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Pumpkin Butternut Squash-Sghetti & Prosciutto

October 30, 2015

Enjoy the health benefits of Prosciutto di Parma

Being obsessed with homemade cooking can be exhausting.

Not all the time. But as the days get shorter, the nights get colder, and my workload gets bigger, coming home to two hours of dinner-making is not appetizing. Problem is, I have a really hard time eating anything but homemade. Because now that I know what real food tastes like, frozen meals and to-go food just doesn't taste the same.

Enter prosciutto.  

The soft, buttery goodness that happily sits in the meat drawer in my refrigerator. Just knowing it’s there at the end of a long day – already delicious, already lovingly-prepared, no marinading or seasoning necessary – makes me so happy.  

Prosciutto nights consist of veggies in some shape or form – a salad, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, zuchsghetti – topped with beautiful pieces of rich, marbled cured meat. 

Before I go any further. Yes, I have heard about the recent World Health Organization report that puts red meat right up there with cigarettes in its cancer-causing potential.

In fact, I've read it. And guess what? I'm still psyched to eat this dish (recipe below). And confident in telling you why it’s good for your health – prosciutto and all.


For those of you who haven’t been following, the report named processed meat a definite carcinogen (based on sufficient evidence in humans that its consumption causes colorectal cancer). And red meat a probable carcinogen (based on limited evidence that its consumption causes cancer in humans).

As soon as I heard about this, I knew I had to look into it more. And I’m glad I did because – as always – there’s a lot more to it than the bold headlines that are meant to scare the shit out of you. I won’t go into it here because I don’t feel qualified to explain it to you. But if you’re interested in learning more, read the study here (you have to register for The Lancet first), and then read this article and this article, that dig into the data a little deeper.

My concern is that people will read the headlines, and suddenly be scared of all cured meat. But not all cured meat is the same (or red meat, for that matter).

Let’s just say that my bologna has a first name. And it’s not O-S-C-A-R. (Although I DO love that song).

No, I put a lot of thought into the cured meat I buy for my meat drawer. And because of that, I fell madly in love with Prosciutto di Parma at my blogging retreat a few months back.

It was actually Iron Chef America Judge, Mario Rizzotti, who personally introduced me to it. With his Italian accent, and extreme passion for authentic Italian food, he told me about the strict quality controls in Parma, Italy. And how all Prosciutto di Parma is made using only three ingredients (besides the pig): sea salt, air, and time. No preservatives or additives are used in its air curing. Nitrites and nitrates are never used.

This is very relevant in the light of this study.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) linked carcinogenic activity with nitrate and nitrite-cured meats, as well as smoked or chargrilled red meats.

Butternut Squash Spiralized Healthy Stacey

Guess what? If the meat is cured with time, there IS no smoking or cooking. Prosciutto Di Parma, for example, is aged for at least 400 days, very strategically using those three magic ingredients (sea salt, air and time).

Moreover, eating certain types of prosciutto can actually be good for you. According to The Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di Parma (and other quality meat like it) is rich in polyunsaturated fat, essential amino acids and antioxidants that actually have anticancer properties. It also contains an important source of micronutrients, minerals and vitamins, such as zinc, selenium, calcium, vitamin B6, B12 and folate, which have demonstrated effects in cancer protection.

Ahh. THIS is why I want to go to Italy. Because I truly believe this stuff MATTERS.

And you know what else matters?

WHAT you eat with that cured meat. And what you ate earlier that day. And the day before that. And the day before that.

Eating green vegetables with that meat can reduce the carcinogenicity of the red meat. And eating antioxidant-rich foods (e.g. green tea, berries, dark chocolate, turmeric) that contain protective compounds that inhibit carcinogenic formation in the stomach can also reduce carcinogenic activity. And yes, eating diner bacon, McDonalds burgers, and Oscar Meyer cold cuts on a regular basis probably will increase your chances of carcinogenic activity. 

My point?

I am not a scientist, a doctor, or a nutritionist. But, when it comes to any claims on our health, I strongly believe we have to consider three things:

  • The origin of our food.
  • How it’s prepared.
  • Our entire lifestyle and diet (not just the food in question)

I love my prosciutto and I’m going to keep loving it. But I’m also going to keep eating tons of vegetables, exercising 4-5 days a week, and staying away from cold cuts and cured meats from unfamiliar sources and with questionable operating procedures.

NOW. Let’s get back to that recipe, shall we?

The great thing about prosciutto for dinner is that all the work has been done for you! For once, you can make a pretty simple meal that has all the complexity of a homemade dish, without any of the work.

So what did I do with my Prosciutto di Parma? Hmmm. Something fall-like. Something warm. Something creamy that’s just screaming for a crispy topping. I got it!

