How unglamorous was your weekend?

As much of a cliché spring cleaning can be, there’s nothing more satisfying (and often unglamorous) than a freshly cleaned house, with everything put in its place and smell of Windex—yes Windex.

I vividly remember reading a chapter in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, where she The Happiness Projectdescribed the decluttering process and how integral it was to have at least one empty shelf, closet or cabinet in your home. This empty space will become a shrine to all things organized and serve as goal to keep clutter at bay. Gretchen’s conversational and narrative style made for a quick and enjoyable read—and if, after hours of spring cleaning, you want to decompress—check out her book here on Amazon: The Happiness Project

As part of my own seasonal decluttering, this weekend was dedicated to the cleaning gods; every surface received the royal treatment, from the windows to the couches and even those high maintenance fabric lamp shades.  Glamorous right?

As a self-proclaimed clean freak, who some have accused of being slightly OCD, I am always on the hunt for a few tips in the art of cleaning—and was frankly shocked/intrigued by some of the guidance I stumbled upon from Real Simple magazine:

Couches –
Step 1: Review the tags—often found under the cushions on the base of the couch—ensure the tag reads “W”, which essentially means you can “wash”/treat the couch yourself. Any special wash instructions should be followed closely in order to avoid a costly sofa snafu
Step 2: Dilute 1 cap full of Woolite into a bucket of cool water. Using a wrung-out sponge dipped in the solution, wipe down each cushion/arm/etc.
Step 3: Let all cushions and couch pieces dry completely before reassembling—be sure to warn those around you that the sofa will be out of commission for a few hours—although it is slightly amusing when someone sits down only to realize their backside is now wet—but I digress

Kitchen/Bathroom cabinets—
Step 1: Empty contents of cabinets and dust off individually – for those kitchen contents, why not utilize the dishwasher and save yourself some elbow grease?
Step 2: Using a microfiber or electrostatic cloth, wipe down the cabinet surfaces, making sure to get into the far reaches of the cabinet corners
Step 3: Using dish soap and water or even some Windex—soak a cloth and wipe down the cabinet surfaces, including the walls, tops and bottomsWindex
Step 4: Want to prevent scouring every small item inside your cabinets until next spring? Why not try storing those items in large Ziploc bags, because let’s face it, who can actually see the tippetty top shelf in your kitchen cabinets?

Coffee Maker—
Step 1: Fill the carafe with 3 cups of water and the same amount of white vinegar and pour into the water chamber –turn switch on to brew
Step 2: Part way through the brew cycle switch off and let the solution sit for about an hour –turn the coffee maker back on and finish the remainder of the solution
Step 3: Refill the carafe and run at least one cycle of clean water through the coffee maker to ensure your coffee doesn’t have a certain tang the next morning

Ready to geek out with some additional cleaning tips? Check out many of Real Simple’s tips via this link: Real Simple Link

DuncanNow not everyone found Real Simple’s tips helpful—our dog Duncan refused to remove himself from the sofa after the cleaning commenced; however, with a little bribery, via cookies or even dog treats, you could be living in hygienic bliss on your freshly cleaned surfaces.

Start the Spring with Swiss Chard

We are now enjoying the second day of Spring—however—with the temperatures hovering around a balmy 31 degrees and with a little over a foot of snow left on the frozen ground, there’s little hope for green grass, flowers, and chirping birds.

I guess this transitional season is what prompts the inevitable spring cleaning—indoors where it is a comfortable 70 degrees. After a morning full of cleaning, organizing and pining over the summer clothes that would have to remain in storage for a few more long months—it was time for a warm filing meal.

A nice one-pot wonder was the immediate go-to for this afternoon’s lunch (and I was also Ingredientslooking for a way to use the Swiss chard from this week’s organic produce delivery)—Chicken and Rice with Swiss Chard (as loosely adapted from Full Fork Ahead):

Ingredients
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 4 chicken breasts
• Kosher salt and pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems cut into ½-inch pieces, leaves torn into 2-3-inch pieces
• 1 small (or ½ medium) sweet onion, diced
• 1 ½ cups butternut squash, cubed into 1-inch pieces
• Zest from 1 lemon
• ¼ cup dry white wine
• 1 ½ cups basmati rice, uncooked
• 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

Pat chicken breasts dry with towel—season with salt and pepper. Heat large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with olive oil and butter. When oil and butter are heated, add 2 chicken breasts—working in batches, allowing them to cook for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken breasts to plate.

