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Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps

Let’s talk party snacks. Just like pretty much everyone in America, I love me some good finger foods. Chips and guac, cheese and crackers, bruschetta and mini quiches – I’ll take them all! I’m not really into football, but I’m always down for a Super Bowl party to scope out the snack scene. Sometimes it’s fun to have a whole bunch of mini foods to munch on instead of a formal meal!

The problem with these mini foods is that they are usually not very nutritious. They are often high in sodium, saturated fat and pack more calories than they let on. Looks can be deceiving – one pig in a blanket packs almost 100 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat and 200 mg sodium. These little snacks add up fast!

As you guys might know, my philosophy surrounding nutrition and eating is never about strict calorie counting or taking extreme measures to eat healthier. I focus on eating whole foods (mostly plants) that are nutrient dense a majority of the time, but still leave space to enjoy less nutritious foods. I always want eating to be pleasurable for you, and restricting yourself from enjoying a food you love will likely backfire in the long term.

Tackling situations like Super Bowl parties, where decadent food is in abundance, can be one of the most challenging scenarios to navigate if you are trying to stick to certain health goals. Here are some steps I like to go through with myself in these situations. They help me stay in tune with my body and ensure that I don’t overeat to the point where I am uncomfortably full (and believe me, I’ve done this before and it is no fun)!

Right before the party, I take a second to really check in with myself. I assess how hungry I am. Rating your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 can help! This will help guide my eating choices during the event. Once arriving, I say my hello’s, offer to help out, and do a quick survey of the snack scene. I like to see all the creative recipes people made, and see if any snacks really jump out to me. I usually find 2-3 treats that I’m salivating over, and know I’ll want a taste of those! When it’s time to eat, I fill half my plate with some nutrient dense, lighter options, such as salad, veggie sticks and hummus or grapes. More often than not, your party will have some sort of crudité platter, so load up on these foods freely! Then, I save the other half of my plate for moderate portions of those less nutritious snacks I’m eager to try  (Spanakopita! Mozzarella sticks!) I try to eat slowly and enjoy each bite of food. Before running back for seconds, I check in with myself again to see how hungry I am, and this helps determine how much, if any, extra food I’ll take.

I hope these tips help! It can take a while to get to the point where you are comfortable listening and acting on your hunger cues, but it really is a freeing feeling! Thanks for reading, but now it’s time for the real reason you came here – buffalo cauliflower lettuce wraps!

Ben and I hosted our friends for the Super Bowl on Sunday, and I overestimated the amount of buffalo cauliflower to make, so we had a lot left over. I also had some fresh butter lettuce in the fridge, and thought the combination would be perfect! The warm and spicy cauliflower bites, paired with the cool crisp lettuce works sooo well. A little tangy goat cheese, pickled red onions and creamy guacamole really took these to the next level. To make these cauliflower bites a little more nutritious, I used whole wheat breadcrumbs and almond flour as the coating, baked them instead of frying in oil, and found this sauce that uses pineapple juice as sweetener! The less processed, the better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Avocado oil spray
  • 1 12 oz bottle buffalo sauce (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese, guacamole and pickled red onions for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, almond flour, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. One by one, dip each cauliflower floret into the egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Space out evenly on baking sheet and spray with avocado oil spray.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  6. Combine buffalo sauce and avocado oil in a small bowl. Dip each cauliflower floret into mixture to coat, and return to baking sheet.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes. You can broil for a minute or so at the end to get them extra crunchy, just be careful and watch that they don’t burn!
  8. While cauliflower is baking, pull off whole leaves from lettuce head, wash and pat dry.
  9. Top each lettuce leaf with 2 cauliflower florets, a dollop of guacamole, a sprinkle of goat cheese and a few red onions. Enjoy warm!

If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations! 🙂

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Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Chana Masala

I rarely go for Indian food, but a craving hit this week! I absolutely love all the warming flavors and spices in Indian cuisine, and I felt a hot and cozy meal would be perfect for the low temperatures this week in Boston (although, I really can’t compare Boston to what the Midwest is dealing with right now)! Ben won’t be home for dinner for three nights, and when he’s out, I like to have a super easy meal prepped to eat so all I need to do is reheat it when I’m hungry. Gives me more time to catch up on my solo shows 🙂 We watch a show together when we are both home most nights, but we also have our own separate ones! Right now, I’m into Riverdale, but definitely need some suggestions!

Chana masala is an Indian dish comprised of chickpeas cooked in a spicy, tomato-based sauce. I wanted to make a veggie-heavy, one pot meal with inspired by these flavors, so I added butternut squash, cauliflower and spinach in addition to chickpeas. This recipe is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger and turmeric, as well as antioxidant vitamins A and C. If you’re feeling a cold coming on, make yourself a batch of this to load up on these nutrients! This recipe ended up more than enough for three meals, so it would be perfect to serve your whole family or a larger group.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, grated and finely minced
  • 3 serrano chilies, finely chopped
  • Large handful of cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for serving)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp coriander
  • 1 28 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 whole head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 2 cans low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 3 large handfuls fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp garam masala

Instructions:

  1. Add avocado oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
  2. Mix together garlic, ginger, chilies and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add to the pot and stir to combine with onions.
  3. Add salt, pepper and spices to the pot and stir to combine. Let cook for 1 minute until fragrant so the spices can bloom.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, chickpeas and enough water to just reach the top of all the veggies. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until butternut squash is fork tender.
  6. Add fresh spinach, lemon juice and garam masala and stir to combine. Add more salt to taste as needed.
  7. Serve warm with more cilantro to garnish. Can be served over rice (I used short grain brown rice), with bread or naan, or on its own!

This recipe made 6-8 servings.

Can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. Tastes great cold or reheated.

If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see you creations! 🙂

 

 

Curry Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Parsley

Cauliflower has definitely become the most loved vegetable of our generation. We’re adding it to smoothies and turning it into rice and pizza crust. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have 8 bags of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi stashed away in my freezer. As a dietitian, this hardcore vegetable love makes me VERY happy! You guys know I’m a huge proponent of a plant-based diet, so the more veggies, the better!

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Other members of this squad include broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous veggies are loaded with nutrients including vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of cauliflower has the same amount of vitamin C as an orange! Folate is an especially important nutrient for prenatal and pregnancy nutrition, as adequate amounts are protective against neural tube defects in babies.

While I absolutely love all the creative ways cauliflower is finding its way onto our plates, I also love cooking it straight up and letting it shine just as nature intended! I often include a big pan of simply seasoned roasted cauliflower for meal prep. I recently was asked to bring some vegetables as a side dish to a holiday party, and I wanted to bring a dish that was a little more “dressed up”. I had just gotten some great curry powder, so decided to use that for flavor inspiration. I landed on this curry turmeric cauliflower and added in golden raisins and parsley to round out the dish. I think it’s a great dish for fall and winter, because it’s full of warming spices. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated on microplane
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (optional: soak raisins in hot water while cauliflower cooks to make them more plump and softer)
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower florets on large baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil, and toss with ginger, garlic, lemon zest, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 25-35 minutes until fork tender and nicely browned.
  4. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with raisins and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

I hope you guys give this recipe a try! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Lately, I’ve been traveling a lot on the weekends. I’ve had a few trips in the past few months, plus visiting my boyfriend, friends and family in Boston. I’ve been away from home pretty much every other weekend. If this were one year ago, all this traveling would have totally stressed me out. I was still in my Dietetic Internship and school, and my schedule was dictated by my preceptors. Since my days were jam-packed with internship and homework, I made sure I was extremely organized with meal prepping. I was on a budget, so eating out every night was not an option! While I still love to meal prep and enjoy cooking and eating a majority of my meals at home, I’ve learned to manage better if Sunday evening rolls around and I am just getting back to the city.

One of my biggest tips for being able to prepare a nutritious meal after coming home from traveling is to stock your pantry with a few staples at all times. In particular, frozen vegetables are a lifesaver! They can be added to stir fries, pasta, or even just rice and beans to finish off a perfectly balanced meal. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious (if not more so) than fresh vegetables. Frozen veggies are picked and then frozen at peak ripeness, preserving their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the process.

I’ve probably made my cauliflower fried rice dish 10 times over the past few months. It’s become my go-to meal when I didn’t have time to batch cook for the week, because I use frozen cauliflower rice, eggs, and seasonings which I always have on hand. I like to pick up a few extra veggies to throw into the mix for color and variety, but this dish already has loads of veggie goodness thanks to the cauliflower rice! You can even add other frozen veggies to this dish if you don’t have time to pick up anything fresh – think peas, carrots and broccoli.

Staying on track with healthy eating when you’re frequently on the go can be a big challenge. A little planning ahead by stocking your kitchen with some essentials will save you time, money and catapult you towards your health and wellness goals! I would love to hear your tips + tricks for staying on track when you’re frequently away from home.

Ingredients:

  • ½ tbsp avocado oil or other cooking oil
  • ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup sliced bell pepper
  • ½ cup sliced summer squash
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ tsp sambal olek paste (or a shake of red chili flakes)
  • 1 large handful fresh greens, like spinach, bok choy or kale
  • 2 large eggs
  • Small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a medium cast iron skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring so garlic does not burn.
  3. Add broccoli, bell pepper and summer squash (or any fresh veggies you are using) to pan. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring until veggies are mostly cooked through.
  4. Push veggies to the side of the pan with a spatula. Add cauliflower rice to the empty side of the pan plus the lime juice, soy sauce, and sambal olek. Stir into cauliflower rice to combine. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, then mix cauliflower rice into the rest of the veggies in the pan.
  5. Add greens and stir to combine until wilted.
  6. Push cauliflower rice to one side of the pan.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs together.
  8. Spray the empty side of the pan with cooking spray, then pour in eggs. Scramble with a spatula, then mix scrambled eggs in with the cauliflower rice.
  9. Transfer to a bowl or plate. Top with cilantro, avocado, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately!

This meal is great because it:

  • Utilizes pantry staples when you don’t have time to shop
  • Is extremely customizable, as you can use whatever veggies (fresh or frozen) you have on hand
  • Takes less than 20 minutes to make
  • Is super flavorful and tastes DELICIOUS!

I hope you guys give this a try! If you make this cauliflower rice, I’d love to see how it turns out! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram 🙂