Have Spaghetti Dinner without committing Carbicide!

If you’re anything like me, you crave carbs 24 hours a day and actually spend at least 2 hours a day eating them. I love, and I mean looooove pasta and it makes it almost impossible for me to be healthy for a full day. There’s something so heavenly about a plate to stringy goodness, a thick delicious meaty tomato garlic sauce, and a mountain of cheese to top it all off. – Ouf. Now I’m hungry, again.

Fear not my carb loving friends, I’ve found a solution to our hip hugging, love handle enhancing problem! Spaghetti SQUASH!

It’s an incredibly delicious alternative to the carby noodles we’ve come to trust. Did I mention it was healthy, carb-less and low calorie???

A healthy plate of goodness. Hold the guilt.

A healthy plate of goodness. Hold the guilt.

Here we go.

Chunky Spaghetti Squash

For the squash:
1 medium spaghetti squash (3-4 pounds) or two small spaghetti squash
1 cup Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese

For the tomato sauce:
Any flavor of Pasta Tomato Sauce (My favorite one is Garlic flavored sauce)
1 lb. Extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic
½ Large onion
salt and pepper (to taste)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard them.
  2. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet, add water to cover base of baking pan. Bake for 40-45 Minutes.
  3. Finely chop the Garlic and Onion. Add Garlic and Onion to frying pan with a hint of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add extra lean ground beef and cook until brown. Once cooked, add tomato sauce and lower heat.
  4. After 35 minutes, start checking the squash to see if it’s done. The squash is done when the insides can be poked with gently with a fork. The threads of the spaghetti squash should be slightly crunchy and watery, sometimes called “cucumber-like.” If the squash flesh becomes creamy, it is over-cooked. While over-cooked spaghetti squash will still taste fine, it will not separate into its signature spaghetti-like stands.
  5. Allow the squash to cool for five minutes. Then, using a fork, pull the strands of the squash out of the shell. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place the squash in a serving dish and ladle the sauce on top.
  7. Cheese up that plate and dig in, guilt free!!

There you have it ladies and gents, an alternative to spaghetti. Now you may indulge and conquer your pasta craving!

Calories: 245.2 (per serving) • Fat: 11.9 g • Protein: 14.4 g •
Carb: 21.9 g • Fiber: 5.3 g • Sugar: 4.5 g Sodium: 254.8 mg

Goodbye love handles, we had a good run. See you, NEVER again.

Hello my name is Kathleen, and I’m a Blogger that can cook.

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Spicy Paleo Drumsticks

This has become one of my favourite weekday dinner recipes because it’s really easy and delicious! All I do is rub the chicken with my ingredients, pop it in the oven and then I usually cook my veggies or make lunches while I wait.

Please note that I am not strong on following recipes, so I make things differently every time. I research recipes to get inspired and then add in extra ingredients or omit others. You can use whichever combination or all of the ingredients mentioned below – it’s all about preference.

Spicy Paleo Drumsticks
Serves 6
(or in our case, it serves the three of us 3 times two days!)

Ingredients
12 chicken or turkey drumsticks
2 tsp olive or coconut oil
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
– Preheat your oven to 400oF
– Lightly grease a baking dish with oil and place your drumsticks in the dish
– Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub on drumsticks
– Put in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping half-way through

And there you have it – delicious drumsticks that are crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and with a nice kick!

Enjoy!

C.

Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Hearts

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Last night, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 4th Valentine’s Day together by going to Sobeys and picking up some nice portions of beef tenderloin. We came home and made ourselves a nice, healthy dinner with a bit of red wine and some candles and that was about it!

I’ve always been a fan of Valentine’s Day because of what it represents, but I don’t really care for spending a bunch of money on gifts. We’re young and just starting out in our lives so we don’t have the money to splurge on things that aren’t necessities. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s totally sweet to give/receive roses and chocolates – I just personally don’t feel that it’s necessary. Maybe when we have more money we’ll indulge, but this year we both decided we’d skip on all that stuff and make a nice romantic dinner at home. It was perfect.

