Saturday, August 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Ice cream and This Week's News

Here are some health and nutrition highlights from this week;

Really? The Claim: Drinking Green Tea Can Help Lower Your Cholesterol
(Like most green tea claims, this one is slightly off.)

Saturated Fat Reductions Not As Effective For Cholesterol Reduction, Study Says
(The title makes it sound like eating a low saturated fat diet isn't effective for reducing cholesterol, but in reality this study showed that a diet high in fiber, soy, plant sterols, and nuts, all of which are known to help reduce cholesterol, work better at reducing LDL cholesterol than a low saturated fat diet alone. You can read more information about this study here.)

Ban on Using Food Stamps to Buy Soda Rejected by U.S.D.A.
(What's your opinion on this issue? Personally, I think it's ridiculous that people can use food stamps to buy soda, but at the same time, is soda any worse than half of the other food/drinks that food stamps can be used to buy, such as Gatorade and Twinkies?? Not so much.)

Maggie Goes on a Diet the Sensible Way in Children's Book

(There is a new children's book out, which tells the tale of a young and overweight girl who goes on a diet. The premise sounds harmless and even helpful for some children, but the title has got to go. The word "diet" just makes me cringe, especially when used in this context.)

Antibiotic Use Has Grown Along With Obesity; Coincidence?
(Antibiotics are prescribed often, and they are killing beneficial bacteria in our gut. While this has been known for a while, new research suggests that by killing certain bacteria we may be promoting other problems such as heartburn and even obesity!)

And now for some butternut squash news! As I said last weekend, my plan is to try to come up with a different way to use butternut squash each week from now until the winter. Some of you gave me some great ideas and recipes and I've saved them all and am looking forward to doing some work in the kitchen. This week I found two new ways to use the butternut squash....

(cooked butternut squash, banana, mixed greens, and frozen blueberries mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a bit of juice)

Ice Cream!

In a blender mix 2 cups half and half (chilled), 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 1.5 cups cooked/cooled butternut squash, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp pumpkin spice. Put into an ice cream maker and churn for ~20 minutes.




Thanks for the idea, Meghan!!!

And, butternut squash wedding cake!!! haha, jk. This is random, but I had to share it with you. Nick and I went to a wedding last weekend and this was the cake.

I've been taking note of great cakes lately, and this one was right up my alley. The design was simple, yet elegant. Nick and I both took one look at this cake and said, "oh man, that's fondant, what a bummer", because it looked too perfect to be butter cream (and we both hate the taste of fondant). But no, it was butter cream, my friends, and it was amazing.

QUESTION: What's your favorite kind of wedding cake? Mine is a white and chocolate cake with white butter cream icing. Nothing fancy, but definitely delicious.


  1. squash ice cream? woooooo! I'm not a ice cream fan but I'm sure I'll love that one! still jealous of your big stadhnof squashes! :)

  2. I would definitely like your wedding cake, I like butter cream :) One of my friends had a funfetti wedding cake which was pretty fun! I also really like the cake that have flowers as part of them, I didn't do it because I wanted a beach theme but I still really like those.

    On the issue of buying soda with food stamps, I would be FINE with that not being allowed. I know soda isn't technically worse than other things, but frankly I would support nothing super unhealthy being allowed even though I think that would be hard to decide on/enforce. This is going to sound mean, but I feel like if you didn't earn the money to buy it, you lose some of the right to choose what you get. That probably came out worse than I wanted it to, I guess I just really support the kids rights in these situations and most kids aren't doing the grocery shopping so basically the parents are just setting them up for bad health (now granted I realize this happens anyway with parents who DON'T use food stamps...) so I don't know. I just want more kids to be healthy :)

    Also really want to try making butternut squash ice cream... yum.

  3. Mine was chocolate chip pound cake with buttercream icing. Besides smashing in each other's faces, I didn't even have any! Can't wait til June 18th to eat the top layer lol

  4. White wedding cake all the way!!!

    Great links--love your news links!

    On the food stamps...I used to work in a grocery store when food stamps were actually like paper "dollars" etc. The person would get change back in food stamp "dollars" and in real I had people come through the line and buy things that cost $1.05 or $1.15, etc...then get the change back, do this a few more times, and then buy cigarettes! There was nothing we could do about it, but it was my first experience with this kind of thing. I'm so glad they switched to the debit card system, but as you is not perfect. I think it should only be able to be used for produce, whole grain bread, eggs, milk....stuff like that!

  5. wahh i want that ice cream!!

    i HATE wedding cake haha. like sheet cake or cake like that is just my ultimate un favorite thing ever! i think for my wedding i just want HUGE trays of italian bakery cookies. ACTUALLY i want a wedding cake where the inside is rainbow cookie. hahahaha wouldn't that be awesome? that's it thats what i want. but i guess if i had to choose i would not choose fondont but definitely cannoli inside and none of that raspberry jam or lemon shit. hahaha i just hate cake.

  6. Love your creativity with the butternut squash! Sound yummy! :)

    We had a beautiful and delicious wedding cake. It was simple and elegant with a strawberry layer. I think if I would do it again, I may actually consider cupcakes (in addition to a small cake to cut). I like the idea of having different flavor options. I may even do mini cupcakes so that people could have a few flavors. Okay, I better don't get carried away now... But we could always do renewal of our vowels one day and have mini cupcakes... :)

  7. Hi Gina :) thanks for the health and nutrition updates!!!
    I personally have to agree with you in that I HATE the word diet in: "Maggie Goes on a Diet the Sensible Way in Children's Book". What is that about? specially introducing that word to young children in an "official way". The title should be adjusted to "Maggie learns how to love and feed her body and feed it/treat it right" or something like that.
    As a side note---Im loving the cake too. Looks so good and elegant :)

  8. Butternut squash ice cream! What an interesting idea. I've added sweet potatoes to smoothies before, so I don't see why not. I've been seeing more and more pumpkin-flavored things lately...guess fall really is coming!

  9. The Maggie goes on a diet book makes me cringe too!! I think it's a terrible idea to put the idea of diet into the mind of a child. Instead we should be focus on healthful eating!!

  10. You know how I feel about Maggie. I am now drawn to the antibiotic/obesity potential connection. I'm on a zpack now uh oh.

  11. Way to get creative with the b-nut squash!!! Love both creations. It's funny...most weddings I've been to don't serve wedding cake for dessert. It's mostly there for display....

  12. I don't know that I've ever had fondant. It sounds bad, but I just wanted a pretty cake...taste was totally secondary. I know, I'm crazy!! It was good, though...and we went with buttercream :)

    The butternut ice cream sounds amazing! I need to make another batch of ice cream before summer is over!!

  13. Butternut squash ice cream??? AWESOME!!!! I cringed at the Maggie Goes on a Diet title too. Just wrong.... We had wedding cupcakes, white, chocolate and lemon with buttecream and sugar flowers that were the color of our theme. Have a great Tuesday Gina. As always, thanks for the great links.

  14. Love the idea for the butternut squash ice cream. Very creative. I am so glad that the cake worked out. I actually do like fondant but only in small doses. Too much and I just get dizzy. The cake is beautiful. I hope planning is going well. My fave wedding cake is chocolate with vanilla butter cream, with raspberry filling. I think that was one of our layers. Actually it was 3 layers of cake in each bigger layer, so it was chocolate cake in 3 layers with raspberry cream and then chocolate cream to separate each layer, and another one was white cake with the same fillings. Darn, now I am hungry. Hoping Ryan gets home soon so we can go out for sushi.

  15. Butternut squash ice cream sounds AMAZING!! That's such a good idea. I wish I had an ice cream maker.

    My favourite wedding cake definitely has buttercream. Fondant sucks ass.

    I usually like a white or yellow cake but I won't turn down chocolate. I think the most important thing for me is that the wedding cake is actual wedding cake-- dense, but moist (not light and fluffy)

    I always eat wedding cake at weddings so when the cake isn't great it's a bit of a let down for me (though I'm pretty sure most people don't even eat the cake)

  16. Butternut squash ice cream!!! SO COOL!!! :-) Love your smoothie idea too!

    Such a beautiful cake! I know your cake is going to be breathtaking! :-) I totally agree with going the non-fondant route... Our wedding cakes were chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and buttercream frosting for the main cake, and red velvet cake with french vanilla cream filling and chocolate frosting for Zach's groom's cake, and I'm definitely glad we opted for dreamy yumminess over fondant perfection! :-)