I’m having a hard time comprehending that this day has actually come! We’ve been in the USA for about six weeks now (!), but are now on our way back across the Pacific! We’re making some stops, but in a little over a week we will arrive in our new home — BALI — where we will STAY for 6+ months! We’ve known this was coming for many months now, but I’m still a bit in disbelief. It’s not that I can’t believe we’re going to Asia — actually kind of the opposite. Going back seems too natural. Too normal. Too familiar! I think the bottom line of this feeling is that I think I should be freaking out more than I am — and instead I’m feeling calm, and normal, and ready.
This is, I realize, a wonderful feeling to have. I’ve loved our last six weeks in the US. We’ve seen more friends and family than I ever thought possible! We’ve discovered new places and explored familiar ones with more depth. We’ve also worked our booties off! Derek’s podcast is in the top spots on “New and Noteworthy” on iTunes for MULTIPLE categories, which is awesome after only being up for two weeks. If you still haven’t checked it out, go listen and leave a review! I’ve been so grateful to be in a beautiful kitchen again, working and baking and creating things I’m excited about — and excited that I’ll continue to have that over the next six months since we’ll be stationary, and not moving around every few days! But even after returning to this “normal” life, the past four months in Asia seem a bit more normal to me right now! I embraced, and appreciated, and got totally used to, the discomfort that comes with learning a new way to live. As different as it is, I really love living in Asia!
I put off packing as long as I possibly could, which really isn’t a huge deal since we’re (again) taking carry-on-sized suitcases and basically bringing exactly what we brought last time. It’s not that hard when you don’t have much to choose from! I have been struggling for “fall” clothes here in Portland, as the weather has cooled, since 90% of the clothes I own in this state are for tropical weather. Oh well — now I’m going back to the tropics and having to pick which bikinis to leave behind! #roughlife
One thing I really wanted to have before we left the US again was PASTA. We love a good pasta bake, and I love anything mac n’ cheese, so when I found some whole wheat spaghetti in the pantry and had a butternut squash on hand, I knew what to do! This certainly isn’t a greasy, cheesy, smooth pasta. It has squash! It doesn’t have cream! It has very little cheese! That said, if you want some tips on how to make it less healthy (and more like mac n’ cheese), take a look at the notes section of the recipe. In a nutshell: puree the squash, add more cheese. Voila!
If you want to follow along as we settle into life in Asia again, keep your eyes on my instagram! It’s the most reliable source of information on a regular basis. I’ll still be posting here, and hopefully we won’t have much of a pause in posting during our transition… I’ll keep you updated one way or another!
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 lb. whole wheat pasta
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 10 oz. fontina, grated
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Slice the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place cut-side-down in a baking dish filled with 1/2″ of water. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until the insides are tender.
- Let the squash cool until you can comfortably handle it before scooping the insides into a bowl. Meanwhile, you can prepare the pasta according to directions (al dente, do not overcook).
- Also, brown the butter. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir regularly, and watch as it bubbles and pops. When it stops making noise, pay attention and when you notice the solids turning brown remove from the heat and pour into the bowl with the squash.
- Add the nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper to the squash. Stir, mashing up any huge pieces but leaving some texture. Add half of the grated cheese, and stir in.
- Combine the cooked pasta and the squash mixture. Stir to coat all of the pasta, then pour into a 8×11 baking dish — or whatever you have that will fit the pasta. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until the top is beginning to brown.
- Remove and serve hot.
If you want a smoother, less “vegetable” feel to the dish, puree the squash before adding it to the pasta. You could also add more cheese, or even 1/2 cup of cream, to make it more luxurious!