Recipe: Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

It was starting to feel like fall late last week, so I picked up an acorn squash at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday thinking I could put it to good use this week with the cooler weather. Naturally the temperatures have been in the upper 70’s all week – summer forever, please! – which doesn’t really put me in the mood for a warm fall dish… but I made one anyway. And when I shared it on Instagram and everyone was interested in the recipe, I figured I’d share it with you all!

This comes together pretty easily and it doesn’t require you to do multiple things at once which I always appreciate. I made this as my main dish, but you could easily have it as a side to something else. Acorn squash are great vehicles to stuff with pretty much anything – so get creative!

Stuffed Acorn Squash |

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
– Serves 2 – 

1 acorn squash
3 cups kale, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 can (15oz) black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cous cous
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar blend)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice the squash in half, remove the seeds. Spray a baking sheet and cut side of the squash with non-stick spray and place the squash cut side down. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 
3. Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous by bringing 3/4 cup of salted water to a boil. Add the cous cous, stir, cover and remove from the heat. Fluff after  5 minutes. 
4. Heat the tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the kale, sauteing for another 5 minutes. 
5. Add the garlic, beans, spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano). Cook until beans are heated through, about 2 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine the kale and bean mixture with the cous cous. 
7. When the squash is done, flip them over and spoon the filling into the squash cavity (it’s okay if it’s overflowing). Top with cheese and bake another 2 minutes until the cheese is melted. 


Transition Chili

I always find myself with mixed emotions when summer comes to a close. It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season (it’s always been), but I don’t mind fall. In fact, there are a lot of things I do enjoy about fall, like cooler running temperatures, being able to wear boots and scarves, not working up a sweat while cooking, and Halloween!

I’m looking forward to this fall because it means I get to relax – at least a little. This summer has been packed with marathon training (even if it’s been half-hearted, it still takes up a lot of time!), and a LOT of weddings. Basically, I’m looking forward to not having to wake up at the crack of dawn to run because it’s too hot and I have a million things planned for the afternoon. Yes, I can’t wait to be lazy.

Aside from cooler temperatures and new fashion, there are foods that evoke the feelings of different seasons, too. One food that makes me think of cooler weather is chili (and soups in general). Even though it’s still technically summer (I can’t handle people saying things like, “it’s officially fall!” because it in fact, is not until tomorrow), I decided to deviate a bit from my “hang on to summer for as long as possible” mantra and made a pot of chili. For me, this wasn’t just any old batch of chili, though, rather it was more of a transition from summer to fall because of the ingredients – they’re light and colorful, but still provide that quintessential big bowl of chili feeling.

Veggie Grain Chili
– serves 4-6 –  

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Adobo
1 tsp oregano
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 15 0z. cans of beans – I used black and pinto, but any combo will work! 
4 oz. soy chorizo (or regular chorizo)
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (smaller pieces help it cook faster)
1 ear of corn (kernels removed)
18 oz. vegetable broth (about 1.5 cans)
1 cup dry cous cous or quinoa

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and poblano pepper for for 5-10 minutes, until they’re translucent. 
2. Add in the spices (chili powder, cumin, Adobo, oregano), and tomato paste. Stir constantly, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
3. Stir in beans, soy chorizo, sweet potato, corn, and vegetable broth. Turn heat down to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. 
4. Add in the grain, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. 
5. Serve with avocado, cilantro, cheese, and/or sour cream! 

‘Tis the season… for pumpkin flavored drinks

While we’re slowly but surely coming down from our 90+ degree summer days, it’s clear that everyone has fall on their minds. I can’t begin to tell you how many blog posts I’ve read within the last two weeks boasting delicious pumpkin recipes and fun foods including the oh so yummy fall flavor. Even though it’s only the third week in September, cool crisp weather and warm flavors are definitely on their way.

For me, fall usually means beautiful colored leaves (that need to be raked, boo), the perfect clothing weather (not too many layers, but just the right amount), perfectly ripe apples, and of course, pumpkin! To be honest, I wasn’t always a huge pumpkin fan. Matter of fact, for a large part of my life I completely avoided it. Yup, that’s right – I turned down pumpkin pie (gasp!). However, last year, my taste buds seemed to change, and I hopped right on the pumpkin loving bandwagon. It started innocently with a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, and continued from there – pumpkin bread, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin french toast, pumpkin beer… you get the point.

So on Sunday, I started my pumpkin fix of the season off right – the first stop was to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks! I can’t wait to get myself more of these badboys.

From there, my fiancé and I headed to a local wine store that has a pretty decent beer selection as well, and picked ourselves up TWO types of pumpkin beer! First, we grabbed a six pack of Shipyard’s Pumpkin Head, which we both had for the first time last year and loved. We also grabbed a four pack of Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, which neither of us had tried before. The store actually had a few other options (such as Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale), so we’re looking forward to heading back after we finish these two.

Even though both of the beers are pumpkin flavored, they  are definitely distinctive in their own rights. The Shipyard has a strong cinnamon flavor making it sweet, while the Weyerbacher has a more nutmeg flavor, making it a little more savory. I really enjoyed them both, and even though it’s Monday morning, I could definitely go for another one right about now!

Aside from drinking pumpkin, I have a ton of recipes up my sleeve courtesy of fellow bloggers that I need to try. Everything from pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin macaroni and cheese, pumpkin overnight oats, to pumpkin smoothies. It seems like pumpkin puree with some spices can really be added to almost anything, and I’m more than okay with that.

Happy pumpkin season!


Fall Foods – Pumpkin Part 1

pumpkinnnnI can honestly say I rarely look forward to the fall.  It means I have to retire my flip flops, sun dresses, and bathing suits. In the food realm, I give up things like cook-outs and outdoor food festivals.

This fall, however, I’m ready to embrace something absolutely delicious; pumpkin. Previously I’ve adapted pumpkin to only a few things in my diet- pie and the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I’ve come to realize, however, there is a whole world of pumpkin goodness; Kashi TLC bars have a Pumpkin Granola, Magnolia’s bakery has a Pumpkin Cupcake, and there are A LOT of beers that have a Pumpkin Ale.

That being said, now that we’ve passed labor day, I’ve started my pumpkin excursion. I’m starting slowly, as it’s only the beginning of September. I’ve decided to gulp down some Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, and it is deeeeelish. I know there are multiple pumpkin flavored brews on my list, so I’ll certainly keep you up to speed with each sip. I’ve also indulged in the TLC Pumpkin Spice bars, which are truly a treat – they have the goodness of granola, with a little decadence of pumpkin glaze. And of course, I’ve already devoured two Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. I’ll continue enjoying those until it becomes time for their winter flavors.

Needless to say, I’ve never been big on fall flavors – I’ve always been too depressed to see summer go, while also dreading the cold winter. This year, I’ve turned a new beautifully golden red leaf. I’m learning to embrace not only fall, but also winter. There is goodness in fall; pumpkin, apple, nut, and smoky flavors, more hearty dishes, and also Halloween, something I would find difficult not to love.

That being said, I’m embracing fall and all it has to offer. I’ve broken out my light jackets and starting racking my brain for costume ideas. I promise to keep you up to date with all of my fall food endeavors; I know they will be absolutely delightful.