Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ellie's Grilled Thai Beef Salad


  • 1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste or chili-garlic sauce (check the int'l aisle)
  • 1/2 head red-leaf lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup), divided, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons


Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag. Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.

Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. JT likes his more medium, so I cooked mine for about 7 on each side. Let rest until room temperature then slice thinly against the grain. Be patient; it's worth it!

Combine lettuce, sliced shallot, cilantro, basil and beef in a salad bowl, reserving a few shallots for garnish. I went light on the shallot, a bit heavier on the cilantro and added corn to it. Add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with reserved sliced shallots. JT said next time he would love crunchy Asian noodles with it. Sounds good to me!

Original recipe can be found here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Me! Monday in Numbers

It's about that time again! Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week (Except, she is taking a week off this week.)

This is a summary of how my week did NOT go (in numbers):

78887 - the number of miles my car did NOT reach

I did NOT clean and destroy my kitchen exactly 6 times this week

2 - totally successful attempts at curling my hair

19.98 - how many dollars I supposedly owe the Crunchless Abs company (story/rant to come!), even though they did NOT charge me 26.98 on that same day!

2484928 - number of telemarketers who have NOT received my personal info (including cc#) from Crunchless Abs

I did NOT take a 3 hour nap today while JT worked on the garden by himself

My husband did NOT ask me to make more than 24 zucchini crisps for our church potluck today. And even if he did, I would have made more instead of saying no one will eat them anyway. That way, I would have been perfectly sure he got to try them instead of finding an empty plate when it was his turn to go through

0 - Speaking of JT, he would NEVER send me to Lowes, and even on the slight chance that he did, it would not be yielding a parasite-infested plant. No ma'am! My JT would never subject his wife to wandering around a foreign planet carrying a bouquet of leaves with little white creatures crawling on them. And I most certainly WOULDN'T Twitter about it being comparable to a wife sending her husband on a journey to the mall for red shoes. NO, I did NOT!

I did NOT finish 1 book this week and predict the ending. Even if I did predict the ending, I certainly would NOT be shocked in spite of myself! (Has anybody NOT read Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult? Can anyone NOT commiserate with me?)

48 - the floor on which my company DOESN'T office

I did NOT set up an interview to potentially hire 1 woman, who did NOT arrange to come to our offices at 3:00, only to NOT send me this email: "Dear LB, I would love to meet at 3:00; however, I have a problem: I am terribly afraid of heights and cannot ride the elevator. Can you meet me in the lobby?"



If I had gotten such an email, I would NOT have forwarded it to 934093 people. I would have politely responded, "We are currently hiring for an in-house position. Please contact us in a few months as we may have relocated by then," and left it at that.

Well there you have it, friends! What have you been NOT doing lately?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

and the winner is...

Andrea Cherie!

Her detailed list won by inches. She will win a home-cooked dinner date at my house or a complimentary coffee next time we have a date, her choice. However, for her valiant effort, Jessica wins the second place prize as long as she 1) likes pancakes, 2) doesn't have any food allergies, and 3) is willing to let me send her something.

From left to right, we have

whole wheat English muffins, whole grain baked pita chips, Crispix cereal, pumpkin seeds, raw almonds, garbanzo beans, sweet peas, petite diced tomatoes, corn, red curry paste, nutella, whole wheat pasta shells, Yoplait light yogurt, 100 calorie Jello pudding pack, baby carrots, hummus, skim milk, shallots, red pepper, lime, yellow pepper, Dole Hearts Delight lettuce, basil, blackberries, strawberries, PINK LADY APPLES (both of you guessed nectarines!), bananas, Kashi blueberry waffles, Kraft 2% cheddar cheese, fresh tilapia, and flank steak.

And that's Henry Weinhard's root beer in the background, only the best!

