Food

Orzo with Butternut Squash, Spinach & Blue Cheese

If this blog has done nothing else for me, it has at least gotten me to cook more!  🙂  Cooking is another one of those things that brings me joy like running does.  Sometimes it is hard but at the end, I always feel like I accomplished something good!

Below is what I am going to make tonight.  I will review it for you tomorrow.  The only thing I plan to do differently right now is not roast the squash myself.  I cheated and bought the already cut up kind!  I will be attempting to make this while alone with my daughter.  Sometimes this is a challenge depending on how much she wants to cling to MaMa.  Wish me luck!  🙂

orzo

Orzo with Butternut Squash, Spinach & Blue Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/4-inch cubes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup regular or whole wheat orzo
2 cups shredded spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Toss butternut squash with the olive oil. Spread into a single layer on a sheet tray. Bake until squash is tender and starting to brown, 35 to 40 minutes. (Squash can be roasted up to 5 days ahead and kept refrigerated. Rewarm before serving.)

Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside. In a small skillet, heat olive oil until just warm. Stir in garlic, remove from heat and allow to sit until ready to use.

Place the orzo in a pot and cover with at least 2″ of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not mushy, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and immediately pour the hot orzo on top of the spinach. Let sit for a few minutes to slightly wilt spinach.

Add butternut squash to the pasta along with the blue cheese and garlic olive oil. Toss until well combined and serve warm.

 

Exercise

Toddlers Listen to You More Than You Think!

girl
Yesterday I learned that toddlers listen to you more than you think they do!

I run 3 times a week.  I am training for a half marathon and taking my time after having a lot of things that have kept me from running over the last few years.  Every time I go running, I tell my daughter where I am going and what I am doing.  I want her to know that MaMa is going out and doing something good for her body and I want her to know that MaMa likes to run and that exercising and taking care of yourself is not a chore, it is fun and rewarding!

So yesterday, I went out for my quick 3 mile run.  I told my daughter I was going and gave her a kiss and out the door I went.  It was a tough run.  I was tired from a long day at work and hungry.  I didn’t really want to go run that day but I knew I needed too.  By the end of it I felt pretty good!  I knew I had accomplished something good and that is always a nice feeling.

When I came in the door, my daughter ran up to me and gave me a hug and looked up at me and said, “MaMa run real fast?”  I just starting laughing and picked her up and gave her a big kiss and told her, “yes, MaMa ran really fast!”

I didn’t think that she really paid attention to me when I told her I was going out to run but I guess she does!

life · Quotes

Balancing By Controling Your Feelings and Not Letting Them Control You

feelings

This is something I need to be better at.  When I feel something, I really feel it and I have a hard time letting it go even if it ruins my day.  I need to learn to sit back and realize that it is not worth letting a feeling ruin my day.  I can choose to feel bad about something or angry about something or what ever or I choose to forgive or get over what ever made me feel bad or angry and move on to feeling good and happy again.

Choose to surf the feelings that make your day better, not the ones that make it worse!

Food

Review of Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

So I made this last night for dinner and it turned out great!  I haven’t allowed myself to have a dish with alfredo sauce for a long time but I love it so this was a great and healthy way to get rid of the craving!

Spaghetti squash is super good for you and is very low calorie so it was a great stand in for the noodles that would normally come with a alfredo sauce.  The sauce was also made with not as fatty ingredients as regular alfredo sauce.  This recipe definitely took care of my craving for alfredo!  I will most likely be making this again!

A few things I did differently than the recipe:

I used the first cooking method to cook the squash.

I used 2% milk, light cream cheese and whole wheat flour.

I scooped the squash out of the skin into a bowl instead of serving it in the skin.

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Creamy, skinny spaghetti squash in a light alfredo sauce. A mouthwatering, healthy meatless meal!

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo – Creamy, skinny spaghetti squash in a light alfredo sauce. A mouthwatering, healthy meatless meal! | thecomfortofcooking.com

Some of you are probably thinking, “what the heck is this thing?” and “is that really spaghetti in there?” It’s a spaghetti squash and nope, no pasta here. This is the squash’s natural texture when baked… cool, huh?

