Almost Forgot About Pie

With all that’s been going on lately, I almost forgot to go into more detail about the various pies that we had on Thanksgiving. My wife made two pies from scratch – an apple crumble and a pecan pie. My daughter brought over a no-bake chocolate pumpkin pie.

No-bake Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

The chocolate pumpkin pie was totally new to me. I’d never even heard of such a thing. I was also quite surprised that it was not baked like most pies. Then again, a normal chocolate pie isn’t baked so I guess it may make some sense after all. Mixing chocolate and pumpkin seemed like a strange idea. I’ve tried chocolate covered fruit before and didn’t care for it. I’m a chocoholic, so I’m very picky about my chocolate. Don’t go tainting it with fruit or vegetables. It looked a bit like a normal chocolate pie, but it definitely didn’t taste like one. It used the darker, less sweet chocolate and had a strange aftertaste that I just didn’t like.

Homemade Pecan Pie

The pecan pie was one my wife really thought I’d like. It is supposed to be very sweet and since I have a sweet tooth, I had high hopes for this one. She said the pecans kind of dissolve into a sweet gooey filling. The middle of the pie certainly did, but the top still has distinct pecans. I’m not really into nuts, except peanuts which aren’t really a nut anyway. They are legumes. When I tried some of the pie, it had a very sweet taste, but also a very nutty aftertaste which ruined it for me.

The final pie we had for Thanksgiving was an apple pie. Linda made it from scratch and used a lot of cinnamon, which I love. I failed to take a picture of it, but it looked pretty good. The crumble topping was really tasty too. The middle of the pie was OK. I’m not really into apples, but with the cinnamon it was something I could probably learn to like. Of the 3 pies, this was definitely the best. If she makes another one for Christmas I’ll probably give it another try.

Acorn Squash Recipe

Recently, my wife and I picked up an acorn squash to try. We’ve never had one before so we looked around for a recipe that looked like something we might like. She came up with one that seemed kind of similar to the butternut squash recipe that we didn’t like. (Cue dark, foreboding music).

Ingredients:

  • Acorn Squash
  • 2 tbsp Dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Butter

Directions:

  1. Cut the acorn squash down the middle – Use a large knife as this is not easy.
  2. Remove the seeds.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees in a pan with the cut side down.
  4. Remove from oven and turn over.
  5. Add butter to each half.
  6. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to each half.
  7. Return to the oven to cook another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and scoop out the squash to serve.

As soon as we started, I had a bad feeling. The acorn squash looked a lot like the butternut squash except it is more round. It has that same orange color. It also has a similar smell. They both remind me of pumpkin. I guess that makes sense since the pumpkin is a kind of squash too. All three are considered “winter squash”.

As with the butternut squash, I was really hoping that the brown sugar would make it taste good. Well, brown sugar let me down again. Even with brown sugar and cinnamon, I didn’t like it. Neither did Linda. We have concluded that we just aren’t winter squash people. However, Linda says that she thinks I might like pumpkin pie. She might make one later this year for me to try.

From what I’m hearing from people, if you don’t like butternut squash or acorn squash prepared with brown sugar, chances are you just don’t like the squash and no recipe will change that. I think we will likely continue our efforts with summer squash when they are in season again.

Candied Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Honey Recipe

My wife bought a butternut squash at least a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been putting off using it till we could figure out what to do with it. Well, the other day she found a recipe that looked like something I might actually like that has honey and cinnamon in it. Cinnamon is one of my favorite ingredients after all. I’ve modified the original recipe to include brown sugar and nutmeg based on some of the comments on the site.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Scoop seeds out of butternut squash.
  2. Arrange butternut squash pieces, cut-side down, in a large baking dish.
  3. Pour hot water in the baking dish to a depth of about 1/4-inch.
  4. Bake butternut squash at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Cool squash; peel.
  6. Cut squash into 1/2-inch squares and place in a 9x13x2-inch baking dish.
  7. Pour butter and honey over squash, then sprinkle with pecans and cinnamon.
  8. Return to oven and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until butternut squash is glazed and hot.

Unlike regular squash, butternut squash is kind of hard. It was not easy to slice it open to get the seeds out. Once I had it cut open, it kind of resembled pumpkin. It was orange inside and had seeds that looked a bit like pumpkin seeds as well. Because it is such a hard vegetable to cut, I’d suggest using a rather large chef knife or something similar.

I wasn’t quite sure how the recipe called for them to be quartered lengthwise, so I just made another long cut which left them kind of looking like giant spoons of some sort.

While I let them bake in the oven to soften, I chopped up the pecans and mixed the other ingredients. I did things a little differently than called for in the original recipe. They mentioned pouring the butter and honey over the squash and then sprinkling with pecan and cinnamon. I decided it would be better to mix them all together and pour the whole thing over them.

I added the butter and honey to the pecans with the other ingredients and mixed them thoroughly before pouring them over the squash. I put it back in the over for about 20 minutes and went on to prepare the tilapia we were having. The butternut squash looked great when it came out of the oven.

We fixed up out plate with tilapia, butternut squash, and peas. As we headed out into the other room to eat, I was hopeful that the cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey had made the butternut squash sweet and delicious.

Well, that didn’t quite go like I planned. The initial taste of cinnamon, brown sugar and honey was OK, but there was an awful aftertaste that I didn’t care for at all. I haven’t had pecans before so I wasn’t sure if it was them or the butternut squash at first. I’m pretty sure it was the squash since it kind of tasted a little like the squash smelled when I first cut it open.

