Girl Meets Food (WIAW # 16)

Happy Wednesday fellow WIAW-ers! I hope you are having an awesome week so far.

Thanks so much for all of your comments on my Friday Food Finds and Marvelous in my Monday. I really appreciated each and every one. Oh, and thanks for all of your concern with my allergy shot! My arm is back to normal now.

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If you may remember, last week I had five days of Paleo eating as an experiment of sorts.

The

Well, today’s the day that I do my recap! Here goes nothing…

I ate a lot of vegetables.

A lot of fruit.

And TONS of meat.

Okay, so the first two parts were okay. I really liked how I was eating so many whole foods. The third part though? Not so much.

I learned through this Paleo experiment that while my body thrives on protein, my stomach does not like meat. Not one bit.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop eating meat entirely. On the contrary, I will still consume it everyday. I will however, try to limit it to only once a day.

On Monday of Paleo eating I was very gun-ho to start this new lifestyle protein-strong. I ended up eating meat for all three of my main meals that day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which ended up creating one very bubbly stomach!

The remaining days of the week I only had meat once or twice a day and made sure to load up on tons of vegetables and fruits for my other meals and snacks.

Overall I was very pleased with myself! I managed to live without grains for an entire school week and I ate a good balance of both fruits and vegetables.

My main goal in going Paleo though, was not to see if I could do it, but to see how I would feel:

acid reflux- this actually got worse as I increased my meat consumption.

acne-I noticed that the more meat I ate, the more oily my face got.

allergies (food and seasonal)- This is too hard to measure in the short run. Overall I felt fine though.

circulation- Again, too hard to determine whether eating Paleo helped my circulation problems.

cravings- My cravings for grains and sweets went down significantly. Instead I craved protein and fresh produce.

calorie counting-While eating Paleo surprisingly I didn’t think that much about counting calories. I ate when I was hungry, and because lean protein and produce are so low in calories, I rarely overate. The funny thing was though, I actually was hungrier… Almost constantly my stomach was growling. Now, this could point to one of two things: First, this could indicate that grains fill me up better, because they are higher in fiber. Second, this could actually show me that when I eat grains, they don’t react well with my stomach, which messes up all of my hunger signals. Either way, I know that when I eat a lot of grains I feel fuller faster, sometimes too fast actually, sometimes when I haven’t eaten enough calories yet.

reactive hypoglycemia- Sometimes when I get too many carbohydrates and sugars, I get light headed and my blood sugar drops. With Paleo though, I ate so much protein that it actually helped counteract this.

weight loss- I don’t think I can measure the effectiveness of Paleo in regards to weight loss because it only lasted five days. However, I did feel much less bloated while on Paleo. For once I didn’t go to bed with my stomach bloated, hoping that it would be back to normal the next morning. That was a nice feeling. Also, when I went home this past weekend, it was the lowest number that I had seen on the scale since March. I gained some weight because of my food allergies, and I think that this shows that while I may not be allergic to grains, my body is probably better off without them.

So, what’s my conclusion?

Well, for now, I’ve decided to stay away from quinoa flakes. I don’t need to have them in my life. Don’t get be wrong, I LOVE them, but for now I want to see how I do without them for a longer period of time.

What I have decided is that I am going to start using protein powder again. Yes, my protein powder does come from rice, a grain, but I feel that the benefits of its protein and amjno acid content outweigh the harm here. I have also decided to bring back stevia for now. It has been cited recently that using stevia may help lower blood sugar and in the past, Native Americans used it to reduce inflammation (perfect for healing my stomach!). Whether or not these claims are accurate, I like using it, and I will continue to use it until I have a reason to stop.

And that wraps up my little Paleo adventure for now. My goal is to keep on doing a modified Paleo of sorts to complete a full 30 days, which at the end of I will test out how I feel with adding back in quinoa flakes. I also want to try and have a few days a week protein powder-free, but so far I have not accomplished this… Which leads us right into this week’s WIAW flashback theme: Falling into Good Habits.

My goal that I want to “fall” into is to eat two completely Paleo days before next Wednesday. I have also been slacking on my Thanksgiving workout and Plank Challenge, so I need to get motivated to do those more too. Wish me luck!

And now, onto some of my meals from my 5 days of Paleo, and some of the recipes from my food over the weekend:

Breakfast

One of the breakfasts that I had this weekend was a spin on my banana protein bread… Apple protein bread! It’s very crumbly and not at all like my banana protein bread, but I like it! To make it I just combined some apple butter that I made (recipe later in post), which brown rice protein powder, water, baking powder, and apple chunks (stevia optional for sweetener, but I did not use). I mixed all of the ingredients together in a small jar and microwaved it for about 3 minutes.

Lunch

I sure ate a ton of salads last week! Here is one with my favorite combo- chicken, grapes and cucumbers:

Another lunch that I had recently involved a new squash recipe that I am going to share with you all… It’s spaghetti squash!

And of course, I made it in the microwave (as if you would ever expect anything different. Pssh!)

How to Microwave Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe spaghetti squash
  • 1 plate
  • 1 sharp knife (I actually used a butter knife and it worked!)
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 microwave

Directions:

1. Cut the squash in half.

2. Scoop out the seeds and place one half on a plate.

3. Microwave the squash for 10-15 minutes and check it with a fork. Microwave for a few more minutes until soft, tender and done.

4. Use a spoon or fork to remove the “spaghetti” flesh from the skin. If it seems a little dry, put all of the “spaghetti” in a bowl, add a little water, and microwave for a few more minutes. The added water will absorb and make the squash much more moist.

5. Repeat for second half.

There are so many creative uses for spaghetti squash like as a substitute for pasta, used in casseroles, and even for breakfast!

I personally enjoy eating it plain though.

Or mixing in a little protein like I did with this lunch using tuna:

It’s never to early for a Christmas bowl!

Snack

Here comes another recipe! One of the recipes that I was dying to make was Oh She Glow’s apple butter. It took some time, but it was so good! I ended up making a smaller batch than what the original recipe called for, so it took about half the time. I’m going to share with you my modified recipe, but here’s the original just in case.

One-Ingredient Crock Pot Apple Butter

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredient: 1 pound of apples (sweet apple preferably, like golden delicious)

Directions:

1. Use an apple slicer to remove the cores from your apples (A knife would also work, but an apple slicer makes it much faster).

2. Place the apple slices (with peels on) in a small crock pot set to high. Let cook for 45 minutes.

3. Add some water (1/2 cup approximately) and let cook for another 15 minutes.

4. Check the apple slices. If they are starting to get soft, using a fork or pastry cutter to mash the apples.

5. Cook for another 15 minutes. Mash again. If soft enough, put all of the “applesauce” into a high speed food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

The “applesauce” should look like this:

6. Put the applesauce back into the crock pot and cook for another 15-30 minutes until thick. Blend again.

7. Let cool and store in a jar or sealed container.

Dinner

Dinner last week was the usual: Grilled Chicken and Steamed Vegetables!

Snack

This past summer I made a lot of banana ice cream.

It’s a great replacement for the high-fat, milk-containing store varieties that I can no longer have. Sure, it’s Edy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but it fills the void.

This weekend I took my old recipe for a spin and made a holiday version! With pumpkin!

Pumpkin Protein Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • water if needed
  • 2-4 tbsp brown rice protein powder
  • stevia if desired (I didn’t use any)

Directions:

1. Blend the banana chunks in a food processor until smooth. Add a little water if needed.

2. Add the pumpkin puree and blend.

3. Remove all but a few tablespoons of the mixture and put into a small bowl.

4. Add the remaining mixture your protein powder and blend just until combined. It should be thick and have a doughy consistency. Adjust measurements as necessary.

5. Then, add the dough to banana pumpkin ice cream. Freeze to make a more ice-cream texture, or eat as is!

And that concludes this week’s What I Ate Wednesday! Also, I (sort of) made three recipes on my last Friday Food Finds, so I’d call that…

In other news… Obama won the presidency.

Wait, that’s not what I was going to tell you (although on second thought maybe the presidential election is more important…).

Okay, guess which show may be coming back for a spin-off? I’ll give you one hint:

That’s right! Boy Meets World. Hence my the title of my post… A little play on words.

