Cauliflower Pizza!

I am a pizza lover.  I am from Upstate NY, where the pizza is the best in the whole country and I love the heck out of some good pizza.  But, I also love bad pizza.. I have been told (by my brother) that I am a disgrace to my Upstate NY roots because I know what good pizza is, and I’ll still eat gas station pizza… Hey, I don’t discriminate against any dough, sauce and cheese.  So when people ask… what is your favorite cheat meal?  You better believe it’s pizza.

One day I was scrolling through some vegetarian pinterest stuff and came across this thing called “low carb pizza” —- I had to click it.   I’ve been gawking over this idea of “healthy pizza” since I stalked these pins on Pinterest, and I have finally taken the plunge to figure out how to eat pizza every day and still get some abs (kinda kidding on the every day part…kinda not kidding).  My first attempt at “healthy pizza” was a Pesto Pizza on a whole wheat crust from good ‘ol Harris Teeter…. I realized that this ended up not being healthy (except it was DELICIOUS!!!!!)… So after mowing down the Pesto Pizza for a few weeks…(I made about 3 in a two week span…), I decided to finally make my own crust, using my new found favorite thing, Cauliflower!!!

Guys, you can seriously do anything with cauliflower, I haven’t even scratched the surface the capabilities of this weird vegetable.  If you have a food processer, the possibilities are endless.  So I started with some cauliflower breadsticks and they came out AMAAAZZINGGG…not exactly crispy, but they also didn’t fall apart.

This past weekend I made my first cauliflower crust and it was fabulous… as long as you had a fork.  When they say that you need to drain your cauliflower and get as much of the moisture out as possible….DO IT.

On to what you have all been waiting for:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust!!

1 head cauliflower, stalk removed

 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs

 

Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processer until fine.  DRAIN WELL. (Try and put a towel on it to get all the moisture out.) Let cool. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with the mozzarella, oregano, parmesan, salt, garlic powder and eggs. Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle (mine was a rectangle). Bake for 20 minutes.

Add your toppings and bake for another 10 minutes (or until your cheese is melted, if you topped with cheese).

The beautiful pizza below has some pizza sauce, low-fat mozzarella, parmesan and taco cheese (we had a lot of leftovers).  Which means that this does not satisfy my quest for the allusive “healthy” pizza…

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My Veggie Life

I have been a veggie lover my whole life (I was the kid who loved broccoli) – raw meat has always made me scrunch my nose and try to look the other way when I have eaten it… I’d have to confirm with my mother, but I don’t think I cooked or touched raw meat until I was well into my college years.  I would eat it, but looking at it raw and realizing that it is the innards of an animal just made me cringe… still does.

So combine my lifetime of raw meat confusion, completing the Ultimate Reset back in December (which calls for a full Vegan diet for the final two weeks), and reading the book ‘Skinny Bitch’ while Vegan for those two weeks… and here I am!  Two months later and I still haven’t touched meat (and don’t plan to).  It’s my choice, I don’t care what others do, and I am not some animal rights person – I do love animals, but I am not going to judge anyone on their decisions.  So with that preface, get ready to behold my favorite Vegetarian hacks that I have developed over the past 2 months!

Before I get into my daily breakdown, let me just tell you that I am also counting my macros and I workout 6 days a week with relatively heaving lifting and running 3 miles 4-5 of those days.  This means I need to maintain my protein levels and also eat for energy to ensure I can get through my run.  Alright lets go!

>>Breakfast

Ranked in order of my favorites – note that I am not currently eating eggs, so add in your eggs for breakfast if these are in your diet! They are a good source of protein:

  1. Tempeh with 1/4 avocado
    1. See my “how to make tempeh blog” for the recipe I use… I LOVE THIS STUFF.  I used to have tempeh for dinner 3-4 nights per week, but when I started counting macros, I swapped my daily oatmeal for tempeh so I could get all of my grams of protein for the day.  The only issue with tempeh and avocado first thing in the morning is the fat content – I need to be sure to keep a low fat content the remainder of the day (typically isn’t too much of a problem, as you will see below)
  2. Protein Pancakes
    1. My favorite breakfast on the weekends – I have yet to find the perfect recipe, but the way I have made these has been low in carbs (aside from the maple syrup) and high in protein and even higher in deliciousness.
  3. Chocolate Shakeology with 1 tsp peanut butter
    1. This is my go-to when I was too lazy to prep my tempeh.  It gets me a decent amount of protein first thing in the morning, but shakeology is also relatively high in carbs (about the same amount of grams as the protein), so just beware of this.  Make sure you aren’t using too much peanut butter, it is uber high in fat.
  4. Oatmeal with flax seeds, cinnamon and pure maple syrup
    1. My old favorite (sigh).  Delicious and cozy oatmeal is great before a weekend when I have some long runs, but the lack of protein is certainly not macro counting friendly.

