It’s finally the day. A whole lot of blood, sweat and Googling and I’m the proud owner of ten (One already used) Harlequin Squash.
I never thought I’d see a single squash. This is my first year gardening and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’ll just add that I’m really under the weather, very little sleep, back and head pain coupled with some kind of bug, so if anyone of this seems odd or off that’s why. In saying that I still stood for four or five hours in the kitchen working at this. That’s the thing I mention a lot to anyone asking, there are no breaks when looking after yourself, weight slips back on as habits slip away and health takes a dive. That’s harsh, but look at me, I went into that kitchen barely able to stand and still pumped out all this wonderful food. It all stands to you, hard work for your health does help you, even if you feel it won’t be worthwhile it is. Something that’s been bothering me is the people seeking an easy way out of weight and health problems, or rather the people exploiting that weakness with fad diets and magical cures. You have to answer to yourself and look out for yourself. There’s a little piece I posted last night on my Facebook I’d like to share here. It’s a tad harsh sounding, but well intentioned. I wish there was something simpler and better I could share, but even with all my experience I’m still only able to tell you the hard truth, it’s better than easy lies.
The recipes will follow. I just feel like I want to put this out here, maybe it’s the kick someone needs. I was given something similar once myself and have been ever thankful since.
It’s strange watching others starting their own weight-loss journeys. I happened to see two, just Yesterday, online. Two strangers, worlds apart, trying to do their best. The funny thing is how little I could help either if I was asked. There’s nothing to say, it’s all up to them. All these years and the only advice I could offer is, simply, just get on with it.
That sounds terrible, but it’s true, it’s up to the individual to sort out themselves and they’ll always have to fall back on their own strength rather than relying on others. Sadly many people, some with good intentions, many just arrogant enough to think they know best, will try to advise and will probably do more harm than good. If you make the person feel they’re being observed it ups the pressure exponentially, don’t get me wrong praise is fine, wonderful even, but groundless praise can be damaging as the individual in question can now blame you if they’re struggling. Why? It’s stressful and any outlet for that stress is acceptable, couple that with the idea that you’re somehow pressuring them do it can give them an excuse to stop. Like I say, well intentioned people can be forgiven, but the jerks who rant and rave will do untold damage.
Ultimately I think it’s best to get the bare help you need, keep quietly chugging along, not alone, or at least not hiding what you’re doing, that’s dangerous, and wait until you’ve accomplished something of note, then, well then just get over that and keep going, it’s a journey that lasts a lifetime, you can’t stop and soak in the praise for each and every achievement. Let them add up and then be proud of them, but never stop. It’s always on you to keep going, if you only have yourself to answer to I feel you’ll always have a better chance. Support is great when needed, but too much becomes suffocating and will cause damage.
I guess what it boils down to is simply being everything you need in yourself: A harsh disciplinarian, a supportive friend and a student because you’re going to need to learn a lot. Supportive people are wonderful, but they shouldn’t be the ground you base your foundation of a healthy life on, that should be all you. Let them help you with the building, but know you’re the one who’ll hold it up. It’s tough, but if it wasn’t we’d all be doing it, wouldn’t we?
From 4150g to 2500g. That’s a lot of peel and seed fibers.
You’ll notice that the Weight Loss tag is never tips or tricks, just thoughts and some general advice, I won’t be writing guides or tutorials, but I will offer what help I think will be beneficial. I do say I sometimes feel harsh saying things like the above, but I suppose I can only say look at these recipes, look at the lunkhead telling you all this. I did it, and cliché mode to the max: If I did it, anyone can. You just need to know a few truths, there are probably better people to listen than me out there, but soak it all in and form your own views. Now, shaddup me, the squashes are calling. So as you can see I went with a little mash, thankfully plain because if it wasn’t I never would have seen my bread as I had a kitchen accident where some squash met the floor and that nearly stalled the bread, but no pepper, no butter and no salt means I could use some of this batch instead. One thing I have to say and I’m really peeved I’ve never seen it mentioned before. Harlequin squash is exactly the same as a potato. Solid enough when steamed and when mashed is still firm. That’s something worth investigating if you’re nightshade intolerant (Which is rarely covered even now) and want a replacement for a potato. Taste-wise it’s different, but the texture matches so well you’ll forgive it. I regret not getting to sauté it, there’s always next year, eh?
This is the closest this recipe has come to a potato version. Still couldn’t get the right trays. Eh, they’ll do.
I really love the yellow colour of the cooked squash (Speaking of colour the Hokkaido Pumpkin Gnocchi had a beautiful; orange hue when cooked, they looked stunning). It gives the ole cottage pie a real bright look and with the aforementioned texture it means I can’t wait to try these properly. The only change today is the topping. There are now four variations of topping to try. As always you can add as much vegetables in the filling as you’d like, even leaving out the mince if vegetarian. Maybe shred some vegetables and cube others for texture, the sky’s the limit. Seriously, look at that colour, I grew that. Me. Woah.
And now…Bird’s Custard?! Nah, It’s Pasta Sauce again!
Now the Hokkaido Pumpkin tasted lovely in this sauce, or thick soup as I keep calling it, but this is just something else. It’s the limit it is, it’s eggs in my coffee, it’s…okay I’ll stop. What it is is really creamy, it poured out from the blender like a thick cream, with a lovely subtle sweetness that worked so well with the onion and garlic. I was weary of trying this as I thought it’d just be a waste and perhaps end up as a thick mess. Now I think if worked with it could make an amazing vegan mac and cheese sauce. That’s up to a better cook than I, one with access to these squash outside of a garden too.
The brown one is just my Buckwheat Nutty Banana Bread minus the banana with carob. I wanted one slightly sweet bread and one nutritionally dense one.
What, asks you gentle reader, is a bread doing in this squash post? Heh heh heh, read on.
Hmmm, what is this bread, or loaf rather, that I’ve posted? It’s a buckwheat base as are all my breads, it’s soaked, not unlike my Treacle Bread can be, it has rooibos tea and some Mixed Spice, some cherries and sultanas and what else, oh yes, some harlequin squash! Hah, some of you are reading this incredulously, whist others are feeling rather peculiar, perhaps a brave few know the wonders of squash breads. I’ll add all these recipes to their respective pages, but I’ll just say a little on this here. I ditched the sugar this time as I found it too sweet, I went for a fairly plain loaf. What the squash does here is give the bread a lovely springy texture closer to a wheat-based version of the same recipe. It’s oddball, but I love it. It makes it more than it could have been given any other ingredient. The taste isn’t changed much by it either, there’s a hint of mixed spice, the sweetness of the sultanas tamed by the strong rooibos. Nothing overpowers or overwhelms. You could make it without the squash, try it with first and you won’t want to leave it out.
I always knew these as Glacé Cherries, I assume that’s the common name, but you never can tell.
This has been a long post, I’m honestly holding myself up, so I guess it’s time to wrap this up. I had an absolute blast today with all this food. This is what it’s about, finding your happiness even in your work and, yes, this is work, let no one ever undermine the hard work you’ll put into minding and improving your body and health. I have recipes to update, sort out and hope I remember them all. Until later!