Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brace yourselves... Winter is coming, and so are the pot roasts (no crock pot mush here)!

Winter weather is here, and it's the perfect time for chili's, roasts and stews.  I have great memories as a child of coming home from school in one of those jackets from A Christmas Story (I had a very over protective mother) and our house being filled with the amazing smell of a roast she has started earlier in the day.  I have never had another pot roast like hers, so this year I asked for the recipe to try to make it on my own - now I'm going to share it with you guys!

First, you HAVE to have the right cut of meat.  Being raised on an Angus Cattle ranch, I was very spoiled in the taste and availability of a fresh roast, but if you make it just right, you can have the same experience as I did as a child.

Publix was able to actually cut the specific poundage and cut of beef that I wanted in their meat center; I didn't know that they did that!
This size roast was enough for two people and some left-overs.  Remember, your meat will shrink, so you definitely want to get a bigger piece of meat! (That's what she said)

So first step, you're going to want to completely salt and pepper your meat on both sides.  Don't forget the sides of the meat; stand it up to do this.
Next, you're going to want to cut up some garlic.  I love garlic.  Like, I LOVE garlic.  I had my helper Danny go through quite a few cloves of it, about ten.  I like to smash a few of my cloves and rub them all over the meat to let that garlicky taste seep all through the surface, then finely chop the rest and sort of mash it into the meat's surface.

This next step is what really sets the tone for the meat, and makes it completely different from a lot of those dry, bland roasts you may have had in the past.  Take a pan (we used a flat surfaced, griddle style pan and even that barely fit the meat) and brown some butter in it.  When the butter starts to brown at about a med-high temp, throw that Chuck roast on the pan and brown it on ALL sides.  This is what really seals in the juices and the flavor, and will prevent any dryness from coming out of your roast - unless you don't follow my directions and leave it on the stove for way too long.  **Make sure not to cook the roast through at all, just a few seconds on each side should suffice - that's why the med-high heat temp is important.**  Your roast should look like this at this point:


Notice Also how it's shrank quite a bit from the original size whilst raw

While we were prepping all of this, We had a pot going at high / med high (whatever temp your stove can boil is what temp you need this to be at) and had a few of the crushed garlic cloves and an entire, sliced sweet yellow onion we sauteed with butter until it was tender.  We then filled our pot with 2 boxes of Swanson brand beef broth, and 2 cups of water.  You must add the water, because the broth itself will be too intense throughout the meat, and it will taste to "commercialized".
Once that's brought to a boil, carefully pick up your roast using tongs, and insert the roast into your broth pot.  You can run a bit of water over the pan that the roast was browned in and dump that in your pot as well to get those crispy, buttery garlic pieces - yum.

That's it!!

This is the hardest part... the waiting!

Turn down your heat to a medium, you don't want tremendous boiling bubbles, but you don't want the stillness of a boring crock pot either.  You can add potatoes and carrots, celery and things if you so prefer, but remember that whatever you add will be cooked into the flavor of the meat.  I've found the simpler, the better.  Wait for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours; the meat should literally be falling off of the bone with tenderness.  Again, don't over cook it!  If you're afraid of doing so, check every 30 minutes after the 1 and a half our mark.
Comment with any questions you may have, or changes that you made and let me know your feed back, and ENJOY!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ahh... Fall

I have been on QUITE a bit of a hiatus, and I'm sorry.  I'm so, so, so, so, so sorry.  I promise I'll never leave you guys like that again, ok?  You can trust me.  I love you, please forgive me.

Now for the post!
Fall.  For most of us, that means out come the pea-coats, scarves, and that awesome hounds tooth vest you've been dying to break out since you found it at the very cusp of the season change.  The leaves turn and start to fall, Pumpkin Spice Latte's are in all of our hands (admit it, you love them), and life appears as if you've stepped into an LL Bean catalog.  Then we have our favorite state Florida, where it snows sometimes where the last time snow was here was in 1988, and the snow men we made were half mud, half ice; 80 degree weather is abundant all winter long, and the chances of us feeling that nice Autumn breeze require you to be in North Central, at least.  Then after you feel that nice crisp breeze, run inside and pray that hurricane season has passed and that wasn't a warning of impending doom.

