Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Orange Beef and Broccoli

What is it about broccoli in sauce that is just amazing? I don't know, but I adore broccoli. While I wouldn't say this recipe is the beef and broccoli recipe for me, it is very simple and very satisfying. The perfect weeknight dish.


The recipe says you can, "Skip the hoisin, soy and plum sauces and use a bottle of Asian stir-fry sauce" which would make this already easy meal that much more simple. It would also keep the cost down if you don't already have everything on hand. As you can see I served this over rice and I must admit I was sad when it was all gone. Be careful when you add the jalapenos to the hot oil. It made a spicy steam that made us all cough throughout the night. So use good ventilation.

Would I make this again? Yes. I just feel like this dish was missing an extra something to put it over the top. I'm not sure what it is, but I think some bottled sauce might give it that extra depth of flavor I though it was lacking (or maybe some orange marmalade?). Still tasty though.

Orange Beef and Broccoli


1 bunch broccoli
1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons plum sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
Grated peel of 1 orange and juice of 1/2 orange, plus wedges for serving
One 1 3/4-pound boneless sirloin steak
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced


1.In a large skillet, bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Cut the broccoli into 1-inch florets. Boil until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain the broccoli and rinse under cold water. Reserve the skillet.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, plum sauce and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir in the orange peel.

3.Slice the steak 1/4 inch thick, then cut the slices crosswise into thirds; toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch.

4.In the reserved skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and jalapeño and cook, turning, until the meat is barely pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper-towel-lined plate; discard the excess oil. Add the broth mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the meat, broccoli and orange juice and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Serve over rice and with the orange wedges.

Orange Beef and Broccoli

Source: Rachael Ray

Monday, April 25, 2011

Full Leather Skirt

It's the last week of the semester and the first thing I plan on doing to celebrate is buy some (faux) leather material and make myself a full leather skirt. I don't know why but I've got it into my head that I just have to have one. I know it will be too warm to wear one very soon, but I'm going for it.

Isn't that gray skirt amazing? I wonder how hard it'll be to sew.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives

I think I've complained before that Ryan doesn't generally have an answer to the age old question "what do you want for dinner?" It drives me absolutely bonkers since cooking is definitely something I do for him much more than for myself. That's not to say I don't enjoy cooking and eating, I very much do, but I also feel like I'm feeding him little pieces of love when I make something special. (I hope that didn't sound crazy.)

My point is that this is one dinner Ryan asks me to make ever so often so that's how you know it rocks. It's especially perfect for this in between weather. The spices make it warming, without being spicy at all, and the olives and apricots keep it light. While it may not be the prettiest dish in the world, it's definitely tasty.


It may look like there are a lot of ingredients, but you should have most of the spices on hand. All I ever have to buy are apricots, chicken, and olives.

Would I make this again? This is one of the few dishes Ryan asks for specifically so definitely.

Spicy Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives


1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Crushed red pepper flakes (determine your own amount of spice, 1/4 teaspoon for non-spicy or 1 teaspoon for spicy)
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)


1. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Stir in the olives, apricots and cilantro.

2. Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs and place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pour the marinade over and seal the bag. Turn to coat all of the chicken and refrigerate for 24 hours (do not skip the 24 hour part), turning occasionally.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer in a shallow 2-quart (no larger) baking dish. Pour the marinade with the olives and apricots over the chicken. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer and juices run clear with a fork.

Garnish each portion with a little chopped cilantro. Serve over rice or couscous.


Source: Noble Pig

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Music Thursday

New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Young Pilgrims by The Shins:

The Flood by Katie Melua:

The Ballad of Gus and Sam by Ferraby Lionheart:

Low Road by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:

Bushwick Blues by Delta Spirit:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scrapbook Owl

I mentioned a little while ago that I was going to participate in a one piece of art a week challenge called the TwinGeekz Artz Project. Well, the project started just a few weeks ago and I've had a hard time staying on top of things so far. I plan on getting a hold of everyone who said they were interested in a piece of art though I promise. As of now I'm just trying to pick easy projects that I can do quickly.

One of those projects was this little owl picture. I was inspired by this post and love the idea of using scrapbook paper. Scrapbook paper is definitely one of my most favorite art supplies and it's uses are endless.


I do feel like something's missing, but I'm leaving it alone for now. Holden loves it and it's for his room so that's good enough for me.

Anyhoo, check out the TwinGeekz button on the left if you'd like to check it out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Honey Cornbread

I decided to make cornbread to go with the Chicken Chowder with Chipotle since Ryan is a big fan. Unfortunately for him, I don't make it very often since I don't personally care for it. There is just something about the texture that usually turns me off. When I came across this recipe I thought it was worth a shot though since the blogger also doesn't care for cornbread but loves this one. And boy I can see what she likes about it. The texture is smooth and the sweetness perfectly accompanies the cornmeal. I found myself eating piece after piece.

