Guys.  Christmas is less than a week away!  How does that happen every year?  Seems like we just had Halloween and in the blink of an eye it’s Christmas, and I’ll blink again and it will be my birthday in the middle of March. 

Another busy weekend is in the books.  I was up early on Saturday morning for a Christmas cookie class at The Chopping Block’s Lincoln Square location.  One of my favorite and easiest cookies we made were elephant ears – I’ve seen them before but had never made them – and turns out they use frozen puff pastry so it’s really easy!

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I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week.  The only good part about starting so early in the morning on Saturday is that I was back home around 3 in the afternoon.  Both Hannah and Jacob were working at the coffee shop, so I swung by there on my way home to do some meal planning for the week.  I was a bit shocked when we were scrolling through Pinterest and Hannah pointed to Mongolian Beef and said “I’d eat that.”  What the what?!

So that quickly got added to the menu and became dinner on Saturday night.  It wasn’t until I was back home that I thoroughly read through recipe in detail (not just if I had all the ingredients) and realized I already was going to tweak the recipe.   While I am sure it’s delicious, the original recipe had you fry the beef before tossing it in the sweet sauce – and her original recipe called for 3/4 cup of brown sugar to 1/2 cup soy sauce and I already knew that would be too sweet for my taste.  And because Hannah thinks crushed red pepper is a bit spicy, she will tolerate a little bit of sriracha, Jacob and I added more to our dish after it was plated.

  • 1.5 pounds sirloin steak (vs. flank steak called in the original recipe because it was on sale)
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil, divided
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/4  cup dark brown sugar
  • 1½ pounds sirloin steak
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon sriracha (add more to taste)
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces


  1. Make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  2. Add soy sauce, water, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened some, 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Slice steak against the grain into ¼-inch slices with the knife held at a 45 degree angle. Some of the really long pieces I cut in half to make them more bite-sized.
  4. Toss steak with cornstarch and let sit 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Add beef (I cooked it in 2 batches) and cook 2-3 minutes, until brown and crispy, flipping pieces over to cook both sides.
  7. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and discard cooking oil. Place meat back in pan along with sauce and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring to coat meat.
  8. Add sriracha and green onions and remove from heat.
  9. Serve over rice.

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This was really, really delicious.  I actually think I could have reduced the brown sugar to just 1/8 of a cup, but with the balance of sriracha, this was delish.  Hannah of course cut her beef up into a billion little pieces to eat it, but declared it a winner.  Served with a side of fresh green beans, this was a nice Saturday night dinner.  It was nice to be bizzy in my kitchen!

I had a later start to work on Sunday.  Knowing it was going to be so cold, I decided to take the train to work.  One thing I had not anticipated was that the Bears game was a noon start, so the train was packed and actually took about 20 minutes longer than normal to accommodate all the people going to the game.

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I am sorry, but even if I was a die hard Bears fan, if I woke up and saw that was the weather forecast, I’d have rolled over and gone back to bed.   But that didn’t stop the people on the train, who even at 10:00 a.m. in the morning were passing shots around to each other and drinking beer.

It did warm up to a balmy 8 degrees by the time I got downtown, so I made the eight block walk to work.

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The streets were pretty much cleared – a few icy spots here and there, but not too bad.  It was another Cookie event at work, but this time it was a giant cookie exchange.  We had 3 classes going on at the same time.  Each class made 5 different kinds of cookies, and in the end, everyone got to exchange with all the cookies made, so everyone walked out with 36 cookies.

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So many cookies!  It was a lot of fun though, and I love that everyone braved the cold weather to attend.  By the time I left it was dark out, and 4 degrees.

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Again, lots of drunk people on the train ride home and it took an extra 20 minutes to get home, but I was fine being warm and watching Netflix on the way home – not a bad way to end a long day on my feet.

I have to give a shout out to my long time blog reader and friend Kym from Florida who sent me some holiday loot!

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I immediately hung up these snowman towels – how cute are they?!

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And several years ago, my parents in law sent me a box of Florida citrus, and I told them they never had to think of a gift to give me again – I LOVE this fruit!  Thank you!  Your gifts from me probably will get to you between Christmas and New Years Open-mouthed smile

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And now we are back to Monday – actually looking forward to having two days off in a row next Sunday and Monday.  We get out early on Friday, but only a couple hours, but I’ll take it.  Not sure how much longer I can work seven days a week – my body is reminding me that I am not 25 anymore!   Maybe I’ll take a nap on the train ride in this morning Open-mouthed smile

Stay warm my friends!  Make it a great day!