Looks Like Pasta…But No!! It’s Spaghetti Squash!!

Spaghetti squash, plain and untouched

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I just now got on the spaghetti squash bandwagon. I guess I could never understand how this seemingly bland, boring vegetable could taste good. In my opinion, plain spaghetti squash tastes like…nothing. However, for people who are looking to add more vegetables while consuming less calories and cut bread or grain-related carbohydrates from their diets, this vegetable is the way to go. If you doubt me, check out this little chart below…the calorie counts may vary depending on the brand you are using, but look how much you save in calories alone!

1 cup portion Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Spaghetti (made with white flour)* 221 1 43
Whole-wheat spaghetti* 124 1 27
Spaghetti squash 42 0 10

 

So this squash is not very hard to prepare, but it can get a little messy with all the seeds. Because this is a seasonal vegetable, not every grocery store is carrying them right now. I bought mine at Sprouts, and I believe Whole Foods carries them as well.

Unfortunately, this squash reminded me that I need a new knife set. Even with my largest and sharpest knife, I had slight difficulty carving this bad boy in half.

The inside of a spaghetti squash...gotta get rid of those seeds before you cook it!!

The inside of a spaghetti squash…gotta get rid of those seeds before you cook it!!

I have heard there are a lot of different things you can do when cooking a spaghetti squash, but I decided to play it safe and follow the directions on the sticker that was on the squash when I bought it. It said to pre-heat the oven to 375F, fill a pan with 1/2 an inch of water, lay each side of the squash face down and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes.

After that was done I removed the squash from the oven and let both sides cool down for about 10 minutes. After that, you take a large fork or spoon and scoop out the insides, which look EXACTLY like spaghetti! I can’t believe I never did this before.

Below is a picture of the spaghetti squash before I decided to dress it up. It really looks like spaghetti, right? I know I keep saying that, but I am shocked at the resemblance. Of course, as far as texture goes, spaghetti squash is more rubbery, and has a little crunch when you bite it. Otherwise, it is an awesome substitution. Not to mention, Spaghetti squash is high in vitamin C and specifically the mineral manganese, which our bodies do not need a lot of, but it has a big job, playing a major role in the production of healthy bones, tissues and sex hormones.

Spaghetti squash...naked!

Spaghetti squash…naked!

So after figuring out how to make spaghetti squash, I figured I would give it my magic cooking touch. I wanted to treat it like it was REAL pasta, and make it as I would one of my favorite pasta dishes and see how it would taste.

This dish is very simple. It is my homemade tomato sauce, combined with ground turkey and a cup of spinach, sprinkled with lemon pepper and garlic powder. For one serving of spaghetti squash (about 1 cup), use 3-4 ounces of ground kosher organic turkey (I prefer Empire brand), 1 cup of spinach and if you do not have homemade tomato sauce or you are too lazy to make it, Trader Joe’s Original Marinara is one of my favorites in a jar. Make the squash as directed. While the squash is cooking, cook the meat and saute the spinach in a pan, pour 1/2 cup of preferred tomato sauce in the pan and let it sit. When the squash is done and cooled a little, spoon out the desired amount and pour the sauce over it. Feel free to add extra olive oil, basil or some fresh Parmesan. Also, let it be known if you are cooking for yourself, you will have a TON of extra spaghetti squash for extra meals. Be excited about that. Buon Appetito!

The final product should look something like this, depending how much tomato sauce you use.

The final product should look something like this, depending how much tomato sauce you use.

 

 

 

You Can Do Anything With Quinoa…Even Make French Toast!


Image 8Ok, so this recipe find is proof to me that you can pretty much make ANYTHING with quinoa. I mean, I haven’t seen any quinoa ice cream…YET…but otherwise…


So this dish is awesome for breakfast, lunch or dinner and fantastic for all my gluten-free followers. Just as a refresher, quinoa is high in protein and fiber and contains NO wheat. To be fair, I would definitely pour some maple syrup on these, or add more cinnamon and honey, because for those who expect their french toast to be super sweet, this one is not. What it is however, is hearty and healthy and just about any fruit can be sliced and diced on top of it. These are the ingredients I used shown below. As I have mentioned before, you do not have to use the same brands I use, it is just a general idea.

And the recipe is as follows;

Quinoa French Toast

This serving is for two people...how delicious does that look?

1 egg, whole

2 egg whites

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1/4 cup almond milk

1 and 1/4 cup cooked quinoa

Heat the oven to 375F. Spray down an 8×8 cooking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the quinoa as directed. In a separate bowl, Whisk together the eggs and all the other ingredients. When the quinoa is done, add it to that bowl, stir ingredients together and then add everything into the pan. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes or so, then cut it up and enjoy with your favorite fruit and some maple syrup. If you are watching your sugars you could add a little almond or peanut butter or just eat it plain.

 

 

Magical Myofascial Tension Release Balls

So this website is supposed to be primarily about food based nutrition, but I felt a need to post about something that is nutritious to my physical and mental well-being.

I was actually introduced to the whole myofascial release technique by a friend of mine who coincidentally introduced me to the cleanse I did last October as as well. Just incase you are wondering, myoactually means muscle and fascial means connective tissue. So myofascial tension release means releasing the tension in the connective tissue muscles. I was at his home and he showed me how to use these balls, which look a little like foamy golf balls, to release tension in my upper and lower back and shoulders. These balls can also be used on the legs and calves and even the balls of your feet. Sounds awesome, right?

Basically, this tension gets built up over time. We stress, sit at a computer far too long, lift heavy weights, etc. But most of us would never think we could possibly release some of that tension on our own, or at least I wouldn’t have known had my friend not shown me the first time. So, you can use these balls to “unstick” muscle tissues that have glued themselves together and help them return to their normal slide and glide relationship. The therapeutic relief, which may include extreme relaxation, or even crying (there is sometimes emotional release, this happened to me!!!) indicates a healthy release of the tissue to its natural position.

I was working out at Equinox Fitness club this past week and one of the trainers was nice enough to do an informal coaching after an exercise class of how to use these balls in certain areas of your body for the best releases possible. As soon as she brought the balls out, I remembered using them with my friend, and decided it was time for me to get a set of my own so I could do the releases at home.

These balls run anywhere from 12-15 dollars a set, and worth every cent. For those who are active and can’t afford a real live massage every week, using these for 30 minutes a week is like giving yourself your own massage. You can buy them online or at some health clubs, including Equinox. Time to get the ball rolling! 🙂