Second Workout of the Year

I slept 12 hours last night!

 

I’m not exactly sure what that means or why that happened, but my eyelids were heavy around 9:30pm last night and when I opened them this morning it was almost 10am.  Crazy!

 

First thing I did this morning was check on my STEW.  Then, I whipped up some breakfast (so I could take this morning’s round of antibiotics) and for the sake of my stomach threw back a GoodBelly shot.

 

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Breakfast was an egg with spinach on a sprouted wrap covered in salsa.

 

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The perfect pre workout fuel which I devoured while watching last night’s Biggest Loser episode.  After breakfast, I bundled up (check out my adorable new headband) and hit the path for a run.

 

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I had a few things working against me on this run.  The main one being the war waging in my gut between my antibiotic and probiotic.  I wanted my antibiotic to win the battle in my sinuses and was hoping the probiotic could pull out victory in the gut.  Since it was my first run in over 2 weeks, I had little expectation.  I set out on a 4.6 mile out and back route knowing that I could walk at any time and even cut the route by 1/2 mile if needed.  By the time I made it to the path, I was happy that I had worn my trail shoes.  Despite the almost fully melted snow in our neighborhood, the concrete path was about 50% snow with intermittent patches.  But the sun was shining bright and the forest preserve peaceful…it was easy to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy my first run of the year.  I was slow and tired when I rounded the corner back onto our street and my runner’s high was slightly lessened by the dull ache in my sinuses.  My watch read just under 47 minutes making this morning’s run a slow and steady second workout of the year.

 

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I was definitely ready for a late lunch.  I poured Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew onto a mix of couscous and quinoa for a satisfying post run meal.

 

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The entire time I was eating my lunch, I kept exclaiming how amazing this stew tastes!

 

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This is seriously one of the best meals that has ever come out of my crockpot!

 

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And my crockpot works hard so that is definitely saying something!  I ate lunch with some cucumber water (I have been getting really tired of plain water, so if you have suggestions on how to spice it up, please let me know) and a grapefruit that I split with the BOY (who was not interested in trying my stew).

 

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After lunch, the BOY and I went out to run a few errands.  It was such a warm and sunny day!  Check out what we discovered while out and about 4 minutes from our house.  A Yogurtland!!!!

 

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A few hours later, we came home to drop of our groceries and shopping bags.  Then, decided on an early dinner at Mediterranean.

 

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There was some talk while we were out about planning meals for the weak, but we really didn’t hammer anything out.  Although I’d like to get back to meal planning this year, I was okay winging it this week because we have tons of homemade leftovers crowding the fridge.  For dinner, I ordered a salad with juicy and flavorful chicken.

 

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It was a healthy way to end an entire day of clean eating and exercise!  I’ve got a few dark chocolate squares for dessert and I know the BOY will be eager to find a few of these hiding in the freezer.

 

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As of now, I am resting my tired legs (man, it feels SO good to be sore) while watching the Indiana v Penn State Basketball game.  After the long weekend, I feel like I am still on vacation (did I already forget those 3 days of work last year).  I have a full week back in the swing of things coming up, and I have a feeling I will be in bed early again tonight (although I don’t think I can get another 12 hours of sleep).

 

Hope you had a Marvelous Monday!

First Workout of the Year

Finally!

I made it to Hot Yoga yesterday morning with my Mom!

 

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recycled picture but we were just as bundled up!

 

I really haven’t done much activity the past few weeks, so I had to remind myself a few times during the intense class that it is okay to hold back and rest.  But I LOVED getting back into my weekly workout routine, and it was even more special to have my Mom yoga-ing right next to me.  After class, I tried to convince her to come to Whole Foods with me, but she was headed another direction in search of veggies for her own Healthy New Year Soup.

 

I love shopping at Whole Foods!

 

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I picked up some fresh fruits and veggies to make one of Jenna’s hearty stews.

 

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And then came home to chop veggies and warm up the crockpot.  Right on cue, the BOY started to smell the Indian flavors from upstairs and hollered down ‘Honey, what are you making? Smells Good!’

 

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I’m hoping that he will dig right into the stew and won’t even notice the butternut squash.

 

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Without interesting (to me anyways) football today, I was a little bit lost with what to do with my Sunday.  After I got my stew into the crockpot, I baked up some Pumpkin Pear Bread.  Then did a little bit of cleaning and organizing before settling into some comfy clothes on my couch.  I was really excited to finish my book Eat & Run, and it did NOT disappoint!

 

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This recipe requires about 10 hours to get a thick and hearty stew.  Perfect for a Sunday!  The only problem…I was exhausted last night and not going to be able to stay awake until 10pm.

 

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So I put the BOY in charge of unplugging the crockpot and putting my stew into the fridge before he came up to bed.

 

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I was eager to see (and taste) the results this morning!

 

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These pictures don’t even do it justice!  Not only is this the ideal stew texture, but the flavors are incredible.  Everything blends together marvelously, so you know what I will be eating for lunch today.  I love having a house full of healthy food options and fingers crossed, I will be getting in workout number 2 today!

 

 

Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash

and Red Lentil Stew

From Eat, Live, Run

 

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive or canola oil

2 large carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2-3 tsp garam masala

1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice

1 quart vegetable broth

1 cup red lentils

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

 

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and sauté for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top (I didn’t do this). This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

A Squash Tale-Chapter II

Have you ever heard such a crazy squash story???

After all of that work, I needed to find something fantastic to do with my share of the squash!

I actually came up with an idea while I was flipping through my new cookbook.  I came across a recipe for Squash Muffins and new this sweet squash would be awesome for the recipe!

 

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When I ended up in charge of the last day of class (tomorrow’s) breakfast, I had an actual reason to bake.  After 1 year of class, we will finally be certified.  It has been a busy year (to say the least), and I remember starting the course exactly 1 year ago.  After all of the extra work, weekend’s in class, and sleepovers with my parents, it is exciting to have a few more letters behind my name.  Since I am away house/dog sitting this week, I did my baking last weekend and froze everything for tomorrow.

 

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I decided to turn the muffins into a bread because I think bread freezes better.  Although if you have some muffin freezing suggestions, please send them my way. 

 

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And I added in some fresh cranberries.

 

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I was nervous because the dough looked way too liquidy.

 

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But the batter tasted better than I expected!  I had nothing to lose, so I put it into the oven, set the timer, and got busy with my housesitting packing.  A week is a long time to be away (even if you are just a few suburbs away).

 

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About an hour later, our house was smelling sweet, and I had fresh bread cooling on the counter.

 

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A successful one at that!

 

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Even though the bread was for my upcoming course, I had to slice off a taste.

 

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I just couldn’t wait the week : )

 

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The tart cranberries were the perfect compliment to this moist, rich quick bread and my mystery squash added a strong dose of fall flavor!

 

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I truly am a Bread Baking Fool!

I hope you are not sick of breads just yet because I have a household favorite to share with you (I’m actually not quite sure how it hasn’t ended up on the blog yet).  But because these clowns have been keeping me busy, it might just have to wait until next week! 

 

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Cranberry Squash Bread

Recipe inspired from The Little Book of Country Baking Squash Muffins

 

Ingredients

1 cup cooked and pureed squash

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon (or MORE!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup cranberries, rinsed, drained, and dried

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together all dry ingredients except sugar. Stir in cranberries. Add the squash, eggs, sugar, milk, and oil and mix well. Fill well-greased loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

A Squash Tale

My alternative title for this post was…‘When a random man offers you a squash…politely decline just say No!’

 

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The reason for this alternative title will soon be clear!  As my Mom alluded in her guest post, our ride home from Door County involved squash…and quite The Squash Tale!

 

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It all began with innocently enough with a stop by Grandma Tommy’s Country Store and the cool pumpkin patch right next door.

 

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I’ve never seen so many fun and creative pumpkins!

 

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The owners were very nice and knowledgeable about all of the different types of squashes and gourds.

 

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I loved how festive they were creating all of these colorful squash piles!

 

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As I was walking out of the store and heading out to our car, I heard an odd commotion.  I looked over to find pumpkins rolling around in the road.  Someone had driven off without shutting their back door and their purchases were soon spread across the parking lot.  All pumpkins were in tact except for one HUGE squash that was split in two! 

 

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The owner of the patch offered up the 2 halves to a few of us paying for our pumpkins.  Since the other lady was so excited, my Mom and I figured that we too should have half of this beach ball sized gourd even though we had no idea what to do with it (or where it would fit in our already packed car).