Pumpkin Butternut Squash-Sghetti with Prosciutto

Pumpkin Butternut Squash Pasta and Prosciutto 

Squash-Sghetti Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 large carrots
  • Ghee
  • 3-4 slices of Prosciutto di Parma
  • Kale or Spinach (greens have added anti-cancer properties, plus really balance out the rich creaminess in this dish)

Pumpkin Sauce Ingredients:

(I have to admit, I ended up eating most of this with a spoon instead of putting it on the dish. It is THAT good).

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Ghee
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk (in the can)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Equipment you’ll need:

  1. Spiralizer (or you can just chop your b-squash up into chunks if you don’t have one)
  2. Chopping board
  3. Carrot shredder

How to make the Squash-Sghetti:

  1. Remove the skin from your butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Then cut your butternut squash in half, cutting between the long part and the bulbous part (the bulbous part can NOT be spiralized because it has the seeds inside). Spiralize the remaining part of the butternut squash.
  2. Shred your carrots.

How to make the Pumpkin Sauce:

  1. Saute chopped shallot in ghee
  2. Toss in food processor (or I used my Nutri Bullet), along with pumpkin pureee, coconut milk and seasonings until creamy

Putting It All Together:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put your butternut squash on a parchment-paper-covered baking pan
  3. Roll it around in 1/2 tablespoon of ghee
  4. Cook for 5-7 minutes
  5. While that’s cooking, toss your shredded carrots and prosciutto in a sauté pan. I do it separately from the oven because I’m paranoid and I like to make sure I can see my prosciutto and I’m not overcooking it.
  6. Take your butternut squash out of the oven and toss together with the carrots, the prosciutto and the kale.
  7. Pour your pumpkin cream sauce on top. Use sparingly, as it's really rich. Then put some aside to dip in pretty much anything and make it better.
  8. Take a bite. And never look back.

Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like the recipe for Pumpkin Butternut Squashghetti and Prosciutto? See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

Can't get enough of all this healthy stuff? Then sign up for the newsletter where it says "Enter Your Email" at the top of this page. Too much of a commitment? That's cool. I also have a sweet Facebook page, deep-thoughted Twitter page, food-pornish Instagram handle, and recipe-filled Pinterest page.

Much Love,


Pumpkin Spice Latte: Paleo Style

September 28, 2015

PumpkinSpiceLatte_FirstSipHealthyStaceyI am constantly asking you. No, BEGGING YOU for new topic suggestions. But most of the time you just smile and say, "What you're doing is great, Stacey. Keep it up."

And to that I say, "Blah, blah, blah. Ham sandwich."

So when my good friend Michelle came up to me to request a "Healthy Stacey" Pumpkin Spice Latte, I was ecstatic. Being the nerd that I am, I actually dedicated a Saturday morning to the recipe-making process. I lit pumpkin candles, put on John Mayer, and tinkered with all my favorite fall ingredients.


Michelle, my friend, I now invite you to light a pumpkin candle, put on your new knitted UGG boots, and curl up on your porch with a mug and a blanket. This one's for you.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe


Remember the controversy over Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes last year? Remember how ridiculous it was that people would expect a latte from Starbucks to be good for you anyways? Oh, maybe that was just me. Starbucks – I love you. And I have no problem with getting a pump of pumpkin in my coffee during the season. But if you're home on a cool Fall morning, and you've got a little time, THIS recipe is the way to go. It's all whole, real ingredients. Not one thing to feel bad about. In fact, I've listed at least one benefit to every single ingredient (although there was always more than one).

Serves: 2

(Tip: Double the recipe without the coffee so you can have pre-made pumpkin spice latte mix for the next day or two)


  • 1 Banana
    Contains high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. Using a banana also replaces the need for sugar, and adds a subtle sweetness and even more creaminess.
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut Cream (not coconut milk, coconut cream – BIG difference) – I use this brand
    Doesn't require bile acids for digestion. Because of this, drinking coconut cream lightens the burden of your immune system so that your body can concentrate more on other critical tasks like repairing cells and tissues.
  • 1/2 cup of Pumpkin Puree – I like this brand
    According to the Harvard School of Public Health, you should consume between 20 and 35 grams of fiber each day. But most Americans don't get more than 10-15 grams. Guess what pumpkin has tons of? FIBER. 7.1 grams per serving. 'Tis the season to digest your food more quickly and absorb your nutrients with lots and lots of PUMPKIN!
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice seasoning (contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice) – BIG fan of the Spice House 
    All of these spices are good for you, but most notably cinnamon spice is a superstar (loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties). It's so good in fact that people with diabetes are often prescribed cinnamon pills to lower their blood sugar.
  • 1/2 inch of Ginger Root (I like to give it a little kick; please leave this out if pumpkin & ginger sounds disgusting to you)
    I add ginger to as many things as I can, not only cause I like the spiciness of it, but because it is SO good for you. It reduces pain and inflammation, increases circulation, and reduces exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness.
  • 1 cup of Organic Coffee – I love Equal Exchange, and Thrive has it for a great price
    As long as it's not consumed in excess, coffee is not bad for you. It is loaded with antioxidants, and if you choose organic, you are eliminating all of the chemicals and pesticides that are part of what makes drinking coffee so bad in the first place.
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut Cream (for froth)
    See first Coconut Cream for benefits


