Cauliflower Casserole, Richard Simmons and Halloween Scale?

Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. First off, I would like to welcome all the new blog subscribers from this past weekend’s Baby Loves Disco event where I am the local Food sponsor. Another fun and sold out event with lots of dancing toddlers. Welcome!

Well, I was very surprised and happy to see my old hero, Richard Simmons, this past week out of the corner of my eye on the bagel shop’s TV set. He was on good Morning America talking about excercise with young kids and its importance because of childhood obesity. He looks the same, as energetic and enthusiastic about weight loss as I remembered from my youth. I can vividly remember sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor in the dark, watching his show while my siblings slept. During the summer of maybe my ninth or tenth year, I would watch and get inspired by listening to Richard chat while sitting cross-legged himself in a circle with a group of very heavy women, some crying and telling their stories of weight woe. His words of encouragement and self-disclosure about his own struggles with childhood obesity was perhaps one of the reasons I decided to become a Social Worker. I was so moved by all of these people sharing their stories in an effort to overcome their struggles with their food issues. In his time, he was able to help so many people achieve their weight loss goals and for this I saw him as a noble man.

Many of us out there have experienced weight issues and eating disorders in our present and past and have concerns about our children’s diets. Some of us feel confident about what not to do to encourage eating issues but some of us are unsure. There are some of us who avoid cooking altogether or consistent , structured cooking and meal times because we don’t want to “make a big deal” out of food, for fear of causing eating issues. This, unfortunately, can backfire, however, and help encourage eating and cooking challenges for our children now and in the future.

This is a lot of pressure! Let’s model Richard Simmons and think about and talk about our own issues with food and cooking so that we may deal with our children and food/cooking in a more productive way than some of the folks in the previous generations. If I may use my own experience as an example, my well meaning parents told me that I could not go trick-or-treating one year (5th grade?) if I did not lose a certain amount of weight. Thank goodness my chubby and smart self knew how to rig the scale! Like I was going to miss all that candy? No way! Fortunately, I came out O.K. (I think…).

Anyway, let’s try and do the best that we can as caretakers of ourselves and our children and keep it primarily healthy in both mind and behaviors. Cook your kids that vegetable but give it to them in a tasty fashion so that they may enjoy it and have positive associations with it on a consistent basis. That’s where this Cauliflower dish comes in. To me, cauliflower can taste like old hard boiled eggs, but if you prepare it as a cheesy souffle, it just may go over well and keep those kids, and ourselves, interested in vegetables. Here’ s my Take back the Kitchen recipe for it. enjoy!

Cauliflower Casserole :

1 large head of cauliflower, cut up into bite size pieces, washed and steamed until tender but not mushy
2 cups grated cheddar, swiss or any other cheese you like
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 cloves minced garlic (optional if your kids will eat it)
1 tsp olive oil or canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee up minced garlic in a pan and set aside. In a big bowl, combine cooked cauliflower, bread crumbs, most of cheese, salt and pepper (few shakes each) and sauteed garlic if using it. In a casserole dish or 8″ square pan, pour in mixture and put rest of cheese on top.Put pan under the broiler and broil until cheese is melted and starts to get golden brown. Enjoy!


One Response

  1. Henry, my 11 year old hipster son – entirely unaware of the existence of P.S. , just asked if Richard Simmons was related to Gene Simmons – Quite a large smile spread across my face at the idea of seeing them sitting in a room across from one another eating Cauliflower casserole

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