Slow Cooker Skinny Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs

So, I've heard/read multiple times about what an awesome healthy substitute spaghetti squash is for noodles. It cuts out the carbs! Still same great taste! You won't miss noodles after eating spaghetti squash!  Well, these people are all liars. LIARS! OK, yes, it cuts out the carbs, but if I was a noodle, I'd be insulted.  I'm sorry, but there is NO replacement for noodles. There just isn't.  Noodles are smooth & while stringy like noodles, the squash was a bit crunchier. You're probably wondering by now why am I sharing this recipe with you if spaghetti squash is just a pathetic noodle wanna-be. Well, I actually LOVED this dish but as a vegetable based dish, not a substitute for noodles.  Plus, this recipe from Repeat Crafter Me has my favorite 2 words in the name, Slow Cooker.  For the meatballs, I actually used a recipe for turkey meatballs from one of my favorite real pasta dishes, Stoup. Overall, it was a super tasty, healthy & easy VEGETABLE based dish. I will definitely make this again!

Serves: 6
Cook Time: 3 hours 25 mins
How difficult was this for me? Pretty easy!

1 Spaghetti Squash (only half fit in my crock pot with the meatballs, so I made half one day, half the next)
2 28 oz Jar light spaghetti sauce of your choice 

For the Turkey Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey (I used Jenni-O Italian Pre-seasoned)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Cheese
1/2 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
3 large egg whites (I used egg white beaters)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients under Turkey Meatballs.

Using your hands, mix well, otherwise the meatballs will fall apart.

Shape into 1/4 cup size meatballs

Pour 1 jar of sauce onto bottom of your slow cooker.

Here comes the fun part, cut your spaghetti squash in half. If you've never cut a squash, watch this tutorial first so you don't hurt yourself.

Scrape out the squash & place scraped out side down in the pot.  If you can fit both halves in your slow cooker with the meatballs as well, go for it. I could only fit half, so I cooked the other half the next day in the crock pot with the leftover sauce/meatballs.

Add in half the meatballs. 

Pour in 2nd jar of sauce covering the meatballs completely. 

Add in 2nd layer of meatballs.

Cook on high for 3 hours. Moving the balls around once or twice to avoid burning.

Remove squash from sauce.  Using a fork, begin to scrape the insides of the squash. 

Scrape until you can scrape no more.

Top with meatballs & sauce. 



Rachel's Summer Salad aka This Salad Needs a Name

OK, so the name of this salad is totally lame. I get it. But I didn't really know what to call it & I made it in the summer…sooo there ya go.  J & I are really trying to make more of an effort in eating salads with dinner & after a week of boring typical salads, I decided it was time to spice things up.  Back in the day, I used to order this salad (that is no longer made) in Chicago that had pomegranate (genius) & peanuts (genius) in it.  It was such a change from the typical salad, I actually craved it often. It quickly became my absolute FAVORITE go to dinner, so I used that flavor explosion as inspiration for this dish. This salad is super easy to throw together & basically took zero time. Truthfully, I could have just eaten this salad as my main meal it was so delicious!  Maybe next time I'll grill up some chicken & toss it in to make it more filling.  If anyone out there has a better name for this salad, please feel free to send it my way. Maybe I'll name it after you!

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 Mins
How Difficult was this for me? Literally impossible to screw up

1 head of lettuce, chopped (or a bag of your preferred style lettuce)
1 large avocado, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup-1/2 cup pomegranate arils (I bought pre-packaged seeded arils from Trader Joes)
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar-jack cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing to taste

Throw it all in a bowl. Mix. Drizzle dressing. Serve. 

Told ya it was easy! Enjoy!!


Weekend Wrap Up in Photos: Wine & Bargain Hunting

I've spent so much of my hiatus traveling & it has been WONDERFUL, but it was really nice to be home for a weekend & get to enjoy things sunny SoCal has to offer.    BUT before I get into my weekend, a few weeks back I posted about photographer Gray Malin & my obsession with him. Well, he has a new line, Aqua Glam, that is currently ON SALE at One Kings Lane along with some of his most popular prints. Check them out! Now, onto the weekend...

On Saturday we headed to one of my favorite LA spots, Malibu Wines to hear my friends band, Thirsty Hero's play. A day of hanging out with friends, drinking good wine, eating snacks & listening to awesome music, what could be better?

On Sunday, my friend Lauren (See curly haired lady above) & I ventured to the Long Beach Antique Market.  I found some great art for my new office at work & some vintage bar glasses with gold detail.

But the most exciting find of the day was Lauren's big purchase of 2 chairs for her bedroom. I can't wait to see the makeover she gives them!

