Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flank Steak & Potato Hash

It's funny, my mom said to me the other day, "Wow! I can't believe you are blogging again!" I know. I know. I go through long spurts of not blogging...I blame working nights and sleeping during the days while being SUPER pregnant. Plus another thing...morning sickness. A food bloggers worst nightmare. But now that I'm home with my little man and feeling great, I have been enjoying being back in the kitchen and whipping up fun eats. During the day I put Nolan in his little plush puppy dog chair and get to cookin'!

Over the weekend I made these delicious tacos and they were a real treat. I especially loved the pico de gallo from Laurie at Simply Scratch's blog. It could possibly be my favorite pico de gallo yet!

With Spring just about to arrive on the hi-line, I am counting down the days until our little Mexican restaurant, a mere 90 miles away, Serranos, opens up again. Less than 2 months! It's a seasonal restaurant at the gates of East Glacier and the chiles rellenos alone are worth the drive.  Sadly, in the winter time when the restaurant is closed, if you want a taco, you gotta make the I did!

After Dusty and I stuffed our faces with as much flank steak tacos as we could possibly eat, we were left with about 1/2 a pound of flank steak. I don't know about you, but I hate leftover steak. It becomes chewy, tough and just doesn't reheat very well. So what do you do when you have leftover steak? Make breakfast hash! And don't forget to top it with a perfectly fried egg and a couple dashes of Tobasco sauce to really send it over the top :)  

Flank Steak & Potato Hash
{Serves 4}

-1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and 1/2 inch diced
-1/2 cup chopped Yellow Onion
-2 tablespoons Salted Butter
-1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper to taste
-1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
-1/2 pound leftover cooked Flank Steak (or any leftover steak), cut into bite-size pieces

Heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onions, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook, turning occasionally with a spatula, for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are softened, browned and cooked through. Add the steak pieces and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until the steak is warmed through. Then turn off the heat and add the green onions and dried parsley.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

California Breakfast Sandwich

Towards the end of my pregnancy something strange happened that I didn't expect....I craved healthy foods. What's up with that? I thought I was suppose to be craving ice cream, pickles, double cheeseburgers and milkshakes for the whole 9 months and gain like 100 pounds!?!?!?

Don't get me wrong. I totally had moments of ridiculous cravings for cheeseburgers at 11:00 pm, with the closest McD's being a 50 mile round trip. As you recall in an earlier post, I called that "the burger incident", which thankfully only happened a small handful of times. Overall, I'd say my biggest cravings were for these huckleberry smoothies. I probably made this smoothie about 2-3 times a week and added Shakeology vanilla protein powder to give me the extra protein and nutrients I needed to survive working overtime at the hospital in my 3rd trimester with ridiculously swollen feet. 

Now that I've become accustomed to eating all things whole wheat, quinoa, and chia, my body still craves it and my taste buds actually enjoy it! I would have never pegged myself as someone who would add chia to their oatmeal or drink coconut/almond milk. I didn't even know what chia was until I was pregnant. And whole wheat?!? I can't believe I actually prefer it to white bread now. That little Nolan did some weird things to my taste buds when he was baking inside me. Little stinker ;)

Let me tell you what...this California Breakfast Sandwich is not only good for you, but seriously flavorful. It's been snowing the past few days and I needed something that reminded me of warm weather, and this sandwich did the trick!  So grab yourself a tall glass of bright sunny orange juice with this sandwich for a great start to your day!

California Breakfast Sandwich
{Serves 1}

-1 Whole Wheat English Muffin-toasted
-1/2 tablespoon Basil Pesto
-1 Egg
-1/8 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
-2 slices Tomato
-1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
-3 slices Avocado

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, spray with non-stick cooking spray. Fry the egg on one side for 1-2 minutes until set and then flip to the other side. Top with shredded Monterey jack cheese. Continue cooking the egg for 1-2 minutes until desired doneness and the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile, spread the basil pesto on both halves of the whole wheat English Muffin and toss the avocado slices with the lemon juice. Assemble the sandwich by placing the cheesy fried egg on bottom half of the basil pesto covered English muffin, followed by the tomato and avocado slices and sandwich it with the top of the English muffin.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mr. Nolan Heath

After 38 weeks and 6 days, my little man, Mr. Nolan Heath Ahrens has joined the world!
Nolan was born March 3rd, 2015 at 4:43 pm, weighing 7 pounds and 8.2 ounces and 20.25 inches in length.

After 14 hours of labor, he joined this world absolutely perfect and we couldn't be more in love.
Dusty and I are so overjoyed and can't thank everyone enough for all the love and support as we begin our journey as new parents with Nolan.
And if any of you are awake at 1:00 am, 4:00 am and 6:00 am....feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I guarantee I'll be awake feeding my little guy and surfing the web for recipes or looking at Pinterest!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bun In The Oven

I officially win "worst food blogger of the year" award. I can't believe I haven't been on here since July! Although the reason for my disappearance isn't out of laziness, it's because I have been a very busy lady. Besides working an insane amount at the hospital, I've spent the past 9 months baking this little bun in my oven....

 Mr. Nolan Heath
Due March 11th, 2015
Dusty and I found out June 30th that I was pregnant! We had just spent the past week in Kalispell where I was doing my OB/delivery training (coincidence?) and didn't feel well the entire time. I was light-headed, extra car sick and really tired. Something definitely didn't feel right. After taking multiple pregnancy tests and getting negative results, I had no idea what was going on with my body. I just figured I wasn't handling the prenatal vitamins very well, since those things are awful and the size of bullets. Then, I gave the test one more go on the 30th and got the faintest of lines indicating that we were going to be expecting a baby!

