Creamy Cauliflower Macaroni … and a note on artificial sweeteners

1 Mar

Ok, before we get into the gooey cauliflower mac-n-cheese that was the highlight of my Wednesday, let’s review this tidbit I found in Natural News today. (Side note:  I actually found Natural News after the founder of the publication, Mike Adams, gave one of my lectures on a career in the health industry. Totally cool, eh?) The article is entitled “Artificial Sweetener Disease; a new breed of sickness“. The article details how ASD (Artificial Sweetener Disease) is caused by consuming artificial sweeteners that have now been on the market for decades. Research is now linking artificial sweeteners to migraines, depression, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, severe central nervous system disorders, and more!!!

Wow! Come on people. This isn’t the first time news like this has hit headlines. STOP INGESTING THIS FAKE CRAP!!! It kills rats. Kills ’em dead. Even if it doesn’t KILL you (which it may eventually), it’s most definitely NOT doing anything good for you. If you must have a soda, will you just have a normal soda with cane sugar?! At least sugar is a real substance that your body can break down. Yes, it will illicit an insulin response in your system because it is a crap ton of sugar in one serving. But, at least it’s processing and it’s an actual source of “energy” from the earth. It has been published that artificial sweeteners actually CANNOT be digested by your body. Those who are pro-artificial sweeteners assert that this means the little sweetener molecules just pass right on through and are evacuated without adding any calories to our daily count – hooray. But, I’m not buying that completely, given the host of side effects and diseases that are now being linked to the consumption of these “harmless” artificial sweeteners.

So, in case I wasn’t clear up there, I am very much anti-artifical sweeteners. I am not one who is very good at adhering to food rules all of the time, but this one’s my non-negotiable. Luckily, the harm of artificial sweeteners was pounded into my brain early on by the women in my family. Woo hoo for brilliant women in mi familia! 😉 But, of course, it’s not my place (or my intent) to change you. So, read up and make your own choice.  I bet you’ll think twice next time you put that chemical ridden diet soda to your lips though, won’t ya? Ha!

Enough on that. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

Back to yesterday’s yumminess:

Creamy Cauliflower Mac

Recipe from Mark Bittman via runnersworld.com

Mark Bittman’s awesome recipe completely rids mac-n-cheese of butter and cream and uses cauliflower to impart creaminess to the dish. It’s your favorite comfort food without all of the guilt!
(BTW blog peeps, I made some adjustments to the recipe. They have been noted below in parenthesis and italics!)

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves (I totally spaced on this…oops!)
1 cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni (I used brown rice penne pasta)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used Sharp Cheddar)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used only 1 TBSP)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used 2 TBSP)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (Didn’t have this in the kitchen, so I just omitted it.)
Salt and black pepper (love me some black pepper in mac-n-cheese)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs.)

Heat oven to 400° F. Boil a pot of salted water.

In a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat. (Since I forgot the bay leaves, I omitted this part altogether. If you’re into simplicity and time savings, just eliminate this step and go with the stock/broth as-is!)

Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes. Pour cauliflower into a strainer to drain.

Cook pasta in boiling water for five minutes. Drain and rinse to cool; put pasta in a greased, nine-inch square baking dish.

Process cauliflower with stock (discard bay leaves, if you used ’em), cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, working in batches (I had to do mine in 2 parts. Just have a mixing bowl nearby and pout the sauce into their once processed. It worked great!).

Pour sauce over pasta, toss (or stir vigorously with a silicone spatula), and spread evenly in dish. Top with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes (at the end of the cooking time, I turned the broiler to high and let the pasta sit beneath it for about 2 minutes to get that nice brown, crunchiness on top.) . Serves four.

The results was nothing short of DELISH! Mr. Military Man even said this may be his new favorite, go-to meal at home. Score one for the home team.

This really couldn’t be much easier (or fool proof) and it’s a great update to a standardly fattening and greasy dish. And, strangely enough, you won’t even be able to taste the cauliflower if you try, which makes me think this is a great way to fool picky eaters into getting some veggies!

So, there you have it. Let me know if you try this. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

I may be addicted to Chipotle Tabasco. If you're into this sauce, you MUST put in on this dish. So yummy!!!

Today was rough. I really despise my job and it’s getting harder and harder to put on a happy face. But, we must keep-on-keeping-on, right? Right! I did get to sneak in some noon-time yoga which was much needed. Now, I think I’ll play with my dog.

’til next time folks! 🙂

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One Response to “Creamy Cauliflower Macaroni … and a note on artificial sweeteners”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Veggie enchiladas with creamy vegan cheese sauce… « Mindful Munchies with a Military Mrs - March 26, 2012

    […] the Creamy Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese post? Well, I love that sauce so freakin’ much, that I decided I was going to Mexican-ise it. […]

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