AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Reverse the Curse DATE: 3/12/2009 03:39:00 AM ----- BODY:

As I contemplate “Cook. Eat. Grow.” and how I’d like to reverse that trend, I consider my worst eating habit… snacking.

Now there’s nothing wrong with snacking. In fact, some diet experts suggest that regular snacks prevent excessive hunger and binge eating. My challenge is what I’m snacking on. The other day, I decided to prepare some healthy options. I roasted a spaghetti squash and made a batch of Fred Flintstone tomato sauce. I packed individual containers topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan. When the snack pangs hit, I could microwave a portion.

I was amazed at its high satisfaction quotient. A small serving – 1 cup of spaghetti squash and ½ cup of sauce – sated me for 2 hours…. Enough time to last me to the next proper meal. And the nutritional value is quite high.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash

The microwave method:
Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds and inner soft pulp with a large metal spoon. Place face down on a plate and microwave about 2 minutes per half (multiple batches should be necessary) until BARELY soft. Let cool, then plunge a fork longitudinally through the inside flesh and work it from end to end to make the “spaghetti”. Use a metal spoon to get out the last strands.

The oven method:
Cut spaghetti squash in half and put cut side down on a baking sheet. Put into a 375F oven with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from oven and let cool. With a metal spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and inner soft pulp. Then plunge a fork longitudinally through the inside flesh and work it from end to end to make the “spaghetti”. Use a metal spoon to get out the last strands.

Season squash however you like, here are two options:

1. Salt, butter and parmesan cheese.
2. Capers, toasted garlic and olive oil

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger jesse DATE:3/11/2009 05:13:00 PM That looks delicious! I struggle most with snacking too... I have a bad, bad habit of what I call "mindless snacking", where I'd just stand at the kitchen counter and switch off my brain and munch on random things without really being aware of whether or not I'm getting full. Like you, I'm learning to set portions aside just for snack time... and oh, one thing that really helped me was to set specific times for me to eat... so even if I'm not that hungry at 4pm, I'll still have something small so that I'm not starving by the time I get to dinner. Love this recipe... what a treat! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:3/11/2009 05:43:00 PM i always fail miserably at cooking spaghetti squash! yours looks amazing! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:3/11/2009 08:43:00 PM I know the snacking! I made these cookies and gave a bunch away yesterday. I had about a dozen left and decided to toss them in the freezer so I wouldn't be tempted by them. At midnight I pulled one out of the freezer and it was delicious frozen. It's hopeless. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Reeni♥ DATE:3/11/2009 09:43:00 PM I just recently discovered I love spaghetti squash! What a great thing to snack on. The thing I hate most is going to the kitchen just cause I'm bored and not hungry. You know, when you just stare into the refridge and pantry hoping something will jump out at you. I started making a cup of tea when this happens, instead of eating something I don't really want. So far it's working. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:3/12/2009 12:03:00 AM When I'm really being good, I limit snacking to single items -- an apple, a hard boiled egg, something like that. Portion control is everything! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger White on Rice Couple DATE:3/12/2009 12:12:00 AM Don't fight the snack, just make the snack healthier, that's our approach. We are serious snackers, too. Love the spaghetti squash. it's such a fun gourd. Thanks for sharing. Todd ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:3/12/2009 12:19:00 PM Jesse -- good tip about setting aside specific times to snack.

Heather -- my first batch I over cooked... I didn't think it was possible.

noble pig -- Good effort putting them in the fridge! Next time, maybe make cookies that aren't tasty? :)

Reeni -- tea! another good suggestion! I always feel much better after tea.

Lydia -- I wish an apple would sate me! That's my biggest problem.

WORC -- I'm working on it.. Great tips all around! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Sara DATE:3/12/2009 10:05:00 PM This looks really good - back when I was just learning to cook, I made spaghetti squash for my family. It was a total disaster! They begged me never to make it again...I wonder if they've forgotten about that yet :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Psychgrad DATE:3/14/2009 07:13:00 PM My current strategy is to try to enjoy the feeling of being hungry. Probably not nearly as functional as snacking on healthy options.

I've looked at spaghetti squash in the grocery store, but always passed them over for lack of a plan or knowledge of how to cook it. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger cook eat FRET DATE:3/30/2009 11:07:00 AM great idea ----- --------