squash

A long day deserves a good meal.

I considered buying my good meal, as I was very tired.

But as it turns out, I have no money until payday.

Oops. My bad.

I had to find a good meal in my kitchen, and luckily there was one there.

Delicata Squash Tacos

I spritzed the squash with the Misto Olive Oil Sprayer I received from my Mom in my Christmas stocking. I roasted the squash at 400 F for about 30 minutes or so. Then I grabbed a couple of white corn tortillas and topped them with squash, black beans, Trader Joe’s Avocado Salsa, some greek yogurt, a pinch of reduced fat shredded mexican cheese and a little bit of fresh cilantro.

My good dinner was inhaled in about 42 seconds.

Now I’m chomping on the same lemon cookies Caitlin was talking about in her post. I shouldn’t buy cookies…I’m never satisfied until I’ve eaten them all. Oops again.

I’m also having an Anchor Steam….because this day warranted it. Trust me.

Hope your Saturday included a good meal, a serving tons of cookies and a nice cold beverage of your choice!

Are you good with sticking to single serving sizes of treats?

(I am a cookie monster. For serious.)

Work was pretty stressful today. The day just seemed to drag on and on and on. This is a definite no-no, but I bribed myself to walk home. The renewed resolve to walk home is recent, so I really didn’t want to bail out. I have found that keeping up with my walking routine plays an important part in keeping me feeling well, motivated and excited to continue on with other fitness plans.

I’m not really sorry about my choice to bribe myself; it was awesome. I hit up my favorite Rice Pudding/Fro-Yo shop, Loving Cup. I ordered my typical fro-yo combo, chocolate base with raspberries blended in. I decided to go all out and add some Oreo crumbs; my day sort of warranted it. Then I reached into my bag, pulled out my camera and had the “battery dead” message come across the screen. Fail. Then I took out my iPhone and snapped this picture while two other customers pointed at me and whispered.

What? Don’t YOU take iPhone pictures of your frozen yogurt before you eat it?

No. Right. Sorry.

I ate my treat and completed my walk. Fro-yo rules.

Then I made a super weird dinner.

I pan-fried left over spaghetti squash, then I topped it with a veggie sausage and a sunny-side up egg. It was really weird, yet delicious. The runny egg definitely made this meal.

Now to continue on with my Degrassi fest

Do you ever have to bribe yourself to follow through with your exercise plans?

I still love spaghetti squash.

Just thought you all should know.

I still have my cough and it made my walk home difficult. You see, I’ve vowed to walk to and from work on days when it is possible for me to do so. This usually means that every Saturday and most Sundays I walk home from work, then on Mondays (and Sundays when I am the closing manager) I walk to work. I live about 3.75 miles away from my job, so if I am consistent and walk the distance these three times a week, I walk 11+ extra miles a week. I also save $6 in bus fares. It’s a win-win, really.

I got close to bailing out on this evening’s walking commute, however. I was carrying a heavy spaghetti squash from Trader Joe’s and I also knew that walking up the San Francisco hills were going to trigger coughing attacks. I knew the bus would be quicker, easier and would probably save me from the afore mentioned coughing spells.

In the end, I decided that the squash wasn’t that heavy, it wouldn’t take that long and at least I would be coughing outside. Coughing in a confined space like the gym would be embarrassing, but outside is no big deal.

It ended up being a really nice walk, despite the occasional hacking.

I’m so glad I stopped off for that squash. I bought the squash and a package of broccoli/cauliflower mix. $4.43. I had the cheese and store bought sauce in the fridge. I’ll probably get another 4 or 5 meals out of the squash too. Who says eating well has to be expensive?

Now that is good eats!

What’s for dinner tonight at your house?

So I left you yesterday, explaining that I wasn’t going to go running, but instead was going to walk to work to get my exercise.

Eh, heh, heh…

Yeah, I didn’t do that.

Well, I walked half of the way to work, but I didn’t have enough time to do the entire walk (It’s a 4 mile walk) because I got distracted by soup. It was an important distraction, as I didn’t have anything to take to work for dinner, so I think we’re going to give me a pass on this one. Plus, it’s not like I didn’t walk at all…I took the bus halfway and then did the 35 minute walk from downtown to work. So, you know, I tried.

So on to the soup!

Yesterday while I was thinking about how lame it was that I had fallen back asleep and missed my run, I decided that watching Project Food Blog video entries would be a nice way to cheer myself up. When I got to Emily’s entry, I thought to myself, “Mmm. That looks good! I think I’m going to get up and make some of that right now and take it to work for dinner!”

So I went to the kitchen.

And when I got there, I discovered that I didn’t have most of the ingredients involved.

Oops!