>>Morning Snack!

  1. Non-fat greek yogurt – this is a great source of protein and has been incorporated into my daily diet – I eat the vanilla or peach Light N Fit

>>Lunch

I ranked these in order of most often eaten.  As you can see, I typically eat a salad for lunch.. I am a creature of habit.

  1. Salad with either 1/4 cup of quinoa or 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 9 carrots (not sure why I count 9), and 1-2 tbsp low fat balsamic (I try to get the one with the lowest carbs and fat)
    1. I stay away from cheese because of the fat content and add pumpkin seeds when I have them in stock to ensure I have some protein in there
  2. Spaghetti Squash and spinach
    1. Lately I have strayed away from this one for lunch since it has limited grams of protein… but it sure is delicious – I’ve added it to one of my potential snacks in the afternoon instead

>>Afternoon Snack Time!

I love all of these equally:

  1. Baked Sweet Potato
    1. On Sunday meal prep day, I typically bake 4-6 sweet potatoes for the week for me and my fiancé – which usually isn’t enough for both of us for the week.  We eat them plain and they are delicious treats that feel like a filling cheat meal…but they aren’t!  1 cup of a baked sweet potato is only around 115 calories!!! WINNING
  2. Quinoa and Spaghetti Squash Fritters
    1. I love these little guys. Made with quinoa, spaghetti squash, flour, parmesan cheese and an egg white (I’ll bake with eggs but wont eat them by themselves yet…) – I’ll make about 20ish of these on a sunday and bring 3-4 of them each day for a snack – i’ll typically eat them an hour before my workout for a bit of carbs before my run
  3. A bag of frozen green beans or broccoli
    1. Like I said, I love vegetables.  And nothing is easier than microwaving a bag of frozen veggies and chowing down.
  4. 1/2 scoop protein powder
    1. This is a new one, and I have been having this daily so I can keep my grams of protein up for the day
  5. Spaghetti squash and spinach – see lunchtime above 🙂

>>Workout Time!!

I’ll run typically 1.5 – 3 miles each day and then do one of my lifting workouts.  I LOOOOVE Amino Energy, which is from Optimum Nutrition and gives me a boost of energy in the afternoons – it has way less caffeine than pre-workout and has the benefit of adding BCAA’s, so I love it in the afternoon before I workout.

>>Post Workout (and typically my drive home)

  1. 1 Scoop of protein powder
    1. This is essential for my macros – protein and recovery all in one yummy shake
  2. 1 apple
    1. When I run more than 3 miles, I always need some sugar after my workout, so I love my apples.  During the week, I don’t usually eat apples because I am running 3 miles or less and don’t need the extra carbs

>>Dinner (more like a light snack since I’ve been eating all day long)

  1. Morningstar Black Bean Burger with katsup (no bun)
    1. This has been my ‘almost-daily’ dinner for a few weeks now.  I absolutely love these things and the make me very happy.  I used to crave burgers and fries when I got home, and this 10000% satisfies my craving, even without the bun
    2. I’ll also add in one of the following:
      1. Stoned Wheat Thins with home-made guacamole
      2. Quinoa and Spaghetti Squash Fritters (3-4) with katsup
      3. Sliced sweet potato fries (prepped on the weekend with literally nothing but some non-stick pan spray)
      4. Anything that gets me to my macros but still keeps me under my 1500 calorie goal

Two days a week I also get wine 🙂 Our goal is to only drink two days per week, and on these two days, we have to workout prior to our beverages.  It has worked so far for 2017!

