How The Heck Do I Cook Peeled Beef Knuckle?!

This was the question I asked myself when Alex came back from Sams Club with this:

What the??

We had 10 lean steaks to cook and we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. After spending about 45 minutes researching online (Google + Twitter), I was much more informed about beef, beef cuts and possible ways to cook this meat. Ever wondered what part of the cow your beef comes from? Not anymore!

Thanks to Heather for sending that gem.

So, after much googling, I learned that this cut is also called: beef round tip steak, sirloin tip. (Source, source) and I found a few tips on how to cook it.

The first suggestion was to sear both sides of the steak and bake in the oven. The second was to adapt a London Broil technique. because we had so many steaks, we tried both methods this weekend.

These, by no means, are the *best* or official way to cook these steaks – just my experience with these steaks.

First, Sear ‘N Bake.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Season the steaks. I took 3 similar sized steaks and seasoned both sides. The seasoning I used was a mix of: spicy steak seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper. Kind of a hodge podge because we didn’t have enough of any one seasoning to be the dominant flavor.
  3. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet - very important that you use a cast iron skillet for this! You want the skillet to be good and hot to get an instant sear on the steaks. I warmed up the olive oil until it was just about to start smoking.
  4. Add your steaks to sear for a few moments per side. I placed these steaks down, took a photo and flipped immediately, so about 30 seconds on each side.
  5. Place skillet of steaks in oven. Once browned, I baked the steaks for 15 minutes. My meat thermometer showed that the temperature should read 145* to be medium rare but when I pulled these thin steaks out and it read only 120*, I cut into the steak to see how done it was: Well done.

  6. Reduce drippings from steaks. We cooked off the excess liquid from the skillet to create a thicker topping for the steak.

  7. Plate and eat.

It was decent. I’m not a fan of well done meats so next time, I would have baked it much, much less. Because it was so thin, lean and well done, it was a bit chewy but very flavorful. Not my favorite cut of steak but I wouldn’t turn it away it if showed up on my plate.

Second, London Broil (Adaptation)

I initially found this recipe first and wanted to try it – I know that wine is a meat tenderizer and this lean meat needed exactly that. Typically, a london broil is done with a huge hunk of meat and not thin steaks but we gave it a try anyway.

Since it had to marinade overnight, I made the marinade at the same time my oven was preheating for Sear N Bake. Here’s what went down:

Marinade ingredients (adapted from here)

  • 12 ounces red wine **
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons ginger
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 bay leaf

** more wine was added in step 2

  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Pour yourself a glass of wine.  I combined all ingredients in this purple mixing bowl and transferred to a tight sealing Tupperware container when I was finished.
  2. Add steaks to marinade. Let sit overnight. I put 2 steaks in the container, poured some marinade on, added 2 more steaks, more marinade, etc. When all steaks were added to the container, I came up short on covering all of the meat. I liberally combined wine and water until all steaks were submerged.
  3. Place steaks in baking pan, add veggies and extra marinade. We had 7 steaks to cook so we used 2 pans. I added the extra mushrooms that was in the fridge and cut some onion wedges to spread in the pan.
  4. Broil on low until desired done-ness. We opted to broil on low because the meat is so thin. We checked the steaks every 5+ minutes to ensure that we didn’t overcook. But guess what…. we overcooked.
  5. Plate and eat. Decent flavor but again, I would have cooked for a bit less time. (and yes, that’s bread. More on that later this week)

What I learned from this experiment – thin, lean steaks cook incredibly fast and are not my prefered cut of steak. Most of the recipes I’d found for ‘Peeled Beef Knuckle’ were for the huge hunk of steak (Thick Flank from the diagram above) and not these thinly sliced pieces.

Since making these last night, I’ve learned of a few other ways that might have resulted in a better steak (braising, roasting, stewing).

These weren’t the worst meals I’ve made but they certainly weren’t the best. Fortunately, we used all of the steaks last night so no more overcooked steak is in my immediate future.



