Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 6: warming up for a COLD day

How I feel: COLD. It’s 4 degrees!

One of the things I like about doing the cleanse in real-time is that it’s really well planned across the days of the week. Monday is meatless, seafood on Friday among other days, and meals that are great for entertaining on the weekends. Interestingly, today’s menu was just perfect for a freezing cold day. Warming quinoa oatmeal in the morning, and then an Asian dish that was hearty and also used the stove and oven to help heat up the house!

Time in kitchen: 1 hour, mostly on dinner tonight; tomorrow required very little prep.

Most interesting thing eaten: The quinoa oatmeal. I’ll definitely be making that again. Creamy but with texture, and it has some body from the almond milk, and crisp and crunch from the apples and nuts.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 36 planned based on the menu, but I only ate 29 today.

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Quinoatmeal with Apple and Toasted Walnuts. 9 Weight Watchers points planned, I had 5.

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Fall into Fall–Butternut Squash Risotto

One of our favorite weekend activities is walking with the kids down to the local farmers market. We each have an agenda for the excursion: I shop for veggies, Dan gets some locally produced pickles for his lunches, and Nicholas pick out an apple then sits on a bench and gobbles it up. Farmers market shopping

Last weekend I grabbed one of my favorite fall veggies: butternut squash. It’s delicious just roasted as a side dish, or mixed into a pasta or risotto dish. One of my favorites is Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Parmesan from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. It’s a simple dish, with very few ingredients, but is elegant enough to serve for dinner parties or special occasions. If you roast the squash ahead of time, the risotto comes together in less than 1/2 hour. I also like that it uses roasted squash, because then I simply make some extra squash for Pureed Butternut Squash for Katie.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash

Makes 12 1-ounce servings

Since squash is very fiberous and has seeds, I use a food mill to puree this for 4-6 month old babies. The food mill presses all of the good stuff through, but keeps the real chunky solids from getting in the final product, making it an incredibly smooth puree. You can buy a food mill for $30 and use it for baby food as well as making the smoothest, creamiest mashed potatoes. For older kids you could probably just use the food processor or blender as it won’t matter as much if there are a few solids in there. I like roasting extra squash while I’m preparing Butternut Squash Risotto for the rest of the family.

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small butternut squash (or any kind of winter squash)

Instructions

Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Butternut Squash Risotto ingredients

Bake until very tender, about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set the squash aside. When cool, use a spoon to scrape the flesh from the skins into the food mill. Squash Baby Food--finished

Press the squash through the mill until all that remains are the very fiberous solids from the squash. It will take some patience to get everything through, so you can get a little meditation time in while you’re turning the mill.