Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Squash Fest!

Once again, upon examination of my photos over the past few days, I noticed a trend. This time it was the frequency with which I cooked different kinds of squash. I need to curtail my carotene intake because I have a tendency to turn orange! My hands turn an unattractive shade of yellow if I eat too many carrots, too much squash, or an excess of pumpkin. My dad likes to tease me by calling me "beta carotene Betty." Very funny.

Aside from the plentiful pumpkin, I have also tried a few new food finds over the past few days. I took pictures of the packaging for your benefit:)

Just after I signed off from my last post, I treated myself to my nightly shake, although this one was more like a smoothie. I used the "tropical" flavor of Spirutein and added some nonfat plain organic yogurt, some frozen mango I found in the freezer, shredded coconut, and a drizzle of agave. It tasted just like a pina colada (I apologize for the lack of tilde over the "n." I can't figure out how to insert that symbol). I love coconut so much--it's so chewy and, well, tropical! Tuesday
Breakfast on Tuesday consisted of the last bran muffin top from the freezer, a raspberry smoothie (frozen organic raspberries + almond milk), and a handful of cashews. This was kind of a "ho-hum" breakfast. Seeds always put a damper on my enjoyment of a smoothie. Lunch was a bit more exciting, at least. I toasted up some more whole wheat tortillas with a sprinkling of chili powder for another serving of tortilla chips, and I added a few more ingredients for a delicious taco salad. I used organic greens, refried pinto beans, lots of salsa, and mashed avocado. That's a sliced Rome apple on the side. For a snack I had a bowl of Grape Nut Flakes, my first new food find. These aren't really new to the market or anything, but I had never tried them before. They're my kind of cereal: really short ingredients list, slightly sweet, and they lend themselves to sogginess. Yum! My dinner was a tad strange last night but tasty nonetheless. I started out wanting a grilled cheese, but I remembered all those tortillas in the fridge, plus I needed protein, and I wanted to try my soup I had just thawed, yada, yada....So I ended up with a grilled hummus and organic mozzarella wrap and a bowl of homemade butternut squash soup. I also had some dried figs and a side salad (not pictured). As predicted, my need for chocolate returned after a short hiatus. Last night's shake was comprised of a frozen banana, chocolate Spirutein, cocoa powder, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. So good. Wednesday
I had an excellent breakfast this morning, mostly because of another new food find. I had a whole grain mini bagel with sunflower seed butter and a peach smoothie (frozen peaches + almond milk + cinnamon). I love this new nut butter! It has a host of vitamins and minerals, it has a great texture, and it tastes delicious! Two thumbs up. If any of you suffer from celiac disease or a peanut allergy, this product is gluten- and peanut-free. I really like these mini bagels too, probably just because they are miniature:) For lunch today, my dad and I made a trip to Johnny Rocket's, mostly because I printed out a coupon for a free "Streamliner," which is basically a souped up Boca burger. We got it to-go because my dad was in his "nasty clothes" (i.e. his clothes for doing chores around the house). Once we were home, I supplemented my burger with steamed spinach and a pear. It was meh. I think I like the texture of wheat buns more than white buns now. Plus, my pear wasn't ripe yet. Bah.
My dinner arose from a combination of spaghetti squash recipes. Lindsay from The Happy Herbivore held a contest a while back for the best spaghetti squash recipe, and Ruby's tomato soup suggestion won. Then I looked at Kath's collection of spaghetti squash recipes and saw her chili. What I ended up with is what Rachael Ray would call a "stoup"--something between a soup and a stew. My concoction had lots of leftover spaghetti squash, diced tomatoes, vegetarian burger crumbles, plus my favorite spices. This was really filling! In addition to what you see here, I had another bowl plus a flatbread for dipping. Whoa. Well,
I'm off to be a slug until this full feeling wears off. Hope you have a restful evening!


romina said...

Hehe That reminds me of an episode of the Magic School Bus in which one of the students ate too many carrots and turned orange. I didn't know it was possible!

VeggieGirl said...

Even though I eat TONS of carrots, mangoes, apricots, and squash, almost every single day, I have never turned even a LIGHT shade of orange, haha. I guess everyone's different!

I know I sound like a broken record (what else is new), but I can't get over how innovative and delicious your shake ideas are - YUM!! By the way - I hate seeds in my smoothies too, so when I use raspberries/blackberries/etc., I always blend the smoothies TWICE; and then voila! a SMOOTH smoothie :0)

Allison said...

Hi! This is my first time to comment, but I've been reading your blog for quite some time now...and I love it :) All of your meals look delicious and easy to fix! I was wondering what Spirutein is exactly?...Is it a way to get in extra calcium and protein? (I'm on the switch from being a vegetarian to becoming a vegan) Also, where did you find the Sunbutter?! Peanut butter just doesn't seem to agree with me lately, and I'm trying to find new options! Sorry that this has gotten so long haha...anyways, Thanks & I love the blog! :)

Alice (in Veganland) said...

You turn orange? haha, how sweet... Your smoothies look great! love them! but I still have to actually make one...

Jennifer said...

I know what you mean about seeds! I love raspberries, but the seeds!

Your taco salad, oh my Caroline, it looks so good. And all that squash! Mmmmmmmmmm. I especially love your stoup!

Anonymous said...

