Tag Archives: spinach

Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Spinach, Mushrooms & Sausage

Well, I survived the holidays. I was very nervous about it, as it was the first holiday season after the death of my sister. Tears were shed, but there was also lots of laughter. My parents and I are trying to navigate our way through the messiness of grief. Now, spending time with my family and my sister’s friends feels like getting an IV drip – a very simple yet essential input for me to continue living.

I am battling with insomnia again. It might just be the seasonal blues that always hit me over the head in January, but it can be brutal. Sometimes, it only has a mild effect on me and I don’t feel the overwhelming exhaustion of not getting enough sleep. But yesterday wasn’t one of those days. I woke up at 4 a.m. I knew it was going to be a long day when, at 7 a.m., I was hit with a powerful fatigue and my brain became foggy. When this happens, I tend to panic and visualize a non-productive day laid out before me. What’s more, I crave sugar and carbs when I am bone-tired. There must be some biological reason for this, but it doesn’t help me in any way. Luckily, I have enough experience with insomnia that I know how to navigate my way through it. I did a decent job of exerting enough energy to get me through the day without having a meltdown, and I ate fairly healthy. I did have a brief crying spell in the afternoon, but I think it was necessary; I felt calmer and more clearheaded afterwards.

My husband and I watched Patton Oswalt’s latest Netflix special a few months ago. Towards the end of his set, he shares a story about his wife who died recently. She had a simple mantra, “It’s chaos. Be kind”. It has stuck with me ever since. There are no guarantees in this life, and even if it is just all random chaos, genuine kindness is one of the most powerful acts human beings can provide to one another. There is profound meaning in that. Let’s all try to be kinder as we navigate through our lives.

Have you tried substituting cauliflower rice for your favorite carb yet? I’ve tried a few things, but my favorite is using it as a healthier pizza crust alternative. There are endless cauliflower crust recipes out there, but I like this one the best because it is dairy-free. It makes an easy weeknight dinner!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Spinach, Mushrooms and Sausage
Adapted from PaleoLeap

Yield: 8-10 slices

1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup almond flour (whole-wheat flour works just fine)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup marinara sauce
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, chopped and lightly sautéed
1/2 cup cooked spinach
3 chicken sausages, thinly sliced
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until finely shredded (you may want to do this in different batches).
  3. *Steam the shredded cauliflower for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well, let cool, and strain any excess water using a towel.
  4. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower, eggs, oregano, garlic powder, almond flour, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything thoroughly.
  5. Transfer to a pizza pan or baking sheet and shape into a pizza crust shape.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Spread marinara sauce on top of the crust. Add mushrooms, spinach, sausage, and cheese, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until toppings are nicely cooked.

    *This is a VERY important step. Do not skip or you will have a soggy crust.

Cannellini Beans with Bacon & Spinach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite the fact that we got ourselves a cute little tree, I’ve been listening to Christmas music while getting ready in the morning, and I spent an entire weekend (and then some) making edible holiday gifts, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas this year.  It might be partly due to the fact that it’s been insanely warm for this time of year-–it’s been in the 60’s for weeks now!  Ugh.  My husband finds it humorous that I should complain about this, but I stand by it.  I want a little chill in the air, enough so that a winter coat is mandatory.  I want to walk down the streets of NYC, looking through the windows at the whimsical holiday displays while sipping a hot cocoa.   Is this too much to ask??  The world can be a tough place to stomach sometimes, and I feel like December is the one time of year when we are allowed to live in a fantasyland in our heads––dreaming of sugarplums, reindeer, and snowmen.  I am going to try and make the best of it.  At least we’re not housebound due to a huge snowstorm, eh?