The main attraction to Fall (besides the awesome color palette that everyone somehow is on the same page about), is the smells that are all around you.  We don't always get that here in the south, so this post is about bringing some of that scent into your home - fake it 'till you make it Florida!  Obviously, anyone can do this any where, and have your home smell like that Fall magic:



Literally the number one way to make your house smell like Holiday's is with Dehydrated orange slices.  Best part?  They can double as awesome ornaments for your tree or around your house!  This lady has a pretty good guide to doing it in your oven (its SO easy); the only thing I did differently is add a little bit of cinnamon and ground cloves to either side to make my house reek of all things Fall.  *note: it's important to turn them every hour or half hour; if not, they start to curve and it's not cute*

image courtesy of widowontheprarie.com

**Another trick?  The "I totally just made 8 dozen sugar cookies and you can't have any" trick.  Fool your friends into thinking you're a binge eater with a better body than them, and your house smells better.  Win win.**


HAPPY FALL!!!!
more to come soon...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cooking on Keto! Noodle-Not-Missed Lasagna

Oh-ho-ho-kayyyy, this is my first keto-friendly homemade meal and I have to say... I LIKE IT!  As the post title explains, it is a no noodle lasagna, which (like keto) I was really iffy about, but so happy I ended up doing this.  The only thing that I wish I would have done is changed the tomato sauce, due to their high sugar content (which translates to carb-filled).  This was a relatively easy dish, and I highly recommend it for those of you that eat pastas on the regular and want to either convert to Keto, or just cut down on that spaghetti.  The Steps:


Ground Beef:

       I'm not going to show you a picture of raw ground meat, because that's just not appealing.  I threw in some kosher salt (very little), black pepper, cayenne pepper flakes, fresh parsley, about 1/4 a cup of onions and a teaspoon or less of freshly diced garlic.  Simmered until it JUST turned brown; I don't like to get the meat too dry.

Fresh Basil:

       You can buy this fresh pretty much anywhere, but I'm lucky enough to have a porch with windows, where I can grow mine outside : )
--P.S., found out the hard way that you DON'T want the flowers--

Ricotta Cheese:

       Publix Brand.  'Cause that shit was on sale.

Marinara Sauce:

          ...You already know how I feel about this....

Not pictured is a TON of Parmesan, mozzarella, Romano, and the eggplant - two medium sized MALE eggplants (sorry ladies.  The eggplants are going to act as your noodles, and they hold so much more flavor!

1.)  Alright, so with the eggplant, you're going to want to cut the ends off, then cut it into 1/2 inch thick slices longways, and soak it in cool salt water.  Not too salty; eggplant absorbs very easily, but just a 5-10 minute soak in the salt water solution will take any of the bitterness out if you happen to buy a female plant. 


2.)  Next, you want to take your eggplant strips out, and dry them between some paper towels to get the excess water out.  Toss the slices with some coconut oil, salt and pepper, and spread a little bit of that oil on a baking sheet.  Preset oven to 400F, and bake on each side for 7 minutes.

                ** After 7 minutes on one side**

3.)  Take a standard large baking dish (14x6x3?  Maybe?) and make sure to rub a little of the coconut oil on the bottom and along the sides so the eggplant doesn't stick.  While you are following these steps, your oven should be preheating to 450 degrees F.  Layer your eggplant along the bottom like so:

     **Try to get them to be as close as possible to each other... for the perfectionists; there comes a point where they just do not line up and you just have to squish them in there.  OCDers - I know that feel**

4.)  Here was a little tricky.  I used a batter spreader to take my room temp (I left it out to warm) Ricotta and stir, then spread it along top of the eggplant layer.  If it sticks to much, try taking a whisk and sort of stabbing / turning the ricotta in a bowl - it makes it much easier to spread.

**This is where I like to add a mix of grated romano and chopped basil; adds a nice bite**

5.)  Mix your marinara and your ground beef together and set on boil.  I like to add a splash of balsamic vin. and Cabernet while it's boiling; the sauce warming at the same temperature keeps the meat from becoming dry.  Once you see your first bubble, immediately add the two tasty liquids, stir, then take it off of the burner, still slowly mixing it to cool.  Once it stops bubbling, spread the meat and sauce mixture on top of the ricotta.


6.)  Throw your cheeses mixture allllll over the top of the previous step.  You make your own measurements depending on the gooey-ness that you want from you lasagna.  Repeat until you've reached the top of your dish, leaving about half an inch space from food to top.

**As you can see, I liked to decorate with the basil on top**




7.)  Bake in the oven, tin foil covering the dish, at 375 for the next hour.
     
8.)  Take the tin foil off and let bake for 10 minutes at 400 to get some excess liquid out.  If you want an extra bit of brown, throw it on LOW broil for the last five

 








ANDDDDDDD ENJOY!!!

Keto-tastic; Jumping on the bandwagon

So I recently had a pretty bad leg injury due to a not so great combination of a tree, a long night at work, and my car (RIP Suzuki).  As a result, I've had a lot of difficulty this past year getting back into the swing of things as far as exercise is concerned; it's nearly impossible for me to do more than three easy miles on the sedimentary bike.  Needless to say, I've put on a couple of pounds that I'm really not too proud of...

