Pomegranates, a Love Story & NEW VIDEO!

Can you believe it’s already the end of October? Here in Arizona, the past couple of weeks have been “delicious” in terms of weather. Lots of rain, cooler weather, and cloudy skies. In fact, it just so happens to be raining right now!

As we wind our way further into the fall season, the produce options may seem limited, but I urge you to expand your gaze. What’s so fascinating about fall and winter produce is that it had the chance to grow and soak up the sun’s nutrients all summer long. Once ripe and ready for picking, they’re chock-full of vitamins and minerals that will help you ward off sickness. The best thing you can do for your health this season is to load up on produce like deep, dark cabbages, squashes of all kinds, radishes, and bejeweled pomegrantes.

pomegranate seeds arils

(source)

Pomegrantes are such a beauty food. Not only are they beautiful to look at (someone make me an aril bracelet!), but they also contain skin brightening antioxidants and immune boosters. Let’s break it down.

Pomegranate Nutrition Facts

To see how I like to incorporate pomegranates into meals and to see even more food favorites for this month, make sure to check out the latest video on my YouTube channel! This month, I’m sharing 3 food finds, 2 beauty picks, and the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. Hope you enjoy!


What are some of your food favorites this month?

Do you like pomegranates?

October is Non-GMO Month! Wait, What?

I’ll start off this post with a disclaimer of sorts. Although I went to school and spent a lot of time and money becoming a Registered Dietitian, I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on absolutely everything. I do love research though and appreciate topics on the “fringe.” By “fringe,” I mean up and coming research that doesn’t quite have the traction to make large, sweeping claims. There are definitely people out there who take a more demanding approach (*cough* FoodBabe), but I’m not one of them.

Non GMO Project

Earlier this month, I was asked to do a segment on National Non-GMO Month and Qrunch Foods as part of a local, radio show here in Phoenix called Valley Focus. I jumped at the chance because it meant the show would air on one of my favorite radio stations, 93.3 ALT-AZ. My destination on the radio for goodies like Radiohead, Coldplay, and The Black Keys…among others.

So, Non-GMO Month! This celebration was created by the National Non-GMO Project as a way to educate consumers about what GMO stands for and showcase the brands committed to being free of genetically altered ingredients. This is a touchy and confusing subject for many people! There’s good and bad, and personally, I’m still trying to figure out where I stand. A few years back, the state of California tried but failed at passing mandatory labels for all GMO-containing foods. The rest of the country was like, umm, GMO? We’re just trying to keep our costs down and get to work each day!

My segment originally aired Sunday, October 18th, but I have the recording (above) just for you. Give it a listen, and let me know your thoughts! If you’d like to learn more about the Non-GMO Project, check out www.nongmorproject.org. You can also find many products with the Non-GMO label (above) on many brands like Whole Foods 365, Annie’s Naturals (bunnies!), Amy’s Kitchen, and Qrunch Foods (quinoa burgers!)

On Top of Spaghetti (Squash), All Covered With Cheese

Between recent photo shoots, filming sessions, seasonal decorating, and plain old impulse (produce) buying going on in my world the past few weeks, I have ended up with quite a few varieties of squash on my kitchen counter. Rewind to about 6 years ago, and I’d be like, what do you do with all this stuff? Nowadays, I’ve read enough of the internet, own enough cookbooks, and learned a lot about culinary nutrition to give me enough street cred and feel confident in the kitchen. I’d like to pass a little of that confidence to you!

The other night, I wanted spaghetti and meat sauce, but we didn’t have noodles, and I was too lazy to go to the store. Enter, spaghetti squash. This yellow, hunk-of-love is a favorite of “the Paleo people” and low carb lovers of the world because you can eat a ton of it for very few calories. That’s cool and all, but I like it more because it’s also high in fiber, low in fat, and a great source of Vitamin A and C. It also has a mild/bland flavor that easily lends itself to a variety of seasonings.

spaghetti squash

1 cup (155 gm) squash = 42 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 1 g protein.

Does it really taste like spaghetti? Yes and no. Once cooked, the flesh will separate into long strands that look a lot like spaghetti. When topped with marinara sauce and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, it looks and tastes like it even more! So get ready, we’re making spaghetti squash and meat sauce. You could use ground turkey if you like, but I’m a fan of beef. Mo’ Iron, Less Problems!

FYI, you’ll be doing some massaging. Also, the squash was feeling a bit tense.

Tools:

sharp, chef’s knife
cutting board
spoon
roasting pan or baking dish
fork
skillet/frying pan

Ingredients:

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper, pinch
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp oregano
2-3 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
1, 24 oz. bottle favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
  1. Before you go all samurai, pop the whole squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften the skin. This makes it a bit easier to cut into.
  2. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil, and set the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place both halves flesh side up on the lined baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle half of the oil on one-half squash, and the remaining oil on the other half squash. So many halves. Massage in well.
  5. Spoon a 1 tsp of minced garlic over each half. Massage again.
  6. Sprinkle each half with a pinch of salt and pepper
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.
While the squash bakes…
  1. Brown 1 lb. ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the meat.
  2. Pour 1, 24 oz. bottle of your favorite marinara sauce (mine is Newman’s Own Mushroom Marinara) over top.
  3. Stir in oregano and red pepper flakes.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
When the squash is done, pull it out of the oven, and grab a fork…
  1. Using a fork and an oven mitt, start to scrape out the squash on each half. Gently pull the squash flesh from the peel, and it will start to separate into strands.
  2. Keep the flesh inside its little squash boat. We’re gonna bake it again!
  3. Top each squash half with mozzarella cheese. Set the oven to broil.
  4. Broil the squash for 4-5 minutes or until cheese starts to brown
Serve it up!

I like to make pasta as well as the squash, but since we didn’t have any, I made some sourdough toast, and a salad. It was the perfect, cozy dinner for two.