Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feeling more balanced

Pin It Now! Today I woke up at 8am.  It's Sunday.  A day meant for sleeping in.  8am is too early for a Sunday morning.  It was definitely not by choice.  We have a resident monkey living with us for the next 18 some years and she decided 8am was a good time to be up.  Normally I would drag myself downstairs, get her breakfast and crawl on the couch and lay there until 9am.  Today I decided to not be a bum.  I decluttered some of crap in the kitchen, started laundry and just kept cleaning and organizing the rest of the morning.  I didn't even have a desire to take a nap today and this afternoon I actually worked out!  It felt great and I am going to make myself do it every day (or at least 4 times a week for now).

For dinner I made Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa and was so happy with how delicious and filling it was. After dinner I actually had it in me to not only clean up, but also to do more laundry and clean the bathroom.  I just had such a good feeling of balance today and I truely am convinced it is because of this whole feng shui thing.  The cool thing about this new philosophy and way of life is it is something for me to turn to now.  If I feel sluggish or unmotivated or unsure about anything, I feel like I can use this philosophy to help guide me sort of.  By rearranging elements in my life and space and also by forcing myself to focus on positive thoughts, I believe I can really create a more balanced life.  And today was the first day I tried to incorporate feng shui into my life and so far it really is amazing.  I'll continue to blog about this journey and see if it still amazes me a month from now. 

This week I will be placing my goals in visible areas around the house.  I am going to change my computer desktop, put a magazine cutout of a goal in the kitchen and find other various ways to make my goals visible throughout the house.  According to feng shui this is a way to help make a person feel more confident and reminded that such goals are within arms reach of being accomplished.

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

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One of the aspects of living a more balanced and harmonious life is health.  Mr. Wright has been nagging at me for weeks to cook healthy meals.  It's not that I'm against healthy.  It's just that I don't want to always eat healthy.  I'm pregnant and have desires!  I can't eat good cheese.  I can't drink wine.  I can't eat deli meat.  I don't want to have chocolate and ciabatta bread take from me either damnit!  BUT as I was reading about Feng Shui and realizing more and more how  I want to incorporate the philosophy into my life, I decided nutrition and health is a huge factor of feeling balanced.  If I keep junk in my home (chips, cookies, etc) then I'm going to continue to feed my body junk.  And it's not going to be possible for me to feel my absolute best eating that crap.  I am not going cold turkey though.  I'm just going to be making smartER and healthiER choices. 

So along came this recipe I found on  I followed it for the most part.  I didn't grill the fish.  Instead I sauteed it.  Using the pan drippings from the tilapia, Mr. Wright added about 1/4 cup butter to the pan then sauteed some shrimp.  To the mango salsa I added a teaspoon ish of honey and let it sit while the tilapia marinated. At first I just served the mango salsa on the fish with lettuce.  Mr. Wright cut up the fish and shrimp and turned it into more of a wrap.  Boy oh boy was it delicious.  I was surprised at how full it made me feel.  I guess I just figured it would be light, but not filling.  It was filling.  And it was great!  The best part of this meal is how good it actually made me feel.  I had so much energy the rest of the night and wasn't too drained to do the dishes or clean up like I usually am.  I think this recipe is a must try for the simplicity and health factors.

Here's the recipe as it appears on


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets


  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced

  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add the tilapia fillets, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

  2. Prepare the mango salsa by combining the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.

  4. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the fillets until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, and flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve the tilapia topped with mango salsa.

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Jalapeno Bites

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These are great because they are finger food.  And bite size. And  jalapenos, filled with cheddar and wrapped with bacon! MMMMMMMMM.  You will need 1 package of bacon (approx. 12 ounces).  It really depends on how many you plan on making.  For this recipe I made 20 jalapeno things.  You will also needs jalapenos, no more than 2-3″ in size.  I used 10, which made 20 (they get sliced in half).  And a block of sharp cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you prefer.

I forgot to take a picture of this step, so pretend there is a baking tray of 10 pieces of bacon on it    Preheat oven to 400 degree F.  Cook bacon for about 10min.  You don’t want to cook it all the way.  It should still be bendable.
While the bacon is cooking, slice up your cheese.

Then, slice your jalapeno’s in half.  Remove the stems, inner membrane and seeds.  Unless you like super spicey, then keep some seeds in!

Aren’t they pretty?  Mr. Wright thinks I’m weird for calling food pretty.  But he doesn’t love cooking so he wouldn’t understand.  The bacon should be done at some point during your slicing of jalapenos.  Let them cool for a moment while you fill the jalapenos with 2-3 little slices of cheese.  You want them to be cheesy enough because some of the cheese falls out during cooking.

