Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dinner of the Week: Jalapeno-Lime Steak with Black Bean Salsa

This is my favorite marinade, and is a great, easy to way to pep up anything between NY strip steaks and steak fajitas.  I have yet to try it on chicken or shrimp, but I'm willing to bet that those would be great, too!  

Jalapeno-Lime Marinated Steak with Black Bean Salsa

Jalapeno-Lime Marinated Steak:
- Steak(s) of choice
- 4 jalapeno peppers, stemmed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano

Black Bean Salsa:
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup favorite salsa of choice
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder


The night before or the morning of the dinner, place your steaks into a shallow baking dish or large Ziploc bag.  Toss the jalapeno peppers, garlic, black pepper, salt, lime juice, and oregano into a food processor.


Puree the contents until smooth.


Pour the marinade onto the steak to coat, then place the dish or bag into the refrigerator for at least eight hours.


Right before dinner, take out the steaks to rest and pre-heat your outdoor grill or indoor griddler and lightly oil the grill grate. Once heated, place your steaks onto the grill.


Grill each steak for approximately five minutes on both sides until the steak is cooked to your preferred style. 


Meanwhile, heat the corn and black beans in a skillet over medium heat.  Add your favorite salsa of choice, as well as cumin and chipotle chili powder.  Mix well and cover on medium for five minutes until hot.


Enjoy!



I made up the black bean salsa on the spot, using what ingredients I had on hand, so I'm sure that its recipe could use some tweaking.  I might add fresh tomatoes, some garlic, and maybe a diced jalapeno next time.  The salsa still tasted fantastic, though!


The lime juice and jalapenos tenderizes the steak so well, and gives it a spicy southwestern kick.  Next time, I'll slice the steaks up and put them in burritos!



Perfect, easy, and quick meal for a weeknight.  Loved it!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageBurlap and DenimC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dinner of the Week: Vegetable Korma with Cinnamon Basmati Rice

We finally tried a local Indian restaurant in our town that's been there for years, but never made an effort to go to it until now.  Their vegetable korma was so amazing that I could've cried.  Seriously... I dreamt about it for a numerous nights afterward, it was that good.  Evan and I had a craving for it again the other day, so we decided to try to make our own version for dinner this week!

Vegetable Korma with Cinnamon Basmati Rice

For the Cinnamon Basmati Rice:
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cumin

For the Vegetable Korma:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 3 tablespoons unsalted cashews
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon madras curry powder
- 2 tablespoons tikka masala sauce (from a jar)
- 1 pinch of fresh cilantro, for garnish
- 1 package fresh naan bread 

Start by soaking the basmati rice in a large mixing bowl under cool water for a half hour.


Meanwhile, chop up the shallots, ginger, garlic, potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cauliflower, and bell pepper.  Place the cashews in a food processor and puree until fully ground.


In a large saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil.  Add the drained basmati rice, cinnamon, and cumin, and stir well.  Cook on medium until all of the water is absorbed; turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 20-25 minutes.


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the shallots and cook until tender and translucent.  Mix in ginger and garlic and sauté for one minute.



Mix in potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, cauliflower, and coconut milk.  


Season with salt; add the curry powder and tikka masala.  Stir well.  


Cover the skillet and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, stirring occasionally.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take the naan out of the package and place on a baking sheet.  Baste the tops of the naan with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place into the oven.  Bake for five minutes until the naan is warm.


Stir in peas and bell pepper.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 more minutes.


Garnish with cilantro, and serve the vegetable korma over basmati rice with a few slices of naan on the side.  Enjoy!



This vegetable korma is delicious, flavorful, and healthy.  The cinnamon-cumin basmati rice almost tasted like a dessert!  The naan, too, was a perfect vehicle to soak up the extra sauce.  


This was a perfect weeknight meal for the two of us.  We had two lunches' worth of leftovers, as well!  We'll definitely be making this again.  Hope you will give it a try!



You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageBurlap and DenimC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Jump Start Your Car

Ok, back to cars!  If you missed my previous Independence Week posts, which include how to wash and wax your car, how to replace a taillight, and how to operate a miter saw, be sure to check them out!  

Now, everyone needs to know how to jump start a car.  It's a survival skill.  I once was stranded with a dead battery and the only person available to help me was a 25-year-old yuppie with an Audi who didn't even know what jumper cables were.  Therefore, yes, there are men who are clueless about cars in this world!  :)

If you find yourself stuck with a dead battery, you will need the following items in order to jump start your car:

1.  Your car (Captain Obvious), a.k.a. "Sick Car"
2.  Another car, a.k.a. "Helper Car"
3.  Jumper cables
4.  Work gloves, if they're available

I suggest that everyone keeps a pair of jumper cables in their trunk.  Even if you have a brand new vehicle, you never know when disaster may strike, and you can't always depend on the people helping you to have them, either.  So, be prepared!


Now, the first thing you need to do is to park the Helper Car within close proximity of the Sick Car.  You just need to be close enough so that your jumper cables will reach both car batteries.  Sometimes this can get tricky, especially if the Sick Car is in a crowded parking lot or surrounded by a curb.  In this case, just put the Sick Car in neutral gear and ask someone to help you push it out of its space and next to the Helper Car.

Once that is settled, make sure that the engines are turned off on both vehicles and pop the hoods of each car.  Reach under the hood to find the latch.  If you've never done this before, sometimes you've just got to fiddle around for a while to find it.  Every car is different.  This is the hood latch on my Mustang, which is posing as today's Sick Car.


Once you've found the latch and released it, hoist up the hood using the lever that is found toward the front of the hood, and insert the tip of the lever into the hole underneath the hood.  This hole should say "prop" or have some other indicating marks on it.  If you're unsure, consult your owner's manual.  Make sure that the lever is secure, because you don't want the hood to crash down on you.



