Friday, October 23, 2015

Simple (and Inexpensive) Steak Sandwich

OK so if you have a 2 or 3 people coming over for lunch, and you don't have much cash on hand, I have the solution. For about 20 bucks you can serve a great looking and great tasting steak sandwich guaranteed to satisfy. But you should tell your friends to bring the wine!

So get yourself to the store. Somewhere you know you can get a good deal but still get quality food, like Trader Joe's.
You'll need to first get the steak. I love Flank Steak, so thats what I got, but you can go with whatever you like.
You'll also need to get a couple medium to large tomatoes, lettuce, some flat bread (round if you can find them), and Dijon Mustard. That's it!!

When you're ready to cook, start by generously seasoning the steak. I used salt, course ground black pepper, garlic powder, and a little parsley flake (my usual go to's), and a little olive oil.
Then get your grill, grill pan, cast iron pan, or broiler really hot. The hotter the better so you get a nice crust on the meat.

Then get the meat to the heat!
Cook to about medium. Getting to that will depend on what type of steak you got at the store. For my flank on a grill pan it was about 7-10 minutes on each side.
Once your steak is cooked the way you like it, get it off the heat and let it rest under tin foil, while you prepare the flat bread (5-10 minutes)
All you need to do is spread some mustard on the flat bread, add some lettuce, and a few slices of tomato. Easy peasy!

Then slice your steak. Make sure you cut against the grain of the meat to unsure tender slices that are easy to bite into. And then add a few pieces to the flat bread with another quick sprinkle of salt and pepper.
And presto!! You have a great looking open faced sandwich that you can fold to eat or cut into.  I went for the fold because I like to be messy..

Pretty simple right?  Easy, delicious, and cost effective. My kind of lunch!! And best of all your friends will be happy too!

As usual, let me know if you make it and what you think. I'm sure you'll like it as much as I do. And don't forget to add the love!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

3 Tips for Cooking at Home

So right now it is 101 degrees outside, which means I am not leaving my house until its dark out!
That also means it's time to do some chores.
One chore I had on my list was that I needed to make some pesto. My basil plant was getting too big and I needed to cut it back. I had no use for it right now so pesto was the best option, and then freeze it.
That got me thinking that I wanted to get a few tips out there in the world.
Here they are;

#1. Pesto
You can make a pesto with pretty much any green that you have in your house that is on the verge of going bad. DON"T keep wasting money by tossing out greens that go bad. You can make a pesto with Spinach, Arugula, Kale, Chard, Parsley.... I think you get the idea. You can also use different types of nuts. They don't have to be pine nuts. Today I used Wall Nuts. I also like Pistachios too.
Then freeze it!
You can even go a step further and use an ice tray to freeze it. That way you have it portioned out for you and you don't have to thaw a whole batch if you just need a little. And if you need help there are tons of recipes online. Even on my blog :). Here is a photo of the Pesto I made today setting up in the freezer.

#2. How to Tell if Your Meat is Done
You do not need a thermometer to tell if your steak is done. All you need is your hands. Here is a quick video I made to explain it. Of course a thermometer is the only way to know the temp of your meat 100%, but this tip is really handy when your at the grill and don't want to run back inside.

#3. Best Tip for Dressing a Salad
My last tip for the day is for dressing a salad. If your like me, I am not a fan of bottled dressing, or creamy dressings. I like to keep my salads light, so I can taste the vegetables. A little acid like lemon juice or Red Wine Vinegar, salt, pepper, maybe some garlic Powder, and Parsley flakes.
The thing to remember when making your salad is that the last thing that should be spun around your salad bowl is the oil. If you pass the oil bottle around the greens first, you will stop any of the other ingredients from touching the salad. All those other flavors will just slide off those lettuce leaves.
I do the dry seasoning, then a little vinegar, and then the oil. If not I end up with an oily tasteless  salad... And that sucks!

