Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

We’re just a week out from Thanksgiving, and like the rest of America, you’re probably planning your Thanksgiving strategy.

To get you ready for the biggest meal of the season, I thought I’d share some of my favorite healthy options that you can incorporate into your festivities!  I’ve only made a turkey (breast) once, so I’m probably not your expert in that area… but, I have plenty of apps, salads, sides and desserts that you can make for your special feast.

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup | No Thanks to Cake

Click on any of the images below to see the full recipe, taste-tested and recommended by yours truly!

Appetizers

Appetizers tend to be a dangerous territory.  So, I always try to bring something that I can munch on.  Something that I know is somewhat safe.  Here’s a few of my top picks…

Veggie Appetizer Pizza | No Thanks to Cake

BLT Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Holiday Chex Mix | No Thanks to Cake

Spinach Cheese Ball Appetizers | No Thanks to Cake

Salads

Salads are another way to fill your plate.  I usually try to fill my plate at least half with salad and fresh, healthy veggie sides.  These salads will help you get to your goal of having a healthy Thanksgiving for sure!

Broccoli Cranberry Salad | No Thanks to Cake

Individual Layered Salads | No Thanks to Cake - - Great idea for entertaining.  So easy, and so impressive to your guests!

Summer Pasta Salad with Baby Greens | No Thanks to Cake

Sides

Other “sides” tends to be my danger zone.  That’s where you find the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the stuffing… all the things I want to load my plate up with.  These lightened up sides can be a great alternative.

Baked Creamed Spinach | No Thanks to Cake

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole | No Thanks to Cake

Roasted Carrots with Honey Mustard Glaze | No Thanks to Cake

Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower and Tomatoes | No Thanks to Cake

Maple Orange Brussels Sprouts | No Thanks to Cake

Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole | No Thanks to Cake

Desserts

The Thanksgiving meal isn’t quite finished until the desserts roll out… for years, I’ve gone with dessert “minis” as a way to control my portions.  I’m also including this year one decadent dessert… the oreo bars, because they’re just that dang good!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Mousse Mini Desserts | No Thanks to Cake

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake Ball Turkeys | No Thanks to Cake

Pumpkin Butterscotch Mini Desserts | No Thanks to Cake

Whatever you’re eating this Thanksgiving, consider how you can make it healthier… and consider your strategy before you step up to the buffet table.  You can do this!!

What food are you looking to enjoy most this Thanksgiving Day?

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Creating a Fabulously “Uncommon” Holiday Gift List

The holidays are  JUST around the corner.  Just FORTY days away!  Can you even believe it??

Aside from needing to decorate my house, finish my Christmas shopping, and ship presents… it’s also that time of year when I start digging around to find out what friends and family want for Christmas.  I’ve done better this year than in most, but I still have a few names on my gift list that I’m struggling to buy for.

I first heard about Uncommon Goods from my friend Jen years ago… when we were still roommates.  Jen used to get their catalogs, and we’d always talk about all the things we wanted.  Since their gifts are unique and often handmade, it was like nothing we had seen in stores… and always on our wish list!  When Uncommon Goods reached out to have me review their holiday wish book, I couldn’t resist previewing a few items… and giving you guys my picks for some of those hard-to-buy for friends and family members.

Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

The site truly has the cutest gifts… and something for everyone.  Not only do they have cute personalized items and gifts to hang by the chimney with care, but they also have the best ideas for under the tree!

Now, truth be told, I debated sharing presents I’d purchased for friends and family… but many of them read NTTC and it would spoil the surprise.   So, if you think these gifts are for you, friends, they’re not!  I’ve got other ideas for you… Just you wait! 

Creating a Fabulously Uncommon Holiday Gift List | No Thanks to Cake
For Your Favorite Knitter

As a yarn hoarder and wooly accessory creator, finding the perfect gift for a knitter was a lot of fun!  I choose this gorgeous yarn holder as the perfect pick!  Click here for all the details.

Create Yarn Bowl Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

No one likes when your yarn rolls around the room as it unravels, and this bowl makes sure that doesn’t happen!  With the hand crafted detail, the yarn feeds perfectly to create whatever you’re making!  LOVE THIS!

For Your Favorite Wine Connoisseur

How cute is this dish towel?  It’s full of fun facts about everyone’s favorite grape-based beverage.  Click here for all the details.

Wine Towel Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

Truth be told, I have a thing for cute tea towels, so this towel was not only fun to add to my collection, but also educational!  It even has a list of which wine glass you should use for which kind of wine!

For Your Earthy, Yoga Loving Friend

Just so you know, I’m this friend.  I love this gift as a pampering potion that had healing qualities!  Click here for the details.

Chakra Bath Salts Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

I just love the idea of using deliciously scented salts to heal my body and balance my chakras.  Next time I feel unbalanced, I know what I’m reaching for… and note that the inside has guidance on how to use them!  Scents like lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus… all ready to heal you!

