Beef & Spinach Lo Mein Recipe

Beef & Spinach Lo Mein Recipe

I love noodles. I love Asian food. Let’s be real – I just love food in general! Another warm, comforting dish is beef & spinach lo mein. Believe it or not, this is under 500 calories per serving and gets your lo mein fix in. It’s also super easy to make. Enjoy!

Picture1

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

SERVINGS: 5

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound beef top round steak, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces uncooked spaghetti (I use wheat and/or gluten free)
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

Directions

  • In a small bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Remove 1/4 cup mixture to a large bowl; add beef and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil. Add half of the beef mixture; stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from pan. Repeat with an additional 1-1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef mixture.
  • Stir-fry water chestnuts and green onions in remaining canola oil 30 seconds. Stir in spinach and remaining hoisin mixture; cook until spinach is wilted. Return beef to pan; heat through.
  • Drain spaghetti; add to beef mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chili pepper.

Motivation Monday w/o Jan 18th: Take Chances!

This is one of my all time favorites and a way I really want to live my life. The “Youngest you’ll ever be again line” always gets me…  Stay inspired!

Life

Top of the Shop Spice: Ras el Hanout

Keith and my palettes changed after our journey to Morocco. The spices were unlike anything we ever tasted. So vibrant and flavorful. The stand-out was Ras el Hanout, which means ‘Top of the Shop’. It actually originated in North Africa thousands of years ago and can include up to 100 individual spices. Each vendor in the market holds their recipe as a closely-guarded secret. Some believe the seductive ingredients in Ras el Hanout produce an aphrodisiac – I have no complaints about this! The blend is exotic and spices up many of the ground beef or lamb dishes I make. It can also be used on steaks, chops and chicken.

You will find variations of this because there is no set recipe, however, this is the one I use and enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons powdered ginger

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Measure all the spices into a medium bowl and mix with a fork until combined. Close your eyes and take a slow inhale through your nose. It will transport you to a Moroccan market. Transfer the spice blend to an airtight container and apply liberally to your food.

IMG_2615

w/o Jan 11th: The Virgin Way

I absolutely love business and self-help books. A good friend, Daniel Udell, recommended Richard Branson’s  The Virgin Way. http://www.amazon.com/The-Virgin-Way-Everything-Leadership/dp/1591847370

Virgin Way

I opened it and couldn’t put it down. His story, writing and advise is spot on. The major themes are to Listen, Learn, Laugh, Lead all while doing what you love and making other people’s life better. Perfect motivation for the new year. Happy Reading!

 

Brielle’s Beef Stew Recipe

Modern life doesn’t give us a lot of time for putting together elaborate meals so I have developed a love affair with my slow cooker over the past decade. I have used this lovely appliance to create and cook delicious tasting meals with minimal hands on time and effort.

My go to staple is beef stew. After years of experimenting with different recipes/ingredients, I am proud to share what I think is a hearty, decadent, extremely satisfying stew for the colder months.

Brielle’s Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker (serves: 4-6)

Ingredients:

4 oz Thick-cut bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons Flour (I use wheat flour)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 lbs Boneless beef chuck trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks (I prefer 100% grass-fed beef from Whole Foods)

1/2 lb Baby carrots

1 Stalk of celery, chopped

3 cloves Minced garlic

1 lb Medium potatoes, cut into cubes

1 cup (8 fl oz) Red wine (I use a Malbec)

1 cup (8 fl oz) Beef broth (*If you live in NY, go to Brodo http://www.brodobroth.co and get the Hearth bone broth. The flavor is unreal. If you want to be healthier, use unsalted beef broth)

2 tablespoons of tomato sauce (I use Prego No Salt added sauce)

1 tablespoon Rosemary, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Bay leaf

Basket Brodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation:

  1. Cook the bacon: in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp – about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl leaving about 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserve drippings and bacon aside.
  2. Brown the beef: In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mix. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat. When the droppings are hot, add half the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned – about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef counts adding the reserve drippings if needed. Scatter the carrots, celery, garlic and potatoes on top. Add the bacon.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the wine, broth, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Mix well, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the contents over into the slow cooker. Add the bay leaf.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours (high) or 8-9 (low). The beef should be VERY tender. Stir in the rosemary. Cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  5. Optional: Beef Stew always tastes delicious over pasta. Keith and I usually enjoy it over egg noodles or bucatini (because the inside is so hollow it sucks up all the juices).

Final Stew

 

Beer Grain Treats for Dogs!

My new favorite treats of the year are made with Beer Grains! No, I can’t get drunk off these but it certainly helps with the flavor!

Thanks to Gunther’s Goodies http://www.gunthersgoodies.com and Josh Morton & Eve Alintuck, owners of Barrow’s intense Ginger Liqueur, who gifted me these goodies for Christmas, I have to say these beer biscuits keep my tail wagging!

IMG_2611 IMG_2614

Motivation Monday: Mirror!

To keep us motivated on all our 2016 resolutions!

Mirror

Christmas in The Villages, Florida

When my in-laws, Henry and Diane Witek, told me they were moving to the The Villages, Florida my mind immediately went to the M. Night Shyamalan’s movie, The Village.

Demons? A freaky little community? Supernatural situations? What could this place be?

the village village again

Henry, was quick to explain that it was an active retirement community located in sunny central Florida. According to the website https://www.thevillages.com the purpose was “To create a retirement community where people’s dreams could come true.” It boasted a redefinition of retirement living: great, affordable homes with lifestyle and amenities for every cycle of retirement life.

villages sign

That’s a tall order! My idea of retirement would be in the Amalfi Coast, Italy with Cristiano Ronaldo (age now) serving me Krug Rose champagne in his CR7’s, Mario Batali cooking my meals, DogPound still training me and Keith, Rambo and I just chilling in our infinity pool looking at the beautiful clear blue sea.

amalfi cristiano_ronaldo_real_madrid_wallpaper_2014-wallpaper-1366x768 mario batali_2

Well, I have been there twice now and while it’s not my vision of retirement, I could see how it’s a paradise for the people who have chosen to end their lives there.

Imagine a Disney Land for over-55 year-olds. It holds more than 100k residents in an area bigger than the island of Manhattan. And… everyone gets around via golf cart. I’m not going to lie, the first time I visited, I couldn’t believe it. There were designated parking areas for golf carts at all the businesses. There were golf-cart tracks. There were golf-cart tunnels and even a golf-cart bridges to cross the major highways. I can’t make this up.

ACG_Golf_Cartsweb.jpg.w560h150 Villages-Golf-carts-2

Why golf carts do you ask? The Villages is really a village. Within those gates you have everything you need: Town Squares, Theaters, Shopping + Dining, Grocery Stores, Doctors, Schools…

Here’s the kicker, those carts can cost upwards of $25k and you can pimp them out with rims, make them look like a hummer or race car, add custom detail, etc. I guess when you retire and you have extra dough to spend, why wouldn’t you do it with a custom golf cart?

The Villages is also known for its extensive amount of golf courses – I think there are over 3 dozen. I am not going to pretend to know anything about golf. I went to a Nike Golf School and own my own clubs. I wound up perfecting my flask swig vs. my golf swing and I have used my clubs once. Golfing is just not my thing.

Henry is The Village’s golf course expert. He knows every course name, clubhouse, trail, the animals that inhabit the courses…trust me, he has educated me so well on these topics even I know my way around at this point. The man has his own bench on the first hole of one of the courses. I finally saw it live on this Christmas Trip.

IMG_3250

There are additional “distinctions” about The Villages. In 2009, the New York Post labeled it “ground zero for geriatrics who are seriously getting it on.” The story reported that couples had been caught having quickies in the golf carts and noted there was a thriving black market for Viagra. These facts make me chuckle.

villages Cart

My favorite thing about The Villages is that they forbid children. Kids can of course visit briefly, but that’s about it. They have to get visitor passes, haha! The place is truly a +55 adult playground.

No-kids-Allowed-from-Picnik1

 

So that’s the summary of the Villages, Florida. Here’s the detail on the Christmas Visit and how I spent 4.5 days there.

Day 1:

  • The earliest flight from Newark to Orlando. Children galore!

Airport

  • Diane makes the best bacon. I’ll give the woman that! She made me a BLT with a garnish of bacon.

Bacon Breakfast

  • Keith, Henry and his brother Steven go golfing. Diane and I get more groceries (need food!) and do some shopping in one of the Towne Squares. I discover The Villages makes its own wine.

Villages Wine

  • Dinner at Cody’s – check out these Happy Hour Specials and prices! How do they make money? As soon as I sat down, I ordered the 2 for 1 special: red wine baby! Oh, and the grilled wings were actually delicious. The young chef, Cory, came out and I gave him a hug.

CodysWine Codys

Day 2 – Christmas Day:

  • Since the plan was to golf in the morning, there was no formal breakfast. I made myself a roast beef sandwich on a whole wheat pita with my morning supplements.

Christmas BreakfastHappy Easter

  • Golfing – you can see how engaged I was in this activity.

Bri Golf Phone

  • Seeing the bench.

Witeks on Bench

  • Nicknaming The Witek Family the Buttertons because I have never seen so much butter used in my life.

Buttertons

  • 4pm Christmas dinner – The Witek’s Christmas Tradition is to serve a prime rib for dinner. See my 2015 Summary post for more detail. It’s a very simple Christmas meal.

Prime Rib Christmas Dinner Table

  • Seeing the holiday lights on the houses.

Holiday Lights

Day 3:

  • Took a side trip to see my Aunt and Uncle, and cousins in Palm Coast. Food frenzy and fun times.

Ross' spread

  • When I returned to The Villages, before dinner, we sat and watched a concert in one of the Towne Squares. 55+ folks were moving and shaking. It was definitely a sight to see.

Town Square Concert

Day 4:

  • Had a lovely brunch at one of the golf course clubhouses. Mimosas! Pancakes! Bacon! Omelets! I ate everything.

Brunch

  • Star Wars 3-D – the force was with me for sure!
  • Killed 2 bottles of Caliche Rum and Don Q Limon at Las Tapas. Sara, our bartender was terrific and created some special on the spot cocktails for the guests. Diane and her 12 girlfriends have become mini ambassadors and visit the account once a month for Caliche/Don Q Cocktails.

las taps

Day 5:

  • Time to go home. We had to deal with this security nightmare in the Orlando airport. I have never seen so many wheelchairs and carriages under one roof. It was like the circle of life condensed.

Orlando Airport

Definition of Hangry

I think this speaks for itself.

Hangry

w/o Jan 4th: Stains 101

No matter what I do, or how refined I try to be, I am a hot mess and always manage to get a stain on myself. I absolutely love wearing white but that is always a fashion risk for me. I carry my tide pen and have my dry cleaners on stand-by.

When I came across this nifty stain article, I figured I’d share the knowledge. It’s proven incredibly helpful!

Stains