Saturday, December 26, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Magic

Here's an eye-catching recipe for spaghetti squash marinara that's sure to please your senses as well as make your family, friends, or potluck crowd jump to their feet and applaud (this post has been updated 9/13/17).

Spaghetti Squash, Create Magic in a Casserole Dish

The other day I wanted to have pasta, but discovered long ago that eating semolina (a form of wheat that most pasta is made from) makes me feel bloated or sleepy or both. Some might say I have a gluten allergy, but I like to call it gluten sensitivity. I know what's good for me to eat and what isn't. I'm in tune with my body and my body is in tune with me. 

Anyway, as luck would have it, I spotted this fresh organic spaghetti squash on sale at my local Market. Yahoo. I couldn't wait to get it home.

Since there was going to be just the 2 of us (hubby and me) for dinner, I decided to cook the whole squash, string it, but transform only enough of it (2 days' worth) to make a Meatless Monday meal and Fun Tuesday meal. On the first day I served it for dinner. The following day I presented it at lunch and got rave reviews. The real reason I know it was good, was because my hubby wanted to eat it two days in a row and wanted two helpings each time.

Now on to My (Nancy A's) Recipe for Spaghetti Squash Marinara


1 large spaghetti squash

sufficient water to coat the bottom of a baking pan and have the level of water come up  1/2 inch when the squash is placed inside on its side

salt, pepper, and mixed seasoning of your choice to sprinkle on the squash, after it is stringed

ingredients for my homemade marinara mushroom tomato sauce are provided at this link. best recipe for homemade marinara sauce

nutritional yeast to sprinkle on after it's all ready (I buy a brand fortified with B-12) and use it for its good taste and nutritional value

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the outside of the squash under cool water (use a vegetable brush to scrub dirt off). Put squash in a baking pan on its side. Pour in enough water to come up 1/2 inches so squash doesn't burn while it roasts.

2.Pierce the squash in a few places with a fork, so it releases any trapped air. This avoids having it explode, while it cooks in the oven. I cook all squash uncut, because I find it's hard to cut it in half or remove peel. No need to peel it. You can string it without removing peel.

3. Roast the squash whole, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how large it is. You'll know the squash is ready, when its skin starts to turn light brown and the fork you use to pierce it goes in easily. If you cut it open and it's hard to string it, don't hesitate to cook it for a few more minutes.

4. Slice the squash lengthwise like the photo below indicates. Remove pulp and seeds by scooping them out with a spoon or knife. 

5. Take a fork and string the cooked spaghetti squash like I did in the photo below. 

6. When half the squash was prepared, I put the strings of spaghetti squash into a casserole dish and mixed in the marinara sauce. I made my own marinara sauce and let it simmer on the stove top while the squash cooked in the oven (use ingredients mentioned in the link above). After both parts of this recipe were cooked properly, I combined them and reheated it. I served each portion with a little bit of nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Here's what it looks like both as a lunch and dinner main dish idea.

I portioned out the remaining squash into freezer containers (without sauce) and put the containers into the freezer. 

Cooked and Stringed Spaghetti Squash in Casserole Dishes

Next time I want to serve it, I'll defrost and heat as much as I need. It can be used as a quick fix veggie or added to soup for its nutritional benefits and texture. Another way to mix it up is to incorporate the spaghetti squash into a simple sauté, one made from a clove of minced garlic, a teaspoon of organic olive oil, and fresh chopped basil or other fresh herbs like oregano, tarragon, or cilantro. Perhaps you'd rather top the spaghetti squash with Arrabiata (spicy) Sauce or Primavera (loaded with fresh veggies like carrots, red pepper, peas, string beans, onions) Sauce. Use any extra tomato mushroom marinara sauce on string beans, in soup, veggie chili, or any time you want good taste and added antioxidants.

Squash is so versatile and economical. You'll probably be surprised at how many ways you can fix it. Cooked and stringed spaghetti squash keeps well for a few weeks or even months in the freezer. Once defrosted, it tastes yummy, prepared as I mentioned above.

Plain cooked spaghetti squash contains only 42 calories per cup. That's much fewer calories than regular pasta (220 calories per cup). It's low in saturated fat, very low in cholesterol and a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Pantothenic Acid (B-5), Potassium and Manganese, and a great source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C.

Have you ever made spaghetti squash? If not, are you inspired? If you've cooked spaghetti squash before, how did you prepare it? Please share your comments, questions, and get social with me. I'd love to hear from you.

The quote for today is:

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  (Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story)" Quote listed at 
She Cooks He Cleans

Before I go I'd like to wish you all a Joyous Holiday Season and 

Many Blessings in the New Year! 

