It is just full-on winter now. Not shiny, happy Christmas winter, but the dark, austere kind where the trees are bare and the air just looks cold. Maybe it is the emptiness that is left after all the Christmas decorations have been taken down, but there is something so stark about this time of year; like Mother Nature has packed up and left town, leaving us behind to bundle up and make do until she returns again in the spring.
After 17 glorious days of rolling on “lynsey time”, this week has been a harsh reminder of what my real life is like. Languishing over my morning coffee while I peruse my favourite blogs, mags, and cook books is no longer an option for this girl. Coming home for a relaxing evening by the fire? I got s#^t to do…. and I don’t have a fire. Busy is relative. Who isn’t busy? Ask around. These days EVERYONE is busy, but when my perceived busy is back in action I don’t like to waste time waiting for my dins.
Roasting and toasting a tray full of veggies has long been engrained in my eating style. It is just so damn simple, but I never thought much of sharing this until one of my fav bloggers Laura at The First Mess started sharing her love for tray lunches. Chop. Roast. Eat. What’s not to love? Turns out I am not alone. Better yet once those veggies are all wonderfully warm and golden brown you can toss just about anything else you have on hand with them. Nuts and seeds? Why the hell not. Creamy goat cheese? You would be a fool not to.
My de rigor roasting style has been a combo of the texturally pleasing spaghetti squash (I just love those little strands) coupled with the amazingly complex wonder that is roasted broccoli. I mean raw broccoli, sure its cool and all, but roasted? It is like Marilyn versus Jacqueline. You know which one is sexier.
With spaghetti squash being a winter squash and all, if you are looking for a little carotenoid love (Vitamin A pre-cursors) in your diet, get excited! Smooth skin, healthy eyeballs, and an increased resilience to the nasty cold and flu season; even if you didn’t know you needed some carotenoid love in your life, I bet you want some now. Broccoli is pretty much right up there too. Liver cleansing properties (much needed after your Bender Month), and sulphur for healthy hair skin and nails. There is no need to adhere to the dull, washed out look that takes hold with the absence of the sun.
Back to my bowl. Mama didn’t raise no fool; goat cheese topped my delicious pile of goodness, along with the nutty crunch of pistachios. When it comes to any form of bowl, salad, whatever, I always need a little crunch. It is a textural thing for me that adds an alluring appeal and makes whatever I am eating somehow seem more complete. Pistachios were calling my name. This time of year my addiction to them is at an all time high, plus the act of shelling them gave me something to do as I whittled away the half an hour wait time for my trays to emerge from the oven. I suspect any cheese, nut, seed combination will work, and I would be lying if I said I have never thrown some beans or tempeh in when a little more protein is needed. Substitutions, additions, or substractions should be no cause of stress with tray lady lunches. Their “blank canvas” nature is part of their charm.
Sending all my love and well wishes for a wonderful 2014, full of love, health, and good food.
Spaghetti Squash & Roasted Broccoli Bowl
1 Spaghetti Squash, split in half, seeds removed
1 head of broccoli, chopped into floret
salt & pepper
goat cheese, crumbled
pistachios (or nut of choice)
good olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Place squash and broccoli on a separate baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper
- Roast spaghetti squash for 10 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking for an additional 25 minutes
- Using a fork scrap squash to release its “noodles”.
- Add desired amount of noodles to a bowl. Top with broccoli, cheese, pistachios, a drizzle of some good olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste