Inspiration Point (Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tempeh Sausage, Mushrooms, and Barley Recipe)

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Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. I love it for all of the usual reasons like not having to cook, the food itself, socializing with friends, and just having a chance to get out of the house. But I also enjoy it for a not-quite-so-common reason: the inspiration it provides for my own cooking. This is something I hadn’t given much thought to in my previous life, but after several years of our current lifestyle I’ve come to realize that restaurant dining was my culinary muse and that eating one meal a week away from the house at a very limited selection of restaurants was starting to seriously stifle my creativity. Sadly, it took a period of rather stale meal ideas that left me going to back to the same old dishes again and again to come to this unfortunate realization. (more…)

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Simple Overabundance (Creamy Polenta with Grilled Tempeh and Roasted Tomatoes Recipe)

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I love this time of year.  I love the warm, sunny days and the cool, perfect for sleeping nights.  I love the late summer wildflowers overflowing the roadside ditches.  I love the monarch butterflies that positively swarm me on my late morning runs.  I love that the wooded trails stay cool long into the afternoon.  I love the slight sense of urgency one feels during BBQs and camping trips, staying outside just a little longer, trying to squeeze every last drop out of summer before that morning chill starts to hang around a little too long into the day.  But most of all, I love the absolute overabundance of fresh produce this time of year.  Particularly around here (upstate NY, aka the Arctic) where the growing season is too short and I feel like I spend most of my year trying to figure out another way to prepare squash, potatoes, and onions and reminding myself that while the tomatoes on the shelves might look pretty good I’m going to be sorely disappointed if I try to eat one. (more…)

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