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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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

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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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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).

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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? 

Easter/Birthday Style WIR, WIAW and Survey

Thanks for all of your birthday wishes on Monday! They were very much appreciated and each one brightened my day, especially in the midst of mundane college classes.

Now it’s time for another party hosted by Peas and Crayons. WIAW!

To start, a fun ABC survey that has been circling around the blog-o-sphere for awhile (and I’m sure you are all tired of by now!):

A. Age: As of 8:01 PM Monday… 19 years old!

B. Bed size: Twin loft bed at school. Queen at home.

C. Chore you dislike: There is not really a chore I dislike per say, but the context that it’s in can make a world of difference. For example, ask me to take out the dog during the summer and I’d say OK! Ask me in the winter and I’ll give you the death glare though. 🙂

D. Dogs: Love them. I have two right now, one inside and one outside. Our cairn terrier Lilly is inside, and Riley our mix is outside.

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E. Essential start to your day: My alarm clock, breakfast (no question about that, I would die from hunger without it), and brushing my teeth (<<< I hate going through the day with the feeling of having not brushed my teeth!).

F. Favorite color: Pink.

G. Gold or silver: I’m not much of a jewelry person at all really. I wear the same diamond earring studs everyday which are gold, but most of the time I tend to buy silver pieces because those seem to be younger/more modern.

H. Height: 5’6″

I. Instruments you play(ed): I can play the clarinet fairly well as I was in band for 8 years during school.

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J. Job title: Past job titles: Babysitter, Tutor. Current job title: Student. Future job titles: internist, accountant.

K. Kids: Well, I’m assuming this is asking if I have any kids, to which the answer is a definite NO. However, I love kids. My favorite thing to do at church is volunteer or supervise in the nursery. And every summer since eighth grade (not this year though… *sniff sniff*) I worked in the nursery for Vacation Bible School.

L. Live: Midwest United States. Our house is in the country surrounded by cornfields on some 15 or so acres of land.

M. Mom’s name: Eh, I would rather not share that right now 🙂

N. Nicknames: Maddy is the only nickname that people ever called me.

O. Overnight hospital stays: A few I think… I had jaundice when I was a baby, so I had to stay for awhile because of that.

P. Pet peeves: A few “ranty” ones: people who cheat/lie and get away with it, social media hounds, when someone is constantly on the computer or texting, and when people can’t see how fake some others are.

Q. Quote from a movie: 

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R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: Brother (16).

T. Time you wake up: Weekdays from 6:00-7:00. Weekends from 5:30-8:30… It really depends.

U. Underwear: ?? Yes. Underwear is nice.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Radishes and… That’s basically it!

W. What makes you run late: Anything and everything.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Do ultrasounds count? If so, I’ve had two of those.

Y. Yummy food you make: I would like to think that all of the food I make is yummy! 😉

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Monkeys! Before leaving the zoo each time I always begged my mom to buy one of those stuffed monkeys in the gift shop that you could attach around your neck with Velcro. It worked… About half the time.

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And it’s time for another Week in Review!

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  • I posted my usual WIAW last week with my favorite recipe for soup: Kabocha and peas.

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  • On Friday I skipped talking about food for once and wrote about something a little more serious. All of your comments were so supportive and awesome! Look for a response from me soon!
  • As I stated in my Wednesday post, I was rather busy with school last week. Three papers and two exams. I feel pretty good about them all!

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  • On Friday night I stayed in and watched this movie with my mom:

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  • Don’t hate on Miley Cyrus or Demi Moore as it was actually rather good!
  • During the day Saturday I did a little shopping and got together a little present for one of my friends whose birthday happens to be the day before mine!

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  • On Saturday night I went with my parents and met up with a few of my friends to the local Opera House to watch Oz: The Great and Powerful. 

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  • Sunday morning I woke up to find this large post-it taped to my door from the Easter Bunny. Yes, it’s extremely childish, but it’s tradition! My mom makes up a small Easter basket for my brother, my dad and I, then she goes and hides it somewhere.  Any guesses where I found mine?

