au naturale!

earlier this week i needed to whip up a quick dinner for phillip and myself.  we’d already done some serious work on my mom’s famous chicken tortilla soup, so i was in the mood for something summer-y and easy.  i knew bratwursts were a good choice along with some velveeta shells and cheese.  i needed something a bit healthy to go on the plate, though, so, in a moment of inspiration, i decided asparagus would be an excellent idea.  it’s one of those vegetables i don’t usually prepare too often for myself but very much enjoy whenever i have it with my meal.

after a quick trip to publix, i got home, lopped off the rough ends of each piece, and lined them up nicely on a foil-covered cookie sheet.  i coated them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then popped them into the 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  it was just enough time to get them crisp and crunchy, avoiding that soggy, chewy texture that no one likes in their asparagus!

the oven beeped loudly to announce that its job was done, and after setting the tray on the countertop, i kind of stood and admired what was before me.  okay, maybe admired is the wrong word to use here, but the beautiful color of this natural food that had come from the earth almost mesmerized me.  i mean, sure, i love a good processed and pre-packaged guilty pleasure just as much as the next foodie, but every now and then i eat something so simple and fresh and flavorful that i just have to stop and appreciate the moment.  join me, won’t you?

how to roast squash, by kelsey v

this story is about a girl named kelsey v who needed to roast some squash for an early office thanksgiving potluck.  prizes were going out to those cooks who whipped up the best dishes, so this little chef didn’t waste any time getting her winter squash soup ready.

step one?  roast some fresh squash for the ultimate autumnal flavor.  well, seeing as how this young lady had never purchased or prepared anything larger than a four-inch yellow squash in her life, she was in for a treat.  she perused the shelves at publix, picking out a sizeable butternut and dainty acorn.

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next, all she had to do was take a sizeable knife to those sweet squashes, lop off the ends, gut ’em, and halve them up for the pan.

that oven was all hot and bothered at 350 degrees fahrenheit, welcoming the squashes cut side-down with about a fourth of an inch of water in the pan.  things were going to get steamy!

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the kitchen filled with fall scents as the squashes roasted for a solid hour.  after checking their tenderness with a knife, they were declared perfectly cooked!  they cooled for a half hour, and then came the fun part.

those skins just had to go, so a spoon had services to provide.  the insides were mercilessly scraped out and chopped up and…

…dumped into a bowl for later use!  and she was scared?  they’re just little squashes!

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almost risotto

risotto

tonight i was jonesing for something delicious and hearty, something healthy for me, too.  i came upon this recipe, a risotto remake, through active.com, since i sometimes like to call myself a runner.  the dish was flavorful and, as i mentioned, quite hearty.  it makes a very large potful, so you will have plenty for your family or enough for leftovers all week long.  i served mine with pork tenderloin, a great pairing to round out this meal.  enjoy!