As you can tell from my grocery list, I have made a pact with myself to become more conscious about putting processed foods in my body. I'm not cutting things out permanently because that's just begging for failure, but I am going to be intentional and go the extra mile to plan to eat things like celery instead of chips when I need a crunchy snack, or bananas with peanut butter when I need a little pick-me-up at 3 p.m. on a long work day. Now, I probably could go sugar-free forever, but here's why I'm not going to:

1) I have a very all or nothing personality. I get it from my dad. The only problem is, I'm not very good at the nothing aspect of it, so I will try to give it up and then allow myself to splurge one rainy Saturday. And then I go crazy. I've learned that healthy balance is tough, but just a reality for me.

2) Um, have you not learned by now that chocolate is like air for me? I wouldn't go so far to say that my happiness depends on it, but close.

What prompted this decision, you ask? Well I don't know if you remember, but I gave up sugar and refined flour for Lent. And it felt amazing. While I could never go sugar-free or flour-free for the reasons listed above, I sense a definite difference in my body when I limit it. Limited sugar = no carb crashes. I retain less water. I'm less hungry and I eat less.

But mark my words:

This is not a diet.

Currently Listening to: Playlist of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and other assorted nerd movie scores
Currently Watching: American Idol finale (GO KRIS!)
Currently Reading: Jodi Picoult - Sister's Keeper
Currently Cooking: Baked Fish (tilapia) and Veggie (peppers and squash) Pockets (rolled in aluminum foil and baked), Giada's recipe (of course) with whole wheat couscous, scallions, and corn.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This is a summary of how my week did NOT go:

When I went to the store this Sunday night, it most certainly was NOT the first time I’ve been in two weeks. No, I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with fresh, healthy items so I can provide the best food for my little family.

As a writer, I ALWAYS carry a pen with me at all times in case inspiration strikes – or I just need to tick off items on my grocery list. I would NEVER ever find out I was missing a pen for the latter need and proceed to use an old chapstick from when I was sick to strike through my list. I have a much better sense of sanitation than that!

While juggling herbs in the produce aisle, I did NOT catch a whiff of basil, and if I had, I most certainly would not have gotten caught sniffing it voraciously. NO, I avoid funny looks and have much better self-control, and even if I did have a penchant for fresh herbs, I would safely sniff in the confines of my own kitchen.

On the way home from my brother’s game, my family did NOT stop at Pops, the Route 66 old fashioned soda fountain, and I did NOT wake up at 4 a.m. because the excess sodium and sugar did NOT render me wide awake. When blogging, I did NOT discover a search engine virus and stay up the rest of the night chatting with Praseeja from McAfee, and I would NEVER be rude to her when she tried to sell me an $80 program to fix it. “Eighty bucks for an additional anti-virus program? What am I paying you guys the big bucks to do, anyway?” I did NOT proceed to commission all of my computer nerd friends to help and fix the problem by my lonesome for free!

As a devoted Star Wars fanatic, I most certainly would NEVER succumb to the true dark side and watch the new Star Trek movie. NO siree! Even if I did, I would absolutely under NO circumstances enjoy myself and find myself wishing to see it again!

And late last night, I got to bed on time, anticipating a busy Monday morning. After all, I would NEVER stay up way too late blogging to create the contest below. NOT me!

Well there you have it! That's what I HAVEN'T been up to lately. Be a good little lurker and DON'T comment or take part in my contest below!

a contest

While I was at the store, making over my pantry and fridge, I got the grand idea for a contest of sorts. Whoever names the most items in my shopping cart will win something to be determined.

Good luck beating Andrea Cherie!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Patriot Pride and Prejudice

Today I witnessed one of the most important days in my brother's life.

Right now, he might think it was the worst day of his life, but I stand that he has so much to be incredibly proud of.

So let me give you a little background at this ripe hour of 4 a.m.: my youngest brother has been playing baseball for about 15 years. Yep, they start 'em early at my household, and when his older brother Don began playing. Mike was the "team mascot," and wanted anything and everything to do with the sport, especially since my dad was the coach.

He played competitive baseball, took lessons and everything, and kept playing long after Don quit. My dad was his coach, and eventually developed him into a pitcher. And his teams were stinkin' good, largely in part because of him! Baseball was definitely his thang, if you get my drift.

