Frankly Cindy

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables.   It is so versatile.  I decided to get a little creative the other night.  I wanted a quick and easy vegetarian meal.  I had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on the counter begging to be eaten.  How could I refuse?  Stuffed spaghetti squash sounded good.  I checked in the pantry and came up with some Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce, a can of kidney beans and a pouch of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Red Beans and Rice.

 

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 

I  cooked the spaghetti squash for about 5 minutes in the microwave  to soften it enough to cut in half.   Once you cut it in half, scoop out the seeds with a big spoon.   Drizzle on a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper .

 

2016-10-20-17-01-57

 

You have several options for how to cook the squash depending on what you have.  You  can line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.   Or if you have a casserole dish you can either rub a little olive oil or spray with some cooking spray. Place the squash cut side down and bake for about 35-45 minutes.

 

2016-10-20-17-02-27-2

 

While the squash is cooking combine the kidney beans, red beans and rice, and  enchilada sauce in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low stirring occasionally.

Once the squash is done, take a fork and scrape the flesh until it looks like a bowl of spaghetti.

 

2016-10-20-18-08-40

 

Fill the squash with the bean and rice mixture.  Sprinkle a little cheese on top.  Broil until the cheese is melted and you’ve got dinner!   I like to add some hot peppers and plain greek yogurt or sour cream as well.  It’s easy, healthy, yummy and filling!  Best of all you have one left over for lunch or dinner the next day.

 

2016-10-20-18-18-24

 

 

 

 

Print Recipe

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 16 ounce can of  beans ( I used kidney beans)
  • 1 8.8 ounce bag of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice ( I used Red Beans and Rice)
  • 12 ounces enchilada sauce ( I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings; sour cream, plain greek yogurt, jalapenos

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

  1. Microwave Squash 3-5 minutes to soften.
  2. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet or casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes until tender.
  6. While squash is baking, combine the kidney beans, rice and red beans and enchilada sauce in a medium sauce pan.   Simmer on low stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove squash from oven.  Scrape the flesh with a fork to make spaghetti like strands.
  8. Fill each half with the bean and rice mixture.
  9. Sprinkle cheese evenly on each half.  Broil until cheese has melted.
  10. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings

Charity Miles

Fall is here and with it comes chilly, cloudy, foggy days.  On days like these I find it’s a bit harder to get motivated to go out and walk.   I am always so glad when I do,  but a little extra motivation on those tougher days goes a long way!!

 

2016-10-23-08-56-20-hdr

 

Charity Miles is my extra motivation.  It’s a free app for iphone’s and android’s which enables you to earn money for a charity of your choice through corporate sponsorships.   It is so easy and what an inspiration to get you moving!!  Download the app, open it scroll down the list of charities, select your activity and go.  It’s as simple as that!  The app does the rest!

 

I put the app right on top of page 1 on my phone so when I open my phone there it is.  Right in my face where I need it!!  It’s so simple and so inspirational!

 

Today I challenge everyone to download the app pick your charity and get moving!

 

Curried Beef Short Ribs

One of my favorite things about living in Oregon is that we experience all 4 seasons.  Fall is one of my favorites.  After a long hot dry summer it is a welcome change.   We just had our first rain of the season, everything smells so fresh and clean.  The leaves are changing.  It’s so beautiful.  Fall always brings on a syndrome I call “nesting”.   We get the fireplace ready, new batteries in all the “candles”, warm throw blankets in place, red wine and the yearning for comfort food.

 

Yesterday we woke up to a perfect crock pot day.  Cloudy and chilly.    I had been yearning for curried beef short ribs, one of my favorite recipes .   So I got busy and in less than 30 minutes dinner was cooking.,

 

The beauty of the crock pot for me is that it frees up the rest of the day for  impromptu fun.  Mid afternoon Brad suggested we go play 9 holes of golf.  I am so glad we did.  It was a terrible and I mean a terrible round of golf for me but just walking around the course enjoying the afternoon was worth it.  So picturesque !

 

img_3124

Stewart Meadows Golf Course

 

After golf we met our friends for a couple of drinks which is always fun!   I promised them I would post this recipe today and I always try to keep a promise!  Kristin and Sarah, this recipe is for you!

 

img_3128

Curried Beef Short Ribs, Cooking Light 2009 http://www.myrecipes.com

 

Print Recipe

Curried Beef Short Ribs

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours on low

Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tsp canola oil

2 pounds beef short ribs trimmed ( I use boneless)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup minced shallots

3 Tbs minced garlic

3 Tbs minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup water

2 Tbs red curry paste

1/4 cup light coconut milk

1 Tbs sugar

1 Tbs fish sauce

1 tsp grated lime rind

1 Tbs fresh lime juice

4 cups hot cooked  brown basmati rice

 

 

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 tsp of the salt and 1/8 tsp of the pepper.
  2.  Add half of ribs to the pan.  Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in the crock pot.
  3. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.
  4. Add shallots, garlic, and inger to the pan.  Saute 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup of water and curry paste.  Cook 1 minute.

Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce.  Add mixture to the crock pot.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove ribs from cooker.  Keep warm.  Strain cooking liquid through colander over a bowl. discard solids.  Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2 cup glass measure.  Pour cooking liquid into bag.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Once the fat rises to the top seal the bag and snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into a small bowl stopping before the fat layer reaches the opening.  Discard fat.  Stir in remaining salt, pepper, lime rind and juice.  Shred the rib meat with 2 forks and if using bone in ribs, discard the bones.  Serve sauce over ribs and rice.

 

Calories 410;  Fat 16.1g (6.5 g sat, 7g mono,0.9 poly); Cholesterol 70 mg; Calcium 24mg; Carbohydrate 37.1g; Sodium 841 mg; Protein 27g; Fiber 0.7g; Iron 4.1 mg

Cooking Light March 2009, http://Myrecipes.com

College Cuisine

Last weekend we dropped Emily off to start her sophomore year of college.  This year she is in a “student housing” apartment with 3 roommates.  It’s pretty sweet…furnished, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, common living room and common kitchen with lots of perks.  Lucky girl!  Along with this new apartment life comes planning and fixing your own meals. Emily disliked dorm food.  She is excited about the prospect of fixing her own healthy meals.

With that in mind I bought her two of my favorite, go to cookbooks.  Each filled with delicious healthy recipes.

img_3075-2

Gina Homolka’s Skinnytaste  Cookbook and The Complete Cooking Light.   A great start to her new cookbook collection!

What she will soon realize is that her life is very busy.  Planning, shopping and preparing meals isn’t always as easy or fun as it may seem.  So I,  being the great mom I am, decided to start a new category on the blog called “College Cuisine”.  Here I will be posting some of Emily’s favorite recipes along with recipes I find that are easy, quick and healthy.

Today I will post one of our family favorites.   This recipe is a combination of Brad’s mom’s “Slumgulliam” recipe and my mom’s “Fried Garbage”.    Because I’m combining the two recipes there are options for a couple of the steps.  Either option works.

Pictured below are your basic ingredients.

img_3090

I choose the option of adding the macaroni uncooked with the meat and onions.  It’s easier and I don’t have the extra pot to clean.  I also added shredded carrots.  Quick, simple and delicious!

img_3095

The beauty of this recipe is it makes a lot of leftovers.   Refrigerate them for the next day or put some in meal size freezer containers and pop them in the freezer.   On those days you don’t have time to cook  or don’t want to you can take one out of the freezer, microwave it until hot and voila!  Dinner.

Print Recipe

Slumgulliam/Fried Garbage

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground turkey or lean ground beef

1 onion diced

1 bell pepper diced any color

1 cup dry elbow macaroni

1  14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 14 oz can tomato sauce

1  14 oz can red kidney beans

optional 1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Option 2 add uncooked macaroni with meat and onions.  Add 1 cup of water with tomato sauce if you choose this option.
  2. Add ground turkey/beef and onions to large saute pan
  3. Cook on medium heat until meat is browned
  4. Add bell pepper, macaroni, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce.  (Worcestershire Sauce if adding)
  5. Cover pan and simmer 25 minutes.  (If sauce is getting thick add a little water)
  6. Stir in kidney beans cook additional 5 minutes until beans are heated through.

      * Don't be afraid to add your favorite vegetables too.  Zucchini or shredded carrots work great.

Bubby Frank and Grandma Spencer

Back on Track

Let’s see, where was I?  I guess I need to prove a point.  I am my own worst enemy. 5000 step challenge.  Honestly what is the deal?  At least I can report that I have gotten back on track.

Sometimes a little time away gives you a chance to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go.  In the past year I gained 5 more pounds and have been dealing with some hip issues.  Welcome to the 60’s! My normal exercise routine was causing more trouble than benefits.  I was in a rut.

Time to change it up.

I decided to stop my yoga class and more recently my kinesis class.  I found I was modifying them so much I was getting little benefit.  I charged up that “fitbit”  battery and started my step journey once again.  10,000 steps a day.  It’s not easy.  You have to work at it for sure.  I am lucky we have a lot of hiking trails nearby.  A quick two minute drive and we’re there.   Drive a little further and we have trails around lakes, along rivers, up mountains.  Brad and I recently decided to go Emigrant Lake for a little change of pace.   We headed to Ashland, stopped for breakfast and on to the lake.    We saw a “trail” that headed over the dam and decided to check it out.

Emigrant Lake

Emigrant Lake

We were not disappointed.   It was a beautiful hike alongside the lake.  Wildflowers were in bloom, row teams were practicing and we discovered a quaint very old cemetery.

