What I Cooked Up (WIAW)

Good morning and happy What I Ate Wednesday! I’m very excited to share with you all of the things that I cooked up over the weekend for my family members. This time I didn’t even have to break the rules to participate in WIAW because I actually have a food picture for every meal of the day! (Even though they aren’t exactly MY eats… It’s one step closer 😉 ).

Thank you to Jenn for hosting WIAW. Be sure to check out the other great bloggers who linked up their daily meals today!

wiaw-breakfast

I feel very confident in saying that there isn’t anything better than a bread-type good for breakfast. Whether it be pancakes or waffles, muffins or bagels, they just have a way of filling that craving that only bread can do. I think that’s probably why there are so many new healthy takes always emerging on breakfast breads. People just love them.

Today I am going to be no different in that here is my newest take on a healthy breakfast bread (adapted from Pencils and Pancakes’ recipe only because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand at the time). It’s delicious, high in protein, includes only quality ingredients, and doesn’t contain any added unhealthy sugars! Plus, as always, it’s gluten-free 🙂 For the topping I made a slightly modified (note: sweeter) version of Yeah… Imma Eat That’s frosting recipe. Paired together they are a match made in heaven.

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Nut-Free Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly, No Sugar Added

Makes 1 large serving for breakfast or 2 smaller servings for a snack

Bread Recipe adapted from Pencils and Pancakes

Frosting Recipe adapted from Yeah…Imma Eat That

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs (preferably organic or cage-free)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp nut butter (use sunbutter to make nut-free)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (use coconut yogurt to make it dairy-free)
  • coconut flour (optional- use if needed to thicken up the frosting if it seems too thin)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil/grease a large ramekin (I used a pyrex 4-cup round bowl like this one that is around 6 inches in diameter).
  2. Crack the eggs into a food processor and blend until it is one solid color. Meanwhile peel the banana and when the eggs are blended add the banana and blend until smooth.
  3. Then add in the coconut flour, cinnamon and salt. Blend again until fully incorporated.
  4. Now you should add the baking soda, but wait to do this until the oven is fully heated and right before you are ready to pour the batter and bake. You don’t want the baking soda to react and then the mixture to sit for too long. So, once the oven reaches 375 degrees, add the baking soda and blend again for a few seconds.
  5. Pour the batter into the ramekin and place it directly into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The top should spring back to the touch and the edges should begin to look barely darkened.
  6. Meanwhile mix up the frosting in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of coconut flour if necessary to thicken it up. If using a low fat/fat-free yogurt this may be necessary. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes, remove onto a plate and top with frosting to serve. (I did not use all of the frosting so you may have some leftover).

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

wiaw-lunch

Lucky for you, the rest of the recipes for today’s WIAW have already been posted as well, so no waiting around like usual. This recipe that I made comes from The China Study Cookbook. I shared the recipe excerpt on Monday as part of my (very long) review on the cookbook. Be sure to check it out and make this incredibly easy, vegan meal. And while you’re there, you might as well join the giveaway to win your own copy of the book!

Dominican Beans

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

While the recipe makes multiple servings, it isn’t something that you have to eat right away. We saved about half of the beans for my parents to take for lunch for the week. As for the salad on the bottom, I made just enough for two. If you want the prep to be even quicker you could cut up all of the vegetables ahead of time, assemble the salads as needed, and then just heat up whatever portion of the beans you want for the topping. Easy peasy.

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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Egg in a Squash

This recipe is so fast and simple that it’s no wonder that so many bloggers have tried it in just the few short weeks since Meg at A Dash of Meg posted about it. Egg in a Squash is really just what it sounds like. I took half of a cooked dumpling squash (cooked using this method), cracked in an organic egg, and then baked it at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Egg in a Squash

Meg’s original directions call for a slightly shorter cooking time, but for this first try I didn’t want to take any risks so I made sure the egg was thoroughly cooked. If you like runny yolks though, follow Meg’s instructions. I will probably try that next time and see how my Dad likes it.

