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Chaos and Squash

Hasn’t this year been the most unusual we have ever lived through? All sorts of chaos have affected the way we work – or do not work – the way we shop – or order in, or pick up, or go to the grocery at 6:30 am to avoid the crowds and the young people. And it has to affect our food, too.

Some of us want to dive head first into a gallon of ice cream and not come out till this is all over. Some of us fight to stay on the food plan. And some of us go on and off.

The third option is likely to be the most painful – withdrawal can start in 24 to 72 hours after you stop eating the foods that trigger you, and can last from one to twelve months. So, if you are going in and out of your abstinent food plan, you may find yourself in withdrawal most of the time. And you cannot think clearly and you are angry, upset, and emotional.

There is another choice – deciding that with the chaos in the world this way, you need every brain cell up, running, and ready. That means you pick the food plan that works best for you (or call me for a copy) and use it every day. When you order your food to be delivered, order what keeps you on your food plan.

Also, decide you need more self-care. Take a nap. Call a friend. Wrap up in something warm.

There is this famous psychologist named Abraham Maslow. His theory argues that humans have a series of needs, some of which must be met before they can turn their attention toward others. Maslow organized human needs into a pyramid that includes (from lowest-level to highest-level) physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs. According to Maslow, one must satisfy lower-level needs before addressing needs that occur higher in the pyramid.  In this time of chaos, our primary needs for food and safety are threatened. Consider this basic and be kinder to yourself.

First, lighten your perfection pressure; accept that there will be chaos. There will be computers that don’t work, frustrated angry people ahead of you in line, people you usually advise, help, control will go out of control. Back off, let the little stuff go for now, give yourself and them a break for this time.  Do all that is needed to protect your physical safety.

Limit, please limit, your time with lengthy, scary news broadcasts! Yes, you need to know what is happening, but not for eight hours a day. And please consider having no electronics in the bedroom. You deserve a break.

Exercise your right to maintain your self-care:

Rest! Give yourself time to indulge in what you enjoy!

Sleep!  Seven to nine hours a night, please!

Physical activity: Clean out that closet, or try a new yoga app – but move.

Spirituality: At no other time has the world needed the presence of a loving and benevolent Universal Power than now. Let’s ask for help.

Food: Give the body the nutrients it needs every day and none of the “other stuff”; we need all of our brain and body cells to work effectively and efficiently.

And please don’t forget, it is helpful to have a bit of joy and fun in our lives. Look for good things to do; find things to be grateful for.

Below I’ve added two new fall-like recipes; please let me know if you enjoy them.

And join us on Zoom for Wacky Wednesday from 7:00 – 8:30pm.

 

Blessings to you,

 Theresa

  

Mashed Winter Squash with Indian Spices

8 pounds butternut or buttercup squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons black mustard seeds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400°. On 2 large, rimmed baking sheets, drizzle the cut sides of the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the squash halves cut sides down and roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot, until they pop, about 1 minute. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of oil to the pot. Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Using a large spoon, scrape the squash flesh from the skins into the pot. Add the water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and lightly mashing the squash, until blended and heated through. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, top with the toasted mustard seeds and serve.

The mashed squash can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat in a microwave oven before serving.

1 cup counts as 3 ounces starch or 6 ounces vegetables.

 

Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 celery rib, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth or bone broth

1 quart water

4 pounds kabocha or butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Large pinch of turmeric

Salted roasted pumpkin seeds, or diced cucumber, for garnish (optional)

 

In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the stock and water, and bring to a boil.  Add the squash, cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender.  Return the soup to the pot, bring to a simmer and season with salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and turmeric.  Garnish with the pumpkin seeds and the cucumber.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Reheat before serving.

1 cup counts as 3 ounces starch or 6 ounces vegetable.

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