Chicken and rice with swiss chardReduce heat to medium and add garlic, Swiss chard stems, sweet onion and butternut squash. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent (approximately 3-4 minutes). Add Swiss chard leaves, lemon zest, rice and white wine—cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to quick simmer. Reduce heat to a simmer and season with additional salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on top of rice and vegetable mixture. Cover and cook until water is fully absorbed by rice—depending on the brand of basmati rice, this could take between 25-45 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

This warm bowl of goodness was just enough to do the trick after a long morning—and even spurred some additional prep work for the week—a refrigerator full of mason jar salads, not-your-momma’s oatmeal and left over chicken and rice with Swiss chard.Refrigerator Stocking

Onboarding Graduate – why haven’t you put yourself out there yet?

A debrief on the last 2 weeks…

• 6 onboarding classes
• 80 wall balls
• 300 jump ropes
• 60 box jumps
• Too many squats to count…

…But in the end, this newbie finally graduated from the first step in the crossfit journey. And what do I have to show for it? Well at the moment, my victory consists of tired legs, but the overall payoff, even in only 6 classes, looks a little something like this:

• Increased energy and focus at work
• Fostering new friendships
• Noticeable improvement in flexibility and mobility
• Consistently left work at or before 5:00pm 3 nights a week
• Improved work-life balance

Personal-Achievement-PrinciplesNow I will be the first to admit that these improvements are not something specific to crossfit, but they can be achieved with any extracurricular activity that sparks your inner passion. Maybe that passion is cooking, maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s pottery and heck during some weeks, maybe your passion is just plain old silence. The moral of the story—if you were like me—chained to your desk/iPhone/laptop—it’s time to do some sampling and get yourself out there—this should be the year you take back fun and try something new.

What’s the harm in trying something new? And why worry about what others may think or say? What I have noticed over the last week is that my choice in extracurricular activities has sparked a number of comments, jokes and inquiries over, but in the end many of my friends and coworkers have been more than supportive.

Reward Yourself
After putting myself out there, I thought, what about a few small rewards—so why not finda few new items to keep that spark alive?

1. Crazy about capris
After swinging by the outlets last weekend—these Reebok capris made their way into my bag Caprisand who doesn’t enjoy a little wimsy in their workout attire? Even if crossfit isn’t your shtick, you still may want check out your local Reebok outlet, as these capris were only $17 (with the help of the AAA card, which I never used before and never saw any use in until recently)

Can’t get to an outlet? Why not cruise the following sites for your own flair:
Reebok: http://www.reebok.com/us/women-pants-apparel
Amazon: http://smile.amazon.com/Reebok-Womens-Print-Capri-Pragmatic/dp/B00KG7TJRW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426730020&sr=8-2&keywords=reebok%2520capri

2. Tank top for warmer weather runs

Tank top 2Thanks to the help of Pinterest, I found the tank top below—I have always gravitated to and enjoyed running; however, being a fair-weather fan, it’s a hobby I enjoy when the outside temperature registers at a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Reasons to take a look: in addition to the handy iPod pocket, it also boasts a no chafe, no rid-up design

Disclaimer: This company is still quite new and only recently secured a manufacturer for their popular tank top with pocket and sports bar with pocket—but having worn it for a few runs (on the treadmill because it’s only about 25 degrees here this week)—I will say it is a piece worth waiting for.

Where to find it: https://www.graciesgearandtraining.com/store/gracies-gear-long-tank/

The Proof is in the PVC

So you have started a journey down the crossfit road—and you get the hang of box jumps, wall-balls, and even double unders—but then your trainer breaks out the barbell and your knees begin to shake.  (Note: for demos and links, locate the orange text throughout the post)

But who would have thought the trick to mastering some of the toughest crossfit moves is PVCPVC Pipes piping or even a broomstick? I would venture to guess that these household objects probably don’t immediately come to mind when many think about a typical crossfit routine.

Over the past week, I have completed 4 classes as part of my initial crossfit onboarding—my trainer has broken down, demonstrated and critiqued several routines involving the infamous barbell. At the heart of each exercise is a 2 minute practice with a 6 foot PVC pipe—not-so glamourous and slightly humbling, but extremely helpful to master the movement before using the real deal. And for the gentlemen out there—this technique was something each trainer required both men and women in the onboarding group to do before moving up to the bar.

