Roasted Acorn Squash & Coconut Curry Sauce!

Okay this dish was really easy to make and tasted amazing!!

Roasted acorn squash over gingered fried rice topped with a coconut curry sauce: 45 minutes!


  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 3/4 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 thumb of Ginger
  • 1 Tbls of Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup of lite Coconut milk
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • Soy sauce
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1/4 oz of Cilantro
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 t sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • Water

Acorn curry box

The squash was too big for the box~

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (I use a small convection oven to keep the heat down in the kitchen). Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into ¾-inch wedges (about half of each line on the squash). Place the wedges in a bowl and drizzle with Olive oil and a pinch of salt; toss until coated. Place the wedges on a foil covered baking sheet and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking until they have a nice brown color.

Acorn curry sliced squash

Acorn curry roasted squash

While the squash is roasting you need to cook the rice and do everything else!

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil (add pinch of salt) and add rice, cover and simmer about 15 minutes until done. Fluff with a fork and set aside off the heat.

Prep everything else and make the curry:

Peel and dice carrots, peel and dice the onion and mince the ginger and garlic. Chop 3/4 of the cilantro and keep a few leaves for your garnish.

Add 2 tbls olive oil to a large pan over medium heat, add your carrots, onion, half the ginger and cook, stirring until soft and slightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked rice to the pan and remove from heat.

Acorn curry rice and veg in pan

Make the coconut curry sauce: I used the pot the rice cooked in after cleaning it of course. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pot over medium heat, add the garlic, curry powder and the rest of the ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add your 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 1 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of soy sauce.

Acorn curry spices

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the chopped cilantro and a Tbls of peanut butter, stir and remove from heat. Salt & pepper to taste.

Acorn curry sauce with cilantro

Add 1 tsp of soy sauce and a drizzle of olive oil to the rice and vegetable mixture, cook over high heat until the rice becomes crispy stirring often.

Acorn curry veg and rice

Take vegetable fried rice and place several slices of roasted squash on them, drizzle with the curry mixture, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!!

Acorn curry finished

Happy cooking…Finch!

A Cool New Cookbook ~ Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

You’ve probably heard of Trim Healthy Mama.  I first heard about it when my friend Sally showed me the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book a couple of years ago.  She was really enjoying it and experiencing great benefits from it.  However, I had just gone through two very difficult surgeries in the previous three months and was very early on the healing journey, and it just felt overwhelming.

Fast forward 3 years.  I am still in the healing process, but feeling better every month.  And when I noticed that Blogging for Books  was offering the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook for bloggers to review, I snapped it up in a heartbeat.  The recipes sounded fantastic, it had gorgeous photographs, and I had been thinking about it for quite awhile.

December 2015 020

When I received the cookbook, from sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison, who created the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, and since its creation, have been cooking up a storm in their respective households, I was immediately captivated.  This cookbook has hundreds of recipes, organized into the following categories:

  • One-Pot Meals (including recipes for slow cookers)
  • Hearty Mains and Sides
  • Sunrise Eats
  • Sweet Treats
  • Beverages
  • All Things Smooth and Crunchy

December 2015 019Pearl and Serene have created scrumptious main dishes, amazing veggie sides, nutritious breads and snacks, healthy and tasty drinks, and even delicious recipes for healthy salad dressings.  And…don’t forget desserts!  Although the Trim Healthy Mama Plan eliminates most sugars and offers healthy (and non-artificial) sweeteners, they still know that folks will want the occasional dessert.  So they’ve created ones that will satisfy the taste buds yet will still be healthy overall.

How I’ve Used the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook (so far!)

When I received the cookbook, I sat down with a sheet of paper and paged through the recipes from start to finish.  (I recommend doing this on your day off—there are a LOT of recipes!)  As I looked at the recipes, I jotted down those that I thought I’d start with.  I ended up with about 35!  (Which naturally, will take me some time to cook.)  But, here are the first few I’ve prepared:


Thinnies–a perfect, protein-packed snack


Loaded Fotato Soup

Loaded Fotato Soup (made with cauliflower)


Cream of Mushroom Soup--my absolute fave

Cream of Mushroom Soup–my absolute fave

And, I’m planning to make this roasted veggie bake for our dinner tonight:

Roasted Nonstarchies--a veggie roast

Roasted Nonstarchies–a veggie roast


What my family and I thought:

You’ll notice that, so far, I haven’t made any of the desserts, drinks, salads, or main dishes.  Fear not, they actually ARE on my list!

