Mashed Cauliflower

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I realize my food choices are not on par with many of my loved ones, and I don’t expect any special treatment when I attend family/friend gatherings; I’m quite happy to bring an entre or two to go along with the other dishes on the table. So when I showed up at my Aunt Tricia and Uncle Richie’s house for Thanksgiving, I was taken aback by the variety of dishes, many being vegan. My uncle is a wonderful cook (having been in the firehouse all those years), and cooks many healthy meals, but something told me that the abundance of roasted vegetables with no cheese on them played more towards my aunt and uncle’s kind and caring host-with-the-most nature than to their plan for a healthy and veggie-ful Thanksgiving feast. They were delicious by the way. However, it was my cousin Danielle’s husband Greg’s cauliflower mash creation that had me super intrigued since the only ingredients were the delightfully delicious and popular cruciferous vegetable, aka cauliflower, and garlic. I didn’t even go near them for the first ten minutes because they looked exactly like mashed potatoes, so I just assumed that’s what they were. When Greg told me exactly what it was and I tried it, I realized Thanksgiving ’14 would be my favorite holiday as a vegan yet.

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 I decided to give the two-ingredient recipe a go, and it’s become one of my go-to dinners. This is a delightfully light alternative to a brown rice or quinoa dish, and I like it best with an assortment of roasted/sautéed vegetables (as you can see from my pictures). Due to its chameleon-like abilities, cauliflower is definitely part of the “in” crowd right now, and rightfully so. I mean, on top of roasting or sautéing them, you can mash these suckers up or create quite a party pleasing cauliflower ‘wings’ dish. Perhaps you’d rather slap on some special sauce and create a nice lil ‘chop’ for yourself. Pizza? Make it a cauliflower crust. And then there is of course the obvious option of eating it raw. Catch my drift? It. is. versatile. Ya know what else it is? Healthy. It’s jam packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties, so whatcha waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • optional: dash of salt

Steps:

  1. Boil enough water in a large pot to comfortably fit both heads of cauliflower, chopped.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Wrap a bulb of garlic in foil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. When finished, the cloves should fall right off their skins.
  3. Rinse and cut the cauliflower into large chunks, about 2 inch cubes and place in the boiling water. Cook until tender with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  4. Drain the cauliflower, but keep about ½ cup of the liquid in the pot. Add the baked garlic cloves and use a hand held blender to puree. If you don’t have a hand held blender, use a potato masher.
  5. Sprinkle with a little salt if desired; I used pink Himalayan salt. Enjoy!

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Almond Milk

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It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I learned how simple it was to make almond milk, so I credit this post to my co-worker, Stephanie. Since then, I’ve seen many nut milk recipes and the various ingredients that could be added. Isn’t that funny…once you’re awakened to something, it seems to be everywhere and you have to ask yourself how did I not see/know this before? Well this is a basic recipe with a couple of optional ingredients that may be worth trying.

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Almond milk is loaded with vitamin E, which is responsible for your skin’s beautiful glow, as well as protecting it against sun damage. Ironically, “traditional” cow’s milk is often responsible for acne and eczema, as most bodies are not equipped with the enzymes needed for digesting this type of milk. Unlike milk derived from an animal, almond milk contains fiber and does not contain cholesterol or saturated fat (or antibiotics, blood, and pus. Yes, pus. If you haven’t done so already, please feel free to read my post Why I Chose To Stop Eating Dairy…). It’s creamy, naturally sweet, and very delicious, so what’s not to love?

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Have fun with the excess almond skins that are left behind. I must credit Stephanie with this tidbit too, as I probably would have wasted this part by throwing it away. I just added some raisins and baked on 350 F until toasted, about 30 minutes (turning once during the baking). I could’ve been more creative, but I was more focused on trying to produce pretty pictures for my almond milk!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • optional: 2 dates or maple syrup, dash of cinnamon, dash of vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Soak almonds overnight, or for at least 5 hours, making sure to use enough water to cover the almonds.
  2. Drain the almonds and place in a blender, adding the six cups of water and optional ingredients.
  3. Blend for one minute.
  4. Drain the almond milk using a cheese cloth and strainer. Place the cheese cloth atop the strainer and place above a medium/large sized bowl. (I have made almond milk using just a strainer and no cheese cloth before.)
  5. Make sure to squeeze out the excess liquid from the cheese cloth.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!

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