Posts tagged: squash

The Old and the New

By Katie, 4:23 pm

I feel like I go through eating phases, alternating between periods of novelty and downright ruts. I’ll have weeks where every dinner is a new recipe, every snack some clever concoction. And then suddenly I’ll grow tired of the effort and start eating the same thing day in and day out.

Lately, however, I’ve had more success with striking a balance, with enjoying old favorites while also sprinkling in some newbies. Here is the visual proof. ;-)

The New

Broccoli topped with Heather’s Marinutta Sauce (pasta sauce mixed with peanut butter and ground flax).

After this and the nut butter crusted parsnip fries, I’m starting to think there is nothing that doesn’t go with peanut/almond butter!

KABOCHA SQUASH!!! I’ve loved butternut, buttercup, and acorn squash for quite some time, but had never tried the elusive kachocha…until now!

Sliced and roasted with some agave nectar, it did not disappoint! ;-)

Fruition ProBar in Cran-Raspberry. This was yummy!  The texture/consistency was similar to that of a LARABAR, except with more ingredients and fewer calories. I’d purchase again!

And a new (to me) cereal!

I purchased a few new cereals in the hopes of finding one that is simultaneously tasty, filling, and as natural as possible. I’d say that Kashi Autumn Wheat pretty much fits the bill. The ingredients are just wholegrain wheat, evaporated cane juice, and natural flavors, and there are only 7 grams of sugar per serving (which is actually quite low for a cold cereal!).

I ate it from a pretty bowl with banana, strawberries, and almond milk.

The Old

After a brief hiatus, I’ve brought cottage cheese back into my life.

Plopped atop strawberries and mango chunks.

I’ve also reunited with the beloved Breakfast Cookie!

In the evening I mixed together 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 mashed banana, 1 tbsp almond butter, a small splash of almond milk, lots of cinnamon, and a couple of dried cherries. Spread it out on the plate, popped it in the fridge, and ate it up the next morning!

Next time I’ll chop up the dried cherries…they’re so good but so darn big! 8-O

Classic snack: dried fruit (cherries again) with roasted almonds.

And a tried-and-true dessert: a chocolate VitaTop with a splash of milk and banana slices. SOOOOOO GOOD!

And finally, a lovely combination of old and new: the kitties in their NEW cat beds! :-D

Do you go through eating phases? Ever find yourself in a food rut? What’s something new you’ve tried recently? Or something new you’re excited to try?

Thai-Inspired Dinner! And Other Eats

By Katie, 7:59 pm

I must say, I am not the biggest fan of coconut. Which might surprise you, since I’ve blogged several recipes containing the ingredient. The truth is that it’s not really my thing, but Dave happens to love it! And since I cook plenty of dinners based on my personal preferences, it’s only fair to make some that are more catered to his taste buds. :-)

Take, for instance, this Thai-inspired Coconut Soup.

If you’re like Dave and love coconut, then you’ll appreciate this light soup! It’s based off of this Healthy Eats 5-Ingredient Coconut Soup with Noodles and Mushrooms recipe. My soup actually had 6 ingredients because I added snap peas; I also used shiitake mushrooms, which I highly recommend.

If I were to make this again I would definitely add lemongrass to give it an even greater Thai-inspired flavor!

Another (somewhat) noteworthy dinner:

Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar, doctored up with some broccoli and canned Alaskan salmon. For some reason I don’t mind eating dinner from a box quite so much when I add a little somethin’ somethin’ of my own. ;-)

Let’s check out some other times of the day, shall we?

Breakfasts

Nothing too thrilling – plain bite-sized Shredded Wheat (TJ’s brand) with banana in almond milk.

I also wanted to show you this awesome bowl of oatmeal.

This is actually Dave’s concoction, not mine. I have to say, he is quite talented when it comes to interesting oatmeal bowls!

In his mix:

  • steel cut oats cooked in milk
  • cinnamon
  • dried blueberries
  • chopped dates
  • shredded unsweetened coconut

Lunches

This sammie was awesome!

Whole wheat bread, Applegate Farms roasted turkey breast, lettuce, asparagus, pickles, and spicy brown mustard.

I want to say that the asparagus made this sandwich, but then I would be lying…the rockstar was definitely the PICKLES! For some reason I always forget to add pickles to my sammies, and then I randomly remember and am in heaven!

There are also some mega-salad action.

In the bowl:

  • red and green leaf lettuce
  • cucumber
  • grape tomatoes
  • artichoke hearts
  • some tiny radishes from Dave’s back porch garden
  • mung bean sprouts
  • a chopped medjool date for sweetness
  • big dollop of hummus

Plus a side of some locally-made plain yogurt topped with a pinch of Post Great Grains cereal.

And finally, on a rushed day, a frozen Amy’s meal.

Snackage

Not surprisingly, I’ve eaten a couple of bars.

The usual suspect. ;-)

A whopping THREE ingredients!

Fruit leather thingys.

Greek yogurt topped with a crumbled Vita Muffin. (Love this!)

Maple-roasted butternut squash cubes (yes, I eat squash as a snack! :-D )

And half of a cantaloupe filled with cottage cheese. Delicious!

Those are all of the food photos I’ve taken of late…time to start snapping some more! ;-)

If you cook for your significant other, do you ever make meals that you don’t like too much because he/she does?

