Beef Tenderloin

This is a repost of my Beef Tenderloin mishap, which came up in conversation last night. Re-reading the post I wrote in September 2009 made me glad I’ve kept up with this bloggy blog… Ruby was only 3 months old back then!

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I love Ryan and Ryan loves food, so this morning I got the notion in my head to make him a delicious and meaty man meal to show him how much I love him. As you may know, I am not much of a whiz in the kitchen… so planning, shopping for and making a meal is kinda a big deal for me.

I decided to get my “One-Armed Cook” book off the shelf because it says “Quick and easy recipes, smart meal plans and savvy advice for new (and not-so-new) moms.” I can’t think of any cook book that would suit me better, eh?

I turn to the “Main Dishes” chapter in search of the first really meaty meal. “Beef Tenderloin – There is no finer main dish for a celebration, serving a crowd, or serving an important guest.” I think to myself, “This will be perfect for Ryan! He is a very important guest!” So I write down all of the ingredients on my shopping list, pack Ruby into her car seat and head to the grocery.

I have mentioned before herehere and here I do not love going to the grocery, mostly because I’m not good at it. You know those women who love the grocery? The ones who are aware of sales and knowledgeable about how much a gallon of milk usually costs compared to the price they are looking at. They have fancy ingredients in their carts, they buy fresh vegetables that I don’t know the names of. They are amazing to me. I want to be like them… but I’m not.

Honestly, I do not know how much a loaf of bread costs. I have bought bread every time I’ve ever been to the grocery in the last decade, but I could not tell you right now how much a loaf should cost. The same goes for a gallon of milk, or a bag of apples. I know – it’s embarrassing! You’d think a gal with honors grades in college could retain such useful information, but instead my brain is full of the first and last names of all the students in my 2nd grade class. I could even tell you some of their phone numbers from memory! RIDICULOUS!

Back to the grocery. Most of the items on my grocery list are in my cart and get to the one that says “3.5 to 5-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed by the butcher” (I wrote it on my list EXACTLY like the One-Armed Cook book had it listed.) I go up to the counter and calmly place my order as if I’ve ordered this particular cut of meat a thousand times before. The butcher walks over, grabs a HUMONGOUS beef thing and begins slicing around and around until there is a beautiful chunk of meat. He puts it on the scale, wraps it up in white paper, sticks the sticker on it and hands it to me with a smile. I say thanks and turn to put it into my cart. That’s when my eyes caught the price tag. $83.27!! WHAT? How could the One-Armed-Cook book people think that new moms would have such incredibly deep wallets?!?! The butcher must have noticed the look on my face and probably could tell that maybe I wasn’t the brilliant chef I wanted him to think I was. He asked me what I was going to make and unfortunately I had not written the title of the recipe on my grocery list, so I said to him “Beef Tenderloin… like a roast type of thing?” He said I could try to do it with a cut of steak instead, so I took his advice and got 2 $8 cuts and thanked him for not forcing me to purchase the huge slab of meat that had been specifically cut to my request.

I swiftly rolled my cart a final time down every aisle (because that’s just how good I am at grocery shopping) and headed for the check-out. That’s when I looked down and noticed that the navy blue t-shirt I was wearing had a huge dried smear of white chunky spit up from my shoulder down to my belly button. Nice touch.

As the check-out girl is ringing up my order and putting everything in bags I notice that she is really filling them up to the brim. I think to myself, “She must think I’m really strong. Doesn’t she see that I have an infant in a car seat that I’m also carrying? I am not sure that I can pack-mule bags that heavy… I am going to have to make a million trips back and forth from the car to unload these bags! I better say something!” 

Apparently my hint, “I’d rather have more lighter bags than a couple really heavy ones” wasn’t clear. Just for kicks I put a couple of my grocery bags on the bathroom scale when I got home. 13.4 and 14.6 pounds each!

Other than expensive beef, spit-up on my shirt, and the heaviest grocery bags I’ve ever had to carry, I’d say it was a successful trip! I’ll let you know how the Beef Tenderloin recipe goes when I try to use steaks instead. I’m guessing it’s going to be a disaster!

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Beef Tenderloin – Part Deux 

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles to find out how my fancy dinner for Ryan turned out…

Let me begin by saying, since I didn’t buy the $83 tenderloin… it was more like beef ‘New York Strip’ loin.

When Ryan saw the bag of deliciousness marinating in the fridge he got a curious look in his eye and asked if he needed to buy more charcoal for the grill. I said excitedly, “No grill needed – I’m going to bake it!” To which he replied, “Bake? Steak? I don’t think you can bake New York Strip… can you?”

