Three’s a Party

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

And three’s a party, right Andy? ūüėČ

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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 ūüôā

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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 ūüôā

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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 ūüėČ ).

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. ūüôā

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‚Äôs name:¬†Eh, I would rather not share that right now ūüôā

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‚Äôt like:¬†Radishes and… That’s basically it!

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

X. X-rays you‚Äôve 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! ūüėČ

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! ūüėČ
  • 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?

Marvelously Practical

When I was younger, Christmas was all about the “wow” factor. What amazing gift would my parents find to take my breath away? Can you say spoiled much?

This year, I got so many great presents from my friends and family. None of them had that “wow” factor though. At first this made me a little upset. I wasn’t looking for anything expensive or out-of-this world, just something totally unexpected, but totally perfect.

Hmm… That just sounds like a set-up for failure, doesn’t it?

Instead, what I learned is that I have officially grown up. This was my first Christmas as an adult. And by what I got as gifts, you could tell.

Like I said, I was a little upset, even disappointed at first. My dad asked which was my favorite and I had to tell him that I didn’t know. They were all great, but mainly just practical.

Now though, I’m so thankful for the gifts that I received. I’ve used each and every one of them already! When I was younger, sure, I got the pretty toys that I wanted, but to be honest after the first few weeks they sort of lost their appeal, never to be used again.

Practical gifts; however, are just that. Practical.

And I will be using all of these for a long time coming:

GPS

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Greatest invention ever. It means that I don’t have to pay attention to road signs and I can ¬†totally tune out during my car ride to school.

New Car Radio

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Includes blue tooth, a usb drive, a CD player (the best part!), and I can customize the colors to whatever I choose.

Flash Drive

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Needed one desperately since I lost my turtle flash drive. Whoops.

LED Light for my Key chain

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A surprise in my stocking. Awesome addition to my lanyard of keys.

Headphones + Board Game

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Noise-cancelling headphones. Big Bang Theory Game (similar to Apples to Apples).

So, I say this almost every week, but marvelous is my family. They know what I need better than I know myself. 

And marvelous is practicality! The dictionary definition of practical is:

practical–¬†adapted¬†or¬†designed¬†for¬†actual¬†use

Well then, shouldn’t all presents be practical? Things that we will actually use?

I do want to mention that practical can sometimes lead to being rude, so watch out! Yes, a barbie doll is a perfect gift for a young girl, and really, when was too many barbies ever a bad thing?

My point is, a barbie doll is completely unoffensive because it is something age appropriate, and a gift that you know will be loved and used.

What IS offensive is this list of gifts that I compiled together:

1. Self-Help Books. Maybe not on holidays or birthdays it would be okay? Or if the person actually asked for it? I received one for Christmas a few years ago and it just made me feel like an awful human being.

2. A Half Eaten Cookie. Seriously, one of my close friends got this as a present from another ¬†friend. The other girl got hungry… There were even bite marks. Not even kidding.

3. Earrings. When my ears weren’t pierced… Thanks!

4. Soap and Shampoo From A Hotel. Yes. This happened.

And that’s it for Marvelous in My Monday. I hope that last list put a smile on your face and made you laugh a little!

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Do you ever find yourself not appreciating all that your family does for you?

What is one practical gift that you originally despised, but have grown to love?¬†I want to note that under no circumstances did I despise any of those gifts above. They just weren’t things that I could enjoy “in the moment.” Take for example my brother’s new laptop… Now THAT has the desired “wow” factor. Too bad I already have one!

Any rude or offensive past gifts that you’d like to share?

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Merry Christmas 2012

Hope you all are having an amazing Christmas Day!

That is… If you are up already…

We got up at 5:30 this morning to open gifts.

“Why” you may ask?

Well, we just love Christmas, and we couldn’t wait!

Do you know what else can’t wait?

The winner for the Happy Herbivore Abroad Giveaway.

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So, without further ado, the winner is:

Happy-Herbivore-Abroad-Giveaway-WinnerEntry #22, Kaitlin @ A Taste of Bulmer!

Note: If the winner does not respond back with their full name and a viable shipping address within one week, then I will randomly pick another winner, of which the same rules apply.

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I’ll probably be back tomorrow with a WIAW and a recap of today’s events.

But, until then, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!