21 October 2010

Butternut Squash Stew with Black Beans

This recipe is one of our favorites. It's a delicious way to serve up some squash. Enjoy!

From: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking, 2nd ed. Ellen Brown

Butternut Squash Stew with Black Beans
3 TB. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 TB. paprika
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
red pepper flakes
1 (approx 2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 TB. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 cups firmly packed baby spinach leaves, rinsed
2 or 3 cups cooked couscous (or rice)

1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add paprika, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Scrape mixture into slow cooker.
2. Add squash, stock, tomatoes, beans, apricots, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or on high for 2.5 to 3 hours or until squash is almost tender.
3. While squash is cooking, toast almonds at 350 in oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.
4. If cooking slow cooker on low, raise heat to high. Add spinach and season with salt. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until spinach is tender. Remove and discard lemon zest, and serve immediately over couscous or rice.

Use dried currants instead of apricots, or use Swiss chard instead of spinach.

12 October 2010

Project Saturday

A few weeks ago my husband and I declared it "Project Saturday." We both spent the majority of the day working on our own projects. I dug out my sewing machine and tried my hand at applique. I made pillow covers for the couch throw pillows. I bought these pillow forms awhile back and I've been trying to decide what to do with them. I read some blogs and watched some YouTube videos about applique. It wasn't as difficult as I imagined. I started out making sketches of the designs I wanted. I traced these onto some iron-on transfer. Then, I cut the shapes out of the fabric and transfer. I arranged the design on the background fabric and ironed it all together. It was pretty slick! The hardest part was using my machine to stitch the edges around the shapes. They aren't perfect, but my skill had improved drastically by the end.

While I spent most of the day at the kitchen table, Sam spent it out on the porch.

He was constructing a case from the organ he assembled. He also built a TV antenna. Both endeavors were successful. He has since built a second antenna, which doubled the number of channels that we were getting with the first.

Here are our successes from the day: