Posts made in November, 2013

Hanukkah Painted Jars

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Crafts and Parties | Comments Off on Hanukkah Painted Jars

This was my first time using glass paint, and now I’m completely hooked.  It’s fairly quick and easy to do.  Unfortunately I found the instructions on the glass paint (and online) to be a bit lacking and so I kind of just monkeyed my way through it.  This produced a few minor failures but I’m in love with the painting method on these jars that I’m going to share with you.  It looks like sea glass.

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Thanksgivukkah Printables

Posted by on Nov 24, 2013 in Crafts and Parties | Comments Off on Thanksgivukkah Printables

I am excited and nervous to share these with you.  This is my first set of printables that I made for public consumption.  Let me be clear, I am not a graphic designer.  I have taught myself everything I know about photoshop and illustrator.  These aren’t professional quality.  There are a lot of small errors.  But they’re cute and they were fun to make, and if you want them, they’re yours.

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Dreidel Banner

Posted by on Nov 16, 2013 in Crafts and Parties | Comments Off on Dreidel Banner

Dreidel Banner

I have to say I think I like that Hanukkah’s so early this year.  I feel like December is usually a mad scramble to get gifts done for my family, my coworkers, and my friends.  This year, I just have to get my family’s gifts taken care of by the end of November, and then I have all of december for everyone else.  Plus, the malls are a lot less busy in November.

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Butternut Squash and Black Beans

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Cooking | Comments Off on Butternut Squash and Black Beans

Butternut Squash and Black Beans

I love fall foods.  Hearty root vegetables, crisp greens,  sweet winter squashes; hardy foods that stand up to slow roasting and simmering.  Their warmth and heaviness is the perfect thing for the shorter days and cooler temperatures, when you just want to curl up on the couch and drink hot cocoa.  I get excited when the first thanksgiving foods start appearing on the shelves: cornbreads and apple pies, cranberry sauce and yams, pumpkin spice  in everything!  (How’s that for cliche?)

I’ll share a little secret, which is that for all my love for fall foods, I like fall not at all.  It’s a bit melancholy, driving home in the dark, realizing that another year is coming to a close.  Here in Southern California, there are few colorful trees to excuse the shorter days.  The weather is unpredictable.  In fact, today it was almost 90 degrees outside, no weather for breaking out the sweaters and tights and boots (not that it ever stops anyone).  While I could eat fall foods all year round, I sometimes wish it could always be spring.


This dish is good for the early days of fall, when it’s still a bit warm out but the winter squash are starting to arrive in your CSA box.  It’s inspired by the traditional Cuban dish of black beans and rice.  The traditional flavors are complemented by the sweet squash and a bit of orange juice.  It goes together pretty quickly.  Just don’t forget to put the rice on early.


Did you know that Cuban style black beans and rice is traditionally known as Moros y Cristianos?  Literally, that translates as “Moors and Christians”.  Evidently the black beans represent the Moors and the white rice the Christians.


This version is a lot more colorful than just black and white, using red onions, yellow peppers, and lovely orange butternut squash.  I will deign to rename this dish in the style of Moros y Cristianos as I fear it could only be racist.  At best.  You’ll just have to satisfy yourself with calling it butternut squash and black beans.  What it lacks in name it makes up for in taste, I promise.


I didn’t go for spicy with this dish.  It’s not really traditional, and it’s more child friendly this way.  If you’re into spicy, feel free to add in a jalapeño or some chili powder, or top with some hot sauce.


Serve over rice with some fresh cilantro or oregano.  Enjoy with a mojito!

Butternut Squash and Black Beans
Cuban-style black beans and rice with winter squash.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Latin fusion
  • 1 small butternut squash (or other winter squash)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ large red onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ c orange juice
  1. Peel squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half, remove seeds, then chop.
  2. Place squash in a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue to boil about 10 minutes, or until soft and easily pierced with a fork. Drain
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or shallow pot until shimmering, then add onion, garlic, and yellow pepper. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the onion and peppers start to soften.
  4. Add the beans, cumin, orange juice, salt, and pepper to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the squash and heat through.
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Winter Squash Tomato Sauce

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Cooking | Comments Off on Winter Squash Tomato Sauce

Winter Squash Tomato Sauce

Let me say that I am extremely lucky to have a child that loves vegetables.  And “bean-beans” and tofu.  And olives, which, I’ll be honest, surprised me a bit.  Whether this is because of her early introduction to a wide range of veggies, my uncompromising cooking style, or just a natural inclination to be adventurous with food, I hesitate to guess.  But she’s still a toddler (and a human being) and so she still has a tendency to prefer certain foods.  Specifically the sorts of foods that are usually found on children’s menus: macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, chicken strips.  And spaghetti and meatballs.

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