Monday, December 21, 2009

Transformation

Sometimes in life we are called to transform. Change. Do something different. Maybe even out of character. And when I say sometimes, I mean constantly. In each moment we are called to learn, grow, and continue to deepen our understanding of ourselves.  In each moment, we are becoming the people that we are meant to be. That is one of the things I find most fascinating about people. How someone can say something that changes the way I look at them the next moment. I call it depth. We all have it. That something that surprises people. That inner complexity that is hidden just under the surface waiting to be discovered. That is what I love about people; digging deeper and as a result my vision of them changing in an instant.

I was recently called to transform. It's like the ancient Native American wisdom; as we walk along the trail of life we carry a bowl and each experience we have is like a little stone we pick up and put into the bowl. To change, all we have to do is turn the bowl upside down and then shine our light there. So that is what I did, I dumped my bowl. With it went all my belongings, my job, and my daily scenery. I packed up what stones I thought were worth keeping and drove from Chicago, IL to Dayton, MT. I left behind the job and relationship that didn't seem to "fit" in order to find what did. During this "growth spurt" I realized that life was too short not to live every moment to the fullest.


This dramatic shift was pretty terrifying at the time. But now? I couldn't be happier that I dumped my bowl of stones; some of them turned out to be gravel anyway. So I didn't loose much and I am now gathering new stones, precious ones, and transforming my life one moment at a time.

This same transformation can be accomplished through food. One meal can turn into a totally different meal in the blink of an eye by adding new ingredients thus changing the flavor profile and overall flavor constructs. The recipes in this blog demonstrate how I have taken one ingredient and transformed it to make three very different meals. Each meal builds off the previous and by adding new ingredients I change the feel of the dish. In essense, I am using left overs to build new and original dishes. I start with Cinnamon Roasted Squash, then turn it into Savory Ham and Squash Pasta with a creamy tomato sauce, and end with a Squash Mac N Cheese.  With each meal I serve a fresh salad and I show you how to make Easy Homemade croutons.

Enjoy these recipes and share the transformations with your friends and family. Remember that you are only a stones throw away from change!


Cinnamon Roasted Squash

2 large butternut squashes
3 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons cloves
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. Slice each squash into quarters and lie on a baking sheet. Coat each squash piece with olive oil using your hands to rub the oil on each piece. Then sprinkle the squash with the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. When cooked through the squash should be easily pierced with a fork.

This can be served along side barbeque pork, steak, or teriyaki chicken as is. It makes an easy and healthy side dish to accompany almost any meat dish. We ate it alongside turkey for our first meal and it was delicious!

Savory Ham and Squash Pasta with creamy tomato sauce

Cinnamon roasted squash (see recipe above)
1 package low sodium deli ham
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion diced
4 cloves garlic diced
2 cups low sodium tomato juice
1/2 cup fat free cream
1 13.25 oz box of whole wheat penne pasta

Heat a large pot of water until boiling and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. While the pasta water is heating, dice the squash and deli ham into bite size peices. Then grab a large skillet or sauté pan and pour the olive oil into the pan and swirl the oil to coat the bottom. Next put the onion and garlic in the pan to sauté until onions become transluscent. Add the diced ham and squash in the pan along side the onions and garlic. Cook until all are heated through. Then incorporate the tomato juice and cream to the pan and mix all ingredients. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the pasta and add the pasta to the pan. Combine all ingredients and allow to heat thoroughly and flavors to combine before serving.

Top with parmesean cheese and serve with a little extra on the table. This pasta is a great accompanied by garlic bread and a salad. Make sure you make plenty so there will be left overs to make the recipe below!

Roasted Squash Mac N Cheese

Using leftovers from the Ham and Squash pasta with creamy tomato sauce, we are going to create fabulous Mac N Cheese!

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small apple diced
Leftover Ham and Squash pasta (see recipe above)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take the left over pasta and combine with the diced apple and shredded cheddar cheese reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese. Pour into an ungreased baking dish. Top with reserved cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Easy as that! Your friends and family will flip for the apple in this recipe!

You can also do this recipe from scratch using the penne pasta recipe in combination with the Mac N Cheese. Remember it is all about transforming one concept and continuing to build on one flavor. We are adding new ingredients and creating new healthy and fun meals at each turn!

Easy Homemade Croutons

1 loaf of day old bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons parmesean cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dice day old bread into bite sized peices. I used a crusty italian bread that worked great for this recipe. Place bread cubes in a large boil and sprinkle the olive oil over the bread cubes tossing the them as you pour the olive oil. Toss until all are coated with the olive oil. Then add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesean cheese. Place all the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until bread cubes are crisp. These can last for several days, but they won't if you tell people where you're hiding them! They can be put on salads, in soups, and eaten just as is.

Enjoy these recipes and remember tranformation can be scary, but in the kitchen it can be tons of fun too!
Love and Peace from your kitchen from ours!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

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