How to Open (and roast) a Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great vegetable, especially once you stop eating noodles from grain sources. It works as a fairly neutral base, taking just about any flavored sauce and making you feel like you just had pasta. Super comforting! Here’s the catch…the thing is a pain to cut open! I have often thought that if it were easier, I’d eat more of it. And then Halloween came along.

You know those cute little serrated mini-knives that are sold for less than a dollar around this time of year? They are AMAZING at cutting squash open! Guess what else? If you get the fancy (under $3) pumpkin scraper with the teeth to go along with it, you’re in business! Quick and painless. Trust me. Stock up – I did!

Spaghetti Squash tools 2013

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash

A few pinches of salt

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Use the small serrated knife to cut all around the squash, lengthwise. Then crack it open to reveal the seeds. It should be really easy since the little knife has already done all the work. Use the serrated scraper to remove the seeds.

Spaghetti Squash cutting 2013

Spaghetti Squash breaking

Spaghetti squash scraping 2013

3) Sprinkle a little salt on the cut sides and place face-down in a large glass baking dish. Add water to the dish to measure a little less than a 1/4 in. deep. Bake the squash in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. If you squeeze the outside of the squash with tongs, there should be some give, but not squishy. I like mine to be pretty al dente because I will invariably cook it again. BUT if you want yours a little softer, go ahead and leave it in another 5-10 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash with water 2013

4) Let squash cool cut-side up until you can handle it easily. I often bake it whenever I have a moment and leave it to cool – even for a couple hours. Scrape the squash with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands. Reheat before serving.

Spaghetti Squash - Shredding 2013 (2)

Note: This is a great vegetable to roast on the weekend, shred, and store in the fridge. Now you have noodles ready to go. I will almost always microwave, sauté, or otherwise cook them before eating, which is why I like them still firm when I roast them.

Whole 30: Day 10 Recap

Whole9

I’m doing a Whole 30 for a couple of reasons: 1) I want to feel great from the inside out, 2) Putting some stricter guidelines around my food choices keeps me from getting distracted by things that might otherwise tempt me, and 3) Sometimes it takes a while to reap the benefits of a change and having a timeline provides the structure and encouragement I need when I begin to feel impatient.

I plan to share what I eat each day to help me accurately judge what my body needs and to, hopefully, provide a little inspiration or planning assistance if you’re trying to figure out your day as well. If you have questions about anything, please leave me a comment.

Everyone is different, so I hope you don’t judge me too harshly by what I eat. And maybe you’ll see something that resonates with you and, in that case, excellent! If not, I’ll be posting different recipes on the blog too, so don’t despair!

Here’s to the journey!

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5:00 Black coffee

6:30 Coconut milk collard greens w/ Zhug powder, 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado

12:00 Colcannon Shepard’s Pie w/ 1/4 c. sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, roasted turnips, 1/2 banana

2:15 Black decaf coffee

7:30 Chicken breast, pizza veggies (from WellFed2), salad

8:30 Hot tea

Food Going longer stretches without food is getting increasingly comfortable. I often get this way with paleo as my body shifts away from needing constant fueling from carbs and burns what it’s got (fat). While I’m not a huge proponent of intermittent fasting, it is a relief to know that I can go a few hours.

Mood Mostly just feeling proud about now. 10 days – yay!

Sleep 6.5 hours. Went out with some friends Tuesday night and stayed up past my bedtime. 🙂

Exercise Great pull day at the gym. Went heavy, which felt good, but I ran out of time for legs. Guess what will be in tomorrow’s workout?

Whole 30: Day 9 Recap

Whole9

I’m doing a Whole 30 for a couple of reasons: 1) I want to feel great from the inside out, 2) Putting some stricter guidelines around my food choices keeps me from getting distracted by things that might otherwise tempt me, and 3) Sometimes it takes a while to reap the benefits of a change and having a timeline provides the structure and encouragement I need when I begin to feel impatient.

I plan to share what I eat each day to help me accurately judge what my body needs and to, hopefully, provide a little inspiration or planning assistance if you’re trying to figure out your day as well. If you have questions about anything, please leave me a comment.

Everyone is different, so I hope you don’t judge me too harshly by what I eat. And maybe you’ll see something that resonates with you and, in that case, excellent! If not, I’ll be posting different recipes on the blog too, so don’t despair!

Here’s to the journey!

