a margarita for Christmas? not quite apple cider. not quite egg nog. and not quite what you were expecting. but let’s mix things up a bit at the end of this year. ’cause if you’re feeling at all like i am, i know there’s a lot of change coming in 2020.
and change is a good thing: big or small. you may be looking to change careers. or potentially retire. you may move to a new town. or you may just change your outlook. whatever it is, you’ll be better than fine, because you’re, well, you. so let’s start small today: raise your Christmas margaritas, because here’s to fridays with oscar. and more importantly, here’s to you.
outfit of the day
entree: beef & cranberry stuffed acorn squash
roasted squash is a personal favorite of mine. i’m putting a slight spin on it today by stuffing it with beef, cranberries and spices. but the recipe remains simple, straightforward and easy to make. whether you’re hosting a holiday lunch or looking for a quick bite on a Saturday afternoon, reach for this recipe.
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, plus some for brushing
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus some for sprinkling
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the top and the bottom off of the acorn squash, trying to cut off as little as possible. Carefully slice the acorn squash into 5 rings, cutting the acorn squash from side to side (not from top to bottom).
- Scrape the seeds and innards out of the rings and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Brush each ring with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the rings and place them in the preheated oven. Roast the squash rings for 30-35 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. The squash is done when it's lightly brown and fork tender.
- While the squash rings roast, heat the 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often until the garlic gets soft and is just starting to brown. Add the dried cranberries and chopped rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the rosemary is very fragrant and it smells like Christmas in your kitchen.
- Remove the herb-cranberry mixture to a bowl and add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook the ground beef just until no pink remains, then drain any excess fat.
- Add the herb-cranberry mixture to the ground beef, as well as the 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon caraway. Stir to evenly combine.
- When the squash rings have finished roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Spoon the beef-cranberry mixture into each ring and place back in the oven. Cook 4-5 minutes more.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, top the stuffed squash with shredded parmesan cheese if desired, and enjoy!
cocktail: a margarita for Christmas
i just love the sweet and spicy flavor combination. if you do too, or if you’re looking to break out of the holiday same old same old, make sure to check out this week’s cocktail: a blackberry margarita. the bite of the jalapenos is offset nicely by the sweetness of the blackberries. pair that with a traditional salt rim, and you’re running the full flavor spectrum.
- 2 ounces of tequila
- 2 ounces of lime juice
- 5 blackberries plus more for garnish
- 3-4 slices of fresh jalapeno
- 1 ounce of agave nectar
- 1 cup of ice (1/2 used in the shaker, 1/2 used to serve the drink)
- Garnish: salted rim and blackberries
- Fill the cocktail shaker with tequila, lime juice, blackberries, sliced jalapenos, agave nectar, and 1/2 cup of ice.
- Shake the mixer and strain into a slated glass filled with ice.
alright gang, that’s a wrap! as we approach the holiday home stretch, remember to always take a deep breath and always give yourself a few extra minutes of alone time. if that means getting up 10 minutes earlier to enjoy a quiet moment with your cup of coffee or staying up 30 minutes later to finish The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, do it.