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I’ve been trying to expand my cooking repertoire. Ever since the job switch, we’ve been trying to cut back on eating out. However, when you’re cooking all the time, what were once favorite recipes become worn out really fast. So my current tactic is to get a vegetable or meat that I have very few recipes for, because it forces me to look up new things to try. Today was butternut squash. I have recipes for yellow squash, acorn squash, all sorts of squash, but not butternut. Mostly because the first time I tried using it, years ago, I decided to “wing it” and assumed it would be like yellow squash. Just cut it into cubes and tossed it in a soup. Figured the skins would soften over time.

…they didn’t.

It wasn’t the worst cooking disaster I’ve had. Just the second worst.

Most of the time, I think I’m a pretty good cook, but when I mess up a meal, I do so with extreme results. Which, in an odd way, is a great comfort when trying new things. I know how far the end of the spectrum is. It would be pretty hard to mess up a meal as badly as those times in the past, especially knowing all the things I’ve learned since.

I should probably think that way about more things in my life.

As an aside, what I made with the butternut squash turned out pretty fantastic. If you’d like to try it, here’s the recipe I made up:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 golden potatoes
3 carrots
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 bushel of kale
2 packages of diced ham
1 Tbsp butter
chicken stock
lemon juice
3 bay leaves
black pepper
white pepper
red pepper

1. Melt butter in a pot. Chop up the onion, carrots, potatoes, Add them, with the squash, to the pot. Season with everything from bay leaves down. (I didn’t measure, so just use your best judgement on quantities.)
2. Add broth to cover vegetables. Heat to boiling, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaves. Take a hand blender…thingy. I don’t know its technical term. But it purees things, and that’s what needs to be done with the soup. Fair warning, take it off the burner first. If you don’t, when it gets churned up, the soup sorta…becomes like bubbling lava that spits molten soup all over. And it burns, so…don’t do that. Like I did.
4. Add some cream to the soup, chop up the kale and add that too. Add the ham, and a dash or two of lemon juice. Heat to warm these last additions. Eat with crusty, warm bread. The kind those fiends at the grocery store put out near the door, fresh baked, so you can’t help but smell it and then you simply have to have some because AUGH SMELLS SO GOOD.

And that’s it. I think next time the only change I’ll make is that I’ll use shrimp instead of ham. I think that would be even better!

What about you? Have any favorite or new recipes you’d like to share?


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Hrm… I have a quick, mix it all together meal that I love, but don’t get the chance to make very often because my mom doesn’t appreciate it as much as I do. Quite simple, really:
2 Boxes Kraft macaroni and cheese
Bag of 5 minute microwavable frozen peas
1 pound hamburger meat
Brown the meat in a pan, fix the macaroni according to instructions on the box, save the peas ’til last, then mix it all into one pot and serve.
Not really a recipe in the traditional sense, but I expect to be practically living off of this in my early college years. Especially since it leaves one person with lots of leftovers. 🙂

And, I’m feeling very sorry for Una right now…

It’s hard to be different. And Una hating everyone… well, I can understand the temptation to give in to that kind of cynicism. I have friends who have, and it always hurts when I hear them express it. I’ve always believed in the fundamental good of humanity; it hurts me in a way that’s almost physical when I see someone lose that belief, because it feels to me like the ultimate giving in. Not believing in anyone, not trusting anyone, believing that the only nature we have is to squabble and die like rats (I heard someone I know personally say it exactly like that once) seems like such an awful way to live. It’s the ultimate defeat of the human soul – the loss of hope.

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