Acorn Squash Sweet Salad

I am on a Pumpkorn kick. I cannot get enough of these delicious pumpkin seeds!

Today I incorporated a big handful of the honey ‘n’ flax flavor into my lunch .

Acorn, Pumpkorn, Cranberry Relish

Last night I prepped an acorn squash by piercing it before microwaving it for 5 minutes on one side and three minutes on the other. I used all the yummy flesh in my acorn squash salad today. I added several scoops of homemade cranberry relish for extra sweetness.

My afternoon snack is more Pumpkorn. I think I’ll be digging into my sea salt Pumpkorn sooner rather than later… not because I’m hungry, but because I’m obsessed.

Have you ever tried pumpkin butter? What’s your favorite kind of nut butter?

On random foodie Web sites I’ve seen pumpkin butter for sale and have always wanted to try it. Sounds delicious to me. My favorite nut butter is… duh… peanut butter!

I want to eat you!

I really love the honey nut peanut butter grinding machine at Whole Foods where you can grind your own honey nut peanuts into the most amazingly creamy and sweet nut butter. Whoa, is that a puddle of drool I see on my desk?

Peanut Butter Fingers Confession

I have an embarrassing peanut butter confession. About two weeks ago I was eating one too many peanut butter fingers. Ryan was about to leave for a soccer game and I thrust the peanut butter jar at him and told him to hide it from me so I wouldn’t eat the whole dang jar.

Let me just say I am one of the most curious people in the world. I’ve always tried to find my Christmas presents before Christmas (sometimes I’ve succeeded!). Ryan actually hid my engagement ring in his car for fear I’d find it. (Disclaimer: I don’t snoop unless I know someone’s planning to give something to me. I just wanna know what it is NOW!)

Anyway, about an hour after Ryan left for his soccer game, I felt my curiosity kick in. I promise you it wasn’t just another peanut butter craving (believe me I know how to identify this feeling). I knew he hid the peanut butter jar in the spare room of our apartment. After some digging, I found it in his closet and rewarded myself with another peanut butter finger! 😀

Naturally I placed the jar back in the closet and shut the door to hide my embarrassing lack of control over my own curiosity. When Ryan went to change after his shower he immediately said “Hm… someone found the peanut butter!

Caught! Ah! Apparently I didn’t place the jar back in the closet exactly as I’d found it. Note to fellow snoopers: return your finding exactly as you found it. Don’t get so excited about enjoying another peanut butter finger that you place the jar in the closet vertically when you found it horizontally. I’m so embarrassing.

Parmesan Cheese Puh-lease!

Do you ever create your dinner around one ingredient? I do this all the time. Often a teeny ingredient will inspire my entire dinner.

Tonight that ingredient was Parmesan cheese.


Parmesan Cheese Please!

I’m not sure what spawned this random craving for Parmesan cheese, but I’m blaming the fact that I forgot to put any cheese on my pasta last night. That’s just not like me and it’s been eating away at my soul ever since.

Clearly, I had to make up for it tonight.

I cooked up come Carba Nada egg fettuccine noodles (I’m tellin’ ya, they never get old) and topped them with sauteed spinach, acorn squash, portobello mushrooms and LOTS and LOTS of Parmesan cheese.


Portobello Mushroomies

veggies on pasta

Veggie Topped Pasta

parm on veggies

Parmesan Mountain

Perfect. It hit the spot. The cheese spot, that is… which is almost as big as my sweet spot which controls my cravings for baked goods. It’s huge. Trust me.

parm pasta

All Stirred Up


Engaged Girl Experience

I had quite the weird engaged-girl experience today. As I was driving home from work, the song “Amazed” by Lonestar came on the radio (you know the one that starts “Everytime our eyes meet, this feeling inside me, is almost more than I can take”). I’ve heard this song a ba-zillion times, but this time the words really stuck out to me and I got all teary! Who does that!? I swear, country music just gets to me!

I walked in the door ready to give my hubby-to-be a big emotional hug only to find him playing indoor soccer with the dog. I sure do love those two! 🙂

Now I’m off to do a two loads of laundry and pack for St. Pete this weekend. Ryan and I are once again headed to my parent’s house. We’re checking out some more potential wedding venues and meeting with a photographer. Also, I have my very first appointment at a bridal boutique on Saturday… Eeeee! My mom and sister are coming with me for my first attempt at trying on wedding dresses. Exciting stuff!