I've tried a couple of diets; tried to do Paleo (mostly because it was all over Pinterest and I wanted to be trendy too!) but everything that I found could not be successful unless there was at least a small amount of cardio performed at least 3-4 times a week....then I discovered what Keto or 'The Ketosis Diet" was.

It honestly was a little hard to fathom at first.  Coming from a once-upon a time vegan turned mostly veggie eater; it was incredibly difficult to make such a drastic change in my diet, and to go against everything that I've always heard to be "good" for you.  After the first week or so, and after my bout with the dreaded "carb flu" (I legit read about it and thought it was the dumbest thing in the world - it's not and it's real and it's AWFUL), I literally started seeing the weight just SHED off of me.

From what I understand, it's actually recommended by some doctors to severely obese people...like the kind that you just kind of have to stare at when driving past the Wal-Mart Plaza (sorry...), and for instance elderly individuals or diabetics with high insulin from or not from severe weight gain, that need to change things in their diets and fast, but can't just start running on a treadmill; you get the type of people this ad been geared toward.   Mind you, the most I've ever weighed was a little over 145 (for my size... that's pretty bad), and it still worked wonders for me; my energy levels were through the roof, my serotonin was actually working without artificially forcing it to - so it really is for everyone.

If you're interested in what this awesome magical lose weight diet called Keto is, I've listed a couple of links/blogs/other internet info for you to read more about it and get started!  I'll be posting some of my recipes through out my posts, so fair warning - your mouth will water if you like bacon.

Great beginners guidehttp://josepharcita.blogspot.com/

http://www.reddit.com/r/keto - great for a support type team thing

Great quick-style food list (did you know that garlic, red peppers and onions have TONS of carbs in each little piece?!)http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/

http://eatketo.com/ and http://cavemanketo.com/- AWESOME recipes

And of course the bad part... the keto flu and what to expect - the ONLY downfall, I swear!
http://elowcarbfoodlist.org/the-keto-flu-symptoms-and-relief/

This one is just for fun; you can get some GREAT recipes from here, mostly paleo, not so much keto, but still soooo goodhttp://urbanposer.blogspot.com/

Here's the newest Paleo one I found, but easily alterable to keto:  http://thedomesticman.com/

Good luck to everyone!  I'll post some more as I continue my journey, so go!  Keto on!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I love the rain.  Tropical storms, in the middle of incredibly hot July?  Bring it.  It's the time that I thank God for the creators of Netflix, and my ability to cook.  What I DON'T enjoy about this particular rainy weekend, is the fact that I have been stuck in my bed, except for making some home made chicken soup (KETO friendly, of course) and that my amazing boyfriend has been sharing his secret tea stash with me.  I'll share some of the actual good parts below - promise I'll leave out how many tissue boxes I have been through in the past three days...



 One of the amazing tea's that Boyfriend acquired either through his equally amazing mother, or the local trade store down the street.  Jasmine infused green tea - it had real jasmine flowers in it!
Smelled.  Ah-May-Zing. 


The souppppp!  Oh god, the soup.  It was so good.  I'm not trying to brag or anything, but there really is no better soup than one you make from scratch.  Chicken, sweet potatoes, celery, stock, mushrooms, onions and garlic - yum!


An actual keto-friendly chocolate bar?!?!?  For those of you who don't like dark chocolate (or don't think you do) I suggest you try this brand or lindt almonds.  If you're a Gainesville resident, there's a shop here that has been a staple for about 30 years... they have THE best chocolates, wines, sandwiches, outdoor patio area, etc.. that I have ever had in my life.  Check it out.  No seriously.


 I don't know what this is, but I put the tea in (figure 1), boiling water.  Wait.  Then "poured", and was happy, so I like it.


These are drugs.  They make you feel...pretty much brain dead.  At least I think they helped me to fall asleep though...


Since these temporary fixes have me feeling semi-delirious yet overly energized, I think I'm going to take advantage of this and go fold some laundry (yes, I'm actually motivated to do laundry.  I know.  Shut up).  E-mail me, comment me even if just to ask me a question.  Thanks for reading loves<3

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alright, I started this blog a while ago with different dreams, and little ambition.  Sometime, while this blog was sitting, I started to realize I didn't just want to push my fashion onto other people, or obtain another 'by the look' following, because as I grew, I realized that I had grown different interests.  Deciphering between a name, and a theme was growing ever harder and then it kind of clicked - lifestyle blog!  I made a promise to a very dear friend that I would never waste another day laying in my bed feeling sorry for myself and the things that I didn't have.  In doing that, I have made sure that I pack all of my days with activities, and knowledge.  I look at everything in a different light, not just a passing view.  I'm still getting the hang of it all, but I welcome you to follow me for ideas or just to read about my views on pretty much everything as I explore this new life - and the first time I've ever really lived.

This:  Don't let it happen to you

The Weepies- World Spins Madly On