Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash + Holiday Amazingness

Mind-readers scare me.


No, I didn’t go to a psychic to find out of the world would really end.

My friend a bi-weekly guest blogger (Kat), sent me her post last night and it appears we have been miles apart but on the same wavelength.

In the past, Kat has blogged about yoga, running + nutrition, and even homemade peppermint mochas!  I really excited that today she’s sharing her first entree recipe.  This girls loves food just as much as I do.

I’m at the gym working off my cookies, complete with a new top thanks to my mom Santa


Top by Lucy


…and with a new toy!  A fitbit one to replace my old ultra:



I hope you enjoy Kat’s first recipe today – while I haven’t had the pleasure of eating this dish (yet), I can tell from the pics and ingredient list that it’s a great, clean way to bring us into the New Year!


Who relaxes during the holidays?!?!

Yeah, I didn’t either.  I think I raced through the holidays!

Recap.  I flew into Orlando for a party on Friday (my mom had an end of the world party – she is such a hippie), worked all day Saturday, traveled over an hour to Dad’s on Sunday, Dad’s parents Monday night (for the first time in almost a decade), Tuesday with Mom and then later to her mom’s, and later to my sister’s boyfriend’s family.  Talk about a holiday marathon (many of you know the drill)… but I have so much to be grateful for and it really felt like Christmas for me this year.  Nevertheless, glad to be home!


This had my whole family laughing…even my dad.

This had my whole family laughing…even my dad.


It can be hard to keep up, but it’s also nice to catch up with family, have some sister love, and enjoy the holiday spirit with old and new friends.  I managed to keep up my runs, and get plenty of quality time.

Honestly, none of the time would have been quality because I would have been completely mentally unbalanced without my runs.  It just gets my head in the right place.  Man, Laura and I have a similar philosophy… she recently wrote about having no excuses NOT to work out recently!  (Editor’s note: You can click here to check that out).  I even got to run through my old neighborhood – yeah, the one I grew up in.  It’s crazy that what felt like a long run when I was 15 (about 3 miles) felt like such a short run to me today!


Holiday Run Time – Getting your head in order! No excuses!

Holiday Run Time – Getting your head in order! No excuses!


Keeping with Laura’s theme from her past few blogs about cleaning up your kitchen and the winter weigh in about letting yourself indulge in your favorites (without going overboard), I managed to keep a pretty healthy diet too!

It’s totally okay to let your family and friends know what you do and do not eat.  (Editor’s note: Yes! And you’d be surprised how often they feel the same way!)  My mom, sister, and I told my Grammy we wanted to eat light and healthy, and that’s exactly what she did for Christmas lunch/brunch!  She put up a wonderful spread of super healthy food.  I also made it through without any dreaded gluten mistakes!



Christmas Brunch at Grammy’s


Needless to say, I have also been having meals at home that feel like winter indulgences but are also SUPER healthy!  My first – real – recipe to share.  Firstly, I LOVE squash, all squash, so it was hard to decide which “recipe” to share.  But, I have been into stuffing my squashes lately, and acorn squash is a great size for stuffing – with almost anything, I would argue!


I always think of quinoa as a summer-y light and healthy meal, but made the right way, it can be comforting and winter-y too!  I made this for a friend last week, and it was satisfying and comforting, but keeping with the kitchen workout. (Editor’s note: Where’s MY quinoa?!)




Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • ½ cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup of mushrooms
  • ¼ red onion
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • Some chopped kale and/or arugula
  • Touch of cayenne
  • Maybes: thyme, basil, rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan to top, and your pasta sauce of choice (I like Whole Foods’ 365 brand)


Disclaimer: I don’t actually measure anything when I cook so please take all of these as amazingly close guestimates as to what actually happens in the kitchen


There are two ways to roast the squash, depending on how you want to present.  You can either chop the top off, scoop out the seeds, put the top back on and throw it in the oven… or just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and throw it in the oven at about 375 (prettier presentation for two people).

Roast the squash first, and roast the squash about 20-30 minutes.  While this is happening, cook your quinoa (boil water, add quinoa, 10 minutes pass, turn of the stove, leave the lid on until totally absorbed – basically follow the instructions on the box), and then sauté your onions, then add your mushrooms and frozen peas (and any other fresh veggies you have in your fridge), as well as your kale/arugula. 

Combine all of your quinoa with the veggies, and add your spices and potentially herbs (I like thyme and rosemary for this one).  Mix.

Remove the squash form the oven, stuff the mixture into the squash, top with a ton of Parmesan cheese and put it back in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese browns.  

Remove and top with warm pasta sauce. 




This is delicious, packed with protein from the quinoa, but low calorie and super filling!


I need to work on taking pictures of my food, and writing recipes (so feedback please!!!).  But, I guarantee this will be a great way to switch up what you’re eating while bringing in some healthy New Year’s habits!

Don’t forget tomorrow’s 3rd #strangebutgood link up!  Click here for the details, and grab the image below to share in your post:
Sprint 2 the Table

Did you make a point tell anyone what you needed to eat/not eat for the holidays?

What is your favorite squash?



  1. says

    I love quinoa but I’ve never tried acorn squash. I saw it at the produce market but didn’t get it because I had too many “regular” veggies I need to stock up on. Next week! Great post, Kat!

  2. says

    Ooh! Can you write a post about comparing the FitBit Ultra to the One? Fitbit is sending me a ONE to replace my Ultra and I’m so stoked to get it. Hope you love yours!!

    LOVE the acorn squash recipe. Squash is literally my favorite vegetable so I savor any way to cook it – it’s always delish!

  3. says

    I got my sister a FITBIT for XMAS. Never played with one before in my life but I kept reading such positive reviews about it that I just had to (we are a very active family)… I hope she likes it… She hasn’t said anything to me about it, lol!! Then again that girl got so many gifts, she probably LOST IT!

    Ohh and I am going to be roasting Acorn Squash for New Years Eve dinner :) I am excited only because I always resort to Butternut Squash… Don’t get me WRONG – I LOVEEEE butternut but… It’s always nice to change it up!

    • Laura says

      How are you liking it? I don’t see a big difference between this one and the older model, but it has certainly helped me be less sedentary! I have a desk job, so that’s not an easy thing.

      • says

        This is only my second day using it so I’m still getting used to it. I think it’s pretty accurate with your steps if you’re walking but I’m a little disappointed because it didn’t track my running accurately (It didn’t think I went as far as the treadmill said I did). So basically I feel like its an over priced pedometer that supposedly tracks your sleep haha Oh well I still enjoy it…..it’s fun to see everything charted out on their website. Have you tried the sleep feature? I wore it last night and it said I woke up like 7 times but had a “97% sleep efficiency” haha

        • Laura says

          That’s pretty much my assessment. I don’t use the sleep feature because I have the Sleep cycle app that is more accurate. I do like the stair tracking though!

  4. says

    Yum! This reminds me of my favorite (coincidentally the only vegan) dish at one of my favorite restaurants in Charlottesville…they cook the squash perfectly every time, and until I had tried theirs, I never thought to pair acorn squash with marinara.

    Also, my family is now so used to me just needing to make my own food they hardly bother checking in with me any more…I just raid the pantry and bring along whatever I ‘need’ and they usually end up jealous of my creations. :)

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