Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tots

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Peter is patiently working with Audrey on the Merriam-Webster Spell-It — the list of words that might appear on the school spelling bee.  Audrey is one of the top two spellers in her grade and will represent her class at the podium next Tuesday. Angela is trying to help too, albeit less patiently, and humble-bragging about all the times she won the school bee. As I listen to their practice I realize that my place is firmly in the kitchen — I have never even heard of at least 50% of the words they are going through.

These aromatic cauliflower tots make perfect after school snack, especially for kids who are vegetarians like mine.  They are delicious and packed with nutrition.  One reader commented on my spaghetti squash tots that they made perfect snacks for Sunday’s Golden Globe show gathering.  I think these cauliflower tots are also perfect appetizer for such gatherings. 

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Yellow Cauliflower Tots Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cooked yellow cauliflower florets, finely chopped *see note

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup onion, minced

3 tbsp minced fresh chives

1/4 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup coconut flour

(You can use 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs instead of oat bran and coconut four)

A dash of garlic & herb seasoning

A dash of ground cumin and turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation:

*to cook the cauliflower florets, steam a little over 2 cups raw cauliflower florets in a little water covered for for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender but not mushy, then drain well and dry on paper towel, then using a knife finely chop and set 2 cups aside.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture in your hands and roll into small ovals. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes, turning halfway through cooking until golden.

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 I adapted my recipe from http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/11/cauliflower-tots.html

For another cauliflower recipe, check out Roasted Cauliflower.

Spaghetti Squash Tots

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Spaghetti squash is one of our favorite vegetables.  We’ve made salads, cakes and lasagna with it in the past.  Today I improvised simple spaghetti squash tots with what I have in the fridge and pantry, and the girls finished all three trays of them.  I enjoy it very much when I do something by feel.  It’s more fun to line up the spice bottles and just shake my wrist instead of measuring everything precisely.  A dash of this.  A dash of that.  I felt like a witch concocting some wicked delicious magic.  

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You can eat the tots by themselves or with a little dollop of pesto sauce.

Spaghetti Squash Tots Ingredients:

1 small spaghetti squash

1/2 cup shredded fat free Cheddar cheese (packed, 2 oz)

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (packed, 1 oz)

1/4 cup oat bran

1 egg + 3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 shallot (thinly sliced)

1/4 teaspoon Garlic & Herb Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon paprika

A dash of cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut the squash lengthwise in half.  Scoop out and discard seeds.  Microwave each half with 2 tablespoon of water in a container for 8 minutes.  Scoop out the flesh and let cool.

Mix in all the ingredients well.  Spoon the mixture on the baking dish lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.

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A note about spaghetti squash: try it! It’s super easy to make since you can just cook it in the microwave. Also, you can eat it just like pasta but it’s got more fiber and less starch! Truly a miracle vegetable.

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This spaghetti squash was from our nanny’s garden.

Sweet and Savory Burrata Crostini

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The whole extended family got together. As a fun sort of game, we decided to all go online and find our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personalities. 

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We read the descriptions of our personality types and it was eerie to see how accurate they were! It felt kind of like looking at astrological charts, except far more accurate.

One of the weaknesses listed under my type is as follows: “Absent-minded – When INTPs’ interest is captured, their absence goes beyond social matters to include the rest of the physical world. INTPs become forgetful, missing even the obvious if it’s unrelated to their current infatuation, and they can even forget their own health, skipping meals and sleep as they muse.”  That explains all the “Chens” that I have pulled through out the years.  The only part that is completely inaccurate is the “skipping meals” description.

Angela

Apparently, Angela has the same personality type as Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling, and Walter White. I can kind of see that. She’s smart but creepy. Peter has the same personality type as Lyndon B Johnson, Andrew Jackson, and “Dubya.” I guess he has that presidential charisma. And sometimes when he’s tired he mispronounces words. But don’t “misunderestimate” him! 😉 Angela has always been Daddy’s little girl, which I guess makes sense because INTJs and ESTJs are supposedly compatible.

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I was shocked to find that I have the same personality type as a bunch of geniuses: Descartes; Pascal; Newton; Einstein; Socrates… that’s where I think the computerized test must have malfunctioned.  Audrey has the same type indicator as Marilyn Monroe and Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m not surprised!

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Though the test questions were too simplistic for creatures as complex as humans, I was happy that we took the test.  If nothing else it was fun. And it’s always good to take a little time for introspection and reflection.  It takes 5-10 minutes unless you’re indecisive like me. I guess that’s an INTP thing.

What is it about my personality that makes me run to Costo all the time?  I couldn’t find the trait listed under either Strength or Weaknesses of my type.

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Costco’s Whole Grain Loaf is better than what you’d expect from a bakery! It was so fresh it was still warm when I bought it.

