About Jessica Grady

Jessica Grady is a Speech Pathologist specializing in Neuro-rehabilitation. She is also the mother of two fabulous boys and loves all things active. Learn more about her here.

Cinco de Mayo Margaritas!

It would really be a shame if you only made these margaritas today. I am hoping that you will enjoy them all weekend long. Heck, all summer long and then perhaps into fall. Or maybe for Christmas Eve. This will be your new favorite marg recipe for sure. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a marg connesiour of sorts. Not that there is a licensing committe that has relegated this honor upon me or anything, but let’s just say that the margarita and I? We have been around the block a few times. That block has gotten progressively  blurry a few times, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

Now if you are still using that awful pre-made mix to which you just add tequila? Or even worse,  the ones with the tequila already mixed in? You need to move into the new milennium. Really people, those are packed with sugar and artificial colors and flavors. Not that I mind those things when I am eating an Oreo, mind you. But for the love of all that is good….take a few steps and make it a bit more fresh. You won’t regret it! Here’s what you need to get people hanging from the chandeliers make this recipe!

1 Container of Minutemaid Limeade (found in the freezer section of most grocery stores, and not the itty bitty ones)

Tequila (not the Jose Hornitos kind, either)

Triple Sec

2 fresh limes

Gran Marinier (this will set you back a few but lasts forever and is fully responsible for the awesomeness of this drink)

Salt (optional)

Okay. Salt the rim of your glasses if you like. And if not, I will just call you wussy. No, that’s fine….some of my most upstanding friends like their margs saltless! I don’t judge. Keep limeade mix in freezer till ready to party use. Take out one half of mix and reserve in a different container. Empty other half into blender. Fill half way again with tequila. (I use Jose Gold, but if you are packin’ the Patron, more power to ya!) Fill one quarter full with Triple Sec and add. Squeeze juice of both limes in blender as well. Fill to the brim with ice. Mix will be thick, but softens to a loveliness over just a few minutes. Here’s the key!!! Pay attention. Don’t drink yet! Slowly drizzle some Gran Marinier over the top of each drink. Now taste. Aha! Who’s your momma now? Wait, don’t answer that! I am only two peoples’ mama. That I know for sure. Okay, drink up, put on some Tito Cruz and get dancin’!

Cool Weather Calls for Chili

Just when I think I can’t HANDLE the truth regarding the change of seasons in Phoenix (cue Jack Nicholson voice); we get a cold front that upends us all and has us running from our cars into the already busy Starbucks to get some piping hot concoction that will make up 1/4 of our daily allotment of calories, (THANK YOU VERY MUCH EGG NOGG LATTE!). Wow, what a long sentence that was! I digress. It’s been cold here, and I actually kind of love it. I refuse to complain about it, I just wear more clothes on my morning runs. Every morning for the past week, the temp has started with a 3, as in 36, 38, 34, 33, etc. This morning, NYC and Phoenix were the same temperature, according to Syrie. Syrie is the new woman in my husband’s life. Syrie, if you don’t know and haven’t heard, is the voice of all authority and knowledge in the iphone, and lately, well she has been answering a lot of his questions. He kind of crushes on Syrie. I refuse to worry until she figures out how to make his favorite Penne alla Vodka, or until he starts wondering what she looks like “in real life.” Back off Syrie!

One of my favorite things to make, as it cools down, is an assortment of soups and chilis. I have some great white bean chili, some chicken chili and the like. But sometimes, nothing beats a good ole’ fashioned meat and bean chili with a little kick, and this one fits the bill. I also like to bake, pick up some fresh Sourdough bread for dipping, but you can go with whatever tickles your fancy, or just eat it plain. The kids will love it too. On a side note, it looks like you are adding a LOT of cayenne, but with the heartiness of the tomatoes and beans and meat, it doesn’t taste too spicy at all. I like to make mine with extra lean ground beef and turkey sausage, but again, whatever makes your skirt fly up is just fine. Start this chili early afternoon, let it simmer a bit, pop open some Zin or a hearty Cab, and voila! The stuff dreams are made of. Let’s get down to it.