Now and throughout 2016 reach out to others. Your kindness

will light up the world.

Check out my Facebook Page to Get More Tips for Good Eating and Wellness Here .

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How to Maintain Good Health this Holiday Season

Citrus fruits contain loads of Vitamin C and are especially good to eat during cold and flu season

Enhance joy this holiday season by aligning your mind, body, and spirit. If this seems like too much of a challenge to you, you’re not alone. According to a study from Weight Watchers, the average American gains around 7-10 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

The holiday blues and seasonal affective disorder plague others. Learn what Maude Purcell LCSW, CEAP suggests to help you outsmart the holiday blues at Beat the Holiday Blues

Are you one of the those people who have unrealistic expectations of yourself and others or a preconceived notion of how the holidays should turn out? Has entertaining, party going, gift shopping, and life on the run become a drudge or thrown you off center? There is help for you.

Here are 4 ways you may wander off from a healthy course and 4 remedies to fix them.

Excuse # 1: Everyone strays from their routine, especially since it’s a stressful and “so much happening” season.

Remedy #1: Talk about feelings as they come up, rather than stuff feelings with foods, over-spending, or a frenzy of activity. Limit commitments, holiday events, or preparations to things you really want to do and only add extra things if they won’t tax your sense of well-being. Choose to be with the people who matter the most to you and bow out of situations with people, functions, or customs that have less meaning for you. If you feel bent out of shape or anxious, meditate or do deep breathing exercises to bring you back to your center.

Excuse #2: I have no time or energy for exercise.

Remedy #2: Fit exercise into holiday activities, by parking your car as far away from stores as possible and use the stairs instead of escalator or elevator at the mall. When you can, walk to shops, post office, or food shopping instead of driving. Stretch at your computer, on line at the bank or farmers’ market, or in bed before you get out of it in the morning. Include the playground, park, roller or ice skating ring, biking, skiing, and walking in family fun activities for the holidays. Give exercise gifts like a spa day or gym membership to yourself or others.

Excuse #3: I’m too pooped to cook. This excuse may create a dangerous situation, because you’re likely to grab snack or junk foods instead of real food or overeat in a restaurant. Most foods sold commercially include ingredients like soy oil (unless it’s organic it’s likely to be GMO), artificial sweeteners, high sodium , oil laden sauces, and sugary dressings.

Remedy # 3: Shop for holiday presents throughout the year. That way there's no last minute rush. Cook up batches of food and freeze to use when you’re too tired to whip up something that day. If you go to a restaurant instead of cooking, make sure to eat smart when you eat out. Here’s a link to a blog post that will help you do just that. Eat Out Eat Smart

Excuse # 4: I’ll start to diet in the New Year. In days gone by, I've said this to myself in hopes that it would postpone the pain I'd feel from disciplining myself to push away from the table and stop eating unhealthful foods. I also thought stalling with a start date gave me permission to gobble down that basket of bread right now. But I did feel the pain, as I patted my middle section and felt where all that bread went. That’s not all. The day after a holiday party and three cups of Eggnog, I felt bloated, unattractive, lethargic, and cranky from sugar and simple carb overload.

Remedy # 4: Change your mindset to change your behavior around food. Look at what you eat, when you eat, why you eat, and perhaps you’ll conclude that prevention is more effective than cure. Researchers have found that it’s advantageous to make this a priority the minute you realize you need to clean up your food eating act. You won’t have regrets for maintaining a bad habit or guilt from procrastinating. I have noticed when my awareness level and motivation is at a peak, the momentum keeps me going longer and stronger. Be gentle with yourself if you have a food slip, but start anew to notice what foods you crave or gorge on. Ask yourself when, where, and under what circumstances do you eat unhealthily? Set a health improvement goal rather than just considering weight loss or gain. Using this self care technique makes you a winner over and over again. 

Here are 2 Websites that address emotional eating...

Keep in mind the winter holiday season coincides with cold and flu season. That’s why it's important to ward off illness and energy drain by eating nourishing foods and filling yourself up with the love, peace, brotherhood, and light that Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa holidays convey.

Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life. Happy Holidays Everyone!

The quotation for today comes from Geneen Roth, Author of Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything“Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it's about knowing who you are. It's about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can't have it.”

Order a copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance and Bliss. It's packed full of activities to help you start off 2016 on the right foot. Click right now to order an Autographed Copy of Colors of Joy .

This post is a revised version of one that appeared 12/21/14.
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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tips to Energize Your Life!

