squash and KEEN-WA boats!

My mother passed this along via WebMD and I was immediately excited to try it. Check out the recipe, and see the step by step instructions below. Very simple, super easy, delicious, and vegan! In an effort to buy sustainable, local food, this recipe is great to make in the fall – Squash and pears are available locally, and the summer season of fresh herbs is just ending…

perfect and festive for fall

What you’ll need –

1. 1-2  kabocha squash – if you can’t find kabocha, you can try acorn

2. Quinoa! about 1 cup

3. 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (I cook quinoa in it, more flavorful)

4. honey

5. olive oil

6. 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach

7. 1/2 cup fresh basil

8. a pear

9. lemon juice from one lemon

10. a shallot

11. cardamom

12. salt and pepper

First, cute the squash in half, and then pull out the seeds. Make two parts honey, one part olive oil, and spread it around the open part of the squash. Lay them open-part down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 degs.

While the squash is baking, put two cups veg broth, and one cup quinoa in a frying pan. Cook on high til it boils, stir, and let simmer – with it covered – for about 10-15 mins. Don’t let it stick to the bottom or over cook. It will fluff when done.

veggie broth adds nice flavor when cooking quinoa

After the squash are cooked, turn em the other way, open side up, maybe add a little more honey, some pepper, and cook for another 15-20 minutes. They’ll be done when they look a little caramelized on top. 

While the squash continue to cook, cut up the spinach, pear, and basil. In a bowl, combine the quinoa, lemon juice, minced up shallots (uncooked), and cardamom – to taste. Let the quinoa cool down a bit before adding the greens.

Add the basil, spinach, and pear to the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the squash are done cooking, let them set for just a second – they will be soft, and could brake open a little if you handle too quickly. Lastly, put the quinoa mixture in the squash, and serve.

I think this would be paired quite nicely with a piece of salmon, or rosemary chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. Great meal if you were hosting a dinner party. Maybe pumpkin-something for dessert. For one person, or two, these alone are great, and very filling… Eat the extra quinoa mixture cold for lunch, or cook up another squash the next day.

Enjoy, and happy fall!

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hurricane cleaning

While I consider myself a Type-A clean freak, I too have clutter. Messy piles. And – shudder – hidden messes. Good thing Hurricane Sandy has come, and forced me to stay inside and clean!

Living in a tiny studio, I’m very fortunate to have two – that’s right – TWO closets. The one I worked on today is the storage/coat closet. I hold coats, my way-too-many-Christmas-decorations, cleaning supplies, cat food and litter, and everything else that is ugly, but needed, when living in a house.

Here are the before and after photos. Let’s be honest, my goal wasn’t to make it pretty. And I spent NO money in this process. But here are a few helpful pointers to use when cleaning out your closet.

before

after

First off, dump out all the crap. Seriously, dump it out. And then sweep out the dust. Dust is gross. Spiders and bugs like dust. And spiders and bugs are gross. When you dump it all out, check out what you have.

1. Empty box of sparkling water from Costco – RECYCLE AND GET IT OUT.

2.The empty bag of paper towels – throw it away, and remember to buy more.

3. Tools and jars and bottles and cleaning supplies that are all over the place. Think about how to put them all together.

4. A brand new litter box that your crazy cat, Olive, never used.

4. Boxes and more boxes.

DUMP IT OUT!

it’s like showing strangers my dirty laundry

Now. Check out what you have. What I realized quick was that I wanted to build another shelf – that was reachable without a stool – to hold my cleaning and laundry supplies. I found the extra shelf I never used when building my Ikea cooking block, and rested it on top of the bar. Consolidated all of my supplies up there. No mess now on the ground.

Please. Here is a recommendation from someone who hates clutter and keeping crap for no reason. There IS a reason to keep the box from a Kitchen Aid. Or the box from your drill. Moving is a b*tch, and if you keep the boxes that hold things other boxes can’t, it will make moving a heck of a lot easier. Said boxes replaced the litter box, and are now on top.

I then cleaned and gave away the litter boxes. Consolidated all of my grocery bags and recycled bags into one, and hung it in the back corner. No one needs that many bags until you need that many bags. So put em all together, and keep the clutter out.

Think about the things you use each week. Maybe your drill. Tools. The broom. Make them available, so that you don’t have to rip everything apart to find them when you need them.

And yes! By organizing all your unwanted but necessary crap, you WILL realize you actually have not one but THREE umbrellas, and therefore need to no longer purchase them EVERY time it rains.

Cheers to that. And cheers to Hurricane Sandy. Well, not really, but you get my point.