Packing Lunches: Mashed Cauli-tatoes

This font is called Trebuchet.  Sweet. While Xanga does not recognize that as the correct spelling, it is indeed (I double-checked).  In case you don’t know what the word means (but I doubt that), a trebuchet (treb-you-shay) is like a ground sling-shot that hurled rocks at one’s enemies (or more likely, their castle walls) in medeival times, and that young men today sometimes attempt to build, if they’re nerdy enough.  It’s quite ingenious.

Anyhow.  FOOD. I have been packing Tim’s lunches to save money, which I wanted to do all along, but didn’t want to tear him mercilessly from his last single-man habit: eating lunch with the guys. With some new financial demands, I brought up the idea again and he agreed, saying he’d just been thinking the same thing.  Aw. So then I had to start making things I could pack for his lunches, and of course, leftovers work well too.  Which is how he got sent out the door this morning with SNEAKY MASHED POTATOES!!!!

There’s a show called Cook Yourself Thin (which you can find for free on which introduced me to the idea of sneaky substitutions.  Actually, my mom did when she said “use applesauce when you bake instead of oil.” Also, my very domestic friend M informed me the other day that one can use a can of black beans (un-drained) blended up in a brownie mix in place of all the other ingredients for fudgy goodness, and that it’s undetectable unless you overbake.  Hmm…I really want to try that now. >:} But back to the show: the three hosts take somebody who wants to drop a dress size and helps the guest achieve her goal simply by changing the way she eats (and cooks), without enjoying food less. In my opinion, that’s the only way to diet and stick to it.  If you don’t like what you are eating, you’ll most likely cheat.  So they instructed making mashed potatoes with cauliflower (I mean, in addition to; some completely nix the potatoes—google recipes for faux potatoes) to cut the calories in half.  I watched the show but paid attention to the other recipes (or recipe, singular: DESSERT!). The idea, however, was in the back of my mind.

Until. The other day my mom gave me a bag of potatoes.  I have bought my own before, but they go bad before I use them all.  So we swapped onions and potatoes.  And then I realized I should use these ones before they stink up my kitchen (that’s usually how I remember I even have potatoes stashed in the pantry).  I pondered what to do with them for a bit:

Baked potatoes?  Mmm..they’re fast, but kinda dry usually, and I have no sour cream.

Potatoe Soup?  Too hot out.

How ’bout mashed?

(I sorta whined to myself that making mashed potatoes has never worked for me in the past; it was too hard to get them cooked all the way to mash them. But recalling the Cook Yourself Thin show made it seem possible.)

I decided this time not to try to boil them.  Takes too long.  I scrubbed them (skin on; “it’s healthier that way” –or I’m lazy) and poked holes in them, then microwaved 6 small potatoes for 5 minutes.  Let them sit while I cut up a head of cauliflower, then did the same to the cauliflower (with some water in the casserole dish, lid offset a bit).  I was doubtful about the outcome until I whipped them together in my mixer and added some “cream cheese” (actually, it was Neufchâtel; “the main distinction between the two cheeses is their fat content: While cream cheese by law must contain at least 33% milk fat and not more than 55% moisture, American Neufchâtel weighs in with about 23% milk fat and slightly higher moisture content”– ). I added dill, salt, a couple Tbsp. of “butter,” and bacon bits, and topped it off with cheddar.  Tim tried some when I was out for the evening, and when I inquired of the taste, he immediately became suspicious but could not put his finger on my particular method of mischief.  

Thus, mashed caulitatoes was a success!  And you can too.  Or something.

Are there any sneaky substitutions you’ve pulled off?



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