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It's the little things
By Mark Mulcahy


During this month we may feel the pressure to buy or do something extraordinary to show the special person or people in our life how much we care. Well, in my opinion giving should never be stressful. Perhaps the time has come to look at romance a little differently.



It’s been said that sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most, so perhaps that is where we can start. A simple daily act of kindness can go a long way in letting someone know how you feel. One example would be leaving the last banana or Melissa’s Organic Fuji Apple for someone who really likes starting his or her day with one. Or perhaps putting a towel in the dryer so it is warm when he/she gets out of the shower...or giving a foot massage in the evening without being asked and really putting your heart into it.



Romance can also be about sharing food, which is where Melissa’s can be of assistance. Each of us has so me food memory that begins with a smile and transports us back to the scene when we recall it. It could be the taste of Grandma's famous cinnamon oatmeal that was served in a blue fiestaware bowl, or your sister in law’s crusty Christmastime mac and cheese, or even that first great Melissa’s Organic Pear that had ripened perfectly and was unexpectedly given to us by a friend while we sat at our desk at work.



Food can be directly related to love and emotion. So perhaps that is where to start. If the kitchen isn’t your domain this idea could have you quivering with fear. What do I make? I can’t make a gourmet meal! Take a breath and remember the most important factor in choosing the menu is knowing whom you’re cooking for. Who do you want to please for the special romantic meal? If they love popovers, it’s pretty obvious what you should be cooking! Don’t make it harder than it is. Yes, it could be popovers but it could just as easily be oven-roasted potatoes and a baked Melissa’s Organic Butternut Squash with warm, blue-cheese-topped corn tortillas. Coming home to this meal on a cold night after a long commute would be welcomed by just about anyone. Believe me this would be just as appreciated as any fancy dinner — especially if it comes at a time when it’s least expected. This is how easy it can be.

Baked Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

2 small Butternut Squash

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°.

Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and soft fibers with a spoon.

Place squash halves, seasoned cut side down, in the pan.

Add about ½ cup water to the pan.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

Serve halves immediately.

This recipe serves 4 so it will make a great warmed up lunch the next day.

It is great just as is or topped with a little butter or a drizzle of maple syrup just before serving.

And, the oven-roasted potatoes are just as easy.

Oven-Roasted Potatoes

First Preheat oven to 475°

You can use Melissa’s Organic Yukon Gold Potatoes cut in eighths or Melissa’s Organic Red Potatoes cut into quarters or even a good old fashioned russet cut into cubes.

You’ll need:

⅛ cup Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic (more if you love garlic like me)
4 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh Rosemary, or 2 tablespoons of Dried Rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients into a big Ziploc bag and shake

Shake the bag, put it down and set the table, shake some more, and then light the fire, shake again and they are ready. You want them well coated but not broken.

Place potatoes in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.

Roast for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.

Serve with a nice Pinot Noir or some blood orange sparkling cider and you’ll be added to the list of wonderful food memories.

You never know…you may get a similar surprise when you least expect it.