Roasted Acorn Squash

I have been trying to write this post for the better part of two hours. I keep writing something and deleting it, writing something and deleting it.

An image of acorn squash sliced in half.

To be honest with you, I guess that is because I don’t know what to say. A dear friend of mine got some very bad news this last week, the kind you never think you or someone you love will get, and she has been on my mind ever since.

I wish you could meet her. I wish you could know the kind of friend who extends grace when you don’t, who challenges you by example, who makes you laugh out loud with her stories.

The kind of friend who, when you show up unannounced at her doorstep Wednesday night, welcomes you inside, no questions asked, comforting you more than you are comforting her, demonstrating faith in the One Who Made Her as you recount specific Providences together.

And I’ve thought a lot about Providence over the last week, in fact, about the power that is at work in a greater story than that of my or her individual life, about the One who gives us friendships and experiences and doctors with diagnoses. I read something this last week about how we’re each a tree in a forest, and the story isn’t about a tree; it’s about the forest, and the story about the forest is a better story than one about a tree.

Close up image of roasted acorn squash.

I thought about it Saturday afternoon, when a different friend had her heart broken; then later, when I walked out of work at 4 PM into 67-degree daylight and felt the sunshine that falls on us all, regardless of how our day is going or what we are wearing or how we live our lives; and again when I talked to my brother about the beauty of seeing all our needs met, over and over again, while we stepped through piles of leaves on sidewalks lined by barren trees on Sunday.

We were saying, Wednesday night, that it’s scary to not know what the future holds; but, then again, we never know what the future holds, do we? From where I sit today, I’m remembering the love that provides specifically, that sustains through change, that never ever fails.

I am clinging to it or, rather, it is clinging to me. And I am stepping into the future I do not know, that I’ve never known, moment by moment, by faith.

Roasted Acorn Squash
This is barely a recipe and much more of a reminder that sometimes the best things in life are the most basic, like sunshine and warm November days and, friends. After you put this squash in the oven, filled with good things like butter and sugar and maple syrup, it comes out all soft and sweet, as delicious as candy and so simple to make.

1 acorn squash, halved
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
dashes of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop out insides of squash and discard.

Add half of butter, maple syrup and brown sugar to the hollowed-out sections of each half of the squash. Sprinkle with touches of salt and pepper.

Place upright on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat, and bake for one hour or until fork tender. If you want to go all out, try stuffing it with apples, nuts, and cranberries.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

18 thoughts on “Roasted Acorn Squash”

  1. I think that you have written a lovely, timely post and that your words reflect the grace that is in your life.
    Your writing about the tree makes me think of that old saying,
    “can’t see the forest for the trees”
    and I just want to let you know that your written word is encouraging to me this morning,
    thanks Shannalee

  2. I found your wonderful and delicious blog about a month ago and I have been reading it ever since. Your recipes and stories have inspired me in the kitchen – and having just moved away from Chicago – have helped me to still feel connected to that great city. After reading your post today – I have truly been moved. I am so sorry for the pain that you are feeling. Though I don’t know you – and I am thinking of you & your friend today.

  3. i’m so sorry to hear about your friend. but it’s good to know that she has a friend like you, with a faith so beautiful and inspiring and strong. because even more than the simple things in life, we need each other.

  4. I am sorry to hear about your friend and I hope everything works out for her. She is lucky to have a friend like you; the support and love you give her will be the greatest gift she receives. Thank you for the reminder about what is truly important and to enjoy what life has given us today!

  5. I have an acorn squash sitting on the table at home. I think it was waiting for this post to come along. Thinking positive thoughts for you and your friends. I try to believe that the most challenging of life’s experiences are here to teach us something…even if that something is simply that we are stronger than we think we are.

  6. You well know my feelings on this – hugs, prayers, and thoughts are continuously speeding your way sweetie. Smile into the sun, and remember providence, faith, and love.

  7. Celeste, You have been such a sweet encourager, both here and on Twitter, and I am so glad to have found you.

    Katie, You are so kind to recommend a book and a very appropriate one, too. Thank you so much!

    Whitney, Thank you so much. My heart really breaks for her, but this situation is demonstrating her character and God’s grace.

    Blair, What a very kind comment. So glad to connect with you not just with food and Chicago but also the shared experiences of friendships and pain and life. Thank you so much.

    Jacqui, You have the most beautiful responses to things. We need each other – YES. I have been thinking about Adam and Eve and how God said it wasn’t good that Adam be alone even though Adam had God right there – we were made for relationships. That is so true. And PS – I am the blessed one here, I mean it. My friend is something special.

    Ashley, I love what you said about enjoying life today. Yes! That is something I very much believe. And thank you for your kind words, but seriously, I hate that anyone would be thinking I’m somehow the gracious one here – that is so far from true.

    Kim, I love the thought of your roasting your acorn squash, like I roasted mine and us sharing thoughts across the country. Thank you.

  8. AHH!! i love this!! totally my parents always made it and i have made it at least once since being married. OH SO YUMMMMO topped with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon….

  9. i, too, am grateful that you’re such a good friend. and your words? so very powerful. i also love making squash like this, good thing bc i just got a HUGE box of them.

  10. What a positively beautiful post. I’ve been behind on my reading lately — and I’ve missed your writing so!

    “I wish you could meet her. I wish you could know the kind of friend who extends grace when you don’t, who challenges you by example, who makes you laugh out loud with her stories. The kind of friend who, when you show up unannounced at her doorstep Wednesday night, welcomes you inside, no questions asked, comforting you more than you are comforting her, demonstrating faith in the One Who Made Her as you recount specific Providences together.”

    Now THAT is a friend anyone would be lucky to have — she is good to have found you. Blessings to you both!!

  11. Rachel, Yes! Glad you agree!

    Michele. You know how I feel about that already—YOU are the friend here, you have been since I met you, and, right now, no matter how much I love and care about you, nothing changes the fact that you are going through this and I am not. You are doing it with grace, my friend, and I admire you so much—I already did, in fact, but now especially.

    Thank you, Jessica. I know she appreciates that.

    JessieV, Please believe me that I feel this awful sense of guilt when people say stuff like that. She = great friend. Really. I hope you roast yourself some squash soon – it is wonderful.

    Lo, Thank you for that sweet comment. She is a friend I’m blessed to have, along with so many other people who love her.


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