Monday, September 7, 2015

Back from the Dead! Plus Summer Squash & Carrot Casserole with Goat Cheese

As I'm typing this, I'm realizing it's been almost 4 months since my last post. FOUR months! The spring and summer have been so packed full of events and activities in between a busy work schedule that it's been hard to find time to sit down and write. I've still been cooking a lot and stockpiling recipes though, so I'm hoping to have more time to devote to blogging now that fall is (almost) here.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably already have a good idea of what we've been up to the last few months, but here's a snapshot:

My sister's bridesmaids and I surprised Amanda with a bachelorette party weekend in Fort Lauderdale back in May.

Then she got married! It was a beautiful wedding, and a great weekend in Philly with family and friends. I'm so happy for the two of them and so glad to have Justyn be a part of our family now.

I also helped throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law Missy in early June. Our niece Lianna was born soon after!

At the end of June Matt got out of work for the summer, and in between a few other weddings and showers, the next few months were filled with all things summertime. Crabbing, beaching, pool day-ing, BBQing, berry picking, all that good stuff. We packed in as many day trips, ice cream cones, park visits, days at the fair, boardwalk and amusement parks, and water fun as we could. We snuck in a few "adult days" as well, including a golfing/wine tasting day and a grown-ups only trip to Six Flags. I even eked out time to can a bunch of pickles and blueberry jam so we have plenty of jars for the winter. As you can tell, it was a busy summer!

In August my best friend from home came to visit, I had a work trip to Chicago, and then Matt and I packed up our babies and flew to Florida for 12 days to visit my parents and vacation in Orlando, Venice Beach and Key West. We had an amazing time.

My parents even watched the kids for a few days so Matt and I could go to Key West just the two of us - a belated 7th anniversary weekend - and it was a fantastic getaway. We took a 3.5 hour boat ride from where my parents live down to the Keys, and had 3 days of bicycle riding, leisurely dinners, cocktails and live music, snorkeling and museums. What a great town.

And all the sudden it's Labor Day weekend. Although we did a million things and made many memories, it still feels like the summer went too fast. We had one last big beach day with a bunch of friends yesterday, but other than that we're trying to relax, get the kids back on a schedule and gear up for Matt's first official day of school tomorrow - which means back to 5:30 am wake-up calls for both of us for the next 9 months, blech. Good thing fall is one of my favorite seasons; I'm sad to send the babes back to daycare and go back to early mornings (no more coffee on the patio before work), but I'm also looking forward to fall foliage, boots, crisp air, apple picking, football and decorating the house with hay bales, pumpkins and cornstalks.

Before fall officially hits, though, maybe you have a bunch of end-of-summer squash that needs to get used up? If so, I have just the recipe for you. My garden yielded a good amount of squash this year, and I got sick of eating grilled squash, sauted squash, and "zoodles" every other day, so I finally made a few summer squash casseroles with my remaining ones. We ate one already at a beach picnic, and everyone loved it. The other one is sitting in my freezer for a rainy day.

Note: You can use summer squash or zucchini for this - either works. The carrots may seem like an unusual addition, but it's something I grew up with in Vermont and I love the slight sweetness they add.

Enjoy the last day of summer!

Summer Squash & Carrot Casserole with Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 Tbsp. ghee or butter
4 cups sliced squash
1/2 onion, minced
1 tsp. salt
2 carrots, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 350 (if eating immediately; if freezing, don't bake it first).

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the ghee or butter. Add the squash, onion and salt, and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes more, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.

In a bowl, whisk together half the cheddar cheese, goat cheese, egg, milk, cayenne pepper and remaining salt and pepper.

Grease a medium-sized (1.5 - 2 qts) casserole dish, and spoon in the cooked squash. Pour over the cheese & milk mixture. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and the breadcrumbs. At this point, either bake it or wrap it and freeze it for another day.

Bake for 15-25 minutes, until bubbly and brown (if baking frozen, it will take about 45 minutes).