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What I would cook for Patrick Cantwell.

You may have recalled my mention of the Mr. Patrick Cantwell after I attended my first Round Rock Express game over Memorial Day Weekend. Cantwell is a fine, fine looking catcher and isn’t so bad at batting, either. He’s 26, from New York, and I wouldn’t mind cooking him dinner… more than once.

Sure, I bet he lives in the Austin/Round Rock area and could get a delicious meal just about anywhere – there is a Salt Lick right outside of the stadium, afterall. But who doesn’t love a good, homecooked meal?

And that, my readers, is what I’d like to give away today: organic ingredients for meals delivered right to your door, for FREE! I’ve been ordering from Green Chef for six months now, and I love it. You get to choose how many meals (by meal they mean serving) you want delivered, and set your preferences. You can change your food preferences as often as you want, or skip weeks if you’re not feeling it, and there’s NO penalty for it.

I generally have my preferences set on “omnivore” and I get ingredients for 6 meals each week; however, most of the time, it ends up being enough ingredients for 9 meals. Usually the box (which is right on my doorstep and packed with ice packs) has two recipes with meat, and one vegetarian. Some of my favorite meals I’ve gotten so far include:

  • Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo with Tomatoes and Snap Peas
  • Poached Tuna Salad, with Spinach Salad and Olive & Red Pepper Couscous
  • Chickpea Shawarma Salad, with Cucumber & Tomato Millet, Olives & Pine Nuts
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken with Black Quinoa, Edamame, Ginger, Pineapple & Pepper
  • Greek Gyro Flatbread with Baba ghanoush, Ground Beef, Tzatziki & Feta
  • Pumpkin-Stuffed Shells with Spinach & Walnut-parsley Pesto, Orange-chard Salad

So, you’ll get the ingredients and then you cook the meals at your leisure. All of the ingredients are pre-measured, and organized with color-coordinated labels. Some of the ingredients are even prepped for you (chopped, mixed, etc.), so it makes the meals pretty fool-proof. But seriously, no catch with the free meals – I really just want other people to try this delicious stuff!

I have one free gift to give away, so if you’re interested, shoot me your email address using the form at the bottom of this post. I’ll draw numbers tonight at 10pm Central time, and the winner will get an email from me with your code for the free meals.

In the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for this fantastic burger I’m going to make for Patrick Cantwell on our fantasy date, where of course, he’s going to fall madly in love with me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 ounces grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 slices nitrate-free bacon
  • Onion & shallot
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Honey-mustard balsamic vinegar
  • Slaw dressing
  • Carrots & cabbage
  • Scallions & celery

DIRECTIONS

Place carrots and cabbage in a medium bowl. Thinly slice scallions at an angle; discard root end. Small dice celery into about ¼-inch pieces. Add scallions and celery to bowl. Drizzle with slaw dressing to taste. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat.

Cut root end off onion; remove peel. Cut into about ¼-inch thick slices. Heat about 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; stir. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, or until edges brown, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut ends off shallot and remove peel; mince. Halve grape tomatoes. Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add shallot to hot pot; stir. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Cook 3 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place ground beef in a large bowl. Add mozzarella cheese. Season with about ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix to evenly distribute cheese. Form into two patties, about ½-inch thick. Halve bacon widthwise.

Add honey-mustard balsamic vinegar to pot with tomatoes. Fill container halfway with water; pour into pot. Stir. Cook 5-6 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by at least half, stirring occasionally. Gently smash tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add burgers to hot pan. Add bacon to pan around burgers. Cook burgers 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Cook bacon alongside burgers until crispy, flipping as needed. Transfer bacon and burgers to a paper towel-lined plate.

Meanwhile, turn oven to high broil with rack 6-8 inches from the top. Cut whole-wheat hamburger buns open. Place on a baking sheet cut-sides up. Broil 2-3 minutes, or until toasted. Crumble (or roughly chop) bacon. Add to bowl with slaw. Toss to combine.

Divide caramelized onion between bottom buns and top with Memorial Day mozz burgers. Spoon tomato jam over burgers. Finish burger with top bun. Serve with bacon slaw on the side. Enjoy!

When I cooked this meal for myself, I ended up putting the bacon on the burger, instead of in the slaw – because bacon on a burger was just a match meant to be. So, enter the giveaway – and, if you don’t win, you can still get a HUGE discount on your first Green Chef order by using my link here.

 

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Memorial Day weekend plans(!).

Cheers to the (long) weekend!

