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

Wanted: Beginner’s Running Advice!!

Hey everyone! Hope you are having a great morning! The weather in CNY has been BEAUTIFUL, sunny and in the 60’s this week. Because of this beautiful weather, my boyfriend and I have started running outside! I have never been a runner my whole life, dreading the 1 mile run in gym class, and just HATING running. But, as of this New Year, we have been making an effort to get the best exercise for us, and I know that running really is the best workout, and it allows you to spend time outside! We have an amazing 5 mile trail through the woods, along the lake only one block from my apartment, so it is really crazy to not make the most of it. (I stole a picture of the trail above from this website)

So, we have been trying to get into it, and so far so good! My first goal was to be able to run a mile straight without stopping to walk at all. Sounds pretty easy, but as someone who really hates running, that was hard for me. I am proud to say that last night I DID IT! It felt really good, and now I am looking forward to a new goal.

I have downloaded map my run, and so far really like it, but I know I need some more gear. My nike sneakers are approximately 3 years old and worn out. My headphones are always falling out of my ears, and I just really don’t know what I am doing. Should I focus on speed? Should I focus on distance? Help!

So this is what I need from the blogosphere:

What kind of running sneakers should I look for? 

What kind of new goals should I set for myself? 

Is there any gear that I NEED to have? 

Do you have any general tips for someone who is just starting to run? 

Your’s Truly- M

Essential oils aren’t just for “hippies”…

Essential oils… they have become all the rage over the past year. But are they worth the time and money to start using them? Personally, I have a few essential oils that have become an integral part of my daily routine. I use them for beauty purposes, as a freshener and cleaner, and for aromatherapy. My basics are lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus, and I suggest anyone who is trying essential oils for the first time, to start with these three. You can buy them all online, I buy mine from ADK Aromatherapy (and stole this photo from them).

Tea Tree- The first essential oil I ever used! When I was in college my cousin recommended it for an infected nose piercing I had. It cleared it right up, and I fell in love with the stuff. I use it to dab on pimples, add it to homemade room sprays and cleaners. It is really an all purpose oil, and you can find it either online, or at your local grocery store in the natural foods section.

Lavender- I use lavender mostly for aromatherapy. I add it to my bath, put a few drops in a homemade room spray or cleaner, and will rub a little on my wrists after a long day. It really does relax you, so use cautiously.

Eucalyptus- As someone with year-round allergies and chronic sinus infections…eucalyptus is a must. I will add a few drops to a bath, or on the floor of my shower to help clear out my sinuses. I will also rub some on my chest before bed to help keep my nose clear. It is a must-have in my medicine cabinet.

What are some of your go-to essential oils? 

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

Trader Joe’s Favorites

Good Morning!

Today we talk Trader Joe’s, my most favorite grocery store! First and foremost the employees at Trader Joe’s are extremely enjoyable to be around. Always smiling, and are attentive and happy to start up a conversation and offer suggestions. I truly just enjoying being at their retail locations! Grocery shopping can be a chore (at least it is for me) and Trader Joe’s makes it easier for me to care about the food I am eating.

So now that I have taken it upon myself to take more responsibility for what I am eating, I will share some of my favorite Trader Joe’s healthy options. I will make this a weekly post with some of my go-to items!

1. Trader Joe’s NonFat Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt. I love this item because its 0% milk fat and you are getting the most out of your greek. I like that these yogurts are blended – not fruit on the bottom (other flavors include mango, strawberry, black raspberry, pomegranate, honey). 5.3 oz yogurts are .99 cents and a great edition to any lunch.

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2. Trader Joe’s Very Green Smoothie. This item packs a lot if Vitamin A and C, and is made with banana, mango, kiwi, and pineapple purees, juices and dried greens blend (which adds bonus nutritional value). This drink does have a lot of sugar, so drink in moderation. I like to take a sip as I am out the door to start my day.

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3. Trader Joe’s Kale and Greek Yogurt Dip. I love this dip with veggies! It’s a reduced guilt find that packs the nutrition of kale and spinach, and is great for lunches with raw vegetables. Only 30 calories for a tablespoon!

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4. Trader Joe’s Fruit Bars. These bars only have TWO ingredients: Apples and Coconut. These bars kind of taste in between fruit leather and dried/dehydrated fruit. This is a quick snack I keep in my desk and gym bag to rid any sugar cravings. These hold a more hefty price tag at .99 cents each, but when choosing snacks these are a great option if you don’t have a piece of fruit with you and is not a processed granola bar.

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Cheers to health!

-A

What’s up Wednesday :)

Hey everyone! I just wanted to pop in and share with you a new habit that have adopted lately. Lemon water and tea! I used to be the first one out the door for an afternoon iced-coffee run or digging through my desk for a piece of chocolate or something sweet. But now that I am off sugar, I have replaced those treats with a hot cup of green tea with a slice or two of lemon. It is a great way to get a little pick me up during that 2/3pm slump. When I am feeling like I want a snack or just chilled from the -temps as of late, lemon tea is just the trick. I will sometimes add a little bit of fresh ginger if I am feeling under the weather too.

What is your afternoon habit to get you through the day? 

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