Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Backyard Roosters

Monday, August 24, 2015

Roasted Cupcake Squash and Brussels Sprouts

It's been a crazy gardening season. It started out so much cooler than usual, which wreaked havoc on all the plants that thrive in warmer weather. Then it rained. And rained. I'm fairly certain I saw Noah go by. Then it finally remembered it was summer and warm weather came. The zucchini did great. We have been eating zucchini daily for about 2 months and I was able to freeze a lot too. The corn didn't fare as well. All of the rain completely flooded out the green beans-not a single plant survived. And because of the super soaked soil, the weeds took over nearly everything else. The one bring spot was the cupcake squash. I was concerned at first because when the cooler weather decided to stick around for a few weeks, we only had male flowers-no fruit. But soon, we had so many I couldn't keep up with them.

If you haven't seen cupcake squash yet, here's what they look like.

They're about the size of an onion and taste similar to zucchini, but with a nutty taste. And like zucchini, if you don't pick them on a regular basis, they will grow to amazingly large size! We had a few that were missed and ended up about the size of my head! We like to add them to salads raw, but my favorite way to eat them is roasted.

Roasted Cupcake Squash and Brussels Sprouts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss together brussels sprouts (cut in half, long ways), sliced squash, olive oil and salt. I used olive oil infused with Italian seasoning and garlic.

Roast until veggies are tender, about 30-45 minutes, stirring around about half way through.

When veggies turn a light golden brown, they're ready. Finish off with some pepper.

I like the squash by itself, but pairing with brussels sprouts is the best combination! They hold up really well to roasting, much better than other summer squash, but still have a delicate taste. We're just about to the end of this growing season, so I don't have too many more of these left. They will absolutely make it into next year's garden.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chicken Parm with Zoodles

Anyone else have mountains of zucchini that seem to multiply daily? Even eating zucchini on a daily basis doesn't seem to make a dent in the amount we have! And really, after eating it daily for 5 or 6 weeks, you have to figure out some new ways to cook it. We've been using zucchini in place of pasta for spaghetti and lasagna, but last night we decided to try making Chicken Parmesan with the zoodles. One word.....yum! It was such a great combination! 

For the chicken.....

Chicken breast, cut into thin pieces (about a pound)
1 c bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
2 T Italian seasoning

Preheat a large skillet on about medium heat and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
In a large ziploc bag, mix bread crumbs, cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. Dust chicken with flour, dip in egg, then toss into bag until chicken is coated. Pan fry until chicken is cooked through, then place in an oven to keep warm. Just before serving, top with additional cheese and put back in the oven until it melts.

For the sauce....

2 c tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 T Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the garlic and onion until soft in a medium pan with some olive oil. Stir in tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Keep on low until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

For the zoodles....

4 medium zucchini
2 T butter
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Using a vegetable spiralizer, cut the zucchini into long strips.

Cook by either sauteing in a pan or by boiling for 2-3 minutes. Drain and stir in butter and cheese.

Now all that's left is to assemble your plate and enjoy! Now to figure out what to do with the  rest of the zucchini mountain.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Can I be Fat AND Healthy?

The other day I saw a post on Facebook from a friend telling a cute story about her young daughter using the word "fat". My friend let her daughter know that the word "fat" isn't very nice and she should use the term "unhealthy". There was more to the story, and it was actually very cute, but the more I got to thinking about it, it actually started to bother me. I'm fat. Maybe that's not the PC term, and I'm sure I'm damaging some young girls' self esteem by making that remark, but let's be real here. I have excess amounts of fat cells around my entire body. I am fat. I'm also happy, creative, smart, witty, loved, and more importantly....healthy. I'm glad there are parents out there letting their children know that some comments are not appropriate, but to tell a child that fat = unhealthy drives me insane! Regardless of what society tells us, fat does not equal unhealthy, just as skinny does not equal healthy. Your blood pressure does not care what size your jeans are.

I am not saying we should be promoting obesity, or celebrating it. And all 222 lbs of me knows that I need to weigh less in order to maintain my long term health and my current weight is not ideal. But this fat girl has excellent blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. My oxygen efficiency is in the mid-athletic range. I run. I do strength training. I do cardio.

A good day at the gym looks like this for me:

And even the average day at the gym looks like this: 

And even a bad day at the gym looks like this: 

And every morning before 7 am, I get in at least 30 minutes of cardio. 

And my diet is amazing. I probably eat more vegetables in one day than most people do in a week. And I probably eat less refined grains in a week than most people do in a day. Processed foods are nearly absent from my diet. Instead, we eat whole foods, rich in vitamins and nutrients, focusing on seasonal and locally produced items, many of which come from our backyard.

My lunch from one day last week. Leftovers from the night before-Pork chop, asparagus and brussel sprouts. 

Part of my dinner from the other night...veggie kabobs on the grill
And I still get in my desserts because I love chocolate.

Chocolate, peanut butter "Ice cream" made from frozen bananas, peanut butter and cocoa. 

And I do all of it looking like this.

And to give some perspective, here's me 12 lbs heavier. Photos on the left are the "before". Photos on the right are 4 months later. I'm less fat now that I was before, but still healthy in both pictures.