One of the worst things to happen to a food blogger is morning sickness. Oh, how I hated morning sickness. The thought and smell of food made me so nauseated, I lost about 8 pounds the first 3 months of pregnancy. All I could stomach was yogurt and drinking milk. That was the major reason I stepped away from the blog for a while. The thought of food made me sick to my stomach. It was a very long and depressing 3 months of not being able to eat the foods I love. Thankfully that stage is over with!

Since I couldn't think about food, I had to hone my creativity in a different direction. Instead of recipe development, I began cross-stitching. I made 2 of these bibs for our baby (one pig and one cow themed) and I'm currently in the middle of working on a blanket as well.

One of the worst things about living in a small town is the lack of fast food when you are pregnant. I can not tell you how many times I have cried to Dusty that I need and must have a cheeseburger or I can't live without a Taco Bell Quesadilla! We are 25 miles to the closest McD's and 80 miles the nearest quesadilla. Talk about torture! There was one night I wanted a burger so bad that I started sobbing hysterically in the kitchen....we call that "The burger incident." It was the only time I became a stereotypically crazy pregnant lady. Lucky for Dusty, it hasn't happened more than that one time. Also, thank goodness for "copy-cat recipes" online, those have been a lifesaver for both Dusty and I!

Funny thing is, now I can't stomach the idea of fast food. All my body wants is healthy, nutritious foods and more specifically....milk! I have been going through a gallon of milk a week by myself. It's insane! Our little guy, Nolan, is going to have some strong bones due to all the milk I've been consuming lately. Since I've been working 40-50 hours a week at the hospital these past few months, I haven't had the energy to develop new recipes for the blog, but my go-to gal for all things delicious and healthy is Gina from I'm in love with her cookbook and blog. All the healthy meals have been keeping me healthy throughout my pregnancy, despite flu season, and keeping me energized to make it through the last stretch of night shifts before maternity leave (only 10 more 12 hour shifts left!).

Just in case you were wondering, Duke is very excited about baby Nolan too! The entire time I've been pregnant he has been attached to my hip and super affectionate. He is constantly following me around and laying next to me (or on me!). I can't even go to the bathroom alone without him peaking his head in the door to make sure I'm alright. I catch him in the nursery all the time just sniffing things out, it's absolutely adorable. He is going to be the best big puppy brother for Nolan and I can't wait for the big day to arrive!

Only 3 weeks away until Mr. Nolan Heath joins our family and we can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chimichurri Shrimp Salad

This past weekend was a fun one. Friday kicked off with the 4th of July which was laid back with just Dusty and myself. We grilled steaks, corn and had baked potatos accompanied by some of Julie's Famous Daiquiris. Yum! Dusty and I then watched the town's firework show from our backyard while sitting by the fire we built in our backyard. It was super romantic ;)
Duke on the otherhand, didn't find it so enjoyable and spent the evening of the 4th inside the house panicking with each "BOOM" of the fireworks. Poor dogs of America, tortured and terrified for one night a year. It's a ruff life!
For the rest of the weekend my family came to visit for my birthday, which was Sunday the 6th and it was so much fun! Since Shelby was cleared out for the holiday weekend, I went all out and cooked 3 delicious meals a day from my Pioneer Woman Holiday Cookbook.

For my birthday I made the Pioneer Woman's Cinco de Mayo platter which included Watermelon Pico de Gallo (yum!), Fiesta Black Beans (double yum!), steak fajitas with all the fixin's (super yum!), chimichurri shrimp (oh yes!) and Tres Leches Cake for my birthday cake (goodness gracious!). It was a Mexican smorgasbord of delicousness to say at least.

Surprisingly, I had leftovers! But that was probably because I made sooooo much food for 10 people! One of the things that was leftover was the chimichurri shrimp (shocking!), which I was excited about because I love shrimp. The day after my birthday I decided to use the leftover marinade and shrimp to make this out-of-this world salad. I love taco salads and this one was spectacular.

Chimichurri Shrimp Salad
{Serves 4}

For the Chimichurri Shrimp:
-1/2 bunch Cilantro, stems removed
-1/4 cup Parsley, stems removed
-1-1/2 tsp minced Garlic cloves
-Juice of 2 Limes
-1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
-1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 pound 16/20 count Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off
-1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a blender combine the cilantro, parsley, garlic, limes, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Briefly pulse the blender to combine the ingredients. With the blender on low speed, remove the middle cap of the blender and slowly drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in a large gallon bag and pour half of the marinade into the bag and reserve the other half of the marinade for the salad dressing. Marinate the shrimp for at least 30 minutes. Once ready to cook, heat a large pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook the shrimp until pink for 1-2 minutes per side. Set shrimp aside for salad.

For the Salad:
-1 recipe of Chimichurri Shrimp + Reserved Marinade
-1 head of Green Leaf Lettuce, rinsed, dried
-12 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
-1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
-2 Green Onions, finely chopped
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
-1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
-1/4 cup Mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine the greek yogurt, mayonnaise and reserved marinade. Stir to combine to create the salad dressing.

To assemble the salad start with the lettuce; then top the lettuce with the cherry tomatoes, black bean, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese and finally the chimichurri shrimp. Drizzle on the salad dressing and enjoy!

Recipe Inspired and Adapted By: The Pioneer Woman
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