I’ve been confused by a few things this past weekend.
For example, how does ice freeze like this, when it’s lying flat in the freezer? Please some science genius email me and explain this because it’s baffling.
Also, photography has been confusing me no end. More specifically, the lighting of my photography lately. As winter draws in and it’s getting dark earlier, I’ve been really struggling to get good shots of my dinner recipes to post on the blog.
Although this could be a great excuse for me to jump in and finally trade my 5-year-old Olympus SLR for the Nikon I’ve been drooling over for months, it’s actually not really a camera issue. Yes, a better-quality camera probably would help somewhat but it’s more to do with environment lighting at the time of shooting and post-editing.
I have Photoshop Elements that I use for all my basic edits and collages (well, the really basic edits – cropping, etc – I use iPhoto for). Averie, who is an amazing food photographer, recommended that I purchase Lightbox. I might do that but I have had Photoshop Elements for a few months now and haven’t even started to look into what that can do and I want to avoid just loading up on software without taking the time to really look at any of its capabilities. I’ve been reading Angela‘s posts about photography too, but I need to read around a bit more. As you’ll see in the images in this post, the shadows and the harshness caused by artificial lighting are just really starting to get me down!
The other thing that confused me this past weekend? Well, I went across the border to Bellingham, WA for some quick shopping on Friday and stocked up on these:
But seriously, how come it takes me just an hour to drive across the border and load up on all these yummy flavours, but they still don’t stock them in Canada? (Sorry, they do stock the LARABAR cookie dough flavour but it’s brand-new and isn’t in any of the local stores I go to). Chocolate Chunk? Chocolate-Dipped Coconut? I didn’t even know these flavours existed, and they’re soooo good! (Chocolate-Dipped Coconut tastes like a Bounty Bar :)).
The best thing? I love LUNA bars and LARABARs, but they can be pricey. I can pay up to $1.79 here for a LUNA bar, and usually over $2 for a LARABAR (if I’m not buying in boxes). Despite the fact that the Canadian and US $ are pretty much on par right now, Target charge just 99 cents for a LUNA bar and just over $1 for a LARABAR.
Anyway…a lovely girl at Whole Foods explained to me that in Canada, because all labelling has to be in both French and English, new products coming from US companies can take a bit longer to get to us up here, so at least confusion is solved on that issue. If anyone can help out with the ice mystery or the photography issues, please let me know ;).
What didn’t confuse me this weekend was this pilaf-stuffed acorn squash. It takes time to make only because you have to wait for the squash to cook. It has a lot of ingredients only because that makes it taste GREAT. But despite the length of time and the length of the ingredients list, this is so easy to make, honest!
You just prep your squash, put it in the oven, then basically stirfry all the filling ingredients together and stuff it. Bake a little longer to make it crispy and then eat. I promise! It’s one of those recipes I made up and then worked on over time and now I think it’s got the perfect blend of flavours, textures and nutrients. I hope you like!
Pilaf-Stuffed Acorn Squash
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 as main course)
1 acorn squash, halved and with seeds/string scooped out
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil-based margarine (I use Olivina) – you can use butter or other margarine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
3/4 cup oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup grated carrot
2 green onions, chopped
1 green apple, cored and diced (peeled if not organic)
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup cooked white rice
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 egg (can be omitted for vegan version)
1/4 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper
1. Melt margarine, sage and garlic together in a bowl and brush over acorn halves. Place acorn halves on a lined baking sheet, cut side up, and bake at 425F for 50-60 minutes or until tender.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook shallot, garlic and mushrooms for a few minutes. Add red pepper, carrot, green onions and apple and cook until mushrooms are tender and apples are starting to brown.
3. Add rice, stir in breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast and add up to 1/3 cup water (the mixture won’t be wet, but you don’t want it to fall apart easily either).
4. Stir in egg and seasonings and take off the heat.
5. When the squash is cooked, take filling and stuff half of it into each acorn squash half. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes (until the top of the stuffing is crispy and golden).
6. Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional information per serving if serves 4: