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.

 

IMG_0762

 

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

 

IMG_0763

 

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.

 

IMG_0768

 

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.

 

IMG_0770

 

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.

 

IMG_0772

 

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

 

IMG_0774

 

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

 

IMG_0776

 

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).

 

IMG_0780 IMG_0781

 

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!!!!

 

IMAG1316

 

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

 

IMAG1318

 

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.

 

IMAG1317

 

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.

 

IMG_0709

 

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!

 

IMG_1728

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!

 

IMAG1315

 

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

 

IMG_0740

IMG_0741 IMG_0743 IMG_0744

 

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!’

 

IMG_0746

 

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

 

IMG_0750

 

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!

 

IMG_0753

 

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.

 

IMG_0758

 

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

 

IMG_0756

 

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

 

IMG_0760

 

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!

 

 IMG_8579

 

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.

 

IMG_8581_thumb IMG_8580_thumb2

 

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. 

 

IMG_8577

 

And I added in some fresh cranberries.

 

IMG_8578

 

I was nervous because the dough looked way too liquidy.

 

IMG_8584

 

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).

 

IMG_8608

 

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

 

IMG_8612

 

A successful one at that!

 

IMG_8618

 

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

 

IMG_8621

 

I just couldn’t wait the week : )

 

IMG_8622

IMG_8624 IMG_8627

 

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

 

IMG_8619

 

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! 

 

IMAG0874 IMAG0883

 

 

 

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!’

 

IMG_8400

 

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!

 

IMG_8391

 

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

 

IMG_8392 IMG_8393

 

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

 

IMG_8395 IMG_8398

IMG_8405 IMG_8409

 

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

 

IMG_8396 IMG_8397

 

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

 

IMG_8406 IMG_8408 IMG_8410

 

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! 

 

IMG_8413

 

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).

 

IMG_8414 IMG_8415

 

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.

 

IMG_8579

 

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.

 

IMG_8423 IMG_8424

 

But, we still had this squash to deal with…

 

IMG_8418IMG_8419IMG_8422

 

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.

 

IMG_8426 IMG_8427

 

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!

 

IMG_8428

 

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.

 

IMG_8430 IMG_8431

 

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.

 

IMG_8432IMG_8433IMG_8434

 

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

 

IMG_8435IMG_8436IMG_8437IMG_8438

 

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

 

IMG_8439

 

That still didn’t fit into the crockpot…

 

IMG_8440

 

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!

 

IMG_8444 

 

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.

 

IMG_8441

 

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.

 

IMG_8442 IMG_8445

 

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

 

IMG_8448 IMG_8449

 

By morning, we had a unique and tasty puree. 

 

IMG_8454

 

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.

 

IMG_2112

 

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!

 

mail 2

 

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!

 

IMG_5100

 

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.

 

IMG_5102

 

IMG_5101

 

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.

 

IMG_2122 IMG_2124

 

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.

 

IMG_2129

 

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.

 

IMG_2131

 

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!

 

IMG_2141 IMG_2140

IMG_2142 IMG_2144

 

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.

 

IMG_1920

 

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.

038

 

 

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

 

040 042

 

And one of my favorite spices!

 

043 044

 

This is a simple recipe…

 

045 041

 

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!

 

046

 

IMG_0054

 

 

 

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. 

IMAG0175

 

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

IMG_7773 

 

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

IMG_7777

 

Add in some whole wheat couscous.

IMG_7780

 

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.

IMG_7783

 

And then you just have to wait…

IMG_7785IMG_7787

 

For this delicious dish to be ready.

IMG_7788

 

It makes a healthy side or a filling meal.

IMAG0176

 

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.

Happy Fall Ya’ll!

Now that it is November and I think we have seen the last of the warm days, I officially consider it fall. This is my favorite time of year by far even though I dread the cold that is lurking up ahead. One of the reasons that I like this time of year is the fall fruits and vegetables and the endless opportunities for eating soups and chilies.  My crockpot is put to work overtime and I bust out all of my warm and fluffy socks to wear around the house.  On Monday, I made Mahi Mahi for dinner with some fabulous FALL sides.  I typically buy the fish frozen from Trader Joe’s.  There are many ways to prepare it but my favorite is to coat the fish with Cavender’s seasoning and lemon juice.  I bake it in the oven on 375 for 12-18 minutes (depending on if it is thawed or still frozen).

