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Posts Tagged ‘squash’

Happy Friday! So nice to be starting the weekend, right?

We have family coming to visit and help out with some projects in our old house – it’ll be a good amount of work, but it should be fun.

Plus, they’re bringing their dog so Maggie will be in puppy heaven. She loves having other dogs to play with.

I was planning on having another new recipe for you today, but I’ve actually had a few mishaps in the kitchen.

And as for my fashion revolution, I haven’t had anything to show yet this week since I’ve worked from home 3 days! But today’s might be good enough to photograph for later.

Here are my favorite things this week in food:

1. Grilled Banana + Nutella Sandwiches.

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2. Lunches this week? A quinoa, roasted kabocha squash, and chickpea salad with smoked paprika, garlic, onion, and olive oil.

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A few days, I had this over spinach, but yesterday, I added some green beans and a dollop of hummus. I’m having this same dish for lunch today, too.

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3. Coconut Water Vinegar from Tropical Traditions.

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Tropical Traditions sent this to me to sample, and I am in love! It doesn’t have a super strong coconut smell or taste, but the subtle coconut essence is there. It is delicious in salad dressings, and I made a killer tofu (killer tofu! Do you remember the Beets song on Doug?) marinade the other night with this vinegar.

4. Fun new foodie things to try + review!

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PS: There are more giveaways coming soon!

5. New recipes I’m dying to make:

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Evan’s Snickerdoodle Hummus

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Jessica’s Cake Batter Pancakes

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Kristin’s Bruschetta Chicken Pasta – this will be such a great summer dish!

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Mama Pea’s Moroccan Millet Bake

 

Oh, and I still haven’t had my hair cut. I look like a mess. Every day. Guess I should get that fixed soon.

Happy Happy Friday!!!

 

What are YOUR food favorites this week? Any new recipes on your radar?

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A few weeks ago, I entered and was chosen to participate in Joanne’s Marx Foods Recipe Impossible Challenge, with the main ingredient being winter squash.

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Not one to turn down a food challenge, I was excited to see what showed up on my doorstep a week later.

As part of the challenge, we had three rules:

  • The recipe must use winter squash
  • The recipe must use at least 2 of the secret ingredients
  • The recipe must be posted by October 27th

This recipe challenge was put on by Marx Foods, so each participant was sent a box of “secret ingredients” to use in our final recipes.

The box had such a great mix of ingredients, and (except for the maple sugar), they were all items I had never used before!

  • fennel pollen
  • espresso salt
  • ginger salt
  • maple sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • vanilla beans
  • pasilla negro chiles
  • aji panca chiles

Honestly, this mix of ingredients had me torn.

Do I make a sweet or savory dish? Sweet or savory?

I brainstormed for a few days and decided to just do one of each! I had two great ideas that I really wanted to try with the ingredients I received.

Thankfully, I fought the squash and I won.

Winter Squash Challenge Recipe 1: Savory

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My first dish is one you’ve already seen in pictures.

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Chunky Mocha Mole Chili

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and sliced
  • 2 pasilla negro chiles, rehydrated
  • 2 aji panca chiles, rehydrated
  • 1 lb. ground buffalo
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained rinsed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp espresso salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Halve acorn squash and remove seeds. Slice into 1” slices. Lay on baking sheet and roast at 400 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until soft and browned.
  3. Cut tops off all chiles and remove seeds.
  4. Place chiles in bowl of warm water and let sit about 5 minutes.
  5. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and cook 2-3 minutes until softened.
  7. Stir in black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and crushed tomatoes.
  8. Once mixture is combined, put mixture in blender/food processor and let sit.
  9. In same pot, add in ground buffalo. Brown meat.
  10. Once meat is cooked, add tomato paste, cocoa powder, espresso salt, and cumin.
  11. Stir and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  12. Drain chiles and add them to the blender/food processor with the bean mixture. Blend together.
  13. Pour bean and chile mixture into meat.
  14. Add remaining can of beans.
  15. Once squash is roasted, cut peel away and slice into bite size chunks. Stir squash into chili.
  16. Serve in halved acorn squash, if possible, and top with avocado.

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Honestly. I’ve always though that I made pretty good chili.

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But this recipe was incredible. I don’t think I can make chili without dried chiles now! There was such a deep and rich flavor in this dish – maybe it was the combination of chiles, espresso salt, and cocoa – but whatever it was, I want it in every chili I have from now on.

I was so surprised that this chili had such a great flavor because I didn’t let it cook for hours or simmer in the crockpot all day long. And that makes me happy. Because now I know – with dried chiles, coffee, and cocoa powder, I can make an amazing chili in 30 minutes, if needed.

And while you don’t have to serve this in a squash bowl, it’s a fun way to eat it.

Winter Squash Challenge Recipe 2: Sweet

For my second recipe…I had a very hard time deciding what to make.

I honestly had a list of about five recipes I wanted to try with these ingredients, but I finally put together a recipe I thought would work and that was something I thought Nick and I would both enjoy.

See…I like winter squash more than Nick. So I wanted to make sure I chose recipes that we would both want to eat.

Challenge accepted, challenge completed.

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My sweet creation included 4 of the “secret ingredients”.

  • Vanilla bean
  • Ginger salt
  • Maple sugar
  • Coconut sugar

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Going sweet in this recipe meant one thing: Butternut.

Bright orange.

Smooth and creamy.

A sign of fall.

Enough sweetness to carry a sweet dish or contrast spicy heat.

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Can you believe this was my first time to ever use fresh vanilla?

I’m not sure I can ever go back to vanilla extract.

This stuff is like black gold. My house smelled amazing for hours.

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Butternut Streusel Casserole

Base:

  • 1 2-2 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 2 tsp ginger salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 cup milk

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Steam squash on stovetop or in microwave. Let sit and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Mix all topping ingredients in bowl and set aside.
  4. Once squash has cooled 5 minutes, mash with potato masher or forks until smooth.
  5. Beat in eggs, agave, ginger salt, vanilla, orange zest, and milk.
  6. Pour squash mixture into 4 6 oz. ramekins or 1 8×8 or oval baking dish.
  7. Top with streusel mixture.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until topping is golden and squash filling is set.
  9. Let cool 5 minutes and serve.

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Fresh vanilla is the key in this! Although, the maple + coconut sugars made an amazing crust…you just can’t ignore the beautiful little black specks in the butternut base.

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We had this with our dinner last night.

Sort of side dish, but sort of dessert. It was the perfect item to have along with our Hearst Ranch flank steak and salad.

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Thanks to Joanne for offering this winter squash challenge and to Marx Foods for hosting it and sending the secret ingredients.

I felt like I was on Iron Chef opening up the box of samples, wondering what I had to work with.

I had a great time working with all the ingredients and learned so much about new flavors and textures.

And now that this one is over…I’m ready for a new challenge Smile

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Un-Satisfaction

Do you ever have those days that are just blah? I think I’m having one.

My oatmeal was awesome, my work day has been pretty busy, but I just feel nothing. Like nothing matters either way. Just “eh”.

Maybe because I ate lunch and am not really satisfied?

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I packed an awesome lunch of sliced tomato, roasted yellow squash, and a couscous salad I made last night.

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This has:

  • whole wheat couscous
  • diced zucchini
  • diced red onion
  • sliced black olives
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • lemon juice
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper

I heated up the squash/tomato and dumped the couscous on top – it was great!

I also have this fruit bowl to end my lunch with

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This cantaloupe is lasting forever! Nick’s not a fan, so it takes me a while to eat a whole one by myself.

I thought the beans / couscous would be enough protein for lunch, but I am just not satisfied at all! I may dig into my afternoon snack sooner than expected.

How do you get yourself out of a funk?

Do you think your mood affects your food or vice versa?

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