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Saturday, December 20, 2014

fuck today's q+a lets eat swanky ass squash!

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge

december 20

describe someone whom you’ve lost in your life and the sadness that you feel.

i do not want to talk about loss or grief or sad shit.

let's talk about food! 
i made this fabulous dish the first time at thanksgiving
i planned on writing about it earlier but just getting to it now

i'm all about the sides 

i challenged myself to make a whole holiday dinner with new recipes i've never made before and try some new flavor combinations

my hope was to come up with new dishes that would go on to be favorites. 
done and done!

i have to admit although i've eaten a shit ton of squash in my time i have never really had butternut any other way than straight up 
baked or steamed

it's a sweet veg but in this recipe it was not sweet 
it was way on the savory scale 

it's a party in my mouth! 
it's complex with the punch of fresh sage + the parm and the spices and textures

in the world of squash this is swanky ass squash!
ghaaaa love at first bite. 

thanksgiving was far too busy to be taking snaps but i made it again yesterday because it was so damn delicious the first time 

this time i served it as lunch with a simple green side salad + fresh baked roast garlic bread
we eat good around here!

yes, it was totally enough just as lunch

if you're serving meat eaters i'm sure it would be well paired with roast chicken or pork chops

another thing i really like
you can make part of it the day before
then do the last step and bake it off
that's really helpful for holiday cooking!

oh that fresh sage. 
and nutmeg. 
the scents. 
so good. 

snapping all hot and steaming up the lens! 

swanky ass squash

2 T butter

1 T evoo

2 md onions, diced 

2 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed 1 1/2''

1 tsp sugar

1 1/4 tsp  salt, divided

1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

3/4 cup vegetable broth (or 1 veg bouillon in boiling water)

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs i made from homemade from  italian seasoned bread

1 c finely grated parmesan-reggiano 

1 good bundle of chopped fresh sage leaves (equiv to 2 T or so)


preheat oven 180 c/ 350 f
heat butter + olive oil over medium-high heat
sauté onions until lightly golden, 5 - 8 min
add butternut sauté for 4 min 
add divided sugar, 3/4 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg  
work the pan
sauté until onions and squash begin to caramelize, 5 to 6 minutes
vegetable mixture goes into baking dish 
i use a md ceramic casserole dish prepped with butter
spread the veg in pan pour veg broth over top 
cover tightly with foil
 bake for 45 minutes 
remove from the oven 
**you can either stop here and finish the next day... if so, refrigerate. reheat in 180c/350f oven for 10 minutes or continue on.... 
increase  oven temp to 200c/400f
mix bread crumbs, parm, sage, 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp black pepper
sprinkle over the squash mixture
bake 15-20 min uncovered, until  top is golden brown
original recipe here

and hey while we're chatting about kitchen challenges.... 
i want to give a shout out to my cooking blogging gal pal 
reannon over at she who rambles 
who's hosting a cooking project starting in 2015 
she who rambles
i'm ALL IN! 
i think it's going to be a yumfun year! 

happy saturday beautiful peoples!
hope you eat some good food today! 

*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!

Friday, December 19, 2014

unexpected beauty and bam-a-lam-black-betty

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge

december 19

when was the last time you encountered unexpected beauty?

when i opened this question for today i thought... okay i know exactly what i'll take pictures of today. 

friday is a busy cooking day for me when the man-boys descend on our house for the weekend. 

here's a look at little bits of my unexpected beauty that was my day. 
i love food. it is absolutely beautiful to me. 

butternut squash for my lunch

chocolate for my  jet lag fucking brownies

roasting garlic with basil + olive oil

cooking down tomatoes for pizza sauce

yeast for loaves of garlic parm bread

and 1 funny thing that is beautiful because it just is.  
next week is my birthday.

now normally i wouldn't be all putting my address and shit out there for the world... well for you folks yes... but not the spammers and stalkers and the masterbaters 

okay the thing  is....

a)  my grandma (betty) is 83 bless her heart she doesn't always spell my first name correct.... but she nailed that much this time

b) my last name... no... nope... not my last name. 

c) NOT my address. this is why i'm showing you this. because this is not anyone's address. 
but apparently if you want to send me something the finnish post can some how track me down even with a really fucked up last name AND address. 
guessing because i am the only one named tracie in that zip code or probably finland. tracie is for sure not a finnish name!

so there you go feel free to send me some shit... i'll get it. 
the finnish post will find me. 

oh black betty bam-a-lam i just love you! 

happiest of fridays!

