an ode to squash

Well after this divine meal I learned I am allergic to acorn squash.  I fully enjoyed preparing and devouring this dinner, however, I was not pleased by the rash and hives that had spread like wild fire from head to toe.  I am sad to say that I will no longer be posting glorious pages like this one:  SQUASH! and the one I am about to leave you with…

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Stuffed acorn squash (recipe below) paired with sauteed asparagus in olive oil with salt & pepper to taste.

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The recipe for the stuffed acorn squash is fairly simple, and is as follows:

Slice 1 large acorn squash in half, remove filling, cook inside facing down toward cooking sheet (coat with tin foil first), cook @ 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until inside is soft.  Remove from oven, and let cool.  Meanwhile, sautee over medium-high heat (stirring frequently) 1 green pepper that has been diced with 1/4 a white onion that has been diced as well.  Use olive oil as the grease.  Once this mixture is slightly brown add approximately 1 pound of ground beef (I used 80% lean 20% fat).  After the majority of the beef is brown, removed from heat and strain the mixture (over the sink).  This will remove excess olive oil and fat that remains.  Place the strained mixture back in the pan and add the following herbs & spices (dried & ground): 2 tsp thyme, 2 tsp fennel, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and a dash of paprika.  Next you will mix the proceeding together and add in part of the acorn squash filling (I left a thin layer of acorn squash around the skin).  Begin mushing the mixture and then pack half of the mixture in each acorn squash.  Place the cooking tray with the squash + meat back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes – this will cook the rest of the meat.

Finish off your night with a full body workout:

and then fall asleep…

NOMaste y’all!

weekend recap y’all.

lazy sunday.

Breakfast: sweet potato & pork hash with a poached egg

Made by my wonderful husband (I will have to work on getting the secret recipe ;p ).

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Lunch: Frankie’s meatballs, tomato sauce & spaghetti squash

These meatballs are a modification of Frankie Spuntino’s Meatballs (click on link for recipe) – we omitted cheese.  Guilty, we used gluten-free bread, next batch I would like to omit that ingredient as well.  Thankfully my husband bares with my diet restrictions and kindly adjusts the recipe for himself and I.  The tomato sauce is simply whole canned tomatoes strained and cooked on medium heat until thick consistency meets your liking.  Refer back to squash post for preparation for spaghetti replacement:  spaghetti squash (click on link for cooking instructions).

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Dinner: sausage with bacon & apple cider vinegar kale and parsnip fries.

This mild italian sausage was purchased from Wegman’s (their own brand), no additives.  The kale was sauteed in bacon grease and topped off with finely chopped bacon of two pieces and apple cider vinegar (add until your taste buds appreciate the flavor, I used about 4 tbsp on my serving).  My husband made parsnip fries again, twice fried in avocado oil.  This round he made the slices a bit thicker – I thoroughly enjoyed the “meatier” fry compared to the thinner crispy fries.  However, I do have to say both are excellent and I highly recommend making this side.

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Dessert: Paleo Lemon Bars

These yummy treats were made from the recipe on Paleo Cupboard’s website:  Paleo Lemon Bars.  This is the second recipe I have tried for paleo lemon bars.  This recipe produces bars that hold their shape and are firmer, given that tapioca flour is used.  However, I do prefer the taste of the lemon filling from the other recipe I have tried – I will share that recipe with you the next time I make them. Maybe I could mix and match recipes… use this crust and the filling of the other recipe!  Experimenting in the kitchen will happen!!

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Along with this food collection I have some home exercise routines you can do while your baby is awake and not stirring.  The Baby Bjorn is a fabulous accessory!  Place baby in this pouch and begin… squats, lunges, squat walks, heel raises, tree pose ya-da-ya-da-ya.  Followed by a casual stroll, you and your baby will be happy as clams.

happy monday:

peace. love. paleo.

what chu know about SQUASH?!

Just a few bites of this Vitamin A rich food provides a plethora of health benefits, including:  prevention of cancer, cataracts, gall stones, and hypertension.  Sounds like reason enough to keep munching on these bright bites.  I have a reason for being MIA so soon, I have been on a squash binge.  Let me share with you my newest dishes.

#1: Butternut Squash (breakfast following the roasted butternut squash side-dish from dinner on the prior post)

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simple egg recipe:  heat a non-stick pan on HIGH for a few minutes, add olive oil or avocado oil in a pan, season with salt & pepper, pour in beaten eggs and quickly begin folding eggs with spatula as they will cook extremely fast at this temperature, keep them slightly wet, they have more texture and flavor – don’t cook them well done as they’ll be extremely dry.

#2: Spaghetti Squash

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This is a magnificent dish – it is modified from Anne Burrell’s recipe {Braised Short Ribs}.  We bought the boneless short ribs (instead of bone-in, which the recipe calls for) at Costco and placed them in my husband’s new Le Creuset Dutch Oven which we picked up at the Williams Sonoma Outlet the night before.  We enjoyed this cut very much as it was less work to cut the meat away from the bone, it cuts the cost and tastes exactly the same!  Another modification we made was placing the dish over spaghetti squash instead of over mashed potatoes (as Anne Burrell pairs with this meat) or polenta (a variation my mom is fond of).  To cook the spaghetti squash, my husband cut the veggie in half length wise (I’m scared of cutting any large object).  The messy inside was scrapped out, we left the skin side facing upward on the cooking sheet, placed the tray in the oven and baked the squash for 40-45 min at 400 degrees.  This meal takes a while to prepare as the meat is braised (4 hours give or take), however, it is totally worth the wait!!!

#3: Acorn Squash

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I’m sure some of you are wondering what the heck the contraption in the image on the left side of your computer screen is.  Let me introduce you to a new gadget in our kitchen – a dehydrator, yup probably one of the best items purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond.  We attempted to dehydrate acorn squash, however, we were unsuccessful – we are working on the best timing.  We cut the squash in half, scrapped out the seeds, placed guts side down on a cooking sheet, and baked it for approximately 30 min at 350 degrees (we also washed the seeds, placed them on the cooking sheet, as well, salted and cooked them).  Once removed from the oven we sliced the halves in half again and sliced the quarters into “chip” size pieces.  Each piece was placed on a tray and they sat in the dehydrator for approximately 8 hours – our mistake… too long!! The fibers in them were dried too much it was impossible to chew the “chip,” they ended up in the trash; a very sad moment for all.

As the weekend comes to an end, meditate on:

peace. love. paleo.

The First One Is Here!!

Despite the blog pages not being completed in their entirety I have decided the show must go on.  I have been anxiously awaiting the first post, and I am happy to announce that this blog is active.  I will try to post everyday, however, with a baby on board it might be a little challenging some days.  I will quickly guide you through my blog, I have links at the top which will take you to a particular page where you will find a description of that subject and perhaps some examples of what it is I am sharing with you.  These pages are intended to make it easier for my readers to go out and purchase the items I am particularly fond of or to understand the different elements of my healthy lifestyle.

Today I wanted to share with everyone the most amazing meal, food I dream about when I fall asleep… I introduce you to wine marinated steak, roasted butternut squash and sauteed leeks, followed by a coconut milk slush with pomegranate seeds & home-made macadamia nut butter.

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The preparation for this meat is very basic, it is comprised of the following marinade, which you let absorb into a piece of flank steak for an hour or so (we let one batch sit for this amount of time, as it was a last minute idea, and then we made another cut of meat that rested over night — both tasted the same!).  For this marinade we used red wine (cheapest is perfectly suitable), garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and honey.  My husband attempted to vacuum seal the meat + marinade, however, the Food Saver did not like this idea – in the future we will just use a Ziploc bag to prevent wasting the precious Food Saver bags.  The flavor and tender meat melts in your mouth, it is unreal.  This idea was inspired by meat purchase at The Wine’ing Butcher in Ashburn, Virginia.

The roasted butternut squash is a breeze to make as well.  First, peel the skin off, then cut the squash into cubes and place the pieces in a large mixing bowl, add olive oil – salt – pepper – thyme (none of these are measured, add oil so that all pieces have a shiny glaze and season to your liking), shake the bowl, pour the mixture onto a cooking sheet that is lined with tin foil, and bake at 400 degree for approximately 40-45 minutes or until they are tender/ slightly mushy.

The leeks, again, are an easy side dish.  Ensure you clean this vegetable WELL with water prior to cooking, the dirt gets wedged between the long leaves, from the outside it may appear clean but once you start slicing the veggie you will soon notice your food covered with dirt.  Slice the entire leek – I’m not sure of the proper disposal of certain parts of this veggie, but the entire thing is edible and tastes exactly the same from the leaves to the root!  On a stove top, add olive oil, pepper and thai ginger flavored salt to a large pan (sautee at a medium to high temp) once warm place the leeks in the pan – stand back to ensure you don’t get splashed with oil!  Allow them to sit for a few minutes then slowly start to move the pieces around with tongs, and repeat this multiple times until they achieve a slight golden brown appearance on the edges.

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This dessert is another quick prep and was created by accident and turned out magnificent!  Instead of whipping only the cream in a can of coconut milk, I poured the entire can into the Kitchen Aid bowl with 1-2 tbsp of coconut sugar and watched it attempt to whip… nothing happened.  I decided to put it in the freezer to get a little thicker.  Well as with pregnancy, the sleepless mom days leave me with a forgetful mind, the mixture sat in the freezer through dinner prep and consumption.  We removed the bowl from the freezer and began slowly chopping apart pieces with a whisk.  The coconut milk melts relatively fast so it turned into a slush quite rapidly, which I was not disappointed about!  Instead of a whipped coconut cream over fresh berries it turned into a sundae!  I took two scoops of the slush and added some fresh pomegranate seeds and drizzled over some fresh macadamia nut butter (this seriously replaced caramel sauce, I was completely satisfied with the flavor in this treat).  This dessert had the perfect combination of salty & sweet tastes and crunchy & smooth textures all in one spoonful.

As always:

peace. love. paleo.