Cauliflower Pizza

Trying to eat better. I came across this recipe for cauliflower pizza. For better, or often for worse, I will try anything once. Well, I will try anything a few times just to be sure. That has led me to some poor life decisions, but I think this cauliflower pizza is pretty good. Give it a shot.

Grate a whole head of cauliflower & microwave it for 8 minutes.

Make some sort of sauce.

Throw whatever canned tomato product you have in a pan.

Cooked cauliflower, eggs, some cheese, and I threw in some chopped parsley. I also put in half egg whites instead of full eggs.

Sauce thickening up nicely.

Pizza "dough" after 15 minutes at 450.

Chopped toppings and cheeses. I just used whatever I had--so a combo of not-so-fresh fresh mozzarella, goat cheese and parmesan. 

Ready for a quick broil to heat up the veggies and melt the cheese.

Pulled out a slice and tried it.

The rest is for meals later in the week.

All in all, not that bad for you. Half of the calories come from cheese. I will probably make it again, but plan ahead and buy some cheaper mozzarella and pass on all the other cheese I put in. Olives and artichoke hearts also packed a big calorie punch. But you could cut it down to 1200 cal total, I think. Then half of the whole thing would be 600 cal and kind of a huge meal. 

How did it taste? 

(Probably one of my fav gifs this days.) It tastes pretty much like pizza, at least the american version of some giant combo pizza. But I think it's basically a really big frittata, which is fine, because it's still good. Try it out.

more shakes

This may be super boring for you to read. I think I am reaching the upper limits of spinach & eggs in shakes. 7 egg whites and 2.5 cups of spinach in today's version. On the plus side, same amount of protein as 3 chicken breasts.

Protein shake al Gaston

I was listening to "The World" today on public radio on my way to get some Drano to clear the kitchen sink, when I heard about a Harvard anthropologist who believes that cooking shaped our bodies evolutionarily speaking. Apparently, in addition to making things tasty and safe to eat, cooking also helps digest food. Makes sense. From a physical perspective, cooking is just using energy to break things apart. Anyway, he thinks that use of fire started over 2 million years ago and pretty much was the reason we could have calories to spare for a big brain. The radio piece here.

However, homo erectus simply never had to deal with donuts--where in nature can you find something that is both high-fat and high-sugar at the same time? Trying to combat the effects of my highly-evolved brain scheming of ways to increase my calories, I have decided to fight back--synapse vs synapse, neuron vs neron, cortex vs cortex. Apparently protein makes you feel full longer, and so I have tried to stay full as long as possible by upping protein to about 50-60% of my diet.

It works. One of the ways is my monster protein shake--which basically turns into a brick in my stomach and keeps me full forever.

This was my attempt at trying to get lots of protein in my belly without getting tons of fat or carbs as well. And it still has to taste good. My lactose intolerance complicates things further. But I found a couple of answers. First, casein is a protein in milk and doesn't cause the problems that lactose does. So I loaded up on that, some yogurt to give it some smoothness, and lactose-free milk. Then I kept adding things to try and up the full factor--more protein, more fiber. Spinach, egg whites, psyllium husks, and a banana. Then ice and water to actually allow it to blend and taste good. I am up to five egg whites per shake. You basically can't taste them and so I keep adding more.

Every afternoon when I am making a shake like this, I sing this to myself (skip to the 2-minute mark):

Maybe 4-dozen, one day, and, unlike Gaston, I am not aiming for barge-size status.

New tools / toolkit

The funny thing about my dad's garage--there are a ton of specialty tools, but some basic tools are lacking. Maybe that's because the kids take them and don't put them back (the oft-repeated refrain from my childhood).

There were two drills and four batteries--nothing held a charge or worked. No circular saw to be seen. And we were experiencing a severe clamp shortage. The universal constant in wood working is "you can never have too many clamps."

So despite my previous shading dealings with people from KSL, I jumped back in the swirl. The good thing about the downturn in the housing market is that there are plenty of people looking to offload tools for a little cash. Either that or a lot of stolen goods are now sold online.

Some of my finds:

18v drill with two batteries (that both hold a charge): $35.

12 used pipe clamps: $55.

I borrowed a circular saw and a biscuit jointer from family--the other great source for tools, relatives that you see infrequently. J/k julie. Maybe.

Photo filter was called "toolkit", which is a word related to "tool" which is what I purchased. Jokes are always funnier when you explain them. Also, I am too lazy to turn the pic of the bar clamps around.

Silhouette in oak

Silhouette is the name of the photo filter. Get it? See what I did there? Well, if I think about, I didn't do much--there is no silhouette of the wood at all. It's like I'm Michael Scott performing for myself, alone, forever....

(Shakes head). Ahhhheeem. One thing that annoys me about Utah is that Craigslist isn't really a thing here. That took me a little while to figure out--craigslist was devoid of anything useful, which is so uncharacteristic. But in order to email anyone about their stuff on KSL Classifieds (apparently, the site of choice here) you have to become a member, fill out a form, provide your real name and physical address, etc. I finally had to actually call someone about their ad.

I eventually found some additional oak from a guy around 33rd south. Of course, everything about it was sketchy. I meet some stranger on a corner in Salt Lake, walk into a deserted ramshackle barn that he says he owns and load up some lumber but "no lights" he said. He had "inherited" it from "a friend". Who bequeaths wood? I mean, in all he had about $2,000 worth of oak there, but it seemed a strange thing to include in a will. But it was a good deal, about $12 for 10/4 x 6" x 6'.

(I threw in a bit of extra lingo there that I picked up--apparently with hardwood, you  say all the thicknesses in quarters so it is easier to calculate board feet. Board feet, of course, is a volume measurement of wood rather than a linear measure. So a board 1 inch by 1 inch by 12 feet is the same price as a board that is 3"x 4"x 1 foot.)

It cleaned up relatively nicely, except for the fact that in the light of day, some of the wood looked a little less appealing. Who knew that when you try to get stuff cheap you often end up getting junk. New concept.


So part of the lingo I picked up is "re-sawing" which is pretty much just what it sounds like. Apparently, most people are used to getting crap to start with and they have to clean the lumber up. With no big table saw, I ended up using a construction job-site table saw to rip down the beams. How do you cut through a 4" thick oak beam--3/4" of an inch at a time. My only other option was to use a jig saw! (Pause for laughter). Those of you "in the know" will realize I just NAILED a funny power tool joke.

I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but when I split open the beams they were very soggy. I decided to sticker and clamp them while they dried for a week or so. I don't know if it did much besides rust my dad's tools.

Actual workspace

Initially, at least, my setup looked about like this--some german tools, some japanese tools, some american tools, and plenty of chinese tools. In case you can't tell, I am also messing around with my friend's photo software (which is the reason I allowed myself to blog at all).

My new skis

After I cleaned up the beams, I could see just how little I had to work with. One short beam, one big ski, and one rotten former termite home.

Unfortunately, the developer of this house forgot to put 3-phase 220v power into the garage, so that particular table saw is basically just a saw horse.

Century bench on a budget

In getting immersed in this seedy underbelly of personalized workbench construction, I read a lot about how these workbenches built in the old days could last centuries. That had a nice ring to it, so I thought, sure, I will build something that can last 100 years. I figure I am generally handy, but I have never really built any furniture before. Well, that is not exactly true. My cousin Bonny generously paid me far too much to build cabinets with plywood and drywall screws. But this will be my first real "piece." Pretty soon, I will be talking that "portfolio" nonsense and say stuff like "I just really need to focus on my art right now."

But I am trying to do this on a grad school budget. That may conflict with the whole "last a century" bit, but we'll see.

First, find a source of hardwood. It needs to be big. Mass is a key feature of workbenches--you don't want it to wiggle or wobble. Also, if you make something heavy enough, no one will ever want to move it and so it can hide out in a basement for a long time. I found a guy tearing oak beams out of his basement on KSL classifieds. $10 each for the three oak beams and another $5 for the two pine beams.

But as you can see, these beams leave something to be desired.

In fact, some of the wood was basically trash. After I ran it through the thickness planer it showed it's true soul--crooked, rotten, and full of termite holes. I chopped out the worst parts.


Eventually I clipped all my notes from all over the web into a virtual notebook on evernote--currently my go-to second brain that keeps track of bips and baps. If you actually care about various design choices and features, there are plenty of links here. If you are just scrolling through posts because you are related to me, I am afraid I don't have many pictures of me to post. But I have lots of oak.