6.24.2016

Twice Baked Acorn Squash

This dish was divine. I'm just going to put that right out there to start. Trav and I each ate half the squash, and the moment I took my first bite, I was loath to give him his at all!

This recipe is another adaption from Good Life Farm. What can I say? She's been giving me some great ideas over the past few months.

She used sausage in her's, but I had some awesome chicken thighs already cooked up in my fridge, so I used those instead. But lets get to the recipe.


Twice Baked Acorn Squash 
(adapted from Good Life Farm)

1 Acorn Squash, cut in half, seeds scooped out.
1 small Chicken Breast or 1 large Thigh
1 clove garlic, minced
Breadcrumbs
Butter
Salt, Pepper, and Parsley
Grated Cheese, optional 

1. Preheat your oven to 375*.  Bake your cut Acorn Squash for 30 minutes, until soft.

2. While your squash is baking, cook your chicken. Melt some butter or bacon grease in a pan and add chicken. Cook, covered, until all pink is gone. Remove from pan, cool, and chop small. (You can also cheat, like I did and use leftovers from another night! Easy, easy, easy.)


3. Remove squash from the oven, and let cool slightly (until you can work with it without burning yourself!). Scoop out the insides, being careful not to break through the skin.


4. Give the squash a gentle mash to break it up and mix in the minced garlic, plus salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix in the chicken to combine.


5. Scoop the chicken/squash mixture back into the squash skins, and top with a sprinkle of cheese, then a layer of breadcrumbs, and finally dot with butter.


6. Pop the dish back in the over and bake for another 20 minutes. I flipped my broiler on for a few minutes at the end to get a nice brown on the top, too.


After that is the best part... the eating. 

Make this. Seriously. Its filling and flavorful, and good for you. Then come back and report on how you like it.

6.20.2016

Last Day of Kindergarten

9 months ago Gwen bravely walked in the front door of a brand new school, in a brand new state, to her first day of primary school. She was nervous, but brave and excited. I bawled my whole walk home.

First Day
Last Day:

I wish I could go back and tell that me not to be scared. That there would be bumps along the way, but that on the last day of school I'd be happily bringing home a girl that has grown to love her school, have great friends in her class, and be a hard worker who excelled.

A video posted by Meegs (@tattooedmeegs) on

I should have expected no less, but there was so much "new" in those days, and I had no idea what to expect. Neither did she. But what we've found is that she loves homework, is an amazing reader and writer (consistently ahead in vocab), enjoys math and social studies.

Gwen and her teacher.
Even better... she is respectful, sets a good example for her peers, and is a great friend.


Two months until 1st grade (HOMG!), and I'm going to feel a lot more confident watching her walk in that door.


6.17.2016

Everyday Cake

Sarah's recipe

Everyday cakes are not pretty. They don’t beg to be frosted and make an underwhelming entrance to the table. But these are the cakes you can keep on your counter. They’re better the second or even third day. They make excellent snacks, go well with tea or coffee, and you always have room for a little slice after dinner. I’ll admit to getting into a bad habit of grilling thick slices with butter on hard mornings.

Pretty cakes that lead with frosting and follow with the cake have their place. They take time and show considerable care when presented on occasions. I hope everyone has a homemade birthday cake, every year. But on the in between days, our every days, try a simple cake.

- Sarah, Good Life Farm

Big, decadent, frosted desserts are wonderful on occasion, but I have to say, I agree with Sarah. They aren't my go to, nor are they what I want most days. Even for my birthdays I normally prefer a crumble, a cobbler, or a cookie cake to a large frosted thing. However cakes like this, denser, milder, and simpler, they are wonderful anytime. I made this one first in Pennsylvania, since I wanted to try the original recipe before I tried adapting it. Plus, then I had two very willing taste-testers to help me consume it.

With honey butter, and wine...

The second time I made this one, was attempting both high altitude adjustments and some personal taste adjustments, with the intention of taking most of it to yoga teacher training. I have to say, it was harder then I thought to share! I won't fret though, I will certainly be making this again soon! 


Everyday Cake 
Adapted from Good Life Farm (Suitable for High Altitude)

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus 1 Tbsp, sifted
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 shakes of cardamom
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus 1 Tbsp

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set it aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then add in the vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Set aside.


3. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Make sure each addition is incorporated before adding the next, but don’t over-beat it at the end. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.


4. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving warm or room temperature.

My Version
With less then a cup of sugar, this cake is not super sweet; and because of the whole wheat flour and corn meal, its not super soft. In fact, it reminds me more of a loaf or bread then a normal cake.


But it is also lovely with honey butter, and so satisfying grilled with a little butter and smeared with jam. Enjoy and let me know what you think!