Our Valentine’s Day Dinner

For dinner, we made ourselves some steak with mushrooms, broccoli and sweet potato fries (oh and chipotle mayo to dip them in… YUM).

The star of our dinner was definitely the steak. We just seasoned the steak with some of Club House’s Montreal Steak Spice and then cooked the steak in a pan. We cooked it for a few minutes on each side (I can’t even tell you how long we cooked it because I was really into my glass of Cupcake Red Velvet wine…). We like our steak rare, and it was cooked to perfection – a big thanks to my wonderful boyfriend on that one!

I steamed some broccoli and pan-fried some mushrooms with garlic, salt and pepper. We also made some delicious sweet potato fries. Now, we can these quite often but had never mastered the art of crispiness, until last night of course.

I also “cheated” a little and veered from our paleo diet. Instead of making my own mayo, I just used Hellmann’s light mayonnaise and added chipotle mango seasoning. So worth it.

Here is where I learned how to make my sweet potato fries crispy. Thank you, Tessa!

We had a lovely, inexpensive evening and it was all that I could ask for. I hope you all had great evenings, regardless of how you spent it!

Love always,

C.

Paleo Challenge

Hey everyone!

Some of you might have heard of the “Paleo Diet” or the “Caveman Diet” before, but I feel like it’s been popping up everywhere lately.

My boyfriend and I decided that we were going to take clean eating to the next level and start a new paleo lifestyle.

This “diet” is not so much a diet as a new way of life. It has made such a difference in our lives, that I can’t foresee us ever going back. I will admit that it does take a lot of planning and preparing ahead of time, but we’ve integrated it into our routine and it’s become easy for us to stay healthy.

Benefits of Eating Paleo

We’ve been eating paleo for almost 7 weeks now and here’s what we’ve noticed so far:

Weight Loss
So far I’ve lost 8 lbs. And that includes the last 2 weeks in which I haven’t gone to the gym ONCE… I’m bad I know. I got really sick last week with a bug that affected everyone in my office and was out of commission for a few days. I kind of fell off the paleo and work out wagon, but I am not discouraged. I’m back to eating right and I’m planning on going back to the gym next week and that’s okay. A big part of this lifestyle is learning not to stress about things like this.

No More Bloating/Inflammation
I no longer feel bloated – ever. Not even during “that time of the month”. I swear to it!! I’ve never felt better. My stomach “pooch” has reduced in size and I no longer feel crampy or get an upset stomach. I believe this is due to the removal of gluten from my diet.

More Energy
I feel more energized and don’t need coffee to make it through the work day anymore! (I still drink one cup of coffee a day, 5 times a week, but that’s just because I think it’s nice and warm in the winter J)

Improved Mood
Okay, so I am not an overly grumpy person or anything, but I used to feel stressed and exhausted nearly all the time. But I feel as though I’ve become a very joyous person! A few people have noticed and made comments about how much more I was smiling and seemed happier. I even came home singing a few times… at the end of a full work day… it’s crazy the difference I’ve seen in myself! It’s like all of a sudden, it would take a LOT to upset me. It’s a very good feeling. Who wants to be grumpy anyway?

What My Typical Paleo Days Look Like:

I do allow myself 2-3 “fun meals”, which I tend to reserve for special occasions or even for the weekend. For example, I’ll either allow myself a restaurant meal if we go out to celebrate something, or on weekends I’ll allow myself either some chocolate, ice cream/frozen yogurt, sushi, alcoholic drinks and occasionally even some pizza! How bad can this lifestyle be, right? We’ve reserved our “fun meals” for weekends because it makes our weekends more exciting when we are looking forward to our indulgence. But be careful not to over indulge or else you won’t see the same results – though I think it’s important and I definitely encourage treating yourself once in a while.

This is what I eat in a typical paleo day.

Breakfast
2 hard-boiled eggs
Fruit (usually ½ cup blueberries)
1 cup coffee, black
8oz of water

Snack
1 fruit (pear, apple, plum, banana, etc.)
8oz of water

Lunch
1 serving (about 4oz) of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables
16oz of water

Snack
1 oz of nuts (my favourites are: almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios)
1 cup of green tea, black

Dinner
6-8oz of protein (chicken, salmon or beef)
2 cups vegetables (I usually do 1 cup orange and 1 cup green! I like carrots or sweet potatoes with broccoli or asparagus… but there are so many vegetables that are good for you and delicious!)
16oz of water

Dessert
Mango (this is the only fruit I buy frozen… I take out a cup and let it thaw. They are delicious and cold and this snack really curbs my sweet cravings)
8oz of water

OR

1 square dark chocolate (70%)
8oz of water

I find that I am never starving and never “stuffed”. I’m always satisfied and if I’m hungry, I eat! I don’t regulate it by time or count calories or worry about it. I know what I can eat and I eat it whenever. I have however made a point not to eat after 8pm, which I find has helped me sleep better. No more tossing and turning or waking up 5 times a night!

Do Some Research

I did a LOT of research before and during this whole change. I wanted to know WHAT exactly the paleo diet entailed, understand WHY I was doing what I was doing, HOW it was going to benefit me, etc. Also, I got a lot of negative comments about my new eating habits, mostly from people who saw this as another fad diet and who don’t understand it, or even care to understand it. If any of you experience this, I would say to just ignore them! I honestly have never felt this good and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to be genuinely healthy.

I also researched how to make a lot of things from scratch such as soups, sauces, dressings, etc. I’m a big fan of food and I wouldn’t be able to eat like a caveman if I didn’t add flavour to my food. We like to throw spices on all our food and we look up recipes when we feel as though we need something new. It’s important to switch things up – variety is key or else you’ll get bored so quickly!

WARNING: First week crash!

I have to admit that the first week was BRUTAL.

During the first week of eating paleo, I went into withdrawal. Yeah, I said it – WITHDRAWAL (from sugar, gluten, dairy, etc.) I felt dizzy, nauseous, weak, exhausted… you name it, I felt it. It was truly awful. I thought I was maybe not getting enough of something, so I did a lot of research and found out that this was normal. Apparently this crash only happens to about 30% of people who go gluten-free, but I’ve heard that a lot of people who go paleo feel this to some extent. I was unlucky and got hit hard. But I decided to stick to it and I made it through. I definitely feel as though it was worth it!

A book worth reading: Wheat Belly by William David, MD

This book has helped me understand what gluten does to your body and I feel like it has motivated me to start this whole lifestyle change. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about it.

Wheat Belly by William David, MD. (Click here to see the Wheat Belly blog)

To anyone interested in learning more about the paleo diet, here are some links that helped me get started:

Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain (Found of Paleo Movement)
Paleo Diet Lifestyle
Paleo Plan (Recipes)

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this further!

Love,

C.

Recipe – Healthy Peanut Sauce

I made this recipe last night and oh. my. YUM. I just had to share it with you guys.

As usual, I looked up a few different recipes to get some inspiration for dinner and then I just winged it, so please keep in mind that all of the measurements are estimates. I never follow a recipe exactly and I probably have never made two dishes the exact same… that’s probably part of the reason why I’m so terrible at baking! Haha

This recipe is really simple – all you need is one pot to make this sauce. You can vary the amount of water to get your desired consistency. I made mine a little thicker, just because, but I think I will add a bit more water next time. I also used a real lemon for the juice, but you can use the store-bought kind too. They both work the same, I just prefer the natural way.

Ingredients:
1/4 c natural peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp reduced sodium soya sauce
3 tbsp skim milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
chili powder

To make the sauce:
Turn your element on to medium-low.
Add your peanut butter and let it melt, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick.
Add water, which will instantly make it more liquid.
Stir until the sauce has an even consistency.
While stirring, add your soya sauce, milk and lemon juice. (Here’s where I taste it to determine whether I need more of something. Last night, I found it was very delicious and peanut-y so I left it as it).
Add a dash of chili powder, stir once more and then pour over your dinner!

Makes enough sauce for about 2-3 servings.

I poured the sauce over some chicken, bean sprouts, mushrooms, carrots and celery, mixed all of that up and then served it on a bed of brown rice. I think it would be delicious for Pad Thai or in any kind of stir-fry, with shrimp or tofu. Delicious!

