This weekend was one for the books, my friends and it was all I needed to fall madly back in love with this city I live right outside of.
We had two of our friends from college come up to visit so in between the bloody marys, the games of Cards Against Humanity, the bottles of wine and pop up dance parties, we spent most of Saturday and Sunday doing the touristy thing in downtown DC. I honestly can’t remember the last time E and I spent two days visiting the beautiful monuments, museums and statues in the district. Although it was a little cold on Saturday, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
Oh and don’t even get me started on the foliage. It’s in prime viewing pleasure right now around the city and I probably took about 16,000 photos of trees on my iPhone. But what can I say, I love fall. Plus, the differing colors of the trees go so well with my favorite tri-color quinoa, don’t you think?
Oh and anothing reason this weekend was so amazing is that I found out some pretty awesome news late on Friday. I got an AMAZING job!! I can’t say what I’ll be doing and for who yet, but I can say that it combines my passion for travel, FOOD and social media. Not to mention my new colleagues are incredible and I can already see myself plenty at home there.
After months of feeling lost and in need of something to make me happy again, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Plus this weekend really showed me how lucky I am to live (and now work!) in a city millions of people vacation to. I guess it was my DC wake up call, but I couldn’t be more excited about it.
As much fun as the weekend was, I over indulged MAJORLY. We polished off bowls of queso, ate birthday cake at 2am, drank far too much wine and ate way too much bacon. That’s why meals like this roasted vegetable and quinoa stuffed squash, inspired by my talented friend Rachel, will be made nearly every day this week and I’ll be replacing my beloved grape juice with pressed almond milks. I’ll also be replacing the epic dance parties with long runs outside of my house.
I mean I have to somehow fit back into those pencil skirts again, am I right? I’m not sure my new colleagues will appreciate my standard pancake batter stained yoga pants and grease splattered hoodies.
Roasted vegetable and quinoa stuffed squash
Serves 2. Inspired and adapted by Rachel Cooks.
Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cook time: About 1 hour
- 1/2 large butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup tri color quinoa
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large apple, chopped
- 2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh cilantro or herbs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a standard size casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash and discard. Liberally sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast for about 35 – 40 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool slightly then carefully scoop out the flesh from the inside of the squash. Chop the flesh into bite size pieces and set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil. Add a dash of salt. Reduce to medium low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft and fluffy. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Mix in the softened butternut squash.
- In a skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until just translucent, about 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into the quinoa and squash. Toss in the chopped apples, chopped bacon and salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the the hollowed squash. Top with parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Garnish with more cheese and fresh herbs.
Nutritional information per serving (1/2 squash):
Fat: 15.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 64 grams
Fiber: 6.8 grams
Protein: 18.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 13