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My Grill Is Fixed – Beef & Bacon Pinwheels for Dinner

My grill is fixed! I certainly have missed it!  Now, you are in trouble because I will be posting more foodie pictures.  Last night we had beef and bacon pinwheels for dinner.

If you ask any of the neighbors that border my backyard the question “Who is the craziest person in your neighborhood?”  They just MIGHT say me.  I have a garden, I grow raspberries and shovel a nice pathway to my grill on my deck all winter long, just to cook in below zero weather.

In my neighborhood, I rarely see people outdoors in winter.  In the summer months, rarely do I see people at all, unless they are cutting their lawn.  Nobody in the neighborhood has a garden and they like to spend their summers camping, on their boats or at their summer homes.  One neighbor man I spoke to last year even told me that he didn’t KNOW you could have a garden in the city.  REALLY?!

Never give up
Last week my husband finally got around to ordering me the new parts for my gas grill.  It took him a few “man tools” like a blow torch, hack saw, shop vac, grinder and allen wrenches to disassemble the entire inside of the grill.  About two hours worth of his time and only $30.00 from our checking account and the job was complete.  Sure beat the price of purchasing a new gas grill.

As a treat to reward him for all his hard work I decide to make him beef & bacon pinwheels.

pinwheels

Beef & Bacon Pinwheels

Ingredients:
8 strips of bacon
1.5 pounds of beef flank steak
4 wooden kabob sticks (soaked in water)

Directions:

1.) If you want crisp bacon I suggest precooking your bacon a little before assembling your pinwheels.  Line a microwave safe plate with paper towelling.  Lay bacon down flat.  Cover the bacon with another layer of paper towelling.  Partially cook the bacon for 3 minutes on high in the microwave. It is not necessary to do this step but skipping it will produce bacon on the chewy side.

2.) Cut steak horizontally (like butterflying a fish) but leave about 1/2 inch uncut on opposite side.  Open meat so it will lie flat like an open book.  Cover with plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4 inch thick using a rubber or wooden mallet. Remove the top plastic wrap when you get  the correct thickness.

3.) Place plastic wrap under the flank steak. Place the grain of the meat left to right.  Place all bacon strips down evenly spaced and roll up tight using the plastic wrap as a guide to help you roll the pinwheels tight in a jelly roll style.

4.) Then skewer steak, crosswise, at 1-inch intervals using the wooden kabob sticks (soaked in water) that you have clipped to 5  inches in length.  Using a sharp knife, cut
between skewers to make 1-inch-thick pinwheels. The pinwheels will end up being about 1 1/2 inches thick when cut separately.

5.) You can grill or broil the pinwheels. To grill – preheat your grill. Grill cut side down and then flip – grilling around 4 minutes on each side.  To broil – broil 5 inches from heat.  Turn at the 4 minute mark and broil another 4 minutes. Please see guide below to cook to the pinwheels to your own perfection.

Medium = 140 to 145 degrees F
Medium Well = 150 to 155 degrees F
Well =160 degrees F and above

If you do not already have one, can I suggest that you purchase a meat thermometer because it takes the guess-work out of grilling.  It is a superb tool to have on hand for yourself and for when you have guests that wish for meat cooked a way you normal don’t personally cook for.

I purchased a fork thermometer (here).  This was my second meat thermometer that I had purchased.  My first thermometer only lasted me one grilling season.  The fork one has lasted over three seasons…still going strong.

I can not say enough good things about the fork thermometer.  It tells me both the temperature of my meat and if it is well done, medium, medium rare, or rare.  At first, I laughed at the size. Then, I quickly understood I wasn’t burning my fingers trying to remove it, like my old one.  WHY DIDN’T I INVENT THIS GADGET!

Now that my grill is fixed, expect more grilling recipes.  I like the fact I don’t have any pans to clean after dinner.  Beef and bacon pinwheels, roasted asparagus and toasted garlic bread …that is what’s for dinner! Good things do come in small packages…

Enjoy!
Nikki

 

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The Things In Life That Keep You Heading In The Right Direction

In a world that can slowly suck you down the proverbial rabbit hole quickly, it is nice to stop and concentrate on the things that keep you heading in the right direction.  The things that make you happy.  The things that make you want to do more and be more during your lifetime.

For some, they need to sit and really think about things that make them happy.  For me they are easy to pinpoint.

