Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats with Tofu

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats (perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving dish!)As the country becomes collectively more health-conscious, holiday meals have gotten a little more difficult. Your aunt is vegan; your cousin doesn’t eat gluten; Grandma is lactose-intolerant; your sister doesn’t eat meat; Dad invited Michael Pollan to dinner—sh*t just got complicated and that Stop & Shop turkey ain’t gonna cut it.

While that scenario is a little dramatized (Me? Exaggerate?? Never…), we probably all have a person coming to dinner this Thanksgiving who doesn’t want to eat turkey. In my family, it’s my mom and I. Luckily, there are countless ways to incorporate holiday flavors into a main course without meat. As part of my collaboration with Nasoya, I experimented around with tons of vegetarian recipes in the kitchen, and these spaghetti squash boats were a home run. They’re filling, use seasonal flavors, and make for a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. If you’re vegan, just leave out the goat cheese!

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats (perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving dish!)

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats with Tofu

Yield: 2

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats with Tofu

Ingredients

  • ½ container Nasoya lite firm tofu (about 7oz), crumbled using a fork
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • ½-3/4 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • ½ cup cranberry sauce (I used whole fruit sauce because I love the chunks!)
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise; scrape out the seeds and stringy guts; brush with olive oil, salt and pepper; place face-side down in a pan; and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. If you’re unfamiliar with spaghetti squash, use THIS TUTORIAL as a reference—it’ll walk you through the baking process using pictures.
  2. When the squash is cooked, flip the halves over and partially scrape out the inside with a fork. You want to leave at least a ½-inch of the meat attached to the skin so that your boats hold their structure. Add the squash you’ve scraped out to a bowl with the Brussels sprouts, crumbled tofu, cranberry sauce, and pecans. Stir it all together.
  3. Fill the two spaghetti squash halves with the mixture and sprinkle the top with the goat cheese.
  4. Reduce your oven’s temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Enjoy! Make sure to scrape out the sides of your bowl as you eat so you don’t let any delicious spaghetti squash go to waste.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/11/19/stuffed-spaghetti-squash-boats-with-tofu/

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats (perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving dish!)Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats (perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving dish!)This post was sponsored by Nasoya. I was giving full creative control over the content and all opinions, as always, are my own.

Do you have any vegetarians coming to Thanksgiving dinner this year? What are you planning on serving?

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Tips for Timing a Juice Cleanse

Tips for Timing a Juice CleanseAny time I post a review of a juice cleanse on the blog, my phone immediately blows up with friends and family members asking me questions. It seems like a lot of people are curious about trying out a juice cleanse, but are unsure of the best way to go about it. I could seriously talk about juice all day (when did I turn into such a bore??), so let’s cover one of those common juice uncertainties today: When is the right time to do a cleanse?

People do juice cleanses for a number of reasons, and to an extent, that end goal determines when the best time will be. You’ll frequently hear of someone doing a cleanse before a beach vacation or big event (wedding) as a quick way to shed some extra bloat and look his/her best. And that’s a totally valid use of a juice cleanse—I know I always think I look just a little leaner after doing one, and my skin glows by day 3 of a cleanse. But—and that’s one big, bolded, all-caps BUT—the subtle changes in your physical appearance are far and away NOT the biggest benefits of doing a juice cleanse.

Juice cleanses help you reset cravings, and are an amazing way to kickstart a habit of healthy eating. Every time I’ve finished a juice cleanse, the first thing I want to eat is…more juice. Maybe a nice salad. Some fruit. Roasted veggies. Processed, sugary foods don’t even sound appealing after juicing for three days. Your body craves the good stuff, and the best-timed juice cleanse will allow for you to act on those healthy cravings for as long as possible. And that is why, I would argue, you’re not going to get the most out of your cleanse (or money—cleanses can be expensive!) if you do it before a big event or vacation.

What comes with (most) big events and trips? Indulgence. And that’s ok! Maybe I’m just a degenerate, but no vacation or wedding of mine will be void of alcohol and dessert. Doing a juice cleanse and then going on vacation would be like washing my car before driving through mud. I know not everyone is like that, but the bottom line remains the same: To get the most out of a juice cleanse, do it to start a health “streak”, not to prepare for the end of one.

Now that I’ve painted the big picture, here are a couple specific things I consider when scheduling a juice cleanse:

  • Social schedule: You don’t realize how social the act of eating is until you can’t do it. Food is involved in so many of our interactions with others, and I would never set myself up for failure by attempting a juice cleanse if I know I have to go to a friend’s birthday party one day or am meeting up with a relative for lunch the next. I pick a week when I have no social events planned—no FOMO, no problem.
  • Workload: Do you tend to eat more when you’re stressed? I sure do. I try not to schedule juice cleanses during crazy work weeks. In addition, to echo the previous point, if you have a work event or even just a catered meeting, it may make a juice cleanse more difficult. The less you have to test your willpower, the higher your chances at success.
  • The Weekend: The first few cleanses I did, I thought it was a no-brainer to do them on weekdays—much easier to avoid temptation. I’d get through them with ease and then…it’d be the weekend. So much for riding out that kickstarted health streak! I think the best way to do it (for me, anyway) is to plan a cleanse for a weekend when you don’t have any social things planned. This way, you’ll finish the cleanse with five whole days of routine, work and less temptation in front of you. This will allow you to stick to eating healthy and not immediately fall back into old cravings and poor eating habits.
  • Delivery Times/Policy: If you’re ordering a juice cleanse (as opposed to making your own juices at home), when you start will depend on when the company delivers. Some only deliver Tues-Fri, and you will need to start the cleanse within a day or two of delivery—important logistics to consider when planning.

Hopefully that was helpful! If you have any other questions, leave a comment. :)

Have you done a juice cleanse before? How’d you time it?

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Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesThe following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC.

Hey guys! It’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. For the last few months, I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut. I moved, and while I was still settling into the new kitchen, I fell into a lazy pattern of just walking to Whole Foods to make a salad for dinner or tossing together some quinoa, roasting some veggies, topping with an egg and calling it a day (my go-to easy dinner meal). I missed having yummy snacks and leftovers around the house though, so I’m back at it. Let’s blame the hiatus for the overwhelming number of pictures I included in this post…

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

I was excited to work with FitFluential on developing a recipe using Canadian maple syrup because it’s my favorite way to add sweetness to a recipe without using sugar. 100% pure maple syrup is natural and unprocessed, meaning it has the health benefits of vitamin and mineral content in addition to its amazingly sweet taste. In particular, it’s a great source of manganese and zinc (these minerals aid in muscle recovery—hello, post-workout snack!) and contains 54 different antioxidant compounds. A little fun fact I learned in this project with Pure Canada Maple (Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup) is that the darker the grade of syrup, the higher the antioxidant activity is.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal BitesToday, I’m using my Canadian maple syrup in these yummy cinnamon raisin oatmeal bites. They’re the perfect snack to fuel your workout or to munch on throughout the day. They’re packed with finger-licking gooey deliciousness and taste somewhere between an oatmeal raisin cookie and a bowl of oatmeal with your favorite toppings.

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Yield: 18-25 bites (depending on how big you roll the balls)

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (I used gluten-free)
  • 3 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c raisins
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup shredded almonds, depending on how crunchy you want your bites (if you only have whole almond, just crush them up before mixing in)

Instructions

  1. Put the Canadian maple syrup and almond butter in a small pan and heat over low heat, mixing until warm and fully combined.
  2. Pour over the oats and cinnamon in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. Add in the mashed banana and continue to mix.
  3. Stir in the raisins and almond bits.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Cooling the mixture will make it easier to form into balls (they’re supposed to be a little sticky).
  5. Use a small spoon (I used a teaspoon) to scoop the mixture and roll into small bite-sized balls.

Notes

Store covered in the refrigerator. I divided my batch up into small Ziploc bags before storing the fridge so that I could easily grab them as an on-the-go snack.

http://pumpsandiron.com/2014/10/28/cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal-bites/

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Bites

For this project, I was also sent a sample of maple water, which I was really excited to try as I’ve seen it popping up in grocery stores lately. It’s the clear water that flows through sugar maple trees, and not at all thick or overwhelmingly sweet like syrup is. It’s actually really refreshing! I’ve been loving using it in smoothies (you can even pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it before tossing into your blender if you want to add some texture to a smoothie). It has half the calories of coconut water and tastes a trillion times better, but I ABHORE coconut water (it tastes like throw-up, you can’t tell me otherwise), so I guess I miiiight be a little biased. :)

Maple WaterHave you ever tried maple water? What’d you think?

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