I used to hate the saying, “comfort food.” It is an overused term on a local TV show in Boston, given to just about any dish that appears to be high in fat and calories. Why not just call it food made by a person who could care less what you put in your mouth or do after you eat your weekly calorie allowance? That’s what it is, right?

When I wasn’t feeling well before the marathon, I wanted foods I used to enjoy as a kid that were simple and tasted good. I quickly realized, I was craving my version of comfort food, something that makes me feel better and not just a calorie/fat bomb explosion. Bagels with butter, soup, pasta, and pizza, I had the appetite of a child or as roomie informed me, “a normal person”. I didn’t want foods that were necessarily unhealthy, but foods specifically I ate growing up. Those were comforting and made me feel better.

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One of my cravings was for mac and cheese. As you know, I do not eat a ton of cheese so I was hoping I could make a vegan version using what I had on hand. I came up with a delicious dish that I just had to share with you guys because it was so good. I can’t wait to make this during the holidays for family gatherings. It is a perfect vegan cheesy alternative to dress up those vegetables, especially if you have dairy free folks in the family.

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I used GO Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese Alternative and nutritional yeast to get a cheesy flavor with 4x more calcium,  fewer calories, and zero cholesterol. It made mainly from coconut oil and non-GMO ingredients. Your guests will have no idea the cheese sauce is dairy, and lactose free. The cream cheese alternative also tastes great on bagels by itself!

Vegan Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (Makes 4-6 side servings)

Ingredients:

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  • 1 Large Cauliflower, or two small
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa, uncooked or Macaroni pasta
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup GO Veggie! Dairy Free Cream Cheese Alternative
  • 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Chives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, about 1/2 small
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Optional Topping: Panko crumbs or day old baguette chopped up into croutons – leave off topping if eating a Paleo or gluten free diet.

Directions:

1. Start by boiling a pot of water. Break apart the cauliflower and put into the pot of boiling water. Let cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Divide in half, placing 1/2 in a blender or bowl, the other off to the side.

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2. Rinse quinoa and cook according to package. You can substitute this for a more traditional dish and use pasta elbows. Pre heat oven to 350F.

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3. Combine olive oil, nutritional yeast, GO Veggie! cream cheese, garlic power, Dijon mustard, chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the blender or bowl with the cauliflower. If using a blender, mix well until mixture is smooth throughout. If using a bowl, you can also use a hand mixer or immersion blender. Your cheese sauce will not be as creamy but it will still taste delicious. The above picture is using my hand mixer, and below if after my blender.

Add more salt and pepper to taste once mixture is combined. The chives give it a slight green tint.

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4. Combine the still intact cooked cauliflower, quinoa or elbows and cheese sauce. Place into a 9×9 pan evenly. I did not have a 9×9 but also made a smaller serving size for the pictures.

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5. Top with a crispy topping of your choice. I used homemade croutons by cutting up day old bread. If you eat a gluten free diet, you can omit this part of add your favorite gluten free topping. Another option is to add panko or bread crumbs.

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6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

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Disclaimer: While I am a huge fan of GO Veggie! products, I am also a brand ambassador for 2014! All thoughts, opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

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Listening to music while working out makes it more enjoyable but did you know it also helps you workout harder? 

“Music is like a legal drug for athletes,” says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D. from London’s Brunel University school of Sport and Education. “It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.”

Fall playlist

Since I’m teaching 6 classes a week, making sure I have a kick ass, new and updated playlist regularly is a challenge. When it comes to my own runs, I don’t care if I listen to the same songs for months but keeping things new and fresh is an important component when you work at a studio like Barry’s Bootcamp that prides itself on having awesome loud music. 

Here is a list of my favorite fall songs for my own cardio workouts and classes.

I use Spotify for most of my classes because it’s easy to make new playlists but I also love discovering new remixes on SoundCloud and Dirrty Remixes. I also am NOT sick of Shake It Off yet but I assume most people are at this point… 

I’m always looking for good new remixes so if you have a favorite, let me know down below!

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My Halloween Candy Guide: The Good & Bad

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFfmhpIAO4s”>how

I’m all for moderation but Halloween is anything but… be honest with yourself. No, one mini sized Snickers bar is not going to kill you or even cause you to gain weight. Enjoying two or three in one sitting won’t either. But is Halloween really an excuse to eat 4 minis a day until October […]

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New Sweetgreen Menu #TasteTheSeason – Where to Eat Healthy In Boston

I can’t believe I do not have a Boston travel tips post on where to go, what to eat and what to see, etc. I can tell you that Boston has very few restaurants that are 100% dedicated to healthy grub. Sweetgreen is one of the very few in actual Boston (I’m excluding Cambridge, Newton, […]

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Chicago Marathon 2014 Race Recap

Read part 1 of my Chicago Marathon recap here. As the gun went off, my heart rate soared with excitement. I was doing this. I was running this damn marathon even if I had to walk the last 6 miles. I knew I followed my plan religiously and had to trust “the training.”  I wasn’t […]

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The Best Stretches To Do Before You Run

Exercise is a science. Like nutrition, guidelines are always changing as our studies discover new and better techniques. This is why I don’t like to publicly proclaim that I follow any strict diet or one fitness trend. I feel it is perfectly fine to change your beliefs. Stretching is one of those topics that has […]

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My First Marathon: Chicago Marathon Recap 2014

After training for over 4 months, yesterday I completed my first marathon in 4:17:42. Below is part 1 of my recap… Flying To Chicago on Friday, October 10th I did not miss one training run. My coach Jess was great at modifying my program to my schedule. My body was ready for this race. However, […]

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5 Tips To Prevent Breast Cancer

We are fully immersed in October from the pumpkin every things to football season. You probably have noticed a lot of talk about breast cancer awareness on my blog, on your TV and locally I hope as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While your breast cancer risk largely depends on your genetics, there are […]

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Natural Beauty Drug Store Haul

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to share my top non toxic picks from the drugstore beauty department. Drug stores are known for having affordable cosmetics, but not so much the natural kind. I had to really search my local CVS to find these! They are not next to the regular crap […]

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Why I Was Wrong About Tapering

I thought I was going to like my first week of tapering. I thought I would enjoy running less, not being ravenous at all times, and being able to sit and work on my business. I was wrong. I can’t sit still! This weekend, I had two rest days, back to back. I can’t remember […]

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