You HAVE to make this dish, and soon.  I’ve made it twice in the past month, and I can’t get enough of it.  Not only is it a perfect, comforting winter meal (even if it is warmer than usual), but it’s super-easy and pretty healthy.   It takes all of 10 minutes, and you can make it in one pan.  Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACannellini Beans with Bacon & Spinach
Adapted from The Splendid Table

Yield:  4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces smoky bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 (28-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Put a large (approximately 10-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and let it get hot.
2. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add the beans and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the spinach and salt, season with pepper, and cook until the spinach wilts, about 4 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of water, if needed, to help the spinach along. Serve immediately.

Curry-Creamed Spinach and Tofu With Potato Crust

DSC_4973I feel like my hormones are out of whack.  I have been taking several different hormone medications for almost two years now, and I think my hormones are finally rebelling.  Ironically, I have been on a “break” with the treatments for the past few months so it seems a bit strange that my hormones would not be at their natural stasis.   I’ve been pondering this for the past few weeks, and the most logical scenario I can come up with is that my hormones have become so used to being tweaked that they no longer know how to get back to their natural state.

Hence the tossing and turning at night.
Hence consuming massive quantities of sugar.
Hence my chin breaking out like that of a teenage boy’s.
DSC_4957I read a book a few months back that was all about teaching women how to live according to their monthly cycle i.e. their hormone production.  It was intriguing and I took a lot of notes.  The author posited that women need to go about their daily lives always keeping in mind where they are in their monthly cycle.  Hormones are incredibly powerful and therefore affect our behavior, how we make decisions, and how we feel about the world around us.  She recommended that we adjust our exercise schedule as well as the foods we consume based on where we are in our cycle.  I think there is a lot of truth in this.  Apparently I need more cauliflower in my diet this week.

I can’t seem to come up with any other explanation for what my body is going through.  My husband says I’ve been fiercely tossing and turning at night like never before.  And I’m reverting back to my old insomniac ways, which I haven’t experienced this regularly in a long time.  Yesterday was a good example of something I haven’t done in years, and it felt completely regressive but also completely out of my control.  At some point over a decade ago, I became obsessed with the meatball sub at Subway.  I could always tell when I was PMS’ing because I would start to intensely crave this meatball sub, as well as a bag of Sun Chips (they still make them!).  Before yesterday, I probably hadn’t had one in three years or so.  But it was almost like some unknown force was pulling me there.  I gave in.  It wasn’t nearly as good as I’d remembered—maybe because they recently took all of the trans fats and synthetic chemicals out of their bread?
DSC_4964This recipe led to me making a batch of (baked) homemade potato chips for the first time!  And because of my hormonal imbalance, I ate half the batch while standing over the stove in the kitchen.  Almost as bad as eating over the sink.  I found this recipe in a recent Sunday Magazine in the New York Times.  I really wanted to try it based on the fact that I’ve never made anything with coconut milk before.  And I think I’ve cooked with tofu all of three times in my life.  It’s a really tasty dish that requires almost no effort other than thinly slicing potatoes.  The nutmeg and garam masala add a nice warmth to the dish that made me wish it were October instead of May, which is a shame because May is one of our loveliest months here in NYC.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.
DSC_4965Curry-Creamed Spinach and Tofu With Potato Crust
Adapted from New York Times Magazine

Yield:  4 servings

3 pounds spinach, trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 brick firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large russet potato, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
Sea salt

1.  Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to boil, and salt it.
2.  When the water is boiling, add the spinach, and cook for about a minute.  Plunge the spinach into a large bowl of ice water, squeeze the moisture from the leaves and roughly chop them.
3.  Put the butter, garam masala and nutmeg in a large saucepan over medium heat.  When the spices are fragrant, add the coconut milk, yogurt, spinach, tofu and 1 teaspoon salt.
4.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has absorbed much of the liquid; taste, and adjust the seasoning, and transfer to an ovenproof dish.
5.  Toss the potato slices with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Lay them over the top of the spinach and tofu without overlapping too much.
6.  Bake until the potatoes are golden and crisp, 25 to 35 minutes.  Scoop into bowls and serve.