Best Mongolian Beef Stir Fry

I pride myself on making my own sauces but there are a few that I have no qualms about purchasing.  This is one of them.  I use this sauce with beef and it rivals restaurant style Mongolian beef.  I could argue this is better than eating out.  It is so simple to prepare. 

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/products/williams-sonoma-mongolian-stir-fry-sauce/?pkey=s%7CMongolian%7C12

I start with thinly sliced bite sized chunks of beef.  It requires no additional seasoning.  Just add the stir fry sauce and the vegetables of your choice.  Dinner is ready in minutes!

Quick Breakfast – Smoothie Bowl

This smoothie bowl is my all time favorite quick breakfast.  Even better, it’s portable. You don’t have to put it in a bowl.  If you order this out, you typically have to wait ten minutes and it will cost you no less than six dollars. Just make it at home.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

1) Frozen mixed berries – I like a combination of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

2) Milk – I use almond milk.

3) Fresh banana

4) Coconut flakes 

5) Honey

I start by adding my frozen berries to my blender.  Then I add milk to the consistency I’d like.  (If I won’t be eating right away, I use less milk to create a thicker texture.). Next I spoon the mix into a bowl and top with the remaining ingredients.  That’s it!  I’m done in under two minutes.  My blender cleans effortlessly.  It’s a no brainer…a delicious no brainer.

 

 

The Bright Side

Is there a bright side? The world is in a state like no other. What’s worse is the amount of people not taking it seriously. Despite the madness that has ensued over these past weeks I have managed to find some positives.

I had to step outside of my pessimisim and look around with new eyes. For some this mess has resulted in more time with family. Others have taken advantage of all the new offerings online. Services you may have never considered are being offered online at no cost.

And let’s not forget about the environment. In areas where people are actually staying in, the earth is healing itself. Wildlife is returning. Smog is clearing. A few weeks without humans and we have cleaner water and air. 

On the other hand, there is a need for advocacy.  No one should be bored right now.  There’s too much to be done.  Be on the look out for areas where you can help a neighbor.  Think of those that are most vulnerable. Think of those that are forced to quarantine in a home with an abuser.  Think of those that are alone and disabled.  This is an opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless. 

I applaud all of the people who have started new services to assist the needy.  In the past weeks I have seen an influx of petitions being created to evoke change.  During this time I encourage everyone to continue to think beyond themselves.  Some people are fortunate to be minimally affected by current events but they’re not complacent.  They are donating, creating, and advocating all for the benefit of others.  So you tell me, is there a bright side?

Quick Breakfast – Blueberry French Toast

Most of the world is staying inside and as a result cooking more than usual.  I love to cook but even I sometimes just want something quick.  This mornings breakfast was perfect.  It was quick and delicious.  It was so good I may make it again for dinner.

My father in law introduced me to Oregon Trail breads.  Their bread slices are thick and dense.  Today I used their blueberry bread to make french toast.  The bread is full of flavor so all you need is egg and milk.  I used almond milk. I mixed my egg and milk, coated each slice, and fried.

Voila!

Things To Do Besides Panic

COVID-19 is everywhere. With it comes panic, anxiety, and uncertainty. I am not exempt from any of these feelings.  With that being said, I need a break.  With no clear end in sight I searched out some ways to make good use of quarantine.

– Learn a new skill.

Take a free online course.  There are plenty to choose from. https://www.classcentral.com/collection/ivy-league-moocs

– Hone your art.

Use this time to write, draw, paint, rehearse.

– Go on virtual tours.

The Louvre is one of many museums offering virtual tours.  https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne

– Work on that home project you have been putting off.

This is the perfect time to clean out closets and drawers.  It may not be fun but it will be satisfying once done.

– Journal

Write your thoughts and move on.  Journaling is always therapeutic but especially at times like these.

I certainly don’t recommend taking this pandemic lightly.  At the same time, there is only so much individuals can do.  Follow the instructions of healthcare professionals and obey temporary mandates put in place to halt the spread.

Chicken and Pears

Skip the story and go straight to the video.