So I googled “bake a steak” just in case it’s impossible to bake a steak. I found that it’s been done… however, these steaks were so huge and glorious it would be a pitty to ruin them with such experimentation.

I considered titling this post “I appreciate the effort, though!” because that’s what Ryan said to me when we decided to grill the steaks instead of bake them.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that these were the most melt-in-your mouth, deliciously juice-tastic, grilled to perfection steaks I have ever tasted in my life. I was able to eat almost a quarter of mine and Ryan managed almost half! We will be eating the following meals for the rest of this week:
  • steak quesadillas
  • steak sandwiches
  • tacos with steak
  • some steak
  • steak

Ruby was having a bit of a cryin’ jag while the Weber was heating up, but thanks to her swing we enjoyed our dinner in peace with some instrumental Imogen Heap playing in the background. This was a dinner we will remember for a long time.

I can see us sitting on our porch 30 years from now and Ryan will say, “Remember when you bought those gigantic steaks?” And I’ll laugh and say, “Oh, you mean the beef tenderloin?” and he won’t laugh because he didn’t read the original Beef Tenderloin post… it was kinda long.

Clara’s 15-month update

Our Clara girl had her 15-month appointment with her pediatrician this morning. She’s doing just great and growing really fast. She is 20 pounds… catching up with Ruby who is not quite 30 lbs. ha! She is pulling up on everything, constantly on the move and would much rather walk than crawl, which would be perfect except that she cannot walk by herself yet so I am breaking my back bending down to hold her little hands while she tries to walk. I know she’ll be taking her first steps soon… crazy!

In the meantime, her little knees and tops of her feet are all scraped up from all the crawling she does, so I discovered that if she wears my socks it gives her an extra layer of protection from the sidewalk!

Clara loves her sister Ruby. As soon as she wakes up in the morning she points at Ruby’s door – her favorite mornings are the ones when Ruby wakes up first and comes in to get her. She squeals and laughs and can’t wait to be wherever Ruby is.

She says Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa, Bye Bye, Hi, and is super determined. She knows what she wants and is more than furious if anything or anyone prevents her from getting it! She is super excited about all things hazardous, including toilets, trash cans, stairways, electrical outlets and Ryan’s shoes that have been walking around the GI division of the hospital. Talk about child proofing! This girl is keeping me busy!

We’re working on helping her learn not to chuck her food on the floor… it’s a hard lesson to learn… and a messy one! Some of her favorite foods are cottage cheese, black beans, any and every kind of fruit, macaroni, ritz crackers, graham crackers, raisins and string cheese. Hardened remnants of most of these foods can be found on the windows, wall, floor and blinds behind her chair. Its awesome.

Clara is a sweetie. A mischievous, messy, determined, danger-seeking sweetie pie. I love that I get to be Clara’s mama and I pray everyday that God will help me do it well.

Ruby’s Birthday Weekend at the Cottage

We celebrated Ruby turning 3 while we were on our vacation at Cox Cottage. Ryan’s parents came down for the weekend and we had gorgeous weather for the happenings. If you watched Ruby’s 3rd Birthday Interview, then you know why her cake has Honey Nut Cheerios on it…  Don’t look too closely – it was the best I could do. Pretty much I asked Ryan’s mom to buy a white cake with white frosting and I decorated it with Cheerios. Ha! Ruby loved it, so that’s all that mattered anyway. Before Ryan’s parents arrived Ruby made sure the flag was raised and Nana’s flowers were watered.

Donuts for breakfast, Honey Nut Cheerio cake for lunch, burgers for dinner and a swim in the lake. Birthdays are the best!

Food. Food. Food.

We had some delicious food and got to sit around the table with some incredible people while we were in Florida. Our first stop after landing at the airport was lunch with Aaron and Tracy at 4 Rivers Smokehouse. It’s amazing. We literally drove straight there from the airport. Ha!

Saturday night after going to Summit Church and hearing my cousin Isaac preach, we met up with my cousin Joel and his wife Lizzy, Rob and Kristy-Lee, and Sterling and Rachel at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen. This place is all the rage. I had some kind of delicious sausage po’ boy type thing.

My face hurt from laughing so much at that dinner. Ryan was on fire with his story-telling. Joel is one of the funniest people on the planet. Joel and Ryan sat beside each other and entertained the rest of us. We laughed and laughed. Whew. It was awesome.

Sunday Ryan and Aaron fired up the grill and created a feast of BBQ and Buffalo wings. They were perfect. Seriously so so good.

Can’t forget our evening at Seito Sushi!

