I have this strange habit. I sign up for a challenge, accomplish it, and then stop. Cold turkey.
On Memorial Day weekend, I ran a marathon. A FULL marathon. My FIRST marathon. That was FOUR months ago. I haven’t run outside since crossing that finish line…well, except to see who just fell off the monkey bars at recess. Three years ago, I finished an Olympic length triathlon. I swam, I biked, I ran. But after finishing that event, the bike sat in the garage, and I don’t think I’ve entered a lap pool since. While I haven’t miss the pool, I felt badly for my poor bike.
I even loaned it out to a few people for a few races. It’s a great bike, and it seemed such a shame to have it sit collecting cobwebs. But me? I was content to teach spin classes. Inside.
I have no idea why a finish line holds such a sense of finality for me. Not just for the day. Not just for the season. But for quite a long time. I tell myself that it’s because I pour myself into my training. By the time the event arrives, I’m ready to be done, and I’m ready for something else. During the last few weeks of training, I dream of yoga or lying on a beach somewhere. Maybe I just don’t have the drive of a true athlete.
But I’m happy to say that I’m finally back to riding my bike. And I owe it all to my friend, Julie. Julie is an inspiration to me. She is currently training for her second century ride. (Yes, that’s 100 miles. My butt bones can’t even imagine 100 miles in a saddle.) And she has sweetly put on the brakes to allow me to keep up with her for portions of her training rides. I am LOVING it! Despite the soreness, I love riding in the cool of the early morning, knocking off 30-40 miles before church on a Sunday. It has become the highlight of my week.
What does this have to do with acorn squash?
Nothing really, but as Julie and I ride the rolling hills of the Nachez Trace, I find that our conversation always seems to come back to food. Recently, Julie asked me if I liked acorn squash. My mind instantly went back to the squash memories of my childhood. The kind that involved the phrase “you will not leave the table until…” But while grocery shopping later that afternoon, the pile of acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash just looked so fresh and inviting. The gourds smiled at me and said, “This is Fall. Enjoy me.” Okay, maybe I needed a little sugar after that long ride.
But I loved the acorn squash. And I think you will too. Stuffed with a sweet apple and spinach filling, this squash dish ushered in the season of Fall.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squashes
- 1 green apple
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 c. spinach
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 2 T. grade B maple syrup
- 1/2 c. pine nuts
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Cut 2 acorn squashes in half, remove the seeds, and place the squash face down on a jelly roll pan covered with foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Then turn them over and cook for another 30 minutes.
3. Core and chop apples and toss the apple pieces in lemon juice to keep them from browning.
4. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.
5. Add onions and apples and sprinkle with nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes.
6. Add spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts.
7. Season with sea salt, add maple syrup, and remove from heat.
8. Toast pinenuts in a toaster oven, or wait until the squash is cooked and toast them in the oven.
9. Remove squash after it’s cooked, stuff each half with apple spinach mixture, and sprinkle with pinenuts.
Thanks, Julie, for your inspiration! Both physically and in the kitchen!
- Do you like acorn squash?
- How do you deal with physical challenges?
- Do you enjoy running or biking?
- What’s your favorite finish line memory?
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