Butternut Squash-Fruit Casserole

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, you most likely have your list of sides already planned out.  If you are looking for one additional idea, check this powerhouse recipe out.  Best news, no oven time needed!

Finally, Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to help each and every one of you.  My wish for you, is time to tell those you love how much you appreciate them this week.

Butternut Squash-Fruit Casserole

by Gabe Mirkin

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups bouillon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch cayenne, or to taste
2 tart apples, cored and cut in 1/2″ chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened, or low sugar)
1 cup cooked barley or other whole grain of your choice
ground cinnamon for garnish

Pierce the squash with a knife in 2 or 3 places. Set in a microwave dish and microwave on high for 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, combine the onion, garlic, bouillon, tomato paste, curry powder, nutmeg and cayenne in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 5-10 minutes. When the squash is ready, add it to the pot and cook until the squash is barely tender, about 10 minutes. Add the apples, cranberries and the barley and cook 10-15 minutes more, until the apples are tender. Dust each serving with a pinch of ground cinnamon if desired.

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Boring Breakfast Solution #6 – Microwave Banana Bread Mug Cake

Simple yet healthy is the key these months.  Gluten free or not, this one is a great one to try.

Banana Bread Mug Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 1 mug cake


1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk (or almond milk)
1 to 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or honey) (OPTIONAL)
2 tablespoons coconut flour (or 4 tablespoons almond flour)
1 tablespoon raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch sea salt


Combine all ingredients and mix.  Place in microwave safe mug and microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Remove and let sit for 1 minute to cool slightly.  Eat and enjoy.


As always, let me know what you think once you try it.


“Stay Ahead of the Holiday Gain” workshop

Come learn fitness and nutrition tips to keep your holiday season from giving you the gift of added weight.

It’s the last two days to register for the “Stay Ahead of the Gain” workshop.  See details in the link below. Register online or in person at the Trails Recreation Center.

Stay Ahead of the Gain


Protein packed, “Latte” Taste!

I have been enjoying this protein shake all week and I just had to share it.  If you are craving a latte, you MUST try this.  Not only will it fit the bill, but it will keep you fuller longer and out of the grasp of a sugar crash later.

Vanilla Latte Energizer Shake

Why cottage cheese you ask?  It is full of B Vitamins for energy:1/2 cup packs 12% of your daily dose.
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup brewed strong coffee
1/2 cup low fat (low salt) cottage cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
ice cubes
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy.
Optional “upgrades” to change it up:
– Omit coffee for more cinnamon flavor
– Substitute cottage cheese for 1/2 cup (4oz) cashew milk – if consistency is a concern                                       – add 1/4 cup raw oatmeal for an added carbohydrate boost after a hard workout
Try it, and let me know what you think via comments.

Upgraded Fried Rice

In the hunt for Thanksgiving recipes, I uncovered this great way to upgrade fried rice to include more veggies.  I had to share it because sometimes a recipe just needs a little creativity to make it healthier.  We will not be eating it with chopsticks at my house, lol, but you get the idea.  Simple upgrades can make a huge the difference in the eating clean world. Let me know how it goes.

Cauliflower Fried Rice:


1 small head of cauliflower (this will produce 2½ cups riced cauliflower)
2 Tbs sesame oil (bit healthier is 1 Tbs grapeseed oil, 1 Tbs sesame oil)
1 small white onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onions)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp chopped green onions (optional)

see video above

That Sugar Film: Changing Perceptions of “Healthy” Food

In honor of National Candy Day, I am posting a review of a documentary called “That Sugar Film.”  It includes several points I emphasize about hidden sugars.  What is labeled as “healthy” may not be healthy at all.  It is amazing what 60 days of eating only hidden sources of sugar can do to our bodies.  I’ve added a few comments in blue.

“I am an advocate for a healthier life, for greener living, and for putting consumer dollars behind authentic, responsible brands. Me too!  As they say, freedom of choice and informed decisions comes from freedom of information…” Being informed allows us to make decisions about where we want sugar in our lives and where we don’t.

That Sugar Film by Damon Gameau

Damon had not eaten sugar for three years. Under the guidance of a team of professionals, he eats a high sugar diet of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days. (By the way, 40 teaspoons is just above the daily teenage average.) He does this without consuming any soda, chocolate, ice cream, or candy. Rather, he only eats foods marketed as “healthy” that actually contain hidden sugars, such as low fat yogurt, granola bars, fruit juices, and cereals.

Let’s just say that he hits the daily 40-teaspoon mark with ease.  Sadly, so do most of us.  You really have to be a savvy consumer to avoid hidden sugars, especially now!  Why?  Because they are even more hidden in labels than ever before.  Did you know there are over 300 names for sugars? 


At the experiment’s conclusion, the team looks at changes in Damon’s blood sugar, heart, liver, and the liver’s production of fat. The results make it clear that too much sugar is quite clearly detrimental to our health, to our weight, and to our well being. When they say that we are what we eat, they really aren’t kidding.

Interestingly, his calorie intake is almost exactly the same as it was before the experiment. The take home message is that a calorie is not a calorie!  We will be seeing more about this in the news for sure.  Sugar does not have a lot of calories, though calories from sugar apparently behave very differently than calories derived from other sources. In fact, a recent article in the British Medical Journal stated that sugar, not physical inactivity, is creating the obesity epidemic.

Did you know that if you remove all of the packaged goods containing added sugar from supermarket shelves, just 20% of items would remain? It turns out that Damon spent the same amount ($$$) at the supermarket both before and during the experiment. It is not more of a financial hardship, as some might assume, to purchase truly healthy fare than it is to purchase sugar-filled products that are simply marketed as healthy.

Through his lighthearted and informative journey, Damon highlights the inner workings of the sugar industry, the harm that sugar can do to the body, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves. He looks into the manipulation of food companies in placing sugar into their products and ways that companies seek to keep the dangers of sugar from the public. Considering that sugar intake can be linked to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, brain dysfunction, and higher death rates, it is not surprising that many food companies want to keep that information away from us.

This past March, in fact, the University of California at Can Francisco broke news about the finding of documents revealing that the sugar industry worked closely with the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s and ‘70s to develop a federal research program focused on approaches other than sugar reduction to prevent tooth decay in American children.  Part of being a savvy consumer is knowing who is funding the research and headlines you are reading.  

You might think that a documentary about sugar would hold your attention for very long. Yet That Sugar Film will forever change the way you think about so called “healthy” food. It is entertaining, well done, and an informative look at a serious health concern.


That Sugar Film does not insist that people should quit sugar. It investigates how sugar has infiltrated our diet and culture, how it can affect our bodies. So if you have a body, if you have children with bodies, or if you have a significant other with a body, then I highly recommend that you watch this film.  Thanks to Damon Gameau for sharing his film and his discoveries about sugar in a way that does not force his views on anyone else. After all, freedom of choice can only come with freedom of information.”

If you haven’t seen the film yet, it is now available to rent and view online.  Google “That Sugar Film!”  I am here to help you make sense of the senselessness of hidden sugars.  Grab your friends, and let’s do a small group session, online or in person, to help you gain direction and perspective with your eating habits.  

eatlivefit.net or eatlivefit@hotmail.com