The One Where Madison Rambles and Updates You on Life

Happy Friday everyone! I hope if you are experiencing cold weather right now you are doing your best to stay warm and are toughing through it. And if you are currently experiencing warm weather… eh, I don’t have anything nice to say to you. Except give us back the sun!! 😉

Today is going to be a rather short post since I have a surprise for you.

I made a vlog!

vlog-screen-capture

After doing a Blogilates workout on my TV I was inspired to make my own video and give you a little update on what has been going on with me stomach-wise. I swear that I am not hyped up on anything in this post, despite what my wandering eyes and random tangents may lead you to believe…

A few thoughts about the video:

  • Sorry again for the horrible lighting and earthquake-like shaking that resulted from me holding the camera by hand for 15 minutes straight.
  • Oh ya, and sorry for the 15 minute length too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- with strangers I’m a closed book, but if you can get me talking I’ll never stop!
  • The Blogilates workout that I did today was this one. And the one I did yesterday was a bit longer as a Whole Body Workout. I highly recommend either, and despite their fun titles, those are some serious workouts!
  • Yes, I was still in my pajamas when I recorded the video. Well, I actually took a shower and changed back into them to do the exercise video, so that’s a little better, right?
  • I realized why it was so dark in my living room AFTER I was finished recording– my mom closes the drapes at night to help with insulation and the temperature inside, and we had yet to open them for the day. *Head smack*
  • Of course I will let you know what I find out with the health tests with my new doctor.
  • These are the PaleOMG pancakes that I was talking about. I’ll share more about my adjustments in a future post.
  • While I didn’t take any medicine for my fever, I want to assure you that if my fever had gone any higher or hadn’t broke that day, I would have definitely taken some medicine to bring it down. Test or not, I’m not willing to risk my health for something like that.
  • I am feeling much better but still need a little recovery time. Hopefully by Monday when I return to school I’ll be back to normal.
  • Seriously, I AM excited to go back to school. Call me strange if you must 😉
  • Obviously I am linking up this post to Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud because I literally thought out loud. Ha.

Thinking-Out-Loud (1)

Now, once again, happy Friday! I hope you all have a marvelous (warm) weekend and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Questions for you:

  • Have you ever made a vlog?
  • Do you prefer video or word posts?
  • Has the cold spell passed where you live?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud #1

Hey! What’s this? A post on a Thursday? I know, I know. I’m a constant bundle of surprise.

I decided to break my normal posting schedule to support Amanda and her new weekly link-up for Thinking Out Loud! I’m not sure if I will do this every week because I don’t want all of my posts to become solely for link-ups, but I couldn’t miss out on this inaugural event. This is history in the making.

Thinking-Out-Loud

In true Thursday Thoughts fashion I am taking a cue from Ms. Spoon’s book and going with some numbers….

1. I’m just not feeling super festive yet. Anyone else? Maybe it’s because I still have school in my constant thoughts. If that’s the case, it probably won’t be until next Saturday that I actually start feeling like it’s Christmas time.

thurs-thoughts-christmas-tree-cats

2. Despite not feeling all Christmas-y, the constant influx of snow is not letting me forget that we are indeed drawing nearer to Winter. While not a “warm” welcome, it does make me a little giddy and nostalgic to awake to a fresh bed of whiteness on our school lawns. Those happy memories are quickly forgotten though when my feet get soaked as I trudge through the wet snow. I need a new pair of boots that aren’t as thin as paper in the heels.

So basically, I feel like this whenever I go outside.

3. Speaking of boots, lets talk about Uggs for a moment. I own a few pair of knockoffs and they are so warm and comfortable. But are they cute? The consensus among my roommates is no. However, one roommate insists that they are adorable. I think that by definition they are ugly, and that is almost part of their appeal. They aren’t super high fashion so they are accessible to everyone and I feel like I can wear them everyday without much concern. Again, they are the epitome of warm. Nothing more.

thurs-thoughts-uggs

 4. I have realized recently that I do best with small changes. Occasionally I do well with just jumping feet first into something (like with this blog, one day it was non-existent and the next I was blabbing away to you all!) But with most things in life it’s better if I get adapted slowly. Like with exercise. I don’t know how many times I have tried to go all out and exercise a lot everyday when I’m first starting. Then within no time I lose that initial excitement and it quickly falls to the way side.

