Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Monday, November 21, 2011

Squash... How I love thee!!

I am now madly in love with Squash and so excited for winter because they are in season.  Mounds of them galore at the grocery store, butternut, spaghetti, yellow, acorn... I have yet to meet a squash I didn't like, especially now that I know what to do with them.

Over the weekend we went over to Dayleen's cousin Mackenzie and Jeremy's house to catch up and break bread together.  And to hang out with their super cute kids!  You know I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cook some of my favorites for them and that included this Roasted Acorn squash recipe I found at the site.  Mine is pretty much the same except with more onions and mushrooms and less oil.

Brush on a little olive oil on the squash halves and put some sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Bake with the flesh side down at 450 for 25-35 minutes.

While that beautiful sweet squash is cooking, you can make up the filling.  Saute the rest of the olive oil with the onions and garlic until the onions begin to turn translucent.  Then toss in the mushrooms, sage, salt and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until the mushrooms begin to get soft.  (I will admit I like to cook the heck out of my mushrooms.)

Yum!! Look at all that scrumptiousness.  One time, when I made this I had to make a new batch of filling because I just kept eating it, it was so good.

Then you take the mushroom filling and scoop it inside of the roasted squash.  Toss back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

Voila! You have an amazing dinner (or for Mackenzie and Jer... a good side)

I eat it right out of the skin with a fork.  You must try this!!

Roasted Acorn Squash

1 Acorn Squash

3/4 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground Black Pepper

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus extra for brushing

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 large Portobello Mushroom, chopped

1 large Onion, chopped

2 tsp. Fresh Sage, finely chopped

Pinch Red Pepper Flakes, optional

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back to Basics

Until this point I have avoided saying "watch this" or "read this" or "this changed my life" because I wasn't sure if anything had.  And well as obsessive and excited as I can be about things, sometimes they can wear off just as fast as they catch on.   Finally, I know when I get too excited and over the top sometimes it can be a turn off for folks but after 9 weeks of feeling great and actually enjoying food that I am eating, and now sharing it with you, I thought I would pass along some of the materials I have found useful.

Facebook is evil.  I say that with the utmost love.  The power of social networking is pretty impressive and that is how I learned about these.

The food philosophy that I have embraced can be summed up in a wall photo I saw on Kassie's wall:

Now not everything I am eating is organic that's not necessarily the point. What is, is that our idea of food has become so distorted that whole natural foods have had to become a specialty and no longer a mainstay. I know this first hand as you have seen in my previous posts I lived my life on processed products marketed as food. Then I wondered why I crashed at 3 in the afternoon and needed yet another cup of coffee and a delicious buttery sugary pastry.

In order of appearance:
My friend Dawn had posted something like 5 times about this movie and how you just had to see it. I'll admit I like these kind of movies so when it popped up in my netflix streaming suggestions I was like sure why not.

Fat, Sick, and Nearly dead.

Now I don't want to ruin the movie for you, but it does have to do with my juicer. When I had cancer my grandmother had given me a Jack Lalane (r.i.p.) Power juicer. I used it from time to time but admittedly it has sat collecting dust in the far reaches of one of my dark cabinets. After watching this movie it inspired me to bust it out again.

I then googled the movie and found the website  This website had a 15 day meal plan that I thought I would give a try. That was more than 60 days ago. Some of my favorite recipes are from this website.

Next, my friend Becki was always posting about another movie Forks over Knives. This one is more of the science behind eating whole foods. My curiosity had been piqued enough and I had been feeling so good that when this one appeared I had to watch it too.

I might have had to get a few books along the way as well, because I am a reader.  Just wait until I take a picture of all the pregnancy/conception/baby books that have already taken over my bookshelf.  You will all have a good time with that one.  One of my favorite books so far (in addition to FOK) is  Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier.

Now yes there us a theme: they are all vegetarian. Don't write them off because of that. I don't think I consider myself vegan or vegetarian or any of those things because you can be all the above and still eat like doo-doo.  But for the most part, vegetarian and vegan resources know how to bring out the best in your produce.

My goal: make plant based whole foods the star of my plate. Not something that gets shoved to the side and gagged down. That's it.  Okay, and maybe not eat things that I don't know what they are or where they came from.  These resources have given me a great foundation for that.

