1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus extra for topping
salt and pepper to taste
grated or sliced mozzarella for topping to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
For easy cutting, feel free to stick your squash in the microwave to soften it up just a tad. Pierce it a few times with a knife (to help vent so it doesn’t burst) and cook for for 3-5 minutes. The knife slides through way easier this way! Smaller squash will need about 3 minutes while larger ones will be good to go at 4-5 min.
Next grab a lipped baking sheet or a rimmed baking dish.
Rub the cut side of the squash with a teeny bit of olive oil and place on your baking dish/sheet cut side down. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of your squash, and larger squash will need to roast a bit longer to tenderize. Once ready, the once rock-hard exterior of the squash will be visibly softened with a tender interior.
The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for a few days if you’d like to meal prep and plan ahead for a speedier dinner.
While the squash roasts, start on the sauce.
In a medium pot or skillet, bring a drizzle of olive oil to medium-high heat and sauté garlic until fragrant.
Next add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add your cream, cream cheese (totally optional but totally tasty) and parmesan cheese and stir well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Once squash is done roasting, allow to cool until easily handled or pop on an oven mit and use a fork to separate and fluff the strands of spaghetti squash.
Pour your sauce over each squash boat, stir to mix, and top with a little mozzarella cheese and additional parm cheese, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
For a golden cheesy topping, flip your oven to broil on high for just a minute or two until lightly browned. Dive in while it’s HOT!
There are many joys to raising one big happy family. But, let’s get real, feeding one big happy family is another story. Parent’s of one or multiples can relate to this blog post. There are many ways to maintain a daily, weekly, or monthly grocery shopping budget. We are going to explore some of these areas as a means of learning more options when it comes to grocery shopping for your family.
One strategy is to meal plan. If you’re anything like me, your car wheels are spinning from sun up until sun down, most days. Meal planning eliminates the temptation of stopping at local fast food restaurants and provides a health meal alternative for you and your family. To successfully meal plan, it is suggested that the “planner” and “meal prepper” arrange all of the meal items on Sunday prior to the week.
Now let’s look at Meal Planning On A Budget. This simply involves the core components of a meal- the protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate. The simplest and cheapest way to accomplish this is by sticking to one protein (chicken, fish, broccoli-for vegan families), one choice of carb (rice, sweet potato), and mix up the vegetables throughout the week. Boring right?! You’re encouraged to get creative when fixing these items for your family. Change up the spices blends and cooking styles. Instead of grilling the chicken, place a few pieces in the oven or boil them.
Living on a Cheap provides some very reasonable solutions to maintaining a $4 day grocery bill. This averages to about $120 a month. For larger families, the budget might need to be adjusted, however, the same concepts can be applied. These tips, along with my personal experience tips will be given:
Eliminate Bottled Water- Purchase a water diffuser pitcher or faucet attachment one time versus constantly purchasing a $4 case of bottled water weekly.
Eliminate Fruit Juices and Sodas- Fruit juices tend to cause dental health. Sodas are packed with sugar. Eliminating this item will help your pockets in more than one way.
Eliminate Coffee- One cup of coffee at Starbucks ranges from $4-$6. Making coffee at home can add up as well. There is creamer, sugar, coffee grains, and filters. This one will be hard for coffee drinkers.
Eliminate Alcoholic Beverages- Eliminate or save these items for a special occasion.
Purchase Fresh or Frozen Fruits- Many times, the frozen fruit are much cheaper than fresh fruit. It may not be a first preference for most, however, it gets the job done.
Purchase Fresh or Frozen Vegetables- The same concept applies to vegetables. However, frozen store brand vegetables are significantly cheaper. One bag of Great Value brand (Walmart) broccoli is $.99 compared to other $2.99 brands.
Keep Snacks Simple- Snacks need to stay simple, plain and simple. At most homes, snacks go FAST. I suggest keeping these items simple when possible. Rather than purchasing an already made cheese and cracker for $3.29, purchase a $.99 cent box of crackers and $.99 cent cheese. This is just an example. All families have their own favorite snacks. See if you can re-create them cheaper!
Purchase Beans and Grains in Bulk- I always, always, always have some sort of rice on hand. Rice is a simple go-to and easily purchased in bulk. The same for beans. When searching, purchase these items in larger bags and portion them out when cooking for the week.
Purchase Raw Foods Over Already Prepared- This goes for chicken, fish, beef, steak, and even some vegetables and pastry’s. Kroger is currently selling a “Meal Kit” for a family of 4 for $19.99. This only feeds your family for one night versus purchasing raw items and portioning them out for much cheaper.
