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Good Old Fashioned Steak Dinner – Kind Of…

Hey there friends, welcome back!

This post is actually a few day’s old, but its a nice throwback to a relaxing Sunday Funday and a great dish to try if you are looking for a something a little healthy and a little indulgent.

A bit of back story, this is not a dish Stephen would have typically consumed. In the past few years that we have been together, there are very few things that I have come across that he will not easily eat. When we first got together, sushi was one of those things. I have however since expanded his palate to include the classic California Roll AND a Spicy Tuna Roll. So that in and of itself was an accomplishment.

 

Being the overachiever that I am, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone, and I recently introduced him to the nice, fishy alternative to steak – Ahi Tuna Steaks!

I first had this dish at a tiki inspired restaurant, at which I used to waitress, and fell in LOVE! (sorry Stephen…) So, I figured that since it’s not entirely raw (only on the inside) it would be an easy addition to our mutually expanding palate.

And, they were AWESOME! I have to admit this was the second time we’d prepared these. The first they were a bit overdone, but this time they were near perfection! I have a feeling it’ll wind up being a “third time’s a charm” kind of deal and the next time we make them, it will be actual perfection.

The best part, this is such a simple main dish to prepare! Just marinate the tuna steaks a few hours a head of time, or overnight if you have time. Get yourself a very hot pan with oil (I used olive oil) and sear away!

The perfect time on each side depends on how daring you want to be with the “rawness factor”. We did ours for about 3-4 minutes on each side, but I personally think it could have done with less.

I served these lovely “steaks” with some steamed asparagus and brown rice with coconut oil and pink Himalayan Sea Salt.

I’d love to hear if you try this dish out or if you like these food posts! I have a lot of great ideas (so modest) when it comes to cooking new things so there’s plenty of ammo for additional posts.

Also, I plan to post some details on the Law School and Life stuff in these coming weeks/months. So, I hope to see ya’ll back here soon!

XOXO,

Emmie

 

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Long Time, No See!

I don’t quite know where to start, so I guess I’ll just dive right in…

It has been about a year since I last posted – YIKES! I don’t have a very good reason for being away for so long apart from the cliche, “Life just got busy”, but since the whole motto here is that Anything Goes, I guess I’ll just allow that to be enough of a cover. A lot has changed over these past months and I have so many life updates to share, so I hope you’ll excuse my long absence and rejoin me here on this journey!

First things first – Ya girl is going to Law School!!! I know that may come as a surprise to those who don’t know me outside of the blog, but I am so excited to embark on this new adventure in August and to bring you all with me.  I have always had a passion for community service and to help others and, since I love writing and communication so much, I think that becoming an attorney will allow me to really make a positive, lasting difference in peoples lives.

Speaking of community service – Ya girl has just completed a term of service with AmeriCorps! I spent the year at a school in Pittsburgh helping youth in and outside of the classroom as both a tutor and mentor. It. Was. AMAZING! I met so many inspiring people and seeing the drive that the youth have gives me so much hope for the future of this city and our country as a whole. I am going to miss my fellow service members, the kiddos and the teachers I worked with so incredibly much. But, knowing that I can help so many people in just a short 10 month term, gives me so much drive to continue to serve and impact others for the rest of my life.

Also, Stephen and I adopted a kitten (who is now a cat since I took so dang long to tell you)! Also, also, my god-sister got married and is expecting!! Also, also, also, Stephen and I dove headfirst into our fitness journey!!! Also, also, also, also, I wrote and recorded a song!!!! As a result of all these things and many more I am super happy!

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to this past year!

Going forward, I think this blog will stay the same in a lot of ways, I’ll still post recipes and life updates.  I also hope for it to become a place of guidance for those of you thinking about attending law school or committing to a year of service or just needing that little push to do what you love.  I hope you’ll join me as I continue to serve others, spread love, and try to make the world a better place!

 

Not Cheese, Nacho Cheese

As you may or may not have noticed I’m on a bit of an experimental food kick. So, this post is all about making a classic late night snack food healthy, plant based, and – best of all – GUILT FREE!

