Chili, Chips, and Cheeze

Hola mis amigas (o amigos)!

I’ve still not gotten fully adjusted to this whole working around the clock thing, so today’s post isn’t going to be very long. My eyelids are drooping again way before I should be going to bed…

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Here is a recipe that I made a few weeks ago for my mom and dad before I headed off to my internship. In the words of my dad to my mom: “She really made this?”

Yes. It’s that good. 🙂 So gather up the ingredients and make some Mexican-inspired…

Chili, Chips and Cheeze

Makes Two Servings 

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Nut/Dairy/Egg-Free Options, Vegan Options, GAPS/Paleo-Friendly 

Chips Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (or other nut/seed flour)
  • 1 egg white (see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more for sprinkling
  • garlic and onion powder

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Cheeze Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used ghee, but coconut oil, butter or a dairy-free substitute would work as well)
  • 1 cup butternut squash, pureed (cooked using this method)
  • 3/4-1 cup homemade almond milk (any type of milk would work here)
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp each ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper

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Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef (ground turkey, chicken, pork, would also work— see below for vegan substitution ideas)
  • 1/2-1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey (maple syrup or stevia for vegans would be fine too)
  • 1 tsp each of ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp each black pepper, chili powder

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Chips Directions:

Based on my Grain-Free Crispy Cracker Thins

  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 chips into triangle, chip-size pieces. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and other toppings to your liking.
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. You may want to check at intervals thereafter; however, to make sure that they don’t burn (oven temps differ greatly). I then flipped the chips and baked for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and then carefully break off the chips.

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Cheeze Directions:

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  1. In a medium-sized pan, heat the 1 tbsp ghee/oil over medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour and almond milk well. Add to the heated oil.
  3. Combine well and then stir in the remaining ingredients mixing with each addition.
  4. Stir frequently until the cheeze sauce has thickened (add more almond milk if you like your cheeze thinner).
  5. Remove from heat.

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Chili Directions:

  1. Over medium-high heat cook your ground beef (or substitute). Add the onions and peppers when almost through cooking and sautee until well-cooked.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.

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To make the dish:

1. Take about half of the chips and place them in a bowl/on a plate.

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2. Scoop on about half of the chili mixture.

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3. Top with desired amount of cheeze sauce.

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Substitution notes:

Nut-free: To make this recipe nut-free you can use sun flour in place of the almond flour, and any type of milk you desire in place of the almond milk (homemade sunflower seed milk, rice milk, cow’s milk, etc).

Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free use coconut oil instead of ghee, and make sure to use a dairy-free milk option.

Egg-free: To make this recipe egg-free, I would recommend using a cracker recipe that you know and love. I think that making a chia/flax egg and substituting it in for the egg white in this recipe might also work, but I can’t guarantee the results.

Vegan: To make this recipe vegan, use all of the vegan substitution options above for dairy and egg-free as well as a sweetener in place of the honey. In addition, you can substitute the beef in the chili recipe with a number of different ingredients. A combination of diced mushrooms, cauliflower and extra onions/peppers would be a great way to keep this recipe paleo as well as vegan. Otherwise, cooked tvp, a meat substitute, lentils, and/or a combination of mashed beans would also be delicious. My recommendation is about 2 cups cooked (1 cup mushrooms, 1 cup lentils, and 1 cup beans sauteed and cooked would be my top pick).

Nightshade-free: To make this free of nightshade vegetables for those who have food allergies, try replacing the tomato puree with butternut squash puree and the diced peppers with celery, more onions, mushrooms, or carrots.

Shared at Fat Tuesday.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting the never-ending party that is What I Ate Wednesday!

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Tomorrow is of course going to be packed full of more work, but I’m going to try my hardest to reply to all of your comments on my last two posts, as well as comment on as many wonderful WIAW as I possibly can! Thanks for being patient with me!

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What is your favorite Mexican-inspired dish?

