Spaghetti Squash Bake

Happy Tuesday! How was everyone’s weekend?  Ours started out really good and then ended kind of a low note…my strep throat returned and a busted tail light :-/ Womp womp!  Hubs accidentally backed my car into his…the worst kind of accident. But luckily, everyone is okay.  Easy (but pricey) fix.
fenderbenderI started feeling kind of crappy on Sunday when I woke up, but pressed forward with baking cookies with my little darling.
IMG_2530After that adventure and cleaning up the kitchen, I was exhausted and could feel my throat starting to swell up.  I called my doc to call in another round of antibiotics, so hopefully this round will do the trick.  I have a half marathon to run this weekend and I want to go into it feeling 100%.
To continue on with celebrating National Nutrition Month, I want to share an amazing recipe using spaghetti squash in place of pasta.
Both pasta and spaghetti squash have their own nutritional benefits.  For example, pasta is a better source of folate, where as eating spaghetti squash will provide you with more antioxidants.  Both are low in fat, but if you’re watching your carbs, spaghetti squash would be the better choice.  There are 7 grams of carbs in spaghetti squash compared to pasta’s 31 grams of carbs.  And calories? 1 serving of pasta (and let’s face it, most of us are consuming more than the recommended amount) packs in 158 calories, while spaghetti squash contains 27 calories. (source)   Overall,l if you’re trying to eat low (complex) carbs, low-fat, gluten-free or whole, unprocessed foods, I would say that spaghetti squash is the way to go.
Last week I made this delicious number.
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I cut 1 spaghetti squash in half (lengthwise), brushed it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes.  While that was baking in the oven, I cooked up some italian chicken sausage, spinach, and pasta sauce.  Once the spaghetti squash was out of the oven, I took a fork and “fluffed” up the “noodles”.
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Then spooned the chicken sausage mixture over top and then added a sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles.  And voilà! Dinner :-)
What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash? I used to scoop it out onto a plate and eat it like spaghetti, but I found this way to be much more appetizing and EASY!

Turkey Chili

As I sit here and write this blog post, I’m waiting for two dozen cookies to cool off so that I can throw them away.  cookiefailHashtag cookiefail.  I will be the first to admit, a baker I am not.  If you look at the top of the page and scroll over “Recipes”, you will see very little under the desserts section.  Cookie baking has never been my thing.  Cookie eating on the other hand?  Well, that’s a different story.  It’s probably a blessing that I’m not great at baking cookies.  On Monday, I tried out a new cookie recipe and they turned out fabulously!  And on the first try too!  The only problem with them was, they were a little crumbly.  So this time around I added more butter and, well?  Not so good.  For the next batch I added a little less butter and a tad bit more C4C flour and they’re looking much better.

As much as I enjoy being in the kitchen,  cooking is more of my thing.  The star entree of the week has been the turkey chili that hubs requested for Monday.  It was a definitely a chili kind of day…14 degrees?  That calls for chili.  I was browsing recipes online and either we didn’t have the right kind of peppers or it didn’t sound good to me.  So I decided to “wing it” and see what happens.  Verdict? So good, the recipe is worth sharing :-)  I was successful at something this week!

Turkey Chili
Ingredients

  • 3lbs ground turkey meat
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Chili seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 15oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans

Directions
Place ground turkey in a stock pot and brown the turkey.  Season it with italian seasoning and chili powder.  Add in the garlic, onion, and peppers.  Stir until soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then place on simmer for about 45 minutes.  You can choose to garnish it with cheese and sour cream if you wish.  We tried a little bit of gorgonzola and it was amazing!

turkeychili

I’m off to finish the rest of my cookie baking!  Wish me luck, I’ll be needing it ;-)

Special shout out!  I’d like to thank the peeps over at For Two Fitness for making me a brand ambassador.  I am honored :-) I am a HUGE advocate for exercise, especially when growing a little bambino (IF okayed by your doctor of course!).  I sported their super cute and comfy exercise tops while I was pregnant with Madelyn and will be proud to put back on my “Sweating for Two” when the time is right ;-) Head over to their website and purchase something for that pregnant person you know in your life or for yourself!

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WOAH BELLY!!!!

Lil’ Champ + Erin Condren Giveaway Winner

Hey guys! I hope everyone had an amazing weekend!  Ours was very good, but first things first.  We have a winner for the Erin Condren $25 gift card.  Lucky #6:

ECwinner

Which is CLopez84, who says: I make lists per day and cross them off as I do them, I also sometimes add them to my inotes. Also, I do grocery shopping with preset recipes in my mind so I can meal prep and no food goes to waste.

Congrats! And please send me your information at healthytidbitsblog@gmail.com.

Our weekend was a good one.  Went to Barre Bee Fit and tried out a new class: barre-dio interval.  What a workout!

