Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe: Sausage Stuffing


Where do I even begin? Well, I’ll start with this: it’s been over a month since my last post, which is the longest I’ve gone without writing something since I started this blog more than a year ago. (My previous record was two weeks. Looks like I blew that one out of the water!) I could give every excuse in the book to tell you why I haven’t been posting — Ryan had back surgery, I’ve been focusing all of my spare time on cooking for friends, I was on business travel at a conference in Boston, work has been way busier than usual, blah blah blah — but it really doesn’t matter.

I woke up at 1:30AM today with my mind racing between random work-related stuff, new recipes I want to cook, what lifting routine I should do at 5AM, and all of the things I want to accomplish this weekend. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my brain to shut up. Whenever this happens, I take it as a tell-tale sign that I need a creative outlet. Bad.

The reality is that I haven’t made time to write over the last 5 weeks. Other things have taken priority, and it wasn’t until I was in a conference session last week that I realized I was letting something important (writing) fall to the wayside because I “didn’t have time for it.” The topic of the session? Values. It was probably one of the most profound presentations I’ve ever listened to. Seriously. It applies to almost EVERYTHING in life.

For the most part, any time you tell yourself that you “don’t have time” or “don’t have resources” to do something, the statement you are making reflects your values, not absolute facts. Whatever we invest in — be it time, money, mental focus, etc. — is what we value. The conference session framed this in a business perspective, but it totally applies to health, fitness, and personal choices overall, too. The takeaway here: we determine how we spend our time. I chose to do other things with my time instead of writing, which led to my brain being too full and a severe lack of sleep last night. Think of the last instance you told yourself you “didn’t have time” for a workout. Could you really not carve 30-45 minutes out of your day to make it to the gym or go on a walk?

To be clear: I’m not trying to send anyone on a guilt trip with this. Rather, I’m openly sharing this as evidence that I’m not perfect. Sometimes, my values are a little off-kilter. What’s important is that I’ve recognized it, and I’m publicly setting this goal to change it: I want to post 1-2 times each week leading up to Thanksgiving for the rest of the month. Why? Because my brain calms down when I write, and just like last year, I’m in charge of cooking a healthy Thanksgiving dinner for my whole family. I need to start planning the menu and testing out some recipes ASAP!

The next time you tell yourself you don’t have time for something — whether it’s going to the grocery store to get healthy foods for the upcoming week, taking a trip to the gym/running trail, getting a full night’s sleep, planning your meals, or whatever — think about your values and what is actually competing for your time. Weigh your decisions based on what’s important in the long-haul; not what’s the easiest thing to be put off.

Ultimately, we are the culmination of TONS of tiny choices that we make each day. Own your decisions, be conscious of the fact that you’re making them, and always choose with your values and priorities in mind. You’re the only person that can tell YOU if those are right or wrong. Make sure your actions reflect your values. For me, I value my mental and physical health (amongst several other things), so I choose to make time for cooking, writing, and working out. I also value my family, which is why I’m going to cook a crap-ton of delicious, healthy food to enjoy with them over Thanksgiving. This was a major hit last year — beats the hell out of Stove Top, and BONUS: they’re portion-controlled — so I’ll definitely be making it again later this month. :o)

Sausage Stuffing With Ezekiel Bread

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories: 99
Carbs: 13
Fat: 3
Protein: 5

Serves: 24
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients
  • 20 slices (1 bag) of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread (find it in the freezer aisle)
  • 12oz (1 tube) of light pork sausage
  • 2T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 3T of the pre-minced stuff)
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 2 bunches of celery, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • Seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s) and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Slice all of your bread into 1-inch chunks and spread them out on two baking sheets. Place them in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until they feel dry or toast-ish to the touch)
  3. Increase your oven heat to 350 degrees
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (I used 6.5 out of 10). Add 1T of olive oil and your garlic to the pan. Heat until the garlic starts to brown
  5. Add remaining olive oil, sausage, celery, and onion to the pan. Cook until your sausage browns and the celery is slightly tender. Transfer to a large bowl
  6. Add eggs, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and bread chunks to the bowl. Mix well to combine
  7. Add the chicken broth to moisten your stuffing mixture, then transfer to 2 greased/sprayed muffin tins
  8. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until edges start to brown/crisp
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