Monday, October 1, 2012

Squash Preparation and Eggy in a Basket

Happy Monday and first day of October to you all! October is such a great month. I know so many people are dreading winter coming, especially those of us in areas who get pounded with snow. Being in Pennsylvania, some years are mild in the winter, others are really bad. I love snow, but I hate driving in it. I have gotten a new vehicle since last winter, so I am hoping that it drives much better in inclement weather. However, we shouldn’t be worrying about snow yet! Right now we should enjoy the gorgeous changing leaves, cool dewy mornings, hoodies, jeans, and all of the amazing comfort foods that fall graces us with!

This is my first fall clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Before, I never cared what season brought what produce. I actually had really no knowledge that fall was squash season, which now seems blasphemous! I love squash now. As a kid I used to hate it! I would have to take bites and, without chewing, swallow it whole with my drink. I now eat a lot of spaghetti squash, zucchini, and recently I have been in love with acorn squash! I still have to try butternut squash and some other varieties as well.  I get a lot of questions as to how I prepare both my spaghetti squash, and now acorn. I figured I would just make a post about it so that if anyone needs help figuring out how to make it, then can reference this post.

The way that I prepare both acorn and spaghetti squash are very similar. First, I preheat my oven to 350 degrees. I cut my squash in half (not through the middle) so that it is cut through the stem and the base. Separate the two halves and remove the seeds and center of the squash. If you want, you can save the seeds and bake them! Once the squash is cleaned of the stringy core and seeds, I put it on a baking pan. I have the cut sides facing up (so you can see the inside of the squash). Next, I add about ½ an inch to an inch of water to the baking pan.  If you choose, you can season the squash now. I leave it plain because I like to eat my squashes with different seasonings and dishes. Next, I put the squash into the oven. Depending on the size of the squash, it can take half an hour to over an hour. I usually check it at the 25-30 minute mark. To check if the squash is done, insert a fork into the “meat” close to the flesh of the squash. If the fork goes in easily and the “meat” can be pulled away from the flesh, it is done. Mine are typically done within 30-45 minutes. 

For spaghetti squash, you take a fork and scrape the inside of the squash. Don’t do it too hard because you want the squash to take a more noodle-like texture vs. a mashed one.

For acorn squash, you can cut it into cubes and remove the flesh, or you can mash it up to store it.

Both types of squash are incredibly easy and convenient. If you are like me and like to prep foods at the start of the week so you have easy and quick meals (if you are clean eating, body building, or just have a busy schedule, and aren’t doing this yet, you should because it makes life so much more simple to have food pre-cooked and ready!) then these squashes are great! I hope that this helped to clear up any confusion concerning preparation of these two fantastic fall veggies. If you need reference photos, I am sure that Google has plenty to look at!

I just received some wonderful news! The lovely people at Artisana foods will be sending me a package of their products to do my first review! I am so excited. I have wanted to start reviewing products and this is a great first step, especially for a nut butter addict like me! Thanks so much to my love @spoonfulloffit for giving me a lead. Adore her and her blog, you should check it out!

The other day while at work (yes, at work, my job is boring!) I was watching the film V for Vendetta. I had never seen it before (I give it an A+ by the way). The character V is seen making something I had never seen before and he called it “eggy in a basket”. In a frying pan, he had a slice of bread with an egg in the center. My mind was blown and I was inspired to make it clean for myself to enjoy. I had never been a fan of egg yolk until my boyfriend made me try several months ago. I was extremely picky before my clean lifestyle and had been too scared to try it. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised! Carbs and protein, perfect for breakfast AND as a pre or post work-out meal. I had one two days in a row. Since I will probably be making them a good bit, I decided to put up a little tutorial so that you guys can make it for your own as well!  

What you’ll need:
A slice of whole grain bread (or whatever bread you use, I just use Nature’s Own 100% whole grain no sugar added)
A large egg
Non-stick spray, coconut oil, or olive oil
Black pepper
Sea salt (optional)

First, spray a non-stick frying pan or grease it with whatever your choice of non-stick product/oil you prefer. Set the stovetop temperature to medium-low heat. If you want to butter your bread to help it brown go ahead, but I don’t feel that it needs the extra fat or calories. Take a slice of your bread and using a cup mouth/large shot glass/something round press it into the center of the bread slice until it cuts the whole way through and you can remove the little round piece.

Next, place the piece of bread in the skillet with the center piece too if you wish. I like to use the little round part to help sop up the delicious egg yolk. Allow it to brown a bit on both sides. Remove the center piece and set it aside. Don’t make it too browned because you still need to add the best part!

The egg! Make sure to add a little more non-stick spray in the center hole if you think there will be a sticking situation. Crack the egg right in the middle of the bread. Season it with sea salt and black pepper if you choose.  Allow the egg to cook for about a minute or so and flip!

Let the other side cook for another minute or so. Then remove from heat and enjoy! This is such a neat way to get both protein and carbs. I am addicted to them now. Just be careful of how much egg yolk you are consuming. The yolks are high in cholesterol and too much in a diet isn’t good for you, but everything in moderation. Eggs are very healthy and should play a pretty decent size role in your clean eating diet (if you aren’t vegan of course). 

 NOM! So delicious!

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