Spaghetti Squash and Marinara Sauce Recipe

Have you ever used spaghetti squash as a spaghetti substitute? I feel like I have seen recipes for it all over lately, so I decided to finally give it a try myself! I used my basic marinara sauce that I have been making for a few months now. I add whatever I feel like or have on hand, and make it nice and spicy! Again, I eyeball my ingredients, and make everything to taste, so I did not include exact measurements below. It turned out really well! Both me and the boy thought the texture and taste of the squash resembled a lot like noodles, and the sauce tasted great with it! I think it was a healthier substitute for us, and helped us stay on track and feel less guilty since we have been eating low-carb low-sugar lately!

Recipe 

Simple Spicy Marinara

Ingredients:

  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped garlic
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 5 mini red/yellow peppers
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Spices
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spaghetti squash

Sauce Directions:

Cook the the onions, peppers, garlic and spices in olive oil until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or too. Add red wine now if you would like. Add Crushed tomatoes and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add spice to taste.

Squash Directions:

Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Drizzle flesh with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Cook at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Scrape out flesh gently with a fork. Pour sauce over squash and enjoy!

I served mine with some fresh parmesan on tip and a simple tomato cucumber balsamic salad on the side. It was delish!

Your’s Truly- M

Sunday night & a pizza recipe

There has always been something special and exciting about Sunday nights. For me, it usually involves tidying up the house, doing laundry, and lounging around. It has always given me time to reflect on the past week, and make a mental to-do list for the new week ahead. Lately, my boyfriend and I have started a small tradition to make a nice hearty meal on Sunday nights, then to sit down and enjoy it while watching my personal favorite show…60 Minutes. Yes I realize this sounds like the life of an 80 year old couple, but it is just such a nice relaxing time that we can share together.

So this week, I wanted to whip up some homemade pizza. Since we are still trying to eat healthier, and we are on a budget, I went with Cookie & Kate’s Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe. It turned out pretty good, and it was SO easy! The recipe makes enough for 2 small pizzas. My only suggestion would be to hand press the dough out into it’s shape. On my first pizza used my “rolling pin” aka a wine bottle to flatten the dough and it stretched too thin. Since this isn’t a very fluffy dough, it turned out more like a flat-bread. We did one pizza with pesto and mozzarella and the other with brie and this maple cream. We love baked brie with the maple glaze on a cracker, so I knew that we would love it as a dessert type pizza.They were both amazing.

Do you have a go-to Sunday meal? Or a pizza dough recipe you love?

Your’s Truly- M

What’s Up Wednesday: Easy Mid-week recipe

Good morning! This week has been hectic, COLD, and snowy.. and all I have wanted is a warm cup of soup and a cozy blanket. So if you have a crazy week and need a quick, easy, and healthy recipe I have the one for you! Below is a great take on corn chowder in under an hour. Soups usually take hours, but this one is a nice stand in when you have less time during the week to make a healthy meal. The prep is what takes the most time in this recipe, so you may need to devote a small amount of time ahead of when you want to eat to make this soup.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups of corn kernels (if frozen defrost under hot running water)

1 small onion – diced

4 slices of turkey bacon – chopped

1 tbsp flour

2 large baking potatoes (peeled and cubed)

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32 oz chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

4 oz of reduced-fat cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and bacon.

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Cook 5 to 6 mins until the onions are soft, but not caramelized. Add the flour and cook an additional 2-3 minutes stirring continuously until the flour coats the onion and starts to stick to the pan. Add the potatoes, half the corn, and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the skim milk and cream cheese and mix until blended. Add the remaining corn and salt and pepper to taste!

*If you prefer, after adding the skim milk and cream cheese you can blend the soup in a food processor or with a stick blender.

I wish you all warmth!!

-Cheers

A

Recipe: Kick-ass Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili is a staple in my house. I first learned to make it in high-school, shortly after becoming a vegetarian. Since then, I have made a million modifications, and I think I have finally found the perfect balance. This isn’t really a recipe, but more of instructions. Use what ever veggies/spices/beans you like or have on hand, that is what I did here. Ideally, I would have loved to add some fresh jalapeños, carrot and zucchini, but it was Super Bowl Sunday and I didn’t want to brave the grocery store! I usually cook this chili on lazy Saturday or Sundays, because it really takes about 20 mins of prep, then you can just let it sit for a while and it is ready to eat when you are.

Some other great recipes to go off are Annie’s Eat’s vegetarian chili, Yesterday on Tuesday’s vegetarian chili, and if you eat meat, check out What’s Gaby Cooking’s Smoke Chipotle Chicken Chili!

So this is what I used….

Basic Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion, red, yellow, or white
  • Peppers, any colors
  • Frozen corn
  • Garlic, I use pre-chopped because no one has time to peel them
  • Spices- Paprika, chili powder, cumin, pepper flakes, and cocoa powder
  • Hot peppers, jalapeños/poblanos or serrano, I use some frozen poblanos that I purred over the summer.
  • A big can of crushed tomatoes
  • A small can of tomato paste
  • A can of diced tomatoes with chilies or plain
  • Beans- I use a can of pinto and a can of black beans, I have used kidney and chickpeas before too

Okay so here is how I do it:

First, wash and chop my peppers and onions…

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Second, I sauté the peppers, onions and garlic in a pan in olive oil until tender…

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Then I add about a teaspoon of each spice into the pan, you can just eyeball it…

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It should look something like this, looks gross I know but I promise it will turn out good!

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Then I add in the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and hot peppers, and turn the heat on low…

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Then I add my beans to my crock pot, and pour the sautéed mixture over top…

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Let it cook for an hour or two on low, add corn 20 minutes before serving! I sometimes garnish with a dollop of plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), some crushed tortilla chips or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Then enjoy!

Do you have a kick-ass chili recipe too? Or something you love to cook on lazy Sundays?

Yours Truly- M

How can you be a Low-carb, Low-sugar Vegetarian?

Currently, I am battling this question. I have been a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, what started as a diet I was going to try for a month in high-school turned into a lifestyle choice. This means that I do not eat meat or fish, but I do eat eggs and dairy. I have tried a few different diet changes in my life. I was on Weight Watchers for 6 months and lost some weight, I have tried buying low-fat, low-calorie foods, and I have adapted to a whole foods diet for a short time. My goal has always been to feel healthier, to have more energy, and to maintain a positive mood. But recently, a really health-conscious friend suggested cutting out sugar. I started to research sugars impact on our health. I came across the documentary Fed UP (watch this if you haven’t!) and did a little reading and my perspective slowly changed. Sugar is so addictive, but most diets focus on cutting calories and fat.

So I cut way down on sugar for a few weeks (no soda, juices, candy, sweets) and I felt GREAT! I became less addicted to sugar and caffeine, I craved them both less. I used to always feel sluggish and awful mid-afternoon, and I would turn to coffee or a sweet to perk me up, and suddenly I was able to power through my afternoons. So after the holidays, when my boyfriend and I were feeling super motivated to eat well, I came across a lot of good evidence for low-carb low-sugar eating. So…we are giving it a shot. For the month of January we are going to be keeping our carbs and sugar super duper low (mostly no bread, pasta, grains, sweets or sugary drinks). But I am finding that as a vegetarian, most of what I eat contains a lot of carbs (even beans, veggie burgers and fruit!). So rather than going by any specific number of carbs we have to stay under each day, we are just cutting out the really high-carb highly-processed foods and seeing how things go. We still have a lot to learn and I would love any and all advice and information!

Now that I am a couple weeks in I have found that I faced a lot of challenges I never faced while eating healthy before. In the first week, we were eating eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, apples and bananas for a snack, and soups and stirfrys for dinner.We ate NO bread, pasta, or grains. Honestly, I felt like shit. I had no energy, my mood got worse and worse throughout the day, and I just felt sick. So now, we are incorporating small portions of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley and beans into our lunches and dinners. I feel SO good! I never realized exactly how addicted to sugar and refined carbs I really was. I am currently reading Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, and I highly suggest it. While I am not following her program, there is a lot of great eye opening information and advice, she also has a blog/podcast that you can read online as well.

So for now, I am feeling good! But I would love any and all advice from anyone who has attempted a low-carb, low-sugar diet before!

Your’s Truly- M

How to: The-Bomb Ginger Dressing

You know the amazing ginger dressing served over salads at Thai restaurants that seems to make the salad taste SO good?Well, I am the type of person that really enjoys cooking, and as soon as I try something I like, I need to go home and try and copy it. No, my version is not the same, but it is pretty damn close and sooooo good.

Cooking has been something I enjoyed since high school. I always loved learning how to take a few things and make something really awesome. There is nothing I like better than a great farmers market haul and a quiet day cooking. But my process messy and hard to explain. I am not afraid to cook. I am not afraid to mess up, or to do something new. I go with my gut and taste as I go. That being said, I DO NOT FOLLOW RECIPES. I never really have. That is probably why I am not a strong baker..

But anyway, here is how I do my ginger dressing. If you have any questions at all, or variations you like…just leave me a comment and I would be glad to chat!

Ingredients:

1. A nub of fresh ginger probably 3 inches long

2. Carrots, a handful or two of baby carrots will do

3. Oil, use whatever you have. Sesame is the “right” oil but I use olive because I had it

4. Vinegar, use whatever you have. Rice is the “right” vinegar, but I had white and apple cider so I used half and half

5. Onion, I used red, a 1/4 of a small one

6. Garlic, I used 2 spoonfuls of chopped fresh

7. Salt and pepper

Peel your ginger and chop up into smaller chunks, toss into a food processor/blender with carrots, onion and garlic. Look at the texture and add oil and vinegar until it dilutes to a consistency you like. Taste it and add salt and pepper if you want. Give it a taste and pour it into an old jar (hey, it’s green too!)

Pour over some lettuce and veggies and enjoy!!