Friday Fun Featuring Wine, Mustaches and Jerky Parking

When life gives you wine….

…Play Amy WineHands (or Edward WinoHands, if you’re a dude). (Inspired by: TheBoringRunner. Click over for even more entertainment!)

When your sister sends you a funny mustache mirror…

…hang it behind the toliet and take funny photos.

When someone parks SO CLOSE to your car that you and your crutches can’t get in…

…Leave a nice note about how they made you climb through the passenger side door to get in, knee brace and all.

And when your carpets are drying from steam cleaning them at 11 p.m. last night and your (already tiny) kitchen looks like this…

…Don’t smack yourself in the face while you dry the skillet you used to scramble eggs. My chin is bruising.

7 Things About LGSMASH

Last week, Courtney tagged me in this post to come up with seven things you may find interesting or may not know about me. I like this idea – get to know a bit more about the blogger behind the keyboard for those of you who may not know me ‘in real life.’

 Typically, in situations where I have to give a ‘little known fact’ or unique thing about myself, my knees surgeries (7 in total!) and Osteochondritis Dissecans are my ‘go to’. On the blog, however, that’s the one things you already DO know about me!

1) I’m an irish twin. My next youngest brother and I are 11.5 months apart and for 2 weeks each year, we are the same age. Since the beginning, we’ve got along really well – we were experiencing the same highs and lows at the same time and having the same child/teenage reaction/adult reaction to it.

2) I’ve visited 11 countries. A study abroad in France in college was the spark that ignited the insatiable travel and international travel flame. In total, I’ve been to: France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland, Germany, Greece, Costa Rica, South Korea, Japan.

3) I am a carnivore, through and through. I gave vegetarianism a shot for 7ish months in college…while I worked in (and loved eating at) a steakhouse. It was all over when I let Alex make me a steak + mushrooms/onions for Valentine’s Day that year. Peace out, Boca Burgers!

4) I am kind of lazy about my upkeep. Not to mean I’m unkempt, just prefer to spend my time and energy focused on other things. I get my hair cut once every few months and use dry shampoo 5 days a week so I don’t have to wash and dry my hairmore than twice a week, body and facial hair waxed so I don’t have to shave or pluck it, eyelashes tinted occasionally so I don’t have to remember mascara (I never remember mascara) and rarely paint my nails because I can’t keep them up once the polish starts chipping off.

5) My apartment is haunted. I am convinced! There have been instances of bedroom doors opening after they were latched shut, hanging pictures somehow getting off-center when I lived alone, toothbrushes falling into the bathroom sink with no one around, strange noises. I’m sure watching Ghost Adventures isn’t the best remedy for this either.

6) Salty > Sweet. Everyday. Except for those few days a month where I ONLY WANT A BROWNIE. You know the days I’m talking about, ladies. But the other 90% of my life, I want pretzels, fries, and a sea salt shaker for every meal.

7) Give me a few seconds of a song and I can probably tell you song name and artist. Whether full blast in the car or over the noise of a loud crowded bar, I’m really good at doling out artist and song titles of way too many songs. And genre doesn’t matter – if I’ve heard it, I can usually recall it. Unfortunately, this ‘recall skill’ doesn’t translate very well to ‘things my fiance tells me’.

And now, it’s your turn! According to the ‘rules’ I get to tag people to post 7 things about themselves. I’m picking 7 bloggers so  head’s up: Lauren @ Lauren’s Tri Blog, Janene @OneRun At A Time, Lena @ Fit On The Rocks, Diana @My Marble Rye, Tiffany @ Snack Snark Bark, Melissa @ Live Love and Run, and Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio.

Races Registered: Cherry Creek Sneak 5M & Colfax 10M

Today is 1 month post-surgery, 2 weeks till my doctor appointment to get off crutches and I can’t stop smiling these days.

Today, I am getting back on a stationary bike. In 2 weeks, I’ll get both hands and feet back. In 2 weeks, I’ll kick my crutches to the curb (or maybe just the closet). In 2 weeks, I get my pre-surgery life back… but better.

