Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blog Feature: Racing Bananas

Today, I wanted to share a post from Racing Bananas because I loved the message behind it. It really hit home for me and I think more women (and men, too) need to read such an honest post like this one. In it, Kim writes about the controversy of body shaming as well as her own personal struggle with it, and I think collectively as women we can admit to doing it at one time or another.  

The post is beautifully written and Kim strikes the perfect balance of considering both sides because no matter what a person's size, body shaming hurts everyone.

I agree 100% with what Kim is saying because when did it become okay to critique what another person's body looks like? I love the last line she throws out there: why can't we just support each other?

But really, why can't we?

I'll leave that there for you to think about and without further ado here's Kim: 

Happy Tuesday all! Today I’m talking about a topic that kind of gets me riled up. Before I start, I want to put this out there – this is just my personal opinion. It’s ok if you don’t agree with me and I love hearing other points of view – it’s what makes us unique and individual.

Body shaming.

Body shaming is when a person or people express negative attitudes, statements, etc about someone else’s body or weight. Body shaming goes both ways – people can have negative attitudes about people who are they believe are overweight or people they believe are too thin.

The issue of body shaming came up in the media last week when Maria Kang, a blogger, business owner, and mother posted the below picture on her Facebook page:


Kang got a ton of negative feedback about this picture. People claimed that she was body shaming mothers who don’t look like her (fit, toned, muscular) and was insinuating that if you don’t look like her, it’s because your lazy or not trying hard enough. Kang, in defense, explained that her intent was to demonstrate that she makes time to work on her fitness even though she is a mother, and not that everyone should look just like her.

I don’t think anyone in this situation is completely right. Could Kang have chosen to portray herself differently to make a point? Sure. Did she have to wear booty shorts and a sports bra? Probably not. But do people have the right to judge her for putting this image out? Not really. So where does that leave us?

As I’ve become more emerged in the healthy living world, I’ve become more aware of body shaming. I’ve seen examples both on the internet and in real life.

“You’re a size zero – you must have an eating disorder.”

“Do you really need eat that donut?”

“You’re not going to work out tonight…again? Do you think that’s a good idea?”

Body shaming goes both ways, but no matter what, is not ok. When did society decide it was ok to start judging everyone based on looks alone? Did it start when we started picking apart celebrities in the media for gaining or losing weight? When people started comparing themselves to other people? I can tell you that I’m so sick of picking up a magazine to see why Kim Kardashian isn’t good enough because she has “too much cellulite” or raising concerns because Mary Kate Olsen looks too skinny. It needs to stop.

The truth of the matter is we are all different. Our bodies are different. Our metabolism is different. Our goals for what we want to look like are different. It’s ok if you want to make changes about yourself. It’s ok if you want to lose weight or build muscle. It’s not ok for people to make you feel about where you are or where you want to be.

And likewise, it’s not ok to body shame yourself. I am guilty of this and I’m working to stop. I want to stop complaining about how fat I am. I want to stop complaining that I didn’t go to the gym. I want to stop complaining that my legs are too fat or my arms are too jiggly or that my stomach isn’t tight enough. My body is everything and it is what it is because of decisions I made. Instead of shaming myself, I’m choosing to make changes that will make me happy. And I’m making these changes for me – not for anyone or anything else.

So that’s where I am with this whole body shaming issue. I don’t have any sort of solution to offer. All I have is my platform to say – why don’t we just choose to support each other?

What do you guys think?

Monday, September 29, 2014

S'more of everything: running, smoothies, and updates!

I have very important news to share. Over the weekend I got my hands on Jif whips S'mores. I was so excited to get it that I ate it straight out of the container with a spoon. I have no shame and no regrets about it. After all, if it fits your macros :)

Bottom line: it was delicious and I've been fitting it in with everything for the past three days. Saturday morning I made a smoothie before my long run and yep, you guessed it, I added the s'mores!

This smoothie had:
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp Jif Whips S'mores
whipped cream for topping (optional, except let's be honest is it really?)

We have most of our fall decorations out so I decided to use them as a little backdrop for the smoothie photos! I have been feeling very fall-y lately with all this beautiful weather. 

I love this "Be Thankful" sign my mom and I found at the craft store this year. We keep it in our dining room and it's a great reminder! 

As it was Saturday morning, I got to sleep in until 7 so I had much more time to actually digest and appreciate my pre-workout shake. I know that 7 doesn't sound like sleeping in to a lot of people but since I get up at 5 during the week, 7 means an extra two hours! I don't even have to set an alarm, I'm just up naturally by that time. If I ever sleep past 8 (extremely rare) I panic and feel like the day is wasted! 

So I like to take my time and just wake up and appreciate the quiet morning. I'll drink my shake, have some water, maybe have some coffee, and watch Food Network as I allow my body to wake up and catch up with me. It's my Saturday morning ritual and I always look forward to it! I also spend a good chunk of it playing with this little angel! She got some new toys last week which she's been really excited about and loves bringing them over to me to play.

After settling in and having a relaxing morning, I set out for my run at about 8:30. Usually I'm out the door between 8-8:30 depending on how I feel. And of course, I had the best guys ever to keep me company! Side note: I still listen to their album on repeat, I can't help it. 

I ended up running 10 miles because I honestly felt great and didn't want to waste such a wonderful opportunity. I think you all can relate that some days you have killer workouts and others you don't. It's a fact of life so I like to take advantage of it when I'm having a good one! I was hoping that I'd be able to do 10 but if I wasn't having the best run I was perfectly happy to only do 8 miles. 

It turns out it was a great run and I wanted to keep going when I hit 8 so I went for the full 10! I was also really pleased with my time. My ultimate PR for 10 miles is an hour and 24 minutes so I was really excited that I shaved 2 minutes off. 

I made my all-time favorite protein pancakes from Katie's Fit Script afterwards! I'm not gonna lie, knowing I get to have pancakes at the end always motivates me to run a little extra :) 

Surprise, surprise, as I was making my pancakes someone brought a toy in to play...

After lunch and putting together the chili, Amanda and I headed up to my aunt's house for the afternoon to visit. She lives right around the corner from us but we hadn't been over in awhile so we wanted to go catch up. We ended up helping her putter around the garden but I mostly just played with the chickens. I was supervising the work if anyone asked...

My aunt's dog, Lola, is actually Layla's half sister even though Lola is 5 years older. Layla absolutely adores Lola but Lola pretty much just thinks Layla is an annoying little sister, which she definitely is! But Layla loves going to visit and hang out with her big sister, although "big" is a loose term now that Layla is bigger than Lola. 

She also happens to love hanging out with these two goons as well! They're my youngest cousins who are twins, if you couldn't tell ;) 

When we got home, I did some experimenting of my own. Not going to give anything away but it might have something to do with being inspired by the s'mores peanut butter...

I finished out the day with some blogging and as always, I had some company! 

Hope you all had a wonderful Saturday! 

Lazy Day Crockpot Chili

Is there anything better than a simple crock pot recipe? Well what about a simple recipe that gives you chili?! I was really craving some chili last week so we decided to make it on the crock pot on Saturday morning.

The crock pot is perfect for lazy days when you don't feel like cooking but still want a delicious meal. So when I really wanted chili but neither Amanda or I wanted to make it, we figured we'd throw it all in the crock pot.

This makes a huge batch which is great to have as leftovers during the week! I'm going to take a page out of Rachael's book from The Simple Life and start doing crock pot Mondays, such a great idea!

For this recipe you'll need:
2 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 can organic dark red kidney beans (15 oz)
1 can organic chili beans with sauce (15 oz)
1 can organic pinto beans (15 oz)
1 can organic black beans (15 oz)
1 can organic tomato paste (2.5 oz) + 1 can full of water (2.5 oz)
12 small tomatoes
1 large onion
1 tablespoon of cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder
1 habanero pepper

How to make it:

1. Dump everything in the crock pot

2. Cook for 6 hours on high

That's it! Although you can brown the turkey and onion if you want before putting it in the crock pot. We skipped that step since our turkey was frozen and honestly I couldn't tell the difference. Usually we brown the meat without cooking it all the way through but we were feeling kinda lazy so we completely skipped that part.

Also, all the beans were drained and rinsed except the chili beans with the sauce. You can keep the sauce for them as it gives the chili extra flavor.

Another substitution you can make is for the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. You can replace the 2.5 oz of water and fresh tomatoes with a can of diced tomatoes. It was a funny story because Amanda and I were talking about how we realized we didn't have any canned tomatoes or enough fresh ones but when Amanda went to her meeting for our Bible study on Saturday morning, one of the leaders brought in fresh tomatoes! She had grown them in her garden but ended up having too many for her family to eat so she brought some in to give away. It worked out perfectly since we were in need of tomatoes which saved me a trip to the grocery store!

