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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kung Pao inspired Beef Stir-Fry

The other day I went to the Stater Bros. and walked by the meat counter on my way to the vegetables. It was pretty early in the morning and I was already thinking of what I could make for dinner. I wanted to switch it up, getting tired of chicken and turkey. So while I was walking by the little red "On Sale" sign caught my eye and it was for "Flap Meat".

It looked lean and reminded me of the pre-marinated "Carne Asada" I used to buy at Trader Joe's and apparently that's what it's used for A LOT. At least that's what the butcher told me, he informed me that it's actually a really tender and great cut of meat and great for many different preparations. Like roulade, carne asada, fajitas etc. etc. So, I got some and thought all day about what I could make.

Why not use some Asian flavors like Kung Pao Style, I love that kind of spicy, the red pepper flakes,  the peanuts, the little sweetness from Sesame Oil. YUM! So that was my inspiration!

Here's what you need for 2 people:

2 - 3 pieces of flap meat, cut in strips
1/2 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil, for frying
1 bunch of spring onion (scallions), cut in rings
red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
2 tsp peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium works also)
crushed peanuts

Put a big wok or a big frying pan and heat the oil (mix the two above), once the oil is hot, throw in the onion and sautee until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic. Make sure you don't burn the garlic cause it's going to get bitter and ruin everything. Once the garlic is sauteed just a little, add the flap meat (if you have a large pan you can add all at once, otherwise I recommend you do it in portions).

In a wok, work with portions and move the cooked pieces up the sides of the wook to keep warm, then add more meat. Add the pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, then add the peanut butter and the soy sauce. Stir the meat in the pan so that the peanut butter and soy sauce gets on everything.

Just before serving add the scallion and crushed peanuts. Serve over rice and maybe add some steamed edamame on the side.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joy Bauer's Food Cures / New York Times Best Seller

Nutrition and Cooking is obviously something that's very important to me (hence this blog). I try a lot of different things and I try to cook and bake things that are reasonably healthy. Some of my friends have certain food restrictions like Celiac Disease and so I informed myself about that too. I had posted some recipes on this blog and it got noticed.

So I had the great opportunity to review Joy Bauer's Food Cures: Eat Right to Get Healthier, Look Younger, and Add Years to Your Life

. It took me a bit longer to go through the book than what I had expected, but that's due to the fact that she gives so much wonderful information. What is great about the book is that Joy's suggestions are easy to follow, the book is written in language everyone can easily understand and it's not riddled with scientific expressions we have to look up in a dictionary.

I had a few little ailments particularly uneven skin tone, breakouts, weak nails and hair breaking off. SO I started with the chapter about healthy skin and hair. And then I began incorporating items from Joy's food list into my diet, not that I didn't eat them before, but just not enough of them. Because I was just plain lazy. Joy's Grocery List makes it very easy to choose the items you need and you'll see there are so many suggestions that you are bound to find a few things you like. In every category there is so much to choose from.

Don't like tuna or sardines, the you can choose wild salmon and crab, or herring or tilapia. Hate carrots and cellery? Eat Avocado, mushrooms and collard greens, there is something for everyone.

So I stocked my fridge with baby carrots, persian cucumbers (I like them because they are small and I can just easily take them with me and cut them up at work), edamame came in easy prepackaged portions and greek yogurt is my new favorite snack. For our dinner options we increased out fish servings to about twice a week, evenly split between salmon and tilapia. There are so many different way you can spice your tilapia, because the fish itself is very mild and it will take on whatever seasoning you like. You can steam it, bake it, grill it and fry it in a pan with little to almost no oil and it tastes great.
The book contains many many recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a ton of snack suggestions as well. Thus I eat more variations of nuts now, Brazil Nuts are my new favorite. I've tried some of them and they are so easy to follow, even a Non-Cook can prepare them with ease. Also try Joy's other book "Slim and Scrumptious" for more recipes.

One of our favorites is Joy's Beef Stir-Fry. It is so easy to make and you can very easily make many different variations of it, like adding in mushrooms, substituting edamame for the sugar snap peas, or cauliflower for the broccoli.

My snacks now contain a lot of veggies, I make fresh juice from carrots, apples, tomatoes etc and I drink a lot of water and unsweetened caffeine free herbal tea.

The results are great, my skin tone has evened out, the dark patches are gone and I hardly ever have a breakout. My nails don't peel and split anymore and they grow and are healthy. And you want to know the best thing about it, it wasn't half as hard as you think it is! And as a positive side effect my joint problems are diminishing too due to the fact that a lot of foods help with many common ailments that affect us.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to feel better, live better and combat common issues with better nutrition. You can help yourself by eating healthy and delicious at the same time. A health diet doesn't have to be plain and boring. Joy Bauer's Food Cures will show you that you can eat healthy and delicious at the same time.

Check out Joy's Website at for many more suggestions, great articles, a free diet profile and so much more. You can also follow Joy on twitter @joy-bauer or follow her on facebook.

Have a healthy and happy Summer!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe / Sampler Review

My girlfriend Ulani lives in San Antonio, TX with her fabulous husband Walt and even though they don't have to be gluten free, just like I don't have to either,  they like to explore gluten free options so we all know places to visit when our friend Brenda comes to town. She's got to be gluten-free and having options that are great for her as well are just wonderful.

Ulani recently posted a link on her FB Page to "The Little Aussie Bakery & Cafe" (click on their logo or the link to go to their site) and they were offering a sampler package for shipping. All you have to cover is the shipping cost and at only $10.20 that's really nothing. I just had to order it, cause so far I really haven't had a great  gf pizza crust and on top of that, there were cookies in that sampler too.

I ordered my sampler on Tuesday and yesterday, Thursday the package was waiting for me when I came home. Wow! That's what I call customer service! Inside the package were a pizza crust, some rolls, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies and hungerbuster bars (I ate one of those for breakfast, yum!).

The pizza crust didn't make it very long....
 I love pizza and haven't had any in a while so I heated up my oven according to the instructions, put my toppings on  and off in the oven it went. 12 minutes later, just like the package said I had a GREAT little personal pizza.

The crust was delicious, not too thick, nice an crunchy on the bottom and a little chewy, it didn't get soggy or broke apart or got dry or anything. I tasted really fantastic.

YUM! Anyone wants to try for themselves, order your sampler package and try!

Right now, I am chomping away on a Anzac/Oatmeal Cookie and that is great too. Very crunchy, just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of coconut, awesome with a cup of coffee or some tea. I'll encourage anyone to order their sample and I'll be back for some more too.....