What might I be talking about? You guessed it (or you read the title) – Nacho Cheese! Now, I’m not talking the kind of cheese you may find on fancy nacho’s from your neighborhood “I’m working really hard to be fun and hip” restaurant that is actually some smoked gouda béchamel. No. My friends, I’m talking the crappy kind of nacho cheese you find at a college football game. The kind that you literally feel clogging your arteries as it goes down your gullet. That is the kind of cheese I am trying to create here. But, you know, minus all of that artery clogging good(?)ness.

So, after much research and taking into consideration the fact that most vegan cheese’s contain cashews – to which I am allergic – I came up with this recipe!

Vegan Veggie Nacho Cheese

  • 1 sweet potato – Or 2 carrots
  • 1 potato
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • Scallion (green onion)
  • Salt to tast (will probably be around a 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 Cup (about) water
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or some other kind of oil 
  • 1/3 cup Salsa or diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño (optional) 
  1. Boil a medium size pot of salted water. Wash off potatoes and chop them up.
  2. Toss potatoes into boiling water and cover. Let steam for about 15 min.
  3. In a food processor or blender, place roughly chopped green onion. Use all of it (aside from the roots) so that the flavor really comes through.
  4. Next, add all seasonings and nutritional yeast to the food processor. Lightly pulse or stir a few times to be sure everything is evenly combined. 
  5. Once potatoes are fork tender, add those into the food processor along with water, oil and salsa. Blend until smooth and creamy!
  6. At this point you could be done, OR, you could add in some diced pickled jalapeño. Either stir these in or add them and run the food processor one more time if you don’t want to have any surprising spicy chunks. 

And… VOILA! You have some delish Vegan Nacho Cheese! 

I was so pleasantly surprised by how this recipe turned out and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, as well as any modifications you try to improve upon this recipe! Thank you for reading, until next time peeps!

XOXO,

Em

Chickpeas – The New Wonderfood?

It seems all the health-conscious internet can talk about right now is how great chickpeas are. I have seen YouTube videos and Pinterest posts galore about the wonderful things that this unassuming bean can do, so, I decided it was time to test them out!

The first recipe I came across was for Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies, making that the natural selection for my first attempt at baking with beans. I took to my handy Ninja and got pureeing! However, I may have overwhelmed it by adding everything in at one time so the puree turned into more of a slightly masticated mush. (Patience is a virtue I rarely have.) This left my attempted desert rather chunky… though the flavors were good, the texture was definitely less than desirable.

After my first, not so fabulous, attempt and making chickpea cookies I was eager to try my luck at a different sweet delicacy – the meringue. Luckily, I had saved the liquid from the can of beans, as it was the main ingredient in the recipe for Auqafaba Meringues. (AKA – Bean water.) I know this doesn’t sound the most appealing, however, with some research I found that this murky substance really does appear to be magical!

So, I turned to YouTube (as it always seems to have to answer) and was blessed to find a great recipe and demonstration  for Aquafaba Meringues. I was as shocked as you likely are to find out that one of the worlds more classy desert choices can be made with, you guessed it, bean water! So, here  ya go!

 

The recipe I used for the Meringues was this one by Alton Brown as it was easy to follow and simple.

My little strawberry topping was a sort of an afterthought, but it really was delicious so here is how I made it:

Lemon Lavender Strawberries:

1 1/2 Cup strawberries

1 Tsp dried lavender

1/4 Cup simple syrup

Lemon juice to taste 

  1. Quarter berries (or chop however you feel) and place in bowl 
  2. In a small sauce pan (or microwave safe bowl) combine 1/4 water and 1/4 cup sugar and stir until dissolved – This is the simple syrup!
  3. Add lavender to simple syrup and place in a closed container to steep 
  4. Once, your simple syrup has gotten enough of the lavender flavor, pour over berries and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and…

Voila! You have made a yummy tart, sweet, and floral topping – perfect for any light summer desert OR on it’s own as a yummy fruit salad! 

For a first try I’d say this well pretty well – especially in comparison to my intentionally chunky chocolate chip cookies! There was very little I would change aside from perhaps cooking them a little closer to the recipes instructions. I grew impatient of letting them sit in the oven, so the way the settled wasn’t quite right. But aside from that I was so happy with them! (and my little strawberry topping) More impressively, had I not been the one making them, I would have never known that they were made with bean water instead of eggs!

This recipe would be great for a tea party, dinner party, or just for a party of one! Especially, if you have friend or family (or if you yourself) have either voluntarily or involuntarily had to remove eggs from your diet! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments if you try this or any other chickpea recipe!

Thanks as always for reading! 🙂

XOXO,

Em

What graduation was like: A story told mostly through food

These past few weeks have been insane. But, the plus side to entering the real world is that all of your family and friends are there to feed you and try to keep you from thinking about the strange shock that arises when you realize homework won’t just start up again in August. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly pumped to have completed my Undergraduate career and realize I am lucky to, not only, have gone to college, but also, to have my family there to celebrate and support my work along the way.

Though, an odd emotion has accompanied all of the excitement and satisfaction. This emotion is some confusing mixture of emptiness because undergraduate studies are no longer part of my life, excitement that my hard work paid off and that schoolwork is done for at least a year, and confusion about how I am going to occupy myself now outside of the 40-50 hours of scheduled work I have per week. Is there a name for this odd emotion? I know I can’t be the only person to experience it…

Regardless, I have been exposed to so many new foods in this past week with all of my friends and family wanting to celebrate that I figured I’d show you some of them! I mean really, what better way to try and understand your feelings than through food?!?! (I realize there are better ways, but this has really been quite a nice way!)

First things first: the big, fancy, obligatory Italian meal was awesome! We ate at this great place called Lidia’s on Smallman St. in the Strip District. It. Was. Fabulous! While everyone’s food was DEE-lish the dish that truly stood out was the Duck Ragu Gnocchi. Luckily, I was the member of our party to have ordered this, so aside from letting everyone taste, it was mainly all mine! I would 10 out of 10 recommend this meal to anyone who is looking for a hearty, modern take on a reliable Italian classic. I had it with a light, but fulfilling Sauvignon Blanc, which, much like this dish, was an unexpected but delicious combo!

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The next night we went up to the iconic Mt. Washington to see the sunset which made for some great photo ops of the horizon.

We ate outside on the deck of the Shilo Grill, which was unexpectedly part of the Harris Grill franchise. Though, had we not been told that by our fabulous server, I’d have been completely unaware because the quality of service and food surely felt like a small, privately owned restaurant! I got two drinks, a Blackberry Basil Gin Fizz which was AWESOME! And another that was some sort of Strawberry Lavender Mojito, this was not very good but I think it may have been a completely different drink because it tasted more like the way their Pink Lemonade cocktail sounded than it did the drink I ordered. Alas, things cannot exist without balance, ya win some ya lose some and all that. 🙂 My meal, Eggplant Napoleon, was awesome though and a great vegetarian option (one of the many on their menu!)

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This post seems to be getting long, so I can save some of the other highlights from my graduation celebrations and start of life in the real world for these next few weeks! Who knows, maybe the nostalgia will give me some closure as the reality that college is done, at least for now, starts to set in. They say denial is the best coping mechanism, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post, let me know your thoughts below!

XOXO,

Emmie

Nothing Broke but Spring DID Break

Spring Term is about to end for me. Which means, that I am about to be thrust into the real world. That meaning, the world of working and paying for things with REAL money instead of loans. Moving away from a college campus and, by way of that, most of the friends I have made in the past 4 years. These amount other things like the prospect of graduate school and the infamous FUTURE… have me quaking in my Bean boots!

Needless to say, I am in need of some distraction from the ridiculously high stress levels. So! Here comes some nostalgia about a super awesome Spring Break with some of those great friends!

