Squash Pudding / FoodLovesWriting.com

I love Thanksgiving because I need thanksgiving. I need to practice gratitude, and I need to do it every moment of the day. I need to see my full hands. I need to stop and offer thanks. I need thanksgiving because I need to taste joy—oh, how I need to taste joy!—in the midst of the days that don’t go my way and the days that do.

Squash Pudding / FoodLovesWriting.com

Tim and I were talking the other night about a hard thing. I know whenever someone says something publicly about a hard thing, it’s only natural to wonder what that hard thing is, and I know I generically say things about hard things a lot, but personally I am convinced hard things are hard things whatever they are and however they happen. What difference does it make what the thing is, at least in terms of talking about it? If your heart is broken by your best friend or your heart is broken by a loved one’s death, your heart is still broken either way. Life is filled with so many of these little and big heartbreaks, and we all feel them, no one is immune. Maybe it’s what we do with them that matters? Maybe it’s what we do with them that heals their hurt. That’s what I’m thinking about today, alongside photos of squash pudding, on this day before Thanksgiving. I remember the two of us sitting there, talking about this hard thing, analyzing it, dissecting it, the way my overthinking brain has to do, and I said to Tim without any irony, This hurts. Because sometimes, you guys, stuff hurts, it just does, and you can say anything you want about how to avoid or get away from that, but it’s true.

Squash Pudding / FoodLovesWriting.com

I read a book earlier this year that you’ve probably heard about, One Thousand Gifts, thanks to a giveaway over at Cranny + Me, and I knew, going into it, it would talk about giving thanks for small things, but I didn’t know it would talk about giving thanks for hard things, for painful things, for the things that open your tight fists and increase your faith. I think about it all the time now: I am humiliated, and I think how there is a Being greater than me working this humiliation for my good. I am forgotten, and I think how He hasn’t forgotten me. I am laying next to Tim in bed at night, still shocked that he’s my husband, and I hear myself whispering, even in my broken human mess, My cup overflows. In my sorrow and in my happiness, in all of it, I am being given so much, every moment.

Squash Pudding / FoodLovesWriting.com

I feel so blessed and happy and full this Thanksgiving—so overwhelmed, to be honest. The crazy beautiful thing about gratitude is that the more you practice it, the more you feel it. You change. I am telling you, I change. I can be deeply hurt and giving thanks will pull me out of it. I can be grieving and giving thanks will be the comfort. And I can be comfortable and happy, not a cloud in the sky, and giving thanks makes my heart even fuller than I thought it could be.

I keep hearing people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday—Maybe this is why? Maybe we all experience this reality, this joy born and doubled, when we stop to look at our full hands. Maybe the founders of America knew this, too. I am glad they did, and I am glad the country in which I live chooses to remember it, and I am glad for every one of you, out there, in America and spread elsewhere around the world. Thank you for sharing life with us in a small way here. We’re thinking about you this holiday week and about the miracle your kindnesses have been to us.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Stovetop Squash Pudding with Toasted Hazelnuts

By: FoodLovesWriting.com

Serving Size: 3 to 4 small and rich portions

So squash pudding! Sure, it sounds strange, and it is a little, but it's also a creamy, comforting fall take on an old classic. What we have here is essentially a new take on the banana pudding we posted earlier this month. Reducing the sugar and swapping squash for the kefir (what!) turns what was a crazy good pudding into a crazy good celebration of squash. We topped ours with toasted hazelnuts, but, along with that, a little whipped cream wouldn't hurt things at all.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (80g) unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2.5 tablespoons organic corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk (355ml) (or, swap part of the milk out with cream or half and half)
  • ½ cup pureed butternut squash (or other squash puree would work)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chopped toasted hazelnuts, for garnish

Directions:

Place the first seven ingredients, sugar through honey, in a stockpot, and turn on the heat to medium-high. Whisk mixture until all ingredients are combined, and keep whisking while mixture thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. It will look thick and spoonable, just like traditional stovetop pudding, when it's done. At this point, remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract. To serve, scoop into small dishes and top with chopped toasted hazelnuts*.

*To make chopped toasted hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 350F and place 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet and slide that sheet into the oven. Roast for about 10 minutes, until the toasty smell of nuts fills the kitchen. Remove pan and let nuts cool until they're comfortable to touch. Rub the nuts between your hands to remove the skins; blend them until fine in food processor.

http://foodloveswriting.com/2013/11/27/stovetop-squash-pudding-with-toasted-hazelnuts/

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Gintare @Gourmantine

    Such beautiful post, I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled on your blog earlier. Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder to appreciate all things in life, both good and bad, as they makes who we are. Perhaps, it could be more spread?

