Thanksgiving: Non-traditional Stuffing Print Recipe Print Recipe

I’m taking an untraditional approach to stuffing. I probably shouldn’t call it stuffing since it’s not being STUFFED inside the bird, huh?

Since traditional stuffing is loaded with gluten, I decided to make it with quinoa, sweet potatoes, toasted pecans and dried cranberries. It’s amazing and I’ll  certainly be making this again for my family next week.

Our Thanksgiving is FAR from traditional. For one, we ditch our extended family and spend the holiday in Hawaii. We’ve done this for years and will continue, I mean who wouldn’t?

My mom even pointed out that there’s a fridge in our room for baby bottles. Yup, that’s my mom for you and no, I’m not pregnant.

Talking about Thanksgiving and baby bottles, I want to share something with you.

Yesterday, there was a big change in my body [nope, still not pregnant – but we’re one step closer, wink wink].

I’ll spare you the details since this is a food post after all. Let’s just say after THREE years of seeing doctor after doctor, losing & gaining weight, considered buying stock in pregnancy tests [no other way of knowing], then trying everything from natural remedies to hormones that made me bat shit crazy.

Why all this? Let’s see. . .

I was under HIGH stress, working around the clock in a job I hated. Worked out too much, almost lost my marriage and then almost lost my life.

Yup, no wonder my body stopped working.

What’s changed?

1. I found a way to let go of everything I was holding onto. Regret, fear, resentment, anger – and more. Learned that you have to let go in order to let other things, such as the good in. It’s hard, but it was worth it and now there’s nothing standing in the way. What you see, is what you get.

2. Due to the illness I had to eliminate gluten. I listen to my body and feed it what it needs. We have a good relationship now.

3. My husband and I recreated our marriage.  We’ve put practices in place to support each other and our well-being. Some nights we hold out a “garbage bag” and just throw all our shit into it. It’s a great clearing and allows us to be present.

4. Built my own business that allows me to do what I love. No, it’s not easy, but I’m committed, passionate and believe in the possibilities.

5. I’m active WITH my husband. We workout in the evenings, together. We go for walks, hikes or runs on the weekends.  It’s healthy.

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I’m sitting here unable to find the words to describe just how thankful I am. For my health, my family & friends, the possibilities, and for YOU.

I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. Well, maybe I would, but it would be pretty lonely.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for reading, commenting, tweeting, emailing – everything you do puts a smile on my face. I’m not kidding. My husband feels like he knows all of you because I’m always sharing your comments, tweets, and stories with him. You says I have the best followers. I 100% agree.

So . . . have you thought about what YOU’RE thankful for? You’ve got some time, but feel free to share, I’m all ears.


BTW – If you’re interested in making changes to your health, I think you should consider this.


Quinoa, Sweet Potato and dried Cranberry Stuffing

[adapted from Gluten-free Goddess]

PRINT Recipe


  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup original quinoa [white]
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, add 1 + 1/2 cups water,  quinoa [total 1 cup], season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, until all the  water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick, add sweet potatoes, onions and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until soft.

Combine sweet potatoes and onions with cooked quinoa. Drizzle with olive oil [optional]. Stir in cumin, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.


Serves 4

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  • Al

    Wow, what an intensely honest post – cheers to you, darling. I am so glad that this Thanksgiving is bringing you happiness and thanks in a much deserved way. I absolutely love your blog, your pictures, and your writing. Keep it up, love, and have a fantastic Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Georgie

    Gorgeous stuffing, I could eat this alone on Thanksgiving day. I’m grateful for my life too, having suffered from an illness myself. Mostly I’m grateful for family and friends. Sending you the sweetest wishes with your new endeavor.

  • Michelle

    So honest, and so inspiring — I’m feeling thankful for you and that post!

  • Winnie

    This is just beautiful, Lisa. And I don’t mean the stuffing (though that’s very beautiful, too).

