Spaghetti Squash Bake

Squash is absolutely my most favourite vegetable ever! Not only is it in season in my favourite season, FALL, it’s absolutely delicious! It’s kind of a weird obsession haha sometime I will bake a whole acorn squash and eat the whole thing by myself for lunch haha but I am honestly not ashamed of that.

I’ve always been a bit unsure about spaghetti squash. Pretty much because the first time I tried to cook it, it was a disaster but definitely not this time! This was really yummy and a recipe that is going in my cook book 🙂 After all, I wouldn’t share recipes with you all if I didn’t love them 🙂

Source: The Kitchen Is My Playground

What You Need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Parmesan Cheese

What You Need To Do:

To Cook The Squash:

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  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Cut the squash in half, length-wise and take out the seeds with a spoon.
  • Lay the squash on a baking sheet cut-face down and pierce several holes in the skin with a knife.
  • Cook for 45mins and then flip squash for another 45 mins.

To Make The Sauce:

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Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, oregano, and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

For the Spaghetti Squash Bake:

  • Place spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Pour sauce evenly over squash.  Place cheese on top of sauce
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until heated through, bubbly, and lightly browned.

I’m not a cheese lover so I made half of the bake with cheese on it (a mixture of oregano and parmesan cheese) for Evan and the other cheese-less half for me. This bake lasted us two days so perfect for the young married couple on a strict budget!

Simple Homemade Granola

After making this simple granola, I really don’t know why I have ever purchased granola. It’s so easy. Anyone can make this.

Source: Elizabeth Rider

What You Need:

  • 2 cups raw, whole rolled oats (aka old fashion oats)
  • ½ cup raw nuts, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp of Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large pinch fine sea salt

 What You Need to Do:

  • Preheat oven to 300º F.
  • Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well using your hands.
  • Spread the granola onto a baking sheet in a thin layer and bake for 10 minutes or until you seen the oats start to turn a golden colour.
  • Cool before serving.
  • I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge 🙂

This recipe can definitely be considered a basic recipe and tweaked based on your own favourite tastes. Use your imagination and get creative! You’re taste buds will thank you 🙂

“Is there more to life than this?”

The timeless big question about life is, “Is there more to life than this?” Of course there is. If you havn’t discovered that yet, look around you.

Seriously, look around you. Everyone is seeking more. Seeking fulfillment. Seeking meaning. Seeking comfort. For those who havn’t found what they are looking for has been looking in all the wrong places.

I have seen so many loved ones – friends and family – seek meaning and explanations by reaching out to worldly means (for example, money), creating their own faith by picking and choosing what they like out of numerous faiths, or come to the conclusion that there is no God so they strive to be as successful as possible here on this Earth in attempt to gain meaning in this life.

I watched one of my classmates randomly ask someone the other day if they would like to come to Chapel. They said yes! I surprised myself by being surprised that these strangers were so open. It made me think of how everyone is seeking that “something more” to life. Meaning. Satisfaction. Hope. Truth.

Then something clicked. People are constantly seeking more because they feel a void. The Bible tells us that eternity is written on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) therefore if eternity is part of who we are, it is no wonder people are constantly asking and wondering about the big questions in life. God made and designed us to seek Him. Eternity can only come through God. That meaning, satisfaction, hope and truth that people constantly long for can only be satisfied and found in God.

Knowing my loved ones who do not believe in God, I know their immediate response to this post would be that they don’t actually feel a void and are happy with their life. But I bet if they were actually honest with themselves, they would admit that there is something lacking in their life. That question of “something more than this” would definitely apply to them.

If God designed us with eternity written on our hearts, He obviously created us knowing that we would feel a void in our life UNLESS we seek Him. That is so cool 🙂

As a Christian, follower of Jesus and believer in God, life isn’t perfect because I have God in my life but I have meaning, hope, faith and satisfaction in life. It’s not really an explainable thing. It’s something that needs to be experienced in order to fully grasp what I’m talking about.

God writes eternity on the hearts of all of us because He wants us to seek Him. He is the only way someone will fulfill their need for meaning in life.

I promise you that.

How to Kick the Common Cold in the Butt…Naturally :)

After a week of heading up Daily Vacation Bible School with Evan and being surrounded by kids all week, I woke up Saturday morning with a cold. Poo 😦

When I have feel a cold coming on, or am in the midst of a full-fledged cold, I have five essential natural ingredients on hand. (Besides lots of Kleenex :))

Ricola Herb Drops (Not in the picture because I used them all!) – I really don’t like wondering what are in my cough drops so I stick with Ricola. According to the Ricola website, Ricola herb drops contain 13 herbs.. Since 1940, Ricola has been using a traditional blend of 13 fine quality medicinal herbs to produce this Swiss herb specialty to the same recipe: The blend of burnet, elder blossom, speedwell, peppermint, sage, marshmallow, thyme, lady’s mantle, horehound, plantain, cowslip, yarrow and mallow is appreciated by consumers worldwide as relief for colds, coughs and hoarseness. The herbs for this delicious herb drop are cultivated in the Swiss mountains using organic farming methods without chemical pesticides. Completely natural so I know I will not do any harm to my body as I recuperate from the common cold.

Eucalyptus Oil – I use this for my homemade Vicks (see recipe below) and also for an herbal steam. Since I do not have a bathtub, I use the classic bowl and towel method. Eucalyptus steam inhalation is recommended by some alternative practitioners for relieving nasal congestion and sinus congestion, usually from colds and flu. It can be done two to four times a day to relieve symptoms. This isn’t for everyone but for those who find this effective, by doing a eucalyptus steam inhalation routine while you have a cold, dry air passages are moistened, and mucus is loosened/eliminated easier by coughing or blowing the nose. The moist air also alleviates difficulty breathing, throat irritation and inflammation.

What You Need:

  • Kettle
  • Water
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Sheet or large towel
  • Large bowl or container

What You Need to Do:

  • Fill the kettle and bring the water to a boil.
  • Place the bowl on a stable surface, such as a table.
  • Turn the kettle off and carefully pour approximately four to six cups of water into the bowl.
  • Add two to three drops of eucalyptus oil to the water.
  • With your head at approximately arm’s length away, cover your head with the towel. Don’t bring your face too close to the water.
  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Continue for 10 minutes.
  • If you start to feel overheated or uncomfortable, remove the sheet.

Safety Precautions

  • Do not add more than the suggested amount of eucalyptus oil.
  • Keep children away while doing a eucalyptus steam inhalation.
  • Certain people should avoid eucalyptus steam inhalation, such as those with heart conditions, central nervous system disoders, and pregnant women. Infants, children, and elderly people may not be able to respond appropriately to the heat.
  • Side effects may include headache, dizziness, nausea, and tiredness.

Honey – I go through a wack of honey when I have a cold. I use it for three things: to quickly alleviate a sore throat, lemon and honey tea and apple cider vinegar and honey tea.

Honey for sore throats – Taking a spoon full of honey helps to alleviate a sore throat. Due to the consistency of the honey, it naturally coats and soothes the throat. Honey has antimicrobial properties that not only soothes sore throats but also kills bacteria that caused the sore throat in the first place.

Honey Lemon Tea – With a wedge of lemon, a spoonful of honey and some hot water and you have lovely honey lemon tea. It hasn’t been widely studied why exactly honey lemon tea is so great for colds but it is has withstood the age of time for being a go-to remedy to soothe the symptoms that come with the common cold.This tea is also great to have before bed when you have a cold and will aid in helping you sleep like a baby 🙂

Honey and Apple Cider VinegarBefore jumping to conclusions, I know this sounds gross but oh my goodness it does wonders for the common cold. When you feel a cold coming on, make this tea. The apple cider vinegar creates an acidic environment and the germs cannot live in an acidic environment. Given the antimicrobial germ-fighting of properites of honey, this tea is a double whammy. All you need for this simple tea is 1 Tbsp of honey, 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and hot water. Your cold doesn’t stand a chance!

