The Wonders of Cauliflower Rice

Last day of vacation bible school today meant that I got to have both girls home for lunch. Yay! Lexi requested peanut butter and jelly. To up the satiety of these “sandwiches” I added smashed chickpeas to the peanut butter. Chickpeas and peanut butter are meant to be! The chickpeas disappear into the peanut butter but add an additional protein boost and fullness. I’ve been known to mix the two together and add a few chocolate chips for a sweet protein snack. Mmmm!

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Next to their “sandwiches” they had carrots and peaches. I don’t know if it was the chickpeas or just lunch at home but both girls talked about how amazing lunch was today.

So I had a duh moment today regarding dinner. We are big fans of cauliflower rice (i.e. shredding cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles rice and then cooking briefly). My go-to with cauliflower rice is fried rice, which is delicious and versatile. I’ve also made Mexican cauliflower rice with good result. However, it never occurred to me that I could make paella with cauliflower rice. I’ve been missing out!! I love paella, my family loves paella. During college I spent a month in Spain and grew very fond of paella. I later began making it at home to recreate my memories of eating the magnificent dish . It is one of those dishes that I basically chalked up to a very rare to never indulgence because the base is grains. How could I not realize that cauliflower rice would make paella?! And boy did it! I told the family it was paella never mentioning the cauliflower part and nobody questioned me. It was so good and very paella like. The recipe was for seafood paella but since we had tuna salads earlier this week we were over seafood. This paella was vegan! It had onions, garlic, tomatoes, mixed colored peppers, yellow squash, peas, artichoke hearts, and wilted super greens. Just as good.

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Cauliflower rice paella, where have you been these past few years?! You bet this meal will be seen again. I’m ecstatic about the paella breakthrough (cauliflower rice, can’t believe I didn’t think of that!).

To finish up my weekend prep I made chocolate chili cranberry cookies to bring on our adventure as a treat. These cookies have a secret. They are hiding a very special and unique ingredient. First off, let me tell you there is absolutely no flour in these cookies or nuts. They are sweetened with honey, dark chocolate chunks (72% cacao), and dried cranberries.

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They are beautiful dark chocolate cookies with a hint of spiciness from adding cayenne pepper (I love spicy with my chocolate!). And the secret ingredient and base for these cookies is……..black beans!! Yeah it seemed weird processing them up with cocoa powder in the food processor. Once they are combined with the other ingredients you don’t even notice the beans at all. After they are cooked and cooled they are soft and don’t have any remaining bean flavor. Seriously, black bean cookies?! And seriously, delicious black bean cookies?! Oh yes, I did do that (well someone else did, I just followed their directions). As I said with the thumbprint cookies these are very satisfying because, well, they are made with beans and therefore have a lot of sustenance to them.

Quite the cooking day for me. Cauliflower rice paella and black bean chocolate cookies. Ha, ha happy Friday!

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