*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

random kindness and peppermint cookie recipe

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge

december 18
have you ever experienced kindness from a stranger?

yes, of course.  
there's the small stuff. 
the random stranger holding a door, courteous drivers on occasion, the person who will change seats on the plane, the kind offer to take a picture of us on vacation as we smash in struggling with a selfie in front of a landmark.

i'm a random good karma sprinkler myself. 
go out there and be a kind human we're all in this together! 

speaking of spreading some good karma i'm going to share my candy cane cookie recipe i promised last week...

these are not a cookie we pound into our cookie holes but it's something a little different for the cookie platter that screams 
these are a crispy flat slightly chewy fun cookie. 

somewhere down the line i started making these cookies. 
i'm not sure where they even came from but they always make it onto the cookie platter.

first thing gather up the broken candy canes.
i cover my candies in a clean linen kitchen towel (not a fuzzy terry loop)
then take the rolling pin to them

it's good holiday stress relief.
if you smash them up without covering first they will be on the floor, in your hair. 
they could take an eye out. 
don't you want to see grandma with both eyes? of course you do. 

candy cane cookies

120g (1/2 c) butter
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/2c flour

3/4 c peppermint candy or candy canes

for rolling
1/2 c powdered sugar

butter + sugar 
add vanilla + egg

whisk together
salt + b. soda + b. powder + flour

beat dry mixture into the creamed mixture.
add in crushed peppermints. 

the elf says stir that shit in by hand. 

scoop 1 T of dough. i use medium cookie scoop. 
roll balls gently with hands. (that's what he said!)
roll in powdered sugar. 

*these spread i do not bake more than 9 per sheet 
*let cool on pan 3 minutes then transfer to cooling rack
*as they cool they get crispy

bake 180c/350f 
9-10 minutes 

hope your thursday has been superduper!

*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

cruising through this month!

this month is going so fast!

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge
wow look at us it's december 17! 

who was your best friend in primary school? 
describe him or her.

i would say my 'best friend'  was my neighbor michael thompson. 
we grew up together.

i didn't have any girls my age in the neighborhood to hang out with so it was michael and i. 
he had other boys he could have hung out with but he always picked me. 
i was fun and a tomboy. 
we were hell on then tricycles, then bikes, then dirt bikes. 

he moved away in the 4th grade (in think)
we stayed friends for many years because our parents were friends, but they lost track too i guess.  

describe michael... 
he was fun. he was always kind to me. 
i'm sad we lost touch. 

i've never had a brother but that's what i imagine it might be like. 

have you kept in touch with childhood friends?
if you've lost track have you ever tried to track them down?

hope your wednesday was splendid! 


*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

comfort food. yum.

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge
december 16

what was your comfort food growing up?

my childhood comfort food was eaten at my grandma's house:

buttery scrambled egg sandwiches on buttered toast.
there was a lot of butter and love involved visiting there. 
nice childhood memories.

these days i'd say soup is my go to comfort food. 
we eat soup 3+ days a week all year round. 
love soup. 

my fantasy comfort food.... 
if carbs, calories and fat didn't go straight to my ass i'd eat a loaf of homemade bread straight out of the oven with a block of butter everyday... and pasta. 
i'd eat the shit out of pasta with some kind of cream sauce....
 and i'd have homemade pistachio ice cream for dessert.

how about you... what kind of food comforts you? 
childhood comfort food?
adult comfort food?
fantasy food?

hope your tuesday was swell!

*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!

