Wine Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Acorn Squash Mash

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I have become my biggest pet peeve.

Flaky.  Spacey. Unreliable.  Scatterbrained.  

I had not one, not two, but THREE different packages shipped to my old office this week.  Good thing they still like me around there and gave me a call to let me know. 

I realized I failed to send a few very important wedding invites (fail).

And I've obviously strayed from my usual posting schedule.  Sorry.

As evidenced by my slackness this week, postings will be a bit sporadic for the next two weeks.  Please bear with me.

I am getting hitched after all.

My goal is to  get a few recipes up, but the workout posts will be on hold until after the honeymoon.  This doesn't mean I won't be working out - you know I'll be squeezing in as many workouts as possible before the "I dos" and Scott and I are looking forward to lots of hiking and maybe a visit to a local CrossFit gym during our week in the mountains.  But something has to give for me to maintain my sanity this week.   

And it's no secret I'll take food over fitness any day of the week. 

Wine Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Acorn Squash Mash
Serves:  4
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Total Time:  3 1/2 hours

3 lbs of short ribs
4 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bottle red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 sprigs of rosemary
8 sprigs of thyme
10 sage leaves  
Handful of flat parsley
1 acorn squash
2 tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cloves of garlic, whole
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Heat a dutch oven or large bottom pot over high heat.  Season short ribs with salt and pepper.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to pot and allow to heat for a few minutes.  Add short ribs to pot and sear undisturbed for 4 minutes.  Flip short ribs and sear for an addition 4 minutes.  Remove short ribs and set aside.  Add celery, carrots, and onion and cook fro 5-7 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add minced garlic, thyme leaves, rosemary leaves, sage and parsley, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add red wine and short ribs to the pot.  Nestle the short ribs in so that they are submerged in the liquid.  Cover the pot and put it in the oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until short ribs are fall off the bone tender.

About 45 minutes before the short ribs are done, slice  acorn squash in half and scrape out the innards (seeds and strings).  Coat squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and drop two whole cloves of garlic into each cavity.  Place on a cookie sheet cut side up and roast for 30 minutes until flesh is fork tender. 

When shorts ribs and squash are finished.  Mash squash inside skin with a tablespoon of butter and season with sat and and pepper to taste.  Top with shorts ribs and enjoy.

Blood Orange Tequila Chicken with Avocado Black Bean Salad

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I spiked our dinner... again.

This time I can't be held solely responsible for saucing up our sustenance; the Pioneer Woman must shoulder at least a fraction of the blame.  She was, after all, the inspiration behind this recipe.

A few weekends ago - before the wedding craziness set in - I was spending a relaxing Saturday at home with the pup.  Sadly, these sorts of Saturdays are few and far between, so I take complete advantage when they present themselves.   

And by taking advantage, I mean spending the ENTIRE day on the couch, in my pajamas, perusing Pinterest, napping occasionally, and chipping away at my overloaded DVR cue.

Could I possibly be any more exciting?

In between progressively gruesome episodes of Sons of Anarchy (are the severed hands and chived jugulars really necessary?) and the borderline soap opera-ish Revenge, an episode of the Pioneer Woman on Food Network grabbed my attention when I spotted her drowning boring old chicken breasts in tequila. 

That is quality television at it's finest my friends.

I was instantly hooked.

She had me at tequila.

Blood Orange Tequila Chicken with Avocado Black Bean Salad
Inspired by Pioneer Woman's Tequila Lime Chicken
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including marinade time)
Cook Time:  13-15 minutes
Total Time:  35 minutes

For Chicken:
4 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless)
3 blood oranges, juiced
2 limes, juiced 
3/4 cup of tequila blanco
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped 
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic 
4 slices of pepper jack cheese

For Avocado Black Bean Salad:
2 avocados, diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, diced
1 1/2 limes
1 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large Ziploc bag or bowl, combine blood orange juice, lime juice, tequila, cilantro, jalapeno and salt and mix well.   Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least 2 hours or over night (I marinated mine all day while at work).

Heat grill to medium heat.  Combine olive oil and minced garlic cloves in a small bowl and set aside.  To make Avocado Black Bean salad, combine avocado, diced grape tomatoes, red onion, black beans, jalapeno, juice of 1 1/2 limes and cumin to a bowl and mix to combine.  Don't over mix, you want the avocado to remain chunky.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove chicken from marinade.  Brush olive oil and garlic mixture on chicken breasts.  Grill chicken about 7 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.  Add one slice of pepper jack cheese to each chicken breast in last couple of minutes of cooking.  Serve Blood Orange Tequila Chicken over Avocado Black Bean Salad and garnish with cilantro. 

