Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

I hope you have all your dishes planned.

If you don’t (yikes!) run to the store and get all the ingredients for this truly amazing dish by An Edible Perspective. It’s an amazing blog, with amazing photos, and this amazing dish. For the complete recipe, click the link!

I made this as a vegetarian dinner for myself (with a salmon fillet for The Renaissance Man). PS, if you want to know how to cook the perfect salmon fillet here it is: just season it the way you want and stick it under the broiler for 7 minutes per inch. Ta da!

Back to the acorn squash.

IMG_0181Roast the squash with a delicious maple/coconut oil/cayenne pepper glaze.

IMG_0183Cook the quinoa with the squash is roasting. I like the tri-colored quinoa for this, but any color will do.

IMG_0191Saute the kale, stuff the squash, and drizzle on some decadent tahini-maple dressing. Whoa.

If you are aiming to impress guests this Thanksgiving, this squash is the way to go. It looks and tastes amazing.

I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

The Wife

Spicy Sausage and Veggies

In my efforts to give everyone some good side dish options for Thanksgiving, I’ve got two more this week. This dish was actually a main dish dinner I made a few weeks ago, but smaller portions would make a lovely side to your Thanksgiving turkey.

And if you’re wondering why I never post turkey recipes here, it’s because I am not in charge of the turkey at our house. The Renaissance Man fries our turkey every year, and it’s so amazing that we’ll never try and roast one. Plus this way I can concentrate on the most important part of Thanksgiving: the dessert.

This dish uses wing sauce and cracked pepper dressing mixed together for a light sauce.

IMG_0151

 

I know it sounds weird, but just go with it. You won’t be sorry.

Spicy Sausage and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 stalk brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/4 C. cracked pepper dressing
  • 1/4 C. wing sauce

Step 1: Put a little oil in a pan and cook the onion and red bell pepper until the onions are soft. Add the sliced sausage and cook until the sausage is slightly browned.  Remove everything from the pan to a bowl and set it aside.

Step 2: In the same pan, add the brussels sprouts and sweet potato with a little water (about 1/4 C.). Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through (about 10 minutes).

IMG_0152Step 3: Once the potato is cooked through, add the onion and sausage mixture back to the pan. Pour the sauce over everything and toss it together well.

IMG_0154Eat alone as a main dish, or serve smaller portions as a side.

The Wife

Cauliflower Bake

I always have a hard time finding side dishes for Thanksgiving that aren’t just completely bad for you. I know it’s a day  to splurge, but really, if I’m gonna go crazy about a food, it’s gonna be dessert. So it’s nice to have some sides in my arsenal that won’t blow your entire month.

This side dish is really good, even when you use low-fat cream cheese. It is reminiscent of potatoes au gratin, without all the carbs. We ate the leftovers for lunch all weekend, it was that good.

Cauliflower Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 2 C. shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 block of low-fat cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 bunches of green onions, sliced
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Step 1: Cook the bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble into small pieces once it has cooled. Set it aside.

Step 2: Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets. Steam the cauliflower florets until tender, about ten minutes or so.

IMG_0155Step 3: While the cauliflower is steaming, mix together the softened cream cheese, 1 1/2 C. of the shredded cheese, milk, green onions, bacon, and garlic.

IMG_0156Step 4: Drain the steamed cauliflower, and mix it with the cheese mixture until everything is evenly coated. Pour into an 8×8″ baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 C. of cheese.

IMG_0157Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an addition 10, or until the cheese on top is bubbly and slightly browned.

I forgot to take a picture of the final product because it smelled so good, and I was hungry. So you’ll just have to imagine a browned top layer of cheese over creamy perfection. Yum.

You can also mash the cauliflower a bit while you’re mixing it with the cheese, but I left mine whole, since The Renaissance Man dislikes when I try to pass off a healthy food as something not-so-healthy. He’ll eat cauliflower as long as it looks like cauliflower, but try to pretend they’re mashed potatoes and suddenly I’m committing a crime. Do what feels right to you.

This is not the side I’m making for Thanksgiving, but now I kinda with I was…

The Wife

 

The Chickens: Outside at Last!

Last weekend we officially booted the chickens outside into their big-chicken coop. It doesn’t have a run yet, but they needed to stay inside it for at least a week, so they would learn where “home” is. Needless to say, they’ve enjoyed having the extra room.

This weekend I’ve spent a few hours with them each day letting them free-range.

They’ve enjoyed dust bathing:

blog 038Foraging for bugs near their coop:

blog 039And just generally acting the way chickens act:

blog 036In the next few weeks we’ll be building them a run, and then the real fun begins!

The Wife

Fitness Friday: YouTube; Not Just for Videos of Cats

My race schedule is pretty full these days. I have a 5k in November, a 10 miler in December, and a half marathon (my first!) in March of 2014. I have been running regularly, and training for the ten miler (the 5k doesn’t worry me at this point) but I kinda fell off the cross-training wagon.

My go-to for cross training has always been yoga. My muscles are tight, especially my hips and legs, which can cause more running injuries. I have always used yoga to keep everything loose. But when I start to slack on my practice, that’s when I seem to get injured more.

I needed some yoga inspiration. All my usual sequences were worn out and boring, and any dvds I have are all old-hat at this point. Then it occurred to me: I wonder if YouTube has any yoga videos on it?

I really kind of hate YouTube. I really do not understand the people who can watch clip after clip of people being kicked in the junk, or scared by a guy popping out of a trash can, or playing with a kitten, or putting their ferrets in a box full of packing peanuts. Those videos make me sad for our society as a whole. But maybe it’s not all asinine junk on there…

As it turns out, there are yoga videos on YouTube. Some really good ones. There are also some really bad ones, so be careful. These are the two YouTube channels I have been using the most for my practice:

Yoga with Adrienne

I really like Adrienne’s low key but realistic approach to her videos. Most of them are shorted than I would like, but I find them easy to combine to make one longer session.

mqdefaultThis sequence is long enough to feel like you’re accomplishing something, and it’s challenging, too.

Brett Larkin Yoga

Brett Larkin focuses on vinyasa yoga; a practice I was relatively unfamiliar with. I find the style of yoga (and the teacher) relaxing as well as challenging. My favorite video of hers so far is this immunity-boosting sequence.

blyimmuneClick on the pictures to go to these two videos. Check these ladies out and tell me what you think!

The Wife

Chicken Fritters

I feel like deep frying things is a skill I should master. Even though it will probably lead to my weighing 300 pounds. But seriously, I live in the South, I got myself a good Southern husband, should’t I be deep frying more?

Probably not, if I care about our health, but it is definitely a skill that takes some practice. I have gotten pretty darned good at frying chicken and okra, but I wanted to try my hand at something different.

These fritters are originally from Lori’s Mississippi Kitchen. They appealed to me because, unlike most fritters, there is no seafood. Only chicken. So I can eat them instead of being grossed out.

Chicken Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 tsp. creole seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp. liquid crab boil
  • 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 C. chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 1/2 C. cooked, shredded chicken
  • canola oil

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk, butter, hot sauce, creole seasoning, and crab boil. Add the onion, bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and chicken.

chicken fritters (3)Step 2: Beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

chicken fritters (4)Step 3: Pour enough oil in the bottom of a dutch oven for the fritters to float (about 3 inches). Heat the oil to about 375 degrees (I did this step first because it takes forever for my stove to heat anything). Once the oil is hot enough, drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls, or scoopfuls (I used a 1/4 C. measuring cup, because the batter is pretty runny) into the hot oil, 5 or 6 at a time. Let them cook until browned, about 3 minutes, turning once.

chicken fritters (8)Step 4: drain them on a paper towel. Serve them hot, with your favorite dipping sauce. I served ours with sour cream that I stirred a little garlic and creole seasoning into. Perfect! I also served them with some wilted kale, just so I could pretend that this was a healthy dinner…

chicken fritters (10)The Wife

Chickens: 4 Week Update

The chicks have sprouted feathers and are looking more like, well, chickens. The weather has been nice, so I’m going ahead with the plan to boot their feathered butts outside next weekend. They are noisy and dusty, and are making a mess of my guest bedroom, so I’m happy to get them outside and enjoying their lives as chickens.

4 week chicks 2These are the chicks at almost 4 weeks old. Sorry about the dark pictures, the flash really freaks them out.

4 week chicks

Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate and I’ll have pictures of them in the coop for you next week. The Renaissance Man has been working on it for the last few days; he’s even running electric out to the coop so I’ll have lights and stuff.

It’s the little things!

The Wife