Asian Inspired Eats: Kabocha Squash and Japanese Milk Bread

I’m all about trying new things. Getting too comfortable with an exercise routine only leads to boredom, lack of motivation or, in some cases, the dreaded plateau! I keep it fresh by changing up my routine every six weeks and am constantly on the lookout for a new challenge.

The same goes with my eats. Without something new to excite my palate, my taste buds start looking for a diversion. The next thing I know, Monday night’s meatloaf fails to satisfy and I end up diving head first into a box of brownies.

Recently I looked to the East to break a food rut and found two fun new foods to try this holiday season: kabocha squash and Japanese milk bread. Check ‘em out!

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I love pumpkin, but with numerous winter squash to choose from, it was high time to try something different. Like other varieties of squash, the kabocha squash is high in fiber and a great source of beta-carotene, but this little cutie comes with some added benefits.

Known as the Japanese pumpkin, the kabocha is a staple of Asian cuisine and is considered an aphrodisiac. Its rich orange flesh is naturally sweet, yet it is lower in carbs and calories than conventional squash. The thin skin is edible and softens when cooked; the starchy insides taste like a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato.

Break out of a rut and expand your horizons. Grab a kabocha while they are in season; dust with a little cinnamon and roast as usual or simmer and mash for this easy autumn kabocha squash salad.

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If you want to impress someone this holiday season, give ‘em a loaf of Japanese milk bread. It’s slightly sweet, oh-so-soft and has incredible shelf life. This recipe is easier to make then it looks and provides a great place for a bread-making novice to start.

Give store bought rolls the boot this season and try something different. This stunning loaf is utterly fantastic with a slathering of butter. And leftovers, if you are lucky enough to have any, make the perfect French toast.

Progress comes to a screeching halt when we resist change. Create new goals as you up your game in the gym and in the kitchen.

What inspires you to try a new recipe? It doesn’t take much! I always have a stack of recipes waiting for me on my kitchen counter. —Karen

 

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