Tag Archives: spaghetti squash

Lately – The Cooking


So while this blog was abandoned for some time, what the heck have I been doing?

Here are a few things…

We celebrated Rob’s birthday at a friend’s house the weekend before Thanksgiving. I went in search of a cake to bring and found the perfect thing…


Yes. That is a cake I found at Byerly’s, a local higher-end grocery store here in MN. You may recall that Rob is allergic to turkey. So this cake – YES! That’s a cake! – is one he could have. And the cake was actually quite delicious! (Especially served on Hello Kitty plates!)


Rob went out of town for two long weekends in a row. You know what this means… It was time for me to cook up a storm!!

Here are a few of the things I made for myself and/or my freezer and my thoughts…

I’ve been really into the Well Fed cookbooks by Mel Joulwan lately. I by no means eat Paleo; but I love cooking real food and keeping away from processed crap as much as possible. So that is where that love stems. I made quite a few things from her books over those two weeks!

  • Homemade Mayo – This is just a staple in my house now. It can be the basis of so many homemade sauces!
  • Magic Dust – A mix of toasted nuts, onions, spices and coconut, this is a tasty little sprinkle of garnishment and flavor! I overcooked mine a bit, but it still is pretty good. Strange but good: A hard boiled egg with a dollop of homemade mayo and Magic Dust.
  • Merguez – The moment I saw Mel’s merguez seasoning mix, I knew I wanted to make this sausage love of mine that stems from my days in the South of France. I made my merguez with a mixture of ground lamb and ground beef. I shaped mine into sausage links, but I really need to work on shaping them! Not pretty…


  • Simple Lemon Spinach – Also pictured above with my Merguez sausages with some homemade garlic mayo for dipping on the side! This simple spinach has become one of my faves and will go into my regular rotation!
  • Best Chicken Ever – I was skeptical about this. Really? The best? I wanted to make this while Rob was out of town because there are lot of little steps. I will say that the spice blend did not come through as evenly or as nicely as I would have liked… But OMG, brining changes everything!!


  • Doner Kebab Sausages – What else was I to do with my leftover 1/2 pound lamb and 1/2 pound ground beef from my Merguez? Mel’s Well Fed 2 cookbook has over a dozen meat mixtures that you can make into meatballs, sausages and burgers.
  • Greek Broccoli – From the first Well Fed. I have to say that I didn’t like this dish so much because the tomato paste didn’t mix in very well for me. But I did like the burst grape tomatoes in the recipe! So I’ve made notes to make just those next time (and skip the tomato paste). #RecipeFail=LearnWhatYouLike
  • Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash – Oh how I adored this dish!! If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you probably should give it a go. To be honest, it’s nothing like pasta. But if I’m having spaghetti squash, I just love flavoring it with sauces instead of eating it plain. I had a little leftover after making my Pad Thai, so I served it alongside some chicken the next day:


  • Lizard Sauce – I’ve been wanting to make this for ages! I just had to get the dried guajillos. I love using my food processor to make my own sauces without preservatives, too. This stuff has a bite! It’s a good dipper for meat or veggies (see photo above), but I also mixed some with my homemade mayo to make my own Creamy Lizard Sauce to top my spaghetti squash (also see above).

Over those two weekends, I also made a few recipes other recipes. One needs to actually ACTION those Pins at some point!

  • Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken – This chicken was way too dry for my taste. (Or maybe I’d been spoiled by the earlier brined chicken!) I put it in a salad with dressing. It just needed a bit more than I had expected.
  • Ranch Dressing – I didn’t make the Well Fed version. Instead, I used the homemade mayo as a base, this Ranch seasoning mix (it’s one of the few not made with sugar!) and added in a little lemon juice and water to make it tangy and thin it out.
  • Homemade Mexican Green Chorizo – Oh, Homesick Texan, it’s been a while! I’m so glad I busted you out! Chorizo now stocked in the freezer.

What healthy or non-holiday related dishes have you been cooking lately?


Black Bean Pasta {A Review}


Last year, I participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and was really surprised that I was able to post every day in the month of November pretty easily. I’m really not sure how I did it, when over the past couple months I’ve been struggling. However, I’m going to give it a shot again because at least it’ll force me to try to get all of my memories on Australia in print!

That is why today, you are getting my Food & Fitness Link-Up post instead of on Monday!

But first, just a little recap on last week and what I finally tried: Black Bean “Pasta”.

I decided to try it in this recipe for Southwestern Black Bean Pasta with Skinny Avocado Crema.

This is what it looked like:


Then I added the avocado crema, which came out thicker than I expected and became more of a dollop than a drizzle.


I didn’t go crazy over these black bean “noodles” like the majority of people did who reviewed them on line. I did like them just fine. Still, the texture was a little weird. It made sense because that texture was more like black beans. It’s just not what you expect for pasta.

I think the black bean “spaghetti” would taste better with more of a sauce. I kept adding more of that avocado crema, despite the fact that it wasn’t exactly my favorite either. It was a little too tangy for me. That could be because of the yogurt or the lemon juice. I even added a bit more olive oil to mellow it out.

This recipe made a ton of food! I didn’t use fresh corn, but frozen and I loved getting that hint of sweetness every couple of bites. The mushrooms were a nice touch, too. To be honest, I’d probably make this dish with just regular black beans! I’d make my own Power Bowl by topping some black beans with the veggie mixture from the recipe above, then sprinkle a little cheddar and top with some sliced avocado instead of the crema.

Rob took a taste and he liked the texture of the noodles even less than I did. But we both believe that with some sort of sauce, they could be much better.

I’m still going to try it the Black Bean Spaghetti with Red Curry Sauce recipe. And I may create my own with a garlic cream sauce as well.

And now for this week:



Last week went really well with us eating on our own. I loved being able to eat chicken at home. I made chicken thighs for the first time! This Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas dish was absolutely delicious. However, between the thighs (of which I only made half of the recipe) and the Southwestern Black Bean Spaghetti with Skinny Avocado Crema, it was so much food! I didn’t even make the Crockpot Chicken with Brussels Sprouts I had planned because I had so many leftovers.

Here are my plans for this week!



  • Leftovers
  • Snacks – Honeycrisp apples, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate



  • Monday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Tuesday Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Wednesday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.
  • Sunday – Walk 1 hour OR Run 1 mile OR HIIT Run/Walk OR 30 min on recumbent bike.

I’m looking for some recipe suggestions for next week! When I went to visit my friend Stacy, she had an overabundence of winter squash. I took a few off her hands. I have a small butternut squash, a buttercup squash and an acorn squash.

Here are a couple of recipes I’m considering trying:

What are your favorite winter squash recipes?