a balanced plate with room for dessert


Butternut Squash Gnocchi

One of my favorite stress-relievers is reading cookbooks, cooking magazines and trolling the internet for recipes. Well one day I stumbled upon this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi on the Food Network website. It was perfect. I had sage I needed to use up! I scribbled out a grocery list and was about to head out the door when it struck me – butternut squash gnocchi. Why was I buying sweet potatoes when I could sub it with something else?

I’ve had this butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter for months. I’m fairly certain it came from one of our last CSA boxes in… October? Yikes. Good news is that it’s stayed nice and healthy and squash-like. I wish all produce lasted this long!

So, that’s how this butternut squash gnocchi came to fruition. This was a fun weekend project for me. The process of making the dough and then cutting and shaping the gnocchi was strangely therapeutic.


I decided to make it with two browned butter sauces. I wish I could tell you that one browned butter is better than the other, but they are both delicious. Do yourself a favor and make both! And of course, Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you all have a chance to spend some time with those that you love.

gnocchi with sage browned butter

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

1 medium butternut squash, 2 – 3 pounds
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 egg, whisked

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place squash on baking sheet face up. Lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 90 minutes, or until squash is fork tender and lightly caramelized.
  3. Let cool slightly before scooping out flesh into food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Place pureed squash in a medium pot over medium-low heat and cook for about 30 minutes to cook off excess moisture. Move to a large bowl and put in fridge to cool completely.
  5. Once cook, combine 2 cups of squash puree with 1 teaspoon of salt and egg. Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  6. Move dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 6 sections. Roll each section into a long rope about 3/4″ in diameter. Cut into 1″ sections. Gently roll gnocchi with the back of a fork along the tines. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In small batches, cook gnocchi until it floats to the top of the water and is tender, about 6- 8 minutes. (Gnocchi may float to the top before fully cooked)
  8. Toss cooked gnocchi in browned butter sauce, recipes below, and serve immediately.

Cinnamon Maple Sage Browned Butter

1 stick unsalted butter
20 sage leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat and cook until milk solids have browned, about 5 minutes. Add sage leaves and cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Toss with gnocchi and serve immediately. 

Sage Browned Butter

1 stick unsalted butter
20 sage leaves
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Melt butter in medium pan over medium heat until milk solids have browned, about 5 minutes. Add sage and broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with gnocchi and serve immediately. 


CSA Week 9 & 10

“Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P. Diddy. Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city.”

I always play this song as I’m walking out the door for my early morning runs. I had this song on full blast when I realized that it was downpouring. Noooooo!!! Then I panicked a bit because I realized that our office windows our open and we’re in the basement. Then I stopped caring because I kind of hate that office and there was nothing I could do about it at this point since I was 20 minutes away.

So, here I sit. I finally have time to blog. You know how they say time flies when you’re having fun? Time is definitely flying in my world, but I wouldn’t call it fun. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job and I am so grateful that this opportunity basically fell into my lap, but I’m exhausted at this point and I can’t wait for life to slow down a bit. I’ve been told that October will be the magic month. So, until then I will be working 12 hour days and doing nothing outside of work except for sleeping and running.

Yup, just work, sleep, run. You may have noticed that I’ve left one kind of important (to me) thing – cooking. I’ve chosen running over cooking. I’m not sure how we’ve lived on so little food so far, but we’ve managed. Mike has cooked a few times, but our meals have mostly been CSA or garden veggies tossed together in some strange stir fry.

At first our CSA boxes have been mostly green veggies. Now, they’re getting a little more color! So check out what we’ve been getting!

CSA Week 9

  • Yellow squash
  • Yellow wax beans
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Green bell peppers
  • Mushrooms (I think Mike accidentally took these from my parents’ share – oops)

This was last week’s CSA. I guess I’m a little late posting it, but I wanted to share anyway! Like I said before, most of this food was used up in stir fries. I think we’re going to boil corn and freeze it. We have corn coming out of our ears at this point!

CSA Week 10

  • Green bell peppers
  • Yellow wax beans
  • Yellow squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Baby cantaloupe
  • Yellow grape tomatoes

I’m loving the yellow in our baskets! I’m a little bummed that we got a cute little cantaloupe because I can’t eat it!!! I don’t know what’s going on with my body, but the last two times I’ve had it in the past few months it’s made my throat/mouth/ears unbearably itchy.

I’m sure the grape tomatoes will be gone in an instant – I love snacking on them. The beans, squash and peppers will probably get tossed in a stir fry, and I will definitely be making some more spinach dip to go with all the cucumbers we have!


CSA Week 8

It’s funny how much my life has changed in the last week. I went from having all sorts of free time to read, watch tv, cook, bake, and lounge around to working 10+ hours a day. I’m looking forward to October when things (hopefully) slow down.

I can’t even explain the exhaustion that this job has brought on. Partially my fault: I choose to wake up at 4:00 so I can run before work 🙂 I have to fit in marathon training regardless of my work schedule! I’ve already paid the entry fee and I’ve already spent countless hours training. Part of me is really worried I won’t be ready, but I’m going to try! And don’t get me wrong – I’m so incredibly thankful for not only having a job, but for having a job that I enjoy. I just wish that the enjoyment wasn’t so tiring!

