• Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak
  • Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak

Does anyone, other than me, have this mysterious recipe that they bring up in a conversation to someone, “oh yes the meal you just cooked was terrific, but I have too cook you my famous stuffed flank steak– it’s fantastic!” This “famous” stuffed flank steak that’s “my” recipe. I’m sure you do, we all do it– but it’s not really our recipe and we haven’t actually cooked it before, have we? The problem with this little white lie is that you have to be ready for the moment when someone says, “well let’s see that FAMOUS flank steak of yours, I’ll come over Wednesday.” That my friends is when the trouble starts.

Never have I been so nervous making a meal, this wasn’t casual cooking for me… this was stress. Normally I would call up my mom and ask her exactly how she made this, but I couldn’t do that after all my bragging. So instead, I was stuck stressing in the kitchen trying to recall the recipe my mom shared with me the night before after we each had a few glasses of wine– talk about a challenge. But here comes more bragging, for my first time making this beautiful flank steak I have to say it turned out pretty darn good. Which only makes me believe that you all can do it too! Feel free to use this as your new “famous” recipe!

It takes about 40 minutes to prepare and here’s what you need:

1 Flank steak– I got mine from Safeway
1 Small jar of sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic
1 Small handful of basil
1 Package frozen chopped spinach
Shredded parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

How you do it:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and completely thaw your frozen spinach. You can leave the spinach out all day or you can thaw it in the microwave if you don’t have time. Once the spinach is completely thawed, put it in a colander and press the spinach until you have squeezed all the juice and liquid from the spinach. It should be dry.

Cut your flank steak in half to make each slab thinner– surprise now you have two! Just to clarify if you are referencing my photos, I didn’t cut my steak into two separate pieces originally, but it ended up being too long so eventually I cut it in half. It’s probably easier to cut it in half off the bat. Cover each new thin slab of flank steak with parchment paper and pound out your steak to make it even thinner (careful don’t pound through!). After you have tenderized and pounded your steak to be about a half-inch thick or smaller (see photos for help on this) lightly salt and pepper your steak. Do this to your own taste, careful not to use too much salt.

In a food processor add the garlic and small jar of sun-dried- tomatoes- process until a thick paste has been made. Next add a few leaves of basil and pour in olive oil until you create a consistency of a pesto spread.

Once you have finished the spread,  distribute it over the flank steak so that it is covering the entire surface. Following the spread you will take the dried spinach and run a line down the middle of your steak from one side to the other. On top of this line of spinach you will run the shredded parmesan cheese, also from start to finish. Roll up the the steak hot-dog style (who remembers that!?) so you have two long roasts. Lay the two roasts on a cookie sheet covered in foil so that the seem is down and it stays rolled up. Cook for about 20 minutes in the oven.

Please try it out and let me know how it goes! It is one of my favorite meals my mom used to cook for me while growing up. I can assure that you’re going to love it. Now that I have successfully blown my own cover, I would just like to give credit to my sweet mother and say that this is HER famous flank steak recipe, not mine. But I still might steel it from time to time!

Eat well, drink well and enjoy!

Cheers,

Aly

 

 

    My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley

Decadence you might ask– why? Well, I’ll tell you. Have you ever indulged in three of your favorite things in one day? I have, and I did it in Hayes Valley. Fresh organic-made tacos at Papito Hayes, wine and hard cider at Fig and Thistle all topped off with macaroons from Chantal Guillon. Someone please wake me up because my day in Hayes Valley makes me think I somehow died and went to heaven. Not to mention, Hayes Street is lined with beautiful old trees, cute authentic boutiques, happy people, and even a Biergarten! The worst part about this day trip is that I have been living in San Francisco for over a year and hadn’t actually explored the neighborhood before. I’m ashamed of myself.

To share a secret with you I actually went back the weekend after because I loved it so much, and ate lunch at the Boxing Room. A cute Louisiana styled restaurant that has live music and the most amazing bloody mary’s I’ve ever seen. You can get pickled beats, radishes, carrots, quail eggs and more– as just a topping for your bloody! I think that just confirmed that Hayes Valley most certainly is heaven– don’t wake me up I want to stay.

Papito Hayes- Trendy wall art and great organic tacos with some outside seating. Oh and the guacamole is a must-have.

Fig and Thistle– An artistic little wine bar with succulents on the walls and vintage bunkbeds as a bench. To order a glass of wine you unfold a map of California and find a region where you want your wine from. Probably one of the most fun and funky wine bars I’ve been to– definitely go.

Chantal Guillon- An abundance of flavors and great taste. I mean come on– it’s a shop just full of macaroons. YUM.