ALL AMERICAN CHILI:

6 oz hot italian turkey sausage (I use 8)

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

8 garlic cloves (I know!! Yet it never tastes too garlicky)

1 lb lean ground beef

1 jalapeno, chopped

2 T Chili powder (large T is for Tablespoon, small t for teaspoon)

2 T Brown sugar

1 T ground Cumin

3 T Tomato paste

1 t dried oregano

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

2 Bay leaves

1 and 1/4 cup Merlot or other fruity wine (See! Aren’t you glad you already have some open?)

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained

2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained

1/2 cup low fat or regular sharp cheddar cheese

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over med high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients to pan; cook 8 mins or until sausage and beef are browned and crumbling. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients and cook for 1 min, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and beans, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves (if you can find them:)) Sprinkle each serving with some cheese, low fat sour cream, and green onions.

The Benefits of Changing it Up!

change ahead

This has been a year of changes for me. Or shall I say I was forced into making some changes, and now I am embracing those changes and making new ones. I am pretty much a routine kinda girl. I find out what works, and I tend to stick to it. Some people call this anal, I tend to prefer the term disciplined. A back injury last year forced me into some physical activities that did not include running. I did not run for 3 months and then slowly added days back in, with rest days in between, a strategy that I am still employing. However, as any runner will tell you, running is addictive once you get past the point of hating every second. And the withdrawal of running also comes with a withdrawl of those little addictive endorphins, which make you feel so good, you actually forget that running is hard and you go on your next run. And so on, and so on.  So for me to go from running 6 days a week without fail(unless sidelined by pretty much death) for years, to NOT running… was going to take some getting used to.

hot yogaLike I said, I was forced to change, so I decided to take up hot yoga. This was intense hot yoga.Not just your average take it easy but the room will be hot yoga. No, it was more like power yoga at 105 degrees where they practically bolt the doors and encourage you “not to drink” if you don’t have to. I chose to ignore that part since it is already hot in Phoenix and I figure as a “runner” I know my body well and I know when it needs water and when it does not. Plus, that’s easy for you to say when you are just standing inthe front of the class telling me not to drink! Anyway, the class was so intense that it made not running a little bit less sad. Plus, part of the class was a flow period where they played four songs and you basically rocked it out as hard as you could until the seated series. I strengthened muscles I didn’t know I had. I intensified my ability to withstand some serious heat while being very activie, and I was able to unload some stress in the meantime.

And then, well, the classes became harder to get to because of my work schedule, and I couldn’t resist not pushing the poses that I wasn’t supposed to push because of my back so I took up something else. Enter CrossFit. If you have not heard of it, CrossFit is a short but intense workout (45-60) minutes that incorporates a lot of power, strength training, elements of gymnastics, fast-twitch muscle fibers, balance and coordination. It wasn’t a ton of cardio, but what we did was intense and fast. Think push ups, jump rope, deadlifts, overhead presses, box jumps, burpees, sprints with weight, etc….I was sore after Every. Single. Session. It really gave me a boost in my overall strength. I was surprised, however, how much weight some of those ladies could handle, but that many of them could not run a half mile without stopping. There was something to be said for not getting so wrapped up in one activity (for me this was running!) that you lost the benefits that come from crosstraining. Soon though, I could not resist the temptation to push myself on exercises that were not good for my back. I needed to make a change.

I then decided to do something that really scared me. I decided that I could no longer be a 6 day a week runner and I needed a new challenge. So I signed up for a half-ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside next March. Yep, I would be swimming 1.2 miles in the ocean, biking 56, and running 13.1. I’ve never been a swimmer before. I dabbled in it once for about 3 months or  a few years ago, but this was going to require some serious prep. And some extra hair washing and drying… that gets really old (yes, I am a girl). But you know what? Yesterday (after my 15th time or so in the pool), I actually enjoyed it! It started to flow and I felt that Zen feeling that I can sometimes get when I run. Don’t get me wrong, I still have goggle issues, I look really dumb in a swim cap and I am super scared for the beginning of that swim. All the hitting and kicking in the face, the feeling of getting pulled under, the shallow out of control breathing at first, it scares the heck out of me. But I think it will make the completion of it that much sweeter.

