Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes + This Weekend At Macy's!

I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that Thanksgiving is next week! This year is FLYING. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Scott and I usually get up early and either run in a Turkey Trot road race or do our own workout. We didn't sign up for an official race this year, so we will most likely be hitting up our local gym to get a little turkey day workout in by ourselves. After our workout, I'll be heading into the kitchen to whip up a few dishes to bring to my family's Thanksgiving dinner. My family prepares a beautiful, traditional spread of turkey, mashed potatoes, cheesy potatoes (those used to be my fav), vegetables, harvest salad, cranberries, and OF COURSE lots of pie. 

I always bring 2-3 plant-based dishes. I bring them to ensure I am able to have a super full plate of delicious food just like everyone else, and also because I know other people will love them, too! Just because they are plant-based doesn't mean they are weird and gross. Every time I bring different dishes to our Thanksgiving celebration, the food is completely gone by the end of the meal. I call that a win! I've put together some of my favorite dishes to bring to Thanksgiving dinner for you to check out! 

ALSO, this Saturday (November 19th), I will be at Macy's Easton from 2-4pm on the first floor in the Health & Wellness Department to chat with YOU about tips on staying healthy this holiday season. I'll be sharing some of my healthy holiday favorite recipes with you! The event is free, so come in and say hi! I want to meet all of you and chat about food and hear what you are all up to for Thanksgiving! :) For more information, visit macys.com/events


Thanksgiving Recipes

Soups

Lentil Salad.jpg

Simply Delicious Berry Crisp 

Peach Almond Vegan Galette

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do and I hope to see you at Macy's Easton this Saturday, November 19th from 2-4pm!

xoxo,

Lauren

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy's, however as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that make WholeLivingLauren possible! 

Spaghetti Squash with Cashew Kale Cream Sauce

This weekend was wonderful. It was the first weekend in a long time where Scott and I had no set plans. I can't remember the last time we have had a weekend like that. We tend to overbook ourselves on the weekend. I am more guilty of this. Lately I have noticed that I straddle the very thin line of crazy and sane and often find myself a little more crazy than sane . I overbook myself and try to fit it all in (and then some). I feed off the energy of moving at a quick pace then before I know it, I am exhausted to the core. I have a hard time relaxing. I struggle to slow down. Scott is a good partner for me because even though his schedule can be, and often is insanely busy, he can turn it all off and truly relax. Regardless of how busy he is, he can sit down, put his feet up, and recharge when he needs to. He helps me slow down. And I appreciate that so much. 

This weekend was the first time in a long time where it felt good to consciously relax. I needed a recharge badly. 

Some weekends I feel really inspired to meal prep, make a recipe to share here on the blog, and grocery shop for our weeknight dinners. Some weekends I do not. Sometimes it takes everything I have in me to even go in the kitchen and cook. Sometimes the thought of chopping, cooking, then cleaning up the (huge) mess I made in the kitchen makes me want to crawl in a hole and hide. Don't get me wrong, most of the time I love cooking and being in the kitchen. I wouldn't be a food blogger if I didn't! But not allll the time...know what I mean?

This weekend was one of those weekends where I felt truly inspired to be in the kitchen cooking and creating. I felt excited to shop for ingredients, create a dish, photograph it, and enjoy eating it (duh). I was so excited to be in the kitchen that I made baked pumpkin spice donuts (more on that soon), chocolate chip pancakes (Scott's request), avocado kale salads for my work lunches this week, quinoa, lentils and beans, nutty banana hemp granola, and prepped all our roasted veggies for the week...and was happy to do it! 

I attribute my excitement for being in the kitchen to the fact that I felt rested, relaxed, and didn't feel like I had to do any of those things. I just simply wanted to be in the kitchen. 

Part of my excitement was also the fact that I couldn't wait to make this recipe. I have had spaghetti squash on the brain lately. I have a deep love for all squash, especially during fall, but spaghetti squash has sounded good lately. I have this little notebook where I doodle recipe ideas and while I was jotting down my initial thoughts about this recipe, my mouth was watering.

