Grinch Fruit Skewers

Where are my last minute peeps?

Grinch Fruit Skewers

Anyone still scrambling for something to bring to your Christmas gathering tonight or tomorrow?

Grinch Fruit Skewers

Well, I just wanted to pop in and share a super easy, quick, and healthy treat you can use if you’re in a pinch.

Grinch Fruit Skewers

Grinch Fruit Skewers

Ingredients

  • Green grapes
  • Bananas, sliced
  • Strawberries, with top cut off
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Large toothpicks or cut skewers

Directions

Layer the fruit on the toothpick or skewer. Green grapes > banana > strawberry > mini marshmallow. That’s it!

Grinch Fruit Skewers

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto

Question: Did any of you watch the last season of Food Network Star? I only started tuning in last season, but I was immediately hooked. Ever since Damaris was named the next star of the series, I’ve been waiting for her Food Network Magazine feature to arrive at my front door. Food Network Magaine is the only magazine that Tim and I still get delivered to our apartment, and we love flipping through it every month. When the  November issue arrived, I was stoked to discover it not only had Damaris’ victory feature, but also a simple Thanksgiving appetizer recipe recommendation from her.

I decided to bring this dish for my appetizer contribution to Thanksgiving at my grandfather’s house. Not only was it easy to make, but it was relatively healthy… and yummy too.

Squash Tartlets with Kale PestoThe original recipe called for a kabocha squash. I had no idea what a kabocha squash was, so I had to look it up. I learned that a kabocha squash is a popular winter squash. Picture the greenish-yellow squash variety in the grocery store that kind of look like small little pumpkins, and you’ve got your kabocha squash visual. However, when I went to the store, the ones that I thought were kabocha squash were labeled buttercup squash instead, not to be confused with butterNUT. After a little help from the world-wide web, I then learned that both kabocha and buttercup squash are in the same squash family, they can be substituted for each other, but they are not the same. Regardless, both are very sweet and creamy, even more so than butternut squash (my fave) is.

Long story long, buttercup squash it was! I also made some further adjustments to Damaris’ original recipe, as noted below.

Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 small buttercup squash (peeled, seeded and diced) — original recipe called for kabocha
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil – original recipe called for coconut oil, but my uncle is allergic!
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds – original recipe called for pecans, but my other uncle thinks he’s allergic (he’s not)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby kale
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 30 frozen mini phyllo shells, thawed
  • Grated gruyere cheese – you could also use gouda cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the squash and unpeeled garlic with the grape seed oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, then roast. Toss halfway through until the squash is tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. After the squash is cooking, make the pesto. First, peel the roasted garlic. Mash with the flat side of a chef’s knife to make a paste; transfer to a food processor. Add the sunflower seeds, and pulse until finely ground. Add the kale and pulse until chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil and purée until smooth.
  4. Arrange the phyllo shells on a baking sheet. Add about 1 teaspoon pesto to each. Then add 1 or 2 pieces of squash and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Kale PestoSquash Tartlets with Kale PestoKale Pesto Squash Tartlets with Kale PestoThese were a crowd pleaser. At least I assume they were since there were none left by the time I left my grandfather’s house! The squash was definitely creamier than other squash varieties, so the internet didn’t fail with educating me, but I think they would be just as delicious using your regular ole butternut if you prefer. I also enjoyed being different by making a pesto with kale instead of the more traditional basil recipes. I don’t LOVE kale on its own, but I like discovering new ways to cook with it, and this recipe was a great find.

Next time you have to bring an appetizer with you to a party, give this one a whirl!
–Let’s chat–
What’s your favorite kind of squash? Favorite pesto? Favorite appetizer dish?

Weekly Eats

Hey, hey, hey.  My father shared a fun factoid (obviously) with me this morning as we were discussing my upcoming trip to Portland, Maine this week.  Apparently Portland has the most restaurants per square mile over any other city in the United States.  For a foodie, this is perfect.  Tim and I have already gotten so many restaurant recommendations on where to eat that we don’t have enough days to try them all!  The next Weekly Eats post will be a good one, I promise you that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this week’s eats with you guys before I leave you!

Breakfast

Our best breakfast last week was hands down the blueberry and strawberry pancakes we made last weekend.  Sundays are just the best pancake day, aren’t they?  For these pancakes we used some Bob’s Red Mill mix that I won in a blog giveaway a while ago.  If you have some of this at home, I just blended 2 cups of the mix with 2 eggs, 2 tbsp of coconut oil, 1.5 cups of coconut milk, and 2 tsp of chia seeds before mixing in the blueberries and strawberries.  This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.

