mock~tails, home made fruit vinegars annnd..

Spaghetti squash casserole.

yes.

again.

After help from my friends and family on facebook, I think that I’ve fixed the issue. Now I’m sure some of you are downright sick of hearing about it ( I’m kinda getting sick of typing it) but I still feel the need to share that post in its’ entirety, so we will start with that.

 

( feel free to skip if you just can’t bear to have your eyes view it again~ it’s ok, I’ll still love you. Like lots. )

 

friends. If you are connected with me on my  facebook page , then you’ve had a sneak peak at what’s cooking in my kitchen

Get yerself a sketti squash, because trust me, you will want to make this!

I mentioned in my massaged kale salad post how I am obsessed with True food kitchen

I’ve eaten here many times and have tried many things on the menu. ALL fabulous.

Twice now, I’ve had friends order the spaghetti squash casserole, and both have raved about how good it was.

( truth be told, both friends offered me a bite, of which I accepted  and wow! I just knew I had to make it at home)

I did a little research * puffy heart google* and voila! found the recipe!

click the link for complete recipe

Dr Andrew Weil, Spaghetti Squash casserole

 

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheesenow since I’m home with a healing pup, I had to improvise the recipe just a littleI did not have the peppers, but I did find a sad little jalapeno in my crisper drawer, and we like it hot 😉 so I used that in place of the red and yellow peppers.

spaghetti squash casserole ingredients

Start by cooking the squash. The recipe says to add entire squash into a big pot of water, bring to a boil for 50 minutes.

 

check on pup 

Now, I usually cook squash in the oven but I was intrigued to try this method. So I did.

My only comment would be that cooking it in the oven it was easier to separate the seeds from the flesh, but over, I would cook the squash either way.

while the squash is cooking ( whichever way your little heart desired) Chop up your veggies

Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan ( I’m a die hard believer in cast iron.. I’ll explain why if ya wants to know 😉  )

 

add the onions and carrots to hot oil, season with a bit of salt and cook for 5 min

 

check on pup 

next, I  added the the pepper and celery with a dash of red pepper flakes

squash filling

allow to saute for about 10 minutes, until veggies were soft. Taste for salt, if it needs a little more, go ahead and knock your self out 😉

* I kept adding little bits of water throughout so that the veggies didn’t dry out and stick while softening.. maybe 2 tablespoons at a time each time I stirred it ? )

 

check on pup 

The recipe called to squeeze the garlic in, but I rid myself of my garlic press years ago, as it only had that one purpose, and its easy enough to smash garlic with the side of a chef’s knife. garlic smash

f you have a press, by all means use it

add the crushed tomatoes m sprinkle of allspice (the secret ingredient, we discovered) , the garlic.

now you may have noticed the dish of roasted tomatoes.  I had some maters that were to ripe to eat raw, so I roasted them like I did when I made my

roasted garlic and tomato soup

 

 

squash filling

I  added these sweet babies  in addition to the crushed tomatoes

I also added a sprig of rosemary.

I hate to follow directions 😉

spaghetti squash

 

and btw~ this smelled heavenly 

Next I used a pair of tongs to remove squash from boiling water ( CAREFULLY) and place on a cutting board until cool enough to cut

 

scoop out seeds ( if you cooked it in the oven, you’ve already done this. great job, you overachiever, you  😉 )

 

spaghetti squash filling

 

 

add to tomato mixture and stir

 

check on pup 

Now full disclosure… since I was cooking this for just Scott and myself, I spooned out half of the tomato mixture and reserved for another recipe ( veggie chili, perhaps? ) and only used half of the spaghetti squash itself.   Had I known I could have halved the recipe, but being my first time making it, I wasn’t thinking.

 

spaghetti squash filling

 

 

I mean just look at this! Incredible.

 

next, layer 1/2  the squash mixture in baking dishes , add 1/2 the cheese, the rest of the squash mixture, and top with remaining cheese

 

 

baked spaghetti squash

 

guess which one was mine 😉

 

As far as the cheese goes, I used shredded because I had it and on Sunday when I played around with

smoked tofu crumbles, I smoked a few mozzarella balls as well ( just curious how it would come out) so I cut those up and topped  our dishes with a bit of that crazy cheese flavor.

I baked it in a 350 over for about 20 minutes, topped with shredded basil and a tiny drizzle of olive oil

 

Baked Spaghetti Squash

 

do I have your attention yet?

 

baked Spaghetti squash

 

yeeeeeaaah…  this was pretty awesome.  and healthy? CRAZY healthy!

If you would like to make this vegan, substitute Daiya cheese. simple!

My friend, Cindy stopped by yesterday to visit with me and brought me lunch. From where? True food of course!