So thats all for now. Those are my tips for the day. Now I have to go fold some more laundry.
Stay cool out there if you're having a heatwave like me. If not, get out there and BBQ!!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Zucchini Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Grilled Shrimp

First thing you need to do, right now, before even finishing this article is to click on this link and get yourself a Kitchen Active Spiralizer! 
What it does, if you aren't familiar with them, is twist zucchini and other vegetables into strands that resemble spaghetti.  So, this is perfect for Paleos, vegans, vegetarians, low carb dieters, and people on raw diets. You don't have to cook the spirals.  As you can see in the photo above, after you let the veg sit in the sauce you desire to use, things like salts or acids will break down the vegetables enough to make them soft. Of course if you choose to use a hot cooked sauce, that will soften the veg too.
So what I have for you here is a raw pasta salad with a spicy Peanut sauce, with grilled Shrimp on the side. 
Now obviously if you left the Shrimp out, this would be vegetarian,vegan, and raw. I don't think it's paleo though. I believe paleo does not allow peanuts.

So here is what you'll need and also the steps we took to make this amazingly flavorful and healthy 
dinner (or lunch if you want). 

1 pound of medium sized shrimp pealed and deveined.
2 medium Zucchini
1 medium Cucumber
1 large Carrot Shredded (you can use the Spiralizer, but it's hard when the carrot gets skinny at the bottom
Coconut oil. About 2 tbsp for the shrimp and about  1/4 cup for dressing. (You'll need to make sure it is liquified, so in the cooler months you may need to warm it slightly)
1/4 Cup of Creamy Peanut butter
1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Sriracha
1/4 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Parsley Flakes for the sauce and a pinch for the shrimp.
About a tbsp of Sesame Seeds. We used a mix of black and white, but either is ok on it's own too
Red Chili flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste.
OK... this might seem like a lot of work, but it really isn't and will all come together quicker than you may think by looking at this, so here we go;
Lets start with Shrimp. Place them in a bowl, give them a little salt and pepper, chili flakes (as much or little as you'd like), a pinch of Parsley flakes, and the 2 tbsp of Coconut Oil. Mix up and set aside. I put mine on skewers because I like to when grilling. You can cook yours however you'd like.  
Now, get your Zucchini and Cucumber and spin them through your Spiralizer (if you don't have a Spriralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons instead of "Spaghetti"). 
The 2 Zucchini and 1 Cucumber should leave you with about 3 cups of spirals. 
You'll want to lay them out on some paper towels and press them gently to release some of the moister out of them. Set this aside now too so you can make the sauce, and start cooking!
Now it's time to start to heat up your cooking surface. I used my grill so I went and heated it up on high. While its heating you can make your sauce.
In a bowl whisk together the rest of your liquified Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter, Vinegar, Parsley, Garlic Powder, Sriracha, Sesame Seeds, Chili Flakes and Salt and pepper. Give it a taste and adjust anything you feel you might want too.
At this point get your shrimp on the grill (I also grilled scallions too, and served them on the side, but you can leave them out if you'd like). They will need a few minutes on each side, so this will not take too long.
In the meantime get your spirals and Carrots into a bowl, and pour about half of your sauce over them. Toss this well and then go check on your shrimp. The rest of the sauce you can use for dipping your shrimp in.

Now you're ready to plate. I made a small pile of the pasta just off center on my plate, placed shrimp along side that and then spooned some of the Peanut sauce along side the shrimp. It looked pretty and made it easy to pass the shrimp though the sauce!

I know you will love this, and never miss the noodles that this would typically be made with. Actually you'll probably never want it with traditional noodles again!

Enjoy, and as always don't forget to add the love! And leave me some comments to let me know what you think.

XO -P 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The All Powerful Sauerkraut!