Enjoy,

C
xoxo

Getting Healthy #1

Hello lovelies!

In my most recent years, I’ve become more and more interested in healthy living and exercise. I look at my parents’ generation and what they eat and all of the disease and I know that there is no way to escape these things – especially since there will always be something else.

BUT, I tell myself that I can definitely prolong my life by being as healthy as I can, and taking care of myself, both body and mind.

#1 – Quitting Smoking
My first task was clearly to quit smoking. Mission accomplished!

I never smoked as much as the regular smoker, but I started making excuses for myself and had myself convinced I wasn’t even a smoker. That’s when I knew I had to stop. I would have maybe 1 cigarette a day, on the drive home after work. I loved the feeling of having my windows down, blasting the music and having a cigarette. I would smoke a few cigarettes when out with friends on weekends. I could make a pack last weeks, but I still didn’t like the fact that I was a regular smoker, and lying to myself about it.

My main motivation was my check-up with my doctor. I was ashamed that I would have to admit to her that I had been smoking, so I was determined to quit before then. Also, my dad is a smoker and when I was a little girl, I would beg him to stop because he was “stinky”. I thought, hey, I don’t want to be stinky! I would often smell it on my fingers, or feel the grittiness on my teeth and that was the farthest thing from pleasant. Lastly, being a university student with a mortgage, I told myself that I absolutely could not afford this habit. Time to kick it.

So I quit smoking, just like that. I was lucky because it was easy for me, but I know it’s that that easy for everyone, especially those who have had the habit for much longer. I had only been smoking on and off for about 2 years, but decided to quit before it was too late.

Since quitting (about 5 months ago), I have had about 4-5 cigarettes in total, during social outings with friends, but I am starting to not even crave it in those situations anymore. The first few weeks were the toughest, but it gets easier! I don’t think about it now and I tell myself not to stress about it. That’s important too. The more you stress about it, the more you crave it because you’re constantly thinking about not smoking… I told myself that if I had one, it was okay. It was okay, as long as I didn’t make it a habit.

I’m very proud of myself and I just want to recognized all of those who have either quit smoking, or are trying to quit. It’s not easy, but you can do it!

If you guys want help, support or advice, don’t hesitate to message me.

Good luck!

Love,

C.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend. I had an insanely busy weekend and couldn’t get around to my laptop, so I know I’m late with this post. Please forgive me!

We closed up the cottage last weekend and this weekend we got ready for the fall season.

Weekend Recap
Friday: I went out to Boston Pizza with some friends to celebrate my birthday. I love seeing my friends – we’re all so busy with work and school, but it’s always so nice to make time to see each other.

Saturday: My boyfriend and I attended my aunt’s wedding, which was just so beautiful and of course made me cry (I’m an emotional wreck when it comes to these sappy things).

Sunday: My boyfriend and I spent 8 HOURS cleaning the house… well, more like re-organizing, re-arranging and tidying but WOW did it ever feel good! I feel like the house looks and feels more like a home now.

Monday: I did a bit more cleaning in the morning and then headed over to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner, which was amazing, as always. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, asparagus, carrots, broccoli and cheese sauce, stuffing, wine… ooh it hurts just to think about how much we ate! After dinner, we watched The Hangover (Part II) and I unintentionally took a little nap, grandpa-style – haha! We also celebrated my boyfriend’s mother’s birthday, which is the day right after mine.

All in all, it was a busy weekend, but it was a great one!

Yesterday, I put some thought into this holiday and realized how truly lucky I am. I know that I sometimes take things and people for granted, but it’s important acknowledge how grateful I am, and to let those people know. I am thankful for my family and friends, my boyfriend, my job, my home, and my general situation as well as many, many more things that I have been blessed with.

 

What are some of the things you are thankful for?

 

Love,

C.

Comfort Food for a Rainy Day

Hello everyone!

It is very rainy today and I just thought I would share a quick thought with you all. On a cold day like this you need something to make you feel warm, cozy and comforted and what’s my solution? A PB&J sandwich with a large cup of coffee… is that weird? What are some of the weird things that make you feel better on a gloomy day?Image

Love,

Kass xox