Friday, March 04, 2016

Even Easier Than Pasta Spaghetti Squash

Once upon a time when my 20 year old was just a little girl and well before gluten-free became a thing, my then mother-in-law Irma praised the wonderful spaghetti squash.

Unfortunately for an entire decade I was afraid.

Because squash.

But recently as gluten free and Paleo were making their ascent, I began to lose my fear of squash. It started with butternut squash and soon I had made my way all the way to the famed spaghetti squash. Lo and behold, Irma turned out to be right.

In all honesty, it does not taste a whole lot like spaghetti to me and the texture is more like a watercress, but once it's covered in sauce...who really cares?

But the great thing is, it really IS as easy as my ex-mother-in-law made it out to be and presumably quite healthy too.

First, stab the squash.

You don't have to kill it all the way. Just pierce it a few times to let out the steam. I like to to stab it right where I'm going to have to cut it anyway. Because...laziness.

Then microwave it five minutes on one side, five minutes on the next side, a little longer if it's a very large squash.

Cut the squash in half.

That stringy stuff is NOT the spaghetti! Those are just some seeds and stringy stuff. Scoop it out with a spoon and toss it. A grapefruit spoon works well for this part, but I couldn't find mine.

Now the fun part: take a fork and gently scrape the sides of the squash. Ta-da! Magic "spaghetti"! Only gluten free and healthy! If it's hard to scrape, just stick it back in the microwave for a few minutes.
Scooping out the spaghetti from the squash

Then just do whatever you do to normal spaghetti. I usually cover it with spaghetti sauce but I've also made it into spaghetti-lasagna by just layering it with ricotta.

gluten free spaghetti ready to eat

And look! No huge pot of water to clean up afterward!

And for those people who like actual recipes to look at:

Microwave Spaghetti Squash

One spaghetti squash
Sauce of your choice

Pierce sides of spaghetti squash.
Microwave on one side for five minutes.
Turn over and microwave on the other side.
Cut in half.
Scoop out the seeds and inside parts that looks like it SHOULD be the "spaghetti" and throw it away or compost it.
Scrape out the actual spaghetti from the flesh using a fork- that's the part you really eat!
Serve with pasta sauce of your choice.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Paper Bag Tree Activity for Tu B'Shevat

Post contains affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.

One of my favorite Tu B'Shevat activities is a paper bag tree in blossom. They're SO easy and fun! There's no glue or other adhesive necessary since the packing peanuts stick all by themselves when wet.

~ Colored biodegradable packing peanuts such as these from Amazon  (or just any leftovers)
~ Brown paper lunch sacks

1) Open lunch sack.

2) Squash the middle of the sack to make the trunk.
3) Tear about four or five strips into the top of the sack to make branches. This part requires adult help for the very little ones.

4) Squish to mold the branches.
5) Very lightly wet each of the packing peanuts and put them on the tree as blossoms. This is the hardest part since kids tend to want to wet the packing peanuts enough to dissolve them. I sometimes just have them press the peanut against a sponge instead of fully wetting it.

The finished tree:

Sunday, January 03, 2016

DIY Foaming Hand Soap and Foaming Bath Soap

Post contains Amazon affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.

I never like to buy foaming hand soap, because I feel like I'm just paying 5 times more for the amount of soap that I'm getting. I had a hard time looking up the soap-to-water ratio in order to make my own, so when I finally got it right, I figured I would post it here to save for all time!

foaming hand soap body wash

I bought these foaming soap dispensers from Amazon.  You can also just recycle and old foaming dispenser, but they tend to give out after a few refills.

InterDesign Metro Aluminum Foaming Soap Dispenser

I buy whichever liquid soap is on sale, but this is the soap I like best because it's gentle and unscented and I can add in the essential oils I want for scent:

Foaming Hand Soap

1 Part Castille or liquid soap
5 Parts Water

Foaming Body Wash

1 Part Castille or liquid soap
4 Parts Water
1 Part Cooking Oil (olive or avocado works nicely)
Essential oils if desired (5-10 drops)

Instructions: Mix all ingredients into foam soap dispenser. I also usually shake gently before using the body wash because of the whole oil and water not mixing thing. Happy sudsing!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Do Try This at Home's Best of 2015

Everyone and their brother seems to be doing a "most popular post" of 2015, and I figured I better get in on the fun before the year was over...tonight. 

Many of my posts this year went onto other websites and I'm not counting those here (although I believe I will repost them here eventually). 

One thing is very clear though: the people who came to visit me here on my very own blog came HUNGRY. I wanted to do my top 10 most popular, but I didn't think of it until too late, so here are the top few:

1) Mrs. Freedman's Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies - They're gluten free. They're extremely easy to make. And apparently they're very likable.

2) Bottle cap table - I actually posted this at the end of 2014, but it was either second or first most popular for 2015, depending on how proficient one is at finding information in Google Analytics. I'm not that good. But I'm hoping to make another of these in 2016:

3) Tres Leches Cake - See? I told you people were hungry. 

4) Peanut Butter "Dinosaur Eggs" - These are fun, easy and yummy. So...I guess people like them.

After that, because of my iffy relationship with Google Analytics, it gets a little tougher to tell. But right up there were the following:

So that's the best I had in 2015! Mostly people came with an appetite. Some people came to check out the stalking. Unfortunately, the world of blogging lost a wonderful soul this year and quite a few people stopped by to read my post about my old blogging friend Oren.

I look forward to visiting with everyone next year!


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