LDW Wrap-up & September Changes

I’d be hard pressed to think of a long weekend that was more relaxing than this one. It consisted of a ton of cooking, three coffee-fueled trips to the dog park, adult beverages, and sleeping in. Sounds terrible, right?

Here’s an Instagram tour of the weekend:

Caprese Spaghetti Squash

Bo and American Mastiff

Bo Dolphin

3 Olives Loopy

Beer and Wine

The final meal of the weekend was inspired by a recipe from The Wannabe Foodie: Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese. Because I have a realllyyyy hard time following directions, I revamped the recipe as follows:

  • 1 container DePasquales fresh pasta (or 1 box gemelli) 1 box Ancient Harvest Quinoa Veggie Curls
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth vegetable broth
  • 1 heaping tablespoon 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese smoked gouda
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onions, sliced thinly leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 glove garlic, sliced thinly or grated
  • 1 large crispy apple, grated
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled bacon
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage fresh basil
  • freshly grated Fontina for garnish

Did you think I was exaggerating when I said “revamped”?

I knew I’d end up omitting the bacon so I wanted to add something to enhance the flavor of the dish a little. The smoked gouda was perfect for that. I think it would definitely be better with bacon BUT if you’re a vegetarian, this recipe is still a homerun. Make it. You won’t regret it. I’ll be happily eating leftovers all week.

Pumpkin Quinoa Pasta with Smoked Gouda and Apples

So back to that whole vegetarian thing. Yesterday I mentioned we were embarking on a meat-free journey for the month of September. I’m trying to broaden our horizons when it comes to meals so this will force me to try a few new (to me) things, like spaghetti squash. Cooking is something I’m really passionate about and I think this month will really push me outside my comfort zone and get a little creative.

I used to be a vegetarian so this isn’t a “see if I can last a month without bacon” challenge. I know I can do it, and physically (and mentally) feel better when following a plant-based diet. I’d like to get back to that point. Brad is joining me for the month, but may not stick to it 100%. If he wants meat, he says he’ll cook it himself. And once that calendar flips over to October 1st I’m sure he’ll go running back to his carnivorous ways. As for me? I wouldn’t be surprised if I remained an ovo-lacto. We shall see.

Are you a vegetarian? If no, have you followed a plant-based diet in the past?

Link to your favorite vegetarian recipes below!  {please&thankyou}

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  1. Yep, I’ve been a vegetarian for two and a half years. I love the variety of recipes you can come up with once you start getting creative with your produce. Spaghetti squash is a great place to start – that stuff is awesome! Loaded baked potatoes, bean enchiladas and white bean chilis are other great ones that both you and Brad might get excited about!

    • Thanks Faith! Bean enchiladas are definitely on the list, I love a good Mexican meal. Chili is another great veg go-to, especially with the cooler months coming up. You know, whenever those months arrive here in Texas 😉

  2. I want to play with those dogs and I want you to cook me those meals and I want you to remain a vegetarian 🙂 Awesome weekend my friend. Miss yo face

  3. kyliemarie
    Twitter: kyliemarieslife

    How about instead of giving me the recipe, you just overnight me the leftovers? I feel like that would be more efficient for my constant hunger 🙂 And it’s perfect because there’s no meat in it!

  4. The Kettle of Green Chili Pork at Roaring Fork just shed a tear at your last paragraph.

  5. You are a cooking MACHINE lately!! I need to get some inspiration from you.

    I am a meat lover all the way – but we eat vetegarian meals at least 50% of week (if not more). I think eating a plant-based diet is VERY important.

    Oh – and You’re my boy blue! (someone had to say it)

    • I was just saying to a friend how I felt like it’s turned into a food blog the past few days! I don’t plan on this being a regular occurrence but definitely need to share the delicious dishes I come across 🙂

      I love that you eat veg 50% of the week. That’s something I definitely struggled with. Practically every meal we ate all week had some kind of meat in it. I need to step back & focus on incorporating other ingredients (ie vegetables & whole grains) into our diet (despise that word). I’m excited about it though!

      and THANK YOU! I was so bummed when I realized that guy & his dog left. I was ready to scream it from the rooftops!

  6. I’m not a vegetarian, but my sister is! I only don’t eat red meat bc I think it tastes bad. I love everything else tho! The recipe u revamped looks super yummy! Happy Tuesday and spa love!

  7. so funny I made quinoa mac and cheese too!! isn’t it the yummiest?

  8. I’m a veg, this looks great! I like getting recipes from oh she glows and peas and thank you.

  9. This is not necessarily that healthy, but so good.

    Moosewood’s Ratatouille recipe is also excellent – throw is on some polenta or orzo, quinoa, whatever.

    • I’ve heard great things about Moosewood! And that recipe you linked to – caramelized onions & blue cheese are two of my favorite things. I’ll definitely be trying that one – thank you!!

  10. Good luck! I’ve gone vego before, but the way I felt improved dramatically when I started eating meat again. I guess I was doing it wrong 🙂

  11. Just stumbled upon your great blog. Red Sox, wine and running its really all you need. Need to add a Paso Robles Zinfandel to your list. I live on Paso Zin especially Peachy Canyons Zin selections it helps during Red Sox games.

  12. I actually do a mostly pescetarian diet (I would bet there are many weeks I don’t eat an ounce of meat) and I love the way my body feels. It’s gotten really hard to digest a big protein, and I can definitely tell when I’ve had a heavy meal that is meat-heavy. I have a list of veggie-friendly recipes on the recipe page on my blog if you’re looking for any more inspiration.

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