IMG_6240

IMG_6257

 

The result is a rich flavored fish that you would swear was cooked in a vat of butter.  It is extremely tasty for such easy preparation. 

IMG_6259

IMG_6263

 

The BOY has been talking about mashed potatoes, so I picked up some little red potatoes at the Whole Foods.  I have made potatoes only a few times.  I must say that my first attempt, I went without a recipe, used what was in the house (chive cream cheese?!) and made the most amazing potatoes EVER. Since then, I have been slightly over confindent on the potato front and have had 2 successes and 1 failure.  I went with an easy recipe for guaranteed success.

IMG_6239

 

I boiled my potatoes in water for about 20 minutes until fork tender.

IMG_6242

 

Then added in butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of milk (I only had skim).  I used my immersion wand to quickly whip these taters into chunky mashed potatoes.  In my opinion, chunky is much better than smooth when it goes to potatoes. 

IMG_6253

IMG_6254

 

At the same time, I started on a NEW FALL SIDE…mashed butternut squash puree.  I saw a similar puree in Clean Eating magazine and wanted to try it.  I peeled and cubed my squash, covered the cubes with water and brought them to a boil.

IMG_6241

IMG_6243

 

Boil until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes.  Then drain the squash and return it to the pot.  Add 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt, 1 tbsp cinnamon (or more to taste), and a dash of salt.

IMG_6245

IMG_6248

IMG_6250

 

Again, I used my immersion wand to make a (thickish) puree.  Let me tell you, if you don’t have one of these wands yet, you will want one by the time winter gets here.  I use mine almost every day for smoothies, purees, and soups.  It is amazing and easy clean up.  It is a regular on the BLOG.

IMG_6251   IMG_6252IMG_6255   IMG_6260

 

The butternut squash puree was sweet and delicious!  It reminded me of mashed sweet potatoes, but a little sweeter and smoother.  The cinnamon is the perfect compliment, but you really don’t need to add much of anything.  Even those of you who aren’t fans of butternut squash should give this simple recipe a try!

IMG_6262

 

I ate my squash with mahi mahi (probably an odd choice, but would be great with anything…especially pork) and roasted asparagus.  It was a fabulous dinner!  And, the BOY was thrilled with his homemade mashed potatoes.

IMG_6266

IMG_6268

IMG_6269

 

Easy Mashed Potatoes

~1/2 pound little red potatoes

2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Dash of milk (optional for creamier potatoes)

 

-Cut potatoes into cubes (I like to keep the skins on)

-Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain and return to pot

-Add butter, salt, pepper, and milk

-Mash with immersion wand or potato masher

 

Butternut Squash Puree

1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp (more for taste) cinnamon

Dash of salt

 

-Place cubed squash in pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil

-Let boil for 20 minutes until fork tender

-Drain and return to pot

-Add yogurt, cinnamon, salt AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU MAY WANT

-Mash with immersion wand or potato masher

-Enjoy!

 

On a totally different note, remember the Afternoon Energy Bars that I froze??? They turned out great. They tasted just as fresh as before (no freezer burn) and continue to power me through my afternoon slump. 

IMG_6095

 

What is your go-to afternoon snack?

I used to be a string cheese and almond girl, but I am transitioning to homemade bars for sure!

On the Road Again

This seemed to be the theme song of our weekend!  After weathering the storm, we awoke to a day of rain and heavy winds, but all appeared well from our windows.

Having not done any activity all weekend, I convinced my brother to head out for a run with me.  It was misting but after hours in the car, it felt refreshing!  We were able to see roaring streams, fallen trees, and flooding as we ran through the nearby neighborhood.  It made me realize how lucky we were to have had so little action by us.  Many of the people we know in NY and NJ lost power and their basements flooded.

When the drizzle outside stopped, it was great to emerge from the house.  The kids were excited to grab scooters, baseballs, and bats.  And it was so nice to get outside and play in the fresh air.  We played some sports and then walked down to the end of the block. 

Around 5:00pm, we decided it was time to venture out.  Most of the highways were closed and we had no idea if we would make it out of town, let alone out of New York.  We studied the map, got some directions, packed back into the car (singing ‘On the Road Again’).  Two turns in, the road was flooded.  We retraced our steps, trying a different route and found an even bigger flood.  We headed for higher grounds and away from the river (Again…thank you Garmin and Google Maps), but found the road blocked with a fallen tree.  There were people all over town walking around and surveying the damage. 

IMG_4766

 

IMG_4770

 

IMG_4771IMG_4772

 

IMG_4774

 

IMG_4776

 

Finally, we found an almost empty highway headed south and west and crossed our fingers that it wasn’t closed.  It was almost creepy seeing so few cars on the road.  As we headed west, we saw towns along the side of highway flooded and closed roads all the way into Pennsylvania.

IMG_4777

 

IMG_4780

 

IMG_4782

 

IMG_4783

 

We safely drove through the night landing back in Chicago as the sun was rising.  I immediately headed home, gave a hug and a kiss to the BOY, and crashed in my bed.  This weekend was filled with emotional highs and lows and I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  I emerged around 10:00AM for a day of errands, laundry, and chilling on my couch.  Confession time, I might have also caught an episode of Jersylicious!!! 

IMG_4794IMG_4797IMG_4798

 

After so many missed runs, I knew I should be out getting in a workout, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I already have a plan to be up and out the door early tomorrow after a good night’s rest in my own bed for a medium distance run.  Instead, I went through the mail pile.  It made me so happy to see the cards from my friends!  Thanks guys!  And of course the hilarious ‘anti-aging’ gift from my secret birthday buddy at work.

IMG_4784 IMG_4785

 

The BOY and I decided to do dinner in tonight to celebrate my birthday.  Since I am exhausted, I was happy to eat at home.  I decided to make the Enchilada recipe that I found in Clean Eating Magazine last year.  I have made them one other time (and I don’t think I shared them on the blog), but this time I was inspired by THIS POST on the Daily Garnish to add some squash to my (not the BOY’s) enchiladas.  My acorn squash from the CSA survived my long weekend away, so I was excited to use it in my enchiladas.

IMG_4786

 

IMG_4792IMG_4801

 

IMG_4802IMG_4811IMG_4813

IMG_4812IMG_4814IMG_4815

IMG_4816IMG_4817IMG_4823

 

Can you tell which side is the BOY’s???  He always likes the extra cheese.  While I was preparing dinner, I found this new roll of paper towels that had these cute inspiring messages.  How bright and fun!

IMG_4789IMG_4790

 

Dinner was served with a fig (my new food of the week), parmesan cheese, and pecan salad with a side of gifts!

IMG_4820

 

IMG_4826

 

For dessert…one of my favorites!  A cookie jar blizzard from Dairy Queen.

It’s GOOD to be home!

IMG_4836 IMG_4837

 

 

Unbelievably Delicious Low Fat Enchiladas

Clean Eating Magazine November/December 2010

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium whole-wheat tortillas (5 to 6 inches each)
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish, optional

Chicken Mixture:

  • 3 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 4 oz. green chiles, chopped
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Sauce:

  • 15 oz. all natural tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

ONE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

TWO: Combine all chicken mixture ingredients in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove mixture for pan and set aside.

THREE: Combine all sauce ingredients in same nonstick pan used for chicken. Set over medium heat and cook until warm, about 10 minutes.

FOUR: Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8×11 inch casserole dish. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas, fold left and right sides over to close and place, seam-side down, snuggly in casserole dish. Top enchiladas evenly with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake on center rack for 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with cilantro or parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 360, Total Fat: 7g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Carbs: 36 g,
Fiber: 4.5 g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 37g, Sodium: 561 mg, Cholesterol: 76 mg

Butternut Squash Bread

I discovered butternut squash this summer and started adding it to everything.  This is one of my favorite recipes!

I used fresh butternut squash today.

 

I used my hand wand to puree (it’s much easier clean up).  Then mixed in all the wet ingredients.

039 041

 

I whisked the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, weighing the flour for accuracy.  Saigon Cassia Cinnamon from The Spice House is my favorite!

042 045

043 044

 

Into the oven it goes.  My house smells amazing!

046

 

IMG_0054

 

Butternut Squash Bread

Adapted from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/butternut-squash-bread/

 

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 wooden skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.