Cut the cheese slices if you need to so they can fit in the jalapenos.  My picture only shows 1 cheese slice, but again I recommend laying 2-3 slice.

Cut the bacon pieces in half. Wrap the bacon around the jalapeno snugly and secure with a toothpick.  Or if you’re like me and don’t have toothpicks on hand, break off the ends of bamboo sticks    Also, be sure they are facing up and not on their sides or else the cheese will drip onto the pan.

And voila!
10-12 jalapenos (or more if desired)
12 ounce package of bacon (enough for approx.  30 jalapeno slices)
8 ounce block sharp cheddar cheese, sliced into 2-3 inch slices
toothpicks for securing
Begin by partially cooking the bacon. Place bacon strips close together on a baking pan.  I was able to fit 10 slices on my pan. Cook 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.Bacon should still be bendable and not crispy or all the way done. Cut bacon strips in half and set aside.  Drain off excess bacon fat/grease.
Cut cheddar cheese into half-inch slices and cut each slice in half lengthwise and halve again. Set aside.
 Remove tops from jalapenos and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and membranes (keep seeds in if you want more spice)
In each jalapeno, put in one or two pieces of cheese, cutting cheese to fit.  Wrap with one piece of bacon, tucking end of bacon under jalapeno and secure with a toothpick. Place stuffed and wrapped jalapeno on baking pan. Continue with remaining jalapenos, cheese, and bacon, placing stuffed jalapenos close together.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until bacon is browned. Cool slightly before removing, serve and enjoy

Honey & Hoisen Glazed Wings

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Earliar this week I made this exact recipe, but with chicken thighs instead of wings.  They were so delicious I just knew that as wings they would be just as incredible.  And in spirit of the superbowl I decided to give em' another go.  I found the recipe from Carmen Cooks.  I definitly recommend these.  Although with a few changes as suggested by Mr. Wright these wings are even better and taste like restaurant quality.
  • 3 lbs chicken wings, separated

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 5 T soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)

  • 2 tsp sriracha (or to taste, depends how spicy you would like it)

  • 2 t toasted sesame oil

  • 1 t black pepper

  • 1 T toasted sesame seeds

  • Oil for frying

  • 1. In a deep fryer or (deep skillet with oil) fry all wings until done.  Set aside on plate to cool.  Turn on oven to 400 F so it can preheat.

    2.  In a medium saucepan combine all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, until it is slightly reduced. Put aside 1/3 cup of the sauce in a small bowl.

    3.  Transfer the wings to the saucepan. Make sure each wing is coated in sauce.

    4. Line a roasting pan with foil.  Place glazed wings on a roasting rack and pour the rest of the glaze from the saucepan over the wings. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until the glaze on the wings is thick and sticky.

    5.  Transfer the wings to a serving dish. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over them and serve with the reserved glaze on the side.

    Superbowl Appetizer Ideas

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    Good food.  Good beer.  Good friends.  Good commercials.  Oh yeah...and football, which this year should be a good game.  Honestly I don't care who wins.  It's more fun to watch when you really want one team to win over another, but I just don't care.  At first I was going to go for the Saints because I like Kim Kardashian and Reggie plays for the Saints.  But then I realized Hank Baskett plays for the Colts and I like Kendra too.  Stupid.  I know, I know.  But what other criteria to I have to off?  I guess perhaps the team colors could motivate me.  I won't be watching the superbowl this year anyway.  For one we are in Germany and the game will be on at God only knows what time here.  But secondly a VIP will be in town and we have much more important things to do than watch football.  Last year was lots of fun because we also celebrated our good friend's birthday.  I remember eating so much I couldn't move.  There are definitely staples that in my opinion EVERY superbowl party must have.  Seven layer dip, veggie/cheese tray, hot wings and beer.  They just all go together.  But it's also nice to have different things too.  So this year try something different and new.

    Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Jalapeno Bites
    Honey & Hoisen Glazed Wings
    Chili Con Queso Revved Up

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Chili Con Queso Revved Up

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    I first made this a few months ago for a game night we hosted. The recipe comes from her greatness, The Pioneer Woman. It's meaty, cheesy and just slightly spicey (or more if you want). What more could you want in a dip? This really is a great appetizer for UFC fight nights, a Super Bowl party or any group get together. This served 8 people just perfect with no leftovers. So if you have more than 8, or want some to freeze for later than double the recipe. BTW, this is so easy to freeze leftovers in a ziplock back. It tastes just as good reheated. Perfect for if you need a make ahead app.

