Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last Night's Dinner

This is technically our dinner from Friday night, but is probably going to be tonight's dinner and its such a staple in our meal rotation and so easy and health I thought I would pass it along.

I saw a version of this stuffed squash over on Jen's blog last year and though, hm...I could do that.  I didn't really follow her reciepe, but just sort of took the concept and ran with it.  I have tried different things, tweeked it here and there and have a pretty awesome, healthy plan that's easy to throw togehter on the fly in the fall and winter.  Below is what I do if I am making it for two people.

1. One medium to large sized acorn squash cut in half with seeds and stuff scooped out
2. 1 1/2 cups of fat free, low sodium organic chicken broth
3.  4 tblsps butter (or margerine) but I prefer the real deal in moderation over processed stuff
4.  Two sliced of whole grain wheat bread (or bread of choice I suppose)
5. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
6. 1/4 cup dried cranberries and/or cherries
7. Thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic power to preference (usually about a 1/2 tsp of each, but really I add until it smells the way I want it to!)
8. One Chicken sausage removed from casing, cooked and finely separated (optional, for the folks that are wierd about skipping meat at a meal or who just want a different flavor)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Take the acorm squash and cut off the little points on the long end of the squash where the stem is and at its opposite.  Then cut it in half through the thin end (see picture above).  Scoop out seeds and strings and stuff.  Set asside

Start by heating chicken broth and butter in a sauce pan on the stove.  Heat until the butter has melted into the chicken broth.  Remove from heat.

While broth is heating, toast the two slices of bread.  Once toasted, cut into 1/4 inch cubes; set asside.

Mix into the chicken broth butter concoction the walnuts, dried fruit and seasoning.  Then mix in the bread pieces.  If you have cooked up chicken sausage add it too. Mix all ingredients until bread seems to have been evenly coated and saturated with moisture and ingredients are somewhat evenly mixed.

Then scoop stuffing into the squash.  place squash on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the stuffing is golden brown and you can stick a fork into the side rim of the squash and it feels tender.

Remove from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  Serve with steam veggies of choice.

Over the Weekend

I can't believe November is already here! Part of the reason October has flow by so quickly is that we have had three weekends in a row of houseguest.  Two weekends ago (I am late in posting this--oops!) my brother B and his girlfriend A came up from Oklahoma to visit.  They got here on Wednesday night sort of late.  Thursday I had to work but they met T at work to grab lunch and I think just re-charged from the draining drive up here.  That evening we hung out and made dinner. 

Over dinner the idea came up that we should go to Chicago on Friday.  Friday is my day off from work and T has hardly taken much vacation time this year, so we could go with B and A who had never been to Chicago.  I actually had never really been either, only to a conference in the suburbs a few years back.  So we all agreed that it would be a fun day trip.

Early Friday we hopped in the car a drove the 3 hours up to Chi-town.  Spent the morning at the Crate and Barrel Outlet (I had wanted to go to look at thier baby furniture line--that was super underwhelming, but I did get the dishes I had been wanting for fraction of what I would have paid in store full price.  So not a total bust).  By lunch time we headed into the city to go to Wrigglyville to see the staduim and eat at Lucky's. 


After lunch we decided that we wanted to at least drive down Lakeshore Drive to see the city.  When we got down there, as soon as I saw Navy Pier I wanted to go there and everyone else was really flexible and cool and agreed that we should go check it out!  Yippee!

While we were exploring the Pier we decided that it woudl be fun to go in the ferris wheel.  Ok, now let me tell you I was as gun-ho as the rest of the gang about it.  I have never been on a ferris wheel and thought it would be a fun adventure, especially since this one looked really tall and sturdy.  However, I have never been on one because I am afraid of heights.  Oh well!  It was fun (even if I was a bit nervous).

On the way home from Chicago we stopped at a the dairy store of one of the largest dairy farms in Indiana a got some cheese (everyone else go milk shakes but I am going to be honest, me and ice cream don't mix since I got pregnant).  Then we made it home in time to watch the Ranger's game against the Yankees.

Cape Cod or The Way To My Heart Is Through Crustaceans

About a month ago I went on a retreat/conference to Cape Cod with a group of colleagues.  We are a part of a group that gathers from all across the country to meet for a week twice a year.  But some of these folks I have know for almost a decade. 

There were two highlights of this trip besides seeing my friends that are so fun to be around and so important to me.  The first was lobster.  Yum!  My dad's side of the family is from just a bit south of the cape and so as kids we would travel out there twice a year.  I remember it as a week filled with all the seafood we could eat.  And then we would bring back cooler full of live lobsters as our carry-ons, so we could have fresh seafood at home too.  So I love lobster.  I think its part nostalgia and part that I really love the carnal process of working for your food.  I think that's why I like to cook, why I like ribs and why I love crustaceans. 

And the second was standing on the roof of the historic Old South Church.  The third picture is a view of downtown Boston from on top of the roof.  Very cool!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Express

We are at home tonight watching the Texas Rangers play the first game in the ALCS against the Yankees.  A few weeks ago when they got into the play offs, we joked that if the Rangers won the World Series we would name the baby Nolan Ryan Gilger.  Now we are half way through the game and it looks like the Rangers and Tim are very serious about the idea.  I am not so much.  Neither is Ranger our dog.  He told me he doesn't really want to share his namesake with a baby.  Since his life is about to get really crappy, I would like to honor his wishes on this one.