Chili-Maple Butternut Sqaush

Hello!  Oh, I have missed blogging.

The last post about saving time, money and energy has truly been helpful.  It was good to read that others are in the same boat – and busting out the crock pot or cooking double/extra whenever they can.  I am gone over and over the comments (and I suggest you do as well if you are looking for tips) to find the pearls of wisdom.  I am amazed by the tips.  A FEW of the AMAZING tips are:

The reality of my days has not really changed (although thanks to some schedule changes at school, I now have *only* 164 students).  (And yes, it IS a noticeable difference in the classes, but not overall.)  This fall the girls have been quite sick (pneumonia and bronchitis – of course, at different times = way too much time off school).  Just when I think I’ve hit a groove, there is a bump/hurdle or unexpected gaff.  The girls being sick is not something you can plan for – let alone when they are sick for two + weeks in a row.  My favorite gaff has resulted in a new kitchen faucet.
No matter how desperately needed (the old one from 1979 was a leaky mess), it was a series of plumbing foo-fahs that ushered in our new one.  My lovely husband decided that 9PM on Saturday night was a good time to fix the leak (while I was wrestling the two little ones in the bathtub/bedtime).  I heard shouts of “OH SH*T” followed by a yelp of pain and a “Katie!  Come quick!!”.  When I got into the kitchen, there was a geyser of steaming hot water shooting out of the faucet handle soaking the light fixture, the ceiling, my cookbooks, the spice drawers – EVERYTHING.
We shut off the water at the sink and cleaned up.  Sunday morning when we decided to just replace the faucet and the work started, we realized we had bigger problems:  the shut-off valve hose snapped off in the replacement of the faucet and the house water shut-off valve wouldn’t working.  The water wouldn’t stop.  And we had no water in the kitchen at all or it would flood.  So we had to wait for the city to shut the water off to the house (a skill I now possess thanks to a neighbor) before finishing our repairs.  (After a mere three more trips to the hardware store to pick up the appropriate plumbing supplies.)
Oh yes, the Keystone Cops of Plumbing were in the house with the two of us.
Really.  Maybe Mr. Bean would have had an easier time.
Oh – life.  What else can ya do.
I have taken a few tips from the previous commenters to make my life easier.  We are buying meats in bulk from CostCo.  We are sticking with the milk delivery (despite the slight higher cost) for a major time savings.  (No one likes to see crying babies at the grocer at night after work.)  We – as usual – eat 99% regularly GF foods.  When making GF bread or what not (a once a week endeavor lately as I have been working on an Oat & Honey Bread recipe), I am sticking to using the basic, whole-grain cheaper flour (like brown rice, oats and a small amount of tapioca starch or potato starch).  Mostly, we fill up on the foods you can find on the outside of the grocery store.
I’ve also tried prepping in advance.  Some nights while making dinner, I prep the dinner for the next night and get it all into the crock pot insert which I keep in the fridge until the next morning.  When the girls are eating breakfast, I finish putting it together  and start up the crock pot.  I haven’t yet had the courage to roast a whole chicken in the crock pot – but it’s so on the agenda!
This weekend I picked up some gorgeous butternut squash.  I blame Costco.  They sell it prepackaged, cut/washed, etc.  And I love butternut squash.  My Love?  Not so much.  So I didn’t pick up the CostCo pack.  Instead, I found a great squash at the market – on sale!  I know squash is not the highlight of most people’s lives.  Mine either – but sometimes you just can’t beat it.
Try this QUICK (hooray!) squash recipe sometime.  You might just change your mind.  (And it’s a nice variation on a veg for dinner.)

Chili-Maple Squash

Chili-Maple Butternut Squash

TIP:  To peel your squash more quickly, pierce the squash several times with a knife or fork.  Wrap it up in a dish towel and pop it in to the microwave for a couple minutes.  (Like 2 – 3 minutes, no more.)  It will peel SO MUCH easier – and be easier to chop as well.
NOTE:  I used a 2 pound squash.  I peeled and cubed the squash and divided it in half for two meals.  The ingredients listed below are for ONE POUND of squash.  Feel free to double, etc the recipe as needed.
Chili-Maple Squash
1  pound butternut squash (or other firm squash), peeled/seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel and seed squash.  (Or… umm.. go to Costco. :D)  Cut into 1 inch cubes.
  3. Toss squash pieces with melted butter, maple syrup, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Roast on a silpat/cookie sheet for 20 minutes until fork tender but not mushy.
  5. Serve along side your favorite dinner.
(And feel free not to share.)
And the next post?  That Oat & Honey Bread sans the plumbing drama, k?
~Happy Gluten Free Eats, All!