I had the edamame dumplings and they were incredible. Together we disected the taste and came up with what we think would be a good recipe.

 

I have my next challenge!

 

true food edamame dumplings

 

Thank you, Cindy, for lunch and the company 😉

My next immediate project is making puppy ice cream or peanut butter biscuits  With all of the treats I’ve been given Fen, I’m starting to run low and need to last until the weekend when Scott is home

 

healing Fenway

 

 

my sweet girl ❤

 

 

al’ight….  since I’ve spent 46,000 hours writing,losing,finding,re~losing, re~ finding,fixing and re~ posting this…. you just might wanna make this… and let me know 🙂

 

ok. next. While I was hanging out with my sweet pup this week, I watched a lot of Food Network I came across a show that was focusing on Mocktails… you know, cocktails sans alcohol.

 

Kelsey Nixon made blackberry sipping vinegar to use as a base for a mocktail recipe.

I was curious, so I used the base/ idea of her recipe to make Strawberry~basil vinegar.

( because that is what I had in~ house ..

 

strawberry~basil vinegar

start by using equal parts fruit-sugar. I used a cup of each and added shredded basil

 

mash fruit and sugar up well and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate ( I love re- using rubber bands from veggies all over the kitchen 😉 ) for 2 days , stirring occasionally

On day 3, add equal amount ( 1 cup )  of apple cider vinegar ( I swear by Bragg’s.. highly worth the extra buck or two ) and stir.

The next day, using a fine~ mesh strainer, strain all solids out, using a flexible spatula  to press out every last bit of liquid ( you do NOT want to waste any )

 

strawberry- basil vinegar

to make your life easier ( because let’s face it, it’s all about you 😉 ) strain it into a dish or measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring.

Pour into a jar and store in fridge!

 

( I have a batch with Meyer lemons in the fridge now. I’ll let you know how it comes out )

 

strawberry-basil vinegar

I made a mocktail by pouring about an ounce of the vinegar over some ice, topping with sparkling water and a wedge of lime.

 

strawberry-basil mocktail

 

There is something about the vinegar that really elevates this drink., It feels like a special drink

In the show, Kelsey used an infused tea as well ( click the link up there for complete recipe) but I’m a simple girl and this drink suited me just fine.

So for my friends out there who don’t drink alcohol, for one reason or another, here’s a new option for you!

 

It is also a Crazy- delicious base for a salad dressing..  more on that tomorrow.

 

On another note, my PT is going well. Really well. my PT recommended that I get a theraputtic massage to break up some of the scar tissue in my hamstring from the tears. ( not my torn ACL leg that i just had surgically fixed, the OTHER leg that went into crazy hyper horrificness thanks to being on crutches post- surgery

The massage therapist ( This was NOT a relaxing massage AT ALL, btw) worked on my hips, glutes, ( where one of the tears are) and then she moved to my back.

She discovered that I have a muscle along my spine ( not the spine itself) that is all twisted up and is sending pain signals down my leg.

After 60 minutes with her, I noticed a difference ( the next day)

I was shocked to realize halfway through the day that I wasn’t struggling while doing simple things like just walking 

So my PT is also working on this and is having me start some strength training , lots of squats, single-leg squats and lunges of all angles.

and I’m feeling good for the first time in a LONG time.

I asked Matt ( PT) about possibly training for a 5k. He said he’ll let me start jogging ( under his supervision) on the treadmill in 2 weeks.

He humbling shared with me that he came in in the top 20 of the Boston Marathon last year. Not percentage, but overall.

I’m uber- impressed.

Friday I made a last minute descison to sign up for an Earth- Month 5k around the corner from my house. ( with his approval)

I went into this knowing that walking was the only option and that my time would not matter.

I had 2 friends who signed up with me.

we finished dead last, but that didn’t matter. We did it.

I had my first benchmark for races here in Colorado and the only thing that I can expect from here is to get better and move forward..

I’m ready

Aveda earth day race

I hope that your weekend was fabulous!

xo

what are you willing to do…

the month of October is fast approaching ( my favorite month of all time ~ I come alive in Sept/Oct/Nov like I do no other time of the year.) I really am like a different person.

it’s a perfect time for change and commitment. The ability for us to change and control what we can on our own is truly a luxury.

someone with breast cancer does not always have that option. And yes, folks. October is breast cancer awareness month… and I’m out to make you aware.

I’ve eluded to it before, but I need to tell you without going into too much detail, that my darling stepsister, Audra, was diagnosed at the end of the summer with breast cancer. Audra is one of the most sweetest people that I know with undoubtably the BIGGEST heart of anyone. She has lived a life that is much more difficult than average… There have been road blocks at every step  of the way.

