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Entries in butternut (5)

Monday
Oct282013

Butternut Squash Biscuits

Butternut Squash Biscuits

Small town life is growing on me. Though I've only lived here for two months, it feels longer. The town is modest, with only a few main roads, so getting around has been simple. I've settled in quickly, my new job as a high school teacher introducing me to a hundred fresh names and faces. In fact, lately it seems I can scarcely leave the house without running into a familiar face.

Familiarity is comfort.

Butternut Squash Biscuits Butternut Squash Biscuits

Last weekend I went to buy groceries as I do each week, pulling items off shelves and gathering them in my red basket. As I approached the checkout, the woman working greeted me, complimenting me on how my hair always seems to be in place, no matter the day. As my basket emptied, she stopped on a lone chocolate bar, pointing out how she always seems to find one buried in my basket. Good for you, she said. You know how to treat yourself.

Our society has become so anonymous, it feels strange to be recognized. To be a friendly face and to have a story, even if it is as simple as my love for dark chocolate.

Butternut Squash Biscuits

Since the advent of fall and all its cool weather, I've gravitated towards hearty dinners. A recent choice includes butternut squash mash, smoked sausage, and roasted mushrooms. After dining on it for two consecutive days, I decided it needed a new component, lest I grow tired of my new favorite. Instead of turning the entire squash into a mash, I saved a little of the puree and made biscuits.

Seasonal and spiced, the flavor melded well with my dinner. With a spread of cream cheese, an old mealtime favorite turned into something new.

Butternut Squash Biscuits Butternut Squash Biscuits

Butternut Squash Biscuits bring the taste of autumn to the traditional biscuit. Pureed butternut squash puree is mixed into biscuit dough and seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The lightly sweetened biscuits have a savory flair, pairing well with comfort food such as soups and potato dishes. For tall and flaky biscuits, follow these biscuit tips and tricks!

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Thursday
Nov082012

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to put pen to paper and release a story from somewhere deep within me. To give the mumbled, uncertain emotions swirling in my head a channel with which to escape. I wanted to release words from my fingertips with as much energy as the release of balloons into a deep blue sky.

Perhaps it may come as a surprise to you, but I've always been a little reserved. My tongue holds my thoughts prisoner, fighting against the rattling brain in my head that is eager to share them with the world. It's a personal, quiet battle I struggle with in slowly conquering that stubborn tongue of mine. In a way, writing has become an outlet to free the thoughts in my head. To give a voice to the words I cannot seem to speak aloud.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Even so, some days I have a love-hate relationship with writing. Writing is hard. More often than not, I end up staring at a blank computer screen when I sit down to write, the blinking of the cursor reminding me how much time is passing, my mind seeming to wipe itself clean. Though I love the process of writing once I begin, the process can be difficult to start. I have been known to avoid writing like it is a chore, pandering myself by visiting webpages or taking care of household business instead, trying to ignore the call of the white blank screen.

Yet, I cannot ignore the call forever. I eventually find myself in front of that same blank screen, discovering the determination to cover it with black ink. The need to write outweighs whatever feelings I may have about it. Perhaps, in many ways, that is the true mark of writer.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Even though I love sharing my thoughts and stories with you, I have always written for myself. I struggle to write for anyone else. When I settle down in front of the computer screen, I must forget that thousands of you may stumble across my words and read them—the thought is enough to stop even the bravest of writers mid-sentence. I can't write while I feel like someone is watching me; I'm afraid that person will read my words and find a way to judge me for them.

Even so, I wonder if I can truly be called a writer. The term is enigmatic, ascribing a certain measure of success and failure. If I am to be called a writer, I like to imagine that any eight year old girl with a head full of ideas and dull pencil in hand can be called by the same name too.

Writer or not, the need to write never changes. I plan on slicing myself another piece of this bread for inspiration when I find myself facing the next blank screen.

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread

Marbled Butternut Squash Bread has a subtle sweetness with striking tones of color. Butternut squash meets the classic fall spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—creating a moist and pleasantly dense loaf of bread. A third of the batter is mixed with cocoa before swirling into the rest, creating not only a marbled appearance, but a marbled flavor. The bread works well served with a simple butter spread but, if you are feeling a little adventurous, a bit of chocolate spread certainly wouldn't be amiss.

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Sunday
Oct282012

Butternut Squash Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Butternut Squash Cake

Transformations take place within us every day. Most are so small they are unnoticeable, making tiny changes that move us forward in subtle ways. The large transformations are the moments we don't expect, moments that burst through our minds and our hearts, stealing the air in our lungs with sudden awareness and understanding of ourselves.

Transformations like the moment I realized I was capable of falling in love, as I stood on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, holding hands with a boy and overlooking the dark, moonlit water. The moment I realized a fierce independence lay inside me, as I cut through rough waves, grasping tightly onto a windsurfing board. The moment I realized I could write my own future, as I sat in an uncomfortable office chair, blinking at a bright computer screen full of numbers and symbols.

Transformations move mountains within our souls.

Butternut Squash Cake

Books are one of the few ways to live a thousand different lifetimes. Each story I hear, whether read or told, opens a window into a new domain of different perspectives on myself and others. Books have the power to change me in both the small and big ways.

When I first encountered John Green's book, The Fault in Our Stars, I found myself sitting on my bed, clutching the book between my hands with a unique desperation. I stayed up late into the night as my eyes traveled over the words; I couldn't read fast enough to reach the next sentence and I couldn't read slow enough to allow myself to fully savor the moment. I laughed and cried simultaneously, my tears spilling onto the page, my heart full of emotion. When I closed the pages, I spent a rare moment in reflection.

The book changed me in that moment. Though I may never pinpoint the ways or means of the change, I could feel the transformation within me—real, raw, and pure.

Butternut Squash Cake

Little moments are a minor key to the major chords in our lives. The beautiful kindness of a stranger who helps me pick up a pile of dropped books as I apologize for my clumsy nature. The rush of positive emotion brought on by a childhood smell I had forgotten existed. A message from a friend that arrives at precisely the right moment it needed to be heard.

The power of a revolutionary moment, whether large or small, should never be underestimated. An unassuming piece of cake on a dreary autumn afternoon can provide immeasurable comfort to a weary soul.

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