Walking and Exercise :

I’m not a gym rat and never will be.  Tried and so far, hasn’t worked out too well.

It doesn’t have to be a full on gym session to be good for you.  Even a casual stroll will reduce stress and make you feel refreshed.

As a wildlife photographer, spring renews my soul.  Walks in the woods, surrounded with a light frost and the hopes of seeing a while-tailed deer or welcoming back a migratory bird, help to relax me. A good way to reduce and eliminate my stress.

Talking With Your Spouse and Children:

Both of my children are teenagers.  They don’t need to have Mom up to get them out the door in the morning.  I do get up.  I make a point of having morning, one-on-one sessions with them each morning. What they are doing is important to me.  It gives them a chance to ask me questions, share their thoughts and be part of their lives.  We each have a close bond and that bond is because they know I care and they can share the details of their lives with me.  I specifically give them time to do so.

The ten minutes I lay in bed after the kids are out the door in the morning spent talking to my husband while he is getting ready for work is precious time.  It is a small amount of time, but it is alone time.  Uninterrupted time to talk. Time we might not have later in the day because of the daily pressures of life.

We spend this time sharing things from the previous day, talking about issues that need to be resolved or just setting goals for the upcoming weeks, months and years.

Catching Up With A Friend or Relative:

That cup of coffee shared with a friend on a Monday morning to catch up on life, it is a small, but well needed thing I do for myself.  Sharing the joys and triumphs from the previous week, while giggling like school girls. Laughter can and does, take away a days worth of stress.

If your time is limited, even a quick phone call to a friend or relative, can restore a smile to your face.

Once a month, I have two friends that I meet for gab-sessions.  We meet at a local restaurant for a meal and good conversation.  After returning home, I have a permanent smile on my face.  Surrounding yourself with positive people makes waking up the next morning a joy.

My friend and relative time is only sprinkled in – it works for me.

Tending My Rocks So I Can Fit More Sand and Pebbles Between Them

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

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He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Author Unknown

That my friends, is the best explaination you need in life right there. Your extended family and friends, job, house, car and such can wait. The people in my four walls of my home and my spiritual need for nature come first, period!

If you tend to your rocks first, EVERYTHING else will fit in.  If your entire jar was empty and only your rocks remained, your life will be full…. SO, TEND YOUR ROCKS.

 

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No Soda For A Month Challenge

Decided something a few weeks back…pretty much EVERYTHING I consume is bad for me.  How many times have you thought the same thing?

If you browse the internet long enough you will find videos, articles and information that pretty much make you not want to put anything into your mouth, unless you grow it yourself.

For me, I have been trying to just stay away from this type of posting.  Don’t want to horrify myself any more than I have to.

Since, I have seen some of the videos and read so much about drinking soda; I decided to try and cut it out of my diet. I’ll spare you all the details on drinking soda.  You are more than welcome to look them up for yourself. For this month, as a trial from 4-1-15 – 4-30-15 my husband and I vowed to not touch diet or regular soft drinks. If all goes well; and we are seeing results – of course, we will continue down the path.

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It has been one week without soft drinks thus far for both of us. Challenging concept. We both have been long term soda drinkers. In the past, I would purchase 2 twelve packs of soda weekly for the house.  This did not include my husbands beverages at work; nor, any road trip beverages.

The first week you will suffer from headaches and cravings.  It is rather tough to get through.  If anyone tells you that drinking soda is not an addiction and can stop at anytime, they are lying to you and themselves.

Yes, you will go through withdrawal symptoms.  It gets easier with each passing day; but prepare yourself for nasty headaches and crabbiness.  After your first week, things get much easier. Pain relievers will become your best friend for days 1-6.

Weigh-in on our 7th day yielded pleasant results.  Down three pounds for each of us and no headaches.  It was rough getting through the first week.  No lie, I simply will not sugar coat it…

It will be interesting to see what the rest of the month brings now that the headaches have subsided. Hoping to see some results on the scale.  Not planning on changing my diet at all, other than eliminating soda. However, in coming months, I do plan on adding in more challenges.  Challenging ourselves to take small, monthly steps over the remainder of the year toward achieving positive and healthy results. I will update you at the end of the month on the results our our no soda for a month challenge.

Alternative to drinking soda this month—-> Infused Water.