If I want meat I will eat meat, not some poor imitation. (Hello El Gaucho, yum yum yum) But it will not be my focus. And when I do have it, it will be amazing. I have to be honest I don't miss it though.

So if you have never explored these kinds of recipes before I hope these provide some inspiration for including more fruits and veggies in your world.

What is one vegetable or fruit that you have wanted to cook but didn't know how to include it?  Tell me and I will try it out for you!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homemade Lara Type Bars, Yum!

On my first of what will hopefully be a fabulous month of tasty recipes is the homemade Lara Type Bar.  I posted a pic

 of the ones I made last month on my Facebook and everyone wanted the recipe and, well what kind of friend would I be I didn't post this one first?

Welcome to my Accidentally Orange Cinnamon Bars!

Why "accidentally" well, I was supposed to be making Lemon Bars and I already told that story here.  It's pretty funny, but the end result was Dayleen's top pick!

First I need to give credit to Siobhan who originally made and posted her recipe on her Facebook and I just had to make some too.  You can read her original recipe here.  She inspired me to give these a go.

2 cups dates (packed)
1 cup almonds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 medium orange zested and juice
1/2 cup cashews

Dates 101: First, Get the Medjool dates for these type of recipes.  They are plumper and moist and so full of flavor.  I couldn't tell you what the real difference is between Medjool dates and regular dates but you put them side by side and you can see it and it translates in the texture as well.  You will probably need to pit them.  It is super easy, they peel easily in half with your fingers and you can just pull the pit out.
Second:  Pack your dates when measuring, I did not do this at first and just could not understand why it seemed so out of proportion.  But now I know!

I put all the ingredients together except the cashews in a bowl, but you could put it directly in your food processor.  If you don't have a big food processor you could totally use a little one just process the ingredients one at a time and put into a ziploc bag and knead by hand.

I zested the whole orange and then cut in half and squeezed the orange juice in but you can do as little or more that you like.

I put the whole mixture in the food processor to coarsely chop it and then added the cashews, they are a little softer so they don't need as long.  Then process away until it makes this ball:

I lined a container with plastic wrap, last time I used wax paper and it worked just as good.  Then flattened it.
In an hour or so you pull it out of the fridge dump it upside down on the cutting board and cut into little bars.

Rumor has it you can freeze these puppies and they will hold for months and they don't completely freeze so you can grab and go.  I am going to test that out tonight.  I will let you know how it goes!!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Food Inspiration

Okay I polled several people and the vote was pretty unanimous that I should post my food stuff right on here instead of doing two different blogs.  It will also fill the void to when we start trying again, and we have decided that will be in December.  Work will have slowed down enough to let me breathe again then.

So I am going to attempt a 30 day blog challenge, now knowing me that might be unrealistic but I will do my best.  I thought I would start by sharing with you some of the inspiration for me.

First I would like to think that losing weight was my drive to learn how to cook, let alone cook healthier, but it wasn't.  Having a child was. You can lose weight on store bought prepared foods.  Trust me, I have done it.  My mom was amazing when we were growing up, working a bazillion hours to raise 3 kids and I think she did a pretty good job, but what that meant was that we didn't have time for things like cooking.  More specifically learning how to cook.  I could make a mean sandwich because I worked in her 7-11 deli over the summers but I am sorry there is not much that is healthy at a 7-11.  With that being said I will forever look fondly upon chili-cheese nachos and big-bite hot dogs.  Ahhhh... That store and my mom taught me something else entirely, work ethic.  But food savvy?  Nah.

My mom did the best she could with what she had and I thank her for it every day, whether she knows it or not.  I want to do the same for my children.  I am lucky enough (and I do believe there is some luck involved) to be a little bit better position than she was in with an amazing partner by my side.  And my best at this point in my life has got to be better than Taco Time and Domino's Pizza (no hating, I love them... that's the problem).  Now is the time when I don't actually have children yet to build this into my life pattern and learn so that it becomes part of my parenting habits.

Now the Warrior Princess can cook, and has done so for the majority of our 5 years together.  She can cook something fierce, it oozes out of her like it is part of her DNA.  Bam, three dozen cookies baked like that.  You want some amazing fish?  You bet!  Pot Roast?  Already in the oven. In a relationship there will always be role division and one person naturally will like to do some things more than others but this was one area where I just couldn't justify not being an substantial contributor when we had kids.  I needed to learn and so the journey has begun!  And I am LOVING it!!!!