Yet another butternut squash recipe

I don’t post a lot of recipes, but you can bet if I do, it’s going to involve butternut squash. (See here, here, and here.)

A few years ago, I went to Meril for lunch with some work people, and I had this amazing salad. I think they called it a salad. I don’t know if I would call it a salad. But I’m not going to get into some weird argument about what makes a salad. Let’s just call it a bowl, okay?

Anyway, it was so delicious that I recreated it at home the very next day, posted about it on Instagram, and them promptly forgot about it.

A couple of days ago I suddenly remembered it, and I decided yesterday it was the perfect comfort food for a distressing, anxiety-filled day. And I wasn’t wrong.

Roasted Veggie and Other Stuff Salad or Bowl

There. That’s a descriptive name. Also catchy.

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash (like, say, a medium one. The one I got was GINORMOUS and I only used about 2/3 of it.)
  • Brussels sprouts (like, a pound, maybe? Or more? I wish I’d had more.)
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper for roasting
  • Chopped walnuts (maybe half a cup?)
  • Blue cheese (just get a small chunk. a little goes a long way.)
  • Green grapes (probably a cup or so would do. get those really nice firm seedless ones.)
  • Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette (recipe here)

I recognize that if you don’t live in Louisiana, perhaps Steen’s Cane Vinegar isn’t as easy to procure as it was for me. I’ll bet if you used balsamic vinegar instead you’d be fine. The recipe makes two cups. I used about half in the salad, so you can make this delicious meal again next week!

Directions:

  1. Look, I’m not going to tell you how to roast butternut squash and brussels sprouts. Cut the squash into 1″ cubes (or better yet, buy them already cut) and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 45 minutes or so. Do the same with the sprouts, but cut them in half after you cut off the bit at the bottom, but I don’t know, maybe that’s optional, but I always cut it off. The sprouts definitely cook faster, I think they came out after 30 minutes? I dunno. Make sure they’re cooked through but not burned. I shouldn’t have to tell you this. (I put them on two cookie sheets but cooked them together.)
  2. Make the dressing while the roasting is happening.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a hot pan (just a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them!)
  4. Put the warm veggies in a big bowl, and top them with the dressing. Cover the bowl and let it all sit together for a while to soak up everything and cool off a bit.
  5. Throw in the walnuts whenever.
  6. Wait til everything is closer to room temp before you crumble the blue cheese over it. You don’t want it melting.
  7. Quarter the grapes and toss ’em in.

The end! I mean, it’s easy, but not quick, really. But soooo worth it. This would be a fabulous side for Thanksgiving.

Here’s the bowl I had for dinner last night. Tastes better than it looks, I promise!

Good stuff.

Crunchy roll bowl – kind of a recipe

The boys love to get sushi. Well, what that really means is they love to go to sushi restaurants and eat their body weight in crunchy rolls. But they can only include rice, snowcrab, crunchy, and a seaweed wrap.

We’ve made them at home, but I’m terrible at the rolling part and not particularly interested in getting better at it. And I love a poke bowl, so it occurred to me that I could go this route with crunchy rolls.

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So here’s what you do:

Make a batch of sushi rice. That includes seasoning it with a vinegar mix. I wanted to use my Instant Pot, so this is the recipe I used. Use whatever recipe you want!

Get some krab. You know, imitation crab. Chop it up finely. Mix some mayo up in there. Just enough to bind it. I’m sure there’s some fancy Japanese mayo you could use but I sure as heck don’t have it. I use Duke’s. Not that it matters. Just saying.

Dig that package of nori out of the back of the pantry that expired last summer. I mean how bad could it be? Maybe tear off a bit and taste it. If it tastes okay, go ahead and cut it up into little strips or whatever. I used scissors, and it was very satisfying. If you don’t have nori sheets, maybe you have some of the seaweed snacks? I’ll bet those would be even better.

So layer that in a bowl, and then take a box of unseasoned panko and sprinkle that generously on top. You could be ambitious and make tempura batter and fry it and crumble it or something. I’ve thought about that, and even have a box of tempura mix in my pantry, but then I realized that panko is even easier. I also wonder if Rice Krispies would work. I mean, in a pinch.

Serve with soy sauce, maybe mixed with a bit of wasabi.

Now of course this is infinitely customizable if your kids are less picky than mine. Things you could add:

  • edamame
  • avocado
  • green onions
  • smelt roe
  • cucumber
  • omelette strips
  • raw fish!

I realize some of these options are unlikely these days, but after this is all over, GO CRAZY.

PS I’m fancy and I didn’t know it. A friend of mine informed me this is called chirashizushi.

The week we had

Oh, I mean, it wasn’t exciting or anything, I just didn’t want more than a week to go by without blogging so I shall blog about what we did this week.

The boys started camp, which has been great for me. It’s nice and peaceful at home, and I can go to Orange Theory to work out, and of course, they’ve been having a great time too. Their friend Ethan is at camp with them, and from what they’ve told me, they’re all thick as thieves. So that’s fun. They’ve been swimming every day and went to Laser Tag yesterday and blah blah blah mainly they’re not doing anything electronic for 6-7 hours a day and that’s the best part.

Of course, I’m the worst mother ever and forgot to put sunscreen on them for the first three days of the week, so by Wednesday they all had rather pink shoulders. I definitely felt like shit.

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I went and had dinner with my triplet/quad mamas, that was always lovely. Here I am with the mamas from here.