Boxing Room- Great atmosphere for all ages, love the live bluesy music, good food. Definitely worth the trip over. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera from this separate day so I don’t have pictures to show for it, but check out a picture of my bloody mary on my Instagram 

 

@BubblesAndBay

Speaking of Instagram, if you love Bubbles + Bay now you can see twice as much food and hot spots around San Francisco automatically. Following comes with perks like mouth-watering mid-day surprises, beautiful views and secret finds! Follow me for the whole experience, you might even think you live in SF!

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If you try any restaurants I’ve been to or you go somewhere you think I should test out, take a picture and tag @bubblesandbay in your photo!

 

Cheers,

Aly

 

  • Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats
  • Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

I’ve mentioned this in some of my other posts but I am constantly looking for new ways to be healthy; whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Recently I have been on another one of my infamous diets, but diet or not I continue to face a problem that I’m sure many of us working indivuals experience. Let’s face it– we all get up early enough as it is, no one (or no one who is sane) wants to wake up an hour or even half hour earlier than they have to in order to make breakfast. So then many of us go to work, pray the coffee will hold us over, and end up ready to eat gross leftovers laying around the office in an attempt to survive. This has been me because unfortunately, I’m someone who suffers from a plague of feeling like I might faint and die if I don’t have food in my belly to sustain me in the morning. This is when I started doing something awful. So awful I don’t know how I haven’t been asked to leave the office by a coworker yet. What office monster had I turned into? The hard-boiled egg monster, that’s who. I just walk in there crack open my hard-boiled eggs and stink up the office like it’s my job– well you know what I mean.

The guilt started weighing on me with every crack and peel of those eggs, so one morning I decided to look up a new healthy alternative that wouldn’t make those around me suffer. That’s when I found the delicious and nutritious overnight oats! You guys have got to try this out. Not only will you bring your breakfast in a cute mason jar, which by the way everyone will ask you about because they are jealous, but your office will remain sent free and your belly and tastebuds will be delighted. This recipe is just the beginning my friends, I’m a whole new morning person. The great thing about overnight oats is that they take about 10 minutes or less to prepare and they are ready for grab-and-go in the morning on your way out.

Here’s your simple savior:

1 Mason jar (get a bigger one so you have extra room… unlike me)
1/2 Cup organic oats (uncooked!)
1/2 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 Cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 Cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
For fun: cut up some small pieces of apple and add them to the jar!

Add the ingredients into your mason jar, the order doesn’t matter! Try a new way every time, who cares! Once everything is in the mason jar, seal the lid tight and shake the jar until all the ingredients are completely combined. Put the jar in the fridge and ta-da! You’re oats are ready and waiting for you on your way out the door in the morning. These overnight oats have simplified my life and made my belly happy and slim! Don’t be fooled by the taste– they’re completely healthy!

Eat up my friends!

Cheers,

Aly

  • Take Me Back to Barcelona
  • Take Me Back to Barcelona Take Me Back to Barcelona Take Me Back to Barcelona Take Me Back to Barcelona

Hi Guys!! I’m so sorry I’ve been gone for so long–rest assured, I’m back.  Bubbles + Bay will be going through a transformation very soon and it’s something I can’t wait to show you all! Please excuse my absence and enjoy the read to one of the best meals ever.

—————————————————–

Barcelona/Barthelona/Barca/Barce/HEAVEN. For those of you who don’t know me well, I lived in Barcelona when I was a junior in college for four months. This was a pivotal time in my life because I was not only going through a cultural awakening– being that I was outside of my California bubble all on my own, but I was also learning more about who I am as an individual. So much of what I learned and experienced in Barcelona those four months have shaped much of who I am today! Barcelona will always feel like a home in my heart–man I wish I could have every last second of those days back.

A favorite spot for Barcelona study abroad kids was this small hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean food place called Bo de B. Wow I actually just felt myself start to salivate writing that down… so embarrassing. They opened around noon and I swear my friends and I would basically run from our campus in Plaza Catalunya down to the Barceloneta shop.  We’d sometimes get there twenty to thirty minutes early just to make sure we didn’t have to wait in a huge line, which typically would wrap far down the block. Bo de B was known for their four sauces: hot sauce, avocado-cilantro sauce, tzatziki sauce, and a garlic sauce– I wish I knew how to make all 4 but I gave two of them my best shot. You could either put all your food into a fresh baguette for only FOUR euros or you could eat it plate style for only a couple euros more; but the most important part was to get all four of the sauces. Bo de B was cheap amazing food– what study abroad student wouldn’t be there? Not to mention we could take our sandwiches and sit on steps near a harbor of beautiful sailboats with cheap bottles of great wine. In an effort to cure my nostalgia, I decided to recreate Bo de B at home and MY GOD it was fabulous.

