Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maple Apple Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Umm can you say that recipe title ten times fast? Haha my brain is so fried from end of semester stress I couldn't think of a more concise title. So you are stuck with Maple Apple Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash.

You're welcome for this recipe though :)

Before you can get to that amazing stuffed piece of wonderful you have to do a little bit of work.

Start by making yourself a cup of Cinnamon Tea- I am OBSESSED.

It's like Christmas and warm happy feelings in a cup, really now what more could you want?

The cinnamon will get your metabolism moving and help pump up your muscles so you can chop open some acorn squash.

And then gut those squashs' and sprinkle them with some spices.

Done with the hard part! On to the snacking.

My favorite part about making recipes with apples is that I can snack on them while I'm cooking. Speaking of cooking let's get to that recipe.

Maple Apple Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash


2-3 Acorn Squash
½-1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 cup dry Quinoa
2 cups water
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger and ground cloves
2 medium sweet apples, cubed
1 cup cooked Chickpeas
½ cup Craisins
¾ -1 cup Ricotta
2 tbsp maple syrup
~1 tsp Brown Sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half and rub with coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 30 minutes.

2. While the squash bakes rinse the quinoa and add to a medium pot with the water, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Cook until water is all gone or the quinoa is done

2. Add the cubed apples, chickpeas, craisins, and maple syrup to the mixture. Next add Ricotta cheese until desired creaminess/cheesiness. Stir well.

3. Stuff the quinoa mixture into the baked acorn squash. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (until apples are slightly mushy).

4. Optional: Top with roasted acorn squash seeds! I tossed mine in coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg and baked them for about 15 minutes alongside the baking acorn squash.

5. Enjoy!

This is what my stuffing looked like.  I only used 2 acorn squash's so I had some extra filling left.  It'll be a lunch sometime this week and it was already snacked on majorly while I waited for the stuffed squash to bake.

Other things to do while you wait for the final product...clean up the massive mess you made.  (For some reason I was super scatterbrained today and there was cinnamon EVERYWHERE in my kitchen...oops!)

The mess is well worth it...

The chickpeas are perfect in this recipe, they really balance out the sweetness of the apple, craisins and maple syrup.  And do I even need to talk about the squash?  I could probably eat squash plain for the rest of my life and be happy.

For some reason I struggled with taking good pictures of this squash.  Oh well you win some you lose some I guess.

Overall I am extremely pleased with this recipe! The flavors are complex and interesting and it's also super filling. (Wow judging by that sentence my level of food nerdiness is steadily rising...)  I only made it a couple days late though, it would have been perfect as a main dish for Thanksgiving.  That's what next year is for though.

Alright well I really need to get back to school work now.  I'm giving a presentation on Zero Tolerance Laws in schools tonight, exciting huh? Not so much.  But I am happy to say that my Spanish test today went soo smooth I was the first one done and actually thought it was easy!  Fingers crossed that I actually did well!

There was a slight downfall in my day so far though...while my ceramics professor was glazing my stacked pot for me (yes he did part of it for me- great success!) I got splashed in the mouth and eye with glaze!! Sick.  I don't know if I'm just a worrier but I swear my eye hurts...my hypochondriac self might be making a trip to the quick clinic today...

What are you stressing about this week?  Or are you having a carefree and stress free week?

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's a Problem.

Remember my post about phocrastination?

Remember how you probably thought I was a huge nerd because I made up a word to describe my procrastinating habits?

Remember how yesterday I spent time making a collage instead of doing my homework? No? Well I do.  Here's the proof that my phocrastination is really becoming a debilitating habit, and is a justifiable word in my procrastinating universe.

I now have a Spanish test to study for, a paper to finish writing, a power-point presentation to finish, an art show reception to plan, a tear and install at the gallery and about 2-3 hours of figure drawing to catch up on.  Ohh yeah and a whole lotta my time needs to be spent in the ceramics studio this week + weekend.

See ya when I have time to catch my breath!

P.S. Happy 23rd birthday to my big brother Sam!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to Smell Nice

Now I get a lot of questions/weird looks/laughs/complaints from my roommates about my low impact routines.  But there is one routine that my roommates agree is a success.  My smell good routine.  Yes, I am going to be bold and say I always smell good, I didn't make this up my lovely roommies told me so.  Here's how you can smell good too...

1. Shower, I recommend at the least every other day.

2. If #1 is impossible make like a middle school boy and douse yourself with any kind of Burberry Perfume.  My two favorites are original and summer.

3. Well there is no #3 my smell good routine pretty much consists of #1 and #2. But if you insist I'll continue.

4. Make this deodorant! (and wear it daily...that should have been part of #1)

Start with an old deodorant holder, one with a floor that pushes up, not one that just has the twisty stick in the middle.  You won't be able to get your homemade deodorant to come out if you don't use a deodorant stick with a floor.

Next, gather the ingredients.  I know there's alot of them- Cornstarch, Coconut Oil, and Baking Soda.

Microwave the coconut oil for about 20 seconds to soften it up if it is hard.

I got the recipe for this deodorant here.  It's very simple.

