So amongst all that overidulgence…

What has the ELTW household really been eating at home?

Yes it’s true, the last month has been completely crazy for me – starting with parent-teacher interviews the week of Hallowe’en (I actually quite enjoy them but teach so many students that my timetable is always full meaning I am chatting with a different group of parents every 10 minutes = very tiring), then Hallowe’en day itself at school.

The week after that I was off to the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival which can only be described at three of the craziest but most wonderful days. There was hardly time to unpack in between as I was off to Montreal for a conference and some (more) eats and drinks. The following week, reports were due as well as my major term paper for grad school.

There was to be no rest for the wicked though as that following weekend, I headed out to not one but TWO foodie events (thankfully only one involved eating and drinking) – The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo and Jamie Oliver speaking in Toronto.

I have been rewarded for these last (self) indulgent weeks this weekend by a lovely case of what feels like it could be the flu so am laying low for a couple of days and hopefully will knock it on the head as I simply cannot afford to be sick in the next three weeks… Too much to do, see, eat and drink!

I haven’t posted a “normal” weeknight recipe in a while so thought today would be a good day for that. Something we eat often in the fall and winter is some form of chili. I love it because you can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it and a few hours later you have a wonderful meal. The other week, I made a particularly lazy version of this which included:

Beans (of course)

Minced chicken ( had some needing to be used up)

Diced plum tomatoes

A half a cup of pearl barley – since there was hardly any meat – to bulk it up a bit.

Some dried chili seeds on top

And there you go! 5 hours on “low” later, it was ready to enjoy 🙂 And it made a few days’ worth too!

In our organic delivery the other week, I had ordered “patty pan squash”, thinking I was going to get something like these mini-sized squash:

(I found this picture on

What we actually got was this:

Like big, round butternut squash. What to do with them? Well after Hallowe’en night’s success of risotto-stuffed butternut squash, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

I de-seeded them and drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper:

Baked them in the oven until they were scoopable:

Scooped the middles out:

Fried this up with some leftover zucchini and mushrooms:

Added the veggies to a risotto:

Stuffed the squash with risotto and topped with Parmesan:

And baked it until the cheese was bubbly:

This was an excellent dish and both of us had the other half for lunch at work the following day – it reheated nicely in the microwave too.

So you see my life is not always all food and drink extravaganzas, sometimes simply home-cooked is good too. Actually, a lot of the time, that’s just what we all need.

Thanks for continuing to read and comment – it really does keep me motivated! – and for putting up with a lot of exclamation marks last month. It really was a stellar month. I have a bunch of great posts lined up over the next three weeks and then, of course, I will be blogging from Paris and Dinan (Brittany). What can you expect to be reading about?

1. Afternoon tea at Angelina’s with Mary-Laure (check out her lovely blog).
2. Wine and cheese tasting at O Château (as recommended by David Lebovitz).
3. Macaron workshop at Elysée Lenôtre.
4. Cooking atelier at ArtHome Paris (me) that I read about on Rosa Jackson’s blog.
5. Lunch at Nomiya (Neil and our lovely friend Alicia who will be with us in Paris) also recommended by Mr Lebovitz. They are under STRICT instructions to take many photos!
6. The Miles Davis exhibit at Cité de la Musique.

and you know, I could go on and on. But I will leave that until December… Bon courage everyone for the festive season about to begin!

21 thoughts on “So amongst all that overidulgence…”

  1. So true about simple home cooked meals being the best! I also adore stuffed veges-they are always so satisyingly good! 😀

  2. Life can be crazy! You have been burning it at both ends. The chili sounds wonderful. Perfect for a cool autumn night. The squash roasted in the oven always is fabulous.
    Hope you are feeling better soon.

  3. I can't wait to hear all the adventures in France! I hope you continue to recuperate, those were a couple of very demanding events in Nov. Feel better! {Hugs}

  4. so are a grad student ..LIKE ME! and a foodie of course. But you go on sch lovely trips…I don't get a chance 🙁

    what's your specialisation? I am sure you will have tons of adventure in France! will keep myself tuned 🙂

  5. Um… you have a calendar? You have 24 hours in your days too, right? How are you doing all this? You know what I want? How about a mardi lunchbox and a board game? Just in time for my holiday shopping.

  6. Mardi, when are you coming to Paris? Maybe we could meet up and do a pecan/Neuhaus swap!

    This risotto sounds delicious. I love the idea of putting it back into the squash shells and baking it.

    I think you travel more than I do!

  7. welcome in Paris i see you go to lenotre school htis is a great one !! hope to see hte outcome on youyr blog soon !! cheers Pierre

  8. Wonderful dinner ideas! I love how you use "cleaning up the fridge" ingredients like we do every night…we had chili too last night and may have some red lentils tonight.

    Can't wait to hear and see all about your Paris adventure! Love Paris and hope to go back again! I think we'll miss you in Toronto, but hopefully we'll meet again…if not, NYC in Spring!! Happy Holidays!

  9. Lorraine – am loving the stuffed veggies right now!

    Velva, Fresh Local and Ellie – thanks 🙂

    Jhonny – I am a grad student in my first year (of 6 – part time) of Second Language Teaching. I also work full time as a teacher which enables me to travel (both for work for conferences and pleasure since we get a lot of vacation time)

    Kablooey – you want Mardi products? Check out the top of the second column of the blog and you can be the proud owner of an ELTW calendar… Seriously!

    Jen – thanks!

    Kate – I will email you!

    Pierre – cannot wait for the Lenôtre experience! Having lived in Paris for years, I don't feel compelled to do the touristy things so I get to do cooking and food related stuff!

  10. high low – thanks! Sometimes you just need to clean out the fridge! And yes, can't wait to meet you again, wherever it may be!

  11. We are also eating a lot of simple meals now after Thanksgiving. Hope you feel better! Can't wait to hear all about France!

  12. Mardi,

    Your December sounds amazing! I'll be in New Jersey at a conference for two days, and that's about it!

    Enjoy your travels…

  13. awww, i hope you start to feel better soon! can't wait to hear about gay paris- my 3rd fave city on the planet and the one in which i got engaged (in a shoe store down on one knee- my husband's pretty keen). we need more of these weeknight meals in the coming weeks- all the richness has currently got me walking like a bowling ball. thanks for the inspiration. again, get better, Mardi!

  14. mmh. I have seen a few stuffed squash lately. I really need to give them a try. I do not have an oven, but as soon as I do. I will give these babies a try.

  15. 5 star – I can't wait to go!

    Jordana – I will!

    April – am trying!

    Linda – "walking like a bowling bowl" I HARDLY think so!!!

    Miranda – they're so easy!

    Divina – thanks!

    Megan – Am starting to get excited now too!

    Penny – cooking at home rules!


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