BY DR. ANDREA PURCELL
Fall is my favorite time of year. It represents abundance in many forms as the year-end celebration of harvest begins.
There are so many emotions that Fall evokes that are hard to put into words. I mostly cherish the smell in the air; the turning to seed of the summer sunflowers and Black Eyed Susan. Big pots of mums with their yellow and rust colored flowers…to me those things represent the sweetness of life, the ever-changing landscape and the anticipation of new things to come.
I love the dramatic shift of green to orange and gold and the hiking during this time of year is divine!
I have fond memories of going to the orchard to pick apples, drinking fresh apple cider and saving room for the apple cider donuts.
Some of the most nutritious Fall foods are the squashes. Squashes such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin are the most common.
I often hear patients say that squashes are just too labor intensive to eat. Raw squash is hard to cut, difficult to peel and requires good grip strength to chop into squares.
While all that is true, there are easier ways to get squash on your plate and I want to share them with you. Mostly because I want you to eat squash. Squash is a great source of fiber, Vitamin B6, folate, beta-carotene, antioxidants and potassium. Squash can be paired with any meal as a side. Since it is a starchy vegetable it can take the place of a starch at a meal and leave you extremely satisfied.
Squash preparation can be extremely easy. If you don’t have much experience with squash I urge you to give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Option 1: Place whole butternut squash on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until you can pierce it with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Slice open, scoop out seeds.
Option 2: Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise scoop out seeds and place face down on cookie sheet for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees or until you can pierce it with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. To cut the squash it is best to hack it with a cleaver or use a sturdy serrated knife so that you can saw through it. I have a small kitchen saw that I use for squash. Alternatively you can also ask the man in your house for assistance.
Option 3: Buy the peeled and cubed butternut squash in a bag from the store. Place in a pot of water and boil until you can pierce with a sharp knife. Then drain the water.
Mashed Butternut Squash Recipe: – Less Labor Same Love
1 large butternut squash
1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch black pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
Cook butternut squash using Option 1 or 2 above.
Scoop out the cooked flesh into a bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and almond milk. Mash with a potato masher until well combined. For a fluffier consistency you can whip with a hand mixer. Put in a sealed container in your fridge and scoop out as a side to each meal.
Kale Salad with Roasted Squash – Labor of Love
I enjoyed this recipe while visiting at my girlfriend’s house. It’s from Martha Stewart. I modified it slightly.
1 pound peeled and cubed butternut squash cut into ½ inch cubes (buy at store)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ tsp. sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons flax seed oil
1 ½ bunches Lacinto Kale (aka Tuscan kale) washed and patted dry
4 ounces aged goat cheese shaved or crumbled
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (Trader Joes has these already toasted)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place squash and onion on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with coconut oil and pinch of sea salt and pepper. Toss well and roast until golden brown, stir with a spoon half way through. Squash is done when a knife is easily inserted about 45minutes.
In a large bowl make dressing: flaxseed oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Cut 2 inches off the bottom of the kale and slice leaves down the middle. Then slice crosswise into ¾ inch slices. Add kale to salad bowl; mix well and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The longer the kale sits in the dressing the more tender it will become liberating all the super nutrients from within the leaves. Then add the squash, cheese, and pine nuts. MMMM good
With so much Love,
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