Birthday beef at The Ranch

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Nadia took me to The Ranch in Anaheim last night for my birthday and I couldn’t have been happier.

I’ve been wanting to visit what many say is the best steakhouse in Orange County for more than a year and I finally made it for the big 3-1.

Each flavor on the wreath of rolls was delicious, as was the spinach salad with goat cheese, cranberry and candied walnuts.

But the centerpiece of this celebration was definitely the bone-in ribeye for two. I don’t think I’ve had a more succulent, salty, perfectly medium steak in my life.

To finish they hooked me up with a dessert of my choice, so I went with the Twisted Milky Way, essentially a deconstructed take on the classic candy bar that looked like it came from “Top Chef: Just Desserts.”

Perfect meal. Perfect birthday.

Smoothie Test No. 1

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I’ve been trying out a bunch of different smoothie variations recently so I figured I’d start documenting them here.

Each recipe made three glasses (I had two, Nadia had one).

Today’s mix:

2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
4 large handfuls of frozen kale
6 large strawberries
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup dark chocolate almond milk
2 T flax seed

Overall, pretty tasty. The kale and the chocolate almond milk are both assertive flavors, but the kale wins out, providing a slightly vegetal finish with each sip.

Ready for the week!

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I always aim to have food ready for the week, but I usually end up taking all day making multiple dishes and stack up the fridge with huge Pyrex containers that I have to repackage from anyway.

In the effort to tighten up kitchen efficiency, I’ve been trying to perfect my strategy for many weeks, and today it feels like it came together for the first time.

I had a good list at the farmers market and was speedy at Sprouts and Trader Joe’s too. When it came time to cook, I put a bunch of meat on the grill and followed that up with some veggies.

I picked up an extra set of glass containers at Costco so I could cook a bunch of stuff and package it so it’s ready to go all week. Here’s what I packaged for lunches and dinners:

-Garlic marinated shirt steak with baby Yukon gold potatoes

-Chicken marinated in whole grain mustard, honey, smoked paprika and herbs de Provance with green beans

-Oregano and parsley pork chop with oregano-butter grilled carrot

-Soy sauce chicken breast with grilled bok choy

-Chicken soup with shrimp dumplings, bok choy, cabbage, garlic, onion, Fresno chile and shitake mushroom

It’s gonna be a good week!

Summer picnic on crack

A little while back I wrote about “summer picnic,” Nadia’s favorite dish of grilled shrimp and asparagus (abd sometimes other random grilled meats and veggies) with toasted bread. We recently started limiting our bread, pasta and sugar intake, so instead of the bread, I just upped the veggies and the meat.

I purchased the asparagus, red bell pepper and corn from casinoin.us the Laguna Niguel Farmers Market. The chimichurri on the shrimp, the beer-marinated chicken and chorizo Argentino came from Puerto madero in Santa Ana.

Everything was finished with a spritz of lemon.

Everything was totally awesome.

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Zucchini frittata to go

I’ve been looking for new ways to increase my vegetable intake so I tried out this frittata that made four portions, or enough for two days worth of breakfast for me and Nadia.

Eight eggs whipped with 1/2 c of part-skim ricotta, salt and pepper. Add that to sliced zucchini, scallions and parsley that has been sautéed in a light amount of oil or butter (or a little of both) until brown, about 15 min. Mix in a non-stick skillet and bake for 35 minutes at 350.

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“The A to Zen of life”

From a Dalai Lama poster I saw in someone’s office recently, but it’s so inspiring that I wanted to post it so I could read it whenever I need to find some focus:

Avoid negative sources, people, places and habits
Believe in yourself
Consider things from every angle
Don’t give up and don’t give in
Everything you’re looking for lies behind the mask you wear
Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches
Give more than you planned to
Hang on to your dreams
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door
Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it
Keep trying no matter how hard it seems
Love yourself
Make it happen
Never lie, steal or cheat
Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values
Practice makes perfect
Quality not quantity in anything you do
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer
Stop procrastinating
Take control of your own destiny
Understand yourself in order to better understand others
Visualize it
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson
Xcellence in all your efforts
You are unique, nothing can replace you
Zero in on your target and go for it

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Healthy Cooking. Weight loss.