This PVC was even used to stretch before some of the tougher workouts and helped to build my confidence with the actual barbell, because at the end of the day, the goal is to learn the move without dropping the bar and weights on your head. Don’t have a 6 foot PVC pipe lying around the house? Why not try a broomstick or mop, so long as they’re clean?

Interested in giving it a try and not entirely sure where to start? Why not try these videos from Reebok and other crossfit trainers?
1. Reebok Sumo Deadlift
2. Reebok Overhead Squat
3. PVC Stretches

After 4 days of onboarding I also learned that when it comes to shoes, the type of sneaker does actually matter—at least for lifting.

Newbies generally don’t have to worry about outfitting yourself head to toe in crossfit gear—so if you’re a runner who’s looking to branch out with crossfit, your Asics or Nikes will work perfectly fine for most of the crossfit workouts. However, I did see a difference when it came to lifting.

When you have the barbell with weights above your head, the one thing you want is a stable base—something you may not necessarily feel with running shoes, due to the cushioning in the sole. Instead, there are weight-lifting shoes that will help to stabilize you and surprisingly, you don’t have to spend all that much on them.

Crossfit ShoesI happened to stumbled upon a 2 for the price of 1 sale at the Reebok outlet outside of Boston and ended up with the 2 pairs of crossfit shoes shown to the left—the orange ones for lifting and the electric blue ones for all other exercises (i.e. wall balls, double unders, etc.).

Here are some other options to try if you are in the market:
1. For the Amazon Prime members out there
2. Some great sales and deals on East Bay’s site

As I drove home from crossfit last night—after a long week at work—I realized I actually had much more energy than the week before and while the temperatures are warming up and the snow is melting, I have to think one of the major contributors to this new found energy has to be crossfit.

And after reflecting on this last week, I am slowly starting to understand why this fitness method has taken off and why there are some strong believers out there—

It’s easy to make the time – only 50-55 minutes, warm-up to finish

The trainers and members are beyond supportive – everyone encourages each other and I can’t remember getting more high-fives in my entire life

You can do the moves – with proper onboarding, even the most novice of folks can muscle through 14 straight minutes of rotations consisting of 50 double unders, 10 box jumps and 10 burpees (note—this was the onboarding WOD as part of yesterday’s workout and trust me it’s as tough as you want to make it for yourself)

It’s my excuse to leave work at a decent hour – I have consistently left at 5pm on crossfit days, which has been liberating and helped to foster a more balanced feeling at the end of a hectic work day for this workaholic

Here’s to week 2—only one more week until I can enter the regular classes!

To crossfit or not to crossfit

Life is about taking chances and putting yourself out there—I know I’m a little late to the game, but the question I’ll be asking myself over the next few weeks—to crossfit or not to crossfit?

crossfitWe are all abundantly aware of some the cultural stereotypes around this latest fitness craze, everything from the “cultish” following to the strange names for workouts (i.e. Hero, Murph, and Fran)—but you may be surprised to hear:

1. Crossfit is actually more popular amongst women—approximately 60% of the crossfitters out there are women
2. Crossfit will not bulk you up like a body builder—well for the ladies out there, it’s near impossible unless you start supplementing with testosterone
3. Crossfit is not as pricey as you think—prices range based on your location and box (the term for the gym)—the reality is that it allows for near-one-on-one training (generally a 8-10 to 1 ratio, students to trainers) and it is much cheaper than person training, which can run upwards of $350 per month

I currently live in a divided household—divided in our respective calorie-burning methodologies. The difference—I’m a yoga, treadmill, former collegiate athlete kind of gal, as opposed to my significant other who is a weight lifting, adult-league soccer and gym rat kind of guy—until he started down the crossfit path a little over 3 months ago.

After seeing 3 months of significant progress in my boyfriend’s physical appearance and reading all sorts of articles – I decided to take the leap and see what the fuss was all about. Now we are not talking the full blown $150 per month experience, but I’ve started the 2-week crossfit introductory course—which not only introduces you to the crossfit routine, but ensures that each participant is safely performing each workout in order to prevent the stereotypical crossfit injuries.

Keep in mind that any credible crossfit establishment will take the time to instruct, observe and critique your form to ensure you do not cause serious harm to yourself. They won’t be able to help you with the soreness you feel the morning after—everything below my hair hurt after the first workout—but they will provide valuable advice on surviving and perfecting each workout of the day (known as a WOD).

