Archive for February 2011

Humble Brag

February 25, 2011

While watching NCIS: Los Angeles the other night, I heard a new phrase:  humble brag.  I immediately perked up.  Humble brag?  What is that?  The character has been complaining that although she was tired, sweaty and wore no make up, she still got hit on at the gym.  Later in the show, the term came up again when her partner mentioned that she complained that her size 2 jeans were baggy.  Hmmm.  Humble brag.  Do I do that?

It really made me stop and think.  Yes, I think I do.  It’s not a conscious thing, really; I want the people in my life to know how hard I work.  Or work out.  Or what a good cook I am. I don’t like to brag; it’s not a quality I admire.  But I may have mentioned a few times that although a certain recipe didn’t seem to come out as well as expected, everyone gobbled it up and there were no leftovers for my lunch the next day.  Boo-hoo.  And in a recent conversation with my mom:

“I could only run eight miles today.  It was just too cold to run any farther.”

I just want to make it clear that I run long distances on a regular basis but am a bit ashamed to actually come right out and brag for real.

This is starting to feel like a confession.  Growing up Catholic, confession was supposed to be a healthy thing.  I remember slipping into the dark little confessional box in our church, my face burning as I confessed my darkest sins, like teasing my sister, or dreaming about boys when I should have been doing my CCD (Catholic Cristian Doctrine) homework.  I eventually stopped going to confession, then to church altogether.  Yet, there is something to be said for unburdening myself of transgressions.  Is a humble brag a transgression?

I notice a lot of other people do the same thing— they want you to know how cool they are, or how popular, how thin, or how rich.  But the information is delivered in such a way that it seems like they are complaining or burdened by their good fortune or hard work, when in fact they are letting you know how awesome they are, or think they are.  Facebook seems to be the perfect place for this.  How many status reads have actually been humble brags?  It’s not necessary to be famous to spout a humble brag—even my mom does it occasionally, although it is very popular among the truly rich and famous.  There is even a Twitter Humble Brag site.  Is this catching on everywhere?  Have people been doing it for ages and it just finally received a proper name?  Or am I the one of the only people left who never knew?

I mentioned this topic to my friend Robin the Mermaid and she had never heard of it, either.  Today she called to tell me that, now familiar with the term, she heard someone toss out a humble brag at work.  She thought it seemed to make more sense to go for a real brag.  If you’re going to do it, you may as well go all the way.

Perhaps I’m giving this too much thought.  Or too much press?

Well, from my trainer’s point of view, maybe it’s good to go for the humble brag about fitness.  Why wouldn’t anyone want to show off how fit they are?  Fitness rule # 17 :  Earn a humble brag! (Or a real one!)


Crazy Strength Training with Charlene

February 24, 2011

My friend Charlene is a powerhouse.  She’s pretty, petite, slender, and in excellent shape, able to do five pull-ups while barely breaking a sweat.  She’s the friend who took me to Body Combat.  She’s a friend who is really good at sharing, too.  She and her husband have been doing the P90X series for about a year, incorporating it into their regular workout schedules, along with down-hill and cross-country skiing, fitness classes and cycling.  They keep an extensive set of free weights at home; I asked if I might join her for strength training last week. I thought it would be fun to work out together, and I was itching to have the chance to use heavier free weights to see how I would do.  Not so itchy as to join a gym, maybe though, to see if I should invest in heavier free weights myself.  Giving me her biggest smile, she invited me to join her whenever I wanted.  We decided on Tuesday morning, after my run and after she dropped her daughter off at school.

We lifted free weights and combined that with low body strength, executing multiple sets of squats with rowing, then sets of lunges with curls.  I usually work out with 15 lb. weights, and do drop sets with 15s to 12s.  Standing in the bright sunshine of her husband’s office, looking out at the ocean with loud pop music pumping from his computer speakers, I used 25 lb. free weights for rowing squats, 20 lb. weights for curls, overhead press and lunges, 25s for triceps kickbacks, and 25 to 20 lb. drop sets for chest presses.  We did triceps push-ups.  (Charlene did about 20 full body tri-push-ups in a row.  I did about 15 “girl” ones.)  We did regular push-ups.  (Charlene did 30.  I did 20.  My last 5 were weak.)  She demonstrated a one-armed push-up!  We did front raises with the 20 lb. weights while doing an isometric Plié squat.  I had started off feeling cold, but by the time we had finished out sets, I was down to my capri pants and tank, dripping with sweat.  I looked at my pile of discarded fleece and sweats on the floor and grinned.  My friend turned to me.