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I’ve now tried all three classes that the Milwaukee studio offers (barre bee, Interval Barre, and Barre-dio Interval) and I can’t really decided which one is my favorite. I’ve loved them all and have yet to take a “bad” class here.  The instructors have been wonderful and the workouts have been extremely effective.  I leave class with weak muscles and a “good sore”.  Next week I’m scheduled for my first back to back class: Barre-dio interval followed by barre…I hope that I don’t die!

Besides working out, we celebrated my BFF’s daughter’s first birthday and took Madelyn to see Santa and to get some baby bling:

babyblingShe was a champ for both!  No tears for Santa (more like, “who is this man??”) and very little tears for her ears.  The key to that was having a cookie on hand to give her.  She maybe cried for 10 seconds.  I wasn’t too worried since she handles shots like a champ.  High pain tolerance like her mama :-) I have been debating for a very long time whether or not to pierce her ears as a baby or wait until she’s old enough to decided.  Her ears were just so cute the way they were, I didn’t want to “damage” them.  Now that I finally bit the bullet and just went with it, I’m glad that I did.  She looks adorable in her little studs.

Here’s what’s on the menu & workout schedule for this week:

Monday: Barre + treadmill workout.  This Turkey Chili

Tuesday: Weights at the gym/Salmon with sweet potatoes & kale

Wednesday: Treadmill run + Barre.  Leftover Chicken Noodle soup.

Thursday: 1.5 mile run timed (PT test prep!) Dinner is tentative. Going to a Gluten-free cookie exchange.

Friday: Rest Day. Eat out/Dine in :-)

What’s on the menu for you this week? Any fun work outs or cookie exchanges?

Leftover Turkey Soup

Hi guys!  I’m so so grateful that I have Mondays off.  Our weekend was so jam-packed, it was nice to play catch up today-a day full of running errands, working out and cleaning.  This morning, I met up with a friend for a gym date.  I got there a little early and did 30 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical.  She met me afterward and we did a killer lower body workout.  It’s so much better doing resistance training workouts with friends!

Continue reading

Thanksgiving Recipes 2013

Happy Holiday weekend!  Anyone score any great black friday deals?!  This is the first year I partook in the madness that is black Friday/Thanksgiving night shopping and I nearly got run over at Kohls’ for the last Shark steam mop.  On Friday, hubs and I enjoyed a much leisurely shopping experience at Home Depot where we got a great deal on a dishwasher. Ours broke a few months ago and we’ve kind of put it on the back burner until now.  Dishes aren’t too bad in our house since it’s just the two of us and the munchkin, but it’s nice that we will now have options.

This was my second year hosting Thanksgiving, but a first in our new house.  Overall, everything went fairly well.  We had a few misjudgments about the turkey, but having a double oven really helped out with things.  I don’t think I will ever be without one ever again.

With Madelyn being dairy-free, this year posed some new challenges, substitutions and lots of finger crossing.  I wanted her to be able to eat anything on the table.  Our first dairy-free Thanksgiving was a HIT!!  Everyone raved about my sweet potatoes and had some requests for the recipe, so here it is!
sweetpotatocasserole

Dairy Free(gluten free) Soul Sweet Potato Casserole (Serves 15)
Ingredients

  • 8 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 lbs)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of coconut cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups pecans chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted dairy-free butter (I used Earth’s Balance)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 and place potatoes on baking rack.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.  When the potatoes are finished, place on a big cutting board and let them cool. Once they’re cool, cut all of the sweet potatoes down the center and scrape out the inside.  Place the insides of the sweet potatoes into a very large mixing bowl.  Increase the oven temperature to 400.

Next, add in the sugar, coconut cream, eggs, vanilla and salt.  MASH the mixture up with a potato masher until all ingredients are combined and somewhat lumpy.  Spread the sweet potato mixture into a square or oval baking dish.  In a separate bowl, mash the brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter with a fork until thoroughly mixed through.  Sprinkle the crumbly mixture over the top of the potatoes.  Bake it until the top is golden brown, about (45 minutes).

The next dairy-free dish I made was dessert.  Hubs requested a traditional pumpkin pie so I made that with dairy.  But for Madelyn and anyone else who wanted some, I made dairy-free pumpkin pecan pie bars.  They turned out really good, and I will definitely make them again.  I preferred this pumpkin pie filling over the traditional actually and couldn’t even tell that it was dairy-free. Coconut milk and cream is a great substitute for pumpkin desserts.

dfgfpecanpumpkinbars

DF & GF Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares (Serves 12)
Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used C4C)
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 can (15oz) pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • soy whipped cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar and butter into a small bowl.  With a hand mixer, beat at low speed for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is crumbly.  Take the mixture and press on the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking pan.  Bake the crust for 15 minutes.

