The Christmas Skinny

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and it’s always filled with food, drink, family time around a movie and puzzle, and of course the bag and stocking of gifts. This year, my oldest son Chris spends Christmas with his significant other’s family, and I miss him dearly. But, Emily is home from college and Matt has shed a bit of his teenage ways and is hanging out with us. With dogs at our feet and cats in our laps, it is still a family affair. Add to this some snow falling outside, and it’s pretty perfect.

The season is different for me. I’d normally be sampling everything, baking up a storm, and crashing full on the sofa with lots of naps. This year I am getting my workouts in and I even kicked things off with a demo day at the local ski area. My gifts were all about activities: skis (love those Volkl Flairs), ski boots (my Atomic Hawks ULT 110s hug my feet), and Leki poles for hikes and snowshoeing. I returned the favor to Tom with a Santa bag full of backpacking items and gift card for a new backpack. Or course I’m going to go with him!

Eating has been curbed and not because I’m watching it that much. I’m just busy. I also get full very fast and don’t even try to stuff it all in.  I passed on the potatoes because my mashed cauliflower and parsnips and mashed butternut squash was where my Jonesing was. I did grab the spiral cut ham and had a regular sized slice of pear pie. Oh yeah, can’t forget the handful of caramelized popcorn. Today was Christmas breakfast smorgasbord – waffles, bagels, lox, berries, sponge cake, pear pie, ham, eggs, latkes. Later we’ll head out for my Jewish Christmas and have Chinese food at Sichuan Gourmet (the best Chinese food outside of Chinatown – IMHO). Normally we’d see a movie too, but this season is a complete bust. Oh well.

The scale has been kind this season, staying at 108. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health except for a vitamin D deficiency, so I’m taking a prescription tablet for eight weeks. Can’t understand how that is considering the fish and mushrooms I eat, but I’m not outside as much since it got cold, maybe that is it.

Binging on Create now and seeing every variety of mulled wine and cider imaginable. I think I need to get my game on there. Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukka and Happy Holidays to everyone.





Need My Veggie Hash

I’m not sure why we don’t see more hash recipes out there. I don’t mean the corn beef and potato hash from your childhood breakfast. Or, even that hash always has to have potato in it. I’m talking about the throw the kitchen sink of vegetables into a hash and chow down.

My biggest problem with vegetables growing up was that they were always overcooked to the point of mush and bitterness. The ultimate was when Mom would put a can of asparagus in a dinner serving dish and call that vegetables. In all honesty, the only time I bought canned asparagus was to make kitten food which seems like the only thing canned asparagus is good for. You can’t get any grosser than that.

How I learned to love vegetables (not kale, don’t love, never will), is to cook them only as long as you have to. Keep them a bit crunchy. They keep their color, flavor, and fill you up better. So, my new food obsession is the veggie hash.

Veggie hash is basically any mix of chopped and/or riced vegetables with a chopped up veggie burger or other protein thrown in. Think:

  • Riced cauliflower, riced sweet potato, riced broccoli, corn, chopped tomato and chopped mushrooms  with chopped veggie burger mixed in.
  • Chopped beets, corn, black beans, celery, tomato, avocado and chopped egg (or fried egg on top).
  • Chopped grilled eggplant, chopped olives, chopped zucchini, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, toasted pine nuts and lean ground turkey. Sprinkle with parmesan if you like.

It’s kind of a warm twist on the boring salad. It can be completely vegan, vegetarian or the lighter side of carnivore. The best part is that this kitchen sink approach let’s you use up those leftovers. Got left over grilled veggies? Chop up and throw in. Got left over corn on the cob? Scrape down and throw in. That left over burger? Its hash tonight. And yes, those left over potatoes can be added in to.

Seasonings I tend to do simple salt/pepper/garlic (SPG), soy sauce, pesto, or some random sauce in the fridge. I can even throw in some fresh herbs like cilantro and mint for a little kick.

Anyway, for meals under 300 calories that fill you up, are healthy and tasty, can’t beat a veggie hash.

Oh Wow – Cauliflower Hash with Marinara and Fried Egg

Not sure if it was because I had just finished my workout, was hungry before my workout, or if I just outdid myself, but my dinner was sooooo gooood!

I have a confession, I have an obsession with cauliflower rice. I don’t even think of it as a substitute anymore. I’ll take cauliflower rice over real rice, couscous, pasta or potatoes any day. My other recent obsession if going full on Beyoncé but instead of putting a ring on it, I put a fried egg on it. Well, tonight, I put these two obsessions together and I ate it so fast I couldn’t even take a picture and share.  But, I will share my recipe.

Michele’s Cauliflower Hash with Marinara and Fried Egg

I made this for one, but you could easily multiply this for four based on my measurements. I am also using some leftovers but you can substitute for fresh.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1/4 head of cauliflower (will make about 5 oz ‘rice’)
1 oz baby spinach
2 T pine nuts
1/4 cup marinara sauce (scooped from a half used jar)
1 large egg
1 1/2 oz cooked hamburger (took a quarter from a portabella swiss burger made the night before)
1 T chopped garlic
pinch kosher salt
pepper from pepper grinder


Cut cauliflower roughly and add to food processor. Pulse until it is chopped. Add in spinach and pulse again until spinach is chopped and cauliflower is the consistency of rice.

Place pine nuts on a aluminum foil and toast in the toaster oven for several minutes until pine nuts become a toasted color. Keep an eye on them as they easily and quickly burn.

Cut up a cooked gourmet portabella and swiss burger into quarters. Take one quarter and chopped up. You can use any other pre-cooked leftover burger or simply cook up some fresh ground beef.

In hot pan, spray with cooking spray and add in cauliflower and spinach mixture. Sprinkle in the kosher salt and grind the amount of pepper you like. After about two minutes, add in garlic, pine nuts and chopped burger. Saute until cauliflower is tender and then pour onto a plate. Then add the marinara sauce over the hash.

In same pan, spray again with cooking spray and fry the egg. If you like, sprinkle egg with a bit of kosher salt and grind pepper over ( I do ). When egg is starting to brown at the edges, flip over to form a fast crust over the yolk. You want the the yolk to still be saucy.

Remove egg and lay over the top of your hash, then prick the yolk to allow it to flow over. Then eat!

Nutrition: 306 calories according to MyFitnessPal log


I could easily have changed out the burger for shrimp, chicken sausage, or ground turkey.

If you don’t like pine nuts, I’ve also added chopped cashews and pistachios. But I’m sure walnuts could also be good.