Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

I really wanted to name this recipe the “‘Tis the Season Sweet Potato Rice Bowl,” but for SEO purposes, that wasn’t the best idea.

As a blogger (and I’m JUST now realizing this), the title of your post is crucial. You can’t just slap up any ‘ole name up there – it has to be very calculated.

With ingredients like pomegranates, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and maple syrup, this dish screams ’tis the season, doesn’t it?! Speaking of, if you’re not already signed up for our newsletter, NOW’S THE TIME, because all newsletter subscribers will receive early-access to our 20% off Cyber Monday deal (on the Inspiralizer®!) Sign up and you’ll receive the exclusive coupon code emailed to you within the hour.

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

However, if someone was to go searching for, say, “sweet potato, pomegranate and butternut squash bowl,” my recipe would not pop up, because, like a fool, I named it “‘Tis the Season.”

And of course, I want people to discover Inspiralized, I want everyone to become Inspiralized, so I need to play by Mr. Google’s rules.

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I can barely sit still in my desk chair, I’m so excited about Thanksgiving. I think maybe because I’ve been working around the clock lately and am juggling so many things, I’m just excited to chillax with my family.

Maybe it’s just because this is my first Thanksgiving as a married woman? Who knows, but I’m ready to devour some stuffing and sip champagne.

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

My Fit Journey: Back to Basics

Speaking of being married and devouring stuffing, I’m launching another “phase” of my fit journey. Ever since Lu and I got married, I haven’t been as diligent with my workouts and healthy eating. I’ve noticed myself falling back into my “old habits.” What are old habits? Mainly overeating and a sporadic exercise schedule.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve gained about 10-15 pounds since the wedding. At the wedding, I weighed about 140 pounds and a lot of that was toned muscle, because I was lifting almost every workout. I felt very lean – I felt my best! Now, I waver between 150-155, depending on the week. Now, I’m 5’8″, so that extra five pounds isn’t life altering, but I really enjoyed that healthy weight – my energy levels were high and I just felt like a better version of myself.

Here’s a before and after, where on the left, I just felt better, my arms were more toned, my legs were more toned and my waistline was tighter. You may not be able to tell a big difference, because of my height (I hide it well)!, but I feel entirely different. Also, my boobs were smaller (on the left), which is an added bonus (maybe not for Lu, but for me, haha!)

Inspiralized fit journey

Since then, I’ve had a tough time finding the motivation. The summer was a blast and busy, and now as we enter into the winter, my selection of jeans that I can wear are dwindling slightly, thanks to the extra poundage.

So what can I do? Go back to basics and do exactly what I did in the first place: eat clean and exercise consistently. No more running down to the corner store and grabbing a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies at 9:55pm (5 minutes before they close!) and scarfing them down, only to go to bed an hour later. That’s not healthy and it doesn’t make me feel good, inside or out.

I’ve always struggled with overeating (I’d call it binge eating, but I’ve never been diagnosed, let alone seen a doctor about it.) I think the chaos of getting married and the pressure to fit into my tiny (but beautiful!) dress resulted in a little burnout.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to regress. It’s okay to fall into our old habits. What’s more important is knowing when it’s gone on for too long and it’s time to make a change again.

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

I wanted to address this in today’s post, because one month from today, I’ll be in Florida, spending the holidays on the beach. I want to focus on this month and more importantly, focus on my health and my body before I have to be back in a bathing suit. And if there’s one time of year that I don’t want to think about anything but my family, it’s Christmastime. It’s just great timing and I work well with time-oriented goals.

You may be thinking, “Ali, it’s the holidays – it’s the toughest time to do this!” I acutally don’t feel that way – the busier I am socially, the more I tend to be focused on my diet and exercise. I think it’s the fact that I have to squeeze it into my days that makes me prioritize it.

