Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Polenta Veggie Bake, and a PERFECTLY Cooked Steak

You guys.  I have finally completed one of my life's goals.

I COOKED A PERFECTLY MEDIUM RARE STEAK.


Travis helped of course.  We watched those steaks like hawks, and man did it pay off.

We marinated two pieces of filet minion in teriyaki sauce and let them sit out on the counter to get to room temperature.  We put them on our little indoor grill and we let them go for three minutes on one side and two minutes on the other.  Took them off and let them rest for about five minutes and then dug in.

To accompany our steaks, I made the most delightful side - a polenta veggie bake.  This was a surprisingly outstanding dish - healthy, hearty and fresh.

I made a trip to the farmers market that morning and just went wild (although I did not use the plums in this recipe, they were just meant for pre-dinner noshing).


First I sauteed the summer squash and zucchini with the leeks, garlic and onion. I added a couple of spoonfuls of store bought marinara sauce and seasoned the veggies with salt and pepper.


I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and laid out  thin slices of prepackaged tubed polenta and topped each slice with a little store bought pesto sauce (this is definitely a semi-homemade meal).


Then I topped with the squash mixture and added another layer and topped with more squash mixture and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  And you get this beauty...


SOOOOO GOOD!

This was a successful start to my weekend.  It was followed by some wine drinking and dateline watching, which was followed by an early bedtime and an early morning spin class.

I was feeling so good on Saturday morning, I decided to let loose with friends on Saturday afternoon and attended a four hour all-you-can-drink beer festival at Nationals Stadium.  Some of the standouts were Capitol City Brewery, Firestone Walker (of course), Devil's Backbone, and Troegs.


Then continued the festivities to Adams Morgan...my DC friends need no further explanation about where the night went from there.


Overall, it was such a great weekend.  Felt pretty gross on Sunday morning but proud to say I was (fairly) successful at fighting off any guilty/regretful feelings about my indulgent weekend and powered through the day.  Travis kept me in check :)

Breaking Bad helped too. That show is mind-blowing.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Healthy Blueberry Muffins


Every weekend for the past two months, I have made some version of a low fat, sugar-free blueberry muffin.  I go to spin three days during the week and need something that I can grab and eat on the metro on the way to my 7am class.  These muffins are perfect, they are light, easy on my stomach, and hold me over until my breakfast at around 9am.  I like to store them in the fridge and eat them chilled.  Or sometimes I mash them up with Greek yogurt, fruit and peanut butter as an afternoon snack like this...


But back to the muffins...

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of whole wheat white flour
2/3 cup of quick cooking oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon stevia
1 egg white
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup of almond milk (I used original)
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Mix all of he dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients separately.  Add the two mixtures together, gently folding the batter to combine - do not over-mix.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Makes 6 muffins.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIAW: Thankful for Burrito Bowls

Labor day weekend has come to an end, sigh. Summer is almost over, the leaves are already developing a slight tinge of orange, and the sun is setting earlier and earlier. At least now I no longer have a reason to be jealous of people with pools - on the east coast, pools close this weekend! Woohoo, now we are all in the same boat you pesky pool owners...

I was so thankful for this three day weekend. Thanks to some fellow bloggers, I decided to make this weekend about gratitude. Being thankful for great moments, meals, conversations, etc. is so important - when you start to take these small things for granted, it is easy to focus on the negative.

So for this "What I Ate Wednesday" post, I am telling you about the things I ate that reminded me to be thankful last week.

At one point this weekend I attempted to bake peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. All seemed to be going well until they stuck to the pan like glue.


Despite this sad finished product, I had to remind myself how thankful I am that peanut butter exists in this world. That, my friends, it what is REALLY important. So rather than posting the recipe, I advise you to follow this one instead:

Buy some crunchy peanut butter.
Grab a spoon.
Scoop up a big heap of peanut butter.
Eat it slowly off the spoon and enjoy.

Moving on to the savory...

:

Burrito bowls are the perfect weeknight meal, and you can improvise with whatever pantry items you have on hand. Last week I created an insanely good combo.  When you are not in the mood to cook, but you don't want to spend money, be thankful for those random pantry items that can be combined into the perfect easy, delicious meal.

Chicken breast tenders
Fresh sliced green pepper
1/2 sliced red onion
Can of black beans
Boil in a bag brown rice
Store bought pico de gallo
Scoop of plain Greek yogurt (used like sour cream).

Saute the chicken breasts with the peppers and onions.  Rinse the beans and cook the rice.  Combine the rest of the ingredients and add some hot sauce for a kick if you'd like.

I am also thankful for my ability to give into random afternoon cravings.  Lately, I have been into these creative yogurt messes.  I know they look strange, but they ALWAYS hit the spot.  This one is a mashed up light blueberry muffin (recipe soon to come), some plain Greek yogurt, a fresh sliced nectarine from the farmers market, and a swirl of peanut butter.



YUM!  Check back soon for that healthy blueberry muffin recipe - I really nailed them this time ;)

Here is a little preview of the finished product...