{Inspired by Fall: Sweet dumpling squash mac n’ cheese and Arroz con coco}

We’ve finally been getting REAL autumn weather this week. Typically it seems like in Calgary we transition from super hot August straight to freezing cold and snow. Weather changes in the blink of an eye here, so I’m gonna enjoy this warm sunshine while I can…

I love summer, but I have to say Fall is my favourite season. I love the cool crisp air in the mornings and seeing all the leaves change colour. Here were some pics from my walk home today..

Gorgeous yellow ochre, cadmium orange, rust, amber, vermillion green and everything in between…

The cooler weather always makes me crave comfort foods. So that was the theme for tonight. I pulled out this cute little sweet dumpling squash that came in my organic delivery box…Solution: C&G’s squash mac n’ cheese..

I cut this in half and roasted it face down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment at 400F for about half an hour…When cooked the texture is somewhere between a spaghetti squash and a butternut. Squash is so versatile and it’s so good for you, high in vitamin A and C as well as iron and potassium.

..I also threw on a couple of shallots and a small red onion in quarters… beautifully caramelized..

I mash the squash till it’s pureed, then I roughly chopped the onion and shallot and added that to the squash.

Next in a heavy sauce pot, I made a simple roux (1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp of whole wheat pastry flour). Cook the flour mixture a couple of minutes, then add about 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (any milk will do) and stir till thickened.

Add in your squash mixture and stir..

..add 2 tbsp of creamy goat cheese plus 2 tbsp of roasted red pepper hummus..season with salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and sage..

Meanwhile boil about 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat macaroni cooked till al dente… and add to the squash mixture..

For the topping, I had no breadcrumbs…but I did have this last slice of foccacia in the freezer. I defrosted this on the counter and tore it into small pieces and put into a pan with a couple tsp of olive oil with some salt pepper till crispy and golden..

Mix about 2 cups of cooked whole wheat macaroni into the sauce and pour into a 9″ glass dish. Sprinkle your bread mixture along with 2 tbsp of grated parmesan on top and bake in the oven at 375F for about 20 minutes.

This was SOOO good. The sauce was thick and creamy and I loved the crispy bits of bread in each bite. A healthier take on a classic comfort food..

To go with the theme, another classic comfort food..rice pudding…but instead of regular milk I use COCONUT MILK (cow’s milk gives me tummy aches, so I try to limit my consumption).

My version is based loosely on the Arroz con Coco, which is a traditional Columbian dish. I use a combo of a large  can of light coconut milk with a small can of the full fat stuff.. I’ve tried it with just the light and you just don’t get the same creaminess and rich coco-nutty flavour..

I cook 1 cup of Arborio rice with both these cans and simmer. Add in another 1 cup of water 1/2 cup at a time as the liquid evaporates..

Meanwhile toast about 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes in a pan till nice and golden and the house is filled with the exotic fragrance…

When the rice is almost done, add in your coconut and 1/4 cup of currants (or raisins), 2 tbsp of raw honey (from my auntie’s backyard)..

and a few cubes of crystallized ginger chopped into a fine dice (this is from Cookbook Co. Cooks) …

a couple tsp of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, cardamom, ground ginger… to your liking..and a splash of Madagascar vanilla extract

This is great eaten warm out of the pot or cold from the fridge the next morning, the aromatic spices and exotic coconut are the perfect combo. Best enjoyed on the couch wrapped in a warm blanket with a cup of chai tea watching your favourite show or reading a book..Bon appetit!

Phew.. ok I’m done.. even Jasper is getting tired..

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  1. […] is my coconut bamboo rice pudding. Prepare like you would a regular pudding. I used this recipe here (minus the chai spices) and topped with fresh cut mango chunks, shredded coconut and caramelized […]



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