“Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” Mark Twain
This marks our last blog for cauliflower! Next month we are moving on to a new vegetable to integrate into your diet. Some of you may be glad to have a new vegetable to try out especially if cauliflower is just not your thing.
Over the past couple of weeks I have tried to sneak cauliflower into our dinners without Jason noticing. The most successful to date was adding it to our twice baked potatoes for our vegetarian night.
For this, I simply steamed some cauliflower (I also steamed broccoli and spinach) and added to the scooped out potato insides plus all the other regular fixings. Since cauliflower has such a mild taste, he had no idea. I waited for him to rave about how good the dinner was before telling him.
Another favorite, that Jack has requested many times is what he calls Cheesy Cauliflower. Obviously, adding cheese to anything makes it better! For this recipe I did the following:
So simple! Plus you can vary this in so many ways.
For example, tonight I made this without this cheese (Jack was not home for dinner) and added some onions and zucchini plus some red pepper flakes. It made for a quick side on a busy weeknight.
I encourage you to play around and see what type of sautéed cauliflower dish you can come up with!
To wrap up my thoughts on cauliflower…
Moving on…. next month was picked by Jack so you can all blame him! At least I am because I’ll be honest this vegetable is not my favorite.
Next Wednesday and every Wednesday in the month of March you all can start to learn more about Beets!
Hopefully, you all have run out and bought some cauliflower and tried a new recipe! While you were choosing your head of cauliflower did you question - How do I know which one is fresh? What is the best way to store this thing? And, what do I do with these leaves and stalks?
In today’s installment we will answer those questions plus talk about cauliflower rice.
Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable in the sense that it is almost always available in the store. During farmer’s market days, they usually show up late summer early fall. While your farmer’s market may have some unique colors like we talked about in the last blog the super markets are usually less adventureous.
Typically, you will find a 1.5 to 2 pound head of white cauliflower wrapped in plastic.
When looking for the perfect cauliflower to take home you want to make sure of a couple of things.
Cauliflower when bought fresh will last up to a week. You can store it in the plastic it comes with or cover the florets with a paper towel and store in a paper bag.
When you get ready to cook the best way to clean the cauliflower is to break it into small florets, soak in cold water with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar. Then let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse.
If you want more information on cleaning and prepping as well as some great recipes check out Oz Telem’s book “Cauliflower.” A lot of the above information came from this gem of a book.
One of the most interesting things I learned from Telem’s book was that the leaves and the stem are edible. And actually, are really tasty.
The leaves are similar to kale and can be oven roasted, stuffed and braised.
The main stem is like kohlrabi. It can be cut up for salads, roasted, or added into a cauliflower mash.
Lastly, the stalks can be thrown into any recipe that calls for celery.
The main stem and stalks can be added to the recipe we are highlighting this week. Cauliflower rice!
Cauliflower rice I have always resisted. It just seems like something I would simply not like! When I was talking to clients about my resistance to this, several suggested trying Cauliflower “Fried” Rice.
I started researching recipes to find the perfect one! Like stir fry you can’t really go wrong.
Almost any protein will work if you would like to add it. Eggs, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or even bacon work well.
Same with Veggies. For this recipe below I used peas, carrots and onions. Although, again, there are no rules. I have added mushrooms, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli or bell pepper in the past.
All you need then is cauliflower for the rice and some sauce to finish it off.
For inspiration this is my very simple fried rice recipe. Remember this is a stir fry recipe so have everything ready before you start cooking. This cooks up fast!
Step 1: Cook the Egg
Whisk two eggs in a small bowl with a little salt and pepper.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of ghee in a wok or large skillet on medium to high heat.
Note: Any oil that is ok with high heat will work here. For example: coconut oil, bacon drippings, peanut oil all will work.
Fry up the egg until cooked. Remove and set aside.
While you are cooking the egg it is a good time to make your cauliflower rice if you did not buy a bag of riced cauliflower.
To turn your head of cauliflower into “rice” do the following:
Step 2: Cook the Veggies + Garlic
Heat 2 Tablespoons of ghee in the wok. Still at medium/high heat. Add the following:
Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir fry for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add:
Step 3: Add the cauliflower “rice”
Next add your cauliflower to the wok. Mix well. You can either stir the ingredients over the next 5 minutes or I like to cover mine and let it cook.
Step 4: Season!
After the rice is tender but not mushy I added the following:
Add the eggs sliced back on top and you are ready to eat!
Next week: The cauliflower finale! And a sneak peak into next month’s vegetable.
So, I think most people have heard that in order to be “properly hydrated” one needs to intake a much larger amount of water than many of us actually consume. It is presumed by many in the fitness profession that most people, in addition to being sedentary far too often, exist in a state of chronic dehydration. The idea is that this lack of proper hydration makes all processes within the body more difficult. Nutrients and chemicals generally require a specific dilution inside our tissues and since we are mostly made of water, these become out of balance.
Conversely, waste products and toxins are more difficult to process out of the body and can cause their own special kind of havoc to our systems. Basically, water is good and you should drink more of it. But, how much?
The most common formula “out there” is to take your body weight and drink half of that number as ounces of water per day. Mine is pretty easy. I’m a hunky and bearded 200 lbs. So, for 30 days I was supposed to drink 100 ounces of water. The following is a breakdown of how that went and was done last spring running up to Bloomsday. I won’t recreate the entire 30 day diary, just the highlights.
Day 1 - I decided that I would probably forget how many 8 oz glasses I would drink if I didn’t have some way of marking them off each time. I also thought that perhaps I would do well if I had a jug with me all the time that was hard to miss.
I’m starting this on a Friday, so I took an empty gallon water jug and measured in 100 oz. and took it with me to work. This was not a bad idea, it was large enough for me to see it in the office between clients and I was able to gobble down about half of that during work. I managed to drink most of the rest before bed. 85oz
Day 2 - Failed miserably or Trainers are people too. I was still recouping from the vacation that I did not sleep on. I took a nap at one point and left my jug in my room. I probably got about 20 oz in.
Day 4 - Got back into it a little more, Man it is tough to gobble down that much water. Still not making it all the way to empty. 70 oz
Week 1 recap - So, I’m definitely drinking more water than I normally would be. I’m averaging about 65 ounces per day so far. I cannot say that I feel much different though my kidneys probably would disagree. I had a fantastic run on Thursday, no soreness, or stiffness to ‘run out’. So, I am at least accepting the possibility that it helped. However, I’ve been building for two months so my body should at some point start feeling good on these runs anyways.
Day 8 - The result from last night was an astounding amount of nighttime toilet trips and an absolutely horrible day following from the poor sleep. Today was probably the worst day so far. I was so tired from ‘going’ all night that I was not on any kind of schedule for drinking at all. Less than 30 oz for sure.
Day 10 - Good day. Did an hour jog/walk with the dogs for 5 miles. That helped motivate me to get the rest of my water in. Success! 100 oz.
Day 11 - Continued to do a good job of starting early. 100 oz
Day 14 - Again, not getting a strong start early enough often enough. I may be ABLE to pound the last 20 oz after 8pm, but I am not willing to risk being up all night. 80 oz
Week 2 recap - At this point it is really about just getting to it early during the day. As with any type of behavior change I was very resistant this week. Its a pain in the ass, I’m rationalizing, bargaining, all that shit. If there were NO difference at all, I’ll be honest, I probably would have given up. However, the reality is that I do feel better in my joints and muscles. In the past, I have been a familiar with the second day soreness from a hard workout. I have FAR less of that than before, and my running is going farther and farther. I’m up on average/day here, 71 oz for the week.
Day 15 - I’m gonna be honest here. I just didn’t want to do it today. I drank a little but I was feeling pouty about it. 40 oz
Day 16 - Reminded myself about what my goals are here long term, not just for water consumption, though it’s intimately related. Also, I know tomorrow is a long run day, shooting for 1.5hours. guzzled. 100 oz
Day 17 - LR was fantastic, had to really stay on it the rest of the day. busy busy. 100 oz
Day 21 - Continues to be a struggle. I just get doing other things and realize that I’m not drinking. Left the jug at work on the way to Jack’s baseball game. I did do 24 oz (3x8oz) in the evening after getting home. Checked the jug in the morning and it was probably 75oz.
Week 3 recap - Lets talk about pee. I have, throughout this challenge been keeping an eye on my pee color. I will definitely say that while not super clear all the time it is now unusual for me to produce the stereotypical yellow. At one point I was curious to know if I could even make yellow snow at all right now. I’m pretty sure I could fill a bottle and do a side-by-side with one that’s water and you’d be hard pressed to tell which was which. I do feel better, but it’s not at all a landslide in terms of trading off how much I have to go, and at what times. 74oz avg
Day 22 - I was more on top today after forgetting my jug last night. Got through most of it. 90 oz
Day 23 - Not great but ok, did my longer run today as Sunday is super busy. That definitely makes you want to rehydrate. 75oz.
Day 24 - Early AM team pictures for Jack, long cold double-header and then another activity afterwards. Did not really get home until 4:30. Kept the jug with me but the constant activity was not helpful. It’s not that I’m using distractions to keep me from drinking, it still continues to be that it’s not in the forefront of my mind and I just forget for 2 hours or so. 60 oz
Day 26 - Better than yesterday, I continue to try and be motivated with how my knee in particular feels. I notice that I’m more likely to stay with it when I know it’s a run day. 80oz
Day 29 - Only two days left. I really hate drinking all this water. tried to end on a high note and I also need to make sure I’m hydrated for Bloomsday. 80 oz
Day 30 - Last day. I did not feel well this morning. Made a strong effort to get started early despite having a headache and not sleeping well. Was consistent and finished it. 100 oz.
30 day recap - So, in general I lack the fortitude to make myself drink 100 ounces for 30 days. I managed the feat completely only 6 times for a whopping 20%. On the whole, for the entire month I was definitely drinking more than I had been used to, illustrating that I was probably not as hydrated as I should have been. The really bad days, 50 oz or less, were 7 of the total, so another 20% (ish). That leaves the rest of the days being what I FELT was really adequately hydrated, usually around 75 oz.
In general, the number of days I have slept through the night is probably less than 5. On several occasions I get up more than once. This is not at all conducive to good sleep. I have learned that essentially, I cannot drink much at all after 8pm if I want to make it through the night.
On those days when I was hanging around 70-85 oz were the days when I felt really hydrated and did not get up to pee so much. During those days I typically started off early and was regular throughout the day. Days when I was crunched or stressed were not good days. I was also better on workout days than non-workout days which makes sense.
THEY say you need to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces every day. I will continue to repeat that as I have no empirical evidence otherwise, although with the caveat that 75% of that is pretty dang good and a worthy goal.
Overall, I was bummed out that I just couldn’t get a rhythm going. That it didn’t become a habit for me. I thought that by the end of the month it would be easier, actually, the last week was the hardest one and I couldn’t wait for this to be over. I found that I do need to be drinking more, and I will, I just don’t think I can feel good about forcing myself to ingest so much.
On the whole, I think it’s important to include food into this number, fruits and vegetables contribute to our hydration as do other drinks. I would include that discussion here but I’ve got to go wee right now.
Hopefully you all got to try Buffalo cauliflower over the Super Bowl weekend! A good way to balance out all the junk food.
After my last post I got a lot of comments on cauliflower both good and bad. I love the client that came into the studio and said I inspired her to go buy cauliflower! Other comments ranged from mild interest to downright disgust for the vegetable. In fact, I’m not sure Jason is all that wild about this adventure of trying out new cauliflower recipes.
Whatever your reaction to my first post, keep reading. You may find a new way to cook something that before you thought was gross or smelly or lacked flavor.
My hope with these blogs and future ones is get folks eating a variety of vegetables. Not just sticking to those you have always eaten. I hope to highlight vegetables you have never heard of and to inspire you to eat them.
Speaking of variety there is more out there than just the plain old boring white cauliflower. In fact, there are several different types to try. Since it is the dead of winter I was not able to find anything but the classic white variety. Farmers now grow a big variety of colors, yellow, orange, purple, and green. All of which have added benefits.
For example, orange contains more vitamin A, and the purple variety contains anthocyamnins. These can help regulate blood sugar and lipids, helping to reduce cancer risk. If you see these in the store try using these in your recipes instead.
There is one other variety that is worth mentioning. Romanesco. This technically is not caulifower and is sometimes referred to as Romanesco caulifower or Romanesco Broccoli depending on where you live. It is often substituted for cauliflower in recipes. Although cooking time is longer due to its texture. It is an alien looking vegetable with a yellow/green color and spiky look to it. It is in the stores during the summer and at farmer’s markets.
Last week I highlighted a way to add cauliflower into your Super Bowl Sunday snacks. This week we are looking at roasting cauliflower.
