Things are getting spicyyyyyyy over here.
Before I get to today’s recipe, I wanted to do a little riff on something that’s been on my mind lately. I know that lots of you are similar to me, in that you’re ambitious, hard working, and have high expectations of yourself. This is a great set of traits to have, and at the same time, I’ve also been noticing in myself that they also have a way of throwing me off “balance”. (Balance in quotes, because I think when you’re multi-passionate and throw yourself fully into the work you do, inevitably some areas need to get de-prioritized.)
Without getting into the details, I have not been the most balanced person over the last month. After having been promoted to a new role with new challenges at work, the lines between office time and home time have definitely blurred. Some days, they feel non-existent. Wake up, work out, eat breakfast and do work, go to work, do work, come home from work, eat dinner and do work, go to bed thinking about work, dream about work, wake up thinking about work, and do it all over again. I don’t need my designations in culinary nutrition and health coaching to know that this isn’t a sustainable way to live!
I’ve let myself get very caught up in this cycle lately, and setting boundaries on when work stops and the rest of my life begins hasn’t been something I’ve done well. I’m incredibly blessed to work in a place with some absolutely outstanding, high-achieving people. They motivate me to strive for more, and I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by, learning from, and collaborating with them.
At the same time, it’s really easy to start feeling like what I’m doing isn’t enough. There’s always so much more to do and so much that, given time, could be done even better.
Last Saturday I was having a hard time shaking this thought off while taking a long, hot post-workout shower. (Long showers are rare for me these days. Weekends are also when I paint my nails, shave my legs, and basically turn myself back into a girl again.) In my head, I was listing off a whole bunch of things where I felt I needed to do more, learn more, know more, and do better.
When I realized that this was NOT making me feel any better (hello, negative thought spiral!), I somehow forced myself to flip my perspective and look at all the things that were great and had been achieved in the week that had just passed.
Interestingly, once that list of mental wins started, more and more came to mind. The list got really long – so long, in fact, that when I went to switch the shower off, my fingers were wrinkled like prunes.
Feeling better already, I proceeded to do another thing I haven’t done enough of lately, which is laughing. Compliments of the almighty Youtube, I queued up a few hilarious videos and found myself giggling away as I cooked breakfast. By the time I sat down to eat it, I felt a million times better than I had an hour prior.
In retrospect, there were 3 key learnings that came out of this experience:
- I need to be more firm (with others and myself) about my personal boundaries.
- When I get mentally overwhelmed and defeated by the amount of learning to be done and problems to solve, don’t forget to also recognize how much learning and problem solving has already been done.
- Sometimes (often times) laughter is the best medicine… and sleep.
And with that, a word that makes me laugh: bulgogi (pronounced “buul-GOH-ghee”). Hats off to the Koreans to make up such a fun, weird word that translates to “fire meat” – or marinated grilled beef slices. It’s a traditional Korean dish with unlimited veggie-adding potential, and if you don’t have a grill, you’ll be happy to know that stir frying beef strips is every bit as authentic.
After having made several variations myself, I’ve found that the marinade is where the magic is. I learned that using grated ripe pear or apple works as an amazing tenderizer for meat, and if you can marinate the strips for at least 20 minutes, you’ll get a lovely, juicy, flavour-packed result.
Of course, feel free to swap in whatever veggies you like, or use real whole grain rice if you prefer it over cauliflower rice. The steak is also great on salads, so if you’d like to make a double batch for leftovers, simply double the weight and double the marinade.
Inspired by traditional Korean cuisine, this Korean Beef Bulgogi with Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe is a flavour-packed, veggie-ful, high-protein lunch or dinner.
For the beef and marinade:
- 250g uncooked grass-fed sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 small apple or pear, grated
- 1 small green onion, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp low sodium tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tsp each rice vinegar, minced ginger, coconut sugar and toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp gochujang (Korean curry paste), or 1 tsp sriracha or 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
For the rest:
- 2 tsp coconut oil or avocado oil
- 2 cups cauliflower rice
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 2 cups shredded spinach
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1/2 cup sliced watermelon radish
- 1/2 cup minced bell peppers
- sliced green onions, sesame seeds, mint, cilantro and limes, to garnish
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a resealable container, along with the beef strips. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the coconut/avocado oil in a frying pan and allow it to melt. Add the cauliflower rice and kimchi, stir frying until warm throughout and well combined. Divide it between 2 serving bowls.
- Distribute the remaining ingredients except garnishes between the 2 bowls.
- When ready to cook the meat, place the frying ban back over high heat for 1 minute. Add the beef strips and a some of their marinade to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side. (They won’t take long – just a quick stir fry is all they need.)
- Transfer the beef evenly between the bowls and top with any or all of the garnishes.