3.19.2014

korean beef cabbage tacos with asian broccoli slaw

Ready for your totally un-shocking fact of the day? Weddings are expensive. Throwing a big party for all of your closest family and friends is expensive on its own, then you add all of the specific *wedding* things in there (like, the honeymoon) and... bam. Byyeee money. Even for people like us, who try to save and scrimp in so many different ways, there's just no avoiding it: it's damn expensive. Don't get me wrong, we're okay with this fact because we made the conscious decision to have a wedding; we could have always just gone to the courthouse. We're thrilled to be able to celebrate our marriage with the people we love. And you know, to have a big, awesome party with music and delicious food and alcohol, followed by a worth-going-broke trip to paradise.

For us, it's all worth it. But all of this spending means we have to SAVE in other areas of our life. Like what we eat. We're obviously foodies who love to eat, so sometimes we spend more than is ideal on food. Well, it's time to scale back. Ryan's idea was ramen and PB&J's for every meal, which, yes, would do the trick financially, but would also turn us into quite the unhealthy bride & groom pair before the big day. I want to save, but I also don't want to sacrifice my health or my love for delicious food. So I've tried to get creative with very budget-conscious but still nutritious and delicious meals. Here's one of my favorites so far: korean beef tacos, wrapped in cabbage cups.


Korean beef is usually made with steak, but here I used ground beef with the same delicious flavors. So much cheaper. In fact, it's BEYOND cheap if you buy it in bulk from Costco and freeze portions. Ground beef is also easier to cook than steak... this stuff could be made by anybody. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes! And very little effort. The result is a new spin on taco meat with quintessentially Asian flavors. Delish. You could serve this over rice, in wraps, in stuffed peppers, on salad... so many possibilities! I used lean 90% ground beef here, but I think it would also be delicious with ground chicken, turkey, bison.... any ground meat, really.


I decided to go with tacos, my favorite way to enjoy ground beef. No need for cheese, sour cream, and corn shells here though. This korean beef goes great in crunchy cabbage (or lettuce) wraps topped with healthy add-ons like a simple Asian slaw, green onions, chopped peanuts, and sriracha. Most of this meal is made with things I already have in my pantry/fridge, along with some very inexpensive fresh purchases (the meat, cabbage, and slaw mixture). 


These tacos make for a super fast and easy, cheap, healthy, unique and flavorful dinner. Just stuff 'em, wrap 'em up, and enjoy. 




And like I said, couldn't be easier to make. Here's how:

3.13.2014

healthy chicken sausage & shrimp jambalaya

You. Stop what you're doing. Immediately run to the grocery store. Well, run to the grocery store after you finish reading this blog post. Buy what you need to make this jambalaya. Then make it. Then be the happiest person on earth.


In all seriousness, this jambalaya honestly brought a moment (well, several moments) of true, everything-else-disappears happiness to my life. Okay, fine, we all know I'm a little obsessed with food, so maybe eeevvveryone wouldn't have a life-changing reaction to a bowl of dinner, but for me.... I was in pure ecstasy. This jamabalya ROCKS. 


You might think jambalaya sounds like it would be hard to make, but it's really not! Yes, you have to chop a bunch of veggies, but that's the hardest part. And if you're anything like me, chopping veggies is a bit of therapeutic relaxation in an otherwise hectic lifestyle, right? So, besides your knife workout, this dish is pretty much as easy as tossing a bunch of things into a big pot -- yes, this is a one-pot meal! -- and walking away for a little less than an hour. So simple. 


So simple, but so unexpectedly delicious. This is a totally and completely healthy, fiber and protein-rich meal -- it's made with brown rice, chicken sausage, shrimp, and plenty of veggies -- then you just just add your spices and somehow, some way, it becomes this pot of creamy, decadent, hearty, sweet, yet spicy, yet smoky, jambalaya. It's one of those meals that you can't even believe you cooked up yourself... it tastes better than restaurant quality! And I THINK (I can't promise; I'm no cajun expert) that this tastes pretty authentic, and IS pretty authentic, to traditional New Orleans-style cajun jambalaya. Just lightened up a bit. But you will not miss the butter or the white rice, I promise. Make it for yourself, make it for someone you love, make it for a crowd... it's pretty much guaranteed to be enjoyed by all.


Ready to make it? Here's how:

3.12.2014

cajun blackened mahi over "refried" black beans

First things first... WOOHOO! My blog is back up and running! No more fiery hoops to jump through in order to land at my little place on the internet (yes, that pesky .blogspot qualifies as a fiery hoop). The domain debacle was not fun, but I'm glad it *seems to be* over. With one little exception: the domain gets grumpy (i.e., won't bring you here) if you leave off the "www" part at the beginning... even though it's not supposed to. All things considered though, that's no biggie. I'm just glad I don't have to sit on hold with these companies for another moment (at least, for now).