Honey Cornbread

This recipe is ridiculously easy and I had everything on hand. I plan on sticking with this recipe for quite a while. I don't have a 9x9 pan so I used a deep dish pie pan instead. I had to cook mine for an extra 5 minutes or so to get the center perfectly cooked. If the same thing happens to you and the edges start to get too brown, just cover them with some foil.

Would I make this again? Only cornbread recipe I've made that I personally like so definitely.

Honey Cornbread


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.*

2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the cream, oil, honey and eggs; stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

Source: Back to the Cutting Board

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Music Thursday

New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Running on Sunshine by Jesus Jackson:

We Dont Eat by James Vincent McMorrow:

Driving Me Crazy by Sam Adams:

Running To Stand Still by Elbow (U2 cover):

Broke by Natalia Kills:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nebula Galaxy Shoes

Do you ever come across something so amazing you don't even know what to think? That's how I felt when I saw these hand-painted galaxy shoes. All I could think was "must have them" and "why can't I paint like that?" Seriously, look at these beauties:

I'm also really impressed with the price. Though $180 is well out of my price range, that's really reasonable for something hand-painted and so entirely awesome. If only I wasn't so poor.

If you're far more lucky than me, you can buy them here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

I'm not much of a soup person. (I just can't drink my meal.) Instead of beef stew I tend to favor things like boeuf bourguignon or something thicker with lots of veggies like chili. A cross between a stew and a soup, this recipe stuck out to me because of the chipotle and cilantro. Since the weather took a turn for the worst, I decided to give the recipe a chance and dear lord am I glad I did. This is by far one of the best "chowders" I've ever made and I can't wait to make it again.


I forgot to add the hominy and I've never had it before so I can't really comment on it specifically, but this recipe is perfect. I wouldn't change a single thing. The cilantro and lime at the end add a freshness and the chipotle adds just the right amount of kick without being overly spicy. An immersion blender made pureeing everything really easy. Served with honey cornbread and a strawberry and cucumber salad, this dish makes any cold night a little more bearable.

Would I make this again? A thousand times yes. I can't wait to make a pot for my friends.

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle


1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (15.5-ounce) can white or golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Remove 1 chile and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Finely chop chile; set chile and sauce aside separately.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and cool slightly. Shred chicken with 2 forks; cover and keep warm.

3. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed broth mixture to pan. Stir in potatoes and hominy; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

4. Stir in chicken and cream; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in reserved adobo sauce, tomato, cilantro, and salt. Serve with lime wedges.


Source: Cooking Light

Monday, April 11, 2011

365 Project: Week 11, 12, & 13

Yay I'm finally all caught up with my 365s. I don't even know why I take them to be honest. It's mostly just random pictures of crap around my house and things I eat. Oh well. Hopefully I'll have some more interesting pictures soon. I'm just trying to keep my head down and get through the next few weeks.


We had super crazy weather the last few weeks. There was some sun, some rain, and even some snow. Utah has serious weather ADHD or something.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Advanced Style: Age and Beauty

How great is this? I think it's really interesting to see how fashion evolves as we age and this video is just superb. There's even a whole blog dedicated to older creative dressers. Brilliant! (Hat Tip to Syl and Sam.)

We're having a senior moment: From textile mogul Iris Apfel in her trademark owl spectacles to artist Ilona Royce Smithkin in DIY orange eyelashes, the stars of photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog represent the most fashionable older ladies and gentlemen of New York and beyond. Today on NOWNESS we feature Cohen’s iconic style mavens in an exclusive short by filmmaker Lina Plioplyte. “Hearing them speak about clothing is so fascinating,” says Cohen, who launched his site in 2008 and also has a documentary in the works. “There is history and memories in what they are wearing and I think it’s important to show that storytelling aspect, as well as their vitality and creativity.” Cohen spoke to NOWNESS about silver-haired confidence.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Addition: Budget Dinners

Like usual we are super broke again. I typed out a rant about the woes of being a parent and trying to juggle school and a job, but I decided to delete it since it was self-indulgent and we've all been there before. Since groceries take a big bite out of budget, I've decided I want to try and focus on more affordable recipes. All a recipe has to call for is fresh basil and thyme and you find yourself spending almost $5 bucks on just herbs. You can get a pound of chicken for less than that (where I live obviously).


And I don't know about you, but there is often something really satisfying about cheap dinners. They're often simple and only use one pot. One of my favorite dishes is just chicken, broccoli, rice, cream of mushroom, and a little cheese.


Now I know there are blogs out there that focus on this sort of thing specifically, but I'm uninspired and I think it'll be a nice addition to my blog. Also, I'm being lazy, but I should have the last two weeks 365 pictures posted soon. I just have to write a quick essay and do some readings for personal ethics.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Music Thursday Friday

New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

You Be Killin Em by Fabolous:

Dirty Red by The Morlocks:

Come to me by Koop:

The cool thing about Koop is how the music is based on samples. "Thousands of small clips from records puzzled together into new songs. All the drums, strings, horn sections and choires are actually sampled!" Crazy.

Live Forever by Shad & Dallas:

The Step And The Walk by The Duke Spirit:

Hang Me Up To Dry by Cold War Kids: