Meatless Mexighetti squash

You can always tell the recipes I didn't intend to post until the last minute, because the photos go from the usual poor to just plain bad and slapdash. (Eventually, I will get savvy with a camera; or at the very least Pixlr.) This is not the most original recipe. Substituting spaghetti squash for spaghetti is as natural as swapping almond for peanut butter. And the sort of Mexican spicy twist is no great leap of imagination. But like with lots of things these days--more than I care to admit--I can do with the reminder of something pleasantly and easily available to me. mex_spagsquash

We've been on a mostly vegetarian (mostly pescetarian is probably more accurate), mostly dairy-free (or dairy-low), and as low on sugar/natural sugars only as possible lately, and it feels pretty good. It's not something we're being fanatical about or anything. We're still eating just about everything, but are strict about the source, frequency, and amounts. It's less of a burden than it is fun planning, but my creativity is being challenged a tad, particularly given how time does not stretch with the elasticity it used to.

In some ways, keeping to a healthy diet is easy as pie (without the pie, most of the time). I saw a poster I loved the other day on Facebook that popped with the most sensible nutrition advice ever: following the "stop eating crap all the time" diet. Love it! On the other hand, our world today has become so tainted and polluted on so many levels that this sage advice becomes infinitely complex upon scratching the surface. Traditionally wholesome staples aren't what they used to be; even the soil nourishing our food is trampled and wasted.

mex_spagsquash3We've been reading about studies brought to attention largely by Dr. Keith Woodward, author of "The Devil in the Milk". Basically, research strongly suggests that a genetic mutation in certain cows is linked to a whole host of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, autism, and neurological disorders. The mutation is known as the A1 gene. Milk  that does not contain the mutated protein is known as A2 milk. You can find a great explanation and links to further resources here. Unfortunately, it seems almost all our milk, organic or not, carries the A1 gene.

There's so much to think about and consider when it comes to choosing our food and fueling and cherishing our bodies. It pays remarkable dividends to consciously put in the time to do a little research and force the budget to stretch at the expense of other things. BUT--and I think this is a big but--there does come a point where the worry is way worse than semi-ignorance. Where we've got to move on and remember to enjoy our food and the sharing of it.

sitting_upI found a gray hair yesterday. It's the second time I found one, and I have to say it ticked me off as well as freaked me out. I guess it's inevitable since I clearly can't stop or reverse time. My mom is in her 60s though, and she has barely a silver strand, so that's my ardent hope as well. I CANNOT be more white-haired than my mom! When I saw it, I resolved two things: 1) I have GOT to start making catching up on sleep a priority again; and 2) I'm going to commit to start letting go of worry, for real this time. I can plan ahead, and think and have concerns, but no more festering. It's time to break the cycle of incessant worry and stress. This is a very bold, perhaps impossible goal for me, but I'm going to try. In some ways, being a new mom has made me feel so much tougher and braver; in others, there are moments I'm more vulnerable and insecure than I ever imagined humanly possible. A whole new universe of worry and guilt has opened up on behalf of this precious little person in my charge.

So none of this really has much to do with spaghetti squash tossed with tomatoes, peppers, black beans and mushrooms with chili spices, guacamole and salsa. But it is part of the chain of events and thoughts that has inspired a new mantra: Live smart. Worry less. Breathe happy. I'm putting it out there to try to give it more than 48-hour legs. I know I could use some helpful reminders to stay focused. Join me? :)

Meatless Mexighetti squash serves 3-4

  •  1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • generous shake of chili powder
  • generous dash of ground cumin
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • handful of cilantro
  • generous squeeze of lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional: prepared salsa, to serve
  1.  Roast the spaghetti squash, whatever technique you like to use--you know I'm lazy about it, sticking it in whole while I'm already cooking something.  But you may want to take the more careful and accepted route: Cut the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place squash halves cut side up on a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork punctures the flesh of the squash easily. When cool, scrape the flesh from the squash into noodles with a fork and place in a bowl for later.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute the vegetables and spices, until just tender. Add tomatoes and beans and heat through.
  3. Add spaghetti squash strands and stir through to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover while making the guacomole: in a medium bowl, mash the avocado flesh with a fork. Fold in cilantro, lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a generous dollop over each serving of squash mixture, topped with salsa.