I have a recipe that I've been reeeaally wanting to share since I made the dish last week, but I thought I should wait until all of my blog drama was over. That time is here (okay, again, *seems to be* here... don't want to jinx myself), so I can now bring you: cajun blackened mahi over spicy "refried" black beans.


I've been on a blackened fish kick over the past few months. It's such a simple way to prepare fish (got 10 minutes and some spices?) and I love the combination of a flaky, tender inside and crispy, slightly charred outside crust.   


Often, I'll put blackened fish on a bun with a creamy dill sauce and lemon (that is definitely Ryan's favorite), but I wanted to try something different last week. For one thing, we didn't have bread... we didn't have much of anything, actually. The fridge and cabinets were looking pretty bare. But of course, I had canned beans. Why not complement the spicy cajun style of the fish with a spicy black bean mash? They taste like a flavorful black bean version of refried beans, but I took some major shortcuts (i.e., we don't really "re-fry" the beans) and it's ready in no time. 


This is a simple, flavorful, and healthy dinner that's ready in no time. Full of protein and fiber, flavorful, and spicy. Here's how to make it:

3.03.2014

make-ahead quinoa two ways

So... February wasn't a great blogging month for me, was it? First of all, I struggled to find the time and energy to blog as much as I'd like. For me, blogging isn't about meeting a quota or making sure to always post 2 recipes or 4 posts (or whatever) a week; it's about sharing when I feel inspired. It's about sharing when I feel I have something worthwhile to say or when I make something I just HAVE to get others to make. And, of course, it's about fitting blogging into my life along with my other priorities and obligations, which isn't always easy even when I DO have something I feel inspired to share. Yeah... I didn't do so well with all of that in February.

Then, besides that, Google blogger (my host) decided that they won't honor custom domains anymore. So... as you may have noticed... www.taylormadebytaylorbee.com is no longer working. I was really unhappy when this happened because I didn't get any warning! No time to arrange another host! It just disappeared out of the blue (even when I had paid for my custom domain through June!). Anyway, now I have to scramble to find another domain host, and in the meantime people are having a harder time navigating to my blog. Ah well, it is what it is, and www.taylormadebytaylorbee.com should be back up and running within 2 business days if my new host keeps their promise. For now, I've reverted back to taylormadebytaylorbee.blogspot.com, which should work just fine in the meantime. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Here's to March being a more successful blogging month, how about that? Because the truth is, I DO feel inspired to blog! I've made lots of tasty and healthy recipes lately, I've been trying to up my workout game (I can't act like this doesn't have something to do, in PART, with the wedding and honeymoon being, like, 9 weeks away!), and I've been looking for ways to deal with some struggles that many of you just may experience too: not finding the time to work out regularly; wavering a bit too frequently between nutritious meals and indulgences that leave me feeling kind of crappy; feeling somewhat confused/conflicted about competing nutritional advice; falling into "ruts" in terms of meal prepping.

Let's start with that last one: meal prep ruts. When all else fails, yes, I still manage to meal prep. I bring my lunch just about every day and usually make enough for the entire week on Sundays. More often than not, my lunch is chicken (either spiced chicken or rotisserie chicken meat), brown rice, and either green beans or broccoli. I do enjoy this meal, but..... it can get a little boring. So, how to fix this? How about with a huge bag of quinoa from Costco and a few new recipes?

The first is simple: garlic and onion sautéed quinoa, which makes a great side to chicken or fish.


It's fluffy and flavorful and a little more exciting than plain 'ol brown rice (or plain 'ol quinoa). It's also super simple to make. Pair with chicken and roasted broccoli for a filling, nutritious, protein and fiber-filled lunch. 


The second quinoa recipe isn't a side dish; it's a complete meal on its own! Mozzarella and Truffle Chicken Quinoa Bake with Spinach and Tomatoes. Ohhhh yes. I made this then portioned it into 6 servings that I froze. I LOVE when I do that for myself! Just pull one out of the freezer the day before I need it and I have a healthy and delicious lunch ready to go.  


No, you don't have to bake yours in a heart-shaped pan, but it makes it look pretty cheery, huh? (and yeah, the rest of my baking dishes were full or dirty). 


This is a really easy recipe too, and it's nice that it doesn't require any additional components to turn it into lunch or dinner. It's also full of protein and fiber and will definitely fill you up. Feel free to leave the truffle oil out (i.e., don't feel the need to go buy some if you don't have it), I just get tempted by it every time it catches my eye in the cabinet. The flavor is ridiculously good. 


So, cook up a cup of quinoa then choose your recipe! Either one is totally satisfying, healthy, and tasty. Grab the recipes below:

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