Spaghetti of the Squash Variety

Spaghetti for dinner!

No, not noodles… Squash!

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I purchased a giant spaghetti squash a couple of weeks ago and it has been waiting patiently for me to use it to create a delicious dinner.

Tonight was the night!

After prepping the squash, I set it in the oven and let it bake away while messing with Sadie. Sometimes she is just so fun to terrorize. 😉

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I think she thoroughly enjoyed dancing and twirling to Bonnie Raitt.

“Let’s give ‘em somethin’ to talk abooooout!”

After 40 minutes in the oven, the squash was ready for noodleizing. (You may read about how I prep spaghetti squash here.)

Once I had a bowl full of squash noodles, I topped them with Newman’s Own Sockarooni pasta sauce and a bucket load of Parmesan cheese.

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Newman’s Own pasta sauce was buy one, get one free at my local grocery store so I nabbed two jars. Ryan selected the Sockarooni flavor that we used tonight and it is a winner! Loads of flava!

Sadie clearly wanted to sample it as well…

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Though my bowl of spaghetti squash was quite large, I still wanted a little somethin’ somethin’ when I was done eating, so I popped open a cup of Chobani strawberry banana Greek yogurt to enjoy while I blog away.

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Now I’m off for an evening stroll with Ryan and Miss Sadie.

Enjoy your night!

My Wedding Band!!! ( & Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash)

First things first, I loved all of your tips and ideas about how to begin living a healthy lifestyle.    

If you’re looking for more advice on how to begin eating healthily or how to start up a workout routine, check out the awesome informational nuggets from people who have been there in the comments section.  You guys are some smart cookies. 🙂  

Wedding Bands = Done!  

After work today, I picked Ryan up at home and we headed to Winter Park to (yet again) scope out a potential wedding band for me. (We picked out Ryan’s band last weekend.)    

When we arrived, the jeweler had two bands, both with princess cut diamonds, waiting for me to check out.    

Option number one had nine smaller diamonds. 

Option Number One

Option number two I actually examined last weekend. It had five larger diamonds. 

Option Number Two

 After trying them on back to back, and then re-trying them on about a billion more times, it became increasingly clear that I preferred the second ring.  

I felt like the first ring looked like a ribbon of diamonds, whereas the second ring looked like five individual diamonds, almost like mini versions of the diamond on my engagement band, which I thought was beautiful.   

I had a hard time with the whole process because the second ring was more expensive and it feels kind of crazy to spend so much money on a wedding band. 

Ryan was amazing throughout the process and encouraged me to get the one I really loved because in the long run the price difference isn’t crazy and it’s something I’ll wear and treasure forever. I knew he was right, but it’s still hard to justify. Thank goodness I wasn’t with him when he bought my engagement ring! 

A Little Anxious!

 In the end we decided on the second ring and I couldn’t be more excited! I think it is gorgeous! I’m going to have a hard time waiting until October to wear it. 

Me and Mah Ring!

  Here is a picture of us sportin’ our bands. 

Our Rings!!!

 We were both feeling pretty excited! 

Yay!

 The woman sized our fingers (I’m a 4.5… apparently I have baby fingers???), and we will pick up our rings once they’re resized in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!  

Wedding band shopping made us quite hungry and we hurried home for a yummy dinner!  

Dinner  

Huuuuge shout out to TrailMomma for telling me that you can make spaghetti squash in the crock pot. Who knew!?!?  

According to TrailMomma,  

“If you put a spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 cups of water on low for 8 hours (or a tad less) or 5 hours on high you’ll come home to a cooked and ready to use squash. Keep in mind, cook less for a more “crunchier” squash as this makes it super soft . . . mix with tomato sauce, chickpeas and lots of oregano and you have one tasty meal!”  

Coincidentally enough, I purchased a spaghetti squash at the grocery store on Sunday evening. After reading her comment, I couldn’t wait to attempt to cook the squash in my beloved crock pot.   

As she suggested, I placed my spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 1/2 cups of water (it was a big squash!), and let it cook on low all day while I was at work.  

 
 
 

Cooked Squash

 I loved how easy the crock pot cooking made it to slice into the squash. Cutting into a spaghetti squash is always so hard and makes me nervous. It was nice to be able to slice into the squash withour much effort.  

