Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Small Victory and One Big Flop

Once a week I go up to my children's school and help the Kindergarteners open up their pre-packaged food: lunchables, puddings, gogurts, etc., and microwave their leftovers from home. 

I don't want to be judgmental, truly I don't, but I have been shocked at what parent's send with their young child to eat for the day. To be sure, there are a few kids who bring good whole foods, and have water to drink. However, there are *far* more children who are expected to survive on pure sugar for the entire day. I always feel kinda sad for the kids later on when they are bouncing around the room or having meltdowns. It's really not their fault. 

My kids began attending this school in Oct (I think) of last year... I explained to them that I would be making the majority of their lunches, but that they could have "hot lunch" on the days that fresh food would be offered, or on special occassions. For the most part the kids went along with this... until we went Primal. Then all of a sudden it was "whhhhy can't we eat hot lunch? I feel sooooo weird not having any hot lunch!" I explained that the standard "Sloppy joe, tater tots, cake and canned peaches" would offer only sugar and maybe a small amount of protein.  (please note I am not bashing the school: I think they do what they believe to be is best.)

The kids grumbled a slight acknowledgment, but still, they wanted hot lunch. I felt for them. I know how much fun that would have been for me as a kid, but in good conscience I just couldn't feed it to them. 

This past Monday the cafeteria supervisor and I were chatting while we waited for the little five year olds to come in. We talked about different lunches and the funny things kids do. She asked how the "diet" was going, and before I could answer she said "I've seen what your kids eat for lunch, and it looks really good! You know, I'm thinking we could probably do something like that for lunch: fresh fruit and vegetables... your kids seem to like the bell peppers..."  Then she said she would need to check the budget, but that she was interested. 

I call seeing people to think differently about food--whether they change or not--a small victory. Yippee!

Now for the big flop:

Tonight I made fried chicken strips and mashed potatoes (cauliflower) with bacon. 

I soaked the chicken breast (cut into strips) in buttermilk overnight, floured it with coconut flour and spices, and then fried in coconut oil. Easy enough. 

I thought the kids would like a sauce, but didn't really have time to play around with ingredients, so I just used a yogurt sauce: 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt, 1 tbls Boar's Head Deli Mustard, 1 tsp pure maple syrup. Mix and serve. I thought it was really good... tangy but the syrup balanced it out well (and has antioxidants to boot!)... the kids were split on it. Meh. 

I read someplace that mashed cauliflower turns out just like the real mashed potatoes if you puree the steamed vegetable in the blender. So I riced the cauliflower, microwaved it for seven minutes, and then dumped it into my blender. I added about 4 tbls of butter, some salt, and white pepper and then set it on high. While it was pureeing, I added some milk to it (just as I would do with white potatoes) and let it go for about 20 seconds. 

The result? Mush! It looked like those (horrid) instant potatoes some people make but with too much water. UGH! I thought I needed something to add texture, so I used bacon. What else?  And while the bacon part was great, the other part was disgusting. 

I gave about two tbls to each person. Each of us made a face and tried to swallow it down. I'm not sure if I over-blended, added too much butter, or should have omitted the milk altogether, but man.... blech.

This is the kind of flop which makes me long for the day I could say "this didn't work out. let's get pizza!"


  1. Try the nom nom paleo recipe for mashed cauliflower. I find all her recipes excellent.

  2. I think you probably used too much butter and too much milk - we always eat mashed cauli and I use the food processor. I add butter (maybe 1 tbsp) and milk (a couple of splashes) too, but they're always creamy and delish. Give it another try - and definitely check out the above recipe, it might be helpful.

    1. In my two previous attempts at this dish, I had the same problems that Heather had. After I read the statement in the above recipe about not worrying about overcooking it, and then your comment about using too much milk and butter, I decided to give it another try tonight.

      I cooked it a little longer than I thought I needed to, made sure it was very dry before I put it in the blender, and only added 3 pats of butter (and 2 pieces of bacon). IT WAS AWESOME!

      Because it was lukewarm by the time it had dried and been blended, I microwaved it in a bowl for about 1 1/2 minutes before serving, which didn't hurt it one bit.

      So, Heather, definitely try again. When it works, it's great!

  3. Don't use milk. Use heavy cream!

  4. Hey Mrs Woods,

    I have followed Tom for years and love his speech on the business cycle. Anyway I have gone primal too. Once I heard you guys were trying it I was pumped. Congrats on your success. I have lost 25 myself. The cauliflower is hard to perfect thats for sure and when you do it's good but not mashed potatoes.
    You seem like a great wife and mother!


    RP 2012
    We really can win!

  5. Try a small amount again with no milk or cream. After blending, check the texture and add butter, cream and any seasonings directly in the serving bowl. I found out the hard way like you that adding liquid makes it too runny. Maybe the cauliflower was also a bit over cooked before blending? You could try blotting excess moisture before blending. I liked the flavor even when I made it too soupy, but the texture sure is more appealing when it's thicker.

  6. I've had your experience and I've also had great success, so I think you need to try again. Since you're going to blend at the end, you can skip the ricing step- and I liked using a steamer basket on the stove. If you boil it in water it's too mushy, and the time I tried the microwave, it wasn't done enough (probably more my fault than the microwave). Also I love it with canned coconut milk. Mmmm...

  7. Heather, I simply rice the cauliflower and cook as you do and then use my potatoe masher. No blending or processing. And yes, it tastes like mashed cauliflower, not potatoes. It's just the texture that is mimicked. I add a dab of greek yogurt for flavor and creaminess. Try again.