Tasty Thursdays – Discovering the Art of Spaghetti Squash

I always had suspicions that my best friend Marisa never eats. Her fridge is always empty, and she never comes out to restaurants. Boy, was I wrong. After an amazing meal of spaghetti squash, garlic bread and freshly caught fish from Key West, I have abandoned my sentiments about Marisa’s eating habits. You’ll have to excuse my shoddy iPhone photos, but I just had to share images of the concoction.

The spaghetti squash became dinner on a whim, which was made apparent by our ill-fated first attempt to ‘shred’ the squash. Our naivety in the realm of squash was made even more obvious during the twenty minutes it took me hacking away at the vegetable’s hard body before it finally cracked through, exposing a fleshy, pulpy inside that smelled like raw pumpkin guts. It took some trial and error, but eventually we had a heaping pile of ‘spaghetti’ in front of us.

To accompany our fibrous ‘pasta,’ we prepared a savory sauce with four cans of tomato paste, diced green pepper, zucchini slice, crushed garlic and plenty of onions. Shockingly, there was not a grain of salt to be found in Marisa’s entire house, but we managed to make the sauce delicious regardless – who knew you don’t need a heap of salt to make something tasty? She also whipped up whole grain garlic bread topped with vegan cheese, and baked a few fillets from fish she caught herself while vacationing home in Key West.

This meal undoubtedly deserves a repeat. I can’t wait until Niko gets his hands on a good spaghetti squash recipe so he can cook me something phenomenal, as always. When we make another batch of this delicious mess, I’ll be sure to have my camera on hand to capture the squash in its true glory.

Munch on, readers!

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DIY – Recycled Bottle Bird Feeder

Living in the forested area of San Luis has given me a new appreciation for bird watching. We bought a feeder a few months ago, and flocks of cardinals and finches have been feasting ever since. In the mornings, it’s like a wildlife show in our backyard. The feeder is perched outside our living room area, but I wanted a feeder of my own outside my bedroom’s gorgeous windows.

I originally purchased a giant birdseed bell, like this one. Daisy devoured the first one, and squirrels stole the second one right in front of my eyes – so I decided it was time to build a better vessel for feeding my avian friends. This quick and easy craft is a great Sunday afternoon Do-It-Yourself project.

What you need:

  • A plastic bottle (milk jug, soda bottle, etc.)
  • A plastic dish with a lip (cleaned dishes from microwaved meals are perfect for this!)
  • A hot glue gun, or super glue
  • Some sort of hemp threading or wire.

How to make your own bird feeder:

  1. Wash out your recycled bottle and dish. Let the bottle dry out completely, or else your birdseed will get moldy.
  2. Carefully cut small holes around the base of your bottle. This will allow the bird seed to spill out from the bottle into the dish. I also cut a big hole near the middle/top of my bottle so birds could help themselves.
  3. Punch very small holes around your dish. This will allow any water to drain out of your feeder, thus preventing mold.
  4. Poke two small holes at the top of your bottle, and thread your wire through to hang the feeder. I always use hemp thread, and it holds up really well.
  5. Glue your bottle to your base, and let it dry thoroughly.
  6. Fill your bird feeder with seed. There are a ton of different birdseed varieties, I go with the cheapest mixed seed from Walmart. It gives you the best bang for you buck, and I doubt the birds notice the difference.
  7. Hang your feeder from a tree, roof overhang or anywhere in with a good view! It might take a few days for the birds to catch on, but as soon as they notice this new source of food, I guarantee you’ll have a busy feeder. It’s the best thing to wake up to.

This project took me less than ten minutes, and it was totally worth it – I already spotted my first visitor, munchin’ away at my new feeder. Have a beautiful Sunday everyone, and bundle up – it’s going to be 48 degrees tonight!

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Nature Update!

We have been anxiously waiting for weeks while Baby Cap munched his way towards pupating, and last night it finally happened. He molted his caterpillar skin for the last time, exposing the light brown chrysalis that will transform him into a butterfly. It was particularly difficult to get a shot of the chrysalis because it is in the screened enclosure, but I was able to get one decent picture to share.

** I highly suggest you click on the picture of the furry moth, it’s of fantastic quality at greater size. **

While we are still on the nature theme, I wanted to start chronicling my experience growing sunflowers. My mom sent up a little do-it-yourself kit of sunflowers, in a package that also included killer rice krispies and my Dad’s awesome AE1 35mm. I planted them about two days ago, and they have already begun to sprout! I thought it would be a fun mini-project to document their growth, so enjoy.

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