Tag Archives: steak

The Best Valentine’s Date Night

12 Feb

Because I’ll be at a concert with friends this weekend, and also because we wanted to beat the crowds, Zach and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day this past Friday night.

For a while now, I’ve been talking about doing a date night where we cook dinner at home, but then go out for dessert/drinks afterwards, so that was our plan.

Our night started after work on Friday. I wanted to get a quick run in, and Zach wanted to get a nap in. While I went to the gym, Zach took a nap on the couch with the cats. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at about a 10:45 pace, and when I came back, this is what I saw:

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Ha! I swear, she isn’t really about to steal his soul, she was just surprised by the flash. I thought it was funny, though.

I made myself presentable and let Zach nap a little longer. After I was pretty, I started cooking. On the menu, NY Strip Steak, baked potatoes and green salad with homemade Greek dressing.

Whenever I’m about to cook something basic (steak, baked potatoes), I first search Google to see how Alton Brown suggests doing it. Luckily, he never steers me wrong. I cooked the steak per his instruction and it turned out perfectly medium rare:

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Look at that giant steak! Of course, I didn’t eat the whole thing, but it was perfectly cooked. Here’s how I did it:

First, I set the steaks out about an hour before I was going to cook them, to get them up to room temperature. I took a tiny bit of canola oil and rubbed the steaks down with oil, kosher salt, cracked black peppercorns, and a few other spices. Then, I put my cast iron skillet into a very hot (500 degree) oven, and turned a burner up to high heat. Once the skillet was very hot, I pulled it out of the oven (using mitts, of course), and set it on the burner. Using long tongs, I set each steak into the skillet and let it sear on each side for 30 seconds. Then, I put the whole skillet with the steaks back into the oven, and let it cook on each side for exactly 2 minutes. That’s it! The steaks were medium rare and perfect.

After our delicious dinner, we headed out to Huntington Prime for drinks and dessert. Our friend Shane was working at the bar, so we sat at the bar and ordered our desserts and drinks based on his suggestions:

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On the left are my choices. I can’t remember what the drink was called, but it had a blueberry vodka base, blueberries, lemons, some kind of delicious juice and…well, who knows what else. It was fruity and delicious, but I really liked Zach’s drink better. He got a bourbon based drink, and though it looks pretty fruity, it wasn’t at all. For our desserts, I got the hot chocolate cheesecake and he got the strawberry bavarian cream cake. I’m hungry just typing this post! Both desserts were amazing.

It was such a successful date! If we had done a steak dinner and dessert out, we likely would have spent more than $100, but as it was we spent less than $50 on the whole meal, but it still felt like a fancy date night.

I even had enough steak leftover to make steak fajitas for dinner the next night:

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I added in some chicken too, and I ate these leftovers all weekend. Yum!

Valentine’s Date Night 2013 was a success! It’s hard to believe next Valentine’s Date Night will be as a married couple! 🙂

Question of the Day:
How do you keep date night costs down? 

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TGIF!

5 Oct

…am I right? I’ve got a busy weekend ahead, but I’m looking forward to a few days off of work.

Yesterday, Zach and I went to Macy’s to start a registry. Macy’s was having an event where you could win gift cards, but we didn’t win any. We did start a registry, however, and boy is that overwhelming. I don’t want to register for out of this world, expensive stuff, so I tried to stick to the basics and I put a wide range of price points on there. We will still do a few other registries, because I don’t want people to feel obligated to buy us some extravagant gift. If I’m being honest, though, I do think that it is nice to get some things for our home that we might not be able to stock up on otherwise. So, I need to get over that icky feeling of I’m ‘asking people for gifts’ and just make sure our wedding is a gracious, beautiful event where everyone has a great time.

Ready to scan at my beck and call! My knight in shining armor!

We decided to make a date night of it (and I had a coupon), so after registering, we went to Ruby Tuesday to have dinner. I know I’ve said this a few times, but I love their salad bar.

I wish that was more in focus, but I was starving and ready to dig in. It was so good. I’ll be honest and say I went up for a second, smaller salad after that. I ordered the petite sirloin with coconut shrimp (fried, but love coconut shrimp!), and since I was so enamored with the salad bar (and I wanted one of their pumpkin spice cupcakes), I didn’t eat much of my main meal:

The aftermath….

I got their mashed cauliflower as my side, and it was really good! Luckily, I have all of that at home which I will be warming up for lunch. Yum! They were advertising their pumpkin spice desserts, so I had to get a cupcake:

I swear, these photos looked in focus when I took them…

It was pretty good, but not as good as I expected. After that we went to have a couple drinks and then it was home to bed, because I wanted to get up to go to the gym this morning.

I’ve been having some back/hip/leg pain lately. After reading about Abby’s sciatic nerve issues  (I read her blog over at Back At Square Zero), I’ve self-diagnosed myself. I really do think that is the issue, and it’s not severe enough at this point to see a doctor (plus, even when you have health insurance, doctors aren’t cheap), so I’m focusing on taking it easy and reintroducing stretching into my life.

I’ll be honest, I’m terrible at stretching. I rarely stretch after runs (I KNOW!) and up until now, it hasn’t really caused me any problems. Mainly because I was regularly doing yoga. Lately, I’ve been trying to fit all my training miles in and hit the weights so yoga has seriously suffered, and I can feel the pain. So this morning instead of going to my beloved HIIT class, I went to yoga and boy am I glad I did!

Penny was glad to see me when I got home from yoga.

I wish I had taken my phone to the gym, because the room we did yoga in this morning was hilarious. My gym is the YMCA, which is a converted church. There is exactly one aerobics room, so when there are two classes at the same time, one class has to meet elsewhere. Since the HIIT class is in the aerobics room, yoga was meeting in one of the raquetball courts, but recently they moved it to what is called the “Board Room” — I had no idea where that was and I panicked a little this morning until I asked and someone pointed it out to me. But yeah, the Board Room has the painted portraits of every President that the YMCA has had since its inception. So, basically the entire room is plastered with painted portraits of men staring at you. It’s funny/creepy. When we were doing our balance poses, I just looked one of the guys in the eyes, and I was steady as a rock. Ha! I will definitely take a sly photo for you next week.

Anyway, yoga felt great this morning. I told Elizabeth (the yoga instructor at the Y) about my sciatic concerns and she said she has had similar issues and has cured it with regular yoga, so I really need to focus on going to her classes and doing some extra at home. In fact, tomorrow I have plans to do TWO classes with my friend Ashley in the morning and I think I’m going to hit up Elizabeth’s 8 AM class before that. So, three hours at the gym? I can handle it!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever had a repetitive stress injury? How did you correct it?