sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash

This weekend I doubted myself on many levels. I've been giving more of myself to this blog and everything that comes along with it than I ever thought I would. Along the way, I've met, incredible bloggers, whose work I admire, who keep me inspired and motivated. But the inevitable comparison trap does get me from time to time.

Despite the fact that a lot of these bloggers are far more experienced and have been doing this longer than I have, my mind likes to take me down the "you're not good enough" path. Have you experienced this kind of thinking? Not just in blogging but in most areas of life, comparison can be quite dangerous.  Even as I write this, part of me recoils and thinks: "How can you put this out there? What will people think?" But it's okay, I'm accepting whatever judgement comes my way as I would rather be honest and truthful about what this journey looks like for me. The ups, the downs, the doubts, the successes, the hours upon hours poured into it. 

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But tonight something clicked. While listening to a podcast, a fellow food blogger mentioned something that made me pause and write down some thoughts. Here's the thing; there may be 20,000 recipes of acorn squash but this is mine and it's mine because it goes along with my story, not just because I made up the recipe. Corny as it may sound, I finally felt some sort of individuality in this ocean of food bloggers. It's my story, my insecurity, my achievement, my struggle, my joy, etc. 

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We all struggle in one way or another. It may have nothing to do with food blogging but everyone feels insecure at one point or another. Despite what we may put forth to the world, inside we can be fragile beings, doubting we know a damn thing about what we are saying or doing. 

Life is challenging. Navigating the world of thoughts even more so. We are faced with something like 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and I don't have to tell you how many of those are negative. 

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So with that said, here is my acorn squash recipe. As I mentioned in previous posts, I'm a big fan of using seasonal ingredients. Though we're lucky to live in a place where apples are available year round, there's something about being able to use them when it's actual apple harvest season, that makes it special. A connection to the season, if you will.

I often like to pair ingredients I know work well together with one or two unusual ones and see what happens. I've been throwing apples in lot of different recipes and seeing what works. This one did not disappoint. I actually surprised myself with how well it turned out on the first try. From time to time this does happen and it does make up for the numerous things I've bombed along the way. 

And on to the recipe:

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  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash cut in half seeds removed
  • 1 apple cut into small pieces (1/2" pieces)
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage casings removed
  • 3-4 cups kale, stems removed and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 pint white or portabella mushrooms cut into about 1/2" pieces 
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 1/4 cup grapes cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or you can use broth (wine really tastes better, plus you can have a glass while cooking - win-win)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Equipment

  • heavy bottom pan such as stainless steel or cast iron
  • roasting sheet
  • parchment paper
  • slotted wooden spoon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your roasting sheet with parchment paper. Place each half of the squash face down on the paper. Roast for 25 minutes or until it's fork tender. Check it around the 20 minute mark and you can always put it back if need be. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, preheat your pan on medium. Add avocado oil and sausage and break it up with with wooden spoon. Cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked through and brown, stirring continuously. Set aside. 

In the same pan, add onion and cook until translucent - about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Once aromatic, deglaze with wine. Add mushrooms, apple, kale, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Return sausage to warm through. Turn off heat, add grapes. 

To assemble, place squash on plate and fill with sausage mixture. Pairs well with either dry red or dry white wine.

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