“How about we go downstairs?  I usually do the Ab Ripper after this.”

I thought she meant a video she and I both shared.  It’s a Pilates video, not too bad, the Ab Ripper segment is about 10 minutes long and I can do it, no problem.

“Sure.  I need some more water first, though.”

We bounced down the stairs and into the kitchen, refilled our glasses, and went into the living room.  We laid out yoga mats on top of the rug, and Charlene fiddled with the television and X-Box until the video came up.

“Is this from the P90X series?”

“Yeah, but it’s only 20 minutes.  Plus, there’s a couple of things I skip, so it’s only about 15 minutes long.”

I stretched out on my mat and waited.

I am a trainer.  I know the upper quads are considered part of the core, but this was ridiculous!  The first three exercises just about wiped me out.  My quads were screaming as I tried to execute “Crunchy Frog” (you really don’t want to know) but then we moved onto a couple of exercises that focused more on the abs.  I was keeping up pretty well until the P90X guy, Tony, had us roll onto our hips.  It was a side sit-up, wherein you perch on the side of your glutes, raise your legs up to a low V, then, with your fingers linked behind your head, you crunch your elbow on the same side down to your knee.  I could feel my sit bones grinding into the floor right through the yoga mat and the rug beneath me.  We switched sides after 25 reps. (Okay.  Charlene did 25 reps.  I did about 8 before giving up.  I did try the other side but the pain was too much.  I stopped.)

I was able to do most of the rest of the video with some serious effort. My favorite was leg climbing, where you lie back, raise one leg straight in the air, keep the other flat on the floor, then use your hands to “climb” the raised leg all the way to the foot.  25 reps on one side, then 25 on the other.  Charlene finished it up like it was a piece of chocolate cake.  She popped up off the floor and offered me a cup of coffee.  I rolled over onto my side and groaned as I accepted her offer, asking if she was willing to repeat this with me next week.  She said yes, of course.

What I learned:

My fitness rule ‘challenge yourself’ is a really good rule.

I am a strong runner.

I could be stronger.

I need to buy heavier free weights!

Wheat Berries and Greens

February 23, 2011

I love the taste and texture of wheat berries.   They are a nutritious, fiber-filled, easy to prepare grain with a satisfying, chewy texture.  I soaked a cup of the hard red winter variety overnight.  After my run this morning, I put this together and ate a big bowl for breakfast.  This is a whole meal by itself, although most people would prefer it for lunch or dinner.  I just still happen to be craving greens, and needed to find a higher calorie way to eat them today.  Running in the cold weather calls for a hearty breakfast!

Wheat Berries and Greens


1 cup hard red winter wheat berries, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained*

2 tsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced

6 cups greens, washed and cut fine (I used pre-washed bagged mixed southern greens, but you could use kale, chard, spinach, or any combination)

1/4 cup dried cranberries*

1/4 cup chopped walnuts*

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 Tbsp.  light miso paste

1 Tbsp.  orange juice concentrate


Place wheat berries in a medium stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes, or until almost tender.  Check the pot every once in awhile, and if the water gets low, add enough so the berries stay covered.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook about 8 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

While the wheat berries are cooking:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the greens, toss to coat, then add the vegetable stock.  Saute the greens for about 5 minutes, then add the cranberries and the walnuts.  Make an empty space in the center of the skillet (the broth will pool there) and stir the miso and the orange juice concentrate into the vegetable broth until smooth.  Add the black-eyed peas and gently stir to combine.

When the wheat berries and sweet potatoes are done, drain and add to the skillet mixture.  Grind in a little black pepper and serve warm.

You could substitute raisins for the cranberries, almonds for the walnuts,  and black beans or chick peas for the black-eyed peas.  You could also add onion, bell peppers, and carrots to the greens while they cook.  This will feed four hungry people.

Day Two: Green Elephant and Mead

February 17, 2011

We woke up fairly early on Saturday morning, despite our late night Friday.  All I could think about was lunch, but breakfast had to be first.  We found a great bagel shop with a wide selection of whole grain bagels and tofu cream cheese.  The bagels were so fresh—crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside—that my husband bought a dozen to bring home with us, lugging them across the city all morning while we poked around in book stores and galleries.  We checked out of the hotel and made our way over to Green Elephant.

The restaurant was in full swing for lunch, and although there was no line, many tables were filled when we arrived.  I was pleased with the clean, olive-y-lime-y green paint job inside, and the warm atmosphere immediately made me feel welcome.  A brightly colored chalkboard boasted of all the locally made ingredients the restaurant used.

Green Elephant Chalkboard

Our waiter came quickly to our table with menus and water.  I ordered one of their hand-mixed teas; my husband opted for a glass of the locally brewed mead.

Dry Mead from Maine Mead Works, Portland

Although we had studied the menu beforehand, I took my time deciding what to order.  The crispy wontons stuffed with soy cheese and spinach, served with chili sauce was my first choice, and we decided to add steamed vegetable dumplings with a tamari dipping sauce to start.  Both appetizers were delicious.  The wontons were indeed crispy. Fresh, hot, and flavorful with the chili sauce, these were a vegan delight, although the soy cheese was undetectable.  The dumplings were good, but not particularly special; they were reminiscent of the vegetables dumplings served at my favorite dim sum restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown.

Crispy Wontons stuffed with soy cheese and spinach, served with Chili Sauce

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings with Tamari Dipping Sauce and Hot Sauce Smear

We decided to try a soup, and when the waiter came back for the order and I asked for the Asian Vegetable Stew, he gave me a look that said maybe that was not the best choice.  He recommended the Fragrant Coconut Soup with Tofu and Baby Bella Mushroom.  I looked at my husband, shrugged, and we decided to try both.  The bowls came steaming hot; the Asian Vegetable Stew was more like a soup, with a thin broth.  It was packed with greens, turnip, carrots, and a couple of pieces of fried tofu.  The flavor was outstanding.  The rich and complex broth was the perfect vehicle for the tender Asian greens.  The Coconut Soup with Tofu and Baby Bella Mushroom was thicker, but the flavor of coconut, which I really do adore, was so dominant that I could barely taste the mushroom.  This soup came in a larger bowl, but was more broth than substance.  The richness of the coconut milk was very filling.  I wondered how we would have room for our entrees.

Asian Vegetable Stew (bottom); Fragrant Coconut Soup with Tofu and Baby Bella Mushrooms (top)

The waiter seemed a little annoyed that we were not ordering everything at once.  I figured since we were trying so many things, he should be a little more patient.  My husband ordered Chines Broccoli with Crispy Breaded Soy Filet.  I had a hard time deciding and asked the waiter what he would recommend.  He was non-committal; I chose the Stir-Fry Asian Vegetables and Tofu, served with 5-grain tempeh and brown rice.

The dishes came and right away.  I thought my husband’s looked better.  The greens were bright and fresh, the cutlet was enticing in its crispiness.  Mine looked like something I could have made at home.  I tasted the tempeh.  Cold, a bit mealy.  But the rest turned out to be wonderful.  The vegetables were fresh and hot, the rice steamed to perfection.  The tofu had been lightly fried first, then left to soften in the sauce with the vegetables. The Asian flavors of the sauce were rich but not too salty.  Leaving the tempeh, I dug in.

I looked across at my husband.  He was picking at his plate, pushing the food around.


“Well, not really.  This just isn’t very good.”

