Squash

Weekend Recap & Soup Sunday

This weekend was used as a total physical, mental, and emotional reset. I like to think I can juggle everything in the world, but I reached the point where I was feeling so overwhelmed and needed to take a step back. Apparently working three jobs, planning a wedding, and getting situated in a new house all while working on my personal goals can take quite an emotional and mental toll. Lucky for me, my fiance spends all of his hours listening to podcasts on every topic imaginable, and he has been especially hooked on The Tim Ferriss Show lately. Ryan summarizes all of the important takeaways for me, and we had a massive whiteboard planning session to get life in check. We broke it down into two main sections: Personal Health/Wellness and Business. We then discussed in detail my goals and current challenges with both and built simple and highly structured frameworks and systems for both. Today was day 1 of the new framework which means 1. I started the day with a new morning meditation routine courtesy of Headspace, and 2. you are getting this blog post (with a lot of other great ones in the works).

The most important takeaways from our collaboration session were: 

  1. Having a plan is always better than not.
  2. Tough love (from yourself and others) can be the difference between achievement and failure.
  3. Finding a partner who will explore the tough questions in life and support you regardless is more valuable than any other achievement.

With all of that in mind, I want to share a great new stew recipe I made last Soup Sunday to prepare for the snow storm. It is super easy, and I made it in my beautiful new Le Creuset pot from that I got as a birthday present from my best friend. There's just the right of love and warmth in this pot of stew. Enjoy! 

BUTTERNUT CHICKEN WINTER STEW

SERVES 6-10, PREP TIME: 15 MIN, COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lb. chicken breast (or thighs)

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 4-6 cloves garlic, diced

  • 4 ribs celery, chopped

  • 2lb. butternut squash, cubed

  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

  • 4 cups chicken stock / bone broth

  • 2 tsp. parsley

  • 2 tsp. oregano

  • 1 bunch fresh sage

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients into a (large!) pot
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. When boiling, cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low for 45 minutes
  4. Remove chicken, shred, and return it to the pot
  5. Remove the bunch of sage
  6. Serve!

* NOTE: 1. You can make this in the crockpot/slow cooker if you prefer by cooking on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours


Primal Butternut Squash Lasagna

So here it is friends... the official launch of IntersectionCoaching.com with my new and improved blog! It has been a long time in the making, and I could have never done it without my incredible designer Margot from Pitch Design Union. To give you a bit of an update, I have spent the past few months finalizing my first cookbook Bowls of Love: Paleo Soups for the Seasons. After a lot of ups and downs, the book is finally finished, and you can pre-order by emailing me at ali@intersectioncoaching.com. Do it. Please? The book will be featured in Melissa and Dallas Hartwig's Whole30 newsletter, George Bryant's Civilized Caveman blog, Emma Frisch's Frisch Kitchen, and many more incredible sites! I am beyond thrilled to share my soup recipes, stories, and bowls with all of you over the holiday season and throughout the cold winter ahead!

In other breaking news, I was sorting dirty laundry last Wednesday at 5:24pm when my phone rang with a 212 number. I put down the laundry, answered the phone, and was greeted by one of the producers of the Today Show saying that I was being considered as a finalist for Joy Bauer's Too Good To Be Healthy Thanksgiving side dish contest. While jumping on the bed like a maniac, I kept complete composure on the phone and answered questions for about 20 minutes. The next day the phone rang again, and it was official... I was chosen! To say this was a dream come true would be the understatement of the century. Ever since Mal and I became friends, we committed to finding a way on the Today Show. The reason could be pathetic or shameful, as it just didn't matter. Lucky me I got a legitimate reason to go on air at 9:33am with Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, Joy Bauer, and my fellow finalists to showcase one of my favorite holiday brussel sprouts recipes.

Wednesday was a dream and a blur, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity. Joy was as kind and genuine as I had hoped, and I even had the chance to show her a proof copy of Bowls of Love! (BTW she loved it!) You can read the article and watch the clip here. Enjoy the part when Willie and I talk about sewage... talk about classy morning television!

I am now returning to reality, settling into my new website, and cooking a Friday night feast for my fiance. I had an extra butternut squash lying around, so I decided to go a little crazy and try making a primal lasagna. I am serving the lasagna with a baby arugula salad topped with balsamic, pomegranate, avocado, and roasted hazelnuts. Time to kick off the weekend with a nutritious and colorful dinner and soak up a dream week.

Warning: This recipe is primal (rather than paleo) because of the inclusion of dairy. I figured I could switch it up now that my blog isn't called SoooPaleo anymore and because my sweetie loves cheese almost as much as he loves me. I will continue to post paleo recipes as well as a collection of other healthy recipes incorporating real, clean food.

Primal Butternut Squash Lasagna

Serves 6-8, Prep time: 60 min, Cook time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash 
  • 1 lb. organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6oz. spinach leaves
  • 3-4 cups tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 cup organic whole milk ricotta cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup organic shredded cheese of choice (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel your butternut squash with a standard vegetable peeler
  3. Slice the squash in thin pieces (about 1/8-1/4 inch) starting at the smaller end until you reach the seeds
  4. Cut the remaining piece of squash (with the seeds) in half, remove the seeds, and then slice the rest of the squash
  5. Cook the ground beef over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until no longer pink
  6. Drain the fat, set the meat aside, and then add the onions and garlic to the pan
  7. Cook the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes until soft
  8. Add the spinach leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes until wilted
  9. Add all but 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce as well as the ricotta cheese to the mixture (you may omit the cheese if you want this recipe to be paleo)
  10. Begin to build your lasagna by spreading about 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato sauce on the bottom of the 9x12 dish so nothing sticks
  11. Add a layer of squash, making sure the pieces do not overlap
  12. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture
  13. Repeat steps 10 and 11 until the meat mixture is used up
  14. Top with a final layer of butternut squash, the remaining tomato sauce that was reserved, and the shredded cheese (if desired)
  15. Bake for 45-55 minutes until squash is cooked through (you can check by poking through it with a sharp knife)
  16. Let lasagna rest for at least 10-15 minutes prior to serving (this by far the hardest part!)

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