Enjoy the rest of your Friday Eve! 🙂

Reebok EasyTone

Have you heard the latest commotion surrounding Reebok’s EasyTone sneakers? Apparently these bad boys help tone & tighten your tooshie and legs just by walking. Believe it? Me neither. 😉


(Picture from

I wrote my Examiner article on the shoes today which includes a link to the scandalous advertisement of the shoes that’s gettin’ lots of publicity right now. Click here to see the article and ad.

Have you ever purchased any weight loss or fitness gimmicks?

Rue La La

Remember when I posted about “boutique sites” that offer awesome discounts on designer clothes? Well I received and email from Rue La La today stating that anyone who signs up automatically gets a $10 credit toward their first purchase.

rue la la

Don't you feel like this sometimes when you can't find anything to wear?

Not a bad gig, huh? This will basically eliminate the cost of shipping on your order. Woohoo! Click here to get the credit and browse the site.

Acorn Squash Salad

Is a salad a salad without lettuce or leaves? I’m thinking yes because there’s chicken salad, tuna salad, fruit salad… all without lettuce.

Therefore my lunch today merits the term “salad.” 🙂

The base of my salad was a roasted acorn squash. Last night as I was makin’ pasta for dinner, I let the squash roast at 350 degrees face down on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray for approximately 30 minutes.

acorn squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

I then cut a grid into the flesh and scooped out cubes of the squash.

I topped my squash with sauteed onions, portobello mushrooms, yellow squash and creamy goat cheese.

acorn squash salad

Acorn Squash Salad Topped with Goat Cheese

acorn squash salad 2

Thursday's Lunch

I also added a big ol’ scoop of cranberry relish to this mix to round out my meal.

acorn squash salad with cranberry

Squash Salad with Cranberry Relish

I love leaf-less salads!

What’s your favorite kind of salad?

Cheese, Sausage and Squash… What Could Be Better?

…well, ice cream. 😉

But since I was planning dinner and not dessert, cheese, sausage and squash seemed like the makings for a delicious dish.

Before starting dinner, Ryan and I took Sadie on a walk around the lake.

Ryan and the Pup

Ryan and the Pup

Spooky lookin’ skies made us walk a little faster.

Menacing Skies

Menacing Skies

Despite our super-fast walking, we got caught in a downpour. Thankfully, in true Florida fashion, it was over within five minutes. We were able to hide out under a big tree that kept us mostly dry.

When we walked back to our apartment I noticed Grimace the Pumpkin’s smile has turned into a smirk with age. I still love you, Grimace!

Me, Sadie and Grimace

Me, Sadie and Grimace

By the time we got home our tummies were a-grumblin’. It was tiiiiime for dinner.

I was motivated to use my acorn squash when I saw that this lil’ baby is the featured ingredient in the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest, currently hosted by Megan this week. I’m not a fancy-dancy chef or an expert photographer, so hopefully this un-glamorous dish will appeal to someone, likely a simpleton like myself. 🙂

Here are the supplies for tonight’s sausagey squash dinn-ah:

Sausage Acorn Squash Ingredients

Sausage Acorn Squash Ingredients

To begin, I poked the acorn squash all over with a knife before microwaving it for five minutes (flipping it over at three minutes).

While the squash was a-cookin’, I combined sliced Aidell’s sun-dried tomato and mozzarella sausages, onion, garlic cloves and sliced mushroom in a pan coated with a bit of olive oil. I let the mixture cook until the onions were soft and slightly caramelized.

Onion, Mushrooms, Garlic

Onion, Mushrooms, Garlic

Sun-Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Sausage

Sun-Dried Tomato and Mozzarella Sausage

Veggies and Sausage

Veggies and Sausage

I then added tomato basil marinara sauce over the mixture and let it simmer on low.



Once the squash was tender, I removed it from the microwave, cut it in half and removed the seeds before filling the squash-pockets with the sausage mixture.

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

Stuffed Squash

Stuffed Squash

Since I can’t seem to eat anything tomato-based without cheese, I topped the filled squash with shredded cheese before placing it in the oven at 325 degrees. I let it bake for approximately eight minutes, until the cheese was ooey-gooey.

Sausage Squash with Cheese

Sausage Squash with Cheese

Voila! Super easy sausage squash!


My Bowl o' Squizz-ash

My Bowl o' Squizz-ash


Spectrum Sports Performance Personal Training

Last week at my friend Merri’s pumpkin carving party, she mentioned that her gym Spectrum Sports Performance is offering free personal training sessions to women this week. I’ve heard Merri rave about this gym since she joined, and her stories about the intense cardio sessions and creative weight circuits trainers have designed for her have always peaked my interest.