Sliced and Ready

 After removing the seeds, I forked out the squash and topped it with steamed broccoli, pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.   

Dinner is Served

Close Up

Close Up of Tastiness

 The verdict on crock pot spaghetti squash? It was really good! However, I like my “noodles” a little crunchier, so next time I will be sure to take the squash out of the crock pot after four hours or so to keep the squash from becoming too mushy.  

Mushy squash and all, I still loved this dinner!  

Of Possible Interest 

 Bachelorette Party Countdown Begins!  

Look what I had waiting for me on my front door step when I got home yesterday:  

Bachelorette Party Goodies

My wonderful friends left me a bag full of goodies and a homemade bachelorette party countdown booklet… Only SIX more days!!!  

Count Down!!!

Bachelorette Party Countdown Booklet

What to Wear

The booklet they made was beyond adorable. As shown in the above picture, it included a list of things I need to pack, organized by each day we’re there. The goodie bag included adorable bachelorette party gear, like a tank-top that says “BRIDE,” a blinking ring, a pink feather boa and more.

I have the best friends and can’t wait to enjoy a weekend of fun with them in Chicago!

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I plan on tackling my first long run in three weeks! After being sidelined from a heel injury, I took some time off from my half marathon training plan to recover.My heel feels much better and I feel up to attempting to conquer a 10 mile run tomorrow! Eek!!! Cross your fingers for me. 😀

Because of Ricotta

Tonight I wanted ricotta cheese like it was nobody’s business!

Someone at work today was eating lasagna leftovers for lunch, which prompted my craving around 11:30 a.m.! After waiting hours, I finally gave into my desire for the cheesy goodness.

Since I didn’t have any noodles on hand and was feeling way to lazy to make homemade lasagna, I settled for a big bowl of spaghetti squash, topped with ricotta, Parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, roasted broccoli and roasted squash.

I prepared my dinner by first baking the squash and forking out the “noodles.”

Spaghetti Squash

Ready for Toppings

I added a ton of steamed broccoli on top of the squash before going crazy with the two cheeses.

Broccoli + Cheese

Dinner

Stirred Up

I satisfied my cheesy craving and got lot o’ veggies in there, too. Win, win situation.

Dessert

I decided to do some post-dinner baking tonight and made a batch of my sugar-free coconut meringues.

Coconut Meringues

These are so good and pack a little protein punch.

On that note, I think I’m gonna go grab some more… 😉

8 Worst Snacks

After work yesterday I ran to the grocery store to pick up some Viactiv calcium chews since I was all out (I take one of these every morning).

While I was there, I nabbed a small spaghetti squash… Kinda like a personal pan pizza, but a personal puny spaghetti squash. 😉

I cooked it up last night to enjoy for lunch today.

Friday's Lunch

I topped the spaghetti squash with marinara meat sauce, Parmesan and ricotta cheese and stirred it up until the sauce coated every last strand of squash.

Friday's Lunch

Though there’s a lot of volume in this lunch, I knew I would probably feel hungry in no time without some additional protein.

For dessert, I had overnight oats prepared with old fashioned oats, Greek yogurt, strawberries and instant chocolate pudding mix.

This concoction was suuuuper tasty!

Chocolate and Strawberry Yogurt Pudding

8 Worst Snacks

Today WebMD compiled a list of the 8 worst snacks. Check ’em out and see if anything you eat made the list!

8 Worst Snacks:

  1. Chocolate-coated doughnuts and mini doughnuts (Entenmann’s Pop’ems)
  2. Snack pies (Hostess fruit pies)
  3. Movie-theater butter microwavable popcorn (Pop-Secret Extra Butter)
  4. Lunchables by Oscar Mayer
  5. Regular chips and Cheetos
  6. Packaged frozen snacks (Jimmy Dean biscuits, Hot Pockets)
  7. Tyson Fun Nuggets
  8. Cheese crackers (Ritz Bits, Cheez-Its)

Though I wasn’t shocked, I was sad to see Cheez-Its on the list.

They’re just so darn delicious!

Free TCBY Waffle Cone

If you sign up for TCBY’s email club, you will receive a free waffle cone! Click here to get yours!

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You can also order online and use the code BIG8X10 to receive the offer.

Tackling Turnips

(Side note: I love alliteration and I apologize that so many of my post titles reflect my abnormal love for it since I know it’s totally cheesy! 🙂 ) 

Tonight I tackled turnips! 