And I’m not disappointed or upset with myself for falling off the wagon, because as I’ve said before, I’m a work in progress. I believe that we go in ebbs and flows and some months will be better than others. I gave up body shaming when I first started this fit journey and when I look at the scale, I don’t think, “You’re a failure,” I think, “Okay, let’s recover from this and get back on track.”

However, I haven’t said that yet. There’s a difference between going to bed on a Sunday night and saying, “Tomorrow’s the day!” It’s definitely about a complete mental shift, but it’s also about planning. You can’t go to bed and expect to wake up and turn over a new leaf – you need to prepare for that.

How do I prepare for this next phase in my fit journey? A few things help me:

  • Set a goal. My goal is to be down to be wedding weight by the time I leave for Florida, which would mean 10 pounds in 1 month (a very feasible goal.)
  • Make a workout schedule, not only picking days to workout but also set which workouts I’ll do on which days.
  • Tell everyone about it, including all of YOU. I think this is almost most important, because when you’re out with your friends and you don’t want to order dessert, they’ll understand and you won’t have to repeat yourself or have that momentary awkwardness. Also, if you live with something (whether it be a roommate or a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/parent), they can help keep you accountable.
  • Drink a LOT of water. Just start drinking water the second you decide to make a healthy shift – it will clear your mind, give you more energy and put you in a better place to make the right decisions. It seems really simple, but it’s one of my go-tos.
  • Prepare – meal plan, set your menus for the weeks, grocery shop, and then meal prep. Get all the tools you need together to set yourself up for success.

If you want to follow me in this journey (I’ll be posting weekly weigh-ins), follow my fitness account, @GetInspiralized. And please no negative comments about “scale obsession.” I don’t live or die by the scale, it simply helps me get back on track in the beginning. After this initial month, I’ll post a “recap” and show my progress!

Thank you in advance, I know all of your comments are going to keep me going and get me back into the shape I want to be in not just for the beach, but for my everyday happiness.

If there’s anything you’d like to me share in the next month that may help you in your own fit journey, please don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments or e-mail me.

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

Cyber Monday

Oh and completely unrelated, don’t forget to mark your calendars – we’re having a Cyber Monday WEEK and the Inspiralizer will be 20% off starting on Monday, November 30 and ending on Friday, December 4th.

This is the best time to do all of your holiday shopping, so make a list of what you’re going to conquer on Cyber Monday and get it done – I do this every year and it saves me so much money! And of course, you MUST add the Inspiralizer to that list :)

BUT if you’d like EARLY ACCESS to this promotion, just subscribe to our newsletter and receive your exclusive early access 20% off code!

Nutritional Information & Recipe

Weight Watchers PointsPlus*: 8 points

*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers PointsPlus® calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.

Inspiralized

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Yields 2

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the maple syrup and half of the olive oil in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Place the butternut squash cubes in the bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss together to coat. Lay the butternut squash out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until baked through and soft, and slightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Rinse the mixing bowl used to season the butternut squash and fill with water. Slice the pomegranate into quarters and submerge it under the water and carefully remove the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the white flesh will rise to the top. Scoop out the flesh with a slotted spoon and then drain the pomegranates into a colander and set aside. Save 1/4 heaping cup of pomegranates and reserve the rest for future use.
  4. Next, peel and spiralize the sweet potato, using Blade D. Place the noodles into a food processor and pulse until rice-like.
  5. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the rest of the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the sweet potato rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Cover the sweet potato rice and cook for 5 minutes, uncovering to stir occasionally and then let cook for 3 more minutes, uncovered, or until sweet potato rice reaches your preferred rice-like consistency. Stir in the goat cheese, remove from heat and add in the butternut squash.
  6. Divide the sweet potato into bowls and top pomegranates.
http://inspiralized.com/pomegranate-sweet-potato-rice-bowls-with-roasted-maple-butternut-squash-and-goat-cheese/

Pomegranate Sweet Potato Rice Bowls with Roasted Maple Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Recipe

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Comments

  1. You frequently ask your readers about which content they like the best in your posts, and your completely honest posts like this are the reason I follow this blog so diligently. As a dietitian counseling people on what to do for the weight/health I can get pretty down on myself when I fall back into old habits and don’t follow the advice I give my patients. I got into the nutrition field because I suffered from a mild eating disorder in college and becoming educated in nutrition made me feel in control, but also came with a new set of pressures to set the example.

