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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Stewart

Small Surprises

My son looked at me the other day and asked, “Mommy, is being a mom hard?” I stopped everything I was doing and stared at him like I was startled by his question. It was as if he could deeply see through my thoughts in that moment and I felt like I wanted to cry. “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had baby boy…. But the most rewarding.” I said. Wow. What a big boy he had become in that moment. I had spent a lot of the day cleaning, cooking, organizing, and something I’m not good at doing… stopping. Taking a moment. Leaning in, as my friend and favorite preacher, Philip, would say. In the same week, I was teaching Sunday School in my son’s classroom and the other teacher giving the lesson asked the kiddos if they wanted to pray aloud for everyone, and my son was the first to raise his hand. And to my surprise, he prayed. In front of 12 other kids. He thanked God for the lesson that was given that day… and said, “I love you. Amen.” Wow. I had to fight back some fierce tears in that moment as it was not only a sign of bravery in my son, but also the fact that he felt compelled to speak/pray in front of his other peers.


This week has been a hard week for a lot of people. This week has been a challenge of the heart for most in so many ways. And these moments make me celebrate being a mom, a friend, a wife, a sister, and a daughter. These moments of surprise can make you feel the safest. And the happiest. And the most loved. Thank you for that my dear son. Thank you.


I am still reeling in fall recipes… and in the last two weeks I’ve been trying out new ones with my family. Per my mom’s suggestion, I picked up some acorn squash at my local farmers stand and I dove into a recipe that may have changed my life forever. I paired it with a pork shoulder that was to die for… and the next night I used the leftovers on a salad. The best savory fall recipes using Acorn Squash recipe!!! EEK!!!




A beautiful fall recipe with Acorn Squash
Parmesean Herb Crusted Acorn Squash



Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Parmesean


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large acorn squash (or 2 small)

  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnishing

  • 2–3 tablespoons fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried herbs

  • 1 tablespoons butter or ghee, melted

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt + more to taste

  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line one large (or two medium size) baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Cut the acorn squash in half, from stem to tip, and scoop out the seeds. Then, cut each squash half into ½-inch thick moon-shape slices.

  3. In a bowl, combine the Parmesan, herbs, melted butter, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper; toss until well mixed.

  4. Spread the acorn squash pieces out onto the prepared baking sheet(s). Using your hands, gently press the Parmesan mixture onto one side of each squash piece for maximum coverage (it’s OK if a little falls off).

  5. Bake until the acorn squash pieces are tender and the Parmesan topping is crispy and slightly browned, about 25 minutes. If desired, garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and herbs. Use a flat spatula to lift each piece off of the baking dish and onto a serving tray or dinner plates.



Piano was a really important instrument in our household growing up. I started taking lessons when I was really little… my sister too. This next artist I will be pairing my fall recipe with is a beautiful pianist. Regina Spektor, a Russia Born American singer, song writer and pianist. I learned of her while living in LA and I became mildly obsessed. She came to San Diego to perform a solo concert...I convinced my girlfriend, Sarah, to drive down with me to watch a midnight showing of her play. I bawled my eyes out. She was absolutely mesmerizing. Her song, US, from her album, Soviet Kitsch, is one of my favorite songs ever. And it is what Im pairing this weeks Play On Project Blog with. Dive deep into more of her songs if you have time!!!






My heart has been extremely heavy this week. This World is in turmoil. And I forget most days how lucky I am. I’m not much of a political person... But I am a loving person. I want to teach my kids how to love and be loved. So that this World only becomes a more loving place to live. And in the surprises that shined through my son this week, I can only hang on to that. Food and Music have been my source of healing... So thank you Real Food Dietitians for your delicious recipe and thank you Regina Spektor for always lifting up my soul.








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