Reality of What It Is.

Lately I’ve been just walking around with no plan, no idea of what I want for my future or how I even want to achieve my goals I set for myself. Forever ago. A lot has been going on and then I just question myself, my career choice, if I really do fit in with the people I hang out with etc…
So today I’ve just been reflecting and even though I’m half asleep I feel like I’m making decent decisions. Well, the best I can make in the state I’m in.

I’m 21, people always say you never know what you want to do at this age, but I’ve known since I was the age of 3 what I wanted to do. It’s always been the same answer, a chef. I’ve written countless papers over what I want to be, how I want to achieve it and certain years it would take me to reach those set goals. And so far I’m on track. Until the last couple of jobs I’ve had… They’ve really put me in a rut. Burned me out. And each day I come to work with a “bleh” attitude And asking myself, why am I here? What am I doing? Why do I continue to show up if I hate it?

Money was NEVER my motivation, but now that I’m in this rut, and completely unhappy with where I am, it’s mostly about the money at this point. And I never wanted it to be my main motivation. EVER. It actually sickens me. Cooking should be with your heart, it’s your passion that pushes you. Makes you who you are in the kitchen. And for me it made me a stress free, relaxed, in the zone and happy person. Now, I’m unhappy and my mind continues to wander about every little detail. What I could change, how I would make that better. I guess that’s just the controlling aspect to my personality. Or as some people would label it, “type A” personality. But I would argue, I’m a bit of both if you really do get to know me.. I’m easy going, but I’m also very controlling in situations and cautious yet willing to push boundaries with certain things. Lately this hasn’t put me in a good place with people I work with, I do not tolerate laziness especially in a kitchen. And I call people out on it. Granted, that would annoy even me if someone did that, but you work in a kitchen and should already set high standards for yourself. I argue with myself daily about these kinds of things.

And then I came to the conclusion. Why am I so picky? Well it’s because I’m determined to make the best, I will not give up until I reach my goals. I will become a chef, I will own a restaurant And I will have a great attitude about it all. Overcome these obstacles, they’re just testing me anyways. I can do this! I CAN DO THIS!

Maybe this didn’t make much sense, but I felt it necessary to write this down, hear personal experiences in your own careers! So feel free to share!

Thank you for talking the time to read this, and I look forward to hearing some of y’all’s stories!

-April

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Isn’t that Ironic?

I’m sitting here on my computer surrounded by my cookbooks and chowing down some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Oh! and watching some cooking show about desserts. I don’t know if thats sad or…? I won’t go further. I find it ironic because I’m going through Clean Eating cookbooks and finding new ways to be healthier…. and here I am eating ice cream. Like some sad wanna-be chick flick except I’m not crying or wallowing in my self pity of why I can’t find a man.. haha okay that was a little overboard BUT you get what I mean now. :)

I want to share with you my favorite recipe so far. I was making a chimichurri sauce one day and I accidentally screwed it up.. Well I was standing there thinking I was going to have to throw it away and start over which really bothered me by the way because thats a lot of herbs! So I look over on my counter and I have some avocados left over from the other night… utilize those bad boys. My sauce had separated and I didn’t want to add mustard or honey or anything like that as an emulsifier so I used avocado as my emulsifier and BOOM sauce came back together and tasted way better than I had intended! Beautiful creamy chimichurri sauce and who knew adding avocados would make it so wonderful and balanced?! It took the bite away from my careless addition of too much vinegar. (note, don’t get carried away with the vinegar like I did, you can always add, never take away!)  So, who wants to see a new recipe?! I do! haha

 

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Quinoa patties, these things are dynamite. Delicious little crispy bursts of flavor.

Quinoa Patties: 

Cook quinoa as follows on package. I like using red because of the color. But you can use any kind of quinoa you’d like!

