Crockpot Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash w/ Apples, Pecans & Cranberries



This recipe should be called “Thanksgiving in a Pot”. Or “Easiest Thanksgiving EVER”. It’s simple. It’s really filling. And it literally tastes like Thanksgiving…all the flavors wrapped into one dish. I will warn you that it was a HUGE meal, so be prepared for that. Maybe wear your stretchy pants or something. See this clip for instruction on appropriate Thanksgiving attire:


If acorn squash isn’t your gig, consider swapping it for some mashed sweet potatoes. The squash itself is about 2.5 blocks of carb, so just plate-up 2.5 blocks worth of sweet potatoes and, voila(!), you’ve got another variation on this meal. If you’re concerned about the fat being nearly double the protein and carb, simply reduce or eliminate the pecans. The dish would certainly be fine without them, though not nearly as delicious!


Keep in mind here, folks, that not every squash is the same size, thus leaving this recipe to fall squarely in the “close enough” camp.


Crockpot Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash w/ Apples, Pecans & Cranberries

Zone per serving: 5P, 5C, 9.5F



1 medium acorn squash (cut in half and seeds/goop removed)

1 lb ground turkey

3 tbsp dried cranberries (naturally sweetened with apple juice)

½ Granny Smith apple, diced

4 tbsp yellow onion, diced

4 tbsp pecans

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

2 pinches of cloves




Brown turkey on the stove. Give the ground bird a little salt love while you’re there to bring out the flavor. When it’s nearly finished, add the onions, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Continue to cook on low heat, frequently stirring, until the onions are translucent and the apples have softened.


Remove pan from the heat and add cranberries and pecans to the mixture. Mix well.


Place your de-seeded/un-gooped acorn squash yummy side-up in a 6-qt crockpot and pour 1 cup of water AROUND it (not in it…please…) into the bottom of the crockpot. Spoon the turkey mixture evenly into each half.


Cook on low for 4 hours. The squash should be easily pierce-able (it’s a word, I swear) when cooked.



Re-Post: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

It’s homecoming week here in Laramie which, I think, means that fall is officially in the air.  Here’s hoping the Pokes can win Saturday so I don’t have to continue with my threats of finding another team to love.  That just seems like so much work and I already own so much brown and gold.

It seems as though America has gone bat$hit crazy over pumpkin.  As soon as we move out of our daisy dukes and into our cute boots we go all nutso over everything pumpkin.  Lattes.  Pancakes.  Pasta.  Cakes.  Cupcakes.  I love cakes.  So, in that light – and because I forgot to grab my latest recipe to post for you (I will tomorrow, I promise) – here’s a re-post of our Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies.


The link:



Smokey Bacon Tomato Soup

I’m finally back after a long hiatus. I’m sure you’re wondering what I did that was productive or interesting to keep me from blogging during that time….(or not)…but the sad truth of the matter is that I was working. At my J-O-B. So gross. So, so gross. I did manage to log my very first marathon in the time I was gone, accomplish a mountain race torturous enough in ascent to make my hips pop in/out of socket for a week, acquire a rescue greyhound, take up trail running with someone who’s super bad-a$$ at it, run up too many stadium stairs, Crossfit my tush off, and read a couple of books. Okay, okay…so it wasn’t all “work.”

hankerpants3 (Hank photo courtesy of JoLynn’s killer cell phone camera)

I got off my lazy butt yesterday and made one in a large queue of recipes that I have to test and taste. Since there’s another nutrition challenge starting, I thought it best to breathe some life into our list of recipes and, with the advent of fall, bring a little comfort food into the mix. This soup is delicious and CHEAP (!) at only about $1.70 per serving. Bonus: you get a large amount of it, and it’s filling. Perfect for the new-to-Zone person who is convinced they’ll be hungry forever and ever and ever and ever… (Disclaimer: The monetary calculation was made assuming you have butter/olive oil and smoked paprika in your home, already. That’s for all you nit-picky math nerds out there…)

The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of butter. If you’re on the Whole 30 or sticking to Paleo principles, substitute olive oil or leftover bacon fat. I made a 4-block meal of this and served it with broccoli and seared salmon.


Zone Calculations:
Servings per batch: 6
Protein: 1 block/serving
Carb: 3 blocks/serving
Fat: 3 blocks/serving
Calories: approximately 250/serving

10 slices of turkey bacon (use turkey bacon here…I think the pork variety will be too heavy)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (or olive oil or bacon fat)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cans stewed tomatoes (make sure there’s no added sugar)
2 tbsp smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large, heavy frying pan, cook turkey bacon. Transfer bacon to paper towel to cool. Once cool crumble into small pieces.

smokey bacon tomato soup 1

Melt butter into the bacon grease and saute chopped onion and garlic until slightly browned and softened. Add diced tomatoes to onion mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly.

smokey bacon tomato soup 2

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender (or Nutribullet if you life in my ‘hood).

Return pureed mixture into pan, adding paprika and salt and pepper. Return soup to a boil and turn off the heat.

smokey bacon tomato soup 3

Serve in soup bowls and top with bacon.

smokey bacon tomato soup 4