And of course, my homemade Vicks. Free of any nasty bad-for-you ingredients (like Petrolium). Simply two good-for-you ingredients: coconut oil and eucalyptus oil. You can see how I make it here.

As we all know, there is no cure for the common cold so all we can do is do our best to make ourselves as comfortable as possible while our bodies fight off the cold. Natural ingredients is my go-to because it only makes sense to help my body to fight off germs with things that God created us to use in the first place 🙂 I’m tellin’ ya, God knows what He is doing!

Butter Chicken

I’m usually not a fan of Indian food but OH MY GOODNESS! If you scroll pass this post without at least giving it a chance, I promise you, you will regret it!

This is such an easy recipe, it’s not even funny. I swear, this is a no-fail recipe; anyone would be able to make this.

Source: Half Baked Harvest

What You Need:

  • Crockpot
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp curry paste (I used Thai Red Curry Paste)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use paprika if you don’t have cayenne pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, regular or lite
  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • cooked brown rice to serve with the chicken
  • Naan bread or pita bread for dipping J

What You Need To Do:

Put all the ingredients in the crockpot (minus the bread and rice, obviously), mix and cook! Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.

See, easy peasy! 🙂

This lasted Evan and I two days and just like an food that sits in its wonderful flavours for long periods of time, it was even better the next day.

Enjoy!

The Unexplainable is the Hand of God at Work

My family seems to be somewhat attuned to the supernatural. Whether it be dreams about those who have already passed on, strange encounters or unexplainable events. Since my great aunt died last week, strange encounters and unexplainable events are the case.

My dad called me last night to tell me about the events and I was brought to tears. Not because I was sad, but because I just felt an overwhelming presence of God and a feeling of such comfort. It is a moment I will likely never forget.

This is the first event that happened:

My great aunt was in the hospital and she took a turn for the worse. She has two daughters: one lives in the same city and the other lives about an hour away. When my aunt took a turn for the worse, the sister her sister that lives away to let her know that her mom was going to die soon. She was adamant that she would drive to try to make it before she died but the sister ensured her that she wouldn’t make it. And so they said their good-byes and hung up.

In the home of the sister who lives away, she has a glass patio and a deck. A few minutes after hanging up, she watched a deer walk up onto the patio, walk up to the door and look at her. She said, at that moment she knew her mom was gone. But at the same time, a peace came over her.

he called her sister and sure enough, her mom was gone.

This is the second event:

The family was at the sister’s house making arrangements for the funeral and the doorbell rang. They have the kind of doorbell that can be set to play a song of your choice and the sister has it set to “Star Spangled Banner”. When the doorbell went off, it played, “Joy to the World”. For some reason, they never thought anything of it. A few minutes later, the doorbell went off again and played “Joy to the World”. This time, my aunt’s husband got up to check and no one was at the door. He pressed the doorbell and it played “Star Spangled Banner” – the song it is set to in the first place.

This is a bit eery but comforting at the same time.

I look at this as the hand of God at work. Perhaps my aunt’s daughter needed to see that deer at the moment to have peace. Perhaps the doorbell went off without being pushed singing “Joy to the World” to let her family know that she is okay.

When things like this happen, it gives me the chills but also reminds me that God is in control and through faith in Him, I have hope for a future in heaven.

Good-For-You Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies that include chocolate and peanut butter AND are good for you!? Um, yes please!

I stumbled across this recipe when I went to my very good friend’s (who is also a health nut!) house one day and she was making these cookies! Ever since, I have been making these cookies regularly to satisfy my sweet tooth and also because I love them 🙂

Source: Texanerin

What You Need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of honey, maple syrup of agave
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt (if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt)
  • ½ cup of chocolate chips

What You Need to Do:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.
  • Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  • With wet hands, form into 1½” balls. Or with a spoon, make drop cookies. Or if you want them to look more like a cookie shape, form into balls and press down on them slightly. (Note that they do not rise much, if at all).
  • Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.

Once you make these the first time, I guarantee you will be making these on a regular basis from now on.

Enjoy!