I will admit despite the awesome weekend, it was tough not being home for Father's Day! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!



Butternut Squash & Black Bean Skinny Enchiladas (Vegetarian!)

Vegetarians rejoice! A recipe for you!  We are meat eaters in this house, so it's not very common for our main dishes to be meat free. But with it being summer & wanting lighter, healthier yet filling meals, I was pretty stoked to find this recipe. Plus this recipe was from one my favorite healthy sites, Skinny Taste so I knew it would be delicious & it was! These were full of flavorful veggies & relatively easy for me to put together.  A win all around!

Serves: 4
Cook time according to me: 1 hour
How difficult was this? Not too bad!

1 can (10oz) red enchilada sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut 1/2 inch-diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded & diced
10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup water
8 medium whole wear flour tortillas
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese
2 tbsp chopped scallions, for garnish
salt & pepper to taste
Reduced-fat sour cream for serving, optional

Preheat oven to 400 F. 

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic & jalapeño & cook 2-3 mins until onions become translucent & garlic is fragrant. 

Add cubed squash, Rotel, beans, water, cilantro, cumin. chili powder & season with salt & pepper. Cover & cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender, about 35 mins.

Spoon 1/3 of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place a generous 1/3 cup filling in the center of each tortilla. Roll & place seam side down in the dish.

Poor remaining sauce over the top & sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 10 mins.



Lately Loving: Brass Lighting

Welcome to another edition of Lately Loving. I'm on a bit of a brass/gold kick & am constantly looking at ways to incorporate the metal/color into our home. I know what some of you are thinking…Brass lighting??? NO.  But I'm going to change your mind & will have you say YES YES YES after you see some of the awesome fixtures I've found! OK, maybe you won't become obsessed like I am, but you will at least not be repulsed.  Yes, most brass fixtures I've encountered are old & outdated. When we moved into our place replacing the old brass lighting was the 3rd thing we tackled (floors & painting came 1st & 2nd)…& while I LOVE the lighting we put in, I only wish there was a place for one of these fixtures! Check out these awesome finds below & then tell me you still hate brass!

I absolutely love this chandelier. It is urban & funky & I want it.
Source: Lamps Plus Feiss Urban Renewal Antique Brass Chandelier

I love how glamourous this pendant is!
Source: Jonathan Adler Sputnik 18-Light Avenue Brass Pendant 

I am DROOLING over this geometric chandelier. It is delicate, yet still makes a bold statement.
Source: Hubert le Gall Polyedres Chandelier

I LOVE the lines on this piece. How fun would this be in an entry way?!
Source: Furbish Sputnik Brass Chandelier

I love how simple, yet modern this light looks.
Source: Etsy Handmade Brass Lighting Fixture

So perhaps chandeliers are too much for you, then a small table lamp like this one could be a perfect accent piece. 
Source: Land of Nod Dotted Glow Table Shade & Half Karat Base

If you're struggling to imagine brass working in the home, look at this closet. Tell me now brass doesn't work! Also, I think we all need this closet.
Source: Who What Wear Closet

Now, the chandelier on the left is not my taste, but those two industrial pendants hanging over the island are awesome!
Source: Emily Ann Interiors


Color Me Fabulous

I love color. Bright, colorful spaces just make me smile. A few weeks ago I met a new friend for dinner but arrived early, so I decided to wander through one of my favorite stores, CB2.  I wasn't really looking for anything & then I spotted these outdoor chairs. Now, there was something I NEEDED.

CB2: Acapulco multi lounge chair

I love their simple pop of color, plus they were on sale! SCORE! (Btw, they are still on sale till the 14th!) These chairs have inspired me to add some more color to our home.  I think I have an idea on how to spruce up our "dining room" with some color, but it involves me, some orange paint & our kitchen table. Stay tuned for that adventure, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some fun uses of color that I'm using for inspiration.

How FABULOUS are these coffee tables? I love the orange!
Source: BHG

These stools are awesome.  They are a great source of color but if you get tired of the color, it's super easy to just swap them out. 
Source: BHG

I LOVE the pink dining room. I don't think J would ever let me do this to a main room, but a girl can dream right?

I love this yellow! What a fun way to add color to your house…next place perhaps?
Source: Red Book Mag

How fun is this ceiling? AND it coordinates with the island? Love.

I love love LOVE this console. That is all.
Source: Debbie Doos

I've loved purple since I was a kid. No surprise I want these chairs!

I saved the best use of color for last. I am OBSESSED with this table & am already trying to imitate it. We have lots of blue dishes…time to find some purple & orange!