At my post-surgery doctor appointment, I asked my doctor what his thoughts were about me signing up for races in the spring. He said that if my knees feel good and I feel ready, I can go for it. Since I’m able to walk, if I can’t run the full distance, I can certainly finish by walking.

In fact, a blogger I follow, Ashley, inspired me to make my goals official and register. After recently fracturing her hip in a bike accident, she finished the Disney Marathon in January. If Ashley can pull it together to finish a marathon, I can get my butt back into the game too.  

I had my sights set on one race in particular in May but needed a shorter race in between. After some research, I pulled out my credit card and signed up for 2 races that fit the bill!

Cherry Creek Sneak 5 Mile Race. April 29.

This race is close to home, is a hometown favorite and celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. I was looking for a 10k to run around this timeframe and decided 5 miles was just as good for me. This race will be just about 12 weeks after I’m off my crutches – right about where my right knee (first surgery) will be in 2 weeks. Because my right knee feels so great, I’m confident that I will be able to handle 5 miles in April.

Then, I registered for the race I had my eyes on.

Colfax Marathon, Urban 10 Miler. May 20.

This course looks really cool! It runs from the outside of downtown, through the amusement park and our downtown mall and then ends at one of my favorite parks, City Park.

This race may be a stretch for me – it’s 10 miles and only 3 weeks after the Cherry Creek Sneak. I’m not sure my muscles or endurance will be ready for this yet but I signed up to give myself a goal. If I need to walk during the race, I will. I’m not about to hurt myself. And if I decide I need to drop out of the race, I will drop out. Safety and no injuries is the name of my game right now.

I plan to attack these races safely and with a plan to build up mileage slowly. Very slowly. I don’t have a plan yet but will soon.

And as if that weren’t exciting enough, I conned my fiance into running them both with me! He used to run cross country in high school but hasn’t run since ‘the glory days’. We’re both trying to get back into shape and make healthier choices (hello, paleo) so we’ll be running and training together this spring and summer too. A live-in fiance AND running buddy! Can life get better? I submit that it cannot! (Brian Regan anyone?)

I’ve got more race plans bouncing around in my head but haven’t quite pulled the final pieces together. Let’s just say… I think this summer’s going to get WILD and MUDDY.

Smiling smiling smiling. :)

Denver Eats: The Capital Grille, Yelp Style

First things first: Yelp Denver (and Tiffany N) put on fantastic events for us Yelpers. (for example, the Monster Mashup)

Last weekend, Yelp hosted a 2012 kickoff event at The Capital Grille in Downtown Denver. I’d never been to The Capital Grille and didn’t realize it was a chain. Chain or not, this place makes goooood food.

The restaurant was closed except for the 50+ Yelpers who attended, including a few of the usual suspects: Diana and Tiffany.

(Please note: all paleo ‘rules’ were broken at this event and it was worth every bite)

First thing we saw was a giant table of over-sized shrimp. Yum! Because I’m still on crutches, I didn’t grab any shrimp but it looked delicious.

The second thing we saw was a server, handing us The Capital Grille’s signature cocktail for the event, the Stoli Doli.

This drink had me ready to pack my bags and set up shop on a tropical island. It’s a pineapple infused vodka that is dangerously pineapple-y. There’s no harsh liquor taste so it’s easy to drink this like juice – don’t drink it like juice.

Soon after we picked a spot at the bar, the servers brought out delicious food samples for us to try. These items are from a new lunch menu that The Capital Grille will be offering at a reasonable price point, $18.

We tried a fresh take on Lobster Rolls:

These were okay. I’ve never had a traditional lobster roll so I don’t have much to compare it to. It was light, fresh. Tasty but not my favorite.

Next, beef tenderloin sandwiches:

If I had to pick only one thing to eat for the rest of my life, right now, I’d beg for this sandwich. It was out of this world. The bun was buttery, there was an herb cream cheese on top and grilled onions and mushrooms underneath the juiciest piece of beef I’ve ever had.

