Tastes of Fall: Chicken, Quinoa, Kale & Goat Cheese Stuffed Acorn Squash

Good morning! I’ve got a delicious- and easy-  recipe for you today. Anyone else like to cook according to the season and, well, what’s in season? I love seeing all of the pumpkin, squash, and apple recipes floating around the blogisphere these days. Athena posted this delicious looking Autumn Kale Salad recipe last week, Alexis posted this Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta recipe that I’m dying to make and Lexi posted these fantastic Pumpkin Sticky Bun Muffins that I actually made last weekend!

I could literally go on and on, but today I want to share a fall recipe that I made the other week. I based it off of this recipe that I made last year, which was basically identical to the meal we had at The Local in Newton. Regardless, I realized that I hadn’t actually POSTED a recipe for this meal so I figured today was as good a time as any 🙂

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All you need for this recipe is an acorn squash, kale (or spinach), chicken (or shrimp or steak), quinoa (or rice or a blend) and goat cheese (or feta or none)… as you can see, you can really do what you want to make this recipe your own!

Ingredients (use as a guide, but feel free to substitute as you see fit!)

  • 1 medium acorn squash, baked
  • 3-4 chicken thighs, baked
  • small bunch of kale, de-stemmed, rinsed & baked
  • Quinoa or rice or a blend (I had a medley on hand so I used that)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of goat cheese
  • dash of cinnamon (for acorn squash)
  • EVOO (for kale  & chicken)
  • Coconut oil
  • salt & pepper & garlic powder

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425*, cut your acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Coat the flesh of the acorn squash with coconut oil and place face down in a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Once it’s soft, remove from the oven and sprinkle some cinnamon on the flesh. Set aside.
  2. While the squash is cooking, cook your quinoa or rice according to the directions on the back of the package.
  3. While the squash and quinoa are cooking, prepare your kale by washing it, de-stemming it and placing it in a baking dish. Coat with salt, pepper, garlic powder & plenty of EVOO. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it has wilted.
  4. Once you’ve gotten a handle of the foods in steps 1-3, prepare your chicken. I cut mine into cubes, coated with EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic powder and sautéed in a skillet until it was cooked through.
  5. At this point, everything should be cooked and it’s time to assemble everything. I combined the kale, quinoa and chicken in a small bowl and then stuffed the acorn squash halves with that mixture. Finally, I topped each stuffed half with a sprinkling of goat cheese and broiled for a few minutes until the cheese started to brown.

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What I loved about these was that even though it was a lot of separate things to cook, they could pretty much all be done simultaneously since the squash takes some time to bake and the quinoa and kale don’t need tending to once they’re cooking.

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All of the flavors in this dish really complimented each other and left me “mmm’ing” after each bite. The savory flavor from the kale mixed with the sweetness from the squash was on point!

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These also reheated really well and sine the squash was cooked enough that it was soft it was easy to peel away from the skin. You could eat the skin if you wanted lots of extra fiber, but I opted to take the skin off 😉

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Like stuffed peppers, I call this a one stop dinner dish since you’ve got veggies, protein and healthy fats all in one place! This is a great fall recipe- let me know if you try it 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your favorite fall recipe? Are you a pumpkin lover? What’s your favorite kind of squash? Do you prefer kale or spinach?

 

 

Weekending: Wedding Venue Hunting, Oaktoberfest 5K & a Baby Shower

Good morning! Hope you all had a great weekend- ours was BUSY, but all in all a good one- picture heavy recap for you today 🙂

  • Post run foam rolling- one of those things I know I SHOULD do more of, but rarely do…

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  • My friend Ashley got me a ring cozy which is going to be amazing I already know it! Thanks, girl!

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  • Friday lunch: scrambled eggs, kale, butternut squash & goat cheese- SO good.

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  • Post work drinks at Buff’s Pub with my sister- now that she works in Watertown and I live in Watertown it’s so easy to get together!

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  • RM’s commute home was over an hour (from Boston, mind you), so I promised him some wine- we both prefer white but have so much red I figured I should open some. This was delicious! We drank it on Saturday with our steak dinner, too.

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  • En route to Maine to look at a few wedding venues! Trying to stay organized, although it’s not going very well so far 😉

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  • Tested out my new Kitchen Aid mixer- the verdict? LOVE it! I made cookies and muffins and then mashed potatoes for Shepherd’s Pie.

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  • We grabbed some stead at Whole Foods and RM grilled for us on Saturday night- it was delicious!

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  • OAKtoberfest- it was COLD, but fun getting to chat with Athena and Missy before the race. I must’ve been running extra fast because of the cold weather because I got a new PR and came in 3rd for my age group- couldn’t believe it! I didn’t even get to hang around after the race because I had to rush home to shower and get ready to head back to Maine to look at another venue. I literally finished the race and kept running home- ended up covering 4.4 miles!

 

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  • En route to day #2 of wedding venue hunting!

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  • After looking at another venue, I headed to Hampton for my friend Kia’s baby shower- it was a jack n’ jill baby shower at a brewery and it was so fun! Food was great, beers were delicious and it was great seeing my favorite girls!

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  • Once I got home I quickly threw together a healthified Shepherd’s Pie- ground turkey, kale, frozen veggies topped with mashed sweet potatoes. yum!

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Questions for you: How was your weekend? Do anything fun outside? Any tips for venue hunting and keeping costs down? Or, what would your one tip be for planning a wedding?

Sometimes being healthy is…

… getting up early to squeeze in a quick workout before a busy day

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… deciding to skip a workout because friends are getting together for a spur of the moment thing

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… meeting up with people a little late so you can get in a quick workout first OR choosing to do a workout together instead

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… spending hours meal prepping for the week

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… skipping meal prep to spend time with friends/family/significant other

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… going out for pizza and beers on a random Tuesday night

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… going for a long walk instead of the more intense workout you originally planned

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… trying something new

… taking a break for no other reason besides “I don’t feel like it”. In other words, “efff it!”

Just a little reminder that being healthy isn’t just about eating well and working out. There is so much more to being healthy than those things and sometimes the “unhealthy” option is the healthiest option you can choose (and I say “unhealthy” as a lack of better words- I don’t think any of these things are unhealthy when done in moderate amounts. Anything done in excess and to extreme is not good for you). We all tend to be too hard on ourselves, always wanting to push to do more and be better, but sometimes doing absolutely nothing is exactly what we really need.

Earlier this week I was just not feeling right. Normally I would push through it and workout, but this time I listened and told myself it was a better idea for me to go for a walk instead. I’m not always good at this, but I am really trying to improve because I know that adding wedding planning to an already busy day to day life is going to mean some things are going to have to take a back seat. Whether it be a workout or a blog post, there will absolutely be times when something has got to give. And that is totally OK.

So next time you’re faced with the question of what’s the “healthy” option- take a look at the surrounding influences- how your day has been, how your workouts have been lately, thinking about what you really want to do and then go with it. A day making the “less healthy” choice isn’t going to set you back and can be a really great thing.

Questions for you: When’s the last time you made a less-healthy decision that ended up being the healthiest decision for you at that time? When’s the last time you cut back on a workout or task in favor of something less stressful on the body?

Wednesday Workout: Combo Exercise->Upper Body->Core ->Cardio– Total Body Blast

Hello! How’s your week going so far? Normally on Monday mornings I try to wake up and go for a run before I start work so that my lunch break and after work can be spent for meal prep and blogging, however, that doesn’t always happen so sometimes I end up doing it on my lunch break or after work. In other words, Mondays are usually my running days, but with the darker and cooler mornings, getting up and out the door for a run before work is not as easy as it was over the summer when it was super sunny and warm 😉

That’s where this workout came from, though, so I’ll chalk that up as a win! I had all intentions of running last Monday morning since I had lunch break and after work plans, but it was still pretty dark and chilly and I wasn’t in the mood to try and find where I put my colder weather running gear so I decided to do something in the apartment. I threw this workout together quickly, but was pleased with how it turned out! I was actually a little sore the next day and was super sweaty after I finished.

Total body blast circuits

The way it works, is each set has a combo (lower & upper body) move, upper body move, core move and cardio blast. If you’re short on time, you could pick a few sets instead of doing all of them. All of the non-cardio exercises should be repeated for a total of 3 times before throwing in the 2minute cardio blast.

Most of these exercises are pretty common on B2B, but if you have questions on any of them don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!

Questions for you: Do you still run in the dark and cold weather? Do you have equipment at home so that you don’t have to go to the gym?

Weekending: October Sunshine

Hi there! How are you? If you have today off, don’t tell me… not only do I have to work but I have to go INTO the office. Monday’s are usually my WFH day so it’s a very weird start to the week!

Did you guys have a good weekend? Mine was great- a good mix of celebrations, relaxing and productivity. I’m absolutely loving this warm October weather and after a gloomy day on Friday, I tried to soak up as much of the sunshine as possible throughout the weekend.

After work on Friday, I went to my sister’s apartment for vino and pizza. The traffic was TERRIBLE, so it was so nice to be able to relax with drinks and laughter and good convos!

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On Saturday, after kickboxing class, I was able to run some much-needed errands and decided to grab lunch at Panera since I was out. Have you tried their lentil-kale bowls? Pretty good!

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We decided to head into the city in the late afternoon and hit up the new Uniqlo in Faneuil Hall. While it was a big chaotic, I did score this vest for $39 instead of $59! I’ve been wanting a light down vest for a long time and I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this.

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After shopping we stopped in at Back Deck for cocktails and a snack.

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We also stopped at a coffee shop on the way home and they had the most AMAZING sweet potato pumpkin pie macaroons I’ve ever had. We stupidly split this, but I could’ve eaten 5 of them myself!

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The rest of the night was very low-key and looked a lot like this:

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Do any of you watch Ray Donovan? RM had gotten us both hooked on it, which is weird for me considering I hate violence and it’s a very violent show!

Sunday was a perfectly productive day! We had breakfast and then went to Target and Whole Foods before doing some major cleaning and food prep back at home. Also, Whole Foods has the prettiest bouquets- and sometimes you just need to buy yourself flowers 😉

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The weather was too gorgeous to be inside all day so I took a break from house work and cooking and went for a quickie 5K run. The weather was so perfect!

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I made some oat bars, soup and the most delicious stuffed acorn squash- I love going into the week with a whole bunch of good, healthy food!

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Oh, and the BEST part of the weekend? RM’s mother stopped by and gave us our engagement gift, which is something I have literally waited my whole life for:

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The funniest part was that I had been talking about Kitchen Aid mixers all weekend! I can’t wait to put this to good use- she said she loves using hers for her pizza dough, so that means I need to get the recipe AND give it a try 🙂

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you get out and enjoy the weather? Did you do anything festive? What’s your favorite kitchen appliance?