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hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

Asian Acorn Squash Bowls & Banana-berry Muffins June 4, 2008

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty — suzanne turner @ 4:09 pm

I had never made squash, though sometimes I like it when I have it out. I know that when it’s in tempura, I love it… but anything fried is usually good! So I tried it yesterday, and was pleasantly surpised! Acorn squash is really beautiful, especially when open and filled- its like a natural bowl. One less dish to wash too! 🙂 So I looked around online and tried to figure out what kind of flavor would go well inside, but all I could find suggested was sweet stuff like brown sugar and butter. Now I understand the idea, as it would produce a Thanksgiving marshmallow & sweet potato type combo. But I decided to go spicy, as I usually do. I used red peppers, green onions, mushrooms, carrots and cashews as the filling. Even before it was dressed at all, this simple filling was amazing. I’ll make it again for sure. But it got even better with a little soy sauce, grade b maple syrup, sesame oil, chinese five spice, and crushed red and black pepper. The cashews- yes! Such a perfect touch. I don’t even know how I came up with this idea, but it worked. I want to experiment more with combining the filling ingredients in many different ways now.

Cutting the squash open was the hardest part. You have to scoop out the seeds, like a pumpkin, and it smells like one too. That worried me a little, but it doesn’t have that taste in the slightest when cooked. The texture and taste are somewhat like a sweet potato which was a great suprise. Next time I will probably use the sweet potato fries seasonings I usually use and fill after baking with carmelized onions and maybe steamed spinach.

I also want to experiment with spaghetti squash as a pasta or sort of asian slaw with my new secret weapon salad mix. Today I don’t feel like going to safeway and spending even more. So tonight I plan on making some new sweet potato creation. Maybe a hash…? Hmm. That is if everyone doesn’t convince me to go out. Did I tell you about the balsamic portabello mushroom cap with smoked cheese that we had at Zephyr? Wow. I have to learn how to make that!!! It was unbelievable. That got me really into Balsamic vinegar for a few days too. I love all vinegars though.

So after the squash, the oven was already at 350, so I decided to try a muffin recipe I found which didn’t seem as unhealthy as the one I used last time to make banana bread. Given that banana bread was wonderfully sweet and buttery, an alternantive was badly needed. The healthy recipe was pretty good! It had wheat gern, oat bran, buttermilk and a mashed banana. They came out very moist, and very blue! But everyone loved them.

I’m trying to make better choices now, even if we go out. I’ve been really blowing it when Joel comes down and we go out. This time, I’m planning a picnic at the beach. They have covered table areas right at the shore, so we can go even if it rains. I want to make something with rosemary for sure, as it will recreate the first camping trip we took where we made rosemary red potatoes. I don’t think I’d ever smelled anything so wonderful. Then we have to grill pineapple for dessert like we did that night. I’m craving a little extra romance, and I think that will be the perfect way to get out of the house and into nature. I miss him so much right now, I almost just called the glacier phone to tell him I love him. But it’s sort of only for emergencies. I find it urgent, but that’s probably not what they mean.

That camping meal reminds me: I love cooking with foil, whether camping or at home. You can roast things for a long time without them burning and it really keeps the moisture and flavor in. That’s what I did with the squash. So I want to get a lot more recipes for that method. I still haven’t ventured into the fresh fish available here, which is rather silly. So that’s on the menu soon too. I could do that in foil!

I’ve been thinking of things I used to really enjoy and remembering what the essence was, and what could be taken away. For instance: I used to live on Togos sandwiches- cucumber, avocado, turkey, mustard & mayo on honey wheat. I think I could make this into a great lettuce leaf or spinach tortilla wrap with sliced turkey, cucumber slivers, red onions, greens, and an herbed buttermilk/cream cheese dressing.

I’m in a stage right now in my working out where I feel almost fatter. I know that this is something I’ve had before where it gets worse before it gets better. I feel smaller, my clothes fit better. My boobs are definitely smaller! But I still have to dig for my abs. I hate that. I want to get through this stage this time! So I’m trying everything until something works. I’m trying several smaller workouts throughout the day, along with the smaller more frequent meals. Gillian from BBC’s “You Are What You Eat” (whom I admire and adore) has a strict regimen when she helps people lose weight which includes 20 minute workouts before each meal, which I think is genius. So yesterday I did 40 minutes of aerobics, 30 minutes of pilates, and about a 20 minute evening walk/run. It was actually about 10 o’clock but totally light out still. I’m not a runner, but I think I could get there. I think I could learn to really enjoy it. And I know it works. The most ripped girl I’ve ever met was a runner. She also happened to have incredible style, and was the smiliest, kindest person I think I’ve ever known. I ran into her at Barnes & Noble a few years ago, and she was still with the same guy from high school, whom I never really knew, but always seemed extremely nice also. I was very happy to see them so happy together. Some people have it all. I call it the Carrie Underwood phenomenon. 🙂 Anyways, Lanelle Cox was absolutely ripped. She had these ridiculously muscular thighs, but she was still so feminine. I mean there’s Jennifer Anniston and all those people who can pull it off, but Lanelle was a real person who I actually knew. So I know runninng makes you very fit. And I know its possible to enjoy it immensely. She loved it and did it every day, so that’s what I’m going for now, though I know it will take a while. I think it would be a great way to get out and relax alone, but also it would be great to be able to take a nice jog together with Joel, or my dad. My mom & I really enjoyed our brisk walks. You end up talking about all sorts of things that you probably wouldn’t have if sitting on the couch watching TV. 

Sorry I jump around so much, and that this had turned into a food blog/personal health diary. I thought it was crazy that I was writing so much about food, but I’ve found so many great blogs just about food lately that I know I’m not the only one who obessesses over food. At least I’m starting to get into healthy foods and a bigger variety at the same time as exercise. They have never really aligned before.

Bear reminded me that I should find a tennis court or even just a wall to hit against. Hitting on a wall is very aerobic and fun for me. I can get out so much agression hitting as hard as I can, it really makes me want to move. So that needs to happen for sure. The gym here is super expensive, so hopefully I can find a high school or something instead.

Oooooh, I just learned a new word on Top Chef which is very intriguing: gastrique. That could be a restaurant! It’s a reduction usually with fruit. Sounds amazing in more ways than one! A must-try. Well, I’m determined to watch Jeopardy today, so I better get my chores done before it starts! I’m moving to the other side of the duplex today too! Better get going!


One Response to “Asian Acorn Squash Bowls & Banana-berry Muffins”

  1. Kim Says:

    Alrighty then, to add to your collection… All recipes has a healthy food section that breaks down the number of calories, fat, ect.. that is in the meal. There are 2 awesome chicken recipes that we are addicted too. One is a balsamic vinegar chicken with onions and tomatoes. (Your favorite! ;)) Another is super easy. Lemon juice, lime juice, and dijon mustard-that’s it. If you want a taste of home, go to the sam the cooking guy for recipes- the sweet and sour flank steak is to die for.. Cut it up very thin and turn it into street tacos.
    Now, for exercise Suzanne. My mom is trying the 8 minute workout. (It has a diet plan too.) It guarantees that you lose 2 pound each week. The guy is from PB.
    But you know, if you were here, you could go rock climbing with me. Dave is always working. I am going to Mission Gorge in a few weeks for an all day climb. Wish me luck, we are climbing for 6 hours. Imagine all those calories disappearing with each step. We did easy climbs with my mom and she was sore for 4 days but she lost 2.5 pounds this week. It is exercise plus fun!

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