Monday, December 7, 2009

Lots to look forward to

Between Chanukah starting on Friday, holiday parties and get-togethers with friends, and another trip home, there is a lot for me to look forward to over the next 2 weeks. I'm excited for the impeding chaos, laughter, and fun and am grateful that I've made it to the end of the year with a smile on my face.

Something else that made me smile in anticipation was a new recipe I decided to test today: Slow Cooker Cuban Braised Beef, inspired by this Real Simple recipe (my version is at the end of this post). I did my prep this morning while getting ready for work and couldn't stop thinking about the deliciousness that was simmering away in my crock pot!

First I prepped my ingredients: 1/3c chopped onion, 14 oz can diced tomatoes (drained) and chopped bell peppers.

Then I added that into the crock pot with my spices, and then nestled the flank steak in the ingredients. I cooked it on the low setting for about 8 hrs.

When I came home from the grocery store this afternoon, the smells in my apartment were heavenly. I still had 2 hours left to go but the spicy, tangy, savory smells were making my mouth water. I left for the gym ASAP and had another fantastic workout! I did 35 minutes of interval running on the treadmill (3 miles in 35:27 - a new PR I think!!) and all of my runs were at level 6.5 or above! I was proud and quite the hot mess when I finished. I then headed downstairs for my yoga class which was great as well. I had a bit of a hard time calming down after an intense run... if it weren't for my need of stretching, I would have run longer!

Tummy grumbling, I walked into my apartment and headed straight for the crock pot to see how my dish turned out. I'm pleased to say that it was a success! The meat was so tender, with layers of flavor. I added a pinch of salt to my bowl (I saved half to have later this week), as well as some hot sauce and a baked corn tortilla. It was sooooooo good! And, each portion of the beef, with sauce and veggies, is only 220 calories!

I spent the evening cleaning out my closet and drawers while singing along to Broadway music. Pure happiness!

My snack was the last serving of rice pudding (it's much better eaten warm...the jury's still out on that recipe) and half of an apple (I had the other half, pre-run). I might munch on something else in a bit, but we'll see.

Have a good night everyone!!

My adapted recipe for Cuban Braised Beef:
14 oz can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
3/4c chopped bell pepper
1/3c chopped onion
.5lb flank steak
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and ground black pepper

Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper into crock pot. Nestle steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until meat is tender and pulls apart easily. In my cooker - on low for 8 hours.

Using 2 forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with rice, with a baked, crisp tortilla, or in tacos and enjoy!

220 calories, 8g fat, 3.8g fiber per serving (~3oz steak plus veggies)

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