So It seems that I am the last person on the planet to know about the AMAZING health benefits of Sauerkraut. 
To be 100% honest our dog got really sick this week and we were researching how to help him out without having to spend a fortune at the vet's office. We kept reading that the dogs health and overall well being started off with how his gut was, and what was going on in his digestive track. JUST LIKE PEOPLE. And the way to make sure that your gut is healthy is probiotics!
One of the easiest, and least expensive ways to get billions of these things in you a day is with eating fermented foods like Sauerkraut. 
Here is a link to a REALY interesting article I found about the science of probiotics, mental health, gut health, becoming healthier. 
In a much shorter intro to the benefits of Kraut, here is the gist of it from another article I read pertaining to people as well as animals:

History of Sauerkraut
Although many people think of sauerkraut as a German invented foodstuff, its true origins are thought to be ancient China. The Chinese have been fermenting cabbage since 200 BC. Over 2,000 years ago, Chinese laborers responsible for building the Great Wall of China ate sauerkraut as part of their daily diet - that early version was made using rice-wine. It is assumed that sauerkraut made its way to Europe 1000 years later during the 13th century when Gengis Kahn plundered China. The Romans carried barrels of sauerkraut on long campaigns - feeding it to soldiers in order to prevent intestinal infections. The Dutch sea faring traders ate sauerkraut on a regular basis as it could be easily kept on board ship, do not require refrigeration and helped to prevent scurvy due to its high vitamin C content. Captain James Cooke followed the example of the Dutch sailors.

Active Ingredients in Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a dense source of a wide range of benefical lactic acid bacteria. The predominate bacteria in sauerkraut is Lactobacillus plantarum. While commercially produced sauerkraut does retain these valuable properties, fresh sauerkraut is higher in beneficial organisms. Sauerkraut typically contains 13 strains of bacteria and about 100 times more probiotics than most supplements while being a lot less expensive! If you are purchasing rather than making your own sauerkraut, make sure it is in the refrigerated section of the store to ensure that it contains live bacteria.

Benefits of Sauerkraut
Aids in the digestion process;
Boosts the immune system;
Helps prevent cancer (sauerkraut contains compounds called isothiocyanates which protect against cancer);
Fights E. Coli, salmonella and candida;
Has anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation can cause some cancers);
High in Vitamin A, B, C and E;
High in Minerals calcium and magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese;
High in phytonutirent antioxidants;
Helps alleviate anxiety and depression;
It helps generate omega-3 fatty acids;
It can help reduce allergy symptoms;
It is very low in fat and calories.

Each batch of fresh, raw sauerkraut contains different species of beneficial probiotics in different proportions. The table below provides a list of the bacteria species found in sauerkraut.

Main Species
Secondary Species

- Lactobacillus brevis 
- Lactobacillus plantarum 
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides, - Pediococcus pentosaceus

- Lactobacillus coryniformis 
- Lactobacillus curvatus 
- Lactobacillus sakei
- Lactococcus lactis subsp lactis  
- Lactobacillus paraplantarum  
- Leuconostoc argentinum
- Leuconostoc citreum
- Leuconostoc fallax
- Weissella species

In addition, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh sauerkraut contains…

Nutritional Information
15 mg Vitamin C
48mg Calcium
.21mg Vitamin B6
1.5mg Iron
1.5mg Vitamin K
288mg Potassium

14mg Magnesium


If you're looking to make your own I have found a gazillion recipes online. If you're not into that, you can get it pretty much at any grocery store. Just make sure you get it in the refrigerated section and never heat it up. Also if you can find organic, and one that reads that is if fermented  and contains probiotics thats even better. Trader Joe's has one that's cheap and tastes great.
So that's it from me about this. Eat your Kraut. Have your Kombucha, a little Kefir, maybe some yogurt, and start to heal yourself. My new habits (and my husband, and my dogs') start TODAY!!!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Panzanella Salad: Because when you find a good Baguette you celebrate it!

Yesterday I decided to take a quick trip to the beach and jump into the ocean for a swim. The water was perfect and as I laid out in the sun to dry off I started planning my route home so that I could also shop for dinner along my way.
Once I was dry I walked back to my car and was on my way.
I walked into a little market by my house, and the first thing I saw were baguettes. They called to me and I responded by putting one in my basket and deciding that I needed to make a Panzanella Salad.

If you don't know, Panzanella is basically an old school Italian way to use stale bread. You cube your bread and whatever veg you have and toss in a vinaigrette. You let it sit the the bread softens up, and then you eat!!
So since I bought a fresh baguette, and you probably will to when you make make this, we'll have to toast the bread. But before we get to that lets talk veg.