Here's the breakdown: 

Roasted spaghetti squash...

Creamy cashew sauce...

Sauteed garlic, onion, and kale...

YUM!

This dish tastes incredibly comforting while still feeling light and fresh. If you have never made a cashew cream sauce before, DO IT. Seriously, it's life changing. Who needs dairy when you have cashews?! Plus it has kale in it, so you definitely know it's healthy ;) 

You know it's a success when you go in for a sample bite, and it's so good you just sit down and call it a meal. It's savory, light, flavorful, and deliciously satisfying.

It was so nice to step back, slow down, relax, and veg out on this scrumptious dish. I'm thinking I need to have more weekends just like this one....spaghetti squash with cashew kale cream sauce DEFINITELY included :)

Spaghetti Squash with Cashew Kale Cream Sauce (V + GF)

|Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side|

Ingredients

PASTA

  • 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash

SAUCE

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup filtered water *plus more if needed to reach desired consistency
  • 2 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large bunch kale, destemmed and roughly torn

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F) and prepare a baking sheet with olive oil. 
  2. Carefully halve spaghetti squash using a sharp knife. *My favorite way to open spaghetti squash is to pierce the skin of the squash with your knife in the outline of how you plan to cut the squash (lengthwise). Put it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then cut along where you made the knife marks to open. This makes it much easier (and safer!). Use an ice cream scoop or sharp spoon to scrape out the seeds and most of the stringy parts. 
  3. Brush the interior with olive oil and sprinkle with seat salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the knife easily pierces the skin and flesh. Remove from oven and set aside. 
  4. While the squash is cooking, add the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest to a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. Set aside. 
  5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions become soft and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add the kale and cook until the leaves become a bit tender (about 3-4 minutes).
  6. Turn off the heat and add cashew cream sauce to the skillet with the onion/kale mixture. 
  7. Use a fork to scoop out spaghetti squash into fine strings and divide between two serving plates. Top with desired amount of cashew cream sauce.
  8. Enjoy!

Notes

*Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, though this dish is best when fresh.

*I like to use a towel or cheese cloth to strain the spaghetti squash noodles to get the excess water out before serving. 

xoxo,

Lauren

 

Nutty Banana Hemp Granola

You guys, this granola is good. It's definitely the tastiest granola I've ever made. I'm so excited to tell you about it! 

Just look at those clusters! Now that's what I'm talking about. This is my favorite type of granola...nutty with extra large clusters.

I forgot about granola for a long time. I know, I know, what kind of plant-based eater am I if I "forgot" about granola?! Sorry granola, I'll never forget about you again. Especially this granola. Scott and I have been gobbling it up! Every time I make it, I do it with the intent that it will last the whole week. Except it usually doesn't make it through the week. Sometimes it doesn't even make it through half the week. I've been putting it on smoothies, eating it in a cereal bowl with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, grabbing handfuls of dry granola for a morning or afternoon snack, and even topping a big granola cluster with a little dollop of peanut butter and popping it straight into my mouth (don't judge)

In addition to having the perfect texture and consistency, let me tell you what I love about this granola. 

- Sweetened with ONLY fruit

- Oil free 

- Plant-based protein

- Loads of fiber

Is that an all star line-up or what?! When I mentioned that I forgot about granola, it's not because I don't like it. I love it! Unfortunately, a lot of granola on the market is loaded with added sugar...and I don't love that. I talk about added sugar a lot. I talk about it with my clients, I get asked a lot of questions about added sugar through various media requests, and I watch for it when I buy products for myself.

Let's talk about this.

The term "added sugars" refers to any caloric sweetener added to a food during processing, cooking, or at the table. Sugars are found naturally in foods like plants and dairy, but people have extracted these sugars and added them to pretty much every conceivable type of processed food. Added sugars are used to enhance the flavor and texture of foods and to increase shelf life. Added sugar can lead to unwanted weight gain and is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. High intake of added sugar is also associated with increased inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies.

We simply consume too many added sugars for our own good.

Having said that, it's important to make a distinction between added sugars and sugars as they exist in nature. Plant foods that naturally have sugar (think fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains) are incredibly healthy for us to eat. Yes, they have naturally occurring sugar, but these nutrient-dense foods are filled with fiber and water, and because of that, it doesn't have the same negative physiological effects. In fact, plant foods that have naturally occurring sugar are also loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, the properties that help fight chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies. We don't want to miss out on those! 

Curious about how to detect added sugars in products you buy? Check out this article to learn more about how to spot added sugar on nutrition labels. 

Thanks for nerding out with me for a minute :)

Now let's get back to this recipe! So what did I use to sweeten this granola, you ask? 

Bananas and dates! 

I blended together bananas and dates in my food processor, then added some natural peanut butter (without added sugar), pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Let me warn you that you will be extremely tempted to just eat this blended mixture straight up with a spoon. Let me also add that you SHOULD at least have a little spoonful for very official taste testing purposes ;)

Next, I added the banana/date mixture to a big bowl of rolled oats, walnuts, and shelled hemp seeds. Then I mixed everything together and spread it on a baking sheet before baking it in the oven. THAT'S IT! 

The result was this nutty, crunchy, and perfectly sweetened granola that is deliciously addicting. Not only do I love that it is naturally sweetened, I love that it has a good amount of plant protein from the walnuts and hemp seeds. I've been on a big hemp seed kick lately. I just can't get enough! 

Technically a nut, hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts. Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat, and are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3 (the good kind!). They are also a great protein source, with more than 25% of their total calories coming from high-quality protein. That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, which provide about 16–18%. 

Granola7.jpg

Have I convinced you yet?

Even if you could care less about the health benefits, you should make this granola because it's just plain delicious. I'm serious, it's really, really good. 

Delicious with a side of healthy...that's my kind of granola! 

Nutty Banana Hemp Granola

|Makes about 6 cups|

Ingredients: 

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 7 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups chopped, unsalted walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds 

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the bananas and pitted dates in a food processor and blend on high until smooth. Add the peanut butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt and blend until smooth and well combined. 
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, walnuts, and hemp seeds. Pour the banana date blend on top and mix until the oat mixture is well coated. 
  4. Spread the mixture evenly on the lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking, take the granola out of the oven and use a spatula to flip and mix the granola to ensure even baking. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. The granola should be golden brown. 
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature on the cookie sheet before transferring to a storage container. 
  6. Enjoy! 

Notes

*It is important to let the granola completely cool on the baking sheet. This is what will ensure the crunchy clusters!

*To keep fresh, store in a sealed glass container (I use Mason jars). 

xoxo,

Lauren

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

SOUUUPPPPPPP!

Boy oh boy do I have something tasty (and super easy) for you today. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Soup is my jam. It's one of my absolute favorite foods. And this time of year there is nothing better than a piping hot bowl of creamy, comforting soup. Add pumpkin to the mix and WHOA...can it even get any better? 

Yep, that's right...

Creamy

Healthy

Easy

PUMPKIN!

This soup hits all the right notes. It's got a hint of sweet and a pinch of spice (and everything nice!). I was originally going to buy sugar pumpkins and roast them the old fashioned way but was running out of daylight (#bloggerprobz) and needed to do something quick. Canned pumpkin to the rescue! Luckily, I stocked up on canned pumpkin a few weeks ago when it was on sale at Whole Foods. Using canned pumpkin means this soup comes together lickity split. The only thing you really need to do is chop the onion, mince the garlic, and open a few cans. Easy peasy!

Pumpkin is one of the best known sources of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body once it is eaten. Studies show that consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, and delay aging and body degeneration. 

Consuming one cup of cooked, canned pumpkin provides over 100% of our daily needs for vitamin A, about 20% of the daily value for vitamin C, and provides a good amount of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese, thaimin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Not bad for this delicious squash! 

Not only is this soup easy, beautiful, and delicious, but it is incredibly nourishing and nutrient dense. It's one of those soups that tastes better the next day, and even better the day after.

It's like a (super delicious) gift that keeps giving! 

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

|Serves 4-5|

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Optional toppings

  • Pepitas
  • Cashew cream (check out this easy recipe)
  • Sprinkle of hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add onion and garlic. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until onions become translucent. 
  2. Carefully stir in the pumpkin, vegetable stock, coconut milk, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cayenne (if using). 
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the soup has reduced and thickened slightly.
  4. Puree with an immersion blender or in a stand blender until very smooth. Garnish with pepitas, cashew cream, and hot sauce. 
  5. Enjoy!

xoxo,

Lauren

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Bread (vegan)

Oops I did it again. 

I played with your heart....got lost in the game...

Jk, Jk. But I did make bread again. Remember last week on Instagram and in my blog post when I told you I made my homemade banana bread? Well I did it again. I made more bread. I just couldn't help myself!

I honestly don't really even like baking. It's too much measuring, too many ingredients, too much everything. Don't get me wrong, I love baking cookies around Christmas time...and sometimes on a random Tuesday (not going to lie), but those random Tuesdays are few and far between. I'm more of a chop, season, roast-in-the-oven type of girl. 

But here I am, sitting at my dining room table on Sunday night to write this post, and I've made 2 different loaves of quick bread within 3 days. FOR FUN. I don't even know who I am anymore. But here is what I do know: 

1. This bread is incredibly easy to make. 

2. Maple syrup and fresh apple are the only sweeteners (woohoo!). 

3. It takes about 5-10 minutes to prep before baking (major win). 

4. It combines 2 things I love about fall: apple + pumpkin. 

4. Scott and I can't stop eating it. 

Just look at that glorious loaf! It is everything you want in a homemade bread. It has a soft, moist center and a wonderful outer crumb. And it's filled with so many good ingredients. In my banana bread recipe I used brown sugar and coconut sugar, but for this recipe I wanted to use something different. I wanted to sweeten it a bit more naturally. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin bread and as I was jotting down ingredient notes I thought about a few different things. First I thought banana (I guess I have bananas on the brain since I just made the banana bread). Bananas are a great way to naturally sweeten many things, but it's tough to hide the banana flavor in the finished product. I didn't want banana pumpkin bread (although...it actually sounds good...maybe next time?). NextI thought about using dates. I use dates allllll the time to sweeten a variety of things (smoothies, oatmeal, other baked goods), but I didn't have enough on hand. Then I thought about apples. MMMM! A crisp, sweet apple could work nicely in this recipe, but I didn't want apple chunks in my bread. Hmmmm....

*cue locking eyes with my Vitamix blender sitting on the counter*

I'll just blend all the wet ingredients, duh! I've actually never done that before. Do people do that? Am I behind the times on this? Well whatever the case, it worked out beautifully. No apple chunks - just smooth, wonderfully blended ingredients that poured out like silk. 

The result was a delicious loaf that tastes like pumpkin apple spice and everything nice! It's a hearty loaf (thanks to the whole wheat flour, oats, and flaxseed) that somehow feels still feels really light (THANK YOU apple and pumpkin!!). 

I have a feeling this loaf will be making many more appearances this season, which is A-OK with me :)

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Bread (V)

|1 loaf = 10-12 slices|

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry or spelt flour would also work)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 large apple cored (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare 8 x 4 loaf pan with olive oil, coconut oil, or parchment paper. 
  2. Add all dry ingredients (except flaxseed) to a large bowl and stir until well combined. 
  3. Add all wet ingredients (including flaxseed) to a blender and blend until smooth and well combined (be sure apple is fully blended). 
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until just combined. Be careful not to over stir, as batter can become tough. 
  5. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  6. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for about 20-25 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool for another 10-15 minutes before slicing (this helps keep the bread intact while cutting). 
  7. Enjoy!

xoxo, 

Lauren