Butternut Squash, Gorgonzola and Pumpkin Seed Gratin, with Balsamic Drizzle
Serves 4-8 ppl
1 butternut squash, cut into quarters or sixths, de-seeded
2-4 TBSP crumbled gorgonzola (reduced fat variety works fine)
2-4 TBSP toasted pumpkin seeds (buy raw, shelled seeds from bulk bin + toast yourself)
Good salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pre-bottled balsamic vinegar glaze/gelee or homemade balsamic reduction
High temp oil or cooking spray, ideally organic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray roasting pan and squash, then roast for 1 hour or so, until squash is fork tender all the way through.
Let the squash cool a bit, then cut off the peel (much easier after cooking!), and mash with a fork or potato masher into a shallow baking dish. Crumble gorgonzola, salt and pepper over the top, just a light scattering -- too much cheese will throw off the balance. (You could try this with goat cheese too.)
Broil until edges brown a bit and cheese gets melty. Sprinkle with freshly toasted pumpkin seeds (not raw, trust me), drizzle with balsamic reduction, and serve. If you don't have balsamic reduction, don't freak -- it's not essential.
About This Health Kick
I'm not going as extreme as I have during past health kicks, but it seems to be working so far: cook a lot more, be gluten-free and dairy free at home, stop making cocktails and pouring wine at home, stop coffee + caffeine, and avoid refined sugars (except a few treats like frozen, gluten-free chocolate cookie dough by Immaculate Baking Co. -- OMG delicious).
When I'm out, I let myself nibble on party hors d'oeuvres and have small portions of guilty pleasures, like lobster mac & cheese at a brilliant friend's party the other night, made from scratch and 1000% amazeballs.
And I'll have a glass of wine or two over the course of a night if there are social and professional events to attend, but only a few times a week, max. I'm trying to lose the idea that my body can handle anything I throw at it. I don't have to be a "cool girl" who can knock back two martinis and a steak dinner as though I'm Don Draper. I'm not Don Draper. Duh.
There was a time when I tried the extreme health kick: going without gluten, sugar, dairy, caffeine, booze (except for sulfite-free red wine) and anything not organic, which -- as you can imagine -- was incredibly hard to sustain beyond 4-6 weeks. Add a full regimen of fancy organic supplements and macrobiotic remedies, and cooking from a recipe book which combined French culinary techniques with the macro stylings of Aveline Kushi, and most of my free time and extra cash was thrown into the project.
Granted, I lost 10 lbs. in the first 9 days and got rid of that all-over puffiness and inflammation that comes with eating whatever you want. These fancypants macro eating habits really, really, work -- they just require a lot of time, dedication, and money.
I learned how to eat and live this way from Asheville, NC nutritionist + chef, Roxanne Koteles-Smith after doing her website content writing and editing at http://www.foodwisdomrx.com in trade for her training and services. Working with Roxanne was life-changing. (She's also been helping my cousin successfully fight breast cancer for the last 4 years.)
Now, a few years later, I'm trying to pull together what I consider to be the best parts of the extreme plan, while being a little more realistic about my lifestyle and the areas where I'll need to be lenient.
Hence, making up little recipes like this one. I hope it's helpful!