Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's for Dinner?: Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats

This recipe is from The Petite Appetite Cookbook. When the bug first started eating solids, I made all of her food. I can honestly say that she's never had baby food from a jar. Now that she's bigger and eats mainly what we eat, her diet is pretty good, but none of us eat as well as I'd like. We've talked a lot about going vegetarian around here, and I at least try to cook two or three meat-free dinners a week. I don't know if we'll ever totally make the switch (I don't know if I can!), but it is nice not dealing with raw meat, which is one of my least favorite things to do.

Also, as one of my 50 Projects
(really many, but I'm mostly counting it as one), I'd like to try at least one new recipe each week. I really do like to cook. I know my food will never look like the picture in the cookbook, but I'd like to have as big a recipe repertoire as possible. I'm also trying to expand our list of "What's for Dinner?" foods. I grew up with parents who enjoyed cooking, and we almost always ate at home. We had a pretty good international mix of meals, but at a certain point, my parents quit forcing me to eat things that I didn't like. Now I'm realizing that a lot of things that I didn't like as a kid are actually pretty good (squash, for example. Oh, and onions. I used to leave them out, but now I know that I do miss them from most recipes, at least when they're well cooked). So I'm really trying to step outside of my comfort zone with the recipes and ingredients I choose.

Here are my four acorn squash boats, already to be baked and then stuffed.

The rest of the veggies. The bug's not too sure about mushrooms yet, but she loves squash, so I was hoping she would approve of this. I also added garlic after I took the picture. It wasn't called for in the recipe, but I do love garlic and add it to just about everything (I just don't love the perma-garlic smell on the tips of my fingers these days).

I have to say, I really would like to improve my knife skills. I'm a very cautious chopper, which is good, because I still have all my fingers, but recipes with lots of chopped vegetables usually take me at least double the time they should, because I'm super slow.

Sautéing the veggies. Smells good!

Stuffed and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese (see? Tomato, zucchini, oregano, mushrooms and mozzarella, but no garlic?)

And four little stuffed squash boats. The recipe says it's four servings, but I only ate half of one and was quite full (I'm going to try freezing two. I think they'll be a good lazy night reheat meal).

The verdict: I will definitely be adding this recipe to the "What's for Dinner?" jar. The bug wasn't crazy about the veggie filling, but she ate the cheese and most of the squash, so I would stay it's still a success. And, as a definite plus, it's pretty much a meal within itself. Next time I'll try to figure out the best kind of bread to go with, but I don't think it's really even necessary.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Swap Goodies: The Random Swap

The last big crafting swap I did was the Random Swap. I got a whole boat load of random goodness from my fabulous partner, dinosaur.collective:

If I picked favorites in swap packages, these would be way at the top of the list. They're small hand painted pieces of Max making mischief of one kind and another! I loved Where The Wild Things Are as a kid (not only because my mom is one of the best read-alouders ever), and now I love reading it to the bug. She's starting to get into it and roars her terrible roar right along with the wild things. Honestly, I would have been completely happy if these were the only thing she sent!

But of course, those weren't all that she sent. The bug sleeps with this elephant every night. I love his musical ears!

And she carved me a lino block jellyfish. I'm pretty ashamed to admit that I haven't had a chance to use it yet.

And, a matryoshka pin cushion. I almost feel bad to poke pins into it, but it's great to get things that I love and that are usable.

I have to say, I'm super impressed with the folks on Craftster who organize craft swaps like this. I have absolutely loved all of my partners, I feel like I couldn't ask for better matches. Everything I made in this swap, I could have just as easily made to keep for myself, and some of it I almost couldn't bear to part with (like my very first completed altered book), but knowing that it was going to someone who would love it as much as I did made it a lot easier.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I spy with my little eye...

An Eye Spy Bag!

So, I've been doing horrible the past couple months at posting at least once a week, but this year I joined the 50 Projects a Year 2010 on Craftster. 50 projects means pretty much one project every week, so I'm hoping this will motivate me to get some things that have been sitting around my work space finished (and give me some projects to post on this here crafty blog, so win/win).

It's basically a bag full of trinkets and whimsies and poly pellets (usually used to stuff dolls and things that need a little weight). I tried to pick things she loves, like a ladybug, a bumblebee, a butterfly (see why I call her my bug??), various animals, stars, hearts, green leafs, altogether there are 55 things in this puppy! I'm hoping it will be a great thing to have in airports, doctors' offices, road trips, to keep her busy.

I think at this point, I like playing with it more than the bug. She'll play for a minute or two, but then she really wants me to open it so she can get at all the goodies inside! And who wouldn't? Look at this treasure trove!
The back of the card has all of the items in the bag written out, just in case a child (or grown up) who can read wants to play.

Part of the fun was picking out the fabric. I must have spent at least half an hour looking for the perfect ones, putting things back, matching things up. I'm quite happy with my choices though, because this owl fabric was my favorite! And the bug does a mean owl impression.
Now I want to make one for every kid I know! (Ok, that's a lie, but now that I know how easy it is, I'm really excited to have some hand made gifts ideas for the kids in my life, especially since another goal of mine is a completely hand made Christmas!)


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