1/2 c shredded carrots

1/2 c sliced spinach

3 green onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

start with 1/2 c almond meal (it all depends on how much liquid you leave in the quinoa…)

1 egg

Instructions: 

cook the quinoa, let cool slightly mix in the carrots, garlic, spinach and onions. Season. Taste and adjust. NOW here comes the tricky part. Add the egg, start with 1/2 c almond meal and mix. You want a thick consistency and you also want it to stick together. Test it by making a ball in your hand and press it out like a patty, if it stays together voila you’ve reached the correct consistency. if not, keep adding almond meal.

Make the patties and cook in olive oil until crispy and golden brown!

 

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I like odd shaped plates.. and I wanted to play around with the presentations since I usually just serve everything family style. I think I may start doing this more often. Makes for neat photos :)

 

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Corn Relish: 

2 Avocados, diced

1/2 lime, juiced over avocado

1/2 Purple onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large jalapeno, minced

3 ears of corn, cut off of the cob

2 roma tomatoes, diced

salt and pepper

 

Instructions: 

Prep all ingredients but the avocado. Mix together and when you are ready to serve the dish add in the avocado and squeeze lime juice over to prevent oxidation.

 

 

Chimichurri: 

1 bunch parsley

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 T oregano (preferably fresh, but you can used dried)

1 cup spinach

1 jalapeno

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 avocado

salt and pepper

6 T olive oil

Instructions: 

Rip off the leaves (stems are okay) of the parsley and cilantro, add in leaves ONLY of oregano (because of the woody stem) and then the rest of the ingredients except olive oil into a blender. Blend until slightly smooth.  Then slowly add in olive oil and taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning to your liking. and enjoy with chicken, pork chops… steak. Anything you’d like!

 

Make the dish your own. Let me know how you like it :)

April

Finding new foods.

Alright, I have finally sorted through all of the photos I took at Megarun. All 1,127 of them. Ridiculous, I know. I will post those whenever WordPress decides to let my photos load!! If not I shall find a way for you to see those pictures because I must say some of them are magazine cover worthy. ;) just saying!
The trip was a blast, and even though it was not a huge turnout like usual, it was just as fun as any year before!

Last night I threw a bunch of stuff together hoping that it would taste good, and well… It did :)
I love it when that happens. I went wayyyy back to culinary school whenever they ask you to make that warm bacon vinaigrette and toss it with some spinach.. Well instead of spinach I found this really awesome “power greens” package at Kroger. Which contained mizuno, baby kale, baby spinach and baby Swiss chard. Aka super foods in a bag. I’m really digging this whole super foods kick people are on lately and even more so now that companies are producing such things to accommodate us “health nuts.” Better than filling our bodies with terrible sugar filled, fried and not to mention sodium packed foods that fast food places offer. Just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean you need to go buy it and eat it people!!! Anyways, I will save you my rant because believe me, you’ve heard it plenty of times, I’m sure of it. So, back to this dinner last night. It was wonderful and had so many different flavors going on. I loved it and so did my dad, which is really hard to get him to try new things and be pleased with them. SUCCESS!
With the greens portion you can totally add in morel mushrooms or take it to a sweeter side by adding in dried cranberries or something. But I think I would like to add in the mushrooms since the salsa I made was citrusy and sweet to the bitter greens. Like I always say, make it your own and play around with flavors you like! Or hey! Try something new!

Serves 6

Balsamic chicken
3 chicken breasts, halved
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
5 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper

— mix the marinade together in a gallon bag and add the chicken. Let that get all happy together while you prep the rest of the meal :)

You will be grilling the chicken so plan accordingly!

citrus salsa
1 medium sized jicama, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño, minced
1/2 medium-large purple onion, diced
1/4 large pineapple, diced
1/4 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon juiced

instructions
Chop all of your ingredients and try to keep them roughly the same size except your garlic and jalapeño. Toss all together and taste.

Warm Super Salad Greens

1 radicchio, quartered and grilled
1 package of the super greens
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T bacon grease

instructions

Heat the bacon grease in the skillet, add in the greens and wilt SLIGHTLY.*** You don’t want to kill the beautiful greens.
Once they are slightly wilted drizzle the apple cider vinegar over them and add in the sliced, grilled radicchio. Toss all together season to your liking and serve.

***Note: I recommend as soon as you get the pan piping hot, add the greens and then take the pan off of the heat/burner and toss… that way you don’t wilt them down to nothing and they stay nice and pretty :)

Make the dish your own! Add mushrooms or cranberries or anything you’d like! And let me know what you did! :)
Enjoy!
April

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Let the Adventure Begin!

Recently I took on a new job. But as these past three months have gone on, I realize this isn’t the place for me.. So where am I going to next? No idea. I just know that I’m going to have fun wherever I go and enjoy the adventure that comes along with it.

I’m young, determined and so ready to try new things.  I just have to be fearless and not take no for an answer! Prove myself because this career isn’t for the faint of heart.  Obviously.  Work at places that will continuously bring me closer to my goal in life.  Owning a restaurant. Which seems to be every Chef’s dream, but some settle for less and some settle for working under someone else. I’m determined to have my own place, and to get there I need as much experience as I can get!

On a side note, later this week I will be taking an adventure to Gilmer, Texas! My family is apart of a four wheel drive club and we are going to MegaRun! Anyone ever heard of this?

Hundreds of families come out to the mountain this weekend with their Jeeps, Wagons, Dune Buggies pretty much any vehicle made into a four wheel drive is out there. I mean HUNDREDS of people! It’s so much fun! I’ll definitely be posting tons of pictures and video if I can figure out how to post one of those up here. haha. So stay tuned for that!

Now on to the best part of the blog, the FOOD! I have a crazy recipe for you today.  A Kale Salad with some interesting flavors. :)

I can’t seem to link the picture on here, but you can find it on my Instagram! http://instagram.com/p/kn9MTcjbkG/

Kale Salad:

1 package Baby Kale

3-4 Blood Oranges, peeled, segmented

2 Small Red Beets (pickled, recipe down below**)

1/4 cup Pecans (chopped)

Quick Pickle Beets: 

2 small beets, sliced thin into triangles, or whatever shape you like

1/2 c water

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c sugar

2 T pickling Spices

Instructions: 

Mix the pickling liquid and spices together and add the beets, let sit for at least 20 min, or longer!

Toss ingredients together with vinaigrette and enjoy this flavor explosion in your mouth!

 

Vinaigrette: 

Juices from the blood oranges (from segmenting them..)

zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 T honey

salt and pepper to taste

6 T olive oil

Instructions: 

Whisk together the ingredients, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  I like my vinaigrettes  sweet, so I added a bit more honey until I liked the taste :) But make it however you like! add more flavors or completely do another vinaigrette! Make it your own and let me know what you came up with :)

Enjoy!

-April

Family Matters

Today I’m going to go on a more serious note, recently my dad had some really serious medical issues happen…. Which kind of opened my eyes to what we really were eating. Yes we were eating paleo, but is that really the direction my parents needed to be going? So when we got his tests back and found out what caused it I realized that I needed to make a diet change. Not just because he needed one to better his body, but I want to be there to support him as he would do with me if I were in this situation. we are now doing a more moderate version of paleo and sticking with just olive oil. Coconut oil is great and everything, but since his fat levels were beyond what they need to be, we have had to change to a more digestible fat for our bodies. Therefore, I will be sharing with you modified Paleo. :)

Anyways, I have a recipe for you guys :)

Sweet Potato Chili: (Serves 8)

2 lbs Ground Turkey

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

2 Jalapenos, minced

1/2 Purple Onion, diced

4 Medium-large cloves of Garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder

1/2 Tablespoon of Cumin

1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Cans of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 can of Black Beans

3 Ears of Corn, shaved

 

Instructions:

Brown your turkey, add in garlic, onion, jalapeno and saute until translucent.  Add in the spices so they can mellow out for a little bit, then add the sweet potatoes. Saute those for about 6-8 minutes until slightly golden.  Add in the corn, tomatoes and black beans. Add the stock, cook until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning and enjoy. :)

 

I also made a sauce to go on top of the chili, because I made mine kind of spicy, this helped calm it down for my mom.

