Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dad's Slow Cooked Brisket & Brie's Visit to the Doctor

This is an older post that I wrote but never published, so thought I would publish it now.  It's a great recipe, and is perfect for Passover (or Easter!)

My updated resolutions and regular Brielle talk is added below.  Enjoy!



My Dad has been making brisket for special family dinners for years.  It always comes out perfect, and we love when it's on the menu, it's such a treat!  I had always been too intimidated to make it myself, until recently when I decided to finally put on my big girl pants and give it a try.

The actual cut is hard to come by and can be pretty pricey.  My Dad buys it from Costco in the Yonge/Bathurst area for anywhere from 10.99 - 14.99/lb depending on the time of year.  I however, am lucky enough to have a customer who sells it for an incredible price, and it's locally grown with no hormones or antibiotics.

If you're ever in the Waterloo area, check out Vincenzo's - they sell a huge variety of hard to find specialty groceries, make the most amazing salads and sandwiches for your lunch, and have a butcher counter selling only local, antibiotic free, grain fed meat.  Oh and don't get me start on the cheese counter - the choices are incredible!!!  I get my brisket from Vincenzo's for 9.99/lb and the quality is unbelievable.

After discussing with my parents, it dawned on me that although the process is quite time consuming, the actual method to making a perfect brisket is super easy.  My Dad's tried and true recipe is below.  I encourage you to pick up a piece of this beautiful beef cut and give it a try!!

Dad's Slow Cooked Brisket
2 large onions
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/4c of your favorite bbq sauce
3 T garlic powder
2 T paprika
1/2 tsp salt
4 to 4 1/2 pound brisket

Slice onions into thick slices.  Mix all of your ingredients together, including onions, rub all over brisket, wrap in saran wrap and let marinate in fridge for 24 hours.



I pour the excess sauce into a jar and refrigerate - I use it later for cooking the meat.  When ready to cook, put into a large pan, pour remaining sauce all over, cover tightly with foil, and cook at 350 for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.



When done, you can slice against the grain and eat immediately, or follow my parents instructions and refrigerate for a day.  They slice it while cold, add some apple juice to the sauce and reheat at 350 for about 45 minutes, covered.  This allows the sauce to soak back into the meat, and it's much easier to cut while cold.



So your choice, it can either be a two day or three day process but trust me when I tell you it is well worth it.  We like to serve this with macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, or risotto.  It makes a lovely gravy and leftovers are fantastic all week - make some brisket sandwiches for lunch the next day....so good.


As for current news, Brielle got her 4 month old shots last week.  She took them like a champ, as always, but thank goodness Daddy was there to cheer her on.





And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 52 out of 82 days, getting better

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
February - The Buddha and The Borderline
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 24 out of 82 days, an embarassment

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 59 out of 82 days, also getting better

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - This isn't going so well. I'll keep trying

8. Write for 30 mins per week - 6 out of 10 weeks, getting there

9. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.
12. I sold Brie's bassinet this week, $60 in my pocket and one less thing to hang on to

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.
5. I finally cleaned my linen closet and got rid of a ton of things we didn't need.  Check out the before and after pics below- we now have a whole empty shelf to fill up!  I think we will use it for toilet paper and paper towel which is currently stuffed in the spare bedroom's closet.  That will be my next task to tackle.

Embarrassed to even show this!

And voila!  Love it


11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - Doing well with this one

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.
3. I started going to a chiropractor for my achy back.  This is big for me - I don't like to be touched by strangers.  So yea, this is huge

That's it, that's all!  Enjoy your week!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Weekly Meal Prep - Jerk Pork, Roasted Chicken, Muffin Pan Meatloaf

Hi all!

Hope you had a great week.  Mine was chalk full of eating out & spending money - not proud to admit it, but it is what it is!

The hubby and I went out on Tuesday night (Montanas) and ordered in on Thursday (chicken wings from Axia).  I went out to lunch twice with my friend who I attend the fitness classes with (both lunches were delicious, especially the one from Soulyve in Orangeville, a West Indian restaurant with delicious food).  This week I am determined to live frugally, and I am attempting a no-spend week (see resolutions) since there is nothing that I desperately need.

For meal prep this week I made a Jerk Pork Roast, Roasted Chicken, and Muffin Pan Meatloaf. 


Jerk Pork is one of our favorite ways to prepare pork shoulder.  It's cheap, easy, and full of flavor.  All I did here was season the shoulder the night before with both dry & wet store bought jerk seasoning.  The next day I threw it in the oven at 450 for 30 mins (this helps create an awesome crust), and then poured some water in the bottom of the pan, covered it and let it continue cooking at 325 for 3 hours.  As always, it came out perfect.  This can be eaten with rice or a salad.


For the my super juicy roasted chicken, I took some back-attach (thigh/legs still attached) and put them in a brine of sugar, salt and water overnight.  For my brine I used 1/2c of sugar, 1/2c salt and 6c of water.  This results in amazingly moist chicken every single time.  Seriously, you can't mess up chicken that has been brined.  I'm a believer, you should be too.  The next day I rinsed off the chicken and pat it dry.  I seasoned it with seasoning salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and some cayenne and put it in the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet at 425 for 40 minutes.  This came out great, and of course can be eaten with your favorite side. 

I didn't get a picture of the muffin tin meatloaf but it's our favorite go-to when we have ground beef.  Just use any meatloaf recipe and put it in a muffin tin, bake at 375 for 30 minutes, add bbq sauce on top, and bake another 10 minutes.  We like them because they are portable and can just be grabbed from the fridge and eaten with anything.  I don't use eggs or breadcrumbs, just the beef and seasoning.

So there you have it, 3 meals done in one day (Sunday) so that we are good for the week.  No more eating out, I swear.

And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 43 out of 70 days, not great

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
February - The Buddha and The Borderline
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 20 out of 70 days - to be honest I think I forgot to record  few days, but this still needs major improvement

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 50 out of 70 days, and I joined another Stepbet so that will keep me motivated

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - working on it!

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - This isn't going so well. I'll keep trying

8. Write for 30 mins per week - 6 out of weeks, getting there

9. Get rid of 52 things -
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - Doing well with this one

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.


Have a great week!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs with Brie

Hello!

I didn't cook much this week, but I did make a kick ass spaghetti and meatballs (using pureed eggplant as my base instead of tomato sauce) and some pretty awesome scrambled eggs for breakfast on Sunday morning.

No real recipe here, just your standard scrambled eggs with chopped up scallions, cubed brie, and some delicious smoked salmon.  Yum.

I also did a lot of dining out, which probably wasn't the healthiest but it sure was delicious.  Some pics of what I ate below - so good.

Lettuce wraps - lunch after a mommy/baby fitness class

Fish tacos & salad - this was my friend's lunch after our class

Date night with the hubby at The Pickle Barrel - my favorite place ever.  Coconut shrimp and calamari...

A horrible picture but the Double Monty at The Pickle Barrel - a must try

And the BBBLT at The Pickle Barrel - SO DAMN GOOD









And on to the resolutions...

1. Read a minimum of 20 mins per day - 43 out of 63 days, getting better

2. Read a minimum of 1 book per month -
January - The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
February - The Buddha and The Borderline
March - Lost Echoes

3. Drink 80oz of water per day - 20 out of 63 days - I did better with this last week.  Hopefully I'll start closing the gap

4. Get in a minimum of 10,000 steps daily - 48 out of 63 days, and I just won my second Stepbet so the motivation is there.  I'll join another one this week to keep the momentum up.

5. Post on this blog weekly - so far so good

6. Lose the baby weight and get into the best shape of my life - The scale is finally starting to move!  I've been working out more, and tracking what I eat on My Fitness Pal.  I also ordered a "blueprint" from IIFYM that hasn't come yet, but I'm intrigued so we will see.  I've always been curious about the whole tracking macros thing.  I'll keep you posted.

7. Have 12 no spend weeks - This isn't going so well. I'll keep trying

8. Write for 30 mins per week - This is going a little better now that I have adjusted what the definition of this is.  I am including the time spent on a self help manual that I am working through, since it includes quite a bit of writing.  I'm at 5 out of 8 weeks.

9. Get rid of 52 things - also from the same website - what a great idea to get rid of things that have been accumulated over the years and just collect dust
1-6. Books given to my daughter's friend, they were duplicates that I didn't need to hang on to
7. Threw out some cleaning products and knick knacks that were under the kitchen sink
8. Got rid of some baby clothes that we had been given by a friend - they were all boys clothes
(since we thought we were having a boy) - I kept some neutral items and brought the rest to Once
Upon A Child for some cash
9. Got rid of all the old tupperware (and bought a new set - does that count? I'm going to say yes
because in the past I would have kept the old & the new)
10. Dumped all of the expired vitamins and medicine that we had (some dating as far back as 2010!!) - more on that below
11.  Possibly TMI but I got rid of a ton of old underwear - now I have to replace them, which is always fun.

10. Organize/clean 52 areas (that I wouldn't normally clean during my daily/weekly routines)
1. Organized my book shelves by giving away duplicate books, grouping the self-help novels together, grouping authors together that I have huge collections of, and alphabetizing the remaining books
2. Cleaned the area underneath the kitchen sink - it was a disaster. Now everything is organized
and accounted for
3. I cleaned the top of the hallway closet and threw out winter gear that had no matches along with
other little things that had no business being there (or anywhere). A small project, but a needed
one! (see pictures below)
4. I cleaned our "medicine cabinet" - we have a section of shelving in our kitchen where we keep vitamins and medicine. Most of the bottles were expired, and it was a mess up there. See before and after pics above. And yes, I am still taking prenatal vitamins. We plan on having one more baby so might as well stay healthy for that. To be honest I think I'll continue taking them indefinitely - they are great.

11. Email or call my Grandma weekly - Doing well with this one

12.  Do things to get me out of my comfort zone
1. I attended a mom/baby fitness class, and loved it so much that I'll be going weekly (with a friend     of mine pictured above)
2. Joined another mommy/baby fitness class (salsa) that I haven't started yet - it begins on Thursday and it's an hour away.  I joined with the same friend who comes to my neck of the woods once a week for the other classes we are doing.  This is out of my comfort zone for two reasons - the obvious one is attending and trying a new class, but also the fact that it is so far away.  I usually don't venture too far out of my bubble.  I'll be able to walk around after each class and explore a new city, so that'll be fun, and an added bonus.

I'll end with my gorgeous babies....have a great week!!

Nothing sweeter then the bond these two are creating

She's growing way too fast