You're Invited to a Presentation by Nancy Andres, Author of Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It's a fun way to “try out” Self Care Practices that increase joy in daily living.

Where: Natural Grocers, 7220 E. Broadway Blvd., corner of Broadway at Kolb, Tucson. 520-885-6000.

When: Monday, Dec. 7 between 12 noon- 1 PM

What: Interactive activities, self-development skills, and time after the workshop to see and purchase Colors of Joy, the woman’s self-care journal. Colors of Joy expands and enhances techniques you’ll learn during this workshop.

Details: The workshop is free, but seating is limited and on a first come first serve basis. Open to adults only.

Come on down and enjoy this fabulous self-care party. 

Wishing all my readers a Joyous Holiday Season and Many 

Blessings in the New Year.

Joy to the World from Nancy A @

The quote for today follows: "Self-care is a 

privilege only you can grant 

yourself." Nancy Andres

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

6 Ways to Shower Yourself With Kindness

6 Ways to Shower Yourself with Kindness

I've been ruminating about "kindness" lately, because someone I care about was rude to me. Although my adult self knew his angry tone and harsh words were all about him, for a few hours, the tender young person inside me took his actions personally. I felt ashamed, even though there was no good evidence to back up my conclusion that his behavior meant I was at fault, guilty, and flawed. To make matters worse, I went as far as to think of how I could retaliate, seek vengeance, and inflict pain on him. 

Writing this blog is my way to look at myself and admit my spirit felt depleted and grieved for the loving kindness he couldn’t give. In hindsight, I know his behavior was a blessing in disguise. It was an opportunity to confront that vulnerable part of me that let myself be disturbed by an outside situation, person, place, or thing and reminded me
 to shower myself with the loving kindness I sought from outside myself.

Knowing what happened to me may come in handy for you, when something triggers you or makes you feel unlovable. Read on to discover the steps I took to recover my equilibrium and love myself unconditionally. Hopefully, these self-help methods will work for you too.

1.    Let go of things that are none of my business. What someone says or thinks about me is beyond my control. This tip helps me refrain from analyzing why I think someone acted a certain way, and puts the focus on me, where it belongs. I've learned that people carry and reveal their hurts in different ways, and this knowledge helps me forgive without knowing more than that. Detaching with love lets me go on with my day unburdened by carrying around resentments, suffering, and things that are beyond my control.

2.    Use "heal not hurt" as a mission statement. This phrase reminds me to pause to rope in my feelings and take to higher ground. I write out my emotions in a journal and reach out to a close friend to express the undercurrents in my emotional sea. When I share about my heartache with someone I trust, it usually releases trapped energy and allows me to go to a loving place.

3.    Take a break to refresh my spirit. If I notice my mind rehashing the situation or wishing things were different, I recite the serenity prayer or meditate. Other ideas may include a soak in a warm Epsom salt bath or a long walk in nature. Both remove toxins from mind and body. 

4.   Love and accept myself just as I am. As soon as I say this mantra and recognize that everything happens for my highest good, I feel more grounded and secure in my self-worth.

5.    Express gratitude for my blessings. This is a key element that helps me accentuate the positive. My “gratefuls” seem to multiply when I count them while disappointments and grudges diminish. My daily gratitude list starts with the blessing of life, love, hope, family, friendship, and goodness and contains even the smallest detail like being grateful I saw a bee in my garden. Being specific and using people’s names and things like my eyesight, dark chocolate, and yoga helps me tap into the abundance in each day.

6.   Treat myself with self-compassion. Unkind words, especially those I think or say about myself, creates stress and turmoil within me. If my inner critic prevents me from coming up with a gentle way to deal with myself, I ask “What would my best friend say or do to comfort me?” Then, I apply it to me. Another tip is to remember that self-esteem is built on and strengthened by self-acceptance, caring, and respectful treatment of oneself.

Once I've taken time to shower myself with kindness, I notice the ripple effect that self care has on other areas of my life. My thinking is clearer, my creative juices flow, and relating to my work and people is invigorating instead of draining. 

Self-help techniques often bring insights later on about what is really going on inside oneself. Do you use any of them or are you willing to try a few on for size? What methods help you remember to be kind to yourself? Please comment below.  

If you like what you see, become a follower. That way you'll get a new post as soon as it's published. Show the love by following me at Google+ and sign up for my newsletter. 