But at the end of his sophomore year, he received a difficult blow. He suddenly suffered an elbow injury that is like the equivalent of tearing the ACL in the knee, and if you've ever heard of Tommy Johns surgery, that's what he needed. With the year-long recovery, he opted to never play baseball again since he didn't plan on playing college ball.

Not so fast! After sitting out his junior season, he did every kind of exercise, conditioning, and rehab in the book and made it for his senior season. Still, he struggled with his elbow and had to sit out the beginning of the season. When he was out there, though, the other teams didn't know what had hit them! His team fought against a tough schedule, primarily playing schools in one or two classifications higher than the small private school Mike attends (and I attended, for the record).

When playoffs rolled around, the team was 13-21. I remember joking with Mike at one point, trying to guess his team's record, and shot low. It was lower. Once they began playing teams in their own classification, however, it was a different story. They won! They took regionals, shocking everyone, and then were slated to play the number one team in the state in the first round of the state tournament.

We drove to Mustang, Okla. to support Mike and the Patriots. We didn't know what to expect with the combination of the winning streak and the fact that Sperry had won both times the team had squared off by more than ten runs. But we were pretty confident, especially when Metro secured a one-run lead and the innings were flying by, either on strikeouts or easy outs in the field.

The last out of the last inning finally arrived, and Metro had rendered Sperry runless. There was one batter on third, but there were two outs, two strikes, so all Metro needed was one more pitch -- it appeared -- and the game would be over. We cheered as the batter connected with the ball and it soared high into left field, an easy catch for the fielder -- until the ball went over the fence.

In an instant, Sperry took the lead and the game was over with a two-run, walk-off homerun by the ninth batter (typically the worst hitter in the lineup), who had previously struck out some fifteen times in a row. The Metro crowd was visibly stunned, myself included. We couldn't grasp this change of events; this kind of stuff only happens in the movies, right?

But once the shock subsided a little, I was overcome with pride for this team, who came into the playoffs 13-21 and stunned the socks off of everyone they faced, even this Sperry team. We joked that their All-state 90+ MPH pitcher had to be consoled because he wasn't used to people hitting his pitches.

And I was overcome with pride for my brother, who had rocked a 15-year baseball career and overcome all kinds of obstacles to become a great pitcher, and more importantly, a strong leader on his team. He commanded the authority of his team and boosted their morale with his confident spirit and consistent fight. He has a spark, a talent, a presence that can only be God's gift, and I think his opportunities are limitless. I see him accomplishing whatever he puts his mind to, and accomplishing anything God blesses for his future.

It's not just because he's my brother. I promise. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This is a summary of how my week did NOT go:

I did NOT slack off running all week because of rain, sickness, and working late. No, I would never find any excuse I could to skip something so healthy and rejuvenating for me. And when it came time for a 5K that was very important to me, I certainly would never be lazy enough to “sleep for five more minutes” and then wake up two and a half hours later. You know me; I would NEVER stay in bed longer than I needed to, and I certainly wouldn’t sleep through events of importance. (Sorry again, Chrissa!)

Since I was NOT lacking any sleep this weekend, my Sunday afternoon was NOT spent taking a three-hour nap. NOPE, I spent my time wisely, cleaning and spending time with my husband like a great wife. And I cooked a lot this week. I would NEVER let JT eat cereal and eggs multiple nights in a row!

Oh, and I would NEVER forget to take the trash out. When my husband asks me to do something, I always remember to do it, especially since rain = ants, and trash smells attract ants. I did NOT leave the trash in the laundry room this time, and JT did NOT have to mop up hundreds of ants while I had fun with my best friend.

I HAVEN’T been arriving to my office when my second alarm is normally going off and working my heart out all day. NOPE, I am perfectly on top of my tasks and the fact that three people have been out of the office, including my “assistant,” has NOT taken its toll on me one bit!

When I went to see an unnamed Matthew McConaughey flick this weekend, I certainly would NEVER loudly discuss the psychology of girl movies with my brother and best friend. I am sweet and NOT cynical to say the least when mean guys get the girl in the end. I would NEVER ruin a movie for someone else by destroying the nostalgia of a happy ending.

And my sweetness would NEVER be compromised on the road. So when three people sped up instead of letting me over, and I missed my exit, I prayed for them promptly and smiled as they passed.

I have NOT been obsessing over a diet. I DON’T go on diets because it’s not healthy to obsess over calories and pounds, especially after a lax week of exercising, because lax weeks of exercising DON’T happen to this girl. Instead, I ALWAYS watch my portions and eat balanced meals and save treats for rare occasions. I would NEVER eat ice cream three times in one week, even if it IS that time of the month. So I have NOT vowed to make myself oatmeal every morning and run this week, even if it rains. I am NOT feeling the little OCD feeling in the back of my throat; I have perfect self-control.

Most of all, I have NOT taken to reading mommy blogs in my free time. I am perfectly content having couple time with JT for a few more years and certainly DON’T feel the itch of baby fever creeping its cute, bald head at me. Every baby I see is NOT looking into my soul, I am NOT even a little jealous of my mommy friends, and I have full awareness that we need to wait a little while for God’s timing, NOT mine!

Well, there you have it. That's what I HAVEN'T been up to lately. You should play along. It's very liberating!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a mini date

This weekend, my BFF came into town. We had a long overdue weekend to ourselves, where we watched our favorite movies, shopped a little, went to see a chick flick, and in general, got to pretend we live in the same place for the first time in a long time!

But on Saturday morning after a plateful of hot pancakes and bacon, while she got up and dressed for the day, JT and I stole away for a mini date. We walked in the sprinkling rain through our small town's annual parade (We live right off Main Street/downtown), eventually found our way to the brand new Farmer's Market, where JT bought me a fresh bouquet of scallions.

On the way home, though, I had my very first experience of La Nouveau, the little chocolate shop on Main Street, owned by a woman from Belgium. We bought chocolates for our mothers, brushed up on the few French words we know (and butchered the pronunciations like none other), and bought a truffle for ourselves and LJ. The owner was charming with a beautiful French accent and a handsome older teenage boy spinning chocolate and dipping strawberries behind a clear glass window. It was idyllic, to say the least!

Our hour-long date made me feel like I was in another country -- France, maybe -- where you walk to get places and can buy fresh, locally-grown ingredients right outside your chateau :)

Thank you, JT!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This is a summary of how my week did NOT go:

This week, I certainly did NOT go to Whole Foods without a list and when I was hungry. I would NEVER break the cardinal rules of healthy and frugal grocery shopping. And I definitely did NOT only eat free fancy cheese samples for dinner. Nope. Not me.

When work was stressful, the UPS man did NOT open the door to my office to find me and my laptop sitting on my green squashy rug. Who would seriously be that unprofessional to work on the floor when a perfectly good desk is at her disposal?

And at my dentist appointment, I did NOT have any cavities, not even two tiny little ones. As an adult, I am SO past the squirmy dentist dread of my youth. I did NOT whine and complain to all of my friends both before and after the appointment, and I certainly would NEVER make references to ground meat when discussing my gums in public.

For breakfast this week, I ate healthy and wholesome, filling meals to start my day. I would NEVER eat a dark chocolate square by itself on my way to work, much less three days in a row!

As I was making the food for a shower I threw in OKC this weekend, I certainly did NOT nibble and munch and lick my cooking utensils into the wee hours of the morning because I did NOT procrastinate and stay up until 2AM cooking. At the shower, I ate a normal amount of the chocolate meringues I made and would NEVER eat after I was no longer hungry.

And on my way home, I did NOT stop at Pops and buy their entire stock of Henry Weinhard’s root beer for my husband, even though there were others in line that wanted some. NO, that greedy person must have been someone else who belongs to some other husband.

I am a much better wife than to miss my husband’s soccer game and his spectacular goal because I was out of town. When he took me to the movies, I was very grateful to see an action film instead of a chick flick and did NOT make a scene when the concessions vendor informed me that they no longer sold pickles. Of course I WOULDN’T check three different counters to verify this shocking information.

Well, there you have it. That's what I HAVEN'T been up to lately. You should play along. It's very liberating!
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