I recently made a mixed berry smoothie and it had tons of seeds (mostly thanks to the raspberries) and while I understand why some might hate that, I found I enjoyed the crunch. :-p

Your new nut butter find intrigues me.. I've seen the sunflower butter before, but it never really caught my interest. Now that you say it tastes good, I really want to try it out now! But I have to finish the nut butters I have at home before I try a new one, but thanks for the recommendation!

Anonymous said...

that taco salad looks absolutely delicious! mmmm now i have a craving :)

Anonymous said...

Haha that's hilarious, your hands actually turn orange? Crazy!

You have so many tasty sounding smoothies going on in this post! I feel inspired to make some new smoothie concoctions now!

And I've always wanted to give sunflower seed butter, so now that I hear a good recommendation I just might have to make that one of my next nut butter purchases!

Jenn said...

Those tortilla chips and guacamole look so good! What a good idea to make your own chips!

I agree with VeggieGirl - your innovative shakes NEVER cease to amaze!

Erin said...

Your taco salad looks so good. Taco salads with homemade tortilla chips are SO much better than with store bought. No salt overload.

I love Grape Nut Flakes too! I don't buy them often because I try to stick with more "natural" companies, but sometimes those or Raisin Bran Crunch just hit the spot.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

That stoup sounds amazing with the burger crumbles variation! I wish I could have some right now - it's a cooler day and I could really use some internal warming. :)

Your taco salad meal with the tortilla chips sounds sooo good right now too. (Can you tell I'm really hungry for lunch?) And though it is random, I love hummus & tomato wraps, butternut squash, and dried figs so that sounds like an excellent meal!

"Beta Carotene Betty"? Omg, that is so silly! Some dads just love to make up incredibly silly names - my dad included. Oh, and I haven't tried tahini banana oatmeal yet (maybe tomorrow?), but if you do let me know if it's icky or not!

ChickPea said...

Romina: I love the Magic School Bus! I don't think I've seen that episode though...Turning orange is def possible. I just read about it in my nutrition text book, actually!
VeggieGirl: I am so jealous of your non-oranginess. I wonder what makes the difference? Anyway, thanks for the tip on eliminating the seediness.
Allison: Hello! So glad to have a new person comment!
Spirutein is a protein powder made from spirulina. I like it as an alternative to soy and whey powders, plus I just like the texture it provides. Each packet has 14 grams of protein, and, among other vitamins/minerals, 300 mg of calcium. I am not positive that they are vegan, however, so you might want to check up on that. I buy my online at
I found my sunbutter at Target. It's usually next to the PB & Co. peanut butters.
Alice: Being orange is actually quite annoying. I miss my formerly pink hands!
Jennifer: It's funny, now every time I make anything Mexican, I automatically think of you! Your cooking has obviously had quite an effect on me:)
Vegan Nurse: I really need to control myself on the nut butters...I have way too many open jars at the moment. I should practice some more restraint like you!
loveofoats: Go ahead and indulge in a little Mexican!
lighterportions: Yes, sadly, I am actually a little orange. Be forewarned against too much carotene!
Jenn: I must admit that homemade tortilla chips are not as good as restaurant ones, but they're good in a pinch.
Erin: I agree with you on buying natural brands. However, when I go to a smaller grocery or I need to save a little $$, I take a look at the regular cereals. Some of them are actually pretty healthy! Who knew?
Ruby: It's odd, now that it's summer I have been eating more soup than normal. I guess 80* temps don't have an effect on me...
I forgot about the banana-tahini oatmeal idea this morning. Oh well, maybe tomorrow!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Your dad sounds nicer than my mom… once I had an overload of beta carotene, and my mom looked at me and screamed, “Oh my God, Katie, you have jaundice!” But yeah, I have to watch my vitamin A intake too!

Hmm I’ve never had an almond milk-raspberry smoothie… nor a peach-almond milk one either. I usually will add some banana in there. Is it sweet enough with just the raspberries and almond milk? If so, maybe I should try it sometime when I’m out of bananas (which seems to be often, since my whole family loves them).

Anonymous said...

Your grilled hummus, tomato, and cheese quesadilla looked amazing! I am definitely going to try it!

Allison said...

Thanks for all of the information!! Now I'll have to swing by Target tomorrow and see if they have sunbutter! I always get excited about new food finds and grocery shopping haha :)

ChickPea said...

CCV: Haha, I am glad to hear that I am not the only one with a tendency to turn orange!
Sometimes the smoothies are not sweet enough for me, so I'll add some agave nectar or other sweetener. I love using bananas too though, especially for the texture!
Undreamed Shores: I hadn't really thought of it as a quesadilla before, but I guess you're right. Maybe it's a panini-wrap-quesadilla hybrid.
Allison: You're welcome. I love food shopping and finding new items to try, so I am always happy to share info:)

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Kristin said...

You can't go wrong with squash!! Sounds yummy.

P.S. I tagged you!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I guess I need to buy me some agave. Can you believe I've never tried it?!

P.S. Looks like you're quite popular, Miss Double-Tagged ;o)

Danielle said...

I absolutely adore marathon food posts like this. It's like food porn :) everything looks amazing chickpea!

ChickPea said...

Vegan Nurse and Kristin: Thanks for tagging me! I'll share my five things in Monday's post.
CCV: Wow, I am surprised that you have never tried agave. It's weird, I never really used honey that much before I became aware of vegetarianism/veganism, but now I seem to use LOTS of agave. I like things sweet!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks so yummy! I really want a refried bean quesedilla right about now..

ChickPea said...

foodfashionlife: I highly recommend it!