Today’s gift guide is for the active person in your life. I don’t know about you, but I love receiving fitness-related gear as gifts. Not only does it inspire me to exercise, especially harder this time of year, but they are also gifts I don’t tend to buy myself- the perfect treat! While I teach a variety of fitness classes during the week, my me-workouts focus around running and yoga, highlighted in the gear I’ve chosen here.
2. UA ColdGear Compression Leggings: Sacramento weather allows me to run all year long, I have to bundle up more in the mornings and days it gets below 40. These are my favorite tights to run in, breathable and warm.
3. UA ColdGear Headband: Along the same lines as #2, this ear warmer is perfect for windy and chilly days. I hate running with a hat on, they tend to get too hot and bulky. This ear warmer is a perfect compromise.
4. Gaiam Yoga Socks: Fun yoga socks when you want to practice sans mat. I take these traveling when I don’t have room for my yoga mat.
The holidays are in full swing! We kicked off the celebration with our annual cocktail party on Saturday (full details and menu later this week), and spent most of yesterday laying on the couch, drinking hot cocoa, and watching our favorite Christmas movies. A lazy sunday that involves holiday cheer might be the most perfect day, ever.
As I finish up my own holiday shopping, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things- and a few I am planning on gifting to others. First up, gifts for the baker. To the person who is always bringing in goodies to the office, is constantly pinning sweet treats, or dreams of sugar plums- this is my gift list for you.
1. Wilton Springform Set: Perfect for Chambord Tarts & Pumpkin-Chai Tarts! This was one of those items that I never thought I would use as much as I did, a random purchase a few years ago at a closeout store. I love the various sizes depending on if I am planning on dessert for one or many.
2. Chloe’s Vegan Desserts: One of my absolute favorites, Chloe kills every recipe. I made the pecan bars and double crust fudge bars over the weekend.
Like my friend L. Who came over for dinner the other night, when I was serving up this spaghetti squash pasta with homemade ratatouille sauce. Like most girlfriend dinners, this one started out with a good ½ bottle of wine consumption as I finished up the meal.
After I roasted my squash, I pulled it out of the oven to begin shredding. Shredding and sipping. Going about my business as I always do when I make spaghetti squash pasta, not even noticing that L was watching with fierce intensity.
“Is that really squash!?”
(It’s large, yellow, and I already told her it was squash)
“And you are shredding it!?” “Into pasta?”
Into pasta my dear. A fabulous, gluten-free, low-calorie alternative to traditional pasta.
A trick that I thought everyone knew, and that everyone was doing.
But that’s because I live in blogger world. In the real world, not everyone knows- so here is my quick primer. The other beauty about spaghetti squash? It tastes great with just about any sauce you crave: spicy arrabiata, creamy vegan pumpkin alfredo, lightened up pesto, pomodoro, and on and on. It’s pretty knock out though when combined with this fresh ratatouille.
Spaghetti Squash for Pasta: a How-To
1.After washing the outside of your squash, slice it in two. Even though you are not eating the skin, you still want to wash it as your knife will come in contact with the outside, which can bring dirt and bacteria inside.
2.Slicing your squash in half may seem easier said than done, depending on how sharp your knives are. If you own a microwave, pop it in there for a minute or three to soften the skin. It’s easier to cut through. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also pop it in the oven while you preheat it. Or just hack it with your sharpest knife and hope for the best! (kidding)
3.Once you have it in two equal halves, remove the seeds. I do this with a small paring knife, but you can use a spoon or your fingers.
From here, I lightly spray cooking oil onto the open halves. This helps the seasoning to stick, and for the top not to dry out and burn.
4.Now season with whatever works in your recipe. Cumin, oregano, and chili for Mexican dishes (try it with enchilada sauce or on tacos. It’s weird and it’s awesome!) Oregano, basil, thyme for Italian and so forth. I use dried spices here.
5.Then place in a 425 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or so until done. Alternatively, you can place the squash cut side up in a oven safe dish filled with an inch or two of water. This will prevent the squash from drying out, but I never have that problem. I’m told you can also cook a squash in the microwave but I don’t have one so I can’t confirm cooking times.
6.Remove from the oven (or microwave) when finished and let cool slightly. Using a fork, gently scrape the inside of the squash- thin, ribbon like strands will start to appear- that’s your pasta! Keep going until you are just left with the outer shell. Season the shredded squash with a pinch of salt, pepper if desired. Top with sauce and eat!
You knew a food would be one of the responses, right?
The green-globe of nutrient goodness is hands down one of my favorite foods. Spread on toast, cubed into salads or scooped straight out of the skin, I cannot get enough of the creamy fruit!
When I declare my love for avocados with others, I usually get a few curious looks. There is a lot of misinformation out there, mostly how avocados aren’t a good pick because of their high-fat content. Well, I’m hear to set the record straight.
Yes, avocados contain fat but it’s the “good” kind of fat, essential monounsaturated fats for heart health. Good fats are those that can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and are beneficial in moderation. Per 1 oz. 50 calorie serving, avocados provide 3 grams of monounsaturated fats and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fats. They are also cholesterol and sodium free!
While I am happy eating nothing but avocados, I know not everyone feels the same way. When I first met BL he didn’t care for them, not even in guacamole. (Seriously, how do you not love guacamole!?) Over the years, he has slowly grown to enjoy them and now prefers a few slices of avocado instead of mayo or cheese on his sandwiches. Fine by me! A great alternative to other creamy foods, avocados provide the same mouthfeel with naturally good fats.
If you are only familiar with avocados in your sandwiches or in guac, I encourage you to try some other recipes that highlight the nutrient-dense fruit! My favorites are below, though I am especially partial to my mushroom avocado napoleons. Double-decker sandwiches that are elegant enough to serve at a shower or ladies lunch but simple enough to enjoy everyday!
Although I did receive financial compensation for writing this post, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely and entirely my own and based on my own unique experiences. For nutrition information on avocados, please be sure to visit the LoveOneToday.com website.