What I have found in only a short period of time—the folks at crossfit are some of the most positive and supportive individuals I have ever worked out with. I felt welcomed in the first few minutes and supported throughout the entire 55 minute workout.

I can see how this outlet may be misconstrued as cultish, however, after being on the yoga bandwagon for the last 7 years, I can easily say that all the yogis out there could be accused of fostering a similar environment—but let’s face it—there’s nothing cultish about individuals who are there to better their bodies and build meaningful friendships with one another.

My goal over the next 2 weeks is immerse myself in the WODs every other day, learning everything from burpees to filthy fifties to snatches—all terms that still carry a scary connotation, but I’ve been assured that these military-like terms are all moves achiecrossfit 2vable by even the most novice of crossfit newbies.

So here goes nothing! I’m eager to see what the next few weeks bring in terms of progress, aches, meeting new people and trying to push myself harder than any workout before—well I’m not sure it’ll necessarily compare to some of the lacrosse workouts in college but we’ll see!

When all else fails, get the heck out of dodge

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you have been taking.” – Earl Wilson

 

What’s your last resort when you are in need of a break?  How about a little vacation–preferably somewhere sunny and warm after over 100 inches of snow in the last month

The miracle of this mini 5-day family-filled vacation for this workaholic is the fact that at this very moment, all real connections to work are approximately 2,000 miles north in my home office.  Goodbye laptop, goodbye daily status meetings, goodbye babysitting and hello freedom.

Sometimes no matter how you try and put a bandaid on the stresses of work, the only way to really hit the reset button–or sometimes feels like the panic button–is to pack your bags and get the heck out of dodge.  Out of sight, out of mind–out of luck unless you can truly unplug from the constant borage of emails, phone calls, meetings and multitasking.

Setting boundaries with bosses, coworkers and even loved ones may feel a little awkward for some workaholics and control freaks–like yours truly–but something as small as an out of office reply for your work email can help those needy worker bees self soothe in your absence but can also put your mind at rest.  I liken my out of office reply to a formal disclaimer—“expect delays” or even “I will return all emails upon my return” are glorious phrases that can send a clear signal to most professionals and while they may be envious, ultimately we all recognize the importance of a vacation.

The other key to cutting the cord with work–back up plans–while we all know we are entitled to utilize our allotted vacation time, sometimes it can be hard to imagine our team members providing guidance in our absence.  The truth- with so much red tape at work, the obvious fact you must realize: nothing will burn to the ground and people will survive.

My challenge over the last few months at a new company has been consistency and structure and somehow I felt this pit feeling in my stomach at the very thought of asking for time off, but the company survived pre-April and can certainly survive sans April for 3 working days. Luckily, I have a very supportive boss who recognizes that burn out is a real possibility without ample breaks from the organized chaos–and after working 80 hour weeks for several months while trying to balance a personal life, my burn out point was becoming visible on the near horizon.

If you are also a workaholic, do you have enough self awareness to identify the factors that contribute to or can see your burn out point?  A serious question you have to ask yourself before you come home one night from work and binge on ice cream, wine or chocolate and wake up feeling completely unrested and restless.

So you’re at the same juncture of being burnt out–now what?

Well luckily the Internet is full of wonderful outlets for vacation planning and deals, in addition to stay-cation ideas:

1. Cheap Carribean — yes I realize this sounds like an Internet scam, but after hearing stories from close friends who have taken the leap, I’m a believer (Website)

2. Trip Advisor– my vacation website staple for things from restaurants to the real scoop on hotels in every locale under the sun.  It may even be a great resource for stay-cation ideas in and around your area–new neighborhood gems pop up everyday

3. Why not try a blog for additional ideas?  Beats the office on WordPress is one of my favorites and why notj just take a look right? (Beats the Office website)

So let’s do this–I’m off to Florida for some family time and rest from my professional life–what are you waiting for?

In the words of Winnie the Pooh– TTFN

Sunday- The Day for You

Today is Sunday, a day reserved for relaxation and a reset from the preceding week– it’s also the perfect opportunity to spend some time focusing on you. When life gets hectic, it is nice to do something for yourself, even if it’s only 1 hour running out to get a manicure or facial—and it is no surprise that taking care of yourself is one of the most important rituals you can embrace in an effort to rebalance.

