Blog Post,  Recipe

Thanksgiving, OOTW, I’ve Kept a Secret for a Year, & Butternut Squash Lasagna

Happy Friday!!  Is everyone recovering from a fun day full of turkey and pie? ??  And maybe some cocktails? ??  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. I really enjoy this holiday and it’s my hubby’s favorite. Food, friends, family and fun. And of course…relaxation. We started our day off at CrossFit Free getting in a WOD with our amazing community. It’s always a blast working out with this crew and spending special days with them. Yesterday was a team WOD, which makes it even more fun. Especially when you’ve got an awesome partner and you laugh through the entire workout. ???‍.  Sometimes you just have to do that.

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This year we went to my brothers for Thanksgiving but no matter where we go, we ALWAYS bring a turkey to fry. I laugh because we buy a local organic turkey which is not cheap!  Then we throw it in a fryer…lol!  But I have to tell you, the fried turkey is the best! The flavor is amazing. And it makes the best bone broth! ?  So, we made the fried turkey and I made a veggie platter to munch on before dinner. I didn’t have to cook too much this year, which I have to say, was kind of nice???  Anyway….Thanksgiving is over and I’m excited to move onto Christmas ? !  Today we are cutting our Christmas Tree down…in the rain…lol!  We’ll be decorating it tonight and making homemade pizza ?!!! Yes…paleo versions, too ?

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So, before I get serious about this week’s blog post, I just wanted to add in this week’s #OOTW!  And yes…still Stitch Fix, but not mine…Scott’s. Scott got his first men’s fix and was pleasantly surprised!  He kept all 5 items. He got t-shirt, crewneck sweater, army green pants, some stance socks, and this awesome blazer. The blazer was super comfy and almost like a thinner type sweatshirt material…so different than anything he would ever buy…Love it!  And do did he ☺️ My outfit in this pick with him is all Francesca’s Closet.  Love that store!  Such cute stuff at super low prices.  Can’t beat it 🙂

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Oh….and I thought I’d add my Thanksgiving outfit because I was pretty happy with it.  Combo of Stitch Fix and JCrew.  I’m kind of feeling like I’m getting good at putting outfits together now…LOL!  This is my favorite green ever!

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Ok…let’s get a little serious before I get into this week’s recipe, which I’m really exited to share with you, by the way. So, here we go….People always ask me what drives me to be the way I am. What drives me to be so healthy?  Well…there’s a lot of things. But it starts with my biggest fear in life. My father died of colon cancer when I was 12. It was quick…3 months and he was taken away from us. From then on I have feared cancer my whole life. I wasn’t eating healthy that whole time, but it’s always been a fear.

As I got older, it became a different kind of fear. A fear of not being around for my husband, then not being around for my kids…or any family for that matter. Then it became more about not fearing cancer, but just wanting to be the healthiest person I could be. To feel good…to be the best version of me. To be healthy for my children…my family. To be there for whenever they needed me…to hold them, help them, play with them, run around for and with them. I wanted to be able to BE there for them. And I wanted to be healthy for ME. Because when I feel healthy, I feel happy. And feeling happy is the BEST feeling, right???

So…I’ve have a secret. It’s been one I’ve been keeping from everyone for a year now. This is something I had only discussed with my family and a few close friends, but this very week one year ago, I lived my biggest fear. My OBGYN found a lump in my breast and I thought I might have cancer. I figured…of course…the one who fears it most and does everything to stay healthy will end up with cancer, right?  I was scared and confused. After an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy, and the dr’s still not being 100% sure, I had to have the lump removed. I actually had surgery and had it removed on 12/23…the day before Christmas Eve. In the end…about a month and half after it was found and wondering (the wondering was torture), it was thankfully not cancer. I found out the day before New Years Eve.  It was a HUGE relief to say the least. Having to go through all that…wondering, having to step into Dana Farber…it all sucked. Trying to stay positive was hard!  But in the end?  I learned a lot.

I learned first not to take for granted what I have…and that includes my health. I also learned that staying positive does wonders for your mind, body and soul. It also was a huge reminder of why I am the way the am. Why?  Because even if it did turn out to be cancer, at least I can say I tried. At least I can look back and tell myself that I’m doing the best I can to keep myself healthy. Because the bottom line is…no matter how healthy you are, it COULD still happen!  But I will always do the best I can to help prevent it. Some may think I’m crazy….actually, a lot of people do. But for me, it makes me feel good.  I have a constant reminder on my arm to “let your fears go”.  And going through this experience has helped with that. I realized that no matter what…I can face whatever comes at me. Why?  Because of my family and friends. I want to and I have to. Because my goal has never changed…I always want to be there for them.  So I’ve learned to let the fear go because some things we just don’t have control over. But what I do have control over is what I put into my body and how I treat my body.

