Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#3.3: Make 20 Recipes From Pinterest – Cheesy Taco Spaghetti Squash

I had my first experience with spaghetti squash a few months ago. I had heard of them before, but had always been skeptical (how is a VEGETABLE supposed to replace pasta???). They were on sale at the grocery store, so my dad picked one up and cooked it in the crockpot. Admittedly, I was hesitant to try it at first; squash has always been disgusting to me.

But, I sucked it up and tried it, and I was pleasantly surprised. The taste reminded me of hash browns, and a bowl of it with salt and pasta sauce satisfied me as much as a bowl of pasta would have. I haven't had any since then, mainly because I didn't know how to cook them or where to buy them.

This recipe had been sitting on my Pinterest board for a while, and, as I was incredibly bored one night and had no dinner plans, decided to make it.


• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 2 green bell peppers
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 vidalia onion
• 2 jalepeƱos
• 1 1/2 pounds turkey burger
• 1 T olive oil
• 1 can corn
• 1 can black beans
• 1 can diced tomatoes w/ green chili
• 2 cups Mexican cheese

1. Chop the bell peppers and onion, and cook them in the olive oil until slightly brown.

2. Add the turkey burger.

2. Cook the spaghetti squash while the turkey is cooking. Taralynn (the girl who runs the blog where I got this recipe) made hers in the microwave, so I decided to follow suit.

3. Drain the black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

4. When the spaghetti squash is done cooking, cut it in half, remove the pulp, and scoop it into a large bowl.

5. Add the turkey/vegetable mixture, taco seasoning, and cheese.

6. Stir, and let sit until the cheese is fully melted.

7. Eat (it tasted better than this photo suggests).

I liked this for the most part, but there are several things I would do differently next time. 

First, I wouldn't cook this in the microwave. It took way longer than the 10 minutes mentioned in the recipe. I kept having to put it back in the microwave until it was soft enough, and it ended up being over an hour before it was done. Maybe my microwave wasn't powerful enough. Who knows. I'd cook it in the oven or crockpot next time, which I'm sure would give it a better flavor as well. 

Secondly, I would not use canned corn. I have everything that comes in a can, especially corn, so I should've thought this out better. When I first started eating, all I could focus on was the canned corn. I ended up picked it out, which took a while, but vastly improved it. I like fresh and even frozen sweet corn, and I think using that would improve this a hundredfold. I might even use freshly cooked black beans, too. The beans didn't bother me that much, but I think fresh would taste even better and really enhance this dish.

Lastly, I would add more red bell peppers and taco seasoning. The taco flavor was pretty weak, and I think one more packet would be just the right amount. And I just really like red bell peppers and I can never eat enough of them.

Although I did have some critical comments about this recipe, I am already planning to make it again (I even picked up a spaghetti squash at Walmart the other day, shh), and am excited to implement the above changes.

Thanks for reading, no one!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#15: Visit Family in Oklahoma; #16: Make Disney World Change Jars; #17: Learn to Drive Stick Shift

I've been home from traveling for a few weeks now, and thought I should give a quick update on things I've completed/what I've been up to.

I got a job a couple weeks ago at a grocery store, working in the deli. Working has been such an adjustment for me. Before, my schedule was very open and nothing was planned out. I honestly spent most of my time on my computer/watching Netflix, which is fun at first, but gets old quickly. Having more structure in my day will take some getting used to, but ultimately I think it's for the best.

#15: Visit Family in Oklahoma

After my week-long escapade in Florida, my brother and I took off for Oklahoma. My mom grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma, and it's been a frequent Summer 'vacation' spot (I use quotations because there is literally nothing to do besides watch TV and become overly dehydrated).

While we were there we had a Fourth of July party for my Grandparents 60th (!!!) wedding anniversary. Fun only until I got sick (woo).

#16: Make Disney World Change Jars

While in Oklahoma, my cousin/best friend Shannon and I 'tried' to complete a summer bucket list we had written a few months before (again, I use quotations because we didn't try very hard). One of the few things we did manage to complete was make Disney Change Jars.

What's a Disney Change Jar, you may ask? Let me enlighten you.

I'll start off by saying that I'm dying to go to Disney World with my cousin. Dying. We went to Disneyland for a couple days right before Christmas, and on that trip we decided we would visit every Disney travel destination in existence over the course of our lives. We are going to take a Disney Cruise after we are both either married or engaged, go to Disneyland Paris after we've both had babies (as an I'm-tired-of-this-and-need-a-break-here-Honey-watch-the-child-while-I-go-to-Europe vacation), and Disney World while we're in college.

Disappointingly, Disney World isn't cheap. Because it will take so long to accumulate the money we need (I'm estimating that we will each have to save about $2,000 (ugh) to cover flights, food, tickets, and the hotel. Maybe extra if we want souvenirs), I want to start saving right away. I had seen Disney Change Jars on Pinterest, and thought it'd be a cutsey way to collect money.

This was what I was aiming for:

And this…

…is what we got.

I think they turned out okay! We really just winged it when we started them, but I think they turned out cute.

#17: Learn to Drive Stick Shift

This actually happened in Florida, but I forgot to write about it while I was there. My aunt has an 80s Fiat, which is a manual, and taught me to drive it. Obviously I don't have much experience and I'm not going to be driving on the freeways or anything, but at least I can say I've learned how to do it.