Cheesy Cauliflower Muffins

A couple weeks ago, my youngest son, Evan, turned ONE year old! I can’t believe how fast the last year went…or maybe I can, considering how insanely busy this past year has been. My husband would agree with me when I say that this past year has definitely been the most difficult one for us, in all aspects. I spent the past year working night shift in a labor and delivery unit, then I would come home and take care of Evan while Jordan would go to daycare, so sleep for me was very irregular. My husband and I rarely slept in the same bed together because of this, let alone have much quality time period. My body functioned off lots of coffee and naps. Looking back on it, I think I was actually quite crazy for doing what I did, but hey, we pulled it off and made it through the year.  And now I vow to never do that to myself or my family ever again!

Since our move to Escondido, I’ve been slow to return to work. I think the craziness of the past year has a lot to do with it. I spent the year constantly exhausted and irritable, and now I want to savor these moments at home with my boys and be mentally and emotionally present for them. Aside from just being able to talk with them and play with them, I thoroughly enjoy being able to cook for them…even if one of them (Jordan) is the pickiest eater ever, and only eats about 15% of what I make!

Evan, on the other hand, is my GREAT eater. He literally eats everything and I love that so much about him. He never seems to get full, and if you continue to fill his plate, he will continue to eat (now if he could just learn to take bites out of food, and not try to shove and stuff it in his mouth even if it doesn’t fit, that would be great). With a child like this, it’s actually a lot of fun to get creative and make different types of kid-friendly foods!

Mini muffins are one of my favorite things to make, because they’re the perfect size for little eaters and they also freeze wonderfully. I’ve made a lot of lighter, cake-style muffins in the past, so this time I wanted to try something a little different and savory. After taking a mental inventory of my fridge and freezer, I recalled a bag of frozen cauliflower rice I had and knew it would be perfect for muffins! The cauliflower bakes into the batter nice and soft, giving these muffins a traditional fluffy texture. The cheese melts on top, so with each bite you get a crispness from the cheese and then the warm fluffy muffin in the middle. SO good!

I made these the other day while Evan was taking his nap, so when he woke up these were warm and ready for his post-nap snack! Needless to say, Evan LOVED them. I cut the mini muffins into little bite-sized pieces and let him have at it. He never would have stopped eating them if I didn’t eventually take them away. Even Jordan ate one, so in Jordan’s terms, I’d say that’s pretty successful!

Cheesy Cauliflower Muffins

  • Servings: 16-18 mini muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower rice (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the wells of a mini-muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Beat egg and milk in a medium bowl until thickened, about 1 minute. While mixing, slowly add melted butter.
  3. Add cauliflower and cheese to egg mixture, and stir to combine.
  4. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add to wet mixture, and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Divide batter among mini muffin pan, scooping about 1 1/2 Tbsp of batter per well. Sprinkle additional cheese on top of each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes, or until muffin tops are browned and slightly crisp. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes: Best served warm. I used a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour to make it a bit healthier, but feel free to use just one type if that’s all you have. If freezing, let cool to room temperature, then place in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

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Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice & Pineapple

For those of you who follow along via Instagram, you know that for the last few weeks I’ve been cooking through my Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard. I’ve followed along on her Instagram (@halfbakedharvest) for quite a while now, and have grown to love her excellent food styling and photography, but also her simple mountain-living way of life. Seeing her photos and reading about her thoughts and lifestyle are, in a way, relaxing and calming. Not to mention everything she makes literally makes me drool.

I made this meal a few nights ago for dinner after a (very close) poll on Instagram. It was either this or a summer veggie pizza, but this one won! If I’m being honest, I actually expected this one to win, so I was a little surprised at how close the poll actually was! The thought of Hawaiian garlic shrimp is pretty hard to resist, if you ask me!

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, or even read about Hawaii, I’m sure you’ve heard about the famous shrimp trucks that sit near the coast. They are a popular tourist and foodie destination, and you can read tons about them online. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is the most famous and also probably the most authentic, but due to popularity, there are TONS of these shrimp trucks all over the island.

Tony and I went to Hawaii 5 years ago for the first time, and we had a blast seeing the sights and tasting all the food! We went on some amazing hikes that I will never forget (where we actually had to cross rivers, trek through mud, and my husband did it all…with a broken flip-flop!) to get to the beautiful waterfall at the end. So many memories were made during that trip, and I dream of the day I can go back! With the boys being so young, we probably won’t be able to do any trips like this soon, but once they get older, we look forward to traveling with them and showing them what the world has to offer. In the meantime, we can talk about these amazing destinations and reminisce while enjoying a plate of this Hawaiian garlic shrimp!

The shrimp is amazing, but I want to emphasize that for me, the coconut rice and fresh pineapple were what really made this into a whole delicious meal! I’ve never made coconut rice like this before, so I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out, but I should’ve known that Tieghan would never steer me wrong! The coconut rice had the perfect amount of stickiness, and complemented the buttery garlic flavor of the shrimp SO WELL. And then, the pineapple on the side was just the perfect fresh element.

I definitely recommend trying this recipe if you, like me, are missing Hawaii. I know it’s not the same as being able to order a shrimp plate in person from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, but for a dinner at home it sure did keep me satisfied.

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Hawaiian Shrimp with Coconut Rice & Pineapple

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the shrimp:

  • 1 pound tail-on raw shrimp (with or without shell)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon zest
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Fresh pineapple, for serving

For the coconut rice:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • Flaked sea salt

Directions:

In a large Ziploc bag, combine shrimp, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 1 Tbsp of parsley, and cayenne pepper. Marinate in fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.

In a medium pot, bring the coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, shredded coconut, and pinch of sea salt. Stir, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let rice sit for an additional 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and fluff rice with fork.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to scoop shrimp and garlic from bag with marinade and add to hot skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook shrimp until pink, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from skillet to a plate and set aside. Add butter to hot skillet and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes aromatic and the garlic begins to turn golden-brown. Watch closely, don’t let the garlic burn! Remove skillet from heat and return shrimp to pan. Add the rest of the parsley, lemon zest, and juice.

Scoop rice into serving dish, and top with shrimp. Use a spoon to add extra butter-garlic sauce onto shrimp and rice. Add fresh pineapple and serve.

*Recipe slightly adapted from The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard

And we’re back!

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Hi everyone! So some of you—friends, family—may already know that I used to run The Beachside Baker, waaaaaay back when. Think like…2010 era. It honestly was just a fun way for me to keep track of things I cooked or baked, while also having a place to document my life experiences for those who lived back home (I moved from my hometown of Manteca, CA to Long Beach in 2009).

While I had absolutely no skill in food photography whatsoever (which is embarassingly present if you scroll back in history in The Beachside Baker Instagram feed), I kept it going for quite a while. It wasn’t until I became knee-deep in care plans and clinical rotations in nursing school that I started to leave blogging behind. Nursing school was no joke! I was literally running on caffeine half the time! There was no way I could find time to cook and bake, let alone write and schedule blog posts!

Well, here we are now, almost 9 years later. Since then we’ve experienced marriage, kids, career, and a big move from Long Beach to Escondido, and while in between jobs, I’ve found myself with more time to bake and cook than ever. I’ve been pretty active on the Instagram account for the last two months, but with as much as I’ve been doing, I keep asking myself, “Why not just start up the blog again?” So here we are.

The Beachside Baker 2.0!

I may convert some of the previous Instagram posts from the last few months into blog posts here before I start updating directly to the blog. That way those recipes can also be easily accessible here.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you find something here that you can enjoy!

-Kimiko