Avocado Cream Sauce:

3 Avocados

1 Jalapeno

3 cloves of Garlic

1/2 purple onion

1 bunch of Cilantro

2 Tablespoons (or more) of Apple Cider Vinegar

4-6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Place in a blender and puree. Taste and Adjust.

 

 

I hope you enjoy this dish!

When I’m cooking I don’t really measure, so I should probably measure more precisely haha. But none the less, taste your food when you’re cooking because that is when you create and find new ways to change a recipe! Make it your own!

-April

What is passion to you?

I’ve been trying to think of how to write this entry for quite a while now.. I’ve been asked this question so many times I have an answer memorized. Is that sad?
What is passion to you? What are you passionate about and why? So let me tell you what I’m passionate about… FOOD! Why? Well because it makes me happy, seeing the people I serve food to have a huge smile on their face. Then they take a bite of the dish and have a face of wow this is delicious and then you get the satisfaction of knowing you made someone’s day better by serving them delicious food. And then voila your day is better because of the smile on their face.
That right there is what drives me to think of new recipes. Ways to concoct something so strange, yet at the same time it’s delicious. That is what gives me passion.

Well let’s go a little more into this subject. What got you started in food?
Honestly when I was two years old I watched this movie called Matilda, and as I watched her make pancakes I stood there like I want to do that too! so my dad said the next day he woke up to the smell of bacon cooking and heard some clinking around in the kitchen. Thought to himself I’m alone in the house with my two boys and my daughter. Those boys don’t know how to cook, let alone work a stove. and then he realized it was me out there in the kitchen, he stepped out in the hallway looked in the kitchen and saw me on my step stool cooking bacon and eggs and mixing pancake batter! And then he said he left me alone because he was afraid if he said something that I would hurt myself on the gas stove haha. Thus began my never ending dream of becoming a chef. Here I am today living my dream, I graduated culinary school and I’m working my way through this career, determined to one day have my own restaurant.

That is where I am today, I work at a unique and trendy place and I’m allowed to create “specials” every week. I receive comments about some of my dishes and that just makes my day. Especially when they say that it was phenomenal. MAKES. MY. DAY.

Moving on, this is where I’m going to ask you now: What are you passionate about?

It can be anything. Just think about what makes you happy or what pushes you daily. And right here, right now.. What pushes me is my job, my family and of course this blog, I constantly think of new recipes to share with you guys, yet I just need to get them on here -_- but I will get there you guys, I will get there!

 

Have a good day!

-April

Days 3 and 4. Be a Kid. Again.

Okay so I didn’t update much yesterday because it was too late when I got home and I was being lazy about typing up an entry… So welcome to the wonderful world of matrimony! hahaha. I’m combining days 3 and 4 BECAUSE I CAN! :)

Today I have tonssssss of pictures to show you. :) But let’s start with what went down yesterday :)

 

I went on a Whale Watching Tour! Saw about 3 different whales, but the captain said there were at least 12 whales out and about when we were on the water.. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I took quite a few pictures of a few whales fluking and then I have some of Dolphins!! It was so beautiful. Amazing. Wonderful. Awe-inspiring.. Need I go on? You get the picture. The trip was very educational, and surprisingly that was a nice turn for a vacation! Normally I’m just like “give me the food and everything will be okay.” haha But this time it was neat to have something really educational instead of just oh yeah, that’s cool. Move on to the next photo..animal…building  whatever it was that you look at on vacations.

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Next we went walking around in Newport Beach.. That place is ridiculously expensive… but my word they had some delicious food. And I loved that the kitchens were open! They had display kitchens!!! It was so awesome.