So I decided to make a Front Burner inspired soup, with the ingredients that I had on hand.

First I roasted up the Sweet Dumpling Winter Squash from my CSA.

I’ve read that most people half these and stuff them….but I sort of wondered what they would taste like in soup, so I halved the two I had, gutted them and roasted them along side some carrots that I had chopped up. Once they were roasted, I peeled them, as I didn’t think that would taste too good in soup, then cut the squash into cubes.

Well, I had planned to cut the squash into cubes, but it kind of fell apart as I was peeling it. I think if I were to do this again, I would probably not roast it for as long. Originally I was going to cube it before it was cooked, but cutting into these puppies is HARD. Even with my biggest, sharpest knife (which admittedly might not be saying very much) it was difficult.

After getting the veggies roasted, I chopped up some onion and threw it in a pot with a bit of oil and garlic to get softened up.

We’ve seen a lot of chopped onion on my blog lately, haven’t we? Fact is, no matter how many times I watch Alton Brown chop up an onion, I still can’t manage to not suck at doing so myself. I never get the pieces uniformly sized. Oh well. It’s just soup. They need not be perfect.

After the onions were ready, I added one carton (4 cups) of store-bought organic chicken broth to the pot. It was at this point that I realized I had never really made a broth based soup before. Like, sure, I added broth to the Golden Beet Soup and the Butternut Squash Soup, but I mean I had never made something like a Chicken Noodle Soup or Vegetable Soup that didn’t come from a Progresso/Campbell’s can. Is that weird to be 28 and to have never made chicken noodle soup on your own before? I’m not sure. I guess I should do it sometime, just in case, you know, it is weird….

After the broth, I added the squash, carrots and some leftover TJ’s wild rice from Saturday night’s dinner. Then I decided that I should add the last of my spinach to the pot.

After the mix had simmered for 10 minutes, or so, I added a can of drained and rinsed black beans and I seasoned with salt, pepper and lots and lots of cumin. I think cumin is my favorite spice. I considered adding some leftover steak meat to the pot, but then opted to leave it out, deciding I could add it to my individual bowl if I wanted to.

I didn’t really have any time to taste the soup, as I still wanted to get out of the apartment in time to at least get HALF of my walk in, so I just packaged up a serving, grabbed an apple and a greek yogurt out of my fridge for snacks and headed off to work.

Fact: Even with taking the bus half way, I was 15 minutes late to work, due to soup.

Dinner time could not come quickly enough–I was so excited!

Yikes. My bowl kinda looks messy!

I decided to have a couple of Multi-Grain Waasa crackers with the soup. The crackers had been in my desk for probably….2 months (!) but they still tasted good. Actually, they were a good mix with the soup.

The verdict?

Awesome!

I never believe people when they say to make soup you just throw whatever you have into a pot and it’ll work. My disbelief comes directly from watching my grandmother make soup by dumping cans of this and that off of the back porch into a pot and letting it cook for 3 hours. Her “everything but the kitchen sink” soups always tasted overcooked and disgusting, and to make it worse, she operated on an “If you’re hungry, you’ll eat it” set of rules, so if I didn’t want to choke the stuff down, I got no dinner! Grandma Julia Ann had a lot of winning recipes, but that, along with her Pimento Cheese (eeeeew!!!!!!) just weren’t part of them. It made me terrified of fridge cleaning soups for years.

I’m so glad to finally be over that!

Is it weird to be 28 and to have never made homemade Chicken Noodle Soup?

I don’t know about you, but I put together really random meals sometimes.

Last night I had no idea what I wanted to eat. I knew that I wanted vegetables, since I had sort of eaten my weight in parmesan goldfish crackers that afternoon and needed some produce in my diet to balance it out. I decided I should eat the summer squash from my CSA, but what to do with them?

I ended up cutting them up and roasting them in the standard method, using a bit of extra virgin olive oil, pepper and minced garlic. Then I had to figure out what I wanted to eat with them. An egg? Yes. An egg. Eggs rule.

Oops. Broke the yoke. Oh well.

Okay. So I am having roasted summer squash and an egg….but do I really want just those things? No. I need cheese. Hmm. Quesadilla? Fried egg quesadilla? Score.

I had two corn tortillas (1 serving) left from when I had tacos last week, so I figured a quesadilla seemed like a good idea. When I looked at the tortillas, apparently something had scrunched the packaging they were in, so they broke….this meant I wound up with weird shaped pieces of quesadilla. S’alright by me.

So let’s recap. I wound up with an egg+part skim mozzarella quesadilla with pico de gallo and greek yogurt on top with a side of roasted summer squash, which I also topped with pico de gallo…because…well….it was there.

Then this morning came. I was starving, so I ransacked my fridge for a solution.