I purchased a bunch of turnips at the grocery store at the beginning of the week and put off making them until tonight because I was highly intimidated! What does a turnip even taste like!? 

I read about different preparation techniques and decided I’d try roasting them since I typically like any veggie roasted. 

Since the weather was once again beyond gorgeous, I took the opportunity to peel and chop the turnips in the backyard while psycho dog ran around with her various stuffed pig toys. 

Hiii!

Got the Pig!

I always knew Sadie was a veggie lover (broccoli is her favorite), but she shocked me once again by loving the turnip peels! She couldn’t get enough! 

Before long, I had a big Tupperware container full of turnip “fries.” 

*Note the Turnip Mooch at the Bottom Right*

I then tossed the turnip fries in olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder and cooked them in the oven at 415 degrees for 20 minutes before flipping them and cooking them for an additional 15 minutes. 

Turnip Fries

I served the turnip fries along with a big squirt of ketchup. 

Ready for Dippin'

With Ketchup

The fries were pretty darn good! They reminded me a bit of potatoes but with the texture of butternut squash fries. When I dipped them in ketchup they reminded me of the extra-greasy, flimsy French fries. Mmm! 

Of course the fries weren’t substantial enough for a dinner, so I prepped my third bowl of spaghetti squash in two days. 

Dinner Bowl

Veggie Overload

As good as the turnip fries and spaghetti squash bowl were, dessert was even better! 

Reese's Egg

Reese’s eggs are even better than Reese’s peanut butter cups. I think they have extra peanut butter and that’s always a good thing. 😀

Time to pack for Easter weekend at my parents’ and Ryan’s family’s house!

Sunshine and Spaghetti Squash

How flippin’ gorgeous is the weather in Central Florida!?

(For those of you not in Florida at the moment, it’s pretty fantastic!)

After changing into scrubby clothes and leashing up the pup, I was off to meet my friend Laurel for a walk in the sunshine!

My Little Love Muffin

We walked around a big lake near Laurel’s apartment for a little more than an hour. It was good to catch up with her and Sadie was happy to be part of girl’s time, too!

Dinner

After our walk, I came home and wanted a quick dinner because my tummy was grumblin’.

I really enjoyed my lunch today and was cravin’ more of the same for dinner.

I reheated a big bowl of spaghetti squash and topped it with broccoli, cauliflower, marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese and Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles.

MorningStar Farms Meal Starters Crumbles

Spaghetti Squash Dinner Bowl

Those fakie meat crumbles are pretty darn good! Even Ryan, a huge meat lover, said he doesn’t think he’d know they weren’t meat if I served them in a pasta “meat” sauce.

Dinner

Stirred Up

I love chowing down to BIG tasty and nutritious meal.

I’m off to finish up some laundry and enjoy a sweet treat. See ya in the a.m.!

Wine or Bread

Work, work, work!

Today has been quite the busy day at the office! I usually have a lot of work to do, but it typically involves a lot of writing, which I love, so it doesn’t feel so daunting. Today, however, I am doing a lot of number crunching because I am putting together a quarterly review for my department. Phew!

Needless to say my mind and belly were ready for a break around lunchtime.

I was pretty pumped for my lunch today.

Last night as we were making dinner, I cooked spaghetti squash to use in my mid-day meal.

Spaghetti Squash Bowl

To the big bowl ‘o’ squash, I added zucchini, portobello mushrooms, cauliflower, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese (Yes, I am obsessed).

Hump Day Lunch

I stirred everything up and wolfed this down like it was cool.

Wine Vs. Bread

Yesterday I read a little excerpt on FitSugar.com that included diet dos and don’ts from the Countess LuAnn de Lesseps from the Real Housewives of New York (which I’ve never actually seen).

She offers this advice to party goers:

“If you eat the bread, skip the wine. If you drink the wine, skip the bread. It’s one or the other. I personally choose the wine.”

I choose to take the stance that you can enjoy both, but if I had to choose one – fresh, crusty bread or a glass of wine, I’d definitely pick the bread. I ❤ food (and carbs!).

However, if the bread was stale and nothin’ special, I’d go for a glass of Relax Riesling. Yum.

Now I ask you…

If you had to choose between wine or bread, which would you pick?