So if you do a can of diced tomatoes, don't add the extra 2.5 oz of water but instead use the juices from the canned tomatoes. You don't need the fresh tomatoes either. We used the water and fresh tomatoes as a substitute for the canned ones.

The spices can be tailored to your preference. Amanda isn't that big on spice so even though a tablespoon may sound like a lot it really wasn't that spicy for the amount we made. The habanero is also optional but we added it in because our grandpa gave us one from his garden and we've hardly known what all to put them in because they're so spicy! Amanda actually put on latex gloves to cut it because she was afraid of how spicy the pepper is-- I'm not kidding, I have a picture as proof.

Told you I wasn't kidding...

Gloves are not a necessity but just make sure you wash your hands very well after handling the pepper because if you were to touch your eye or something, ouch! Seriously, they're that spicy. 

Once everything is added to the crock pot, just put the lid on and let it do it's thing. You'll have delicious chili in a few hours without hardly having to do anything! 

This recipe made roughly 12 servings with each serving being a cup. Since I had to calculate the macros for myself, I figured I'd share that information with you guys! 

Nutritional information per serving (1 cup): 271 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 26g protein, and 8g fiber


Sunday, September 28, 2014


On Fridays we have cheats. If you don't cheat, you can't sit with us. Just kidding. Well about the sitting part, not the cheating part. Now all I want to do is watch Mean Girls.

Anyway, I allow myself a little mini-break from tracking macros on Friday evenings. It's not an excuse to binge, to go overboard, to stuff my face, or eat a ton of crap that I usually wouldn't let myself eat (because I don't limit myself anymore). It's merely a mental break from all the tracking. Side note: it's allowed by my coach and her idea and I completely trust her judgment. So people can agree or disagree but it works for me! 

My sister and I picked Burgatory for our cheat since we've never been there even though we've been hearing amazing things about the burgers there. I have no idea why it took us so long but now that I know about it I can't believe that I could have been going there for years!

I have much respect for the vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian lifestyles but the honest truth is that I couldn't do it. I'm a burger girl and sometimes all I want is a really, really good burger. Well, when it came time to choose our cheat for the week I knew Burgatory wouldn't disappoint me.

One of my best friends met us there, and it was a really fun dinner! They also have killer milkshakes and I knew for a fact that they had a Burnt Almond Torte Cake milkshake. Prantl's is a bakery around here that is very well-known for the burnt almond torte cake they make and it's probably my favorite cake ever. So the culinary geniuses at Burgatory decided to take that cake and literally turn it into a milkshake.

If that plus a good burger isn't enough to lure you there, I don't know what will. So if anyone lives in the Pittsburgh area or will be visiting you should probably stop by Burgatory. I absolutely loved it and plan on going back there many, many times!

So besides the amazing food, there's a great and fun atmosphere plus friendly service. I loved all the fun little signs around the restaurant, and they cracked me up. I also liked how the seating was set up because there was technically a patio area but it was still covered with the rest of the roof of the restaurant. Instead of being completely open, there were huge open windows so it was almost like sitting outside but we were still under cover in case of any bad weather. In the winter, I assume they just close those windows and will still have all that seating for people. They had fires out on the patio, too in case it got cold.

My favorite part about it all? You could customize your burger to however you wanted it. This was both a blessing and a curse because as it was my first time there I was immediately overwhelmed by all the choices. In a good way though! I was happy to have plenty of delicious options but it probably took me close to 20 minutes to decide what I wanted. Our waitress, bless her soul, was very patient and answered all my questions.

I decided on the elk burger because I've never tried elk before. Bison was an option and I've had that before and loved it. I wanted to try something different though so I took a gamble and ordered elk. All the guys in my family are big on hunting so I've grown up on deer so I figured I'd give elk a try.

Even though it was my cheat meal, I still wanted to pick relatively healthy options. Just because it's a "cheat" doesn't mean I have to go overboard or eat way beyond my macros. I only consider it a break from tracking my macros so if I end up going over on carbs or fats or proteins it's no big deal since I'll be back on track the next day. It's just a meal where I don't have to fit it perfectly into my macros.

There are still plenty of ways to stay on track even while dining out. I chose elk because I've never tried it but also because it's extremely lean and low in cholesterol. It's a very good red meat for you and so is bison. If I'm getting a burger from a restaurant I will almost always choose a better option like elk, bison, turkey, or even a veggie burger rather than the traditional beef. I try to choose better options while dining out because that makes it easier to stay on track.