Focus On Nutrition- Focusing on nutrition while shopping will eliminate MOST of the store items, trust me.
Milk, Milk, Milk- I tend to find myself buying two gallons per week. That’s a lot of milk! When possible, replace the milk drinking with water.
Grocery Shopping Tips
Shop On A Full Stomach- Yes, everything looks delicious when you’re hungry. Just don’t do it.
Create a List and Be Prepared to Say No- Your children will go find the largest box (64 OZ) of cereal when you already have some at home. Just create a list and be prepared.
Buy Non-Grocery Related Items at Dollar Store- This includes laundry detergent, washing powder, soap, and bleach, etc. These items are much cheaper outside of the grocery store.
Shop Store Brands- Not all store brands are created equally, I know. Shop around. There are some really great buys in store brand.
Don’t Fall for the 10 for 10- Only use this purchase, if you are truly going to use 10 items of the same thing. These sales are a quick way to rack up you total.
Learn to Bake or Cook- When in doubt, just cook it at home. The frozen chicken alfredo lasts one night versus purchasing the items at and cooking 2 days worth.
Coffee is one of the worlds top rated beverages. For many, coffee is viewed as a guilty pleasure due to perspectives on sugar and caffeine intake. However, did you know coffee holds many positive health benefits for those who choose to consume this beverage? Yes, that’s right! We are going to dive into the major health benefits on your health that can happen from drinking a cup of coffee.
The statements within this post are for factual purposes, only. If you are interested in changing your diet, consult with your medical provider.
Vitamins and Minerals
One cup of coffee holds a significant amount of vitamins and minerals. Black coffee contains a number of micronutrients, potassium, magnesium and niacin. The sodium level is very low. The data below provides the micronutrient nutritional profile of 100ml of medium strength black coffee.
In fact, the type of water used in preparation of coffee can determine the number of nutrients in a cup. This is due to hard and soft water having different effects on coffee once prepared.
Coffee and Energy Levels
One well known fact about coffee is its ability to shift your energy levels. Coffee is known to help people feel less tired and increase overall energy levels due to a main ingredient, caffeine. Once a cup of coffee is consumed, the caffeine absorbs within your blood stream and travels to your brain. This stimulant (caffeine) blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you sleepy.
Coffee has been shown to improve overall brain function. Most of these functions include memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times, and overall mental function. Some studies have found that caffeine may enhance short-term memory. There is not a definitive answer regarding the effects of caffeine and long term memory functions.
Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Research has shown where coffee drinkers have a lowered risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. Studies observe that people who drink the most coffee have a 23–50% lower risk of getting this disease. One study showed a reduction as high as 67%.
Researchers with Harvard University tracked over 100,000 people for over 20 years. The results were that people who reduced their coffee drinking by one cup cup developed an increase in developing diabetes by 17%.
It’s not clear why coffee has such an impact on the development of diabetes.
Coffee Makes You Happier
Yes, a caramel macchiato can make you happier in the morning. However, research shows that drinking coffee daily can lower your risks for developing depression and can also cure depression symptoms. As of today, coffee, cocoa and tea are being actively investigated because they contain polyphenolic compounds that may have beneficial effects on mental health, including behaviour, mood, depression and cognition.
Another study with Harvard found that participants who drank 20 cups of coffee a day had a 20% chance of becoming depressed. Research into coffee and depression has found that people tend to experience less severe symptoms when they drink coffee. Coffee appears to lower your risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce suicide risk.
Lowers Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a condition that impacts the central nervous system and impacts movements and causes tremors. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. It typically occurs due to low levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that plays an important role in movement and coordination. Coffee consumption appears to reduce or delay the development of Parkinson’s Disease and caffeine is most likely the causal factor.
“A 2010 review of previous research found that the more caffeine people regularly consumed, the lower their risk of developing Parkinson’s”- Medical News Today
During another study, those individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s had lowered caffeine levels of 76%. It is suggested that coffee does in fact, lower the risk of Parkinson’s Disease, given the findings.
Coffee Manages Weight and Speeds Up Metabolism
Are you still looking for a reason to drink coffee? Coffee aids in weight management and speeds up overall metabolism. As mentioned above, coffee contains stimulants. These stimulants are caffeine,theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid. The most effective stimulant is once again, caffeine. Caffeine fights to make you stay awake and controls energy levels.
Caffeine increases your metabolic rate making it easier to lose weight. The higher your metabolic rate, the easier it is for you to lose weight and the more you can eat without gaining weight. Caffeine increases your resting metabolic rate. This increases the number of calories you burn while resting.
There is a potential downfall to this concept. The body can become immune to the effects of caffeine, causing it to have a reverse effect.