Pecan & Cherry Stuffed Squash

Cherry & Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash

Pecan & Cherry Stuffed Acorn Squash – It’s not my Mother’s Stuffed Acorn Squash! It’s a delightfully easy, sweet and savory dish!

Stuffed acorn squash
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Just like everybody else, I often find it hard to come up with ideas for dinner. I was looking for something to inspire me to make dinner and I had just read about this garlicky, salty skillet bread on the Food In Books blog. It was amazing! I served it with herbed olive oil that I made with parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Thanks Food In Books, for the inspiration!!!

olive skillet bread rising

So I had bread, now what!?

Olive Skillet Loaf
Olive Cast Iron Skillet Bread sliced

That got me totally inspired to get creative in the kitchen and how I came up with this Pecan & Cherry Stuffed Squash recipe!

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Asparagus, to peel or not to peel?

Quick Microwave Steamed Asparagus

I like to peel it, especially when making Quick Microwave Steamed Asparagus.

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Am I the only one who peels their asparagus in order to get every inch of asparagus goodness out of a bundle? It’s kind of a pain, but I like that I can salvage more of the veggie, especially the fat tough stalks! I like to use my microwave steamer because it cooks up asparagus perfectly every time, and I can cook it in about three and a half minutes! I dropped and cracked my old Tupperware steamer so I’m now using this one. It’s my experience that asparagus is better if you blanch it, then grill it, or sauté it, so you’ll love my “one-pot” method using the microwave steamer. 

Asparagus
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Favorite FoodieBook Friday Sweet Potato Churros, with a side of chocolate sauce AND a side of caramel sauce!

Sweet potato churros

CHURROS! This week I had to make churros. I’ve never made them before, but in the past two books I’ve read, churros were mentioned thirteen times!

While I read (re-re-re-read) The Lost Recipe for Happiness, by Barbara O’Neal last week my mouth watered over “Tansy’s Churros” recipe. It’s really a simple recipe combining eggs, flour, water, and butter. They are piped into hot oil and sprinkled, while hot, with sugar and cinnamon.

This weekend I read How to Live an Undead Lie, by Hailey Edwards, and wouldn’t you know, before the end of the first chapter, I was drooling again over churros. Churros are the main charactor, Grier’s “Kryptonite,” especially Esteban’s Churros, and by the description of them, I totally get it! “Eat more churros. Add extra caramel. With a side of chocolate sauce.” Yum! While it’s not a food-themed book, I love reading about how much she loves these little treats and shares them with her friends. When I’m not reading food-themed fiction, you’ll find me reading urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

In honor of Tansy’s Churros and Esteban’s Churros, I made Sweet Potato Churros, with a side of chocolate sauce and a side of caramel sauce!

Churros

I decided I had to try and sneak in some nutritious value (yeah right), and I had one sweet potato, so I searched for recipes for sweet potato churros. I came across one from the Food and Home Entertaining blog, with butternut squash. I adapted it by using a half sweet potato instead, that I peeled, cubed and microwaved in a little water until tender. I used my cast iron skillet filled with about an inch of coconut oil to fry them.

While the sweet potato cooled, I made Easy Caramel Sauce from The Pioneer Women. It’s super easy and just a few ingredients, brown sugar, butter, half & half, a little vanilla and a pinch of salt. (I’ll post the link below!)

And since Grier Woolworth says you have to have chocolate sauce to dip them in, I made a quick sauce by heating about 1/4 cup of half & half in the microwave, and poured it over about 5 dark chocolate Promises, and four Hershey’s Kisses and stirred until smooth. None of those weird chocolate flavored wafer melting thingys, yuck, use some real chocolate, or chocolate chips!

I didn’t have a large piping bag and tip, or a big vat of oil, so I made them on a much smaller scale. I can only imagine how good they would have been in a deep fryer, and large enough to poke a hole into and fill with caramel sauce, but these little golden churros drizzled with chocolate and caramel were so good, that my husband actually came into the kitchen to steal them!

Here are the recipes I adapted my Sweet Potato Churros with Caramel and Chocolate Sauce from. I used this recipe, halved, and swapped butternut squash with sweet potatoes for Butternut Churros and this recipe, halved, for Easy Caramel Sauce. I doubt you’ll find me frying any more goodies soon, but once in a blue moon is ok!

I was inspired to make these sweet treats by these two of my Favorite FoodieBooks! If you read them, let me know if you love them as much as I do!

