A Bowl Lotta Love

March 4, 2009

Diet, Dessert and Dogs has moved! 

If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.”]  

[Thanks to everyone who left such sweet comments and encouragement for the hellish week of marking!  (And I know I still owe some of you emails. . . coming soon!) Some of you who are students noted that you’d be doing as much work on the other side of the red pen. Whether students, parents, teachers or the lucky few whose only connection to academia is reading about it in the newspapers–hope you all survived the past crunch week or so of midterms, study week, or finals. Now get ready, ’cause there’s a lengthy return post ahead–on to the food!]


[Base of rice and buckwheatsautéed rapini and chard with onions and garlic; tahini-miso sauce; sprinkled with hemp seeds.]

I’m sure we’ve all met her (or perhaps we are her?): that woman who’s incredibly competent at dispensing affection, comfort, nurturing or support–yet seems to ignore her own emotional needs and physical well-being.

Well, I admit it, I’m as guilty as the next gal.  Ten days away from the DDD home base had me reflecting often on this whole notion of self-love.  Actually, that was only one among a plethora of topics on which I mused during the hiatus, which included (but was not limited to) the following: 

  • how much I miss blogging when I’m away.  I was struck by a true sense of void during this time, and it astounded me. Honestly, who are “they” who post studies about the Internet and  prophecies of doom regarding how it diminishes social skills or limits interactions with other people? Seriously.  In some cases, I’m in contact with blog buddies more often than my “in-person” friends (some of whom live only five minutes away).  Don’t let anyone tell you that the society of bloggers isn’t a bona fide community of lively, vibrant, and very much interactive people–all of you!
  • how many different ways one can answer the same exam question (more than you might think, but not quite as many as the meaning of life, the universe and everything).
  • how to create a tasty, grain-free breakfast pancake. I wanted something that didn’t require refined, or even whole-grain, flour–and I found it!  (more on that anon).
  • how this &%$!!?* winter refuses to retreat, even though it’s March already and why are you still hanging around, Mr. Jack Frost, can’t you tell you’re not welcome anymore and nobody wants you here, so just go away and don’t come back, ya big bully!
  • how, with the economy as bad as it is, I’m hoping the HH and I might still save for our dream home (okay, I’d be willing to cut some of the frills and just be happy with a daydream home).  And while we’re both incredibly lucky to still be gainfully employed, on the topic of saving money and stretching a dollar, I’ve been mightily inspired by the frugal and fantastic Melody over at MeloMeals.
  • why, once again, I have been willing to risk my health, well-being and future for the evil (and truly, ephemeral) charms of that sepia seductress, chocolate.


[Oat groats and amaranth base; grilled eggplant and grilled marinated tofu; broccoli, avocado and green onion; orange-fig sauce.]

Yes, folks, it’s time to focus on the “diet” portion of this blog yet again. 

When I first began to ponder how I’d spend my break from the college, I considered traveling to a new locale, attending a retreat, picking up old hobbies like sewing or knitting–but it never occurred to me I’d get sick instead.  Then, at my annual checkup last week, I discovered that my old candida afflction has reared its yeasty head yet again, and this time, with a potency that could rival the combined superpowers of the X-Men.  

I’ve decided that in order to rid myself of this recurring problem once and for all, I’ll need to return to the anti-candida diet (ACD).  I’ll be facing a highly restrictive diet and a few detoxes or cleanses along the way (no wonder I’ve been avoiding it).  But I’ve had it with the persistent cycle of diet, dessert and destruction (you thought I was going to say “dogs,” didn’t you? heh heh!). To paraphrase that seminal queen of weight loss, Susan Powter, “the insanity must stop!” (And what the heck ever happened to her, anyway?). 

