Flank Steak with Basil Vinaigrette

As the weather turns cooler, I’ve been craving more hearty and rich dishes.  A few weeks ago, the weather was just starting to hint at the cooler temperatures to come, and rather than using the flank steak in my fridge for a salad as I planned, I decided I wanted something more comforting than a salad.  As I dug around trying to decide what else I could potentially make, inspiration hit.  This dish transitions perfectly from the end of summer into fall and winter.  It can be paired with just about any combination of vegetables, depending on what is one season.  But each time I’ve made it, I’ve stuck to both riced cauliflower and mushrooms and then mixed in a third vegetable based on what I had on hand – squash and zucchini, sauted kale, green beans and onions, and most recently, roasted brussels sprouts.

You can grill the flank steak in the warmer months, or cook it in a cast iron skillet, as described below, in the colder months.  The vegetables can also be prepared in your favorite way – grilled, roasted, sauted. Just keep the seasonings simple and let the basil vinaigrette shine!

Flank steak basil vinaigrette and wine

This dish could very easily be bland, boring, and basic.  But adding in the fresh herbaceous sauce that only takes a few minutes to throw together really steps it up a notch and takes it to a whole new level.  It takes this dish from an any other day, clean out the fridge, uninspired meal to elevated and elegant, but still super quick and easy!  The fresh herbs and garlic really bring the wow factor!  So, make this dish, fall in love, cozy up with a glass of wine or hot tea, and share the love with all your favorite loved ones!

Flank Steak Basil Vinaigrette

Flank Steak with Basil Vinaigrette

Servings:  4          Time:  ~30 minutes

  • 1-1.25 lb flank steak
  • 12 oz bag frozen, riced cauliflower
  • 2 pints fresh mushrooms, such as crimini or white button, whole or sliced
  • Additional vegetables as desired
  • 1/4 C fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Couple dashes crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Liberally season both sides of flank steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add a small amount of butter or ghee.  Add seasoned flank steak and sear a few minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Turn heat to medium low and cover with lid or piece of foil, cooking for about 6-8 minutes longer or until desired doneness.  I recommend not cooking past medium (about 160 degrees F), as flank steak is lean and can get tough if overcooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to rest.
  3. While steak cooks, prepare vinaigrette.  Place olive oil in small dish, whisk continuously while slowly adding in vinegar.  Once combined, add mined garlic and basil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.  Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Cook vegetables – saute riced, frozen cauliflower in butter or ghee over medium high heat for several minutes until warmed through.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan.  Add good amount of butter, ghee, and/or olive oil to same pan.  Add mushrooms, and cook over low heat, seasoned with salt and pepper, until cooked through.
  5. Once steak has rested, cut in thin strips against the grain.
  6. Plate:  add a mound of cooked, riced cauliflower to plate or bowl, pile on cooked mushrooms and additional vegetables, layer on sliced steak, cover it all in a spoonful of basil vinaigrette, and dig in!
Nutrition Info:

365 total cal, 23 g fat, 10 g carb, 30 g protein

Review of OnTrend Wellness Event

So I’m a few days late on posting this…I forgot to bring my notes with me when we left town last weekend to visit family!  Whoops!

Anyways, last week I attended an awesome event called OnTrend Wellness that was hosted at New You Health Studio in Mission Farms here in KC.

Four amazing ladies from Enjoy Pure Food + Drink, Fusion Fitness, Xiphium Aveda Lifestyle Salon, and New You Health Studio, all located in Mission Farms, came together to discuss current trends in health and wellness and offer their advice and knowledge on various topics.  It was such a great event offering the opportunity to learn from local experts in the health and wellness industry.

OnTrend Wellness Panel

From left to right:  Dr. Alexander, Jaime Huntoon, Darby Brender, and Staci Cross

The evening started off with a sweat session at Fusion Fitness, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, but I’m sure it was a kick-butt workout just like every class I’ve attended there in the past!

Afterwards, everyone met at the beautiful New You Health Studio.  Enjoy Pure Food + Drink provided some delicious goodies such as various hummus dips and their newly added menu item, lemon turmeric protein balls – which were AMAZING!  They also provided wine – always a plus 🙂  P.S. I freaking love their food!  And they offer options for gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and paleo eaters! It’s so great to have a nutritious and delicious place to grab a bite that doesn’t require scouring the menu for something that can be easily modified to be made without dairy!  Anyways, I digress…

After attendees got settled, they transitioned in to the panel of speakers.  I’m sharing just a few of the key points that were discussed here, but there was much more information provided and it was a jam packed hour that flew by!  I could have listened to these wonderful women talk for hours!

