Recipe: QUICK & EASY Cauliflower Pizza Crust {Vegetarian & Low Carb}

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Okay, so let’s just be real.

Y’all know… I’m a sugar-lover. It is my weakness. Ice cream. Chocolate candy bars. Donuts. And the like.

Salty stuff doesn’t really “tempt” me. Cheese isn’t really a big issue. And bread is a little bit of an issue but more so because it’s just the most convenient way to eat. And it seems like most people have issues with one or the other of these if not issues with all of them.

But if there is anything other than sugar that pops up on my I-just-can’t-resist-it food radar pretty frequently, it is pizza.

I could literally live on pizza, hamburgers, donuts, and chocolate ice cream.

Ya know, if it weren’t for that whole… nutrition thing.

So when I came across these in my low-carb-vegetarian searches on Pinterest, I was intrigued but, naturally, pretty dern skeptical.

I mean, pizza crust… made out of one of the worst tasting vegetables ever to hit the planet?!?!

Yeah, no thanks.

But we are reallllllllly trying to stay away from processed carbs like, ya know… pizza crust, and so I thought I’d give it a go. I was expecting (and secretly hoping for) a failure.

BUT THEY WERE FLIPPING UH. MAZ.ING.

So, without further ado…

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • 2 cups of “riced” cauliflower (see my how-to below)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella or Colby Jack)
  • 2 eggs
  • 16-20 basil leaves, cut in strips (about 1/4 cup) *optional, or you can use another herb*

Preheat: Oven to 450
Makes: Four 4″x4″ crusts (My fam plowed through these… even my two picky, picky sons so next time I’m gonna double this!)

{All my “instructional” pics are below the recipe.}

To rice cauliflower:

  1. For this recipe, cut off the cauliflower so that you have mainly the florets (the bushy part on top). Cut off about half of a head of cauliflower.
  2. Put it in a Ninja blender or food processor. (I used my Ninja in the big pitcher… worked like a boss!)
  3. I only had to run it on speed 2 in my Ninja for, like, thirty seconds! I was so pumped that it was such a quick process! It will look like… well, sorta like rice!
  4. Measure out two cups. (And I really would measure it out because I think this recipe needs to be pretty “precise”)

To make the crust:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (and I also sprayed it with a bit of non-stick).
  2. Mix the riced cauliflower, shredded cheese, eggs, and basil (omit this or pick another herb of your choice) together.
  3. Plop a big hunk (yeah, that’s an official term) on the paper and start to spread it out. I used a fork here to sorta “pat” it down and also to help square off the edges a bit.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. I found that a bit of the cheese sorta “snuck” out, but I just used a spatula and shoved it back into the edge of the crust.

To make a pizza:

  1. It’s the same gig as a usual homemade pizza… slop some sauce on there (I always use just plain ol pasta sauce). Always try to leave a little edge so that the sauce doesn’t drip over and below your crust cause it can burn and that’s just plain ol gross.
  2. Sprinkle on some cheese.
  3. Then add toppings if you want. On ours tonight, I chopped up a large portabella mushroom that my man Mr. Chord Dice had grilled earlier for lunch… it was PERFECT on top!
  4. Bake for another ten minutes.
  5. I put mine on a cooling rack for a minute or so cause I can.not.stand. soggy stuff that sits on a plate.

Here are some pretty pics of the process! I really hope you try these and enjoy them because they were totally legit AND they looked good and fancy too!

The ingredients… they look kinda pretty!

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I just had to take a pic of my old school oven dial…

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Before going in the oven

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After the first bake!

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With the toppings! I was admittedly starting to get excited!

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The final product! Ohmygeeeeee… so good!

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Recipe: Vegetarian Hummus & Kale Tostadas (aka: Chalupa)

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Let’s just get down to the nitty gritty.

Is a flat, fried corn tortilla a tostada or a chalupa?

I’ve done some very, very scientific research on this matter (i.e. wikipedia and cafemom and food.com) and here’s my take:

A tostada is a toasted/fried flat or bowl shaped tortilla (usually made from corn) with toppings on it.