Linda didn’t care for it either. At first maybe I thought I had messed up or the squash wasn’t ripe or maybe over ripe. However, Linda took it in to Gold’s Gym the next day and some of the people there loved it.

All in all, I’d have to say this probably won’t go over well with a fussy eater, but it may be quite a treat for those with a less picky palate.

via Butternut Squash Recipe – Candied Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Honey.

Here is Linda’s take on the butternut squash. http://www.getmotivatedgetmovinggethealthy.com/2012/09/29/butternut-squash-oy-vey/

Citrus Garlic Chicken Tacos

My wife picked up this citrus garlic marinade the other day and wanted to try it for tacos. I’m not a fan of garlic, but she says it’s in other things I do eat. I figured the citrus flavor would probably be the stronger taste anyway. It also gets grilled so I thought some of the marinade would get cooked off. I put the chicken in a food storage bag with the marinade for about 30 minutes. I didn’t care for the smell at all, which didn’t bode well.

The chicken came out looking really good and juicy. I sliced it into strips to put into tacos. Since I was a bit nervous about trying them, Linda offered to take the pieces on the outside with more seasoning on them. I just used the pieces from the inside that only had a little.

We both added a little shredded colby jack cheese and microwaved them about 30 seconds to get the cheese to melt and the tortilla to soften a bit. Linda then added sour cream to hers. I left mine as is and rolled it up. I always fold up the very bottom first so nothing will fall out. Then I roll it up from the side closest to the meat and cheese.

So it pretty much looked like a typical taco with chicken (we usually use ground turkey). I bit into the first bite and it wasn’t bad. I didn’t really get any seasoning until a few bites later. Only the cheese made that bearable at all. The garlic in the marinade was a bit stronger than I thought. It also had cilantro so that might have also turned me off. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be having one of these again – at least not with that marinade.

Everybody’s Favorite Power Juice?

So today my wife decided to break out her juicer to make a recipe she found in her “The Best of Clean Eating” cookbook that one of our daughters gave her. We had picked up several of the ingredients at the Farmer’s Market and needed to use them before they went bad. Here’s the recipe for what they call “Everybody’s Favorite Power Juice”.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 beet
  • 1 inch square of fresh ginger

Instructions:

  1. Wash the spinach and apple. Scrub the carrots and beet, but do not peel.
  2. Peel the ginger
  3. Juice in a juicer. Stir then enjoy.

I think they need to rename this recipe. It is not my favorite power juice. It wasn’t in “The Stroganoff Column“, but I didn’t care for it. I think it was the spinach, but I’m not really sure. I do like a small amount of ginger as a spice. I’m not sure about the beet or the carrots. I do tolerate apple flavor, although I don’t eat apples. Even my wife didn’t drink a whole glass of this stuff.

Any suggestions on how we could have done this differently? Perhaps a completely different juicer recipe?

Duh! It is Celery Root

So I tried the Root Vegetable Mash recipe I found. When preparing it a few things struck me. First, it is a much harder vegetable than sweet potato. Second, it smells like celery. When the vegetables were boiling there was the unmistakable smell of celery – a smell I dislike. Then suddenly I realized “Duh! It is celery root!”. That was one strike against the dish already since smell is closely tied to taste.

It took a little longer than 20 minutes to cook. Perhaps I didn’t cut them up small enough. After about 30 minutes they were ready to mash. I broke out our potato masher and got to work.

When I was done, it didn’t look very appetizing. I’ve already mentioned how the way food looks can affect a fussy eater. This was strike two.

Since my goal is to find new foods I’ll eat, I gave it a try anyway. While it certainly wasn’t in “The Stroganoff Column“, I definitely didn’t care for it. I decided to try to make the best of a bad situation and looked around for something to punch it up a bit. I sectioned off the mash into separate portions to try a few things

First, I tried adding a little chili powder. I figured if it worked for sweet potato fries it might work here too. Sadly, it didn’t. Next, I tried one of my favorite ingredients, cinnamon. That didn’t help either. Finally, I decided to try brown sugar – partially because I have a sweet tooth and partially because I remember some kind of dish my wife would make with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and marshmallows. That was a little better, but I think I would have had to spoon a lot of it in to make it good enough to finish.

So in conclusion, I’m going to have to pass on this dish. I’ll need to find another way to prepare celeriac in the future. Any ideas?

Beware of Dog

I’m sure you’ve probably seen these signs at some point or another. They protect you because thieves are afraid of what’s inside the house. The same kind of thing applies to fussy eaters.

A fussy eater will often avoid certain foods because of what’s in them. I don’t like onions, so I’ll avoid foods that have onions in them. The same is true for garlic. However, there are sometimes exceptions. I don’t like tomatoes, but I will eat pizza which contains pizza sauce. I also eat ketchup which is primarily tomatoes. However, I don’t eat spaghetti with sauce. I have tasted spaghetti sauce and it is not the same as pizza sauce (as I’m sure any Italian mother can confirm).

In order to get your fussy eater to try something you are going to have to avoid the “What’s in it?” question. That’s easier said than done. It’s the first question I ask when given something new. This is where a certain level of trust helps. My wife Linda knows some of the things I strongly dislike. She won’t have me try something that contains them. So I have to trust her and not ask what’s in a new dish until after I have tried it. This works well with older fussy eaters, but may be more difficult with the younger ones.

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