www.lespapillesparis.fr/EN_index.html

Here are some more fun highlights of the  Parisian Adventure. Stay tuned for another blog post about our Parisian Photo tour, where we received an amazing photography lesson from Randy Harris, and captured Paris from unexpected perspectives.

Musee D'Orsay

Tuileries

More Food Souvenir Purchases!

A Gourmet Discovery in an unexpected courtyard!

Yes, I am a lucky girl indeed 😀

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