Lastly, truffle fries:

My first ever experience with truffle fries and I was pleasantly surprised! Fries were served piping hot and had a light earthy flavor (I assume the truffle oil?) and big grains of salt. To be reunited (briefly) with french fries in this manner was perfect – these were scrumptious!

We chatted with other Yelpers while we munched, snapped some photos of our food and each other and enjoy the afternoon.

(borrowed from Tiffany)

Before we left we were offered a tour of the kitchen with the executive chef where he talked about The Capital Grille’s food and service principals. He talked to us about the quality of their meat, how they age it and how they cut it.

We also learned that rather than throwing away food mistakes, they save this food and donate it to the homeless shelters in Denver. Each month, they donate about 6,000 pounds of food to homeless shelters. Seriously amazing. Why aren’t all restaurants doing this?

On our way out, we grabbed a ‘swag bag’ full of The Capital Grille goodies: an voucher for a free appetizer, 2 Capital Grille cookies (chocolate chip & white chocolate chip), 2 chocolate truffles and 1 container of mushroom coffee steak rub.

I’m planning to use the rub later this week for dinner.

I liked the intimacy of this event – no significant others, no casual yelpers. Just us weirdos who check in at every restaurant and store we go to, take photos of our food to blog about and want to attend events with our others of our kind.

Welcome to Elite 2012 @ The Capital Grille

Yep, just us weirdos.

You can check out Tiffany’s review here or Diana’s review here.

Thanks again to Yelp and The Capital Grille for hosting us!

What is LGSMASH All About, Anyway?

I’ve been blogging for years and years under many different names. As Janene put it, a blogaholic.

Blog name: SheWillBeL0ved (or: Maroon 5 meets emotional high school girl)

In high school, I started a blog on LiveJournal as a way to keep my thoughts in order. I didn’t know anyone else blogging at that point and didn’t use it to connect with people. High school was a rough time for me – turmoil at home and not feeling like I fit in at school created the perfect storm for me to take my sadness and confusion out on myself. I started cutting myself in high school to make the emotional pain ‘feel’ real. It was a silent cry for help that I kept hidden from the world. My blog in high school served the same purpose – a way to put my strong emotions and depression into words, to get the darkness out of me and ‘onto paper’. It was my (public) private journal and an online cry for help. In the back of  my mind, I wanted someone to find it and to reach out and be a friend, give me a hug.

I kept blogging on SheWillBeL0ved through high school and into college. On LiveJournal, I became completely enamored with blogging: the words, the designs, the layouts, the people, the infinite possibility. Though the first years of college, I’d ‘outgrown’ the depression that held me in high school – I’d taught myself effective ways to cope, how to relieve my stress and anger without harming myself. I made friends who really cared about me and surrounded myself with positive people. The days of SheWillBeLoved were numbered. No longer did I ‘need’ this anonymous outlet for my feelings – I had a great support system in real life.

I ended my LiveJournal sometime in the last year and a half of college. After college, I packed up my car, drove west and landed in Denver. No job, no apartment and just a few friends. Enter: MidwestMeetsTheMountains.

Blog name: MidwestMeetsTheMountains (or: Stories of an unemployed/newly employed college graduate)

When I first moved to Colorado, I started this new blog to keep my family and friends updated about my life so far away from them. I am the first of my immediate family and was one of the first of my friends to move out of Cincinnati. I’d just figured out how to use my computer’s webcam so most of MidwestMeetsTheMountians posts were vlogs. I wanted to show my family where I was living and I wanted it to feel like a personal conversation, like they were in Denver with me.

I didn’t keep up with this blog as much as I thought I would – I was too busy hanging out with my roommate and exploring Denver!

Soon, I got onto Twitter and found a whole slew of Healthy Living Bloggers, posting about races and training plans. I started commenting and regularly following – I wanted to share my training and race goals too! It was back to the blog. This time, it’s stuck.

Blog name: lgsmash (or: How to Pass Time, Make Friends, Stay Healthy and Get Inspired While Dealing with Injury)

This blog was born last year, on my 25th birthday. I’d gotten the itch to blog again – this time about running and staying healthy. I’d planned to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati that year and my blog was going to follow, along with my other adventures in Denver and through travel. Unfortunately, I felt my knee pop in February 2010 and I knew all race plans were out the window: Osteochondritis Dissecans was back. (More about my long history with OCD here) But I continued to blog.

As I started searching for information about treatments for my condition, I quickly realized that there is no one else blogging or talking about Osteochondritis Dissecans. No one talking about symptoms, treatment, outcomes. I found one person, Marc Rubin of 10 Hours, on a forum posting about the DeNovo implant I received in both of my knees. Finding Marc was the inspiration I needed to keep blogging – he received the same implant I did and was well on his way back into fitness.

Throughout this past year, I’ve strived to keep myself healthy, physically and mentally: cooking and eating healthy foods, exercising as often as my knees would allow (and even when they haven’t!), remembering how important mental health is and sharing my injury story. I’ve found a community of people - men and women, young and old – who support and inspire me through my blog and social media. I’ve joined an incredible network of people striving to live their best life possible through FitFluential and encourage me to do the same.

This blog brings together the best of my previous blog worlds: awareness about mental health and the incredible support system I was so desperately looking for from SheWillBeL0ved and the vlogging and fun, active lifestyle we Denverites have from MidwestMeetsTheMountains.

Through my blog, I’m approaching health and well-being from the less physical side and I hope to inspire other injured or less active people to keep being healthy even when you feel like you can’t. I’m excited to share how to safely return to sports and an active life after surgery, how to train for races while eating a (mostly) paleo diet and show the giant playground that Colorado is.

This year, I will overcome my 6th and 7th knee surgeries and get back into running, biking, hiking, fitness classes, weight lifting. This year, I will challenge my mind and body and learn how to swim, dance, mountain climb and snowboard. This year, I am making every moment count and my blog and readers will be right here with me, cheering me on and out hitting the pavement with me.

Join us – it’s sure to be a fun, healthy adventure!

Denver Eats: Seoul BBQ (Paleo Dining Out)

Korean barbecue has been a favorite dining experience for Alex and me since he studied abroad in Seoul during college. At the end of his 6 week session, I met him and Seoul where we spent 4 days exploring the city and enjoying Alex’s favorite Korean foods, drinks and sights.

The first dinner we at in Korea was traditional Korean barbecue – I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t done much research about Korea or Korean foods before I came but I was up to try whatever was served. When in Rome, right?

That night, I fell in love with the Korean people and Korean barbecue.

Since our visit to Korea, we’ve been trying Korean barbecue restaurants where ever we find them: Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Fort Myers and Denver. So far, Denver wins for quality and authenticity, hands down.

For newbies to Korean barbecue, this is your intro to Korean barbecue.

Our favorite Korean barbecue restaurant in Denver is Seoul BBQ. Seoul BBQ is located in an area outside of downtown Denver with a heavy Asian restaurant and market concentration. This was our first tip that we were in the right spot.

The restaurant is clean and service is prompt. Most, if not all, of the waitstaff speak English – I know this is a concern of first time friends: that they won’t be able to communicate with the servers or be able to ask questions. Seoul BBQ servers are very friendly, ready to help and answer questions and get you what you need.

When ordering Korean barbecue, a wide variety of side dishes always accompany your meat. These side dishes vary from restaurant to restaurant but a few staples are at each restaurant, like kimchi. You will always find kimchi in your side dishes as this is a main food in Korea.


This big hubcap looking plate in the middle of the table is the burner. When ordering Korean barbecue, you select the types of meat you’d like to eat and it is brought out to you raw to cook at your table. It’s like a ‘do it yourself’ hibachi grill.

Meats run the gamut of styles, cuts and flavoring. One of our favorites is Sam-gyup-sal – essentially, it’s bacon. It’s the ‘safest’ jump into Korean barbecue if you’re not typically an adventurous eater.

