18 November 2013

Date Night, A Recipe and A Winter Wonderland

Treebert!  His first big snow!

I've been fortunate to have a week at home with no travel.  It's been bliss and getting time with Dave has been absolutely lovely, fantastic and just what my heart and soul needed.

We started the week off by having a date night in Regina.  We headed over to Beer Brothers for a couple brews, spent some time browsing books at Chapters and then getting our sushi on over at Enso.  It was a great night, dampened only when I believed I lost my driver's license, which Dave then located a couple of days later on the back floor of our car (read:  Heather date night fail).

Monday is Veteran's Day in the States and is Remembrance Day here in Canada.  Coming from a line of veterans - both grandfathers, my parents, my brother-in-law and my husband all serving - this day is one of reflection for me.  One where we remember those who have dedicated time to serving their country in uniform.  We attended the Remembrance Day ceremony here in Moose Jaw along with some of our close friends.  The Air Force, Army, Dragoons and RCMP were present to lay wreaths and remember those lost in service.  A large number of people turned out for the event and it was nice to see that this day means so much to so many.

The rest of the week passed in a blur of work and yoga.  Ah, yoga...getting back to spending some good time on the mat was good for my soul!  

On Friday, Dave and had a domestic date night.  I cooked dinner - a quinoa stuffed acorn squash and pumpkin bread pudding for dessert (recipe for the acorn squash dish below) - and we enjoyed some wine and conversation.  We ended the night watching the documentary Somm which I had been wanting to see. Come Friday night, the air had cooled and the sky looked promising for snow...and snow it did!  It was cozy with the snow falling outside and our holiday lights twinkling inside.

Through the night on Friday and all day Saturday - we were graced to be living in a snowglobe.  It snowed for most of the day Sunday as well and after we ran some errands, Dave and I opted for a walk in Wakamow to enjoy the cool air and snowy paths.  We crossed under bowed branched weighted by piled snowflakes, kicked a path through pristine snow and I even flopped and made a snow angel happen in a clearing by one of the trails.  Wakamow Valley is magical throughout the seasons, but no season more so than winter.  

So grab your mittens and a nice mug of tea...take a walk outside in the crisp air...and when you come back, make this for dinner...you'll be glad you did!

Ingredients for a yummy dinner!

Roasted Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash 
Four servings or two servings with another two for leftovers...


2 acorn squash
1 clove garlic
1 red onion
1 stalk celery
1 bunch kale 
10 large mushrooms (I used baby portabellas)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 box organic quinoa
1 box organic vegetable broth
2 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400F.  

Prep your vegetables and squash.  Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and pulp (be sure to compost!) and brush the cut sides with the olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano...pinches of each seasoning.

Place the acorn squash olive oil side down on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and roast for 20-30 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the skin pierces it easily.

In the meantime, prep your veggies.  Chop the onion, celery and mushrooms (I dice them so all the pieces are about the same size) and then chop your kale into ribbons.  Mince your garlic clove.

Place a little olive oil into a pan and heat on high.  Next, add the onions and saute on medium-high until they become slightly translucent.  When that happens, add your garlic and saute for about 30 seconds or until you smell the garlic opening up.  When that happens, add the celery and mushrooms and allow everything to saute together.

As that is happening, cook the quinoa based on the package directions.  I use the veg broth in place of water as it tends to give it a bit more flavour.  Once you quinoa is cooked and your veggies are looking good (about 15 minutes) you can add the pecans, cranberries and kale to the veggie mix.  Work them in until the kale is wilted and the cranberries have become glossy and tender.  Be sure to season with the salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano to your liking.

At this point, your acorn squash are probably good to go.  Remove them from the oven.

Add the quinoa to the veggie mixture and sir so everything is combined.  I put a little dollop of margarine in the center of each acorn squash half before spooning my veggie mixture into each half.  Serve up with a great glass of wine and...presto, let your night begin!

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