This week’s distress tactic: Facial — Something I have devoted myself religiously to every 6 weeks for the last 2 years that not only helps me distress but also help me look my best—especially important for someone who has battled acne since the age of 12.

Facials date back as early as 100 A.D. when the Romans used ancient mud baths to condition their skin, and humans have been partaking in this practice ever since because let’s face it—who doesn’t love the feeling of fresh, hydrated and smooth-feeling skin?  And this ritual certainly transcends genders- men and woman alike stand to benefit from treating their faces to a little TLC.

I have found an incredible aesthetician outside of Boston, who is a friendly and knowledgeable individual I look forward to seeing every 6 weeks to cure my skin’s woes and learn knew skin treatment tricks.  But for those workaholics out there with limited white space on your calendar, no need to fear–there are many at-home, quick remedies to pamper yourself if getting out for a scheduled facial just won’t work for your schedule.

Some of the helpful tricks my aesthetician has gifted to me:

1. Miracle at-home mask – whole milk plain yogurt + Aveeno oatmeal bath packet (1/2 a packet)—this mask is great for clarifying and hydrating, something most of us in colder climates this winter could use.  Simply mix 6 oz of whole milk plain yogurt and a 1/2 a packet of the MaskAveeno oatmeal bath, or substitute with just oatmeal.  Apply liberally over your entire face, being sure to keep mask away from your eyes, and let set up for 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water and apply a light moisturizer.

Some sites with some delectable at-home mask ideas:

Real Simple At-Home Mask Ideas
Whole Living At-Home Mask Ideas

2. Coconut oil – most people know how multifaceted this little gem is, everything from hydrating your cuticles, to oil pulling, to removing make-up.  I keep a small jar of coconut oil in my nightstand and apply it to my cuticles most nights and even use it as a hydrating foot lotion, especially during these chiller months.  This wonder oil can also create an improved and smoother shave if applied to your legs before and after shaving, and can even prevent ingrown hairs, as coconut oil also carries antibacterial properties.

Here are some sites that outline the benefits of coconut oil:
Health.com
Organic Facts.net

3. Suki Concentrated Skin Toner—this product has literally changed my skin—after being plagued with troublesome skin, dating back to 12 years old, I finally found a product that has quite literally changed the texture and evenness of my skin. And the most important rule my aesthetician and this toner taught me—hydration is the best way to combat an oily complexion.  I apply the concentrated skin toner 2x a day after cleansing my skin.Suki Toner

The Suki line of products are generally found at many spas and can also be found on Amazon—one word of caution is pursuing the Amazon route—make sure you are purchasing from Suki (seller)

A good starter kit can be found on Amazon here: Suki Starter Kit

Still looking for some additional ways to pamper yourself at home?  Here are some of the books I have sought out for additional ideas/inspiration/tricks:

1. Skintervention – by Scott-Vincent Borba
The book can be found on Amazon here: Skintervention

SkinterventionThis book is an easy read and encompasses a holistic approach to obtaining and maintaining beautiful skin—from the foods you eat, to the vitamins/supplements you take to even at-home remedies for an all-natural and cost effective

2. The Skin Type Solution—by Leslie Baumann
The book can be found on Amazon here: The Skin Type Solution

Skin Type SolutionA similar holistic approach to managing better skin, including managing your diet and reading labels of products in order to properly tailor to your specific skin-type needs

Not Your Momma’s Oatmeal

Another day, another snow storm—this New England winter does not seem to be lightening up on us anytime soon. Over the past several weeks, we have become accustomed to hunkering down at home during each storm—which means forging for breakfast on your own.

After seeing this week’s snowfall forecast, it became apparent there was a need for a warm, filing and nutritious breakfast—somehow I rationalized that a great breakfast would provide enough motivation to start shoveling at dawn–that’s for another blog post.

I spent an hour or two cruising through my usual inspirational websites—from Foodgawker.com to Food & Wine—and finally stumbled upon something deceivingly simplistic—overnight oatmeal. Now I have never been a huge fan of oatmeal—there’s always been a somewhat lackluster allure for this breakfast staple, but perhaps this recipe was enough to make me a believer.