My burger had elk on a whole wheat bun with the truffled shallot aioli as my sauce. For the toppings I chose arugala, sliced onions, tomatoes, and pickles. I chose the angel dusting as my rub which was simply their house blend of garlic, salt, and pepper. I skipped over the heavier sauces or fattier toppings because I wanted balance. 

Like I said their milkshakes were amazing! This is the salted caramel pretzel one that my mom and friend ordered. I liked the burnt almond torte one better but this was still delicious! 

I didn't order my own milkshake because the burger was my cheat but they give you the milkshake cup with the leftovers that wouldn't fit in the glass. So I swiped a few spoonfuls of each of my mom's and Amanda's to taste them. I have a very official quality control system in place a.k.a. I take someone's food and say "quality control!" as I take a sample ;)

Here's one of the signs around the restaurant. I admit, I was guilty as charged...

And here in all its glory was my burger! I ordered mine medium-rare and it was cooked perfectly. I'm a stickler with my burgers and steaks being over-cooked. This might sound gross or crazy to other people but I'd rather have it undercooked and closer to rare than overcooked to medium. When I cut it in half, I was so happy to see all that pink! 

The elk meat itself? Amazingly tender! You barely had to bite and it was smooth like butter. 

Homemade chips came on the side and they were delicious as well. It was a mix of sweet potato and russet potato chips. They were so crisp and crunchy! We also got a side of sea salt and herb fries to split because my friend said the fries were great as well. She wasn't wrong! 

All in all, it was my favorite cheat by far! Afterwards I was in a total food coma but when we got home I took Layla for a nice long walk. Even though it was after 9 o'clock, there's something peaceful about taking a quiet walk when it's dark and cool. Luckily Oakmont is safe enough for me to do that plus Layla is nearly full-grown at well over 60 pounds so no one is really going to bother us. 

Hope you're all having a great weekend! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Run Before the Sun and a Vanilla & Chocolate Twist Protein Shake!

Early Friday morning, Layla and I hit the streets for a run before the sun, as I am now going to call them. It's pitch black again in the mornings which means that when we're out at 5:30am, it doesn't even start to get light until well after we're home. Even when I run 5-6 miles, it's still not light by the time I'm back. 

I don't mind it since I'm used to getting up early in the mornings and I'm not the type of person that needs it to be light out to get out of bed. So rain or shine, light or dark, Layla and I are going to get our buns moving! 

The dark actually makes it better for Layla since it stays much cooler without the sun coming up. Now that the weather is getting better, I'm slowly increasing her mileage with me because she can run a lot more without getting too hot. I've been very careful with monitoring her running over the summer because I know that if it's too hot or humid for me there's no way I'll make her go out in that weather. She's basically a miniature polar bear with all that fluffy fur although it does happen to make her extra snuggly :)

Anyway, enough about how I'm obsessed with my puppy/overprotective dog mom, the main point of this post is to tell you about the new smoothie I made! 

I eventually got bored with the plain vanilla protein powder and decided to branch out with some other flavors. I ordered chocolate, vanilla almond, and strawberry. I'm in love with all three of them! I actually have a couple other recipes that I made with them in the back log of things to post. I promise to try and get those up soon! 

So what you'll need for this protein shake: 
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 scoop vanilla almond protein powder (or just plain vanilla)
1 tbsp plain Jif whips
1 tbsp chocolate Jif whips
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

This is a big smoothie but I made it this way because I ended up having part of it before my run and then had the rest as my post-run snack. You can always halve it if you don't need that much or don't require as much protein. I require a pretty high protein intake so I'm used to doubling up servings! 

Again, I'm sorry for the lack of creative smoothie pictures. It's just going to be how it is for the early morning runs during the week. This way you guys will know to keep your expectations low because let's be honest, when it's 6am and I'm starving and trying to hurry up and get to work, I'm not going to be able to stop and prep my smoothie for pretty pictures! 

I did top this smoothie with some cool whip but that's more for my own benefit than anything to do with aesthetics ;)

And of course I gotta show off this little cutie patootie! Sorry I'm not sorry for being totally in love with her so I hope you're not sick of seeing pictures of her because I don't plan on stopping posting them! 

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Recipe Feature: Healthy Hayls

Hey guys! 

