Tuesday, December 30, 2014

{recetas} Beef & Broccoli

Oh. Em. Gee, folks. I made the best dinner last night.

Take-out worthy beef and broccoli. It was delicious! Kid gobbled it up and the Hubs said we should have it more often. Win-win, in my book.

This is kind of a multi-step process, but it's quick and all of the steps are easy.

First things first, the rice. This meal is best served over rice and I find it best to use the rice cooker. You could also use instant rice, but rice cooker rice is so much better!

What you need (for the rice):

  • 2 cups rice
  • chicken broth (enough to cover the rice, up to the first knuckle on your pointer finger...scientific, I know)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • OR! Instant white rice
What you do (for the rice):
  • If you are like us, go to your ice cream bucket of frozen rice and scoop 2 cups into the rice cooker.
  • Pour the chicken stock over the rice. Here comes the scientific part. Stick your pointer finger into the pot until you touch the bottom. If the stock comes up to the first knuckle joint, you're good to go!
  • Sprinkle in your garlic powder and ground ginger. Both of these are in the beef and broccoli sauce if you want to omit them from your rice. I just like to add an extra little zip.
  • Or, you can skip those three steps and make some instant rice. That's up to you.
Okay, part two. Multi-step, you know. We're gettin' fancy up in these parts!

What you need (for the beef and broocoli):
  • a flank steak
  • a head of broccoli
  • 2/3 cup tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (yep, I buy my garlic pre-minced)
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
What you do (for the beef and broccoli):
  • Boil water in a medium-sized pot. While this is boiling, whisk together tamari sauce, honey, chicken stock, sesame oil, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and corn starch. I don't know about you, I like to measure all of the ingredients first and have them sitting in their own separate dishes (like a cooking show!) before I add them. Especially the dry ingredients. Once the honey is added to the mix, you'll need to whisk continuously. Otherwise, it gets stuck to the bottom of the bowl and takes longer. Just trying to save you some time!
  • Slice your steak really thinly. Think about your favorite Chinese food restaurant. Their beef is sliced nice and thin. Do that. It makes it taste better. Well, probably not, but it looks more like take-out that way!
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add your beef. Cook it through. Drain it.
  • When your water boils, add the broccoli for just a few minutes, and then drain it. Pour some cold water over the top to stop the cooking process. I suppose you could have an ice bath ready. But we never have ice readily available. I like the texture of the broccoli when it has been boiled for a short time.
  • Add the broccoli and sauce to the pan with the beef and bring the sauce to a boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer so the sauce has some time to thicken. I, personally, don't have much patience for this part and let the sauce thicken just a little bit. You can thicken it to your own needs and wants.
  • Serve the beef and broccoli over rice. We like to have egg rolls on the side. Just a suggestion.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Art

I know, I know. Christmas has come and gone. Most people post their Christmas tutorials before Christmas, not after. But here I am. A few days after Christmas and wanting to show y'all our Christmas art. I made these just a few days before Christmas (can you tell I'm a last minute person?).

This post, from Jessica Lynn Writes, was my inspiration. I wanted to change things up a little bit, so I came up with a few of my own sayings. I loved the way hers turned out, so I headed over to PicMonkey to make my own.

Wait a minute. Those aren't Christmas! Nope, those are the year-round sayings.

I hosted a truffle making party the weekend before Christmas and wanted to make the house a little more festive than it was. At that time, I only had an undecorated Christmas tree up and a few Department 56 houses. No stockings, no Christmas cards, no ornaments. It needed to get festive up in here.

I hung the ornaments (on the top 2/3rds of the tree) in a toddler-proof fashion. I took down our living room art and hung the stockings. And I designed some artwork for the dining room frames. Christmas inspired, no less.

These three beauties hang in our dining room until it's time to pack away all of the Christmas stuff. The "Merry Christmas" one is printed larger than the others and hangs in the middle. It's framed with a chunky black frame. The other two are a few inches smaller and are framed in white.

I think they're pretty neat!

**Shameless plug: let me know if you're interested in purchasing the digital file.
I'm thinking of going all Etsy style.**

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Snow Baby

I try not to post much on Sundays, but this little peanut was looking far too adorable sledding yesterday to keep the pictures under wraps. It was technically our second sledding adventure with Kid, as we brought him last winter.

Hubs had been gone hunting all day yesterday, while Kid and I ran errands and got some things done around the house. When he got home, he was antsy, so we made the last minute decision to go sledding. The nervous mama in me felt that our close-to-home sledding hill was too steep for Kid. The Hubs agreed (as he would be the one pulling Kid back up the hill). We decided to stop at my in-law's house for some mini-sledding.

Kid loved it! I'm so thankful that we finally have snow. While I'm not normally one for impromptu plans, I'm glad we bundled up and went sledding. I'm never quite sure what activities I can do while knocked-up, so I played photographer for our sledding adventure, using a new lens, too!

Sledding may just become one of our favorite activities this winter. What are your favorite things to do in the winter?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ahh, we made it through the holidays with only some minor issues. Sleep issues. The Kid is not sleeping, and it is making his mama quite sad (okay, mostly tired).

I've always been a lover of Christmas cookies, but I never seem to pull it all together to do some serious cooking baking. I made progress this year, though, and made some peanut butter blossoms (my favorite Christmas cookie).

Let me just say that you need to use Hershey's kisses for these cookies. They have the best flavor. Yum, yum, yum. I ended up making four dozen cookies (whoa!) and we polished them off in just a few days. I did bring some to my parents' house for our Christmas Day celebration, so that helped quite a bit!

**While I do believe that Hershey's kisses are the only kisses appropriate for baking purposes,
I did receive these kisses free of charge from Influenster.**

Thursday, December 4, 2014

\\Thankful Thursday Vol. 13//

I find that it is impossibly easy to get into a rut of negativity. And once you're there, it's hard to climb your way out. Writing down my thankfuls for each week has become a way to stay away from the negative. Feel free to leave your thankfuls in the comments.

I'm thankful for the health that has been restored to our home. After the long weekend, Kid and I stayed home sick after getting no sleep the night before. We are now feeling back to 100% and our tissue use has decreased.

I'm thankful for Starbucks and Caribou gift cards. Let's be honest. It's such a treat to pull up at the drive-thru and know that you're getting your beverage for free. My favorites are Peppermint Hot Cocoa (Starbucks) and Hot Cocoa with a shot of Caramel (Caribou). I'm also thankful for the drive-thru window. It is so nice to stay in the warm car while my beverage is made and then be right on my way to work.

I'm thankful for dirty dishes (and the dishwasher). Dirty dishes remind me that I have food to prepare in the refrigerator. They remind me that I have a functioning stove, oven, and microwave. I'm forever grateful for my dishwasher that received as a Christmas gift when we bought our home. The family that left our home took everything with them, including the kitchen sink). But the dishwasher saves me (and the hubs) countless minutes after dinner each night. Minutes that we can spend hanging out with Kid and the pup. They are minutes that we cherish.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sick Kid

I'm posting from my phone this morning, as Kid and I rest on the couch and baby girl kicks away. 

We've both been up all night. My alarm is set to go off in 20 minutes and I kind of want to cry.

Our 6pm trip to urgent care went quickly; waiting for the prescription did not.

Kid fell asleep as soon as we got in the car. He's been up every 30 to 40 minutes since. I've just been up.

Tonsillitis stinks. How does a toddler get it, anyway?

In his few moments of sleep, I've learned which people are on Kid's mind the most.

"Elmo," he cries out, "Mamo, Pa." His beloved grandparents. "Daddy! Mama, Mama, Mamaaaa!"

And how can I not scoop the teary boy out of his crib? His arms reaching up for me, his nose so stuffy he snores like an 80 year old man. His skin is hot, his lips are dry. He guzzles 8 ounces of water in five minutes.

I want to take it all away. I'll take tonsillitis, please. The inability to breathe through my nose. The fever, the tears, all of it.

I'll take it all, so long as kid feels better. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wow, It's Been Awhile ~ A Chicken Soup Recipe

It's been quite a while since I've posted a recipe. I find it kind of hard to do, since I am such a recipe follower myself. I'm not often coming up with my own "new" recipes. But I think I've come pretty close to
the best chicken soup recipe ever.

What you need:
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 cartons of chicken broth (64 ounces, total)
  • 8 to 10 carrots peeled and sliced (no need to peel if they're organic)
  • 2 ribs of celery sliced
  • 1 onion chopped (I only use half of a really small onion)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • one ... leaf? stem? of kale (unless you're anti-kale)
  • egg noodles (because my husband doesn't like kale)
What you do:
  • Slice your chicken breasts into thin strips and place in a soup pot. Add the chicken broth, carrots, onion, and celery. Add some salt and pepper as you see fit. I tend to go light on these ingredients and allow each person to add them to their own taste.
  • Heat the soup over high heat for about 25 minutes. At 25 minutes, check the "done-ness" of your chicken and veggies. The chicken is done when it's no longer pink inside and easily shredded with two forks.
  • While the soup is cooking, chop your kale. I only use one stem because my husband doesn't like it and Kid can't yet chew it enough to swallow it. I also remove the main stem/rib of the kale and only use the leafy part. Anyway. Chop it into bite-sized pieces.
  • If your husband protests kale, and you don't feel like making an entire pot of chicken noodle soup, boil water in another pot and cook your egg noodles according to the package directions. If you're going for chicken noodle soup, you can add the noodles straight to the soup and cook for 8-ish minutes.
  • To serve, place some kale and/or egg noodles in a bowl and ladle the chicken soup over the top. Give it a stir and enjoy!
I threw in this old picture because .. well, soup weather also means shoveling weather... And, I keep forgetting to take pictures of the soup. I'll become a true picture-taking foodie someday!

Quick tips:
  • Cook your noodles separately, even if nobody is having kale (or you want both!). I usually double this recipe to freeze and I do not care for the taste of cooked, frozen, and then reheated noodles. I'll freeze a hefty portion of soup and then am prepared to cook noodles the day I decide to reheat the soup.
  • Don't be bummed if your husband doesn't like kale. I was. And then I got over it. Because, really? It takes 15 minutes to boil water and make noodles.
  • Go light on the salt and pepper to start. Once the soup is boiling, you can taste the broth and add more as needed. People can also add their own once they've tasted the soup and broth.