AND

For those days when convenience is king, do you have a favorite brand of frozen meal that you turn to?

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

By Katie, 5:59 pm

A healthy-but-still-delicious version of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Yes, please! :-)

One that incorporates the creamy sweetness of Butternut squash? Even better! :-D

This dish has all of the necessary components of a classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese: creamy texture, cheesy flavor, the comforting feel of baked pasta, and the somewhat disturbing bright orange/yellow color. ;-)

And yet it is, without a doubt, GOOD FOR YOU!

It’s simple to make too! First you cook your butternut squash (either by roasting or steaming it), then puree it using your preferred method (blender, food processor, potato masher, fork, whatever!). Then you make a simple sauce by mixing the squash with a little bit of butter or oil (I used Earth Balance), flour, water, and some salt to taste.

Then you add your cheese – a little bit of shredded mozzarella and a little bit of cream cheese. You will be SHOCKED by how cheesy this tastes for how little cheese you actually use! 8-O

Then you just stir together your cheesy squash mixture, some frozen peas, and cooked whole wheat pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, and you’re ready to dig in!

So creamy and cheesy!!!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Adapted from Branny Boils Over

Serves 4

Ingredients
1.5 cups whole wheat penne pasta (dry – about 150 grams)
1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 cup frozen peas (could also substitute frozen chopped broccoli)
1 tbsp butter or oil (I used Earth Balance)
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup water
salt to taste

1. Peel butternut squash. Roast or steam until very tender, then puree. (I used a blender, but you could use a food processor, potato masher, or just a fork!)

2. Cook the whole wheat penne until al dente. Reserve.

3. Meanwhile, melt your choice of butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water and salt to taste, and stir until a pale sauce forms. Add pureed squash and stir well.

4. Add shredded mozzarella and cream cheese; heat until cheese is melted.

5. Add the cooked pasta and the frozen peas to the cheese/squash mixture. Stir well, then spread into an 8 x 8″ baking dish.

6. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! :-)

What’s your favorite kind of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? The baked, homemade kind? From a box?

What I Ate – 1/25/2010

By Katie, 8:05 pm

I hope you had a good Monday yesterday! Mine was quite delicious. :-D

Breakfast

Like many of you, yesterday I awoke to dreary rain and wind. Yuck. I felt the need to combat the weather with something sunny and yummy, say, EGGS!

While I would have preferred something really cheery – perhaps sunny side up? – Dave and I were a bit rushed. So I went with an egg white and cheese sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin, which hit the spot.

Plus some fresh fruit.

Mid-Morning Snack

After breakfast I headed to the YMCA for 30 minutes of speed intervals on the treadmill, which actually went really well considering I had an entire egg sandwich in my stomach! After exercising and getting ready for the day, I headed out to run some errands. I packed a small snack to take along for a very important reason: one of my errands was grocery shopping. And the # 1 rule of grocery shopping is this: don’t do it hungry! It’s bad for your waistline and it’s bad for your budget.

So before I went into Trader Joe’s, I had a few raw almonds and some dried apricots.

Lunch

My kitchen is currently overflowing with fresh produce that is crying out to be enjoyed. So for lunch I did one of my favorite things: raided the refrigerator, grabbing everything that looked appealing and throwing it together in a bowl.

Contents of the salad bowl:

  • Boston lettuce
  • Pan-fried tofu
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Orange slices
  • Plum
  • Crumbled feta
  • Drizzle of seasoned rice vinegar
  • Handful of Kashi crackers (toasted asiago flavor – yum!)

I never worry if the contents of my mega salads don’t exactly “go” together, and somehow it always ends up tasting good!

I also had a few slices of roasted buttercup squash (leftovers from the previous night’s dinner). This was my first time trying buttercup squash, and I really like it! I have yet to find a winter squash (or summer, for that matter) that I haven’t liked. (I’m eager to try a Kabocha, but I can’t find one!)

Very satisfying lunch!

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Well, this was actually more like an early evening snack. Before I started cooking dinner I munched on some whole wheat pita bread wedges dipped in roasted red pepper hummus. This is because of another very important rule: don’t cook when hungry! Cooking on an empty stomach = so many “taste tests” that you’re not even hungry for dinner when it’s ready!

Dinner

Dinner was divine! I followed this Real Simple recipe for Turkey and Bean Chili, with a few changes. I planned on using ground turkey, but then I found local ground beef on sale at the farmers’ market (from Woolsey Farm in Churchville, MD). So I went with that instead. I also doubled the recipe because I knew it would make great leftovers for the week, and I also wanted to freeze some. Not to mention making a giant pot of chili is just FUN! :-D

This meal was SO GOOD!

Big bowl of chili topped with avocado, plain Greek yogurt (tastes just like sour cream!), and corn bread (not homemade – don’t judge!).

Dave and I were literally saying “Mmmmmmmm” as we ate.

I mean, I hated it, obviously. ;-)

Evening Snack

Dessert was one of my new obsessions. If it doesn’t look appealing to you, blame my lousy photography skills (or, more accurately, the fact that my photos are coming from my cell phone).

After dinner I melted some dark chocolate, dipped the banana into it, and popped it in the freezer for an hour or so until the chocolate formed a hard shell. A perfect little treat!

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate-covered fruit? Bananas, strawberries, oranges – so many possibilities! :-)

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