Item to note – I do count my macros, but I also have a calorie goal.  If I am still hungry after I eat my dinner, I will eat more, but I try to stay under 1500 calories as long as I don’t feel famished.  This has worked for me, and it will be different for everyone.

I have loved making new vegetarian friendly things when time allows and my fiancé loves eating them, even though they are meat free.   The meal plan above is my typical Monday-Friday, and on the weekends, I usually make something fun for dinner, like our new favorite Pesto Pizza.

I am digging the vegetarian life – and feel free to re-check above – I am not eating crap loads of nuts or high-fat protein to meet my macros!  It IS possible to workout like a beast (#girlswithmuscles), be a vegetarian and meet your macros – let me know if you have questions 😉

 

How to cook Tempeh

I can’t count the number of people who I have told that I am a vegetarian and know that I lift and ask “but how do you get your protein?”  Well hello, my misinformed friends, you don’t NEED meat to get your protein.  One of my favorite sources of protein is a soy product called tempeh!  I found tempeh when I completed the Ultimate Reset in December (and still use this recipe).  I was a little nervous to try it, since Luke said it looks like “brains..” hopefully I didn’t kill your appetite there… but honestly, it just looks like a bunch of seeds or something kept together by some glue – you be the judge:

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Uncooked tempeh

Whatever, it doesn’t look pretty, I still took the plunge and tried it.  And I am absolutely hooked now!  I have yet to try any recipe other than the one below, but I am sure I’ll love them all.  I typically have a 4oz slice with 1/4 avocado.  And I sure love me some avocado!  One 4oz serving has about 23 grams of protein (4 oz of chicken breast has about 21 grams ;))

I purchase my lovely tempeh at the local Harris Teeter for $2.49 for 8oz.  It took me a while to find the little guy, but now I know that it is located in the produce section!  I also found tempeh at Earth Fare, and it was almost a full dollar more expensive, so pick your poison.  It helped to know what the package looked like when I was first trying to find it, so here you go:

lightlife-foods-organic-tempeh-58375Now to the magic recipe!

Baked Tempeh (makes 1 4oz serving):

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos

1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup

1/2 clove garlic, chopped (I usually used pre-minced garlic)

4 oz Tempeh

Combine vinegar, Bragg Liquid Aminos, oil, maple syrup and garlic in a bowl, mix.  Place tempeh in a shallow disk, pour marinade over tempeh.  Marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator, turning over once to get marinade on both sides.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on each side.

I typically make multiple servings and just double the recipe when I am making 16oz (its a lot of marinade).  I eat it warmed up with some avocado!  Enjoy!

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Recipe of the Week!

I tried some really awesome vegetarian recipes this week, all of which were some sort of concoction based off my extensive Pinterest scrolling.  All of these recipes were “Shannon-approved,” (and Luke actually liked them as well), but take that approval with a grain of salt!  I have never been known for my cooking skills, I have never been known to follow recipes and I have never been known for having the same taste as other people!  BUT, you’re on my blog, so I’m telling you what I thought tasted good 🙂

1.) Protein Pancakes:

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I have some delicious cookies and cream protein)

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    Cookies and Cream is amaaazing!

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Mix ingredients and cook on a frying pan!

This yielded two very dense and not very fluffy pancakes, that I topped with some organic maple syrup.  According to Shannon math, the two pancakes plus the syrup is less than 300 calories.  My favorite part was that they were super easy to make!img_9085

Other awesome recipes that I tried this week included:

  • Pesto Pizza (perfect for my when I am craving pizza… which happens very often..)img_9099
  • Parmesan Spinach and Spaghetti Squash (one of my favorite healthy snacks during the week)img_8984
  • Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Fritters (I have an obsession with spaghetti squash these days..)
  • Cauliflower and Quinoa Meatballs (ended up coming out flat..)

So far, I am digging this vegetarian life!  I am really getting into cooking and trying out different things and the MyFitnessPal app is definitely still my BFF.  I haven’t bit the bullet and upgraded to the paid version yet, but the free version gives you a high level overview of macros!  Not to mention all the challenges that you can join.  I love challenges. And prizes.  And now, after this long day of cleaning, working out extremely hard, and then cooking for hours (those cauliflower and quinoa meatballs are not what I would call “easy”), I am going to log my meals and watch some football. 🙂