What I Ate When My Toes Almost Froze Off

If you know me at all, then you know that I’m usually a very hard worker. When it comes to certain things though… not so much. One of those “things” is walking the fifteen minutes to my car every Friday.

Last semester my parents drove me to school so that we could save money on car insurance (it costs extra for keeping cars at college). This semester however, I had to buy a parking permit and drive myself. Since I’m no longer on my school’s student meal plan (well, I’m trying to get off it at least) I have to go home every weekend to make the food that I’ll eat for the following week.

The 2 hour drive itself isn’t bad. There are tons of interesting radio stations on during Friday afternoons. Last week I listened to everything from cheesy jewelry store advertisements to a talk show about gun control, from the good time oldies, to my favorite station- country music.

What is bad is the fifteen minute walk to my car. In the cold. Through snow.

wiaw-cold-self

As you can see, I took this picture *before* I headed out… hence the happy smile still on my face.

What is bad is making it through that long excruciating walk, and then this happens:

wiaw-car-snow

Yep. My Friday was basically ruined when I found out that my car wouldn’t start. Here I was all packed and ready to go, with just a teensy little huge roadblock standing in my way.

So, I called my dad and asked for his advice. Then I walked back to my dorm room and called AAA. I waited on the phone for probably twenty minutes and got disconnected within the first five. The lady who finally answered was pretty snooty, but in the end she wished me the best of luck and hoped that I’d get everything worked out.

Needless to say that when I hung up I started to cry.

A big wave of emotion hit me like a freight train. They were sending a tow truck in 45 minutes to try and jump start my car. I should have been ecstatic. But instead I was just so upset. First of all, I had eaten my last morsel of food for lunch, expecting to be home by five for supper. Second, when I talked to my dad, I was pretty rude and strung out. Not good. And third, my car stopped working. In the middle of winter. And there was no one I could share my grief with at school. My roommate was gone for the weekend, my one friend lives off campus, and the others were off with their boyfriends.

So, I trudged back out to my car and waited for 30 minutes by myself. I attempted to stay warm by using a small blanket that I found in the back, and rubbing my hands together inside of my gloves. But let me tell you– It was COLD. Like, upper-teens cold with wind chills in the single digits.

The tow truck arrived in pretty good time and the operator was so nice. He was incredibly patient as I explained what happened, and within minutes my car was running.

When I drove back to my dorm to pack up my things, I seriously couldn’t feel my feet. I changed into a clean pair of fuzzy socks and shoes since my others were soaked from melting snow. And low and behold my toes were a bright bright red. You may laugh, but I actually had a little difficulty walking for the first few minutes as my feet thawed out.

wiaw-cold-socks

To conclude this miserable (and yes, somewhat melodramatic) story, I made it home safe and sound just before 8:00. About 3 hours later than planned, and boy was I starving!

For this WIAW, I’m going to share with you a few of the things that I made after My Toes Almost Froze Off.

First up, a picture that I took at school, but one that I’ve also enjoyed at home a countless number of times: Beef and “Noodle” Soup (made with peeled Yellow Squash, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt). Extra broth alongside.

wiaw-cold-soup

Next is another favorite of mine: Glazed Carrots (cooked carrots topped with coconut oil).

For reference sake, here is a picture of the carrots before, chopped and raw:

wiaw-carrots-raw

And here is a picture of them after, cooked to perfection and topped in yummy goodness:

wiaw-carrots-cooked

Finally, I want to share a new GAPS recipe that I made this weekend. It’s adapted from a Friday Food Find I did a few weeks ago, and it’s seriously awesome.

And it’s perfect for using up the half of a cow that we purchased this last week! We got all of the different cuts from ribs to roasts, from ground beef to stew meat. This cow is from a local farm and it was grass-fed and pasture-raised:

*Vegans and Vegetarians Avert Eyes*

wiaw-cold-grass-fed-cow

Super exciting stuff.