Egg in a Squash

wiaw-dessert

Apple crisp is basically the quintessential fall dessert (along with pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. of course 😉 ). But really, apple crisp was one of my favorite desserts that our school cafeterias served growing up. I’m not sure what they put in it, but man was it good!

No worries with this one though. All of the ingredients are easily recognizable. Originally this recipe was for pear crisp but I just did a little swapping and made an apple version instead (see below the second picture for my alterations).

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

I did change a few things from the first recipe, but both are equally amazing. This time I used coconut oil in place of the butter/ghee to make it dairy-free as well as vegan. And obviously I used apples in place of the pears (I only needed 5 apples though versus the 6 pears in the original recipe). Also, I covered the apple crisp in foil for about half of the baking time, as well as doubled the time that I left it in the oven so that the apples got cooked completely. Soft and delicious. If you make it, I’d suggest focusing more on the texture of the fruit for how long it needs to be in the oven, and the look of the crisp for whether or not you need to top it with foil so that it doesn’t burn.

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

And guess what?! I think I can call this another mission accomplished for my Friday Food Finds #13. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that 🙂 I made 3 out of the 5 recipes from that post so it’s definitely a success. I still have my eye on making the other two and I’ll let you know if I try them.

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My Friday post may be a little shortened this week, and my commenting may be somewhat sporadic as well as I have midterms all week long. Today I have a quiz in Statistics, tomorrow I have a quiz in Business Communications and an exam in Music Cultures, and then on Friday I have an Astronomy exam plus an Accounting quiz. Wow. Typing that out makes me realize how busy I really am going to be! While I may not have much time to post on here, I will for sure be keeping my Instagram updated so follow me on there for my latest life updates 🙂

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Questions for you:

Do you like bready breakfast foods?

Have you entered my giveaway yet?

What is your favorite simple meal?

Marvelous is My First Weekend Off (WIR)

I’m excited to say that my first year at college is officially complete. Three of my teachers have yet to submit grades yet, but so far things are looking great. I plan on spending my next two weeks before my summer internship starts relaxing with my family, friends and pets.

Here is a short review to give you and idea of my last week at school and my first weekend off for summer break, courtesy of Meghan’s link-up:

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  • Last week I spent most of my time studying.

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  • The rest of the time I spent reading blogs, taking care of last minute scholarship requirements, and cleaning up my dorm room.

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  • On Tuesday I took my Physics exam, on Thursday my Statistics exam, and on Friday my MIS exam.

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  • When I was finally finished with all of my tests, I was actually kind of upset…

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  • Oh, who am I kidding?! I was ecstatic to be finished!
  • After my final exam on Friday I went to the convenience store to use up the rest of my leftover meal plan dollars from the fall on snacks for my brother.

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  • Then my dad came and helped me pack up everything. We also had to de-loft my bed… WAY harder than it sounds 😦 And boy do I wish that the moving truck below was our own, because that sure would have been nice. Especially if it came with two or three surly dudes who would be thrilled with carrying out my microwave and pounds of clothing.

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  • This past weekend my dad has been working on tilling up the ground in preparation for our vegetable garden.

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  • We’re also working on possibly opening up our pool soon!

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  • And that’s basically my past week in review. Today I also had the opportunity to make some stuffed squash for my parents and retake the pictures so that I could share the recipe with you all.

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Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Grain/Gluten/Wheat-Free, Egg/Dairy-Free, Nut/Peanut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Suggestions in Notes*

Two Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash (or any winter squash you have on hand)
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef*
  • 2 tsp of fresh or 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic/onion powder (whatever herbs you have on hand. Cayenne or cinnamon would add a nice kick too)
  • Ghee/Coconut Oil
  • About 1-2 cups diced vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli slaw would all be great options)

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mimm-squash-beef

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the acorn squash whole on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until soft.
  3. Remove the acorn squash from the oven and let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with the ghee/coconut oil and cook the ground beef until almost done. Add the seasonings and stir to combine.
  5. Then add the chopped vegetables and cook for about ten more minutes or until tender (cooking time will depend on the vegetables that you use).
  6. Remove the skillet from the stove and let rest while you prepare the squash.
  7. Take your acorn squash and carefully slice it in half. Use a spoon and scrape out the innards (seeds).
  8. Now stuff each squash half with your beef and vegetable mixture. There will probably be some left over depending on the size of your squash.
  9. Enjoy!

Shared at Thank Goodness It’s Monday

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mimm-squash-closer

*Notes: When I first showed a picture of this stuffed squash on Wednesday, I had a few non-meaters say that they would be interested in the recipe. Now, obviously this recipe as-is is not meat-free, but it’s such an easy one that I don’t want anyone to miss out over such a small ingredient! The most authentic tasting option would to just replace the meat and seasonings with a veggie-version of sausage crumbles. However, you could also replace the ground beef itself with about 2 cups of textured vegetable protein, still adding in the seasonings and vegetables like the recipe calls for. Other great vegetarian/vegan options would be to replace the ground beef with 2 cups of scrambled tofu/tempeh, or even cooked quinoa!

I hope these pictures make up for the terribly grain pictures that I posted on WIAW… And that they entice you to try this recipe out for yourself!

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday.

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What did your past week/weekend look like?

Are you done with school for the summer/forever? Are you excited?

Any major plans coming up for vacations or fun trips?

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.

Week-In-Review-Button-Final

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!):

Wiaw-pear-crisp[1]

  • 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 😉

Wiaw-soup-veggies-critters

(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!

wiaw-kabocha-squash-pea-soup

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?

Progress Update + Winter Squash Love (WIAW)

Alright, so I feel that an update is in order for you all. It has been awhile since I’ve talked about how the GAPS healing protocol is going for me. If you’ve directly asked in the comments, then I’ve answered honestly, but the whole thing just seemed too big to try and tackle during a post. But I’ve decided to just give you the highlights for now until any major improvements occur.

First of all I want to say that I feel much better. That is the most important thing to remember for me. However, there have been a few instances (about twice a week) where I seriously ask myself why I am doing this. This is when I have to step back and remember that those few instances used to be a daily occurrence for me. Now, I can happily say that there are days where I feel completely normal. Like, no problems whatsoever. And that is huge!

Now comes the second part. While I am feeling a lot better, I realize that is in part just because of the limited diet that I am eating. Even though it took awhile for me to feel good on this diet, arguably most people would be symptom-free while eating just meat, vegetables, broth and oils. Whenever I try to introduce a new food though, my symptoms come back. I can manage coconut oil in small amounts if I remember to take my ox bile (which helps me digest fats), and I removed olive oil two weeks back when I realized that bloating after eating should not be my “consequence” for getting in healthy fats.

Technically speaking I am still on Stage 1 of GAPS. I tried to go onto Stage 2, and that basically failed. Stage 2 involves slowly introducing egg yolks, soft boiled eggs, and casseroles. Remember my shepherd’s pie? Ya, stomach pain (not terrible, but not acceptable either). Now for the eggs… As you know, I’m “allergic” to eggs by scientific proof of an RAST blood allergy test. My GAPS doctor believes that this allergy has been caused by leaky gut, and may go away eventually when my stomach has healed. So, I tried introducing egg yolks and I think that went alright. No noticeable problems. This made me very excited and I went onto the next step of adding soft boiled eggs.

Big mistake.

About 10 minutes after I ate the egg I could tell by my stomach that something was wrong. It just felt off. By the time that I went to bed I was in severe pain. This lasted several hours and I barely slept a wink that night.

No eggs for me! (I may try introducing an egg yolk again to see how I react. Normally those with allergies are just allergic to the egg white).

Also, I think that I am having difficulties with the sauerkraut. Even at just 1/2 tsp a day, by the end of the week things are… Just not right.

Everything went well last week though, and the weekend was awesome. That is almost a full seven days of no stomach pain or problems, just a few hours on Sunday afternoon when I had some issues. If everything goes a-okay this week I’m going to take that as a sign to try and introduce something new. I’m thinking that will be small doses of a probiotic.

You see, even though I’m feeling great on this diet, that doesn’t mean I’m “healed” or on my way to healing entirely. It may just mean that I am now tolerating these foods. To really heal, I need to get to a maintenance dose of probiotic, which will help repopulate all of the gut flora that I lost on my four year stint with antibiotics for my acne.

Wish me luck.

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Now, as fun as that was to talk about, let’s move onto the real reason that you are probably reading this post today: What I Ate Wednesday.

As you remember from last week, this month’s theme for WIAW is Love Your Veggies Month.


This week, I want to focus on a vegetable that we all know and love: Winter Squash.

acorn-squash-whole

Here a few tidbits that I learned about this awesome vegetable (source):

  • We normally think of winter squash as being very starchy, and while about 50% of its carbohydrates are “starch-like” in composition, they are not the same as the starch carbohydrates normally associated with negative effects.
  • On the contrary, these carbohydrates have been found to be antioxidant in nature as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and insulin regulating.
  • The durable shells of these squash make them great for storing, anywhere from one week to six months.
  • It is suggested that you buy winter squash from an organic source whenever possible, because it is often used as an intercrop for contaminated soils.

In my normal fashion, I’m not going to share everything that I ate in an entire day because most of my meals repeat/consist of similar things. This week though, I want to change things up even more and share some of my favorite types of winter squash.

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I decided to make this in alphabetical order and table format, because ABCs and tables make life so much simpler (information source) (stock images from Google).

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Here are some of the ways that I like to use winter squash:

Butternut Squash and Beef Soup.

wiaw-sweet-beef-squash-soup-close

Kabocha Squash and Chicken Soup.

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Spaghetti Squash and my Tomato-Free Meat Sauce.

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Butternut Squash on top of Shepherd’s Pie.

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And a new recipe to share!

Paleo Moussaka 

Adapted from Chocolate and Raspberries

Makes 6 servings

Nut-Free, Gluten/Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, High Protein, GAPS/Paleo Friendly

wiaw-trap-casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, cooked using my painless method
  • 2 zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
  • beef broth or water

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of beef broth or water to a boil and add the ground beef. Stir and break apart as it cooks.

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2. Meanwhile, after cooking and cooling the butternut squash, cut it in half and peel.

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3. Then take the seedless half that is not hollow and cut into round slices.

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4. Next peel (optional) and slice your zucchini.

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5. The beef should be done by now (break apart as it cooks). Remove the beef, and put the zucchini slices into the leftover broth/water. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until tender.

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6. Coat a 8×10 pan (8×8 or 9×9 would work too) with coconut oil.

7. If you had a large butternut squash, start with a layer of butternut rounds on the bottom. If not, evenly distribute half of the zucchini slices on the bottom of the pan.

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8. Next put down a layer of the entire pound of ground beef. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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9. Finish with a layer of zucchini slices, and the remaining butternut squash rounds.

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10. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and place in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Recipe note: You can make this vegan by using 2 cups of cooked lentils or meat substitute crumbles.

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Wowee that was a long post for this WIAW. I hope you all learned a lot about winter squash! I sure did. While I don’t have access to organic squash, I buy it whenever possible. No matter if I have organic or not though, I peel my squash to get rid of any pesticides or lingering hazards on the skin.

And, for a little sneak peak at a recipe that I’ll be sharing either tomorrow or Friday, here is a picture of my Pan Perfect Pancakes. Gluten/Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Nut-Free:

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Have you ever tried to reintroduce a food? What happened?

Did any of the facts about winter squash surprise you?

What is your favorite way to eat winter squash?

What is your favorite type of winter squash? Any recommendations? I’ve been wanting to try delicata squash forever, but none of my grocery stores around me carry it!