What I Ate: Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust

I love pizza. It’s an eat-it-everyday, shout-it-from-the-rooftops kind of love, one that I hold close to my heart through every meal. Pizza is amazingly versatile; you could eat it every day for a year and have a different kind every single day. Greasy and thin, hand-tossed and fluffy, meaty or vegetarian or just plain cheese, pizza is the end-all, be-all for food options in my book. The only problem with pizza is that unfortunately, it doesn’t tend to be very healthy. That’s where spaghetti squash comes in.

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, you should know that it’s a yellow squash, roughly the size of a cantaloupe, that pulls apart in strings after it’s been cooked. If you have had it before, you already know that it’s pretty delicious and makes a great starch substitute – it’s especially helpful if you’re gluten-free!

To make spaghetti squash pizza crust, you will need:
1 spaghetti squash
1 egg
a pinch of flour (not strictly necessary, I just like it to thicken the mix a bit)
olive oil (or other cooking oil)
salt
pepper
garlic salt/powder
oregano
pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings – all according to your own liking! (this crust makes for a pretty good white pizza if I do say so myself)

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Before you turn it into a crust, first you have to cook the spaghetti squash.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Pierce the rind of the squash with a fork a few times for ventilation.
3. Put the squash in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes.
4. Cut off the stem end, and cut the squash in half.
5. Scoop out the seeds and guts – just like before carving a pumpkin!
6. Drizzle some olive oil over the inside of the squash (I never measure it, I just pour a little bit and then put the halves back together and sort of turn them over to try to get an even coating), then add some salt and pepper.
7. Bake the squash halves for 25 minutes (I usually take them out and turn them over halfway through).

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Now you’re ready to make the crust.
1. Leave the oven still set to 400 degrees when you take the squash out.
2. After taking the squash out of the oven, use a fork to pull the stringy insides apart and out of the rind.
3. In a large bowl, mix the cooked squash with 1 egg and a pinch of flour.
4. Add garlic and oregano to your liking (I never measure them, and I’m usually pretty heavy handed according to my own personal taste).
5. Line a baking pan with parchment paper (not 100% required but it makes it easier to get the pizza off the pan later and I think it helps to cook more evenly) and spread the squash evenly to form a thin layer. You shouldn’t be able to see the pan through the squash, but you still want it to bake all the way through. Make sure it’s just thick enough to hold sauce, cheese, and toppings!
6. Bake 20-25 minutes until edges are browning (In the past I’ve usually taken it out around the 20 minute mark and at this point it’s usually still kind of soft and requires a fork to eat, but doesn’t completely fall apart – in the future I’m going to leave it in for longer).

Once you’ve baked your crust, it’s pizza time! Use your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings to make the pizza of your dreams. Put the pizza back in the oven for 6-10 minutes to let the cheese melt, then enjoy!

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Spaghetti squash crust has been my godsend for making healthy pizza at home, and I hope you love it as much as I do! Let me know how it goes for you if you try it out!

I adapted my recipe from the girls over at A Beautiful Mess.

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What I Read – July 2015

“I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember” – A true statement. “Studying English in college means I still read more books than I can count” – Not so much.

Just because I spent four years studying literature doesn’t mean that I read 3, 4, or 5 books a month (or even the ones that I was supposed to be reading for class – sorry Professor Coletti!). And even though I don’t read many books in a row anymore doesn’t mean that I don’t want to – it just means that sometimes life gets in the way. College was a very busy time, as I’m sure many of you know, and there just always seemed to be so many other things to do (studying, attending student org meetings, watching Netflix…)!

Cue Summer, the happy season in which I always seem to do the most of my reading. Free time, especially time spent on vacation, always passes so much quicker during the summer, and I’m happy to say that I do spend a lot of it catching up on my “to-read” list. This July was busier than others, spent recovering from my trip to Europe, going to the beach with my family, and moving into a new house, but I did get through two books while I was on vacation.

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is about a Chinese-American man, Henry Lee, who was a child in Seattle during WWII. Ford uses a mix of flashbacks and present-day (well, 1986) narration to show both Lee’s experiences as an Asian-American during the time of prejudice against Japanese-Americans and how those experiences still affected his life as an adult. Lee befriends a Japanese-American classmate just as the US is beginning to set up camps for Japanese-Americans during the war, and he faces criticism from society and his family as he tries to sort out his own confused feelings.
My mom had wanted me to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet for months, so I thought it would be the perfect book to take with us to the beach, and I loved it! I’m a sucker for historical novels anyway (especially anything involving WWII or the Civil War) and I think that HotCoBaS gives an interesting view of how Chinese-America, especially those on the West coast, dealt with racial prejudice as a result of the war.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher was also a suggestion from my mom, and it was a great beach read. It follows Penelope Keeling and her relationship with her three adult children as they each try to tell her what to do with her prized possession, a painting by her father worth thousands of dollars. I loved the use of flashbacks (also during WWII – apparently this was a theme for me this July?) to give context to their relationships and how the text explored how family members can hate and love each other at the same time. I also personally agree whole heartedly with what Penelope eventually decided to do with the painting (and was pleased to have guessed it before it actually happened!).

I would definitely recommend both of these novels to anyone looking for a good read – neither text was difficult to get through at all, and I think they both tackled emotion very well and gave a good look into how people function as individuals within relationships.

What’s your favorite book that you’ve read so far this summer?