quinoa stuffed acorn squash

Did anyone else have a rough time getting through Monday?  I got a lot done, but man was I in slow motion.  We headed to Winter Park, CO on Sunday, for a few hours of skiing + snowboarding.  Chris has converted to skiing!  The nerve!  The first time on the mountain, each season, leaves the body quite sore and sometimes in random places.  Obviously my legs are a little tight, but my right forearm is sore, and the side of my left calf as well.  No idea why!  

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My point in brining up the snowboarding, was that it added to my slow-mo-Monday feel.  My other point in bringing it up, is to talk about my recent workouts.  We’ve decided to do away with our gym memberships.  This past winter/spring I really amped up my weight lifting, and the free weights at home just weren’t enough.  I was at the gym 4+ days a week, and supplementing with walks or bike rides in our neighborhood and swimming 1x per week. 

When I decided to amp up the weight lifting, I was craving a change a pace in my workouts.  I was on a cardio kick for too long, with bike rides, swims, and only light lifting.  I was new to cycling, and just loved getting out to ride for 1.5hrs or more at a time.  I was in shape, but not in the way I like.  I had endurance, but didn’t feel too strong.  And I was hungry.  Like constantly eating, constantly hungry, give.me.fooood. hungry!

Lessening the cardio and upping the lifting, really made a difference.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight, but wanted to tone + cut some body fat.  In about 4-5 months, my body fat dropped 4%, weighing the exact same, if not a pound or 2 more. 

My workouts continually change.  They’ve changed from only running, to running + yoga, to walking + lifting, to longer stints of biking + swimming, to shorter cardio + heavier lifting, etc.  The changes keep me interested and keep my body guessing what’s next.

For instance, late this summer I found Body Rock, and suddenly my visits to the gym became less frequent.  The heavy lifting routine was working pretty well, but I was actually starting to bulk up a too much.  My upper body [especially] gains muscle mass pretty quickly.  Definitely not a bad thing, but there is only so much bulk I want to add.  Finding Body Rock was a huge breakthrough.  I saw results within two weeks.  More ab definition, much more tone in my arms, and finely noticeable leg muscles!  While my arms show muscle change very quickly, my legs do not!  I don’t thrive or obsess on always seeing results, but I was looking for a workout to help define my muscles, rather than just bulk them up. 

With Body Rock, I was spending less time working out and feeling much stronger.  The workouts were hard + intense, but they gave me such a rush.  I still kept up with walking the dogs, cycling + swimming for cardio.

Long story longer, just when I was getting in the groove with the BR workouts, a nagging foot injury crept back into my life.  About 1.5yrs ago, I injured the top of my foot [close to my toes], and had to take a lot of time off from walking + running.  That is actually when I started cycling + swimming.  My foot doctor never diagnosed me with a stress fracture or tendonitis, but just said to give it plenty of rest. 

The Body Rock workouts consist of a lot of on-your-toes movements, which after a few months, started to wear on my right foot.  The top of foot pain came back and the Body Rock workouts halted.  Actually, walking halted.  I stopped walking the dogs and stopped going to the gym.  I stayed off my feet as much as possible, and iced multiple times each day.  I wore stiff soled shoes, to keep the muscles + bones from working too hard, when I was on my feet.  My workouts returned to a lot of cardio that didn’t cause pain to my foot.  After a few weeks, I was able to lift free weights at home, without foot pain.  After a full two months, I finally felt comfortable walking further than 1/4 mile.  I babied that foot and was quite frustrated about it.

So, because of all that, I fell out of the gym routine.  And because of that, I’m okay with closing the gym membership.  But now, I need something new.  Low impact, Body Rock type workouts.  A new search begins!

And now to connect gym memberships back to snowboarding, closing our gym memberships will help pay for most of the money spent on gas, to + from the mountains.

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Now I’m thinking maybe we should talk about food?

Specifically acorn squash.  The perfect edible bowl, that is just asking to be stuffed!

A trick you may not know about!  After slicing your acorn squash in half, lengthwise, slice a thin piece off the back so your squash can sit flat + not wobble.  Thank you 101 Cookbooks for teaching me this invaluable trick!

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No wobble!

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Chris is not a fan of squash.

I always act as though I’m surprised.  Like…”maybe he’ll like it with curry and pureed in a soup..” or… “if I roast it with a bunch of other veggies, it won’t even be noticeable.”  Not the case.  I mean, maybe he was into the curry soup, but he still had to crush mounds of Saltine crackers to choke it down.  When I do make something squashy for dinner, he tells me, “It’s not my fault I don’t like to eat decorative gourds.” 

The only squash he enjoys is spaghetti squash.  And the only recipe with pumpkin he’s ever enjoyed were my pumpkin donuts.  He’ll put up with a squash-involved dinner about 3 times per year, and I think we’ve already surpassed that quota. 

With this recipe, I didn’t even give it a try.  I bought him a take n’ bake pizza instead. 

Happy husband.  Happy squash-eating wife.

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Lemony Quinoa Stuffed Squash [serves 4]

  • 3/4c quinoa, rinsed + drained
  • 1.5c water
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1.5c cooked chickpeas, rinsed + drained
  • 1/3c squash seeds, cleaned + patted dry
  • 1/4c lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1T + 4t honey
  • 2T sunflower oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced ~2-3t
  • 2t fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1T fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2t salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400*
  2. Cut squash lengthwise, de-seed, and slice a very thing piece off the back of the squash, to help it sit flat on a plate. 
  3. Drizzle with about 1t oil into each half squash, and sprinkle with salt + pepper.  Rub into the cavity and the cut edges of the squash. 
  4. Turn cut side down, on a parchment lined pan and bake for 35-40min.  The edges should be golden brown when you flip it over, and the squash will be very tender and easily scooped out.
  5. While the squash is baking, in a pot, add the quinoa + water and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer, cover + let cook for 15min, without stirring.  Turn off the heat and move to another burner [keeping covered] for 10min.  Fluff with a fork after 10min.
  7. After the quinoa has been cooking for awhile, in a large pan, add 1/2T oil over medium heat.
  8. Toast the squash seeds with a sprinkle of salt + pepper until golden brown, stirring frequently.  5-8min
  9. Mix 1T oil, 1T honey and the lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  10. Remove the seeds from the pan, add another 1/2T of oil, and add the chickpeas, stirring frequently for about 3min.
  11. Add the garlic, sage + thyme and cook for about 1min until fragrant.
  12. Add the fluffed quinoa, salt, pepper, lemon dressing, and 1t lemon zest to the pan mixture and gently stir to combine.
  13. When the squashes are done roasting, flip them over and add 1t honey into each squash bowl.  Rub into the bottom and sides.
  14. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the squash bowls, and top with toasted seeds and a tiny bit of lemon zest.  Add more s+p if desired.

tips/substitutions: Millet would work as a great sub for quinoa.  If using dry herbs, sub in 1t dried sage and 1t dried thyme.  If you don’t want to use the acorn squash seeds, toast sunflower or pepitas/pumpkin seeds instead.  If you have butternut, delicata, or another type of squash, peel, cube + roast the squash with oil/salt/pepper until tender, then toss together with the quinoa mixture.

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After a few days of non-stop eating, this was just the recipe I was looking for.  Light in flavor, but a filling + comforting meal.  And the leftovers are all miiiine!


Photography blog has been updated!  As if you needed to read more from me today…