Cooking Fall Food.

So believe it or not, since I’ve started culinary school I have actually been cooking lots of yummy food at home.  I have taken lots of foodie pictures, but they never seem to find their way onto the blog – until today!  Here are a few snippets of the successful dishes coming out of my kitchen (no need to feature the gross ones, of which there are also plenty)…

A few weeks ago I got a surprise package in the mail from a good family friend, Debbie.  Imagine the pure joy (and squealing) that occurred when I opened it to find a fabulous collection of new kitchen tools and cookbooks!  Debbie is an amazing cook herself, and she thoughtfully sent a package of all her favorite cooking tools, along with a collection of all her favorite recipes.  The fun new gadgets included a fancy garlic press, pretty wooden salad tongs, kitchen shears, spatulas, and something I had never seen before – a tomato knife!  I was instantly intrigued, and made sure to get fresh tomatoes at Earth Fare the next time I was out shopping.

How did I ever live without this?  Seriously, go get a tomato knife right now.  Never again will I squish my tomato all over the cutting board – this thing is a miracle tool!  In addition to the fabulous tools and her personal recipes, she also sent me my new favorite cookbook – Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone!  It’s my first purely vegetarian cookbook, and I have already used it countless times in just a few short weeks.  So in order to make use of the tomato knife and cookbook, I set out to make homemade tomato sauce.

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I simmered tomatoes, onions, garlic, and various spices together for a loooooong time until it all broke down and came together.  While the sauce cooked, I baked a spaghetti squash in the oven to make Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti – a great low calorie pasta alternative.  If you haven’t tried this you should.  It seriously feels just like eating spaghetti, without the crazy high calories of regular pasta.  Plus you can eat like three times as much as you could if it was “real” pasta.  I made a half whole grain pasta, half squash mixture for Casey, and all squash for me!

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Speaking of squash, I’ve been on a fall vegetable kick (as most of us have).  I’m so excited to have all these fun veggies back in the produce section, and am pretty much cooking them every night.  So next up was another old favorite – acorn squash!  I cut two acorn squash in half and roasted them for 30 minutes.  Then I pulled them out and added honey crisp apples (mmmmm), sprinkled them with cinnamon, and finished them off with a bib blob of sugar-free maple syrup.  Baked them for another 20-25 minutes until they came out like this…delicious!  (Please excuse the terrible photos, a new camera is on my Christmas list!)

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Spaghetti, check.  Acorn, check.  Must be butternut time!  I have to give credit where it is due – this next meal was inspired by one of Meghann’s meals, and I believe she got the idea from Heather.  Around the blog-o-sphere it goes…
I decided to give tempeh another go round.  We had tried it a few times before and weren’t sure about the nuttiness, but I’m not one to give up on food very easily.  On one side of the stove, I browned a block of tempeh and a block of tofu.  On the other side, I browned some onions, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.

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While those cooked, I made some brown rice in the rice cooker, and a side of homemade slaw.  For my healthy coleslaw, I made the dressing with greek yogurt, mustard, a bit of honey, and some splenda (don’t judge – I can’t quit it).  And while all of this took place, Casey watched and kept me company from behind his laptop!

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Once everyt
hing on the stovetop was browned and ready to go, I put it all together and gave it a good sized glob of barbecue sauce, mmmmmmm…

October 010The final barbecue goodness, and the whole plate together.  I opted for just a small bit of rice so that I could justify more BBQ deliciousness.  Thank you Meghann – I will definitely be making this one again! 

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Tomorrow, I will share another fun recipe and meal, and the story of how I got my fabulous shiitake mushroom stump!  For now, I’m off to make dinner – spaghetti squash, if you must know…