Mmm. Bacon from a bird.

What to have with it?

A whole mess of stuff!

This morning I quelled my massive hunger with the above. Before you panic, it’s less than 500 calories…..about the same as any oatmeal + peanut butter mess you’d see anyone eating on a healthy living blog. This was seriously filling. At about the half point I realized that perhaps my eyes had been a little bigger than my stomach…

In case you’re wondering what all is on that plate, it includes: 2 slices of whole wheat toast with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray and a little bit of honey, 2 slices of turkey bacon, a handful of spinach, the leftover summer squash from last night’s dinner, about 2 servings of egg whites and left over pico de gallo.

Yum!

I guess the breakfast isn’t that random. Though it is true that I would normally not have included squash in my eggs. I find that if I have eggs in the morning, any vegetable that is leftover from the night before gets thrown in. Just because. Random fact.

Don’t know what I’m eating tonight. I have a feeling more randomness may ensue….

What kind of random meals have you thrown together?

Today I brought in the rest of my beet soup to work. I toyed with the idea of eating it for lunch, but after a taste I decided that it really wasn’t for me and I opened up a can of Trader Joe’s Organic Split Pea Soup. I couldn’t of course waste the beet soup, so I eagerly awaited the arrival of my beet loving co-worker. The one that always arrives hungry. I pounced on him immediately, asking if I could feed him soup. Once I had the go ahead I warmed up the leftovers and waited for the verdict.

He liked it!

He said he really couldn’t detect beets in it (!) and if I hadn’t told him what the soup was made of he wouldn’t have been capable of pin pointing the exact flavor. I couldn’t believe it, given that my main problem with my beet soup was that it was beety. This of course is coming from a guy who has practically no sense of smell, so maybe my nose and taste buds are just more in tune with the beetyness of things.

Doesn’t matter though. The point is that he liked it and was sad that I only had 2 servings for him to slurp down. Sounds like a recipe win, even if it wasn’t my favorite.

The only problem I had with him eating my left overs and me eating my can of soup is that it left me with nothing for tonight’s dinner….and nothing for tomorrow night’s dinner either. Since I work the evening shift on Monday, the food I take to work has to be decided on Sunday. I checked the kitchen upon my arrival home to see what was left of my CSA veggies.

It only took about a second to decide: Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

I didn’t really follow a recipe, but since I had ingredients left over from the beet soup, the two soups wound up with a lot of crossover.

(I will note, however, that what I wound up doing is very similar to a recipe from the Front Burner…just without the apples.)

First, I dealt with the squash.

I was kind of dismayed to learn that it had a soft spot on the bottom. I had left the squash until this week, as I thought they kind of had a decent shelf life. I worried that it might be completely ruined, but decided to cut it up before I scratched the dinner plans.

As it turned out, while there definitely were a couple of areas at the bottom which were not really something I would want to eat at this point, the majority of the squash was usable. So, I just cleaned out the squash guts and cut off the squishy bits that I didn’t want to eat. Yay.

Perfect.

Then it was roasting time. Since this squash was going to become soup, I didn’t really season it. I covered a cookie sheet in tin foil, sprayed some cooking spray on there, then roasted at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes, I added 4 cut up carrots to the cookie sheet. Once removed from the oven, the skin of the squash was easily peeled off and I sliced it into big chunks.

Now for the rest of the soup (which is practically identical to yesterday’s recipe)!

One chopped yellow onion.

Sautéed with garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter.

Grab your leftover chicken broth (about 2 cups worth)…

….and throw all of the above into a pot. Boil. Simmer.

Blend in batches. This pot of soup required 4 batches.

*insert picture of soup in a pot that has magically disappeared off of my camera here…*

Put the blended soup back into the pot and season. I seasoned with salt, pepper, LOTS of curry powder and a dash of nutmeg. As you can probably tell, I rarely measure things in the kitchen. Then, since it was in my fridge from yesterday, and I have no idea what to do with it, I added in some creme fraiche.


There you go! Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup!

(sorry for using the same bowl again. actually, no I’m not. my bowl is awesome.)

While all of this soup madness was going on, I also decided to whip up some green bean fries. Pretty much all you do to make green bean fries would be, clean your green beans, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a little bit of garlic, then bake on a cooking sheet until crispy. I pretty much did just that. I did try out a new ingredient, however.

I actually found out that TWO of my local corner stores sell Garlic Gold. Weird, huh? I decided to pick up a bottle and try it out.

You are gonna make awesome fries, boys. Trust me.

Dipping sauce, as I wanted some “tang”.

Tasty!

I wanted to eat the entire pan full of beans, but I restricted myself to the above…and maybe a couple more…maybe.

What is your favorite soup?