Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Chinese food is definitely a go to favorite take out meal for most people, including me! Its quick, cheap and despite the whole being hungry in two hours, its tasty.

However I have found that certain dishes tend to be a little over cooked especially beef and broccoli. The meat is sometimes overwhelmed by sauce and the broccoli is often mushy lacking any taste.

So I thought making it from scratch would be the perfect solution, plus homemade is probably quite a bit healthier for you compared to your local chinese restaurant.

Here are the ingredients you’re going to need:

4 cups of broccoli florets

1 small onion (cut into wedges)

1 1/2 pounds of chuck steak (cut into thin strips)

1/3 cup soy sauce + another 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons cornstarch divided

1/2 cup water + 2 more tablespoons

2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided

1/4 teaspoon of chili pepper flake (optional)

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In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of water and the garlic powder. Stir until mixture is smooth.

Now add your beef, coating all pieces evenly with the mixture.

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In a large skillet cook the beef with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat until the meat is brown, this is also were I add my chili pepper flakes. But if your not into spicy feel free to leave them out. Once cooked remove the meat from the skillet and place to the side.

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Next add your onion and broccoli to the skillet in the remaining vegetable oil and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Cook until vegetables reach desired texture. I like my broccoli a little crunchy so I only cooked my vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Return the beef back to the skillet.

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In a separate bowl combine the remaining soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, remaining corn starch and the 1/2 cup of water until smooth.

Add to skillet and stir for about two minutes.

And you’re done! A homemade delicious meal. I served mine over brown rice, see still trying to be healthy.

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-Brandie

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Renegade Craft Fair

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This past week I was able to visit the Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair at Grand Park in downtown LA. Even though I live twenty minutes away in Long Beach I hardly make it down to this area of Los Angeles. And visiting this past weekend has reminded me of how much I love it. Downtown LA has a much different vibe on the weekends compared to during the week. In fact there is very little traffic and with up and coming restaurants like Poppy + Rose on Wall St. its a great way to spend your Sunday.

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The Renegade Craft Fair is hosted twice a year here in Los Angeles, once during the month of July and again in early December to help you prep for christmas time. And if you are looking for a unique and one of a kind gift this is definitely the place to go.

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This event features dozens of vendors who offer an array of handmade or vintage items. Some vendors are local while other travel across the US selling at each Renegade Fair like Lost Vintage Girls. The entrance to the fair is free and features some of LA’s best food trucks. Shopping and good food, what’s better than that!?

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This year handmade jewelry and ceramics seemed to dominate the scene.

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But by no means was there a lack of diversity in the beautifully crafted items offered. Honestly I have gone these past few years just to get inspired and to admire all the creative displays.

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My only complaint is that some of the items can get pretty expensive the average price it probably around fifty dollars for any particular item, but you do have to keep in mind that they are all hand crafted which takes time and dedication by all the vendors. Therefore you’re paying for the quality and for the fact that you’re purchasing one of a kind pieces.

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The next Los Angeles fair is scheduled for December 12th and 13th, the exact location has yet to be announced but I will definitely be there.

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-Brandie

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Wine Bottle Vases

Upcycling is the idea of taking items that are old or used and transforming them into fresh functioning pieces, usually changing their original use.

This is not only a money saver but also helps our environment by eliminating waste.

And one waste item that me and my friends usually have are wine bottles! So I’ve decided to turn them into fun contemporary vases.

Here are the materials your going to need:

1. Three wine bottles. (labels removed and cleaned)

2. Multi -Surface paint. (I used Martha Stewarts brand in a satin finish)

3. Painters tape.

4. Paint brushes.

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Before you start painting your wine bottles wipe them down with alcohol, this will clean the surface and help the paint adhere.

Next paint the surface of your wine bottles, I chose to paint them white. I painted each bottle with three coats of paint. Make sure you wait at least 20 minutes in between each coat. This will help the paint disperse evenly.

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Let your bottles dry for one hour before placing the painters tape. (I was inpatient and it cause the tape to peel away some of the paint)

Next apply your painters tape around the circumference of the bottle so you can paint the bottom sections a different color. You can choose to make each vase identical or paint the bottom sections different proportions, like I’m doing.

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Now paint the bottom sections of your vases, I chose to paint them each a different color.

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I only had to paint each vase with two coats of color. Once complete let the paint completely dry before removing the painters tape.

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And now place a few long stemmed flowers into your vases and admire your handy work. You’re welcome earth!

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You can also use them as jewelry stands for your bracelets.

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There are a million ways to decorate these vases so use your imagination and continue to upcycle!

-Brandie

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