Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fool your kids (or Sig-O): Pureed Cauliflower (Vegan option/GF)

Hello Tartlets!  I love making Pureed Cauliflower as a side dish instead of potatoes.  As I wrote here, cauliflower is so good for you.  Buying fresh, organic cauliflower at your local farmer's market is ideal.

The great part about this side dish:

  1. You can fool your kids, significant other, or friends into thinking for more than just a few seconds that they *might* just be eating mashed potatoes!
  2. Using an immersion blender is ideal for fluffiness of this dish. If you have kitchen helpers that like power tools (in my case, my bf), it doubles as a kitchen power tool - and he usually jumps at the chance to use it!
  3. Easy to vegan-ize.
  4. Quick and easy.  So yummy.


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (don't forget to save the bit-lets!)
3 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance
1/3 - 1/2 C Parmesan or Vegan Parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cut cauliflower into florets.  Wash thoroughly.
Short-cut: purchase pre-washed, pre-cut cauliflower at grocery store.
Tip: Use a salad spinner to wash cauliflower.  It makes multiple washes easy - simply lift basket, dump water (or water your plants - I hate being wasteful!), then wash again.

2. Place cauliflower florets into large pot of salted water.  Depending on the size of the pot, add 1 - 2 tsp salt.  If you're not sure, start with 1 tsp; you can always add more salt later (but you can't remove once added).

3. Turn burner onto high heat; once water boils, cook cauliflower ~10-15 minutes, or until florets are tender.  I pierce with a fork or taste to ensure they're soft.  You want them soft so they puree nicely. 

4. Once cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat.  Use a colander to drain water.  Drain thoroughly.  Then place into large bowl.

5. Add butter/Earth Balance and Parmesan.  Blend with immersion blender until all florets are pureed and look like fluffy mashed potatoes.  You can also use potato masher and some elbow grease.

Taste; if too bland, consider adding a bit more Earth Balance or Parmesan (Parmesan is salty so I usually start with this).  If still too bland, sprinkle kosher or sea salt to taste.  Adjust to your tastes.  Top with freshly ground pepper.

I didn't set the photo up well (didn't intend to post), but here is last night's vegan (and almost-but-not-quite!) gluten-free dinner.  Let's call is a low-gluten dinner: Sauteed beet greens, pureed cauliflower, Gardein "Chick'n" Piccata.  It was delicious!

It's a Great Morning! Coconut Blueberry Banana Smoothie (Vegan/GF)

Smoothie ingredients, pre-blender.
Good morning Tart-lets!  What better way to start your day than to make a delicious smoothie.  Smoothies are fun, as you can make a new creation each morning!  Here is the smoothie I made this morning.  

Please note: I made a couple caloric splurges, namely the shredded coconut.  If you are counting calories, you can eliminate the coconut, agave and possibly hemp. You could try a different protein powder; hemp is caloric but I added it for its protein content.

Trim Tart Tip: Don't forget to pack floss if you're eating this en route to work!

Tip #2: Keep individually frozen banana halves in your freezer, wrapped in saran wrap.

Coconut Blueberry Banana Smoothie
3/4 C organic raw kale (25 cal)
1/2 C coconut water (23 cal)
2 Tbsp Organic Hemp powder (65 cal)
1 Tbsp Organic agave (60 cal)
1/2 small banana (50 cal)
2 Tbsp organic unsweetened shredded coconut (186 cal)
1/2 C organic blueberries (42 cal)

Calories: 451

Check out these stats!
Carbohydrates: 64 g
Protein: 9.5 g
Fat: 19 g (18 g from shredded coconut; 16 g saturated)

42% DV daily potassium; ~700% DV Vitamin K; High in Vitamin C, folate, calcium, phosphorus

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cauliflower Bit-lets

If you're like me, you love cauliflower!  And, if you're a lot like me, cutting cauliflower stresses you out a little bit.  As you cut this wonderful vegetable into florets, there is always a lot of little cauli-bits all over the place that simply don't have a place in your meal and are wasted.

What to do?

Usually I toss them.

Until my Italian-immigrant-roots brain kicked in.  Why not be a Smart Tart and freeze the bit-lets and make them into something larger?

So, after each head of cauliflower is cut in my kitchen, I add more and more of the bit-lets to the growing bag in my freezer.  Use the bits in stir-frys, home-made soup stocks, sauces, mixed into a different veggie plate to add color.  Or maybe get creative and mix them into hummus or black bean dip to create a textured dip with baby cauliflower bit-lets?  

