Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream

Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream

Cinnamon Hill Ceylon Cinnamon

As the last post pointed out, fall is here and we are welcoming it with open arms. Shanna and I love this time of year (we got married in it!) and always look forward to the changes and reminders it brings.

Cinnamon Hill Ceylon Cinnamon | Food Loves Writing

Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream | Food Loves Writing

Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream | FoodLovesWriting.com
Yet even though it may be the season to be breaking out hot drinks and jackets, we have an ice cream recipe for you today that we really enjoyed. (Let’s be honest, we will be enjoying ice cream year round, even in the dead of winter, so don’t be surprised if you see another ice cream recipe from me then.) This ice cream is a great taste of fall though, with its mild pumpkin flavor that sneaks up on the finish. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Ice Cream
PUMPKIN CINNAMON ICE CREAM | FOOD LOVES WRITING

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SPONSORED POST: Sweet and Tangy Late Summer Squash Quinoa

SPONSORED POST: Sweet And Tangy Late Summer Squash Quinoa

We just enjoyed a two-week trial of Grammarly for proofreading—because everybody can use an extra pair of eyes. Learn more about this online editing service in the footer!

summer squash quinoa

Two days ago on our morning walk, Tim and I put on sweatshirts. Yesterday, I pulled out my boots for the first time since May. Today, the window’s open in the bathroom, and even from the next room over, I can smell the fresh air and feel a cool breeze coming in (the high today in Nashville was 72 degrees). What’s more, down the hall and in the kitchen, the oven is on, and I have a pot filled with root vegetables boiling on the stove. Fall is here, officially and obviously, and I’ve been dressing, eating and, what I’m trying to say, I guess, is enjoying this new season, even when it means summer’s gone.

summer squash quinoa

But before we get too deep in changing leaves, could I get one last hurrah for summer? I hate to say it as a lifelong October lover, but sometimes I’m nostalgic for the season that ends (besides winter). And while I was all set to pack away this late summer squash recipe for next year, our Monday CSA pickup brought a few more of the yellow squash we’ve been seeing the last few weeks. So I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I slipped this late summer squash quinoa dish in? You could, of course, swap out the yellow squash with a nice winter one, cubed and roasted with oil until it’s caramelized. You could, also, decide to go elsewhere for a recipe featuring pumpkin or apples. I’ll understand.

summer squash quinoa

For now, here’s a quinoa dish we enjoyed before the temperatures dropped and the days shortened. It’s a reminder of the beauty that was, even as we walk forward into the beauty that is and the kind that is to come.

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They Say That Love Shows in the Gestures / Portabella Zucchini Tacos

They Say That Love Shows In The Gestures / Portabella Zucchini Tacos

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

They say that love shows in the gestures–
A dash to the airport, a big diamond ring;
They say that this is what’s romance–
All that glitters,
All that sparkles,
All that’s bright and glossy,
(You know, those sorts of things).

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

True, you proposed: it was poetry,
All of your neat lines of verse, for me, arranged.
You made me a picnic and hid it,
A cooler packed with food and a ring,
Then you asked me,
And I said yes, and remember?
Right there, how everything changed?

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

It’s true, life is beautiful,
(We are happy,
We are together,
And free.)

But, also true, life is painful,
And we’ve walked through dark times just the same.
What of the times pacing the halls?
The nights of long talks?
The physical pain,
The wounded hearts,
The disappointments,
The crying out, over and over,
To God’s name?

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

It makes me think it’s love in the small and the hard things,
(Maybe the small and the hard things the most).
The dishes, the laundry,
The trash, the yard.
The kind words,
(When you want harsh words),
The soft words,
(When you want hard).
The long talks,
(When you are tired).
The stretched out arm,
(When you want to run).

Food Loves Writing Portabella Zucchini Tacos

Could love look like nights in the kitchen?
Like daily dinner?
Like, simply, life?

Portabella Zucchini Tacos / Food Loves Writing

She said, “What we need is love that’s not tired*,”
What she said is, I guess, what I think.

Love shows itself in daily somethings,
Somethings as simple as this.

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Fresh Corn Pudding

Fresh Corn Pudding

Fresh Corn Pudding

The fact that I live in Nashville still confuses me sometimes, especially when we return from somewhere familiar, like Chicago to see my family or Ohio to see Tim’s. Tuesday night we came home from a few days in Cincinnati, for example, where all the men in Tim’s family went to a Monday night football game and I finally got to hit up IKEA—and coming back had me dreaming about eating breakfast in my own parents’ kitchen or watching Friday night movies at my friend Jackie’s house. Sometimes being around familiar things makes me want to be around more familiar things. And even though, from where I write this post tonight, I know I’ve lived in Tennessee for two and a half years (WHAT!), the fact that I live in the South still seems strange. People in the South are downright charming—but it’s hard to know when they’re being genuine. People in the South like to small-talk—but this level of interaction can go on for years. And here I am, this Midwestern girl who at first seems aloof and then pours her vulnerable heart all over the coffee shop, and it’s not hard to wonder where exactly I fit in.

Fresh Corn PUDDING

I am convinced there’s great value in being a student of things you don’t understand—This includes health and nutrition, family relationships, frizzy hair, and entire regions of the country like the parts south of the Mason-Dixon line. Since I started visiting Nashville in 2010, I’ve been exposed to increasing levels of Southern culture, and along the way I guess I’ve been taking notes. So while it’s true I make generalizations about the South, about Tennessee, it’s also true I know places are made up of people, and no two people are exactly the same. It’s just interesting to look at the trades, foods, and backyard party styles of people in certain geographies. And that’s what I found fascinating about the cookbook, Southern Living No Taste Like Home*.

Corn

Besides having a puffy hardcover exterior and pages and pages of beautiful, colorful photographs, this cookbook is filled with information about this area called the South. It’s broken up into six sections—Heart of Dixie, Cajun Country, Texas, Piedmont and Mountains, Bluegrass/Bourbon/Barbecue Trail (that’s where our city fits in), and Coastal South. Reading the section intros was a little like touring different parts of America, and I found that a pretty enjoyable way to look at recipes and food.

Corn Pudding

The first recipe we adapted from the book was this fresh corn pudding, nestled just under a recipe for Kentucky Burgoo (essentially a meaty stew). Even swapping out the cream for kefir, the sugar for coconut sugar, the flour for einkorn and cutting everything in half, the result was creamy comfort food—something the South has always done best.

corn pudding

The texture and flavor reminded me of cream corn meets soufflé. To my brother-in-law, it was like a corn version of a mac n’ cheese. Either way, it’s one beautiful reason to love this place I’m continually learning to make my home.

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Is It Too Slight a Thing / Apple Cream Cheese Streusel Pie

Is It Too Slight A Thing / Apple Cream Cheese Streusel Pie

trees

Is it too slight a thing
To have lived long in September,
To have caught the golden light,
To later have these days, “Remember?”;

goldenleaves

birchtree

leavesandlight

bridgetolight

treesandbranches

blueskies-goldleaves

greenleaves-fallleaves

backlitgrass

sky-apples

(Could we hold so much in
Our grasp, yet reckon things askew,
Because the things we hold are
Moving, moving, like things do?)

applepiecreamcheese

I bake a pie on Friday,
I bake a pie today.
Is it too slight a thing to get to
Make it,
Bake it,
Slice it,
Eat it,
With you,
(That’s our way).

pieandlight

At night, I miss the golden hour,
In life, I’ll miss these days—
When we were happy, simple, full,
Working from bed,
Baking our pies,
Laughing at night—

applecreamcheesepie

I say this now to know,

I knew.

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Roast Chicken on Tomatoes + Potato Spaghetti Squash Puree

Roast Chicken On Tomatoes + Potato Spaghetti Squash Puree

chickenandsquashpuree

September 11, 2013 has been a beautiful day here in Nashville. Tim and I woke up early to grind popcorn kernels and make skillet cornbread. The cornbread was a dud, but Tim made a berry smoothie that wasn’t. Then, we drove through blue skies and bright sun to our car dealership, twenty minutes south, where a serviceman checked us in to get our air-conditioning fixed and asked the time: It was 9:11 AM on the nose.

dinner

Twelve years ago this morning, I was standing in a Wisconsin hotel, curling my hair, when my mom shouted from the TV in the main room, “Come look at this!” and I didn’t say anything, and we called my dad in Illinois, and he was crying. Today, I walked away from a serviceman and into a Tennessee car dealership lounge, where Tim and I would listen to someone making popcorn and watch a 10-month-old baby boy named John crawl around the room.