We switched plates and I tasted his cutlet.  Bland.  Then the vegetables.  Salty.  Very, very salty, and not much else.  Although the plate was artfully arranged, the actual food was not good.  We signaled the waiter, who eventually came over.  He took my husband’s plate, offering to bring something else.  My husband declined, and I shared some of what was left from my meal.

Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Breaded Soy Filet

Stir-fry Asian Vegetables & Tofu

The other server, on her way by, noticed we were finished and offered us dessert.  We checked out the menu and decided to share the vegan pumpkin cheesecake.  We asked for two forks and a take-out box, but when we tasted what we had ordered, I knew the box would go unused.  Rich, creamy pumpkin, spiced as for a holiday pie, was mixed with what could only be the most perfectly redefined cream cheese made from tofu filled a light, flaky crust.  The top of the small slice was garnished with pepitas, and there was a dollop of vegan whipped cream on the side that was so light and sweet!

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vegan Whipped Cream

I wanted to ask to bring the rest of however much they had left in the kitchen home with me.  Or finish it up right there.  We left full and mostly satisfied, but a little disappointed in the entrees.  Will have to go back and try it again, in case they were not having their best day.

We went from Green Elephant directly to Maine Mead Works.  This tiny mead brewing plant lies on a quiet street on the outskirts of the city.  We were greeted by an enthusiastic woman who gave us samples of each type of mead the company makes, then a tour of the brew tanks, hold barrels, and a preview of next year’s mead flavors.  We left with four bottles of mead— two dry, one lavender, and one cranberry.  We headed home, relaxed, full, and happy.

Our Own Kind of Fun, Day One

February 15, 2011

I squeezed in a seven mile run before finishing up some work and packing my overnight bag.  My hubby was still glued to his computer trying to wrap up some work of his own when I came in from my run, not packed, either.  Planning a romantic getaway is easy, but actually getting out of the house is hard.  Once we get going, though, we completely surrender to exploring and having our own kind of fun.  For us, this is the restart of the old days, the days I refer to as B.C.— that is, Before Children.

We arrived in time for the 3 p.m. check-in at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Portland, ME, then enjoyed a very late lunch at Passage to India, choosing from the vegan selections and practically rolling out the door, stuffed with cauliflower pakoras, vegetable samosas, pumpkin soup, and salty mango pickle.  With a little more than 24 hours to spend alone together and explore this tiny Maine city, we plunged in head-first.

We ventured into shops and galleries in the area known as “Old Port”, ooh-ing and ah-ing over local artisan clocks, cutting boards, pottery and glass.  We found shops packed with Indian imports, reeking of patchouli, strewn with statues of Indian gods.   There were upscale clothing stores, the windows dressed with gorgeous dresses, coats, and sweaters, situated next door to vintage clothing shops and thrift shops sporting bargains for any budget.  There were lots of tattoo parlors, perhaps more tattoo parlors than hair salons.  Along the waterfront where we were staying, the cobbled sidewalks were lined with tourist gift shops filled with ‘made in Maine”  merchandise.   For every shop, there were at least two restaurants.

Part of this little pre-Valentine’s Day getaway was about exploring vegan restaurants.  Portland seems to be a mecca for them—some restaurants are exclusively vegan, but almost all the restaurants we investigated offer vegan options.  We researched before we left, madly  Googling to plan where we would eat.  We chose ahead, but decided to keep our minds open in case we came across something that looked spectacular but was not available to check out online.  I was especially excited to try Green Elephant, completely vegan and with an extensive, intriguing menu.  We definitely wanted to return to Nara, not in walking distance, but worth the short drive over to the airport.  A previous trip revealed vegan sushi like nowhere else other than my own kitchen.  We could not wait to go back and try it again, ready for the delicious sweet potato tempura rolls, the tofu dumplings, and their special house blend tea, a mixture of corn and barley— refreshing, naturally sweet, and a perfect foil for tamari and wasabi.

We visited the Portland Museum of Art, free to the public on Friday evenings.  On the way, we watched a snowboard and ski jump demonstration set up right in the middle of one of the city squares.  A huge crowd gathered around a brightly lit ski jump, and dozens of young men took their turns at flying down the short slope, then lightly landing on rails and grinding their snowboards or skis.  They executed perfect 360s and 540s, flips, and jumps, landing softly at the bottom in a shallow pile of snow.  We craned our necks to see as many tricksters as we could, then pressed on in the bitter cold to the museum.  Clean, bright, and filled with beautiful statues and paintings, this museum, though small, was worth the cold night hike.  We walked around together, hand in hand, gazing at works by Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, N. C. Wyeth and Vincent Van Gogh.  Modern and classical pieces hung side by side and we compared and contrasted, dreaming about which pieces we would like to have in our home.

We left the museum, shivered our way back to the hotel, and drove to Nara.  We were not disappointed.  We were served a Bento box style appetizer, on the house, of little bites.  Sweet and spicy pickled cucumber, roasted potato drizzled with a sauce reminiscent of hoisin, marinated bean sprouts, fish cake and zucchini tempura, (fish cake for the hubby), and lightly steamed broccoli preceded crispy hot, lightly fried tofu dumplings

Crispy Fried Tofu Dumplings

Sweet Potato, brocolli, and asparagus maki; marinated tofu inside out maki

and tangy-spicy Kim-Chi.  Then, kappa maki (Japanese gourd, sweet and chewy), tempura maki with sweet potato, broccoli, and asparagus, and marinated tofu maki, also sweet, with slender slices of tofu marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce, inside out, and garnished with black sesame seeds.  We ordered a large sake, but the tea was so delicious I barely touched the warm, dry rice brew.

Back at the hotel, live music was on my hubby’s mind.  While he checked out the local Phoenix to see where we might go, I closed my eyes for a power nap.  By the time he decided on a venue, I was recharged with my second wind.  We went to Bull Feeney’s, an Irish pub with a live band on the second floor and hung out for an hour listening to a pretty terrible band ruin a lot of great classic rock.  Fun, though.  Lots of locals getting drunk and doing their best to groove to the band’s ineffectual attempts at the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.

We returned to our hotel and made it an especially good end of the evening, celebrating our early Valentine’s Day like the honeymooners we are at heart.  We fell asleep wrapped together, free from our real-life responsibilities, dreaming of the next day and our upcoming visit to Green Elephant.


February 10, 2011

Winter squash, with its brilliant orange flesh and sweet, nutty flavor, is hearty and satisfying fare during these cold months.  I love Butternut, Acorn, Hubbard and Delicata.  I buy Kabocha squash once in awhile, too.  This plump, round speckled green beauty cries out to have its belly filled when I remove the top Jack O’ Lantern style, scoop out the seeds, and pop it into the oven to roast.  The flesh of this squash is quite dry and nutty tasting, and makes a perfect “crust” to stuff.  I have been experimenting with different fillings and the family favorite so far is made with steamed long grain brown rice, mixed with a colorful saute of dried fruits, nuts, herbs, and vegetables.

We ate this for dinner last night, with some pan-seared broccoli on the side.  My son had popped in to join us for dinner and could not stop raving about the meal.  And I, despite waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 am this morning, had enough energy left over from this meal to log an eight and a half mile run!  I was home before 7.  Guess what I ate for breakfast?

Stuffed Kabocha Squash


1 medium Kabocha squash, top cut off (pumpkin-carving style) and reserved, seeds scooped out.

1 cup uncooked rice of your choice (I have been using Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley, a blend of long grain brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds.  Really yummy.)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into fine dice

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into fine dice

1 rib celery, cut into fine dice

1 medium firm apple, peeled and chopped into medium dice

1/4 c raisins

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp. dried sage or 1 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, minced

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp.  ground black pepper

1/4 c vegetable broth or unsweetened rice, almond, or soy milk

Maple syrup for drizzling (optional, but really yummy!)


Preheat oven to 400 ° F.  Place squash in a lightly oiled baking dish.  Fit the cut top back on the squash and roast it on the center rack for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove squash from oven and cool until you are ready to bake it again with the stuffing.

