Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thai Chili Beef

This is one of my favorite go-to meals. It is both delicious, eaten the same day as it is microwaved. I do have to say that even though I hope for left overs, very few times does that actually happen. Also, we usually pair this together with chow mien noodles but if I am having company then a simple veggie stir-fry would be added as well.

Beef and Marinade:

3/4 tsp. ground Coriander
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 lbs. blade steaks,
trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch strips


2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp Asian chili-garlic paste
3 med. garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Serrano or Jalapeno Chilies, halved,
seeded and ribs removed. Cut cross-wise
(I only use one chili when I make it)
3 med. shallots, trimmed, peeled and
quartered lengthwise, layers separated
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup roughly chopped unsalted peanuts
Lime wedges for serving

1. For the beef and marinade: Combine coriander, white pepper, brown sugar, and fish sauce in a large bowl. Add beef, toss well to combine; marinate for 15 minutes.

2. For the stir fry: In a small bowl stir together fish sauce, vinegar, water, brown sugar, and chili-garlic paste until sugar dissolves; set aside. Heat 2 tsp of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over med high heat until smoking;add on-third of beef to skillet in even layer. Cook, without stirring, until well browned, about 2 minutes, then stir and continue cooking until beef is browned around edges and no longer pink in the center, about 30 seconds. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional oil and remaining meat in 2 more batches.

* Try frying it over a fire if you happen to have a chance. Its my preference over the stove top.

3. After transferring the last batch of beef to bowl, reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 tsp oil to now-empty skillet and swirl to coat. Add chilies and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Push chili-shallot mixture to sides of skillet to clear center;add garlic to clearing and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir to combine garlic with the chili-shallot mixture. Add fish sauce mixture to skillet;increase heat to high and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 seconds. Return beef and any juices to skillet, toss well to combine and coat with sauce, stir in half of mint and cilantro;serve immediately, sprinkling individual servings with portion of peanuts and remaining herbs and lime wedges.

* Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Giveaway!

Rest your pretty little head on some ruffles in this upcoming season because the weather is about to change. Here in the North West we are in for some rainy days and a predicted cold winter. I can already imagine the many nights we will have. Times when I sit by the fire with blankets up to my neck and a hot cup of tea nestled between my hands. I can already picture myself completely submerged into the television series that does such a good job of entertaining my every emotion. I am also ready to slow down, settle in, and relax.

I am ready to let go of the complications that frazzle me, problems that burden me, and set backs that disappoint me. I am ready to rest in Gods consistency as life continues to throw in its own set of problems. But at the same time I accept that even though I feel ready, most of the time I am also unprepared. That in those moments I will still need a comfy pillow to sulk in, to think in, and to release in. While all along I also know that He will stand beside me and wait for me to finish.

So this month, I am giving away this pillow cover. Like before, send in your comments. But this time lets go outside the walls of your home and into the walls of your heart. Do you think you need rest? And from what?

....I know I could always use some, hope.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photogenic moments

Jenny is my beautiful daughter. She is turning six here in just a little bit and starting school. Recently I have been watching her become her own little self through clothes, accessories, and glances in mirrors. Little things that she hadn't noticed before were a big deal now, things like making sure her head bands matched and that the shoes went well with each outfit. She was definitely changing and I was excited about it.

So when a package came for her in the mail I watched her little face light up as she opened her gift this year. The sparkles on her shirt seemed magical and the 1/8 inch heel was proclaimed in screeches. She was ecstatic. I could tell, so I did what any photo-obsessed mom would do. I took pictures.

Naturally she was beautiful but it has been tough portraying her beauty into a photograph. It usually took patience, time, and memory card of digital tries. So it completely took me by surprise when we stepped out today. All of a sudden, she worked the camera in a way I have never seen before and I wasn't even sure I liked it. My girl had suddenly grown up.

I watched her body move, freely, easily, and gracefully. She knew how to have fun with it, laugh with it, and be part of it. I was fascinated by it, mesmerized by her every look into the camera. So as I stood back and watched, I prayed for her in the back of my mind.

Let her always be this happy to be in her skin. This secure about herself and her creator. This pure, sure, whole and innocent for as long as she needs to be. But also help me be completely confident in my image so that I could raise her in a way that she should never question her worth, or compare herself to others. Your beauty, is in turn my beauty which is most certainly hers too.

Perfectly designed, hope.