Do you like having a lot of subsidization options with recipes? Or would you rather just come up with substitution options on your own?

What is your favorite food that you shared for today’s WIAW post?

Life Update

Alright. Time for an update on what’s going on in my life right now! It’s been almost a week since I talked about me at all 🙂

Courtesy of Meghan at Clean Eats Fast Feets.

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  • Last Thursday I attended a band concert. It was outside on the grass lawn of my old high school. My brother and a lot of my friends were in the concert, and it was also the last performance of my old band director before he retired. As a surprise about 80 alumni members came back to play one final song with him. I hadn’t picked up my clarinet in almost a year, but I was amazed out how easy it was to play again.
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A lot of people showed up for the band concert! This photo doesn’t do it justice.

  • After the concert about 20 of us drove into Wendy’s for a little celebration. Of course I didn’t get any food; however that just gave me the excuse to talk even more 😉 I hadn’t realized how much I missed all of my friends. College just can’t compare.
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This is something my friends and I would totally say. Sarcasm at its finest.

  • On Saturday I did a ton of packing and then my parents and brother drove up with me to my apartment for the summer. We packed up two cars (one mine and one theirs) and drove 3 + hours. On the way we encountered a train (again) and had to wait awhile.
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You can’t see it in this picture, but there was some pretty awesome-looking graffiti painted on some of the train cars.

  • That afternoon we unpacked all of my things from the cars and went out to do a little shopping/eating. Since it was so late they all spent the night as well.
  • On Sunday after lunch they headed home and I was left to explore the apartment a bit more on my own!
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This is the only picture of my apartment that you’ll see for awhile. It looks positively PLAIN right now.

  • Monday was the first day of my internship. This week I have been working 8:30AM-5:30PM everyday. However, I actually leave at 7:45AM and don’t get back until around 6:05PM because the traffic is so congested (it should only take 11 minutes to travel to and from the office).
  • A few thoughts on my internship so far:

 

1. There are a total of ten interns. 9 male. 1 female. Guess who the 1 female is?…. 😦

2. Our days are divided up into customer service training as well as training on the tax software that we are going to be supporting. Other times we are learning about the call system that we will be using to log our communication with customers, and sometimes we are sent to our individual cubicles to work on practice exercises.

3. As I mentioned on Wednesday, I am just mentally drained. Other than my lunch break everyday, it’s basically non-stop thinking.

4. It’s actually all really interesting stuff and I think I might (just might! 🙂 ) actually enjoy working in customer support this summer. It kind of seems… fun?

  • I almost forgot to mention, but also last week on Friday I went to see my gastroenterologist again. She asked more questions and I gave more answers. Then she prescribed a bunch of tests! At first I was pretty excited because more tests mean the possibility finally for a diagnosis and a solution.
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In case you don’t know what a hospital table looks like… Funny story: when the doctor had me lay down on the table we realized that there was no way to extend the bottom so basically I had to keep my legs lifted the whole time because I was too long! Haha.

  • Then when I went to get my blood drawn the nurse encountered a little difficulty (like always). I think she collapsed the vessel in my arm because it started burning and she didn’t get much out. Time to call in the professionals! A woman named “Rosa” came over and within 30 seconds had stabbed me and began shoving the needle around. Now, there may have been a few tears and weary glances at my mom, but at least she got the blood flowing!

 

  • And gave me a special pink bandage with smiley faces. The woman who collapsed my vessel just gave me a boring old tan one…
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Excuse my unphotogenic arms that look more like a leg than an arm in this picture!

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Does anyone else just love bandaids?

  • I also have to do a lot of various stool tests (I hate typing that word but there’s nothing better to call it!) to test me for infections, inflammation, parasites, etc. One of these tests is also supposed to measure my ability to absorb fat, but I’m not sure that one’s ever going to get done because I have to eat 100 grams of fat for 6 days straight! Currently I don’t eat much fat at all– the only fat I get is from dark chicken meat. Any skin, fat in broth, oils, nuts, or what have you basically kills my stomach and sends me straight to the bathroom for days on end. So ya… No thanks!
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Oh! And here is a lovely picture of the bruise that formed on my arm from the collapsed vein… Can you kind of see it? Unfortunately it looks more like a strange stain than a bruise.

  • There are some other tests that they are running too, but I’m not able to do those until later this summer when I have off on July 5th. As for the rest of the tests, I’ll let you know what I find out when I get the results. Hopefully sooner rather than later!
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Who else takes awkward pictures in doctor’s offices?

  • Tomorrow is Friday thank goodness!

I’m going to quickly insert some pictures so this post isn’t quite so text-heavy and BORING. Then I’m going to find a nice little book to read before I head off to bed. Besides being Friday, it’s also the day that I get to head home for the weekend since I have three days off due to Memorial Day!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Oh, and a little preview for a new recipe that I have to share. Dairy-Free Chili Chips and Cheese (with Vegan substitutions!)

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Does this really need a caption?

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Are you going to do anything special to celebrate Memorial Day? I’m planning on going to a band parade on Monday depending on the weather!

Do you like going to the hospital?

Are there many train tracks where you live?

What are your plans for the weekend?

What Other People Ate (WIAW)

Well, it’s official guys- I’m moved into my new apartment for the summer! I started my job on Monday and now I’m two days down.

Right now I’m just mentally drained though and it’s kind of hard to put coherent lines of thought together much less actually stay awake past 9:00 PM (I’ve already dosed off twice tonight. Bedtime is just around the corner…).

It has already been far too long since I posted something on here though (four or five days I think? The horror! 😉 ).

I figured what could be easier than some good old fashioned link-ups with two of my favorite bloggers? That’s right: another two for one special with Peas and Crayons and Jessie Bear What Will You Wear. A mash-up of WIAW and Together Tuesdays (because it is completely possible for Tuesdays and Wednesdays to occur on the same day in the blog world).

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I give to you:

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ATE (and what I not so secretly wish I could be eating right now too):

Breakfast

Kabocha Squash Pancake from Hungry Healthy Girl

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Because both Jessies also included it in their Together Tuesdays for this week… and because Kabocha is the bomb.

Snack

Sooth Ginger Mango Dream Smoothie from Peachy Palate

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Great for digestion and full of fresh seasonal ingredients!

Lunch

Coconut Chicken Nuggets from Taylor Made it Paleo

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Super simple and grain-free, these chicken nuggets would pair great with my homemade ranch dressing as a dip!

Snack

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Butter from The Smart Kitchen

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Sea salt and chocolate lovers unite with the nut butter world. Holy moly.

Dinner

Old Bay Crab Cakes from Freckled Nettles

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I would beg to guess that even seafood haters would love Brittany’s beginner-friendly crab cake recipe.

Dessert

Vegan Lemonade Ice Cream from Healthful Pursuit

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You’ll never guess the ingredients until you click the recipe.

Like I said… Eyes currently drifting close. Time for me to publish, shut down and hit the hay.

This Friday you can count on a post. Not sure what (hopefully a recipe AND review?). Either way, hope to see in the comment sections across the blog world tomorrow. Happy Wednesday!
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Questions for you:

Are you tired right now?
Where is the strangest place that you have fallen asleep?
Any amazing recipe finds to share from this week?

WIAW: Simple Homemade Ranch Dressing

First I want to start off by thanking everyone for the awesome comments on yesterday’s post! A lot of you made comments about time flying by and lots of memories of your life in college. I think those comments were spot on- I feel like I was just moving into my dorm room yesterday and now I’m getting ready to move for my first internship less than a year late

On the topic of my internship, I haven’t really explained what it all will entail. The main reason for this is that my blog is personal and I try to keep it as separated from the rest of my life as possible. I have mentioned this before, but other than my parents and brother (who do not read the blog), none of my family, friends or classmates know about Eating 4 Balance. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it. On the contrary, I’m extremely proud of the little community I’m a part of and would honestly love to tell everyone!