Anyways, moving on to what I made:

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Heart of Cooking

Allergen-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, GAPS, SCD, Paleo

wiaw-shepherds-pie

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups squash, mashed (alternatively you could use cauliflower puree)*
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef*
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3 large carrots, chopped (around 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil plus more for pan
  • water or broth for cooking vegetables
  • sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a 8×8 casserole dish with coconut oil.
  2. In a large pan, add a few cups of water (or broth) and your ground beef. Cook on high, breaking up the meat. When almost done, add all of the vegetables. Let cook for an additional ten minutes or until soft.
  3. Drain the vegetables and meat and spoon into greased pan. Sprinkled with a little sea salt.
  4. In a separate bowl mash the cooked squash with 2 tbsp coconut oil. Spread this mixture evenly on top of the vegetables and meat. Sprinkle with a little more sea salt.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes and enjoy!

Variations:

Vegetables- Any vegetables would work well in here. Onions or broccoli would fantastic to add, I just used what I had on hand. Any kind of squash would work great in this recipe. I used a combination of mostly butternut and a little acorn.

Meat- Any kind of meat would work in here as well. My mom made one with shredded chicken and I think I might give that a go next. Ground lamb would be fantastic.

Vegan/Vegetarian- For an alternative to the meat, I think that cooked lentils (about 2 cups worth), chopped mushrooms, or a meat substitute would all be lovely in this dish.

Sorry I only have one picture to share! The picture I took of the whole casserole turned out really blurry. I promise that when I make it again I’ll take more.

———————————————————————————–

Do you normally fare well with customer service?

Here’s a customer service video that YOU HAVE TO WATCH. It made me feel ten times smarter. Seriously.

Has your car ever failed to start in the cold? Do you have AAA?

What’s your favorite thing to listen to on the radio?

My “Souper” Weekend (WIAW)

Wowee do I have a lot of pictures to share with you today!

So let’s skip the fluff and get right to it.

It’s time for another WIAW hosted by the lovely Jenn of Peas and Crayons. Go check out her blog for even more wonderful WIAW posts from some pretty awesome bloggers.

This weekend, as you know, was an extra long one with Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Extended weekends are the greatest. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, cooking, and a little bit of shopping thrown in. Grocery shopping that is…

wiaw-souper-weekend-nut-butter-shelves

Since starting GAPS in December, both of my parents have now joined me in whole foods living. My dad is currently a few stages ahead of me on the Intro Diet, while my mom started right onto full GAPS because she doesn’t have any digestive issues to begin with. Both are feeling great and are really embracing this new lifestyle. I am seriously so proud of their effort to eat clean. Their eating habits have changed dramatically since I wrote this WIAW post entitled Me Vs. Them.

whole-foods-mom-pizza

Another positive to having parents on GAPS is that now we eat some of the same food. On Friday when I came home my dad had a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup simmering on the stove to share. That is the first time in over six months where I have been able to eat the same thing as my parents for supper. It’s quite a surreal feeling.

wiaw-chicken-veggie-soup

Also, on this whole foods journey I’ve introduced my dad to some awesome food. Like squash! At first he couldn’t stand it… Ya. I know. Who is this man?

Well, eventually he came around. He’s still not much into spending a lot of time cooking though, so I knew I had to figure out a quick, painless way to cook squash that he could do during the work week. Sure, he could have microwaved it, but we all know that microwaving isn’t the safest method of cooking. And slicing takes way too much effort…

So, with a little searching on pinterest, I came up with a method that is relatively pain-free:

How to Cook Squash in the Oven Painlessly

wiaw-souper-weekend-oven-acorn-squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole squash, any kind
  • 1 oven
  • 1 pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place whole squash in the pan and bake for 1-2 hours.
  3. Check after 1 hour with a knife. When it goes clean through, it’s done.
  4. Cut in half and then scoop out the seeds.

Note: For squash that you can cube, bake on the lower end of the cooking times. For squash that comes off the skin easily and is soft enough to puree, bake closer to the 2 hour cooking time.

Hmm… Super easy, right? I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner? No peeling or slicing, and the seeds are so much easier to remove after the squash is cooked.

After I let the squash cool, I store it in a Pyrex container in the fridge. As I’m scooping and cutting, I tend to snack on a lot of squash (maybe too much sometimes? Hehe). My favorite way is to just slice butternut squash into wedges and eat. They kind of remind me of chomping on orange slices as a kid.

wiaw-souper-weekend-butternut-squash-slice

Over the weekend I also made another batch of Cauliflower Rice Risotto with some of the butternut squash that I cooked.

wiaw-souper-weekend-rice-risotto

I let the risotto cool in the fridge again, then I topped it with some crock pot chicken and sweet peas.

wiaw-souper-weekend-risotto-chicken-peas

Other than food I also got to go to one of my brother’s basketball games. That was probably the highlight of my weekend; my brother is over six foot, so he is pretty good at stuffing players and blocking shots.

Last week I shared a picture of my dog Lilly, but my other pets got jealous. Now it’s their turn!

It was pretty cold over the weekend, so my dad let our larger, outside dog Riley in. We enclosed our kitchen with chairs so that he wouldn’t make a mess of the rest our house, but he was perfectly content with visiting with everyone and getting petted. He is such a sweetheart! I tried to get a good picture, but he just wouldn’t sit still.

wiaw-souper-weekend-riley-collage

Scout also wanted to get in on the action. She’s such a little diva. As soon as we emptied one of our paper bags from Whole Foods, Scout hopped right on in and started messing around. Cats just LOVE boxes and bags. She actually let me carry her around in it for a while.

wiaw-souper-weekend-scout-collage

And let’s not forget Apollo, my brother’s cat who he dubbed “Introvert.” He’s not exactly a people person…

wiaw-souper-weekend-apollo-collage

Let’s see, what other pictures do I have to share with you all?

How about this awesome shot I took while I was doing a load of jeans on Saturday:

wiaw-souper-weekend-jeans

Or this picture I took of a sunset on the way to my brother’s game:

wiaw-souper-weekend-landscape

A successful experiment on my mom’s part.

She experimented in making some homemade dressing made from lemon (or orange?) juice, olive oil, and salt. One half she used plain, and the other she mixed with some homemade yogurt. For a snack she dipped a few organic romaine lettuce leaves into the two dressings. She was very impressed, especially with it being GAPS legal.

wiaw-souper-weekend-lettuce-dressing

And a not so successful experiment on my part.

I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate protein powders into dessert for my brother to try. He can use all of the bulking up he can get with basketball! Last time it went over well, but I guess this time I made one too many substitutions when making these no-bake cookies. I personally think it would have tasted awesome, but he’s very very picky.

wiaw-souper-weekend-no-bake-single

Of course, since it’s WIAW, I should probably include some of my regular meals lately. Just because I’ve been eating a lot of soup, doesn’t mean I don’t make up some delicious combinations!

At home for a snack I cooked up two sliced carrots and shredded chicken in a little broth until tender. I drank the broth on the side (it’s so sweet and delicious from the cooked carrots) and I topped the carrots and chicken with a little coconut oil and sea salt.

wiaw-souper-weekend-carrots-chicken-broth

At school today I peeled and cooked yellow squash “noodles” in chicken broth. I topped the squash with a large strip of chicken, sea salt and rosemary. After I took this picture I also added a nice big drizzle of olive oil.

wiaw-souper-weekend-chicken-broth

To round out this incessantly long WIAW, a little warmth for this sub-zero weather that we’ve been experiencing up around here:

wiaw-souper-weekend-tea

Peppermint tea.

wiaw-souper-weekend-tea-packet

——————————————————————————————-

Questions for you:

What is your favorite health food store? I’m all about Whole Foods and Earth Fare!

Have you ever tried cooking a squash whole? Do it. Now. You’ll never go back. Promise.

How do you capture good pictures of your pets?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Playlist (WIAW)

This is going to be a quick post today as I have a presentation tomorrow in my Business class, a speech on Thursday in my Critical Thinking class, and two exams next week to study for. WHOA.

In case you missed it, here is my last post for Marvelous in My Monday featuring “search terms.”

I wish I could say this week is going by fast, but it’s not. Which is even worse when you have tons of studying to do, because then it seems like every page and every question is TWICE as long.

Oh well. At least it’s Wednesday and I get to do another WIAW post!

After you’re done here, make sure to check out Peas and Crayons for more WIAW fun!

Now, let’s get this party started so that I can get back to watching Netflix studying. (Man are these next two weeks going to be tough!)

Breakfast

Over the weekend I didn’t use any brown rice protein powder because I was out, so for breakfast I had butternut squash cooked in the microwave.

butternut-squash

Lunch

An Oldie but Goodie. A super large salad with red grapes, cucumber slices (hidden way below), a can of low sodium tuna, and of course, lettuce!

Salad_Chicken_Grapes

Snack

There were a lot of brown bananas to use up when I got home. Yay!

One of the things that I made was this Strawberry Banana Smoothie in a Bowl.

The bananas weren’t quite frozen enough to make “ice cream,” so I added some frozen strawberries and blended it to make this thick, luscious smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie in a Bowl

Ingredients:

  • slices of 2 partially frozen brown bananas (about 1-2 hours in the freezer)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup frozen strawberries

Directions: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and combine until smooth. Place in the freezer to firm up if you prefer a “ice cream” texture and are patient unlike me! Eat with a spoon.

strawberry-banana-frozen-yo

Dinner

When I got home there was also a lot of zucchini and yellow squash to use up, so for both meals on Saturday I had sliced and steamed squash.

steamed-squash

I also gave some to my mom, since she was the one who originally bought the vegetables!

squash-mom

For supper Saturday night I paired some steamed yellow squash with 4 turkey meatballs.

To make the meatballs I took 1/4 lb of lean ground turkey, divided them into 4 sections, and rolled them into balls. Then, when I was done steaming the squash, I just plopped them right into the boiling water from that. Just cover them and cook until they are done! About 10 minutes for me.

turkey-meatballs-squash

I ended up cooking up a whole pound of ground turkey into meatballs to take to school with me. Sadly I forgot them at home in the refrigerator. Oh well; at least I’ll have something to eat when I get back!

meatballs-bag

Snack

Like I said… Lots of food to use up! Here is what I did with two more large bananas. This time I planned ahead and put the banana slices in the freezer for about half of the day. Then I made them into banana “ice cream.” Delicious.

banana-ice-cream-x2

In addition to this week’s WIAW, I also want to add a little Christmas spirit with an idea that I got from Life of Di:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Playlist

1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Yolanda Adams

2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Michael Buble

3. White Christmas by Michael Buble

4. Jingle Bells by Michael Buble

5. Baby It’s Cold Outside by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey

6. Winter Wonderland by Avalon

7. A Strange Way to Save the World by 4Him

8. Let it Snow by Jaci Velasquez

All of these songs come from my family’s favorite three Christmas CDs that we listen to during December:

WOW Christmas (2002)

WOW Christmas: 30 Top Christian Artists and Holiday Songs

Michael Buble’s Christmas

Jessica Simpson: The Christmas Album

Rejoyce: The Christmas Album

And now I’m off to practice for my Business presentation and work on writing my Critical Thinking speech!

————————————————————————————–

Do you ever have to use up food when you come home from college or a trip?

What is your favorite use for ripe bananas? I think mine is pretty obvious!

Do you have any big tests coming up? If so, good luck!

What song would be at the top of your Merry Little Christmas Playlist?

What I Ate and What I Bought

Wow. What a long and wonderful weekend!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving break (if you had one) and had fun Black Friday shopping! I haven’t talked to most of you since last week’s What I Ate The Day Before Thanksgiving WIAW. It’s been too long.

So, let’s jump right in and I’ll give you a recap of what I ate over the weekend… and what I bought!

First up, What I Ate! The following are a collage of some of my better looking meals during my break, and some when I came back this week:

Breakfast

Banana Protein Bread with Cranberries.

Lunch

Roasted Kale, Carrots and Tuna Salad.

I just washed some pieces of kale and sliced a few baby carrots. I roasted everything under a medium broil for about 5-7 minutes until the kale was crispy and the carrots were softer but still had a crunch. (About 4 minutes in I also added some tuna on top to get warm).

Then I served it all one on big (Christmas) plate with a side of grapes!

Snack

A new squash to add to my collection! This is buttercup squash, which resembles acorn squash, and is “supposed” to taste like a sweet potato.

It was good, but tasted nothing like a sweet potato.

How to Cook Buttercup Squash in the Microwave

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe buttercup 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 8-12 minutes and check it with a fork. Microwave for a few more minutes until soft, tender and done.

Dinner

After my lunch containing chicken (today), I just wasn’t feeling too good and decided to refrain from meat for dinner. Instead I had two big plates of salad with shredded carrots, and a lot of rice!

This ended up being a good decision, because while I still didn’t feel very well after the rice, I’m positive my stomach would have been much worse if I had tried to chow down on grilled chicken like normal.

Snack

Recycled picture of grapes.

Now that all of that food is out of the way, onto the Black Friday deals and What I Bought!

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of everything that I bought while I was still at home, so stock photos will just have to do! They’re probably better than what my silly old phone would have taken anyways…

On Thursday morning we left our house at 6:40 AM (was supposed to be 6:00 AM) and started our 3 1/2 hour drive to my grandma’s house. We arrived just as my uncle and aunt pulled in, and our two families all sat down together in the living room. Classic chatter and stories ensued, then it was time to pray and have lunch!

I ate a light meal before we got there of chicken, grapes and carrots (there was nothing for lunch that I could eat). I just sipped on a glass of water while everyone else gorged on holiday delicacies. Ha!

When it was time to leave, we said goodbye and headed out to find something to do until we went Black Friday shopping.

My parents decided to watch a movie.

Skyfall!

It was very good and intense. Not quite as good as Casino Royale, but not nearly as dragged out or as confusing as Quantum of Solace.

Then we headed to Wal-Mart just a few seconds away. We got there at 7:00 PM and after walking around for a few minutes we all dispersed to our respective lines. My mom went to wait for a fire pit, my brother went to wait for his PS3 games, and I got in line for the DVDs! And what about my dad? Oh… He just walked around and chatted with each of us numerous times to save us from boredom. So nice.

Last year there were no lines for items. It was just a big rush of people as soon as it reached midnight. This year though, there were lines plus a COP! No one around me got rowdy (or required handcuffs), but there were a few teenage boys that were just getting on everyone’s nerves. No matter how many times the woman in front of me told the boys that there was a line, they just kept on whispering back and forth that they would push us out of the way if they had to. In response everyone around me just smashed together so that there wasn’t any room for them to get through. In the end, they probably didn’t get anything because the line was so long. It started in the produce section and reached all the way back to the freezer section more than 15 aisles away!

When it was finally 8:00 PM the Wal-Mart employees let a few people at a time into the DVD area. It was all very civilized. No pushing, shoving or fighting!

We were limited to just 10 DVDs, so I picked out some and went through them later with my brother to decide which ones we really wanted.

I bought Fast Five, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: The Last Stand, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and Water for Elephants. Each movie was only $1.96! (Except Fast Five which was $4.96… but totally worth it!).

My brother ended up buying two video games (not sure which ones) and two DVDs: Sherlock Holmes 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

My dad was also nice enough to pick me up a vacuum cleaner when I was waiting in line! At first he brought over a red one, then after a slight hesitation on my part I confessed that I “really” wanted… anything but red. I was totally not being picky; he asked which I preferred! I ended up with a purple one, which I love! I’ll let you know how it works when I give it a try.

Overall we were quite successful. Everyone got something that they wanted (my dad bought some new tires later on), and no one got hurt! All of the other shoppers were so nice. Year Three complete!

————————————————————————————————–

In my next post I am going to talk about some not-so-great things that happened on Thanksgiving concerning my digestion. Also, I’m going to be sharing my next plan in healing my stomach, so stayed tuned!

————————————————————————————————–

What did you eat/buy on Thanksgiving?

Any crazy family stories to tell? Any crazy Black Friday stories?

Do you have any digestive problems? Have you ever heard and/or tried the GAPS diet for healing?