Turkey Butternut Squash Stew

This stew is the epitome of healthy comfort food. It’s the perfect antidote on a chilly day and full of nutritious ingredients to boot. I’ve made it a couple times already and love that we’re able to get a few night’s worth of meals out of it. It’s been wonderful with the damp, drizzly, and gray weather we’ve been having. It’s definitely going to be on repeat this winter.

On another note, we got our tree over the weekend — on a very rainy, wet day (we ate this stew for dinner that night). We went to a tree farm on Sauvie Island and picked out a little Douglas Fir. When I spotted the tree, I swear it had a beam of light shining down on it. It was so radiant and emitted such a glow. We instantly agreed on it too, even though we had intentions of getting a Grand Fir when we got to the tree farm. Anyway, the tree is perfect and the house smells lovely with its aroma. Lights are on, but we’re waiting to adorn it with ornaments until next week. We’ll be out of town tomorrow through Sunday and know the kitties might be too tempted by the shiny, hanging bulbs while we’re away! We have a friend checking in on them, of course, but they still end up with extra time to themselves. Anyway, if you want to get a glimpse of our little tree thus far and see me hauling it in the wagon, visit my Instagram page HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1 lb ground turkey breakfast sausage (I used New Seasons’s country sage turkey breakfast sausage)
  • 1 medium cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup good-quality chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt butter or ghee in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté a couple minutes, until onion is translucent. Next, add the ground turkey breast and ground turkey sausage. Season to taste with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook meat for several minutes, until browned, breaking up the pieces with a spatula as needed.
  2. Next, add the cabbage, 1/4 cup of broth, and a bit more sea salt and black pepper. Stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, carrots, poultry seasoning, dried sage, and bay leaf. Stir well. If need be or desired, add up to 1/4 cup more broth. Cover with lid and let cook for another 10 minutes or until squash and carrots are tender.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Yields: ~6-7 servings

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Delicata Squash, & Cranberries

roasted squash, Brussels and cranberriesThanksgiving may be over, but the holiday season is officially in full swing. Although, I’ll be honest, it doesn’t totally feel like it yet. Anyone else feeling that way?

Anyway, with the holiday season here, there will be plenty more dinners, parties, and get togethers, and I’m willing to bet you’re going to need side dish recipes to share. This festive, healthy, and colorful bounty is perfect. And, not only is it visually pleasing, it’s delicious too. I especially love the pop of color and burst of tart flavor from the cranberries. Also, you may notice that the Brussels sprouts are purple (or would it be red?). I had never seen this variety before and couldn’t resist the beautiful color. If you can’t find the purple ones, green work just fine and taste the same.

Meanwhile, I hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving last week, and enjoyed time with family and friends.

Cheers and enjoy!

roasted vegetables with cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half
  • 1 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into half moons
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place Brussels sprouts, cranberries, squash, and shallot on a large baking sheet (line with parchment, if desired) and drizzle with the avocado oil. Sprinkle the thyme, sage, sea salt, and black pepper on top. Toss to combine and spread out in an even layer.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crispy and browned. If desired, give a gentle stir halfway through cooking time.

Savory Sweet Potato Casserole

I was never one for the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole and truly, never understood it. That as a side dish and then pie for dessert? Made no sense to me, but traditions, I suppose. Even as a kid, I was never interested in that super sweet casserole, but honestly, it was probably more the sweet potato part that turned me off because I liked marshmallows, and brown sugar was okay in my book then too.

On the flip side, a savory sweet potato casserole is something I can totally get behind, and this one fits the bill. It has a nice mix of flavor and bite, plus some “cheesiness” from the nutritional yeast. If you’re not sure about the nutritional yeast, start with half the amount, taste, and add more if desired. Alternatively, you could use good-quality Parmesan cheese as a replacement, if tolerated and desired.

Meanwhile, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! If any of you make this recipe to go with your holiday meal, please let me know how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, plus extra for greasing dish
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot and add enough water to cover. Then, add a couple pinches of sea salt to the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Once melted, add the onion and sauté 1-2 minutes. Then, add the chanterelles and garlic. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until mushrooms are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the pot with the cooked sweet potatoes and mash. Then, add the nutritional yeast, onion granules or powder, cayenne, nutmeg, Dijon, vegetable broth, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Lastly, add the eggs and stir into mixture.
  5. Pour sweet potato mixture into the greased dish. Sprinkle walnuts on top in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

Grain-Free “Rice” Stuffing

This grain-free “rice” stuffing is perfectly savory and tastes like Thanksgiving. It’s flavor and texture is impeccable, and I can’t even fathom how incredible it would taste with turkey. It’s been amazing with chicken, and I think it would also pair well with mild fish, pork tenderloin, and even eggs. If you ask me, it’s a must-have side dish for the holiday season!

Since this stuffing is not grain-based, it doesn’t leave you with that heavy belly, carb coma feeling. Instead, it’s veggie based, light, and leaves you feeling great. No stomach aches or fatigue!

Meanwhile, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my crustless butternut squash pie. Catch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Can you believe it’s only one week until Thanksgiving? Where has this month gone?!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 16 oz package cauliflower rice
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 5.29 oz package roasted & peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté 6-7 minutes or until softened.
  2. Next, add the mushrooms, cauliflower rice, poultry seasoning, dried sage, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth, chestnuts, and fresh parsley. Stir well, cover, and cook for another 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Lastly, stir in the chopped pecans and serve.

Vanilla Cinnamon Espresso Hazelnut Butter

This recipe meets all the criteria (and more) of a great nut butter. It’s creamy, salty, nutty, and a little crunchy. It’s also subtly sweet with added elements of cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla. The coarsely ground coffee is what adds the slight grainy texture and crunch, and it’s magnificent. All in all, it’s a match made in heaven. I think it might be the best nut butter I’ve ever tasted — not even exaggerating. It’s out-of-this-world good! Enjoy it straight off the spoon or spread on apples, pears, bananas, or in my sunny cinnamon sammie recipe (instead of the sunflower seed butter). It’s also delicious drizzled into plain yogurt.

Also, note that I used decaf beans in this recipe, but you can use regular as well. I don’t like to consume caffeine after 12-ish p.m. and don’t tend to eat nut butter in the morning, so opted for decaf beans. Use whatever you like.

On another note, I’m off to NYC early this morning with my close friend, Heather. We have been looking forward to this trip for months and it’s finally here! We’ve got some fun things in the works, but are leaving plenty of room for trekking and exploring. We’re kicking off our trip this evening with, Sleep No More and I’m super excited…a little scared too! Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I’m up to (and eating) in NYC!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • Heaping 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground high-quality coffee beans (I used decaf beans from a local roaster)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (use 1/4 tsp if you want it less salty)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast hazelnuts in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Give pan a shake halfway through roasting time.
  2. Once hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, remove some of the skins (doesn’t have to be perfect!). It’s up to you how much you want to remove, but less skin will result in a creamier consistency (the skins can also be bitter). You can also place the hazelnuts on a damp kitchen towel, fold it over, and rub the skins off inside the towel.
  3. Next, add hazelnuts (minus the skins) to the food processor. Blend for about 5-6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once creamy, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as you like.
  4. Store in a glass jar at room temperature and use within a week. Will last a week or so longer if you store it in the refrigerator.

Grain-Free Chunky Apple Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin apple bread 2With its harvest flavors and warm spices, this delectable bread screams fall. Not only that, but it also creates a cozy, irresistible aroma in the house. It’s not too sweet, and the texture is adorned with tender apple pieces and crunchy walnuts. It took me a couple attempts to get this bread right and while the first loaf tasted wonderful, it was way too moist and would not hold together. But, it was definitely still worth eating! After making some tweaks the second time around, it came out perfectly.

This bread tastes lovely on its own, but is also enjoyable with butter, ghee, or nut butter spread on top. However you slice it, you can’t go wrong!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing loaf pan
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup baking apple, peeled, cored, and diced (I used a Mutsu)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with small amount of melted butter. I used this loaf pan, which is a medium size.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until smooth. Lastly, fold in the apple and walnut pieces.
  3. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then carefully remove and place on a cooling rack. Let loaf cool completely before slicing.
  4. Store leftover bread in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Yields: 1 loaf

Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Cups

Halloween is getting closer and I thought it best to honor the holiday with these perfectly sweet pumpkin caramel cups. And, I gotta say…these are straight up divine. The combination of sweet, salty, and pumpkin spice flavors with a delicate bite and soft center is just right. It’s ridiculous, really.

You will end up with a little extra date caramel, but luckily, there are many other ways to use it: spread onto dark chocolate squares, use as a dip for apples or pears, mix into yogurt, stir into nut butter, dollop on top of baked acorn squash or sweet potato, or simply eat with a spoon.

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters. These are another winning combo and great for Halloween as well! Watch the replay of my segment HERE. Also, if you can believe it, this month marked my one-year anniversary of going on the show!

Cheers and enjoy!

Caramel ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of sea salt

Chocolate ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
  • Dash of sea salt

Garnish:

  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

pumpkin cups and date caramel

Directions:

  1. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners and add about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate to each liner. Then, add about 1 tsp of the date caramel to each and flatten out slightly (and gently) with back of spoon. Top each cup with another 1 tsp of melted chocolate. Garnish each cup with Maldon sea salt and place in fridge to set. If you want these to set faster, you can place in freezer.
  4. Store any leftover caramel in refrigerator and use within a week.

Yields: ~21 cups