The problem is that I don’t know how people will react. Some may want not care and some may want to read it. Of those who would choose to read it, I think some who are close to me might misunderstand something I’ve said, while others may just not understand at all and see what I talk about on here as self-centered or pointless.

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With that in mind, it goes both ways in that I don’t want to share too much of what I do outside of my blog for fear of causing trouble. I’ve read stories of bloggers who have lost their jobs because they blogged about what they did at work. And since I make a total of $0 on Eating 4 Balance, losing money over a blog is not really worth it.

Still, I want to keep you in the loop as much as possible. Reading recipes and stomach pain tangents all day is probably not entertaining for most of you.

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Here’s the low-down:

  1. My internship is located in a city about 3 hours away from my hometown.
  2. I will work 16 weeks full-time over the summer starting May 20 and ending August 16. I will continue to work from my college dorm for the company part-time from the end of my summer term through the school year until the end of my spring term.
  3. For the first few weeks at the internship I will be learning tax law and will be trained on an accounting/tax-type software. For the remaining time until April 2014 I will work in customer service answering calls and helping out the accountants and tax professionals who use the company’s software.

That about sums it up! I’m very excited to move into a subleased apartment in less than two weeks and start this  internship. Yes, it will be hard to be so far away from everyone I know and be surrounded by unfamiliar faces, but challenges are good for me. They strengthen the soul and I think that I will become a better person for this.

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One of the main things that I’ll miss is being able to cook and bake at my leisure. Sure, my sublet has a really nice kitchen, but I really only need the stove right now for cooking soup and vegetables. I’ll miss these two weeks of baking bliss that I’m experiencing, getting to make some amazing, healthy food and experiment with recipes.

Speaking of recipes, last Wednesday I posted four pictures and asked which you would like to see first. As there was not really a consensus (let’s be real- the answers were all over the board!) I chose to share the stuffed squash first on Monday. It’s very simple and the prep time is almost non-existent. Also, the regular recipe includes a homemade beef sausage, but in the notes I gave several suggestions of vegetarian/vegan replacements that would be delicious as well.

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The second recipe that I’m going to share is perfect for the warming temperatures and all of the fresh produce that come with summer. Homemade ranch dressing!

Simple Homemade Ranch Dressing

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg/Nut-Free, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free Option, GAPS-friendly

1 or 2 servings (depending on how much you like dressing 😉 )

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used full fat regular organic, but you could use an unflavored yogurt– Greek, coconut, almond or goat)
  • 1 tsp honey (you could also use a few drops of stevia in place of this if you wanted)
  • 1 tsp light olive oil (you could replace this with 1 tsp of milk/water as well, but I strongly suggest the olive oil version)
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp each of dried dill, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
  • a dash each of Italian seasoning and sage

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients stirring well! Double or triple for leftovers.
  2. Use immediately or let sit overnight for the flavors to meld together for an even more authentic-tasting dressing!

I usually don’t post nutrition facts for my recipes, but I really wanted to compare the stats for this one:

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The nutrition facts for my recipe is on the left while the nutrition facts for the same amount of store-bought ranch dressing is on the right. Unlike with store-bought dressing which is full of scary chemicals and additives where you’d be wise to use a small amount, if you make my homemade version you can customize it to your needs (substitute the yogurt for a version that fits your dietary requirements, increase or decrease the salt, add in additional seasonings, etc.) and you can use the entire thing! No puny little tablespoons of dressing on your salad. Use the full 1/3 cup! 😀

Thanks again to Jenn, our amazing host, for hosting WIAW this week.

Wiaw While Packing for College (Pumpkin recipe)

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How do you handle people reading your blog? Do your family/friends/classmates/colleagues follow you? Has it ever caused any problems for you?

What does your schedule look this summer?

What is your favorite salad dressing? Do you have any good homemade dressing recipes?