I guess that means I have you two hints.

Disney just announced that they may be creating a spin-off Boy Meets World tv show featuring Corey and Topanga’s daughter. And… the actors who played Corey and Topanga may just return to play their characters again!

LOVE.

That is all.

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What is your favorite way to get in a lot of vegetables?

Do you ever have any side effects when you eat a lot of meat?

Have you busted out any Holiday houseware yet?

Did you stay up late to watch the Presidential elections last night? I stayed on the phone for almost two hours last night talking to my dad about the elections. He had on Fox and the local news station. I had Yahoo! up that I refreshed constantly to see which candidate was in the lead, and who was winning each state. I didn’t end up going to bed until almost one, but it was totally worth it! I still have yet to watch Romney’s concession, but as my dad said, I should because it is “part of history.” My first election that I ever got to vote! Exciting.

Wasn’t Boy Meets World just the best? I hope they bring back some other actors too, like the guys who played Shawn and Eric!

Weekend WIAW (With 3 Recipes)

It’s yet another Wednesday, and time for yet another WIAW! If you missed my other posts from last week, here they are: What I Ate/Watched Wednesday, Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Bread, and Things I’ll Never Know I’ll Never Know (And Another FFF!).

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So…. Notice anything different about Eating 4 Balance?

I’ve changed the header! Fall is all around and I wanted to make the blog’s header and background fit the season appropriately.

It is slowly but surely getting colder, and I am loving every second of it. Long jeans, boots, sweatshirts and fuzzy socks. I love it all!

Especially the food that comes with the cold weather. Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas cookies… My favorite part of the year!

Speaking of Fall… Halloween is coming up soon, which brings us to WIAW, themed appropriately with Spooky Snacks and Healthy Treats!

Thanks Peas and Crayons!
Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

This WIAW is going to be a summary of the food I made over the weekend, inspired in part by my last Friday Food Finds #4.

First up, microwave brownies!

Microwave Brownies

Serving size: 2 brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp brown rice protein powder (8 grams)*
  • 2 tbsp carob powder (10 grams)*
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (sodium and corn-free)
  • 1 packet stevia (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (60 g)*
  • Water, if needed to thin out

Directions: Combine all ingredients and spread in a microwaveable container. Microwave for 1:30 to 2:30 minutes until cooked to desired texture.

Substitution Notes: You can replace the protein powder with regular flour, the carob powder with cocoa powder, and the pumpkin puree with any other kind of fruit puree.

The next recipe that I have for you is inspired by Chockohlawtay’s healthy cookie dough recipes.

Pumpkin Banana Bread Batter

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (120 grams)
  • 1 banana, mashed (100 grams)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes or oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp brown rice protein powder (16 grams)
  • 2 packets stevia

Directions: Combine all ingredients and refrigerate or freeze until thickened. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

Oh man is this good! After taking a few bites I had a moment of inspiration and remembered one of my Friday Food Find recipes: zucchini muffins!

So… I just add some shredded zucchini- Instant zucchini bread batter! Shredded carrots would be great too.

Then, I had another idea. Why not add some baking powder and microwave this batter to make REAL zucchini bread muffins?

It was okay, but the batter was much better. Actually, isn’t that always the case? I remember when I younger that I would beg my mom to make chocolate chip cookies just so I could eat the dough. The cookies themselves? I usually only ate one or two. Ha!

And I saved my best recipe for last. Well,  actually it is more of a How-To.

Before my mom drove up on Friday to take me back for the weekend, she texted me and asked if there was anything I needed. One of the things I asked for was acorn squash! When I was still home my mom taught me her trick  for making it in the microwave. And I’m going to share it here so that you can make squash super quick too!

How To Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe acorn squash
  • 1 plate
  • 1 sharp knife (I actually used a butter knife and it worked!)
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 microwave

Directions:

1. Cut the squash in half.

2. Scoop out the seeds and place both halves on a plate.

3. Microwave the squash for 8-10 minutes and check it with a fork. Microwave for a few more minutes until soft, tender and done.

Other than food this weekend, I also visited my grandmother’s for my environmental allergy shot. Ugh.

