Thinking Out Loud #2

Happy Thursday!

1. I know I said that I probably wouldn’t be doing Thinking Out Loud Thursdays very often, but I liked it so much last week that I couldn’t help participating again this week!

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2. Two exams down. Three more to go. Tomorrow morning I have Business Communications at 8:30am and then Astronomy right afterwards at 10:45am. I already have a nap planned for the afternoon somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:00pm.

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3. While I am really looking forward to Christmas Break, I don’t like all the work that comes before it. I have to defrost my fridge and mini freezer before Friday. Also we have to do a major cleaning of the common area in our dorm. Fun.

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4. Even though it’s not Sunday, Arman’s Spill It Sunday link-up is still open so I figured that I’d jump on the chance to join in:

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What is your favorite genre of film?

The real question should be- why do I have to pick just ONE? Action, Sci-Fi, Romantic Comedy, Musical, Adventure, Fantasy, Superhero… I think this would be better phrased as what kind of genres I DON’T like. Easy. Horror and Gross rated R comedies.

What is your favorite ever movie?

Boy Arman, are you full of tough questions this week! I would have to go with Harry Potter. And yes I know that there is more than one film in the HP series, and no, I am not going to pick which one I like best.

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What movie do you think deserves to have never been made?

You all know my professed hatred for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and that was the first movie that popped into my mind when reading this question.

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However, there is another movie with which I’m not even sure how it was conceived let alone produced. Bubba Ho-Tep. 

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Just read the description and you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Mud Creek, Texas, is about to get all shook up. When mysterious deaths plague the Shady Rest retirement home, it’s up to an aging, cantankerous “Elvis” (Bruce Campbell) and a decrepitand black”JFK” (Ossie Davis) to defeat a 3,000-year-old-Egyptian mummy with a penchant for sucking human souls! Can the King show the world that he can still take care of business?

Here is a trailer in case you need more convincing. I’m sorry, maybe it’s just me and it’s a fantastic movie. For some reason I don’t think so though…

Wait! Hold up. I just thought of an even worse movie. Jack Black’s Bernie. We literally could not finish it and just skipped to the end so we knew what happened.

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What movie should be considered a legal sleeping pill?

The Avengers. Before you all protest, I will acknowledge that the second time I saw the movie it was slightly better, but the plot line was just not good. I fell asleep twice during the movie.

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If you made a movie, what would it be about?

I really want to see a new spy series. Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible and James Bond are so good but they all feature older males. It’s time for a new female spy series!

A movie which you love but you’d never admit…

I know that as a superhero fan I am supposed to hate the ones that deviate from the originals,  but I just love Batman and Robin with George Clooney.

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5. Somehow I have watched six and counting episodes of Glee tonight. I saw one of the auditions on Youtube and got the sudden urge to rewatch the first season. I just love Rachel and Finn.

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6. Ending on an even number today, I am so happy with all of the contributions so far with 12 Days of Allergy-Free Christmas Recipes! If you haven’t been keeping up, make sure to check out this page (also listed on my menu above) with links to all of the posts so far. We actually have all but one day filled, so if anyone is interested, let me know. And keep up the great work everyone!

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Questions for you:

  • What are your movie favorites?
  • Are there any movies that you love but everyone else hates?
  • What are you thinking about on this beautiful (cold) Thursday?

Marvelous is My First Weekend Off (WIR)

I’m excited to say that my first year at college is officially complete. Three of my teachers have yet to submit grades yet, but so far things are looking great. I plan on spending my next two weeks before my summer internship starts relaxing with my family, friends and pets.

Here is a short review to give you and idea of my last week at school and my first weekend off for summer break, courtesy of Meghan’s link-up:

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  • Last week I spent most of my time studying.

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  • The rest of the time I spent reading blogs, taking care of last minute scholarship requirements, and cleaning up my dorm room.

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  • On Tuesday I took my Physics exam, on Thursday my Statistics exam, and on Friday my MIS exam.

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  • When I was finally finished with all of my tests, I was actually kind of upset…

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  • Oh, who am I kidding?! I was ecstatic to be finished!
  • After my final exam on Friday I went to the convenience store to use up the rest of my leftover meal plan dollars from the fall on snacks for my brother.

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  • Then my dad came and helped me pack up everything. We also had to de-loft my bed… WAY harder than it sounds 😦 And boy do I wish that the moving truck below was our own, because that sure would have been nice. Especially if it came with two or three surly dudes who would be thrilled with carrying out my microwave and pounds of clothing.

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  • This past weekend my dad has been working on tilling up the ground in preparation for our vegetable garden.

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  • We’re also working on possibly opening up our pool soon!

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  • And that’s basically my past week in review. Today I also had the opportunity to make some stuffed squash for my parents and retake the pictures so that I could share the recipe with you all.

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Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg/Dairy-Free, Nut/Peanut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Suggestions in Notes*

Two Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash (or any winter squash you have on hand)
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef*
  • 2 tsp of fresh or 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic/onion powder (whatever herbs you have on hand. Cayenne or cinnamon would add a nice kick too)
  • Ghee/Coconut Oil
  • About 1-2 cups diced vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli slaw would all be great options)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the acorn squash whole on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until soft.
  3. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with the ghee/coconut oil and cook the ground beef until almost done. Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  5. Then add the chopped vegetables and cook for about ten more minutes or until tender (cooking time will depend on the vegetables that you use).
  6. Remove the skillet from the stove and let rest while you prepare the squash.
  7. Take your acorn squash and carefully slice it in half. Use a spoon and scrape out the innards (seeds).
  8. Now stuff each squash half with your beef and vegetable mixture. There will probably be some left over depending on the size of your squash.
  9. Enjoy!

Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday

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*Notes: When I first showed a picture of this stuffed squash on Wednesday, I had a few non-meaters say that they would be interested in the recipe. Now, obviously this recipe as-is is not meat-free, but it’s such an easy one that I don’t want anyone to miss out over such a small ingredient! The most authentic tasting option would to just replace the meat and seasonings with a veggie-version of sausage crumbles. However, you could also replace the ground beef itself with about 2 cups of textured vegetable protein, still adding in the seasonings and vegetables like the recipe calls for. Other great vegetarian/vegan options would be to replace the ground beef with 2 cups of scrambled tofu/tempeh, or even cooked quinoa!

I hope these pictures make up for the terribly grain pictures that I posted on WIAW… And that they entice you to try this recipe out for yourself!

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday.

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What did your past week/weekend look like?

Are you done with school for the summer/forever? Are you excited?

Any major plans coming up for vacations or fun trips?

Pinterest Palooza Link-Up Parties

Howdy there. I’m in a super uppity mood today because I only have one more exam left and I’m scotch-free (is that the correct term? scotch? Hold on a second while I look it up…).

Oh, this is embarrassing. I guess it’s actually “scott-free”… Well, for your information, I am also free of scotch as well as free of all other illegal substances… 😉

Now that we have that out of the way, back to my regular blathering. As I sit here writing this it is Thursday afternoon and I am supposed to be studying for an MIS exam and packing. Both will get done, I promise, but I’m taking a wee little break.

Today I am participating in two fun link parties: Jessie Bear’s Together Tuesdays and The Lean Green Bean’s Pin It Party.

It is going to be one fantastic Pinterest Palooza! (The link in my description is for the post, and if you click on the picture that will take you to the pin!).

To start with, the Pin It Party where I feature 5 of my posts in a pinnable fashion:

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First is a recipe that I still have fond memories about. It comes all the way from October and is high fiber, gluten-free, vegan, high protein, sugar free, low sodium, corn-free. I give to you my Microwave Sandwich Bread.

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The second recipe that I have to share is also from last year where I was still eating human food (sort of 😉 ). You can also see from this post with my obsession of all things having to do with the microwave! How to Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave.

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Then with the start of the new year I began my all-soup ways and shared this single-serving Kabocha Squash and Pea Soup recipe that still is my go-to most days of the week.

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You’ll bet your bottoms though that didn’t stop me from baking up a storm. My fourth pin from Eating 4 Balance is for one of the most popular posts on my blog, including Coconut Flour Banana Bread and Three Ingredient Nut Butter Cookies.

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For my last pin I want to include a non-food post that I wrote a few weeks ago on the importance of sleep. In it I shared my Top Five Tips for getting a better night’s rest and a lot of people in the comments confessed to not getting enough ZZZ’s.

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Moving on to Jessie’s link-up, I am going to share 5 recipes that I have found around the blog world and about melted in their delicious-looking wake. This one is going to be short, because SERIOUSLY, I have to get studying for that exam tomorrow morning. Did I mention that it was at 8:30 AM?

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Pumpkin Poppers, because pumpkin never goes out of style season here in blogland.

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Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt. As if I already didn’t miss Greek yogurt and peanut butter enough as it is…

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Coconut Flour Dark Chocolate Brownies. Holy cow.

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Cinnamon Egg White Chicken Mugcakes. Seriously creative and clean eating-approved to boot!

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Cilantro Shrimp and Avocado Salad. Because you need something healthy and fresh amongst all of those (albeit healthy) desserts.

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Sadly you may have noticed that my posts this week have been lacking two things: recipes and Meghan’s Week in Review. Both will be coming this Monday in one heck of  a marvelous post, don’t you worry!

Speaking of worry, I think perhaps I’m starting to get those end-of-semester jitters. Not about the exams, but about the packing! Gosh is there so much to do. Aside from the actual packing portion, I have to vaccuum, clean my shelves and desk, de-loft my bed (that should be fun), and go through a 15 minute check out where I’m either approved, or I have to pay some fine if I something is missing. Yikes. Better get on that. Talk to you all later!

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What link-up parties have you participated in this week? 

Have you always said scott-free or were you awesome like me and made up your own twist? 😉

Any tips on de-lofting a bunk bed?

What is your favorite pin (recipe or not) that you’ve pinned recently?

What I Made (And Did Not Eat) Wednesday

Catchy title, right?

Well, I think it’s pretty obvious from my update on Friday (by the way- thanks so much for all of your amazing comments and support!) that I will not be eating anything blog-worthy for quite a long time. No matter though, because thankfully my family doesn’t have the same food restrictions as me and are very willing for me to make all of their meals when I’m home 🙂

Today I’m going to share some pictures of what I cooked up this past weekend, and let me know which recipe you’d like to see first!

It just so happens too that I have food for every major meal of the day. Perfect.

Breakfast: Oatless Oatmeal

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If you would believe it, my dad doesn’t really miss the bread on his hamburgers or the chips for his salsa since going GAPS. No, he misses the quick and easy… oatmeal. It’s okay. Laugh a little. I sure did when I came home to find two full canisters of oatmeal sitting on our island. It turns out my dad just couldn’t take it anymore and was planning on throwing them out (he just hadn’t gotten to the “throwing them out” step yet as our trash was full 😉 ). When I reminded him that my brother makes himself No-Bake cookies practically every few weeks though, the oatmeal went back into the cupboard. A spark had been lit in my head though and I vowed to make him a bowl of GAPS-approved oatmeal that same weekend.

You may remember if you’ve been reading awhile that I made some allergy-free oatless oats for a snack last summer. This recipe is still grain-free, dairy-free and can be nut/peanut-free as well, but sadly not egg-free. For all of those of you who can eat eggs though (which is probably most of you), you will love the new recipe. Still, I gotta support my allergic peeps here (yes, I really did just call you “peeps”) and say that I’ve read that you can replace the eggs in the recipe with flax egg or tofu, but I of course I can’t guarantee the results!

Lunch: Homemade Ranch Dressing

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My mom has been complaining (okay, not really complaining but “mentioning”) for quite a while that her salads just aren’t as enjoyable anymore without a good dressing and all of the homemade recipes that she has tried were less than stellar. When I got home this weekend I made it my mission to change all of that. I did a little research online and got a good idea of some of the ingredients that others put in their ranch dressing recipes. Then I pulled out a whole bunch of stuff from my pantry and got to work. Five minutes later I had something that looked and smelled like ranch dressing. The ultimate test though would be if it actually tasted like ranch dressing. This picture shows a salad that I whipped up for my dad (romaine lettuce mix, diced onion and pepper, sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped grass-fed beef burger) with organic green beans on the side. Of course there was the ranch dressing too.

Thankfully it was a success and my dad was genuinely surprised that it tasted so close to the real thing. I have to admit that I was a little surprised (and relieved) too. It’s so hard to make something and not be able to test it beforehand.

When my mom got home from work later that day she heard of the infamous ranch dressing and asked if there was any left. Um… Whoops. But within a couple of minutes there sure was. Let’s just say that my mom was even more thrilled than my dad and asked for the recipe. Again… Whoops. It turns out my hands have a pretty good memory though and with each dash of “such and such” and spoonful of “this and that” that I threw into the mix we measured out the ingredients and had a solid recipe.

This ranch dressing can also be made allergy-free with one simple substitution, so I’ll make sure to include that in the notes when I eventually post it on this blog.

Supper: Stuffed Acorn Squash

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This will be more of a simple How-To. In fact, just from the picture you can probably already guess what the main ingredients will be comprised of. 🙂

Snack: Oh-So-Secret Snack Bars 😉

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My mom tried Larabars for the first time on Saturday upon my recommendation and really liked them. Of course the price and size probably would have made my dad’s eye twitch, but the ingredients are so wholesome and clean it would be a shame to pass them up! Once again inspired though, on Monday before I left for school I whipped up some homemade bars with an ingredient that you’ll never guess (Hint: It involves recycling). These will be similar to the Acorn Squash recipe in that it will be more of a How-To with some measurement suggestions, but I’ll be making them again and can probably get a more accurate recipe for you all next week.

That about wraps up WIAW for today. Jenn is so awesome for hosting this shin-dig so go over to her blog and leave a comment thanking her for putting up with all of us every week 😉

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I’m hoping to get up at least one of these recipes on Friday, but if I’m absent, just know it’s because I have been swallowed by the vortex that is Spring Semester Final Exams. I have one on Thursday and one on Friday so Wednesday will be jam-packed with studying and trying ever so hard to not get on Pinterest/Hulu/Facebook/Netflix. But we all know that’s not going to be possible. 

Still, I am going to be quite busy this week in preparing for these end-of-year tests, packing up my dorm room, getting ready for my internship and moving (just under 3 weeks!) and taking care of some Financial aid stuff at school. Of course I’ll still be blogging, but if I’m late in responding or commenting, you’ll know why. 🙂

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Did you make (and not eat) anything for someone this week?

Which recipe would you all like to see first?

What have you been busy with lately? Exams? Spring Cleaning? Getting ready for summer? Busy at work? Share!