I also signed up to hike the 7 Summits of Phoenix. It was a one day, 23 mile hike that I had never done before. Normally I would be in marathon training mode and therefore would not have wanted to forgo my Saturday long run for something like this. But I did. And it was great. I did it with some fabulous friends and it was not competitive at all! I don’t even know what our time was. It was great to be physically exhausted without the stress or goals that I usually place on myself when competing.

7 Summits

I signed up to be a pacer for a “Girls on the Run” program where I run next to a 3rd grade girl for her first 5 k! It will feel so great to encourage her to do her best and to give some of my time to hopefully help this girl develop a love for running, or at least make her feel strong and able bodied in hope that she can carry that in her pocket and call on it when she needs to.

Not all my changes have been physically based. I decided to respond honestly when asked “how are you?” I decided not to sweat so much of the small stuff. I am not perfect, I don’t have to be. I can have friends over and be undecided regarding what to make. I can (gasp!), not serve an appetizer. I can let my kids dress themselves in outfits that I don’t particularly like and let them walk out the door. I can skip a workout. I can ask my husband to lighten the load. I can slow down, mess up, and downright suck. It’s okay, the world will not end.

Elenor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing per day that scares you.” And although one per day may be pushing it for me, I think there is something to be said for shaking things up a bit. It makes you sit a little straighter, pay more attention and be more adaptable. And if I fail? Well, the failure really is in the not trying.

Family Ties

My sister and I spent our childhood pretty much attached at the hip. We have subsequently spent most of our adult lives thousands of miles apart. She has a job that has moved her around quite a bit, I have my own business here in Phoenix and am, therefore, not moving any time soon.

premiere dress

My sister

little boys

The early years: my sons

For a while, our lives were quite different. She was rising up through the ranks  in her career,  and I was beginning to have babies and trying to start a business while keeping my head above water. She was flying to a premiere in L.A., wearing a fabulous dress and getting her hair and make-up done, and I was trying to get breastmilk out of my work shirt, and trying to picture a life without a “Boppy” and immunization records.

 

 

cute mom and toddler

My sis & niece

More recently, with the birth of her first baby about 22 months ago, my sister  is in the forays of early motherhood and chasing a toddler, and I am navigating a household where no more naps are taken, but two school-aged boys may or may not jump off the dog kennel onto the couch in superhero fashion. The divergence of our lives the past 20 years is narrowing again and our circle is beginning to get smaller.

family picture

A recent family picture

There was a time when my boys were really young and I was a nap Nazi and a hyper-scheduler and every time my sister  looked at me I felt like she thought I had three heads, and maybe I did. I had my second son on a Thursday and saw my first patient in my new practice on a Tuesday. Not exactly the best timing, but at the time, it is what I felt I had to do. I don’t imagine I was much fun in those days, and she probably wondered whether I ever would be again. I wondered if there was ever going to be a time where she would understand the pressures and demands and stress I was experiencing. I wanted her to love my babies as much as I did, but seeing them once or twice a year was not really enough to forge the tight bond for which I had hoped. When your kids are under the age of three, they are only friendly with people they see often, people with whom they have established memories.

Fast forward almost nine years from the time I had my first, and she was finally having her first. Although I hated the desperation in her voice as she was describing the frustrations of no sleep and early mommyhood, I loved being the one she called for advice or for simply an ear. I wished I could have given her a shoulder. It was very hard to be so far away and not have the ability to hold my sweet little niece and give my sister a break without her having to worry about her baby being cared for. Because to me, that is what family does. They are the people with whom you can trust in caring for your most valued possessions without worrying about them. We had two or three days here and there–not nearly enough time for me to be a trusted face for my niece or for my boys to really spend some quality time with their aunt.

Then this past summer came. My sister was in the throws of looking for a different job….she had some time to spare–we planned a family vacation, and then my boys got to spend an extra week with my parents and my sister, her husband, and their new niece. They came home with the kinds of stories that can only come with time real time spent in the company of the ones you love. They loved their niece, they constantly played with their uncle, and they were doted on by their aunt. The story was coming together….closer to what I had always wanted for us.Toddler and her cousins

Now there is a real possibility of her finding work here where I live. I can barely think about it because I dare not, lest I jinx it. They have been staying with us and other family off and on the past few weeks–and any time they aren’t at our house, my boys are wondering when they are coming back. You see, there is no other reason that 9 and 7 year old boys would be so infatuated with a 22 month old cutie pie, except for that family bond and time that establishes and cements these core relationships. My sister is over the hump and confident in her motherhood and I am basking in these boy years where they still let me kiss them. We are both relaxed for the most part, sharing the best bond of sisterhood and motherhood. She watches  me looking adoringly at her daughter and I look at her cracking up at my silly boys’ antics. It just doesn’t get much better. And my niece? No stranger danger with me anymore. This morning I got a kiss and a smile–none of that “Who is this lady that loves me?” look. My sister and I are geographically and emotionally closer all at once. Our lives are converging–no longer parallel three time zones apart…..attached at the hip, and hopefully within the same time zone, state, county, and maybe even zip code.

Sisters

Up and Coming Cocktail: St. Germain

 

I am a mixologist of sorts. I really enjoy coming up with new and creative cocktails for dinner parties, or just to serve friends. Although I never partake myself (Not!), it’s fun  to come up with  tasty creations that people have never tried which will accentuate the food and atmosphere of the evening. By using some fresh and natural juices, you can really reduce the calorie impact of a cocktail without sacrificing the taste. And unfortunately, since the skinny jean doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon (tragic), saving calories is a good thing.

Enter St. Germaine. If you have never heard of it, you obviously haven’t been watching a lot of Bravo or Real Housewives. Not that I have, someone just told me about it. Or something like that…..Anyway, one day early in the summer I was perusing the aisles of my local Bev-Mo, when one of the gals came up to me and said, “Jessica, you have to try this stuff.” Is it weird that they know me by name there?  I am not sure, but so do the produce guys at Fry’s, and Jerry, the stocker, at Target. So whatever, it’s not like I am ONLY known in places that specialize in various types of alcohol.

The story behind St. Germain is pretty fascinating. It is handpicked in the old, artisanal way of the French. It is made from the Elderflower, which grows in the foothills of the Alps. There are 40 or 50 men in the world who pick the Elderflowers, put them in sacks, and ride them on bikes to the markets. In a matter of weeks, all the Elderflowers will be picked, thus all the St. Germain that will be available for the year, has been spoken for. The smell of it is intoxicating, almost as  you smell it, you can taste it. From the description on the bottle, St. Germain is “neither passion-fruit nor pear, nor grapefruit, nor lemon, but something of all of those.” And that’s a pretty good description if you ask me. The bottle isn’t the cheapest thing you will ever buy, but nothing really good ever is, right? And if you are using it as a mixer, it lasts quite a long time.

So here’s my latest creation. Let’s call it the Phoenix.

THE PHOENIX

one part St. Germaine

one part fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (or all natural store bought, just not the Ruby Red stuff)

one part Pellegrino or other sparkling water

Splash of citron vodka or other lemon-lime based vodka

Fill a tumbler with ice and mix all ingredients well. Enjoy! You could even add some red food coloring and make this a fun Halloween drink.

Falling in Love with Fall & a Recipe for Pumpkin Donut Holes

It’s fall in most parts of the country right now. Here in Arizona, fall makes me want to get out my, well, t-shirt and shorts. Yes, we pretty much don’t get to start the fall wardrobe wearing till just about Thanksgiving. It is like the opposite of growing up in Ohio. There, when it reaches 50 degrees in the spring, people start getting out their jean shorts and bikini tops. Here, when it gets down to a breezy 65, we break out the long sleeves and jeans (and then suffer miserably through most of the day!). In the meantime, I am trying to get my “fall” on in a variety of other ways. I start to get out the Halloween decorations, I light the pumpkin spice candles, I merit the pros and cons of wasting half my daily calorie consumption on a new “fall” drink at Starbucks. (Seriously, who are these demons of torture? Salted caramel latte, anyone? You had me at hello!) During the rest of my downtime, I peruse the J.Crew catalog and wonder how many days I can actually wear the sweaters in there over the winter and using some homemade mathematic ratio that is completely fair and balanced, I decide yes! I should have that cable-knit in Angora, please. I also drool over these boots in all colors and combinations.