What I realized when I changed my tune from fearing cancer to wanting to be the best version of me, is when I realized I loved the feeling of being healthy, fit and alive!  It has made me, ME. It has helped me on my journey and brought me to the path I’m on today…helping OTHERS do the same. Helping others feel good, be healthy, and be happy. If I can help someone make one simple change in their life that makes them a happier person?…I’ve done my job. I’ve always loved helping others and no matter where my path takes me in the future, that will never change.

Thank you all for continuing to help me on this path. Thank you for always supporting me.  I am grateful for YOU!!

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Ok, ready for this week’s recipe?  I’m really excited to share this with you because it’s been a favorite of my Clean Kitchen customers when I was making meals. Butternut Squash Lasagna!  Years ago I found a recipe for this and loved what I thought at the time was an odd combination of flavors. So, this recipe was inspired by that one. The one I used to make called for real cheese, so I tweaked the recipe and also made a dairy free version.  Since I stopped making meals, many have been asking me to share it, so I thought what better time than at the start of the holidays??  This is perfect to make for any of your holiday gatherings. Don’t like sausage?  Use ground turkey or beef. Vegetarian?  No problem…leave out the meat and double the cheese recipe so you can layer the cheese in between. No matter what your version, I promise you will love it!  This recipe is a bit time consuming…but it’ll be worth it.  Enjoy!

Here’s a picture of what you squash will look like when it’s sliced:

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And here’s a pic of what your lasagna will look like before you bake it:

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Print Recipe
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Course Dinner
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
Cashew Cheese
Lasagna
Course Dinner
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
Cashew Cheese
Lasagna
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Instructions
Cashew Cheese
  1. First prepare the cashews by placing them in a bowl covered in enough water to soak them. Let sit for about 8 hours to overnight.
  2. Drain the cashews and place them into a food processor. Add the sea salt, 3 tbsp water, olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides in between.
  4. Place the "cheese" into a medium bowl and stir in the parsley, basil and pepper.
  5. Set aside. (This can be made up to a few days ahead of time and stored in the fridge in a an airtight container.)
Lasagna
  1. Take the peeled and seeded butternut squash and slice into about 1/8"-1/4" slices either using a sharp knife or the slicing attachment of a food processor. (I use a food processor....MUCH easier). Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan, brown the sausage, onion and garlic until fully cooked through. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add the pizza sauce, fire roasted peppers and basil. Process until smooth. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Now it's time to layer! Spray a 9x13 oven safe baking dish with either coconut oil spray or olive oil spray.
  5. First, add 1/4 cup of the sauce to coat the bottom. Layer the buttnernut squash at the bottom of the pan until covered. Try not to overlap too much so you have enough. Then add 1 cup of the sausage mixture. Then add 3/4 cup sauce. Using a spatula, gently spread the sauce so it covers the length of the pan (it might not all be covered and that's OK!).
  6. Repeat the layers....butternut squash, 1 cup of sausage (this should be the remaining sausage) and 3/4 cup sauce. Spread sauce again with a spatula.
  7. Then cover the top with another and final layer of butternut squash and the final 3/4 cup (or remaining) sauce. At this point you should have used up all your ingredients for layers.
  8. Take the cashew cheese and dollop on top of the lasagna. Using the spatula, gently spread the cheese so it completely covers the top. NOTE: If you had made the cheese in advance, let it sit on the counter for a bit to come to room temperature. This will allow you to spread it easier.
  9. Bake the lasagna at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. You should be able to easily stick a fork through the squash.
  10. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes to set. Slice and serve.
  11. Enjoy!!
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4 Comments

  • Karen

    Allison that was an amazing story. Thanks for sharing for it really puts life into perspective. I have lost both parents from cancer, mom will be 2 years next month. I met so many strong amazing people in the cancer ward and it helped me deal with what my mom went through even though they were the ones that were sick. I’m glad you had a good outcome! Keep being the best you can at being healthy. You are an inspiration to me. Happy thanksgiving!

  • Jenny

    Do you have a post with your pizza recipe? I checked and could not find one.

    Congratulations on your health and your perspective. I have had a similar experience and it is lifexhanging.

  • The Clean Kitchen NH

    Hi Jenny! I’m so sorry I missed this comment! Thank you so much for your kind words. It really is life changing and puts life into perspective. It really is amazing how many women go through the same thing and we don’t realize. I don’t have the pizza recipe up yet! Although it was tasty, the dough was a bit too doughy and I want to make it again to try to make it crispier before I post the recipe. Stay tuned! If you’re looking for a good one to make in the meantime, Paleomg makes an awesome one in her Paleo Cookbook.

  • The Clean Kitchen NH

    Karen, Wow! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that. I truly believe it makes us stronger people in the end. And having support of those around you is what helps keep us going. I feel so lucky to have that support! Thank you so much for sweet words. You are rocking the healthy lifestyle changes these days and I’m so beyond proud of you!

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