Saturday, February 25, 2012

Acorn Squash and Training Update

I've been splitting my long runs up by doing 5 miles in the morning with Patty, Kari, and Garrett and the rest after work. I really like it because it breaks up the monotony of the miles. Now that the days are getting longer it's also nice because some of my running is done in daylight! On Thursday I was able to get an easy 10 miles in- 5 with my morning crew and 5 with Emily Z, yes my Valentine's Day din date! Because Em and I just chat the whole time I really felt like I did no running at all.. just felt like I got to hang out with my friend. It was great. I plan to continue training this way for the marathon. Has anyone else trained for marathon this way?? Also-- my knee pain seems so be completely gone. Yippee! Praying that I can stay injury free until at least October!! 

After all that running what would be better than red wine and cooking?? hmm? I know...Not much. 

This was a very "Autumn" recipe... in February. It's all good. 
I love cooking with squash! You may have noticed that I've already posted two recipes with spaghetti squash, one being the Crazy Sesame Noodles. Butternut squash is another favorite of mine, but I had never tried acorn squash before, so I decided to buy a couple little guys. One thing I love about squash is that it will doesn't go bad within a week like most produce. This gave me some time to think about what on earth to do with the acorn squash.
Check out the Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe I came across on All Recipes. 

My friend Lindsay and her cousin, Madelyn, came over for dinner. I didn't know Madelyne was a vegetarian, but obviously that worked out nicely for me! We  enjoyed the wine Lindsay brought over and chatted about life, relationships, and you know... other girl things. As I was cooking, Madelyn had lots of questions about going vegan. I was happy to answer them! :)



The cutest little stuffed acorn squash I ever have seen.

Madelyn the vegetarian gives acorn squash a thumbs up :)




Sweet and Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash 
from AllRecipes.com (modified to be made vegan and slightly healthier)

This recipe will easily serve 4!

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tbs coconut oil*
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped*
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs agave nectar
  • 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegan cheese

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Place the squash halves, cut-side up into a small baking dish, and bake for about 35-40 minutes. You want the squash tender, but not too soft.
  2. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is simmering, heat 2 tbs coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper, jalapeno pepper and celery. Saute the veggies for about 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the apple, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Add the ginger, vinegar, agave nectar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir in the quinoa.
  4. When the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minuted. Carefully scoop out the acorn squash from the skin, slice, and add to the stir-fry mixture. Spoon the mixture back into the squash skins, and sprinkle with Daiya cheese. Return to the oven, and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5-10 additional minutes. (yes-- Daiya melts like "real" cheese!)
* I only used 1 jalapeno pepper and it was pretty mild. Next time I will probably add another jalapeno pepper.

Have you ever wondered why I am cooking with coconut oil as opposed to other cooking oils? Read for yourself in this article!

Madelyn said she is going to start cooking more vegan food and that's just fabulous! A great source for vegan recipes is VegWeb. I post all my own recipes to that website!

Happy Weekend :)
-Em

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