The possibilities are endless.  Use your imagination!  Now, here are some nutrition facts about cauliflower.  It boasts some great stats!  And I will post my recipe for Pureed Cauliflower [coming soon].

1 cup (100g) - raw cauliflower:
25 calories
0 g fat
0 g cholesterol
30 mg sodium
Total carbohydrates 5 g
      Dietary fiber 3 g
Protein 2 g

Amounts Per Selected Serving (% DV)
Vitamin C - 46.4 mg (77%)
Vitamin K -16.0 mcg (20%)
Vitamin B6 - 0.2 mg (11%)
Folate - 57.0 mcg (14%)
Calcium - 22.0 mg (2%)
Iron - 0.4 mg (2%)
Potassium - 303 mg (9%)
Manganese - 0.2 mg (8%)

Monday, July 8, 2013

TTT: Fab 5 Products for Endurance Athletes

Hello Tartlets! 

As I was riding my bike last week on a glorious Southern Californian day and loving my nutrition of choice, I thought I would give you my Fab 5 list of products that I like to train with for triathlon and marathons.  I'll explain why I like these products from a preference and formulation standpoint.

1. PowerGel (by PowerBar)
In my opinion, hands-down the best gel on the market.  They are thin (not thick and goopy like some brands you might be familiar with), have 4-5x the amount of sodium compared to every other gel I've seen (~200 mg), and they taste good.  I like vanilla for the run (no caffeine).  I can do Double Latte on the bike (caffeinated).  I'm intrigued by the new Orange Dream flavor.  And YES, PowerBar... I am still crying over the loss of the Caramel flavor, 4 years after its discontinuation.  Please bring it back!

2. Infinit Nutrition (Custom Formulation) / Hammer Nutrition (Sustained Energy or Perpeteum)
All my nutrition for a 4 hour bike ride.
I blogged and gave you vague information on my experiment of n=1 on June 5.  I have not yet raced with my Infinit custom formulation and I will let you know after I race Ironman Calgary 70.3 on July 28, 2013 whether this nutrition worked for me in a race situation.  So far, I can say that I love, love, LOVE racing with only liquid nutrition.  I no longer worry about gels, bars, what fits into your pockets or Bento box and what doesn't, ripping open a wrapper without getting distracted while on the bike, fumbling in pockets, Special Needs nonsense, littering the race course or roads, etc.  How about 3 bottles and a Ziploc of 330 calories?  Genius.

Personally, I absolutely need protein nutrition during prolonged exercise - carbs alone simply does not work.  After 1.5-2 hours of endurance exercise, protein should be incorporated into your nutrition plan (I'll talk more about this later).  Now the question about protein type - which to use?  The jury is out, but it appears that soy protein during exercise may be the better suited protein.  Whey is superior for recovery.  Infinit recommends whey, but I ordered both whey and soy formulations.  I am currently on my soy protein formulation and that is what I will race with in Calgary.  Soy has less potential to form ammonia which leads to muscle fatigue.  It also mops up free radicals, has great acid buffering capabilities, and has a large number of branched-chain amino acids, making it easily converted to energy.  There are more benefits to soy, but this is the short list.

Before I order more Infinit, I'm going to try Hammer's Perpeteum or Sustained Energy (I'm still deciding which is best for me).  They use non-GMO (genetically modified organism) soy.  This is HUGE in my book.  I avoid GMO products at all costs.  I'll get back to you as I work out my nutrition this year.  I had a very difficult time eating on the bike during Ironman Arizona last year, so liquid nutrition is my solution.  Now I have to narrow down the best Trim Tart product.  Would anyone like to weigh in here?  Please give me your feedback/suggestions!

Margarita3. CLIF - Shot Bloks
For my shorter rides, I do love me a CLIF Shot Blok.  The Margarita flavor is my favorite; you either love it, or think I'm disgusting.  All other flavors are pretty delicious, too.  For the milder palate, the Black Cherry, Cran-Razz, Citrus and Orange are great options!

CLIF Bar and Company is an inspirational enterprise, focused on organic ingredients and sustainable business practices.  The majority of their ingredients are organic, and they use non-GMO products.  Philosophically, I am very happy to support CLIF and will go out of my way to do so.