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Basil Pesto Tomato Burrata Crostini Ingredients:

Balsamic glaze or balsamic cream to drizzle

Basil leaves

4 slices freshly baked whole grain loaf

2 tablespoons basil pesto

2 ball Burrata, drained

1 large tomato (sliced)

Toast the bread slices until slightly golden.  Spread fresh basil pesto on the bread, followed by basil leaves and Burrata.  Add the tomato slice and sprinkle a little salt.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

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Pear Lemon Zest Burrata Crostini Ingredients:

Balsamic glaze or balsamic cream to drizzle

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Basil leaves,

4 slices freshly baked whole grain loaf

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 ball Burrata, drained

1 ripe bartlett pear

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Combine sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix together.

Toast the bread slices until slightly golden.

Gently slice Burrata ball in half, then slice into wedges and place on baguette toasts. Nestle pear wedges on top of Burrata. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with lemon sugar.

Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Fennel Salad with Burrata and Mint

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A mí me gusta la comida china, pero a mis hijas no les gusta. Estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están. This is how we normally spend our Sundays, helping Audrey while she scrambles to finish her Spanish homework and panics while Angela does her integral calculus alone in her room and panics quietly.

Today, however, there will be no panicking or scrambling. It’s winter break, Angela is sleeping well past noon, and we’re spending the day stuffing our faces. Happy holidays from the Hui/Chens!

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Audrey having breakfast with cousin Katie. My brother-in-law’s family is making their annual visit from Los Angeles. This is Audrey’s favorite time of the year.

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Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Fennel Salad with Burrata and Mint

adapted from http://food52.com/recipes/21008-lemon-olive-oil-marinated-fennel-with-burrata-mint

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Ingredients:

2 medium heads fennel, cored and very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

6 strips lemon zest, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

8 ounces burrata

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grilled or broiled bread slices, for serving

Place fennel, oil, zest and lemon juice in a shallow dish; season with salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, grill or broil bread slices, if serving.) Just before serving, arrange fennel salad on a large platter. Scatter burrata and mint over fennel. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired.

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This is the crunchiest, creamiest and the most refreshing salad I’ve had for a long time.

Burrata is my new favorite cheese. It’s essentially scraps of fresh mozzarella tied into a neat package full of cream and little bits of leftover fresh mozzarella. And it’s delicious. I mean, it’s fresh mozzarella upgraded to first class. It is heaven in dairy form. We’ve been including it in all sorts of food lately, from crostini to caprese salad. Try it. You’ll like it. A little cream never killed anybody, no?

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Our mother needed a break today, as all mothers occasionally do. Audrey is cooking dinner, which terrifies me, and I am writing today’s blog post.

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Tonight’s dinner is vegetarian spaghetti squash lasagna. This healthy lasagna is low-carb, reduced-calorie, paleo (depending on what marinara sauce and cheeses you use), “clean” (depending on your very subjective definition of “clean”), high-protein and veggie-packed! Hey, I think I hit all the buzzwords! Seriously, though, this lasagna is delicious but far far better for you than your usual starch- and fat-laden junk from Olive Garden or whatever.

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The idea of spaghetti squash lasagna is not a new one, but given our great love for all things spaghetti squash and all things lasagna, we thought it would be appropriate to make our own recipe and share it with everyone.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 3-4 hungry people

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (we microwaved the halved squash for about 8 minutes)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (we used Francesco Rinaldi no-salt-added tomato sauce)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese (we used Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Ricotta)
  • 1 oz or 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, shredded
  • 6 oz or 1.5 cups mozzarella shreds (we used Lucerne Fat-Free Mozzarella, which has 9 grams of protein per ounce, about 50% more than regular mozzarella!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Layer the spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella in an oven-safe casserole dish, making sure that the topmost layer is a cheesy layer!
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and broil until the cheese bubbles.
  5. Eat!

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make salad with the leftovers!

make salad with the leftovers!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, 中文 Translation

今天我们的妈妈很累,所以妹妹做了晚饭,我得写今天的博客。对不起,我的中文不好。

我们今天的晚餐是健康的烤宽面条,其实一点面也没有。最近美国人不喜欢吃面粉,因为他们都觉得麸质是有毒的。当然麸质没有什么不好的,我常常吃面筋,可是面粉其实没有什么营养,而且吃面粉会让你的血糖提高,所以吃这种没有太多碳水化合物的食品会让你健康,对你的小蛮腰好。

我不知道你懂不懂我的中文。我的父母不知道我的中文这么差,因为我考AP中文考了一个五(最高分)。其实,谁都考了一个五,化学考试也是的。请别告诉他们,我中文是很马虎的。哈哈哈,我是老虎,妹妹是马,我们最的事当然都是很马马虎虎的。

成分:

  • 差不多710 mL意大利面条壁球 (谢谢,Google 翻译)
  • 237mL 防切将
  • 425 g 乳清干酪 (谢谢,Google 翻译)
  • 28 g 干酪 (谢谢,Google 翻译。不知道你对不对。)
  • 170 g 无肥马苏里拉奶酪

用这些成分做lasagna,有没有那么难!快吃!很好很强大!

我们在养这个草泥马,真可爱!