IMG_2288

I believe this is a perfect place to rest in peace!

 

but there is no better feeling than being scared when your wrist starts buzzing.  Mission accomplished.

My friend Anna got a “fitbit” for Christmas.  She told me about the feature where you can challenge your friends.  “Let’s challenge each other” she  said.  I should have known better.  Day one.  I wake up to a ” fitbit” text message…your friend Anna has reached 8743 steps.  Honestly? I immediately texted her and told her to sit down.  Good grief! I just stepped out of bed!! I must add she in Florida and I am in Oregon …there is a 3 hour difference but who needs to wake up to that?  Needless to say I lost that first challenge but I put up a tough fight I put in over 14,000 steps that day.  I also learned a great lesson.  Challenges work.

Today I challenge you.  What changes do you want to make? What will you do to make those changes happen?

5000 Step Challenge

What is it that holds us back from achieving our goals?  I am my own biggest challenge.   I find it hard to stay motivated.  I am easily distracted.  Perfect example, I started this post over a month ago.  Sad but true.   Blogging is new to me and I am not the most technical person on the planet.  What seems simple to me gets complicated , I get frustrated and then bam.  A month or two or more flies by.

The same goes for keeping up an exercise regime.   As we age one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is exercise.   You know the motto, “Use it or Lose it”.  I use it but clearly not enough because I am still losing it.  It’s an endless battle.  So what can I do to keep myself motivated?

One of my favorite exercises is walking.  It’s easy. Right?  You would think.  On our recent  trip to Hawaii, I found I simply had to step outside and I was motivated.  Warm air, cool breezes, sea, sand and whales jumping.  Paradise.

IMG_5227

I walked every day with ease.  I swore when I got home I would keep it up.   No matter what.  Then we got home and it was cold and rainy.  Motivation gone.  I had to do something to get re-inspired.  I needed a challenge.  I signed up for a free website, loseit.com.  I love it.   My favorite feature right now is that I can join “steps” challenges and easily sync my fitbit to the site.   I first recorded the number of steps I was  walking for a few days to see where my norm was.   Considering the ultimate goal is 10,ooo steps a day,  my norm was pretty dismal.   I started my first challenge at 5000 steps a day.  Pretty easy to do with very little effort.    I started taking my dogs on a daily hike on the Woodlands Trail system we are so lucky to have here. There are so many trails.  You can do easy, hard, long short.  Mix it up.

woodlands

The more we went, the easier it got. We have gotten several “routes” we take depending on time and energy level. I still fight myself…we start hiking and this hurts or that’s sore and alter ego starts trying to talk me into shorter walks but most times I win. I average between 7000 to 9000 steps daily now. My best day’s are when I am walking along and I get that wonderful fitbit buzz, that makes me jump every time, telling me mission accomplished. 10000 steps!

My first franklycindy challenge to you is start tracking your steps. The goal 5000 steps a day. Share your accomplishments. Get motivated!

60 Shades of Gray

It’s official. I am now legally gray. Yesterday I was filling out the form to renew my passport. Lo and behold came the question. Hair color? My heart skipped a beat. Wow. I looked at the box for a minute or two, took a deep breath and checked “gray”. What a year. 60 and gray.

I made the choice about a year ago to stop coloring my hair quite by accident. I had no intention of going “natural” at all. I missed my coloring appointment when my mom was in the hospital. Next thing I know it’s been 2+ months and I have roots.  Gray roots.   I observed my new roots and discovered that my gray had changed.  It was no longer the mousey ( I don’t think that’s a word)  reddish yucky gray but it had become more silver and light.  Hmmm.  Should I or shouldn’t I?   Emily said no way mom, you’re going to look old.   Now there’s a vote of confidence.  But then there was Sandy.   My own personal cheerleader!  Do it!  It’s beautiful.  It will look so good with your eyes and skin.   Ok we’ll give it a try.  She is very convincing!

Legally Gray

Legally Gray

Growing your hair out from coloring is not easy.  You go through some pretty terrible phases.  There were many and I mean many times when I would look at myself and think..it does make me look old.  What am I thinking???   I want to be blonde again.   Sandy was always there…it looks great leave it alone.   It’s beautiful!  Don’t color it.  She  even enlisted our friends to join in and cheer me on.   I had my own private pep squad.   I had no choice.   I left it alone.