A chalupa is the shallow bowl tostada (unless you are going through the Taco Bell line in which case a chalupa is a soft-dough thick fried flour tortilla folded into “boat” form.

I wanted to clear that up before any fights ensued. Granted, apparently these terms vary by location, so it might be different where you live and eat!

Either way, my husband made me the most amazing tostada/chalupa today for lunch! I baked and fried some corn tortillas for tostadas the other day for the fam (which were also super yummy) and we had two left, so my hubs made up his own invention and I. loved. it.

(By the way, there is no question which of us is the better cook: HE is. Hands down.)

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Vegetarian Hummus Tostada/Chalupa

  • 2 tostadas/chalupas*
  • 1/2 cup of hummus
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup of chopped kale or greens
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • (For vegan: substitute pine nuts in lieu of the feta)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together hummus, feta (saving a few pieces for topping), and kale.
  2. Spread it over the tostadas.
  3. Top with a few more pieces of feta and the tomatoes.
  4. Eat!

I know it’s simple, and didn’t really need a “recipe” but it was just so yummy and so something I’d never thought about that I had to share! Props to my love, Mr. Chord Dice, for making me lunch! I wasn’t even going to post today but it was so yummy I had to share!

* Here is the recipe that I used for making tostadas

  1. Lay them flat on the oven rack at 250° for 7 minutes (keep an eye on them and take them out earlier if they are too brown).
  2. Heat up a skillet with 1/4 inch of canola oil on medium-high (I actually used half canola oil and half coconut oil because I ran out of canola)
  3. With a pair of tongs, lay the tortilla into the oil for about 20-30 seconds using the tongs to push it down into the oil, then flip it over and fry it for an additional 20 seconds.
  4. Lift the tortilla out of the pan allowing the oil to drip off and place the tortilla on a towel-lined plate (or, if you are green like me, put it on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath it so that the oil just drips onto the cookie sheet).
  5. Finish with the rest of the tortillas!

And because I am the queen of selfies, I had to take one with my tostada/chalupa! Haha!

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Day 685: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us.

And so are the blog posts.

My email inbox has been inundated with all kinds of recipes that could meet any, and I mean, ANY dietary need. Gluten-free, low-carb, fat-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers. You name it, someone’s made a Thanksgiving recipe to go with it.

{And really, I do understand why a lot of people need and want those recipes.}

Right now, though, I am not thinking about recipes, or ingredients, or calories, or weight.

But I am thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what I’m thinking about doesn’t really fit into a recipe. And it isn’t really diet advice. And it isn’t even really about food at all.

I’m thinking about what Thanksgiving really is.

And I’m thinking that I need to celebrate. You see, I looked up the word Thanksgiving at dictionary.com just cause I was curious. I mean, I remember in elementary school there was all the talk about the Pilgrims and the Indians and there was a big deal to do with like, I dunno, corn or something (which I always find funny because I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving during which my family ate corn). Anyway, the definition said, Thanksgiving: a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

It doesn’t say anything about food. It’s just a celebration. And as I’ve learned over the past 685 days of this covenant…

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A celebration does not have to be about food.

I can celebrate God’s favor by running around with my little kids in the leaves making a point to play so hard I come back into the house looking like I raked the yard with my hair.

I can celebrate God’s kindness by asking my mother to tell me a few stories that she recalls about my Mamaw being kind as we mourn her absence and yet celebrate that she has gotten to spent the past year in heaven.

I can celebrate all that God has done for me by cleaning the dishes for my Aunt Martha who is going to get to host our family Thanksgiving for the first time in ages!

I can celebrate all the kind words God has written on my heart by sharing a kind word of encouragement with each of my family members. My mother for defending my happiness all my life. My father for teaching me how to laugh at myself and the world around me. My brother for teaching me that there is only one place where the bible is wrong: there truly isn’t a friend that is closer than a brother. My husband for always, always, always allowing me to dream and plan and think and imagine even when my dreams and plans and thoughts and imaginations are not feasible.

And I can celebrate the freedom and forgiveness that Christ has given me, both eternally and here on earth, by focusing on blessing those around me this Thursday instead of focusing on the food around me.

