Nutrition and Recipes

Veggies Most: Getting Creative with Spaghetti Squash

I love all things spice. In my younger years of unstoppable optimism and blissful financial ignorance, I spent a great deal of money on travel (work in the summer, transfer my box of dollar bills into American Express Traveler’s Checks, and dart off for the fall). I spent a good deal of time in South East Asia, savoring the red skies and spices of India.

There is nothing that can compare to the vibrancy, the intensity of South East Asia – from the people, to the streets, to the food, every part of one’s day, every moment, is saturated in vivid intensity. Every flavor, heightened; every sense and sensation, rising to meet it.

The bad is that much worse, but the good times? They are branded into my memory and my soul (and that goes doubly for the food).

Sadly, American-ized South East Asian cuisine lacks that same vibrancy – the colors, the ingredients, the flavors are there. But they are almost always missing something. 

When pregnant with my son, Atticus, I went on a spice binge of epic proportions. I craved curry and pad thai. I longed for Delhi street foods and pomegranates. I dreamed of samosas and butter chicken and even that bite of fennel at the end of an epic meal.

I worked with what I had. I would routinely order an already spicy and delicious red curry with tofu from a little restaurant in Crested Butte (legendary among ski circles) known as Ryce. I would order it extra extra EXTRA spicy… with extra EXTRA veggies, and then add my own spices for good measure.

Now, a tad more comfortable in the kitchen and a bit more conscious, I am convinced that the secret to a great bit of spice lies in the cooks and the hands that prepare it. The right mindset, that slow consistent effort, that dedication to simple things done with passion – that is the secret to a good, spicy bit of heaven.

That, and a lot of veggies.

Yes, it’s true. Veggies are the spice of LIFE. They provide nourishment and joy. They make every meal better. And they make my body sing and my spirit shine.

Rice and noodles, I have found, just dull all that spicy goodness. Like a sponge, they steal all my flavor into a bed of dully beige “bleh.” And, after all, I’d rather have more room in my belly for the “good stuff.”

Thus, a bit of creativity, a lot of love, and more veggies later, I have perfected it: my spicy, veggie most, all the GOOD stuff, Pad Thai.

Trust me. You want some (did I mention it’s pretty healthy? There is literally no down side to my favorite meal – I’d make it every night if my husband would permit it…and sometimes I do – just for me).

Are you ready for this? It (and spaghetti squash) might just change your life for the better.

NOTE: Spaghetti Squash is an amazing vegetable. If you have never had it, you need to change that – immediately. When cooked it has the consistency of rice noodles (just with a LOT more flavor and nutrients). What’s more, the squash does not get soggy when saturated in curry-goodness, and it does not change its texture when re-heated. It’s my miracle plant (and I cannot WAIT to grow a few hundred of them in our garden this year).

Veggie Most: Spicy Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time     20 minutes

Cook Time    1 hour 30  minutes

Total Time    1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-4 tbs water
  • 2+ tbs siracha
  • 3 tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tbs oil (peanut oil is recommended)
  • 12 oz. extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, beans, or other veggie
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 green onions, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbs. chopped peanuts
  • Jalopeno, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • lime wedges
  • cilantro
  • Crushed red pepper
  • fish sauce (optional)

Instructions

Preparing the Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. Place squash on a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke squash 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 60 to 80 minutes. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Scrape flesh into stringy noodles. Set aside.

Preparing the sauce

  1. Combine vinegar, water, honey, and sriracha in sauce pan. Hear over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add fish sauce if desired. Add additional water if needed.  Add more/less of honey and heat according to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preparing the tofu

  1. Coat tofu in cornstarch in a small bowl; mix.
  2. Heat large skillet over high heat. Add oil (peanut oil preferred) and coat pan.
  3. Add tofu.
  4. Watch diligently, stirring frequently until all sides are brown.
  5. Remove from pan and set aside.

Preparing the eggs

  1. Add oil to pan; coat.
  2. Add eggs; cook over medium heat. Create a thin omelette. When cooked, chop eggs with spatula. Remove from heat and set aside.

