Well, by last Friday evening- Friday’s post become pretty obselete. As you probably all know by now, the NYC marathon ended up being cancelled. There was a lot of controversy around this decision, but all that aside, the most incredible thing to me was the action the decision to not hold the race inspired. Thousands of runners headed to Staten Island on Sunday to help clean up and deliver supplies to one of the worst hit areas in all of Hurricane Sandy. Thousands of other runners decided to still run the entire marathon or a portion of it in Central Park. This photo is one of the few bright spots in an extremely devastating week.

I have felt a lot of guilt these past few days. We never lost power and were barely without internet, and yet just miles away in Brooklyn and other parts of New York and New Jersey people’s entire lives have been demolished. It brings tears to my eyes. The whole experience has also made me realize how easy it is to disregard the tragedy that surrounds us. I definitely didn’t feel the way I do now when Katrina hit. It’s a lot harder to ignore natural disaster when it’s literally in your backyard. The whole experience has been really sobering and made me so incredibly thankful for everything I have.

Along with donating to a couple organizations, I’m planning to volunteer this week. If you’re not so close to the NYC area though, I definitely encourage you to donate whatever you can. There are so many places to donate, but Jenna of Sweet Fine Day created a very comprehensive list which allows you to make general donations, or send funds to specific neighborhoods.

Ok guys, thanks for listening. I’m looking forward to a brighter week. On the plus side- this mac and cheese filled with butternut squash is insane! This was my first foray into folding vegetables into cheese sauce and I have to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. This stuff is definitely as satisfying as your traditional mac and cheese, and the Sriracha is a must if you have it on hand. Here’s to a great week!

Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese adapted from Always Order Dessert

  • 1 lb small shells (or any other short cut pasta)
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 sage leaves (optional)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated parm
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T Sriracha (optional)

Place the squash, chicken broth, and sage leaves in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until fork tender. Once cooked, reserve 1 cup of the chicken broth (or more if you like). Drain the squash. Using a Cuisinart or blender, purée the squash, sage, and chicken broth in batches until smooth.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until just al dente- about 8 minutes.

Return the puréed squash to the heavy bottom pot. Stir in the heavy cream spices, and Sriracha and set to medium low heat. Once warm, add in the cheese and whisk until fully combined. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add directly to the cheese sauce. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.


  1. Glad to hear you made it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed. My thoughts are with those who were affected, big and small. I have never tried making mac and cheese with butternut squash, but it sure seems to be the thing to do these days. I’d better give it a shot!

  2. We were so fortunate to never lose power also, so I know exactly what you mean. Such a strange, surreal week. Thanks for the volunteer information. And on a lighter note, I’m going to dream about this mac and cheese.

    • Clara

      I saw that recipe as well! I bet it’s just as good- love the variety of cheeses. Hope all is well! xoxo

  3. made a butternut squash dish tonight, i must have been inspired by yours. beautiful photos!

  4. La Torontoise

    Clara, I’ve been reading your blog for months but only now got time to write (as my works hedule is a bit less hectic).
    Thank you for the wonderful pictures and recipes. It all was very inspiring to me!
    Love the butternum squash idea and will give it a try this weekend. I’m in France, we do not have any sharp cheddar easily available, but I will find a nice cheesy ingredient to replace it:-)
    Greetings from Europe!
    PS. Like anyone from Toronto, I can not disregard the tragedy that surrounds the people in your region.

    • Clara

      Hi there! I’m so glad you commented. You have pleeeeenty of delicious cheese in France- a gruyere would work great, and I was thinking next time I’d add in a little goat cheese for some tang. Thanks so much for reading!

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