Peas Please! (WIAW)

You guys are fantastic, do you know that? There have been literally so many comments in the past few days that I just haven’t been able to answer them all! Plus, I have “life overload” right now. School work, internship applications, summer job applications (What?! There is still snow on the ground for crying out loud!), and lots of things to do when I’m home on the weekends…

Like going to basketball games. And working in the concession stand during varsity basketball games— Let me tell you: it’s crazy! My weekends also involve a lot of fun food stuff:

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Look for a future post on this gluten-free bread sometime soon! My mom and dad cannot say enough good things about it, so I’ll just take their word that it’s amazing 🙂

This WIAW month however is not about bread. It’s about vegetables!

For starters, let’s talk about how amazing peas are.

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Peas Please!

Just a few fun facts that I found interesting regarding these lovely green seeds (Source): 

  • Peas are relatively high in protein compared to other vegetables (5.4 grams per serving).
  • Two of the most popular types are sugar snap and snow peas.
  • Peas have been around for a very long time. The oldest was found in a cave in Burma dating back 9750 years.

Here are a few of the ways that I have been enjoying this awesome vegetable lately:

Shepherd’s Pie

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Cooked Peas and Beef Pot Roast

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Cauliflower “Rice” Risotto

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I have been eating a lot of other vegetables as well, in the form of Chicken, Carrot and Yellow Squash Soup (with Coconut Oil)

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And Spaghetti!

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I can’t even remember the last time that I had spaghetti. It has probably been almost a year. With wheat allergies and grain sensitives, regular pasta is out. And with an allergy to tomatoes, traditional spaghetti sauce is also not an option. So, I had to get a little creative in the kitchen. It ended up turning out pretty tasty, despite the nontraditional colors!

Tomato and Grain-Free Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Allergy-free, Tomato-Free, Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg-Free, Milk-Free, Nut-Free, Low Carb, Paleo, GAPS Diet Friendly

1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spaghetti squash (cooked using the oven method)
  • 1 cup grass-fed ground beef (cooked in beef broth)
  • 2 cups broth (I used beef broth)
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2-2/3 cup squash, raw or cooked (I used butternut squash, but any kind would work)
  • sea salt and other seasonings to taste (black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic/onion powder, parsley, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash and ground beef.
  2. In a medium-sized pan add the broth, zucchini and squash puree. Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender (cook longer if the squash is raw as well).
  3. Drain the vegetables and place in a food processor. Blend until well combined and smooth. Mix in the ground beef.
  4. In a serving bowl measure out the cooked spaghetti squash, then top with the meat sauce. Season with sea salt and any other desired seasonings. Enjoy!

Note: After baking the spaghetti squash I like to cook a single serving in more broth to make it tender and more flavorful!

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So far this is as close as I have been able to come in replicating the taste of spaghetti and meat sauce with the restrictions that I have. I’ve heard that carrots can also be a great substitute for tomato in recipes, so I’ll have to try that out next.

I have to say though, that for those without food allergies, this probably seems like a pretty odd recipe. Some may even call it strange.

Yep, that’s right! This spaghetti recipe is going to join the ranks of others in Sprint 2 the Table’s Strange But Good recipe link-up this Friday!

Sprint 2 the Table

And now I must say farewell my blogging friends! I’m off to study some MIS vocabulary for an exam tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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Do you ever get a “life overload”?

Have you eaten any peas lately? What fact surprised you the most about them?

What is your favorite Strange But Good combo for the week?

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!