Good morning all!
How are you feeling this morning? Have you adjusted to the Daylight Savings Time change yet? I’ve still been feeling rrreally tired and ready for bed by about 8:30 pm, but I think that might just be a combination of it being dark outside whenever I go out, and busy days at work. Yesterday was gorgeous and sunny, and although I wasn’t able to get outside much, I still had lots of energy to try my new things for this week. Here you are, the run-down of Try Something New Tuesday30:
1. Recipe of the Week: Cranberry Chicken Curry.
If you’re looking for a way to sneak some extra servings of fruit into your diet, this recipe is for you! Not only does it include cranberries, but I also threw in a diced apple. I prefer my apples to be a bit tart so I used a Crispin one, but any firm apple would work.
2. A new fruit: Persimmons. More specifically, a Japanese persimmon.
I’ve been looking for these for a few weeks and when I was at the market on Saturday, I finally found some. There were heaps and I didn’t feel the need to buy an entire basket, but the generous man working at this particular stall let me take one for free.
Nutrition-wise, one persimmon has about 120 calories, 0g fat and 6g of fiber. They are a good source of vitamins A, C, and manganese. Persimmon trees grow up to 25 feet tall and are native to China. According to this source, there are two classifications: astringent (which need to ripen fully until the flesh is jelly-like before they can be eaten) and non-astringent (which can be eaten crispy – like an apple). They also come in dried form and can be used in recipes that call for dried apricots.
I tried my persimmon as part of my breakfast yesterday morning, along with my go-to breakfast at the moment, a mixture of fruit, yogurt, and Nature’s Path Kamut Puffs. (I don’t eat the kamut puffs on their own, I have a big plastic cereal container that I store them in, and mix them up with a few drizzles of agave nectar and a whackload of cinnamon.) When I cut it open, the flesh was very soft.
Since I bought the persimmon on Saturday, I’m thinking mine may have been a litte over-ripe by Tuesday. The flesh was indeed very jelly-like – quite mushy too – but the taste was sweet and quite pleasant. I really liked the flavour mixed with my raspberry yogurt, and the persimmon was a good contrasting texture to the cereal.
3. Learn something new: Personal budgeting tips. Yesterday at work I attended part 2 of a 2-part money management lunch-n-learn series. This one was about personal budgeting (the first was about investments) and although most of what I learned wasn’t exactly new, it was fairly motivational and gave me a good kick up the backside to pay more attention to my “stick to a budget” goal. A few tips and interesting tidbits:
- Many people start contributing to RRSPs/RESPs etc before they have a large enough cash base. A good target is to have 3-6 months of living expenses worth in cash socked away in a low-risk, easily accessible investment vehicle. This way, you can use it in the event of an emergency (unfortunately Lululemon sales don’t qualify) without being penalized for the withdrawal.
- Only keep as much money in your chequing account as you need to – depending on the specifics of the account, the excess money would likely be more effectively invested in something with a higher interest rate.
- Did you know… only 68% of Canadians pay their entire credit card bill each month? I’m proud to say I’m part of the 68%!
- There are lots of apps you can download via iTunes to help track your spending. Some are free and some cost a bit of money – I haven’t had much time to check into them yet, but have chosen this one to test out. It has lots of features, and allows you to manage multiple accounts, bills, expenses and budgets. The screens look like this:
If you bank at a US banking institution, I’ve heart that Mint.com is quite useful, and you can click here to preview the app. For a full list of finance apps available in iTunes, click here.
4. Stripetti Squash. This was another one of my market finds. My intention was to purchase a spaghetti squash, but the man that was selling them told me I should try this one instead:
I’m certainly not one to turn down my vegetables, especially when it comes to squash.
He told me that it was a cross-breed of a sweet potato and a spaghetti squash, but according to this source and my other Google search results, it is a cross between the spaghetti and Delicata squash types. Even though he was wrong on this minor detail, he was certainly right that it tasted just like a spaghetti squash but sweeter. After gutting it and sprinkling each half with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, I baked it in the oven for about 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, I prepped the other ingredients in my dinner, including my next new thing….
5. Yellow Zucchini. It would be a lie if I told you I’d never eaten a yellow zucchini before, but hear me out first. The type I’m used to eating comes from the grocery store and has a waxy-ish coating on it. The one from the market was different because it looked like it actually came out of the ground and wasn’t waxy at all.
I chopped it up with some red onion, roasted red bell pepper, and a little green zucchini, then threw it in a frying pan and used the following ingredients to make a tomato-based sauce:
- 1 cup diced canned tomatos, with juices
- 1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Can you see where we’re going with this yet?
The third and final dinner component was the protein source, Simple Italian Meatballs, which you can click on to see the recipe for because this post is getting rather long!
The final product:
A lower-carb version of spaghetti and meatballs, may I present stripetti and meatballs:
I apologize for the terrible lighting – all this getting-dark-at-5pm business is a blogger’s nightmare. The stripetti squash was very tasty on its own, but the sweetness of it mixed with the spicy meatballs and sauce was great too. And the yellow zucchini? Well, believe it or not, it tasted like regular zucchini.
Annnd that’s all she wrote! Before I sign off for the morning, I want to know…
- Do you use any apps or software to manage your personal budget?
- Have you tried persimmons before? What did you think? Did you eat them fresh or as part of a recipe?
- If you have any ideas for my trials next Tuesday, post ‘em here or email me at eatspinrunrepeat (at) gmail (dot) com.
Have a great day!