Welcome, Great Pumpkin!

Today’s the day! I’ll be off to Ottawa in just a little while, where I can hopefully leave the frustrations of the week behind and celebrate Halloween in style! Hopefully without going too far overboard while I’m at it… urk.

Admittedly, I did my fair bit of doldrum dwelling yesterday after my le terrible weigh-in. But, never a fan of self-pity, I did try to turn it around. Like all of you wonderful readers were saying to me in the comments, it’s a new day and a new week! No reason not to move forward in full force. So for once I actually counted every calorie I consumed yesterday (1254, shock!) and cooked myself a dinner that was ridiculously healthy for how tasty it was.

VeggieTable
One intensely bountiful produce drawer, plus:

Satay
A few tablespoons of deliciousness, equals:

I EAT VEGGIES.
Veggie bowl to the extreme!

Going out of town means I had an intense game of pantry roulette to play, after all. Had to use up all that produce! In the bowl was spaghetti squash, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, and kale, peanut sauce and some green onions for garnish.

SauteAdd teh veggies
KaleSquish, Squash

Just more kitchen therapy to help haul me out of the doldrums. It worked! Still a little discouraged about my weight situation, but it’s getting better.

Sweet as Pumpkin Pie

Of course, the pumpkin carving party I crashed at Amanda’s didn’t hurt either.

You'd better learn your rules
Such a gracious hostess, hahaha.

In true Halloween spirit, we carved our pumpkins with a scurry movie on the background afteer some mild objections from me. I can’t handle scary movies — I got roped into seeing House of Wax once and had nightmares for like three weeks! But this one, “The Frighteners”, had Michael J. Fox in it so it wasn’t that bad.

Guts
Mmm, guts.

Amanda, her roommate Brad, and our friend Eddie all ambitiously followed patterns from a book, so they ended up with very cool and intricate designs on their pumpkins.

Skeptical ScultorIn process

Me though? I was going for an even classier approach.

Too Much Candy

Bahahaha. And with that image now forever burned into your memory, I bid you adieu! (See? I’m already getting my French-Canadian on.)

Have you carved anything interesting for Halloween this year? Or seen any pumpkins of note on a neighbor’s doorstep, perhaps? Since becoming an “adult” and moving out of my parents’ house I’ve found that my pumpkin carving has fallen by the wayside. Sad! I definitely have to remember to keep this tradition alive.

A Worthy Replacement

There’s no denying the fact that I am a pasta lover.

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Rigatoni, farfalle, rotini, spaghetti, linguini, rice noodles, egg noodles…

Take a bite!

Just give me some sort of noodle and some kind of sauce to go alongside it, and I am a happy, happy girl. Unfortunately, eating tons of this carb-y goodness isn’t exactly conducive to the whole weight loss thing I’m still attempting to complete. Especially when the aforementioned sauces generally tend to be buttery and creamy and oh-so-artery-cloggingly delicious.

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While I do have a few healthy pasta recipes that are delicious and nutritious in my arsenal, I still have a big problem with proper portioning. A mere two ounces of spaghetti is supposed to be a serving, and that’s simply never enough.

Day 206 - Pasta in a Jar.
(photo by ben)

So a couple nights ago, I finally decided to bite the bullet and try out yet another fad I’ve been seeing grace the healthy living blogosphere for a while: spaghetti squash!

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I recognize that these photos look like ish because I forgot to swap lenses, but please just bear with me. After all, I’ve got a MIRACLE to share here!

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Because surely nothing less than a miracle could be responsible for a vegetable tasting almost exactly like pasta, right? Label me officially flabbergasted.

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I split a spaghetti squash in half, de-seeded it, and sprinkled salt & pepper over it. I then threw both halves onto a baking sheet and baked/roasted/whatevered them at 375 degrees for 20 minutes… but then got really, really impatient when it wasn’t cooked by then. Soooo, I put them on a plate and finished them in the microwave – 5 minutes on high with a paper towel draped on top. Obviously if you were a non-crazy person, you might actually look up appropriate cooking times and/or methods, but hey, it worked out!

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Once cooked through, the flesh becomes soft and the spaghetti-shaped strands (hence, er, the name. Duh.) just pull away from the sides. You get a TON of “noodles” out of a single squash. The picture above shows the amount I got from only one of the halves!

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I cooked up a sauce with ground turkey, onion, garlic, broccoli, and spinach — in a tomato sauce + alfredo sauce base. Then I added a splash of almond milk to thin it out, seasoned it, and voila! I won’t lie: of course the texture is a bit different than real pasta. But the squash tastes SO much like spaghetti, I honestly could NOT believe my tastebuds! It barely has a squashy (haha) flavor at all, and pairs SO well with sauce. I was hesitant at first to jump on the spaghetti squash bandwagon, but now? Well, consider me a convert.

spaghetti squash
(source)

Want to hear the best part? A cup of spaghetti squash has — are you ready for this? — 42 calories. FORTY-TWO CALORIES! Compare that to the 200+ calories you’d likely be looking at with the same amount of whole wheat pasta, then go try this magical vegetable for yourself. I may still need to work on my portioning problems, but at least with this I can overeat guilt-free, hahaha.

Have you tried spaghetti squash before? Have you used it as a pasta replacement/substitution? There are only a few substitutions that are really worthwhile (plain greek yogurt for sour cream is one of them), but this has definitely made the list.

Daily Eats – 10/19/11

Oh look, I actually did what I said I was going to for once! I took pictures of my food! Sorry for the iPhone pics… I was lazy. Something’s better than nothing? 🙂

Breakfast

– 1/2 cup uncooked oats, soaked in water overnight
– 2 tbps almond milk
– 1 heaping tbps pumpkin
– Pumpkin pie spice
– Crumbled mini-cookie on top, hehe.

Morning Snack

– Grrrrrapes

Lunch

– Spaghetti squash
– Sauce with ground turkey, broccoli, spinach, onion, garlic, and deliciousness

– Fuji apple w/ 1 tbsp peanut butter

Afternoon Snack

– 3 sips of this tiny V8 before I got grossed out. Good in Bloody Marys, yes. Good for regular drinking, no.

A bowl of beige-y goodness:
– Pretzel crisps
– Pita chips
– Hummus
– Horseradish mustard

Dinner

– Roasted chicken leg
– Asparagus
– TJ’s mushroom ravioli, Sandra Lee’d up with some thyme and fresh button mushrooms.

I feel like I did good, for once, hahaha. ‘Til next time!