Healthy Holidays Part 4 + Recipe: Mac(less) & Cheese

Hi there!! Happy Sunday to you! I’m all cozied up on the couch, my husband is watching football, and I am blogging. Fun times. We also got a sugar cookie scented candle, which just makes everything cozier, in my opinion.

This weekend I am making a table centerpiece involving a ridiculous amount of gold glitter. I can’t wait. We (read: me, my husband could care less) decided to go with a gold and cream color scheme this year with our decorations. I can’t WAIT to get our tree next weekend. Here is a sneak (and unfinished) peak of an element of the center piece:

One aspect of having a healthy holidays that I think is sometimes overlooked is stress. I think for a lot of us for so many reasons (money, family, travel, work, and just being busy) really leads to more stress, which no matter what your goals are is not healthy.

So remember to do what you need to do to reduce your stress. Shop online to avoid the crowds (this has been huge for me), space out your purchases so that they don’t overwhelm your bank account (this is why we bought all our decorations before we bought a tree, it helps), and most importantly of all, remember what the holidays are all about.

It’s about spending time with the people close to you, not stressing about having six people at your house for dinner, or getting a gift for the hostess of that party you are going to, or how much money you spent on your family’s gifts.

Take some time this week to write out what is stressing you out and what you can do to change it. Or, if there’s nothing you can do to avoid it, take some time to deal with your stress better. Hit the gym and work out that stress (running really helps me) or maybe try out a new fitness class. Schedule some alone time that is not holiday related at all like reading or cleaning (unless that makes you stress more) and don’t feel bad about it one bit!

Another huge one that I realized over Thanksgiving, is letting go and remembering to ask for help. Something I am not good at, especially in the kitchen. I decided to put my husband in charge of the yams. It worked out just fine, and was a lot less for me to worry about.

One last tip, be aware of unhealthy ways that you react to stress and find a new way to relieve it. For example, my familial stress leads RIGHT to me grabbing something unhealthy and pigging out. Not worth it! I’ve started putting on some music and going for a walk, and it really helps 🙂

And, if you really want some creamy yummy comfort food that won’t leave you feeling like you completely ruined your goals, try this Mac(less) & Cheese recipe. It’s pretty amazing!

Mac(less) & Cheese (makes 4 servings) 

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and cooled slightly (see how I cook them here)
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 375Âş. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a bowl. Add goat cheese, 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, and the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Transfer to a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese on top is melty, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with paprika and pepper and enjoy! We had it with a turkey burger, and it was amazing.

Even my husband, who is not a squash fan loved this. He mentioned something about the amount of cheese in it making it as good as it is, but it really wasn’t that much cheese, so I figured out the nutritional info, just because I was curious.

Not too shabby! I think the fat factor was from the goat cheese. If you feel like that’s too much use half goat cheese, half nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

Are you stressed about the upcoming holidays? If so what about? 

And a somewhat random question: Do you like having nutritional info included in recipes you find online? I’m not sure if I want to include it all the time, but I know it can be helpful. 

Thanksgiving Recipes

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re having a great day. I am resting and relaxing, and it’s amazing. Yesterday I shared our Thanksgiving menu, and today I am going to share my recipes!

Stuffed Mushrooms (serving sizes depend on the size of the mushrooms)
about 1 lb mushrooms cleaned, stems/stalks removed
equal parts chopped artichoke hearts and goat cheese (maybe 2/3 cups each, I eyeballed it and had some left over)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
salt and pepper 

Preheat your oven to 400 and prep the mushrooms (don’t wash with water, just use a towel to wipe away the dirt). Place so that the inside of the mushroom that you’re going to fill is facing up on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked to your liking (or maybe just a tiny bit before that). Remove from the oven, and use a paper towel to mop up the water that will naturally come out while cooking.

Turn up the oven to 450 and mix the rest of the ingredients together. Spoon onto the mushrooms and place back in the oven until just warmed through. About 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing (makes about 8-10 servings, or half that in our house… we are obsessed with this recipe)
One pan (8×8 baking dish) of cornbread, cut into cubes and lightly toasted (to make homemade cornbread, buy yellow cornmeal and follow the recipe on the box, substituting a gluten free baking mix for the flour in the recipe)
cooking spray
half a large yellow onion, chopped
half a large head of celery, chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme, salt and pepper
three links chicken apple sausage, removed from casing (I also made a vegetarian version with mushrooms instead, use about three cups chopped)
one handful dried cranberries
2 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten 

Preheat the oven to 350. After the cornbread is cubed and toasted, place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a large pan, crumble and brown the sausage. Add to cornbread.

Saute the onion and celery and spices in the same pan as the sausage and add to the bowl once the onion is translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, mix well, then add to a large baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray. (We actually did two smaller pans, one is in the freezer, whatever works for you!)

Bake for about an hour. Then eat!

**Leftovers make a completely acceptable breakfast. 

I used this recipe for the mushroom gravy. The potatoes were just smashed with almond milk, a touch of butter, garlic, and salt and pepper. The salad was super simple, just mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts with salt and pepper, goat cheese and a pomegranate vinaigrette (equal parts pomegranate juice and white wine vinegar, half part olive oil).


Healthy Holidays Part 3

Hello! lovelies!! Thank you all so much for your sweet words of encouragement and amazing advice on my last post. I am still feeling a little down about the whole thing, but I’ve decided that I am going to do everything I can (supportive shoes, icing, stretching, strength exercises, easy runs avoiding hills and hard surfaces) in the next week and if I don’t notice a change for the better, I am going to hit up the doctor. I am also going to ask a physical therapist at my work if they know how to tape for them, and will teach me 🙂

Now let’s move on from this lame stuff, and talk about more exciting things. Like the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities. Last week I talked about how to build a smart plate, and the week before, we all set goals and got ready mentally, so this week let’s talk about bringing something to contribute to the meal.

 (Source + GREAT salad recipe ideas)

I got into this habit when my husband and I had been together for a while. I’ve mentioned it before, but he has a wheat allergy, so sometimes when we go to parties, he can’t eat unless we bring something. I always ask the host what is going to be served, and if they want me to bring anything. So far it’s been a great way to ensure a healthy (and wheat free) option for us.

So my suggestion is to contact whoever is in charge of the menu and offer to bring something. That way you know that there will be something yummy and healthy for you to eat, regardless of what else is being served.

Some ideas:

  • Healthier Stuffed Mushrooms (recipe to come in the next day or so)
  • Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Soup (maybe this, this, or this)
  • Mixed green salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts (or any salad really)
  • Roasted veggie salad (roast any seasonal veggies with a spritz of olive oil and salt and pepper. Cool and serve on greens with pomegranate seeds and a simple vinaigrette.)
  • Mashed potatoes a la Oh She Glows (high protein and vegan, a much better option than butter, cream, and gravy)

Are you offering to bring anything to any holiday festivities you are headed to? Or are you the one cooking this year? I am cooking and I can’t wait!


Healthy Holiday Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Good morning!! If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my second installment from the Healthy Holidays series from yesterday. I had quite a busy day yesterday, both at work, and after.

I promptly hit the road (and stopped to get Starbucks on the way) to head out with Janae and her husband, and her sister to see Breaking Dawn. So. Much. Fun. I laughed at inappropriate times, ate too much candy, and had way too much fun. Pretty much a win.

Fact: I purposefully tried to be as pale as possible, we were seeing a vampy movie after all.


So I don’t think that I can stress enough how much I LOVE spinach dip. Love it. This recipe is high protein, low fat, filling, and just YUMMY! It makes a great holiday party appetizer, or be like me and the husband and eat it for dinner with veggies and chips. I won’t judge!

Spinach Dip (makes about 2 cups of dip)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
cooking spray
3 huge handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 can or about 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1 can white beans
salt and pepper
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella goat cheese, divided (or regular, whatever you like)
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles 

Preheat the oven to 425º. Saute the onions in the cooking spray until soft. Add garlic and spinach. Saute until the spinach is cooked down, but not fully. Add the artichoke hearts, remove from the heat and set aside.

Rinse and drain the beans and add to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy, you may need to add a small amount of water to get it going, but that will depend on your situation.

Add the beans, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese to the sauteed onions, garlic, and spinach and mix. Transfer to a baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the remaining cheese and bake until the cheese is melty and bubbly.

Enjoy with sliced veggies or chips. Just try to let it cool enough so that you don’t burn your mouth, something I did not do… 🙂