One of the more productive things I have done, though, is to start baking anything and everything that includes pumpkin. Productive for my productivity and for little mouths around me, not for my thighs, exactly. However, recently I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Donut Holes and they are actually pretty healthy. These donuts are not fried and include plenty of real pumpkin. The whole family loved them and they are one of my few non-guilty fall pleasures. Take them to the kids’ fall parties at school, take them to a Halloween get together, take them to book club or the Rotary! (Does anyone go to Rotary anymore? What is Rotary?) Let’s get started; here’s what you need:

Pumpkin Donut Holes

1 Cup all purpose flour

3/4 Cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tso sakt

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 Cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Cup skim milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)

Topping:

3 Tblsp butter, melted

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray each cup in a mini muffin tin with baking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a larger bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients  and mix until just moist. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Transfer to wax paper. Topping: melt butter in one bowl and combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in another. Brush each donut with butter and roll in sugar mixture to coat. Place back on waxed paper to set and then store in an airtight container. Of note, if you are not serving donuts until the next day, wait till then to do the topping. Enjoy!

Living Through your Kids

I had the most fun last Saturday than I have had in a while.  And get this, the fun was not wine-induced, nor was it with my friends, nor was it on a romantic date night with my man. It was at my little guys’ flag football game. Let me just say that if you have not yet entered the foray of watching youth sports, especially when it involves your own kids, you are in for a treat. There are kids cracking up and misbehaving, kids running the wrong way, high- fiving and back-slapping, kids doing the end-zone boogie, and kids who are standing in the middle of the field during a play having absolutely no idea what to do.

This is not our first season, but it is the first time both kids were excited for weeks beforehand, and it is the first time they both had great games on the same day. The league we are in emphasizes nine core principles, one each week. Some of these include responsibility, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc. The coaches highlight these traits during the week and, at the end of the game, the kids vote on which player they think best demonstrated the core characteristic. I like this and I really think it speaks to the integrity of the program.

My youngest pulled lots of flags, ran hard, and on the second to last play of the game, ran for a touchdown. I looked behind me where my older boy was practicing and saw him cheer for his little brother’s play. I then watched as my little redhead ran through the parent tunnel and gave me a special high five and a hug. He was so proud to finally be able to share in his own accomplishments, not under the shadow of big brother. Next up was my older son’s game. He is at an age where he is really into it. As the time grew closer to his game, I noticed his face changing, growing more serene and steady. I saw his steely focus and thought, “Wait a second, that looks familiar….he is getting his game face on!” Normally, he is the first one to crack a joke and have a giggle, but as the clock ticked down there was none of that. He looked up to find where I was sitting and I gave him the “thumbs up.” Game on, peeps.

He ran for two touchdowns and threw for one. He huslted and brought it, every play. He also pulled lots of flags and deflected a few passes. I wanted to jump out of my chair and run down to the field, grab him in my arms and swing him around. Somehow, I restrained myself and just gave him a smile and a thumbs up. It was HARD not to wig out, purely out of joy and excitement for him. I was a proud mama.  You know what made me the most proud though? When I saw my youngest hand back the flag he pulled to its owner, when I saw my oldest pause and crouch down in concern for a fallen teammate, when I saw them both listening to their coaches and cheering on their teammates for plays well made. That’s the good stuff.

But here’s the thing, be it touchdowns or the drums, a well-written essay, or getting into a great college,  I want my kids to have their own spotlight, without me trying to share it or in any way take credit for it. I want them to bask and sit and bathe in what they have done–and when and if they want me to share it, they can bring me in….but I always want to remember that it is about them. I lived and am living my life; I got to make the choices (right or wrong) that seemed right for me at the time, and I want them to follow suit. It’s tricky stuff, letting them make mistakes and learning from them, or letting them make decisions that I don’t necessarily want them to make because it isn’t what I want for them. I do know, though, that I must let them do these things if I want their love and respect forever. If they trust that I truly want for them what they do, and what makes their hearts shine, then I believe they will seek my advice and wisdom (if I have any) when they need it.

