A clean failure, living on a budget, and creamy cauliflower mash!

5 Sep

Let’s start here – my end of summer cleanse = total flop. I started it on a whim without being 100% mentally or grocery prepared. Despite that, the first few days went okay. Not perfect, but good. Then, Hurrican Isaac headed our way and we fled to Arkansas to ride out the storm. Arkansas is where our families (as in mine and the Mr’s) live. That means, lots of home cooking and eating out. Maybe some drinking too. That all means total cleansing destruction. That said, I feel a little badly that I didn’t complete the cleans since I told you lovely readers I would, but overall, it’s all good. I try not to stress too much over these things. I find that putting extra stress in my life over things like cleanses, crash diets, and crazy exercise goals are just plain unnecessary at this point in my life. Heck, good ol’ life throws enough my way to keep the stress clock ticking. I don’t need to help it along worrying about silly things that pass anyhow. So, the cleanse is over and I have little to show for it. The end. 😉

Onto something more recent and not in the “game over” phase:  me living on a super-d-duper tight grocery budget. When I had my previous “real adult” job, we were fortunate enough to have lots of wiggle room in our budget. Since leaving that for a 20 hour per week part-time gig, that’s changed. I mean, we are still totally fine, but are changing-up priorities a bit. That means that my crazy obsession with buying all organic and local is on big time hold. At first, it was sort of a shock for me, but now it’s SO.MUCH.FUN! It’s like a game to see how cheaply I can get our weekly groceries. Man! I love it. I still totally support buying local and organic whenever possible. And, when I say we aren’t buying local and organic, that does not include our milk or meat products. Those are total non-negotiables for me. (Want to know why? Check out some food docs like Food Matters or Food, Inc. You will totally understand!) But, in terms of veggies, fruits, etc, there are some things that I’ve changed that are saving us TONS OF MONEY! First of all, I have to admit that changing from shopping at local markets to shopping at Walmart is a big win. I used to work for Walmart back in the day and actually appreciate so many things they do as a company; but, in the past, I’ve just been utterly disappointed in their sluggishness to bring in local and organic products. I guess that kept me away far enough for that to change because yesterday, this is what I found:  wild salmon, cod, and smoked salmon (win!); local onions; organic limes; and tons of other organic goodies ranging from green onions to vegetable broth to frozen pizzas (winning again!). So, with that said, I will tell you that I totally stocked our fridge and freezer for $60. Yes, all of our groceries for three meals a day for two people (one of whom is a MAN!) for only $60! That’s compared to around $120-$150 during our normal trips previously. And, for $60 I got smoked salmon, frozen salmon fillets, frozen cod fillets, frozen shrimp, milk, half-and-half, one dozen eggs (cage free, organic even!), zucchini, romaine hearts, frozen cauliflower, frozen stir fry veggie blends (2), frozen spinach, frozen asparagus, onions (2), avocados (2), 3 lb bag of organic limes (super good deal on these!), individually wrapped cheese snacks, canned crab meat (2), and a package of red solo cups (ha!). Isn’t that cool? I may be missing something as I’m attempting to recall this by memory instead of by receipt. But, I figure you get the idea, right? I’m a money saving diva. Okay, maybe not a diva, but I’m off to a good start. Can you even imagine how excited I’m going to be if I start couponing? Get ready world!!! 😉

Now, let’s talk FOOD (not groceries), shall we?!?! We shall.

When Mr. Military Man and I were home last week avoiding the hurricane, we got a couple hours to visit with my grandma (Hi, GRAM! – she reads my blog. Yay!). During out visit, she mentioned that, during her birthday dinner recently, she tried cauliflower mash for the first time and really loved it. She asked me if I had a recipe for it. At that moment, I realized that, not only do I not have a recipe, I had never had the dish. So, during my shopping trip yesterday, I made sure to pick up cauliflower so I could develop a scrumptious recipe for her to create in her kitchen. Oh goodness y’all. Not only was this embarrassingly easy, it was totally delicious. The Mr. and I both exclaimed that we would “totally eat this instead of mashed potatoes!”. Yum, yum, and YUM! So, without further delay, here’s how it goes!

Quick & Easy Cauliflower Mash

(serves 2-4)

  • 1 1-lb bag of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 6 Tbsp milk (We use 2% in this home – any will work – but, the higher the fat, the creamier your mash.)
  • 1 oz of cheese – optional (I used 1 slice of Gouda – Cheddar or Havarti would be yum.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by boiling your entire bag (1 lb) of frozen cauliflower, uncovered, until fork tender. Mine took about 10 minutes. Drain and pour into a blender, bowl, or food processor (this depends on how you plan to “puree” everything together. Use whatever you use for making homemade mashed taters!).

To your blender, bowl, or food processor, add butter, milk, and cheese. Blend/mix/puree until smooth (I let mine go for about 1 minute). Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it, you’re done and ready to enjoy. Could that even be easier? I think not!

A couple of things you should know: (1)  I didn’t have any on-hand, but think that garlic powder would be AWESOME in this. Try it and let me know! 🙂 (2) 6 Tbsp of milk will get you a very “thin” mash. For a thicker, heartier mash, start with only 4 Tbsp.

This recipe is also available for review and printing on my Recipage. Check it out!

Now, I’m off to make a smoked salmon fritatta for the Mr. He’s not flying today because of weather so we get to spend the whole morning together. Yay for husband and wife time. I figure that calls for a special weekday breakfast, right?

I hope you have a happy hump day! Thanks for spending some time with me today. Bye y’all!!!! 🙂

(Love you, Gram! Hope you like the recipe!!!!)

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