Saturday, July 31, 2010

More squash

I saw an online video on how to make squash noodles. It look easy and interesting and I thought maybe I could get the boys eating more veggies this way. (Plus, I have a bad habit of eating my weight in pasta...) The only tricky thing I ran into came up when I actually sat down to make my grocery list and reviewed the video. It says to use "summer squash" - a category which includes many, many different kids of squash. In the recipe (below), it suggested using zucchini, and the video seemed to use yellow zucchini. So I opted to get 2 yellow and one green zucchini and try from there...

Prep time was stupid easy. The boys were playing in the backyard while Jay was mowing the lawn. I carted everything out on my handy serving tray (one of my fave purchases!) and set up shop on the patio table. The boys were curios and sampled the zucchini ribbons as I peeled them off. Those ended up keeping spat into the grass, mostly.

I was unsure whether or not to use the outside peel of the zucchinis. So instead of throwing all caution to the wind, I picked a few of the brightly coloured thicker peels and tossed them in the bowl with the others, and discarded the rest. In the end, I'm glad I only used a few - I was worried they wouldn't soften enough but that wasn't a problem. The bitter aftertaste they left was, not unpleasant, but just not well matched with the rest of the meal.

While outside, I also whipped up my fave chickpea salad, and had to fend off suddenly starving boys as they raided my salad bowl with their grubby little fists.

While they finished playing, I ran inside to cook the zucchini strips. Splashed some olive oil into a high sided frying pan, added some pre-diced garlic, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then tossed in the noodles. Stirred them around for a couple of minutes, and voila!

No pictures, since it was made and devoured so quickly (Jay and I liked it), but here's the recipe, modified from the original posting on Summer Tomato:

  • 3 summer squash such as zucchini
  • 1/2 jar thick style pasta sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chop off ends of zucchini and peel as in video. Discard the outer peel.

Heat oil and garlic in large pan on stovetop. Add salt and pepper. Add noddles, toss to coat in oil and spice mixture. Cook for 3- 5 minutes on medium heat, turning often to cook evenly. Do not overcook - they will get soft and mushy quickly since they are so thin.

Heat pasta sauce and serve over noodles. Top with fresh parmesean cheese, if you like!

The boys weren't crazy about the pasta. They each tried a bite or two and shuddered. They did lick off all the sauce. Jay and I found it to be very tasty! To round out our meals, I brought out a container of knock-off guac (store bought guacamole - how depressing is that?!) and some corn chips. The boys had fun playing with that for a bit. Then we gathered some more raspberries from the untended patches growing in the yard and stuffed ourselves silly. Yum!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shhhhhh - it's healthy. Sorta.

I bought a spaghetti squash this week and spent today trolling the interweb for possible mac and cheese recipes to use with it. I cobbled together a bunch of different recipes (that actually called for spaghetti squash) and tweaked them a bit based on what's worked in the past.... and voila!

Spaghetti squash
3 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP flour
1 cup milk
1 TBSP sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
Cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste
1 TBSP Epicure mac & cheese mix
Breadcrumbs and parmesean cheese for topping, to taste

****Disclaimer: Measurements are all estimates****

Use lots of force and carefullness and hack the squash in half. Pierce all over, to avoid a squashplosion while cooking. Place rind side up in a microwave safe dish and nuke on high for 6-8 minutes. (I did ours for 9). You can also bake for 30-40 minutes in a 375 oven.

Use potholders to remove dish from microwave. Set aside to cool.

In another microwave safe dish (or small pot on stovetop) melt some butter. Throw in some flour and whisk together. Microwave for 30-45 seconds. Add about a cup of milk and 2 TBSP sour cream. Stir. Microwave for 45-60 seconds. Add cheese and spices. Stir. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir.

Using a spoon (and a tea towel as a potholder) scoop the seeds and pulp out of the squash. Take a fork and run it down the squash to pull out the spaghetti strands. Toss into the cheese mixture. Stir to evenly coat. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesean cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until bubble and golden brown around the edges.

The Verdict: In a daring maneuver, I served this as Felix's birthday supper. Initially a hit with the boys, Elliot very soon declared it "disgusting". But only because it wasn't made with regular noodles. Both boys did, grudgingly, eat it. Because there were fresh raspberries and chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Jay and I both gobbled it up. Definitely something I will be cooking with again!

Today's menu wasn't very healthy.

-Granola, yogurt, banana and almond milk for breakfast, with coffee
-2 peaches, cottage cheese with strawberries, goldfish crackers, granola bar and an apple for snack/lunch
-2.5 cheesy buns, 4 packages of vanilla sesame snaps and a gross chocolate trifle/black forest cake combo thing from the grocery store for a snack
-squash mac & cheese, 1.5 cheesy buns, 1.5 cupcakes and lots of raspberries for supper

Not so healthy.

No wonder I've got a tummy like this... and this is sucking in a bit, too. Certainly looks like a prego belly. Can't fault people for (still) asking...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Detox, day 5

I looked really hard, but I guess I was mistaken about seeing HoneyNut Cheerios on the list of today's foods. Sorry about that, my bad!