Monday, December 15, 2014

are you a maker?

while we are smack in the middle of holiday giving season i want to ask....

are you a handmaker of gifts? 
i'm a maker. 
i've been a maker-giver my whole life.

some of the very best gifts i've ever received have been handmade. 
want to gift me... 
you just gift me up with your handmades

i have talented friends and family that know my style and taste!
here's some of the favorite handmades i've received...

handmade lip balm, candles, soaps, bath salts
homemade boozy concoctions... limoncello, kahlua, irish cream
jams, baked goods
bottles of homemade natural cleaning products 
flower bulb kits
hand thrown pottery bowls
homegrown (ha! yea that kind too) herb
a handwritten note of someone's lovely words. 

people worry about 'wonky not perfect' or that they really aren't 'artistic'.....
i'm so charmed by the folksy 'wonky-not-perfect'.
i call it perfectly imperfect.

or what's worse they worry that.....
'it really wasn't enough of a gift'. 

the gift in itself is that someone thought of me when they sat down to make something!!!! 
that is the VERY BEST! 

i know not everyone enjoys getting a hand made.
clearly i do. 

i wanted to share this with you. 
this was sent to me from patti a talented, sweet friend who i got blessed with as family!

I want to share a Christmas craft story with you. 
I call it: The Tale of Two Scarves: 
A few years ago, a friend taught me to knit, and I wanted to make everyone a scarf...
so I did. 

Family and friends.

Everyone seemed to like their scarves, except one friend. 

She only said "thank you," smiled sweetly, folded it up and put it back in the bag. 

I have never seen her wear it. 
I made this scarf especially for her, with a fine-thread, wool-silk blend yarn, in her favorite color.

It took me over a month to make it because the yarn was so fine, and so I had to use small needles. (I'm not a fast knitter anyway...the smaller the needles, the longer it takes me. Arthritis.) 

I thought she would like it, but obviously she didn't. I felt sad. 

The second scarf in this story was made last minute out of chunky yarn from the dollar store, when I found out that a family member unexpectedly decided to come home for Christmas. 

I was able to make that scarf in one day...and, she loved it!!! 

The delight on her face couldn't be faked. Go figure. 

I have decided that I don't know people at all. 

A month ago, my mother's best friend gave me 5 large trash bags full of yarn. 

Expensive yarn and dollar store yarn...I don't have to buy any yarn for several years. {happy dance} 

So, I have been making some simple scarves and cowls with this yarn, easy stuff, and I will bring everything I've made so far to my daughter's on Christmas Eve to give away. 

People can pick up something if they want to, or pass it by. 

Whatever is left, I'm taking down to the Genesis House in Detroit, a shelter for homeless women and children. 

And that's what I will do every Christmas from now on. 

I have no moral for this story, other than people are people...and life is what it is. 

Keep on creating. Hopefully someone will like it. Happy Christmas!!!


i have been on both sides of this as a maker-giver. 

i've had the DELIGHT of having a receiver truly love something i've created.
it doesn't get any better than that!

i've had the polite thank you-smile and back in the box scenario. 

what's worse than that.... 

i've sent handmades around the world to people who have said they admire my work
and the person/people didn't even acknowledge
that the package even arrived until i've asked

and then was given an obligatory
forced thank you.
fuck that shit right there.

this has happened a couple times.
those people go on a whole different list. 

i'm with patti... i don't know shit about people! 

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge

december 15

what do you and your family like to do on saturday morning?

i've talked about our weekends+mornings quite a bit during this challenge.
saturday mornings are slow and easy. 
we wake quiet with candles and soft music. 

over the rhine  from the 'snow angel' album 

we have our coffee and tea together and some kind of pastry. 
these days it's cookies.
that's our saturday mornings. 

now it's monday. 
can we go back to the weekend already?!!

are you a maker-giver?
have you had grateful receivers and the not so grateful?

what's your favorite handmade gift you've received?
how about your worst handmade?


*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

sunday. inside and out.

pretty inside.

yucky cold outside. 

today's question from the 
*'life: captured inc.'  challenge

december 14

do you remember a time when you felt lonely? 
can you describe it?

sorry if this sounds lame but i'm going to pass on this question today.
i'm in a joyful mood and this kind of shit just brings me down. 
ain't nobody got time for that today.  

hope you had a good weekend!

*if you are doing the december challenge, yeah! 
if you don't know anything about it pop over at 
 'life: captured inc' everyone is welcomed. 
you can jump in anytime if you're moved to do so!