It’s crucial that the meat is cooked all the way through – a bit tender is okay but raw is not. As the meat finishes cooking, we move it to the outside to make room for more meat in the middle. While the meat is cooking, we also add side dishes to warm up on the grill.

After you cook your meats and sides, the fun part begins: Lettuce wraps!

Grab a piece of lettuce from your table, add whatever sides (cooked or raw) and meat you’d like.

I added kimchi, meat, bean sprouts and bean paste (more on that later).

Then roll and enjoy!

One of my favorite additions to my lettuce wraps comes in a little tray – each person receives their own.

Sesame oil + fermented bean paste

MAN is it good. It’s called ‘doenjang’ and is a fermented soybean paste. Not everyone is as big of a fan as me but I love the taste – salty! (note: soybeans/beans are not paleo).

Because Korean barbecue’s foundation is a meat + veggie lettuce wrap, this is a paleo friendly, incredibly filling meal.

I encourage anyone who’s ever thought about Korean food (and those who haven’t!) to give Korean barbecue a try – it’s a fun dinner with a group or with a date. It’s interactive and delicious. And if you’re ever in Denver and need a dining partner, I’ll be right over!


3 Easy Ways to Stay Active While Injured

What’s this?! A Vlog?

If  you have a leg injury, like me, you may be looking for ways to keep the rest of your body engaged while you’re recovering. Whether you’re stiting out for 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months, here are a few exercises that I like to do to engage my arms and abs while I’m recovering.

Happy recovery!

Knee Surgery Recovery: Patience

I’ve blogged less about recovery of my left knee surgery this time around. This time, it’s old news, been there, done that. So far, my left knee is doing great – I’ve got a really great range of motion, swelling is down less and less each day and virtually no pain.

My right knee is doing even better than I expected. When I opted to have this second surgery so soon after finishing the first recovery (6 weeks, to the day), I was a little nervous about how my right knee would hold up. I was walking properly but still felt a slight discomfort at my graft site when bending my knee, which I think is due to the lack of quad muscle I’ve got going on right now.However, having to rely SOLELY on my right leg, my right knee has far exceeded any expectations I’d set. It feels GREAT! No pain, no discomfort, no catching or grinding.

I am over the moon!

PS. Wanna hear what my knees used to sound like? It’s this (March 2010):

If I had to pick one word to describe each of my surgeries, my surgery in October would be ‘dark’ and surgery in December would be ‘light’. I had no idea what to expect with the first surgery, I lost much of my independence for 3 long weeks when I wasn’t able to drive, I lost all of my leg muscles, my arms (and UNDERARMS) burned from the new crutches. I had a hard time adjusting to the change.

This time, though, I know how quickly 6 weeks passes, that at the end of these 6 weeks, I’ll be all fixed and have ‘new’ knees. I know that even with a lack of muscle, I’ll be able to get it back. I have Crutch Buddies to mitigate the underarm irritation. I’m eating better and physically feel great, inside and out. I feel happy, hopeful and have a light at the end of this tunnel.

In 3 weeks, I’ll go back to the doctor to get my clean bill of knee health and be walking shortly after. Ironically, that doctor appointment is almost exactly 51 weeks after my knee popped last February and set me on this crazy Osteocondritis Dissecans surgery journey.

Just under 1 year. 1 long year of limited physical activity, MRIs, doctor appointments, surgery, crutches. But keeping it in perspective, what’s 1 year if it allows me 10 or more years of happy knees? It’s just a drop in the bucket. Next week I can get on a stationary bike, 2 weeks after that, I’ll be walking and in a few months, I hope to be running again. My mind and heart are giddy!

I’ve learned a lot this past year: about knees and medical procedures, about accepting help when I need it and about myself and inner strength. But most of all, I’m learning patience.  As patient I’ve been, though, I am very impatient for these next weeks to fly by and to get back on my feet.

Patience, patience, patience.