Favorite FoodieBook Fridays! | The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal

The Lost Recipe for Happiness_Barbara_ONeal

Do you love food novels, food-themed books, or books with food as much as I do? As I’ve mentioned before, I love books and I love cooking, and I really love novels with food themes. I want to share all of the gems I adore with you once a month, and I hope to post some of the recipes I’ve tried from these wonderful books. I’m even having a new graphic designed for this new series Favorite FoodieBook Fridays. Here’s a taste of what’s to come! My all-time favorite author of “FoodieBooks” is Barbara O’Neal @barbaraoneal. Have you read any of her books? Can you recommend other food novelists that I or my readers will love?

The Lost Recipe for Happiness_Barbara_ONeal

I think The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal is my favorite, but there are so many that I love.  I may have to re-read all of her books to be sure! To give you an idea of the beauty of her writing, here is one of my favorite snippets. I agree wholeheartedly with the author, “the fingerprint of a chef is born in childhood…”

“… The fingerprint of a chef was born in childhood. She remembered drinking red Nehi soda and eating potato chips on the concrete back step of her Uncle George’s store on a hot day, the sky as cloudless and plain as a piece of turquoise plastic. She thought of women cooking tamales in somebody’s kitchen, the ripe smell of simmering pork and red Chimayo chile filling the air. Her Aunt Viola’s tender, pale yellow cake with sprinkles of shredded coconut stuck to the frosting. Watermelon straight out of somebody’s field, hot and sweet and thirst-quenching like nothing else in the world. Hot dogs roasted on a barbecue with little black lines of crackly skin. She narrowed her eyes, sketching chiles and tomatoes and pigs along the edge of the page. Tamales were hearty, and the structure made it possible to put almost anything inside. Duck? Venison? Peaches? A swirl of flavors rose against the roof of her mouth, a depth of dark sour cherry, the smoky gaminess of fowl, tender roasted onions. …”

~The Lost Recipe for Happiness, Barbara O’Neal

In many of Barbara O’Neals food-themed novels, the main characters are getting a fresh start, finding happiness through cooking, and following their inner voices to find passion and fulfillment in their lives. In The Lost Recipe for Happiness the main character, Elena, endures personal loss, guilt, and physical pain and finds a new life where she is able to put aside the guilt and pain and love again. The writing and everything about this book is gripping, I promise you won’t be able to put it down!

I’ll never be a chef, but my love of cooking began as a child, cooking breakfasts and baking and decorating cookies with my grandmother. I can still taste the cream cheese frosting and picture the pink cheeks on the Santa Claus cut out cookies vividly in my mind!

This book is obviously beloved. It has 4.4 out of 5 star rating, and I give it a 5! What do you think?


Hollie’s Favorite FoodieBooks


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Banana Zucchini Date Bread and a Big Smile

I’ve been baking banana zucchini bread, refreshing my email, waiting for a reply from a dear long-distance friend that I hadn’t heard from in a while. Now that I have a reply I have a smile on my face as big and warm as the cinnamon banana scent that’s filling the house!

I was inspired by Sunny Anderson’s Secret Banana Walnut Bread.

I followed her recipe except for a few additions and subtractions. I had some julienned zucchini for zoodles that needed to be used up. I chopped them up and added some, and I minced up some dates that were hanging out in the fridge.

I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, added 1/3 cup minced dates, 1/2 cup raw zucchini, added 1/2 tsp vanilla and added 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

I’ve been referring to it as “Sunny Anderson’s Weird-ass Banana Bread” due to the Worcestershire sauce. It’s actually very moist and light, not too sweet and full of banana goodness!

Zucchini Banana Date Bread

I’ll definitely make this again!

Zucchini Date Banana Bread

Have you tried making Sunny’s banana bread yet? I’m giving it five stars!

Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner

Jiggs Dinner

Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner, a One Pot Meat & Veggie Meal Slow Cooked Until Tender & Delicious!

We Call It “Jiggs Dinner”

Jiggs Dinner

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and that means it’s Jiggs Dinner time! This corned beef & cabbage dinner made in the crockpot is as simple as it is delicious. If you love a good corned beef and cabbage boil, I recommend gathering your ingredients early. Every time we wait to shop we can never find baby red potatoes or a medium-sized head of cabbage, and all the good marbled rye bread we like to have with it is gone!

This year we went to our local meat market and picked out the most beautiful lean cut of brisket I’ve ever seen! It was huge, but the leftovers are ooh soo good!

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