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Beef with Mushroom Sauce

We have a winner to my brother’s AUTOGRAPHED book. . . drum roll please . .  .


My best friend gave cancer everything she had and fought so hard. I will never forget her courage and determination. Here’s to 2018 and making the most of each day. The door to my new house is open so come visit anytime!

Congrat Kris!  Shoot me an email at with your mailing address and I’ll send it to my brother.  


Yesterday on the train platform it was 53 degrees. . . this morning?  15, but with the windchill felt closer to zero degrees.  Mother Nature, why you got to play us like that?!  

I may have been a bit heavy handed with the egg whites in this omelette as big as my head 😛  I added 1/2 ounce sharp cheddar, a tablespoon of bacon bits (3) and had two ounces of deli ham on the side (1) for a 4 point breakfast.

While it was near 60 degrees at lunch (we almost broke a heat record!) it was rainy, so Jenn and I walked Macy’s. I brought chili for lunch, but wasn’t feeling it, so got a cup of tomato basil bisque.  She asked me if I wanted a bag, and this is the giant bag she gave me!  I am counting the soup as 7 points, because being a “bisque” not sure if there is heavy cream in there or not.

I got right back to work when I got back and ate it at my desk, my blood sugar was 63 so I didn’t take insulin with lunch.  This was suprisingly delicious.

About four weeks ago my sister texted me a box from Blue Apron.  My first response was “wow, she’s going to cook outside her comfort zone!”  Nope, it was the right address, wrong name.  She called Blue Apron, they apologized for the mistake, and said she could keep the food.  She brought most of the food to a co-worker of hers who is struggling after a divorce, so it went to good use.

Second week?  Same thing – Blue Apron had the same response. . . Keep It!  At one point I was like “someone is paying for that food?!”

When I went to her house last Saturday night for Christmas, she gave me some stuff she knew her family wouldn’t eat, and I would be all over – namely shrimp and beef.  The beef package was labeled “beef medalians” and Jacob and I thought it was two giant thick steaks.  Imagine our surprise when we opened the package and it was 6 small steaks.  But hey, it’s beef, so I am not complaining!

Since they were so thin, I only cooked them about 90 seconds per side.  I paired that with cooked carrots (which I just learned was Jacob’s favorite way to eat carrots – um, he’s only lived with me for three years and I didn’t know that!).  In the middle is a serving of polenta (3) and I made a quick mushroom gravy for the top.  Dinner came in at 7 points.

In case anyone is wondering, my dry January is still going strong, and I have three bottles of wine in my pantry that people gave me for Christmas that haven’t been touched.  

I was in the living room, doing some computer work and had both dogs under the blanket with me, so I texted Jacob “I have your babies and can’t get up, can you bring me a cup of coffee?”  So sweet. And I love this mug – I bought it at Goodwill for .25 cents.

I have a three day weekend!   I may be buying a new car this weekend, my lease is almost up on my Juke – can’t believe how fast three years went by!  All I know is I don’t need as deluxe a car as I had – do I really need my car to read me my Facebook comments??!!  #no #noidont

Maybe my Mom and I can try to go to the movies this weekend, but this time buy our tickets in advance – let me know if you are free Momma!  Um, I mean, you will probably cancel plans just to be with your favorite child, right?!

Happy Friday friends – have a great weekend!


Beef/ Certified Angus Beef

Steak Crostini

This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media capaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions, however, are my own.

Having grown up in the Midwest, beef was a staple on our dinner table.  Somehow over the years, as my brother and sister have lost interest in beef, my love of it seems to grow year after year, especially after I’ve gotten significantly better grilling skills.

This holiday season was a tough year from my son-in-laws family, it being the first year that they celebrated Christmas without his grandma.  We tried to keep as many traditions she would have had this year, one of which is to have appetizers for Christmas Eve.  I absolutely love finger food, this this was right up my alley.

That’s where steak crotini comes in.  It is versatile, relies on some store bought ingredients and minimal work on your part, but is a show stopper as soon as you put it down on the table.

I bought .99 cent French bread and jarred horseradish sauce from my local grocery store.  I sliced the French bread into 1/2 inch slices, brushed with olive oil, minced garlic and dried parsley, and baked the bread at 350 for 12 minutes, or until the bread is crisp all the way through.  Set aside to cool.  You can find this sauce on the condiment aisle at most grocery stores.  I simply sliced up tomatoes and cherry tomatoes for the topping and mixed it with a touch of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.

While the crostini is cooling, open up a package of Certified Angus Beef® brand , and let your beef come to room temperature before you even think of cooking it.  I used a New York strip, but a boneless ribeye or filet mignon would work equally as well.

Season liberally with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  If you cut of beef with some fat on it, I always cook that side first, holding the meat with tongs until the fat is nice and crispy.  Continue to cook each side of the steak over medium high heat – for just 3-4 minutes a side at most depending on how thick your beef is.  

That right there is a perfectly cooked steak that’s been properly rested.  See how there is no juice on the cutting board?  That’s because the beef has rested and the juices have redistributed to have a super juicy piece of steak.

The best way to cook beef perfectly every time is to buy a meat thermometer.  You should always cook your beef to temperature vs. time, because there are so many variables – was my stove an electric stove vs. your gas stove?  Maybe your cut of beef was 1/4 – 1/2 inch thicker than my cut?

Here is my rule of thumb – always pull beef off 10 degrees shy of your desired doneness.  For me this is what I follow:

  • For medium rare beef at 125 degrees, pull beef off heat at 115 degrees
  • For medium beef at 135 degrees, pull beef off heat at 125 degrees
  • For medium well at 145 degrees, pull beef off heat at 135 degrees
  • If you want your beef done more than that, I can’t help you because I think you’ve wasted your money

Another important factor when cooking beef is to let the meat rest.  It used to drive me insane when I grilled that my husband would want to slice into a beef roast within minutes of it coming off the grill.  Your patience will be rewarded with juicy meat every time.

To asemble the crostini, simply spread soft cheddare cheese spread on top of your crostini, place a couple slices of steak on top, then finish with the tomato/spinach mixture and a dollop of horseradish sauce.  So good!

I am so happy to be teaming up with Certified Angus Beef® brand  this coming year.  Their website is an amazing resource as well as their app – if you need to know who big a roast you should get for how many people you are serving, to great recipes and ideas on how kick up your beef game. 

This steak crostini would also be great on New Years Eve – just sayin’ 😀 

Beef/ Certified Angus Beef

Grilled Chuck Roast

What a wonderful weather day we had yesterday – near 64 degrees!  When I left for work it was already 57 and I was kicking myself for wearing my down coat.   As I was a couple blocks from my office, I realized I never packed anything for my breakfast!  I packed everything the night before, and well, I just forgot.  

Freshii to the rescue – I saw they had something called a huevos bowl – scrambled eggs with kale, avocado, aged cheddar, black beans, salsa fresca and a fiery bbq sauce.  Um, this was perfection in a bowl!  I can’t wait to recreate this on the new plan with Weight Watchers – all I would have had to count in this bowl would be the avocado and the cheese, so it would be 6 points out of my 23 for the day.

I technically haven’t started the new Weight Watchers program because it’s rolling out on the day you way in to not crash their system.  The new program started on Sunday, but I don’t weigh in until Saturday, so my app won’t change until then, and I’ve only gotten bits of information from other people who already started the program.

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I didn’t eat lunch until 3:10 yesterday, my Brunswick stew I posted yeseterday, that I heated up in my giant coffee mug and ate at my desk, for exactly 14 minutes when I had to clock back in to finish some work.  Gah.  So no picture of that, but it would have been 4 points for the stew – I had to count points only for the potatoes, so after lunch I was at 10/23 for the day.

I bought some skinny chicken (hand trimmed) at Jewel on the discount rack for $3 and it needed to be used or frozen.  I made a quick chicken and veggie lo mein.  I bought a lo mein at my local grocery store that takes only 3 minutes to cook, so dinner was ready in about 10 minutes.  #love  The only thing I had to count was for the 1/2 cup of lo mein noodles for 3 points, so I was 13/23 for the day.  Oh wait a second, let’s not forget to add the 5 points for coffee creamer throughout the day (I heard that went up!) so I was 18/23.  

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On Sunday I grilled up some chuck roast!  I got lots of questions on DM on Instagram about how I did it, and questions like “I didn’t know you could grill chuck roast!  Now my roast is called a Beef Boston Roast, but it can also be called a chuck eye roast, chuck pot roast or chuck rolled roast. 

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I am so happy I am being sponsored by Certified Angus Beef because 1 out of 4 people have never even cooked a beef roast before, and 63% don’t know how to cook beef properly.  Some cuts are expensive so what a waste if you overcook it!  Look for the Certified Angus Beef brand when looking for beef – they adhere to a very high quality standard so you know you’ll be getting your money’s worth.  I bought that brand long before I started working with them.

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While it felt like early fall over the weekend, one thing I didn’t consider was how dark it was going to be while I grilled – oh well!  I started with my coals on one side and got them really hot.  I only marinated my chuck roast in a bit of Italian dressing – it has a mild flavor and I think it tenderizes the meat – I marinated it for about  6 hours, and I took the roast out an hour before grilling to let the beef get to room temperature before grilling.

Mistake # 1 – whether grilling indoors or outdoors, is taking their beef straight from the fridge to the oven or pan.  The meat will seize up and be tough. 

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Since I was grilling on indirect heat, I did a quick sear (about 3 minutes a side) over the hot coals before putting the meat on the cold side of the grill.

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A meat thermometer is going to be your best friend – buy one or ask for one for the holidays, becuase there are so many variables with cooking time – if you follow a recipe, yet your coals or oven happens to be 10 degrees higher than the recipe called for, you risk overcooking the meat.  I like my meat medium rare, and on some occassions will even cook it rare if I plan on using it later on the week and reheat it.  This beef was pulled at 125 degrees and it rested for 30 minutes before I sliced into it.

Mistake #2 – not letting your meat rest before slicing. Tony used to cut stuff within minutes of coming off the grill and it used to drive me crazy – I’d see all that delicious juice all over the cutting board – notice there is hardly any juice on my cutting board, that’s because it’s all in the meat 😀

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The ends got to medium, but still delicious.  As luck would have it, Jacob’s Mom and grandpa came over for dinner on Sunday and I think there was two pieces of beef leftover.  I’ll use that for a breakfast hash later this week.

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Another question I got on Instagram “how did you make that mushroom gravy!”  I sauteed 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, and then mixed one cup of beef broth with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, salt, pepper and 1/2 a teaspoon of creole seasoning (I like a bit of spice!) but you could add chopped fresh rosemary or whatever seasonings you like.  Pour the broth mixture in with the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes until it thickens.  I sprinkled with a bit of dried parsley and dinner was served.

Okay, one more thing – mistake #3 – which is especially important in larger roasts and less expensive cuts – always cut across the grain – you can check out my post on how to cook the perfect steak here, where I show you a visual on how to cut across the grain – you’ll have fork tender beef every time.

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Want to learn more about how to cook the perfect beef?  Certified Angus Beef has an app!  You can search cuts of beef by how many people you are serving, it will suggest cuts of beef, where to find them, how to cook them – so much information!  You can tell I am just a bit of passionate about cooking great beef.  I think I’ve had more beef in the last two weeks than my brother and sister have in the last two months.  😀


I have to give a shout out to my friend Tia.  She texted me yesterday asking when I got home.  I told her and asked what was up, and she said “just asking.”   She brought me this gorgeous wreath and IT’S ALIVE so I am going to do my best to keep it looking great as long as possible – any tips anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Tia and her husband live across the river from me, and after seeing how emotional my weekend was, brought me a bit of sunshine – thank you Tia!  If you don’t follow her, you have to – she’s funny, snarky and a great writer.  You can find her blog here, and you can follow her Instagram here.  Thanks Tia!  I will pay it forward 😀

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And why don’t we end this blog post with cute Roman!  He wasn’t begging too much 😛  Make it a great day!

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