 

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It took us an embarrassingly long time to leave the Door, but it was worth all of the shopping and laughs.  I kept busy through Milwaukee’s rush hour flipping through my new book.  I found this fun cookbook at a used book store during one of our last day stops. What I liked about it (besides that I love to bake) was that the creative recipes have only a few ingredients (mostly things you already have) and lots of pictures that look mouth wateringly good.

 

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We finally made it back to my parent’s around 7pm, and I was ready for dinner.  Good thing my Mom packed up some Charlie’s smoked fish to go.

 

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But, we still had this squash to deal with…

 

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Since it was late and we were clueless, we started with the basics.  Preheat oven, de-seed squash, and roast. Then sit down for an end-of-vacation glass of wine and dinner.

 

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But what happens 60 minutes later when you are ready to head to bed and your squash is harder than a log?  I (obviously) suggested…the crockpot!

 

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So into the crockpot our unknown variety of squash did NOT go because it was WAY To big.  My mom attempted to cut said squash but the situation quickly turned dangerous!  I suggested the electric knife, which we had just used for the holidays.

 

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And when it appeared that my mom was more likely to loose a finger than cut her squash into two pieces, my Dad stepped in to assist.

 

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It was not an easy task (taking 4 hands plus a photographer), and as my Dad pointed out…he doesn’t even like squash!

 

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Despite a valiant effort, the squash finally gave way splitting into 2 big but not so ginormous portions.

 

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That still didn’t fit into the crockpot…

 

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I was laughing so hard at this point because you seriously can’t script comedy like this.  And although we were tempted to give up and toss our FREE squash to the curb…at this point, we were invested!

 

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My Dad was able to cut the flesh away from the tough outer edge on one section of the squash and a great deal of time later, we had something for the crockpot.

 

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Seriously…that was it!  All of that blood, sweat, and tears laughter and this was all we had to show for ourselves.  That alternative title is seeming like an obvious second choice right about now…isn’t it?!  With a little more effort, we (at this point, it was definitely a group effort) were able to salvage a little more ‘meat’ for an overnight stay in the crockpot.

 

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Before wrapping up the rest and heading to bed.  There is only so much laughter and shenanigans that one can take in an evening : )

 

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By morning, we had a unique and tasty puree. 

 

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It had the same consistency as pumpkin but maybe a little sweeter.  Thank goodness it was so yummy or all that work would have been for nothing!  My Mom was in charge of the roasting up the rest of the squash and the next time I saw her, she had even more mystery puree.  I know that you can freeze puree and I have used it in soups in the past (so good!).  You’ll have to wait for A Squash Tale Chapter II to find out how I used this batch! 

 

The End!

 

Most important question…can you name the squash? 

I actually have no idea and because of a power outage can’t look it up. 

 

Number 2: Do you like squash?  What’s your favorite way to eat it?

Power Yoga and Whole Foods

I have been wanting to try out a Core Power Yoga class for many many months, but because most of the studios are located in the city, I haven’t gotten around to it. I have heard fabulous things about their classes and was interested in trying out Hot Yoga at another studio.  A friend of mine and I had plans for a running date this morning, but when the snow started to fall last night, we changed our minds, printed out FREE yoga coupons, and decided to try the 9:30AM Power Fusion class in Bucktown.

 

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I started my day with the MOST AMAZING BREAKFAST before grabbing a travel mug of hot tea and hitting the road.  On Saturday mornings, it takes me no time at all to get into the city, which I love.  I had to take this picture of the Shamrock Shake poster to show the BOY!

 

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We made our way over to the studio, which was gorgeous.  The staff was friendly and welcoming.  I had no idea what to expect from a Hot Power Fusion class as I have only done Hot Yoga at one studio.  The instructor encouraged us to set an intention early on, which is something I do at each yoga class.  She reminded us that our intention is important to bring our focus back to our practice when our minds begin to wonder (which mine often does).  With spring around the corner, I dedicated my practice at this new studio to new adventures and opportunities.  The class was challenging and rewarding, similar to my weekly class, but also a little bit different.

 

What was Different?

More natural light in the room

It might have been hotter, I definitely sweat more

Less time on core exercises (could be good or bad…haha!)

There were mirrors

The instructor prompted us to use an open mouth exhale to get rid of heat

 

What was the Same?