Putting it all together

  1. Add oil to pan; coat.
  2. Add garlic and onion. Saute over medium heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add jalapenos (if desired) and red pepper (or other veggies).
  4. Add spaghetti squash in layers. Cook each layer for 1 minute, stirring frequently until squash is warm and golden brown.
  5. Fold sauce into squash. Mix.
  6. Add green onions and bean sprouts. Mix.
  7. Add tofu. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.
  8. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with peanuts, lime wedges, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. Serve immediately or store for later.

pad thai recipe with spaghetti squash

Recommendations

I like to double, even triple, the sauce (and quadruple the spice) – but that is up to you!

You can substitute the tofu for more veggie or chicken (I recommend marinating the chicken the night before with some lime and yogurt).

This meal stores well for about 3 days. Prep ahead of time and enjoy a savory lunch for DAYS!

While nothing can compare to the “real thing,” with a bit of love, this healthy, scrumptious dish comes close. Enjoy with the people you love!

Nutrition and Recipes

Take Back Breakfast: Savory Style

Eggs! Who doesn’t love eggs? I do. So does my husband.

And we eat a lot – like 6-10 eggs A DAY a lot. But actually making eggs every morning? That’s where things get tricky. I’ll be honest. Unless I pre-make breakfast, breakfast as a meal doesn’t happen.

Coffee will happen.

But food, as in actual nourishment? Unless I can grab it and go, the only thing I will consume is the sweet, sweet caffeine nectar hitting my system.

Do I need more coffee? No. What I NEED is food. Delicious, protein first, veggie most, kind of food.

So how do I get eggs in a “grab and go” system? Simple.

Egg cups. These cups are PERFECT for mornings on the run (or even afternoons on the run). They are easy to make, easy to enjoy, packed with good stuff (protein + veggies) and easy to re-heat.  You can also add sausage, bacon, turkey bacon, peppers…the sky is ALMOST the limit. Did I also mention that they are perfect for kids and babies?

My 12 month old son LOVES these (and I think you will to!). From business meetings to camping to mountain bike races, these cups go everywhere that I do, fueling my body for a day of adventure.

Eggs On the Go Breakfast CupsSweet Potato Egg Cups

Prep Time     10 minutes

Cook Time     25 minutes

Total Time     35 minutes

Servings        12 serving

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 c. of spinach
  • 1 c. mushrooms
  • 1/c. cheese
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • Salsa or hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs + salt + pepper in large mixing bowl.
  3. Take a muffin pan; coat each muffin tin with a quick splash of cooking spray (you can also dip a cloth in olive oil and wipe each tin).
  4. Place spinach and mushrooms in each tin (go NUTS here).
  5. Pour egg mixture into each muffin tin.
  6. Top with a sprinkle of cheese (you only need a bit!)
  7. Place in oven; cook for about 25 minutes (check after 20).
  8. Set to cool for about 10 minutes.
  9. EAT! or…
  10. Portion out, wrap, and refrigerate. These cups will be delicious for about three-five days and take just seconds to warm up in the microwave.

I highly recommend serving these with salsa or hot sauce…but you do you! Just remember to enjoy!

Fitness Challenge, Nutrition and Recipes

Ready 2B Fierce and Free: Mindful Eating Program Launches Today!

Let’s establish a few facts:

  1. Life is more than beautiful – it is all there is, all we have, and the only thing worth fighting for as all else depends upon it.
  2. Life is also chaos, but that chaos and uncertainty is what drives innovation, growth, and possibility. You may not control the whims and winds of the universe, but you CAN control your own story. YOU dictate who you are, where you go, and how you get there. Things happen – but you control what that happening means and where it takes you.
  3. Your body tells a story; it is the vehicle through which you move through the world; it is a temple, a miracle – it should empower you to celebrate the gift of your life and to move through the world (and all its possibility).
  4. To live your best life, you must nourish that body, write your story, and take responsibility for your health and wellness.
My best life? Big sunglasses, bigger earrings, a hearty brew, and a beautiful, healthy baby boy to snuggle.

