Cauliflower Hash Browns

This is one of the easiest cauliflower dishes I make.  I use just 4 ingredients:

1 cup precooked riced cauliflower, cooled

1 egg

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use 2%)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

I buy the frozen steam in bag riced cauliflower to save time.  The cauliflower must be cooked prior to creating the hash browns and it will need to be cool enough to work with.

Tightly squeeze all water from the cauliflower.  There are many ways to do this.  You can wrap it in cheese cloth and squeeze.  You can wrap it in paper towels (you’ll probably need to repeat this a few times to get most of the water out).  I tend to just use my hands.  The more water you squeeze out of the cauliflower the better the consistency of the hash browns.  This is the hardest part of this recipe and honestly in a rush I’ve skipped it all together and it tasted just fine.

In a separate dish whisk one egg until it’s well blended.  Then add in the cauliflower and cheese.  You can add salt, pepper and any other seasonings you like.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small frying pan and preheat the pan over medium heat.

Using your hands form the cauliflower mixture into a patty and place in the hot oil.  Cook until both sides are light brown.

Helpful hint: I prefer my patty to be very thin, but that can make it hard to flip.  Instead I make a thick patty, let it cook on one side, then after I’ve flipped it to the second side flatten it until it’s thin.  Then before removing the patty I’ll flip it over one more time to fully cook the first side.

Photo provided by Objects and the Distance Between Them. I’m so glad you tried this. Thanks for the picture!

What Does the Future Hold?

If you’ve read my previous posts, so far I’ve talked about choosing to start over after my divorce.  I was unhappy and unhealthy and I knew that this was not what I wanted for my life.  I didn’t know how to change it, I just knew I needed to start by changing me.  That’s it.  That’s all I had to work from.

So I started with what I love – reading.  I went to the library and checked out books.  I Googled books on self-improvement and parenting.  I talked to people about books they found influential. And I read.  I read all the time.  

One of first books I read that really changed my thinking was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  It was recommended to me by a virtual stranger one day so I downloaded it and read it.  I can’t say that I agree with the overarching ideals of the book, but I will review the book in a separate post.  The premise of the book is that you can control your universe by controlling your thoughts.  

While I had a hard time with concepts such as “if you think about money coming in, money will appear” there were a lot of ideas in the book that really spoke to me.  Most importantly, as a result of this book I took time to visualize what I wanted my life to be; visualize who I wanted to be.

This was my first time writing in a journal, but I felt that I needed to write down a picture of what my life could be like.  I tried to be very concrete and included details that might not end up matching reality but that brought this future to life.  I included color, sounds, smells, names.  I wanted to be able to see this every time I closed my eyes.  Over the course of several weeks I would add to or change this future I was envisioning for myself but most of the larger components remained the same.

What came into focus from this exercise were my priorities.  I started to realize what was most important to me, what areas I wanted to focus on first.  

My current life is nothing like the one I envisioned so many years ago.  But this was truly the first time I felt completely in control of my future.  If you’ve never tried this before, try it now and let me know how it goes!

Cauliflower

I used to hate cauliflower.  I still don’t like the taste of cauliflower on its own, but I’ve discovered that due to its mild nature it is good in a lot of dishes.  It’s very low in calories and full of nutrients that will make you feel good.  It’s also high in fiber which will help keep you feeling full!

If you “rice” the cauliflower (chop it up into bits the size of rice) it can be used either as a substitute or supplement to the higher calorie food.

When I first started making cauliflower dishes I would buy the whole head of cauliflower, cut it painstakingly into florets then put the florets in my Ninja and chop it up.  It was a tedious process but worked.  It’s now very common to find riced cauliflower in the freezer or produce section of the grocery store.  I am more than willing to sacrifice control over the size of the pieces to save all the cutting.

I usually buy it frozen and steam it right in the bag.  I’ll post some recipes to get you going!

Going It Alone

I am a twin.  I am introverted and in most social situations very shy.  I have had more than my share of low self esteem and self doubt.  I am a homebody who likes solo activities like reading and writing.

And yet I’ve made a discovery that I wish every shy, scared, timid woman would learn.  Something that changed me and my approach to life so drastically I hardly remember being shy.

Quite simply, I started going out alone.  Completely, totally, 100% alone.  I never would have considered eating out alone.  If I wanted dinner and didn’t want to cook I’d order takeout.  If I wanted to go to the movies or see a show I’d wait until I had someone to go with (or not go).

Then I met someone.  He was the most outgoing person I had ever met.  He would go on vacation alone, hang out in bars and talk to anyone, everyone.  We met online and the first night we met we stopped to get gas and he met someone at the gas station.  He made me realize that there was nothing wrong with doing things alone.  Without knowing it he taught me how.

The night we met we talked to more people than I’d met since I’d moved to FL.  After that one night I decided to try it on my own.  I started someplace safe – the bar at Chilis.  I sat at the bar, ordered a drink and some chips.  I talked to the bartender.  I didn’t meet anyone that night but I realized it wasn’t that hard.  It gave me the confidence to try again.

One night I was at the beach for sunset and drove by a bar.  Noticing that there were a lot of cars in the parking lot I took a deep breath and pulled in.  It was nerve wracking.  I had never been to this bar before, never mind going in alone.  I paused at the door and listened to the music being piped through the speakers.  Somehow that reassured me and I went in.  I quickly found an empty seat at the bar and sat down.  Someone was playing a guitar and singing so I ordered a drink and focused on him.  I didn’t meet anyone that night but I suddenly realized that I was actually enjoying myself.

The next night I found myself back at the beach for sunset and went back to the same bar.  I walked in a little more confidently.  I looked at the people around me more.  I made eye contact and smiled.  And someone came over to talk to me.  We talked for a while, he bought me a drink, and then someone else came up to talk to me.  I spent a couple hours there, talking to people, listening to music and in general having a great time.

I started going there once a week, sometimes more.  I found that about half the time I would meet someone, the other half of the time I would enjoy the music.  Some nights I would show up and they would have a football game playing instead of music so I left after a quick drink (although these might have actually been good nights to meet someone).

Many things happened once I started doing this.  I built self confidence.  I stood a little taller, smiled more and made eye contact more often.  I learned how to hold a conversation with a complete stranger which came in handy when I got into online dating.  My self esteem improved.  Only good came of this.  I had been so worried about being out alone – and nothing bad happened at all.  Not everyone I talked to ended up being someone I wanted to spend more time with, but each of them helped me in a way.

There is more to me than being a single mom.  I started to realize that I could be a good mother and discover who I was as an individual at the same time.

If you have never gone out alone I challenge you to spend 1 hour alone in a bar.  That’s it, no more.  Then let us know how it went in the comments.

Two Ingredient Banana Pancakes

My favorite breakfast at the moment are pancakes that I make with just 2 ingredients:

1 banana
1 egg

I will also add about 1 tsp vanilla extract if I think of it. I will often heat about 1/3 cup frozen mixed berries in the microwave that I mash to put on top. But even if you have nothing but a banana and an egg it makes for a simple delicious breakfast.

Simply mash 1 medium banana, then using a fork beat in 1 egg (I also use the Ninja to do this if I don’t want to do it by hand). Add mixture to a small preheated pan over medium heat. It can be difficult to flip but it’s possible. As the batter hardens I push the edges toward the center making the pancake thicker and smaller. When the top of the pancake is more cake than batter I flip it. I find this works almost every time. I also have the Perfect Pancake Pan (link below) which makes flipping a lot easier since all you need to do is flip the pan, not the pancake.

Either way, this breakfast will run about 200-250 calories and I find it will satisfy me for hours.

A New Beginning

In my first post I told you that after my divorce I asked myself one question that had more of an impact on my life than I ever thought possible.  Who do I want to be?  The problem is, I had no idea who I wanted to be.  I had been a wife, mother, business analyst…but I had never thought about WHO I wanted to be.

After my divorce I made a choice.  I chose to use this as a chance for a new beginning.  Less than 12 months before the divorce was final I had moved to a new state and started a new job, but after the move I had been focused on the crisis in my marriage and with my family.  I basically had a clean slate.  I had a couple coworkers I considered friends, but otherwise I was a single mother alone in a new place.  

I have to admit, I did have moments of panic….times I was so overwhelmed with what I had before me that I could have been paralyzed with fear.  My marriage was Bad (yes, capital B…it was that BAD).  I won’t go into detail here but by the time my divorce was final I had virtually no self-esteem.  I was 60 pounds overweight and struggling with the idea of doing everything on my own.  I suddenly had a house to maintain and 2 kids to chase around.  I was exhausted and terrified.  As if that weren’t enough, several months later I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and discovered that at least part of my exhaustion was truly medically related.  But before they could get it under control I went through a period where I could barely get out of bed, never mind mow the lawn and play with the kids.  There were days it seemed hopeless.

But in truth I was lucky.  There are so many people who have much bigger problems.  My thyroid was an issue, but it wasn’t life-threatening.  My girls were amazing and during the worst times would take care of me instead of the other way around, even though they were only 6 and 7 at the time.  I had a job that was flexible and a boss who was understanding.  I made enough to cover our bills and have a little extra every month.  I had a reliable car that would get us where we needed to go.  And I was grateful.

I decided that I was going to make a new beginning.  Who I had been up until that point was not who I wanted to be, so I chose to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.  It was like I’d picked up the Etch-A-Sketch and started over.  It was time to start drawing a picture of me as a single mom.

Who do I want to be?

Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up.  A firefighter?  A teacher?  A doctor?  An astronaut?  Do we ask children WHO they want to be when they grow up?  Most of us grow up believing that we are defined by our career, our titles, even our marital status.  It wasn’t until my divorce that I ever thought about the person I wanted to be.

Regardless of the reason for a divorce or the level of difficulty in coming to a final agreement, divorce is life-changing.  The process of our divorce was probably about as straightforward as you could get…he kept what was his, I kept what was mine; the kids are with him when he’s here and with me when he’s not (he travels at least 50% of the time).  Ours was not an amicable divorce, but we were finished in 3 months.  That could be a record given that children and real estate were involved.  Easy, right?

Of course the final agreement is only the BEGINNING of a divorce (something I wasn’t conscious of at the time).  But that is a story for another time.

Suddenly I was a single mother.  This was uncharted territory for me.

If you choose, good things come from life-changing events.  I use the phrase “if you choose” on purpose…because what you get out of these events is, for all intents and purposes, your choice.  You may not believe that, and I’ll post about it another time, but it’s something I believe with everything I am.  Your life is the result of your choices.  So, when my divorce was final I made a choice.  I asked myself…Who do I want to be?

Here’s the problem, I had NO idea how to answer that question.  I didn’t even know where to start.  But not knowing where to start did not stop me.  I started anyway.  And I’m proud to say that today I really like who I am.  I am by no means done, however, and this is why I decided to share my experience.

I don’t have all the answers, I’m not an expert in psychology and my degrees are in Spanish and Linguistics…so in reality I am completely unqualified to give advice.  But what I can do is share what has worked for me and hope that it helps someone along the way.

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!