Warm & Comforting Nostalgia

My dad was an avid gardener. It was his passion! He loved watching his flowers and produce grow; then sharing his bounty and watching people enjoy the abundance of his harvest. At the end of the gardening season he’d plan his garden for the upcoming season. He’d order his seeds and plant them in small peat pots or egg cartons inside, to be transplanted in the garden as seedlings as soon as it was warm enough in the spring. He always planted a variety of types of squash. My favorite was butternut squash, probably because it’s so sweet! We would typically have enough squash to last us through the winter and my mom always used it in recipes during the holidays. My favorite recipe was one that my mom got from my Aunt Flossie, who was an exceptional cook! It was a delicious casserole filled with pecans, honey, warm spices and of course real butter! I make it for my family now, but have cleaned up the recipe, removing the butter and cutting the amount of sweetener. My parents have since passed and I didn’t have my own garden this year, but I have a favorite farm that I buy my produce from. My mom always said to choose the squash that has a nice, long neck so it’ll have less seeds and more usable squash. This is an easy recipe that uses freshly roasted butternut squash which is mashed and seasoned. It has a warm comforting aroma that can immediately transport me back to my childhood.

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My Modified Version of Florence’s Squash

1 large butternut squash

2 Tbs melted Earth Balance Soy-  free Buttery Spread

2 Tbs honey (or a little more to taste)

1 tsp sea salt (or a little more to taste)

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided

1/2-1 Tbs Earth Balance Soy-free Buttery Spread

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Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut squash in  half and place cut side down in a large baking dish with about an inch of water in it. Bake about 30-40 minutes, depending on size, until a fork goes into skin easily when pierced). Let cool.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out roasted pulp with a spoon, discarding the skin, and place in a large, greased casserole dish. Mash. Stir in melted Earth Balance, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, honey, salt, and nutmeg. Taste and add any additional seasonings, if necessary. Sprinkle top with additional 1/4 cup of chopped pecans and dot with 1 Tbs additional Earth Balance. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes. Makes about 8-10 servings, more or less, depending on what other side dishes are served.

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