Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gifts in Kind

I have been lucky enough to receive several gifts in kind the last few weeks...

Amey from Vegan Eats & Treats was kind enough to send me some of her homemade quince jelly. She also included some chocolates which disappeared not long after I opened the package. I have been using this jelly on my morning English muffin and it is delightful!
Two weekends ago while we were in Austin for the chili cook-off, we made a quick pitstop at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop to try out their new vegan cupcakes! After sending an email to the owner thanking her for adding cruelty-free cupcakes to the menu, she offered me a free cupcake! We got there just in time to swipe the last vegan cupcake of the day... peppermint patty. So perfect and so pretty.
And Stacey thought of me when she saw this cupcake notepad while she was out shopping!

With all this kindness that has been gifted to me, I have been wanting to "pay it forward" and send kindness to others. As luck would have it, I opened up Sarah's blog from Sew Crafty Houston (an awesome little craft studio and sewing lounge!) to find a pay it forward challenge. Here it is...

The rules are simple: I will send the first three five people to leave a comment on this post a handmade gift within the next 365 days (that’s my kind of time frame!)

I am willing to post anywhere in the world, so don’t let that stop you from commenting.

The catch is that you have to have a blog and be willing to do the same thing....

And since I can't send everyone who comments a handmade gift (if I only had the time!), my gift to the rest of you are two recipes!

Baked Acorn Squash with Hazelnut Pearl Couscous

Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
2 T olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups Israeli/pearl couscous
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 T hazelnut oil
fresh black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds (clean off the guck and toast them with salt and pepper, they're delicious!). Lightly oil the inside of the squash (approximately 1 T). Place the squash cut side up in a baking dish and fill with 1/2 inch of water. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until squash is tender.
3. While the squash is baking, in a large saucepan saute the shallots in olive oil until slightly caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. Add the couscous and cinnamon and stir to lightly toast the couscous for 5 minutes.
4. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
5. Add toasted hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and parsley. Drizzle with hazelnut oil to finish.
6. Once squash is done baking, fill it with the couscous mixture.

And here's a link to the recipe for Society of PEACE's award winning chili!

29 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Lovely & delicious!!

Animal-Friendly said...

How awesome to receive so kind many gifts!

Monica said...

Looks delish!

Theresa said...

I love that challenge. Handmade gifts for no reason are such a nice thing to get!

Carrie said...

I love that notepad! So cute!

Stacey and Sergio said...

The color of that quince jelly is so pretty! I love the "pay it forward" idea! Those first 3 ladies are in for a treat! :)

Stacey said...

TAG! Check out my blog! :)

Amey said...

oooh, I love the pay it forward idea! what fun! It was fun putting so many packages in the mail last month - quince jelly & ritter sports bars. Nice to know that there will be many happy recipients. I'm so glad to know that you are enjoying the jelly!

also, the recipes look amazing! Thanks!

Carrie™ said...

I've never had quince, but I've heard good things. I love the colour of the jelly. And the cupcake is very cute.

shellyfish said...

Wow! What a neat challenge! Spreading the love all about the blogosphere! I love it!

Mihl said...

The quince jelly looks heavenly. It's by far my favourite, but I've never had homemade. You're very lucky! Great challenge and the acorn squash looks delish!

twoveganboys said...

Handmade gifts are wonderful. I love that idea. The acorn squash looks delicious.

Holler said...

It makes you feel that all is right with the world when people are kind, doesn't it?

I am going to have to find some Israeli couscous, it looks great in that squash and it is the second time I have heard about it today.

Ricki said...

Great idea! And the cous cous looks delicious. (Oh, and I clicked the link to the chili but it gave me a server error message--is it just me, or is there a problem with the link?)

River said...

You are so lucky, I LOVE quince!! I also love the idea of sending people homemade gifts!

Thanks for the recipes, the squash looks seriously awesome!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

The squash looks beautiful... but I REALLY like the cupcake notepad ;o)

julie hasson said...

Your stuffed squash looks fantastic!

How cool to pay it forward with homemade gifts. Pretty awesome!

Al said...

Psst! You've been tagged. See my blog for details...

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Aww, I love Amey & those are great gifts! Handmade pay it forward = super cool!

Vegan Girl (Roni Seabury) said...

The squash looks divine! But I think I would totally eat that cupcake first! :) Love the color of the jelly too.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

What a sweet idea! The jelly looks lovely & knowing Amey, it must be fabulous. :)

Brooke said...

What a nice idea to pay it forward! That jelly is making me hungry. And such a pretty color, too!

aTxVegn said...

The jelly from Amey is so beautiful. How nice to receive all those gifts and want to pay it forward.

I've had an acorn squash for several weeks. I don't know why I haven't stuffed it yet. Yours looks really pretty.

Melody Polakow said...

Beautiful stuffed squash!

and yay for the vegan cupcake!

Stop Smoking said...

Your baked acorn squash looks incredible!

madcapcupcake said...

This is such a sweet and awesome idea - that food looks awesome too, by the by :)

Vivacious Vegan said...

Yay!!! The recipe.

jennconspiracy said...

For those of you who are curious about quince - I would be open to a trade. I have so much quince jelly and butter - and many other flavors - from my exploits this summer.

Trade need not be in jelly (trust me on this one!).

Susan said...

that does look good!