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Twice baked cheesy spaghetti squash

wow.  This recipe that Angela made was very tasty!  We made a vegetarian version of this, but I’m sure it would be just as good if you switched some things up and added meat.  However, I love the vegetarian version of it, and Angela added a little something extra to make this recipe even better!

What was it?  Mushrooms!!  We love mushrooms in our house, and adding the mushrooms made it seem more hearty and flavorful!  So follow the regular recipe, but buy some fresh mushrooms, slice, saute with olive oil, and stir in with the green onions and cheese.

Ingredients

2 large spaghetti squash
3 tbsp. soy margarine
1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1 c. vegan sour cream (like tofutti brand)
1/3 c. coconut milk ( or soy creamer or half and half)
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vegetable flavor bouillon ( or chk bullion)
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
1/4 tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp veggie cheddar
1/3 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten OR 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg

Directions

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 13×9- inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Season inside the squash lightly with sat and pepper to taste. Place squash cut side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.

2. Meanwhile melt margarine in small skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper; cook and stir 1 minute or just til tender. ( You can also cook mushrooms here) Set aside. Blend sour scream , coconut milk, flour bouillon, marjoram and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in medium bowl. Stir in cheese, mushrooms and green onions; set aside.

3. Scoop inside of squash from shell into large bowl and break apart with two forks. Add sour cream mixture; toss lightly to mix. Stir in breadcrumbs and applesauce (eggs); mix well. Spread squash mixtures in prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden.

this makes 18 servings.  I would suggest serving with something high in fiber, since this recipe seems to lack a lot of it.  I think it went great with a spinach salad!

enjoy

a silly story.

What does one do when she cannot sleep?  She simply writes a story.  Not just any story.  A story inspired by the legacy of all Davila storytellers.
A story inspired by humanity and all of her faults.
A story inspired by an immeasurable love.

ENJOY. ( oh yeah, and if I emailed this to you, then read it again, because I changed it a little.)
The potter and his plant
Once upon a time, there was a potter.  He was really a very simple man.  If you looked at him, you would see an average man with an average build. You would see strong hands and a sly sense of humor skirting beneath his eyes.  He knew exactly who he was. 
Day after day, he would wake up eat breakfast and go for a walk.  Then, he would return home to spend hours honing his craft.  Sometimes, he would visit art museums, the local farmer’s market, or he would go for a long nature walk.  It was there that he would find his inspirations.
One day, he was driving down the road, and he saw a truck hitched to a camper on the side of the road.  The truck was filled with watermelons.  He wasn’t sure why, but he began to slow down. All of a sudden, he knew that he had decided to buy a watermelon.  He wasn’t sure why, because he didn’t even really like watermelon.  Maybe it was because the old truck was a beautiful rusted ocean blue type of color.  Maybe it was the vibrant color of the watermelon.  Maybe it was the old man sitting beside it, spitting chew into an empty coca-cola bottle.  He wasn’t sure, but all of a sudden he found himself asking the old man how much a watermelon would cost.
He purchased the watermelon and turned to leave.  All of a sudden, something caught his eye. There in the camper, sitting in the window, was the most beautiful plant he had ever seen!  The plant was flower like in its appearance, and its petals were the colors of the desert.  Bright oranges, vibrant reds, and strange vivid blues all fused together seamlessly. The plant was more than beautiful, it was breathtaking, and each marvelous color seemed to tell a story.  Looking closer, he noticed that the root of the plant had the most complex etching all over it.  It almost looked like someone had whittled tiny words all over it. All of as sudden, he know that this plant was more than a plant.  It was a story.
 An unwritten story, at that.

He really had never seen anything like it, and he knew he had to have it.
“It’s not for sale!”  Said the old man, reading his thoughts.  “But, I can sell you a seed. But only one.”

“I’ll take it!” exclaimed the potter.  Surely, it couldn’t be that hard to grow this beautiful plant. He almost felt light headed, thinking of a certain beautiful pot he could plant it in.
“I’ve had this plant for 6 years,” said the potter.  “It only blooms once a year, and make sure to write that date down, because it will bloom again on the same date each year. It will bloom and those beautiful petals you see will be out for 3 months.  Once the petals start to fall off, you have to cut the plant down – all the way down. If you don’t do that, the plant will never bloom again.
The plant must be watered 3 times a day.  Do it at breakfast lunch and dinner.  Use warm water.  You have to talk to it, too.  Don’t believe me?  Once it begins to grow, if you skip just one day, you will see it began to wilt.  The plant has to be in the sun when it’s sunny and in the dark when it’s dark.”

The old man paused.

