Sausage Cauliflower Soup w/ Kale croutons

cheesycaulisoup2

 

The other day at work everyone ordered Panera for lunch.

I love the potato soup from there, and sat there for a bit daydreaming about how a bowl of it would taste.

Honestly, I don’t usually deal with severe temptations or cravings too much anymore at all.  It just seems like the further out I get from having any real sugar or simple carbs in my diet, the less I have to try to stick with this new way of eating/living.

{thankfully!}

Anyhow, those cravings that day were the driving force behind this recipe.

I wanted soup.

And I wanted that soup to be potato soup.

hhhmmm….

I knew that many brave soles had gone before me and entered into the “f aux potato soup ingredient land” of Cauliflower.

However, I did not have any ingredients on hand for a few of the yummy sounding recipes I was finding online, and opted instead to try to see if I could come up with something tasty on my own.

Honestly…this was really good!!

 

cheesycaulisoup1

I will definitely make it again!

The consistency is very similar in texture and thickness to potato soup.

Next time I will probably leave 1/3 of the cauliflower whole to add into the soup pot, so I can enjoy some of the pieces….but other than that, I don’t plan to change a thing!

It’s quick, easy, and cheesy (yes…proud of the rhyming over here! :)).  BUT…it wasn’t heavy or saturated-feeling….it was warm and cozy and I loved every single bowl full!!

 

Try it!!

Easy Cheesy Cauliflower Soup w/ Kale croutons
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package, frozen cauliflower
  • approx ¼ cup Almond milk, unsweetened (I don't measure...just add enough for cauliflower to blend well!)
  • 2½-3 cups Vegetable broth
  • 1 can of Rotel (I used mild)
  • 12 oz Breakfast sausage, browned (this is what I had...any would be fine!)
  • 2 oz Cream cheese (1/4 stick)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish and as desired to taste!
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder (okay honestly...I don't measure...but that amount seems about right!)
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
  • kale crouton:
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed....dried and laid out on cookie sheet. spray w/coconut oil, season with salt and garlic powder. Bake 350 for approx. 20 minutes.
Instructions
  1. In microwave safe dish, add frozen cauliflower and cook on high for 4 minutes. Stir. Cook for another 4 minutes or so, until florets are soft and tender. Transfer cauliflower to Blender or food processor (I like the blender because it makes a smoother texture!). Add Almond milk and blend until smooth. In small stockpot, add vegetable broth, Rotel, sausage, and pureed cauliflower and bring barely to boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes, just to get all flavors melded. Taste and start adding your salt, pepper, and garlic powder until it is seasoned how you like it. Remove from heat. Stir in the softened cream cheese (room temp blends in really well.) Add Parmesan. Transfer to bowl and add a few decent-sized pieces of crispy kale!!! (the kale folds in really well, and adds some extra flavor and pretty color too!)
  2. **note...this recipe does not take that long to cook...I only included time taken to make kale chips...if you want to cut those out it would take even less time!**

 

 

Buttons and Zippers

It dawned on me the other day that I have yet to blog about one of my most favorite-of-all-favorite things about this chilly winter season….

 

coats

 

These.

For the first time in…..okay let’s just call it “a loooong time”, every. single. coat that I own…

fits!!!

I simply cannot remember a winter that was not somehow filled with random scarves, hoping that they would somehow cover “that section” of myself that was left open to the weather when whatever coat I happened to be wearing would not zip.

Or button.

Or snap.

In case you are wondering?

Yes…It gets old.

(and NO!…I would NOT simply “just go buy a new coat!!”  Because I was aaallllwaaayys trying to get myself in gear to lose the weight!  Always!)

 

A Secret?

Sometimes…..when I get ancy and think that I should be losing faster, or wearing smaller sizes of jeans or shirts by now….what do I do?

I go bake a dozen of my favorite PB cookies…stand in my kitchen and enjoy a few of them (okay more like 3 or 4!)…and then wander over and just stare at these.

Why?

Because, while I’m gazing lovingly at my newly  acquired (and fun!) winter wear, it’s then that it really hits me:

Life is pretty darn good.

Cheers to many, many more winters filled with buttons that button, zippers that zip, and snaps that easily close.

(It really does come down to the little things, right?!)

Happy Tuesday!

Trim Healthy Weekend–eating in the real world

Okay.  Yes, I slacked off and am now finding myself at Sunday night and realizing that I have yet to post my eating for this weekend….oops. :)

Weekends, though, are so interesting for me.  They seem to naturally fall into their own category anyway, so I am opting to lump them together and go from there.

 

 

Friday Food:

  • Breakfast: 2 peanut butter cookies (sorry–they sounded good!), a few random bites of rotisserie chicken leftovers (as I was making my lunch), and coffee
  • Lunch:  Leftover Rotisserie chicken, with leftover roasted spaghetti squash; small handful of smoked almonds; 4 small squares of Lilly’s chocolate; a few random turkey jerky bites (as I was warming up my food…I was starving!)
  • Dinner:  I’m embarrassed to say…but more of the same :)  I had enough chicken and squash leftover for one more meal, so I just ate that for dinner (as I had NO plans and was in my pj’s about 3 seconds after walking thru my door!); Peanut butter cookies w/ vanilla bean ice cream (SoDelicious-sugar-free coconut) for dessert.

Saturday Food:

  • Breakfast:  2 peanut butter cookies (do we see a trend here?!), coffee w/1TB grassfed organic butter melted in (yum!)
  • Lunch: 1 full Lavish bread microwaved in pieces on high for 2minutes to make chips (yes…I know we are only supposed to have half, but there is only 8g Carbs in the whole thing, so that is something I allow myself to have if going out to eat!); Guacamole; 1lavish chip full of Queso (random…decided to try a bite); Taco salad w/beef and cheese (and ranch for the salad part).
  • Dinner: 2 Banana Muffins w/1tsp melted butter; coffee (black)

Sunday Food:

  • Breakfast: 2 Banana Muffins w/1tsp melted butter; Caramel Vanilla Greek Yogurt (YUM! nonfat, plain G. Yogurt, sweetened and caramel and vanilla extract swirled in!!)
  • Lunch: I ate out at a BBQ place—1 Large garden salad w/Beef Burnt ends and bacon added, ranch on the side.  Side order of Garlic, Parmesan Brocolli.
  • Dinner: Cheesy Sausage soup (recipe coming!); veggies w/ dip (cucumber, green peppers); Dessert: 4 no-bake peanut butter coconut cookies (have you seen that recipe floating around??  SO tasty!!  And you can have up to 4 w/ the coconut! woohoo for that! haha!)

 

hhmmm….what else…..I got nothin’ :)

 

 

 

Lemon Cream Cake w/Butter Cream Frosting

I recently celebrated 34 years of living.

{yay me!}

Naturally, I needed a birthday cake.

I wanted one that did not derail my eating in any way.

 

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This led me to try out a few different recipes, while reading through even more.

I have been combining several different ones, in hopes of coming up with a version to have on hand for a nice lemon cake that I enjoyed.

This was Take #3, and it honestly turned out delicious!

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It was moist (yes…I actually used the word “moist”!!  This is probably the only time in life that I ever advocate using such a word!!), non-grainy, and light.

loved the lemon flavor.

loved the lemon butter cream frosting.

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Mostly, I loved the feeling that I had found a way to “have my cake and eat it too”….while still losing weight!

 

Woohoo!

 

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Bottom line:  This is a recipe that I would not be embarrassed or afraid to make for a group.

It is sugar-free, and gluten-free.

THM-S.

I will be making this again and again!

Lemon Cream Cake w/Butter Cream Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal (I use this instead of almond flour because it is almost ½ price of the flour)
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Flour
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • Zest from 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons, divided
  • 2 TB Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 Stick+ 2TB butter, softened
  • 1 Block Cream Cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup Sweet Blend (or ¾ cup Truvia)
  • ½-3/4 cup Powdered Swerve
  • 5 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 generous tsp, Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add Sweet Blend (or truvia). Blend. Next Add eggs and blend 1 at a time. Add Baking powder, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and ½ of lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon). Blend well for 1-2minutes. Add Almond Meal and Coconut Flour. Blend until smooth. Pour into rounded cake pan. (If you want, use smaller amounts in 2 round pans, to allow for a layered cake--I'm gonna do this next time!). Bake 325 degrees for about 40-50 minutes or until fork comes out clean. The top will seem a bit soft, but if the fork comes out clean consider it done! Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Frosting:
  3. In small bowl, combine other half of cream cheese, 2 TB butter, lemon juice, and powdered Swerve. Beat on high for several minutes until light and fluffy. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Spread on cake. Enjoy!

 

THM–Thursday Eating

….and you thought I forgot :)

Okay.  I almost did.

Yesterday’s eating went a little something like this:

Breakfast:

  • Coffee (black)
  • 6 pieces of bit-sized turkey jerky (sorry!  It just sounded good!)
  • scrambled eggs w/pesto (hospital cafeteria…they are actually pretty good!  I know…I was shocked too :))

Mid-morning snack

  • small handful of smoked almonds
  • Non-fat, plain greek yogurt….truvia sweetened w/1 TB de-fatted peanut flour

Lunch:

  • Lowfat cottage cheese w/ cinnamon, truvia, and 1 cut-up Apple
  • 1 Cucumber

Dinner:  (*disclaimer…I was eating out for dinner)

  • Bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp
  • Steak salad w/ranch dressing on the side

…..and I would just like to point out that I had NO dessert!  Can you believe it?

 

:)

 

 

 

THM Wednesday Eating!

almost forgot.

Breakfast:

It was simple…because I was in a hurry!!

I had coffee w/cream, and a cinnamon roll Quest Bar

 

Lunch:

Greek yogurt (plain, nonfat), mixed with 1 TB de-fatted peanut flour, a tiny amount of caramel extract, and 1 cut-up Apple. (EXTREMELY GOOD!!!)

2 turkey, jerky sticks

 

Dinner:

Rotisserie Chicken

Spaghetti squash w/ shallots, mushrooms, parsley, and Parmesan

2 Peanut Butter cookies

 

Good night!

 

The One-Man Volleyball Show

volleyball

 

When I was in the 9th grade a One-Man Volleyball Show came to the High-school in my hometown.

It was something.

This guy did it all.

He played both sides of the court.

Somehow he served, and managed to volley back-and-forth, while running from side-to-side the entire time (hence the name).

Exhausting, right?!

My mom and I decided to sneak in and watch the show the day he was there (sounds odd, I know, but I had started homeschooling so I wasn’t a student there anymore).  Because it was so packed, we had to stand at the very top of the gymnasium, which allowed us to overlook the show and entire room in general.

I have honestly never forgotten what I saw there that day.

All of the students (the entire High-school) sat assembled on the gym floor, and bleachers.  At one end of the gym, this man began his performance.  As you would imagine, his “act” was pretty incredible and he had different sequences he would run through as the assembly went on.

And then I began to notice it.

An interesting thing was occurring within the student body.

At the end of each little sequence the man would perform there was often a pause in which the audience would clap.

Until they wouldn’t.

Sometimes that guy would get done with something pretty amazing and would be met with pretty much….nothing.

As in…silence.

So awkward.

It was so completely odd that I pretty quickly became more interested in watching the crowd than I was in watching the actual performance.

What I noticed was that, really, all of the clapping seemed to be originating from this one little pocket of the gymnasium.

You guessed it: This was where the “in crowd” just so happened to be sitting.