  1. Brew up some strong coffee so it's ready for you when you're ready for it.
  2. Toss the banana, the first 1/4 cup of coconut cream, pumpkin puree and seasonings (and ginger, if you choose) in your blender.
  3. Pour your concoction in a pan and heat it up on the stove. Put it on medium heat and stir. Be careful not to overheat and burn it. Eck.
  4. In another pan, pour in your second 1/4 cup of coconut cream and put it on stove. Take a fork and start stirring furiously to get it nice and frothy. (If you have a frother, that would be much more efficient. Obviously, I do not so this was my work around).
  5. Once pumpkin mixture is sufficiently hot, and cream is sufficiently frothy, turn off stove and pour in 1 cup of coffee. Stir together.
  6. Fill up your favorite fall mug with mixture until it's 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Then pour froth over it.
  8. Sprinkle a little more Pumpkin Spice on the top to make it pretty.
  9. Sip and smile. It's fall, y'all.


Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like the secret recipe to a healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte? (Honestly, who wouldn't?). See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

Can't get enough of all this healthy stuff? Then sign up for the newsletter where it says "Enter Your Email" at the top of this page. Too much of a commitment? That's cool. I also have a sweet Facebook page, deep-thoughted Twitter page, food-pornish Instagram handle, and recipe-filled Pinterest page.

Much Love,


Paleo Pumpkin Carrot Turmeric Muffins + What’s A Food Swap? I Want One!

July 7, 2015

A couple weeks back, I got the privilege of attending a conference called Eat Write Retreat. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time, and was so happy to find that it was everything I thought it would be and more. For three days straight, I was entrenched in good food, great ideas and inspiring, creative, foodie food bloggers. I was in health blog heaven.




There were presentations, food tastings, sponsors, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and one very memorable activity called a Food Swap, run by a fellow Chicago blogger Emily Paster from West of the Loop. What is a Food Swap, you ask?


A Food Swap is essentially a bake sale in which the only currency is your own food. Each attendee was asked to bring their own homemade products and dress them up in pretty packages. We had 15 minutes or so to peruse everybody else’s goodies. When time was up, we scrambled for our top picks, hoping that the maker would be just as interested in our treat as we were in theirs. No money passes hands. Just food.


Let me tell you, I cleaned UP. I had so many goodies – half of which I would never take the time to make myself, but I was so so happy to reap the benefits of others’ hard work. By the end of the swap, I walked home with:

And I paid for all of it with these babies:

Paleo Pumpkin Carrot Turmeric Muffins


Inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers – NomNomPaleo – this spongy, slightly spicy muffin is a paleo-approved combination of warm comforting ingredients. But I decided to make a few tweaks and add one very important ingredient that not only makes it more exotic, but also adds big health benefits. That’s right, my favorite anti-inflammatory friend – turmeric.


  • 3 large eggs at room temperature – huge fan of Vital Farms
  • 4 medium carrots, grated and squeezed of juice (final volume: 1½ cups shredded carrots)
  • 1 cup almond flour, spooned and leveled
  • ½ cup coconut flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder + more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin purée – I order this brand by the dozen
  • ½ cup local honey
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower butter – my fav is MaraNatha
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil + more for greasing muffin cups
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Take your eggs out of the fridge (room temperature eggs = better blending)
  3. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and coat them with coconut oil for extra non-sticking assurance
  4. Grate carrots with food processor or by hand
  5. Place carrots in two sheets of cheese cloth, gather up the sides of the cloth, and squeeze the heck out of the carrots until they’re dry as a bone (I know it’s a pain, but skipping this step might make the muffin fall apart)
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, pumpkin spice, turmeric spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, ground cinnamon, and sea salt.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix together your room temperature eggs
  8. Add the pumpkin, honey, sunflower butter, and melted coconut oil
  9. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir
  10. Fold in the dry-as-a-bone carrots
  11. Scoop the batter evenly into your greased muffin tins/cups
  12. Toss pumpkin seeds on a sauté pan or put them in the oven for about 5 minutes to toast them
  13. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and turmeric on top for a vibrant orange and green topping
  14. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through
  15. As soon as you can get a toothpick to come out clean, they are done!
  16. Transfer to a cooling rack and try to hold on as long as you can before you stuff one in your mouth and still burn your tongue (because you definitely did not hold on long enough)


Like what you read today? Think somebody else could benefit from a good anti-inflammatory muffin? See those cute little shapes underneat this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

Healthy Body

The Proper Post Workout Meal + Orange Monster Smoothie

January 30, 2015

Working out is hard to do. I’ve been doing it since I was in the 7th grade (6 am volleyball practice!) and I still question my routine.