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  • This year my mom was also inspired to do a little Easter egg hunt outside. My dad hid the eggs and my mom wrote down where they were (we’ve had trouble remembering in the past!). My brother and I each had six to find, his were yellow, green and blue, and mine were purple, pink and orange. At the end we were both left with one that we couldn’t find, and funny enough we both knew where each other’s was!

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  • I made my parents some waffles for breakfast from this recipe (I used 1/4 cup acorn squash, only 1 tbsp honey and ghee for the fat options).

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  • That morning we also got dressed up in our springy colors and went to church. Then afterwards we drove to a local Chinese buffet to have lunch with my uncle, cousins, aunts, and grandparents. (I had a bowl of soup on the way over and just a glass of water at the restaurant). 
  • Then when I got home I packed up everything for school and my mom gave me a small birthday present. Next weekend we’ll do our traditional shopping for real so that I can pick up a few things. 

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  • Two episodes of Duck Dynasty were thus consumed rapidly by the family– None of them had ever seen it before!

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  • And for those that worried about my lack of cake… I had some. Sort of. I had to get a little creative and made some flour out of dehydrated peas. Try it. Green pea flour is awesome!
  • To make the “cake” it was quite easy and for those needing nutritionally-dense food on the go, I would say it was rather good. Like a single-serving green monster cake!

Single-Serving Green Monster Cake

High protein, grain/gluten/wheat-free, egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, paleo/Gaps-friendly

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup green pea flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed acorn squash (banana or another mashed squash would work well too)
  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients well. (I used a food processor- It will be a rather thick batter)
  3. Scoop into a 1-cup sized ramekin. Bake for 25 minutes. Eat warm or cool. This would also be awesome topped with a nut butter!

Hmm… Strange But Good worthy, no?

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  • I took a few bites to satisfy my (green) cake craving, but no more because I didn’t want to be sick on my birthday from deviating from my regular meat and veggie routine! 😉
  • Boring-ness resumed just minutes later as I made my way back to school listening to some audio books in the car.
  • Then April Fool’s Day.

And that’s last week in review. I hope this one goes just as well, and I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday for real this Saturday!

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QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

Share a few ABCs about yourself!

How did you celebrate Easter?

What was the highlight of your week?

Have you seen LOL or Oz yet?

Animal Crackers in my Soup (WIAW and WIR)

Even though it’s not Friday, I have a confession to make:

I almost didn’t post today.

*Gasp* Shocker, right?! I’m not sure that I’ve missed a Wednesday since I’ve started this blog. And as you will be able to tell from my Week in Review portion of today’s post, I’ve been busy up the wazoo.

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So, let’s review (in bullet form of course), shall we? 🙂

  • Last week I published two posts on my usual Wednesday and Friday.
  • I also shared two recipes last week- one for soup, and the other for blueberry muffins. Both grain-free and oh-so-yummy.

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  • Over the weekend I made this lovely pear crisp for my family (recipe will be up soon!):

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  • I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower. What else can I say except that I loved it and want to watch it again soon?! It was a great classic coming of age story, but had many more modern elements which I really liked. The three main characters were fantastic.
  • Also in the past few days I’ve gotten two calls, both about summer internships. One I didn’t get, but the other I did (remember my WIAW trip post for this one?). Still unsure of what to do, but I have until Friday to decide!
  • This week I have two exams, and three papers due, hence the confession above. *Fingers crossed for all five*

And that wraps up my Week in Review portion of this Wednesday post! Thanks Meghan 🙂

Now, the WIAW portion will be a little shorter than normal today, but I couldn’t skip it entirely because I didn’t want to miss out on the last week of GREEN!

Anybody remember this song from when they were younger?

I honestly never watched the movie, but it seemed like every commercial break on TV had an advertisement with Shirley Temple singing this song. Last week I randomly started singing it and I thought that it would be the perfect title for a blog post!

Just exchange the crackers with critters and you’re good to go 😉

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(Picture inspired by Heather’s Springy Dippin.)

Kabocha Squash and Pea Soup

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

1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-1 cup kaboca squash (cooked using this method)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cup chicken broth (you could also use water but it wouldn’t be as flavorful)
  • sea salt if desired

Directions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a pot and heat on high until boiling.
  2. Once boiling reduce to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Let cool for at least ten minutes, sprinkle with sea salt if desired and enjoy!