Here’s a picture of the damage. It really doesn’t do my arm justice at all. After an allergy shot it gets really swollen and hot. Sometimes it even turns into a huge goose egg. Next time. Next time!

In more exciting news, I went to see Pitch Perfect this weekend:

The beginning was a little slow to start, but when you have Fat Amy making cracks every few seconds the film just flew by! I loved all of the songs that they sang and was amazed at how well the actors did with the acapella.

If you haven’t already seen it, YOU NEED TO.

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Do you like the batter/dough of recipes or the finished product better?

Have you ever tried making squash in the microwave?

What exciting things did you do this weekend?

My LABOR-ous Weekend in the Kitchen (WIAW)

Happy Belated Labor Day!

First I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and likes for my posts for the past two weeks. I know they haven’t been exactly revolutionary or thrilling but I appreciate your support all the same 🙂

It’s safe to say that I love being in college! The freedom of being on my own. The ability to go wherever I choose!

Sadly though, baking and whipping things up in the kitchen is just not on that list of college LOVES! If you read my last Friday Food Finds post however, you would know that I got to go home over the weekend!

My awesome dad picked me up on Friday after my class. That night I went with my mom to a football game and watched my brother march in the band. Over the weekend I went grocery shopping, watched a movie (Bernie… Do NOT recommend.) and today went to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate Labor Day with my relatives.

The kitchen was my main point of focus though, and I’m pleased to say that I made it through a lot of my Friday Food Find recipes! The next time I go home, I plan on finishing off the list… And maybe starting a new one!

First on Friday was Pumpkin Cookie Dough:

Here is my version….

Pumpkin Cookie Dough

High in protein, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, high in fiber

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup quinoa flakes (or oatmeal)

1/4 cup brown rice protein powder (any protein powder should work)

1 packet stevia

dash of salt

*optional add-ins: raspberries, chia seeds, chocolate chips, nuts, fruit…

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for a few minutes. OR eat right then and there.

Next I whipped up some homemade rice milk:

Homemade rice milk

Soy-free, nut-free, vegan,  sugar-free

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cooked jasmine rice (any rice will work)

3 cups water (use less or more for desired thickness)

*Optional: sweetener, salt, vanilla

Directions:

Place ingredients in a blender or high-speed food processor and blend for 4 minutes or until smooth. (You may need to drain off leftover rice that does not get blended up.)

On Saturday evening I made QIAJ:

QIAJ (Overnight Quinoa in a Jar)

For the “nut butter” I combined 1/4 cup protein powder, 1/2 packet stevia, a dash of salt and water as needed.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa

1/2 cup rice milk

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Fruit

*Optional: mashed banana, stevia, salt, yogurt…

Directions:

Place “nut butter” at the bottom of the jar. Then in a small bowl, combine the quinoa, rice milk and chia seeds. Here you have two options: Either cook the mixture in the microwave for two minutes and place in the jar, or mix it up in the bowl and place it directly into the jar (either method should work, but the second method may be more liquidy). Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy!

Then on Sunday night I baked some Quinoa Muffin Tops:

Quinoa Cookies

No sugar-added, high in fiber, nut-free, vegan

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 small banana

1/2 cup quinoa flakes

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

2 packets stevia

Directions:

Microwave the chia seeds and pumpkin puree for two minutes until thick. Mash with the banana. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Scoop out onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes.

NOTE: The light colored cookies were made with the recipe above. The orange, pumpkiny-looking cookie was an experiment of mine. I need to try it out another time before sharing the recipe.

I ate my other meals like normal, except with a lot more fruit and a lot less veggies. Let’s just call this my “splurge” weekend. Except it kind of sucks stinks that I’m allergic all real splurge food. (Who am I kidding? It’s a great excuse!)

For reference, I “indulged” in: frozen bags of raspberries and blueberries, cans of pumpkin puree, protein powder containers, lots of bananas, bags of baby carrots, a can of lean chicken, quinoa flakes…

And some other random stuff that I can’t remember. This was over the course of Friday Night, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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When I got back to my dorm room it was raining!

Time to put on the jacket on, oh, and my imaginary rain boats 🙂

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The theme of this week’s WIAW is Fall into Good Habits. What a great idea Jenn!

Go check out the other wonderful WIAW-ers and what healthy habits they are making.

Here are my healthy habits that I am trying to do:

1. Limit my intake of fruit. I just eat way too much! I think yesterday I consumed 4 or 5 bananas? Totally unnecessary. Instead, I am going to try and snack on more vegetables.

2. I am going to go on walks just “to go on walks.” Not for any classes, and not because I am going to a dining hall. I am going to walk just for fun. For me and my health.
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What new recipes did you try out over the weekend?

Did you get a lot of rain as an effect of the hurricane… or Did the hurricane hit down close to where you live?

What is ONE healthy habit that you are going to make this Fall?

What I Ate Wednesday (Protein Powder Edition)

If you cannot tell from my title…

1. You all are really bad at reading.

2. I got my protein powder today!

I was actually supposed to get the package on Friday, but because it came all the way from California, there was a lot of time lost. At least it was all there… They’re forgiven!

Too much?! Eh, never. It’s protein powder after all!

The people at the front desk probably thought I was C-R-A-Z-Y because I checked my mailbox literally every two hours for the past four days (and they don’t even have USPS service on Saturdays and Sundays!). I was so excited that I completely skipped lunch and made a large, single-serving banana bread in my microwave.

And… I obviously ate it too fast, because I forgot to take a picture. No worries. There WILL be a next time, I promise.

I do have some an awesome protein powder recipe for you all however. So easy and versatile. You can make it taste like whatever you want!

This WIAW’s staple is protein powder. Obviously. Check out my last two WIAW posts for my staples of green beans and pumpkin. And for those of you who need some ideas with how to eat at college with food allergies, click over here for allergy-dining tips!

Be kind and check out all of the other wonderful bloggers who linked up at Peas and Crayons for WIAW. Including the lovely Jenn!

Breakfast:

A lot of fruit.

Lunch:

For lunch I had my regular salad to start and grilled chicken for my main meal. The chicken I had though wasn’t actually grilled today, it was baked. And it tasted like rubber.

YUK. Well, you lose some and you win some. I just hope I’m better than batting a 500…

Recycled picture of grapes, lettuce an cucumbers.

Two huge pieces of grilled chicken, onion and zucchini.

Snack #1:

I was still hungry after lunch, but I knew that I was going to have a long time of non-stop classes, so I made this little guy to give me a boost of energy in between.

I used 2 serving of protein powder, water and stevia.

Cookie Dough Energy Ball

High in protein, low in carbohydrates and sugar.

112 calories with 2 servings of protein power, water and stevia

Ingredients:

Protein powder

Water (or milk)

*Optional: stevia, salt, baking powder/soda (for authenticity), extract (vanilla, almond, butter…), cinnamon, cocoa powder, shredded carrot/zucchini, dried fruit, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, agave, carob chips, nuts, berries, whatever you want!

Directions:

Mix protein powder and other ingredients until it gets hard to stir. Add more protein powder or water if necessary to get desired texture. Then, roll into a ball. Eat or store for later. (These would be really good frozen!)

Dinner:

For dinner I went to the same dining hall and thankfully the actual chef was there (and not some newbie who makes my chicken taste like rubber!).

I also had an unpictured bowl of brown and white rice.

Salad of iceberg lettuce, romaine mix, cucumbers and shredded carrots.

Grilled yellow squash and onion. Two even “huger” pieces of grilled chicken. Awesomeness.

Snack #2:

Banana bread batter featuring PROTEIN POWDER!

YUM. YUM. IN. MY. TUM. TUM. TUM.

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What food can you not live without? I thought it was obvious. Protein powder!

Do you have to buy some of your food online because you can’t find it in stores near you?

What tv show have you been obsessed with lately? Ally MeBeal. In the past few days I have watched the entire first season on netflix.

Some of my favorite quotes so far:

Ally McBeal: Sometimes I’m more persuasive when I lack conviction.

Richard Fish: Let me tell you something, I didn’t become a lawyer because I like the law; the law sucks. It’s boring, but it can also bec used as a weapon You want to bankrupt somebody? Cost him everything he’s worked for? Make his wife leave him, even make his kids cry? Yeah, we can do that.