What I am doing is just taking it slow and easy.  The Trim Healthy Mama Plan is all about adjusting the way you eat, and the way you combine types of foods, to enable you to live a healthy life.  I’ve personally found that, for myself, I do better in creating new habits when I add just a little, or a new one, at a time.  So that’s what I am doing with these recipes.

What I have noticed, however, is that the meals I have cooked have been VERY satisfying.  When I made the cream of mushroom soup (for myself, as the guys in my house are mushroom-haters), I made a single-serving size.  I ladled half the recipe into my soup bowl and relished every single amazing bite.  When I was finished, it had been so delicious that I thought I’d just finish the rest off.  However, by the time (which was not a long walk, by the way) I got back into the kitchen to refill my bowl, I noticed that I was pleasantly full, and satisfied!  So I put it in the refrigerator for another meal.

The bottom line

I do have to admit two things.  First, I have not read the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book, which is probably the way that most folks are going to start all this.  I just wanted to know before I read the plan book (because I’m really not much of a nonfiction reader) that the food I’d be preparing and eating was good.  Well, it is!  So my next step is to find a copy of the plan book and dive in.  This is really important because the THM divides its recipes into several types:

  • The Satisfying (S) Meal
  • The Energizing (E) Meal
  • Fuel Pulls
  • Crossovers (XO)
  • Satisfying Helpers (SH)

The way you eat these meals enables you to lose weight yet still be energized overall.  So—I really do not have a good understanding of how the plan itself, and the food combinations, work.  Yet.  But there is a Trim Healthy Mama Plan book which explains it all.

My second admission is about the recipe substitutions that the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook recommends.  I told you already a little about the sugar substitutions.  Well, there are many more that THM offers.  There are a baking mix (almond, flax, and coconut flours), a thickener called glucomannan, collagen, psyllium flakes, special non-gluten noodles, and a few other things.  Many of these you can get at either Walmart or your favorite natural grocery store, but others can be ordered from the THM website.  I’m waiting on these, though.  Pearl and Serene very kindly stocked this cookbook with tons of recipes that they define as NSI, or “no special ingredients.”  If I end up loving this program the way I think I will, I’ll order some of those ingredients.   But there are many you can make without them, so that’s the way I am starting out.

In conclusion:

So far, what I’ve seen, I have loved!  As with many recipes, there are some little tweaks I may make from time to time (like adjusting the seasonings to our own taste buds occasionally).  But I love the overall vision.  THM isn’t about taking away everything you love to eat.  Rather, it’s teaching a healthy plan of eating that will bring lifetime benefits for you and for your family!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Author Bio

Trim Healthy Mama Facebook

**I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


What is Bountiful Living?

What are the keys to bountiful living?

Bountiful Final Banner

Merriam Webster defines bountiful as:

  • 1:  liberal in bestowing gifts or favors

  • 2 :  given or provided abundantly <a bountiful harvest>

Bountiful also is defined as “lavish, unremitting giving or providing” in the same entry.

So then, what is “bountiful living”?

How do we live in a way that recognizes this lavish giving, provision, abundance?

For me, as a Christian, it starts with first of all understanding where this abundance and provision comes from.  I personally am not the source of abundance and provision in my life.  Instead, I remember God who loves me, the giver of all good things.  James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Every good and perfect gift

So—what constitutes every good and perfect gift in my life?  My salvation and relationship with God.  My dear family.  Our homeschool.  Financial provision.  Dear friends, from near and far.  The Schoolhouse Review Crew.  Good food to eat, and a home to live in.

But it’s not just those basic yet beautiful ways of His gifts to me.  What about moments with family; fabulous field trips; amazing new recipes?  What about an amazing science experiment that illustrates density or chemical reactions?  Or a beautiful story?  A fantastic musical production?

Every good and perfect gift.  Promised in Scripture for us from the God who loves us.

Seeing and being thankful

The last half of 1 Timothy 6:17 is a favorite of mine:  “….God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.”  How about that?  Apart from our service for Him and to others, apart from the work He’s doing in us, apart from the work we do in our daily lives, He is richly giving us all we need for our enjoyment.

Using my journal to record blessings and provision

Using my journal to record blessings and provision

So what are the keys, then, to bountiful living?  For me, I think first of all that  I need to notice.  What is God doing in me and around me?  What has He given to me and my family today?  Have there been some special and unexpected gifts or provision that have shown up?

Another key for me beyond simply noticing, is acknowledging it and thanking God.  I love how this simple act creates in me a grateful heart, a more thankful attitude.  I also like writing down these things, which not only helps me in the moment but will in future days when I look back and need some encouragement, or some clarity of vision.

thankful heart

My third key is Scripture.  What verses are being highlighted to you as you read the Bible?  Having a list of verses that God has brought to your attention, and looking over them, can encourage your heart and help you to really think about the things that are true…and the blessings being poured out on your life.

Now that sounds like the road to a bountiful life—to me.

Bountiful Living and Schooling @ Home

My dear friend Kemi, from Homemaking Organized, and I would like to invite you to our new series and link up, Bountiful Living and Schooling @ Home.  We want to see, to recognize, to rejoice in the bountiful lives God is providing for us!  In our homes, our relationships, our homeschools, our kitchens….everywhere we see His hand!

So, once every month, we’re going to write about this topic and how it’s being played out in our lives and families.  We’ll share about what bountiful living looks like each month for us, and we’ll also offer you some awesome free printables that you can download and print for your own use.

We’d also love to hear your stories!  So you’ll be able to link up your own posts about your own bountiful lives, provisions, homeschools and homes.

Bountiful printable (corrected)My first Bountiful Printable

For this month, I wanted to share with you some of my current favorite verses (my third key) about God’s provision and His beautiful work in our lives.  Just click on Bountiful Verses Printable, which will take you to a page with PDF copy of some verses that are blessing me!  Just click on the highlighted words in that post.

Here’s how you can link up!



Be sure to visit Kemi’s post at Homemaking Organized.  She’ll be sharing today about bountiful living, with a wonderful story and printable as well!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Schoolhouse Teachers — Great Deal thru 1/31
Did you know that through January 31, 2016, that you can get a 50% discount off a year’s membership to SchoolhouseTeachers?

SchoolhouseTeachers is an incredible online learning website pioneered by The Old Schoolhouse magazine.  It is absolutely packed with online, self-paced study classes for every grade from preschool through 12th.  Here’s a short list of the subjects offered there:

  • Foreign language (like French, Hebrew, and even Latvian)
  • Math (for all ages)
  • Computer science
  • Geography and history
  • Language arts
  • Art and drama
  • and a lot more!

Now through January 31, you can use the coupon code CREWFOLLOWER to receive a 50% discount.  So if you’re looking for something amazing to add to your homeschool, or a plan to work from, check out SchoolhouseTeachers!

I didn’t review it this year, but I’ve included the banner below so that you can read about other Crew members’ experiences.

Enjoy!  –Wren Review 2016

Things We Love: Our Blog Friends

Every year we blog, Finch and I meet some new and amazing bloggers.  2016 starts for me a new year of reviewing for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  And, like every year, there’s a great list of both new and continuing reviewers.  Here’s the list of my Crew fellow bloggers for the year.  Feel free to stop by and visit them!  I imagine you’ll find some new favorites yourself!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Every Bed of RosesFootprints in the ButterDouble O FarmsFamily Faith & Fridays

Circling Through This LifeAt Home: where life happensHomeschooling for His GloryThe Mc Clanahan 7

Finch n WrenOur Life ~ Home and SchoolUnexpected HomeschoolHome Sweet Life

Carter ChaosMom's HeartGrace Christian HomeschoolGreatly Blessed

Counting PineconesThrough the Open WindowDear HomeschoolerThrough the Calm and Through the Storm

Counting Change AgainABC's and Sweet TeaChickens, Bunnies, and HomeschoolAngelic Scalliwags

Chestnut Grove AcademyFarm Fresh AdventuresHomeschool Coffee BreakOur Worldwide Classroom

Be The OneCreative Madness MamaGuiding Light HomeschoolBiblical Womanhood

My Full HeartA Net in TimeWest Word BlogMountain of Grace Homeschooling

Puddle JumpingPea of SweetnessTeacher Mom of 3Ladybug Daydreams

A Learning JourneyThe Home:Work DiariesBear Creek FeltingFaithful Homestead

The MamaZone LogoRenaissance MamaCreatively Crunchy MomHomemaking Organized

As We BloomTots And MeRaising soldiers 4 ChristLittle-Homeschool-on-the-Prairie

Treasuring Lifes BlessingsCastle View AcademyAs We Walk Along The RoadFamilies Again

Desperate HomeschoolersThe Crafty HomeMama's Coffee ShopSensible Whimsy

This Day Has Great Potential
Schoolhouse Review Crew

Looking for Some Great Educational Apps?

Then you’ll want to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog this week for its Round-Up!


Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android
27 of my fellow Crew mates and I have linked up posts on our favorite eductional apps (for both mamas and kids) at App Schooling – iOS and Android Apps.

And they are awesome!  You’ll find cool educational apps on so many subjects, including:

  • math
  • science
  • geography
  • Mom organization
  • art
  • and so much more!

So, hop over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.  I know I’m planning to hit the App Store myself for some of these neat extras for school!

Enjoy!  –Wren

A Peek at Some Posts Coming Your Way

Hi everyone!

I hope that all of you are having a great start to your 2016.  We have started our second semester of 8th grade homeschool and are getting used to the spring schedule.  Unfortunately, we’ve had some colds already this year (I think mine might be a reboot of the one I had at Christmas).  But….liquids, chicken soup, and staying home will help us move past that, I am hoping!

I wanted to share with you about some products we’ll be using in our homeschool or in our home in the coming weeks, that I’ll be reviewing a little later on.  I’m very excited about them–we feel blessed to be able to utilize so many amazing things!

In our homeschool:

Zonderkidz has a new Bible that I am certain will become a beloved favorite for any child who loves Lego.  It’s called Faith Builders Bible, and it’s full of amazing builds for Bible stories.  As well as very cool building activities.  SO excited!

Do you ever get concerned about some of the unwholesome content that your children or teens might stumble across on the Internet?  We’re going to be trying out the Plug n’ Play Hub by Securly, which is designed to keep unwanted material from popping up while you and your kids browse the web.  I’m especially excited to use this on YouTube, where some really inappropriate things can appear when we’re trying to look up piano performances of songs for my son’s piano practices!

We’re also trying out a website that provides worksheets and online learning for middle- and high-schoolers called HelpTeaching.  We’re just using it for the first time this week, but it is full of learning opportunities in math, social studies, language arts, science, art and more.

Heirloom Audio Productions, the makers of fabulous historical audio dramas, has just published its newest dramatization, called The Dragon and the Raven, all about how King Alfred saved England from the Danes and helped start a Christian revival in his nation.  So excited about this one!

In our home:

I received a copy of the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook a couple of weeks ago as well.  I’ve heard about the THM way for a few years but it always seemed a bit overwhelming.  However, this cookbook is full of gorgeous and delicious-sounding recipes.  Can’t wait to make my list and start cooking!

On the blog:

I’m currently hosting a giveaway for the newest PASSION album, Salvation’s Tide Is Rising, featuring Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Crowder, and other excellent artists.  This closes on Thursday, January 21, so click over to enter today!

I’m looking forward to sharing more about these homeschool products with you starting later this month.  You’ll be hearing more!

Enjoy!  –Wren


Vegetable Minestrone!

Hello Fresh vegetable minestrone soup; healthy, delicious and 45 minutes to make! Typically, Minestrone has pasta in it, but this was just as good without (or you could add it in)!


  • 1 Medium yellow onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 stalk of Celery
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 pkt Vegetable stock concentrate (available at Packitgourmet online)
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 box organic Cannelloni beans
  • 4 oz Kale
  • 1/4 oz Parsley
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese (or more)!
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • 4 cups of Water

The unopened box:
Minestrone boxMinestrone box open

First, prep all your vegetables:

Halve, peel and dice the onion. Peel the carrot and dice, wash and dice the celery and wash and dice the tomato. While your knife is out, mince the garlic and set aside. Rinse the cannellini beans in a strainer.

Minestrone veg chopped

Minestrone cannellini beans

Heat a few tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened.

Minestrone veg cooking

Add the minced garlic and tomato and cook for another 1-2 minutes; then add the vegetable stock concentrate, cannellini beans, 4 cups water and a large pinch of salt to the pot and bring to a boil.

Minestrone simmering

Reduce to a low simmer for about 30 minutes (the recipe said 10, but it wasn’t happening)!

Okay, my love affair with Kale is officially over, so I didn’t use it. If you want to here you go:

Remove the ribs and stems from the kale, thinly slice the leaves. Stir the kale into the soup and simmer until tender.

Minestrone finished

Place into bowls, top with cheese and garnish with Parsley!

This made a lot more than 2 servings, more like 4!


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