Sadly, it didn’t take long to realize that–with very few exceptions–the rest of the entire body of students were taking their clapping cues from this one cluster of people.

When they clapped…everyone clapped.

If they seemed disinterested, however, so did everyone else.

What didn’t I realize at that time about all of this?

{Life never really becomes any different than the events that I was witnessing in those moments of time}

This was not high school behavior, or young-adult behavior.

This was the behavior of life.

The reality?

One-Man Volleyball games are played out every single day of our life-filled lives, and we must ultimately decide if we are going to follow the pace of the crowd, or if we are going to be brave and act for ourselves.

{Also?  It doesn’t ever seem to get any easier}.

There are always the key players.

The main instigators.

The group “spokespeople”.

Always.

I have seen this in ministries, in families, and at work.

We all–no matter who we are–want to fit in.

All of us.

Reality check:  We really aren’t very different than we were in grade school.

(Or in high school.)

And most certainly not in the workplace.

The first challenge is to recognize the current.

Then, and I honestly believe this is a key thing,

do nothing.

I used to think that the challenge was to swim “upstream” in the total opposite direction of the current.

Not anymore.

I think I am going to modify that tonight, and say that I really don’t think that is the challenge at all.

The real challenge?

The real challenge is to continue to live, move, and have your being while it is going on all around you.

You see the trend.

{You do not subscribe.}

You keep on keepin’ on…marching to the beat of a different drum entirely, all-the-while being immersed in a subculture that you really don’t subscribe to at all.

Tonight’s Joyful Something?

Deciding not to adhere to the One-Man Volleyball Audience mentality.

I am a wanderer and a stranger in this land.

I sit in groups of people and often feel that I do not fit in at all.

And then I realize….

***lean in here and really listen!!***

{{{{That is the point.  Entirely.}}}}

My newest favorite thing about being a child of God?

Letting Him change the way I think, view situations, and life in general.

My vision?

My vision is extremely limited.

His vision?

His vision is completely and utterly endless.

His tide is the only one that truly matters.

Simply put:  I want to clap when He claps.

{After all, in the end, HIS is the only clapping that will really matter}.

Trim Healthy Tuesday

Okay.  I just realized it’s after 9:00, and I still have yet to post up yesterday’s eating!

What is that saying about “best laid plans”?

:)

 

I’ll keep it short, sweet, and get straight to the good-stuff:

{Food!!}

It has been interesting for me to journal my meals this week, as you start to notice trends.

For instance, I eat a lot of yogurt.

Okay.  I already knew that.

No, seriously, the most interesting thing this has done for me, is to challenge me on my portion sizes.

Because, even though I am not altering what I normally would eat in any way…I do find that I somehow have magically begun to eat a bit less.

It’s as if I somehow think that you will magically see just how much spaghetti squash I ate…

Or just how many peanut butter cookies I enjoyed…(!)

Stuff like that.

Also, two days in a row:  I drank water.

On purpose!!

{woohoo!!}

So, here is to the realization that I can survive on less food….that I can get by with two, not three cookies….and that I can bring myself to drink water.

Tuesday’s Eating:

Breakfast:

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal w/ 2TB added protein powder

Coffee, black

Lunch:

Tuna Melt Bites w/ cucumber

Dinner:

3 eggs, scrambled w/ shallots, diced ham, and cheese

2 pb cookies w/ 1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream (see fb for pic!)

Oddly, I didn’t have any snacks.

Okay, enough for tonight!

A Day in the Life–THM Monday

THMhumor2

(I know Trim Healthy Mama can be confusing at the beginning.)

So, whether you are interested, not interested, or just stopping by for a peak…I decided that this week I am going to do a “Day in the Life” kinda thing.  Every day I am going to post what I ate for that day, in hopes of showing how easy and simple it really can be to eat this way.

Disclaimer: I am not the poster child for All things THM!!

You may find that I eat things that you would not.

{sorry!}

You may not like that my sweetener’s are not all organic.

{kinda sorry!}

haha!

Honestly, though….here is Monday (just for fun!).

*It was a work-day for me, so I need to be out the door and on my way no later than 5:50*

Breakfast: {E}Baked Blueberry Oatmeal (I tweak the recipe slightly and add 2TB of Protein powder to this before baking, just to give it a bit more protein!)

Coffee (I had it black, since I had an “E” for breakfast.  I didn’t have time to make an almond milk latte, and I like more cream than 1 tsp…so such is life!)

Mid-morning snack {E}:

Plain, non-fat greek yogurt, sweetened with Truvia, and cinnamon

1 medium-sized Honeycrisp apple chopped and added to the yogurt (yum delish!!)

Lunch {E}:

1 Large can of shredded chicken breast

3 Sourdough Wasa crackers smeared with 2 French Onion Laughing cow cheese, and then topped with chicken (I did end up eating the whole can of it, but usually get full before).

Dinner {S}:

Left-over Brussels ‘n Bacon

w/ about 1/2 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, sweetened with THM Sweet Blend (I really like it!), mixed w/ a rounded TB of natural, unsweetened PB, and 1 TB Lilly’s Dark chocolate chips.

Late-night snack {S}: (I was off the next day and up past Midnight!)

3 pieces Smoked Canadian Bacon (Get some!!  From Costco), roll-ups, using 1 french onion laughing cow smeared between the 3 pieces

2 pieces Lilly’s candy bar (I saw it in the cupboard and couldn’t resist!)

 

General thoughts:

I do NOT ever really worry at all about if I am eating S, or E, or FP next or for what meal.  It makes me nuts if I do, so I just wing it and try to enjoy whatever sounds good in the moment.  The only exception is dinner.  Typically I always end up eating S for dinner, because I want (I need!  I need!) dessert after dinner, and–let’s face it–desserts taste better if they are allowed to invite fat into the ingredient list :)

Other thoughts:

Yes.  I do feel that I should try to add more veggies with every meal, and berries, and other fruits.  However, this girl is terrible about going to the store when she needs too, and I am currently left with “slim pickins” in the fruit/veggie department!  So…an apple it was!

I’m just honestly telling you how I eat!

In real life.

With little planning.

My favorite part?

No measurements (within E and S guidelines), and NO calorie counting.

I love it!

 

Tuna Melt Bites!

Want something tasty for lunch but don’t have the time to really cook?

Funny, me too!

tunameltbites1

I just made these for lunch, and enjoyed eating every. single. bite.

It is simple.

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It gets you to eat some veggies (who couldn’t stand to add a little more green in their diet?!)

Oh, and my favorite part?  It takes about 4 minutes to make.

Admit it….you would have to wait longer in the drive-thru line at any given fast-food restaurant, end up spending more money, and everybody seems to have a can of tuna hidden away somewhere in the dark corners of their cabinets.  Take it out, blow the dust off….and try this at least once!!

Tuna Melt Bites–{THM S}

tunameltbites3

 

Tuna Melt Bites!
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1serving
 
Ingredients
  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 1 regular-sized can of water-packed tuna
  • 2oz, Cream Cheese (I only had regular but I'm sure reduced-fat is just as good!)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ tsp Garlic powder
  • ½ TB parsley flakes (I use frozen)
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice cucumber. Open and drain can of tuna. In microwave-safe dish, place cream cheese and heat on high for about 40 seconds, or until melty. Remove and add tuna and Parmesan. Stir. Add Garlic powder, sea salt, parsley, and pepper. Stir until combined. Microwave additional 30 seconds to melt cheese and heat everything through.
  2. Spoon onto cucumbers, sprinkle with a bit more salt, and parsley, and Enjoy!!

 

  • Meet Beth

    Originally from Northern Iowa, I now work and reside in the Greater Kansas City area. Having struggled with my weight for over 16 years, I am finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. (read more)
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