Preface: We stayed in Gatlinburg, TN in this AMAZING renovated cabin, filled floor to ceiling with incredibly endearing bear decor. However, the only images of the inside of that cute cabin are located in a rather embarrassing house tour video that I, along with some others, made while enjoying a noticeable amount of alcoholic beverages. I may upload a voice over version of this short film to my YouTube channel at some point, but it will take some heavy editing first. Regardless! Here are some of the highlights from our Spring Break trip to the Smokey Mountains and beyond, enjoy!

IMG_0284Laurel Falls – We climbed down this steep, stone trail to get up close to the falls. Surprisingly enough only one (who will remain unnamed) actually fell in said falls!

IMG_0055This lovely little babbling brook welcomed us at the base of Mt. LeConte… lets just say the rest of this hike was not quite a quaint. IT. WAS. STRENUOUS!

IMG_0089At this point Stephen was still following close behind me and my enthused efforts to reach the peak… those efforts and our pace quickly slowed once we realized just how far it was to the top.

IMG_0198You may be thinking: “Wow, it looks like she’s almost made it!”. You would in fact be wrong, because this picture was taken with still about a 1/3 of the way to go. But, it was a gorgeous view so that makes up for the pain, right?!

IMG_0111Just some happy, camping, ants on a literal log!

IMG_0115C’mon this is just too pretty! Right? There were some terrifying falling cliff icicles but the melting ice close to the top made for some lovely images!

IMG_0039This was taken before we even reached the Smokey Mountains when we stopped to picnic at New River Gorge in West Virginia. We also saw an eagle or a hawk or something majestic like that.. but, I am not a skilled enough photographer to have captured its beauty. So, this picture of the gorge bridge will have to suffice!

The final two pictures of this quick tour through my senior Spring Break trip are from the final stop we made in Nashville. (Probably my fave US city) We stayed at a gorgeous Air B&B that was sandwiched between a ton of recording studios and decorated with old records and memorabilia from record labels. It was such a treat!

While I took hundreds of pictures on this trip, these are some of my favorites. Let me know what you think!

XOXO,

Em

4 Ingredient Four-get About Winter Cocktail

For many of you living in the North East, you know that Winter is more of a lifestyle than a season. This time of year can be particularly menacing for your travel plans and if you don’t enjoy winter sports (or at least the snow) then you’re pretty much going to be miserable for 4-5 months.

I, fortunately, embrace Winter and all that it brings, but those of you who don’t may be thirsty for some sort of escape. Well have no fear, I have found a remedy for your seasonal-affect disorder AND dissatisfied tastebuds!
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This vacation in a mason(jar) cocktail has appeared just in time to get you through the notorious February Freeze! I came up with this cocktail the other night because I was feeling disinterested in the usual Kraken and Coke, and I must say it was one of my better concoctions! four-get-about-it-shaker-ingredients

I have a known knack for getting creative but have a significantly lower success record for creating cocktails that S. likes. However, he thoroughly enjoyed this one, so I figured it was worth sharing!

four-get-about-it-fozen-fruit

(Disclaimer: I am not certain if he liked it due to flavor or the fact that it was quite strong and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner…) Regardless, it was a winner so here y’all go:

Four-Get About Winter! 

Makes: 2 (rather strong) Cocktails

Ingredients:

1 Cup (8oz) – Sweetened Lemonade (I recommend from the mix so you can control the level of sweetness)

4 oz  Vodka (doesn’t need to be good quality)

1 Navel/Large Orange (peeled)

1 Cup (8oz) – Decent-Quality White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

*Optional 5th Ingredient* – Either shake with ice or, if you’re less dedicated to the name’s pun, use frozen tropical fruit mix to chill and add more flave!

How To:

  1. Slice and peel orange and place in shaker with either frozen ice or fruit, vodka and lemonade. 

  2. Shake mixture until shaker feels quite cold. 

  3. In two glasses (I used mason jars for cute-ness), equally divide the cup of white wine.

  4. Top off wine with the lemonade, fruit/ice, and vodka mixture. 

  5. Cheers! And, Enjoy Responsibly of course! 😉 

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Did you try it? Are your Winter Woes remedied? Let me know what you think in the comments! ♥

XOXO,

Emmie