Here’s how I tackled the beast for 2 people:

2 Chicken breast
2 Roma tomatoes (medium sized)
1 Sweet onion
1 Large cucumber
1 Jar PITTED Kalamata olives (You can also mix in green olives)
1 Cup cooked lentils
Shredded iceberg lettuce (judge how much you want)
2 Cups sweet corn (off the cob)
Fresh cilantro
Olive oil
Balsamic vinaigrette
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Salt

Sauces:
Trader Joe’s tzatziki Sauce
Trader Joe’s cilantro and chive yogurt sauce +sriracha (mix the two in a bowl for a sweet and hot tangy sauce– the more sriracha the more HOT)

Cook chicken in a non stick pan with some olive oil, pepper and garlic salt (a few shakes of each) for about 20 minutes until it is golden brown (make sure it is cooked all the way through and there is no pink on the inside). While chicken is cooking begin the lentils– directions should be on bag but if not use: 1 cup lentils, 2 cups water, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes or until water is gone. The sweet corn should also be lightly cooked– place in a small saucepan and use only a tiny bit of olive oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes until corn is tender, on medium heat. Cut cucumber, onion, tomato, olives and shred lettuce to a size preferable for you– see my pictures for an example. I marinated each vegetable in separate bowls with a little shake of salt & pepper, dash or two of balsamic. I added finely chopped fresh cilantro to the tomato, onion and the sweet corn for an extra kick. Once lentils are finished cooking, add a tiny shake of salt, two shakes of pepper, two dashes of olive oil and a spritz of balsamic to give them flavor.

When plating the meal I kept all the ingredients separate and made a nice presentation– just like they did at Bo de B of course. In the center I place a generous helping of the Trader Joe’s tzatziki sauce and drizzled the rest of the plate with my sweet&spicy sauce of sriracha and the Trader Joe’s cilantro chive yogurt dip. Make sure you have both sauces on each bite and there you have it! A small taste of my Bo de B love all the way from Barcelona to home.

If you have questions while making Bo de B feel free to email me!

Cheers,
Aly

 

    Hit of the Holidays: Mulled Wine Hit of the Holidays: Mulled Wine Hit of the Holidays: Mulled Wine Hit of the Holidays: Mulled Wine Hit of the Holidays: Mulled Wine

Nearly two years ago I was roaming the beautiful streets of Florence Italy. Florence was a picturesque Christmas scene. The streets were lit up with cheerful lights, every window decorated for the holiday and Christmas markets were plentiful. It is the fond memory of my time spent in these markets drinking Italian mulled wine that inspired me to try and recreate the delicious holiday beverage. I brought all the ingredients over to a friends Christmas party a few days ago and couldn’t stop talking their ears off about how one sip of mulled wine would change their lives. You can probably imagine, that while I was brewing the wine I began to feel pretty nervous about the outcome now that I had raised everyone’s expectations to the fullest. Thankfully with a little bit of help and good amount of faith, I made what I would like to consider an awesome imitation of my Florence memory. It soon became the favorite drink at the party, surpassing the eggnog and brandy combinations and even the great bottles of wine. The best part of the night is my friends were under the impression I had been whipping up batches of mulled wine for years and they were shocked to learn I had been nervously making my first batch in their kitchen! Moral of the story, it’s clearly simple and can be done by anyone! No need to be a mulled wine pro, though after making this you sure might feel like one.

While we are speaking of Christmas, if any of you would like to see what I asked Santa for you can take a sneak peek! I use Gift Share Love for all my holiday/birthday/just because wish lists. Gift Share Love saves my friends and family the trouble of wondering what to get me, and it’s fun and easy to share. Check out my favorite things under the “Featured Users” tab.

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How to make Mulled Wine for a group of 10 people in a little over 10 minutes:

Ingredients
2 Bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon– I used Entwine and it was perfect!
8 Cups Apple Cider- mine was not carbonated
1 Orange zested
1 Orange sliced and put into boiling wine — you can buy more oranges to peel and use as garnish
1/2 Cup honey
8 Whole cloves
6 Star anise
4 Cinnamon sticks– you can also use more to put cinnamon in individual glasses
2 Shakes of nutmeg

Cooking: Just a few easy steps! 
Combine wine, cider, orange slices, honey, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and zested orange in a large pot on the stove.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour in mugs and serve! Add any garnish you would like!

 

It’s simple, it’s fun and most importantly… delicious! Make sure to check out the Gift Share Love site and use it for any last minute holiday shopping.

Cheers and Happy Holidays, 

Aly

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