Cauliflower Poppers

Cauliflower Poppers

Cauliflower Poppers

It’s hard to believe that just one year ago I couldn’t stand cauliflower. In my mind it could only be bland, dull and steamed with carrots and broccoli. It just didn’t appeal to me.

I’ve grown a lot since then and now I really like cauliflower, not as much as broccoli, but it’s become an enjoyable and even versatile vegetable for me. My favorite ways of preparing are soup (Curried Cauliflower Coconut), pureed like mashed potatoes, and roasted.

This recipe for cauliflower poppers is a simple yet flavorful preparation that was sent to me by a Twitter friend and fellow foodie Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O’Clock Scramble. The recipe is a favorite of Aviva and her family, and now a favorite of mine, too. I followed her recipe for the most part, the only difference being that I added a little ground ginger to the spice mix just for a bit more flavor and slightly decreased the amount of chili powder because I’m sort of a wuss when it comes to spice.

Either way, the cauliflower poppers are delicious as a side dish or, as in my case, a meal in itself.

Here’s the recipe:

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Hockey + Cooking = Recipe for Inspiration

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy8PwkzCXOw[/youtube]

As many of you may know, I teach a class once a week for a non-profit called Common Threads. It’s an amazing organization that works with Chicago public school children from the ages of 8 to 12 years old to teach them cooking skills, nutrition and cultural diversity. Teaching these classes is truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I feel I’ve gained so much from these kids who come from all different backgrounds.

Last fall I was lucky to share this experience with Brett Sterling from the Chicago Wolves. While I’m sure he’s a great hockey player (sorry Brett, I still haven’t seen a game), I can say with absolute certainty that he has a good heart.

Brett visited my class along with others from the Wolves organization last fall, which was so special for the kids. Not only did they love the hats, pennants and posters Brett signed for them, they were so excited to work with him in the kitchen, teach him cooking skills they’ve learned, and ask him all sorts of questions. It was really a special day.

The Wolves also put together this short video of Brett’s Common Threads visit that I just found on their website. It’s a great video that really showcases the spirit of Common Threads and the amazing students I had the privilege of teaching. Take a look – it’s inspiring!

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Ten in ’10 Challenge Week 4: Adjustments

It’s been a week of readjustments for my Ten in ’10 challenge, mostly focusing on food and nutrition. I’ve stuck with the Bar Method for exercise and went three times last week, and am still mulling the idea of adding additional days for a cardio workout.

Like I said, I focused on nutrition this week and am lucky to have a friend who’s a registered dietitian, basically someone I can turn to for free advice. This week I discussed my frustrations of not losing any weight with her and she advised that I may not be getting enough calories each day.

I’ve been tracking my calories, fat, protein and fiber using SparkPeople, which has been incredibly convenient as a free website I can access from work or home. I had my goals set up to be fairly rigid, allowing myself between 1200 and 1500 calories a day, the same range I’ve stuck to in the past to lose weight.

The RD thinks that’s too low which is why I’ve never been able to sustain the weight loss long term. Some of that I’m sure has to do with the fact that I stop working out once I hit my goal weight, but I agreed to try it her way and an now aiming for 1500 to 1800 calories a day.

It’s too soon to tell if it’s working but I am sure am hoping it will!

As for nutrition, I began taking Vitamin D3 supplements two weeks ago and recently learned that I’ve been taking too much. It turns out that the ginormous bottle I bought from Costco has 2000 I.U. in each of the 600 softgels or 500% of the recommended daily value.

The purpose of taking Vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb other vitamins and “support bone, colon, muscle, immune and breast health.” But, I don’t really need 500% every day.

As a replacement I bought calcium chews that also contain Vitamin D, but at a more acceptable level (50% per chew). The plan is to eat two chews a day with different meals and hopefully prevent myself from shrinking in my fifties.

Let me know if you need a whole lot of Vitamin D! I’ve got plenty to spare.

Ten in ’10 Challenge:

Welcoming 2010 with the Ten in ‘10 Challenge

Happy Holiday Eating

Ten in ‘10: Reflections and Week Two Goals

Ten in ’10 Challenge Week 3: Hitting a Wall

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Chick Chick Bulgur

Chick Chick Bulgur

Chick Chick Bulgur

This is a great, nutritious meal that makes enough to feed a family or for a single person like me to enjoy throughout the week. The Chick Chick Bulgur, or bulgur with chicken, chickpeas and red peppers, was inspired by a recipe for North African chickpea and bulgur soup.

Instead of a soup, I decided to prepare the ingredients as a casserole. The most significant addition was adding chicken (the original recipe was vegetarian) for more protein. I like using boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they have better flavor and don’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts, which is important in an oven-baked casserole. Plus, chicken thighs are usually cheaper than chicken breasts; combine that with better flavor and it’s a win-win.

If you’re not familiar with bulgur, now is the time to try it. Bulgur is a whole grain loaded with fiber and protein, and is a great substitute for rice.

If you’re trying to eat healthy or simply want a filling dish, this is it. Try it, you’ll like it!

Here’s the recipe:

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Ten in ’10 Challenge Week 3: Hitting a Wall

I started off pretty strong with the Ten in ’10 Challenge. I’ve been exercising three times a week and have been recording all the food I’ve eaten. My diet has improved tremendously with a lot more vegetables than before and I’m being careful of portion sizes.

Great, right?

Well, as I enter week four I feel like I’m starting to hit a wall. For starters, working out has become an internal battle of wills and each time the motivated part of me has won, but continues to get weaker from the struggle, whereas the lazy, forget about it side of me is slowly gaining strength.

And the food, too, has become more of a struggle. I find that I’m allowing myself more cheats, like at dinner last night with my family when I was the only one who wanted dessert and insisted on ordering a piece of chocolate cake for the table. Luckily, my family has also has little willpower so they all helped me finish the cake, but still… not the smartest decision.

I think my frustration comes from three weeks of being very good with almost nothing to show for it. Sure, I am getting stronger but I’ve barely lost any weight and my jeans are just as tight-fitting as before. It’s time for some results! Theoretically, I know I should change my attitude and figure out what else I can do to help this process along, like adding additional workouts, but today all I feel is frustration.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, see these posts chronicling my Ten in ’10 journey:

Welcoming 2010 with the Ten in ’10 Challenge

Happy Holiday Eating

Ten in ’10: Reflections and Week Two Goals

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