Sunday, November 21, 2010

End of November Daybook

Outside my window: It's dark, windy, and rainy. I kinda like it :)

I am listening to: The wind rattle the windows and baby Margaux making sweet baby noises in my lap.

I am wearing: Green long sleeve shirt, grey sweats, purple slippers.

I am thankful for: Today. Family. Everything.

I am thinking about: The beginning of Advent and Christmas! Mostly all the cool stuff I get to make during the holiday season. Also, trying to find a happy balance between keeping the TRUE meaning of Christmas at the front of our minds and...well, toys.

I am reading: Grace Cafe: Serving up Recipes for Faithful Mothering by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

From the Kitchen: Nada. Today we went to Mass, ate a big lunch out, and then went grocery shopping. Didn't get home til 4:30pm and we were all still full from lunch!

In the Learning House: We're taking the week off for Thanksgiving. Ahhh the joys of homeschooling :)

Living the Liturgical Year: We bought our Advent candles today.

I am Creating: Lots. Knitting a purple scarf for myself and crocheting bunches and bunches of little roses for Christmas Rosaries for the wee ones :) I also have several random unfinished projects usual.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Turkey, turkey, turkey. Lots of it. Along with pie!

One of my favorite things: The quiet. amen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seasonal Yumminess

I like cooking with the seasons. It's often cheaper because you can find it all at local farmer's markets...and it just helps me get in the mood. I'm a subscriber to Mother Earth News magazine and these 3 recipes were all in their October/November issue. And they were all delicious! Plus they got extra brownie points with me because all three are chock full o' veggies...and my kids still chowed down!! Score!

Butternut Squash Lasagna


1 tbsp olive oil

1 (11⁄2- to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
Pinch of nutmeg12 no-boil lasagna noodles
21⁄2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Heat oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet, cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the squash to a mixing bowl or food processor and mash. Season the squash purée to taste with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a low boil over medium- high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-by-2- inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Cover the bottom of pan with one layer of lasagna noodles. Spread half of the squash purée over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the cheese. Repeat layering once more, finishing with a layer of noodles covered only by white sauce.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna and continue baking until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese style Kale & Potato Soup)


1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 spicy sausage, sliced
6 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
10 cups water
1 pound kale leaves, stalks removed, julienned very fine
Salt and pepper to taste


In a sto

ckpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. In a frying pan, cook the sausage, slice it and set aside for later. Add the potatoes to the stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat, simmering until the potatoes are almost done, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and crush some of the potatoes using a potato masher or wooden spoon to thicken the broth. Return the pot to the heat and bring to a boil. Add the greens and simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls, and garnish with sausage. Serves 8.

Carrot Apple Nut Muffins


1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2 cups raw carrots (about 2 or 3 carrots)
1 large apple
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (brown, white or a combination)
3/4 tsp baking soda
11⁄2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin cups or insert liners, if using. Peel and finely grate the carrots and apple, setting aside for later.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Stir in the nuts. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, ginger and vanilla extract. Fold the wet ingredients and the grated carrot and apple into the flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 9 standard-size muffins or 12 small ones.

Bon Appetit!