Barley Salad Stuffed Squash

Yield: 4 servings (1/2 a squash each)


2 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed (or the globe of a butternut squash)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup apple, diced (skin on- for extra fiber)

1/2 an onion, diced

1 1/2 cups barley (cooked according to package instructions)

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 Tablespoon mustard

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Sprinkle of salt & pepper

Optional: top with 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese before serving



  1. Roast the squash halves at 375 for 45 minutes with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  2. In a saute pan, add the olive oil, celery, carrots, apples and onions and saute on medium heat for 10 minutes or until veggies are softened.
  3. Once vegetables are ready, add the barley and stir until well combined.
  4. Stir in the maple syrup, mustard, cranberries, sunflower seeds, salt & pepper. Mix to combine.
  5. Once squash is out of the oven, scoop in barley mixture and serve! Optional: crumble 1/2 Tablespoon goat cheese over each serving.

Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Stuck on what dish to bring to your Thanksgiving table? These maple bacon roasted brussel sprouts are sure to save the day. With only five ingredients, this quick and easy side dish will have your relatives begging for more!

Here’s how they’re done:


1 pound brussel sprouts, halved

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 pound (1/4 package) bacon, cut into small chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt



  1. Evenly spread the brussel sprouts onto a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Toss to coat the brussel sprouts.
  3. Sprinkle on bacon and salt.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bacon is crispy and brussel sprouts are browned.


Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese

A lighter way around everyone’s favorite comfort food, plus my recipe creates the perfect opportunity to sneak in veggies without anyone knowing!

Yield: 2-3 servings


1/2 box of elbow pasta (I used Banza chickpea pasta, but any kind will do)

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 Tablespoons whole-wheat flour (or AP)

3/4 cup butternut squash puree (Roast butternut squash cubes with olive oil at 350 until tender. Blend or mash until smooth) – acorn, buttercup or even pumpkin work as well.

1 cup almond milk (or any other milk you use)

2 Tablespoons goat cheese crumbled

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard (or a squirt of yellow mustard), paprika

2 Tablespoons breadcrumbs (or more because this is the best part)


  1. Boil pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until incorporated.
  3. Cook on low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in the butternut squash and almond milk, stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes then add in the cheeses and seasonings, mix to incorporate.
  6. Continue to cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes until cheese has melted. Add in the pasta and stir until noodles are fully coated.
  7. Spray two small ramekins (or a small baking dish) with non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Pour the mac mixture into the pan and sprinkle on breadcrumbs.
  9. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned and cheese is bubbly.

New Foodie Finds

Each year the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics holds a four-day conference and expo highlighting the best new products, innovations and ideas around nutrition. Thousands of Registered Dietitians, food enthusiasts and bloggers gather to hear and taste this year’s best new products. This year I had the pleasure of attending the expo in Chicago and saw first hand the modernizations that have come about this year. Aside from the free samples (which is a great perk), I was able to speak with RDs from all over the career spectrum.

I’ve compiled a list of products I’m diggin’ lately. Some are new to me and some I’ve been using for a while. Taste one or taste them all and tell me what you think!

  • Disclaimer: While I do eat/use these products, it is not everyday. These products can be EXPENSIVE. Most of the time I buy these brands when I have a coupon or when there is a sale.
  • These brands do not need to be used to have a “healthy” diet/lifestyle; they are just fun add-ons to switch it up!
  • Most of these products can be found in the health section of your local grocery store, on Amazon, online on their websites or last resort: Whole Foods (probably the most expensive option).


Here are some new products and companies to look out for:

Siggi’s Dairy – This Icelandic style yogurt is thick like Greek yogurt, but slightly less grainy. The best thing about this yogurt is that their products have more protein than sugar per serving! Their products include individual yogurt cups, quart sizes (specific flavors only) and drinkable yogurts.

Tummy Drops – These hard candies are perfect for tummy troubles; made with less than 4 ingredients, these drops sooth upset tummies without the added fillers. My favorite flavor is the lemon ginger, but they also have apple cinnamon and grape!

RX Bar – These protein bars are perfect for traveling or just a pre-workout snack! RX bars are made with egg whites, dates, nuts and seeds- (no BS) THAT’S IT! The flavors are endless with RX bar so you’ll always be satisfied. My favorite flavors are chocolate peanut butter, maple sea salt and chocolate chip!

Quest Nutrition – You’ve probably heard of these protein bars before. Quest products are known to be low sugar and high protein and they deliver. These bars keep you full and won’t disappoint on flavor. Try my favorites: cookie dough, oatmeal chocolate chip, and cinnamon bun.

BiPro – I first used this product in my Athletic Performance Cuisine class at JWU. BiPro has one ingredient: whey protein. Their products include protein powders and protein water drinks in 5 flavors! Unlike other protein powders on the market, BiPro has no added sugars!

Boom Chicka Pop – The perfect snack for those who crave something salty & sweet! Boom Chicka Pop popcorn is made with minimal ingredients like corn kernels and sea salt. Their portioned bags make it easy to not overeat because who eats a real portion of popcorn???

Salba Chia – Chia seeds are great to add into smoothies, granola or yogurt bowls. These little babes are packed with protein, omega 3s and fiber! Plus, they expand in your stomach during digestion to keep you full.

Go Macro – These along with RX bars are the only two “protein bars” I eat. The minis are the perfect pre or post workout with only 100-120 calories. The rice puffs that are mixed into the bars add to the crispy texture that differs from other protein bars. My favorite flavor is the sunflower butter + chocolate!

Enjoy Life – Known for their vegan, dairy-free and soy-free chocolate, these chips and bars are perfect for mixing into your favorite cookie recipe (or eating right out of the bag).

Sun Butter – For those who are allergic to peanuts, sunflower butter is a great substitute. Made from only sunflower seeds and salt, SunButter won’t have you missing peanut butter at all. I spread it on toast, bagels or on a spoon right out of the jar!

Purely Elizabeth – My favorite granola! Purely is a granola and oatmeal brand sweetened with coconut sugar or maple syrup and baked with coconut oil. This highly addictive granola is a great swap for those high in sugars. *Best price I’ve seen is at Target!

Banza – This pasta is the perfect gluten-free substitute because of its main ingredient: chickpeas. Unlike most gluten free pasta, Banza has a firm “al dente” texture that perfectly mimics its gluten-filled counterpart. Banza pasta boils up just like regular pasta and can be used for a healthier mac n’cheese or a new take on classic spaghetti with meatballs.

Simple Mills – Gluten and refined sugar free baking mixes, crackers and frostings are Simple Mills’ staple products. Held together with arrowroot and sweetened with cocont sugar these mixes bake up just like Betty Crocker mixes! The vanilla frosting is my favorite – right out of the can with only a little less guilt!


If you have any new products you love this season, be sure to let me know! I’m always open to trying new things.