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!

Three’s a Party

Two (Link-Ups) + One (Recipe) = Three.

And three’s a party, right Andy? 😉

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Yep. That’s what I thought.

For the first part of this wonderful Friday equation, I have two link-ups to do today.

First up is Meghan’s Week in Review. I’m going to alter this slightly and make it Birthday Presents in Review.

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  • I’ve already shared part of what my parents got me for my birthday last week:

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  • As per tradition though I also got a little money to spend- half on clothes and half on “other stuff.” Well, I haven’t purchased any “other stuff” yet, but I did go shopping this past weekend with my mom for some things to wear during my summer internship (which is completely casual dress by the way— no ties {or skirts!!!!} required 🙂

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  • Don’t you just love the name brand of those shoes?! X-Appeal. We got some awesome deals on a pair of black flats and silver sandals:

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  • I also got a pair of pink skinny jeans and a white top at DEBS on clearance. Then at an Aerospostale outlet store I found a striped blue and white flowy shirt for only $3.99!

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  • On Easter Sunday when I saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, I also received a few cards full of money which I… still need to deposit in the bank. Whoops!

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  • My aunt gave me a big wrapped box too when we were leaving the Chinese restaurant. Of course I immediately pulled it into the backseat where I was sitting and proceeded to open it on the drive home. 

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  • A crock-pot is the perfect present for me as I will most likely be continuing my soupy ways this summer and being far from home in a foreign kitchen I’ll need some appliance to make broth in!

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  • And last, but certainly not least I got a card from one of my close friends in the mail on Monday this week wishing me a Happy Belated Birthday. The present? An awesome drawing that made me smile 🙂

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Now for part two of the link-ups I am going to be joining Jessie in her Together Tuesdays/ having my own little Friday Food Finds party. Here are just a few great food ideas that I’ve seen floating around the blog world and Pinterest lately that I thought were pretty great:

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Friday_Food_Finds

The first pin that I want to share is this Pineapple Ginger Smoothie from Gimme Some Oven. Someone in the comments called it an “orange julius on steroids” which immediately grabbed my attention. For those with dairy allergies or for those who are vegan, the Greek yogurt could probably be subbed for another frozen banana or some coconut milk/yogurt.

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Next are these delicious-looking Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches from The Lean Green Bean. The “bread” is made from figs and a combination of pistachios/peanut butter. The “ice cream” is made from frozen bananas. Again, for those with allergies, in particular pistachios or peanuts, you could sub them out for equal amounts in seeds and sun butter.

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For a quick and easy meal, I also spotted this recipe for Healthy Wraps from Purely Twins. Unfortunately these contain eggs so they aren’t an option for those with egg allergies or who are vegan, but other than that they would be perfect to make when you need a tasty lunch but are out of store-bought bread.

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It seems that I am just fascinated with Girl Scout cookies these days as I pinned another Girl Scout cookie remake, this time Do-Si-Do Cookies from Sit, Stir & Savour. These are vegan, grain-free, refined sugar-free and oil-free, so basically perfect for almost any diet!

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The last recipe that I have to share is probably one that many of you have already seen. It’s the Healthy Homemade Goldfish Crackers from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Vegan of course with a gluten-free option, and nutritional yeast for the “cheesy” flavor.

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With two out of three done, I only have one part left to wrap up this party! A recipe.

Probably much to the annoyance of some, this recipe is not for the pear crisp that I’ve been promising for oh… a couple of weeks. But I’ve already started on the post for that and it will be coming at you all soon.

This recipe is no where near vegan however, so those of you who shed a bashful eye to all things meat, scroll down and answer my question for today! (Although the beef is grass-fed and pasture-raised, so there is that 😉 ).

Mama Mia, It’s a Meatza!

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy/Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly

Makes 4 servings/squares

Meatza-sliced[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 egg (optional for egg-free)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, dash of pepper
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (I made my own with tomato puree + Italian seasoning/salt/onion and garlic powder to taste)
  • chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms (approximately 1/2-1 cup each)
  • Ghee (Or coconut oil for dairy-free)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×9 glass pan with ghee (or coconut oil).