    Serving Tip:
    Keep heated in a fondue pot or crock pot. Provide plastic bowls for guests to serve their own. Also, you can have a little bowl of diced jalapenos on the side for people to add themselves. That way the dish isn't too spicey for some, but spicey enough for those who like.
    Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12

    32 ounces, weight Velveeta Cheese Loaf
    10 ounces, weight Rotel
    1 pound Jimmy Dean Hot Breakfast Premium Pork Sausage
    7 ounces, weight Chopped Green Chilies
    1 whole Yellow Onion
    1 whole Jalapeno, or more to taste

    Preparation Instructions
    Dice the onion. Using a nonstick sprayed skillet, cook sausage and onions until brown, stirring occasionally. Once browned, drain some of the fat from the skillet.
    Cube Velveeta loaf. Add cubes to browned sausage and onion mixture. Add can of Rotel (juice and all), can of green chilies (juice and all), and stir over low heat.
    Cut the top and bottom off the jalapeƱo, slice into matchsticks, then rotate and slice to create a fine dice. (For a spicy version, leave seeds and white membranes. For a milder option, remove them.) Add to queso and stir

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Chicken with Garlic Sauce

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    Beef Stroganoff

    Pin It Now! When it's cold, snowy and just plain icky in the dead of January Beef Stroganoff is a perfect comfort food.  It's warm.  It's delicious.  And the weight you gain after eating it can be covered with a sweater :)  This recipe comes from Paula Deen.  Enjoy!


    • 1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips

    • House Seasoning, recipe follows

    • All-purpose flour

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons butter

    • 1 medium onion, sliced

    • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

    • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth

    • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

    • Salt and black pepper

    • 1 cup sour cream

    • Cooked egg noodles


    Season the steak strips with House Seasoning, then dust with flour. In a large skillet, quickly brown them on both sides in the olive oil and butter. Remove the steak from the pan. Add the onion slices and mushrooms to the pan drippings. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour. Put the steak back into the pan with the onion and mushrooms. Add the mushroom soup and beef broth. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve. Serve over cooked noodles.

    House Seasoning:

    • 1 cup salt

    • 1/4 cup black pepper

    • 1/4 cup garlic powder

    Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

    Yields: 1 1/2 cups

    Bruschetta with Feta

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    Bruschetta, pronounced brus'ketta, is traditionally  a very simple recipe of just grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil.  Most bruschetta as we Americans know it includes a tomato/garlic/basil topping or some variation thereof.  Here is my version of the yummy appetizer.

  • 7 or 8 plum tomatoes or 3-4 large hot house tomatoes, sliced into quarter pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Mediterranean flavored feta cheese

  • Loaf of french, ciabatta or italian bread

  • Directions

    1. In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture onto toasted bread slices.

    2. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

    Honey Chicken Skewers with Corn Salad

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    Found this recipe over at  Gotta say that the chicken didn't taste how I thought it would.  When I think of honey chicken I think of a slightly sweet, savory taste.  Given the ingredients I should have known it would hav had more of a bbq flavor.  Either way it was still good.  Definitely LOVE the grilled corn salad.  I devoured this on my own.

    1/2 cup ketchup
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    kosher salt and pepper
    canola oil, for the grill
    6 ears corn, shucked
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    2 scallions, sliced
    1) Place twenty 8-inch wooden skewers in water to soak. Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, honey, and Worcestershire sauce; set aside.
    2) Slice the chicken lengthwise into twenty 1/2-inch-thick strips. Thread each strip onto a wooden skewer. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
    3) Lightly oil the grill. Cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes, basting with the ketchup mixture during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
    4) Meanwhile, grill the corn, turning occasionally, until slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cobs, place in a medium bowl, and toss with the butter, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the chicken.

    Grilled Pork with Grape & Arugula Salad

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    Holy yumminess.  Again another healthy recipe that totally surprised me.  I didn't feel like arugula since it has a stronger taste so I opted for bagged Italian lettuce.  Also used feta cheese instead of blue cheese.  Great recipe from foodnetwork.


    • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped

    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    • 4 5-ounce boneless pork chops

    • 3/4 cup red seedless grapes, halved

    • 4 heaping cups baby arugula

    • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese


    Combine the shallot, vinegar, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and adding the rest in a steady stream.

    Put the pork chops in a shallow dish and season all over with salt. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Coat the pork and set aside to marinate for 5 minutes.

    Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the pork until cooked through but still moist, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

    Add the grapes and arugula to the remaining dressing and toss to coat. Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter or individual plates; top with the salad and sprinkle with the gorgonzola.