After fishing on Tuesday we ate an early dinner at the ShipYard Emporium (which I mistakenly called the Boat House all week)

Thursday morning I got to have breakfast at First Watch with my Aunt Becky. Spending an hour with her is like a refreshing jolt of rejuvenation. Whenever I am with her, I want to be more like her because she is seriously one of the most instinctively encouraging people on the planet. You will gain wisdom for living from my Aunt Becky’s blog. Check it out.

Also, her book “Why Her” will help you be the Daughter-In-Law you hope you’ll have / Mother-In-Law you wish you had. Read it!

Thursday night Robbie and Kristy-Lee came over for more grilling. We have annual pics of Rob, Aaron, and Ryan grilling. You can see last year’s classic grilling pic here. This year they each picked their own meat from a store called “The Meat House“. Doesn’t it sound super-manly to buy your meat from the meat house? After grilling all 3 pieces to perfection they cut them up for all of us to share. It was really great – I can’t decide which cut of steak was my favorite.

Friday afternoon we met my cousin Josh and his son Noah at 4River’s for more smokehouse deliciousness. I love getting to spend time with my florida cousins. So thankful for my family – near and far.

Pretty much we ate like it was going out of style. Ah, vacation.

“I Cooked It!”…and was partially successful.

Here’s an “I Cooked It!” threefer: Pizza Casserole, Zesty Italian Chicken and Glazed Pork Chops. Don’t forget that whenever I type, “I Cooked It!”, you have to read it in your head the way I’m saying it… with an extreme amount of enthusiasm and a jovial fist pump.

photo courtesy of formamas.blogspot.com

photo courtesy of formamas.blogspot.com

The week started out great. I found this Pizza Casserole recipe on Pinterest and it looked delicious in the picture so “I Cooked It!”. Ruby helped me assemble the ingredients and we threw it in the oven. It seriously is one of my new faves… wouldn’t it be great to be able to eat delicious pizza every night? Ryan said it was pretty good but needed more sauce next time. I LOVED it! I ate the leftovers for lunch and loved it again. Definitely making this one again!

A couple of nights ago “I Cooked It!” but it didn’t go so well. Making Crock Pot Italian Chicken and was taking a bit of a risk since in 7.5 years I’ve never made anything in a crock pot that Ryan has actually liked. I thought it was delicious and definitely zesty. Ryan said, “It’s alright. I don’t love it.” which means, “please don’t make this again.” Then he ate some Ritz crackers with peanut butter.

photo from pinterest

If you want to give it a try, here’s the recipe – Crock Pot Italian Chicken: 4 chicken breasts, 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning, 1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 2 cans cream of chicken soup; Cook on low for 4 hours. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta.

Last night’s dinner was a beautiful sight. These Glazed Pork Chops were juicy and delicious and looked so pretty on my fiesta ware plates. “I Cooked It!” Woo-hoo!

Unfortunately, Ryan got paged and had to do an admission right as the chops finished cooking – so he had to enjoy his meal re-heated an hour after the rest of us were done eating. boo. He said they were still really good. I’m just happy to have a meat that Ryan liked that didn’t require the grill.

 

I cooked it! – Cheesy Zucchini Bake

This is the first of a new series I’d like to call, “I cooked it!” but whenever I type that, you have to read it in your head the way I’m saying it… with an extreme amount of enthusiasm and a jovial fist pump.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might think I’m a foodie/cooker-type of person. If you know me in real life or have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I am far from adequate in the kitchen. Needless to say, “I cooked it!” and according to Ryan it was “pretty good!”

I found this recipe for cheesy zucchini bake, but it didn’t have any meat in it… because technically it’s a side dish. Being the super non-chef that I am, I don’t really do the whole “side dish” thing regularly, so I figured I’d just add some shredded chicken and call it dinner! Hooray!

I closely followed the recipe, except that I added chicken, didn’t have green onions so I left those out, and I didn’t measure the cheese, and I’m pretty sure the thyme and basil I had on hand is like 8 years old… other than that it’s the exact recipe. Oh, and I made a double batch so I could freeze a pan for later. “I cooked it!” (when you read that did you picture me saying it in your head? Good.)

Unlike her mother, Ruby is a good little cook. She loves to help me make dinner, she stirs and pours and eats the ingredients. It’s really wonderful. When I started letting her help me cook dinner, I figured it would help her want to eat dinner, but alas, she eats one corner of 1/4th of whatever we are having and then she’s done. I don’t even know how she is alive. I hear kids will eventually eat when they get hungry enough. that’ll be a great day.