good things : discoveries

Recently I’ve discovered a few wonderful things. And they are:

1. NFL Network on Hulu

Um…HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS??? There are no words. Well there are words, and they appear in the picture above. They say, “Need a break? You have been watching for more than 3 hours.”

Oh.

Well, then.

In my defense, I have no defense. I just love football way too much.

If you’re looking for me between now and September, you know where I’ll be.

2. New Old Soap

I ran out of bathroom soap. Which is only half true, because I have plenty of other soaps that would have no problem making themselves useful in the bathroom. What I really ran out of was eucalyptus mint foaming soap…and I really prefer foaming soap in the bathroom and scrubbing soap for the kitchen because I’m just one big freak. I was just going to use my back-up kitchen soap in the bathroom…but had a stroke of genius instead! I pumped some of the lemon scrubbing soap into what little remained of the eucalyptus soap, added some water, and gave it a good shake. And lo and behold, I now have lemon eucalyptus mint foaming soap that I like even better than the original! (In no small part because I feel like this is a great discovery for all of womankind. Really…just think of the possibilities!!!)

3. Fresh Greens

For the record, don’t believe me when I say that something changed my life. Because it happens often. And while true, it usually doesn’t carry the weight of what most people define as life-changing.

But really…fresh greens changed my life this weekend. And you can take that one to the bank. Or to the farmer’s market, where I purchased said greens.

PEOPLE. OH MY WORD!!! I didn’t think that I could love salad more than I already do. But buying fresh spinach and arugula changed everything. It was like going from Sunny D to fresh squeezed orange juice. So crisp! So fresh! So flavorful!!!

I then proceeded to make six salads. For myself. For the whole week. I’m not even kidding.

Sometimes, when I’m in the kitchen, I’ll pluck a few leaves of spinach from the bunch just to snack on because they’re that good.

Oh my word. Totally life changing.

4. Homemade Sound System

That insert on the chute of the food processor? Perfect for holding an iPhone playing Pandora and amplifying the sound x 100. I had many a kitchen jam session this weekend.

Clearly, because there was so much to celebrate!

Two thumbs way up for unexpected goodness all around.

beka stays healthy : roasted stuffed delicata squash

Foreword: I started writing this post and had a good 2 – 3 paragraphs done…when I realized it seemed awfully familiar and checked my drafts. Good call. Already written and waiting to be published. Sanity: 1, Beka: 0.

I wasn’t always so in love with fall/winter vegetables.

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, parsnips, PUMPKIN…these are all recent discoveries in my world. And how bleak life must have been without them! I can’t image how I got through even a single week sans root vegetables and gourds! They now compile my favorite genre of foods. (Excluding desserts. Which probably went without saying.)

I usually get my weekly stash of vegetables from the Brighton Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, I bolt out of church (which is extra-holy, I know) and speed to the Market so that I can shop for 10-15 minutes and still get home in time for the FOX NFL Pregame Show (it’s my favorite one! I can’t bear to miss it!). It’s an unconventional process, but it works for me.

A few weeks ago I invested 5 minutes of my 15 minute allotment to talking with one of the squash vendors. I was looking for something new to add to my repertoire aside from the usual tried and true varieties. The vendor recommended delicata squash.

The vendor is now one of my favorite people.

The idea for this meal was actually born from a feature in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. The recipe was for turning a baked sweet potato into a meal by stuffing it. Since I had this squash burning a hole in my pantry, I decided to give it a go with a few different ingredients!

Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squash:

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

  • 1  Delicata Squash
  • 12  Brussels Sprouts
  • ¼  Red Onion
  • 1  Large Chopped Kale Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Cherries
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 ounce Goat Cheese
  • ½ Tablespoons Raw Pumpkin Seeds

To get started, wash and dry the delicata squash. It’s usually still carrying some old baggage, namely dirt from the field. Once he’s clean and shiny, cut in half (perk: delicatas are easier to chop through than most of the gourd family) and scoop out seeds.

If you like your vegetables steamed, you can just combine the stuffing ingredients and add them to the squash before baking. But if you like things a little crispier, I’d recommend roasting the stuffing on a separate pan. Either way, combine Brussels sprouts, red onion, kale, and cherries. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add the mixture, either divided between the two halves or spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes. If you’ve been roasting the stuffing separately, add it to the squash now. At this point you also want to add the goat cheese and pumpkin seeds, both sprinkled on top. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

This meal is the ultimate fall comfort food. I was on the fence about the goat cheese, but I’m so glad it made the cut! It really added something special to the mix. But this is totally customizable – you can add or subtract anything you want! Shallots, pecans, wild rice, cranberries, carrots…you name it. Have fun experimenting and finding your favorite flavor combination!

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

beka stays authentic : the perfect day

On Sunday, I had the definition of a perfect day. I…

  • Slept in a little bit. Which, for me, means I was up by 7am and stayed in pajamas until 8am. I know, CRAZY.
  • Watched a little bit of SportsCenter, read a few blogs/books, and  hopped around the internet for a while before getting ready for church.
  • Made three classic Sunday meals that I love – oatmeal with dark chocolate peanut butter for breakfast, scrambled eggs with toast for lunch, flatbread pizza for dinner. A lovely trifecta.
  • Went to church. I love it there.
  • Visited the Brighton Farmer’s Market for the first time ever, a visit that is sure to become a frequent occurrence. It’s the perfect size! There’s a large selection of a variety of items but it’s not so huge that you have to elbow the guy in front of you just to get to the potatoes.
  • Watched the FOX NFL pregame show – my favorite, and a ritual that dates back all the way to high school.
  • Went grocery shopping at the Pittsford Wegmans. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to live a mere 3 miles away from the mecca of all things grocery.
  • Listened to the Packers game on the radio via NFL mobile. As much as I enjoy watching games, I really love listening to them! The level of exhilaration is much greater when you’re visualizing each play and hanging on the announcer’s every word. It literally gives me chills. Love it.
  • Spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen whilst listening to the game – a perfect combo! I made the amazing bittersweet chocolate cookies, these oatmeal peanut butter bars, more pumpkin pie oatmeal, and the aforementioned pizza for dinner.
  • Rode my bike over to a friend’s apartment to deliver a package of above baked goods. It was a beautiful early fall day and it was nice to see a friend after spending a large chunk of quality time covered in powdered sugar/yelling at the radio.
  • Did laundry. Which, for the record, I loathe, but acknowledge it as a necessary evil so getting it out of the way felt good.
  • Watched my favorite evening pregame show, Sunday Night Football on NBC.
  • Spent the rest of the night reading blogs and watching football and editing pictures and falling asleep on the couch.

The only way the day could have been better would have been if a Bruster’s employee showed up on my doorstep with a pint of Graham Central Station. And even then, it still would have been only marginally better than the original. I wasn’t kidding with the intro; it really was the definition of a perfect day!

Community Question: what’s your definition of a perfect day? Chime in below!