    Ladybug Craft

    Pin It Now! Using items found around the house and with adult supervision, this simple  ladybug craft is fun for toddlers and preschool aged children.  For instructions click here

    Saturday, January 23, 2010


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    I was doing a search one day for toddler craft ideas and came across this site:  They have some adorable crafts that also include printable templates.  This giraffe  was too cute to pass up.  Litte Wright had so much fun taping, cutting and gluing this little guy together. For instructions click here.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Not yo mama's banana pudding

    Pin It Now! This recipe further proves why Paula Deen rocks.  I love her recipes.  They are easy and delicious.  This desset is sweet, creamy, scrumptious and full of banananess.  It's heavenly.  Mr. Wright absolutely loved it to.  I told him he would never ever leave me because of this dessert.  Please try this if you want to impress anyone!  The only thing I did different, and I think it makes a big difference, is I used Vanilla Wafers instead of Chessman cookies like the recipe calls for.  Enjoy!


    • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies

    • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced

    • 2 cups milk

    • 1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding

    • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

    • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

    • 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream


    Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

    In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Chicken Tortilla Soup

    Pin It Now! My favorite chicken tortilla soup ever is at a restaurant at the Beaver Creek Lodge in Beaver Creek Colorado.  It is definitly a fancy schmancy super swanky lodge, but oh so worth it!  Mr. Wright took me there for Mother's day a few years back.  I had ordered their tortilla soup and it was creamy, tasty and pure heavenly bliss.  This tortilla soup recipe isn't creamy, but it is SO good! Garnish with some cheese and sour cream and you've got yourself one yummy dinner.  It tastes great leftover and the leftover chicken can be used to make chicken quesdadilla's for dinner the next night.  Enjoy!
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 cup chunky salsa

  • 8 ounces corn tortilla chips

  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

  • Directions

    1. In a large stock pot get some water boiling (enough to cover chicken breasts).  Throw in 1-2 cloves of garlic and boil until chicken is cooked through, about 10 min. Remove the pot from burner and place  chicken on a plate and shred with two forks.  

    2. Pour the water out of the pot. Return stock pot back to burner over medium heat.  Add olive oil and sautee onion until tender.  Add the garlic and sautee for 15 seconds then add the cumin, chili powder and shredded chicken and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, lemon juice, diced jalapeno and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes.

    3. Break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the Monterey Jack cheese and a little sour cream.

    Recipe adapted from

    Chicken Cacciatore

    Pin It Now! Chicken CacciatoreThe first time I ever had this was our first night back in Colorado after living in Hawaii for a year.  Baby Wright was a month old and we had been on a flight for 6 hours and with the time change were simply exhausted.  Our amazing friends, best friends actually, took care of us.  Louis made this for dinner and it was the first home cooked meal we had had in who knows how long.  (when we lived in Hawaii cooking was not something I excelled in.  I couldn't even make eggs.  Clearly I've learned a lot since then).  This meal tastes like home.  It's fresh.  It's wholesome.  It's delicious.  It's just damn good.  And this was my first time eating Louis' cooking.  Louis probably doesn't know it, but he really inspired me to become more interested in cooking and I learned some of the most basic things from him.  I couldn't find the recipe he made that night, but this version from Giada de Laurentis is pretty damn close and tasted just as good.


    • 4 chicken thighs

    • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil

    • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped

    • 1 large green bell pepper chopped

    • 1 onion, chopped

    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    • 3/4 cup dry white wine

    • 1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

    • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves


    Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

    In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Don't cook all the way through.  They will finish cooking in the sauce.  If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

    Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve with rice or pasta.

    *Note Giada's recipe uses chicken breasts with the bone and chicken thighs.  Her recipe also doesn't include green bell peppers.

    P.F Changs' Mongolian Beef

    Pin It Now! I'm 5 months pregnant living in Germany.  German has an abundance of brats, potatoes, typical German food, Turkish food and Italian food.  But there is no chinese food worthy of mentioning (that I have found anyway).  Which is why it's a good thing cooking has become such a huge interest for me.  Because if I didn't like cooking I'd starve and be the grouchiest person alive.  Back home there are several chinese takeout places I love.  But P.F Changs has the best mongolian beef hands down. And a few weeks ago I had a strong, strong craving.  I found a recipe from Chaos in the Kitchen.  If you haven't been to her blog, check it out.  It's one of my go to's for recipe ideas.  Anyway it came out really good.  I think if the meat was marinated it would taste way closer to the Changs version.  And perhaps a better cut of meat.  The commissary overseas has a minimal selection to choose from, so I use what I'm given.  Anyway definitely worth a try and will make again.

