First-Timer’s Steak Marinade Recipe

Back in the day when I braved an entire year of 30-day challenges (2011 for those who are new) I shared about my meat ignorance. Here’s an excerpt from one of my posts—from the 30-days of slow cookery.

My first problem was I have never bought pot roast before, so when I was at the grocery store I found myself simply staring at the different meats unsure of what the differences were between them all.

For some reason, meat intimidates me.

But my husband and I are at the point where we don’t enjoy meat so much we’re discussing trying to go vegetarian, at least for the most part. In a healthy way.

But that’s not a decision we can make lightly if we want to be healthy about it.

So before taking the leap, we’re doing some research. And part of that research needs to include learning more about meat.

Because, I suspect, if we learn to recognize a good cut of meat versus a bad/cheap cut of meat, and how to prepare it properly, we will enjoy it much, much more.


Last year my brother hosted a fondue party for New Year’s. And my job was to bring marinaded meat.

So, I looked up a recipe online and hoped for the best. And you know, it worked out pretty well! But I had no idea what I was doing, at all.

The ingredients from that marinade are still kicking around my kitchen (taking up space) and since the whole “meat” thing has been on my mind I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about marinade, and, as a side-effect, meat.

Here we go. The purpose of marinade is to tenderize the meat. Totally didn’t know that. Therefore, tough cuts of meat benefit the most from marinades as it loosens them up and gives them flavour.

But really, marinade can be used anytime to liven up a piece of meat.

So really what I figured out, is you have to know what you want your meat to taste like and then you can mix up your marinade.

My grocery trip had me looking at some different beef cuts and I saw some nice sirloin steaks on special. I knew it was a pretty good price for sirloin and I knew my husband would be encouraged to barbeque once he saw them so I picked up a couple and started researching marinade recipes.

I didn’t want to purchase any new ingredients, since my fridge is kind of packed with random bottles of this or that thanks to my many unfortunate cooking experiments.

Due to this decision I had to combine recipes to come up with one marinade and boy oh boy was that an excellent side-effect.

Turned out pretty well!

I passed this image around Twitter and Facebook and a couple people asked for the marinade recipe. So here it is as best I can recall.

First-Timer’s Steak Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cub barbeque sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (cloves if they’re handy)
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoons hot sauce

Directions:

In medium bowl whisk ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Submerge meat completely in marinade and refrigerate for at least six hours, turning occasionally.

Enjoy!

Time to Care About Hearts Again!

Time to care about hearts again!

It’s time to care about hearts again!

Isn’t it interesting how we could care less about some things for 355 days of the year, and then for 10 we—suddenly—will pay $4.99 for something we will probably only use once?

Case-in-point this muffin (?) pan, slightly used…contains a one-time use MAX, now jacked up to special holiday pricing for a limited time only. Surely.

Case-in-point number two, these cake (?) pans from Michaels…a special feature this week even. Unfortunately they don’t list the price but I can assure you, it’s more than I would pay for something I would, again, only use once.

So what’s a girl to do for Valentine’s Day?

Oh right, I don’t have to do anything. But isn’t it interesting how much attention this random non-event receives commercially?

That said, I still want to do some sort of Valentine’s project, but I don’t want to be over-charged for it. So while I searched and searched for regular-priced used goods at the local thrift and dollar stores, I finally decided to purchase a ton of red candles and wax crayons.

I spent maybe $6 and I’ve already thought of three different projects I can use these items for.

Plus I went searching around my junk drawers and found all sorts of interesting and potentially great shapes for my projects.

Like this weird egg-thing I was given for Christmas as a joke. I don’t even know where to put it let alone know what to do with. Maybe now is the time?

And what project would be complete without a random boat and fish cookie cutter?

What fun I say!

And I was feeling pretty good about my resourcefulness and my refusal to buy into the commercialism of holidays (especially since I also remember my mom baking square cookies and cakes and then cutting them into the interesting shapes once they cooled—genius!).

But, of course, in the midst of my self-congratulations I ran across this delicious Valentine-y post. And now all my self-righteousness is out the window. I have to make these cookies.

I even Pinned it. And I don’t do that for just any cookies.

DIY Chocolate Bubble Bath

I’m really disappointed because I had a really cool vintage bubble bath recipe, made with sugar cubes (!) but I can’t find it anywhere.

I don’t know where it went…sigh. Sorry, folks.

But there are 1,000,000 other bubble bath recipes out there…seems a bit hokey to me actually. I mean, there’s one that says it’s a cure for varicose veins for Pete’s sake. If there’s a bubble bath that can do that then why do people get surgery?

Just saying.

Anyway, I already shared one bubble bath recipe and here is one more—just for kicks.

It comes courtesy of a website called Safe Cosmetics (although there are similar recipes all over the Internet), and it’s really straightforward and kind of fun-sounding. But a little messy maybe.

DIY Chocolate Bubble bath

Ingredients

  • One cup of unscented bubble bath
  • One-third cup of unsweetened soy milk
  • Three ounces grated or powdered dark chocolate

That’s it!

All you have to do is heat the milk, add the chocolate, stir until melted/blended but don’t boil. Then let it cool, and add to your bubble bath! And then to your bath bath!

Let me know how it goes. Not sure I’m brave enough yet.

How to Make Your Own Bubble Bath

A secondary title for this post could be: Where do the Bubbles Come From?

Maybe this is weird but I’ve never thought much about bubbles. Sure I like looking at them, sometimes it’s fun to pop them…but I’ve never had any interest in how they’re actually made.

But now I’m learning. And, well, it’s kind of interesting.

How to make your own bubble bath

Here are the ingredients.

  • Water
  • Castille soap (olive oil-based soap, which is “green”)
  • Glycerin (any pure soap) or coconut oil
  • Essential oil
  • Bathtub

Proportions: 4-4-3 oz of the first three ingredients, a few drops of the essential oils, and mix.

Apparently this makes quite a bit of bubble bath so you only need a few ounces to make your bath bubbly.

I think the important part here is depending on what sort of bath you want is which essential oils you mix in. So, if you want the “Cold and Flu Bath” then you mix oils like eucalyptus, spearmint, and peppermint. If you want the “Relaxation Bath” add lavender and patchouli. For extra luxury try honey and vanilla extract.

Neat hey!?

So the bubbles happen because they’re “surfactants,” which isn’t something I’ve known about until today. This is a $10 word to mean something that lowers the surface tension of liquid (a $5 word meaning it floats on water). When agitated (i.e filling the tub with water) the bubbles form on top of the liquid.

Bubbles!

I should also mention it’s important that the ingredients are natural (even in pre-mixed bubble bath) because if you’re at all sensitive to chemicals or fragrances you risk things like dry skin, contact dermatitis, or eczema.

You wouldn’t want a nice-smelling bubbling relaxation-station to turn into an itchy, scabby mess now would you? Gross.

That said if you already suffer from these skin ailments then you’re probably well-aware of this and take precautions.

Bubbles!

Project: Drying Parsley

Here’s the time I tried drying parsley. It worked, but this isn’t a how-to, just my story.

Drying Parsley

I was so focused on my sad, blighty tomatoes I forgot to mention the success of my parsley.

An over-abundance actually.

I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t re-plant it on the balcony because it’s full of chive, mint, and tomato plants. Like, full. So I decided to dry it.

I looked up a few recipes/how-to’s online and realized there is no one way to do it. So I took the one I trusted the most (read: not microwaved) and tried it out. Oh, it was also the quickest.

The instructions I chose (sorry I don’t have the link but it’s probably E-How or something) said to use a “cooling oven” to dry the parsley after blanching for 20 seconds in boiling water.

The instructions also said it wouldn’t take long (didn’t say a time just that it would all happen quickly).

Project Drying Parsley

In hindsight I realize I needed to know how hot the oven should have been before cooling for this “quick” process to happen. I had been cooking tater tots at a low temperature so “cooling” wasn’t a long process and made virtually zero impact on the drenched, blanched parsley.

Anyway, so I ended up turning the oven on to the lowest setting and spread the parsley out quite thin on cookie sheets. It worked but it took two hours at least. Ages.

I am happy with the dried parsley, but for the past couple weeks while I’ve crushed it up (when I have time, I’m not slave to the kitchen) I’ve been picking the stems out of the mess.

So there we go.