This is the hood latch on Evan's newer Mustang, the Helper Car.  You can see here how different it looks from mine.


And here's his prop.



Now you are ready to jump start your Sick Car.


Locate the batteries of each car.  They vary in location, so if need be, you might have to rearrange the positioning of the Helper Car, depending on whether or not your jumper cables will be able to reach both batteries.  

This is the battery of Evan's Helper Car.


And this is the faulty culprit of my Sick Car.


Next, put on your work gloves.  In my research on how to jump cars, I've found that there's a lot of debate as to the exact method to hook up the cables.  Here's mine, and it's never failed.  Connect the red cable's jaws onto the positive terminal of the Helper Car's battery, leaving the paired black cable dangling next to the car.  You can tell which terminal is positive and negative because they are typically color-coordinated and/or have a + or - sign next to them.


It should be a tight connection with the metal of the terminal.  Sometimes you have to shimmy it to make it stay.


Then, attach the other red cable jaws to the Sick Car's positive terminal of the battery.



Return to the Helper Car and attach the first black cable jaws onto the negative terminal.



Now, this is the most important thing to remember.  When connecting the final black cable to the Sick Car, do not place it on the battery's terminal; this could cause an explosion (extremely rare, but better to be safe than sorry).  Instead, place it onto a grounded part of your car's frame.  The easiest way to find a good spot is to follow the negative lead from the battery.  There should be an offshoot fairly close to that and is bolted to the frame.  As shown below, I placed the jaws onto a bolt connected to the frame because the frame's paint may hinder the charge.



And now you're ready to charge.  Turn on the Helper Car, wait a few seconds, then turn on the Sick Car.  If the Sick Car isn't cranking or still doesn't seem to have power, try adjusting your placement of your black cable on the Sick Car. If this doesn't help, check the connections for each cable one at a time.  Only ever touch one cable at a time and try to avoid leaning on the car.

Once the Sick Car's engine is running, you may remove the cables in reverse order:  Black cable from Sick Car, black cable from Helper Car, red cable from Sick Car, and red cable from Helper Car.  Then, release the lever and let drop the hood back into place. 


They say that you should keep the Sick Car running for a good thirty minutes to recharge the battery, so go for a long drive, preferably one on a highway or an area where you won't sit in stop-and-go traffic.

I hope this helps!  It's always good to know these things.  :)


You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageBurlap and DenimC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miter Saw 101

In the third installment of Independence Week, I've decided to take a break from car maintenance to give a tutorial on my favorite power tool, the miter saw.  If you've missed the first segment on how to wash and wax your car and the second tutorial on how to replace a taillight (or headlight) bulb, be sure to check them out!

Ah, the miter saw.  If you own a home and are even remotely interested in building DIY projects, be sure to invest in one of these puppies.  Since December, we have used this saw to cut the crown molding in our master bedroom and master bathroom, to construct a scrap wood floor lamp, to frame our master bathroom's mirrors, to build a bookcase, and to create floating shelves out of pallets.  Needless to say, our miter saw has proven itself as an invaluable tool in our garage!  I'm kind of infatuated with it.


The particular model that we own (and I recommend) is a 10 inch sliding compound miter saw with a laser guide.  Well worth the investment!  This saw is unique in that it can powerfully slice through just about any type and size of wood with little to no effort involved, and can cut at any angle you wish. 


Before you handle the miter saw, be sure to place safety first.  Wear thick gloves, closed-toed shoes, and safety glasses.  I feel completely safe using this saw, but be mindful that it means serious business, and you should always be careful!


The direction of the saw may be changed to any degree you wish to make a miter cut.  There is a 50 degree miter index to the right and left of the blade, with specific "notches" for quick access to commonly-used angles, such as 45 degrees, 30 degrees, and 15 degrees.


To move the direction of the blade, pull on the handle nearest to you and swivel the blade to meet the exact angle you want to cut.


 In this case, I swung the saw to the right and positioned it at a 45 degree angle.  This would be a perfect cut to make a box frame.  The laser guide shows exactly where the blade will slice through my test piece.


This particular saw, too, may be adjusted to make for a beveled cut.  The requisite bevel index is located at the neck of the saw.  To adjust the bevel, pull out the small red lever to the left of the neck, as shown in the directions below.


Then, tilt the head of the saw to the exact degree you need for your bevel cut.  The bevel index is located on the right side of the neck.


This is what your saw will look like when it is prepped to make a 45 degree bevel cut.



Once you have the angle set, be sure to use the safety clamp to the left or right of the saw to lock the wood in place.  Place a scrap piece of wood between the clamp so that the clamp doesn't make any indentions into your final piece.


Now you are ready to cut!  The handle at the top of the saw has two buttons.  You have to press both triggers in order to power the blade.  Move the blade by pulling down on the handle until it passes through the wood piece.


It's better to start the motor before you hit the wood rather than wait.  Doing so will eliminate any chances of splinters and will produce a nice, clean cut.  



What a beauty!


Sounds easy enough, right?  Trust me, it is.  My husband taught me the basics back and December, and since then, I've been a miter saw fiend!  It's invigorating, and I can't get enough of it.


Why should the guys have all the fun?  Get out there and build!


You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageBurlap and DenimC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Everything Under the MoonGet Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeThe Graphics FairyMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSew Happy GeekSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyFunky Polka Dot Giraffe,  I'm Topsy TurvyJillify ItThe Kurtz CornerMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNatural NestersNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee Crafts,  Sweet Little GalsTales of a Trophy WifeTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleThrifty DecoratingYesterday on TuesdayFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFinding FabulousFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot So Functional HousewifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaPerfectly ImperfectThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

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