The quotation for today is: “Champion yourself and all else follows.” Nancy Andres

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Cauliflower Steaks: Vegan Taste Temptation

Cauliflower Steaks: Vegan Taste Temptation

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to serve veggies. The recipe that follows is one I've recently created, after seeing a cauliflower steak recipe on Susan Viosin's blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

This is my original recipe, a fun way to put cauliflower, a power-packed cruciferous veggie, into family meal planning. See how easy it is to entice even the most veggie-phobic eater, by assembling this meat-free main course dish that's eye-appealing, economical, and loaded with good taste and goodness. 

*Roasted Vegan Dijon/Lemon Cauliflower Steaks Supreme *


1 large head of organic cauliflower rinsed and prepped (see steps 1, 2, 3)
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (fortified with B-12)
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard (preferably organic)
2 cloves garlic, grated fine
salt and pepper to taste
2 T Braggs Liquid Aminos (optional Ingredient)
Sliced Organic Tomato for garnish (do not put into coating mixture)

What to Do:

1. Shop for cauliflower at your local farmers' market or green grocer. If you're a home gardener, pick cauliflower out of your home garden. Select as large a head as possible. To assure you're getting the freshest organic cauliflower available, look for a head that is creamy white, with densely packed blemish free florets. Examine the leaves closely, and if they are green instead of white, you'll get a cauliflower that is top notch. This means it will be loaded with nutrients, and tastes sweet instead of strong, as older ones tend to do.

2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut leaves off the head of  cauliflower , but keep the center core intact. Place cauliflower on a cutting board, stem side down. Slice the head in half (top to bottom), straight down the middle. On either side, make slices that are 1/2 in. thick and place them on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper. 

3. Cut as many steaks as possible. You'll know when to stop when the cauliflower pieces start to crumble. Coat each steak with a mixture made from the remaining ingredients. Place slices of tomato on top of steaks and cook all together. Use loose pieces in your salad or bake them alongside the cauliflower steaks (coat loose florets with Dijon lemon mixture as well).

4. The crumbled pieces will take less time to bake than the steaks. Taste test everything (what fun!). When each piece is slightly browned and the cauliflower is cooked to your liking, turn off the oven. We enjoy crispy, crunchy cauliflower steaks at our house, so I cook them for 5-10 minutes on each side.  If you like your cauliflower well done, cook the dish for a longer amount of time. Loose pieces take about 10 minutes total to cook. 

5. Serving ideas are plentiful. Combine with whole grains, green or orange veggies, or a combination of those you like. 

Health Benefits of Cauliflower: "One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of Vitamin K, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese." See more at Dr. Mercola's Website

For a super plant-based meal, one that's packed with deliciousness, make Roasted Vegan Dijon/Lemon Cauliflower Steaks Supreme. It will fill your belly and warm your heart.

Have you made any Cauliflower Steak recipes? How did they turn out? Did you know cauliflower was so nutritious? Are you willing to try out this recipe and see how it's received at your house? Please let me know what you think of my recipe. If you can, link to this post on social media to share the love.

Before I go, I'd like to tell you something personal about myself you may not know. I have been successful in breaking free from a cycle of negativity I saw modeled early on in life. In fact, I wrote and published a book to help others overcome the challenging task of letting go of deeply held beliefs and opinions about themselves and learn (practice) life skills that promote happier, healthier lives. 

Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss is a 12 week journal program that uses colors, affirmations, journal writing, and reflection to support and encourage us as we learn to love and approve of ourselves and others wholeheartedly. Pick up a copy for you and a friend. It makes an attractive gift for your BF and a special treat for you. If you are willing to enhance your life, order it right now by clicking on the link to My Website or ordering it at Amazon Books.

The quote for today follows: "Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." Mark Twain

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

It's Your Life Magazine Online: Great Ideas for Wellness

It's Your Life Magazine Online: Great Ideas for Wellness 

I want to share my excitement about It's Your Life Magazine, an online resource that features articles, recipes, projects, products, and ideas to help you enhance the quality of your life. 

Natural living topics like health enhancers, organic gardening, organic food, healing with herbs, powerful reasons why journaling is good for the soul, and effective methods to nurture mind, body, and spirit are provided in the Oct.-Nov. issue just for you.

The Publisher, Joyce Wheeler Presents Oct-Nov 2015 Issue

In this issue, she writes. "Discover the health problems with electronics which give off electromagnet fields, how they affect our health, and what to do about it. Please subscribe. It's free and get bonuses. Every 2 months you'll be offered a new paperless edition to your inbox.  Here's the link to sign up. Subscribe to It's Your Life Magazine."

The quote for today follows:
"The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind." Paracelsus

Sharing is caring. Please take a moment to share a link to my blog with friends, family, fans, and followers. If you like what you see, become a follower. That way you'll always get a new post as soon as it's published. 

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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan