Rainy day = warm smells

We got a lot of rain over Memorial Weekend here in Austin, as you may have seen on the news. In my area, we received 6″ alone on Memorial Day, and a total of around 13″ for the weekend. Shoal Creek flooded near downtown, leaving businesses and streets wet and stranded.

The rain came down in thick sheets, pounding down on my flower bed, drowning my lily and sending the mulch over the bed and into the grass. I could hear it pounding on my fireplace chimney and windows, and the lightning and thunder was bright, loud, and frequent. Luckily, our power never fully went out, we only saw some flashes, which was good because I decided to make chai banana bread on the dreary Memorial Day.

I found the receipe for Chai Banana Bread, here, on MyRecipes.com. All of my bananas had ripened at an incredible rate, probably because of the humidity, so I had to do something about it. Yummy spicy banana bread sounded like the answer to me. I was able to use three of the bananas, and make my house smell wonderful, with the mix of bread, bananas and chai spices.

Chai banana bread

The bread turned out great (I baked it for maybe three or four minutes longer than suggested – I usually go by the toothpick test more than time) and the glaze that went on top was perfect. It was a powdered sugar glaze with spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice added to give it that extra flavor. Yum! Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, grab a book and a blanket, and settle in with a warm slice of this bread.

BBQ baby back ribs and grilled pineapple

I’m a lucky girl. I have a husband who loves to cook and try new things. Yay for me because I’m not that much of a fan of cooking. My food usually comes out okay but I’m not a fan of trying to time everything (I ALWAYS forget to make the sides), and I’m not good at improvising to improve a dish. Dylan is. We have a book called Mastering the Grill. I highly recommend it. I think everything we’ve made out of it so far has been genius. Everything comes out perfectly seasoned and tasty (always helps to have an ace cook at home too ).

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Photo courtesy Amazon.com – go get this book if you like food!

The hubs found out he was selected as a top candidate for a promotion, so we had to celebrate.He made a fantastic BBQ baby back ribs with grilled pineapple last week. He put together the BBQ and I grabbed the beer.

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Beautiful! A brown sugar mixture was laid on the pineapple to slowly melt into the fruit.
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That…is a thing of beauty my friends
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A good, light, slightly floral beer to pair with the ribs and pineapple. Always good on a warm, humid day.

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You can’t get a more perfect picture of BBQ perfection than that. The pink (smoke) ring around the meat says you smoked it at a low enough temperature and slowly enough that you didn’t denature the meat. In other words, you did it right. There’s something to be said about eating an amazing BBQ dinner. I feel so wonderfully satisfied.

I’m no longer a cleanse virgin!

So I decided to try a cleanse diet – something not too difficult, for the first time. I decided to try the Sambazon 3-day cleanse. You can buy the three pack from Costco and it comes with it’s own nifty guide with it. I thought it couldn’t be too hard considering it was only three days right?? Kind of wrong. Turns out I’m a wuss when it comes to staying off foods/drink that I love.

To start off, you kind of start the cleanse a few days in advance. You’re supposed to get off caffeine, meat and processed foods a couple of days before you start. Okay. I did pretty decent with this. Started to get the caffeine withdrawal headache around Day -1 so that wasn’t a good sign but I went forth.

Day 1 wasn’t terrible. Your entire diet consisted of three different drinks throughout the day (included) and meal plans (included in pamphlet). I just had to get used to it. Day 1 was quinoa which I’d had before. No biggie. I think my lunch was supposed to be some potato dish. I was too lazy to make it but had had some leftover vegetarian Indian dish so I ate that. Dinner was an open faced veggie burger and spinach salad.

Day 2 followed similar but I was supposed to eat a beet and blood orange salad. I’ve tried beets…I can’t stand them. I don’t like fruit in my salads. This wasn’t going to happen. So I kind of cheated and had udon noodles (still vegan but carb filled instead of greeny). I made the dinner meal which was a spinach cauliflower tomato curry dish. It was surprisingly good.

Day 3 I pretty much stuck to so that was good. I had to make overnight oats for breakfast, which I remembered to make the day before so that was good. I think lunch was some risotto and dinner was a butternut squash apple soup which was again, surprisingly good.

I stuck to staying vegan, eating clean, and drank all my juices so overall it was semi-successful. I don’t really feel any different but I’ve tried to stick to eating smaller meals and am still off the caffeine, although I definitely don’t think caffeine is a completely bad thing. I love my coffee, especially on the weekends and it contains anti-oxidants. I just kind of want to see where this no-caffeine thing gets me after a week. Kind of a personal experiment.

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Overall, I’d say to give it a try. It makes you think about what you put in your body everyday, and feeling some of the effects of drinking these juices does remind you that what you put in your body truly does make a difference.