Pumpkins and Butternut Squash and the Healthiest Beet Bowls to Make It All Okay

With the end of Birthday Week 2018, fall weather finally arrived.  Yay!!!  I know that most people love fall, so there’s nothing revolutionary going on here.  But it means I get to cook foods that just feel wrong when it’s hot outside.  And that is cause for celebration, no matter how common the glee.

First, there was Williams Sonoma’s Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel.  I think the name of the food pretty much covers the awesomeness, but just in case you’re more of a picture person…

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This was so good.  If it had any more redemptive value (as in less sugar or 90% pumpkin content or something), I would make this every week October through December.  Sadly, it contains the word “cake” in the title, so I will probably make it twice a season like an almost good girl.

So pumpkins–check.  On to the butternut squash.

We had a good harvest of butternut squash in late summer (Go, veggie gardener husband!!), and with a few small squash left, I decided to make Food & Wine’s Butternut Squash Casserole with Leeks, Prosciutto, and Thyme.  We’re getting closer to healthy here.  There was lots of squash, and the sugar content definitely decreased.  The intense flavors of fall and the overall deliciousness did not decrease.

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Alas, there was still lots of bread in that recipe and not a huge protein contingent.  I won’t be making that every week for the next few months either.  I would highly recommend it though.  It would be pretty darn wonderful next to a turkey in a few weeks, if you ask me.

How did we make up for all of that delicious stuff with our fall squash?  I have a cookbook called Inspiralized that is just lovely.  Every recipe uses a spiralizer to process some of the ingredients, and in this case that ingredient was beets.  I love love love that with a relatively cheap tool, you can take a vegetable that I used to find difficult to use and turn it into noodles or rice or something very very easy to use and incredibly healthy.  I know spiralizers are probably a cooking fad, but I will very likely be using mine when they aren’t cool anymore.  I’ll be like that mom wearing leg warmers and tights in the carpool lane twenty years after the fad.  But oh well.  I’ll be happy, and my veggie consumption will be good.  So there.

Check out those beet noodles (which would soon be chopped into “rice,” even if I chopped them into really long, rustic beet rice):

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Eating anything that pretty is a good starting point for me.  So there were beets and spinach and edamame and avocado.  There was supposed to be quinoa, but I forgot that we had run out of quinoa.  My “super food bowls” have pearled barley instead of quinoa.  It is 5% less super, and the barley probably absorbed more of the beet color than the quinoa would have done, but who cares.  It was still ridiculously healthy.  Healthy enough to make me want to do another triple round of these goodies.

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If you want to know how to make this (and need details for the dressing or the slivered almonds that I forgot to mention), the fine folks behind Inspiralized made a video to show you how to make this in 45 seconds.  You know, if you speed up your cooking time like a YouTube video.  Oh, and you don’t really need to use a food processor to make the beet rice.  A cutting board, a chef’s knife, and 2 minutes will do the trick just fine.  I’d rather spend time chopping beet noodles than cleaning a food processor.

Pumpkin and butternut squash and beets, oh my!  Happy fall, y’all.

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