Baked Mexican Butternut Squash


2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp chili powder

Pinch of cayenne

½ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

Put the squash in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Use a spoon to stir the squash to coat each piece with oil.

Mix together the cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle this mixture on the squash and stir to coat the pieces.

Add the squash to a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake 25-30 minutes until fork tender.


Maria Faires’ Lemon Farro and Brussels Sprouts







Lemon Farro and Brussels Sprouts

Farro is a variety of wheat and similar to wheat berries, farro is still a bit chewy when cooked, rather than soft and mushy. Farro is still a bit chewy when cooked, rather than soft and mushy. If you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s, use wheat berries.

In the spring when asparagus is in season, try substituting asparagus for the Brussels sprouts.

·      1 c. Farro Ten Minute Trader Joe’s or Wheat Berries (Adjust cooking time)

·      2 or 3 c. chicken or vegetable broth (Adjust amount depending on if you are using Ten Minute Farro or Wheat Berries)

·      1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered

·      1 large shallot, chopped

·      2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

·      1/4 c. chopped walnuts

·      1 tbsp. lemon juice

·      zest from 1 well-washed lemon, I like to use a microplane to zest the lemon

·      Salt + pepper to taste

1.    Combine 1 cup wheat berries and 3 cups broth OR 1 cup Ten Minute Farro and 2 cups broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, if using wheat berries about 50 minutes or if using Trader Joe’s Farro Ten Minute, 10 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Set aside.

2.    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

3.    While wheat berries are cooking, start Brussels sprouts. Toss Brussels sprouts, shallots, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and stir in walnut pieces.

4.    Whisk together lemon juice, zest, remaining 1 Tbsp oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add wheat berries and roasted vegetables; toss to combine, then serve.




An Exercise to Disprove Negative Thoughts That Derail Your Weight Loss Efforts


Negative thoughts can derail your weight loss efforts and suck you into a downward spiral that will keep you from being successful. 

Try going through this exercise the next time you catch yourself thinking a thought that you recognize will only prevent you from taking positive steps forward.

Negative thought: “I only have 3 weeks until my Palm Springs vacation. It’s not enough time to lose weight or get into shape so I might as well not even try.”

What evidence do I have to disprove that thought? ___________________________________________________________________

For instance, in that time I could lose 5 to 10 pounds. It may not be the 45 that I eventually want to lose but 5-10 would be great. I’ve been able to lose that much in 3 weeks in the past. I can do it! In 21 days’ time, I could realistically do 17 days of 30 minutes of walking. That’s 510 minutes of walking! That’s really something. I’d burn over 1700 calories. I noticed that in the past when I planned my meals ahead of time, packed my lunch and reduced how often I went out to eat, I was able to stick to my calorie goal.

What would be the benefits of trying? _________________________________________________________________

For instance, I’d feel so much better being 5-10 pounds lighter, feel more confident in shorts, after all the cardio I do in 3 weeks, I’d feel like I could walk more easily, I’d feel proud of myself.

In what ways am I critical of myself? ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________

For instance, I view myself as a failure, lazy, unmotivated.

If my best friend told me she had that thought, what would I tell her?  ________________________________________________________________

For instance, I could tell her that if she puts in some effort every day, she will see some progress. I will tell her that she can do this and I would be there to help her and support her.

What am I going to do now?­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________

For instance, I will plan out simple meals, chicken or fish and vegetables for the next 3 weeks and walk 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. I will schedule my exercise and write out a grocery list. I’ll tell me husband that I’d prefer us eat at home the next 3 weeks instead of going out to eat. I will log all my food on My Fitness Pal.