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Time to study some more! Happy WIAW everyone!

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What are some highlights from your week so far?

Have you seen Perks of Being a Wallflower? What did you think?

Is it still cold where you’re at? Have you made any soup yet this year?

Friday Confessions: Fast and Furious Edition

Alright. More homework. So little time to blog.

Ready, set, go!

Confession #1: A few weeks ago we had a warm Sunday. We’re talking REALLY warm, like 6o degrees. Anyways, when I got back to school that night I realized that I had forgot to take my winter coat with me. Usually I’m wearing my coat, so leaving it behind has never been an issue before. If the weather had stayed in the 60’s all week I would have been fine, but NOOOO…. It decided to snow and drop down into the 30’s as soon as Tuesday hit. And I didn’t have a winter coat. Combine that with 10-15 minute walks to class with some of the breeziest winds in the state = One cold Madison 😦 Thankfully my parents felt my pain and on Wednesday night we each drove 1 hour to meet up in the middle so that they could deliver that salvation of warmth! (Along with some much needed food…)

Here is my makeshift cold weather outfit (Note: NOT as warm as it looks!)

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Confession #2: I don’t really know how you all do it. That posting everyday stinkin’ day thing. It makes me feel like a major slacker. Especially when you are able to respond so quickly to everyone’s comments as well. I still haven’t gotten to WIAW yet… I used to pride myself on  being so quick to respond, but man have I gotten lazy! Anyways, major props to you all. Maybe someday I’ll be that put-together.

Confession #3: Another jealous moment that I had this week was reading about all of these races that everyone has been completing. Splits of 7 minutes flashed across the screen and it just made me feel even guiltier that my fastest mile time ever was like 8:30. And I about died after that. Today I think I would be able to (maybe) run a mile in 9:30. I always got super bad chest pains and had a hard time breathing whenever I ran in gym class during school. I would love to be a runner because I definitely need to do SOMETHING for exercise… but I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Confession #4: When I should have been working on homework (actually I should be working on some right now too…) I instead was watching the season finale of Pretty Little Liars. I swear, that last part gave me the heebie jeebies and I jumped just like every other teenage girl in America. I can’t wait for the next season! Plus, a lot of couple drama in this episode, which made me feel much better about my lack of couple “status.” 😉

Final Confession #5: I love PicMonkey. It’s just so amazing. Whenever I think I took a photo that looks good, I pull it up on WordPress and realize that a) It’s way too dark. b) It has that fuzzy quality to it. c) The picture looks like I was on a moving freight train when I took it. Or d) All of the above and much much worse. PicMonkey is my saving grace. My magic genie. My… Okay, I can’t think of any other catchy nicknames, but you get my drift. Even still with the amazingness of PicMonkey my food photos look nowhere near professional. After all, I take every single one of them with my phone. But, PicMonkey takes them as close to perfection as they are ever going to get until I am able to afford one of those expensive cameras that all of the fancy bloggers have… (Hint. Hint. Birthday coming up! 😉 )

BEFORE and AFTER’s to prove PicMonkey’s brilliance:

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I also promised a certain recipe this past Wednesday, and I almost always deliver, so here you go!

Coconut and Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins

Makes 6-8 muffins depending on size (I made 6 muffins and 1 ramekin)

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

Wiaw-muffin[1]

  • 1 cup almond flour (replace with sunflour for nut-free option)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen works)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease your muffin tins with ghee (or other baking oil).
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine the first three dry ingredients.
  3. In a food processor whip the four egg whites until stiff. Add the honey, banana, ghee, and vanilla and combine until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter among the muffin tins (approximately 1/3 cup of batter each). 
  5. Then drop a few blueberries to each tin and press down so that they sink into the batter.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes (oven temps vary greatly as does the recipe if you use fresh vs. frozen berries so be forewarned!). 
  7. Let cool before removing. Enjoy!

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What do you have to confess this Friday?

Don’t you just love PicMonkey? What’s your favorite feature?

Did you watch the season finale of Pretty Little Liars? What did you think of it?