“Its high maintenance,” he said, “Just like a woman.  Only better, because it can’t talk back.  Most importantly, once the plant blooms, you have to be very careful with it! Are you listening?
Listen up!  Continue to water the plant and talk to it.  Whatever you do, don’t push it over, drop it, or forget about it.  If you are careless with the plant when it blooms, it may never bloom again.  I was told that if you drop it or stop taking care of it, it can take many years of caring for it again to get it to bloom.  And it only produces one seed which happens during the 2nd year.  So, make sure you understand.  This plant wants all of you.  It has to be taken care of.  If you are not willing to put in the hard work, then this plant isn’t for you.
The potter felt a little nervous.  He looked again at the plant again and forgot his nervousness.  “How much?” he said.
The old man named a high price.  The potter paid it.
6 years later, the potter still had his beautiful plant.  Everyday he watered her 3 times a day.  He talked to her.  He poured out his heart to her.  He really felt that she was listening.  Every year, she would bloom and it always captivated his heart.  He was always very careful with her.  Moving her carefully, making sure she was never too hot or too cold.  Visitors always noticed her, and he felt so proud of what he had accomplished.
One day, an old friend came to visit.  It was quite unexpected.  His old friend came into the house and they began to talk. Now, the plant had just begun to bloom, and this year she was extraordinarily beautiful.  All the years of care, love, tenderness and devotion were was evident in the plant and her petals.
However, after talking just a little, his friend began to poke fun at his plant.  For some reason, his friend seemed to have some kind of hatred towards his plant.  Feeling silly, he brushed it off and continued to talk with him.
Then, his old friend began to move towards his plant.  The old friend began to tell a story, using arm gestures and even sound effects.  The potter was still feeling nervous, but he started to become entranced at his story.  His old friend spun around the room, knocking down pottery and tearing down precious art work.  Spinning and spinning, it almost looked like a crazed sort of dance. The potter came out of his entrancement, but it was too late. His old friend lifted his plant and flung it against the wall.
The potter was speechless.  His plant…she was broken!  The pottery she was planted in was on the floor in a million tiny peaces…the earth she was planted in was still intact…but was slowly beginning to crumble.  What had just happened!  He had given her 6 years of care, always making sure every last need was met….and all of a sudden, and he would never see her bloom again!
Why had he become so entranced by his old friend?  Why had he let his old friend come so close to something so special to him?
Feeling like a fool, the potter watched as the petals began to fall off the plant. Slowly falling, dropping softly, quietly.  It was like she was crying out to him. Weeping. Crumbling to pieces right in front of him.

He looked at his old friend, and was enraged to see that he did not even care. 

“It’s just a dumb plant, dude.  Go buy another one. What’s the big deal? “
The potter looked at him and said, “She was more than just a plant.”
His old friend looked at him, unfazed.  “A plant is a plant.  What about the pottery and artwork I broke?  You don’t care about that, and that’s worth actual money.  Now you’re upset about a stupid plant.  I don’t get it. You’re mad at me for breaking a PLANT?  You can buy another plant anywhere.  It’s not like their extinct.”
The potter looked at him sadly.  “I could find another plant.  I even have another seed. But, she was more than a plant to me. She was a story that I helped to write.  
And now, she’s gone.  And even though I may get her back, I don’t know if she will ever bloom the same way again.”
Defeated, he turned away.  When he turned back around, his old friend was gone. He knew he would never see him again.  He didn’t care.
He looked around at his broken pottery and artwork.  How could he not know that this would happen, especially when he saw the careless way his old friend acted?  And wasn’t he, the potter, careless as well?  If he only acted sooner, he would have saved his plant! 
Maybe, there was still a chance.  If only….
Would it be too late?
He cleaned up the mess, but left the plant where it was.  Looking down at it, he tenderly picked it up.  He cleaned the dirt from the branches and around the roots.  He picked the petals up off the floor.  Even in pieces, his beloved plant was beautiful.
The next day, he came back to look at his plant.  Her petals were withered and her branches were beginning to rot.  With determination, he knew that he had to at least try to fix her.  He remembered that the old man said that it could take years of constant dedication, but even still she may not bloom again.  However, he did not hesitate.  He would do anything to fix what meant so much to him.
1 year passed.  2 years passed.  6 years passed.  7 years passed.  10 years passed.  Still, there was nothing.  Oh, she was alive. But she still had not bloomed. 
The years continued to pass. The potter rose every morning, ate breakfast and went for a walk.  He still spent hours honing his craft.  By this time, he was a renowned potter and took commissions from all over the world.
Still, he had not given up on his beloved plant.
He would never forget her original beauty, and the remembrance at what used to be only fueled him. 
He would never give up on her.
He would rewrite her story and give her a new beginning- and this time, he would make sure that her story would never end.

Many years later, the potter woke up to rays of light flashing on his face.  Red, violet, and yellow hues – they almost blinded him.  Slowly, he sat up and looked towards his plant.
She was even more beautiful than she was before.

cilantro and spinach rice.

here is my cilantro and spinach rice. i usually use leftover rice, but you can cook up new rice or even used boxed rice. i just guessed at the measurements, because i want aurelia to try this one!
the rice cannot be mushy or too watery though, so just keep that in mind.

you need:
veg or extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of cilantro
1 garlic
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
rice
2 cups of uncooked and roughly chopped spinach
4 cups of cooked rice
2 pinches of salt

in a food processor, add about 1 tbsp of olive oil, and throw in 1 large bunch of cilantro ( with the stems cut off of course). chop finely,

in a pan, heat up about 3-4 tbsp of veg oil. on medium heat setting. (you need enough to saute the veggies and fry up the rice.) when the oil is heated up, add 1 entire garlic, finely chopped and about 1/2 cup of green onion. then add about 2 cups of roughly chopped spinach. ( i like to chop them into small strips, but you can also just chop it in a food processor) when you can smell the garlic and as soon as the spinach begins to wilt, add about 4 cups of rice. then, using a large spoon, began to turn the rice so the garlic, spinach, and green onions began to distribute.

add the cilantro and 2 pinches of salt. continue to turn the rice until you feel everything is evenly distributed. if you want to garnish it, do so with fresh tomatoes.

i love this rice, because the taste is just so fresh. the cilantro adds such a wonderful flavor, paired with the garlic, and adding the spinach is a great way to sneak in
veggies for those who don’t like them. this is a great rice to eat with the black beans and also a great rice to make for burritos.

black bean soup

i love my new blog look!! love it!! if you are reading this on facebook , you should click on over to see my blog template!

anyhow, i promised aurelia i would post a recipe for this amazing black bean soup that i made last week.

first of all, let me say that i am in noooo way a professional in the kitchen. in fact, a lot of the time i am just making stuff up as i go along. i have recipes, but i only use them for inspiration. i hate having to follow detailed directions, so that’s why hate to bake and very rarely do. the best food i make is on the days that i am cleaning out the fridge. and thats how i made this black bean soup. for the record, i have an amazing recipe for real black bean soup. i wish i had the time to make it more!

so here is my recipe. now that i have a little one, i don’t always have time to make things from scratch. black bean soup is MUCH better if you buy the dry beans and also it’s better for the environment, as well. however, if your looking for something quick, warm and tasty to get you through a cold winter night , here it is.

you need:

2 cans of black beans
1 large can of diced tomatoes
one small onion
port wine or any red wine that you like to drink
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
fresh chopped garlic or garlic paste

veg oil
salt
pepper
cumin
if you live in texas, buy some julio’s seasoning to use
if not, use season salt instead
paprika
chili powder
sugar

flour tortillas
avocados

rinse black beans first. ( canned foods are so high in sodium, and this should cut down significantly on it).

in a sauce pan, pour a dash of oil in the bottom and throw in the garlic and onion. when you start to smell the garlic, throw in the beans and diced tomatoes. i never drain the tomatoes, usually. then, pour a little of the wine in, as well. ( i forgot to mention that i never measure anything, so just do everything to taste).

the juice from the tomatoes and the wine make most of the broth. if you want more, then add some water or veg. broth.

bring to boil to let the wine cook out, then turn down to simmer. add as much cilantro as you want, and use the above seasonings to taste. **sugar adds a sweetness to the soup, but you only need a tiny bit. cover and turn on low.

in a separate pan, heat up some oil to fry the flour tortillas. i usually use peanut oil because it doesn’t burn as fast as others. you can also use corn tortillas. it really doesn’t matter, but i find that the flour tortillas add a chewy crunchiness that you won’t get with the corn.

cut the flour tortillas in half and fry til golden brown.

garnish black bean soup with avocado slices and the tortillas. i like to serve it with a side of cilantro/spinach rice, but you can have it with any kind or rice, alone or just make it as a side.

here is a crappy cell phone picture

we’re still alive!!

just wanted to do write a short update.

isa is doing wonderfully. i promise, there is pictures on the way. she says da da da, constantly, pulls herself up on the furniture, and trys to feed herself at every meal.

she gives me little hugs all day, and i love it!!!

chris and i are glad that our very busy holiday season is over! we are ecstatic for the soon arrival of our nephew, triston stephens!! we are also anxious and waiting for the ‘LIST’ to come out that tell us what assignments are open.

hmmm, and we are also FREEZING! iowa winters are brutal!!

chris and i usually don’t do new years resolutions, but this year we kind of did. they are: to continue eating healthy, to exercise more consistently, to be the best parents we can be, and to be more kind, considerate and loving towards one another.

i’m curious if anyone else made any resolutions they would like to share?