Cheers to the (long) weekend!

At precisely 5:30pm today, the long weekend begins and I cannot tell you just how excited I am! This is my first REAL Memorial Day Weekend, as previous jobs I’ve had for the last 8 years did not grant us Monday off. So… I have been thinking about this weekend for a very long time.

And, I also want to mention that it’s important to remember the reason we have the day off – to remember and be grateful for those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. I cannot image the bravery our soldiers have each and every day they go to work – I couldn’t do it.

So, what’s on my agenda this weekend? I don’t have a set time for most of these things, and some of it depends on the weather (it’s supposed to rain all three days in Austin), so who knows how much I’ll actually get done. But here are my ideas:

Food – Of course I’m planning to get my summer eat-on this weekend! I am definitely on the hunt for a taco truck, as I’ve been slacking when it comes to my local eating adventures. I also have ingredients for a bomb-ass burger, and there’s a watermelon in my fridge that I’m ready to carve. And I will also be hunting for a good bottle of rose, following my own advice from the guide to rose.

Movies – If it rains, I’m hitting up the Alamo Draft House to see “Neighbors 2”, where I’ll be able to see the hot Zac Efron, while mowing down a hot dog and fries. It’s a win-win for this unofficial kick-off of summer. I also set my DVR to record “JAWS”, because what is more festive than watching an old movie about a giant shark that haunts a beach town?

Shop – There’s going to be some good sales out there, and I’m ready to tackle them. I am on the lookout for some cute, white skinny jeans, so this may be another good rainy-day activity, if needed. I am also looking for a good outdoor chair for my patio. I might have to lose myself in IKEA.

Relax – I am really hoping to hit the pool this weekend, but between the shitty weather and my complex’s habit of never opening the pool, I am kind of accepting the fact that this will not happen. However, either way, I want to spend some time getting some rest and relaxation. I’m reading a great book (see: Blanche’s Book Club), my DVR is full of good TV (not to mention season 1 of “The West Wing on DVD”), and my bed is super comfy.

Sports – There’s a Round Rock Express baseball game every day this weekend, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate America than a good old fashioned ball game, complete with a chili dog and a beer. Haayyyy batta batta batta, sah-wiinng battaaah. See you there!

Tourism – I bought a ticket to take a ferry tour of downtown Austin. It’s good for any weekend this summer, but if the weather permits, I’ll go for a ride.

What are you up to this weekend? I’ll truly be taking time off and skipping the blog on Monday, but I’ll be right back at it come Tuesday. Until then, feel free to stalk me on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – Have a great weekend everyone! 

Bucket List: ATX Edition.

Beautiful pic of downtown Austin.

Beautiful pic of downtown Austin.

I’ve lived in Austin, TX for 9 months now (time flies!), and I can honestly say, I’m not sure how long I’ll be here. Don’t get me wrong, in general, Austin is pretty freaking cool, but I just don’t know if I’m ready to say, yes, this is the place I’ll be for the rest of my life.

It’s a commitment I’m not ready to make. But, I definitely want to make the most of my time here, whether it’s two years or 10 years, I want to leave knowing I experienced everything there is to experience in this cool city. So, here’s my list (so far):

