The best thing about being off from work is kitchen fun. I made up a soup recipe using roasted then grilled cauliflower that turned out really well. Here’s the recipe:
Crissie’s Creamy and Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
*1 head cauliflower, greens removed and cut in half
*1 can coconut milk
*1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
*spicy seasoning blend (I used Vulcan Fire Salt from the Spice House, but any spicy seasoning blend will work).
*1/2 medium onion
*3 cloves garlic
*1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya cheddar shreds – this addition is totally optional, as the soup tasted great without it too).
*salt and pepper to taste
*Preheat oven or toaster oven to 500 degrees
*Cut the head of cauliflower in half, spray lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with the spicy salt blend (I used Vulcan Fire Salt from the Spice House in Milwaukee – its salt imbued with jalapeno’s, chilis, and various other spices).
*Place on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes. You want it roasted, but NOT rubbery – which will happen if you leave it in too long.
*Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Grill the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes, rotating it to get a nice brown on it.
*While the cauliflower is grilling, place the onions and garlic in a dish and stick in the oven to roast also. You can add a little olive oil here if you’d like – I used a sprinkling of my Tuscan herb infused olive oil.
*Put the cauliflower in a stock pot, add the coconut milk, onion, garlic, and vegetable broth.
*Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until everything is soft – about 15 minutes.
*Blend until creamy – I used an immersion blender, but you could use a normal blender and cream in batches.
*Stir in the Daiya cheddar shreds and stir until melted.
*Salt and Pepper to taste
I was surprised how filling this was. Adding the cheese was a last-minute decision, but it didn’t really need it. I think if you added a Yukon gold potato during the simmering phase, that would add a depth and creaminess to it also. In the end it was a smoky flavored cauliflower soup that I’d definitely make again.
Another fun dish I made was a sammich. I’ve realized that my sammiches of youth were very basic – a meat and a cheese – and this is exactly how I think of sammiches. So when I became a vegetarian and then vegan, sammiches were pretty much removed from my diet with the exception of the occasional Subway visit.
Yesterday, I decided that I missed sammiches, and wanted to come up with something fun. And I did! I think it just may be the Earth’s Best Sammy.
Crissie’s Best Sammy (so far)
*2 portabella mushroom caps
*1/4 onion, sliced
*4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
*1/4 cup pineapple juice
*2 rings of pineapple
*1/2 avocado, sliced
*handful of baby greens
*2 slices bread of your choice (the sturdier, the better)
*1 tbsp. vegan mayo and a squirt of siracha
*heat a skillet on high, adding the vinegar and pineapple juice.
*when it comes to a boil, add the mushroom caps and onion slices. Lower head to medium and cover.
*cook for 10 minutes, flip the caps, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes.
*remove the mushrooms and onions to a plate.
*For this next part, I used my Panini pan, but any clean and dry pan or skillet will do.
*heat the pan (if not non-stick, use a spray) and grill the pineapple slices for a few minutes on each side.
*meanwhile, assemble the sammy. I spread both slices of bread with my spicy mayo mixture, then layered on the mushrooms and onions, avocado, pineapple slices, and baby greens.
*with your Panini pan/skillet preheated on medium high – put your sammy in it. Place a heavy plate on it while it’s cooking to squish it down (hence the beauty of a Panini pan or press)
*cook until brown – about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove the heavy plate, flip the sammy, and press again.
I really, really loved how this came out, and that it didn’t require any added fat or oils. It also kept me full for a VERY long time! So yay for sammy’s making a comeback!
Thursday night, my daughter A and I went to a yoga class. It was called Yin yoga, and while I knew going in it was of the gentle/restorative kind, I don’t think I was quite prepared for exactly how gentle it would be. Don’t get me wrong – I love to slow down once in a while and just get a good gentle and peaceful stretch. I’m used to yoga being a challenging workout though, and I found myself struggling to slow down.
That said, A loved the class and said she almost fell asleep. If it hadn’t been so late when we got done (845 pm), I would have gone for a run or something. Oh well. I guess that means for me, Thursday felt like a rest day.
Yesterday was a gym and run day. My intention was to run outside, and then R and I would go to the gym, she’d do the fun kid things like rock climb, and I’d do my weights. However, as we were getting ready to go, she asked if she could run on the treadmill, and as much as I hate treadmills and wanted to run outside, I couldn’t exactly say no to such a cutie – especially when its surrounding working out!
So, we went, she played and climbed rock walls while I lifted weights, and then I grabbed her and we picked out side by side treadmills to run on. She was thrilled to find a TV attached to each one, so she plugged in her headphones, put on Cartoon Network, and cranked out 2 miles – smiling the whole time.
Thursday was a nice and quiet day, mostly spent doing wash, organizing the kitchen, cleaning, and cooking. Other than meeting D for lunch at Salsarita’s for a quick taco salad and then yoga that night, I stayed home and hung out and played with the kids.
Friday was also very nice. After R and I spent 2 hrs. at the gym, I came home and worked on my spring training schedule. I have two races so far, one in April and one in June. I created my training plan to get me through April’s 10K, but need to create the one for the half marathon in June.
I’m really excited about my training plan. D mentioned a few weeks ago (when I ran in a race in early Dec – my first in well over a year), that I light up when I have something to train for. Since the Chicago marathon, I’ve struggled with defining what I want to do in terms of racing. Run? Triathlons? Quit and just “workout” for the sake of working out? I’ve done all, but haven’t really committed well to any. I workout, but it lacks the focus for me as when I’m actually training for something. Just the act of sitting at my computer with my spreadsheet, different running websites and books scattered about me as I create at training schedule got me really excited. So yeah – I guess my training is making a comeback too!
Last night I went out to dinner with a friend of mine at Carrabba’s, and had a really great time (and great food, of course). Tonight I have dinner plans with another friend, and am very much looking forward to that too.
For now, I’m going to clean up and hit the gym with R for a swim workout. I was supposed to go on a group beach hike, but it was canceled for rain, and since I can’t face another treadmill run, the pool it is!