These facts leave us with two critical questions: How do you live your best life? How do you write your story?

In the world of fitness, we hear the world “control” a lot. And for good reason.

Control, aka awareness and purposeful action, is essential to realizing any goal and to living that best life.

You must know what was, what is, and what you want/need to realize your best life, to make critical choices, and to manage and direct your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

But control alone is dangerous and, well, miserable. It leaves no room for possibility or transformation – for detours or growth, for the unexpected. It does not allow for life to happen (and these happenings are essential to your becoming).

Control MUST be balanced with self awareness and flexibility.

Flexibility cultivates vision and compassion – the grace needed to bounce back, to expand out, to adapt, and to move forward.

Self awareness empowers you to see yourself as you are and as you might be without filters, without guilt, and without shame.

Control then ensures that you craft an effective “plan of attack” for realizing that best life and the determination to see that plan through.

One does not work without the other – but in the fitness world, “control” is usually all you get.

Most fitness programs demand that you CONTROL what you eat (your portions, your calories, even when you can eat). They demand that you CONTROL your nutrients (eliminating entire food groups), that you DEPRIVE yourself to the point of starvation. That you DEPRIVE yourself of the joy and connection that food provides (birthdays, holidays, dinners out, wine Wednesdays, etc.) and that you replace that joy with fear, shame, guilt, and self-loathing.

thin woman's back, naked, spine protruding
Dieting is self-induced starvation; stop the cycle.

While some control is a good thing, too much not only damages your body, it fosters a dysfunctional and negative relationship with food and nutrition which makes living a healthy lifestyle (and that best life) impossible to realize in the long term.

During my last challenge, I was obsessed with losing weight and being successful. So…I didn’t do anything. I didn’t go anywhere for two months. I didn’t eat out. I didn’t have lunch with family or friends; I didn’t go to birthdays or out with my husband. I didn’t do anything but count, obsess, and worry that I was still eating too much (or not enough).

You can control your calories, exercise, and food intake to the point of obsession for weeks, months, maybe even a year…but eventually real life is going to happen. Your control and best laid plans will falter. And without flexibility and self-awareness, they will break, leading to an ongoing cycle of starve-binge-starve-binge, marked by the latest diet trend and an unhealthy dose of shame and guilt. You will lose weight – then gain it back. You will blame yourself. You will develop a collection of internet memes, telling you to just “be stronger, have more control, be more disciplined” and then next time will be different. You will believe that you are not good enough and that your plateau is a sign of your inadequacy.

STOP.

This cycle isn’t one that is meant to be broken. It will NEVER be different unless you change how you see yourself and food. You will NEVER be healthy if you do not have a positive and nurturing relationship with food and nutrition as your baseline.

What is a healthy relationship with food?

It means being able to realize a healthy weight without starvation, obsession, fad diets, cleanses, or restrictions.

It means building self awareness and self love.

It means resolving the underlying issues that lead to disordered eating, binge eating, emotional eating, and stress eating.

It means enjoying food without guilt or shame.

It means balancing that control with flexibility and a bit of grace and compassion.

It means mindfulness, tuning in to your body and its specific needs.

It means no more despair or self-loathing, no more counting calories or containers, no more “kitchen ab” memes.

It means STOP – stop abusing your body, stop the guilt trip, stop the cycle.

And it means breaking free – to rediscover balance. To stop fighting your body and to start nourishing it; to STOP obsessing over your life and to START living it.

Let me show you how.

Enjoy your life (and all the brews that come with it!)

The Ready 2B Fierce and Free Mindful Eating Program Registration is now Open! Day 1 begins May 14.

Exercise is not required (but is optional and encouraged). There is no calorie counting, no portion containers, no restriction, no starvation, no gimmicks. It is a knowledge and education based program meant to foster self awareness and flexibility while building confidence, promoting healthy weight loss, and ensuring a positive relationship with food and thus, with yourself.

Are you ready to break free of that cycle, abandon the guilt and gimmicks, and embrace a new way of eating, living, and most importantly, of celebrating you?

Click here to connect and to learn more.