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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Butternut Squash Ramblings…

I love butternut squash.  Probably within the last 3 or 4 years I have “discovered” this gourd.  It is funny to me, even just the name.  Butternut – how can you go wrong there?!  Squash – Um, really?  That word seems better suited to describing the act of walking through a muddy field.  Either way, I have yet to mess up anything with this as a primary ingredient.  I love chopping it up, roasting it with bacon (mmmm….bacon….) and tossing it with cheese ravioli or tortellini, currants, toasted walnuts and a little parmesan cheese.  I love it roasted (with bacon…) and pureed into soup.  And now, a new favorite recipe, which will definitely be used again (and again, and again!).  I found it in Better Homes and Gardens October issue, and though it has the unfortunate name of “Butternut Squash Bake,” which only conjures up images of tuna noodle casserole for me, I had most of the ingredients on hand and thought I’d give it a shot.  Yum yum yum.  Okay.  Hold on.  I need to preface it by saying that I tweaked the original recipe (their picture is much prettier) a bit… by roasting the squash with bacon.  I know, not called for, but it really helped propel this recipe into the “stellar” category!

Butternut Squash & Bacon Bake
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 slices of bacon, uncooked, chopped into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. dried extra-wide noodles
3 Tbsp. Butter, divided
6 shallots, chopped
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 8-oz. carton mascarpone cheese (cream cheese can be substituted)
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 Cup Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl toss the squash, olive oil and bacon.  Place in a large baking pan or cookie sheet with sides.  Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, until lightly browned and tender, stirring twice.  
2. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain; set aside.  In same dutch oven melt 1 Tbsp. of the butter.  Add shallots; cook and stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, until tender and butter just begins to brown.  Stir in Lemon Juice.
3.  Add noodles to shallot mixture.  Stir in mascarpone, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper.  Stir in cooked squash and bacon, being careful not to mash it.  Transfer to greased 2-quart baking dish. 
4.  Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter.  Combine with breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan and Parsley.  Layer over the top of the noodle and squash mixture.  Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.
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Posted by on September 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Gotta Love Wisconsin!

Well, today was a great day with tons of food and fun with family.  Justin and I drove up to Minocqua today  with my aunts Ruth, Jean and Phyllis, and met up with Aunt Martha and cousins Elizabeth, Rebecca and Emily for Beef-a-rama.  Beef-a-rama is hard to describe to someone without it sounding like the craziest thing on the planet.  Store owners along Main Street each make a beef roast for a city-wide cook-off, and at the same time put out snacks for people who come for the craft fair and store sales, and the general moochers (us) who don’t really buy anything, just eat the free snacks.  Mid-afternoon there is a Parade of Beef, where the store owners march their roast, typically with a themed float (pirates, hawaiian, halloween, whatever) down to the lake-front park where the roasts are carved up and sold in sandwiches.  It really is something else.  But lots of fun.  After our fill of snacks, we went to Martha & Ron’s cabin in Hazelhurst on Bear Lake and ate some (okay, A LOT) more – homemade crab ragoon, hot dogs, brats, homemade french fries, birthday cake (happy birthday to Martha, Elizabeth, and Rebecca!), rice krispie roll-ups, peanut butter fudge crunch, etc etc.  All of it delicious.  Definitely a fun day!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Looks can be deceiving!

I am on the search for the best brownies with the best frosting.  I have to admit I am a bit partial to brownies with frosting.  Yummy, gooey frosting.  This year after the Walk Wisconsin 1/2 marathon they offered the BEST frosted brownies.  As in, every time I think of them I am oh so close to just calling the organizers and finding out who donated them, and then begging that person to give me the recipe.  I KNOW I will end up breaking down and doing it soon, I might as well get it over with.  Because this recipe I used this evening was a gigantic letdown.  They sounded promising while making them (after all, they were called BEST Brownies with Creamy Frosting).  They looked promising when they were done.  But then, one bite later, and I became angry because of the giant waste of ingredients it was.  Granted, it only made an 8-inch square pan, but still.  How much does a cup of flour cost – 3 cents?  Wasted.  In the end, I spent the next twenty minutes making Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch and the evening was salvaged.  

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

So full…..


Julie and I went out for lunch at Christian’s Bistro with our friends the Rickerts. Storm’s pose sums up how I felt afterwards. So full…..

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Lollipop Heads… Part 2

Okay, so these cake pops were as close to a failure as a success can be.  And actually, thinking back, everything went pretty well, except for the drawing of the faces, which turned into a nightmare.  The “FoodWriter” markers I got from Michael’s were really the main sticking point – because the didn’t Write on the Food.  Isn’t that their whole purpose for existing??  And if they don’t do that, what is the point of their continued existence??  So they will be returned tomorrow and instead I ended up getting black candy coating and piped the faces on, which didn’t turn out as well as I hoped but oh well (see Points 1, 2 & 3 from yesterday’s post).  But in the end, they aren’t half bad for my first time making ’em.  And they taste terrific, so that is a definite plus.  So we’ll see.  I’m not rushing out to buy more lollipop sticks and candy melts in order to make more tomorrow, but they are pretty funny for a fun occasion.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Lollipop Heads… Part 1

Here are the funny (slightly distrubing?) treats I’m making to take to the kids tomorrow night in Student Ministries.  Really, what 13-year-old boy will be able to resist biting into that smiling face??  I was almost going to take it a step further by making the inside with red velvet cake, but held myself back and decided to stick with good ol’ chocolate.  As there are plenty of putzy steps to these little guys, I decided to bake up the cake tonight.  Yes.  That is a box mix.  Yes.  That is a can of frosting.  Point #1: They’re putzy.  Point #2: They’re for kids who will eat them in two bites. And Point #3: THEY ARE LOLLIPOP HEADS!!  Lay off.  If you want them for your wedding, I’ll make a Chai Spice Cake and Cardamom Buttercream frosting from scratch before dipping them and drawing the cute faces on! 😉  I’ll be sure to post the results (great for lessons on the French Revolution) – good or bad – tomorrow!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

LAZY – and fine with that!

Here, Storm embodies how our day was spent:

Yep, Pastor Dan gives a great sermon this morning on putting actions behind our words, and instead we are choosing to adhere to one of Pastor Brian’s earlier sermons about observing the Sabbath! 🙂
 
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Posted by on September 22, 2008 in Uncategorized