Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizza Casserole – AMAZING

So it has been a while since I shared a recipe with you.  This recipe is delicious, and perfect for anyone pursuing keto.  I have to admit that the hardest part for me is letting it cool down before I try to eat it.  Mashed Cauliflower retains heat VERY well, so I often find myself burning my mouth.

Now before we get started, I used to be like the bulk of you that are going to read this and say that Cauliflower is GROSS.  However, I have since found the error of my ways.  Cauliflower will adopt the flavor tones of foods you mix it with.  That being said, make sure you mash it up really well, I am talking puree.  Also, for topping, use whatever you would like.

Without further ado, I present the Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizza Casserole:

Ingredients:

Head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp of Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Butter (I like Salted)
10 slices of pepperoni
3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375F

Clean up the cauliflower and break it into smaller pieces.  Place into your blender of choice (I use a Ninja kitchen system and cut myself cleaning it afterwards. Every. Time.)  and shred them up to what is approximately the size of grains of rice.  Take this and place in a microwave-safe bowl with the cream and butter.  Microwave this uncovered for 10 minutes on full power.

Stir the mixture to ensure that everything is coated with cream and butter.  Microwave it again for another 6 minutes.  Now take it and pour it all into the blender with 10 of the pepperoni slices and 1/4 cup of the cheese.  Puree all of it.  Puree it until it is smooth.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Now spread the puree in a casserole dish.  Cover the whole thing with the rest of the cheese and layer it with whatever your chosen topping.  Bake it at 375F for 20 minutes.

Then take it out of the oven and LET IT COOL for a bit.  This recipe will make 4 servings.

I typically make it with pepperoni, hence the title of the post.  However it was also good with chicken, ham, bacon pieces…the sky is the limit.

Catch you all next week.  Let me know if you have tried this or plan to try this.

The Parable of the Oranges, and Giving Just a Bit More

So yesterday we had our department call that happens once a month.  It presents a great opportunity for the members of the team to discuss anything new, or to share some success stories.  The main topic for the call was Greatness.  Now with such a common topic, there are so many stories we could reference.  However, I like the format of parables as I enjoy listening to, and telling, stories.  The one I shared tonight was originally posted on Forbes.com.  It can be found here.

I am also going to include it on here because today, when I needed it most, Forbes’ website was down.  The opposite of greatness.  Thanks Forbes.

The premise is there is a guy that wants to work for this prestigious organization.  He sends out resumes and goes on interviews and lands an entry-level position.  Working hard in the current position, the worker sets his sights on a supervisory role that gives more power and more money.  He starts pursuing it the best way he knows how, showing up early and even leaving late from time to time.  This was in the hopes his boss would see him putting in long hours.

Well the role opened up, and he put in for it, but to his dismay the role went to someone else.  Worse still, it went to someone that had been at the firm for less than six months.  He went to his boss and demanded a reason for this injustice.  The boss said to him, “first, I need a favor. My wife needs oranges, can you run to the store and get them for me?”

The worker agrees, and when he comes back the boss says to him, “What kind of oranges did you get?”

“Well I don’t know, but these are your oranges,” says the worker.

“Well how much were they?” asked the boss.

“I’m not sure, but here is the receipt and your change.” replied the worker.

Then the boss tells him to hold for a moment and calls for the worker that got the promotion.  He tasked him with the same thing and when the worker came back, the boss asked him the same questions.

“What kind of oranges did you get?” asked the boss.

“Well, when I got there I noticed there were Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, tangerines and other types.  I didn’t know what kind you wanted but I remembered you said your wife needed them.  So I called her and asked her what she needed them for.  She said she wanted to make orange juice for guests at a party you are having.  So I asked the man that worked at the store which orange is best for making orange juice.  He said the Valencia oranges are the juiciest, so I bought them and dropped them off to your wife on the way back to the office.” replied the worker.

“How much were the oranges?” asked the boss.

“Well that was tough as I didn’t know how many were needed.  So I called your wife and asked her how many people were attending and she said 20 people.  I asked the man at the store how many oranges were needed for 20 people to have orange juice.  Turns out it is a lot.  I asked the man if I can get a quantity discount.  He agreed, and though these oranges were priced at $0.75 each, I got them at $0.50 each.  Here is the receipt and change.”

The boss then dismissed him from the office and the first worker sat there dejectedly and said to the boss, “I understand why.”

Greatness is about that “little extra”.  Giving just a bit more than the other person expected.  No one pursues mediocrity, but when things get difficult, those are the flames that forge us into something wonderful.

Stay Hungry, my friends!

Greatness is something you seek out!