I'm getting pretty bored with this detox plan. I knew I would, that's not a surprise. I just didn't expwct to want to give up so badly. Only 7 days!!!!! Day 3 was a near write-off, as I'm certain gin & soda, mac & cheese, nachos and 6 bacon-wrapped-scallops were also not on the list. Hubby had a crew party and I couldn't stick to fruits & veggies all night! (Of which I also ate a lot, too.) My tummy was sooooo satisfied that night. No gnawing hunger!!!

For the most part, I am following the steps. I'm just also adding in other things. But trying realllllly hard to keep them to tiny portions. Sort of a losing battle with those HoneyNut Cheerios, though. Damn, them things are tasty!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Detox, day 2

Got on the scale last night and was a whopping 170. Haven't been that high in a while. We'll see where I am at the end of the detox week.

Today is the all soup and veggies day. Doing ok. There's a constant gnawing hunger, but it's semi-appeased with carrot sticks. I want bread. Thick, crusty bread. Maybe with cheese.

I know this is a drastic change for my body, as it's used to consuming easily 3000 calories per day. And now it gets soup??? Tomorrow will be easier, as I get veggies AND fruit. More options that way.

My tummy keeps telling me that corn chips are still vegetables. That if I go to the natural food section of the grocery store and get plain, organic ones and then make some simple guacamole (avocado and garlic), that I would still be eating according to the detox diet. YEAH RIGHT! It's a pretty persistent little whisper, though. Mighty convincing.

Tonight's supper of "Vegetable Stir Fry" : most of a zucchini, half an onion, some broccoli & cauliflower, a celery stalk, some red pepper, and about a cup of 'Asian-style' frozen veggies. Spiced with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and a red pepper garlic. Used a bit of water and half steamed, half fried everything in a covered pan.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Detox diet

Ok. So it starts tomorrow. I've done this soup diet before, years ago. It's a good jump start to detoxing and cleansing the body. I have no references to post, but when I first did it, it was said to have been a diet used to prep heart patients for surgery in the hospital. The paper I had even said so. No idea if that's true or not, and the version I managed to get my hands on recently is a bit different.

It also used to say why you were eating certain foods on certain days, I remember something about " day 4, you need to replenish the potassium levels and so that's why you eat bananas and skim milk". No idea who tweaked it, or when, or why. But the basics are the same: it's a veggie soup diet. Soup is eaten every day for 7 days. Each day, you're also allowed certain other foods - veggies or fruits or chicken. One day, it's 8 bananas and skim milk! Back when I first did it, one day included a baked potato with butter, to be eaten at supper time. That thing tasted so frickin' awesome!!!!

Anyway, the soup is cooking right now. I stocked up on fresh veggies and fruits this afternoon. And it's on in the morning. The only no-no food I'm allowing myself is coffee. It's for 7 days. I can handle that. Right. Right? And then afterwards, I'll roll right into the meal plan the trainer at the gym gave me all those years ago. And start going back to the gym. Yep. Promise.

Day One: Vegetable Soup, Unlimited Fruit (No Bananas), Herbal tea, 8 Glasses of Water.

Day Two: Vegetable Soup, Unlimited Raw Vegetables, Stir Fry Vegetables for Supper. Water/Herbal tea.

Day Three: Vegetable Soup, Unlimited Vegetables and Fruit (No Bananas) Water/ Herbal Tea

Day Four: Vegetable Soup, 2 Cups skim Milk, 20oz of Chicken, Beef or Fish, 8 Bananas, Water/Herbal Tea.

Day Five: One Boiled Egg (AM) Vegetable Soup, 6 Raw Tomatoes, 20 oz Chicken, Beef or Fish, Water/Herbal Tea.

Day Six: One Boiled Egg and Fruit (AM) Unlimited Raw Vegetables, 20ox Chicken, Fish or Beef, One Cup Brown Rice. Water/Herbal Tea.

Day Seven: One Boiled Egg (AM) Unlimited Raw Vegetables and Fruit, 2 Cups Brown Rice, 20oz Chicken, Fish or Beef. Water/Herbal Tea.

Vegetable Soup Recipe:

1 tsp Virgin Olive oil
½ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Basil
3 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp Oregano
2 Cloves Garlic
3 Stalks Celery, Diced
3 Cups fresh Beans (Green or Yellow)
3 carrots, Sliced
2 Onions, Diced
2 Bell Peppers, Diced
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
4 large Tomatoes, Diced

Put Olive Oil and all Veggies, except Tomatoes, in a Large pot. Add Spices and 12 cups of water. Simmer until Veggies are desired consistency, then add tomatoes.

Let cool. Portions for one week.

Yes, it is essentially the Cabbage Soup Diet, that fad from a while ago. And it is a fad and it's not long term. But, I think it might be just the kick in the pants I need to get started back on normal eating again. Maybe.

This site
is a good resource on the soup/detox diet...