Monday Monday

Hi Friends,

I spent the entire weekend looking forward to Monday, my day off :)   The store had a booth at a few events this weekend so I was busy working long days.  Gotta earn that money somehow.  I enjoyed working but by the end of the Sunday, I was ready to be done.  Watching people make a meal out of free sample products got a bit old. 

Not much exciting to report.  When not working, I was doing homework.  I wanted to make a fun breakfast to start the week off right. 

While this may look like a standard bowl of brown rice, chopped apple and almond milk, it is much more exciting.  I liberally sprinkled on one of my newest foodie obsessions, chinese five spice powder.

It is a blend of five spices (duh!) that features star anise.  I never thought I liked star anise but I have been loving this lately.  I bought it a bit ago to make a stir fry recipe and rather than let it sit in my cupboard I decided to experiment with it.  I think this rice porridge is my favorite creation so far.

That is all I got today.  I definitely need a day off :)



Red Meat and Football

Hi Friends,

The store had our grass feed and finished beef on sale over the weekend to celebrate the Super Bowl.  With my employee discount on top of the sale price, I just had to take a few cuts of meat home with me.  Can’t pass up a good deal!  I was inspired by all the Asian ingredients I had hanging around from previous cooking endeavors and came up with a tasty marinade for flank steak.

Sweet and Spicy Flank Steak

– 1 1/2 TB sesame oil

– 1 1/2 TB tamari

– 1 TB rice vinegar

– 1 tsp honey

– 1 tsp San J Szechuan Sauce 

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 inch knob of ginger, minced

– 3/4 pound flank steak

– Mix together all ingredients for marinade, sesame oil thru ginger, in a bowl until well combined.

– Pour marinade over flank steak and refrigerate until ready to cook.  (I let mine sit for about 8 hrs while I was in class.  A quick google shows that about 30 min is the minimum time recommended for marinating a flank steak.)

– Heat a grill pan on stove top over high heat.  Place steak on hot grill.  Grill for about 6-8 min on each side.  Allow meat to sit for 5 to 10 min before cutting into thin strips.

I really like this recipe.  I meat was very flavorful and the sweet, spicy Asian influence worked nicely with the beef.  I am not a huge steak person at all but I enjoyed the thin strips of flank steak.  Both Art and I like our meat done medium so we grilled it for 7 min.  You can obviously adjust the cooking time based on how you like your meat.

I served the flank steak with black quinoa and roasted veggies.  I tossed the broccoli and red pepper in canola oil and chinese five spice powder before roasting.  A lovely meal for football watching :)

Did you make anything special for the Super Bowl?  What is your favorite way to prepare beef?  I have some ground beef and stew meat in my freezer and need some meat cooking tips.

Have a lovely week!


Baking Day

Hi Friends,

I closed at the store yesterday which meant I had the morning to bake!  YEHAW!  My parents are hosting a holiday party this weekend and they asked me to make some cookies.  I jumped on the request and started researching fun holiday treats to share.   I made two yesterday

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

I love the whole spicy chocolate thing so when I saw the recipe for these on the PPK (I forget how much I like this blog!) I knew I would have to give them a try.  I doubled the recipe and only added a small pinch of cayenne as I wasn’t sure how adventurous the palates of my parents friends would be.  I also added a chopped Mayan Gold bar from Black & Green as you can never have too much chocolate.

I think for the first time ever, I actually got as many cookies as the recipe said it would make.  I taste tested the cookie that was the most burnt around the edges and was very satisfied with how they turned out.  I would definitely add more cayenne the next time I make these and maybe a little orange zest too. 

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

I spotted these guys on Lori’s blog and followed her links to Alisa’s blog.  The recipe seemed so simple and yummy that I couldn’t not try it.  I subbed the peppermint extract for coconut and rolled the truffles in unsweetened flaked coconut.  The co-op had the vegan chocolate chips on sale so the recipe is also vegan. 

I made one and half batches and ended up with 30 truffles.  After rolling all the cookies, my desire to roll things into balls was a bit low.  Some of the truffles got a bit large in order to finish the task.  Again, for the purpose of quality control I samples one.  It was good :)  How can you go wrong with chocolate and coconut.

Breakfast Day 9 – Breakfast Double Apple Crisp

I sautéed a small chopped apple in some water, cinnamon and a squeeze of buckwheat honey.  Once it was soft, I mixed the last two spoonfuls of homemade applesauce into 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.  I layered the two and topped ground flax and cinnamon pecan granola.  A super yummy, dessert like breakfast :)

Day 10 – Coconut Chai Smoothie

I wanted to do something with the leftover coconut milk for breakfast this morning.  Enter the creamiest smoothie I have made to date.  Into the blender went one small frozen banana, 1/2 vanilla protein powder, three ice cubes, a little over 1/4 cup of coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.  I topped with some Go Lean Crunch and a pinch of unsweetened coconut.  YUMMMMMMMMM!  Hello medium chain fatty acid smoothie of deliciousness.  If you like coconut and chai spice, I highly recommend this combo.

I am about to hit up the gym and head down to my parents.  I talked to my mom this morning and they are predicting a big old snow storm for the weekend so the party may be much smaller than originally anticipated.  Oh well!  I am excited to finish my baking and chill out with them for a few days.



Weekend Breakfasts

Hi Friends,

Last night I slept for a solid 10.5 hours.  I was wiped out after three long days of work plus there was a little street fair going on yesterday so we were ultra busy.  Being on your feet for 8 hours is tough!  Art and I had planned on going to see the new Harry Potter but ended up going to Chipolte and crashing on the couch.  It was a good thing I had friends over for dinner on Friday otherwise the weekend would have been nothing but work.

Anyway on to the weekend breakfasts!

Day 4 – Cherry Cardamom Smoothie

Technically I had this for exact combo for breakfast before the challenge started so I can have it again :)  Hehe!

Day 5 – Caramel Apple Waffles 

I promised Art waffles if he got up and moved my car off the snow emergency route this morning.  I followed the directions on the gluten free waffle mix but cut the water and oil in half and subbed in applesauce.  I also added a big pinch of ginger to the batter.  For waffle topper, I sautéed chopped apples in a snot load of butter and brown sugar.  Butter and brown sugar are a delightful combination.   I figured the desserty topping on the waffles was necessary since there was less fat in the waffles ;)

Gearing for another long day at the store. Happy Sunday!


Wild Rice Porridge

Hi Friends,

I’ve been dreaming about the wild rice porridge I had for breakfast at the Vanilla Bean Cafe on our way back from Thanksgiving.  I made a big pot of wild rice yesterday in preparation for a college friends dinner I am hosting tonight.  There was so much rice that I figured I could snag some for breakfast this morning.

Day 3 – Wild Rice Porridge

1 cup cooked wild rice

3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk

1/3 cup fresh cranberries

cinnamon and cardamom to taste

drizzle of buckwheat honey

Combine all ingredient in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium for about 10 min or until cranberries just start to pop.

This was on par with the porridge from the vanilla bean.  Very simple but satisfying.  The honey, cranberries and rice were all locally produced which I very much enjoy.  Too bad I can’t eat this exact meal again for the next 30 days :(  But look for wild rice to appear in more breakfasts in the near future.

Anyone doing anything fun this weekend?  I am having friends over for dinner tonight and then working long shifts at the store on Saturday and Sunday.  ‘Tis the season…!



New Month = New Challenge

Hi Friends,

I am  not going to lie, I got into a bit of a rut in early November and had a hard time getting myself out.  Classes were going well, work was fine, living with Art was great, things to be grateful for were easy to find.  Despite all this I was in a bit of funk.  I had just gone through all that change and was left feeling a little restless.  I couldn’t shake this feeling for most of the month and didn’t enjoy it.  I knew nothing was super wrong which made me feel worse about feeling bad.  Does that make sense?!

Anyway, after a bit of pondering, I decided that creativity and kids were missing from my life.  I put out a few offers to babysit and came up with a little creativity challenge for myself.    I am pleased to announce 30 Days of Breakfast Round 2!  I did this back in May and had great fun with it.  It is an easy way to be creative each morning and celebrates my favorite meal at the same time.  

For the next 30 days I shall make something different for breakfast each day and post about it.  As an added bonus bit, I am going to post about at least one holiday baking adventure a week too.  Look for special blogger shout out breakfasts along the way.  You guys make some super drool worthy things and I am excited to feature them throughout the month.

With that I give you breakfast on Day 1!  Apple Cinnamon Oats

As a kid, I did not care for the apple cinnamon oatmeal packets at all but for some reason it sounded like the way to go for breakfast this morning.  Into the pot went 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk, pinch of sea salt, a boatload of cinnamon and one small apple finely chopped.  After cooking, I stirred in some ground flax and topped with plain yogurt and a bit of buckwheat honey.  Simple and satisfying. 

No takers on the babysitting yet.  Sigh.  I have thought about volunteering somewhere but my work schedule is varied so I don’t know if that will work.  I shall just have to get ultra creative with the breakfasts to make up for the lack of kid time :)



Here We Go

Hi Friends,

As much as I love holiday breaks, I really like getting back to my normal routine.  As much as I try to deny it, I am a creature of habit and really like my schedule.  Sigh, I am old and boring :)

I got treated to a Sunday night dinner cooked by Art last night so I don’t have a fun Sunday dinner recipe to share with you all.  But I am not complaining as dinner was yummy and I so loved coming home from work to have dinner waiting for me. 

He made pork chops with onions and mushrooms, brown rice, frozen asparagus and a salad.  The pork chop was the all-star of the meal.  I was impressed too that he covered all he had the protein, carbohydrate and veggie bases.  Nice work sir!

Aside from my gingerbread oats, I have been really enjoying a cherry cardamom smoothie inspired a drink mix we make and sell at work. 

Into the blender goes: 1/2 frozen banana, frozen cherries, 3 ice cubes, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, unsweetened soymilk, ground flax, and a big old shake of cardamom.  Topped with local produced gluten free cinnamon pecan Granola, this is quite the yummy breakfast. 

Have I mentioned how much I love cardamom?!  It reminds me of soothing coziness in the form of a spice.  A quick google search taught me that cardamom is good for gum infections, digestive problems, constipation and a sore throat.  All good things!  What is your favorite spice?

Nugget 28

Google.  See the above paragraph.  It is a godsend for curious kids like me.

Happy Monday friends.  Anything interesting going on?  I can’t believe that we are sliding to the end of 201o.  Yowzers!



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