Manly (and Slimming)

Hey all you Manly Men out there! Take a bite of this! 

20151203_204614_001-1[1]London broil is a rather inexpensive piece of beef, can easily be frozen and thawed, and doesn’t get tough in the soup-making process. It was also convenient since I happened to find a ton of it in the freezer… Cubing the steak is super easy when cutting a partially thawed piece.

Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup

makes 16 servings

    • 1 1/2 lb london broil, trimmed of fat
    • 6-8 Tbsp brown gravy mix, low sodium
    • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 Tbsp thyme, dried
    • 2 tsp oregano, dried
    • 1 tsp parsley, dried
    • 1 Tbsp minced/chopped dried onion
    • 1 tsp ground rosemary
    • 3/4 to 1 tsp black pepper, to taste
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 6- 7 cups water
    • 4 cups chicken broth, fat free, low sodium
    • 2 cups beef broth, fat free, low sodium
    • 3/4 cup barley
    • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, low sodium
    • 2 1/2 cups celery, chopped, including leafy ends
    • 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
    • 2 cups kale greens, rough chop
    • 2 (10oz) mushrooms, white button, chopped
    • 1 cup green beans, cut (frozen will work)
    • fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)
    • oyster crackers (optional)

Cube the london broil into equal bite-sized pieces and place in a large pot. Add the onions through rosemary. With a large spoon, toss everything in the pot to coat the meat and onions.

Place the pot over low heat, add water and broth and cover. Allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or so. Add barley, cover, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat back to low, add vegetables, cover and allow soup to simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

*I’m curious if using Italian seasoning could substitute many of the green herbs… let us know in the comments if you try!

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Keep covered, remove from heat, and allow soup to cool. Refrigerate, freeze, or my favorite recommendation… Mangia! Top and garnish to your liking.

Nutrition based off 6 Tbsp gravy mix

119 calories!

Ha! I’ll take TWO!

T N T

T N T

Turkeys and Traditions

I love the Holidays! As soon as Thanksgiving hits, I am in full holiday swing!

To me “The Holiday Season” is so much more than the major blow out sales! Lets think about it… When you think of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, what do you think of? The first thing that comes to mind, besides the Christmas music, obviously, are the traditions that go along with each of those events.

Growing up, these three were filled with family! My mom is one of five, and, dad, one of four. My parents are the only ones in either if their sibling groups to have only one child, so needless to say, holidays can get crowded.

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A day for stretchy pants!

Our Thanksgiving tradition requires heading to Philly. Over the years, my cousins have gotten married and have kids of theirs own, starting their own traditions. My earliest memory of our Thanksgiving dinner head count is somewhere in the mid 20s. Can you imagine three folding tables end to end from the front door to the kitchen in a row home living room??? Over the years, our head count has dwindled to somewhere in the mid-teens.

 

Despite the change of numbers, the menu remains unchanged. Each year we can expect to have mashed potatoes, succotash, sweet peas, both a ham and a turkey, cole slaw, stuffing, and giblet gravy, sticks of butter scattered throughout the table, and loaves of rye and black breads, and a basket of snowflake rolls! (My family doesn’t cook for the waist line.) And we always look forward to the most dense cheesecake you will ever eat.

Its funny that there are people who can’t stand the ends of breads, but to our family, its gold! My aunt/godmother and I usually sit next to each other and its a fight to the death for the butts of not just the black bread, but the ham! A fork belonging to each of us, sword fighting for the crisp glazed end!

Some of the nostalgia behind our meals, is that we do it our way! I remember the first time I ordered succotash at a restaurant and was completely confused as to what was delivered to me. We use sweet cream-style corn, rather than whole kernal corn, and you will not be sorry if you give this a try! Not a damn thing needs to be added to this corn and lima bean mix. Sweet and savory, wet and filling, and so much more.

Grandmom makes the stuffing the Tuesday before thanksgiving, and boy she means business! She has made it this way for so long that she doesn’t even know measurements. (Just imagine how hard it was for me to try to figure out the recipe, as her units of measurements are her palm and ziplock bags!) 

After she combines the hodgepodge of stuffing ingredients, she divides it amount countless aluminium loaf pans, then bakes them off. She makes loaves and loaves of stuffing. Not just for dinner, but then she wraps up the ten extra loaves, untouched by turkey day, and each family member gets a loaf to take home, which we slice up and freeze to eat throughout the year.

And I don’t know how many times I have tried to make her giblet gravy. I remember the first year I learned what it actually was. “I’m eating turkey neck?!” I exclaimed at the dinner table.

We all grow up looking forward to our grandma’s “something.” Like my grandma’s cole slaw isn’t your typical creamy slaw and she uses a secret ingredient that she confided in me a few years ago. (Sorry folks, a family secret is a family secret.)

Oh man! And that stuffing! The next morning, we slice it up, brown both sides and top it with cheese and an egg, over easy. Tradition baby! 

Compliments of Mom: There are two factors that contribute to our juicy turkey. The first, is the container in which we cook it. I’m not referring to the roasting pan. I place my turkey in a turkey-sized oven bag. Sprinkle a little flour in the turkey bag, shake it around, then slide in your turkey and tie up the bag. Here’s where I might lose you. The second trick is to bake your turkey upside down. That’s right, breast down. Don’t worry about that little popper in the turkey breast. Bake it upside down. All the juices that fall to the bottom, are now falling into the white meat to soak and infuse. And that little bit of flour that is added to the turkey bag coats the turkey and helps brown up the skin. (After much thought, as much as crispy skin appeals to me on such an indulgent holiday, I side with the juicy white meat.)

Grandmom was pretty darn sick in the hospital a few months ago. She still isn’t quite feeling up to par, and I can’t blame her. Since we live in a different state, mommom is going to my aunt’s house, so I will be hosting T-Day at home in Wilmington for anyone complacent on this holiday.

On our menu:

  • Turkey (duh!)20151126_161521
  • Succotash (creamy!)
  • Green Bean Almondine
  • Stuffing (Unfortunately, not mommoms)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Bourbon-Swirled Spiced Casserole
  • Baked Bananas with a Spiced Cream

I can’t just leave you all without a little recipe.

Baked Bananas with Spiced Cream

  • bananas, medium
  • egg roll wrappers
  • cinnamom
  • fat free cool whip
  • pumpkin pie spice

Cut medium bananas in half. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over an egg rolls wrapper and wrap up a half of a banana in each. Lay your wrapped bananas on a sprayed sheet of parchment paper, seam side down. Bake at 350 F for about 15 min, turning half way through.

Meanwhile, blend room temperature cool whip and pumpkin pie spice. I mix 1/4 tsp spice to each cup of cool whip. Serve each wrapped, warm, caramelized, almost melted banana with a dollop if spiced whip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with love!

 

 

 

Beef Stew: Crock Pot Recipe #6

I got everything ready for tonight’s crock pot dinner, then left mi casa. Breakfast was on-the-go this morning as I was on my way to the hospital to gather information on some patients for clinical this week. I stopped by 7-Eleven a grabbed a small coffee, with a shot of sugar free hazelnut syrup, and a protein bar. It was definitely filling, with just the right amount of toffee and chocolate.

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Toffee Chocolate Chip Harvest Power Bar

This week, my instructor chose me to be Clinical Manager. This is kind of my opportunity to take the management roll of Charge Nurse. I assigned two patients to each of my two classmates.

In the hallway, there was an older couple holding hands. I overheard one of the nurses asking how long these two patients had been married… 76 years! WOW! And still so in love! This gives me so much hope that marriages can last! It was a beautiful sight.

After I got home, I completed Day 2 of my Couch to 5K challenge. 3.3 miles feels great! It is so needed for this girls mental health!

My mom’s beef stew is pretty Plain Jane, but always a stick to ribs mouthful of yummy!

After making it with her for the past 20 years, I wanted to see if I could add a Sammy flare.

Typically, mom uses a whole bag of potatoes. I wanted to cut down on the white starchy carbs, so I substitute a few baby red potatoes and some cuber butternut squash. I don’t see why sweet potato wouldn’t work, as well. I like my stews full of veggies so theres a lot of carrots.

There are very few ingredients to my mom’s recipe, but it makes for a winner.

Bundo Crock Pot Beef StewImage

(serves 5)

1 lb london broil, fat trimmed, cubed

4 large carrot sticks, cut into discs

4-5 baby red potatoes, washed, roughly peeled, cut into fours

1/2 to 1 cup butternut squash, cubed (found in produce department)

2 cloves garlic, minced

black pepper, to taste

1 (28oz) jar fat free beef gravy

1/4 cup powdered brown gravy mix

2 1/2 cup water

Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and toss in cubed meat for a quick sear. Remove meat and set aside. In the same skillet, empty gravy in skillet and whisk in the dry gravy mix. Fill the jar with the water, swirl and empty into skillet. Simmer until power is dissolved. Pour into crock pot.

Spray skillet again and add the potato wedges and squash cubes. Brown the outsides, especially the squash since this will dissolve easily in the stew.

Add all the ingredients into the crock pot, give it a light stir, cover, and cook on low.

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Nutrition: (1/5 of recipe)

Calories: 253

Total Fat: 8.5g

Sat. Fat: 2g

Cholesterol: 60.4mg

Carbs: 18.6g

Fiber: 1.5g

Sugar: 3.4g

Protein: 22.9g

         

Mom makes Bisquick dumplings to serve on top, which makes this even heartier. I just topped mine with some gold fish crackers. The expert, my mama’s, review? “Excellent!” Woo hoo!

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I spent my Sunday night watching lectures. During one of my study breaks, I completed Julie’s Super Sweaty Ab Workout. This must have done me in because for the rest of the night I had the munchies. Nothing seemed to do the trick. Even drinking water wasn’t helping. I took out some celery sticks, as a debated packing them for lunch tomorrow, and it hit me. Celery and PB, the perfect crunchy snack! Why didn’t think of it before?! Its elementary! No, really… it used to eat this all the time in elementary school…

I feel so silly that I did all that snacking only to remember the best snack of all!

I have an incredibly busy day tomorrow, so hopefully I burn off some off some of this snack attack.

Good Night!