In speaking with a friend of mine the other day the conversation had found its way to a discussion on “Greatness.”  I am of the mindset that we all have the capacity to be great, maybe not in any area we want to be.  However, through time and energy, we can all achieve many wondrous things.  The sad truth is that many people will never learn of their potential because of any number of excuses.  “It’s too hard,” or “I don’t have enough time,” are some of the more common ones.  These are nothing more than excuses, and unless you hold yourself accountable, they will always hold you back.  The biggest threat to your success, after all, is yourself.

I will admit that we are constrained by finite resources.  We cannot create more time in a day, more energy, or even more money.  I’ve always said that you’ll never have all three, so you take the two that you do have and build something with it.  However, if your excuse is “I don’t have time” then I am calling you out for your shenanigans.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  We CHOOSE what to do with that time.  Even if you remove hours for work, and eating, family time, and the occasional bathroom break, I promise you there is at least 10 minutes you can take to better yourself.  Read a white-paper on something you are interested in, start a book, write a blog, anything to get your creativity going.

The other day, I started my third business venture.  It is still too early to post on my projects page, and I am working with some manufacturers currently.  However, the products are going to be fitness accessories.  I have a “small” interest in fitness, and it seems like a good idea.  I had some time to think about a couple of things and with the help of my buddy, Dave B, I started looking for ideas.  He is also building his business, so we bounce ideas off of each other fairly frequently.  I have referenced having a team, before.  Dave B is one of the members of my team that continually pushes me to succeed.  He’s pursuing his empire and I am chasing after my own, and sure we may compete in the same market-spaces, but I thrive on that.

If you want to know more about what it takes for businesses to be great, check out the book Good to Great.  And if you want to find out what makes people great, look at some of the people from your life.  Who do you look up to?  Try to identify what it is about them that makes you admire their character.  Discuss greatness with them, ask for their ideas.

Greatness is in all of us.  Seek it out, and then do something with it.

ideas without actions are just dreams, after all.  I don’t have time for dreaming.

Just Take a Break! – You’ll be glad you did

We are constantly reminded of the degree to which we all work hard.  In Western culture it is common to hear people talking about how many hours they spend working.  To this note, we are seen as less productive or lazy when we think in terms of how long it has been without work.  My recommendation is to start taking time for yourself.  It seems we need to take a break in order to “work” on us.  However, I am proposing that you take two different kinds of breaks.  First, personal development breaks are always important to me.  Second, everyone should make time for a “disconnect” kind of break.

Personal Development breaks are a necessity for me, personally.  I am of the mindset that if I’m not growing then I am failing.  I frequently read books on development and use daily e-mail lists to help me in this adventure.  Additionally, if you have never done this, it certainly helps to run through some kind of test to identify your personal strengths.  This could be something like the test offered by VIA Institute of Character and will provide you some insight into where your strengths lie.   Next identify what you would like to improve on and then begin to seek out sources for this improvement.  This may require some creativity, but there are books available on nearly any topic you can think of.  However, books are not your only resource available.  Think of people in your life that exhibit the qualities that you are interested in.  Reach out to them and ask for their help, or maybe take them out for lunch/coffee.

In this blog, I have mentioned the importance of developing your team.  If you have not started fostering relationships with potential mentors then I say there is no time like the present.  I have multiple people in my life that I can call on for a mentoring session, and some of them are the best people I could ever hope to have in my life.  You may already be able to think of some, and maybe you could reach out to them right now.  Finish reading my blog first, please.

The second break, a disconnect, is something that is also very important.  We live in an extremely connected world, and I know that I benefit quite well from opportunities where I can shut my phone off.  This is further enhanced when I have no electronics around at all.  Makes me miss the days when I went camping.  This may be too drastic of a step for some of you, and that is okay.  Baby steps will get there, and it can be as small as starting with 15 minutes of your day where you step away from your computer and phone and go do something else.  For those of you working in jobs that are less relaxed on this idea, you still get a 15-minute break during your shift.  You can use this opportunity to walk around outside, or find a spot where you won’t be interrupted.  Allow yourself to just stare off into space, or watch the world around you.

There are so many times where we stress over not getting work done, but we sometimes do this at the expense of our own health.  Mental health is just as important as physical health, and without attention and care, we all suffer.  Take a break for you, on your terms, and then get back into your work feeling a little more energized and that much more in control of your life.

Always Forward!

Rabbit Hole – Part 2 – Or Why Beats?

When I last left you, I was still looking for headphones.  I made my decision, but before I get to the big reveal, let’s build up to it.  All suspenseful-like…starting with Beats.

