Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stuffed Acorn Squash

 Sausage-stuffed acorn squash with apple, celery and onion.

This is one of our favorite fall meals! I'm not sure if I made this recipe up or if I read about it somewhere. Probably a little of both. But it is so yummy and we get very excited when it's on the menu!

To prepare this recipe, you will need:

  • Acorn squash- I usually prepare one half per person. 
  • Sausage - Any sausage that you can crumble and cook is fine. I used beef sausage for the squash pictured. I'm sure ground beef or even diced chicken would work. Whatever floats your boat!
  • Add-ins:  Pick several of these options or come up with your own- chopped apple, chopped celery, diced onion, cranberries, raisins, cooked rice, chopped nuts- whatever you like! This time, I used apple, celery, and onion.
  • Spices: I like garlic, salt and pepper and a little sage for this dish. 
1. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds. Save the seeds for roasting just like pumpkin seeds! Place squash cavity-side down in a baking dish. Add a little water to pan, probably about a 1/2 inch or so.

2. Bake squash at 375 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes or until flesh is soft.

3. While squash is baking, crumble and brown sausage in skillet. Add your choice of apple, celery, etc. Cook on medium heat until all items are to desired softness.

4. When squash is cooked, remove from oven. Drain water out of pan and flip squash right side up. Be careful with this; it will be hot! 

5. Fill squash cavities with sausage mixture. If you'd like, you can add a little butter to the squash before filling them. I sometimes like to drizzle a little honey over the top.

6. Return to oven for about 15 minutes until everything is hot and ready. I often make these earlier in the day so naturally you will need to lengthen the heating time if they are cold to start with.

7. Serve!

** I used about 1/2 pound of meat, 2 small Gala apples, 1/2 cup of onion and 2 stalks of celery for this recipe. It made double the amount that I needed to fill two acorn squash halves. I think I can safely say that this amount would make enough for 4. I added the extra to some cooked brown rice as a side dish. I often like to serve this dish with brown rice and some kind of cooked greens such as kale on the side.

Now, if you saved the seeds, wash them and drain them the best you can and go ahead and roast them like in these instructions.

These are great for topping salads or eating plain for a snack!

Apple Cinnamon Air Freshener

With all the wonderful rain we've had this week, I began to notice a musty smell in our house.

Regular air freshener wasn't really doing much of anything and I wasn't cooking anything at the time that could permeate the house with a more pleasing scent.

I sliced an apple and put it in a small saucepan with a couple of cinnamon sticks and enough water to cover.

Allowing this simple mixture to simmer on the stove top did the trick! What a  nice autumn-y smell!

This mixture can also be used in a potpourri pot or a tiny crock pot. Always use common sense and make sure enough water is always in the pot as it does cook down over time as well as turning it off before leaving the house!

Learning From Him- Idols

At a church freedom gathering several weeks ago, the speaker read from Deuteronomy 5. What stood out the most to me was the verse" You shall have no other gods before me."

My heart was immediately pierced with conviction although I had no idea at the time what kind of idols I had put before God.

Through prayer, God showed me that my marriage had become an idol to me.


The next day He showed me that homemaking was next on the 'idol list.'

Double ouch!

I don't know that I can adequately explain how these 2 things have become idols to me except that they were certainly consuming more of my time and thoughts than He was. I was more concerned with my performance in my roles and what other people thought of me than I was about pleasing God.

I will mention right here that marriage is very important and is something that deserves a lot of time and effort. It is after all, instituted by God Himself! To be a homemaker is also a high calling and not one to be taken lightly. 

But nothing... nothing... not even marriage or family should ever take higher priority than my personal relationship with God the Father. 

In the past few weeks, I've been allowing Him to help me get my priorities back into balance. I'm learning to trust Him more with my marriage and home. I'm beginning to learn how to 'be' rather than 'doing' all the time. It's the constant doing, striving and competing that causes me to feel overwhelmed which leads to feelings of personal failure and incompetence in every area of my life, especially in regards to homemaking and marriage.

Still meditating on Matthew 11: 28-30, I am reminded too of so many expectations that I put on myself that are of my own doing. Not God's. His commands are not burdensome(I John 5: 3 ) and His yoke is easy and burden light! He sees me as a beloved Child regardless of what I do, wear, cook or how well I manage my time.

These past few weeks have been so freeing for me! I have so enjoyed listening to God's voice as He instructs me on a daily basis. I'm nowhere near perfection yet;  I still have a whole lot to learn but it is a life-long process!

What has God been teaching you lately? 

I'll be sharing more on what God is showing me in some specific areas soon. In addition, I have several practical posts to put up this week. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Learning From Him

In the past few days, God has been showing me just how "out of whack" my life has become. And He wants to restore order and balance!

I'll be taking some time to step back, reevaluate and learn from God the Father as He teaches me and draws me back into a balanced relationship with Him.

I don't know how long this will be and whether or not it will be a complete blogging break. I may check in now and then and I may not. Regardless, I sense the need for a season of quietness and resting in Him.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) call out to me:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." 

Blessings to all of you! I look forward to being back soon and sharing what God is teaching me.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

New-To-Us Furnishings

Several weeks ago, this pulled up to our house:

Thankfully, it wasn't completely full nor was everything for us! My father-in-law and a friend were headed to Upstate NY to move Andy's grandparents down to live with his parents.

To make room, we were offered some furnishings that would be useful to us. These things were brought in the truck.

We now have a queen size bed that came with a wonderfully soft sage green blanket and FOUR sets of sheets. (I know it looks bare; haven't gotten around to decorative pillows yet!)

Another dresser. 


We are so grateful for these items to use in our slightly-bigger new home.

One thing I appreciate about my husband's parents is how generous they are. They give and give. And with the recent downsizing of several households, they have plenty to offer. I do have to make sure that the items that come into our house are only those I have requested as they love to add extra boxes and bags to the load! You just never know what they will throw in.:-)

Looking around our home, I see very few items that were purchased new. Almost everything has come from yard sales, thrift stores or charitable donations from family. I'm so thankful for what we've been given and hope that someday we'll be able to bless others like this!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Chamomile Tea For Cramps

Just a warning to any male readers: This post is about "woman stuff". You may want to move along now! Shoo, shoo!


A number of years ago, I read in a magazine that drinking a cup of chamomile tea helps to relieve menstrual cramps

Even though I can't remember the name of the magazine, I've used this "remedy" ever since then and it really does help. Sometimes, it totally eliminates the need for Tylenol and other times not. But it certainly makes things a bit more bearable. If that is possible.

So with my cup of tea beside my laptop today, I thought, "That would be a great topic for a WFMW post!" 

Drinking chamomile tea once a month works for me. Maybe it will also work for you!

**This post is a part of Works For Me Wednesday

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Worth Reading

I don't usually cry and I have tears in my eyes after reading this beautiful story at We Are THAT Family.

Chances are that it will touch your heart too, so hop on over there!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Over the weekend, we had two opportunities to show God's love by sharing some homemade goodies. We embraced the opportunity and made the effort to follow through.

We have a new neighbor who just moved in across the street. We had already popped over there to investigate say hello and then on Saturday, we felt that we should take a loaf of homemade bread. I bagged it up and sent Andy on over. Two minutes later, he was back, with the story that he tripped on a dip at the edge of the street and the bag of bread went flying. The loaf fell out and hit the ground. Apparently the twist-tie had slipped off as we found it on our porch the next day!

 Andy was going to meet a friend on Monday and since I had baked cinnamon rolls that morning, I felt compelled to share a couple of the rolls with this friend. They were on the table ready to go and both of us totally forgot about them until later. Much later.

Two failed attempts in one weekend! The good intentions were certainly there. We even followed through with  doing what we felt God had impressed on our hearts. But the message of hospitality never made it from point A to point B either time.

So maybe God had other plans. I don't know. All I know is, I'll just keep on practicing!

Have any of you experienced situations like this?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- Back In The Saddle Again

I've taken a  couple of weeks off from menu planning and I'm glad to be getting back into it this week! Not having a plan doesn't work well at all for me...let me tell you. There's less stress, we eat better and our grocery budget stays in line better when I plan our menus.

I made a 4 week menu plan a few weeks ago and it needs some serious tweaking to be a perfect fit for this season of our lives. The first week worked great. The second not so much. And then I gave it up since I felt like a failure since it wasn't working. The truth is, I need to work on it more and change some meals around. I really want it to work since it will simplify my life! And it includes more of our favorite meals, which I often forget to include in my weekly meal plans. I love to eat.

In the meantime, I've used those meal plans as a guide from which to create this week's menu.I plan to make more of supper most nights so we have plenty for lunch the next day. It just might be easier than having to scrounge up something for lunch every day!

B- homemade cinnamon rolls
L- grilled hamburgers, chips, carrot-raisin salad
S- leftovers

B- cream of wheat
L- combination of leftovers and peanut butter sandwiches
S- meatloaf**, rice, steamed cauliflower, broccoli and carrot blend

B- sourdough waffles, scrambled eggs
L- leftovers
S- homemade pizza, spinach salad

B- cream of wheat
L- leftovers
S- omelets, toast, smoothies

B- baked oatmeal
L- egg salad sandwiches
S- spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

B- baked oatmeal
L- egg salad sandwiches
S- spaghetti leftovers

**This post is part of Menu Plan Mondays!