Sunday, January 6, 2013

If at first you don’t succeed …

Try, try, try again.

Regardless of where you fall in the dietary lifestyle spectrum, I think we can all agree that mac and cheese, while a sought-after comfort food, is nothing more than fat and empty calories. I hate the fact that it often leads the choices on kids’ menus in restaurants, but that’s a post for another day.

For the past two years, I have tried repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to “veganize” macaroni and cheese. My motivator was to turn out a “healthful” creation that would not only appeal to our children but one that would rival the traditional and fattening dairy version. I wanted to mimic a dish I knew they loved without feeling guilty that I was giving them food completely lacking in nutritional value.

I looked to well-renowned chefs in the vegan and vegetarian world for inspiration. My every attempt, while enjoyed by Matt and me, failed our kids’ taste test. And to be honest, the vegan versions were never particularly healthful. It seemed that many recipes looked to replace dairy with processed “soy” cheese and generous amounts of Earth Balance (vegan butter).

I kind of through my hands up and landed on the realization that there IS joy in life without mac and cheese. Until …

VegNews recently named its top 10 vegan recipes for 2012, with mac and cheese leading the list. What struck me, though, was how the online pub described it, “This is the best mac 'n' cheese on the planet. End of story.Talk about high praise.

I also loved that the recipe didn’t use vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, and also used a minimal amount of Earth Balance.

So what exactly made the cheesy sauce that all of us know and so many of us love?

You better take a seat …

Carrots, potatoes, onions, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, paprika and cashews.

Yeah, way.

And you know what? It’s the best mac & cheese on the planet! I challenge anyone to show me a mac & cheese that is equally as good and as healthful as this. And boy did it pass our kids’ taste test -- so much so that I immediately called my sister to tell her I want to make it for her youngest son, who is lactose-intolerant and a very picky eater.

Seeing is believing, but tasting is proof. Make it tomorrow for Meatless Monday. You will be so happy you did!

Oh, heart rate training has been going great. This week I ran three, 60-minute runs, with each feeling stronger and stronger. (For those of you who may have missed my posts earlier this week, I took off the Sunday before Christmas thru New Year’s Day, resuming exercise just this past Wednesday).

I absolutely love training with the heart monitor. I have completely checked my ego at the door and am convinced that running slower today to run faster tomorrow is the only approach for us. Heart rate charts exist on every cardio machine for a reason. I am looking forward to seeing (and sharing) our results over the coming weeks. Matt will also be back later this week with a guest blog on the topic!

BTW, I plan to run six, 60-minute runs this week. That’s the goal!

Here's the recipe. *I increased the diced carrots from 1/4 cup to just under a 1/2 cup. I used Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs instead of my own with the added butter. I used a full box of multigrain macaroni (versus 8 ounces) (I want this to last a couple dinners). I also cut the Earth Balance down by 1-2 tablespoons (versus 1/3 cup).

No comments:

Post a Comment