OK, so it’s not February, sorry, but February was not good for favorite recipes. I don’t know what happened but I was in a bit of a rut with cooking. So I’m going to fall back on my favorite recipe for November and December. This became my go to recipe, I brought it to a couple parties and ate a ton of it at home. I even had meat eaters asking “are you sure there is no meat in this”. It’s a totally hearty and perfectly seasonal dish.

Nut-stuffed Delicata Squash from Sunset

It’s Nut Stuffed Delicata Squash – guess where I found this one?….. Sunset. I find so many good recipes in Sunset.

Anyways, this is such a yummy dish and one of the best parts is that you can eat the skin on the delicata squash.  So this is a perfect dish to bring to a party and you can cut it into little bite size chunks to pop into your mouth.  Another reason I love this dish so much is that I am able to get beautiful delicata squash from a local farm, Oak Hill Farm, right now the farm is closed but they are at our Friday Farmers Market.  All Fall and Winter they’ve been providing me with beautiful, organic delicata squash.

This dish is so hearty, it has walnuts, pistachios, almonds and pine nuts – yum.  Some people may think that vegetarian dishes aren’t filling enough, which is not true, and this dish is there to prove those individuals wrong.  I just pair it with a nice salad to balance out the warm, heartiness of the main dish.  It’s a great cold weather dish. 

I hope you enjoy!

(sorry, I just realized I used the word hearty a zillion times in this post – but this word totally describes this dish – so try not to get too annoyed with my overuse of “hearty” – there it is again!)

It’s that time of year, the farmer’s markets are back.  For the few lucky ones, there are some that go year round (we have one that is year round in our town).  It’s fun to see how it changes as the seasons change.  In the winter it’s pretty small and not much there, but it feels good to go and buy a couple things from the local farmers.  It’s also a good way to see what’s “in season”. 

So, I just finished a section in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that was talking about “Organic” food and the mainstream corporations that are now starting to offer Organic.  It’s a bit of a double edged sword.  In one way I think it’s great that you can buy Organic at Safeway or Costco or whatever big store you may have in your town.  It’s getting it out there to the masses, making it available and slightly more affordable to those that maybe wouldn’t buy it normally from a speciality market.  But playing the devils advocate, those big corporations are potentially ruining the term Organic.  These corporations are lobbying to reduce the standards of organic (to make it more profitable for them- of course- it’s all about the bottom line- not doing the right thing for the consumer or the community).  For example, they have lobbied so the Organic, free range eggs you’re buying aren’t really coming from these happy hens running around beautiful acres of fields, foraging for grubs, etc.  They are only required to have a door on the hen house that leads to a small area outside to be certified as “free range”.  Most of those hens never see the light of day.  That’s a far cry from the image they portray or that we perceive in our heads.  I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t want to give my money to those people.  They are lying to us! 

So with that said, I encourage you to buy from your local farmers.  I know some of you aren’t as lucky as I am to have friends who give you fresh eggs from their hens, but I bet you can find a farm in your area, or at least buy from a smaller company at the grocery store.   Check at your local farmer’s market- someone may be there with eggs or maybe one of the other vendors may know of someone who sells eggs.  This goes for all produce.  It’s hard to get certified as an organic farm and it costs money.  Most of your local farmers may be growing organic but just aren’t certified.  The best thing to do is talk to these vendors at your local markets and get to know them.  They are concerned about their communities and have sustainability and community as their number one priority.  “Buying locally grown is a denomination whose meaning is incorruptible.” Barbara Kingsolver 

This is one of our favorite activities to do as a family too.  We usually don’t make it home with some of the fruit we buy.  Ryder likes to go and help pick out the fruits and veggies and it helps him to see us supporting someone rather than a store.  We grow a lot of our own fruits and veggies so he understands the whole concept of growing and tending to the plants and finally picking them- he loves to pick strawberries.  It’s the best to look over and see his red stained face, hands and shirt.  What could be better than picking a warm strawberry from your own garden and eating it.  He is so proud of his plants.  Every morning we open his curtain and look out on the garden and see how much the plants grew!  I hope this will carry on through his life. 

Go to the link at the right for farmer’s markets to locate one near you.