I mentioned before that it seems everyone uses Beats headphones, but I didn’t expand on why I don’t.  I have had the HD solo headset, the Beats Studio cans, and a set of the Powerbeats.  Of the three, the solos and the studio both had the left ear go bad on me.  Warranty replaced them which was pretty…expected.  Once I got the replacements, though, I sold them because I was concerned about the quality.  I had hopes that the failure would be an isolated incident.  I picked up the Powerbeats because I wanted something light, and wireless.  They worked quite well, but I found myself not wanting to wear them as much because the bass-heavy design of the Beats brand was diluting some of the music I was listening to.  So I sold those.  I bought the Studios last, and I had hoped that with the bigger speakers I would have less bass-fatigue.  When the left went out on these I decided that Beats wasn’t for me.

As I mentioned before, my current headset is the LG Infinim headset.  It is bluetooth and gets wonderful ratings for sound quality as well as battery life.  I was looking at the Bluetooth options from Bose, but the price was a bit more than I would be ok with spending on headphones.  Then I looked at some of the options from Jaybird, specifically the X2, X3 and Freedom headsets.  Jaybird offers an amazing warranty that gives a free replacement even if you sweat-damage the headset.  A buddy of mine (shout out to Gypsy) told me to check out the waterproof Skullcandy in-ear’s, and I have to admit that SkullCandy has come a long way.  However, these headsets weren’t grabbing me, then I stumbled across a review of the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 in-ear headphones.  There were a few reviews by people saying that they were perfectly fine to work out with, and the sound was being recognized as audiophile-grade.  Pricing was steep at $150, but not scary-enough when compared to the Jaybirds.  The biggest problem, though, was the fact that they are wired.  Time for more research.

After reading about the wonders of sound quality and wanting to fancy myself a learning audio-fan I decided that if the cable was long enough then wired was the way to go for me.  Measured some string out and weighted the ends, and then did movements common in my workouts.  The cable was going to be long enough that I wouldn’t rip it out, but not so long that it snags or droops anywhere.

I did a quick search on the local platforms for selling and found a pair of them on eBay for almost half-price.  I’ll take refurbished any day.  Got the headphones in and I absolutely love them.  The little loop that holds them in your ear is still something I am getting used to.  However, during workout, the headphones didn’t go anywhere.  Big success in my book.

Now to just find one of those Astell&Kern DAPs for 90% off.

 

Down the music rabbit hole! – Part 1

So this week I needed to get some new headphones for the gym.  I thrive on music at the gym, as it really sets the tone for the workout.  My LG Infinims (old faithful-ish) are not sounding as good and the battery is not lasting as well.  On top of all that, the neckband keeps hitting my collarbone in what can only be described as the worst passive aggressive measure from headphones.  I looked around at the gym to see what other people are using, and it is overwhelmingly representative of the almighty Beats headphones.  Is it the name?  I have owned three different pairs from them, but all for short periods.  Why?  Because they really are not that great.  Now I am no audiophile, and I’m lucky that I even know what bitrate on audio files means.  When you switch from MP3’s to FLAC files or DSD, I get lost.  That’s a nice digital audio pun, right there for you.  (FLAC is a lossless format while MP3 is lossy.)  What do I do then when I have to admit that I don’t know everything?  RESEARCH TIME!!!

I scoured the web to find reviews on a multitude of headsets across different kinds of music. It taught me that spending $150-$200 on headphones is nothing compared to some of the stuff that is out there.  There were three different in-ear headphones that cost over $900!  While Beats headphones, both the cans and buds are considered to be expensive, they are by no means considered “high-end”.  Instead of looking at the same devices everyone else is using, I am looking at brands like Shure, Bowers & Wilkins, Sennheiser, and several others.  At this point, however, it becomes clear that a lot of these headphones are not meant for use in active settings.  Additionally, I sweat at the gym, and I don’t want these things shorting out ever, let alone while in my ears.

The struggle became very real when I started searching for articles on the best sound at the gym.  This led to discussions on safety (due to noise isolation) as well as environmental concerns when active outside.  Safety tip: If you run outside on the street or a bike path, please use open-back cans, or earphones.  This allows you to still hear the cars or bikes around you without compromising much sound.  The next surprising thing, though, came when I reached an article talking about music sources rather than headphones.  Did you know there is still a booming MP3 player industry?  Any audiophiles that may read that just cringed, and I’m sorry.  The correct term is a Digital Audio Player (DAP) because no one in their right mind would put paltry MP3’s on these devices.

I learned of this when I clicked on an article for best portable music players, and found that all but one of the devices were DAPs.  One of them was the iphone, which I admit has been my MP3 player for a while.  I thought it was a typo when I came across this brand name Astell&Kern.  Seriously, check out that link.  It’ll take you to an amazon page.  After you buy one of those bad boys, make sure you pick up some sweet headphones, too.

Seriously, I just wanted new headphones for the gym.  Thankfully, there aren’t any places around me that allow you to try such high-end niche electronics.  At least, not that I am aware of.  The closest here is the Magnolia section at Best Buy.  At least the headphones there allow you to hook up your own source so you can get a good feel for the headphones.  Biggest ticket headphones I’ve seen there, though, was around $400.  I’m not in that budget range, but I don’t feel guilty listening on those because I don’t think I’ll hear some magic and get spoiled.

The search continues…

The Special Bank Account – Just a Story

The Story

The other day I came across this wonderful story.  It spoke of a special bank account that deposits $86,400 every day.  At the end of the day, anything left in the account is wiped out.  Additionally, no one can withdraw more than the day’s amount, or borrow against it.  What would you do, if this were your bank account?  Personally, I would drain the account every single day in order to maximize my potential earnings.

Now, what if I told you that you already have this bank account?  Every day, we are given 86,400 seconds with which we can do anything.  When I wake up tomorrow, I don’t have any time left over from today.  Additionally, I cannot borrow time from others, or even other days to come.

So what?

As an entrepreneur, it is typical for me to try and squeeze as much out of my time as possible.  In addition to this, I have relationships to maintain and foster.  At the end of the day, I am wiped.  However, I frequently ask myself if I used as much of my time as effectively as I could have?  Some days I can answer that with a definitive “YES!”  Other days, I am not so sure.

What can I do to improve this, though?  How can I be sure that I am not just losing potential from my special bank account?

Today, I am starting to better identify my goals.  Though they may be lofty, none will be unattainable.  By writing them down, I can begin to backwards from them to identify steps.  These steps should provide me a clear direction to achieving the things that matter most to me.  Also, writing them down provides a reminder of what I want to achieve and why.  It may sound ridiculous to think that a goal would need a reminder, but items will always be forgotten on any sizable list.

For 2017, I am going to take my businesses to new heights.  I will work with new people, and continue to expand my team.  In addition to this, I will continue to work on starting my third business.  We have hit some snags on that, but I met my goal for 2016 of having two businesses.  These are macro-level goals for myself.  Each of them have their own micro-level goals as well.  This is why I need to start writing them down and tracking them.

Looking ahead, I am excited because the year promises such great potential for me.  My businesses may be in for incredible growth, and energy.  However, as with everything in life, I refuse to just wait for my turn.  I’m charging out there and taking whatever actions I can to continue this upward trend.

Fortune favors the bold!

The gym has suddenly increased in attendance!!!

So it is that time of year again, NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!!!  According to NBC News, the most common searched term for new years resolution for 2017 was…surprise, surprise…Get Healthy.  The gym I belong to has seen an uptick in membership.  This happens every year, and sometimes lasts through to March, but typically I have seen the increased attendance last until around Valentine’s Day!  Now I am at a gym that has a massive shared parking lot so I am not concerned in that area.  Additionally, the gym is fairly well spread out, so I won’t be fighting for space.

Typically these are the complaints of the regulars whenever the two annual waves happen.  The New Years Resolution crowd is the first wave and the second wave is in June.  These people are hurrying to get their beach body in time for the nice weather.  Timing is everything!  Other complaints include issues with people not cleaning up after themselves or not being familiar with gym etiquette.

The thing to keep in mind, however, is there was a time when we were all in that position.  No one starts out an expert in anything.  It takes hard work, dedication, time and a whole lot of mess-ups.  Rather than looking down on these “newbies” from your ivory towers, perhaps you can just be ready to assist in the event that they need help.  Or better yet, encourage them when they look like they aren’t doing too well.

I remember when I started out at the gym, going with my father a handful of times.  There were days where I was just copying what he was doing, not knowing any better and assuming that this was the key to getting in shape.  Without my asking questions of people that were in better shape, and doing my own research, I would not be the Adonis-like figure that I am now.  That last part is said in jest.  However, I have made great strides on my journey at improving my fitness and form.

None of that would have been possible without the encouragement and guidance of my peers.  The truth is, people serious about fitness are very willing to help others.  As with most skilled individuals, the help will not usually come as readily until they see that you are prepared to put in work.  Everyone wants the quick fix to their problem.  This is the reason why the second wave comes at the beginning of summer.  They think that they have the time to be able to look fit for the beach.

The main point is when you go to the gym and have to deal with more people than usual, suck it up.  After all, these people are trying to improve.  Why would you stand in the way of someone else’s progress?  Choosing to impede their progress actually impairs your own.

Remember, it took a team to land on the moon, climb Everest, and reach the depths of the ocean.  You want greatness?  Better start accepting that you need a team.