Skip, Jump and Eat Cauliflower

Allana Kellogg, who writes the blog Veggie Venture, did what no other human being has done: made cauliflower palatable, dare I say undetectable, to my daughter Cassie, a cauliflower hater since birth.

Kellogg posted the recipe Cauliflower Spanish Rice on her site last month and I’ve been a fan of both the recipe and Veggie Venture ever since.

It was my Texas-born husband who introduced me to Spanish rice and its relative, red beans and rice. But I eat rice infrequently these days because the starchy carbs leave me, how do I say this delicately, quite “swollen in the abdomen” and the scale revolts. However, like discovering squash as a substitute for pasta, I can now have “rice” again through the magic of cauliflower. After all, it’s not the rice I love so much, but all the flavors that combine to make the overall rice dish. From this recipe will come all kinds of experiments in my kitchen.

Hands-on time: 25 minutes with occasional attention required throughout

Time to table: 1 hour Makes about 5 cups
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil (I left this out)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (I used a red pepper)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces canned tomatoes, chopped
Salsa to taste (about a half cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
COOK THE CAULIFLOWER by steaming in a vegetable steamer or boiling in salted water, cooking to the ‘al dente’ stage where it’s cooked through but not soft. Chop fine.
MEANWHILE in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM til shimmery. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and stir in. When the cauliflower is cooked, stir it in and continue to cook, breaking up the cauliflower and tomatoes with the edge of a spatula while stirring. After cooking awhile, stir in the salsa. Keep cooking, keep tasting, adding more salsa and salt and pepper as needed. The dish is ‘done’ when the liquid has cooked off, the salsa and seasoning are perfect, and the rest of supper is done too!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cup: 92Cal; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 257mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 5g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 4g Protein; Weight Watchers 1 Point

Claire loves it, too!

She also loves making Grammy Lynn work a little extra harder on her rehab exercises. I’ve been using the green Theraband for two different shoulder exercises, but Claire insisted on using the green one yesterday and handed me the blue one, which has more resistance. I used it and felt the effects today, which isn’t a bad thing. I just think it’s funny that it took a 21-month-old to remind me that I need to increase resistance once in awhile, lest I become complacent.

(For the record, Claire also insisted I wear that hat. )

I didn’t get a formal cardio workout in before the g-kids arrived yesterday, but keeping up with Claire is a workout all by itself. I think she needs to produce an exercise video: “Chase Away the Pounds with Claire.” She runs and runs and climbs and climbs and expects you to keep up – that would be the cardio portion – and then she throws in “uppie, uppie” and her patented “hold me under my arms and I’ll become limp weight as you jump me up and down” technique – this would be the strength training portion of the video. Do this for at least three hours and I guarantee you’ll lose a pound or two.

Who said workouts had to be formal and dull?

Today, I read this quote by Victor Frankl: “Between the stimulus and the response there is a space, and therein lies our freedom.” And I realized that that “space” for me yesterday was Claire and Luca and Cassie. My response to the stimulus of all the stress and work this last week is much healthier today because I took the time yesterday to just be. Just be a mom and a grandmother. Just be carefree and let their joy wash over me.

It’s amazing what a little cauliflower and some skipping and jumping will do for our souls. I hope you find some time to skip and jump and just be in July.

Random photos:

Claire (not amused) with her first pigtails. She kept them in for all of 3.25 minutes.

Luca after I cleaned up a massive explosion down under. I think my quote was, “I’ve got a handful of something” as I picked him out of his carrier.

Luca is starting to smile and coo.

Claire stacking my PB2 jars.

16 thoughts on “Skip, Jump and Eat Cauliflower

  1. Sounds like a terrific day. I'll have to try that cauliflower recipe since I've never been a fan either. I agree that sometimes we need to just be and enjoy our blessings.

  2. Never thought of making “Spanish rice” with cauliflower – sounds like a great idea!

    The pictures are so cute…and I love the toddler workout! I KNOW that my upper body strength was much better 20 years ago, when I was the mother of a 2 year old and a baby!

  3. Oh, Lynn, that picture of Claire “working out” with the green band is simply the cutest! She is so lucky to have such a fun grandmother. And Luca is also a total cutie!

    So I see the exercise equipment, and I gotta ask–you know I asked previously about your weight bench–what kind of bike is that in the background? Is it a recumbent? And what kind of elliptical is that? And finally–I know I am totally nosy!–do you have a full room devoted to just equipment? I vaguely remember you referring to and office/workout room.

  4. Sounds like you had a great time!

    And that recipe sounds great as well. I need to try that. Cauliflower is one of the few veggies DH will eat.

  5. I'm going to try that recipe for sure. We all like broccoli, but cauliflower – not so much. I know my arms are stronger from lifting all my kids. Even when I was heavy I could carry them forever, whereas John would start to fatigue after about a half an hour. The power of Moms and Grandmoms!

  6. Let me know how you like the caulilflower recipe, especially those of you who don't like cauliflower and are willing to try it. I'm definitely going to try Red “Rice” and Beans with cauliflower next week. I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Ali, the bike is a recumbant. It folds up (that's why it looks like it's up against the wall in that photo). I got it throught Sears online, I think. Maybe Amazon. It's an Intone Stamina recumbant and I paid less than $200 for it. I love it! It's very comfortable and fits nicely in my small room.

    My “exercise” room is also my office. It's a small bedroom that we used to use as a den. Then I received a big-ass LifeFitness elliptical from the Oprah Winfrey show and the den got turned into an exercise room.

  7. The recipe sounds great, and like you, I think the idea can be used a zillion ways. I've always liked just plain old cauliflower, so that's not a problem for me.

    I love to see Grandmas enjoying being grandmas! Thanks for sharing that part of your life with us!

  8. Thanks for the response, Lynn. I am totally jealous of that elliptical from Oprah. But that's what happens when you become a super star for losing tons of weight and being an inspiration for us all. (But you totally deserved that elliptical from Oprah…)

  9. I have always hated cauliflower, but since going lower carb, have experimented with it, missing my rice & mashed potatoes.

    The rice versions are great, I generally make cauli-fried rice. Shred the raw cauliflower in the food processor until it's the size of rice and fry in a skillet with whatever seasoning you like. Excellent.

    And if you miss your mashed potatoes, roast cauliflower with ontions & garlic in a little olive oil until carmelized & brown and then puree in the food processor. They are amazing!

  10. I must be the only person who ever tried cauliflower mash and thought it just tasted (and felt in the mouth) like nothing other than overcooked, mushed up cauliflower. I'm a fan of crisp-cooked cauliflower–like in a stir-fry–and I love real potatoes, so I guess I'll keep them both as I know them.

    But, hey, if you can get a veggie-hating kid to eat veg this way, go for it! 🙂

  11. Great blog, I have been following your story for a while and It has been nothing but inspirational! I Thank you


  12. Ah! Your beautiful grandchildren make me want babies! Thanks so much for being an amazing inspiration to me.

    Lots of love all the way from Brighton, England xx

  13. Valerie, thanks for the cauliflower suggestions. I bought a head a few days ago and will dress up another “rice” dish as you suggested.

    I heard from a lot of people who tried and loved this recipe. Yay! I also made a batch of baked egg rolls the other day using cabbage, carrots, etc, and they were awesome, too. So now I have two go-to egg roll recipes. Now I have to find a recipe using cream cheese…

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