Eat well, my friends!

Well, it’s the Super Bowl again, and while my team is not playing, and we’re not having a party, it’s not a bad day to plan a quality meal.  We had some beef tenderloin in the deep freezer, some Jones Farm bacon and thought a crock pot meal might be the way to go as an alternate to grilling in the cold and snow.  (Thankfully, it’s stopped snowing.)  I came across a recipe for a crock pot beef tenderloin via A Spicy Perspective:

(Check out the recipe card for the directions and ingredients.)

Recipe card: 


While mine didn’t end up looking the same, it still smells heavenly!  (Final pictures to follow once it’s done!)

I seared mine in a cast iron pan- cast iron is starting to grow on me, and it’s not hard to clean.

beef tenderloin w bacon in a cast iron skillet

A pile of onions and garlic ready to go in after the crock-potting of the tenderloin:

onions and garlic next to a crock pot

The tenderloin getting ready to begin its slow cooking- with the bacon juices marinating from the top!

We have a rosemary plant indoors that’s liking the window well enough, so thankfully, we had fresh rosemary.

roast with onions, garlic, bacon, and rosemary

After cooking a while, I added the remaining ingredients, but realized I was almost out of balsamic vinegar… But, no worries- you can make a substitute with red wine vinegar (which, thankfully, we have- no emergency trip to the store this time!)  I used the last of the balsamic I had and filled in the rest with my substitute.  It smells great so far- we should be eating during the game.  (Finished product photo to follow!)  Eat well, my friends!  (Verdict: delicious!)


Vegan/Vegetarian Pulled ‘Pork’ (Spaghetti Squash)

We had some remaining spaghetti squash from this year’s growing season, (it’s December, and they keep really well!) and had just had the classic spaghetti-squash-with-spaghetti-sauce iteration recently, so we wanted something different (and simple!)

I stumbled across the original recipe idea:, but wanted something even simpler than that.  A crock pot beckoned.




1 or 2 spaghetti squash (depending on size, may need more if smaller squash)

Coconut Oil



BBQ Sauce (I used a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s: but use whichever you like, or make your own)

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


Cut squash length-wise and remove seeds. Remove the stem end. (You can make and snack on roasted squash* seeds** while you are waiting for this to cook!)   Put aluminum foil in a baking pan large enough for squash (use a pan with sides). Rub coconut oil on cut sides and in center of squash halves.   Sprinkle cumin over all and put cut side facing down, onto aluminum foil. Bake halves at 350 for at least 45 minutes, until squash is tender- check with a fork. (It should string out like spaghetti from shell.) More baking time may be needed; it will depend on the size of the squash.


Put 2 cups of water in crock pot. Mince onions and garlic and add to crock pot. Add half of squash to crock pot and top with BBQ sauce. Add remaining squash and top with more BBQ sauce. Follow crock pot directions (can be on low or high setting).   Stir halfway through cooking time.   Add more BBQ sauce to taste. Let cook with crock pot cover off for a little if mixture is too watery. Serve on rolls/buns.

recipe in crock pot








Crock-potting it up!




recipe plated with rolls










Feedback:  The cumin gave the squash a nice deep flavor, and the BBQ simmered down to be very rich and robust. We would definitely make this again.  We froze some for later use.

Some family members said they liked this better than actual pulled pork because it was not fatty.

The squash (not altogether unexpected) was maybe lighter than my hardwired-for-pulled-pork brain was expecting.  Next time, I may add a few lentils to cook in the crock pot with the mix to add a little more heartiness to the dish/make it more toothsome.  I’d have to watch the liquid levels, though, just so nothing dries out.

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*Yes, these squash seeds will work too- move over, pumpkin!

**Additional recipe for roasted squash seeds: Check out the link, or use my way- cover a pan with parchment paper- no butter/oil needed.  Add squash seeds (no need to rinse, though you may want to pick out any random squash strands).  Shake your favorite seasoning over seeds.  Salt, if desired, or a no-salt seasoning works just fine too.  Stir and season again.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Add more seasoning if desired.  Bake another 10 minutes or until seeds have completely dried (the seasoning will dry/adhere to the seeds).  Enjoy!