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Ever crave Mac & Cheese but either don’t want to eat the packaged version, or don’t want to eat the home-made high calorie version? Yeah. Me too.

This baked Mac & Cheese is fast, easy, and best of all? Only about 200 calories. But even better? Made from whole ingredients, that you can eat completely guilt-free.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 butternut or acorn squash
  • A small block of the cheese of your choice (I used cheddar)
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 large onion, or 1 small onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Your Pasta of Choice (I used gluten free- macaroni; because my allergist recently informed me gluten could be making my allergies worse – say wha?!)
  • Salt, Pepper, other seasonings you like (Maybe some fresh herbs you have on hand, I like Thyme with this but didn’t have any :( )

Steps:

  1. Cut your squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 45 min to 1 hour (I go an hour, makes it easier to peel!)

(Tip: If your squash is hard to cut in half – don’t force it. No shame in cooking this whole first, and then cutting it and scooping out the seeds later. That’s what I did here, and I show how after you cut it in half need to scoop the seeds)

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2. Start boiling salt water for the pasta (should taste like the ocean – yes that salty – its OK)

3. Chop your onion, and peel, core, and cube your apple

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4. Sautee your onions until clear and brown in olive oil in a big soup pot for the sauce

5. Add in the apple, and squash. Pour in just enough water to cover the apple and squash, may be even about 3/4 of an inch below the top level of squash, with the apple on the bottom of the pot.

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(Tip: Using home made broth instead of water makes it taste even better! But is totally optional!)

6. Cover the squash and apple, and pour your pasta into the boiling water. Let both go about 10 minutes on med-high heat.

7. When your pasta is done, drain and cover with a bit of olive oil and give it a stir. This will keep it from sticking together while we complete the sauce.

(Tip: You know your pasta is done because when you bite into it, you do not see any white – or – it simply tastes like pasta.)

8. When you’re apple is fork tender, turn the squash and apple mixture off of the heat, and let it cool a couple minutes; then blend in a blender in portions so not to burn yourself. *Be careful with hot liquids in a blender – do not fill too high, do in portions, and always cover the lid with a towel as the pressure can cause it to explode***

9. Use a second pot to pour the blended portions into – put back on the burner on low

10. Once your sauce is back on the burner, grade half of your block of cheese into the sauce. You can add a bit more water if you would like it thinner (Tip; for a thick sauce, simply do not use as much water as the squash and apple cook). Add salt, pepper, thyme, cumin, whatever you like!

11. Add in your pasta (You may need a bigger pot than the one you used for the sauce

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12. This is a good point to stop and taste it and adjust seasoning if necessary – or if you’re me – you just make yourself a bowl of it and eat it right then and there AH SO GOOD

13. Pour the pasta into an oiled oven pan. Cover the top with the rest of your cheese – and pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or so. (If you want it to bake longer, cook your pasta for less time, and cover it, and keep in the oven longer, then for the last 10 min or so uncover it, and top it with the cheese)

14. Out of the oven and ooooh so good. You’ll never know the difference – and I promise you’ll never go back to those heavy calorie/highly processed versions!

 

 

 

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Once I learned about ginger, and all of the health benefits that come from it, I was hooked. Not only is this tea enormously healing, it is absolutely delicious and actually takes precedence for me over apple cider – which is hard to do.

This tea is extremely simple and with just two ingredients: Ginger, and Honey. (Although I like to add lemon, too) The honey is KEY! This will NOT be good without the honey! (And honey is extremely good for you, especially in the winter when your sinuses, throat, and everything is totally dried out) Lemon is optional!

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If you don’t have a teapot with a mesh steeper, you can do this in a regular pot (I’ve done it at my parents house a million times). Just cut up your ginger root (peel it if you aren’t using a mesh strainer) and put it in your pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, bring it down to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the ginger root from the pot and Pour it into your cup and then add honey. (If you aren’t able to get all of the bits of ginger root but you do have a mesh strainer that you use for pasta, etc. you can pour it through the strainer into your cup) You can NOT microwave this and you can NOT get ginger powder or ginger tea bags from the store it is NOT THE SAME! And just – overall – inappropriate.

And voila – once you have this you will honestly never want anything else in your life.

Not only is this tea delicious, but it has enormous health benefits.

Ginger is an all natural anti-inflammatory. This is great for if you are sick, and we all know I am prone to sinus infections, and no medicine has soothed my headaches like this ginger tea. The honey also soothes and coats your throat which is perfect for winter time when you’re throat becomes dry, or if you have a sore throat. Ginger also has tremendous benefits on the digestion system, and can ease stomach pains, or nausea. See this link for more on the amazing health benefits:

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginger-root.html

Moreover, this tea is incredibly warming from the inside out – and truly puts all tea packets to shame. The ginger gives it a zing when it goes down so it almost feels like a hot toddy the way it kind of burns when it goes down but you know what John said, it hurts so good.

I live off of ginger tea in the winter or when I feel a sinus infection/cough coming on. My dad was suffering from pneumonia for several weeks this winter through Christmas. He was on TONS of medicine and nothing was able to ease his coughing. I made him some ginger tea – and my father – the ultimate NON BELIEVER came downstairs and the first words he had spoken in 2 weeks were: “That tea really worked.”

Give it a try, I promise you’ll be hooked, too.

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This is an extremely easy meal to make, and is my absolute go-to on a cold Sunday morning or even just for a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

If you know you’re going to be busy in the morning, pre-chopping these ingredients is a great way to cut out a TON of time. And the best part about this meal? Takes about 7 minutes to make.

Start by heating up a large skillet for about 2 minutes.

After the pan is hot, drizzle in your olive oil and test a couple onions. If a couple sizzle, then you’re ready to put in the rest!

 

Sautee your onions, and after about 3 minutes put in your mushrooms. To make mushrooms cook faster – DON’T STIR THEM after you put them in. This is a common mistake people make when sautéing. Just let them sit there for a bout a minute or two. Then give a quick toss, and let them sit again. After they start to wilt, put in a couple chopped up tomatoes, and your garlic.

 

Season with some Salt, Pepper, Basil, and Chervil Leaves (secret ingredient)

If you are one of those people who MUST have an egg at breakfast (or some sort of cliché breakfast food-) you can just pop an egg on top of this mixture and turn the pan down to low, after a couple minutes you have eggs sunny side up on a beautiful layer of tasty veggies.

No better way to start the day. ENJOY!