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skillet

Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

So, this past weekend I made not one, but two fully furnished cutting boards. I also made a butternut squash, and toasted its seeds. And a bumblebee costume from yellow duck tape, wire, and saran wrap (for the wings).

A productive weekend, if I do say so myself.

Now we shall see how productive this week becomes, as I sit and dream about crafting more woodworking projects. And eat crunchy, curried seeds as my mind drifts afloat.

Roasted Curry Butternut Seeds

Far too often, I quickly open butternuts, and toss the seeds without thinking twice. Yet, I’ve toasted the seeds on numerous occasions, and should know better than that by now.

Butternut nut squash seeds are tasty. They can be salty. And spicy. Or sweet. Or both. And are certainly worthy of saving.

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Eggs Simmered in Summer Tomato Sauce

Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce

Every time pasta’s in the picture, I’m asking my noodles to move over and make a little more room for the tomatoes in the bowl. I like to keep things saucy, and my linguine on its toes.

That being said, there’s rarely a ton of marinara leftover. However, when summer comes, I make my own, and I make sure that there’s plenty to spare. I chop all the tomatoes I have, onions, garlic, and sometimes a few other veggies, like eggplant, peppers, zucchini and summer squash. Then I add basil, thyme, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. It all gets paired with a slow simmer that yields a sauce that could easily be eaten by the spoon.

The result is also often a gallon full of red in and out of the pot on my stove. There will most definitely be room for leftovers, and recipes like this too.

Eggs Simmered in Summer Tomato Sauce

When you’ve got leftover sauce and no noodles to claim it, cracking a few eggs in it is a great way to go. It creates a light meal that goes perfectly with a side of crusty toast. I recommend going with a chunky sauce, one that almost errs more on the side of ratatouille than marinara. The extra veggies will add a nice platform for the eggs. If you’ve got a hot pepper, throw it in too. A spicy sauce with Parmesan topped eggs may have you saying goodbye to pasta all together.

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Southern Skillet Black-Eyed Peas and Cauliflower

Skillet Black Eye Pea and Cauliflower

The New York Times does a beautiful roundup of vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes every fall. It’s rare that I get around to utilizing any of these ideas before Christmas, but they generally serve just as well for the days that follow. Regardless of the time frame, I strive to produce a couple of these each year in my own kitchen, even if it’s just for a self-serving dinner. This year, I started with this saucy black-eyed pea and cauliflower dish. Considering New Years Day already passed, I guess that makes me extra late on making this, but I’m putting my faith in the fact that black-eyed peas can bring be good luck all year around.

I was really impressed with the results of this recipe. Once again, the New York Time’s Well blog doesn’t fail. The dish reminded me of a slightly lighter, tangier version of baked beans, which surprisingly worked really well with the black eyed peas. I upped the cauliflower in this too, which lightened it up a bit further.

I’m not sure the combination reminded me of the holidays, or at least the dinners that are traditional in my family, but it did hold a spicy heartiness that definitely spoke of wintertime. I love the sweet variance that just a small dose of cinnamon can lend to a dish.

NYT’s suggests serving with biscuits. I would conquer, or a crusty slice of bread. Although, the recipe’s sauciness could lend itself to everything from rice to grains, too. A dab of yogurt on top also makes a nice compliment to the dish.

Skillet Black Eye Pea and Cauliflower

Tomato Spinach Skillet Eggs

Eat light, eat right. That’s the motto I strive to abide by the week before every holiday feast.

With the presence of more casseroles, desserts and traditions than one girl’s body could ever need, I like to prepare in advance. Unfortunately, this is NOT always an easy task.

My kitchen’s been under a persistent state of production since Monday in preparation for Thanksgiving. And I’m not even hosting the feast. I will, however, be bringing two dishes to the table, a large basket of biscuits included.

It’s these buttery biscuits that are negating my motto. Never in my life have I made biscuits (the horror of this statement!). This, of course, means I must taste each batch as they come out of the oven, hours after dinner’s been served.

Like a cookie, one flaky biscuit leads to two, and before I know it, I’m not doing so hot with the whole eat light goal for the week. Oh well. Biscuits are worth it, especially when sampling two different varieties. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself 6:30 AM runs are worth it, too. No doubt, those will be the life and death of me.

Anyway, when constant cooking and cleaning is going down in the kitchen, simple, one-pot meals like these are essential. This one’s healthy, too, so you can feel good about eating this for any meal during the days leading up to, or following, a hearty holiday meal. Eat light, eat right, eat this. Little mess included.

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