2. In a medium-sized bowl combine the beef, egg and seasonings.

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3. Press the beef mixture into the pan and spread evenly.

4. Bake for 10 minutes.Top with the pizza sauce and the chopped vegetables.

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Meatza-veggies[1]

5. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown and the meat is thoroughly cooked. (Broil if desired to make it extra crispy).

Meatza-done[1]

If you couldn’t tell from its name, a meatza is basically a Paleo/grain-free version of pizza! Some meatzas also have cheese on top, so that would make a great add-on for those of you who can have dairy. I made this on Saturday for my parents and they each had two slices for supper.

Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Naturally Living Monday, Make Your Own Monday

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And now that you have finished this incredibly long post you are officially free to have a fantastic Friday. Check out some of the recipes above and let me know what you think.

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Question for you all: Other than obviously laughing at the Pin above with Chef Ramsey, how do you feel about the healthy precautions that one needs to take when cooking food? This goes out to both vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. Are you really careful about  washing your hands and utensils before you begin to make a meal? Have you ever gotten food poisoning from food being mishandled at a restaurant? 

What I Ate on my Interview Trip

I want to start off by first thanking everyone for their comments on my WIAW and Currently #2 posts last week. They were so kind and much appreciated as always!

Second, I want to make a disclaimer. I have no idea what will come of this interview, and even if I am offered the position, I’m not sure that I’ll take it. Either way, it was a great opportunity and I definitely do not regret going.

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And now, for a recap of the trip!

Many meteorologists and weather stations predicted that our area would be hit with a snow storm on Tuesday night. The night my dad and I were planning on leaving. So… I got ready early and drove to my dad’s college so that we could beat the storm. I picked him up around 8:30 PM and we left straight from there.

Trip-beds[1]

I was pretty beat from all of the stuff that I had to do Friday and I was so grateful that my dad offered to drive the whole three hours (I was in and out of sleep for much of the time). We got to our hotel around 11:30 PM without any snow troubles, checked into our room settled down for the night. Of course, I had to take pictures of the room to show you all.

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Television and Fridge (<<< very excited about the unexpected fridge!). Unfortunately our television only let us watch one channel. The front desk offered to move us to a new room, but it was late and we decided to stay put. On the plus side, we got a nice little discount because of the error!

Closet:

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Note from housekeepers:

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Sink and mirror:

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Telephone:

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After checking the room out, I got ready for bed and worked on my WIAW post. Soon after that I went to bed.

The next morning at about 6:00 I woke up to find my dad heading downstairs to the lobby for breakfast (hard boiled eggs and fruit). Afterwards he went to a local health clinic to get checked out because he was coughing up a storm and didn’t feel well. With a prescription from a nurse practioner, and some Halls cough drops, he was good to go!

I slept for another hour and a half after he left and proceeded to make myself breakfast.

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Then I took a shower and got dressed.

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By that time my dad was back, he took a short nap, and then we both went on a little adventure to Whole Foods.

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We picked up a ton of organic food for my mom (nuts/seeds, raisins, beans, tomato puree, coconut flour). I went there hoping to get some winter squash, but the produce man said that they didn’t carry any because winter squash is out of season.

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Meijer begs to differ (as does Wal-Mart, Krogers and the Whole Foods that my aunt just went to).

After our Whole Foods excursion we went back to the hotel to pack and I made myself some lunch.

How many people do you know who cut zucchini in hotel bathrooms?

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Not much later I got dressed up in my interview clothes.

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After I was ready we checked out and headed to the business park where the company was that I would interview at.

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The Internship Interview:

First was a tour of the building- so many rooms and cubicles! They also had a few kitchens and one even included an oven! Next I job shadowed a customer service phone operator who was trained on a few of the company’s accounting software programs. Lastly I had two separate interviews. I felt that both went rather well, but we’ll see!