My Therapy

Monday, October 14, 2013

Today's Motivation:

Why the hell didn't we elope?   We wanted to elope - Colorado, Hawaii, and even the cliché Vegas were all screaming "Dendy-Doane Wedding pick me" at the top of their lungs.  The whole take-the-money-and-run-laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank scheme is the perfect, not to mention fiscally genius, matrimony.  The two of us on a mountain exchanging our vows, or on a beach saying "I do", or making out in front of Elvis before he manages to utter "you may kiss the bride" is where it's at.

We weren't so smart.  

And right about now I'm about to pull my hair out over this overblown, and ridiculously overpriced event.  Don't get me wrong, I CANNOT wait to become Mrs. Doane.   Buuuutttttttt, I could do without all the pomp and circumstance and the ridiculous discussions about linen lengths, cheese trays vs. fruit spreads, seating arrangements, and time lines.  Lord, please help me make it to the honeymoon with at least a fraction of my sanity. 

The only thing keeping me sane right now?  (1) My handsome fiance.  (2) Weights.  Really heavy weights.

Today's Workout:

Pull Ups
Overhead Press
Happy Monday!

Weekly Menu 10.13.13 - 10.19.13 and Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekly Menu

Sunday: Braised Short Ribs with Acorn Squash (recipe to come)

Monday:  NY Strip with Roasted Broccoli 

Tuesday: Crispy Chicken Legs and Brussels Sprouts from So... Let's Hang Out (recipe here)

Wednesday:  Apple, Bacon and Pecan Salad with Garlic Balsamic Dressing from Lauren's Latest (recipe here)

Thursday:  Pork Chops in a Creamy Mustard Thyme Sauce from Proud Italian Cook (recipe here)

Friday: Bolognese with Broccoli Slaw "Pasta" 

Saturday:  Date Night

Weekly Wrap Up:

Wearing my arm out while making risotto on Monday.

Wondering why my child is so dang lazy on Tuesday.

 Celebrating Hump Day with a cocktail and a fancy straw on Wednesday.

 Flashing back to the beginning on Thursday.

Witnessing a competitive eating contest for one on Friday. 

Trial run for the wedding hair on Saturday. 

Don't Stop When It Hurts

Friday, October 11, 2013

Today's Inspiration:

Today's Workout:

Today's workout was part of the LuRong Paleo Challenge, a 12 week CrossFit challenge that includes weekly standardized WOD challenges at three skill levels, in addition to a paleo eating challenge.  I am not participating in the challenge, but I did take part in the WOD this morning.  It was hellacious, but fun.

I chose to attempt the women's level 2, which included a 65 lb power snatch, a 35 lb overhead kettle bell swing, TRX or ring rows instead of pullups, and a 16 inch box jump.  Lucky for me, there were no 16 inch boxes available so I got to use a 20 inch box.  Not only that, it was my first time really attempting multiple snatches, so all in all, I got my butt kicked. 

I was pretty pleased when finished the WOD in 13:39 (max time was 15 minutes).  And then I had to lay down.

Box Jumps
Kettle Bell Swings
Off to dinner with my soon to be hubs.  Wedding hair trials and supper club tomorrow for me, the Mud Run in Columbia and a bachelor party for Scott on Saturday.  Sunday will be dedicated to chores, meal planning, grocery shopping, and the Chili Cook-Off at the Marshwalk.  King is so excited he can hardly contain himself!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Seared Scallops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage Risotto

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Uhhhnnnn. Real.

I'm officially infatuated with butternut squash (really, it's re-infatuated because this happens every October).  Like obsession times three hundred eighty-two.   And sage.  And  risotto.  And scallops.  Okay, if we're being honest, this whole damn dish.  It should be fall's new mascot.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's rich, creamy, decadent, and so far from the list of foods I should be eating it might as well be coated in chocolate and drizzled with bacon grease. 

I might be on to something with the bacon grease.

 I'm never going to fit in my wedding dress.   

I thought I had made the my magnum opus of risotto ever when I made the Shrimp, Herb, and Spring Vegetable Risotto.  Can I just say that this risotto made me question everything I know about life.  Or maybe, it just means I need to make a risotto for each season.

That's the best idea I've had all week.  Up next, winter.

Good thing too, if keep making risotto (which, of course, means I'll keep eating risotto), I'm going to need the luxury of a few months of over-sized sweaters and jeggings. 

And a treadmill.

Seared Scallops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage Risotto
Serves:  4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time:  1 hour

1/2 pound Italian sausage*
2 pounds of diver scallops
1 butternut squash 
3 shallots, diced 
1 1/2 cup arborio rice 
4 cups of chicken broth 
1 cup of apple cider
1 cup of white wine
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Peel, slice, and de-seed butternut squash.  Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 to 35 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in saucepan, mix together chicken broth and cider. Reduce to low to keep warm. In a large flat bottom skillet with raised sides (minimum 3 inches), heat  1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat.  Add sausage and cooked until crumbled and browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Remove sausage and set aside.    Throw in shallots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, stir to coat rice with the olive oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until nearly evaporated, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup of broth and cook until mostly absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue to add broth 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring constantly until broth is nearly absorbed (about 20 to 25 minutes total).    About half way through add the fresh chopped sage.  Stir in butternut squash and sausage after the final 1/2 cup of broth.  Turn heat off, cover and let stand for three minutes to five minutes to reheat squash and sausage. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.   Add olive oil and allow oil to heat for a couple of minutes. Dry scallops by patting them with a towel or paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.   Add scallops to hot skillet, being careful to leave at least an inch perimeter around each scallops (and don't touch them once they hit the pan). Sear scallops 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Remove from skillet and serve immediately with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage Risotto.

* Sage sausage would also be really good.  

Strength Is Beauty

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Today's Motivation:

This needs no introduction.  I'm reminded every day I search the interwebs for inspiration for these motivations and find picture after picture of disciplined fit women that strong IS beautiful.  

I'll take strength over skinny any day.  

Today's Workout:

We went through some more fundamental movement review this morning, working with goblet squats, overhead press and pull ups.   

Goblet squats at 50% body weight?  Review shmew, 70 lb goblet squats about did me in. 

Annndddd I just gave away my weight.

Goblet Squat

After squats, we worked on the overhead press form with a ladder.

Overhead Press
And of course, Scott's favorite, the pull up - "the ultimate test of strength."  

If that's the case, I'm not that strong. [Sigh]

Pull Up
We ended the workout with 1000 meter sprints on the rower to get the heart rate up (about 4 to 5 minutes). 

All I know is, if this is review, I might need to start working out a bit harder.


Thai Chicken Tacos

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I debated for a good ten minutes as to what to name these beauts.

Thai spring rolls? Nah, they aren't exactly "rolls" in the traditional sense.  

And then there was the discussion I had with the boss man the other day about his (incorrect) belief that spring rolls were always fried, as if they were synonymous with eggrolls.  This, of course, could not be further from the truth.  Another colleague and I tried to school him in all things spring rolls, explaining that they are equally served fresh wrapped in rice paper or fried depending on their origin, but our logical and well supported argument fell on deaf ears.   

At the risk of unnecessary confusion, I vetoed the spring roll title.

Thai chicken lettuce ergh cabbage wraps, perhaps?  I couldn't risk the potential discrimination of associating these bad boys with cabbage.  

While we're here, can we all just agree that cabbage unfairly gets a bad rap?   People, Wake. Up.  Cabbage doesn't have to be the stinky, boiled to death slop your grandmother served you.  It's a delicious, crispy, versatile, and nutrient rich vegetable that is amazing raw or cooked (properly).  

Ditch the prejudice, cabbage is bad ass.

So, Thai Chicken Tacos it is. 

Fun, spicy, colorful, tangy, crunchy, flavor explosion in your mouth, not Mexican, did I mention healthy, tacos.


Thai Chicken Tacos
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
Total Time:  40 minutes

For Marinade:

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons grated ginger
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For Peanut Sauce:
2 tablespoon peanut butter (I used chunky)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For Tacos:
4 carrots, julienned
2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced  thin
1 head of cabbage, pull 12 whole leaves, thinly slice or shred rest
6 chicken breasts
Cilantro, crushed peanuts, limes wedges, sriracha sauce for topping

For marinade, combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl, whisk, and add chicken breasts.  Cover and marinate 4 hours to overnight. 

When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium heat.  Combine all ingredients for peanut sauce in a bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.  Remove chicken from marinade and grill 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken reaches 160 F.  Slice chicken breasts thinly.  Assemble your Thai tacos with chicken, red pepper slices, shredded cabbage, peanut sauce, cilantro, crushed peanuts and any other condiments of your choosing.  Enjoy!

Taking a Risk

Monday, October 7, 2013

Today's Inspiration:

What. A. Month.   

I've barely been able to catch my breath between finalizing wedding plans, attending showers, juggling a crazy as usual work load, trying to prepare for two whole weeks off (YAY!), and closing Scott's gym purchase.  Yep, you heard me right, gym purchase! 

Last Friday, Scott officially became the owner of CrossFit Vengeance - Myrtle Beach South.  CrossFit Vengeance was one of the original CrossFit boxes in Myrtle Beach.  Scott met Bryan, the former owner of CrossFit Vengeance, a few years back when Scott had first opened BeStrong Training Systems.  They capitalized on their different training styles, and developed a mutually beneficial business relationship referring each other clients, occasionally training and coaching one another, and sharing resources.  When Scott learned that Bryan and his wife were moving to Asheville and looking to sell CrossFit Vengeance, Scott jumped at the chance to grow his business and merge BeStrong Training Systems into CrossFit Vengeance.  

Not too much has changed (except his crazy schedule just got a lot crazier).  Scott will continue to offer private and semi-private training to those clients looking for the one on one training experience.  He will also coach three CrossFit classes a day at 5:30 am, 8:00 am, and 5:30 pm during the week.  I've decided to crash the 5:30 am class, so come workout with me if your an early riser, an insomniac, or a glutton for punishment - I need all the support and motivation I can find!

Today's Workout:

Because today was Scott's first official day programming for CrossFit Vengeance, he  opted for a refresher of the fundamentals.  Like any trainer worth their salt, good form is Scott's primary focus in training clients; it's absolutely critical to gain strength and prevent injuries.  After a full body warm up of jumping jacks and intense stretching, we covered the proper form for three fundamental lifting movements - squats, push ups, and pull ups.  It wasn't exactly a walk in the park, there were a few as-many-reps-as-possible challenges thrown in there to keep everyone on their toes.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, I'm hoping I'll be able to return to my normal workout posts, only with a little more circuit style training thrown in the mix.  Of course, I'll have to find a new photographer first; my old one is a little tied up with his 10+ new early morning clients. 

You better believe this flashy new decal was slapped on my car the day Scott moved gyms (a good two weeks before closing).  I'm so excited for him!

Weekly Menu 10.6.13 - 10.12.13 & Nitty Gritty Nursery

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Fall Y'all!

Weekly Menu

Sunday: Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Risotto

Monday:  Skirt Steak Salad with Blue Cheese from Smitten Kitchen (recipe here)

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken with Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans from Rachel Schultz (recipe here)

Wednesday:  Chipotle Chicken Stuffed in Brown Sugar Roasted Acorn Squash from Half Baked Harvest (recipe here)

Thursday:  Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions (recipe to come)

Friday:  Surf and Turf Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Basil Dressing 

Saturday:  Supper Club

Instead of the usual weekly wrap-up, I have to take a minute to brag on my sister, Amber.  I've mentioned on here a few times before that she owns the Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden here in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden is a full service landscape and retail nursery with a focus on edible plants.  And right now, the place is absolutely gorgeous - packed to the brim with fall annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. 

And herbs!  If your looking to start your own herb garden, or even expand or "seasonalize" your existing one (which in my case means replacing the ones you killed), she has you covered. 

Thyme, basil, mint...

flat parsley, curly parsley, cilantro...

Chives, sage, oregano...

and even some edible flowers like pansies and nasturtium will thrive throughout the fall.  Not to mention they make gorgeous potted plants to scatter along your porches. 

I obviously have a slight potted plant hoarding problem.

She also has many different varieties of lettuces - mesclun mix, bibb, arugula, red leaf, and even kale.  No yard for a garden?  Not a problem, lettuces thrive in pots too.

Last but not least, the pumpkins!  They have a variety of heirloom pumpkins and gourds, and the traditional Jack-o-Lanterns for carving too.

Try stacking several different varieties on top of another for dramatic magazine worthy display.

I was so excited about my ready-for-fall front porch decor, I Instagrammed this picture of it yesterday afternoon.  

Officially in fall obsession mode. 

If you want to add some fall flair for your front porch, or just need some sage gardening advice (like that pun?), drop by and see Amber at the Nitty Gritty Nursery Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, Saturday 9:30 am - 4:00 pm, or Sunday 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm. 

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