Those touchdowns though; inside I was screaming and jumping and acting like a maniac. Just saying.

Scrumptious Sliders

Smells and memory. They are forever connected.  And here is why: there is a part of our brains called the Amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh). It’s a little funny shaped thing that helps us process emotions.  Our Olfactory bulb, which is responsible for detecting smells, has specific access to the Amygdala, thus linking smells with certain memories.  In essence, that is why you are flooded with memories when you walk into your grandmother’s house, or when you smell the perfume your favorite aunt always wore, or when you smell your favorite cake that your mom made for your birthday every year.   All these smells can tie into a flood of memories and emotions. Freshly cut grass, the smell of chlorine, the smell of the desert after rain….the list is personal and extensive. For me, it’s the smell of……..charred meat. Seriously, charred meat. The meat of Char. Meat searing on the grill. The lingering smell of burning fat. It gets me every time. What does that say about me? Don’t answer that. That question is for a therapist to answer at a later date, perhaps.

In reality though, the smell of meat on a grill brings back some good childhood memories. Living in Ohio part of the time growing up, there were only so many sunny, summer days. So when the grill was firing up, it usually meant friends and family getting together. It meant fourth of July or Labor day. It meant long days outside and not coming in until the sun would set, around 9 pm. It meant fun. So to me, the grill brings back some good times, and still plays a central role in fun and family today.

We went to a slider party last weekend and it was a blast. Each couple had to bring their own original slider recipe for the rest to try. There were some really creative and yummy entries. I loved it, but most of all, it was just another fun time around the grill with family and friends.  I wanted to bring something that was inspired by the Southwest, so below is my recipe for my Bacon-wrapped Green Chili Burgers with Chipotle aoili.

Bacon-wrapped Green Chili Burgers

1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 package center cut bacon

1 can whole green chilies, sliced into slivers

1 package pepper jack or cheddar cheese slices

1 package of slider buns

Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.

Pre-heat your grill. Empty ground beef in a bowl.  Add spices and Worcestershire and let sit to marinate for a bit.  Roll into individual balls, a bit bigger than a golf ball. Cut a strip of bacon that is equal to the circumference of the burger. Wrap around, flatten burger, and secure with a toothpick. Set on grill and let cook until ready to turn. Remove toothpick and turn burgers until desired doneness. (Burgers can also be in oven on a broiler pan at 400 degrees).

Chipotle aoili

1/4 cup low fat mayo

1 chipotle chili in adobo and 1 tsp. of sauce

juice of one lime

salt to taste

Chop chipotle and seed if desired. Mix with rest of ingredients.

To assemble burgers:

Toast buns if desired, top with a slider, sliced green chilies and oili and serve. Enjoy.

What about you? What smells remind you of special people or a certain experience in your life?

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

 

Flank Steak with chimichurriI know some of you are just now breaking out the grills, dusting them off and firing those puppies up, but in the Southwest, we have been grilling since, well, pretty much last fall! In fact, during the summer, we usually time our barbecues with when the shade hits the backyard.  Because if there is anything hotter than Phoenix in the summer, it is Phoenix in the summer standing next to a fiery hot grill with the reflection of stainless steel metal. Yeah, good times.

I am a latecomer to Chimichurri sauce. I think I only tried it a few years ago, but boy am I glad. When chicken, brats and burgers get old on the grill, a nice flank steak with some chimichurri on the side is a tasty culinary departure from the ordinary. Just saying it makes me smile. “Chimichurri! Chimichurri! CHIMI…” Okay, I will stop now. Sorry. The flank steak is also a nice lean departure from other cuts of beef. I mean, I love a good ribeye, but the hips don’t lie! Unfortunately.