***************************************************************************************************************

5:00 Black coffee

6:30 Collard greens, 2 eggs, 1/4 avocado

12:30 Tropical Asian Slaw with gyoza meatballs

2:15 Apple with almond butter

5:30 Grilled steak, Brussels sprouts, roasted turnips, 1/2 an apple

Steak, Brussies, Turnips 2013

Food I think one of the reasons I was so hungry yesterday was because of my workout, which was tough. I’m sore today and my body most likely needed the extra nutrients. Today seems a bit more stable, and it’s a rest day. Probably not a coincidence.

Mood I am beginning to feel the boundless energy coming on. Love this stage!

Sleep 7.5 hours. I woke up in the middle of the night but was able to get back to sleep fairly quickly. I’ve covered the light from my clock which helps too.

Exercise Rest day! Sometimes you just have to let your body recover.

Tropical Asian Slaw

Cabbage and I are really good friends. Purple or green, cooked or raw, which kind anyway? None of that matters to me. I love it all. I also happen to adore salads, and when you combine my love of salads with some cabbage in the fridge, very often that means slaw. Since I’m currently doing a Whole 30, I’m not using any added sugar. I’ve noticed that I have a tendency right now to add fruit to my dishes so that I get a little sweet hit. I could worry about this, but I’m not going to. At least not for now. If my sweet tooth is getting satisfied by a SLAW, I think I’m okay.

It’s tropical because of the pineapple and coconut, Asian because of the sesame oil, coconut aminos and fish sauce…in any case, the fusion just works!

Slaw

Tropical Asian Slaw

Coconut

1/4 cup coconut flakes

pinch of Chinese five spice

pinch of salt

Slaw

3 cups of shredded cabbage

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp. chopped mint

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tsp. sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 tsp. salt

Dressing

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. lime juice (about 1/4 of a lime)

1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. coconut aminos (flavor similar to soy sauce)

1/4 tsp. fish sauce (Red Boat is paleo and Whole 30 approved, plus it tastes so much better!)

Directions

1) Coconut flakes Put coconut flakes in a cold pan and heat to medium. Watch and stir the coconut flakes until they are toasted to your liking. It takes about 10 minutes, but stay close because once they start to brown, it goes really fast. Remove them from the heat and toss with salt and five spice powder. (These were inspired by Melissa Joulwan’s original Well Fed cookbook.)

2) Dressing In a small bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

3) Slaw Place the slaw ingredients in a big bowl and toss with the dressing. Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Top with toasted coconut flakes when ready to eat so they stay crunchy.

Serves 1-2

Whole 30: Day 8 Recap

Whole9

I’m doing a Whole 30 for a couple of reasons: 1) I want to feel great from the inside out, 2) Putting some stricter guidelines around my food choices keeps me from getting distracted by things that might otherwise tempt me, and 3) Sometimes it takes a while to reap the benefits of a change and having a timeline provides the structure and encouragement I need when I begin to feel impatient.

I plan to share what I eat each day to help me accurately judge what my body needs and to, hopefully, provide a little inspiration or planning assistance if you’re trying to figure out your day as well. If you have questions about anything, please leave me a comment.

Everyone is different, so I hope you don’t judge me too harshly by what I eat. And maybe you’ll see something that resonates with you and, in that case, excellent! If not, I’ll be posting different recipes on the blog too, so don’t despair!

Here’s to the journey!

***************************************************************************************************************

5:00 Black coffee

6:30 Italian scramble with 1/4 avocado

11:00 Pre-workout snack – 1 HB egg, 2 T. sweet potato, 2 tsp. paleo mayo

1:30 Salad with tahini dressing, gyoza meatballs, pear

3:00 Black decaf. and a banana

8:00 Paleo shepard’s pie and 1/4 of a sweet potato

Food I am not sure if I am clearly tapping in to my hunger yet or not. I eat something and wonder, “Was that too much? Should I have done a different combo? I still feel hungry – should I eat more?” It is a challenge for me to figure out when I am done eating. I love food – a lot – and loving the taste is important to me. But because it’s good, sometimes I struggle to know if I’m done.

Mood Monday. Kinda good and kinda hard.

Sleep 7.5 hours. Good sleep today.

Exercise Morning yoga – shorter than usual, but 20 minutes is enough to center myself. Push workout today and I was still sore from yesterday. But you know what? I totally did it and that makes me feel good.

A Changing Perspective

A_Change_of_Perspective_by_kuschelirmel

I haven’t been doing yoga for very long, relatively speaking. I used videos off and on for a couple years, but only stepped into a yoga studio for the first time about two years ago. For a brief moment, I was able to go quite frequently, but then life got busy again and I would go once or twice a week. Still good, but I could tell that I wanted more. When my husband changed jobs at the beginning of the year, we knew he’d be travelling for long stretches and that I wouldn’t be able to make it to yoga during that time. I needed to figure out another way because I had discovered that when I do yoga regularly, things happen. Good things, true things, sometimes (emotionally) scary things…but definitely good things. That was when I began a home practice.

Practicing yoga at home is not always easy to do. Finding the time, the physical and mental space, and the desire when there are competing priorities, can be particularly difficult. And then there’s the problem of not exactly knowing what you’re supposed to do. All of these were true for me too, but because yoga had become important to me and because I had no other way to get it, I had to work through them. I now have somewhat of a home practice; it’s still not as regular and consistent as I’d like it to be, but it is the best that I can do for now – and sometimes that is just enough.

It was the other day while doing yoga at dawn that I had a few thoughts about perspective. Sometimes I like to follow something I’ve seen in a magazine and other times I just follow what my body wants and, amazingly, it seems to know what to do. On this day, I was doing a practice designed to help break through old habits or patterns and the emphasis was on small changes to what you usually do. Very small. If you usually do something on the right and then left, start with the left instead. If you normally clasp your hands with the left finger outside, then clasp with the right outside.

Without any prompting from my active brain, about 30 minutes into the practice, the idea of a changing perspective floated to the surface. I was busy, so I didn’t have time to stop and focus on it much, but it continued to float up. I was feeling things differently and, while a tiny bit awkward at first, I liked it. I could imagine seeing things differently in other areas of my life too.

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, whether it’s what we’re eating or how we perceive ourselves or something else entirely. In my case, I have over 40 years of “knowing” that I’m too shy, reserved, insecure, introverted, or something, to put myself out there. And yet here I am with a blog. Believe it or not, it was a tiny little shift in perspective that got me here. A very dear friend said, “You need to do this. I need to hear what you have to say and so do a few people I love. So just pretend you’re writing to me.”

It is, in fact, an honor and a joy to share my thoughts and recipes with all of you and I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t looked at it from a different angle. Do you ever wonder how your life might be different if you took a different route to work or parted your hair on the other side or ate something unexpected for breakfast? I am so often amazed at the huge impact even the tiniest changes can make. Maybe your future is waiting out there for you but you can’t see it because you haven’t changed something tiny. All I can say is mine is starting to shift…and all I did was start my downward dog on the left.

Whole 30: Day 7 Recap

Whole9

I’m doing a Whole 30 for a couple of reasons: 1) I want to feel great from the inside out, 2) Putting some stricter guidelines around my food choices keeps me from getting distracted by things that might otherwise tempt me, and 3) Sometimes it takes a while to reap the benefits of a change and having a timeline provides the structure and encouragement I need when I begin to feel impatient.

I plan to share what I eat each day to help me accurately judge what my body needs and to, hopefully, provide a little inspiration or planning assistance if you’re trying to figure out your day as well. If you have questions about anything, please leave me a comment.

Everyone is different, so I hope you don’t judge me too harshly by what I eat. And maybe you’ll see something that resonates with you and, in that case, excellent! If not, I’ll be posting different recipes on the blog too, so don’t despair!

Here’s to the journey!

***************************************************************************************************************

6:00 Black coffee

8:00 Kale, 2 eggs, avocado-citrus cream

11:00 Post workout snack – a few bites of Mexican Pork and Pepper Stew and a hard boiled egg

1:00 Brisket, roasted carrots, Celery Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

6:30 Buffalo Shrimp and Spaghetti Squash

8:00 A few pumpkin seeds because we carved pumpkins, of course!

Food Eating with friends can be a real challenge while on the Whole 30 but since they knew what I was doing, they weren’t bothered that I brought my own sides – especially since I brought some to share. The days keep getting easier food-wise. Love that.

Mood Feeling great except for an occasional little headache. I don’t get them very often so I’m wondering what’s causing them. I’m not going to worry too much but I’m wondering if it’s a caffeine thing or not getting enough sleep. But other than that, my mood is definitely pretty good.

Sleep 7 hours. So much for lots of sleep on the weekend. I’m planning to cover the light on my clock tonight. I think it might be disturbing my sleep.

Exercise Great workout with friends and family today – CrossFit style. Done!