Today I wanted to share another recipe that I've found while looking for other blogs and Instagram accounts. I often like to search around for other bloggers or healthy accounts to follow for inspiration, motivation, and encouragement. It's also great to connect with people of similar interests as well as find great recipe ideas to share with you guys! Well, when I found Haley I wasn't disappointed!

Both her blog and account are full of delicious recipes, great workout ideas, and her testimony of her recovery is inspiring! I love following her so check out her blog Eats of a Girl Discovering and Instagram, and I know you'll love her too!!

So the recipe I decided to share with you is her Chocolate Protein Mug Cake. I mean do I even have to explain why I chose this one? Chocolate. It also helps that you can make it pretty quickly! 

I'll let Hayley take it from here: 

Image Image
Mug cake:
1 tbsp coconut flour
.5-1 tsp coconut oil
1.5 tsp coco powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1.5 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp egg whites
carmel and vanilla extract
stevia (optional)
MICROWAVE for 2:15 stopping half way through to make sure it is not over flowing!
1 container of plain greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp of sugar free pudding (I use vanilla)
almond,vanilla, or butter extract
Unsweetened almond milk (I used just enough to make it a nice constancy)
FREEZE for an hour stirring halfway through! Take out and enjoy! I like to microwave frozen fruit and then mix it in after I take out the profroyo because then it makes it less firm and melty =] I also top mine with microwaved banana and walden farms syrups!
Happy Friday!! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

For King & Country Concert!


I decided to call this a random update because again it doesn't really fall into a category for the rest of the blog. Although you can probably tell by now that I just write whatever I feel like on here. I mean after all it is my blog and there are basically no rules so I have no idea what I feel like I need to explain myself. Let's just keep going to the good part, shall we?

Yesterday, I went to my dad's church for the For King & Country concert. Let me describe it for you in three words: OH EM GEE

Seriously, though. It knocked my socks off! I listen to a variety of music ranging from rock, pop, country, and contemporary Christian but out of all the bands and musicians I listen to, For King & Country is my favorite hands down. No arguments there. I absolutely love them and there was no way I was missing their concert. Not when it was practically in my backyard!

So my dad snagged me free tickets, well at least free for me :) and two for my cousins as well. Amanda had class and was super bummed that she couldn't make it, so my other cousin got to take her ticket.

I was even willing to sacrifice my normal sleeping schedule to see these guys. Even at 23, I'm quite the grandma and I go to bed around 9 since I get up at 5am during the week. I can't help it but I'm a creature of habit plus there's no other way to squeeze in workouts unless I get up at the crack of dawn.

The concert started at 7 and ended at around 10. I wasn't even tired because I was so energized at the concert! It was honestly the most energetic and entertaining concert I've ever been to. The time flew by and I was disappointed when it was over because I didn't want it to end.

Before I go into all the details and pictures, it's probably a good idea to give you some background information on the band, for those of you who don't know them. It's a band with two brothers, Joel and Luke Smallbone. They're originally from Australia and moved to Nashville, TN a little over 20 years ago when their father took a new job. Important side note: they still have very strong Australian accents which makes them a million times even more adorable :) Anyway, their debut album came out in February 2012 and they have been taking the world by storm ever since!

Their newest album Live Wild. Run Free. Love Strong just came out the other week and it's number 8 on iTunes top 10 albums, including Christian and non-Christian. I honestly love every single song on that album and I don't think that's ever happened for me! You guys should definitely check it out because there's some powerful stuff in those lyrics.

One last cool fact before I get into the pictures and videos. The band got their name after a British battle cry "for king and country" that they would chant before entering battle. Joel and Luke chose this name because as young men they were trying to figure out what is most important and what did they want to portray? Well what's more important than laying down their lives for their King (God) and their country?

I love what the name stands for because they are such honorable and respectable men. Halfway through the concert, they took a mini break and Joel explained the significance of the bracelets that all the band members wear. He said that they wear them as a reminder to respect their relationships, especially with their wives and all the women in their lives. He said that chivalry is not dead and that they wear them in support of women, and to spread the message that we are not to be objectified, sold, or made to feel cheap/expendable. Let's just say my heart was in a puddle on the floor and I'm pretty sure I was watching him with my mouth hanging open. At one point I remember thinking to myself "Dang, I need to find myself a man like this..."

He said that as women, we should never settle for second best treatment, men disrespecting us, or feel as though we don't deserve to be treated as princesses. We are all priceless, worth more than all the money in the world and need to be treated as such. And to further cause my heart pain from the threat of bursting with admiration and respect for this man, he suddenly took off his bracelet and gave it to a girl in the front row. I about died, guys.

Alright, so for the pictures I apologize for the quality since I took them on my iPhone and as I'm short, the angles weren't the best either!

There were so many different colored lights and so much going on that it was really fun and cool! 

My dad actually joked around that they seemed to pick up any random instrument on stage and just start going to town with it. Which is actually pretty accurate as you could see that they all were having the time of their life just singing out their praises to God. Their energy and passion was infectious! You couldn't help but dance along with them and sing at the top of your lungs.

This one is Joel. He's the older brother. 

Joel is on the left and Luke on the right. 

This was one of my favorite parts as during their song "Proof of Your Love" each band member came out into the audience and stood up on these stands placed around the whole auditorium. This picture doesn't show it but Luke was only a few feet from me! I hate that phones do that with the distance thing, but he was literally only two rows in front of me.

There was also a brief intermission. Which of course calls for Snapchat selfies. 

I loved this shot as well because they stood back to back while they sang one of their slow songs "Without You". Luke gave a nice back story of the song and how it had to do with his battle with digestive problems that nearly put him on his death bed last year. The track on their album features Luke singing with his wife, Courtney since the song came out of the time when she told him "You can't leave me here." 

Here's a sample of some of the videos I took during the songs. I was disappointed with the quality since it made their voices sound kinda weird. I promise, they were so much better live and you can't really judge them properly based off the poor quality from my phone! 

This is their song "Shoulders"

"Fix My Eyes". I told you, I wasn't kidding with all the lights. 

"O God Forgive Us" was the encore after they closed with Fix My Eyes, everyone was screaming for them to come back on! I was definitely one of those people...

Overall, it was an amazing concert and I can now check seeing my favorite band live off my bucket list! It was an experience that I wouldn't want to miss and if they're coming to your area, you better get tickets soon if you can! Their shows are selling out fast, and I think it's pretty obvious as to why. Now I'm off to listen to their album on repeat on Spotify like I've been doing since it came out.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower

I guess I was just in the mood for roasted vegetables all weekend. Saturday night I had roasted acorn squash and Friday night I made roasted cauliflower as my side dish. 

All it took was a few spices and then roasting for about 15-20 minutes! 

I kept it simple with the recipe and only used salt, pepper, and garlic seasoning. It's pretty standard but at the same time one of my favorite mixes. When in doubt, I always add some garlic!

Cut up your cauliflower (this made 2 cups) and drizzle with olive oil or olive oil spray. Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. I love garlic so I probably always use much more than the average person! 

Roast at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and tender. 

As it was Friday that meant Treat Yoself! I made myself a little sundae with Kemp's vanilla frozen yogurt topped with crushed Halloween oreos, cool whip, and zero calorie chocolate syrup! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roasted Honey Walnut Acorn Squash

Saturday afternoon, Amanda and I stopped to visit our grandma since she hasn't been feeling well the past few weeks. Her husband, pretty much our grandpa, has an amazing garden, and he's always so generous with giving away everything he grows! It's very convenient because we get home-grown vegetables delivered from only a couple blocks away. 

On Saturday he gave us some onions and a couple of acorn squashes. I've never tried it but I also have never met a vegetable I didn't like so I figured I'd give it a chance!

Boy am I glad I did! It turned out to be delicious and very similar to spaghetti squash in terms of baking and eating it. 

To roast it all I did was thoroughly wash the outside of each squash (he gave us two), cut it into quarters, and then pop it into the oven for an hour at 400 degrees.

Then, once the squash was tender and cooked, we added honey, coconut sugar, walnuts, and dried cranberries on top! It turned out well since the squash has a pretty mild taste which makes it easy to pair with other flavors. You could also go the savory route and try out other spices. 

I think it's pretty obvious where the acorn squash gets its name...

Be VERY careful when cutting up the squash. They're pretty solid and the outside is slippery which is not a good combination with a giant butcher's knife. If you have a big burly man around then it's best you snag him for this job. If not, then you just have to rely on your own guns like I did ;)

Remove all the seeds, and place the quarters in a glass baking dish. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt. We didn't add anything else since we knew we'd be putting the toppings on after. If you want to add other spices, though, this is the time to do it! 

Leave them in the oven for about an hour until they're tender and cooked. 

I had mine with a side of grilled chicken!