Since Elf For Health‘s challenge on Monday though, I’ve begun slowly adding in just a “bit” here and there. I almost forgot to do the circuit challenge for the day so before going to bed I quickly busted out 5 minutes worth of toning exercises. Is it an overnight transformation? Heck no. However, I’m not doing this to lose weight, and really, I’m not even doing it for the health benefits like potentially reducing the risk of disease, illness, spontaneous combustion, etc. Recently I’ve been intrigued by the idea that incorporating exercise into your daily schedule can help reduce stress and possibly even better digestion. I’m all for that.

Three nights in a row and going strong! 😉 Lol. I have no naive thoughts that what I’m doing is nearly enough, however this time around I want to try the slow approach, adding in a little each day. If you don’t already do wall sits, you really should. Feel the burn.

workout-dorm-lower-body-3

5. Up next I’m going to make an easy 5 minute arm workout for myself. I love circuits for their short and choppy nature. With reading my favorite books I have no problem doing the same thing for hours on end, but when it comes to working out if I’m repetitive my interest fades fast. What I need is quick and effective stuff where I won’t lose my mind in boredom.

thurs-thoughts-boredom-1

6. Tomorrow (Thursday) is the Hobbit 2 premiere and I am super excited. While I liked the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy I actually think the Hobbit is better thus far. My Loki-loving friend managed to snag seats to a special early showing tomorrow afternoon, so we are driving about an hour north to the city to watch in style. The only thing that could make this sequel better than the first is with the addition of some stellar new cast members. Oh wait, there is! Orlando Bloom as Legolas and Benedict Cumberbatch (as the dragon!). Aren’t you pumped? 😉

thurs-thoughts-hobbit-2

8. There are still open spots for the 12 Days of Christmas Recipes link-up! There are 3 or 4 themes left and for those of you worried about being too busy with work and such, all of the days remaining are towards the end so you can work on it in your spare time over Christmas vacation 🙂 A few of the other participants have already been e-mailing me with rough draft versions of theirs (not that you have to do that), which just goes to show how super easy it is join in!

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9. I was just going to end with 8… then I suddenly felt a cold blast of air. For some reason unbeknownst to me (and the rest of humanity) someone keeps on turning the air conditioning on in our room. 😯 Hmm… That 6 degree temperature prediction for tonight is not in Celsius, is it? No. No it’s not. However, I’m keeping my lips zipped and pulling on my house slippers in silence. “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men…”

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Questions for you:

What are you thinking about on this bright, cheery (cold) Thursday?

Does ending on an odd number bother any of you?

Have you considered joining in our Christmas recipe fun?

How do you keep warm during the winter? (Electric blankets is not an acceptable solution per University policy. No matter how much I would love to convince them otherwise…)

Girl Meets Food (WIAW # 16)

Happy Wednesday fellow WIAW-ers! I hope you are having an awesome week so far.

Thanks so much for all of your comments on my Friday Food Finds and Marvelous in my Monday. I really appreciated each and every one. Oh, and thanks for all of your concern with my allergy shot! My arm is back to normal now.

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If you may remember, last week I had five days of Paleo eating as an experiment of sorts.

The

Well, today’s the day that I do my recap! Here goes nothing…

I ate a lot of vegetables.

A lot of fruit.

And TONS of meat.

Okay, so the first two parts were okay. I really liked how I was eating so many whole foods. The third part though? Not so much.

I learned through this Paleo experiment that while my body thrives on protein, my stomach does not like meat. Not one bit.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop eating meat entirely. On the contrary, I will still consume it everyday. I will however, try to limit it to only once a day.

On Monday of Paleo eating I was very gun-ho to start this new lifestyle protein-strong. I ended up eating meat for all three of my main meals that day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which ended up creating one very bubbly stomach!

The remaining days of the week I only had meat once or twice a day and made sure to load up on tons of vegetables and fruits for my other meals and snacks.

Overall I was very pleased with myself! I managed to live without grains for an entire school week and I ate a good balance of both fruits and vegetables.