I can look for as many ways as possible to BE the celebration instead of thinking about GOING to a celebration.

See?

Even just thinking of these things and I’m already SO looking forward to Thanksgiving, but my thoughts have nothing to do with sweet potato pie, or green bean casserole, or even that huge bird.

In fact, all of that seems so very insignificant compared to the kind of Thanksgiving I’m now planning.

Because I am planning on spending this Thanksgiving focusing on acknowledging the divine favor and kindness of my God and my Savior.

For He is truly my Thanksgiving.

 

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Recipe: Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Okay, so admittedly, this recipe was born solely from the fact that my husband was bugging me to use the big ol load of kale I got at the store on Monday and had yet to cook. So, I did a little once over of what we had in the fridge and then mentally recalled my Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl and just went for it (although I was totally not in a cumin mood, so I changed this one up to be more Italian).

Before we get started: Oh. my. goodness. I learned that you can make quinoa in the RICE COOKER! Hellllllllo. I totally would have made wayyyyy more quinoa before now (which, for the record, I call the stuff Queen-waa and even though I know that’s wrong, I think I’m gonna keep my way – hehe)! Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has trouble with it…

how to pronounce quinoa

Okay, sorry for that tangent.

On to the recipe! (By the way, I post most of the recipe pics at the end of the post… most of us just want to get to the recipe, but if you are into gawking at food, then I have included the pics just for you!)

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - stovetop bottom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

A little tip: As you chop and slice, combine ingredients that will go in the pan at the same time into the same prep-bowl. Bowl 1: carrots and tomatoes. Bowl 2: squash, zucchini, green onions. Bowl 3: mushrooms. Bowl 4: kale.

  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 2 handfuls of salad tomatoes, halved
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 “stalks” of kale, cut off stems, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix whose ingredients compare)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa if you have yet to do so.
  2. Bring four cups of water to a boil and then turn down to low. (You’ll need this in a minute to blanch the kale.)
  3. Heat a pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two then add in the Ana’s Herbs and allow to saute for several more minutes (this sorta “reactivates” the dried herbs). Add more oil to keep the herbs from burning if necessary.
  4. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, mix together with herbs and let cook for three minutes.
  5. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and let them cook for three minutes.
  6. Add in the squash, zucchini, and green onions and let them cook for three minutes. {Ya seeing a pattern here yet? Hehe!}
  7. Add in the mushrooms and let them cook for… yep, three minutes!
  8. When you add in the mushrooms, pour the kale into the hot water and allow it to blanch while the mushrooms cook. No longer than three minutes!
  9. When the mushrooms are finished move the pan off of the heat, strain the kale, and combine it with the veggie mixture in the pan.
  10. Serve it over the quinoa as soon as you can because kale is at it’s best (and prettiest) when it is still bright green!

For the record: my husband said “Wow this is gooooood.” at least 7 times, which is the biblical number of perfection, so I’m going to deem this recipe a success!

And here are a few preparation pictures…

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - tomatoes

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - squash

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - mushroom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - kale

Recipe: Ginger Tea In Crockpot

Ginger Tea In Crock Pot

Okay, okay so you might be saying “Uhhhh, that ginger looks a lot more like apples than ginger.” And you are right… well, sorta. Technically, I made Apple Ginger Tea but I just threw the apples in because my kids didn’t eat the other half of the Fuji apple I cut for them. It works with or without apple slices!

The main reason I wanted to make my ginger tea in the crockpot was because I kept having to babysit it on the stovetop, I had several boil-overs on accident, and I was losing all of the water because it kept reducing! So, I figured, give it a go in the crock pot! It keeps all the water in there, and I can even leave while it “cooks”. It worked out great! I’m trying to have a cup of ginger tea every day for a month to see if it helps with the inflammation in my hip.