  2. Kristin

    Just the word “holiday” makes me feel ill this year – I think it’s because I’ve always associated the word with celebration. And we don’t feel like celebrating at all.

    But gratitude can be practiced, and will be practiced, as we gather around our broken table with broken hearts, grateful for each other.

    It’s always a good practice, I think, to stop and remember how difficult this time of the year can be for people, and how important it is to connect with one another at a deeper level than the standard canned greetings.

    When I read this post, I thought of a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks – one that I’ve been reciting in my head for the past month. “my dreams, my works, must wait til after hell” – the image of packing away honey’s sweetness until a time when it can be truly enjoyed again is a powerful one, and speaks to the hard work of hard things. There is so much hope spoken there, just under the surface, and I see that in your writing as well.

    Thank you.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Kristin, Such beautiful thoughts you’ve shared here. I’m grateful for them. Big hugs to you in whatever season you’re experiencing, whatever hard things you’re pushing through—May sweetness break through.

  3. angela@spinachtiger

    Happy Thanksgiving Shanna and Tim. I do thank God for hard things; it makes me sink so deep, that when I come up, I soar, and God is shown strong. I had such a tough October, but November is probably best month of the year, so far, and every step of the way, I felt God’s interference, intervention and and redemption. In what seems like a small way, you guys are part of my redemptive story with Spinach Tiger. I may have given up had it not been for you. xoxo

    P.S. Love your stovetop squash pudding. Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yes, I think that’s a good way of saying it, Skye — a little more sophisticated. When we served it to our friend Louie last week, I kept laughing about what a weird thing it was to pull out, “squash pudding,” but there’s something pretty cool about its unique flavor, too. Would love to hear what you think if you try it!

  4. Kathryn

    I do so love the idea of Thanksgiving, of taking a day to just be grateful for all that you have. Amid the commercialisation of so many holidays, it still seems to stand for something.

    This pudding sounds wonderful too – rich and silky without being heavy and I love the addition of the toasted hazelnuts on top to make it feel just that bit more special. Beautiful.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I read something this week that someone posted online, I wish I could remember who and where, about how Thanksgiving was one of the few holidays hard to mess up with consumerism. I thought that was such an interesting point, too. All the other holidays focus on what to buy and what to want, but Thanksgiving is just about rejoicing with what you have. I love that so much.

  5. Zulejka

    Wow, this sounds delicious! I made your banana pudding twice, once with 6 yolks (leftover from another recipe, for chocolate financiers) and next time with 3 eggs as stated in the recipe. They we’re both very good, but I prefered the version with just the yolks. Have you perhaps tried it, too?

  6. Adri

    This is my first visit to your very beautiful site. My, but we all ought to practice gratitude a bit more often. Our world seems to move so fast these days. We all ought to slow down and say thanks! This pudding sounds completely intriguing. I bet it is delicious! Happiest of holidays to you and yours.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I know it, Adri, so true! PS I’m so glad you stopped over to leave this comment because it brought me to your site and your current Southern Italian Desserts book giveaway, and wow is all I have to say about that. !!

  7. Chocolate Shavings

    I agree with what you said about gratitude — I think a lot of us don’t practice it nearly enough. And that pudding look fantastic! Our Canadian Thanksgiving was several weeks ago already, but still seems like something to be incredibly thankful for!

  8. Beth

    What a lovely post. It’s definitely easier to be grateful for the easy and happy-making than the hard. I hope your hard thing is something that you can move beyond. Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Aw, Morgan, my old buddy! Have been thinking about you this week and the surprises Thanksgiving threw at you (I think, anyway, based on Instagram?). Thankful there is goodness in every detour. Thanks for saying hi here!

  9. felicia | Dish by Dish

    Hey friend, this comes late but Happy Thanksgiving! And I’m thankful for having a virtual friend like you, who shares her sorrows and her joys, celebrating life but not covering up the sadness. Thanks for being so open and honest with us (to the point you are able to), and for always reminding us the God is present and there’s a reason for everything, even if we may not see it.

    Your friend, F.

  10. Jeni Bear

    Hey Shanna! Such a great reminder about gratitude, it’s always hard to remember to be grateful for the hard stuff as well as the fun things. I was wondering if you have tried this recipe with alternative milks? I am severely allergic to cow dairy, but this recipe sounded so good that i had to ask.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi Jeni, Unfortunately I haven’t tried it with a different milk; however, I think coconut milk would be worth trying. You definitely want a milk with high fat content, which should help it thicken. As it’s cooking, however, you could always add extra cornstarch to see if it helps. Good luck!

  11. Pingback: Writes and Reads 2013 | A Literary Cookbook | Food Loves Writing

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