My main goal in going Paleo though, was not to see if I could do it, but to see how I would feel:

acid reflux- this actually got worse as I increased my meat consumption.

acne-I noticed that the more meat I ate, the more oily my face got.

allergies (food and seasonal)- This is too hard to measure in the short run. Overall I felt fine though.

circulation- Again, too hard to determine whether eating Paleo helped my circulation problems.

cravings- My cravings for grains and sweets went down significantly. Instead I craved protein and fresh produce.

calorie counting-While eating Paleo surprisingly I didn’t think that much about counting calories. I ate when I was hungry, and because lean protein and produce are so low in calories, I rarely overate. The funny thing was though, I actually was hungrier… Almost constantly my stomach was growling. Now, this could point to one of two things: First, this could indicate that grains fill me up better, because they are higher in fiber. Second, this could actually show me that when I eat grains, they don’t react well with my stomach, which messes up all of my hunger signals. Either way, I know that when I eat a lot of grains I feel fuller faster, sometimes too fast actually, sometimes when I haven’t eaten enough calories yet.

reactive hypoglycemia- Sometimes when I get too many carbohydrates and sugars, I get light headed and my blood sugar drops. With Paleo though, I ate so much protein that it actually helped counteract this.

weight loss- I don’t think I can measure the effectiveness of Paleo in regards to weight loss because it only lasted five days. However, I did feel much less bloated while on Paleo. For once I didn’t go to bed with my stomach bloated, hoping that it would be back to normal the next morning. That was a nice feeling. Also, when I went home this past weekend, it was the lowest number that I had seen on the scale since March. I gained some weight because of my food allergies, and I think that this shows that while I may not be allergic to grains, my body is probably better off without them.

So, what’s my conclusion?

Well, for now, I’ve decided to stay away from quinoa flakes. I don’t need to have them in my life. Don’t get be wrong, I LOVE them, but for now I want to see how I do without them for a longer period of time.

What I have decided is that I am going to start using protein powder again. Yes, my protein powder does come from rice, a grain, but I feel that the benefits of its protein and amjno acid content outweigh the harm here. I have also decided to bring back stevia for now. It has been cited recently that using stevia may help lower blood sugar and in the past, Native Americans used it to reduce inflammation (perfect for healing my stomach!). Whether or not these claims are accurate, I like using it, and I will continue to use it until I have a reason to stop.

And that wraps up my little Paleo adventure for now. My goal is to keep on doing a modified Paleo of sorts to complete a full 30 days, which at the end of I will test out how I feel with adding back in quinoa flakes. I also want to try and have a few days a week protein powder-free, but so far I have not accomplished this… Which leads us right into this week’s WIAW flashback theme: Falling into Good Habits.

My goal that I want to “fall” into is to eat two completely Paleo days before next Wednesday. I have also been slacking on my Thanksgiving workout and Plank Challenge, so I need to get motivated to do those more too. Wish me luck!

And now, onto some of my meals from my 5 days of Paleo, and some of the recipes from my food over the weekend:

Breakfast

One of the breakfasts that I had this weekend was a spin on my banana protein bread… Apple protein bread! It’s very crumbly and not at all like my banana protein bread, but I like it! To make it I just combined some apple butter that I made (recipe later in post), which brown rice protein powder, water, baking powder, and apple chunks (stevia optional for sweetener, but I did not use). I mixed all of the ingredients together in a small jar and microwaved it for about 3 minutes.

Lunch

I sure ate a ton of salads last week! Here is one with my favorite combo- chicken, grapes and cucumbers:

Another lunch that I had recently involved a new squash recipe that I am going to share with you all… It’s spaghetti squash!

And of course, I made it in the microwave (as if you would ever expect anything different. Pssh!)

How to Microwave Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe spaghetti squash
  • 1 plate
  • 1 sharp knife (I actually used a butter knife and it worked!)
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 microwave

Directions:

1. Cut the squash in half.

2. Scoop out the seeds and place one half on a plate.

3. Microwave the squash for 10-15 minutes and check it with a fork. Microwave for a few more minutes until soft, tender and done.

4. Use a spoon or fork to remove the “spaghetti” flesh from the skin. If it seems a little dry, put all of the “spaghetti” in a bowl, add a little water, and microwave for a few more minutes. The added water will absorb and make the squash much more moist.

5. Repeat for second half.

There are so many creative uses for spaghetti squash like as a substitute for pasta, used in casseroles, and even for breakfast!

I personally enjoy eating it plain though.

Or mixing in a little protein like I did with this lunch using tuna:

It’s never to early for a Christmas bowl!

Snack

Here comes another recipe! One of the recipes that I was dying to make was Oh She Glow’s apple butter. It took some time, but it was so good! I ended up making a smaller batch than what the original recipe called for, so it took about half the time. I’m going to share with you my modified recipe, but here’s the original just in case.

One-Ingredient Crock Pot Apple Butter

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredient: 1 pound of apples (sweet apple preferably, like golden delicious)

Directions:

1. Use an apple slicer to remove the cores from your apples (A knife would also work, but an apple slicer makes it much faster).

