Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ode to Twenty Eight

Well, another year has grabbed hold of me and I am staring down the barrel at 30. Not yet, though. I just celebrated my 29th birthday on 1/10/10. Yep. I am that age when everyone stops aging. I've been told that everyone claims to be 29 forever. I am not sure that I am going to do that, but I do want to reflect on 28. It was a great year for me. It started out with a lot of pain, growth, and change, and has resulted in tremendous joy.

The year started with me slowly ripping myself out of a long relationship. Through that experience I looked inside myself and gave myself the opportunity to ask the question, "What do I really want?" I had never spent that much time on that question. I was really busy asking others what they wanted and trying to make everyone else happy. I sort of forgot to give myself that same gift; the gift of happiness. At the age of 28, I put myself on the front burner and found the answers to what I really wanted.

You want to know the answer? The truth; I want to be a successful writer and surround myself with people who love me unconditionally. This decision was a powerful one and it lead me to hang up my hat as a Data Management Supervisor (a great job with great co-workers and staff) and move across the country. I decided that I didn't want to wait for my real life to begin, I wanted to start creating the life of my dreams now. There is no more waiting. Life is too short and I want too much.

Here I am celebrating 29 years on the planet. I hope I have been a good influence. I hope I have made a difference so far. I am in a very different space than I was a year ago and a much better one at that. I have kept the friends from back home in Illinois and made great new ones in Montana. I gathered my new friends and cooked dinner with the help of my mom and my great new boyfriend, Scott. Cooking for my own birthday? Absolutely, that is how I show all of my friends how much they mean to me. We grilled Luscious London Broil on the grill (me in my flip flops) and had Deceptively Delicious Mashed Cauliflower, Italian Caesar Salad (with my homemade croutons), and garlic bread. My friends came, laughed, and stayed until the wee hours of the morning to help me celebrate.

My life is dramatically different than it was a year ago and I am surrounded by people who support and love me and the feeling is mutual. I always say, if life gives me lemons, I am not doing something right! I want chocolate cake and more specifically Lee’s Special Dark Chocolate Whiskey Cake, which is what we finished the meal off with. I am getting what I want; a rich, sweet, and decadent life. So, let me leave you with this thought... "What do you want?" It is never too late to get it. Make your life what you want it to be and join me in devouring this delicious chocolate cake I call life!

Luscious London Broil

4 lb. london broil steak

1 small white onion finely chopped
4 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp. worchestershire sauce

London Broil Sauce

 reserved marinade
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup red wine

Place london broil in a baking dish and score crisscross lines into the steak with a sharp knife. Combine the onion and garlic in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the scored whole in the meat. Mix the red wine and worchestershire sauce together and pour over the steak. Let the meat marinate for at least an hour. We marinated the steak overnight in the fridge covered in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

When ready to cook the steak, remove the steak from the marinade, reserving it for the sauce. Heat your grill to 450 degrees. Place the steak on the grill and cook until desired doneness. It is 8 minutes a side for medium steak. Cook less for more rare and a few minutes more for well done. Remove from grill and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to distribute.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, strain the onions out of the marinade and pour the marinade into a sauce pan. Add another 1/2 cup of red wine and whisk in a half a cup of butter. Continue whisking until all butter is melted and sauce is shiny in consistency.

To serve, thinly slice the beef and spoon the sauce over the beef.

Deceptively Delicious Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 yukon gold potato, diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place cauliflower, potato, and garlic in a large sauce pan and cover with chicken broth. If not entirely covered add water until just covered. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Drain liquid reserving 2 tbs. of the liquid. Add sour cream and cheddar cheese to the drained cauliflower and mash using a hand held potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with fresh chives sprinkled over the top if desired.

Italian Cesear Salad

1 head Romain lettuce
1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup black olives diced
1/4 cup ceasar dressing

Slice and clean lettuce and place in bowl. Add sliced artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and black olives. Toss with cesear dressing (our favorite is Brianna's home style asiago cesear). Top with the home made croutons that are in the 'Transformation' blog entry from 12/21/09.

Lee’s Special Dark Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour two 8.5 or 9-inch cake pans.

Dry Ingredients

2 C. Organic Flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¾ C. Dark Chocolate Cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1/3 C. Milk powder

Mix dry ingredients together.

Wet ingredients

2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
½ C. Irish whiskey
¾ C. agave nectar
½ C. water
½ C. canola oil

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well-about 2 minutes on medium.

Additional ingredients

1 ¼ boiling water
¼ cup honey

Mix together aditional ingredients then add to cake mixture. Batter will be thin.

Cook 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool on rack. When cakes are cool, they are ready to Frost.

Orange Liqueur Chocolate Frosting

6 T. organic butter
2 C. powdered sugar
1/3 C. Orange Liqueur with Cognac
½ C. Cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla (I used Royal Montaine-fairly cheap & good)
2-3 T. half and half as needed

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternate powdered sugar with orange liqueur, half and half and vanilla and beat until desired spreading consistency. Add more liquid of choice as needed.

Mental Health Tip: Every year is a good one, even if it does mean we are getting older. I say, the more years the merrier because each moment keeps getting better and better! So forget about another year older and think of each year as time to gather more friends, share more joy filled moments, and live deliciously. For me, This is what 29 looks like!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the Kitchen

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