After the interview concluded around 3:30 my dad picked me up and we headed home. About an hour in we stopped for me to change into some more comfortable clothes. I also picked up my dad a decaf coffee at Burger King and I pulled out my thermos of soup that I cooked in my electric kettle before leaving the hotel.

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On the way home we had a minor setback when we encountered a super long train. We sat there for what seemed like forever!

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We finally got home around 8:00 PM, almost a full 24 hours since I had left the previous day. My dad headed straight to bed, but I got some more food and settled down in the living room to tell my mom all about the internship interview.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this wonderful link-up party and allowing me to share my trip eats!

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Now, as promised, here are two of the recipes that I taunted you all with last week.

First up are these crackers, which both of my parents just gobbled down. My dad especially was a huge cracker fiend before going GAPS, so I wanted to make him a cracker recipe that would fulfill his snacking needs. My goal was to make something sort of like a wheat thin, and thus these suckers were made:

Grain-Free Crispy Cracker Thins

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo Friendly

Adapted from Caveman Food

Crackers-bowl[1]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup seed/nut flour (I used sunflour)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp sea salt
  • More salt for sprinkling 
  • Optional: herbs, spices, etc.

crackers-ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, egg white and sea salt to form a dough.
  3. Put a piece of parchment paper down on a cookie sheet. Place the dough in the middle. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough very very thin. When you think it’s thin enough, roll it out some more (you want it super thin for a crispy cracker. I also had to use my hands to spread out the dough).
  4. Remove the top parchment paper carefully.
  5. Use a knife to score the crackers to the size that you want. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and other toppings to your liking.
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 18 minutes. You may want to check at 10 minutes and two minute intervals thereafter; however, to make sure that they don’t burn (oven temps differ greatly). 
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and then carefully break off the crackers. 
  8. Enjoy!

crackers-directions

Recipe shared on: Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Fat TuesdayWhole Foods Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Wheat-Free Wednesday.

Next is my healthified take on the McDonald’s classic: The McGriddle. Sorry for the less than stellar pictures, but I made these at night for my mom and dad. AKA- horrible lighting! Anyways, this recipe makes 4 medium-sized McGriddle sandwiches, but be prepared to freeze extras, because just one is plenty filling for a whole meal!

Paleo McGriddles

Makes 4 McGriddle Sandwiches

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Option, GAPS/Paleo Friendly

Mcgriddle-whole[1]

Ingredients:

  • 8 pancakes
  • 4 sausage patties
  • 2 eggs, cooked as desired
  • honey (optional)

Pancake Ingredients:

Adapted from A Mom on a Mission

Mcgriddles-pancakes[1]

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup mashed acorn squash (any winter squash, pumpkin or banana puree would work)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • Ghee or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat. 
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except for the ghee/coconut oil. 
  3. Coat the pan in the ghee/coconut oil to prevent sticking. 
  4. Use slightly under a 1/3 cup (or 1/4 cup, but you don’t want to waste another measuring cup, right? 😉 ) and pour onto the hot skillet to form pancakes. Spread out with the cup or a spoon if necessary.
  5. Cook for approximately 3 minutes then flip. Cook for another two minutes and then remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

Sausage Ingredients:

Adapted from Autoimmune Paleo

Mcgriddles-sausage[1]

  • 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 

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet on medium-high.
  2. Combine the beef with the seasonings in a bowl. Form into four patties.
  3. Coat the pan in the ghee/coconut oil to prevent sticking. 
  4. Place all four patties into the skillet. Cover if able and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover and flip the patties. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Check for doneness.

McGriddle Directions:

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Set out four pancakes. Top with one sausage patty, then 1/4 of the cooked eggs. Drizzle on honey if desired. Put on remaining pancake tops. Enjoy!

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And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the other recipe that I posted a picture of during my Friday post. All of the chocolatey and peanut-buttery (or nut butter substitute for those of us with allergies 😉 ) will be coming at you soon enough!

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Have a fantastic and veggie-filled Wednesday!

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Did you get hit with any snow this past week? 

When was the last time that you stayed at a hotel?

Did you love McGriddles and Wheat Thins growing up?