It was a quiet room

We did a combination of asanas, core work, and deep stretching at the end

The tempo and energy of the class

I felt amazing when I walked out the door!!!

 

It was a fantastic class led by an experienced instructor, and I truly enjoyed the Core Power Yoga atmosphere.  I am sad that I won’t be able to make it to any other CPY classes during my free week.  Although I am so happy with my local studio, it was fun to try something new.  After yoga, I was drenched with sweat and thrilled that I had remembered a change of clothes.  My friend and I had been talking about green smoothies, so we headed over to Peeled for a Rappers Delight (so yummy!).  I need to figure out to make this green smoothie at home!

 

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We walked across the street to the biggest and coolest Whole Foods I have ever been to.  This is the same area that I explored on the  CHEW tour in the fall.  I haven’t been back to this WF since September and it still amazed me just as much today.  This store has a full bar, a huge array of seafood, beautiful produce, a significant wine and beer selection, a BBQ station, 4 different salad bars, and a sushi chef along with its already extensive selection of cheese, bread, and desserts and knowledgeable employees.

 

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I could have spent the entire day here sampling food and taking pictures!  I was psyched to finally find the Kabocha squash that I have seen in many of The Kind Life recipes.

 

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They also had one of my all time favorite Whole Foods premade salads, the vegan curry chicken salad, which I discovered years before I ever thought about giving up meat or dairy.

 

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With vegetarian chicken, scallions, and raisins, this salad is absolutely amazing!  My local WF store doesn’t carry it, so I bought a whole container to bring home with me.

 

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It is tasty as a cold salad, but I like it even better warmed up.  I paired it with a huge green salad and a side of WF veggies for a fantastic lunch, which was fun and healthy after my exciting morning in the city!

 

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Tonight, the BOY and I are heading out to try a NEW local Mexican place, which is always a good way to spend Saturday night.

 

 

What new adventures are you looking forward to?

What is your favorite Whole Foods treat?

Recipe Flashback: Butternut Squash Bread

So, I’m sure you could have guessed from the last few posts that I have been WAY TOO TIRED to make anything new this week.  But, my mom had this beautiful butternut squash that she gave me this week.  And although butternut squash cutting can be time consuming, I know a recipe that is totally worth the effort.

 

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This Butternut Squash Bread, based off of a recipe form My Baking Addiction, is incredible!  It was one of the first recipes that I posted on LWYD and is still one of the BEST QUICK BREADS that I have ever made.

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It uses some unique ingredients to keep the bread healthy and clean!

 

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And one of my favorite spices!

 

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This is a simple recipe…

 

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That creates a phenomenal bread that will have your friends asking…what’s in here??? 

It’s up to you if you tell them the secret ingredient is SQUASH!

 

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Butternut Squash Bread

Adapted from My Baking Addiction

 

Ingredients
1 cup butternut squash puree* (I use fresh, but Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell it canned)
2 eggs
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup water
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 cups whole wheat flour

¾ spelt flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash puree, eggs, oil, water and sugars until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the butternut squash mixture. Combine just until incorporated; do not over mix. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Not in the mood for bread? Although I’m not sure how that is even possible, there are plenty of other butternut squash friendly recipes on my RECIPE PAGE!

A Kind Dinner

After 3 days of saltines, my appetite came back with a vengeance tonight!  When I got home tonight, I was happy to find this clean meal from The Kind Diet book waiting for me in the fridge. 

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This was the first recipe that I tried from the book, and I must say, I was not disappointed. 

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The fresh roasted veggies are perfect for this light, yet hardy meal!

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Add in some whole wheat couscous.

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And seasoned veggie broth…sadly though, as mentioned before, I was unable to find saffron, so I subbed ins some other spices.  I think it will be MUCH better with the saffron, but is still worth making without it.

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And then you just have to wait…

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For this delicious dish to be ready.

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It makes a healthy side or a filling meal.

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And I knew just where to go for a little something sweet…the freezer is full of treats!

 

ENJOY!

 

Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

Recipe from Alicia Silverstone

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cup(s) of peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
  • 2 cup(s) of yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of carrots, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of zucchini, cut into 3/4” cubes
  • 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. of saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) of whole wheat couscous
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through.
  4. While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste.
  6. Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.
  7. Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl, and add the couscous.
  8. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, and pour over the couscous mixture all at once.
  9. Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
  10. Add the scallions, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve.