My new family table tactic is to place a salad on everyone's plate prior to digging-in into whatever comfort food I have made. It's amazing how no one complains about eating the salad when it's the gateway to the main, mouthwatering event.
I am inching my family towards filling our plates with more plants. It's so HARD. Really and truly. It's a simple, clear cut goal and one that I know is worth it. I will be chipping away at this mighty task, making baby steps every week at our family table.
Terri and I brainstormed a list of comfort meals that I will be tweaking to add more prebiotic foods to improve our gut health and reduce the ones that destroy our gut health. I am doing my best to steer clear of foods/crops that are cultivated heavily with pesticides with patented antibiotics like this one.
I am not after as many "new" things in my meal plan this year, nor am I after perfection. Eating out and desserts will still be a lovely part of our lifestyle ratio of 80:20 | real:processed food.
I want to create a meal plan that is somewhat repetitive (Mac, Abbie Tommy, I hope you wax poetic about my home cooked meals someday!!!) and full of gut-healthy plants + comfort food to fuel the trillion + gut microbes that maintain my family's health.
Cauliflower Macaroni + Cheese
Inspired by Terri Salminen
1 package gluten free elbow macaroni cooked and drained
1/2 block of gruyere shredded (almost 1.5 cups)
1 package of organic shredded mexican cheese (An Italian mix or plain ol cheddar is fine too!)
1 head cauliflower diced to size of macaroni (or smaller)
2 Tbsp organic butter
2 Tbsp gluten free flour
1/2 c organic half n half (or substitute in full fat coconut milk)
1 c organic rice milk (or organic or rBGH free milk)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper (start with a few pinches and adjust to taste)
a pinch of ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta to package directions (Don't forget to salt your water with a 2 T of sea salt). Rough chop up the cauliflower to the size of your macaroni or smaller. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the cauliflower over the sheet. Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Roast for 15 minutes and toss (no oil is needed!). Roast for another 5-8 minutes or until starting to slightly brown. There should not be anymore raw "crunch" to the vege.
The pasta and the cauliflower hung out for a bit when I started my roux - Watch this "how to make a roux video" - It ROCKS). Melt the butter, add the flour and stir for 3-5 minutes until bubbly. Slowly pour in cream and whisk to incorporate. Lastly add in the rice milk (about 1/4 cup at a time). You should have a nice white sauce mixture at this point (add more liquid to thin out if necessary). Add in 1 cup of the gruyere and all of the Mexican cheese and mix until melted and smooth.
Remove from heat and mix in the cauliflower and macaroni. Pour mixture into a 9x12 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining gruyere on top. (Parmesan would be awesome on top too... I just didn't haven't any on hand.) Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. DIG IN.
Have fun with some 1st course, "gateway" salads and happy weekend everyone!!
To the Mullies we go,
Ever since my family food change worked for Abbie, I have been a geek for anything that increases my understanding of the gut-brain connection. Today, 4.5 years into my journey, this is what I know for sure: There is still so much to learn about our gut microbiome (video link!) and I believe improving Abbie's changed the game for all of us.
I am crazy about my new library book, Super Genes. It's one Good-Gut-Mind-DNA-Loving read.
If you want to read some more about prebiotics, check out this great article!