GF: Ginger and Spice Squash

I really didn’t plan to post today. BUT… I *am* still avoiding that stack of papers that need correcting. Blah. But since a gal’s gotta eat, baking is a great distraction. And tonight’s experiment proved blog worthy. Really.

My sister stopped over to borrow some CDs and so, well.. I made her stay a little longer (only 15 minutes longer) than she had planned. I had bought some squash this week and wanted to make it for dinner. The only problem is: my love does not love squash. I think it’s a texture thing. Whatever it is, it means I eat squash less than I otherwise would… and he eats gluten-free more than he otherwise would. I think I totally am coming out ahead here, huh?

While my sister and I chatter, I made the squash. It was done in less than 30 minutes (love that!) including prep and cooking time. I sent her home with half or more (hey – her husband actually EATS squash!). She called me from the road to tell me that the squash was “soooo good” and even tasted good with the sour cream I had given her. (How is it that I can buy 2 of ONE item without knowing it? Come on – my grocery carts only had 12 items in it… and I doubled up? yikes.)

I hadn’t tried the squash yet -but her phone call convinced me to take a bite despite the fact that I was now cooking dinner (Yummy taco salad! Thank you for the inspiration, Steve!). I took a bite of the squash and immediately called my sister.

“Hey K, you need to come back here,” I said.
“Why?” she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I said, “I think I just want that squash back. It’s just SOO good!”

Have no fear. I did NOT make my sister bring the squash back (nor did she volunteer to do so. Darn it! LOL) However, I did promise to post this recipe (measurements are rough – as I was just shaking and stirring. LOL). My sweet sis plans to try this recipe out this week again.

I hope you try it out too!

Ginger and Spice Squash
2 and 1/2 pound Swan White acorn or acorn squash
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pasilla chile powder – or chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
olive oil to drizzle


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Lay a silpat or parchment paper onto a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. (You can use tin foil as well, but be careful removing the squash slices as they may stick a bit.)
  3. Cut the squash in half (from top to bottom) and scrap out to remove seeds and pulpy threads.
  4. Turn each half open-side down on a cutting board and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices with a sharp knife.
  5. Place squash slices in a large bowl or ziploc bag.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together until all spices are evenly distributed the following: brown sugar, sea salt, chile powder, cumin, and ground ginger.
  7. Pour brown sugar/seasoning mixture over the squash slices and toss to coat evenly.
  8. Once squash slices are evenly coated, drizzle on 1 1/2 Tablespoons of GF soy sauce over the top and toss again until evenly distributed.
  9. Lay squash slices out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
  10. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes until tender.
  11. Allow to cool a bit before eating – because you are going to eat it fast!! No burning your tongues on the sweet and spicy squash slices.

My only regret with this recipe?
We ate it so fast.. there’s nothing left for lunch tomorrow. 😉

Happy GF Eating, All!

UPDATE:  I made this squash again tonight (told ya I stopped for another squash on the way in to work!  LOL)  However, tonight I made it with butternut squash and a little different mix.  This is what I did:

Butternut Squash with Ginger & Spices
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into “french fries” – 3″ long, 1/4″ thick slices
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pasilla chile powder
1 Tablespoon GF soy sauce
3 Tablespoons finely shredded parmesan-romano cheese
olive oil for drizzling.

1. In a small bowl, whisk/stir together until well incorporated:  brown sugar, sweet rice flour, cumin, salt, and pasilla chile powder.
2.  Toss squash slices together with the sugar/spice mixture in a ziploc baggie.
3.  Add grated cheese to baggie.  Toss again.
4.  Add soy sauce.  Toss again.
5.  Preheat oven to 450F.
6.  Prep a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper or a silpat.
7.  Lay slices out (or dump them out of the bag and then spread them) in one even layer.
8.  Drizzle with olive oil.
9.  Bake for 16-20 minutes or until it browns.
10.  Allow to cool a bit before biting in.

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