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Easy Delicious Dinner Ideas

I am a Big Fat Liar

October 9, 2015
Who doesn't love an accordion-playing skeleton? I have two of these, one is named Bernie and one Bob for my brothers.

What I see when I look at my photos! (Actually, I love this accordion-playing skeleton. I have two — one is named Bernie and one Bob, for my accordion-playing brothers.

I had every intention of posting a picture on Really I did. Then I looked at the pictures my daughter took of me yesterday when I was feeling brave, with a blow dryer and mascara wand standing by,  and I have to tell you, it sobered me right up.

I’m living a happy delusion that I still look like I did when I was 40. How is this possible? I simply take off my glasses when I look in the mirror. I actually tried contacts for a while and it was just too much realism for me. I much prefer to walk out into the world believing what my non-spectacled eyes tell me — that I’m kind of fuzzy, like a Van Gogh painting. Contacts are like high resolution TV — who needs them?

I still feel like a teenager, and probably act like one too, but if photography in broad daylight is to be believed, my body has joined forces with the dark side.  And I am SO not saying this so you’ll write nice things about me, I really mean this. Aging is hard on women in our stupid, youth-obsessed society. Especially when you used to feel kind of cute on good days, and have finally gotten up the nerve to put yourself out there again. Last time I did this I was in my 30’s!

But there is a small part of me saying, “Oh, who gives a shit?  So, what if you’re not perfect, you’re fine. Just do it!”

So, hopefully you’ll be proud of me, because as I was writing this, I felt so guilty for saying I’d post photos then chickening out, that I actually posted three. So there. I guess I’m not a big, fat liar after all.

But enough about all that dating crap,  what I really want to talk about is a fantastic squash recipe I tried this week!

Ghostie Ghost, he was painted by Larry Fine, (of Three Stooges fame's) niece. I got him at a craft fair years ago. I love him. Halloween doesn't officially start until we light his light.

Ghostie Ghost, he was painted by Larry Fine’s (of Three Stooges fame) niece. I got him at a craft fair years ago. I love him! Halloween doesn’t officially start until we light his light.

I subscribe to Williams Sonona Taste, William Sonona’s website. They send out an an email a few times a week with recipes, and this week’s was fantastic! It was roasted pumpkin, garlic, sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes. I made it without the cherry tomatoes and it was amazing. So, I’m re-posting the recipe because you have to try it.  It’s perfect for fall, which (if we’re lucky) will come some time in January here in Southern California. I’m trying to channel it by decorating for Halloween.

Fantastic roast squash, potatoes, onions and garlic!

Fantastic roast squash, potatoes, onions and garlic!

The roasted garlic sent me completely out of my mind, it was so good with the roasted onions, squash and sweet potatoes. If you make this and don’t love it, I will personally come to your home and eat it all for you. We made some quinoa and sauteed it with garlic then served the squash mixture over it and it was utterly wonderful!

Roasted Pumpkin with Garlic, Sweet Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes from Williams Sonoma

1 small sugar pumpkin or other winter squash (I used butternut squash)

Use all the oil, you'll be glad you did.

Use all the oil, you’ll be glad you did.

2 sweet potatoes

2 red onions (I used brown onions and they were great)

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (I didn’t use these, but they would probably be good. You have to wait to add them at the very end of roasting – read the whole recipe through first!)

2⁄3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) olive oil (seemed like a lot, but what it did to the veggies was miraculous)

5 fresh thyme sprigs (I didn’t have fresh, so I used dried – but I’ll bet fresh rocks)

1 head garlic, halved crosswise (I did two because I am a ho for garlic)

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. maple syrup (I used an extra tsp. of syrup and you could still hardly taste it)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut the pumpkin into quarters and remove and discard the pulp and seeds. (Alternatively, rinse and roast the seeds separately and use to garnish the dish later.) (I roasted mine then we ate them like pigs and never got around to the garnishing part.) Cut each pumpkin quarter into 3 wedges. Quarter the sweet potatoes lengthwise. Peel the onions and cut into wedges. Cut the garlic head in half so you cut each clove in half.

Place the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, garlic and onions in a large mixing bowl. Mix together the oil, thyme, lemon juice, maple syrup, 1 tsp. salt and 1⁄2 tsp. pepper. Toss to mix well, then spread in a large roasting pan. Roast until the vegetables are cooked through and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the roasting pan, toss to coat with olive oil and return the roasting pan to the oven until the tomatoes just begin to soften and release their juices, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional salt and serve directly from the pan. Serves 4.

Next week, I’ll give you my roasted butternut squash soup recipe – unless I’m too busy dating hot guys.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2015 at 5:44 pm can be a romp, a laugh, a lot of fun or not…Yes, your photo is the most important first step…take the time to get three really good, current photos of your darling self. Have fun out there. See Page Larkin Dating at 50.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 11, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks Myammmynew! I hardly have time to check the emails, let alone date, so I’ll save it for the new year. But thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    October 12, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Why-o-why do I keep reading your blogs before dinner? Guess I will add a couple things to my shopping list. Glad you posted that pic, hope you have a great time and learn a lot.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      My Dear Daedae 51, if you do make the squash, let me know what you think! I am so glad you took the time to read and to write to me. I will keep you guys posted on my antics in dating land.

      • daedae51
        October 16, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        Oh Fran, I’m eating the squash now and it is amazing, I used the tomatoes and did 1 T syrup, didn’t really notice it, I also used butternut squash.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I was just saying last week that everything is better when I walk around the house without my contacts or glasses. I look a lot better in the mirror, my kitchen sink looks a lot cleaner, and there is no fuzz on the baseboards. Life is grand, actually. I can’t read a thing, but that’s just a small glitch.
    The roasted veggie dish sounds wonderful. I’ll have to try it. I roast just about everything. Rarely do I fix veggies any other way. But I’ve never tried roasting sweet potatoes and onions together, and it sounds fantastic! Thanks for a new idea!
    Good luck with the online dating! I hope that Prince Charming shows up to share many adventures with you! He’d be one lucky prince, that’s for sure!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 12, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      Oh Leslie, thank you so much. I agree that the house does look fantastic without glasses. In the wide scope of life, maybe it’s nature’s way of saying don’t worry so much! Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond. You will love these veggies!

  • Reply
    Matilda Novak
    October 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Fran Tunno, i love you. And if i were a hot guy i guess that might be a good thing for us both. But i’m not, so….. Thank you for making me Laugh with the TRUTH of life in a body well past the glorious age of 40! This recipe sounds amazing, and i’m going to check it out. i’ve not had a chance to read your blog in quite a while, but it’s always such a treat when i do!! Keep doing what you’re doing, girlfriend. And know that there are many of us out here who clearly see not just the Value, but also the Beautiful in you….

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 12, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Awww Matilda, thank you! Reading comments like yours makes me want to just quit doing everything and write all the time. If only I had a wealthy benefactor! Thank you for reading as often as you can, and too bad for both of us that you’re not a guy. C’est la vie. I hope it’s all going well for you!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Herold
    October 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Love that the effigy you have of your photos is a skeleton. (Mine is a huge pumpkin holding a back scratcher.)

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 10, 2015 at 12:57 am

      Thanks Elizabeth! Yeah, what I see when I look at photos anymore is scarier than any Halloween stuff I own. Thanks for reading and writing!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    The roasted squash sounds amazing–but if I lie and tell you I don’t like it, does it mean you’ll come to Idaho to eat it? Plus, the leaves are changing so it really is fall here.

    Love this line: “Contacts are like high resolution TV — who needs them?” And I love what Diana had to say. I am so glad you posted your pics!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 9, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Honestly Linda, I would love nothing more than to come to Idaho and hang with you and the changing leaves! Wish I could! I guess we’ll have to Skype!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Fran, all I can say is that online dating is, if anything at all, a learning experience! And that is what it is for me at this time. Every time you meet a new man, just look at it as a step toward meeting your MAN; looking and listening to him, listening to yourself after you meet with him. What kind of a man is he? How did he make you feel? Did he ask about YOU or was he simply “pitching” himself. If it doesn’t go any further, why? and what did you learn from that meeting? I look at it like an adventure…..mostly into “Neverland” but maybe someday into “Tomorrowland”!!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 9, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      I love that Diana. An excellent outlook. I just discovered nothing is free on If you want to see who is looking at you, you have to pay. Figures. I will keep your advice close to my heart.

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