My blog tends to focus on the emotional and psychological issues around eating and food because that’s my “expertise” and what I can relate to most. I do like sharing new recipes and what I’m eating, but I don’t do it regularly because, well…somewhere along the way I learned that you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Right? I mean, there are so many food and health blogs out there (literally, thousands!) that have delicious, creative recipes captured by professional photography. So while I certainly can’t quite ”compete,” I do want to follow through on my New Year’s resolution to become a better cook and be more inventive in the kitchen. I have to say, I’m pleased with my efforts thus far and I think Luke is, too!
The other day Luke and I were trying to decide how to use up the lean beef we had in the fridge when he suggested pairing it with acorn squash. I was so delighted that he came to that idea on his own — perhaps I really am rubbing off on him after all? (Here’s my post on how to help your partner get healthier.)
One of the things I love most about acorn squash is that it is not only tasty and low in calories, but is SO easy to prepare. You basically just cut it in half, drizzle olive oil around the rims and cook orange side-down at 350 for about 45 minutes. Then, you can stuff it with whatever you like! This time it was lean beef with caramelized onions and peppers and a little goat cheese and shredded parmesan on top—delicious! And since the main event was a little cheesy, I decided to prepare the brussels sprouts very simply by boiling them for about six minutes, draining, then adding lemon, sea salt and ground pepper.
*Related: Here’s my spaghetti squash and sauteed bruseels sprouts recipe.
Another thing I love about acorn squash? It’s shaped like a heart—Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! The next night we had squash again and stuffed it with quinoa and sauteed greens and goat cheese again—another winner. In fact, after the meal, Luke said, “Wow, when you eat like this, you don’t want junk.” (He did, however, have a large BBQ Chicken pizza from Trader Joe’s the following night. But hey, that’s OK…you know how I feel about treating yo’self. ;)
As you know, I live for all-things Tara Stiles, especially when it comes to learning what she’s cooking up in her kitchen. So I decided to try my hand at her latest maple granola recipe that she promised would “make me a lot of friends.” Ha, alrighty then! Every time Tara cooks she says the word “exciting” at least a dozen times and it always makes me chuckle. But you know, what, trying new recipes and making a conscious effort to be healthy IS exciting. When you live a healthy lifestyle, you really can’t help but to glow from the inside out.
Tara’s not big on exact measurements, and while I like that, it can be a challenge for me at the same time. I just do the best I can when I’m following one of her recipes. Here we have ABOUT 3 cups of oatmeal, 2 cups of raw mixes nuts + sunflower seeds + dried cherries, 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs and 1/2 of an 85% dark chocolate Lindt bar.
Have you ever tried RAW cacao before? Oh man, raw is right. Because it doesn’t contain sugar, it tastes very bitter and nothing like chocolate at all. With patience and a good attitude, I can train my palette to adjust to about anything. Hopefully this will be one of them! Since I made the granola to give out as gifts, I decided to add a few more pieces of dark chocolate and smashed it up. That was fun. I want to encourage others to be healthy, but I want the food to be enjoyable, too.
I added about 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup to serve as the “glue” to holding the ingredients together. I also added a few drizzles coconut oil, which turned out to be just a touch too much. My first batch of granola (pictured here) sure looks pretty, but the coconut oil gave it just a bit of an “off” after taste. Not bad, but not great. I also baked it at 350 for 20 minutes, which was about 5 minutes too long.
I made this second batch after learning from my mistakes and because Luke saw the cherries and reminded me he can’t stand dried fruit. The second time was a charm, and this granola was much better. I baked it for 15 mintues at 350 and used less coconut oil.
Luke’s V-day gift! He’s making me and my sis, Liza, lasagna tonight and we’re really looking forward to it. (Follow me on Twitter to see how it turns out!) The girls get to gab while the man is in the kitchen; I could get used to that.
Want some? I brought a container of granola to work and I hope everyone eats it up because keeping it at home is just too dangerous! Having one handful of granola is like having one piece of chocolate on Valentine’s Day…it just doesn’t happen.
Here’s Tara’s how-to video for the granola. Isn’t she great? I’ve been wanting to take one of her Strala yoga classes here in NYC but for some reason I’m kind of nervous about it. Meeting a ”role model” is always a bit daunting and potentially disappointing, although I’m pretty certain she’d be just as sweet in person as she seems in her videos.
Well, I hope everyone has a fabulous day. And no matter what your relationship status is, try extra hard to be kind to yourself and do something enjoyable. You deserve it.
(And if you are at all tempted to over-indulge today, check out my tips for how to stop binge eating. Leave a comment there and let you know what you think!)
*Need help with your health and lifestyle goals? Want to lose weight without obsessing about every bite you put into your mouth? I’m a Board Certified Health Coach + Emotional Eating Expert; contact me for a free consultation and let’s get started!