Chakra Bath Salts Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

For Your Friend Who Fancies Cheese

Remember that I mentioned that this site has unique gifts?  Well, check out this one

Cheese Keeper Uncommon Goods | No Thanks to Cake

How does this thing work?  Per the website, “Simply place the white, earthenware keeper along with any hard or soft cheese in an airtight container (including plastic wrap). The food-safe clay has been fired at low temperatures, which gives it the ability to regulate the moisture around it, keeping your Romano from drying out or your Cheddar from getting mushy.”  I can’t wait to try this out!

This box of goodies was so fun to review, and there are so many other fun gifts you should check out.  I may have also picked up a few gifts for friends to enjoy too… but they’ll have to wait for Christmas before I reveal what they’re getting.  

Who’s the hardest person to buy for on your holiday gift list?

Note:  Uncommon Goods provided me with products in exchange for this review.  However, thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the brand.

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Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

I had a BRILLIANT idea for Easter.  I was going to make my first turkey (breast)!!

I shopped for just the right size turkey breast the week of Easter, had it all ready to go… and in the spirit of silly mistakes made in the kitchen, I realized WAY LATE in the game, that the turkey breast I had bought…. was fully cooked.  OMG!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Thankfully on Easter morning, my local grocery store was open and had turkey breasts still available.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

It was frozen, so I had some unexpected thawing to take care of… but in the end, my first turkey came out delicious!!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Because cooking a turkey can be a little intimidating, I leaned on my friend Gina and her fabulous crockpot turkey breast recipe.  It was easy to make (once I had the correct ingredients) and cooked perfectly!  I paired it with some mashed potatoes and some of the carrots that cooked in the crockpot.  A perfect Easter meal!!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

From Skinnytaste

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh sage
2 bay leaves
4-5 lb. whole boneless turkey breast
salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Place oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Stir in 1 cup of broth and scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Stir in remaining broth, water, wine, sage, and bay leaves into the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Season turkey with salt and pepper, place in the slow cooker, cover and cook 5 to 7 hours on low, or until the turkey reaches 165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Transfer turkey to a cutting board tent loosely with with foil and let it rest 20 minutes.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove the fat from the surface using a large spoon or a gravy fat separator. Strain braising liquid into saucepan, discard celery, bay leaves and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Note:  If desired, add a mixture of milk and cornstarch to thicken the gravy quicker.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake
6.  Slice the turkey and serve with gravy.

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy | No Thanks to Cake

Per 4 oz. breast, 1/4 cup gravy serving:

CAL 167; CARB 11g; FAT 4g; PROT 21g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus:  4

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Quest Bar Cookies

Ok, y’all, I’m interrupting today’s typical programming to advise you of something that I just learned…

Did you realize that today is

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day??

Now, this “holiday” would have flown right by without notice, if my friends from Quest Nutrition hadn’t reached out to me to notify me of the event!

Now.. you know someone with a blog called “No Thanks to Cake” has  a few favorite chocolate chip cookies…

ChickFilA Chocolate Chunk Cookie | No Thanks to Cake

Chickfila has an INSANE chocolate chunk cookie!  

My work likes to order Chickfila’s catering quite often, and they always bring a tray of cookies.  I usually try to say no, but if I do… I always describe them as “worth-it” cookies.  So good!

Woody Creek Chocolate Chipper | No Thanks to Cake

Woody Creek Bakery and Cafe sells these tiny chocolate chippers that I think are awesome too.  Their tiny factor makes them perfect when you just need a bite of cookie!

Today, I met a brand new Chocolate Chip Cookie that is totally guilt-free, made from real ingredients, and loaded with protein:  The Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar. O-M-G!!!

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar | No Thanks to Cake

The lovely folks over at Quest sent me a whole box of these cookie dough bars, as well as a variety pack of their other flavors.  They are SO GOOD!  To find out which local stores sell these bars in your area, click here.

I find these bars to be so much more filling and to have a much better flavor that most bars I come across.  They also have REAL ingredients, which makes me feel a little better about eating them as well.

For months, I’ve been seeing Quest “cookies” on Instagram and Pinterest, so I decided to try to make a batch of these baked goods in honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  Check out how good they came out!

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

I made my batch of “cookies” with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavored bar, but I can imagine that any of their flavors would be fabulous made into cookies.  AND… there’s just one ingredient.  See below!

Quest Bar Cookies

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar | No Thanks to Cake

1 Quest protein bar – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor or other flavor

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Unwrap your Quest bar, and cut it into 8 pieces.

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Place your cookie pieces in a microwave-safe bowl lined with plastic wrap.  Soften the pieces in the microwave for 13 seconds.

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Flatten the “dough” slightly before placing in the oven.

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Bake for 7 minutes.

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Enjoy them with milk.

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

7.  OR… make them into sandwiches using PB2.  Yum!

Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches with PB2 | No Thanks to Cake

Quest Bar Cookies | No Thanks to Cake

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Quest Nutrition.  While I received free products to sample and experiment with, all opinions expressed above are my own.

What’s your favorite healthy way to enjoy chocolate chip cookies?

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