Saturday, April 14, 2012

Adventures with Beef: Eye of Round Roast

Today I used an eye of round roast to make the asian shredded beef.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I ended up only using 5 tablespoons of honey, and I added 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.  I also added a little sesame oil to the slaw from the Korean beef tacos.

The Verdict: the beef was pretty good.  It turns out that Chinese five spice powder has a lot of anise in it, which is not a flavor we are huge fans of.  Still, the beef was tender and very good for tacos.  The slaw was a little too sour and acidic.

Changes for next time:

  • reduce Chinese 5 spice powder to 1 teaspoon
  • increase ginger to 1 teaspoon
  • add 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or other chili paste (needed a bit of heat)
  • add a little bit of sugar to the slaw sauce to make it more like an American coleslaw
It's definitely a recipe I'd like to try again, especially as I'd like to get the spices just right for our palate.  I think we are going to make burrito bowls with the leftover meat tomorrow.  I'll heat up some black beans and make some rice, then we'll use the beef and slaw to top the rice and beans.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Week with the Crock Pot

Have I mentioned before how much I love my crock pot?  Because it's a lot.  Even if I have, it is worth repeating.  I currently have a 3-quart stainless steel with just two settings (low and high).  I'd love to get another, larger one - like the Hamilton Beech Programmable or the Crock Pot Cook and Carry - so that I can cook larger roasts and things like ribs.

Anyway, I found the blog A Year of Slow Cooking and was inspired to try cooking a week's worth of dinners in the crock pot.  Note: all the recipes on A Year of Slow Cooking are gluten free or include modifications to make them gluten free.

Monday - Super Easy Cranberry Roast served over mashed potatoes
Tuesday - dinner out
Wednesday - Chicken Makhani with rice
Thursday - leftover chicken
Friday - Asian Shredded Beef as tacos with slaw from Korean Beef Soft Tacos

Monday's dinner was another edition of Adventures with Beef: Chuck Roast.  I found some modifications to the sauce in the comments of the recipe that I followed: dump cranberries from can into a bowl, add 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 T. lime juice, 2 T. soy sauce, and 1/2 t. ginger.  I thought this helped the sauce not be too sweet, but in the future, I would probably add some garlic and a bit more OJ.  Maybe even some grated orange zest?  I think it could use a bit of tweaking because it was kind of sweet and one-dimensional for me.

On to Wednesday. I love the chicken makhani that comes from a food cart near where I work. I am pretty sure it's hand made by the old Indian woman who runs the cart.  The recipe linked here was quite good! I substituted chicken breast for chicken thighs because that's what I had in the freezer and omitted the cayenne because Andy is not a huge fan of spicy food.  I also used Greek yogurt at the end.  Surprisingly, even he liked this!  It turned out really well and I will definitely make it again.  Almost as good as the Indian cart.  :)

Tonight we are having leftovers since I had to be out of the house extra early.  I will keep you posted on Friday's dinner.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Adventures with Beef: Chuck Roast

I wasn't quite sure about the chuck roast, but it turned out to be really easy to cook.  Andy really loves stir fry, so I was excited to try this recipe for pepper steak.

I cut the thawed chuck roast into strips, then mixed them with the garlic and ginger.  If I were to make this again, I would marinate the meat overnight to really get the garlic and ginger flavor infused into the meat better.

When cooking the meat, I mixed two teaspoons canola oil with one teaspoon sesame oil.  I like that flavor, and it gave the dish a little more of an asian flavor.  I served it with rice.

I thought the final dish was really good.  I wanted a little more flavor, so I mixed mine with some hot sauce and soy sauce.  I might also put those in the overnight marinade next time.  Andy loved it.  He thought the tomatoes were a little strange at first, but liked the addition.   It was a good way for both of us to eat more veggies.

Note: this is gluten free as long as you watch your Worcestershire sauce. In the US, Lea & Perrins is gluten free, but it is not in other countries.

Verdict: Good! We will definitely make this again.

Adventures with Beef: Introduction

In December, we purchased a quarter share of a cow with three other couples from Wolf Creek Farm.  They raise grass-fed, antibiotic-free cows on a sustainable farm.

Because we purchased a quarter share, there are a lot of cuts I have no idea how to cook.  Ground beef, steaks...well, those are easy!  But, short ribs? brisket? No idea.  Then there are the things I am not brave enough to cook, like the heart and liver.  Those were pawned off on a gift to my friend Nik, who is far more adventurous than I.  (He's even cooked tongue!)

My plan is to share recipes for the things I am less familiar with cooking.  I imagine there will be some mis-steps, but I am also hoping for some good recipes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Operation: Lose the Baby Weight

Ok, technically, I've already lost the baby weight, since I only gained 15 pounds while pregnant and lost 12 of that from delivery.  However, a dear friend has informed me that I'm allowed to use the term "baby weight" until she's about 5.  (This is how you know who your good friend are.)  As such, I've decided to put in the effort and start losing weight and getting back to running.

I am not nearly brave enough to post my starting weight on a blog.  No way.

But, I am logging calories and workouts in my training log at  I've been a member there since 2004 (!) when I decided to train for my very first triathlon.  It's great to get to compare my historical data and see how far I've come. I've also stopped drinking soda to try to cut out empty calories.  Note: this is not a stopping caffeine thing.  I tried that while I was pregnant.  I got massive migraines and I was grumpy.  No one likes that.  Plus, let's be honest, I have an almost-four-month old at home.  I need coffee.

While I am weighing myself every day, I'm mostly paying attention to the Monday weekly weigh-ins.  That gives me extra motivation to be good on the weekend.  :)

I started running yesterday and was able to take the baby for the first time! Her pediatrician recommended we wait until she was about four months old and had better head control.  Here we are ready to go:

It worked out pretty well.  The first few minutes were filled with looks like, "Mommy? What is going on?" and "Mommy? Why are you breathing so hard?".  But, after about 8 minutes, she fell asleep, so I am taking that as a sign that she likes it.  We ran a mile in a little under 15 minutes.  Not too bad for our first run together!

I'll keep you posted on the progress!