Beef + Butternut Squash Stew

This week’s meal plan had not one but two new recipes! While all of our cookbooks are still in storage in Denver {insert loud sobs!} I somehow managed to bring along a binder of recipes from magazines that I’ve cut out over the years. We’ve been working with that and checking out books from the library to fill in our meal plans. Last night’s dinner was a Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash served with couscous. I added more spices than the original recipe called for and I think I’d even bump it up a notch again next time.

This recipe came from a Cooking Light magazine in the January/February 2011 issue. I bought beef stew meat from Whole Foods because it was on sale. I think because of the cut of meat I used this was not a 40 minute recipe, which worked out well for me. I also believe this could be a great dish cooked low and slow in the crock pot or even in the oven on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’ll be experimenting with this because we both thought that the flavors were so awesome and because the boy, ahem the husband requested lots of butternut squash in the future!

I’ll apologize in advance that there isn’t a single photo of this dish. It was dark + gloomy + rainy and I never took a single picture. {Must be better about that!!} The photo below is from the Cooking Light website.

1101p80-beef-tagine-squash-m

Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash

adapted from Cooking Light


2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds beef cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 small onions, cut into thin wedges

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

3 cups (1 inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the beef, toss to coat. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat (I used my large Le Cruset pot, it was the perfect size.) Add onions and let them begin to brown. Add in beef, stir occasionally until browned. Add in garlic, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn but make sure it gets cooked! Stir in broth and deglaze the pan, scrape up all those yummy brown bits!! Add in tomatoes and bring everything to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then add squash. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Serve over couscous.

{The cooking ingredients are what the original recipe suggested. My beef and my squash weren’t ready at this point. I allowed them to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. I believe it’s because of the cut of beef I used but nonetheless it was a delicious dish!}

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The Right Time Is Now (Well April 1st)

I adore Instagram. There are so many amazing people on there and it’s such a friendly and inspiring community. Recently I’ve seen a Whole 30 being mentioned a lot and it intrigued me. I’ve heard of it before, skimmed the book before but apparently I wasn’t ready to commit at that time. This past week I picked up my very own copy of the book  It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I read the entire thing in 3 days and decided it was past time to reset my body.

I’m uncomfortable in my own skin these days. I’ve been eating like crap for some reason and that’s so not me. I drank soda THREE times this week and I haven’t done that in months. Why did I do it? I have no idea. It wasn’t even good but I kept drinking it until my cup was empty. I also ate fast food one night this week and that pushed me over the edge. It’s like I’m trying to torment my body and punish it. I rarely eat fast food, I love eating fruits and vegetables. I think that my body is screaming at me that it wants help and my brain has finally caught up to the idea. So now I have a plan. Beginning April 1 I will start my Whole 30 journey. I’ve found two new friends on Instagram who are going to start then as well and we’re going to form a little support group which I believe will be incredibly helpful and keep me accountable even more.

This isn’t going to be easy. I love sugar. I also highly enjoy coffee with cream, milk with cereal and cheese and crackers. I’m fairly certain my body does not. So by doing this little reset I’m hoping that my body will take some time to heal and allow me the chance to see what really makes it unhappy. And let’s be honest, I’m also hoping to loose some weight and feel better about myself.

I spent 45 minutes wandering around Whole Foods yesterday and I think the mindset is on it’s way. I picked up items and then debated if they would be a good choice and ultimately they were not. I left with 2 cartons of low sodium organic chicken broth (approved) 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (approved) 1 container of fresh chopped soup veggies (zucchini, green beans, onions, carrots and celery are approved, potatoes are not) 1 can of cannelini beans (not approved) and some fresh pears. I’d say overall that was a good start to resetting my brain!

If you’ve done this before and have tips, please share! If you want to join in that’s great! The more the merrier, go grab a copy of the book and see what it’s all about. I’ll be sharing my journey here, and trying to share pictures and recipes as well. Come back April 1 and join the journey!

 

Green Goodness

This year my body seems to be surviving without coffee…I know, I know how is that even possible? I can’t exactly tell you but I can say that smoothies have to play some part in it. I can go days without caffeine and not get a headache {yes!!} and I feel so much better when I start my day with a smoothie. Usually it’s a whole bunch of spinach assorted fruits (I tend to lean towards frozen pineapple, peaches and mango) but anything is delicious.

Fast forward to last weekends incredible trip to San Francisco. We had just finished brunch at Foreign Cinema (meh) and were walking towards Tartine Bakery for croissants when we stumbled across Sidewalk Juice. There was a crowd of people out front of it which is what caught our attention so we stopped and read the gigantic menu for a good five minutes. After deciding that we should split one since we’d just brunched and were on our way to get more to eat I told the boy, ahem, the husband that he could pick whatever he wanted. His choice? The Kale Colada Smoothie {fresh organic kale, coconut juice, pineapple, coconut shreds, pineapple sorbet and ice.} I was intrigued by the kale and the coconut…I am a huge kale fan but was yet to incorporate it into a smoothie and coconut has never been my thing. This smoothie though? This smoothie changed my mind. I seriously dreamed of it all week until I could find the time to head to Whole Foods to get lacinto kale. The result was a sweet yet slightly tart smoothie with a hint of coconut that was so refreshing.

I’ve made it twice now at home and I am hooked. I drank a 22 oz life factory water bottle full for breakfast and didn’t need to eat until late afternoon. I am also in love with the life factory water bottles because they are glass, hold the perfect amount of smoothie and keep them cold. Want to make your own? Check out my recipe for my take on the awesome sidewalk juice drink we savored in between insane amounts of food while walking the streets of San Francisco!

kale colada ingredients1

 

 

2 cups frozen pineapple

a healthy handful or two of lacinato kale

3 tablespoons of sorbet (I couldn’t find plane pineapple but the one that I bought is amazing)

8 oz coconut juice (NOT coconut water!)

a handful of coconut flakes (the first time I made this I made it without the flakes and it was still delicious)

 

Blend pineapple, sorbet, juice and coconut flakes together until smooth. Add in kale and continue to blend. Adjust ingredients to your liking, less liquid if you like a thicker smoothie, more if you like a juice like one. If you use fresh pineapple be sure to add a handful of ice cubes so your smoothie is cold.

 

kale colada

 

I’m excited to build off of this recipe, I’m thinking mango would be a delicious addition as would peach. Have any delicious smoothie recipes to share? I’m always looking for new ones. If you need ideas you can check out my pinterest board or go look at the Sidewalk Juice website for ideas, they have a ton of smoothies listed.

Have a great weekend!

braised short ribs. your dinner just got owned!

that my friends is exactly what the boy, ahem the husband, said when we sat down for dinner tonight. and then he leaned over and told me it was amazing. that doesn’t happen all the time so I was one happy girl (I mean he tells me dinner is good and everything but this got a kick ass reaction!) seriously people this recipe is to die for. I only wish I had more short ribs on hand because somehow I only bought 5 and I forgot how much they can shrink up. pureed parsnips are delicious. they’re sweet like carrots but just as tasty as mashed potatoes. what wouldn’t be if you’re mixing it with butter, cream and horseradish? kick it up a notch by using extra hot horseradish and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. need a delicious recipe for a dinner party? perhaps one for valentines day? or to woo someone you love? go, no scratch that, run, to the nearest book store and buy The Smitten Kitchen. I can’t recommend it enough. and with an endorsement like that from the boy, ahem the husband, you know it’s gotta be good.

since I mentioned the cost of our dinner yesterday I’ll do it again. this dinner was more expensive than last night but it all balances out. this dinner had no leftovers (boo!) and was only for two of us.

short ribs (Whole Foods) $11.00 for just about 2lbs

parsnips (king soopers) $3.00

butter, horseradish and garlic we’ll call it even at about $1.50

total: $15.50

definitely can’t get something this delicious at a restaurant for $7.75 per person

shortribswhat are you waiting for?! go!!

January 30

I am feeling stuck. I have a long list of things I want to do and an even longer list of things I need to do but I can’t seem to find the motivation to do any of them.

The one thing that I do seem able to do? Cook. Not a bad thing I suppose since it’s helping us eat healthier and eat in. I’ve been trying to cook new things from all the cookbooks I’ve earmarked over the years. This week on our menu I have two new recipes: mustard pork chops with apples and onions from Dinner: A Love Story as well as balsamic + beer braised short ribs with parsnip puree from Smitten Kitchen. Both of the women who wrote these books have amazing food blogs and tell stories which I love.

We had the pork chops last night and they were delicious. Will definitely make it onto our rotation of meals (love that!) I of course didn’t take any pictures while cooking. What is wrong with me?! One day I suppose. One day. I served the pork chops with a simple green salad and sauteed rainbow chard with garlic and pine nuts. Pretty delicious, fed three adults plus enough for left overs for the boy, ahem the husband to take for lunch today. The best part about the meal? Everything was on hand, the meat came from the freezer and the chard was in the fridge (I may have forgotten about it…) Cost of this meal?

Pork Chops (King Soopers) under $5.00 for 6 chops

Rainbow Chard (Whole Foods) $2.00

Garlic (King Soopers) $0.25 and that is for the whole bulb

Pine Nuts (Cosco) No idea but it’s a giant bag and we probably used a portion that would equal $0.50

Salad Stuff (King Soopers) $3.00

Assorted oils, butters and dressings used in the meal we’ll count at $2.00 (I’m sure that’s high but whatever)

Total for our meal that served 3 adults and 1 leftover lunch? $12.75

Proof that eating in is waaaaaaaay cheaper and clearly healthier. $3.18 per person? That rocks.

Hmmm. Now that I’ve broken up the cost of our meal I think I want to do that more often and see how it works out. Especially since I have a weakness for Whole Foods. Perhaps a post on how to shop there since I’ve learned tricks (things there can actually be cheaper than elsewhere! It’s true!)

Short ribs are up tomorrow night. If I am not overly exhausted perhaps I’ll remember to take pictures.

Time to eat a grapefruit, all this food talk has made me hungry!