Ginger Tea In The Crockpot

  • 4 cups/1 Liter water, heated to boiling
  • 2 “knobs” of ginger (see the pic below)
  • optional 1/2 Fuji apple, sliced with peels ON
  • optional 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • optional 1-2 teaspoons lime juice, to taste

Instructions

  1. While you work, heat water to boiling.
  2. Peel the ginger and then “peel-shred” it into the crock pot. (I just use the vegetable peeler and make thin slices of the ginger to get more bang for my buck.)
  3. Add in the apples if you want and then pour in the boiling water.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Pour through a sieve (or, like me, just ladel it into your teavana tea maker to strain it) and then add in honey and lime juice.

Okay, since I could never figure out in recipes what a “knob” of ginger was supposed to be (is it just part of it or the whole thing?) I decided to take a picture of the ginger I used next to a quarter so that you could see exactly what I used. Use more for a stronger tea if you’d like!

Ginger Tea In Crock Pot

Recipe: Build A Perfect Salad

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I don’t know an.y.thing. about nutrition and so whenever I make a discovery I assume that probably everyone else out there that is even remotely nutritionally focused knows about it. And this is one of those things.

However, I have learned that there are actually quite a lot of “I don’t know an.y.thing. about nutrition” people out there with me. So, if you are a nutrition junkie, feel free to say “Wow – I’m so happy that she has learned this since I have used this trick my entire life!” and if you are a nutrition newbie, then feel free to say, “Wow – I’m so happy that she has learned this since I have never thought of doing that!”

Here ya go.

Build A Perfect Salad

(for two salads)

Ingredients

When choosing your ingredients… think about colors. It’s amazing how easy it is to get a variety of nutrients when you simply vary color. Plus, to me, a pretty salad is always immediately more appetizing than all green. So, if you have a green celery… then choose a bright orange carrot. Or if you have a red tomato, choose a yellow bell pepper to compliment it.

  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 10-15 salad tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • fresh oregano (or other herb or optional)
  • feta cheese, optional
  • lettuce
  • salad dressing

Instructions (I put my “commentary” in italics!)

1. Get out your two salad bowls, cutting board, knife, and all your veggies.

2. Start out with chopping up the carrots, celery, and halving the tomatoes. As you go you’ll see how the bowl really fills up with the “good stuff”. If you realize that you’ve got way too much of a particular ingredient just put the extra in a tupperware for tomorrow.

3. Add in your peanuts, kidney beans, oregano, and feta and mix everything together. That’s right… no lettuce yet!Just look at how full your bowl is of all the good roughage with all the good nutrients… too many of our salads are filled with 80% LEAVES because that’s what we put in first… but I think that’s part of the reason that we all get so burned out on them!

4. So, NOW, add your leaves (aka: lettuce) and some dressing.

5. This step is negotiable, but I always chop-mix my salad at this point. I like to do it because it is a good way to really mix everything together, plus I have terrible TMJ and so my bites have to be pretty small. You can chop-mix it by dumping it all out on a cutting board, but that is a mess and a half. Or you can get a good serrated knife (like a steak knife) and a fork and just cut it up a lot. OR, you can do my favorite method and get a pair of these salad choppers which I use for tons of stuff.

Okay, so it’s not like some kind of phenomenal life altering recipe… it’s more of a method. But it’s gotten me to build and eat more substantial salads instead of a bowl full of mainly leaves.

{My bowls before the leaves}

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Day 476: Smoothie Queen

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Several weeks ago, I was getting ready to go to Sam’s to get our monthly load of cashews, shredded cheese, almond milk, coffee, and diapers. Ya know, the necessities. Well my man walks up to me and hands me a hundy (a $100 bill… his Christmas money, I believe) and tells me to go get a Ninja blender.

I know, right?!?!? How awesome was THAT?

After he watched that documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, we tried multiple times to juice but the clean up is so laborious that we only managed to last a few times. I started thinking that maybe the Ninja would be more along the lines of what would work for us since it is basically a “blend, rinse, go” kind of deal. And I thought that it would be a good birthday present for him (back in February) but alas, I figured that being such an avid musician he would probably prefer the iTrack that he asked for, like, two days before Christmas when I had already bought him all of his gifts. So, my parents got that for him for his birthday instead of a Ninja.

Perfect for him. {Sigh.} for me.

