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.

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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

 

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner a Week Late

First, let me remind you that there is a giveaway going on here for an awesome blender. Go to the giveaway page and leave a comment telling me what fitness challenge you would like Slimkicker to use. The giveaway ends Friday, March 29th, at 8 AM. This contest has ended. Winner will be posted soon!

 

Last Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day. I always make corned beef, mashed potatoes, and something green (asparagus this time). But I spent half of last Sunday sick on the couch, so making this labor-intensive dinner was a no-go. So, in the midst of packing, I made it this Sunday.

Glazed Corned Beef

Ingredients:

  • 3 Lb corned beef roast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 C. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C. ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. horseradish

Step 1: Place the roast in the bottom of a deep pot. Make sure your roast specifies that it is corned beef. If it is, it sould come with a little packet of spices, like this:

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Sprinkle those spices over the roast in the pot. Then throw the onion and celery over the top. Cover everything with water (plus a couple inches extra) and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat and simmer it for 3 hours.

Step 2: After the roast is finished boiling, it should look pretty gross. Let’s face it, boiled meat is slimy and disgusting. But fear not! You are not done yet.

Combine all the other ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter and sugar are melted and everything is mixed. Place the roast in a roasting pan or in a dutch oven with a trivet and spoon 1/3 of the glaze you just made over the top.

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Bake the roast, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven, for 30 minutes. Halfway through, spoon another 1/3 of the glaze over the top, then return it to the oven. After it is done baking, pour the remaining glaze over the top. Let the roast sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

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I always serve this with mashed potatoes. Just boil the potatoes in the water you boiled the beef in. This year I used red potatoes and left the skin on, but the method and ingredients are the same. I also made asparagus this year; just coat with olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

This meal was just as delicious the week after as it is on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Wife


Fitness Friday: A Little Levity

I’m sure you all remember just how much I love my Pro Compression socks.

Like, seriously, love them.

Now I love them even more, because they have these:

pro compression St. pat's

No joke. These are the coolest socks I have ever seen, and I ordered a pair first thing this morning.

If you want to rock the shamrock with me, Pro Compression has a cupon code to save 40% + free shipping on these bad boys. Just enter SOM3 in the coupon section at checkout!

I will be wearing these at my 10k next weekend, and I promise I will get pictures of me in these socks.

The Wife

PS I know I promised to review some of my new toys. And I will, as soon as I take pictures of said toys. But how could I not share these socks with you? I mean…look at them.

PPS My Fitbit One came last weekend and I’m almost finished comparing the new with the old. So far, the new one is WAY better.


Irish Soda Bread: A St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

Just like The Renaissance Man making Irish cream throughout the holiday season, I begin making Irish soda bread as soon as the stores stop selling king cake. So from the beginning of Lent through March 17th, we have a loaf of Irish soda bread in the house.

If you have never had (or made) Irish soda bread, I encourage you to try it, even if you’re not irish (don’t worry, I won’t tell). The raisins and caraway seeds blend nicely, and the buttermilk gives it a nice tang. We eat ours warm with butter, but it’s also nice topped with honey, or marmalade.

Making Irish soda bread is a tradition in our house; maybe it will become one in yours.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 1 1/2 C. raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C. buttermilk

Step 1: Combine the first five ingredients. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. If this means nothing to you, just blend it together until the butter is the size of peas. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds and set it aside.

Step 2: In a small bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the beaten egg. Add the buttermilk to the remaining egg in the bowl. If you do not keep buttermilk in your fridge and you forgot to buy some (like me) you can stir 1/2 C. of plain yogurt into 1 C. of milk. It tastes just the same!

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Step 3: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until everything is moistened (the dough will be sticky). Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead ten times. Shape the dough into a ball.

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(nothing like an Irish woman making Irish soda bread while wearing her Claddagh wedding-ring…)

Step 4: Grease a large cast iron skillet (or a round baking pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you should go out and get one right now.) Place the dough in the center of the skillet/pan and cut a cross into the top.

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Brush the top of the bread with the reserved egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Turbinado sugar is best, but regular granulated sugar works just fine (and is what I used). Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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Cool it on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before serving.

I was recently forced to make this using 1/2 whole wheat flour (I may have forgotten to cut the butter into the flour on my first go-round and had to throw the whole thing out. Maybe.) It was good with half whole wheat flour, but I would hesitate to make it using only whole wheat flour. The flavor and texture would be altered too much.

I hope you enjoy this little tradition of ours!

The Wife


Happy Valentine’s Day! Red Velvet Brownies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Despite the fact that I am a generally cynical and un-romantic individual, I love this holiday. I don’t know if it’s the fashion opportunities, the fun desserts I get to make, or the cards, but I have always loved it. It’s even better now that I am married to a man who understands my personality and comes up with Valentine’s Day activities that do not include the usual cliches. The Renaissance Man has never given me flowers.

Speaking of fun desserts to make: these brownies are delicious. And beautiful. They take a little doing, but they make a nice presentation, especially if you cut them out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

If you’re looking for a last minute gift today, consider making these brownies. Your sweetheart will thank you.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients:

Red Velvet Layer-

  • 3 1/4 C. flour
  • 2 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. red food coloring
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar

Cheesecake Layer-

  • 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Step 1: Grease a jelly roll pan. I mean really grease it. This brownie mix will stick to it, you’re just minimizing the damage.

blog 161Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients for the red velvet layer together in a large bowl. Set it aside and mix together the rest of the ingredients. Carefully mix the two together (the red will stain, so don’t spill it. Also don’t spill it because it’s yummy). The batter will be a stiff dough consistency.

Step 3: Put 3/4 C. of the dough into a separate small bowl. Add 3-4 Tbsp. of milk and whisk it together to make a slurry. Set this aside.

blog 167Step 4: In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar for the cheesecake layer until it’s fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together well. Spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the red velvet layer.

blog 168Step 5: Take the red velvet slurry you made and drop spoonfuls of it over the cheesecake layer. Run the tip of a knife lightly through the spoonfuls of dough to marble it.

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Step 6: Bake the brownies in a 350 degree over for 25-30 minutes, depending on how “done” you want your brownies to be. I like a fudgy brownie, so 25 minutes is enough. Let them cool completely, then cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut them into shapes.

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The best part about cutting these brownies into shapes: you get a pan full of “scraps” that I do not feel compelled to count in my calories consumed for the day. They’re just scraps, after all…

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Please tell someone that you love them today, even if it’s only yourself.

The Wife

PS I love you!