Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Pecans

firstsquash 

This month I am writing exclusively about Thanksgiving recipes – why not? We are planning on trying some new things this year to shake things up. Beef instead of the big turkey, some new sides, and a pumpkin cheesecake – recipe to follow. My dad, who is an awesome cook, will be doing a lot of the cooking and is bringing some of his longtime favorite recipes. Every couple of days I will try something different and share my favorites…this is a new favorite and not just for turkey day…

Ingedients:

2 acorn squash

4 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons maple syrup

6 pats unsalted butter

4 tablespoons chopped pecans

Pinch each ( about 1/4 teaspoon) of ground cloves and nutmeg

Directions:

Trim ends so the squash will lay flat while baking. Wash, then cut each squash in half and clean out the centers. Score each half vertically and diagonally with a sharp knife. Salt and pepper each half.  In order, sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1½ pats of butter, pinch each of cloves and nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon pecans in cavity of each squash half. Bake at 350°F until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Here are the ingredients…and this is what it should look like right before it goes in the oven. If you like, you can cut into quarters to serve – so your guests will have enough room on their plate for everything!

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Mini Pumpkin Custards

mini pumpkin custards

These little treats are a great substitute for pumpkin pie – and with only 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein – you don’t have to save them for a special meal like Thanksgiving.

adapted from Very Best Baking

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin

1 can (12 ounces) Evaporated Fat Free Milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and dry ingredients. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour evenly into 6 ounce ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until soft-set (knife inserted into ramekin comes out almost clean). Cool on wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel, if desired. pumpkincustards

Pumpkinalooza

Pumpkinalooza

Happy Thanksgiving to you – and happy birthday to my awesome son Steven! Even though we live in sunny northern California, the weather does change – there is a chill in the air, sweaters are dug out and I start craving all things pumpkin! I have recently lost 30 extra pounds had been carrying around for six or seven years (my penance for giving birth to a healthy baby at age 38), so after spending the last six months working hard to eat healthy, exercise more and fit into my “pre baby/skinny jeans” I don’t want to blow it the next 30 days. So after a momentary lapse (see photo) I started looking around for a way to have my pumpkin and wear my skinny pants too. In the oven I have some amazing little pumpkin custards that are only 150 calories! If you add a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel (or both!) you are still under 200 calories and have a an amazingly rich tasting, savory taste of fall. I will post photos and the recipe in the “recipes” section later today. Enjoy your day and enjoy every bite – its only one day in a year!