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Salted Caramel Squash and Yellow Beets

If you have been following my Project C.U.E. posts we have been talking about food cravings and addictions and how we work with them in a healthy way. Many of us have commented on stress levels and business and how that affects our ability to make good choices; but there is also this vein of pure physiological craving and what to do about that.

Yesterday was really busy and stressful for me, my wife had surgery and in my infinite stupidity I tried to work in the interim period when she was under the knife. That was not so smart, I was completely stressed and anxious and just should have taken the day off truthfully. This evening after the whirl of dinner prep and kid bath and bed I went in to check on her and in that brief moment of slowing down I realized I was totally exhausted.

So I went to bed.

So that puts my Project C.U.E. video post on hold, though I do have a great one I will do tonight continuing on the cravings thread. I hope all my blogging friends understand, I’m not slacking!

Back to the important stuff..dinner! I have some great veggies right now as the farm stands are bursting at their seams. The lovely golden beets above I got at Harlow’s Farm and I couldn’t wait to try them (you know me and beets!). While I was at Harlow’s they had these sumptuous salted caramels that were petite and lovely and I adore the combination of salt and caramel, so I decided to pay them tribute with this squash and beet dish.

Salted Caramel Beets and Squash

Oven to 375. For this recipe I used 4 golden beets and 1/2 a delicata squash, but you could certainly do any combo of beets and squash or all beets and all squash. I liked the difference in textures using both. Peel and cube squash and beets and place in a casserole dish, salt liberally but carefully (you can always add more salt!).

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil together. Add 1 medium diced or minced onion and cook SLOWLY untill onions are just translucent. Be patient! Don’t let the onions burn! Add 1 Tbsp raw honey and 1 Tbsp vanilla and cook gently for another two minutes or so.

Pour the onion and honey mixture over the squash and mix well. Cover the casserole dish and place in the preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, until squash is soft and everything caramelizes.

While the squash was baking I popped some garlic in to roast. Roasting garlic is so easy, and talk about a comfort food! Just lop the top off the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in some tinfoil and roast! Mine roasted for about 30 minutes or so and was perfect; creamy, nutty and mild.

I combined the roasted garlic with some baby spinach, a drizzle of olive oil,  a handful of fresh basil, salt and pepper, and 2 Tbsp walnuts and whirred it in the food processor.

Tossed with artichoke angel hair and a Parmesan/Asiago/Romano blend this was totally divine! By now the casserole was also done and smelled sweet and savory wafting through the evening air.

This dinner was perfect, comforting enough after a stressful day but still healthy and full of flavor and vitamins. And the squash really did taste like caramel! I made some leftover pesto into a salad dressing and also had that.

The nice thing about cooking is that it serves a dual purpose for me. The actual act of cooking relaxes me and then the food nourishes my body and satisfies my cravings in a healthy way. I also made a lovely fresh dessert so look for that recipe tonight. Have a great day!