The story:
I found myself with pears that were ripening before I could eat them. Once I got down to my last two I came up with a dinner idea. I would cook the pears with chicken breast.

I originally intended to use the chicken for masala but that could wait. I needed to cook the pears. I wanted to create something both sweet and savory. I started with bacon.

Ingredients
Two pears
Four boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 lb of bacon
Himalayan sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Bleu cheese crumbles

I started by cutting a quarter pound of bacon into pieces and frying it down.

While the bacon was cooking, I peeled and chopped my pears. I also seasoned my chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Once the bacon was done, I removed the bacon from the pan. I then cooked the chicken in the bacon fat.

The chicken was thin and only took a few minutes on each side. I removed the cooked chicken from the pan and drained the fat.

Next I returned the chicken to the pan with the pears

The pears will make a syrup.

Lastly I add the bacon back into the pan along with thyme.

When ready to serve, I sprinkled with Bleu cheese crumbles. It was delicious 😋

You can find more of my home cooked meals on Instagram #ShirasKitchen

I Let Light in and I Feel Much Better

I live with anxiety and depression all year long; however, it hits the hardest December through February. It could be the cold climate or the fact that the sun goes down by 5:30.  Either way it makes basic tasks near impossible to complete.  After a few near nervous breakdowns yesterday, I sat and thought about the triggers.  For me; cold, darkness, and clutter top my list.  Since I am the only one in my household with this condition.  It is important to communicate what I am feeling.  It is not always well received initially but is still necessary.

When you tell your family that clutter contributes to your depression it could sound like an attack.  Choose your words carefully so your loved ones are less likely to go on the defense and more likely to consider small ways they can help.  Sharing my feelings and experiences was my first step.  Even if you live alone, telling your loved ones can help.  It may help them understand why you may seem distant.

I discovered that I was causing part of the problem.  I had room darkening window treatments in my bedroom.  I took them down and even though the sun was not shining, the change let in light.  I felt my mood changing almost immediately.  Now all my window treatments are white or semi sheer.  It’s only day two but I can say getting out of the bed was not daunting as it was the day before.  I opened my eyes and smiled at my surroundings this morning.

I don’t have control over the weather.  However, making my home as comfortable as possible equips me to go out and face it more positively.  Even if the only thing getting me through the day is knowing my comfort zone is waiting for me to return, that is a start.  I am taking it one day at a time.  Today I feel great.

Cooking at Home

Bought myself a present. I haven’t bought or used a cookbook in over a decade. I thought it’d be nice to have one good cookbook to reference.  This will be my kitchen Bible.

Yes, I know it’s all on the internet but there is something nostalgic about a hard cover cookbook. This one is over 600 pages. I plan on reading it from cover to cover.

If you’re curious about what’s inside, check out my Instagram in the coming weeks for updates. I fully intend to post pics and videos of all the recipes I try from this book.

Stay tuned!

Cooking is Therapy

This morning was a tough one. I was not in control when I woke up. Anxiety was ruling me. I don’t know why. I usually can identify my triggers but not today. I woke up anxious. The thought of getting out of bed and leaving the house had me panicked. Fighting against it had me exhausted.

After maybe a half hour of trying to reason with myself, I concluded I just wasn’t ready. Fortunately today was not a day when I had to force it. I had some leeway.  I took it. I went back to sleep.  I just took a brief nap, less than an hour.  Then I started my day.  It would be a day of routine errands, nothing too heavy.

While I was out I felt that cloud of anxiety creeping over me again.  First at the bank.  Then at a few more of my stops.  When I arrived back home I was discombobulated.  I found myself walking from room to room for no reason.  I eventually sat myself down.  I went over my to do list and saw that I was done.  I sat and ate quietly.  Then I went into the kitchen for therapy.

I made baked glazed donuts for the first time.  The task took me roughly ninety minutes.  It was a quiet and calming ninety minutes.  As I prepped, measured, and mixed I felt at peace.  This is all I need; quiet and my kitchen.

How do you cope with anxiety?