The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colour, and squash is filling the stands at the Farmer’s Market. It is squash season. I am happy. By February, I will be over squash and craving fresh spring greens, but right now I am all about squash. Here is a quick and easy squash side dish we enjoyed this week and a couple photos from the pumpkin farm.
Little Butternut Squash Bakes
Hot and spicy from the chilli powder, sweet from the butternut squash, and a hint of salty, these little guys will wake up all of your taste buds. I created these little bakes because I wanted squash chilli but I like to slow cook my chilli and I didn’t have the time.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and but into ½ inch squares
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400Fdegrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the prepared squash, spices, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread the seasoned squash on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the squash and bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
I have always loved horseradish. I have some growing in my garden, but I have it in a giant container and it isn’t doing too well. It will have to go in the new garden when it is ready. My root is quite young, so I bought some at that Farmer’s Market. Grating the horseradish will provide sinus relief if you happen to be suffering a cold.
- 1 generous cup of horseradish root, grated
- 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Mix together and eat on your favourite sandwich, with a bison roast, with your favourite burger, or even with roasted sweet potato fries. I keep this in the fridge for a week (if it lasts that long).
Beekeeping teaches you to appreciate a simple, yet complex creature that we tend to take for granted; you will practice patience – you will be calm (or you will get stung); you will meet new people and make new friends; and if you are good to your bees, you will eat honey.
Bees know exactly what they are doing. The most important lesson that I learned from a seasoned beekeeper… if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t do anything.
The experts couldn’t tell us why our bees swarmed, but one expert pointed out our new queen for us, so we knew our hive was going to be okay. We lost half our hive when they swarmed, but our bees still produced about 60 pounds of golden, sweet, sweet honey.
There are a good many resources on bees and beekeeping. We read a lot of them, watched a lot of YouTube videos, joined and attended a local beekeeping society, but a book I just happened upon at our local library’s book sale is the perfect resource for anyone interested in learning more about bees and beekeeping. The Honey Makers is undoubtedly my favourite bee keeping reference book. Sure, it’s a children’s book, but it is a good one. (I also have my Gramps’ beekeeping book, for the harder questions.)
Anyone who has kept bees will tell you it is a lot of work. You need to visit them often, assess their health at each visit, harvest the honey, prepare them for winter, and hope for the best.
I have so many plans for my share of the liquid gold, but right now I am eating it by the spoonful with a touch of cinnamon to stave off a cold.
Thank you bees.
…someone peed in my cornflakes.
I am a realist. Some people call me a pessimist. I’m not. I’ve had this conversation with my friend Annie once. People thought she was a pessimist as well, but we concluded that we were realists. We are the type of people that do not put all of our eggs in one basket, we don’t hope for the best, we set our goals on what can realistically be achieved, and that is what keeps our lives and everything around us positive. We avoid conflict, but you’ll know when we are not happy. And most of all, when someone pees in our cornflakes, we sit quietly and busy ourselves with other projects – like I did today. I enjoyed the ballet and then I baked some seasonally divine gluten-free pumpkin muffins (and tried desperately to put the last two days behind me).
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten-free)
I’ve recently switched to a gluten-free diet due to some health concerns; big ones. I’ll have to share these when they make more sense. Until then, you can enjoy some gluten-free recipes. I’ve made these muffins twice. Once with potato starch and once with arrowroot starch. I liked the arrowroot better, but play with them and let me know which ones you like better. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure your chocolate chips and vanilla extract are gluten-free. If you can’t find sorghum flour use brown rice flour instead. Canned pumpkin may not be as moist as fresh pumpkin; you can always add a bit of unsweetened apple sauce if need be. Makes 12 muffins.
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seed, ground
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used local fresh, steamed pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup organic coconut oil (melted)
- 3/4 cup organic palm sugar (or brown sugar if you must)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff)
- 2 large organic free-range eggs
I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to see what what my potato plants were doing under the dirt. I dug some up on the weekend and ate them straight away. I scrubbed, sliced and steamed them and sauteed them in a little butter and onions.