Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

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Tomorrow I am having a play-date with one of my oldest friends. We grew up on the same street and went to the same school until my family moved away when I was 11. We didn’t reconnect until we both began having children, many years later. Our kids happen to be all the same ages, just give or take a couple months apart, and it has been like we have just picked up from where we left off 2o years ago. Mind you, we are not doing cartwheels in clown costumes on our front yards, having lemonade-popcorn stands, or climbing trees, but we are watching our kids begin to be adventurous and curious, seeing glimpses of our creative natures resonating inside of them.  We have both highly intelligent, little adult first borns, quiet, secretly smart second borns, and then our thirds. No words, perhaps not enough words to describe their little fear-less personalities. It has been a great joy doing life with Jen and being able to tackle all the obstacles life brings in our way together as sounding boards for one another. For sure there is always something to laugh about, it is just a given. I know I am going to miss her greatly when she moves next month, but I also know that this is just part of the story of the greater picture. What that picture is, I am not exactly sure, but I do know there is a preparation taking place for the perfect plan designed for her life. I am excited to see how it all unfolds for her and her family. They will be impacting, inspiring and influencing all those they meet in Fort St. John, and they themselves will be impacted, inspired and influenced, too. God is good.
Tomorrow we will be breaking bread with this meal from Oh She Glows.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ground cumin
  • ground chili powder (I didn’t use)
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper

For the black bean guacamole:

  • 2 avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

How To Play:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice off the stem of the squash and place the squash cut side down on a cutting board. With a chef’s knife, carefully slice through the squash lengthwise to create two long halves. Scoop out the seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop. Brush some olive oil onto the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet and roast for 30-50 minutes, depending on how large your squash is. When the squash is tender and you can easily scrape the strands with a fork, it’s ready. Be sure not to cook for too long or it will turn mushy.
  2. While the squash is roasting, prepare the black bean guacamole. Mash the avocado flesh in a large bowl. Fold in the onion, tomato, drained and rinsed black beans, and cilantro. Season to taste with lime juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Remove squash from the oven, flip over, and scrape the flesh with a fork in vertical motions. Do this until you’ve scraped all the strands off the skin. Now sprinkle on some chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper (as much or as little as you want). Top the squash with guacamole and serve warm. You can also plate the spaghetti squash, if preferred.

Enjoy.

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Big Barn Bowtie Pasta

Oh, finally the sun is out. Seriously, it is as though it has been raining for years. My skin is an awesome shade of pale white and my entire body is sore from my workout yesterday. I have determined, despite lack of sleep, it is time to return back to my old routine of going to the gym early again. Our nights, most days, are filled with different commitments and engagements. It seems the most logical thing to me. I can’t handle the stress that comes with time restraints or time slots to have workouts an hour before we have to go somewhere or when others will be arriving at our home. So now, in the early morning hour, I will feed 3, put him back in the crib and off I will go. I don’t necessarily feel motivated, but I am committed. I have determined in my heart that this is what I need. I know I do. The feelings of accomplishment far succeed the feelings I get with procrastination. My weight? I don’t know. I still don’t feel as though I can be bothered with that. What matters, is that I am fitting into clothes, maybe I will weigh myself on Friday. Tonight we have our homegroup pot-bless. Pot-bless? Well, we believe we are blessed not lucky, therefore, pot-bless. Three things I have prepared for it, my sister’s favorite pasta dish, big barn bowties, hummus, and vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Big Barn Bowtie

(inspired by Rebar)
Ingredients:
1 lb faralle
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp sea salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1/3 cup minced sage
1 tbsp minced thyme (optional)
8 cups chopped savoy cabbage
1/2 cup vegetable stock, or water
2 medium carrots, half-moon slices
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, roasted
1/4 cup brown butter
extra minced sage and thyme
grated Parmesan cheese

How To Play:
Heat a large pot of water to cook the pasta. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add onion and 1/2 tsp of salt and sauté until golden. Add garlic, chiles, and minced herbs and sauté several minutes longer. Stir in the cabbage and remaining salt and cook until the cabbage is well coooked and slightly browned. Add stock or water to prevent the cagbbage from sticking to the pan. Add carrots and continue to sauté until tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente and prepare the brown butter.[Place 1/2 cup of butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Let it simmer for 10 minutes until golden amber in color. Strain through a cheesecloth to remove solids and use immediately- I don’t strain it, I just pour it in to the dish when required]. Just before serving, season the vegetables with balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked pepper to taste. Toss in extra fresh herbs if using. To serve, toss the hot noodles with the vegetables, drizzle each serving with brown butter and top with crushed roasted walnuts and grated Parmesan.
* I toss the noodles in with the vegetables, but also add the walnuts, butter and about 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese in with them too. I don’t think it really matters the manner in which it is served. I love Parmesan cheese, so taste and see if you need more cheese or not. I often add more than 1/3 cup.

Enjoy.