Meatless Monday: Stuffed Butternut Squash

I’ve had a mild obsession with butternut squash lately. It’s just SO GOOD, and can be used in so many different ways! I had pinned a recipe on Pinterest a while back for stuffed acorn squash and figured why not try it with a butternut squash? I didn’t really follow a specific recipe for this. I sort of made it up as I went along, throwing a bit of this and that in whenever I saw fit. Here’s the jist of the recipe:

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 bottom half of a butternut squash, seeds removed – the squash should be hollowed out like a bowl so it can be easily stuffed

1/4 cup cooked quinoa (you can also substitute any other leftover grains you may have lying around, such as brown rice or bulgur)

1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup mixed vegetables, chopped (I used peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms)

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

2-3 tbsp feta cheese*, crumbled

1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese*

*Feel free to omit the cheese to make this recipe vegan-friendly, or substitute with non-dairy cheese.

Directions:

1. Place the butternut squash, cut side down, on a baking tray lined with tinfoil. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until tender.

2. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped vegetables and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. You can also add a pinch of chili flakes if you want a bit of heat.

3. Remove the frying pan from the heat. Add the quinoa, black beans, green onion, cilantro, and feta cheese to the vegetables; mix to combine.

4. Carefully turn the squash over so it looks like a bowl. Stuff the squash with the vegetable/quinoa/bean mixture; sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Place the squash back in the oven and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.

5. Eat and enjoy!

This recipe was so tasty and very filling. I plan on making it again very soon!

Happy Meatless Monday :)

Be Well xo

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How To Open A Pomegranate

Pomegranates are such beautiful fruit. I’ve always had a habit of ignoring them because I wasn’t quite sure how to open one. Turns out it’s really not so difficult! If you’ve been avoiding this delicious fruit, I highly recommend giving one a try. When you’re selecting a pomegranate, pick by weight, not colour. The heavier fruits have juicier arils (the edible, bead-like red seeds inside the pomegranate).

This video walks you through the steps it takes to open a pomegranate. Helpful tip: Do NOT wear a white shirt when trying to open one :) If you’re wondering why it’s best to open a pomegranate under water, it’s because the white-ish membrane floats. This makes it easier to separate from the arils, which sink to the bottom of the bowl (picture shown below).

Arils are packed with polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants, and are a good source of fibre and other nutrients. They can be enjoyed on their own, sprinkled on salads, or stirred into some yogurt. I sprinkled some on top of my bowl of oatmeal this morning – delicious! When stored in a sealed, refrigerated container, they can stay fresh up to 10 days. Enjoy!

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Be Well xo

The Movember Movement

It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year.. Movember! For those of you that have never heard of Movember, this initiative encourages men to sport a moustache for the month of November and raise funds to support men’s health, specifically for prostate cancer and mental health.

Now, normally I don’t mind when guys have a bit of facial hair, but when Movember comes around I have to admit… sometimes people have a tendency to look downright creepy. Sorry fellas, but not everyone suits a ‘stache.

That being said, Movember is still a great cause and I especially appreciate the fact that it seeks to raise awareness about men’s mental health. For those of you that read my blog regularly, you will know that mental health is something I feel very passionately about. In fact, one of the first blog posts I ever did discussed Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk’ mental health initiative.

If you’re curious to know why we should be raising more awareness about mental health, here are a few statistics that might help shed some light on the topic (source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health):

  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime
  • 10% of Canadian men experience mental health symptoms
  • Men are four times more likely than women to commit suicide
  • Mental illness is estimated to cost the Canadian economy more than $51 billion
  • Only one-third of those who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them

This last statistic is particularly troubling. Stigma can be a significant reason why people fail to seek help. This is why raising awareness about mental health is so important – the stigma can only be reduced once people start to gain a greater understanding of mental health issues.

So, although I’m not a dude, I can still support my “Mo Bros” and take a stand against stigma by sporting my own ‘stache. I hope others will do the same! :)

Be Well xo