Is it long enough? Too long? What is the best ratio of cardio to strength? Can I work the same muscle two days in a row? How many crunches DOES IT TAKE to get a six pack?

Good news is I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this year. I think I’ve finally figured out the answer to what works best for me.

My success story? Weight lifting. Yeah, I said it. Metal-bar-bell-strict-lifting-low-squating weight lifting. I absolutely love it. I've never been so strong in my life. And never been happier with my body. My thighs and butt are toned (without being bulky), my butt actually exists (it used to just be a flattened extension of my upper thigh), my abs are tighter than they ever have been (in all my years of endless crunching), and my energy is as high as a kite (I actually look forward to my morning workout). Insert proud beach picture here –>

But enough about my workout. This is a food blog. Which is why I just had to tell you that one of the best adjustments I have made to my workout has been in my Post Workout Meal. No matter how hard you workout, what you eat matters more than anything. ESPECIALLY AFTER YOUR WORKOUT.

Here are the three things I’ve come to know about post workout meals through lots and lots of research, my personal trainer’s advice, and my own experience and success with it.

  1. Timing Matters.
  2. What you eat (and don’t eat) matters.
  3. Where it came from matters.

Let me explain.

1. TIMING: I eat immediately after my workout (i.e. 30 minutes or less).
I am trying to build muscle. Not lose weight. Because of this, I try to eat immediately after my workout. You want to take advantage of absorbing the nutrients immediately to repair muscle tissue.

2. WHAT I EAT: I eat a combination of high protein and little carb.
You need protein to restore muscle tissue. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash and plantains replenish your glycogen stores for muscle growth and increased energy. Although you need carbs, too many will cause an insulin spike so don't go overboard on the sweet potatoes.

I eat VERY LITTLE fat and sugar.
Fat slows down your digestion and inhibits the absorption of protein. Sugar (even the natural kind in fruit), can only be metabolized by your liver. You didn't workout your liver silly; you worked out your muscles. Muscle tissue eats glycogen (that's where those carbs come in).

3. WHERE IT CAME FROM: I eat a whole protein source (or as close as I can get to one).
Protein powder is convenient. But where the protein in your powder came from matters just as much as where the chicken in your dinner came from. Ideally, you want a whole protein source so that you are absorbing as many nutrients as possible and as little hormones and chemicals as possible. There are a handful of protein powders that have gone out of their way to produce antibiotic-free, grass-fed and low in sugar products that I have tried and loved (Tera’s Whey, Amazing Meal, RAW protein).

But I’ve recently discovered an even better source of whole protein that is just as convenient as protein powder: Gelatin.

But this isn’t Bill Cosby’s gelatin (weird how that reference has a creepy meaning now). This is real, unprocessed gelatin from grass-fed cows. It comes in powder form just like protein powder. But its benefits are much greater. Gelatin helps your body repair quicker, helps repair small tears in cartilage, eases stiff joints and helps build muscle. Because I have so much to say about this stuff, I am already working on a follow up post, starring gelatin. So I'll explain more about this super nutrient later (also great for hair, skin and nails). 

Now, for what you've been waiting for… 

What exactly fits into this perfect formula??

THE ORANGE MONSTER SMOOTHIE. Gelatin to build and repair muscles. Sweet potato or pumpkin to restore glycogen. And cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and TURMERIC are all anti-inflammatory spices that will relieve muscle and joint pain and keep your stomach flat. BOOM. It's all there.



  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree OR 1 cup of cooked sweet potato
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • ½ cup of ice
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin – I strongly recommend Great Lakes OR serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder (try to stick to hormone-free and grassfed)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash of coconut milk (for taste)
  • Drizzle of honey (if you really need a sweetener, but try to refrain from adding sugar)
  • Spices*

    • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger/pre-chopped ginger/real ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (see this post for why it's awesome)
    • Dash of nutmeg

*Note: Substitute pumpkin pie spice for all of the above spices to save a little time


  1. Have an awesome workout and imagine the delicious smoothie waiting at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Immediately after, toss all above ingredients in a NutriBullet or your blender of choice and power up until it’s smooth as cream.
  3. Stick a straw in it and drink immediately.
  4. Do a happy dance.

As always, thanks for listening to me rave and rant. Keep in mind, this workout and this Post Workout Meal is what works FOR ME. If you're not doing a lot of strength training, it may not work for you. Either way though, it's all good stuff.