Now, onto a late CSA post. I can’t believe it’s been 8 weeks since we received our first bag!

CSA Week 8

  • Corn
  • Baby watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Beets
  • Odd-shaped bell peppers

As for my plan for them… well, I would like to think I will be cooking all sorts of nice dishes, but reality is right now I throw together whatever food I have into a dish that is edible but not always aesthetically pleasing.

  • Corn: I think I might make the corn salad again! This time with a jalapeno or two (or three) thrown in there.
  • Watermelon: this sucker is so small I think I can inhale it in one bite.
  • Cucumbers: our fridge is overflowing with cucumbers. I need to make some pickles. I have no idea what else I’m going to do with them all!
  • Beets: I had planned on making a beet salad with the beets we got last week, but they ended up in a beet cake instead. So, I think I’ll be making the beet salad this week!
  • Bell peppers: these babies were used up the night we got ’em!


Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

It was Blogger’s Choice for today’s recipe swap. I was assigned to Amy’s Kitchen Creations. I saw the chicken pot pies and had my heart set on making them. Then, time got away from me and I realized that there was no way I would ever have the time to prepare that dish in time for the swap reveal!

Thank goodness she has so many recipes to choose from! I came upon the corn, avocado, and tomato salad and knew that it would be perfect. I had a ton of corn to use up from the CSA and we had a bunch of ripe cherry tomatoes that were begging to be used in our garden!

I loved how easy this was to make! I ended up doubling the recipe because I had so much corn to use up. Now, I have a bunch of delicious leftovers to get me through the next few days 🙂

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
slightly adapted from Amy’s Kitchen Creations

11 ears corn, cooked and kernels cut off
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup red onion, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, zested
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Combine the corn, tomatoes, avocado, and onion in a large glass bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss gently to combine.


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CSA Week 7

It’s that time again! This post will be short and sweet. I’ve worked 11 hours today and have a couple more to squeeze in before I head to bed and work another 12+ hours. Working my new job + my old job is kind of exhausting. I’m looking forward to being on a normal-ish schedule again.

CSA Week 7

  • Cucumbers
  • Yellow squash
  • Pattypan squash
  • Beets
  • Banana peppers
  • Bell peppers

I don’t have a menu planned out quite yet – I’m guessing Mike and I will be eating a lot of stir fry type meals for a while as I get settled in and work calms down. I’ll gladly accept any suggestions for quick and easy meals that use one of the CSA items!

I do have some bonus pictures to share, though! Mike and I went through our garden last night to pick the ripe cherry tomatoes before the storms hit. We discovered some huge summer squash lurking in our garden. We planted the squash and completely forgot about them. Mike had walked over to that side of the garden and saw one huge squash . We discovered 3 more fairly large ones and then two smaller ones. We left the little ones on the vine to grow a bit more.

I’m so excited that we finally have stuff to harvest from our garden!!


CSA Week 6

This post is about a week late… oops! We received week 6 while we were at Myrtle Beach. I had my mom snap a few pics so I could show off what we’d received. I meant to post while we were gone, but it slipped my mind. We only had the iPad with us and I didn’t want to be bothered with figuring out how to post from it.

CSA Week 6

  • Peaches
  • Corn
  • Pattypan squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Banana peppers

We let them eat what they wanted since we were going to be gone. We’ll collect whatever they didn’t eat tonight. I’m hoping the banana peppers are still there!

Stay tuned for a recap of our vacation week!


Grilled Veggie Kabobs with Lime Chimichurri

Mike and I were hustlin’ to use up all the produce we had in our fridge before we left. These veggie kabobs were absolutely perfect for the occasion! The added bonus was that we were able to finally use the grill! With our weird work hours, we can go days without eat dinner together. Mike and his grilling puppy, Ripley, set to work:

The kabobs gettin’ their grill on

Ripley the Grill Dog watching intently.

We ended up with a ton of leftovers. I munched on those over the next day over some steamed rice without the chimichurri. The original recipe called for 6 cloves of garlic in the sauce. I only used 4, and the garlic taste was still pretty strong. Next time, I’ll probably use 2 cloves or just skip the sauce altogether and just drizzle the kabobs with plain lime juice.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs with Lime Chimichurri

for the kabobs:
3 patty pan squash, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 red onions, quartered
2 bell peppers, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved if large
1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

for thechimichurri:
4 garlic cloves
3 dried bay leaves
6 teaspoons lime juice
1 fresh poblano pepper, chopped
2 fresh serrano chilis, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup oregano
1/2 cup basil
1/3 cup olive oi

  1. Combine veggies in a large dish. Sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make chimichurri. Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Slowly add in olive oil until well combined.
  3. Thread vegetables onto skewers* leaving a little space between each item. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred on all sides. Serve immediately with sauce.
*Use metal or bamboo skewers. If using bamboo ones, don’t forget to soak them in water for a good 30 minutes or so!

recipe adapted from Runner’s World