Dessert / Side Dishes / Uncategorized

Eight months later, back in action!

It’s been the better part of a year since I published anything to this blog, and a lot has happened since then…I fell off the Whole30 wagon in January and failed to get back on after my trip to Austin, I got a job with great hours at a terrible company and was miserable for a while, got a part-time job at a natural grocer and worked 60+ hours at both jobs, quit the terrible job and now work exclusively with people and food, planned and executed a wedding, and probably a few more things I can’t think of.

The kiss and one of my favorite photos from the ceremony!

The kiss and one of my favorite photos from the ceremony!

Despite everything that’s happened between January and now, the perils of being new homeowners (it will be one year in November!), and all the insanity that life likes to throw around when you really just need a break, I decided to make healthy living a priority: joined a gym, started working with a personal trainer two times a week, and  began to closely examine the food choices I was making.  Not everyone has the time to go to the gym, the money to afford personal training, or the ability to exclude sugar, dairy, grains, and legumes from their diets/access to healthy whole foods, but I am privileged and grateful for these opportunities and it was time to stop squandering my resources and making excuses. Last summer, I was five feet tall and close to 200 pounds, obese, and embarrassed. One year later I’ve lost four pant sizes and thirty pounds. There’s the saying “some people eat to work out, and others work out to eat,” I used to be the latter and now I’m the former: I eat to train. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a beer every now and then, or that I didn’t have cake at my wedding, but I’m not “cheating” all the time, using an 80/20 lifestyle as a crutch (the 20% of non-paleo items I was eating were not only not paleo, but it was more than 20% and not healthy by any reasonable standard). I know my “after” picture could easily be somebody else’s “before” and I sincerely hope that in another year, that person will be me. Contrary to what I’m sure a lot of people  thought, my healthy eating and work-out regimen were always intended to outlast the short-term goal of looking good for my wedding. It’s a lifestyle change I plan to continue (much to the chagrin of my friends on social media, as they are bombarded with food photos and progress pics) and there is still much work to be done!

It turns out that 30 lbs. is a lot of weight to lose.

It turns out that 30 lbs. is a lot of weight to lose.

Presently, I’m on day 8 of the August Whole30 effort and things are going much better than last time. One of the reasons it seems easier this time is because I feel like we’re striking a better balance between trying new, complicated meals (this recipe from NomNomPaleo was a successful attempt and the leftovers, reheated at 350′ in the oven for 25ish minutes, were even better) and super simple meals. This was our supper the other night: spicy Italian sausage (remember, always read the labels!), leftover spaghetti squash that had been roasted with garlic olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper before shredding, and some Whole30 compliant jarred tomato sauce (Bavaro’s Arrabbiata — made locally [to us] in Tampa!)

This was so damn easy. And so damn delicious.

This was so damn easy. And so damn delicious.

So, in the spirt of keeping things simple in order to get on and stay on our various wagons (like eating right, working out, or blogging, to name a few), here is my ultra-easy recipe for roasting a spaghetti squash, a vegetable that can be intimidating if you’ve never cooked or eaten it before.

How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash 

You’ll need:
1 spaghetti squash
A sharp knife
1 baking sheet
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400′, rack in the middle
Cut the squash in half lengthwise (might take a little muscle, be careful!)
Scoop out the seeds/guts with an ice cream scoop (easiest) or spoon
Use a basting brush or oil spritzer to lightly coat the inside of the squash with olive oil (we like garlic extra virgin)
Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes if you like spicy things
Place the halves of the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet
Roast the squash for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how well-done you like it. I like mine to get a little brown and nutty-flavored, so it stays in closer to an hour.
Remove the squash from the oven and, carefully, with two forks, scrape the squash (kind of like making pulled pork) until you end up with hollow squash outsides and a delicious pile of hot squash-pasta insides.

Serve with anything — eat it plain, with sauce, under some Mexican Braised Beef, or tossed with some fresh or dried herbs!

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