Blueberry and Strawberry Pancakes

Lunches

At the beginning of the week, we used up some of our fruit and greens and ate fruit and barley salads.  The greens were a combination of baby spinach, kale, and arugula.

Barley fruit salad

Toward the end of the week, I tried out a new spin on quinoa.  Quinoa tabbouleh!  This was so incredibly simple to make – just combine cooked white quinoa with some halved cherry or grape tomatoes and diced cucumber, then mix all together with some lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  My group at work is having another salad club lunch soon, and I am considering bringing this as my dish!  I thought the cucumber added a nice crunch to an otherwise “soft” kind of meal.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Dinners

Sunday
Broccoli tacos.  Yes, I said broccoli tacos.  These may sound a little gross, but they were actually really good!  We have been closely following this season of The Next Food Network Star, and I am rooting for Nikki Dinki because I really like her viewpoint of “meat on the side.”  Also, she started out as a blogger, turned her blog into a cooking show on You Tube, and now could potentially be the next Food Network Star!  Anyways, these broccoli tacos are a recipe I found on her website and adapted for a different kind of Sunday night dinner.

Broccoli Tacos

Monday
It’s dinner like these that make me really appreciate my boyfriend that loves to cook!  Check out Tim’s citrus pesto swordfish.  The flakiness of the fish allowed for the pesto to really sink into every bite.  We enjoyed this seafood dinner with a side of the same summer squash and zucchini ribbon salad that I loved so much last week.

Citrus Pesto Swordfish

Tuesday
Burger night!  Double bean veggie burgers topped with avocado and sliced tomato, with leftover summer squash and zucchini salad on the side.

Double Bean Veggie Burgers

Wednesday
Tim stuck his hand into the chicken butt!  Ewwwww.  Having the beer helps to keep the chicken moist while cooking, but it still retains a crispy outside.  We paired this with a side of sweet potato and beet hash.  It was a pretty Thanksgiving-ish meal for July, but that’s okay.  All we were missing was the cranberry sauce!

Beet and Sweet Potato Hash

Thursday
On Thursday night, Slesh invited me over for a dinner date.  I was bummed that Bridget and Karla couldn’t make it, but Slesh and I had a good time catching up.  We ate marinated turkey tips with some quinoa and a salad topped with some of my farm share goodies.

Turkey Tips

The rest of the night was spent snacking and drinking wine!  I just couldn’t resist picking up these Effie’s treats on the way over.

Effie's Homemade

Friday
Friday night was much needed girls night with Ashley and Monique after the very crappy day I had.  We met up at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square.  I had been to Russell House before, but only for drinks.  Boy have I been missing out!  We started out with some cocktails at the bar while waiting for our table to be ready.  I went out on a limb and ordered the “So What,” which was a refreshing gin and cucumber and lime drink with soda water.

Cucumber and gin

After we were seated, we split a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  Also, Monique randomly knew the owner of the restaurant, so lucky for us we got three small plates on the house!

Small Plates Russell House

From left to right:
– The smoked pig’s tail pierogi with parsnip purée and an apple cider reduction
– The Fiore Di Nonno burrata, which included black garlic, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and thai and opal basil
– And a crispy soft poached farm egg which had pecorino aioli, toasted brioche, and pancetta

We decided we were having so much fun sampling all these cool small plates that we wanted to order a couple more:

Small Plates Russell House 2

-Crab cakes over a candy striped beet and apple salad and a sweet pickle tartar
-Braised beef tongue meatballs with roasted Tomato, taleggio, and crispy sage

Since we each only had a few bites of each small plate, we finished up the night with a pizza!

Sprout Pizza

Half was the sprout pizza and half was the smoked chicken.  Everything we ate was so delicious (the perfect foodie night), and I had so much fun with two of my favorite gym friends!

Me Monique and Ashley

Saturday
Saturday was a throw together dinner, as we had SO many farm share veggies we wanted to use up before vacation.  The solution?  A gigantic veggie stir-fry.  With a little teriyaki and served over couscous, it made for a good throw together dinner.

Veggie Stir Fry

Some other fun things worth mentioning…

Favorite treat…

Definitely the ice cream we got for National Ice Cream Day!

National Ice Cream Day

Chocolate chip and almond.  Yum!

Favorite beer…

The Cambridge Brewing Company’s summer hefeweizen.  Perfect.

CBC Summer Hefe-Weizen

And one last favorite…

The pineapple mango peach smoothie that I enjoyed this morning at Cafenation with Liz, Emily, and Theresa after Emily’s 20/20/20 class.  Hit the spot.

Pineapple Mango Peach Smoothies

Okay that’s it!  Make sure to check in this week for my guest bloggers’ appearances on F&F.  They have some good posts coming your way!