  1. Collagen supplementation – One thing all the speakers were avid supporters of is collagen supplementation!  Collagen is a pure source of protein.  One scoop generally has 8-10 grams of purse protein, with varying amino acids depending on the type (I, II, III, or IV).  It is typically sourced from grass-fed bovine (cow) hide and connective tissue, thus it is NOT vegan.  Many brands are odorless and flavorless so can easily be added to recipes without effecting the flavor.  Pure collagen dissolves easily into liquids.  It’s slightly different from gelatin, which offers the same benefits, but gels when added to liquids.  Since I am a pharmacist, I feel obligated to mention that since collagen is a supplement, and not a medication, it is not evaluated by the FDA and studies surrounding the benefits are not as robust as those conducted for medications.  That being said, I myself use it regularly, adding it to my morning coffee each day as well as to several foods, such as my Protein Pancakes, oatmeal, even non-dairy yogurt.  I’ve only being using it for about 2 months, but I will say that my nails and hair do seem stronger and less brittle and dry.  I’ve tried two different brands – Further Food and Zhou Nutrition.  I felt like I could somewhat smell the Zhou brand, but maybe that’s just because it was the first kind I tried so psyched myself into thinking I could smell it :).  It also offers all 4 types of collagen peptides while Further Food is only type I.  Collagen’s touted health benefits include the below.
    • Gut health
    • Healthy and strong hair, skin, and nails
    • Healthy bones and joint
  2. Intermittent Fasting – this topic was primarily supported by Dr. Alexander with New You Health Studio.  She recommends working towards 16 hr fasting, starting in the evening following dinner and continuing into the following day, with 8 hr of eating/feasting.  One important point with this is to ensure adequate nutrition during the feasting portion of the day and Dr. Alexander reiterated that this feasting period is as important if not more than the fasting state.  Intermittent fasting can help promote fat burning and mimics how our bodies were designed to function, as was done during the “hunting and gathering” period.  To help reach the 16 hrs of fasting, collagen, MCT oil, and ghee can be used to help promote satiety while still maintaining a fasting state as these substances are already largely broken down or “digested” and be easily absorbed by our bodies.
  3. Darby Brender with Fusion Fitness discussed that she hopes for what she terms “body neutrality” to become a trend of the future.  Essentially, body neutrality means being okay with where you’re at and that society would stop body shaming.  I interpret this as not focusing on how your body looks, but more importantly, focusing on what your body can do and being grateful for that!
  4. Jaime Huntoon, Esthetician with Xiphium, recommended trying to make just one healthy change.  It can sometimes be overwhelming when researching how to start living a more healthy lifestyle, but if you focus on just one thing to change at a time, you can continue to make progress without being overwhelmed.  This leads me to the next topic, which is one thing I definitely recommend trying as your one healthy change!
  5. Eat your veggies!  Veggies contain MANY required nutrients necessary for optimal body functioning.  Additionally, they are filling while also generally low in calories.  As Staci Cross with Enjoy Pure Foods explained, the fiber in vegetables help expand your stomach, helping you feel full longer, and also helping keep you “regular”.
  6. Inflammation – many common foods can contribute to inflammation, with the top offender being processed sugars!  In addition to inflammation, having a diet high in processed sugars can contribute to reduced gut health and skin troubles.  Craving sugar can be caused by “bad” bacteria in your gut sending signals out in your body because they want to be fed.  Other common foods that can contribute to inflammation include dairy (yay – all my recipes are dairy-free!) and gluten.  Alternatively, there are some natural anti-inflammatories that can be included in your regular diet such as turmeric, curcumin, and ginger.  You can find both turmeric and ginger in my Immune Boosting Chicken Soup as well as in most curry seasonings, which is part of my Basil Chicken Coconut Curry.
  7. Finally, the panel discussed some of their favorite mindfulness practices, including meditation, breath work, and use of a weighted blanket.  Two recommended tools include the Insight App, which is free, and well as the Brain Health YouTube channel.  Darby had the great analogy using glitter to help explain the benefit of mindfulness practices.  Imagine every component of your life as a different color of glitter – work, family, extracurricular activities, faith, to-do lists, etc.- all layered together in a glass jar.  Then imagine shaking that jar and mixing all the different colors of glitter together.  Throughout the day, our minds can become like that mixed up jar of glitter.  Mindfulness practices help to sort out that mixed up glitter and get it back to a state of carefully sorted layers.  I didn’t explain that nearly as well as Darby, but hopefully you get the picture!

Well, I hope you find this review helpful and if you get the opportunity, I definitely recommend attending the OnTrend Wellness event if it is offered again in the future!

Food and Wellness Trends 2018

2018 Food and Wellness Trends, prepared by Staci Cross