Anyway, I guess I couldn’t stop talking about it so he wanted to get one for me. But since we only have one car he wasn’t able to ever get out and surprise me. Every time he leaves I’m all Where ya going? Why? Cause we need more milk. Are you going to the store and can get some milk? Uhhhhh, sure.

Surprise… ruined. So, he figured it was just easier to let me go and get it and pick out just what I wanted.

So. sweet.
So. smart. (The whole “pick out whatcha want” thing!)

And I started making us smoothies in the morning. Truth be told, I’m not much of a breakfast eater.

Wait. Hold that. I’m a HUGE breakfast eater.

THAT’S the problem.

eggs. bacon. biscuits. pancakes. waffles. gravy. hash browns. parfait. sausage. fruit. cheesy grits. orange juice. sweet rolls. muffins. coffee.

It’s all golden. I love it. Love it ALL.

Not a good situation for a glutton.

So, breakfast is usually something kind of low-key for me… granola. fruit. yogurt. grits if I’m going crazy. oatmeal if I’m desperate.

BUT NOW… I’m the smoothie queen! I love the things! And I would love to post a bunch of recipes for you, but so far this is what all my recipes would be….

Lazy Woman’s Quick and Easy Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients

  • Bag of mixed frozen fruit
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Water or Almond Milk

Instructions

  1. Dump some frozen fruit in a big cereal bowl and defrost just a bit in the microwave for 30-45 seconds on 30% power.
  2. Dump it in the Ninja with a little bit of water or almond milk.
  3. Blend.

It’s just good… tastes like getting a dessert for… BREAKFAST.

But instead it’s ACTUALLY like eating a bowl of fruit for breakfast… a big bowl.

AND since I prefer to put in water or almond milk instead of juice it keeps the calories or sugar or whatever lower (I’m assuming… since I don’t count or track any of that stuff!)

Win. WIN. WIN!

Okay, so I hate to say that I have zero spiritual connection for this one… I dunno, I guess I’ll just throw this one out there for ya as an extra.

Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Colossians 1:10

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Recipe: Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

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This is one of the first recipes that I have ever made-up on my own, so I’ll admit that I had my fingers crossed hoping all day that it would be good! And it wassssssssss!!!

With this one, remember… just because it’s “vegetarian” (if you use two cream of celerys) that doesn’t mean we should super-chow on it. Eat when you’re hungry… until you are satisfied. Then stop. I’d even recommend serving yourself a bowl/plate of it and then immediately putting the rest of it in tupperware and in the fridge. Maybe make yourself a fruit salad to go with it… eat half of the fruit salad ahead of time and then the other half, if you are still hungry, after you finish the enchilada bake. Not trying to be preachy… more so just reminding myself of this for the next time I pull up this recipe to make! It’s always a good reminder for me of how to move away from gluttony!

Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup*
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
  • 10 oz reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 bag of white corn (or similar) tortilla chips
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese (or similar)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine: cream of chicken, cream of celery, green chiles, sour cream, hot sauce, and cumin.
  2. Crush a few handfuls of tortilla chips and spread over the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Grab a handful of the verrrrry cold corn and “sprinkle” it on top of the crushed chips.
  4. Place a layer of black beans and kidney beans.
  5. Spread a layer of the soup mixture.
  6. Over the soup mixture, place a layer of shredded cheese.
  7. Repeat the layers again. (I repeated them twice… it might vary based on the size of your crock pot)
  8. End with a layer of chips.
  9. Cooking options: Low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours (but you run a bit of a risk of your sour cream separating if you do this)

*Here you have the “easy/convenient” version, but you could totally make your own cream of chicken/celery, make your own tortilla chips, use fresh chopped green chiles, fresh corn, and cook your own black beans and kidney beans. Honestly, I hope to be able to do that someday but I’m not much of a cook, I don’t really enjoy cooking as some do, and I’m not good enough of a time manager to do all that with my toddler and preschooler with me!

And a quick shout out to this flavor combo… Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with ground cumin is uh.maz.ing. I use it in our black bean soup (which is double uh.maz.ing.) and now I use it in anything Mexicanish.

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