While the squash is roasting, cook the rice according to the package directions.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the saute:  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, pepper, celery, apple, raisins and cranberries and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes.  Add the sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook 1-2 minutes longer, stirring well to distribute the spices.  If the pan becomes dry, add a little water to keep things moist.   The dried fruit will plump up a bit.  Stir in the walnuts.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  (I have also added 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut to the stuffing, and sometimes substituted dried tart cherries for the cranberries.  All delicious!)

To assemble:

Add the saute to the rice and mix well.  Remove the top from the squash and spoon the stuffing into the cavity.  Pack the stuffing in, but be gentle so as not to break the squash. (There will probably be some stuffing left over, which you might serve on the side or reserve for another use.)   Pour the broth or milk over the top of the stuffing.  Replace the squash cap and bake at 350 °F for about 40-45 minutes, or until stuffing is hot.

To serve:

With a sharp knife, cut the squash into slices, as if cutting a pie.  Take each slice and place in a shallow bowl or small dinner plate.  Drizzle lightly with maple syrup.  Serve with sauteed greens, steamed or pan-seared broccoli, or a side salad.

Serves 4-6, depending on appetites…

Trick Vegetable?

February 9, 2011

My husband sits down at the kitchen table and I present him with his dinner:  mashed cauliflower, whole roasted carrots and purple potatoes, baked tofu, marinated in tamari, maple syrup, and a dash of liquid smoke.  He raises his fork, plunges it into the cauliflower, puts it in his mouth.

“Is this a trick vegetable?”

I look over at him and grin.

“Depends on what you mean by trick.  It’s mashed cauliflower.”

“Is it supposed to be instead of mashed potatoes?”

“Nope.  But it might remind you of them.  Not a trick, though.  Just a different way to try cauliflower.”

“And these?  Potatoes?  Purple?”

There is a twinkle in his eye; he has had purple potatoes many times before.  He’s just enjoying giving me a hard time tonight, despite the fact that I have clearly gone to a lot of effort to make this meal.

“Well, you wouldn’t want two kinds of potatoes on your plate, now would you?”

But I bet he would.  He loves mashed potatoes. I don’t, so I hardly ever make them.

My daughter pipes up.

“Didn’t you just make twice-baked potatoes the other day?  Where are those?  I’d like some of those!  They looked really good!”

“Mom made those to take to Nana and Papa.  Sorry.  None for us.”

“I’ll make them again soon.  I promise.”

My daughter dejectedly looks down at her plate, but her face lights up when she remembers we have recently acquired some vegan bacon bits.  She loads them onto the cauliflower, and all is right with the world for now.

It’s hard to find new ways to eat vegetables.  I steam them, roast them, pan-sear them, eat them raw in salads.  But sometimes I just need a change.  A simple change.  While watching Dr. Oz one day, there was talk about mashed cauliflower.  Okay, it may have been meant as a trick vegetable, a substitute for mashed potatoes, but a new way to eat cauliflower sounded good to me.  I didn’t look up the recipe, but went with what I thought made sense.  The first time was just okay.  I steamed the cauliflower until very tender, then used first a fork, then a pastry cutter to mash.  I added some margarine, soy milk, salt and pepper.  It tasted a lot like very well-done cauliflower.  The second time, though, I nailed it.

Mashed Cauliflower


1 head cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and separated into large florets

1/2 c unsweetened rice, almond, or soy milk

4 T nutritional yeast

2 T vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

vegan bacon bits (yummy, but optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the cauliflower and cook for about 8 minutes, or until very tender.  Alternatively, use a steam basket and steam cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the cauliflower in a colander.  Place drained cauliflower in a large food processor, along with the milk, margarine, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  Process until smooth.  (This is the trick part.  It should look like mashed potatoes!)  Taste and correct seasoning, adding more margarine, salt, pepper, or nutritional yeast as desired.

Serve hot, with vegan bacon bits on the side for sprinkling.  (I transferred the mashed cauliflower to a greased baking dish and heated it in a 375 ° oven for about 15 minutes, until it was steaming hot.  The cauliflower became much fluffier when baked after mashing.)