I’m going on an anti-candida diet so I can be healthy.  So I can move more easily, and feel comfortable in my own body.  So I can express a little more self-love and self-care through my diet and lifestyle. (Anyone familiar with Sally’s fabulous blog already knows what I mean by this:  treating my body, mind and spirit with the kindness, reverence, and care it deserves.)  So I can enjoy a social life without being fixated on food. Oh, and so I can lose 40 pounds by my highschool reunion this May. **

My last “true” candida cleanse occurred nine years ago, and in the interim, my eating habits have slowly reverted to those that got me in trouble in the first place (chocolate too often; sweets too often; wine too often). After reading the diet on  this site (which is slightly less ascetic than the regimen I followed before), I think it’s doable (the only recommendation with which I disagree is to use aspartame or aseulfame, so I’ll just omit those).

To those of you who’ve been reading for a while, I understand if you’re skeptical, and I apologize.  After all, I’ve tried more than a few times to cut chocolate and sugar from my life.  Well, I’ve learned it’s never a great idea to publicly declare such a complete lifestyle overhaul on the blog, because later on, if you don’t meet your lofty goal, your initial vow is indelibly there for all the internet to see. With that in mind, I’ll restrict my candida commentary to the Progress Tracker page (may as well give it a new use, as I long ago stopped recording my weight over there).

And since I’ve already done a bit of baking over the past couple of weeks, I can intersperse the spartan dishes with more interesting fare.  If I play my screens right, you folks will barely notice a difference.


[Rice and brown lentil base; spinach leaves and steamed sweet potato wedges with chopped green onions; topped with almond-curry sauce.]

The first step is to prepare the system with a week or two of clean, whole-foods eating that doesn’t worry about yeast or fermentation (yeast and fermented foods will be cleared out next).   Rice or noodle bowls are a great place to start.


[Barley and amaranth base; grilled red pepper strips and onions; steamed broccoli; sprinkling of cashews and sunflower seeds; topped with tahini-miso sauce.]

Meals-in-a-bowl like these have become very popular at health-food restaurants and stores around North America.  There’s a local haunt that serves an amazing bowl called, appropriately, “The Mish-Mash Bowl.” Every meal contains either brown rice or quinoa, topped with your choice of four toppings from three categories (protein, veggies, or good fats), then drizzled with your choice of one or two dressings.

My own variation on the Mish Mash is a quartet of at least one healthy grain plus a protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate (ie, veggies).  I was amazed at how satisfying–and how filling–a clean, healthy bowl can be.  The marriage of fresh, colorful veggies with chewy grains and the crunch of nuts or seeds is entirely enchanting (almost as enchanting as that vixen, chocolate–though in a different way, of course).

In putting these together, what I discovered rather quickly is that “the sauce makes the bowl.” A grain bowl sans effective topping is sort of like a perfect outfit without the right shoes or accessories–it may be good quality, it may be tailored , it may even sport a designer label, but without the proper accoutrements, it’s just a length of beige, beige, beige. 

With a winning sauce, however, these bowls are stellar; they’re delectable; they evoke impatient yearning; they’re Zagat-worthy.  And, much like those lines of toddlers’ clothing that allow the kids to dress themselves by choosing one top and one pre-coordinated bottom, they’re fun to mix and match, just to see what comes up.  

The combinations here are simply starting points to get you going; play around with different grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, veggies, and sauces.  Use these sauces with any combination you please, or go with my mixes–either way, you’ll be treating yourself with love.   

**I asked this question entirely tongue in cheek–so please, no need to send me emails detailing how unhealthy a 40-pound weight loss in 8 weeks would be!  I have no intention of actually losing that much.  Besides, at the rate I’ve been going this past year, a FOUR pound loss by May would be nothing short of miraculous.

Tahini-Miso Sauce



Almond and Curry Sauce 



Orange Fig Sauce




© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


47 Responses to “A Bowl Lotta Love”

  1. Heather Says:

    those all sound so amazingly delicious! so many sauces and flavors to try!

  2. VeggieGirl Says:


  3. Diann Says:

    The ACD diet seems like a good macrobiotic kind of diet. I always feel great after a macro meal and I hope you will too.

    I agree that sauce is the meal maker. I’m not very good at though, so I love that you’ve provided all these recipes!