2. Place the apple slices (with peels on) in a small crock pot set to high. Let cook for 45 minutes.

3. Add some water (1/2 cup approximately) and let cook for another 15 minutes.

4. Check the apple slices. If they are starting to get soft, using a fork or pastry cutter to mash the apples.

5. Cook for another 15 minutes. Mash again. If soft enough, put all of the “applesauce” into a high speed food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

The “applesauce” should look like this:

6. Put the applesauce back into the crock pot and cook for another 15-30 minutes until thick. Blend again.

7. Let cool and store in a jar or sealed container.

Dinner

Dinner last week was the usual: Grilled Chicken and Steamed Vegetables!

Snack

This past summer I made a lot of banana ice cream.

It’s a great replacement for the high-fat, milk-containing store varieties that I can no longer have. Sure, it’s Edy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but it fills the void.

This weekend I took my old recipe for a spin and made a holiday version! With pumpkin!

Pumpkin Protein Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • water if needed
  • 2-4 tbsp brown rice protein powder
  • stevia if desired (I didn’t use any)

Directions:

1. Blend the banana chunks in a food processor until smooth. Add a little water if needed.

2. Add the pumpkin puree and blend.

3. Remove all but a few tablespoons of the mixture and put into a small bowl.

4. Add the remaining mixture your protein powder and blend just until combined. It should be thick and have a doughy consistency. Adjust measurements as necessary.

5. Then, add the dough to banana pumpkin ice cream. Freeze to make a more ice-cream texture, or eat as is!

And that concludes this week’s What I Ate Wednesday! Also, I (sort of) made three recipes on my last Friday Food Finds, so I’d call that…

In other news… Obama won the presidency.

Wait, that’s not what I was going to tell you (although on second thought maybe the presidential election is more important…).

Okay, guess which show may be coming back for a spin-off? I’ll give you one hint:

That’s right! Boy Meets World. Hence my the title of my post… A little play on words.

I guess that means I have you two hints.

Disney just announced that they may be creating a spin-off Boy Meets World tv show featuring Corey and Topanga’s daughter. And… the actors who played Corey and Topanga may just return to play their characters again!

LOVE.

That is all.

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What is your favorite way to get in a lot of vegetables?

Do you ever have any side effects when you eat a lot of meat?

Have you busted out any Holiday houseware yet?

Did you stay up late to watch the Presidential elections last night? I stayed on the phone for almost two hours last night talking to my dad about the elections. He had on Fox and the local news station. I had Yahoo! up that I refreshed constantly to see which candidate was in the lead, and who was winning each state. I didn’t end up going to bed until almost one, but it was totally worth it! I still have yet to watch Romney’s concession, but as my dad said, I should because it is “part of history.” My first election that I ever got to vote! Exciting.

Wasn’t Boy Meets World just the best? I hope they bring back some other actors too, like the guys who played Shawn and Eric!

WIAW- Randomness, Workouts and Recipes

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday so you know what that means…
Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

If you missed any of my last few posts, check them out here: Weekend WIAW (3 Recipes), Sunshine in My Fridays, and Holiday Hustle: Thanksgiving Workout.

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As always, thanks to the lovely Jenn from Peas and Crayons for hosting this awesome party. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this to look forward to every week!

Today’s WIAW will again feature some of things that I made over the weekend, as well as my some thoughts.

To start off… A new recipe!

As a food allergy gal, I seriously miss my daily serving of bread. I used to eat this one kind of lite whole wheat bread multiple times a day. Toast with peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwiches… heck I even topped my bread with Greek yogurt on occasion! Mostly though, I miss the convenience of bread, and the delicious sandwiches that it made.

So, when I saw this recipe over at The Brain and Body for a microwave English muffin, I knew that I had to give making sandwich bread a try. Now, my recipe looks absolutely nothing like Sarah’s, but it was the inspiration that I give her credit for. Okay, are you ready?

Microwave Sandwich Bread

High fiber, Gluten-free, vegan, high protein, sugar free, low sodium, corn-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop brown rice protein powder (16 grams)*
  • 1 tbsp brown rice flour (8 grams)*
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (sodium and corn-free)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (60 grams)*
  • 2 tbsp water (more or less if needed)
  • add salt or seasonings if desired

Directions:

1. Mix together all of the ingredients and spread the mixture out in a cereal bowl. Cook for 2 minutes. If moist on bottom flip over and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

2. Let cool slightly then slice carefully with a thin, sharp knife.

3. Fill with meat, veggies, tofu, nut butters, jams, etc. and enjoy!

*Substitution notes: The protein powder and rice could be replaced with any flours desired  and should yield good results (just make sure to use equivalent amount in weight). I cannot make any guarantees though because I haven’t tried any variations. The pumpkin puree could also probably be subbed with another squash puree, banana puree (for a sweet bread), or an equivalent amount in egg.

