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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Another school year in the books!

It's hard to believe that another whole school year has passed. Raya has had a great year at school this year. We are extremely blessed to have had a caring teacher, wonderful aides, and a really great school nurse. Without any of these people being as awesome as they've been, sending her to school would be so incredibly stressful. It's hard to trust other people to take care of a child who needs specialized care, and so wonderful when you find a village who you know can and will take good care of them for you.

She has done even better than anyone expected her to this year. Academically, she blew us all away. She is reading at a 3rd grade level, learns very quickly, and remembers things well. She LOVES school! She is sad about her teacher not being her teacher anymore but we are crossing our fingers and praying that she'll keep the same aide for the coming year. We had an IEP meeting earlier this month and it went so well that I had to pinch myself. Hearing the words, "What we're doing here is working so let's not change anything." was music to this mama's ears. First grade was a year of growth for her, and with the help of her teacher and aide, we were able to identify some strategies to work on for the coming year that I think will set her up for success as she moves through the next couple of years when the curriculum will get more challenging. I am so proud of her (and all her awesome siblings!) and we are happy to be finished with this school year and on to summer break!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spaghetti squash with "zoodles" and sauce


I like food. I really do. Lately I've been working on getting things back into balance in our home, and one of the things I've been working on is incorporating more of a variety into our meals, and adding in new things that are healthy while also trying to accommodate everybody's food allergies. It feels like a huge accomplishment to cook a meal that everyone in our family can eat AND that everyone likes. I love spaghetti squash and the kids will tolerate it but they don't love it. I think I just haven't found the right recipe yet. Yesterday I decided to experiment with it and my lunch was delicious but also allergy-friendly, so I thought I'd share here.

First, I roasted the spaghetti squash. To do that, I split it in half, scooped out the seeds, oiled a foil-lined baking sheet, and placed both halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Then I baked at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. After it cooled, I used a fork to separate the shreds of squash into a bowl.


 In hindsight, I should have put it into a strainer to drain off some of the excess liquid. It has a lot of liquid so if you eat it with a sauce, it thins the sauce out.

For the sauce, I chopped 1/4 of an onion and sauteed it in oil until it was softened and translucent, then added 1 tsp of minced garlic and continued cooking for about a minute. Then I added 1/2 lb of ground turkey. Once the turkey was browned through, I added 1 can of diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (slightly pureed because I'm picky and don't like big chunks of tomato). While that simmered, I used my mandolin slicer to "zoodle" one small zucchini. An actual zoodler would make the process easier. I've been looking at this one on Amazon. I managed to finish with all of my fingers in tact anyway though, so it worked out fine. I added the zucchini to the sauce and simmered a couple more minutes until the zucchini was softened.

Since I hadn't seasoned the squash at all, I did add it teensy sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt and a little bit of garlic powder to it before I put the sauce over it. I sprinkled a little bit of parmesan cheese on top too. It was DELICIOUS and pretty quick and easy too. The sauce took less than 30 minutes including prep time, and with the quantities I used, it made 4 servings. Of which I ate 2, and gave another bowl to a friend who also thought it was tasty. Since we pretty much ate it all, I didn't offer it to the kids so I don't know yet if it's kid-approved. I will for sure be making it again though! I think next time, I'll add mushrooms too.

**This recipe is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free, soy free, and corn free. It is also keto diet-friendly.**

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Zoodles and Sauce
Serves 4

1 medium spaghetti squash
1T oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (pulsed in blender, if desired)
1 small zucchini, cut into "zoodles"
salt, to taste

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Line baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray, and place squash cut sides down onto baking sheet. Roast at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Cool, then use a fork to scoop squash out of shell into a strainer and allow liquid to drain.

Saute' onion in oil until translucent. Add garlic to pan and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add ground turkey. Once turkey is browned through, add canned tomatoes. While simmering, "zoodle" the zucchini and then add to sauce. When zucchini has softened, spoon sauce over spaghetti squash to serve.

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