MAKE: Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash With Quinoa and Chicken

Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash | Photo by Becca Boyd

Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash | Photo by Becca Boyd

I bought a few gorgeous acorn squash at the market and then they sat in my pull-out pantry … for, like, three weeks. I was frozen in indecision, and maybe feeling a little lazy. But eventually, I buckled down to whip up this recipe, filled with healthy (and gluten-free!) grains and lean protein, that checks off all the important meal boxes: light, delicious and downright drool-worthy.

The good news is, though, if you never stop feeling lazy, acorn squash has an even sweeter flavor than butternut and with some salt and coconut oil, it’s quite special on its own. In fact, you can eat it just like you would a sweet potato.

But if the cooking mood does strike you, the recipe below is sure to satisfy.

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Recipe: Thai-Inspired Coconut Chicken with Pasta (Or Zoodles!)

Thai Coconut Chicken and Pasta | Photo by Becca Boyd

Thai Coconut Chicken and Pasta | Photo by Becca Boyd

Have you ever perused a recipe and wondered how the specific combination of ingredients listed could possibly taste good? When that happens to me, I usually feel compelled to make it as soon as possible. Perhaps, unlike me, you shy away from unknown flavors? If that’s the case, you’ll have to trust me on this one. I could eat this sauce straight with a spoon.

This recipe is wonderful applied to zoodles or a gluten-free pasta, but the traditional whole-wheat variety works well, too. While you can customize the noodles or even the vegetables, don’t get too carried away. What I’m trying to say is: Don’t touch the sauce. It’s a perfectly balanced blend of salty, sweet, and spicy with big flavor hits from the garlic and ginger.

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MAKE: The Guilt-Free Muffins Guaranteed to Make Your Mornings Glorious

Morning Glory Muffins | Photo by Becca Boyd

Morning Glory Muffins | Photo by Becca Boyd

It really doesn’t get better for me than muffins, for several reasons: they bake all at once, they’re portable, they can be healthy, and both the kids and the adults in the house can happily (and healthfully) partake. What’s not to love?

These muffins are my take on Morning Glory Muffins, which have become pretty common, though they originated in the ’70’s in a Nantucket restaurant. From my laundry list of ingredients here you will see they’re sort of an “everything but the kitchen sink” combination but the general flavor is simply wintry, what with all that cinnamon.

Using whole-wheat flour and coconut oil means I can feel good about giving it to my kids for breakfast, and though there is some sugar (1/2 c. brown sugar) as well as sweetness from the coconut, remember: It’s divided up into 24 muffins. Hold on I’ll do the math — okay, that’s one teaspoon of brown sugar per muffin. Not bad. Carrots and apples provide more sweetness along with fiber (and great texture). Happy baking!

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You Need to Make This for Dinner: Protein-Packed Meaty Minestrone

Meaty Minestrone | Photo by Becca Boyd

Meaty Minestrone | Photo by Becca Boyd

Ah, Sunday. I love you so much — why can’t there be two of you? These days, Sunday means football, fires, and soup. Giant pots of soup. Sometimes the soup attracts extra diners at my dinner table, but when it doesn’t, we have dinner set for Monday night —and sometimes even Tuesday. I’ve convinced my children that the vegetables in soup just taste like “soup” so they’re on board; my gluten-free, hungry husband can eat as many servings as he likes; and I like that it’s light and healthy. This particular soup has been made too many times to count this fall, and the colors make it fitting for holiday fun.

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MAKE: Creamy (Dairy-Free!) White Bean and Chicken Chili

White Bean and Chicken Chili | Photo by Becca Boyd

White Bean and Chicken Chili | Photo by Becca Boyd

I’ve always liked white chili better than red but I find that most recipes can be a bit heavy. This is a shame, really, because the combination of beans, chicken, peppers and onions is a recipe for success (in both the health and the taste departments). Allow me to show you how beautiful compromise can be: By pureeing white beans you achieve the creamy texture of a heavier chili without any rich dairy products.

This recipe makes a big batch, perfect for Sunday company and football watching. Make sure to have lots of tortilla chips on hand for topping, as we all know that’s the best part.

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MAKE: No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Bites

No-bake chocolate-peanut butter protein bites | Photo  by Becca Boyd

No-bake chocolate-peanut butter protein bites | Photo by Becca Boyd

I know: These chocolate-peanut butter bites look unappealing. I probably wouldn’t make them for anything the teensiest bit elegant, i.e. baby shower, bridal shower, or brunch. What can you make these for? Your hungry husband, your growing children, your after-dinner healthy snack, your bestie who just had a baby, the trillions of relatives staying in your house for Thanksgiving, or for your pre-workout mini breakfast. For those things, this actually couldn’t be more perfect.

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Recipe: The 130-Calorie Make-Ahead Salad to Keep in Your Fridge at All Times

Make-ahead broccoli salad | Photo by Becca Boyd

Make-ahead broccoli salad | Photo by Becca Boyd

I’m all for big salads that hold up in your fridge for days. Why? Well, because if your desire for wholesome, fast food eclipses your need for variety (like mine does), you’ve got a starting point for countless meals as the week wears on. With this broccoli salad, you can add chopped chicken or tuna for a weekday lunch or use it for a little color to round out an otherwise boring dinner plate.

This salad is teeming with autumn’s bounty – not to mention a stellar fiber count (and we all know fiber is a superstar in the weight-loss department). It can be served room temperature and travels extremely well, making it a perfect pot-luck dish. Plus, your gluten-free friends will give you a wink for not showing up with yet another pasta salad. Long story short: This recipe is an all-around winner.

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Bake These: Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars

Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars | Photo by Becca Boyd

Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars | Photo by Becca Boyd

Ah, bars. They call to me. Last week I had a protein bar and a bowl of ice cream for dinner. I’d been cooking all day and didn’t think making a meal for myself was worth the effort. This is sad. Take it from someone who knows: If you find yourself relying too heavily on what should be a last resort snack, it’s time to get back in the kitchen — you’re worth it (I’m pointing my finger at myself).

You know by now that homemade is always better (planet, wallet, you get it), and big-batch is a time-saver as well. These Chocolate-Cherry-Chia Granola Bars are brimming with satiating components: walnuts, chia seeds, and coconut oil check all the boxes in the “fat equals full” category, and these bars work equally well for breakfast, a pre or post-workout bite, an afternoon snack, or dessert. Add making these to your to-do list on Sunday afternoon and your week will be better for it — trust me.

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Your New Favorite Breakfast: Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats | Photo by Becca Boyd

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats | Photo by Becca Boyd

I never skip breakfast. This is not to say that my breakfasts are always Insta-worthy, though. In fact, the concoctions are getting weirder and weirder in my efforts to make the meal a quick one: a cheese stick, an apple, and the crust from the kids’ toasts? I can do better.

Enter this make-ahead overnight oatmeal. It’s as quick a meal as a cheese stick but far and away more satisfying — and far more Insta-worthy, too. If you whip it up and store in glass jars, you can microwave them straight from the fridge, stir in your sweetener of choice, and be out the door before the coffee finishes its drip.

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5 Fridge Staples of a Hungry Healthy-Food Blogger

I recently conversed with two ladies who both, in all seriousness, professed to having “forgotten to eat for a whole day.” I gaped at them in total bewilderment. Aside from the occasional stomach bug, I’ve never missed a meal — let alone a whole day of meals. I’m a hungry girl. I eat a beautiful diet full of produce, healthy fats, and protein for all the right reasons, one of which is satiating my hunger whilst maintaining my shape. I never skip breakfast (the horror!) and rarely go three hours without a snack.

Why so hungry? I’m over trying to figure it out.

Instead, I’ve become a consistent believer in “volumetrics,” and have learned there are certain foods that I can shamelessly eaten with abandon, as in, I’m going to eat until I feel full. These are my go-to foods to get me back on track after the scale creeps or I’ve attended one too many kids’ birthday parties. If you, too, are an always-hungry girl like me, take note.

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