I filled my sandwich with chicken and lettuce. It was so good! I hadn’t realized how much I had missed my sandwiches…

Oh, and what’s that in the picture?

No, not the sandwich!

Why, it’s butternut squash!

But it’s not just any butter nut squash. It’s…

Microwave Butternut Squash!

That’s right, I have now done it again. First I made acorn squash in the microwave, and now butternut. My life is almost complete.

How to Cook Butternut Squash in the Microwave

Inspired by my microwave Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe butternut squash
  • 1 plate
  • 1 sharp knife (I actually used a butter knife and it worked!)
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 microwave

Directions:

1. Cut the squash in half.

2. Scoop out the seeds and place both halves on a plate.

3. Microwave the squash for 10-15 minutes and check it with a fork. Microwave for a few more minutes until soft, tender and done.

After seeing Jenn’s butternut squash fry recipe on her last WIAW, I decided that it was a must-have for my Friday Food Finds. However, time was not on my side, so instead I decided that microwaving it would just have to do for now.

I also attempted to make some mini cookie dough cakes featuring rice flour, applesauce, and apple chunks. Basically I just mixed together those ingredients with some stevia and baking powder, and Wah-La!

They turned out alright, but not exactly what I wanted. Before I post a recipe I am going to keep on experimenting!

So, that’s 3 out of 4 recipes complete for my FFF. I’d call that a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Now for some randomness from my weekend:

My mom and I made some Candy Corn Popcorn from a recipe on Fitnessista.

Basically you just melt some butter, candy corn, sugar, salt and vanilla together all in a pot on the stove. Then pour it over some freshly popped (plain) popcorn.

Let cool. Then EAT UP!

My mom said it was delicious. I mean, how could it NOT taste good?!

For those of you with allergies, this is not an allergy-free recipe, which is why I did not post it with the others. I’m sure that there are some ways to modify this if you are allergic to a few of the ingredients. Either way, it’s a really cute concept!

Random side bar:

I actually put away all of my things when I cam back to my dorm this weekend!

Last week I left a lot of my stuff still packed and lying around. Not this week though- I was proactive!

Look! I even got serious:

HAIR-IN-BUN = GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Let’s see. What other randomness do I have to share with you all today?

How about the back of a Cheez-It box?

If that’s not random, I don’t know what is!

Alright. Not so random is the workout that I posted yesterday on Eating 4 Balance. It’s called Holiday Hustle: Thanksgiving Workout.

It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s super easy to adapt to whatever fitness requirements you may have. I did 30 second intervals yesterday, and today I increased them up to 40 seconds. To keep time I used this handy little Tabata tool I found through a Yahoo! search.

And yes, I prefer Yahoo! over Google. Don’t judge.

Anyways, this workout is great at increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat in a small amount of time. And as a bonus it includes a plank, perfect for Carrots N’ Cake’s 4 Week Plank Challenge.

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Here are the details copied straight from her site:

The Plank Challenge is actually really simple. It will take place for a total of 4 weeks (October 22 – November 16) and will only require 10 minutes or less of your time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. Monday and Friday will be time trial days when you hold a plank, time yourself, and record it. On Wednesdays, I’ll (Carrots N’ Cake ) post a plank/core workout (10 minutes or less) on CNC to help you build up your strength and stamina. Basically, the weeks will look like this:

  • Monday: Time trial
  • Wednesday: Plank/core workout
  • Friday: Time trial – try to beat Monday’s plank time!

Who’s with me? I did a 30 second plank yesterday, and a 40 second plank today as part of my Holiday Hustle. I’m sure that I could go longer, but for now I’m happy with small doses.

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Boy do I have a lot of questions for you all today!

What is your favorite thing to make in the microwave? Ever tried cooking squash?

What is your favorite type of Cheez-Its? Mine used to be Sour Cream and Onion, Mozzarella, or the Four Cheese.

Have you tried out my Holiday Hustle workout yet? It’s a perfect way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit!

Are you going to join me in Carrots N’ Cake’s 4 Week Plank Challenge?