    I recently lost a decent amount of weight/gained muscle training for fall marathons, and I also got engaged. Trying on dresses at my lowest weight in years has already put me into a panic, worrying that I’ll gain weight before the wedding (which is awhile away). Last night I was stressed and polished off a bag of popcorn (old habits!) Reading your post has reminded me that we all face struggles with our health, and part of helping others on their health journeys is being honest about the one we’re on. You do that 100% and it’s a real service to your followers.

    Have a very happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your honesty!

    • Thank you so much Shelbi and I couldn’t agree more that we all face struggles with our health, even if we’re in the health industry! We’re humans at the end of the day, and we all should give ourselves a bit more lenience. Congrats on your engagement!

  2. 10 pounds in 1 month is feasible? Seems a little much considering I’ve always heard a max 2lbs/ week is healthy. Well, good luck either way!

    Also, I’m vegan and I know I could simply remove the feta from this recipe. But wondering if you have any ideas on what I could substitute to add more flavor?

    • Whenever you’ve been overeating, you always shed water weight in the beginning, so 10 is feasible, yes! That’s 2 pounds/week for four weeks = 8 pounds. 2 extra pounds is the water weight! And yes, you can remove the goat cheese if you’re vegan – I’d recommend adding in some coconut cream to make it creamy!

  3. Thank you for this post Ally. I too consider myself an over eater at times and mentally I am constantly battling myself on how I feel and look.
    We are all human and need to stick together on this journey for a healthy life.
    Thank you again and BTW the recipe sounds amazing!!!
    Jess

  4. I totally agree with the above comments. I’ve been following your blog and Instagram since late 2013, just a few months after you started Inspiralized, I think, and I tell everyone that this is my go-to health food site not just because of your mouthwatering recipes, but because you are so transparent about your own health and fitness journey. You’ve been such an inspiration to me—I’m a fairly petite person and I still managed to lose 20 lbs this year (8 of which were lost in September when I did my first Whole30 and spiralized pretty much all of my meals), and I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m completely on the same page: the scale isn’t an obsession at all. Even if I’ve gained a couple of pounds after treating myself (“treat” is a way better word than “cheat” too, I think) during the weekend—whatever! I know I’ll get back on track. Best of luck accomplishing your goal! You can totally do it. :)

  5. My husband and I are finally committing to getting back on the healthy bandwagon. We’ve been using every excuse in the book between “we’re so busy this summer”, “we’re moving”, “we just moved”…that even though the holidays are crazy there’s no better time to start than today. There’s always an excuse if you’re looking for one. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

  6. So nice to realize you are as human as the rest of us! I follow WW and have kept off the weight due to the lifestyle promoted by WW. It’s very doable for a long time. Not like fad diets or diets that restrict anyrhing. I think your goal is reasonable. I think that because these “extra” pounds are fairly new, they haven’t been around as long and are easier to lose. It’s the “squatters” that have been around a long time that are hard to get rid of. JMHO.

  7. You caught my attention with that delicious-looking recipe and kept my attention with your honesty. I too confess that I overeat too often– I’m not sure why, but I’ve never been good at being intentional with my eating. Your point about doing this during the holidays is a good one. Thanks for this post!

  8. Thank you so much for always being so open and sharing. I also put on some weight after my wedding, whether that had to do with moving cross-country, living with amazing food in California, or just being less strict post-wedding, I’m not sure.. though, probably a combo! It’s so great to have a set goal/event in mind when you’re losing weight, rather than just losing x amount whenever. I think you’ll do great because you’ve already started to set yourself up for success.

  9. I totally understand you, Ali! It is impossible to stay the same weight all year – life just happens, and that’s okay! I had a consistent workout schedule over the schedule and I felt great, but as soon as this semester started up again, I just couldn’t find a rhythm or motivation. I wasn’t really gaining weight, which made me less motivated because I was like, “well, it’s not that bad.” I’m finally getting back into it, and I already just feel better and because I’m doing it for my health! I want to have a consistent routine for the holidays so I can stay active in between all the goodies :) Good luck with your journey! You look great, sista

  10. Yahoo-I’m excited for you! I am very thankful for your honesty and how you show that you’re ‘real’ in your posts-like previous commenters said, these are some of my favorite posts of yours because they are relatable, encouraging, and honest! I am a very similar height/weight as you, and it is so encouraging to be able to relate and realize I’m not alone in fluctuating and that fluctuating does not equal failure–Thanks so much for sharing, and I’m cheering you on to meet your goal!

  11. This is great, Ali! It’s funny I’ve been thinking the exact same thing because I stepped on the scale the other day and I had gained five pounds. I was surprised because I have been exercising a lot… but the random binging kills me. I am so disciplined in all other areas of my life that I let myself off the hook with food. Sometimes I think – ‘Man I work hard and save money and discipline myself, I’m just going to let myself go buck wild for a while on food because I deserve it.’ But then I’m left feeling crappy, and I realize there are other ways to reward myself. I just need to find them and stick to them. The psychology behind it all is so interesting.

    I will be joining you on your fit journey – I want to lose 10 pounds in a month which puts me at 10 pounds lighter by Christmas Eve. Totally doable, especially with spiralized meals. :) Thank you for the motivation!

  12. Ali,
    I’ve been making dishes with pomegranates this fall, and I found a better way to get the seeds out than under water. Go to this video – I was surprised, but it really works! http://www.marthastewart.com/1094444/easiest-way-seed-pomegranate
    Love your posts! I’m with you on the getting back to exercise program.

  13. I needed this today. You have a talent for that, keep it up!

  14. Hi Ali,
    I can relate to this post so much! I just got married in September, and have gained almost 10 lbs since. On one hand, I am really enjoying being less strict (and honestly, obsessed) about fitting in work outs and trying to eat extremely healthy, but on the other, I’m taking it too far in a way and eating stuff I never would have eaten before. I think I restricted myself so much before that now I just want to eat all the foods I didn’t allow myself to pre-wedding. It’s liberating not to worry about how to make sure my next meal super healthy, but I also just don’t feel as good with the way I’ve been eating. It’s definitely a journey and there’s ups and downs. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing, a lot of us here can relate!

    • Exactly! It’s definitely a fine line between obsession and healthy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the obsession of eating clean and then when you’re off of it, it’s so easy to go back to old ways and even eat things you know aren’t going to make you feel your best. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I love reading these types of updates. It reminds me that I’m not the only one on this constant roller coaster.

    I love your “what I ate today” videos too! I’m obsessed with that vegi sandwich with avocado. All my coworkers are always like “what is that!?” Who knew a pile of vegis could look and taste so good!

    Keep it up girl!

  16. Shelby, this post made my day! We all have the same struggles and it helps all of us (including me!) to hear the individual struggles. If we don’t share our struggles, then we’ll never know that we’re all in it together! So happy you’re loving spiralizing and it’s helped you eat more healthy :)

  17. Hey there! Loved your honesty in this post. I too am jumping on the bandwagon and switching over to get it together mode this holiday season. I’m proud to say I just got an inspiralizer last week. I had the original one that you did not make and I stopped using it since it would always slide on the countertop. Yours works AMAZING, a million times better. Thanks! :). Will you be posting your meal plans and exercise plans as blog posts?

  18. Thank you for sharing!! I feel exactly the same way and feel totally exhausted and unmotivated. I can’t wait to follow along and get inspired by you!

    xo Annie
    http://www.laircake.com

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