Pasta with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

When a friend at work told me about this recipe, I was sold. I love goat cheese, butternut squash, Giada’s crazy smile and was in the mood for pasta. I actually had most of the ingredients on hand, except for the goat cheese so a quick stop at Trader Joe’s and I was ready to try something new.

While at TJ’s, I picked up this wine – not bad for a super inexpensive bottle. (Totally wooed by the label.) I seriously cannot leave that place without grabbing ONE new thing to try! Similar impulse buys have sparked my love of chili-spiced dried mango and wasabi seaweed snacks.

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As usual, I went by my own loose interpretation of the recipe. I omitted the walnuts, swapped the fresh basil in favor of dried and adding in a few handfuls of spinach. Also, a nearly criminal offense… I only used 6 oz. of goat cheese instead of the 8 oz. that the recipe calls for. Trust me, NOT on purpose, but I wasn’t about to run back out to TJ’s that far into the process and it was plenty cheesy. I [over]compensated with the parmesan blend topper.

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The result of my efforts? Comfort food with a fall twist!

 

N’awlins

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A courtyard garden in the French Quarter. Someday!

P9090126 A horse pulling a carriage for city tours.

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Ali & I.

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The design nerd in me could not get enough of all of the beautiful signage.

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Or the amazing doors!

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Bourbon Street in daylight. We have no idea what it looks like at night.

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We discovered the meaning of life! (No pictures please.)

 

See ya, summer.

I literally raced off the bus and into my apartment to grab my camera and run back out to take some pictures of the beautiful Indian summer night. I love watching the boats in the harbor and the ducks and geese that hang out there (hey city nature!) and I know I need to take advantage of these last nights while I still can.

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All midwesterners LIVE for the summer, and I think that’s exceptionally true for those of us lucky enough to call Chicago home. I’ll miss the outdoor patios, Cubs games, pool time and a harbor full of boats instead of ice. Another great one on the books!

 

BBQ Pulled Pork

We spent a great, relaxing weekend at home over Labor Day where I know at least I ate my body weight in home-cooked meals and goodies I don’t keep at my place. We were blessed with both our good looks and love of salty, crunchy snack foods from our mama. You win some, you lose some.

I always leave to head back to the city with a goody bag packed with seriously weird odds and ends. This trip’s goody bag included a Costco-sized jar of mixed nuts, Crest White Strips and a huge hunk of roast pork. I love my family.

By a long shot, one of the least random bags I’ve taken, by the way.

The time the bag ripped open from the condensation coming off of the frozen melting pot roast and said pot roast plunked out into a huge icy chunk in the middle of the train aisle wasn’t awkward at all.

At my mom’s suggestion, I decided to make BBQ pulled pork so I could keep the leftovers around this week before our trip.

Mom: “Do you have barbeque sauce?”
Me: “Yep!”

Nope. So I made my own. It turned out seriously (and surprisingly!) awesome, so here’s how I did it after reading a few recipes online and using what I had on hand.

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L’s Chipotle-Honey BBQ Sauce

2 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

This made a lot of sauce. Probably a good 3 cups. I “pulled” the pork hunk using two forks and let it simmer in the sauce for a bit and then made a giant sandwich on a whole wheat roll from the market’s bakery.

Et voila!

Pardon my French. I’m a little excited about our upcoming New Orleans trip. Lots of fun, time with girlfriends… and of course, more great food. We’ll pack a bag for our mom. :)