Try This— Penne With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

This Fall inspired variation on the classic Cacio e Pepe is the ultimate comfort food.

Maybe I’m unlucky in life, but the entire time I was in Rome this summer, I didn’t have one single incredible food moment. The stars aligned and I was truly blessed enough to travel around Europe. We spent a full week in the Eternal City, and I could barely contain my excitement about sampling the food. In fairness, I had heard so much about how great the food in Rome was that I probably built it up in my head until my expectations could never be satisfied. After crawling around Rome from Monti to Trastevere looking for delicious food, I finally just gave up. Our last night in Rome, we stayed in and I made this Cacio e Pepe dish in the kitchen of our vacation rental.

Since being back, I’ve been so over Italian food. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my experience in Rome, but I just haven’t really had that Italian food craving that has been an ever present part of my life. Anyway, this weekend I suddenly had that old Italian food itch that I’ve been missing so much, and I decided to make this Fall inspired cacio e pepe I discovered on Food Network. The subtle sweetness of butternut squash paired with the tartness of goat cheese is a game changer. You must try this!!!

Penne With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 (2-pound) butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Try This—Homemade Oatmeal Almond Power Bars

These power bars are packed with protein, healthy fats, and carbs giving you a much needed post workout boost, or midday snack. I’ve spent a small fortune on those Kind bars and Quest bars until I finally figured out that I could make these snacks at home with very little effort. Best part: I actually know what’s in them. No guess work, just a simple healthy snack that tastes great and stays fresh in the fridge and the freezer! Winning! You must try this!

Homemade Oatmeal Almond Power Bars

ingredients (makes about 12 bars)

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 5 medjool dates
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. boiling water

Directions

  • Place almonds and oats in food processor (I use my trusty Nutribullet) and blend until you have a coarse crumb.
  • Add cacao powder, cranberries, and dates and blend again.
  • Begin adding the boiling water, a little at a time and continue blending, until the mixture becomes well incorporated and forms a ball.
  • Press the dough into a baking tin lined with wax or parchment paper and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours before slicing into bars.
  • For grab and go storage, wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

***Because all of the ingredients have a super long shelf life, you can store them on the counter top for several days, in the fridge for several weeks, and in the freezer for up to 6 months. Trust me when I say you’ll eat them all long before you run into any shelf life issues.

***Each bar contains about 200 calories.

Customize It!

This recipe is delicious, but there are so many ways to customize these energy bars. Check out this neat infographic to get you started!

Try This— The Easiest Homemade Vegetarian Ramen Recipe

I pretty much lived on ramen when I was in college. Back then my four basic food groups were salt, junk, cheap, and easy. Such is the gut fortitude of a nineteen year old. Times have certainly changed, and though my taste and my junk food cravings haven’t, at least now I’m old enough to try and make healthier choices. I want to keep my ramen classy, y’all. No more undergrad ramen for me! I mix up my own seasoning and keep it on the shelf, ready for those nights when I’m feeling just as sleepy as I did when I was in college. You can’t get much easier than a basic ramen bowl, and with some simple add-ins, you’ll be well on your way to total ramen sophistication. You must try this!!!

Homemade Ramen Seasoning

ingredients

  • 2 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 vegetable bullion cubes
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

directions

  • crush bullion cubes into a powder
  • mix all ingredients, including bullion, together
  • store in an airtight container

Basic Ramen bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz vermicelli rice noodles (If you use this kind that’s about one quarter of the box)
  • 1 c of boiling water
  • 1 tbsp homemade ramen seasoning (you might want to start with less and add more to taste)

Directions

  • place rice noodles in a small bowl
  • sprinkle with homemade ramen seasoning
  • add boiling water and allow the rice noodles to sit for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally to separate the noodles
  • Enjoy!

optional add-ins

  • chili oil or (homemade) sriracha, to taste
  • a splash of lemon or lime juice
  • a boiled egg or two
  • lightly fried tofu
  • kimchi
  • quick cooking vegetables: spinach, thinly slice cabbage, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, bean sprouts, or green onions are all good choices
  • frozen vegetables: corn and peas are my favorite! Just be sure to thaw them a bit in warm water before adding them to your ramen bowl

This recipe makes the perfect mason jar lunch. just like these healthy mason jar snack ideas, mason jar ramen is ready in minutes. The dry ingredients have a long shelf life, so you can assemble a few dry noodles/seasoning mason jars well ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat them, just lift one from the pantry and add boiling water. Lunch in 3-5 minutes with no effort! Think of it as a savory alternative to your favorite mason jar oatmeal recipe.

Recipe adapted from: Connoisseurusveg and Minimalist Baker

My 6 Favorite Wellness YouTube Vloggers

Sometimes you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sometimes you wake up totally unwilling to get out of bed. Sometimes you’re just not regular. Sometimes your appetite is out of whack. Sometimes you can’t concentrate. Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation. And sometimes you’re single on Valentine’s Day… again. Whatever the reason for your anxiety or stress, it’s real and it’s palpable. YouTube is such an amazing resource to help you get your groove back. Here are six of my all time favorite wellness vloggers on YouTube! Check them out and don’t forget to hit subscribe!

Sweet Potato Soul

Totally informative videos give you insight into what actually makes up a healthy vegan diet. We’re talking real food here, not mock meat and vegan Pringles (yeah. those exist).

Adriene Mishler

Adriene brings us fun yoga routines that focus more on self awareness and intention than contortion. Beginners will really appreciate her style of instruction.

Mama Tanya’s Kitchen

I absolutely love Mama Tanya! Her cooking show is hilarious and super fun. She’s sooooo New York and her recipes are healthy and nutritious. Just keep in mind that she’s not strictly vegetarian.

Madeleine Shaw

This channel has everything! Meditation, yoga, meal planning, beauty DIYs, plus her accent is super cute.

Holistic Habits

Sarah might seem a little out there, but her positive energy is so infectious you’ll just love her.

Naptural85

This is THE channel to subscribe to for homemade hair products. Step by step tutorials that will have your hair shiny and healthy without all of the harsh chemicals.

Try This— 5 Deliciously, Healthy Ways to Have Dessert for Breakfast

Fun fact for the kids: Marie Antoinette’s famous last words were not ‘Let them eat cake‘, but rather ‘Excuse me, sir, I didn’t mean to do it,” after she accidentally stepped on her executioner’s foot. Taking those two phrases into consideration, I started to wonder whether or not she had cake for breakfast the morning of her decapitation, and if she didn’t she probably should have. This, my friends, is how I rationalize eating dessert for breakfast. The logic is baffling, I know, but my sweet tooth is relentless. I actually have 27 and ½ of them (my wisdom teeth and half of a molar were decidedly opposed to being a part of the team). In order to satisfy my love of all things sweet takes dedication, and at times, illogical justification. I can’t wait until after dinner for dessert, and thanks to these recipes, I don’t have to. Best part? They’re totally healthy, guilt-free sweets that don’t rely on sugar and empty carbs to be totally decadent. You must try this!

Porridge Façon Chunky Monkey

Forget what you may have heard, oatmeal is the breakfast of champions. This stick to your ribs breakfast recipe from Clem Foodie is just, roughly translated, Chunky Monkey Oatmeal. But doesn’t everything sound so much fancier in French?

Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins

These decadent muffins from The Butter Half are a game changer. Flax boasts plenty of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, while the chocolate and banana add a one-two punch of antioxidants and potassium. Sinfully healthy!

Healthy Mini Cheesecake

With 12 grams of protein per cheesecake, these tasty mini cheesecakes from Hello Glow are the perfect addition to your breakfast routine. They’re sure to keep you fueled up until lunch without weighing you down.

Chocolate Birthday Cake Protein Smoothie

This creamy, chocolatey slice of heaven from The Seasoned Mom is super simple to make and so delicious, you’ll forget it’s actually good for you too. Just blend almond milk, chocolate protein powder, brewed coffee, cocoa powder, and ice together until smooth. Remember that today is always somebody’s birthday somewhere, so it’s always time for a celebratory cake (there goes that logic again).

Yogurt Toppings

As always, I have to add my favorite go-to breakfast staple: yogurt. There are so many satisfyingly sweet toppings that you can add to your breakfast yogurt. For some amazing ideas, check out this definitive list of naughty yogurt toppings!