Friday, March 14, 2014

Recipe: Romanesco Cauliflower Mac

No idea what romanesco cauliflower is? Don't worry, you definitely aren't alone. (My spell check doesn't even recognize it.)

Some people call it romanesco broccoli.

Or fractal cauliflower. 

This is what it looks like: 


We had our first experience with this veggie fairly recently, when one arrived in our CSA box. We discovered that it is great straight up roasted with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I think it tastes more like broccoli than cauliflower but also much nuttier. It really has its own flavor altogether.  

You should try it! 

I was ready to try something new this past Monday so, using Martha Stewart's Broccoli Romanesco and Parmesan Puree recipe as inspiration, I decided to whip up a veggie and cheese mac for Meatless Monday. 

This could also be a fun St. Patrick's Day dish. You know, because it's green. 

Romanesco Cauliflower Mac

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head romanesco cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces small macaroni
  • Fresh parsley, for serving

  1. Cook macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid before draining.
  2. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the romanesco cauliflower and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown.
  3. Add water, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the romanesco cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. 
  4. Drain any remaining water from the skillet and transfer the romanesco cauliflower to a blender or food processor. Add milk and process until smooth. If needed, add a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to get the sauce to your desired consistency. 
  5. Combine the pasta and sauce. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan and chopped parsley. 

Based on my calculations, this is approximately 350 calories/serving.

Disclaimer: I don't believe in hiding vegetables to get children to eat more vegetables. Primarily because they don't learn that vegetables are awesome and that they actually LIKE vegetables. However, if you have a particularly picky eater on your hands, child or adult, this may be a good way to sneak in some extra good green stuff. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Goals Update! Vacation, Running, Grad School??? OH MY!

I wanted to do a quick goals update, since it has been a while since I have posted. For the most part, I've been blogging much more frequently this year. I did take a little break when I went on vacation last week. We went to Disneyland for four days and it was absolutely wonderful. It rained on us nearly the entire time but I'm not complaining because we were having fun at Disneyland!

MONORAIL! This was the view from our hotel room. Love.
Milk & Cookies.
Mickey beignets at Cafe Orleans in Disneyland.
Out there having fun, in the warm cool California sun rain.

In addition to my various goals (see updates below) I found out on Friday that we received a grant award at work for the biggest (money-wise) proposal I have ever written. YAAAAAAY! This is particularly fantastic because it secures resources for critical prevention, intervention and youth development services. A selfish reason that I was keeping my fingers crossed for the grant award is because it means I will most likely not have to submit another proposal of that size until 2016.

Oh, and if that isn't enough excitement for a couple weeks, I hit 'submit' on a graduate school application this morning. It is for an innovative, accelerated program that will allow me to complete my master degree by December of next year, all while maintaining my current full-time job. For now, I wait....

Goal Updates 

  • Complete January Cure.  
  • Blog January Cure and goal progress minimum 1x/week. 

 - Reach Goal Weight & Maintain:
  • Hot Chocolate 5K (January); Fight for Air Climb (March); Great Strides 5K (April); Stars & Stripes 5K (July); Fall 5 or 10K TBD.
  • Hikes 1x/month minimum
  • Schedule and track all fitness. 
  • Complete five personal training sessions. 
  • Group gym classes 2x/month minimum. 
The hiking goal has been one that I have really enjoyed accomplishing and we have easily exceeded it. My big hike this month will be with a childhood friend. We don't see each other all that often and she is a lover of the great outdoors and will be a wonderful hiking mentor.

I recently restarted my Couch-to-5K training -- mainly because I wanted to get back in the habit of running every other day and work up my running stamina. This past week I ran every other day. So far, so good!


My first personal training session is scheduled for this Friday! I will report back on how that, and any future personal training sessions, goes.

  • Track all food and pay attention to portion sizes. 
  • New recipes 8x/month. 
  • Meatless lunches/dinners 4x/week minimum. 
The new recipes goal has been especially easy...and fun! I use Paprika which makes finding, importing and organizing recipes super duper easy. I also use it for our weekly meal planning and grocery lists. Meatless meals have also been easy and fun. Keeping it up at much as possible! I will post some of our favorite new recipes soon. 

  • Read 12+ books. 
  • Dates with friends 2x/month minimum. (May be combined with fitness fun.)
  • Daily Challenge by me you health. (Overall well being.) 
I'm still working my way through the two books I started this year, A Confederacy of Dunces and Tattoos on the Heart. Both are very good but I honestly haven't been making reading a priority. I do want to work on that, even if it means just a little bit each evening. 

We have been having a lot of fun with friends so far this year -- next up is a dinner and game night at our house this Saturday. We'll be making a vegan paella. Mmm... 

Last, but not least... I've completed all of the Daily Challenge assignments since January 1...68 days and counting!