Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sage and Brown Butter (Noodle-less!)

The hubby and I were lucky enough to have a quiet, low-key, weekend this weekend.  So, I did what I always do when I have time to burn – play in the kitchen!  For the longest time I have been eying Butternut Squash Lasagna recipes, however, after extensive research none really hit the mark for me.  I decided to chart out on my own, and am SO glad that I did!

This delicious lasagna is low-fat and full of flavor!  You won’t notice the noodles are missing – and it’s surprisingly easy to make!  The fontina, mushrooms, and sage combine with the ricotta to make this deliciously savory.  A gentle sweetness from the onion, parsley and squash are the perfect complement, keeping the dish from feeling too heavy.  We loved every single bite – I can’t wait to hear how your family enjoys it!

BNS Lasagna
Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage

1 Butternut Squash, quartered and peeled
2C Ricotta, Fat Free
1.5 C Fontina Cheese, grated
1Egg YolkBNS Ingredients
1/4C Skim Milk
3 Tbs Butter
8 Leaves Fresh Sage
1/8C Fresh Parsley
3 Cloves Garlic
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (or more, to taste)
1 Lg Onion, quartered and sliced thin
2C Frozen Spinach
1C Mixed Mushrooms

Pre-heat over to 400*.
In sauce pan, melt 2Tbs butter until beginning to bubble.  Add garlic, sage, and parsley until butter begins to brown.  Remove from heat.  Add Ricotta, Fontina, egg yolk, and milk.

In separate BNS Lasagna vegespan, melt 1Tbs butter and red pepper. Cook onion over medium low heat for until soft, then add garlic, mushrooms and spinach, cooking another 3 minutes until cooked through.

Cut squash in half by both length and width.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from entire squash.  With a mandolin or knife, slice squash into 1/8″ pieces.

BNS Lasagna LayersLightly spray lasagna pan with oil, then cover with a layer of Squash.  Top with half of the vegetable mixture, then cover with a layer of squash (this may require a tad bit of creativity, and knack for spacial relations!)  Then, top with half of the ricotta mixture, and again with squash.  Repeat with the other half the veges and cheese.  Top with a final layer of squash.  Sprinkle the top layer of squash with the last half cup of fontina, then top with foil.

Cover a cooking sheet with foil, and place the lasagna pan on the sheet (this will prevent dripping into the base of your oven).  Place in oven and cook approximately 1 hour, or until butternut squash layers are easy to cut through using a butter knife.  In last 20 minutes remove foil to allow cheese to brown.

 

Finding Balance after a Thanksgiving Binge….

I would love to be able to tell you that I am so extraordinarily grounded and convicted that I am one of those people we only hear about in lore who hold fast and true to their healthy choices over the holiday.  This would simply be a lie – and I would never want to lie to you, dear reader.  So, it is with a full belly and well rested body that I return from my lovely grandparent’s home, admitting to have fallen blissfully off the wagon.

I am not alone in this post-thanksgiving fog, however.  I know many of you out there share my simultaneous joy and pain regarding the holiday weekend, which I do find reassuring.  We are all, after all, imperfect, yes?

Holidays are a remarkable roller coaster for most of us.  They’re emotionally charged – seeing and spending time with family (or not), reminiscing on holidays past (be they good or bad), looking forward to the glorious bounty of deliciousness while being mindful of our health/fitness goals….just to name a few.  Even for those of us finding ourselves emotionally cool as a cranberry sauce during these gatherings often feel sluggish and bloaty after a few meals (or days!) of eating differently then we might at our own dinner tables.

JuicingPictureI, for one, can relate to all of the above.  And so, after a long week of sitting around and eating — and treasuring every delicious moment of it — I return home ready for some re-balancing.

Here are some tips to get back on track, from my post-Thanksgiving to yours:

1)  Get your body moving!  I highly recommend yoga (shocker!).  Yoga will help relieve stiffness and tightness, support digestion, and sooth your busy mind.   After sitting on the couch, at the table, in the car, we all feel heavy and tight.  Even better, try hot yoga.  A.maz.ing.  Reap the benefits of yoga while sweating out toxins.  Not into yoga?  Take a walk with a friend, check out all of the holiday decorations that popped up while everyone was off work last week.  Whatever you do, get moving!  Wash, rinse, and repeat all week for this gal.

2) Make some time for yourself!  Traveling/cooking/being with family can be wonderful, but it can also be stressful.  Take time to meditate, take a warm salt bath, rub your dog’s belly for an hour, order dinner in.  Or…. all of the above (i.e. my Saturday night).  Quiet or solitary activities like these help to reduce stress hormones and re-balance our mental and emotional energy.

3) Drink water.  Lots of it.  (Especially after hot yoga!!)  You’re body is likely to be dehydrated – the average Thanksgiving dinner has upwards of 2,000 milligrams of sodium.  That’s more than your recommended daily allotment!  Hydrating is a quick and easy way to increase energy and reduce that puffy feeling.

4) Consider a cleanse, or purposefully plan the week’s meals.  Even if you didn’t over eat, chances are that you ate differently, and perhaps more unhealthy, than you normally do.  Plan for meals that are clean and healthy – packed with vitamins and antioxidants to help refuel your physical body.  Avoid carbs, red meats, dairy, or other foods that you know to cause you sluggishness or digestive stress – if only for the week!

The hubby and I are doing just that!  We’ll be following a mostly raw diet this week (the exception being some irresistible butternut squash), flushed with fresh and cleansing juices.   An extended (and cold!) trip to the Baltimore Farmers Market made it all possible.  Breakfast and lunch will be primarily juice based, while dinners will be a smorgasbord of veges, nuts, beans, fruits, etc.  Day one has been going exceptionally well – here’s one of the juices we made last night!

Beet Ginger Juice
(Adapted from Eatingwell – Makes approximately 10oz)
1 Orange
1 Carrot
2-3 Beets
1/2 – 1 Bunch Kale
1 Apple
1 Romain Heart
1.5-2″ Fresh Ginger

For this moment I plan for peace (Is that counter productive?)

Image

Ok, so now what?  Blogging….

Second to reality TV, blogging seems the thing to do.  Speaking of which, less reality TV would probably do wonders to increase the peace in my life – note to self.

Why blog?  Honestly, it’s not something I ever thought I would be remotely interested in, nor successful at.  I’ll let you be the judge!  I have decided to give it a go anyway.  Like many of you, I have found that my life gets extremely busy and stressful, seemly out of nowhere; and then one day I snap to my senses and stand for a moment bewildered by the question, “where did the time go?!”

I enjoy practicing and teaching yoga.  I meditate.  I love to cook.  I enjoy nature, and being active in it.  Holistic alternatives have changed how I approach so much of my day to day.  Spending time with my family and friends is pure rejuvenation.

Also…. I don’t do any of these things nearly enough (can I get an “amen!” from the peanut gallery?)

I am banking that I am not alone in this, and that my experience is similar to so many of yours.  I’ll share with you my journey, and hope that as I seek inspiration and mindfulness in my life I can also be an inspiration to you on yours!

I am looking forward to sharing with you my discoveries, recipes, activities, and most importantly my moments of peace and mindfulness.  For now, I’ll pat myself on the back for this fairly successful blog entry… not that I know what a successful blog entry should look like.

Namaste!