Next, combine the maple syrup, pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs and pumpkin pie spice in a larger mixing bowl.  Beat at a medium speed for 2 minutes and pour over crust.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Combine the pecans and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a smaller mixing bowl.  After the 20 minutes is up, sprinkle pecan topping over filling.  Continue to bake for about 20 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Cut into 12 bars and serve with whipped cream.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and spending quality time with family and friends.  Today, we ventured off to Sprecher Brewery for a tour with Madelyn :-) She did surprisingly well and was a hit amongst our group.  I’m off to watch some Christmas movies on the couch with Larry.  Have a great rest of the weekend!

Carrot & Caramelized Onion Soup {Dairy Free}

When we moved into our new house, we decided to join a local Co-op, Outpost.  Every season, they come out with a newsletter, Graze, that tells about some of the items they have in the store, along with really good recipes.  Last Winter, I made their Carrot & Caramelized Onion soup and it was a win.

This week with the forecast only hitting a high of the mid to high forties (EEK!), I thought it was the perfect time to plan some soup into our meals.  I really wanted some onion soup, but didn’t really have time to experiment with French onion soup, so I decided to make the carrot and caramelized onion soup instead.  The original recipe called for butter & heavy whipping cream, and since I’m all for making my meals, especially soups, “Madelyn-friendly” (Dairy-Free) I decided to try some substitutes and it was amazing!  This soup is great to make because it’s so easy and you can freeze the leftovers if needed.

carrot and onion soup

Carrot & Caramelized Onion Soup {Dairy-Free}Serves 10                               

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter (I used Earth’s Balance vegan, organic spread)
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in, coins
  • 2/3 c basmati brown rice, uncooked
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 cup coconut cream

Melt butter is a stock pot and add onions.  Stir the onions and make sure they are covered in “butter”.  Reduce heat and stir onions until they are soft and gold brown, about 8-12 minutes.  Next, add carrots, rice, vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Cook until rice and vegetables are very tender.  Remove from heat and slightly cool.

Slowly transfer the soup to a blender and puree.  After the soup has been pureed, transfer back into the stock pot and add the coconut cream.  Mix well and serve!

Enjoy the rest of your evening!  What’s your favorite cold-weather food to make?  After a good soup, a hearty chili is my favorite!

PAIRDD

I want to preface this post by stating, that I do not have celiac disease nor do I avoid gluten as a weight-loss technique.  I am aware of the seriousness of people having to be gluten-free.  I  simply try to eliminate it (along with dairy) from my diet as best as possible because my body is much happier :-)  Sometimes I’m successful, and other times I’m caught at a moment of weakness.
A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook invite to check out Pairdd.  Pairdd is a home delivery service that will deliver fresh, gluten-free ingredients to your door for you to prepare a meal.  You simply go onto their website, pick a recipe from a gluten-free blogger that sounds tasty to you, order and expect delivery in about a week.  Unfortunately, it’s only available to people currently living in Wisconsin.
Last week, I decided to try it out and chose a recipe from my friend, Sarah, at Celiac in the City.  With the weather making a nice transition from tank tops & shorts to skinny jeans and boots, I thought it was the perfect time to make my first batch of chili for the year.  What really sold me about this recipe wasn’t the chili but it was the parmesan biscuits that served as a side.  I’ve never made gluten-free biscuits so I was really excited about these.
My Pairdd box was sitting in the driveway when I arrived home on Tuesday and I couldn’t wait to get cooking!
pairddbox
Everything came packed on ice and included all of the ingredients needed to make Italian chili and parmesan biscuits except milk, salt and pepper.  When you order your meal online, the website does inform you of the ingredients you’ll need to have already available in your kitchen.
pairddingredients
I love that everything was already measured out and chopped up.  And most importantly, I didn’t have to peel garlic!!!!  A HUGE plus for me because of all the things to peel, I find garlic to be the WORST!  I did have to chop up some onion and green pepper, but that I didn’t mind so much.
Along with the package comes the list ingredients and the recipe to make the meal.  So now I have a yummy new recipe to add to my collection.
chili recipe
The directions were super easy to follow and I liked that the box included a picture of the completed meal so that I knew what to expect.  The Italian chili was some of the best chili I’ve ever had!  Normally, I either make sweet potato and black bean chili or Italian Chili with pasta but this was perfect because it contained meat but didn’t have the heaviness that the pasta adds to chili.  It made enough to feed two very hungry adults and a baby x 3 meals.  Madelyn loved it as well :-)  The biscuits were AMAZING and we ended up making 9 decent sized biscuits.
The whole meal cost us $15 because we used a coupon code from Sarah.  Normally, the price would’ve been $30 which I still didn’t think was bad for all the ingredients plus delivery.
We will definitely be ordering from Pairdd again!  And thanks to Sarah for preparing an AWESOME meal for us!
What’s your favorite thing to get delivered? I’m really loving groceries via Peapod, especially on drill weekends!