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Saved up some Amazon gift cards and got some amazing (and eye-wateringly expensive) noise cancelling earbuds. I feel quite confident that I’m going to snooze like a baby on the airplane next week because of these as well as this travel pillow I bought. YES I DID.

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I don’t care in the least how goofy this looks if it means I can get a few hours of sleep on the plane. Erica and I arrive early Friday morning, and that night we have a presentation to give. So if I don’t sleep on the plane, it could get really ugly.

In non-travel-related news, we made pizza bombs! I love Tasty. I am addicted to watching the videos, even though half of the recipes look less than appetizing. These were a big hit with the boys.

Okay, I should have sealed up the dough better. Whatever.

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And now I shall end this post with this ridiculously adorable picture the boys found online.

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Friday five

Five things for today:

– Miles has a dance competition tonight. I don’t know what’s going to kill me first, this or the movie we’re working on. (Coming soon…very soon.) I’m not sure if I’m going to see the tango for the first time, but if it’s anywhere near as cute as the merengue or the swing, I’m doomed.

– I’ve been having pain in my achilles’ tendon for a couple of months now, and I finally made an appointment with an orthopedist to get it checked out. It turns out I have, as I suspected, achilles’ tendinitis, so I’ll be starting physical therapy next week to get that worked on. I was oddly proud when the doctor told me I had the tightest achilles’ tendon he’d felt all day! (How many achilles’ tendons does he feel in a day? A lot, I guess. He is the practice’s ankle expert, after all.)

I can’t run until it’s not pissed off at me anymore, so now I go to the gym and die of boredom on the bike or elliptical instead. I know lots of people think treadmills are boring, but you can run or walk or do intervals or go fast but on a bike or elliptical, you just…ride a bike or do whatever it’s called on an elliptical.

– A couple of weeks ago, when we came back from DC, I started a rotation on a new team. It’s really cool to learn a different side of things from what I’m used to. And on that note, if you have a passion for WordPress and helping people, we’re hiring.

Screenshot 2015-05-15 10.45.56– Yesterday was George’s birthday and at his request, even though it’s spring in Louisiana, I made beef and barley stew. I have to say, it was incredibly delicious. I used this recipe from Williams-Sonoma, but subbed out beef broth for all of the water, I used bone-in short ribs for most of the meat (took the bones out at the very end) and threw in a parmesan rind. Oh, and a dollop of red wine. I was using all of the tricks I could think of, and they worked. Man, it was good.

That’s four. Hmm. Here are some random photos, then.

Wednesday (day 3)

I’d planned for my gym schedule to be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, but I went this morning instead of tomorrow. I’m having dinner with work people tonight and I am pretty sure I’ll want to “sleep in” (you know, til 6:30) tomorrow morning.

My Achilles tendon (or something at the back of my left ankle) was a little sore yesterday so I decided to cross train today. My gym got some of those old-school stair climbers (like tiny escalators) so I spent a bit of time on that (14 minutes climbing stairs is a long time!) and then did some strength training, then got on the elliptical for a little while (booorrrring) and then more strength training.

Okay, enough of that. Other things I’ve been meaning to write about:

– 2/3 of the boys had their first sleepover last week! Big milestone, and especially since Miles actually made it through the night. I was pretty shocked. Linus chose not to stay, though. It was kind of fun having one kid. It was very quiet.

– I’m reading this book right now. It’s set in Baton Rouge, and it takes place in 1991, when the main character is 16. I grew up in Baton Rouge, and I was 16 in 1991, so it’s kind of fascinating. Some of the setting is fictional, but enough of it is not to keep me enthralled.

When people ask me if I’m from here (New Orleans), I always have a hard time answering. Baton Rouge is a totally different world from New Orleans, and it’s so hard to describe. But this book nailed it.

You have to understand. When people think of Louisiana, they think exclusively of New Orleans. We are okay with that. New Orleans has the culture, the allure. They are The Big Easy. The Crescent City. The Birthplace of Jazz. The people of Baton Rouge don’t even have accents. Our parades, when compared to New Orleans, are amateur hour. Even our most raucous bars close at two o’clock in the morning. Theirs don’t close down at all. So, whenever people in Baton Rouge feel wild, we drive the sixty miles to New Orleans. We stay in upscale hotels and spend gobs of money. We drink beer on the street and make bad decisions. We take wrong turns at intersections and feel perpetually lost, and when we wake up in the morning, regretful and satisfied, we go back home saying, “It’s a fun place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

From My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

Well, I guess I did decide to live here, but growing up, I never had any desire to. Anyway, if you’re looking for a good read, I recommend you pick this up. (Even though I haven’t finished it yet.)

– I ended up signing up for that race on Sunday. I really really hope it’s cool and overcast. Hmmph.

– Last week, I got a box from HelloFresh. It’s one of those companies that’s cropping up that sends you the ingredients for meals and the recipe cards, and all you have to do is put them together. I got three meals, two of which were excellent (the third was good, but not outstanding.) We had a pasta bolognese one night, squash with quinoa another night, and chicken and potatoes another night. (The first two were the excellent ones.) (No, the boys didn’t eat this.) (Actually, George didn’t eat the squash one either. More for me!)

Anyway, I loved that I can make these again, because none of the ingredients were particularly unusual. It wasn’t like I’d have to buy from that company, you know? Just some more meal ideas.

If you want to try it and get $40 off your first box, you can use this referral code: R7KT4K (Yeah, it’s not cheap, but great for special meals, and the portion sizes mean you have enough for leftovers.)