  1. Have an Adventure on Lake Travis – I’ve been to Lake Travis a few times already, and it’s gorgeous! But I want to kick things up and have an adventure! There’s all sorts of things out there, such as: jet skis, dinner cruises, parks, wineries, cooking classes, and festivals, among many others. I’m on it!
  2. See a movie at the drive-in theatre – The Blue Starlite Drive-In is one of the best out there, according to Conde Nast. They are always playing cool movies, and it looks like they are playing a “Grease” Sing-a-long this weekend! Might have to hit that up!
  3. Eat at The Salt Lick – This is the place everyone’s heard about, and they’re known for their large outdoor fire pit where they make some (apparently) delicious BBQ!
  4. See the bats – From March to November, the bats are out in Austin! Rumor has it, the largest urban bat colony lives in Austin! There is even a boat tour where you get to see the bats leave the Congress Bridge; definitely must do this.
  5. Hit up Rainey Street – This is the historical area of downtown, although it’s come along way in the last few years. It’s known for its collection of dive bars, but it also has hot brunch spots, pizza places, and a few notable pieces of graffiti.
  6. Eat at The Hula Hut – Located on Lake Austin, it’s always island time at the Hula Hut! Mexican food with a Polynesian twist – this place looks delicious.
  7. Visit Waterloo Records – This shop has been the iconic place to get tunes since 1982, and although Austin’s grown a lot since then, it’s still the mecca for music lovers in Texas.
  8. Have a Moment at Teo Gelato & Espresso – I saw this spot on my way to UT the other night, and after some Googling, I see that this is the real deal; authentic gelato made from scratch. Yum!
  9. Bullock Imax – A part of the Bullock Museum, the IMAX theatre has tons of good flicks coming up, including “Finding Dory” in 3D. I’m admittedly really excited about this!
  10. See a baseball game at UT – I went to the UT campus for the first time two weeks ago, and stomped around a little bit. And I must say, the baseball field looks beautiful. I must see a game there!
  11. Host my own breakfast taco competition – Not a real competition, but I do want to try as many different breakfast tacos from different places, and see who’s got the best one, in my opinion. I’ve already tried them from Taco Deli and Torchy’s (both delicious).
  12. Bullock Texas State History Museum – I don’t really know much about this, but I’ve heard it’s great, and seriously, when was the last time I went to a museum??
  13. Sushi at Uchiko – Saw this place on an episode of #FoodPorn and although I might have to save my whole paycheck to eat it; I must do it.
  14. Pedicure at Caesar’s in the Domain – I saw this place when I was Christmas shopping and it looked so nice, and my hairstylist actually goes there and told me it was great, and sanitary. Always a plus! She said they even serve booze there; count me in!
  15. Austin City Wide Garage Sale – Started in 1977, this isn’t really a garage sale at all, but it’s a bunch of vintage items all in one place on certain weekends of the year. I’ve been on the hunt for a typewriter for awhile now, so maybe this is the place I’ll actually find one!
  16. Wait in line for Franklin BBQ -Waiting in line has become commonplace at Franklin BBQ…and we’re not talking a 20 minute line; it’s at least a 3 hour line. So, you get a bag of tacos and you eat while you wait for the food, and I’ve heard there’s sometimes beer pong.
  17. Dollar hot dog night at a Round Rock Express Game – This happens on Mondays and I’m SO down to hit up a ball game on a boring Monday night! Bring it on, summer!
  18. Lala’s Little Nugget – An Austin institution, Lala’s is known for keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year ’round with Christmas decor and even an old school jukebox. Cash only!
  19. Baylor Street Art Wall – This historic wall shows various street art from many years passed to the present.
  20. Buy Stuff at a Farmer’s Market – There are farmer’s markets all over Austin (seasonally, of course), and I’ve really never been to one. I’d like to go and check out all the fresh grown foods and homemade goodies.
  21. Tour Jester King Brewery – Jester King has a TON of beers, of course, made right here in Austin! Their brewery tours are free, and the tasting room is located right near a local pizza shop. Yes!
  22. Take an Antonelli’s cheese class – Aside from just wanting to visit this shop, I want to take one of their cheese classes, where you get to learn about certain cheeses and the wines that taste best with them. Cheers!
  23. Tackle the Wine Trail –  There are 48 wineries in the state of Texas, and each October, you can purchase a “passport” that provides you with a free tasting at each winery and a discount pass if you buy wine at the wineries! YAS.

I’d also like to note that I’ve already done several things that would be on a bucket list like this, such as Zilker park for Kite Fest and the Trail of Lights, Mozart’s Coffee, went ice skating at Whole Foods, eaten at Hopdoddy, been to several Texas Stars’ games, been to The Oasis, had drinks at Midnight Cowboy, partied on 6th Street, and have seen several movies at the Alamo Drafthouse. I’m all about an ATX adventure!

What I would cook for Matt Harvey.

Helloooooo! It’s been a hot minute since I featured two of my favorite pieces of this blog: “Celeb Crush” and a “Boyfriend Recipe”, so I figured why not combine the two for something steamy, plussss…. did I mention I have a giveaway? A FREE FOOD giveaway?! Yes!!

But before we get into that fun stuff, let’s pick up what hottie Matt Harvey is throwing down (baseball puns!). Let me paint the landscape for you: I enjoy going to baseball games, but mainly because I’m willing to do just about anything for a chili cheese dog and an icy beer.

I’m not a huge Mets fan, so I’ll be clear here… I had no idea who Matt Harvey was until I saw him on Watch What Happens Live. While it was revealed on the show that he “dates” a lot of models, he was also sexily coy and I pretty much loved every second of it.

Aside from the model-thing, the other downside to having a crush on Matt is his name. If you’re new here, welcome, and all you need to know is that I’ve dated WAY too many guys named Matt in my life and they are all complete douchers.

But that’s the glory of the celeb crush, right? We (me) get to suspend reality and dream on, like the fool that I am! So, a few fun facts about Mr. Harvey:

  • Birthday: March 27, 1989
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Went to college before being drafted by the Mets
  • Set a record during his debut game for 11 strikeouts
  • He is a huge hockey fan and loves the New York Rangers (le siiigggh)

So, what would I cook for Matt Harvey even though he can buy something that may taste a million times better? I would cook Harissa Steak Tacos with smashed beans, ginger slaw, and lime-dressed kale. I actually made this earlier this week, as all of the organic ingredients were delivered to me from Green Chef.

These. Are. Delicious.

These. Are. Delicious.

And that, my friends, is what I’d like to give away today: organic ingredients for meals delivered right to your door, for FREE! I’ve been ordering from Green Chef for about three months now, and I love it. You get to choose how many meals (by meal they mean serving) you want delivered, and set your preferences. You can change your food preferences as often as you want, or skip weeks if you’re not feeling it, and there’s NO penalty for it.

I generally have my preferences set on “omnivore” and I get ingredients for 6 meals each week; however, most of the time, it ends up being enough ingredients for 9 meals. Usually the box (which is right on my doorstep and packed with ice packs) has two recipes with meat, and one vegetarian. Some of my favorite meals I’ve gotten so far include:

  • Poached Tuna Salad, with Spinach Salad and Olive & Red Pepper Couscous
  • Chickpea Shawarma Salad, with Cucumber & tomato millet, olives & pine nuts
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken with Black quinoa, edamame, ginger, pineapple & pepper
  • Greek Gyro Flatbread with Baba ghanoush, ground beef, tzatziki & feta
  • Pumpkin-Stuffed Shells with Spinach & walnut-parsley pesto, orange-chard salad

So, you’ll get the ingredients and then you cook the meals at your leisure. All of the ingredients are pre-measured, and organized with color-coordinated labels. Some of the ingredients are even prepped for you (chopped, mixed, etc.), so it makes the meals pretty fool-proof. But seriously, no catch with the free meals – I really just want other people to try this delicious stuff!

I have three free gifts to give away, so if you’re interested, shoot me your email address using the form at the bottom of this post. I’ll draw numbers tonight at 10pm Central time, and announce the winners in tomorrow’s blog! The Green Chef email with the free meals will be delivered to the email you provide, so keep that in mind.

In the meantime, I’ve got the recipe for those fantastic Harissa Steak Tacos I’m going to make for Matt Harvey on our fantasy date, where of course, he’s going to fall madly in love with me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 ounce grass-fed sirloin steak
  • 6 organic corn tortillas
  • Organic red cabbage slaw
  • 1 tablespoon organic harissa spice blend
  • Organic lime, jalapeño & red bell pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic cannellini beans
  • 4-5 leaves organic Lacinato kale
  • 3 tablespoons organic pepitas
  • Organic creamy ginger dressing

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat sirloin steak dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with harissa spice blend, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Zest half of lime with a microplane (or on small holes of a box grater) into a small bowl; reserve. Cut lime into wedges.

Remove center rib from Lacinato kale. Roll leaves into a large “cigar” and slice across into about ¼-inch wide ribbons. Place in a medium bowl. Squeeze juice of one lime wedge over kale. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Massage kale with hands (or tongs) to break down fibers. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place red cabbage slaw in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the creamy ginger dressing. Add pepitas. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cut jalapeño in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stem. Small dice desired amount of jalapeño (or omit) and red bell pepper into about ¼-inch pieces.

Heat about 1 ½ tablespoons cooking oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add bell pepper and desired amount of jalapeño (or omit) to hot pan. Stir. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until peppers have softened, stirring occasionally.

Open, drain, and rinse cannellini beans. Add beans to pan with peppers. Add reserved lime zest. Squeeze juice of another lime wedge over pan. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low. Mash about half the beans with the back of a cooking spoon. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on back of stovetop, off heat.

Place corn tortillas on foil. Sprinkle with water. Wrap foil over tortillas. Warm in oven 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add steak to hot pan. Sear 4-5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest at least 3 minutes.

Cut steak against the grain into about ¼-inch thick slices. Pile beans and slaw on each plate. Serve three tortillas each. Place kale in each tortilla and divide steak between tacos. Drizzle remaining creamy ginger dressing over tacos to taste. Garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy!