Saturday, October 29, 2011

Six Feet Under...

I recently did a basic marathon through an HBO series on Netflix. It unfortunately wasn't on instant view, so I had to watch it disk by disk, waiting each time for the next to arrive in the mail.
Talk about impatience....

But the reason I bring this up is because I thought this was an excellent series. I'll be the first to admit--it's not for everybody. But if you can get past some of the stuff that may make you squeamish (whether it's watching a scene where a funeral worker shows an apprentice how to sew a dead woman's mouth shut, an opening scene in every episode where someone dies, or a slightly incestuous dream sequence), this is a great one to watch.

Here are some of the caveats:
  • There are a LOT of death scenes (at least one per episode)
  • The language is heavy on the salty side (plenty of "F-bombs" dropped each episode)
  • There are some pretty explicit sex scenes--both heterosexual and non-heterosexual
  • The humor in it is mostly on the dark side, so if you're not into that you probably won't like it
If none of that bothers you, or you plan to just fast forward through some of it, then do yourself a favor and watch this series. As most people who read my blog know, my 23 year old nephew was killed in a work accident this past May. Believe it or not, my sister is the one who recommended this series to me. We both enjoy the same types of movies and tv shows and we share the same warped sense of humor. Both of us found this series oddly comforting, in light of the tragedy that our family went through. I won't say that there weren't some scenes where my eyes were watering, or I was even bawling outright. But this show enforces the fact that everyone grieves differently. Some people keep it inside, while others wail at the top of their lungs. This show lets us know that we're all human and as messed up as we think our lives may be, remember there are others who have gone through something equally (if not more) messed up. I think this has honestly opened my eyes more to the normalcy of death and the process of grieving. 

Check out this trailer for season one:

If you've watched this series already, let me know what your thoughts are. If you haven't but are interested, watch it and then let me know what you think.

"Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. Ends."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buttercup Squash Anyone?

If you are like me, you had never heard of Buttercup Squash before. You've probably heard of Butternut....but this is different. I got these seeds from my sister, who had gotten them from a family friend during Feast. I honestly can't remember which little Ziploc bag they came from--the one labeled Butternut Squash or the one labeled Acorn squash. Whichever one it was, it was apparently mislabeled.
So when the squash started growing and it didn't look like it was supposed to, it was kind of fun to try and figure out what I had. After much investigating and countless Google searches, I came upon Buttercup Squash. 
Now that fall is here and the frost will be coming soon, I decided it was time to harvest the squash and try it out. Again, I wasn't sure what I should be doing so I did another Google search and found a simple way to cook & serve it.  Here's what I did:

 This is the squash--dark green & light green rind, pumpkin-shaped but smaller.

 The Buttercup Squash often has a light silvery-green disk of rind on the blossom end. (I cut it before I thought of showing you this side of it, so I had to hold it back together to get the picture).

 Cut the squash open lengthwise, through the stem. Beautiful orange flesh inside!

 Scoop out the seeds & stringy "guts", just like you do when you're getting ready to carve a pumpkin, being careful to leave plenty of the edible flesh intact.

I cleaned off the seeds and set them out on waxed paper to dry out, since a few of my friends have expressed interest in having some of these seeds. (You know who you are!)

Pour about half a cup of water into a pan or casserole dish that has sides and put the squash halves in, cut side down. Cook for about 30 - 45 minutes (or until flesh is tender) at 375 degrees.
 Notice how the rind darkens and becomes shiny after cooking...

 The flesh is tender and moist after being cooked with the water, basically steaming it.

 Scoop out the flesh, being careful not to go too deep & get the green rind.

 For some great flavor, add some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.
(Sorry about the sideways picture. Not sure why it won't post right side up when I saved it that way).

 Stir it all in and enjoy! I get a little exuberant with my stirring so my bowl is pretty messy. The taste is definitely like a squash, but mild and a little nutty. Similar to a sweet potato, but a little less sweet.

This is just one way to serve it, but it is delicious. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions for ways to cook and serve a Buttercup Squash?

The Witch is Back...

Okay, I don't really think I'm a witch or anything....I was just referring to the new decor or my blog in honor of Halloween....and the title just kind of went from there.

So you've probably noticed it's been awhile since I've been here. As you can see from my last post, we had a devastating blow to our family back in May and honestly it's been a long time since things have felt normal. Heck, I don't know if they'll ever feel normal again... But as with all things, we go on. 
So here I am again, putting down my thoughts and regaling you with the exciting adventures that are my life.
Since the last time I was here, I started a new job. I am now working at a local community college. I am totally thrilled about this change, although I will miss the gang at Curtis Clean Sweep. This job is about three miles from my house so I'm saving a LOT in gas money! Plus there are a lot of great benefits, including discounted fees if I want to take any classes. I work with a great bunch of people and I already feel so welcome there and a part of the team.

We also added two more goats to our little goat family. With help from friends, we have named them Gingersnap and Buttercup. They're a hoot! Our mini herd is doing well and I hope to maybe breed some of the females next spring so we can get some milk and maybe I can learn to make some cheese, lotion, or other goat milk products.
Gingersnap & Buttercup on checking out their new surroundings, with Cupcake watching on.

Our garden was a success this year, although smaller than I've had in the past. It was sort of an experiment in how much I could grow in that space. It went well overall, but I think next year I will change up what I grow a little so I get more of the veggies I really like instead of an overabundance of squash. I'm also excited about the idea of heirloom vegetables that I can save seeds from each year when I find something I really like.

How was your summer?