Over the last couple of years one of the ways I started to add a variety of vegetables into our diet was to roast them. It is incredibly easy and brings out flavors you would not expect. I prefer roasting cauliflower more so than steaming.
As most of you know steaming cauliflower brings a smell of stinky feet (as Jason puts it). This is caused by high levels of sulfur containing compounds called glucosinolates. However, when roasted, this does not happen!
For a simple way to throw together a quick meal there is nothing easier than a sheet pan recipe. This type of meal has become all the rage in recent months.
One of the best sheet pan recipes I have tried recently is found on a local Spokane blogger Syliva Fountaine’s: Feasting at home. I can not rave about her website enough. Her recipes are easy to follow with several options on how to change or substitute. She is beyond talented and it also helps that her website is absolutely beautiful. We recently tried her Tandoori Glory bowl. I loved the mix of flavors, and this dish can be prepared as both vegetarian or with meat.
All of my recipes I post are simple and basic and most can be found in some version else where. So, when I stumble upon a fabulous site that inspires me to cook, I must share with others! So, please visit Sylvia’s site and try this very flavorful recipe linked below.
If you want to keep it a little simpler here are some options on how to roast cauliflower.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. (Some recipes call for 500 degrees F with shorter cooking times)
Listed above is just the basics. Here are some add ons that can make it a little more flavorful.
Roast for 20-30 minutes stirring the veggies a couple of times throughout the cooking process. Check to see how tender and browned the cauliflower is. You can finish the cauliflower by squeezing lemon over the top, shrinking parmesan or balsamic vinegar (lightly) after baking.
Here is an example of one way I make Roasted Cauliflower:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. (Since I’m cooking with onions and garlic I roast it at a milder temperature.)
Toss all ingredients together either in a bowl or on the baking sheet.
Cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Stirring the veggies a couple of times.
If you have a young 12 year old at home or a 43 year old who does not eat cauliflower then you can throw 1/3 cup of parmesan on top and bake for another 10 minutes. Or just have roasted without!
For me this is a perfect breakfast the next morning. Eat with a side of chicken, throw some chickpeas in or a fried egg and you have a balance, nutritious and flavorful meal!
Next week: Buying, storing and another great cooking option for Cauliflower.
As promised here is your monthly check in to see how those New Year’s resolutions are going. Did you stick with your one big goal for the month? Add others ones in? Or totally fall of the wagon?
If you stuck with it for the whole 30 days good job! Now it is time to look to what is the next goal for you this month. Is it to stay with what you are doing? Or move it the next level? Add 10 minutes to that morning walk or focusing on eating vegetables at every meal?
For those of you that fell off the wagon that is ok! You are not alone. Trust me! However, I would suggest looking at if that goal is really important to you. Does it really get you to where you want to be? More importantly, is it a goal you want or just one you feel you should want to do?
I find that often clients go for a goal that is not their own but rather something they have been encouraged to do by a friend. Or that they were influenced by the latest diet trend…Keto anyone?
So, for those of you that this last month was not successful I encourage you to look at what you really want to do. And don’t come back with “Well I really would love to eat potato chips on the couch all day!”
What I mean is what can you do to be healthier without feeling overwhelmed. That feels doable in the craziness of life. What can you do to be consistent in your daily life to improve your health?
Consistency is the key to achieving any goal. Over the last 20+ years of helping people to become healthier I’ve learned that consistency is hard. It is not always easy to do the stretches that you know make your back feel better or to eat the vegetables you know will help lower your cholesterol or help with weight loss.
That is why I encourage my clients to focus on one thing at a time. When we are overloaded with too many tasks to reach one goal usually we become overwhelmed. Practicing consistency will eventually become habit and thus, less hard.
So, your assignment this month:
Write out your ultimate goal….again. Then next to it write out 3 things that will help you to get to that ultimate goal.
Ultimate goal: Loss 20 lbs this year.
(1) Walk 30-45 minutes 4-5 times per week.
(2) Slow down eating at meals. Put my fork down in-between bites.
(3) Add Vegetables to each meal.
Then pick one mini goal to do. Write it on your calendar. Place a post note where you will see it every day. Set an alarm on your phone.
Each week revisit this sheet. Rewrite these goals again and evaluate what worked that week and what did not. Make a note of what made that week successful. Or what did not make it successful.
Most importantly celebrate small successes. Realize that no one is perfect!
What is that saying? “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”
Next month: Journaling to help with achieving your goals.