  4. Kelly Says:

    This is quite the mega post. All of your meals look both vivid and healthy. I hope you start feeling better soon.

  5. Kiersten Says:

    That bowl looks delicious! I am sure some people will be disappointed, but I look forward to your ACD recipes. Good luck with your diet!

  6. Shelby Says:

    These would be PERFECT for my dinners! I love stir-fries and have been looking to change it up, thanks for the recipes and ideas!

  7. Chris Says:

    Goodness, what great timing you have! I was just remarking (i.e. commenting) on another blog about the importance of sauce in meal-in-a-bowl dishes. (Aside: I recently went to Singapore and had the most amazing veggie bowl I’ve ever tasted – and the sauce was definitely the glue that held it together, both literally and flavor-wise). Long story short, I was lamenting how I can never put together the right combination of ingredients to make thick-ish yet non-throat-clogging sauces. And of course here you come with three seriously delicious looking ones! Thanks for this, I’m definitely trying these out soon 🙂

  8. Andrea Says:

    These “bowls” are all very appealing to me. I’d love to eat like this every night. Good luck with your healthy eating. I think you’re right that the key is to keep things interesting, colorful and deliciously sauced.

  9. vegyogini Says:

    Ooh, the prospect of concocting bowl after bowl of healthy vegan goodness is overwhelming me! Welcome back!

  10. Lisa Says:

    I wonder too – what is up with the conviction that internet usage and cell phone texting diminishes social skills? I just don’t buy it. Different does not equal evil or even bad. Like with your rice bowls – a little different, very healthy, sound delicious. Thanks for the great sauce recipes!

  11. shellyfish Says:

    I’m so sorry the evil “C” is back, but so glad that you’re taking it by the horns and doing what you need to for you. I think people will be less disappointed than you expect – especially if you share healthful and delicious-looking meals like these. Can’t wait to make those sauces!

  12. Sal Says:

    All those bowls looks sooo good. I’ve got to try that miso tahini sauce, it sounds awesome.

  13. Lysy Says:

    I admire your fortitude! With dishes like these though, I hope that you won’t miss the old favourites TOO much. I agree about the importance of dressings and I can’t wait to try the orange-fig one – two of my favourite flavours in one!
    PS I tried your edamame bean and seaweed salad last week and it was YUM. I ate it three times in one week 🙂

  14. Courtney Says:

    I agree–the sauce totally makes the bowl/meal! Yours look fabulous, and I will have to try them soon.

    Good luck with the candida cleanse. It is HARD! I have tried to do the same many times, so please, don’t feel bad about declaring it on the blog! We are all human :o) I will be interested to see how it goes this time!


  15. Claire Says:

    Woo hoo! Good for you! I have just started dr. fuhrman’s eat for life program, and i’m doing about 80% him, 20% me (sugar, sweets, some ww flour). my goal is 90/10. what i’m finding that is helpful but still difficult to meet is the 1 pound raw and 1 pound cooked veggies a day- but i like that goal.
    it feels like something i can actually visualize, and meet with practice. I can’t wait to use your sauces on my veggies and tofu! he advocates using nuts blended instead of oils, so your recipes are perfect.

    And i want that breakfast whole grain pancake! Yes!

    My hubs and I go on break next week- we teach college music- and we’re going to north carolina to get some salt air. and like you, we need it. enjoy your break!

  16. holler Says:

    I love your one bowl meals Ricki. They look so tasty. I have taken a note of your tahini and miso sauce.

  17. jessy Says:

    my friend does the anti-candida diet and it works well for her – i wish you luck, Ricki!

    (you said chocolate and now i really want some chocolate. mmmmmmmm! sorry, i’m pmsing! ahahahahaaa!)

    i missed you, too! i can’t imagine not blogging for a bit – i would feel like something’s missing as well!

    lots of yummy bowls of awesome go’n on – i love them all and have already printed the recipes! they’re all so pretty! i’m all about some delicious whole foods in bowls! mmmm, mmmmmmm!

