Tag Archives: healthy-living

How to: Spaghetti Squash

7 Mar

Most recipes I find on the internet for spaghetti squash say to put it in the oven but it takes an hour or so to get it perfectly shreddable. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Anyone ever see that YouTube video? They play a remix of it at the hockey games now when someone gets a penalty – ain’t nobody got time to put a remix together of a news story and make it one of the top viewed videos on YouTube…crazy people. 

Instead of putting the squash in the oven, I steam it in the microwave for about 11 minutes depending on the size of your squash. It works perfectly and makes for an easy dinner!

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If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, I strongly urge you to! David and I love it. We will sometimes portion out half of our plate with squash and half with whole wheat spaghetti noodles and then put the sauce on top. I have made it instead of hashbrowns in cheesy hashbrown casserole. I’ve made it with just some olive oil and parmesan cheese. I’ve made it as a spaghetti stuffed boat or even a mexican stuffed boat – which we had this week, recipe at the end of this post!

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The texture of spaghetti squash when it’s perfectly done shreds into strands very similar to spaghetti pasta. It doesn’t have much of a taste but is less ‘carby’ tasting than pasta. It’s low in calorie, full of vitamin C, and a fair amount of fiber (Livestrong.com). More benefits of spaghetti squash.

Start by picking out your squash. Spaghetti squash does get cheaper as it’s in season late summer/fall but you should be able to find it year around. They price by the poundage. Pick your size, I usually try and get a medium sized squash because we will each attempt to eat half, but it’s great leftover too!

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When you go to make your squash, I recommend pealing the sticker off and sticking the whole squash in the microwave for 4-6 minutes or enough to make it slightly easier to cut in half lengthwise. Like most squashes (<– is that the right word or is there a plural word for squash? It reads funny for me, like saying geeses), it’s really hard to cut in to. The hardest part of this whole task is cutting it so anything to make it easier for you.

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After you get it cut in half, take a break because you’ll be needing one after all the work it takes to cut that sucker! Then remove the seeds and the gooey hairs, as you would a pumpkin.

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Once each half is ready to go, put one half or both depending on the size and lay cut-side down. Fill the pan with about 1 inch of water. Cover your dish and place in microwave.

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Cook the squash halves for 11 minutes or so. Depending on the size, you might want to check it after about 8 and then you will probably have to check at 11 and possibly even put back in for a few more minutes. Usually mine seems to be just about perfect after 11 minutes though.

This squash was too big to fit in my pan so I cooked each half separately for 11 minutes each.

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You will know when the squash is done when you can take a fork and dig in, shredding all the way to the hard shell fairly easily. It’s overdone if it turns mushy as you do this. It should have a nice spaghetti-like hold to it, but not be too firm that it’s slightly chewier or crunchy – then it’s not done enough, turn back over in your pan, cover, and cook for a few more minutes. So no mushy, no overly chewy.

Once it’s done, enjoy! There are so many wonderful spaghetti squash recipes out there and this cooking method makes it so much easier and faster!

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Last night I tried this recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.

It turned out very good BUT after sauteeing the vegetables and adding the spices and thinking 1 tbs of each spice it calls for seemed like a lot yet going ahead and adding that amount of spice to it, I realized it was just too seasoned for us and dumped it. So after starting over, I decided I don’t really like ground cumin anyways so I’m leaving that out (I also hate cilantro so I left that out as well). I spiced mine with a little garlic powder, s & p, salsa, a little bit of chili powder, and a little bit of chipotle seasoning. I also added some ground burger that we had on hand, some tomatoes, and instead of a jalapeno pepper, I sliced up a few pepperoncini peppers.

There are so many awesome recipes on Pinterest for what to do with your spaghetti squash! It’s very versatile and delicious as well as very nutritious. I don’t think it should be a replacement for pasta – still love my carb fixes! but it is nice to stretch portions without the extra calories or to just have something different!

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash?

How do you cook yours?

March Goals

4 Mar

Although it’s snowing again outside my window today, I am so happy March is here!

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Last March, we had a really out of the ordinary warm up at the end of March that brought high 70’s and sunshine, hoping we get that again this year!

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What I am currently imagining….

Regardless, the end of winter is near and my winter blues are slowly going away…I am so excited for warmer weather and all that comes with it that I can hardly take it!

I don’t think I did February goals because we had just gotten back from Vegas but I wanted to take a moment to just jot down a few goals I have for the month of March. I am a big believer in goals of all types and sizes and think it’s good to hold yourself accountable and continue to improve on yourself and the quality of your life.

March Goals:

1)      Read. I get on a kick with reading a book for a few weeks and then I stop. Not sure why but it happens. For the month of March I am going to focus on finishing The Happiness Project so that I can start implementing some of her tips before summer rolls around. Organization being one thing…

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2)      Organization. This does NOT come naturally to me. I have to really try hard and keep at it to stay organized. At the workplace, I am completely organized but oddly enough at home, my side of things or my drawers/closet/life is definitely not. David is a very left brained, box-type personality where I am a right brained, squiggly line and it’s a constant thing I have to put effort towards. This weekend I reorganized the little what we call pantry that we have and it felt so rejuvenating. Unfortunately, this will last maybe a week (like my Tupperware cupboard) and then all will break lose again! I have a few closets, dressers, and cabinets that I want to get organized and decluttered before spring is officially here and more importantly, keep organized.

3)      Yoga and Pilates. I absolutely love doing strength exercises right now. It’s just enough to clear my mind, give me energy, and keep me feeling strong. These next few months are going to be  a real challenge for me to keep my mind off of running (nothing beats a run outside in the spring!) so I will really have to work on overcoming that want – running will always be there for me and hopefully believing this will push me through.

4)      Vegetables. I try to be good about eating enough vegetables every day but sometimes I slack. This past Saturday was one of those days and I can’t tell you how much more tired and unmotivated I was on Sunday. I really do notice a difference in my energy and mood when I don’t eat as healthy as I’d like to. To make this more attainable, I plan to shoot for at least a vegetable with every meal. Breakfast is the hardest for this but that could be as easy as adding pumpkin to my oatmeal or spinach in a smoothie.

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5)      Focus on this list.

My New Pink Rug

27 Feb

Ok, it’s not a rug…it’s a yoga mat! I finally went out and purchased one. It was really cheap, only $7 on clearance at Walmart – that store kind of makes me cringe a little…but regardless, super cheap deal! After a crummy day I decided I needed to lift up my mood, get centered, and let go some of the tension I was feeling. I have given yoga a try in the past and after having trained myself to enjoy sweat for so long, I had the toughest time finding enjoyment out of the lower impact, slower paced workout.

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I am not flexible by any means. This was one thing I’ve never been good at and mostly because I’m not the best stretcher. With doing more pilates and Blogilates, I have realized how it’s not really a matter of flexibility, it’s a matter of stretching daily and building muscle. I’ve felt more and more loosened up and can stretch a lot further already!

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So I thought I’d give yoga another shot a few days ago. Bad news was that I was having a hard time staying in one spot. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t mentally focusing enough, or I was sliding around so much on our carpet, or if it was because I didn’t have a fun, happy, pink colored mat to look down at; I agree, I think I needed to try a mat!

I grabbed David some apples for the week on Sunday at the store and yesterday got a text saying how awful they were. Homemade applesauce anyone? So I thought perfect reason to stop by Walmart and check out their workout apparel and yoga accessories; and grab some ‘crisp’ apples.

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Photo credit: David’s Instgram

I not only got a mat but I got a few shirts ($5 for a decently cute top!), a pair of running shorts, and an active razorback tank. Working out in clothes that are meant to be worked out in is so much more fun than working out in an old t-shirt and shorts. I swear it made me feel stronger and more energized!!

When I got home, I rolled out my new pink mat and looked on the YouTube channel we now have on our Wii to find a video to do. I did 3 yoga videos and it felt so good! I will master those moves that I could barely attempt last night…my mat won’t let me down!

I think it will also come in handy when I do pilates, Blogilates, and any core work as it really does help keep me in place and when in planks or pushups or downward dog; my hands and feet stick to the mat so that I can focus on my form and not how my body is sliding in all directions.

Yoga gets a bad rap because it’s not seen as hard as a lot of other workouts and even I didn’t give it credit because if sweat wasn’t dripping from my forehead and I wasn’t laying on the ground exhausted, it wasn’t worth my time but moving from one static strength yoga move to another with grace and flexibility, while really breathing deeply and focused, really challenged me last night and my shoulders, back, arms, and legs are already feeling sore today. There are lots of different types of yoga; some focusing on breathing and relaxation and others focusing on core and total body strength. All very good workouts and worth giving a chance – just make sure you have enough grip underneath you because it really does help!

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I love the Yoga Solution workouts from Livestrong Women. Tara Stiles is so good about telling you what she’s doing and reminding you to “breath a lot” and do your best.

Have you ever tried yoga? Do you have a yoga mat?

Are apples hard for you to buy too? David likes a different kind of apple than I do and I swear I never remember what ones he liked the last time…