  • Mackenzie {Design Darling}

    This looks delicious — yet another recipe of yours I’m filing away for a rainy day! Love your candor in this post… You are an inspiration to me in more ways than one! xoxo

  • Liz

    What a great post. Thank you for your honesty and inspiring words. Congratulations on taking charge of your life and living it the way you want to live it.

  • Bev Weidner

    I wish I was in the same room as you right now. 🙂

    You’re incredible.

  • Meg

    yey for periods! tmi? 😉 LOVE YOU!

  • Maria

    I just love you! So happy that you are happy! Thanks for this post! I am so grateful that we’ve met! You truly are amazing and an inspiration to all! And I LOVE this stuffing! I made a similar salad with quinoa and it rocked my world!

  • Erin

    What a lovely post! Your honesty is refreshing, I am continually trying to let go of the stress in my life and to accept what I cannot change and this is a great reminder of what it can do to your life if you’re not careful. Thank You!

  • Kasey

    Beautiful post, Lisa. The only person that can make a real change is you, and it’s really brave of you to have done that. I’m thankful for my family and friends, this year, and always. xo

  • Selah

    A beautiful post Lisa…thank you for sharing and certainly you are inspiration. And can I say so very ahead of where I was at your age…and just typing that makes me feel old! I love, love, love quinoa so I will be trying this for our Thanksgiving. I am grateful for my family, friends and health…and realize happiness is a choice that we have to reaffirm everyday. Thank you!

  • Tori

    I’m not sure what is more beautiful: your post or these photos. Okay, it’s your post. I can feel your spirit right through the screen – keep it up girl – you GOT this :). xoxo

  • Katie

    I love hearing a little bit of your story, and it makes me want to give you a big ol’ hug.

    I’m so thankful that my family is nearby and thanksgiving is around the corner! It’s my favorite holiday…by far.

  • Lish Dorset

    Love the post AND the recipe!

  • Amanda

    These things you have done… they are NOT easy!! Just recognizing that we need to makes changes is hard enough. For you to have followed through AND invested more time and love into relationships speaks volumes about your sweet heart. I am thankful for honesty, for integrity, and for friends who encourage me to be better! Thank YOU sweet girl!

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  • Melissa // thefauxmartha

    You are one great lady! I love your honesty, your excitement that spills out of every post, and of course your pretty food.

  • Sweet Marcella

    This post is so inspiring! It makes me very excited for my future husband and my journey in life. It seems like you are doing what you are meant to be doing 🙂 your blog is wonderful too!

    I am definitely thankful for my family and health 🙂

  • megan

    What do you think about substituting the sweet potato with pumpkin? I’d really like to make this but I’m not a huge fan of sweet potato.

  • Jennifer

    I love your blog! I read it everyday. You are so inspiring.

    If you ever have the chance, I would love to hear about your blogging journey. Where you started, what you have learned etc.

    Happy early Thanksgiving!


  • Jessica @ How Sweet

    You are my inspiration. I love you.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    looks great!! awesome post

  • Christy

    thanks for the honest post and the wonderful recipe! Such a great reminder of how much we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Wenderly

    Beautiful love. I agree with everything you said. And ya know what i’ve found? Most of the time the things that we have to fight for and the journey that we take to do so turn out to be the sweetest of all.

    Ginormous hugs to you. And enjoy the journey. You’re most definitely on a path leading somewhere splendid.

  • Kim-Cook It Allergy Free

    I struggled with getting (and staying) pregnant. Acupuncture, going gluten-free, and making some MAJOR MAJOR life changes were what worked for me. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for being so honest and open!
    And your non-traditional stuffing looks amazing. Oh, and I am totally jealous of your Hawaii trip. 😉

  • Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    I think that not only do you have a lot to be thankful for this year, you also have a lot to be proud of! It sounds like you have really come such a long way and I am so happy for you that things are going so much better!!

    And your “stuffing” looks amazing– I kind of want to make it tonight!

  • Linda

    Love you honesty and commitment to create what is important to you, very inspiring!! Love you

  • Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles

    What an honest and thought provoking post. Yay for you in making positive changes and turning things around! (This stuffing looks amazing, too!)

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  • Karina

    Beautiful presentation! Glad you like the recipe. Quinoa and butternut are a match made in heaven. Listening to our body, and honoring what we need to be healthy and authentic is so important. Bravo for seeing that and for taking steps to grow… Not always easy, but the rewards run deep.

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  • Alyssa

    Gorgeous post. Thank you for sharing your story and for the inspiration. Only you can take control of your health and it begins by listening to your body. Congrats on finding something that makes you happy! Can’t wait to make this recipe and share it with my family for Thanksgiving!

  • Pat

    My daughter in law brought your recipe to Thanksgiving and I LOVED it! (I avoid wheat too.) So I looked it up online because a vegan friend is coming to dinner.
    Then I read your post and loved that even more. Wow. That is simply wonderful and reminds me of all I have to be thankful for! You go girl!

  • Cookie and Kate

    Mm mm mm. Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed but I would totally eat this stuffing for lunch. That’s my kind of salad.

  • Amy

    This recipe is delicious! I made it for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was a big hit. Thank you! 🙂

  • Sara

    I was searching for a quinoa recipe and I read what you wrote up there. I was touched and tears filled my eyes as I’m going through a huge change in my life! Thanks a lot for the inspiration and the recipe XOXO

  • Anna


  • Zoe

    Wow!! Amazing story, thanks for sharing. So easy for most of us to say let it all go but actually doing it is another story. You are definitely on the right path. Best wishes to you and your f

  • Angela Roberts

    This is a gorgeous dish and one I would eat every night. I just now got on the red quinoa band wagon. I’m now working out more with my husband too, and grateful.

  • Jacqueline Tinker

    Hey. Just wanted to say, Good on you for putting your life back together. I went down the infertility road for years. It can really suck you up and rip you apart. That being said, we settled on adoption (for many reasons including- bat shit crazy meds, excruciating procedures, moronic doctors and generally trying to remain sane and centered).

    We chose to adopt a sibling group of 5 unwanted children from our home state. We looked at all the options and that is a conversation for another day. In all the madness and chaos (mostly created in my own mind) of infertility…I lost perspective..When we brought this pack of wild critters into our lives I gained a whole new perspective. Life is messy, kids are messy and no matter that their skin is a different color than mine, they are my children. They talk like me, act like me and don’t even notice our skin doesn’t match. I am a mom.

    Just wanted to share. Keep perspective. Find your own path and listen to your heart, not your crazy mind that defines motherhood in a traditional manner.

  • Rachael

    I made this recipe for a potluck I went to last week (minus the parsley because I didn’t have any). It was delicious!!

  • JodyK

    Yep… I’m going to do it. I’m going to comment on a two year old post. But I must give credit where credit is due. I Love! Love!! Love!!! This dish. It was so tasty. It was a hit at Thanksgiving. Even with my sweetie’s mother! It’s fine cold but even better warm and better still the next day. Make it today!! Make it often.

  • WithStyleGrace

    Thank you so much for coming back and sharing this! Seeing your two comments made me want to give you the biggest hug. Wishing you a wonderful new year! Thank you.

  • sara

    Any idea how this would work with fresh frozen cranberries instead of dried?

  • kthoms0319

    when does the garlic go in? Thanks!

  • AME

    Recipe was a huge hit yesterday! It was so nice to bring something that everyone could eat. After (not) dealing with my digestive issues for too long, I’m starting to realize you can have yummy food that won’t cause you to run for the bathroom half way through a meal.
    Thank you!

  • WithStyleGrace

    YAY!! I’m so happy to hear it was a hit!! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • shawna

    I made this for Thanksgiving and again tonight for Christmas eve. Thank you for such an amazing healthy recipe. Everyone loves it!