Luckily, I wear my hair short and it grows fast.  By the end of the summer it was pretty much gray.   Then as an early birthday present, Sandy gave me gift certificates to get a hair makeover with her niece Addie.  The plan, grow it out longer, no bangs, swoop here, longer there.  Oh my.  How much more change can I go through?    I let it grow out for 2 months and then I couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt like an old shaggy dog.   Addie to the rescue.   Finally it’s long enough to style.  She was very patient with me and my cranky demands.  I HAVE to have bangs and it needs to be shorter around my face!  You can do whatever you want with the rest.   She smiled and said great let’s do it.   An hour later I was looking at a new me in the mirror and I liked it.  Maybe change is good.   I am still getting used to the gray.  I am liking it more and more.   It has many shades of gray.    I am often asked if it’s my natural color.  Huh?  Who colors their hair gray on purpose?  But I must admit it makes me feel better about it.   Even Emily says it’s not as bad as she thought it would be.    I think that’s a compliment?

Sandy sent this link to me the other day. Gray Hair Leads Beauty Trends in 2015

So there you have it.  I am officially and legally gray.  I am trendy.  Deep breath.  Sigh!

I am glad I did it!

Chicken Parmesan

I am a cookbook junkie. I love reading them and finding fun new recipes and new twists on old ones. For my birthday my sister Donna gave me SHEET PAN SUPPERS by Molly Gilbert. A new twist on one pot meals using sheet pans. I’m in! Not only do the recipes look great but it’s a fun read too. I couldn’t wait to try something. I decided on the Chicken Parmesan since I already had all the ingredients on hand. It’s a favorite in our house. In line with New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to add chopped summer squash, zucchini and red bell pepper lightly seasoned to the side in lieu of cooking pasta or adding bread.

IMG_4981

I popped it into a preheated 400 degree oven. Baked it for about 15 minutes then removed the pan from the oven and added the finishing touches. Marinara, provolone and parmesan cheese.

<IMG_4982

After about 10 more minutes out came dinner. It was easy, healthy and delicious! All in one pan. Now that’s my kind of meal!!

chicken sheet pan

Print Recipe

Chicken Parmesan

Yield: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:

Olive oil cooking spray

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried oregano

2 TBS sweet or smoked paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets each about 1/2 inch thick

1 jar (24 ounce) marinara sauce (Molly love's Rao's)

6 to 8 slices of provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the upper third.  Generously mist a sheet pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together the panko, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the pepper in a large bowl to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper.  In a third shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.
  3. Dip each chicken cutlet first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then in the eggs, and finally in the panko mixture, patting to coat thoroughly on both sides.  Place the breaded chicken cutlets on the prepared pan.  Mist the chicken with the olive oil cooking spray to lightly coat. 
  4. Bake the chicken until the panko has browned and the cutlets are almost entirely cooked through about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven.  Top each chicken cutlet with about 1/2 cup marinara sauce and the provolone and parmesan.  Return to the oven.
  6. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, an additional 10 minutes or so.
  7. Serve hot

Happy New Year

2015. I can’t believe another year has passed so quickly! I really can’t believe I have turned 60. Where has the time gone? What will this new year bring? For starts Emily will graduate from High School. We will become empty nester’s. I must say I wasn’t handling “Senior year” very well. Tears here there and everywhere. I have gotten a grip on myself though. Thankfully. I am now more excited for this new adventure of hers. Graduating and heading off to college. I sit back with pride and in awe of the beautiful young woman she has become. We couldn’t be more proud.

IMG_0012

Before rushing ahead into the New Year I must reflect back on 2014. What a year it was. Filled with blessings and devastating losses. We lost two very dear friends. And we have friends who have endured that which a parent should never have to. The unexpected loss of their child. Our hearts are broken for them all. A day does not go by that we don’t think of them, pray for them, love them, miss them.
DSC_0032

On a happier note, we had fun family adventures traveling the west coast on the great college search. My friend Anna and I drove cross country, Oregon to North Carolina in 6 days. Happily we didn’t kill one another! It was such a great trip! Thank you Anna!

Last but not least, franklycindy.com became a reality. Thank you again, Lindsay, www.loveandoliveoil.com for taking my thoughts and designing the perfect blog for me. Special thanks to you Sandy, reluctantentertainer.com for inspiring me and helping me enter this new exciting world.

I am looking forward to 2015. I think it’s going to be a great year.

Greens and Beans

Last night we got home from a fun weekend visiting the University of Oregon…our last college tour.
We were tired and hungry and I needed to come up with something healthy and quick for dinner. Our garden is still bursting with Kale and Swiss Chard so I sent Brad out to pick some. I grabbed a can of white beans and tricolor beans and my new favorite Miso Ginger Broth, a few more ingredients and voila quick delicious dinner! Add some thick warm crusty bread too. Divine!

IMG_4792

Print Recipe

Beans and Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups mixed winter greens chopped

(I used kale and swiss chard)

2 cans of beans rinsed and drained

(I used white and tricolor beans)

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 TBS olive oil

4 cups Trader Joe's Miso Ginger Broth

 Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add greens.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of broth and let greens simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the beans and remaining broth.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve.