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Friday, March 8, 2013

Beef and Broccoli and Easy Pea-sy Fried Rice Recipe - Guest Post

Today's guest post comes from a very dear friend of mine, Kerri Anne. This woman is a fantastic cook and I think everyone who was in the theatre department at our college would agree that she is (almost) single-handedly responsible for our freshman (sophomore, junior, and senior) 15. She was always showing up with a pan of turtle brownies, or some kind of cookies, or just awesome food. To this day I don't have any idea how she managed to make us all that wonderful food and graduate with honors. I cannot recommend this ladies recipes highly enough. Try it out, and let us know how it  turns out for you!

Hello, friends!  First off, let me say how honored I am that my bestie, Coco, has deemed me worthy to post my humble musings on the yummies (food, that is) on this amazing blog! 

Normally, my recipes are a celebration of all things comforting and delicious (damn the extra minutes on the treadmill, full speed ahead!)  However, lately, in observation of Lent, I have been abstaining from my favorite carbs (pastas, breads, rice, etc.)  In my search for Lent-approved recipes that also please my husband’s non-abstaining palette, I came across this Beef and Broccoli recipe.  It is nothing special, comes together quickly, and is composed of relatively inexpensive ingredients—and it’s actually delicious!  Fear not, if you are a carb-oholic, you’ll love the bonus Fried Rice recipe! 

So, enjoy this quick, weeknight meal… and look forward to my more indulgent recipes to come!  J Viva la Domestic360!

Kerri’s Beef and Broccoli
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine


  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (divided)
  • ½ cup water, plus 2 tablespoons water (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1lb boneless round steak  (or the super convenient “beef for stir frying” at your local grocery)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or pecan oil)
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Cut beef into thin strips.  Discard fat.  (Unless you have purchased the “beef for stir frying,” which is already sliced for you.  In this case, do a little celebratory dance, you efficient person, you.)
2. In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp corn starch, 2 tbsp water, and garlic powder until smooth.  Add beef and toss to coat.

3. In a large, high-sided skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) over medium high heat.  Stir-fry beef for about 5-6 minutes, or until it reaches your desired pinkiness.  Remove from pan and keep warm.
4. Add more oil to the pan, if needed, and scrape together any brown deliciousness.  Stir fry the broccoli and onion for about 4-5 minutes, or until tender.  I recommend covering the pan during this process—it creates a delicious broccoli sauna.

5. Return the beef to the sauna—er, pan. 
6. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and remaining 1 tbsp cornstarch and ½ cup water.  Whisk until smooth.  Add to the party in the pan.

7.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes, making sure everything gets covered in the yummy sauce. 

8. Serve over hot cooked rice, or over….

Easy Pea-sy Fried Rice

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2-3 eggs, whisked
  • 3 cups hot, cooked rice
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Soy sauce, to taste
Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute’ onion in butter for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add in minced garlic.  Saute’ for about a minute.  Scramble eggs with the onion and garlic, adding more butter if necessary.  Add peas and rice.  Stir fry with the veggies and eggs for a few minutes, until heated through.  Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why You Should Put Gift Cards on Your Wedding Registry (don't miss these!)

I am at that point in life where a lot of my friends and family are getting married. Its such a wonderful time! So happy and exciting. I love browsing through all of their wedding registries and seeing what they think they need for their new lives and guessing what their new homes will look like.

When we got married, I didn't see the point of registering for gift cards. I thought that we had everything we would need on our list and why would we need gift cards. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. Thank goodness some of our guests knew that I was wrong and got us gift cards anyway.

Due to the fact that we got a lot of unexpected items for our wedding, I have made a resolution to never give anyone anything that they didn't register for (this is true for baby showers too). There are some very tempting ideas on Pinterest and I would love to give people something homemade, but I know what its like to have items on your list that you really need and to get something that isn't your style instead.

**To be fair, I have and will continue to make a little something special and add it to an item off the registry. There is something about a homemade gift that is special and one can't be that turned off about getting something that was made with love.**

All that being said, I wish all my friends who are getting married would see the value in adding a few gift cards to their lists. When you are in the midst of wedding-planning craziness, its impossible to foresee what you will actually need in your new home, especially the piratical items. You never think of needing cleaning supplies, or picture hanging hooks, or spices. So, let me tell you the top three gift cards you should put on your wedding registry and why.

Grocery Store
One of the greatest gift we got for our wedding was from my parents. After we got home from our honeymoon and were settling in to our new place, my mom took me to the grocery store and had me pick out every food item I would need to set up my new kitchen. I got flour, oil, sugar, spices, peanut butter, cupcake liners, frozen veggies, paper towels, etc... It was such a blessing!

All of these things are essential and would have broken our very fragile newlywed budget if I had gotten them on my own. Its not bad having to buy a bag of flour here or a jar of chili powder there, but when you are outfitting a whole kitchen all at once you could very easily break the bank.

I suggest registering for around $100-$250 in grocery store gift cards. Then (after you get home from the honeymoon) Google "stocking a pantry," make your list, and get to the grocery store. You will be very grateful you did when you don't have to run out in the middle of making a sandwich because you realize you don't have any mustard. Consider stocking your bar too.

Hardware Store
A few gift cards to Home Depot or Lowes will help you with all your little household needs, even the ones you weren't expecting. Things like cleaning supplies, picture hanging kits, garden starting items, paint, a screw driver, batteries, power strips, extension cords, light bulbs, flash lights, laundry baskets, etc... all these things can rack up quite a bill, but if you have some gift cards on hand you won't even break a sweat getting your new place in shape. Its also a great idea to hang on to one or two of these gift cards, because inevitably after living somewhere for a few months, you will realize you really need a socket wrench.

Restaurants, Movies, and Other Date Night Places
I don't know about you, but when we got married we didn't really have money to go on dates. Our date nights ended up being a Redbox movie and a bowl of popcorn. Not that these kind of dates aren't wonderful and romantic, but sometimes a girl just wants to get dressed up and taken out.

Put some nice restaurant gift cards on your registry and then you won't feel guilty about going out to dinner and spending more than you would if it were your money. Also think about coffee shop gift cards, or some to a movie theater, a bowling alley, a B&B, etc...

These are the top three gift cards I wish I had had on my registry. Other places to think about are:

Electronics Store
Just in case you realize your Ethernet cord won't reach far enough to plug into the wireless router.

Home Goods Store
Keep on hand, you will get to the point of needing bathroom storage solutions, or a potato masher.

Pet Store
I don't have pets, but if I did...

Stress Less - Treasury Thursday

This is something we all (meaning especially me) need to do, stress less! This treasury has all the things you need to take full advantage of your "you time."

'Stress Less' by CoreySue

Secret Garden Herbal Tea (50...

One Porcelain Blue Bee Tea C...

Alpine Thigh High Slouch Soc...

Little sparrow - Infinity Sc...

Original Fashion Illustratio...

wood relax sign shelf sitter...

Wood Bath/tub caddy/platter/...

TUPELO HONEY Body Wash Bubbl...

24" Pouf Ottoman Floor ...

Jane Austen Pride and Prejud...

Stress Relief Lotion with Sp...

Buddha Yoga Racerback Tank T...

Hot or Cold Rice Bag - Thera...

romana - jagged geometric ro...

Coconut Soy Candle in Coconu...

Keep Calm And Drink Tea, 8X1...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Apartment Gardening - Seeds and Lots of Dirt

Every year that we have that we have lived in our apartment, I have planted a small container garden on our little deck. Its mostly been a tomato plant, a mini pepper plant, some herbs, and some flowers. I loved having the green growing on our deck, and the fresh herbs and veggies to eat. There is also a really great sense of accomplishment from growing your own food. I also usually end up letting everything die, by accident/pure laziness.

The past two years I have been going to the store and buying seedlings and then planting them in my pot and containers. This year, I am trying something a little different. I bought a bunch of seeds online (check out and my sister-in-law and I planted our own seedlings.

Seeds - aren't they pretty?
We tried a method I found on Pinterest, basically you plant the seeds in a recycled plastic bottle which acts as a greenhouse allowing you to leave the seedlings outside. This was essential for me, I had to be able to leave the seeds outside because a) I didn't have room in my small apartment; b) I didn't have enough sunlight anywhere inside; and c) I didn't want J to get into the seeds and mess them up.

Recycled Bottles Greenhouses
  • Empty milk/juice/soda bottles (with lids) rinsed out
  • Seedling soil
  • Coffee filters
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Duct tape
Cut the bottles in half and poke a few drainage holes in the bottom. Place a coffee filter in the bottom half of the bottle, this will keep the soil from running out. Fill with soil and plant seeds according to package directions. Replace the top half of the bottle and tape in place. Water and keep in a sunny location until plants are ready to be transplanted. (I used a spray bottle for watering, it fits inside the top and its really hard to over-water the little plants)

UPDATE: My SIL just told me that you are supposed to leave the caps off of the bottles, so disregard that part of the directions and the pictures.

Everything looks really good, there is dirt with seeds planted in it, there is condensation on the inside of the bottles, the dirt is staying moist (hate that word) and all is going according to plan. The almighty (and often very wrong) weather people are calling for a super-huge snow storm to hit the east coast this evening. Here's hoping that my little soda-bottle-greenhouses live up to their promise, I will keep you updated.

What are you green thumb tips? Do you have more skills than I do? Have you tried this bottle trick? What are you planting this year?