A Year of Recipes: #13

Cauliflower rice.  A staple of Pinterest healthy cooking.

Cauliflower rice. A staple of Pinterest healthy cooking.

For my latest experiment, I decided to try the Cauliflower Pizza Bites that are quite popular on Pinterest. Cauliflower has become the new tofu – it can be used as a substitute for a wide variety of less healthy ingredients.

Many recipes calling for a cauliflower substitute require a food processor to turn the vegetable into a “rice-like” consistency. This was the first step in the recipe.

I added extra garlic powder because I can.

I added extra garlic powder because I can.

 

I then had to pan fry the cauliflower rice, and it was a little difficult to determine when it was done. It was supposed to turn translucent. I just waited until a few little pieces started to brown/burn up…so hopefully that was appropriate.

I then used the food processor again to mix up the egg white, cottage cheese, and spices.  Once those ingredients achieved a smooth consistency I mixed with the stir fried cauliflower.

The batter is ready.  I  mixed it together in my pan so I'd have one less bowl to clean...

The batter is ready. I mixed it together in my pan so I’d have one less bowl to clean…

Instead of using a muffin tin (which I read can be difficult to clean and can leave the bites soggy on the bottom) I used piles of mixture on parchment paper, a more highly recommended solution. I pressed one turkey pepperoni onto the top of each.

I made 12 piles since there would be 12 muffins in a tin.

I made 12 piles since there would be 12 muffins in a tin.

These didn’t turn out perfect. In the end, the bites were quite crumbly.  I certainly couldn’t pick them up and dip them in pizza sauce. I ended up putting a few on a plate and using a fork to pick up a bite and then dip in sauce that way.  They certainly weren’t undercooked because they were quite brown and any longer in the oven they would have burned.

Final grade: tasty but lacking in execution.

Final grade: tasty but lacking in execution.

I also had some issues where the turkey pepperoni turned out pretty crunchy. If I make again I’ll want to add the pepperoni halfway through cooking instead of at the beginning. Or I might cut the pepperoni into smaller pieces and stir into the mix.

However, despite some issues, the flavor was pretty good. I don’t think they would have been very good without the pizza sauce, however.

Taste: 2.5/4
Ease: 2/4 – not hard to do, but hard to do well
Guiltless: 3.5/4
Leftovers: 3/4? – I don’t know if I can give a fair verdict since my original product didn’t turn out perfect.  They did reheat okay, but they were already crumbly.

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2014 Resolutions: Shut Up Already

And now…the 2014 Resolutions!  Honestly a lot of the same ones from last year, just focused a little differently.  I’m just now realizing how odd this is to be posting my resolutions for everyone to see.  They’re quite personal, but I guess I should have worried about over-sharing before I started a blog based on figuring out life and adulthood.

Fitness

  • Reach 36 miles by bike (I’m going to regret this one many times)
  • Run that half marathon, whether an official race or just on the trail.
  • Get those ripped arms
  • Balance exercise and diet, remembering to enjoy indulgences from time to time
  • No alcohol for the first 6 months of the year.  (also going to regret this one)

Friendship

  • Stay close to old friends.  Visit Nashville more often, especially since the drive can be done in a long evening.  Get my friends to travel with me when possible.
  • Join a hiking group.  Time to branch out and find some adventurous folk to round things out.  This also will have the nice benefit of letting me go hiking without having to worry about bears…

(I need a word that starts with F…) Living Well

  • Writing – blogging regularly.  Creative writing.  So hard to get started, but this is what I want to do.
  • Reading – instead of focusing on the quantity of books I read, I want to focus on reading quality books.  I have two on my to-read list already and I’m sure more will be found as the year progresses.
  • Humor – take a comedy class.  I’m a smartass and I’d like to be a better one.  This goal is probably the most daunting on the list.
  • Travel – bit of overlap here…but travel with work, with friends, with family.  Plan my vacation days carefully.  Go to some amazing cities.  Do more weekend trips.  Extend those business trips into real vacations when possible.  Make good use of my scheduled holidays.
  • Crafting – this is the flimsiest goal of mine – I want to stay crafty but not at the expense of my other goals.  I think it’s time to pick up a new craft (ornament making just isn’t right in the spring or summer) and I might take a jewelry-making class.
  • Cooking – I actually came up with this resolution but I want to cook more.  I am planning to cook on Sundays before (or after depending on how I feel…) Church so the goal is 52 recipes tried this year.  I’ll of course make sure to blog about them!

Career

  • I set mandatory 6 month and 1 year goals at work earlier in the year.  I want to make sure I pursue these goals.
  • Continue to grow in my ability to be decisive, one of my biggest weaknesses.
  • Champion one outside-the-box project by the end of the year.  Because why not?
  • Do a webinar twice a week over the lunch hour – When I first started working I watched quite a few webinars and haven’t been as active lately, but as things have gotten busier it’s easy to neglect continuing my marketing education.

Crazy to think how much has changed since this time last year.

More On 2013 Goals: Ramble On

Before posting my 2014 goals, a few things I accomplished in 2013 I hadn’t planned on:

Being more like an adult

  • I’ve been living on my own since 2010, but this year I have made significant strides in being responsible and learning to be accountable for my own personal growth.  I’m still not fond of this whole “grownup” thing, but it’s not such a preposterous concept anymore.
  • I’ve learned how to stop living like an incomeless student – if I need things (that I will actually use) I can responsibly buy them now.  If I need a kitchen utensil, I buy it instead of doing without. I can buy fancy loose leaf tea, so long as I actually drink and enjoy it.  If something breaks I can repair or replace it.

Being More Fashionable

  • Working in an office has given me the chance to dress up more, experiment, and develop a stronger sense of personal style.  From hipster boots to chambray jackets to stacked bracelets to colored leggings, it’s been a lot of fun.

Fitness Realizations

  • One – working out is half of the equation but diet needs to be just as important.  I can indulge from time to time but I can’t negate my workouts every time.  I’m focusing on the two halves more equally now.
  • Two – it’s a long term process, but that’s okay.  I am slowly getting stronger and more toned but getting in shape is not the kind of thing that takes 6 months to complete.  I’m in this for the long haul.

I’m writing way too much about these resolutions but it’s so healthy for me to write and process.  Looking back at my goals and everything I’ve learned this year is helping me plan for a better next year.  Growing as a person does happen naturally but if you can be intentional about it, even more so.

And I’d like to geek out and end with a quote from Doctor Who to close:

Times change, and so must I… we all change. When you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good! You’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.

2013 Resolutions Recap

I’ve read several articles the past week, all saying something along the lines of “New Year’s resolutions are bad, don’t do them!”    Nevertheless, I participate in the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, but I don’t think this is a problem since I tend to always be setting personal goals for myself during other times of year.

I guess to start, it is best to recap my existing goals, and look at how I did.  There’s no point setting goals if you don’t measure them, right?

Career

  • Get a job – CHECK
  • Get a job in marketing – CHECK
  • Get a job for an interesting company – CHECK – I think of the jobs I applied for that I would have gladly settled for, and it’s frightening how dull some of them could have been.  Pet Products – how did I luck out?
  • Get a job where I can use my MBA – CHECK – Seriously, couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to combine creative and strategic projects.
  • Get a job that pays appropriately – CHECK – After several months of job hunting you start to lower the bar a little more every day, salary is often the first to go.

Get In Shape

  • Run a half marathon – I continued jogging but did not reach this goal due to very hot summer.  I’m still jogging when I can, focusing on longer distances often up to 8-9 miles.  I did start mid-distance biking, so I’ll consider this one PARTIAL.
  • Toned arms – I don’t have the ripped, female-version-of-Daryl-Dixon-arms I’ve been dreaming of, but I have a lot more muscle definition than before.  I have to remind myself progress is slow and steady.  PARTIAL/CHECK
  • Healthy Eating – Being in the workplace generally causes me to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch at least 5 days a week, room to improve but not bad.  PARTIAL

Productive Hobbies

  • Daily writing – well, I haven’t been writing daily but I did get my blog up and running.  I can improve a great deal here but I’ve made steps. – PARTIAL
  • Read 12 books – I’ve read a few since starting full time employment, but definitely not 12.  I do have quite the collection of free books on my Nook, if that helps. – MISSED
  • Crafting – PARTIAL. I’ve been somewhat crafty…but I’m not the Pinterest wizard I hoped I’d be.  I think there is only so much you can do when you have a full time job.

Be A Better Person

  • Embrace the geek – CHECK YEAH.  The number of action figures on my desk is a good indicator of my success.  In all seriousness though, I have really embraced my passions, both geeky and not, and who I am as a person lately.
  • Travel – Even as a new employee, I’ve had several chances to travel with work, including Las Vegas.  I’ve made it back to Nashville twice.  I’ve gone on a few nice personal trips, including Washington D.C., Charlotte and Chicago.  I’ve seen so many parts of scenic Virginia for the first time, often by foot. – CHECK YEAH.

This post is too long, so I’ll split up and post my resolutions tomorrow or Wednesday!

That One Time I Was A Nine

Two weekends ago I staffed a consumer trade show for the first time, one of the early steps in my project to improve our presence at future trade shows.  It was a weekend full of hands-on experience and many opportunities to learn.  It was a lot of work, but equally fun.

 

Aquatics is a male-dominated industry, and simply by chance we ended having an all female show staff.  Two ladies from sales joined me for the weekend, due to their territories being somewhat close to the show’s location.

 

Oh.  My.  Word.  We received more attention from the other exhibitors for being a bunch of pretty ladies.  (It wasn’t as creepy as it sounds, fortunately.)  Yes, a few people were of the leering-type, but for the most part the guys were just grateful to see some women in the hobby.  They were happy to know we were interested in the same things they were so passionate about.

 

After the show each day, and sometimes during, there were many opportunities to socialize with the other exhibitors and experts, and I now know what it feels like to be a 9 or a 10.  Now in everyday life I’m not ugly, but nobody would ever mistake me for a model.  However, at the show I had the chance to feel like I was one for the first time in my life.  People wanted to buy me drinks and were happy just to have me in their presence.  They were paying a lot of attention to me and interested when I was around.

Being treated that way was fun, and made me feel good about myself, but it was honestly not as fulfilling as it would seem.  I, along with my two co-workers, wanted to be respected for working hard and making a conscious effort to know as much as we can about our products and industry.  That being said, I am always glad to receive a free drink, but I’m not going to work any less hard just because I’m a woman.

Confession: Trying On Clothes

Does anybody else feel guilty when they try on clothes at a store and none of them fit?

This usually happens to me at Target.  I buy a considerable amount of clothing there.  I love their clothing because for what I pay, it’s very fashionable and the quality is excellent.  (Nevermind the fact that there are no other stores nearby with clothing for a professional woman in her mid 20’s…)  However, sometimes with slightly cheaper clothing, the odds of fitting nicely is a little lower. If I go to somewhere like Ann Taylor Loft, most of what I try on is going to be flattering and fit well.  The success rate is probably somewhere around 75%.  I’m guessing at Target it’s closer to 25%.  

So anyways, I’d like to confess: I hate to be the person who tries on the max 6 and gives all 6 back afterwards, so sometimes I’ll take an item or two with me and hang them back up myself.  Am I the only person that socially awkward?