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Squash on the Sofa

Saturday, October 30, 2010

That's what I've titled this photo. It is what it is.

Hokaido pumpkin has been "in" lately. You can use the skin, too. So I just cut it up, remove the seeds, boil it, add bouillon or salt and spices, and puree it for soup. They're smaller than regular pumpkin, so it's the right size for a single like me.

Those cute green-and-white ones are called Sweet Dumpling and they are especially tasty. I halved one, removed the seeds, brushed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with thymian, salt and pepper. Baked for 40 minutes and then ate it out of the "shell." It tastes a lot like sweet potato but nuttier. You could also fill them with some kind of vegetable or meat stuffing. They would look real pretty too, as the skin keeps the color even after baking.

Zucchini is an old standby, of course. Not sure about the white one. I liked the name - Pattipan. We'll see how it tastes.

The butternut squash missed the photo op. I made it into lasagne. It was excellent. It was a recipe from a German magazine so I'll have to translate it and post it later.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the lasagne recipe. You'd need to make some modifications if you don't use metric measurements:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love fall squash! Haven't eaten pattipan but I have the rest.

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FRANNIEDID 11/2/2010 10:05AM

    Michelle, I used to stuff the pattipan squash, they are one of my favorites! I found them all the time when I lived in the south but seldom see them now. I would cut the top off, scoop out some of the inside and mix that with bread crumbs and seasonings. then I stuffed them and baked them. It has been years, I am going to go look for some this weekend!!!

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BANDMAMAPC 11/1/2010 3:38PM

    The subject intrigued me so I had to check it out. I haven't eaten any squash in a long time. Maybe I will try those white ones.

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CTEMPLE 11/1/2010 12:24AM

    I LURRRV pumpkin in any shape, favourite is the grey skinned one very fleshy and not watery.
Claudia emoticon lovely pic

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SJG1953 10/31/2010 2:34AM

    emoticonThose squash are beautiful Michelle. I especially like the zucchini and the pattipan. I would like to try those green and white ones. I've not had a chance to do that. Enjoy!! God bless you, Shirley

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BKWHITE3 10/30/2010 10:55PM


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    great! nice photo!

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ASMPP1 10/30/2010 8:39PM


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NEWLIBRARIAN 10/30/2010 7:22PM

    I have finished with zucchini for the year. Didn't have much else for squash grow very well this year. I like spaghetti squash though.

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JANETELIZABETH1 10/30/2010 2:19PM

    With your squash title...I just had to come and see what it was all about!!LOL!!
Thanks for all the information, we only seem to get butternut squash here.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/30/2010 9:17AM

    Great pictures of the squash! I love to keep mine on a bowl as a center piece. Here's a picture I took some of my garden centerpieces from last summer.

BR>Butternut squash Lasagna sounds terrific. emoticon

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

I feel like I have a bazillion things on my mind. Time for a Mind Clutter List again, I guess. If I don't get my mind focused soon, I'll be making lists of my lists! Actually, this post IS a list of lists:

THE GOOD: (1) I've had an increase in my number of hours at the language school. Business had been slow but is beginning to pick up. (2) My finances have been on a wild ride this past year or so, but are starting to be more steady-as-she-goes. (2) Great news at church this morning: One of the other worship leaders came out of an induced coma just in time to be there for his wife when she gave birth to their first child. He's on the road to recovery after having a brain tumor removed. Thank you, Lord!

THE BAD: (1) Sneaky little eating habits. Need to snuff those out "toot sweet" (pardon my French!) (2) Foot pain that's been causing me some trouble lately. May need to have that looked at.

THE UGLY: My apartment needs a major declutter. I'm blaming it on the fact that I've been away from home so much the past couple of weeks --- but it's actually been in pretty much the same state for the past couple of YEARS - but who's counting!? :/ I'd really like to make some progress in this area before the holidays hit. Or should I just resign myself to the "Early Books and Papers" decor until I finish my Masters?

Now I can check off "Update Spark Blog"! Yay!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I can relate on the declutter.

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ASMPP1 10/26/2010 7:27PM

    It sounds like things are going better for you. I am glad! I have the paper clutter here, too. Dd wanted to know why? uh? kids? hmm. emoticon

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CTEMPLE 10/26/2010 2:13AM


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/25/2010 9:00AM

    I had to laugh when I read the "early books and paper" decor sentence! I think that's what I've got going on in my home office. That's no fun. I think it adds to the "mind clutter" to have desk clutter too. Maybe our Christmas present for ourselves can be to get the physical clutter straightened up.

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FRANNIEDID 10/25/2010 8:51AM

    I am glad your finances are looking up, money does not make us happy but a lack of it can sure put a wrench in the works!!! I hear you on the clutter, it can sure take over!

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SJG1953 10/25/2010 5:26AM

    I share in your sneaky eating habits for the past couple of weeks. I will be sure to keep you on my prayer list Michelle. We can make progress with the not so good parts and continue to praise God for the Good things! Praise God!! I'm thankful the Lord is always ready to help us in times of need!! In Christ's love, Shirley

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OASIS1223 10/25/2010 12:43AM

    "The Ugly" seems to be par for the course. When did my master's it was like that too. Now, doing nursing school same sort of thing

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/24/2010 9:31PM

    I always used to find that just before a really big paper was coming up I would set to and get everything tidy, anything to put off that moment of commitment to paper. :)
Wishing you all the best on all fronts, I do so wish those little brownies would just do it all for us.

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    Sounds like you're getting back together after being gone. One thing at a time. Decluttering is always good--I did a lot of that this summer. Good luck!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 10/24/2010 4:13PM

    Sounds like you'll be keeping busy. I am supposed to be making progress on my house work. Uff.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/24/2010 3:05PM

    My strategy for getting the house into better order is to have a party. That always motivates me to clean and declutter and provides a little reward for having done so.

Comment edited on: 10/24/2010 3:06:20 PM

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LADY_DONKEY 10/24/2010 2:51PM

    I hear ya on the Ugly.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

---the way up

---the way down

I got back from four days in Switzerland on Friday. We had fabulous weather and I got some walking, jogging or hiking in each day. I ate a LOT, even desserts and sweets which I generally can take or leave. I'm back on track today.

Best of all during the retreat were the worship times and the fellowship with other Americans working for the Lord in Europe. I'm feeling spiritually refreshed but physically very tired, so I'm keeping this short today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASMPP1 10/13/2010 12:32PM

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time! Love the pictures!

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SPARTAN40 10/13/2010 11:40AM

    Thanks for the pictures. That looks amazing. Glad to hear you had a great time.

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SISTERDEAR 10/13/2010 10:30AM

    How wonderful. Sounds like you had a great trip!

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SJG1953 10/13/2010 2:07AM

    The pictures are so beautiful! What an AWESOME creator we have!!!

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SONJASTWIN 10/12/2010 11:55PM

    Looks gorgeous! Hope you had a good time and are doing well. Take care! Josie


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TRYINGHARD1948 10/12/2010 5:24PM

    I feel your joy.

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NEWNAC304 10/12/2010 12:35PM

    Sounds like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing the picture.

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JANETELIZABETH1 10/12/2010 11:46AM

    Oh Michelle...you are one brave gal....I don't like those cable cars at all!!
Glad you have a refreshing time, we all need those....how were the Swizz chocolates...I remember them (too) well!!

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    beautiful photos!

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CTEMPLE 10/12/2010 2:15AM


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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/11/2010 10:19PM


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CHRYS13 10/11/2010 9:07PM

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos.
Praising God that you were so blessed while there!

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FORMYDARLINGS 10/11/2010 7:36PM

    So glad you had a good weekend and that you are back safely. Watch those sweets, my friend.


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BKWHITE3 10/11/2010 6:14PM

    Love the pictures. Glad you are refreshed.

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DAV128 10/11/2010 5:41PM

    Beautiful. If you have more picture like these, please post - they're breathtaking.

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October Goals

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Here's how I did in September:

*Lose two more kilo (ca. 4 pounds) in time for October retreat - lost 1 (2 pounds) and I'm good with that
*Log 1200 cardio miles - logged WAY more than that, probably 1400+
*Burn SP recommended number of calories each week - managed to do this the first two weeks of the month, then slacked off some
*Track and stay in Calorie range at least 5 days a week - again, first two weeks went pretty well, the second two not so good.

My fitness goals for October are pretty much the same:

*Lose 2-4 pounds
*Log at least 1200 cardio minutes
*Burn SP recommended calories each week
*Track and stay in calorie range 5 days a week
*8 gym visits during the month
*Maybe run a 10K on the 17th?

Although I only lost two pounds, all the exercise and the gym visits have been paying off in other ways. Clothes are fitting better and I'm feeling more toned.

Now if this cold would just go away. I hope the deliciously clean, dry air in the Swiss Alps will help clear things up. I leave on Tuesday, so will only be checking in here on SP intermittently in the week ahead.

Hope you all get off to a great start in the new month. Keep smiling and sparking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARTAN40 10/5/2010 5:16PM

    Congrats on a job well done and enjoy your trip to the Alps!

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ASMPP1 10/5/2010 5:29AM

    emoticon Enjoy your trip!

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CTEMPLE 10/5/2010 2:27AM

    Well done Michelle slowly but steady.

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SJG1953 10/5/2010 12:38AM

    You did an Awesome job meeting your goals Michelle!! That is wonderful.

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CMPEARL 10/4/2010 2:38PM

    Great job in September! I know I start off tracking like gang-busters, then somewhere along the way I burn out. Have a wonderful time in the Alps and good luck on your October goals!!

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FRANNIEDID 10/4/2010 9:22AM

    I did not lose any but I also did not gain any so that is good. So glad you made it part way to your goal, that is awesome. Have fun in the Alps, hope your retreat is great!

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BKWHITE3 10/3/2010 10:41PM

    emoticon goals.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/3/2010 9:26PM

    I never realized SP had a recommended calorie burn. I'll have to figure out what mine is.

I'm with you, any month where the scale is less than it was at the beginning of the month is a good month.

Have fun in the Alps!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/3/2010 3:02PM

    Reinforcing good habits always pays off in the long run.
emoticon emoticon
A week in the Swiss Alps sounds beautiful. Hope you are going there to have fun!

Comment edited on: 10/3/2010 3:03:05 PM

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just for fun, I decided to google that old saying about how it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I was glad to see that researcher-par-excellence Barbara Mikkelson of Snopes has a lengthy article here: www.snopes.com/science/smile.asp

She even mentions a parody of the adage that points out that

(a) scientists who research such things have way too much time on their hands,
(b) since frowning takes more muscles, then it must also burn more calories!

Maybe SP should add frowning to the fitness tracker as exercise?!

Although they can't agree on the actual number of muscles involved, those who study these things do agree that smiling can have the effect of making the smiler feel happier. Mikkelson says, "Facial expressions do not merely signal what one feels but actually contribute to that feeling." Not that this means we should all go around with phony smiles on our faces. But if slapping on a smile makes the day a little brighter, I'm sure going to give it a try.

The article also points out that people tend to respond in kind to the facial expressions they meet. No surprise there, really. It seems that it's difficult for us humans to smile back when someone frowns at us, or to frown when met with a smiling face. Just try it sometime!

With all that in mind, I decided to rearrange my Spark friends on my Spark page to show those who have a nice, big, smiling head shot for their profile photo. I love you all, dear Spark friends, but it makes me smile to see them smile, and I've been needing some smiles lately.

I hope they make you smile, too, when you visit my page.
Current favorite emoticon: emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VIVIANJ5 9/30/2010 9:26AM

    Yay me! I'm on the smiley first page of your Spark page!! Thank you, Michelle, you made me smile today...

Take care!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/28/2010 2:38PM

    That must mean you like my profile pic!!!

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 9/27/2010 7:44PM

    I was smiling at the thought of what you did, and then, I clicked over to your main page, my smiley mug was on there and made me smile more. I LOVE to smile and give them out freely to others. I have a good time smiling at strangers and seeing that moment of shock before a smile shows up on their face, too. It seems like people are always avoiding eye contact and or not smiling, and there's just no reason for it, especially since I do believe it's a mood lifter. If I'm feeling sad, it's one of the first things I do to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Thanks for the smiles, Michelle! emoticon

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FRANNIEDID 9/27/2010 10:54AM

    Love the blog! Keep smiling! (although I have to admit, the idea of burning more calories is tempting!!)

Comment edited on: 9/27/2010 10:55:00 AM

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SJG1953 9/27/2010 2:16AM

    I agree with you Michelle. Those smiling faces are certainly mood lifters!

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ASMPP1 9/26/2010 9:14PM

    emoticon emoticon Not brave enough to post a pic of myself, yet.

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BKWHITE3 9/26/2010 6:53PM


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CTEMPLE 9/26/2010 5:30PM

    This post is so much you!
I'll read the article after work.
Claudia emoticon

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NEWNAC304 9/26/2010 12:18PM

    What a great blog! I'm going to start smiling more just to keep myself in a more positive mood. emoticon

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ZELLAZM 9/26/2010 11:36AM

    It WAS hard to choose, but I went with the ones who are currently most active on Spark. And I'll probably change them around again sometime...Look forward to that pic of YOU!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/26/2010 10:19AM

    When I was a teenager, I used to be self conscious about my smile. But now I think it is one of my best features. Life does look better when you are smiling.

Comment edited on: 9/26/2010 10:20:36 AM

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LIGIRLATHEART 9/26/2010 10:11AM

    Loved your blog -- and I love all those Smiling Spark Friends!!

When I am out and about, and make more of an effort to smile and make eye contact with various people I encounter, it makes for a more pleasant day -- thanks for the reminder :-)

Someday, if I am ever confident to post an actual photo, I hope to make your SMILING "wall of fame".

Great picks (and pics, lol)! emoticon

PS -- You have a lot of SMILING Spark Friends - it must have been hard to choose!

Comment edited on: 9/26/2010 10:12:55 AM

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