My go to for this salad never really changes, but you can use whatever you want. I stick to what seems to be the usual suspects for this salad. Tomato, red onion, different color bell peppers, and lots and lots of basil. You can use whatever you like though. Throw in a cucumber if you would like. If raw onions aren't your thing, take them out, and try some scallions. There are no rules here.

To make mine, here is what you'll need;
- Tomatoes -  See what looks ripe. If they are large get 3. Small, get 5. And medium, get 4.
- Bell peppers - One orange and one yellow is what I like. they taste better than the green and red, and I like the way they look better
- One small red onion
- Fresh Basil
- Salt and pepper
- Dried Parsley
- Garlic Powder
- Olive oil
- Vinegar or Lemon juice. I like Red Wine Vinegar for this

So this is really easy. Start with heating a sauté pan on medium and add about a table spoon of Olive oil. I like to season the oil while it heats with a little salt, pepper and parsley flakes. This way the oil gets flavored.
While thats heating up, take about half of your baguette and cube it into bite size pieces. When you're done with that your pan should be hot enough. Dump all the cubes in and toss them around so they all get a light coating of oil. Now let them toast. This will take like 15 minutes. You don't want the heat too high, so it takes a little while. (Think grilled cheese. You know how when you rush that, and the bread gets too brown, and the cheese hasn't even melted..?)
So let the bread toast, tossing the cubes every few minutes or so until they are all golden and hard. Like big croutons.

While thats happening cut up your tomatoes and peppers into cubes the same size that you made the bread. Everything should be the same size at this point.
The onion however you can cut however you want. If you LOVE raw onion, feel free to cube it. If you just want a little of the flavor, you can only use a few thin slices.
And of course, chop up lots and lots of fresh basil. I like to Chiffonade  my basil for this.

Your bread should be perfect by now. Once it's cooled off enough get everything into a bowl.
Now you want to dress your salad. You can use a classic vinaigrette if thats what you like.
I eyeball everything, so I salt and pepper the veg and bread, and also sprinkle garlic powder as well. Then 3 or 4 turns around the bowl with the vinegar, and finally the same 3 or 4 turns around the bowl of Olive Oil.
Toss everything together and taste. Adjust however you think you may need to and then set the salad aside in your fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. You want to wait to serve this until the bread softens a bit.

Thats it! Its super refreshing and light. A wonderful summer meal on it's own, or a perfect side to some nice grilled meat or fish.
However you do it, you're gonna love it, and your guests will be excited for switching up the same old boring side salad!!!

Don't forget to add the love and remember to leave me comments! I love to hear how these things turn out!

XO - P

Monday, June 29, 2015

Say Fish Taco Truck

So it's week 3 as a Californian, and I have yet to get food out of a truck. So tonight I went to Fresco Market in the Monterey Hills, and there they were!
I forgot it was Monday, and they have food trucks there every Monday night from 5:30 until 9:30.
I was there to buy stuff to make a salad, but that plan side tracked quickly.
Out of the 3 trucks that were there I chose the truck with the fish tacos. Only because out of the options, that's what I wanted.
I read the menu and decided to go for what seemed to be their most popular dish. It's called a "Sayulita Fish Taco" It's fish, deep fried in an old school dark beer batter, original SFT sauce, shredded cabbage, salsa, and a homemade corn tortilla.
And I got the combo, so it came with fries :)
Not as healthy as the salad I was going to make, but it was only 6pm, so it's early enough to have a little fired fish.
Anyway, let me just tell you that I wish I had ordered 5 of these tacos!
First lets talk about the sauce. It was the first thing that I tasted. I have no idea what it was. I wanna say it was mayo based, but could very well have been crema based. whatever it was, it gave me just the right amount of circle in my mouth to start eating this taco. Next to hit my tongue was the salsa. That was great too. Only a little heat, so there could be a little hot sauce added to this taco, but the salsa was good. Hoping that was homemade too.
Then the fish.... it was NOT greasy or weird like I've had on so many other fish tacos. It was light and fresh tasting, and the batter was delicious.
The cabbage added a great, and traditional crunch, but what really sealed the deal was the homemade tortilla!! Oh my gosh.. it's been a long time since I had a tortilla so perfect. It was soft, and flavorful. It didn't break apart, and wasn't super chewy either. I don't even really know how to explain it, but after the other great flavors of this taco, it just seemed perfect.

That's really all I can say about these tacos. I'm so happy that I decided to stop by the truck. I will definitely be back for more.. A lot more...

Actually there is something else I can say about the taco. And the fries for that matter. Even something to say about the way it was plated and wrapped up to go. 
It really showed that these guys give a shit about what they are doing. There was love in the food, the platting, and the way they interacted with people.
Super well done guys! See you soon!

If any of you wanna check them out, here is a link with all their info including where they are going to be parked this week. 

Lots of love,
P. -  XOXO

Saturday, June 20, 2015

11 dishes you should be able to make by the time you're 30. (Via Thrillist)



Sure, ordering takeout every night has served you well so far in life. The girls were impressed by that General Tso’s in college, so why stop now? For one, it gets expensive after a few years of your parents not footing that bill. Plus, you’ve made it to the 30-year mark, so it’s probably time to learn how to cook. Ease your way in with these 11 basic dishes. We promise the recipes are even easier than putting on your pants to answer the door for delivery, which is also something you should work on doing regularly if you’re over 30.

Scrambled eggs

It's the world's easiest breakfast, it's nutritious, and it's safer than chewing raw eggs and hoping the heat of your mouth cooks them.
Here's how: Thrillist's in-house recipe genius Perry shows you how to make these perfect scrambled eggs in a 30-second video, and it only takes 10 minutes to make.

Mac and cheese

Because while it's great out of a box, it's better when it's homemade. And this recipe is so easy you'll have no excuse.
Here's how: The blender does all the work in this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. You just have to do the eating. If that's still too complicated, you can boost boxed mac and cheese with these 10 hacks.

Tomato sauce

Even an idiot can boil water and make pasta. But not everyone knows how to make homemade tomato sauce. And it'll make that pasta taste a million times better.
Here's how: Since making tomato sauce takes a little bit of elbow grease, we like this recipe from The Kitchn because it makes eight pints of the stuff, and teaches you how to choose the right tomatoes for it.


Delivery pizza might be convenient, and frozen pizza might be even more convenient, but nothing beats the taste of homemade pizza.
Here's how: We made a simple, delicious SpaghettiOs version that you can throw on top of this ridiculously easy, from-scratch dough. You can too. Buy a pizza stone and block out an hour for the most delicious pizza you've had outside of these places.

Grilled steak

You could pay a billion dollars for a steak in a restaurant, or you could just grill one yourself. We opt for the way where you don't pay a billion dollars and you get to use your grill.
Here's how: Iowa Girl Eats has a simple strip steak recipe that only uses a few ingredients that you definitely have in your pantry already. To make things even easier on you, she even recommends pairing that steak with steamed broccoli. Fancy dinner in a few minutes!


It's good for you. And if you're cooking for someone else, it will make it look like you put more time into cooking than you actually did. You trickster, you!
Here's how: Any recipe that requires you to put something in an oven and bake it is a recipe we love, and we really love Well Plated's balsamic-glazed salmon.

Roasted chicken

It doesn't get any easier to make dinner. Five ingredients (including chicken). One hour. Done.
Here's how: You don't even need a roasting pan for this skillet recipe, but if you want something even easier, we've got you covered with eight ways to make roasted chicken in a slow cooker.


Not only is it a great dip for parties (even parties of one), you can throw that avocado-y goodness on basically anything.
Here's how: Chipotle released its guac recipe, and you should make it just so that you can experience their guac without paying extra.


You're already going to make the tomato sauce from earlier, so you might as well have something to pair it with.
Here's how: The Slow Roasted Italian's herb-packed meatballs are baked, and the hardest task you'll have is to "mix."