Homemade Deodorant:
5-6 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda

Take all the ingredients and mix them all together is a bowl.

These amounts will make about 2 sticks of deodorant.  You can halve it if you only want one stick, but I know my lazy self and know that I will put off making this extremely difficult mixture again until the last minute.  The measurements are also very loose.  If your deodorant paste turns out too runny add more baking soda/cornstarch.  Too dry add a bit more coconut oil. 

Here's what the consistency of my deodorant looked like.  It was almost like pie crust.

A little bit crumbly but when I pressed it with my spoon it held together well. It may seem a little runny/oily but it will dry out a bit and harden up once you let it sit in the deodorant stick.

Finally firmly press your mixture into your old deodorant stick.

That's it!  You're all done and I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of this deodorant.  It doesn't stain clothes and I've never smelled better.

Remember people I have run half marathons, and routinely enjoy spending upwards of an hour drenched in sweat at the gym.  So you know I demand a lot from my deodorant.  When I say this stuff works I mean it really works.

Now if your even lazier than me the absolute easiest and lowest impact deodorant you can make is plain old baking soda.  Works like a charm!  I personally prefer this homemade deodorant, I love the coconutty smell of it.  Almost like cookies, without overdoing it. 

So now that you know how go make some deodorant, and don't worry if you're still recovering from Thanksgiving there is no possible way you'll want to eat this mixture ;)

Do you have a smell good routine?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bored for the Holiday

I am home for the holiday and have been bored for the holiday.  Well I'm being dramatic, the boredom just set in today.  My Thanksgiving feast...and the ensuing leftover feast were great fun.  Besides I really love my hometown, it's so cute and cozy I always love being at home.  But for some reason the studio has been calling my name alllll week and I'm almost itching to get back to Minneapolis.  Weird.

Because I don't even want to THINK about cooking MORE food (the leftovers are haunting me...) I had to cure my boredom by going on a photography spree.

Of course there was still room in my post-thanksgiving+leftovers tummy for a skim latte from the best coffee shop in the world.  It's my second one since I've been home :)  I love small town coffee shop prices- for a large this only cost $3.60!!  In Minneapolis they would have charged me extra for making it a skim latte...

I originally was going to take pictures of something other than nature...mainly how cute my hometown is.  But my instincts took over and I only ended up taking pictures of the riverfront.  I hope I will be able to move on from nature photography someday...today's just wasn't the day.

Loving the reflection of those trees.

I got a little too into the color changing abilities of photoshop...

 My obsession with taking pictures of wheat like grass continues as well...

 Fresh tracks :) wish I could get some of these on a mountain in Colorado...but I'll take what I can get.

Stolen scarf from Mom, new sunglasses, new earrings AND a haircut.  I've been busy spending money this break...it's been a very high impact break between the massive amounts of food, spending and driving I've been doing...

Look a fence! That's not from nature...hooray!

Branch Shot # 1

Branch Shot # 2...I think # 1 wins...

I really couldn't decide what leaf color I liked the best...any opinions?

I drove to another part of town to get some more rustic pictures of a broken down mill.  I love photography sprees with a car!

My photo spree was so much fun today, it felt good to get outside after being cooped up all weekend with the dogs and the leftovers ;) But I think my fingers may have suffered some frostbite...

It's back to school for me tomorrow! Now that it's almost time to leave home I'm getting a little sad. Home is always so nice and relaxing, but I've got finals coming up and 6 bowls to throw and decorate! Time to get work done before I hibernate at home again for Christmas.

How are you recovering from your post Thanksgiving food coma?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving in progress...

I woke up this morning to a small turkey in the slow cooker...

A small one because there's only 4 of us eating today...

But that didn't stop me from making another loaf of this Cranberry Walnut Orange Bread.  You can never have enough side dishes or sweets on Thanksgiving...or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Yesterday my orange zest was more like orange goop, I don't know what was wrong with that orange but it's peel did not want to grate.  But today it worked perfectly! So of course I had to take a picture of the perfectly grated orange peel to brag.

I like the version of the bread I made yesterday...but it wasn't quite perfect for my taste. As soon as I tasted it I was already thinking of modifications to perfect it to my liking.

I proceeded to make my kitchen a complete mess again, that's what Thanksgiving is for right?

Modifications I made the the Cranberry Walnut Orange Bread:

-1 Cup AP Flour and 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour instead of 2 cups AP flour
-3/4 yogurt instead of 4 ounces butter
-1/2 cup granulated sugar instead of 3/4 cups sugar
-Added 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ginger (might add more next time!)

How did it turn out? Soooo perfect.  A little more dense and moist than the one I made yesterday and less sweet, which means I could eat more of it ;)  Totally more my style!  Hearty sweet breads are really the way to my heart.

Other things that have already been made today, Pumpkin Pie, with my Grandma's Secret Recipe.

And with the leftover dough my mom and I made these little twists.  SO delicious!  We rolled them in maple syrup and then rolled them in a mix of brown sugar, granualted sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Ohhh my they are already all gone.

Seriously don't waste that leftover dough it can be put to good use!

Hope your busy in your own kitchen with your family baking/roasting/cooking up some goodness as well!