Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kathleen's Brown Rice with Winter Squash

Good morning!

Kathleen has a delicious looking vegetarian dinner of brown rice with winter squash and cashews to share with us today.

You should know that Kathleen has not always been a healthy-ish eater or a fancy-pants in the kitchen. Over the past 18 months she has slowly been teaching herself to cook healthy, low-fat meals and has lost 83 pounds. That’s right … eighty-three pounds! Let’s pause here to give Kathleen a HUGE virtual high-five for all of her hard work.

Just 18 months ago she was a connoisseur of processed foods and confessed to me that she didn’t know how to cook something unless it came in a box. So she had to literally start from scratch in the kitchen and, in the process, has learned to view cooking as a way to calm and nourish herself as well as a means to care for her loved ones. It’s not to say she doesn’t still struggle with her old demons but she is making progress and moving in the right directions. And that, my friends, is what we are all about here … progress, not perfection.

For those of you that don't know, this is what a butternut squash looks like.

After you slice it in half you have to scoop out the seeds, then you can peel and chop it and use it in recipes. See Glennon, it's not so scary is it?

Brown Rice with Winter Squash and Cashews

1 cup short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound winter squash such as butternut, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt (can omit if stock and/or cashews are salted)
2/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews
Salt and pepper

Rinse and drain rice.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is soft.
Add cumin, coriander, and rice and cook, stirring, for another minute.
Add squash and vegetable stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until rice is tender and water has been absorbed.
Remove from heat, stir in cashews, and season to taste.


  1. Sounds yummy! I always want an easy butternut squash recipe. Tonight I'm making roasted garlic and butternut squash with whole wheat pasta, but I was tempted to switch it up.

  2. Oooh, that sounds good Chimmy. Can you post your recipe here and/or email it to me? It sounds delish and might give people another idea of what to do with a butternut squash.

    And Kathleen, we are so PROUD of you for your weight loss. Keep up the great work!!

    I've been thinking about how dedicated you have been for the last 18 months and how that can be a hard thing to do alone ... soooo, I'm thinking of launching a "fitness challenge" of sorts to help people stay motivated to exercise, so stay tuned for more info on that!


    Kathleen, this looks so yummy. I shall try it, just as soon as I can make it out of my house, past the 35 inches of snow in my driveway.

    This blog is fantastic!

  4. I am trying to veg chili recipe today... but question... we want to cut out "processed foods" not entirely but cut back... but canned beans? canned tomatoes? do you consider those processed???

  5. Harm: I do not really count canned beans and tomatoes as "processed food" although, to an extent they are of course somewhat processed. The big key is to look at the ingredient list. Most beans have 'beans' and 'salt' and maybe 'water' as the ingredients which are all natural things. I try and buy salt-free or low-sodium beans but in reality I buy what's on sale b/c I know I'm going to rinse the beans before I use them. As for the tomatoes .. most canned tomatoes are just tomatoes that are picked when ripe and plunked in a can so they are an ok choice. Again, read the ingredients to look for any added fillers or ingredients that don't need to be there.

  6. Ooh, this makes me want to try and cook something. Thanks!!

  7. HarmSkills: you can always substitute dried beans (that have been soaked overnight) for canned beans if you're trying to avoid all canned foods.

    Also, I got my new Real Simple in the mail yesterday, and it had a whole section of recipes with beans. Some of them looked like they would be worth trying out.

    Today's recipe looks really good; thanks Kathleen! I had an unfortunate accident with a butternut squash a few years ago (while trying to cut and peel it), and I haven't bought one since. Maybe I'll try again. . . .

  8. Thanks for this recipe Kathleen - it sounds perfect for a snowy winter day! Once I can get out to the store to pick up the squash I will give it a try.
    I am usually a little lazy in the cooking department so I prefer to buy the butternut squash already peeled and cut into pieces (Trader Joes usually has reasonably priced packages).

  9. I am SO STINKING JEALOUS of all you people with a Trader Joe's. I feel like you are taunting me a little bit Brooke :-)

  10. Kathleen - that's incredible on the weight loss and dedication. Keep it up!

    Can I pass off the butternut squash as some form of meat for my family. I'm curious to see how they take this.

    I am degermined to try it and I will put it on my grocery list for tomorrow.

  11. Kathleen, WOW! I admire your determination. Congratulations woman!

    I love butternut squash, so I am excited to try this. Thank you!

    Although, I had a question. Like Allison, I had an unfortunate BS accident several years ago the first time I tried to cook a recipe that called for it. Lots of screaming, cursing, and three hours later...dinner was served.

    So, it was only a year or two ago that I tried again. I have been roasting mine ahead of time because it's much easier to scoop out the "meat." That would still work with this recipe, yes? Or should I just give it a try again?