Vegetable Rice Soup

This recipe came from the Patient Guide for the Detox program I’m doing. I cut it in half, sort of. Originally it was supposed to make 8 servings. My version was 4 hearty servings because I used the original amount of rice but cut the broth and tomatoes in half.


1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
2-3 carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh thyme and rosemary or herbs of your choice, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup brown rice
handful of fresh green beans, cut in thirds


In a large stockpot, saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and some fresh pepper as the veggies cook. Add stock, tomatoes, rice and fresh herbs. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer, covered, for approximately 45 minutes. Add green beans and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaf before serving


The original recipe in the booklet was for minestrone. Use 2 cans of tomatoes (28oz total) and 6 cups of stock/water. With the green beans, add 1 16oz can of kidney beans. Since the second week of the program doesn’t allow kidney beans, they suggest omitting them and subbing other vegetables like spinach, cabbage, etc. I didn’t have any of that but I bet it would be good with bok choy.

I made this one night after dinner and portioned it out in to individual containers for easy lunches the rest of the week.

There is a lot of flexibility here and the prep work was really fast. I will definitely be making more of this soup, even when I’m not on a detox program. Any maybe next time I’ll remember to take a picture before I eat it all up!

A funny thing happened on the way to caffeine-free.

As I mentioned last week, I’m doing this detox diet program as recommended by my doctor. The first, I eliminated caffeine, artificial sweeteners and flavorings, gluten containing starches and a few other things.

That was working fabulous until Friday night. Friday, I arrived in Chesaning, MI for a weekend scrapbooking retreat with my friend Amy. Essentially, it was a weekend of scrapbooking (aka cropping) and eating. The place is like a bed & breakfast except they provide all your meals and snacks. And its not crappy food.

I missed the pre-dinner appetizers which was okay since they were mini veggie-sandwiches and didn’t look that great to me. Dinner was wonderful and pretty much within my restrictions: chicken Marsala with a rice pilaf plus a side salad with homemade vinaigrette and avocado slices. The pilaf had cheese in it but I didn’t eat much of it anyway since I concentrated on the salad first.

Then came dessert: a homemade, gigantic cream-puff filled with ice cream and topped with whipped cream and Saunders Hot Fudge Sauce. I didn’t much care for the cream puff but once she put the bowl in front of me, I had to have some Saunders! Later on, they served a late-night snack of pizza and peanut butter fritos. I passed on both of those but I did have some diet coke. If you are going to stay up until 1:30 AM croppin’, caffeine is in a must.

Saturday, oh boy.

<ul><li> Breakfast: belgian waffles with fresh fruit (3 kinds of berries and bananas) and homemade whipped cream, yogurt and turkey sausage links.

<li>Lunch: Italian grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil, sweet-potato chips and tangy (not creamy) coleslaw). Dessert (at lunch!) was sherbet with Lime Shortbread cookies (homemade!).

<li>Dinner: For most, a beef roulade but for me: Grilled salmon with dill sauce, carrots and green beans plus red skin potatoes. More salad with raspberry tarragon vinagrette (homemade, again). Dessert was a banana cake that I did try but didn’t <i>love</i>

Snacks were veggies and dip in the afternoon and S’mores plus strawberries plus phyllo cups filled with goat cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries for midnight snack.

Sunday breakfast for most was a Scotch Egg. If I liked hardboiled eggs, I might have eaten this thing- its a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and cooked somehow. But I don’t so they made Amy (a vegetarian) and me plus a few others who requested it, pumpkin pancakes.

I stayed up until 3:30 on Saturday night working so of course, more diet coke too.

I really did try to limit my intake of the “forbidden” foods. For example, I just ate one of the 3 pancakes I was served. But all in all, I was way off the plan so I am taking a few extra days in Phase I and will move on to Phase II on Wednesday (when I go all vegetarian and only eat rice as a starch). And re-withdrawal from the caffeine.

Funny thing I noticed though- that one can I had after dinner on Friday night made a huge impact. Just in 2 days without the stuff, I can feel what it does when I do have it.

Of all the foods they offered, I really liked the pancakes and the coleslaw plus the homemade dressings. I got the pancake recipe (buy pancake mix that you just add water to, mix it up and add 1 can of pumpkin puree- voila!) and I’m going to try to get the coleslaw recipe. The rest of the stuff, even if I loved it, I’m probably better off not knowing how to make it.

Living in a Decaffeinated World

Here’s the story. My doctor, I call him alterna-doc as he practices holistic medicine, wants me to eliminate a “few” things from my diet and follow this special plan for 1 month (28 days). Partly this is to determine if I have any food sensitivies (which I doubt) and partly this is to detox my body and eliminate some of the junk that’s probably clogging up the ole’ digestive system.

Today was day 1 of Week 1. During this week, I am to eliminate all gluten-containing starches and the products made from them. I can eat rice, quinoa, amaranth and spelt (I think). I am also not to eat any artificial sweetners- only brown rice syrup, stevia and molasses, oddly. No dairy. Only poultry, fish and legumes for protein. No soda- no diet coke- no caffeine.

Now, this is the real world, not the one in the little booklet so I didn’t go cold turkey today. I’ve cut back on the diet coke for the last few days but I still had a little today. It was either make it through the work day or turn postal (in my case it would be justal, judicial, justified?) And my lunch was a sandwich although not a bread-heavy sandwich. But other than that, I’m right on track. Which means I’m seriously caffeine deprived. Fortunately, I have little worry of falling asleep due to my altered state as I’ve had so much water today I need to run to the restroom every 20 minutes.

I’ve had this altered state song stuck in my head since about 10 AM

Living in a decaffeinated world
And I am a decaffeinated girl
You know that we are living in a decaffeinated world
And I am a decaffeinated girl

And don’t forget the backup vocals: Decaffeinated Decaffeinated Decaffeinated

I’m hoping this program won’t be too tough on me since I don’t eat that much junk anyway. I do however like me the cheese and the bread and the cream sometimes. I’m quite concerned the next two weeks will be quite tough on Chris as he prepares for exams. I’m trying to make sure that dinners are things he can eat or if I go vegetarian, he can add a little meat. Next week, its all vegetarian for me- only fruits, vegetables and rice (plus spices and oil for fat) supplemented with a protein-like shake.

On to tonight’s recipe

Veggielicious Ginger Stir-Fry


1/2 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced in 2 inch pieces, tops reserved for garnish
2 cups shitake mushrooms, chopped roughly
2 chicken breasts halves, pounded thin and sliced on the diagonal, seasoned with S&P
garlic,3 cloves mashed, chopped fine, etc
ginger, about 2 tsp mashed
sesame oil
tamari soy sauce
fish sauce, oyster sauce or Worchestershire sauce
rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
salt & pepper
1/2 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
Rice or noodles for serving


Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium-high heat in either a wok or large pan. I use an Everyday Pan from Calphalon although I do have a wok, somewhere. The everyday pan rocks:

Okay, heat the oil and then add the onions and bell peppers. Toss in about a clove of garlic, mashed. Then add the mushrooms and keep tossing everything around. Finally, add the water chestnuts and bean sprouts. Cook to your desired stir-fryness then remove to a bowl and keep warm. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the chicken. Its probably going to stick at first, unelss you have the pan really hot. That’s okay, just let it cook until the pan lets go. After the chicken is completely cooked through, add it to the vegetables in that bowl.

Return your pan to the heat and add 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to get all the good bits scraped up off the bottom. Add 2 cloves of garlic, the ginger, 1 tsp sesame oil, a tablespoon of soy sauce and a splash or two of the fish sauce. You could add a hot pepper in here too, now would be the time.

Cook to a light sauce then add 1/2 cup broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook 1-2 minutes. This should be enough sauce (after thickening) for the ingredients above but you can always add more broth to stretch it out. Add the water-corn starch slurry and stir to combine. Return your vegetables and chicken to the pan. The sauce will thicken up and coat everything nicely.

I served our stir-fry over vermicelli rice noodles- very thing clear noodles that you often see in Thai soups. These are nice because you just soak them in very hot water for 10 minutes, drain and serve.


I use tamari soy sauce, the Japanese style, as I don’t think its overly salty and its low in wheat (sometimes wheat free, depending on the brand). Please, please, please don’t use soy sauce made from hydrolyzed soy protein. I don’t even really know what that is but you’ve ever had soy sauce that is watery and salty with no other taste profile, that’s probably the problem.

Obviously, this recipe could be made with any number of vegetables and protein choices. The multiple steps of cooking the vegetables then the meat and finally doing the sauce may seem a bit tedious but its worth it in the end. You get a nice sauce using leftover bits of meat and vegetables; it coats everything without overcooking the vegetables. Bear in mind, stir-fry veggies should still be crisp and have a nice bright color.