As you may know, My little sister, Jodie and I have walked in the 40 mile 2 dy Avon walk for breast cancer for 4 years now, with our daughters joining us for the last 2…  and we will walk again this May.

When we first started walking it was in memory of my neighbor… a woman that I did not know all that well.. but watching her journey touched my soul. With Fran always  in our hearts, we continued walking after that first year… when we were asked why.. we always answered because we can .

Hearing that Audra was diagnosed last month, this cause took on a whole new meaning for us. I talked to her today.. even with everything that is going on and hard as it is for her to comphrehend… Her spirits are up and she didn’t complain one little bit. She is a fighter!.. and she has her angel son, James, looking down on her ans smiling as well…

I’ve also mentioned about a friend of a friend battling breast cancer with 4 young children.

4. young. children.

SHE is a fighter.

Our team will be walking another 40 miles this May.. and in October we will be walking in another breast walk… this one a 5 mile OR 1.5 mile walk.  This is going to be nice because my mom ( huge helper with our fundraising.. as well as my niece, Mollie .. aslo a huge help) they can walk the shorter of the route and still be part of us.

I wrote a bit about it HERE

( They have always been honorary Team Pinkteenies, but now they can walk WITH us 🙂 ) ANd we will be walking for Audra and Jen. In a big way.

One amazing lady that I know who started a local running group in honor of her sister who was killed by a drunk driver had a great idea…. ( and I’m borrowing it to make it grow 🙂

For the month of October can you commit to doing one thing a day for the ENTIRE month in honor of someone who has been affected by breast cancer.

You can vouch to :

walk a mile a day

walk 2 miles a day

5 miles a day.

if walking is too difficult, then can you lift light weights while you are sitting?

maybe push ups are your thing

maybe you could vouch to drink a certain amount of water

abstain from a food…

what are you willing to do?

you can think about this, as it does not start until Oct 1. by then I should have the back problems that I have been having with the blog ( I am SOOOO not technical) fixed..  and an easy way for anyone who wants to share your commitment(s) and who you are doing for.

I know many people who have been affected by breast cancer, I’m sad to say..and I will be walking for all of them.. I haven’t lost site of that.

but my October goal?

jog 2 miles each day…

1 for Audra

1 for Jen

( remember, I don’t love running, I love the idea of it..( I’m trying so hard)  so running 2 miles a day is serious work for me… but between you and me ( and now the whole world) when I was feeling during my races that I couldn’t go on.. I thought of these two women.. and somehow, they gave me strength )

and because I love you all sooo much, anyone who participates ( remember, it can be a small commitment…) will be entered and on Nov 1 I will choose one winner ( hopefully my super- cool raffle helper giveaway thingy will be working) and the winner will receive a batch of WHATEVER cookies that you want.. I will make you anything 🙂 )

because you guys are so awesome!

so what will you do?

a walk to remember

It’s been awhile since I posted and I really don’t have a good excuse. Actually I have many, but none that I will bore you with 😉

Thanks to all who supported me by buying raffle tickets for the quilt to benefit my walk. The winner was Blaine Schnare .. I am currently working on the label & will ship it soon. Congratulations!!

ali &I at the end of 40 miles!

best cheerleader.. EVER!

I will be making another next year to raffle.. possibly 2, since my daughter, Alison will be walking with me as she will  finally be  old enough 🙂

Some of you may already know, but I am scheduled for a long- awaited surgery at the end of this month that will have me incapacitated for the majority of the summer. Since I do not sit still well at all, I have been busy trying to find projects to help me occupy my 6 weeks of recovery.

One of my projects is learning to English Paper Piece.

My friends at Tumbleweed Quilts have helped me get started on this process.  What a great group of  ladies!!!!
Making hexagons is something that  I believe can only be done by hand, so it is the perfect  project for me to try this summer.

Here is the beginnings of my hexagons

hexagons

I found this quilt online  and the pattern is Grandmother’s flower garden.  I am trying to find what website that I found this on, but cannot. I will continue to try and in the meantime give credit to whomever made this beautiful quilt!

Given the nature of the quilt, I wanted to make mine with ‘antiquey’  types of fabrics.  The ladies at Tumbleweed Quilts assisted me in picking out circa 1930’s reproduction prints..

1930’s reproduction fabrics

With this print being the center of each flower!!

I am so excited about making this quilt. From the little bit that I have done while learning using my stash, I can tell you that these are VERY addicting.

I have other projects planned as well & will keep up to date with my progress on my blog 🙂

Thanks for reading & stayed tuned for my very next project… decorating my crutches.. I get them tomorrow.

(you didn’t think that I would have boring crutches, did you? )

xoxox

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