Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness

[ I wrote this post almost two+ month ago, but I was having issues with my site so never published it. Forgive me for my absence! It’s good to see you again though friend! ]

Wow, it’s been a while and life has been busy, fun, tiring and exhilarating all at the same time. There is so much to talk about…where do I begin!?

Ok, let’s start with the most beautiful news of all. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Our little one is growing rapidly and we are so excited to meet HER in December! We are so filled with excitement, gratitude and sheer joy! It’s been so hard to contain this news!

Prior to our first ultrasound around 9 weeks, our anxiousness had been unbearable at times. In October of last year [2014], we experienced the loss of a twin pregnancy which left us deeply saddened, but at the same time incredibly hopeful for the Lord’s perfect plan for our family. When we heard the heartbeat this time, it was like nothing we have experienced before.

“There is no sweeter sound than when at some point you have heard the deafening silence of a heartbeat’s absence.”

This quote, from a mama and blogger who experienced loss herself, hit me like a ton of bricks. How true. How insanely true. That sound was the most beautiful I have ever heard and I praise our Creator for making it possible. What a gift to be able to carry a child, with all the multiplying of cells, differentiating tissues, growing organs, defining facial features, etc. A miraculous feat.

Matt and Justine Alo Wellness

July 4th | we decided to announce to the world we were expecting! I was about 16 weeks pregnant here.

 

justine24weeksalowellness

at a recent gym sesh…my dad would call those muscles “pea shooters” meaning little guys! 😉 | 24 weeks

I’m sure you will be seeing a lot more about this and how life changes during this incredible experience we call pregnancy. So stay tuned!

Next up, back in late April/early May, we spent two weeks in Europe and enjoyed some amazing food, great friendship and beautiful sites. Though tainted by the less than fabulous feelings of first trimester bliss, Paris brought us delicious dishes and beautiful sites and Italy was filled with naps, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Oh yes, and great friends, rolling Tuscan hills and more naps. Sad, but true!

My favorite was Chianti, a gorgeous region of Tuscany, just south of Florence. We ate some of our favorite dishes there, walked the hills of a 5th generation vineyard and while I enjoyed Italy’s finest mineral water, the hubs enjoyed the fruit of their labor.

Here are a few highlights of the trip…

photo 1-6

Dinner at 58 Tower Eiffel…divine! // the Eiffel Tower herself // Matt and I being tourists // a beautiful fountain at Versailles

 

photo 2-5

The oldest outdoor market, Maubert, was simply heaven on earth! Gorgeous produce, award winning fromage and the freshest seafood!

 

Mona Lisa in the flesh...well, kind of // Boarding a yacht for dinner on the river // beautiful hor d'oeuvre // photo booth fun on the yacht

Mona Lisa in the flesh…well, kind of // Boarding a yacht for dinner on the river // beautiful hor d’oeuvre // photo booth fun on the yacht

 

Canal view near our Venetian apartment // #gelatoeveryday // a Venice "must" - gondola ride with great friends! // our departure from Venice

Canal view near our Venetian apartment // #gelatoeveryday // a Venice “must” – gondola ride with great friends! // our departure from Venice

 

Wine tour on the property we stayed at in Chianti, Tuscany // homemade meatballs...enough said. //  the view from our little apartment in Chianti, Tuscany // barrel room kisses! this room was 100+ years old and used to be for curing meats

Wine tour on the property we stayed at in Chianti, Tuscany // homemade meatballs…enough said. // the view from our little apartment in Chianti, Tuscany // barrel room kisses! this room was 100+ years old and used to be for curing meats

Given our recent addition, this trip is probably the last of our international travels for a while. That’s fine with me. Maui, here I come! No passports and broken foreign language communication- bring it on!

Since I’ve started to feel better in the past few weeks [remember this was two months ago!] and my energy has been on the rise, I have finally been able to get this couch-shaped butt of mine back into the gym. I have been taking it easy to start, but also keeping in mind that I am training. I am training for labor. A marathon where one needs serious mental and physical preparation to help ensure the best outcome. No, I won’t be running an actual marathon and I know it can be done with no forethought whatsoever, but I want to be ready.

With all this newfound energy, I have started back in the kitchen as well, my happy place. Oh, it is good to be home. I have been playing with a little more grains than I usually do as I have had more of an affinity to them since I’ve been pregnant. I figure a properly prepared (soaked) oatmeal bake is far better than the Lucky Charms I was eyeing during a TV commercial. Am I right?

Nutrition during pregnancy is so incredibly important, I cannot stress that enough. I will be talking about different aspects of prenatal nutrition in the next few months [and beyond] as this is one of our best forms of prevention.

So, the other day I got a little crazy and played with a new idea: a grain-free version of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, you heard me right.

I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches, on whatever kind of bread one could conjure up. Nowadays, I stick to an occasional properly prepared, traditional sourdough bread, but I was wanting something I could indulge in any day of the week in a grain-free version, keeping my blood sugar stable.

Guys, to my surprise, this turned out amazing and I have a new favorite cauliflower recipe to add to the bunch! It does take some effort to prepare the cauliflower bread (sauté cauli, form “bread” slices, bake, then grill…) BUT it is SO worth it! And you can always prep the cauliflower ahead of time and just form the “bread” when you’re ready to get your grilled cheese on!

 

Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness

 

So, without further ado…I introduce to you the Grain-Free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese! There are endless possibilities for this bad boy so please, let me know what you do to make this recipe your own!

Happy eating y’all!

 

Grain-free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese
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For the "bread"
  1. 1 small cauliflower head
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  3. 1 large pastured egg
  4. 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  5. A good pinch of sea salt
For the grilled cheese
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 3-4 oz your favorite cheese (I used a mix of sharp cheddar and jalepeno jack...perfect, flavorful combo!)
For the "bread"
  1. Preheat over to 450F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and brush with a little coconut oil.
  3. "Rice" the cauliflower by placing florets in a food processor and pulse into a fine crumb.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium heat, add the cauliflower and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Cool the cauliflower and use a nut bag or clean kitchen towel to squeeze out as much water from the cauliflower as you can. The dryer, the better. This will keep the "bread" nice and solid.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the strained cauliflower, egg, cheese and salt. Divide the "dough" into 4-6 balls then shape into bread squares. Place the bread squares on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  6. Once golden, remove and let cool for a few minutes.
To assemble your sandwiches
  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of "bread" and place half of them butter side down into the pan. Top with your choice of flavorful cheese the place the second piece of "bread" on top, butter side up.
  2. Cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip sandwich and cook the second side until golden brown.
  3. Serve with a fresh green salad or your favorite soup and enjoy!
Notes
  1. It is super important to drain your cauliflower, do not skip this step! The hardest part is waiting for the cauliflower to cool enough to handle!
  2. Feel free to add whatever you'd like to spice up this sandwich- try adding jalepenos or other spicy pickled veggies.
  3. I like to dip my grilled cheese in a spicy ketchup, like Sir Kensington's.
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