So without further ado! Make this tonight. Grill it up with some corn and a nice pasta salad, or some asparagus and some couscous, or some homemade mac n cheese and sliced tomatoes and avocados.  Wow, 5 p.m. is a dangerous time to write this! Here’s what you need:

2 lbs or so of Flank Steak, or any steak really

3 T capers

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled

2 cups arugula (you can substitute cilantro)

1 cup flat leaf parsley (I won’t tell if you use the curly)

3 T red wine vinegar (or rice, I am all about the substitutions!)

2 t anchovy paste (or skip it if it freaks you out and makes you cry)

1 jalapeno seeded and diced (ditto above)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat grill to desired setting. Using a food processor, blend capers and garlic, add arugula, parsely, vinegar, jalapeno, anchovy paste, and 1/4 cup olive oil until a coarse sauce forms; set aside. Grill flank steak and let rest. Slice against grain into thin strips, drizzle with Chimichurri. Enjoy!

Grammar Girl Strikes

 

 

Angry Teacher

When I was younger and in my lovely adolescent years, the days were so busy with school that the only time I really had to talk to my family was at the dinner table. I would launch furtively into some story of utmost importance and interest (or at least to my teenage mind), when all of the sudden, my mom would interrupt me. Would she comment? Did she have a pressing question? No, not that. Sadly, she interrupted me just as furtively to correct my grammar. It was extremely annoying. And I am so thankful for it! I have already started doing it to my 8 and 6 year old’s, and I am sure they find it just as taxing. But, hey, paybacks, right? It is working though. I hear some of their friends make grammar mistakes my kids used to make and now they even correct each other.

I will not deny, though, that as with most things in my life, I take the grammar thing and get a little OCD about it. If manners were not more important to me (and thank God they are!), I would even correct people I knew. I correct the newscasters on TV, I correct the DJs on the radio, I correct the journalists in the newspapers (who writes this stuff and where did they go to school??); I correct all the people that can’t hear me and don’t know me, but I really cringe when I hear poor grammar in person. So today, for your viewing pleasure, I am going to list some of the most common grammar faux paus so that you, too, can annoyingly correct your kids and co-workers.

1). I should have got/ran/ate. What?? Really?? This kills me. More to the point, I hang out with lots of runners, and I can’t tell you how many times I have had to cringe and keep my trap shut while I heard this phrase. It should be: I should have gotten, I should have run, and I should have eaten. If you are over 10 and you are still making these mistakes, then go get your junior high grammar books and brush up.

2).  Where’s that at? Oh, the dreaded preposition at the end of a sentence!! Not allowed, sorry. You can say, “where is it?” or “where is your house?” or “where are you located?”, but for the love of all that is good, do not end a sentence with “at.” Or any preposition, really.  You shouldn’t say, “who are you going with?”, but “who is going with you?” or “with whom are you going?” Okay, that may sound a little 18th century for you, and I will totally let that slide, but not the “at” mistakes. It just sounds bad.

3). A lot vs. allot. Okay folks, reality check. A lot is two words, not one, and if it were one, it would be alot, not allot. Allot is a different word meaning to portion or distribute. I see this mistake sooooo often, especially on facebook.

4). They’re vs. their vs. there.Wow, this is a common one. They’re is a contraction for “they are.” For example, “they’re coming to dinner.” Their is a possesive. For example, “It is their couch.” There is a adverb meaning “at or in that place.” For example, “The book is over there.”

5). You’re vs. your. Another one I see on Facebook all the time. You’re is a contraction for “you are.” Your is a possessive used to indicate the person as the possessor or as the recipient of an action. For example, “Your blanket is on the right.” Please, do not write “Your pretty!” It. Drives. Me. Nuts.

6). “Her and Me.” It should be “she and I” or “he and I” or “he and she,” but not “him and me” or “him and I. A good way to remember this is to just turn the sentence around and include only one person. For example, one would say, “I am going to the store,” or “She is going to the store.”  Just a little trick of the trade for you.

7). Accept vs. Except. Accept is a verb meaning “to agree to.” Except is a preposition or a conjunction meaning roughly, “unless” or “if not.” For example, “Allison accepted the birthday invitation.” Or, “The whole class was invited except Paul.”

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