    • 2 lbs flank or skirt steak

    • 1/4 cup corn starch

    • 2 tsp vegetable or peanut oil

    • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

    • 1 tbsp garlic, minced

    • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

    • 1/2 cup water

    • 1/2-3/4 cup dark brown sugar

    • 1 cup vegetable or peanut oil

    • 8 oz button mushrooms, quartered if large

    • 1 bunch green onions, green part only, cut in half

    1. Trim all fat and silver skin from meat.  Lay steaks out horizontally on the cutting board.  The grain in running vertically.  Make several vertical cuts to slice the slab into manageable sized pieces.  Then cut the meat opposite the grain (horizontal) into two bite-sized pieces.  Cut with your blade at a 45° angles to get wide diagonal slices.

    2. Dust steak pieces lightly in cornstarch and set aside while preparing the sauce.

    3. In a small sauce pan heat oil over medium high heat.  Add ginger and garlic.

    4. Add soy sauce and water to the ginger and garlic before it browns.

    5. Add brown sugar and whisk until dissolved.

    6. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and reserve.

    7. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 cup oil over medium high heat.

    8. Working in batches, add the steak a few at a time to the hot oil.  Cook about 1 minute without touching the meat then flip each piece and cook 1 minute more.

    9. Remove meat while still rare inside, and continue with next batch.

    10. Once all meat is browned, pour off oil and wipe out skillet.

    11. Heat skillet over high heat and add mushrooms.

    12. Cook without stirring a couple of minutes or until mushrooms are slightly softened and browned.  Reserve.

    13. Add steak to the hot pan and cook about 1 minute.

    14. Add sauce to the pan and simmer and toss meat and sauce about 1 minute.

    15. Add mushrooms and green onions.  Toss with steak and sauce and heat 1 minute.

    16. Use tongs to remove meat and veggies to a serving dish, leaving excess sauce in the pan.  Serve over rice.

    Use a very light dusting of cornstarch when breading the steak pieces.  This process is referred to "velveeting" and gives the meat that perfect texture.  If there is too much cornstarch you will get a Swiss steak texture instead of a good sear. 

    Don't let the steps or ingredients turn you off.  It's actually a pretty simple recipe. Just be sure to prep your food and read over the directions in your head before cooking.

    Very Vanilla Crepes

    Pin It Now! Weekends mean good breakfast.  During the week there is barely enough time to gulp a glass of orange juice and butter some toast before running out the door. So come Saturday and Sunday I like to take the time to cook and enjoy a yummy breakfast.  Perhaps it will become a tradition that my little ones will reminisce about how their mama made good breakfast every weekend. Anyway I love trying something new and am so happy I found this crepe recipe.  It is very versatile and can be used for breakfast, lunch or dessert.  The warm aroma of vanilla and sugar that fills your house while cooking these crepes will make you crave them week after week. 


    • 1 1/2 cups milk

    • 3 eggs

    • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    • 2 tablespoons sugar

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 5 tablespoons melted butter


    1. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt and melted butter until well blended.

    2. Heat a crepe pan over medium heat until hot. Coat with cooking spray.  Use a sieve and pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and tip to spread the batter to the edges.  The sieve will remove any lumps from the batter ensuring you have a smooth crepe.  When bubbles form on the top and the edges are dry, flip over and cook until lightly browned on the other side and edges are golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

    3. Fill crepes with your fruit, whip cream, caramel, chocolate or ice cream.

    Recipe adapted from

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Thai Beef Salad

    Pin It Now! For those of you trying to be healthier this year, this recipe from Ellie Krieger is a  MUST.  I am completely impressed with not only how easy this recipe was, but also with how delicious it tasted.  Fresh, healthy and full of antioxidants.  I suppose I assumed healthy meant less flavor.  But this recipe proved me wrong!  Given it is the New Year and many people have resolutions to lose weight and be healthy, I encourage you to give this recipe a try!


    • 1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick

    • 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided

    • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

    • 3 tablespoons canola oil

    • 2 tablespoon brown sugar

    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger

    • 1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste or chili-garlic sauce

    • 1/2 head red-leaf lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)

    • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup), divided, for garnish

    • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried

    • 1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons


    Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag. Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.

    Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Let rest until room temperature then slice thinly against the grain.

    Combine lettuce, sliced shallot, cilantro, basil and beef in a salad bowl, reserving a few shallots for garnish. Add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with reserved sliced shallots.