It’s not only beautiful but absolutely delicious. Spaghetti squash has a very slight sweetness that really complements any savory flavors you stuff into it. In this case, I absolutely loved the Food Doodles take on it with a rich-tasting yet light alfredo sauce.

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo – Creamy, skinny spaghetti squash in a light alfredo sauce. A mouthwatering, healthy meatless meal! | thecomfortofcooking.com

Topped with a bubbling hot, creamy mixture of milk, garlic, Parmesan and a teensy bit of butter, this squash alfredo was nothing short of sca-rumptious!

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo – Creamy, skinny spaghetti squash in a light alfredo sauce. A mouthwatering, healthy meatless meal! | thecomfortofcooking.com

Pick up a pretty spaghetti squash, bake it up, and whack it in half. Pull out the seeds, give it a good rake with a fork and pour in your silky smooth cream sauce. Pile on the Parmesan – the more the better! – and broil until browned. Then, all that’s left to do is dig in!

You’ll love this healthy vegetarian squash alfredo. It’s fun to make and experiment with something new, especially if you haven’t introduced many meatless meals into your weeknight lately. Try it tonight!

Craving more? Keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for new post updates and more. You can also contact me with any questions or inquiries!

PrintPrint Recipe

Skinny Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Yield: Makes 2 large servings or 4 side dish servings

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized spaghetti squash

1 Tablespoon butter

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup milk (I used fat-free)

1 Tablespoon cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tablespoons extra for topping

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes and fresh parsley, for optional garnish

Make Buttery Pistachio Green Beans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, prep the squash. Cut spaghetti squash in half using a large sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet covered with water. Bake until tender, about an hour.

As an alternate way of baking: Poke a few holes deep into the whole squash with a paring knife. Bake for 60 minutes, remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes before slicing in half with a large serrated knife. Scoop out the seedy inside leaving the spaghetti strands.

Once squash is cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the “spaghetti” strands into the center.

For the sauce, melt butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour, cooking for another minute while stirring. Whisk in milk until no lumps remain. Once hot, add cream cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Spoon sauce equally into each spaghetti squash half. Gently pull up the spaghetti strands to coat as much as possible with the sauce. Top with extra Parmesan and place under the broiler of your oven for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Top each half with a pinch of red pepper flakes and fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Food Doodles

Food

Balancing Food – Not All Superfoods are Trendy

variety of fruit and vegetables

Happy Friday everyone!  I ran across a great article on the About Health website called “10 Untrendy Superfoods Every Kitchen Needs.”  It is a nice reminder that sometimes we can just eat normal, everyday foods and know that they are still “superfoods” even though they aren’t as trendy as lets say, chia seeds are right now.  Behold the untrendy superfood lineup!

Apples

Artichokes

Bananas

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Onions

Oranges

Strawberries

Tomatoes

All of these normal foods can be found at most grocery stores and often times, at very reasonable prices.  I eat most of these foods and will work on getting them all into my diet in a more consistent way.  The moral of the story is really just to eat more fruits and vegetables!

Exercise

Is Strenuous Exercise “Bad” for You?

This is what I am talking about! Balance is the key to everything, including exercise!

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

three women running on a trailThere’s a new study, called the Million Women Study, that says that strenuous exercise is bad for you if you do too much of it.  I’m never sure what to think of this kind of thing. And the reporting never sends quite the right message. The Wall Street Journal headline reads: “Couch Potatoes Rejoice: Strenuous Exercise May Be Unhealthy.”

Note that it says “may,” meaning it’s not necessarily unhealthy. So it might be a bit early for non-exercisers actually to rejoice.

According to this report:

A recent study in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that exercising strenuously four to seven days a week conferred an increased risk of vascular disease, compared with two to three days a week of strenuous exercise. Accompanying the study, published in Circulation’s Feb. 24 edition, is an editorial entitled, “Physical Activity: Can There Be Too Much of a Good…

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