  18. Jes Says:

    Those sauces look killer–as do the bowls! I think I’m going to make some of that tahini-miso sauce today! I’ll be cheering for you over the coming weeks, you’ve got guts girl!

  19. i find it is rather interesting how every person answers the same question a different way. It totally shows that we all have our own insights and thought processes… i mean clearly we do.. but its interesting to see different POV’s.

    On a food note.. HOLY GOOD GOD… that sauce looks amazing

  20. mihl Says:

    Even though I don’t have to cut out sweets and sugar, I would totally join you if you fed me. Everythink looks so super delicious. Your pictures are great and mouthwatering.

  21. If you have the willpower, I say go for it! I should join you, but do struggle with that no sugar thing. Will it be a full candida diet … like no soy sauce kind of thing, or just cutting the sugars? Curious here, and can’t wait to see some of the healthy recipes on your blog while you are trialing it!

  22. Gorgeous. Can’t wait to try ’em. I’m interested in the candida cleanse diets…may have to research further. thanks!

  23. tahinitoo Says:

    Oh my goodness!!!!! I LOVE food in bowls. To be more specific: I love the grain, green, veggie, and sauce combo. You made my day with these enticing bowl meals. Hmmm… An entire week of bowl-only meals on the menu, what do you think about that?! I am blowing you kisses for the sauce recipes.

  24. […] Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs posted her anti-candida bowls of love yesterday, the sauces called out to me.  They cried make me, put me on that hunk of romaine […]

  25. bee Says:

    some wonderful recipes here!!! wish you all the best with your diet.

  26. I’m so sorry your candida is back, Ricki! Hopefully your diet will help you feel better, it does sound amazingly healthy.

    You are so right about the internet NOT diminishing social skills, especially for someone with social anxiety like moi.

    Your Mish Mash bowls are so inviting! All of them! You plate your food so beautifully!

  27. Steph Says:

    well, your food bowls look delish.

    but more importantly, i know the struggle of dieting and limiting sugar. and i have made the point of starting and restarting on my blog which has barely started, haha. and it is embarrassing but i want to thank you for being one who always sent messages of hope and understanding =)

    if along the way you want to say anything to anyone but not for everyone (haha) you can email and rant to me! and i will send you the great words this time. so thank you and good luck!


  28. melody Says:

    Those sauces sound amazing! Yum!

    As you know, I have publicly declared my weight loss goals too.. oy.. I can’t wait for a year from now when I can report on a major loss!

    Good luck with the anti candida diet.. I’m sure you will make it appear effortless with your creations!

    .. thanks for the shout out!

  29. Hayley Says:

    All of your bowl creations look fabulous. I’d love to try those sauces, too. Good luck with the diet, I’m sure you’ll be successful!

  30. Ricki Says:

    There’s nothing I like more than variety! 😉


    I didn’t realize it was so close to macro. But I think macrobiotic diets also include lots of fermented foods, right? (And they are definitely a no-no on the ACD).

    Yep, a mega post all right! Thanks so much for the good wishes. 🙂

    Thanks so much! I’m going to try to alternate with more “conventional” recipes so no one will be disappointed!

    Yep, I bet the sauces would be good in stir-fries, too! In fact, I think I’ll try that out.

    Wow–sauce serendipity! Let me know what you think if you do try them out. (And Singapore? Lucky you!)

    I’d love to eat this way, too–maybe if someone else did the cooking. And that way I could just stay deliciously sauced–ha ha! 😉

    Thanks so much! And you, too 🙂

    I’m not sure who makes those things up. . .but glad you like the recipes!

    Thanks for the support–much appreciated. 🙂 And it’s true, those particular recipes were all delish, ACD or not.

    I really enjoyed that one. Let me know what you think if you do give it a try!

    Thanks so much! Easy to have fortitude on day one, I suppose. . . we’ll see where it goes. And I’m thrilled that you liked the edamame/arame salad! Yay seaweed! 🙂

    Thanks so much for the encouragement! I’d love to hear about your experience with the ACD, too. Any tips??

    Thanks so much for your comment! I’ve heard of the Eat for Life and have been interested to learn more. Pancakes up next post or the one after that. And have a great time in N Carolina! 🙂

    So glad you like the idea! And let me know what you think if you give it a try. 🙂

    Thanks so much! Would love to know which version your friend follows. And I suppose it’s true–what could be wrong with healthy food in bowls?? 😉

    Thanks so much. Well, guts so far, anyway–on Day One! We’ll see what’s going on by Day Thirty!! Glad you like the recipes, though. 🙂

    Vegan on Stage,
    Well, individuality is what makes the world go round, right? And glad you like the sauces!

    Aw, thanks so much! I would love to cook for you. When are you coming to visit? 😉

    Well, I’m not yet sure if I DO have the willpower, but I’m going to give it a try. And yes, I think there’s no point doing it halfway–I’m either going to get through it all, or realize I can’t and just stop. But no soy sauce, no fermented foods, alcohol, sugars, moldy foods, etc etc etc. YIKES.

    I’m going to be writing a bit more about it on the Progress Tracker page as I go, so that might help. 🙂

    So glad you like them! I agree, there are lots of things worse than a week of bowl-meals!

    Thanks so much! The good wishes do help. 🙂

    Thanks for the sympathy! I suppose it IS a really healthy diet. And of course the Internet is great for social interaction–without it, I would never have “met” YOU–and my world would have been a much sadder place!

    Wow, thanks so much for your kind words. And watch out–I may just take you up on it! 😉

    Maybe we can do a joint report a year from now–I’d love to be able to report a huge weight loss by then, too. Thanks for the vote of confidence–this will definitely be a challenge re: the food!

    Thanks so much! The words of encouragement really do help. 🙂

  31. I’ve been loving meals in a bowl the last few months too. Your tahini miso sauce sounds just perfect!

  32. Was wondering where you had been. I checked your blog this morning and was so inspired by these yummy rice bowls that I was all set to make something like this for dinner. Than my internet was down all day and come dinner time, I did my best to remember. As it turns out, I was all wrong but came up with something delicious that somehow combined all of yours together!

    Brown rice and millet base. Steamed broccoli and sweet potato. And for the sauce, a handful of raw almonds, about a table spoon of tamari, a clove of garlic, an inch of ginger root, a little agave, two dates, dash of cayenne and a little water- blend and serve. It was amazing. Tasted just like thai peanut sauce.

  33. ttfn300 Says:

    oh my gosh, such amazing bowls, i would gobble them all up! the sauces sound fabulous, gotta try them all, one at a time of course 🙂 i got around to posting my edamame ravioli if you wanted to check it out. good luck cleaning up, hope it helps you feel better!

  34. Anne Says:

    I’m eating one right now! It’s not homemade, (from Chicken Out) but it’s pretty good and filling. Those sauces sound so good. What an easy way to eat – make a few different grains & veggies on the weekend, and pick a different combo for lunch in the morning – sort of like a personal salad bar 🙂

  35. I have to try mixing buckwheat grouts and rice! All the bowls look delicious!

    I know how tough watching your diet is whether for weight loss or other reasons. My hope always is that if I do slip it’s less than last time and eventually the slips are so slight they’re non-existent. Good luck!

  36. Astra Libris Says:

    Ricki, you inspire me with your journey towards whole-body health… I aspire to lead a lifestyle as holistic, pure, and beautiful as yours, and every post you write helps to guide me… Thank you, thank you – truly.

  37. All of those meals look beautiful! I will have to try some of the sauces. My husband doesn’t know this yet, but he is going to eat some vegetarian meals this week. In particular, tofu. This should be interesting and you have inspired me!

  38. Lisa Says:

    Nothing spartan about these recipes! We all have our bad habits and temptations. Mine happens to be cigarettes. I’m hoping to look after my body better this year too.

  39. Lori Says:

    I am in love with all these recipes! Almond-curry sauce sounds like heaven. I can’t wait to give them a try. I was in academia, but on the administrative/outreach side so I didn’t have to deal with all those deadlines. We did enjoy spring break quite a bit though when campus calmed down.

    A very interesting diet. I want to go back and take a closer look. Personally, I’m a believer that sometimes we need to take a step back and simply cut out, fast or whatever. Life can easily get out of control and take our diets with it. As long as it is the short term to get back on a healthy track and provides enough nutrients not to damage health it can be a positive thing. I hope it goes well for you and keep us posted.

  40. Ricki Says:

    They can be addictive, can’t they? I can see eating one a day for a while!

    Sounds like a fabulous variation! Now I’m going to try out your recipe. 🙂

    Thanks for letting me know–edamame ravioli sounds divine! 🙂

    I never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right–probably why I like these so much!

    A great approach–I’m going to adopt that philosophy. I mean, you’ve still gotta live a little, right? 😉

    Astra Libris,
    You are too sweet, really–but believe me, not always so pure, or else I wouldn’t need this diet!

    Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading! And can’t wait to hear what your hubby thinks of the tofu 😉

    Thanks for the positive spin on these! And good luck with your own goals–I’ve been there re: cigarettes, and really, would never want to smoke again at this point. You really can do it!

    Glad you like them! The almond-curry was actually fabulous, but the grainy version in these photos makes it look less appetizing than it was (I’m going to use almond butter next time). And I don’t intend to stay on this indefinitely–maybe a month or 6 weeks, and see what (if anything) happens.

  41. Gina Says:

    Good luck with trying to shed some pounds 🙂 Your bowl of food look beautiful and healthy. I have a hard time shying away from sweets, but for me, its best to just go cold turkey, and you really do stop craving them. I lost about 30 pounds after college, its possible!

  42. Vegetation Says:

    Good luck with your journey! I too am guilty of letting that evil seductress chocolate into my life way too often.

    I love your bowls of yumminess!

  43. Ashley Says:

    I love rice bowls like this but don’t eat them often because I don’t ever know what kind of healthy dressing to put on them! Thanks for the suggestions. =) That second plate with the avocado, eggplant, tofu, green onions and broccoli looks especially delicious. I’m such a sucker for avocado though.

  44. Tinker Says:


    Thanks for the fantastic recipes and inspiration! I just made a batch of the tahini-miso sauce (although I replaced the tahini with cashew butter, since that’s all I had), and used it in some spring rolls (the fresh, not fried kind) with yams, avocado, and lettuce, and my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop eating them! I also have two multigrain bowl lined up for lunch the next two days (spinach, tuna, avocado, hummus, cashews and the miso sauce) and can’t wait to eat them! Good luck with the diet! I know I certainly have a hard time staying away from sweets, as much as I love my veggies.

    – Tinker

  45. Brandy Says:

    Wow I haven’t checked in for a while but this post basically just made me the hungriest girl in the office!
    I’m basically eating like this now and tonight am adding the miso tahini sauce to whatever I eat!

  46. Liz Says:

    Hahaaa, I like VeggieGirls comment: bowl meal food porn. It’s so true!

    Maybe I’ll make one of these instead of those pancakes for dinner. That sounds like a healthier choice 🙂

    Thanks for the great recipes Ricki AND for the wealth of knowledge. I’m trying to clean up my diet a bit too — if you need support, I am here for you!

  47. ferah Says:

    I want to try an anti-candida diet as well. I just started reading about it but, I know too much info but I had a huge yeast infection and I consume tons of sugar/triglycerides/etc. I also have this TMJ jaw inflmation and alledged ADD (didnt start till adult) so I am thinking wheat has something to do with it. Anyways I stumbled upon your blog researching all these notions

    Your food looks amazing btw.
    I just wanted to let you know someone else out there is struggling with the whole restricting themselves delicious things in order to achieve greater health thing. Its soo hard to keep that in mind

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