My mom and I were at that Port Washington hotel because I was scheduled for traffic court on September 11, for driving 24 miles over the speed limit a few months before. I remember telling the judge that day that I was sorry. “I don’t want to ever speed again,” I said to her when it was my turn. Everyone was talking about the planes and the towers, and there I was apologizing for something that was no one’s fault but my own. After court, we tried shopping, but our hearts weren’t in it. I wanted to drive back to school before dark. So my mom drove back to Naperville, and I drove back to college, and, when I got there, I returned to TVs all over campus, broadcasting live coverage of what was going on.

Today, Tim and I drove away from the car dealership and to the grocery store to pick up chicken; I had a dinner idea I told him I wanted to try. In the broad, bright Tennessee daylight, we cruised back up I-65 and then over to our house. We roasted spaghetti squash and tomatoes and chicken, and we boiled potatoes to combine with squash in a puree. We ate dinner by candlelight, the days shorter and the sun gone by before seven o’clock these days. And I exclaimed, over and over again out loud to Tim and Nathan, two men I’d never even met twelve years ago, about how much I liked the dinner tonight and how special it felt.

chickendinner

It occurs to me as I sit down on my bed tonight, fresh from this dinner, trying to write this post, how many people aren’t alive to be able to read it today. There are the ones killed by tragedy on this day twelve years ago, and there are the ones killed on other days by other things since then, from a Boston bombing to a Middle Eastern bombing to cancer to depression to kidney failure to old age. Even as I’ve been writing these thoughts, a mosquito has been bothering me, and I just, almost mindlessly, killed it between my hands and took it to the bathroom trashcan. Death is all around us. Life ends. We all know this, but there are a million ways to pretend it away—and in the pretending away, we miss something true. We are not promised tomorrow. Who of us knows when his or her life will end? Days like today, remembering and reflecting, it’s easy to see. We are finite. Our lives are short. And then, it’s easy to give thanks for the sheer blessing of living, of driving to the car dealership, of eating roast chicken in your dining room, of coming here to write about it in a blog post.

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everybody wants a piece of the pie / pear crisp

Everybody Wants A Piece Of The Pie / Pear Crisp

Fresh Pears for Crisp  / Food Loves Writing

Everybody wants a piece of the pie, everybody wants a “How high you fly!”
We’re all looking for something, something to say that we count.
We meet and we’re asked, “What’s your something?”
We meet and we’re asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m my family,” “my beauty,” “my job skills,”
“My companion,” “my food blog,” “my work.”
But deep down, there’s somewhere a gnawing,
Deep down, there’s somewhere an ache.
We can mask it and hide it and hope that
Our efforts to cover will work.
“I’ve got it!” “I’ve won it!” “I’ve made it!”
“Look at me!” “Now, at last, I’m complete!”
But deep down, there’s still somewhere a gnawing,
Deep down, unmasked, still that ache.

When we know this, when we see this, when we are this,
Why don’t we respond to the root?
Instead of ever reaching and striving,
Instead of just joining the race,
Why don’t we step back, slow, and realize
What’s driving our envy, snubbing and spite:
We’re, all of us, everywhere, hungry,
Hungry for wholeness, hungry for life.
All our pushing, for small fame and fortune,
For approval and high-fives and praise,
Is, all of it, every time, grasping,
For something much greater than that.

There’s a secret, locked up in there, hidden,
A secret you learn at the top—Solomon, that rich man, once said it:
These things we want won’t fill us up.
“All is vanity,” so says the preacher. “All is empty,” he finally concludes.
We think we want Big Brand to see us. We think we want That Guy to stop.
But that pushing, that fighting, that clawing,
Is such a fast, black waste of time.
They won’t fill you up! They are empty!
What you want is the water that lasts!
So why not open-hand it and drop what
Was never yours, in fact, at all:
Everybody wants a piece of your pie—Let ’em have it.
There’s much more to fill empty palms.

Pear Crisp / Food Loves Writing

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