Roasted Acorn Squash Filled with Vegetables

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We have been taking walks after dinner lately — sometimes just Peter and I, and some other times with the girls.  Tonight, the four of us took a walk in the brisk post rain air and amongst all the colorful Christmas lights on the trees and houses. 

A newbie at wearing high heels, Angela lost her balance at an uneven spot of the street. “F*ck,” she instinctively cursed.  Peter said, “Don’t say f*ck, say yikes.”  I chimed in, “You will be unmarriageable if you curse.  Good men from good families don’t want cursing women.”  Angela was a little exasperated, “Do you know how ridiculous you sound, mother?”  And Audrey said, “Is unmarriageable even a word?”  Peter started laughing and said, “Well, let’s just say it’ll be very embarrassing when I walk her down the aisle and she trips and screams ‘f*ck.'”

We all had a good laugh at this flash forward and the scenario of Angela’s wedding accident got more and more elaborated as we continued our walk.  I suddenly realized that this was happiness – the four of us alive, together and present, sharing a laugh and feeling expansive in this transient world.

New York Times columnist Ann Quindlen wrote in her book A Short Guide to Happiness, “Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.”  I’m glad we made room for it tonight.

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Roasted Acorn squash Ingredients:

2 acorn squash

Olive oil for brushing

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar or xylitol, or two teaspoon honey

Vegetable Filling Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 cup olive oil

1 onion, minced

3 garlic clove, minced

1/2 butternut squash, diced

1 zucchini, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

3 tablespoons xylitol or sugar

1  tablespoon chopped sage

Acorn Squash Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put olive oil and half of the minced garlic in a small bowl, set aside.

Remove stem from squashes, and cut each in half, from top to bottom. Scoop out seeds and reserve for another use.

Brush inside of each squash with the garlic oil, sprinkle salt and sugar place flesh side up on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Set aside.

An alternative and faster way to prepare the acorn squash is to microwave the acorn halves cut side down in 1/2 cup of water two at a time for 5 minutes.  Gently remove the cooked acorn halves to a baking pan and brush them with garlic olive oil, sprinkle with salt and sugar and broil until desired brownness before filling the halves with the sautéd vegetables.

Filling Preparation:

When the squash halves are baking, heat oil in a wok over medium heat and add onion, garlic, fresh spices and sauté until aromatic. About 3 minutes.

Add diced butternut squash to the wok and cook for about 4 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and bell pepper. Cook on medium, continually stirring so vegetables don’t burn, for another 4 minutes.

Scoop vegetables into the squash halves. Return the squash to oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese or pine nuts and serve warm.

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