Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

Not sure how it came to be Wednesday already.  Where does the time go?  We have so many things going on right now it is no wonder I don't remember the days.  We are in the midst of a bathroom renovation. The demo is complete and now it is time to put everything back together. We started car shopping.  I forgot how much I HATE car shopping.  And then there is the real work stuff with trips in and out of Cleveland every other week. 

With everything going on I am all about quick and easy these days. Oh yes, recipes must also not use the oven.  Connecticut is still hot and humid.  These Asian Beef Lettuce wraps were a way to use up some ground beef without making burgers.  The result was an easy recipe with amazing flavor.  It was a great new week day meal to switch things up a bit. Filling but not too heavy in your stomach. We made it for dinner but you could easily have smaller portions for party appetizers.  

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: saute entree appetizer ground beef Chinese
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 16 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chili pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped green onions, and sesame oil, and continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

To plate, arrange lettuce leaves on plate and pile meat mixture in the center. Serve with rice if desired. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito.
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Friday, August 12, 2016

Frozen Hot Chocolate

The dog days of summer are here. It is hot and humid.  The weather has been like this for a few days now and the forecast is to continue through next week.  Yuck!  We don't have A/C and all I want to do is seat under a fan and not move.  Life doesn't really allow for this; life with a toddler certainly doesn't.  If I can convince Miss O to stay near me under the fan it is normally because she is on top of me.  A hot little baby on your lap does not help. 

Typically I can have hot chocolate year round. I love the stuff. It is my special little treat without being too indulgent.  Even in the summer I probably have a mug once a week.  Well this week the heat has won and I couldn't image drinking anything room temperature let along hot.  Good thing there is a such a thing as frozen hot chocolate. 

I whipped this up the other afternoon when I happened to have the house to myself.  I drank and drank and drank and sat under the fan. Now if only this could continue each day even after the heat let's up. 

Now if you are looking for hot chocolate this is not it.  It is more liked a whipped frozen chocolate drink. Certainly good but not quite hot chocolate.  The whipped cream and chocolate toppings make it extra special.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: blender dessert beverage chocolate
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups ice
  • Whipped cream
  • Shavings from a semisweet chocolate bar or mini chocolate chips.
Combine the sugar, dry milk powder, cocoas, and salt in a small bowl.

Pour the milk into a blender. Add the dry mixture and ice. Blend until all the ice is crushed and the drink is smooth.

Pour into a large goblet or two 16-ounce glasses. Top the drink with whipped cream and shavings from a semisweet chocolate bar.

Pour into two cups and top with whipped cram and chocolate shavings.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Half Bath Before Photos and Inspiration

This time last year we were in the midst of a major kitchen renovation.  Half our downstairs and our most usable space was gutted.  The project went over budget and last well past my end all completion date. Looking back I am not sure how we survived as well as we did. I swore it would be a nice long time before we tackled another major project.  Apparently my memory starts to fade after a year because around May we started discussing our next major project. The plan was to due our big full bath upstairs. This is the one for our guest and the place where we bathe Miss O.  The are many reason for why we chose this to be our next project but that is a different post. The major difference here is that we were going to hire this project out.  However the estimates came in much higher than expected and way above our saved project funds. We decided we might do a few more minor updates around the house but for the most part we were going keep saving and wait to do the bathroom a bit later. 

Well as luck would have it, or not, our downstairs toilet started leaking.  Even though we could have just fixed the toilet, there was a high chance that the leak had damaged the sub-floor under the tile. This along with the fact that the bathroom was pretty dated and I absolutely hated the sink we decided to redo the whole thing.

As we are about to embark on this new renovation project I am horrified as to what I agreed too.  We have a plumber and there is no electrical work needed.  In the whole scheme of renovation work, what we need to do is fairly simple but there will be a lot of firsts and we have an active toddler to take care of too. The only consolation is that if we completely mess up and it takes much longer to put back together we are no worse off than we are now as the toilet does not function. 

So here we go again...I tried to plan out as best we could the design well ahead of our construction work. We have gathered all the main materials and components but despite my best efforts we are going on trip 3 to Home Depot and it probably won't be our last.

Some inspiration pictures....

ikea hemnes bathroom - Google Search:
*IKEA Hemmes vanity

Chris Love Julia half bath renovation

Black penny tile

Wish us luck!

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