4. Bonk Breaker and CLIF Mojo Bars
FigHoney Roasted PeanutI have a strong dislike of most bars.  As I mentioned here last month, I would much prefer a savory buffet on long bike rides (unfortunately, this is impractical for the endurance athlete.)  It is here that you and I can blame my mother.  She was always cooking and baking so I grew up on real food, all the time, and never anything overly sweet.  Never a bar to be found in our house.  I find many bars far too sweet, strangely textured, and the flavors wear on my tastebuds very quickly.  However, there are a couple bars on the market that I do like.  CLIF makes a great Mojo Bar, and Bonk Breaker bars are also excellent on long bike rides.  Flavors are good; Bonk Breakers are gluten- and dairy-free.  My favs: Bonk Breaker Fig, PB&J - for the bike.  CLIF MOJO - can't decide!  I like them all.  Mojos are great as a snack or after exercise.

5. PowerBar Ironman Recovery
I like Ironman Recovery after a hard 6-hour bike ride.  It contains a blend of maltodextrin, dextrose and fructose, with whey protein that's great for recovery.  It would be nice if this drink included additional sources of amino acids to aid in muscle recovery, but this drink works well from a user perspective, - I like the flavor and it satiates the crazed hunger I feel after long Ironman-effort bike rides during training.  Whatever recovery drink you choose, look for a 4:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate: protein ratio.

Here's another notable recovery drink - plain, old chocolate milk.  Admittedly, I don't drink cow's milk any more but this natural source of proteins mixed with simple sugars in the chocolate make recovery as simple and delicious as when you were a kid.  Whey is optimal for short- to medium-term muscle recovery, while casein has delayed protein absorption into damaged muscles as they repair over the course of a day and overnight.  If you drink milk, this really is nature's recovery drink.

What else, Tartlets?  Post on your favs, or email me at info@thetrimtart.com!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quick! Afternoon snack needed STAT!

I was in need of a mid-morning, filling, low-calorie snack today.  This also works so well in the afternoon, around that 3 PM lull.

Quick Yogurt Pick-Me-Up

  • 1/2 Cup any Yogurt (Greek/almond/coconut/soy)
  • 1/4 C fruit (organic strawberries and blueberries are absolutely GLORIOUS this week)
  • 1 Tbsp honey, agave, Stevia to sweeten (if desired)
  • 0.5 - 1.5 tsp nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, walnuts, etc)
This quick power snack will range from 90-190 calories depending on what you choose for the amounts listed above.  This is a great pick-me-up with a combination of simple carbohydrates, protein, and fats.  Pumpkin seeds offer Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron. Sesame seeds offer Vitamin A, folate, niacin.  Walnuts, Mother Nature's Little Secret (and my favorite nut, hands-down!), boast high protein, Vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, niacin, choline and are very high in folate.

Opinion: I prefer staying away from flavored or "pre-fruited" yogurts.  They're usually loaded with extra and totally unnecessary preservatives, color additives, sugar and other random ingredients.  Just do me a flavor (and a favor!) and buy plain.  Add you own goodness.

Calorie breakdown (based on above quantities)
  • Greek yogurt = 65 cals
  • Coconut yogurt = 104 cals
  • pumpkin seeds = 12.5 cals
  • sesame seeds (1/2 tsp) = 13 cals
  • honey/agave = 60 cals
  • Stevia = 0 cals
  • strawberries = 12.5 cals
  • raspberries, blackberries, peaches = 15-16 cals

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mango Guacamole (another 4th of July candidate!) - Vegan/GF

The Trim Tart loves guacamole, and any small twist on the regular is fun.  This mango guacamole is easy to make, delicious and healthy.  You can get creative by reserving the shells of the avocados and mango and using them for a beautiful presentation.

Mango Guacamole
Prep Time: 0 hr 25 min | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Makes: 6 servings


  • 3 avocados
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (or chives, or mixture), chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeƱo pepper (more if you can take the heat!), seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, seeded and finely chopped lime (2 if you like citrus flavors to be more dominant)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Cut avocados in half; remove pit. Scoop out avocado, saving shells. Place in a medium-sized bowl.

2. Cut mango, also keeping shells.  See here for Mango Cutting 101 instructions!

 3. Chop all other ingredients and toss into bowl. Mix together with fork until blended.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Curried Rice Salad (Vegan/GF) - Perfect 4th of July side dish

I had forgotten about this recipe until this weekend when it was a potluck birthday party extravaganza with my boyfriend's family.  How could I forget this delectable, easy, healthy salad?  It's cool and refreshing - the perfect side dish for your 4th of July parties, or any time this summer.

I used everything fresh and organic and wow!  Was it ever a hit.

Curried Rice Salad
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely choppped
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 C rice (dry)
2 C water
1 tsp salt
1 C unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
3/4 C raisins
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 C black or red grapes

1/2 C red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 C + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 C Thai sweet or Genovese basil, chopped or ribboned