Oatmeal ItemsPreparation took about 5 minutes to assemble, pour and shake—then into the refrigerator it went. When we woke up to another 14 inches of snow on Sunday morning, we simply took the jars of oatmeal out and popped them (sans the metal tops) into the microwave for a few minutes—and voila, a tasty oatmeal concoction and the hint of lemon, combined with the cinnamon and brown sugar blended perfectly–and was anything but simplistic tasting.

Food & Wine made me a believer when it comes to oatmeal and this breakfast idea will come in handy for the additional storms forecasted this week.  The cooler version of this recipe (everything sans the microwave) will taste refreshing when the warm weather eventually returns to New England—which might be June at this rate.

For those interested in a tasty, quick and hearty breakfast here’s the recipe:

Overnight Oatmeal (as adapted from Food & Wine)
Ingredients:
½ cup steel cut oats
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ cup of blueberries, or any berries you have on hand (fresh or frozen)
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar—I used a glass mason jar—shake the jar and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight. Top with some slivered almonds, real maple syrup or additional brown sugar and enjoy!

For a warmer version—take metal top off of mason jar and place in the microwave for 1.5 – 2 minutes.

Note: In terms of milk, I have used both dairy and almond milks, both have worked great.

Oatmeal

Cozy Couple’s Carb-Free Dinner

SteakWhile our house tends to be divided on the frequency of carbs in our dinner schedule, I found a way to sneak in a hearty, warm and satisfying dinner without the usual pasta or bread. I am by no means on the anti-carb bandwagon; however, I think we need to scale back on our consumption of these delectable items from time to time—especially with a trip to Florida in the near future.

What really makes this meal so appealing is just how quickly it can all be pulled together—great for those hectic weeknights or even a Valentine’s Day dinner plagued by shoveling and frigid temperatures.

Some items you should already have or run out to purchase:
Meat thermometer Meat thermometer—and trust me when I say, this is one of the key tools in my entire kitchen and not just for cooking meat. After last week’s baking class, I learned it is even useful for gauging the perfect doneness of breads (an optimal 200 degrees F for perfect bread). Here’s a link to the one purchased on Amazon that I swear by: Meat Thermometer on Amazon

Oven thermometerOven thermometer—if nothing more, this $10 item will provide at least a few hours of entertainment when you finally fire up your oven and see just how inaccurate it may actually be—our 2-year-old oven is approximately 8 degrees F off (up to 350 degrees F) and then 12 degrees off ( >350 degrees F). This gadget may solve a number of baking-related frustrations. Here’s a link to the one I purchased on Amazon (but available locally at your Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.): Oven Thermometer on Amazon

For a cozy carb-free couple’s dinner, simply follow these relatively simple steps:

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: Approx. 20 minutes

Ingredients:
For the Steaks
• 2 8-oz filet mignon steaks
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, finely chopped
• Salt and pepper

For the Red Wine Reduction
• 1/2 cup of beef broth
• 1 cup of red wine—preferably cabernet sauvignon
• 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms—be sure to dust off any dirt
• 1 tablespoon of butter
• Salt and pepper

For the Broccoli Side
• 2 cups of broccoli, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• Salt and pepper

Remove steaks from the refrigerator and marinate with plenty of salt and pepper on both sides. Leave marinated steaks on the counter for 30 minutes. Allowing the steak to come to room temperature will provide a better sear.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

In an oven-safe pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Place the steaks on the heated pan for 3-4 minutes – do not touch the steaks or even take a peek. After 3-4 minutes, flip the steaks over and wait another 3-4 minutes, being careful not to move them on the pan.

Remove steaks from stovetop and place oven-safe pan in the oven—set the timer for 5-8 minutes and check the steaks’ temperature periodically. Timing will depend on the desired level of doneness via a meat thermometer. Here are the approximate temperatures/doneness:
• Rare – 123 degrees F
• Medium Rare – 130 degrees F
• Medium – 137 degrees F
• Medium Well – 150 degrees F
• Well – 160 degrees F

After steaks reach desired temperature, remove from oven and let rest covered loosely by tinfoil for 10 minutes.

While the steaks are searing, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick fry pan on medium heat. Place a baby bella mushrooms in and coat in butter –stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the beef broth and red wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and let the mixture reduce by ½–approximately 10 minutes.

Fill medium saucepan with 1 cup of water and drop bite-sized broccoli in. Heat pan over medium heat until steamed—about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, salt and pepper.

Assemble steak with wine reduction and broccoli on plate and serve with remaining cabernet sauvignon.

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