Friday, October 23, 2009

Its what’s for dinner

I rarely buy beef (no pun intended). You’ll most often find chicken or ground turkey in my freezer as sources of protein. Lately I’ve been making quite a few vegetarian meals, mostly for easy and affordability, which has challenged me to find other forms of protein such as nuts, beans and quinoa. But every now and then I enjoy a healthy serving of beef.

I recently flipped through my recipes for some inspiration and found two recipes for Beef Stir Fry. Oddly they are from the same magazine, same month even, with a few differences. I pulled the best parts of each recipe to create my own version of Beef Stir Fry. I really liked the simplicity and flavor of the marinade. There was just enough vegetables to make it good and healthy. And like a true carnivore, I enjoyed the beef!

Beef Stir Fry
Prep/cook time: 45 mins Serves: 4

1 pound flank steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons oil
¾ pound broccoli, cut into florets.
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup matchstick carrots
1 (8 ounce) package fresh sugar snap peas
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Combine beef, soy sauce, garlic and black pepper; toss well. Cover and refrigerate 30 means.
2. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package instructions.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until beef is browned, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Transfer beef mixture to a bowl.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon on in pan over medium-high heat. Add broccoli; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bell peppers; cook 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add carrots and sugar snap peas; cook 2 mins. Return beef mixture to pan and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.


*Original recipes from Cooking Light magazine, July 2009.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

two years

today is my anniversary of moving to california. two years ago i packed up my car and left the only home i'd ever known to try life on the west coast. my wonderful friend ashlee was kind enough to fly to denver and make the roadtrip with me. she even loaded up her i-pod with fun music so we could sing and dance along the way. unfortunately on that fateful day i was sick as a dog. we didn't even make it to ft collins and i already had to pull over. nerves? possibly. 24 hour bug? definitely! thank goodness for ashlee or i might have never made it here. i feel like the road trip to california was a precursor for my first year living here - an adventure no doubt, fighting (home) sickness and learning to enjoy the journey not matter what the conditions.

i told myself to try living here for one year. just 365 days. some days that felt easy and others were a struggle. my one year anniversary was a big accomplishment. i'm so proud to say that i made it not only one year but TWO. in honor of my two year anniversary i decided to take time to write down some of my accomplishments and adventures.

Best drivers license photo EVER. i even look tan!

Planned 3 weddings in the bay area, all for people I did not know before moving here.

Learned to rely on public transportation.

Survived 9 months living with complete strangers.

Moved into my own place for the first time. I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful neighborhood next to an awesome family. Its the best of both worlds - living alone but knowing there is someone close by, just in case.

Maintained a solid long distance (90 miles) relationship! Learned to live weekends to the fullest and appreciate solo time during the weeks. Also learned that you can talk to a lot of people on the phone when suck in traffic on a Friday afternoon.

Realized I am so incredibly lucky to have the love and support of my friends and family. From the mail, phone calls and lots of fun visits, there is no doubt in my mind that I am very loved!

Become more environmentally friendly. Recycle everything i can and even have my own compost bin!

Learned way more than I ever thought I wanted to know about grant making.

Know that people aren't joking when they call our area 'downtown Kaiser'.

Continued to volunteer, through work, for organizations that I'm passionate about.

Have a deeper understanding and appreciation for my company.


Participated in Bay to Breakers. Played in Golden Gate Park.

Rode the ferry from Oakland - San Francisco and Sausalito - San Francisco, several times.

Skied in Lake Tahoe.* Visited Yosemite and hike Half Dome.
*AND skied down this double black run, Gunbarrel, attempting to be an expert.

Attended several baseball games. Ran the bases at Giant's stadium. Attended Oktoberfest, California Beer Fest and Tour de Fat.

Celebrated New Years, birthdays, happy hours and Wine Wednesdays* all while trying new bars and restaurants.
*tradition created by Ashlee, Rachel and I in an effort to 'celebrate life' by getting together weekly to gossip, drink wine and often talk about our home sweet home, Colorado.

Visited Point Reyes and saw a whale swimming off the coast! Found this GREAT place in Crissy Fields to view the bridge. Horrible view, isn't it?

Drove from San Fran to San Luis Obisbo on Highway 1. They are not joking when they say 60 miles of curvy road ahead...

Visited wine country - Napa, Sonoma, Amador County and Paso Robles.
Can throw out buzz words like a true wino, but don't think I really taste the difference in micro climates.

Watched the sunset on the Pacific Ocean. Swam in the freezing Pacific Ocean.

Visited Monterrey Bay Aquarium, did the 17 mile drive and even saw a sea otter in real life!

Drove Ashlee's scooter. Got my first road bike. Rode all through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Also learned to use clip-in pedals!

Enjoyed every single beautiful view and had fun doing so.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Paper Iris

While browsing (dreaming about) new bedding on the Amy Butler website, I stumbled upon several free craft patterns. Among sewing patterns and ideas, I found a 'paper crafts' section. I thought the Paper Iris was fun and would make a pretty shabby-chic card.
Here are two that I made...

Although the pink one didn't photo well, it was my favorite!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I received a variation of this recipe from a co-worker over a year ago. Since then I've made it a dozen or more times, each time tweaking it a tad. I've made it for myself to enjoy for dinner and lunch leftovers. I've made it for friends. Took it to a co-worker after she had a baby. Every time it gets rave reviews. I always have to chuckle to myself a little bit because it is so easy and requires little-to-no cooking skills. Since it was shared with me, I'd like to continue is my version of Chicken Pot Pie. Enjoy!

Chelle's Chicken Pot Pie
prep/cook time: 45 mins serves 4

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (9 inch) frozen prepared pie crusts, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. In medium bowl, combine potato soup, mixed vegetables, chicken, milk, thyme and black pepper. Mix well.
3. Spoon filling into bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, and crimp edges to seal. Slit top crust.
4. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.