Picture from Spectrum Sports Performance

Picture from Spectrum Sports Performance

I jumped at the opportunity to give this gym a shot. (You guys know I love freebies!) Early tomorrow morning I am meeting with Rob who will be taking me through a cardio workout.

Check out Rob’s impressive bio:

Rob is a graduate of Hofstra University and brings a unique combination of passion and commitment to the SSP Team. After two years at the University of Louisville he transferred to Hofstra University where he was a 3 time All American kicker at the Division 1 Level. It was at Hofstra where Coach David Cohen called Rob, “The hardest worker he has ever coached.” His love of sports appears to only be surpassed by his passion for Health and Fitness and we’re confident this experience and enthusiasm will translate into great things for our clients.

In addition to his collegiate experience Rob has worked under Steve Saunders with fellow Performance Specialist Nate Caraway. at Power Train Sports one of the elite training programs in the northeast. It was at PTS that Rob gained valuable experience working with athletes at the Professional, Collegiate and High School levels. He has also coordinated and contributed to a number of Football, Soccer and Basketball training camps and is on the staff of FKS, a kicking school owned and operated by Tom Feely.

Before SSP Rob spent some time in the Cleveland Browns NFL training camp and currently is ranked in the top 5 of all active college kickers in 3 major categories including 1st in the nation in Kicks made per game. A graduate of Colonial High School he was a 4 year Letterman in Soccer and Football. He was named Captain of the Soccer team in 2001 and 2002 and lead the Grenadiers to their best record in school history in 2002.

They were kind enough to ask about my gym routine and are designing a cardio workout since Thursday is typically a cardio-only day for me, as I do total-body weights on Wednesdays.  Since I’ve never worked with a trainer before, I’m nervous and excited to see what they have in store!

I find myself falling into a workout routine lately and I think this is a great way to shock the old bod and try something new and challenging. If  I don’t post tomorrow morning, I may be passed out on the gym floor…

Question: Have you ever worked out with a personal trainer? Did you enjoy your experience?

A Very Autumn Meal: Apple Acorn Squash

Acorn squash!

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

After purchasing this lil’ guy at the grocery store at the beginning of October, he was relegated to the “produce basket” for several weeks.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and Veggies

I didn’t want to disturb him because he added such a nice touch of fall flare to the mix. (Looks like it’s time to use those bananers, huh?)

Alas, D-Day for the squash arrived last night.



I’ve never prepared an acorn squash and I didn’t even realize they were used for anything other than autumn decoration until this year! I turned to my favorite resource (Google) to figure out how to prepare the squash.

First, as instructed by the MayoClinic’s Web site, I pierced the squash all over with a knife to allow steam to escape when I microwaved it on high for five minutes (turning at three minutes).

This made it suuuuper easy to cut into the acorn squash, unlike any experience I’ve had cutting into it’s spaghetti or butternut brothers.

Once the acorn squash was halved, I removed the seeds.

Lots o' Seeds

Lots o' Seeds

I Don't See Any Seeds

No Mo' Seeds

Because I didn’t just want to eat plain squash for dinner, I turned to autumn’s  favorite fruit to fill the squash – the apple.

Ambrosia Apple

Ambrosia Apple

I sliced the apple with my handy-dandy apple slicer before cutting it into chunks and topping it with brown sugar.

Apple Slices

Apple Slices

Chunk-a-Chunk of Apple

Chunk-a-Chunk of Apple

Because Apples Apparently Aren't Sweet Enough...

Because Apples Apparently Aren't Sweet Enough...

I distributed the apple mixture between the two halves of acorn squash.

Apple Acorn Squash

Apple Acorn Squash

I placed the apple-stuffed squash back in the microwave for another three minutes until the apples were warm, but still slightly crisp.

When the squash was done, I plated one half and smooshed it out, topping the squash with lots of cinnamon.

Cinnamon Apple Acorn Squash

Cinnamon Apple Acorn Squash

It was delicious!

About halfway through my squash, Ryan casually mentioned he thought it would taste good with syrup, so I added light syrup to the mix and WOW. My fiance is an acorn squash genius.

For lunch today, you can bet I smothered my leftovers with syrup!

Leftover Lunch

Leftover Lunch

This dinner and lunch was yummy and I’m excited to make it again, adding even more fun additions.

Possible recipe additions:

  • Pecans
  • Honey
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Peach Slices
  • Pear Slices
  • Craisins or Raisins

All in all, this was a tasty (and festive) meal!