 

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We sat right by the kitchen. Talked to their sushi chef and then I just stared off into space watching all the cooks work on the line. haha It’s crazy how lost I get and basically tune everyone out to see them work. But up above we had Sushi that was tempura fried and contained tuna, salmon, avocado and asparagus. The sauces, however I have no idea what they were but they tasted amazing.  Bottom right was my dish, Kai Braised Honey Mustard Beef Short Rib with buttered mash and broccolini. ‘Twas delicious and I believe nutritious ;)

 

Moving on!  Day 4.

 

We went to Universal Studios. Craziness. I don’t think I need to explain so I’ll just show you some pictures I liked the most. :) Enjoy, my friends.

 

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In NYC.. with my Oh, Sleeper shirt. They are my all-time favorite band, by the way. I just thought you should know. AND maybe you should go listen to them… :)

 

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For those of you who don’t know…. I am a HUGE Fast and the Furious fanatic.. I love those movies. All of them. They have fast cars and some of my favorite actors and they make me happy watching them. :) This Skyline (pictured above) is the car Paul Walker drove.. my my my what a wonderful car. YES.

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Marilyn!

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Water World. This was a pretty crazy skit they did. A guy falling into the water that was on fire… As well as tons of explosions. That was fun. Apparently a lot of famous actors did this skit for us!

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Going through “Little Europe” That was neat. And of course the classy Irish picture.. because, well, I’m Irish. c:

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Largest Hot Topic store I have ever seen in my entire life. I bought some new gauges that were on sale :D

And I love Jamba Juice so I had to take a picture of this really cool signage. :)

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End of the day! A lot of fun!

 

Okay one last note.. While we were on the Tram tour… They were filming a Ross commercial (one of my all time favorite stores to shop…) AND they were also filming The Mindy Project… Also another show I enjoy watching. All in all it was really fun and exciting. The rides were enjoyable and the lines were nothing like they are at Six Flags. Universal Studios… I might come back to see ya. ;)

 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

-April

Day Two. Fun In The Sun.

I went to the beach yesterday. Got a little burned. But I’ll blame that on me being super pale and there not being enough sunscreen in the world to protect me! Then I walked back to the house from the beach, which I thought was a lot closer… turns out it was not that close at all. At least I got my exercise for the day because I haven’t been running this week. Whoops…

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But the day got better, we went and took a trip into town towards Dana Point, and went to Hobby Lobby, Whole Foods and then the movies :)

We saw Wolverine. And by the way, that movie was pretty  awesome, not very much storyline to it, but its Wolverine, you can’t go wrong with that Marvel character. :)   What did you guys think about the movie? Or any of the Marvel movies in general? My favorite movie would be The Avengers, but my favorite character would have to be Captain America haha.

 

Back on track here… So after the movie we came back to the house, My aunt has fresh lemons she picks from her yard so we had lemonade and then we made a Meyer Lemon Creme Brulee! Yummmmm. Made dinner. Which I made my signature Bruschetta Chicken and Grilled Asparagus haha. And since California apparently doesn’t have sweet potatoes!!!! (I was in shock by the way..) I had to get a white sweet potato, which tasted a little different than the normal ones we get in Texas, but it was good enough for me last night… wasn’t as creamy but it was good nonetheless.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures. I will have another soon :)

Have a good day!
-April

Day One… Announcement!

So did you guys guess where I’m at yet?!

well…. I’m in Laguna Beach, California! Vacation at its finest :)

I’ve had quite the time here so far, my plane was delayed and had some issues along with that haha and we ended up finally getting off of the plane at 12:13 pm when we were supposed to be getting here at 9:05 am.. Craziness. The passengers, as well as myself were not that happy.  But nonetheless we are here and I’m having a ton of fun :)

We have been to farmers markets and a bunch of little shops around the beach area. Went to Main Beach today and I got to join a pick up game of sand volleyball with some students studying abroad from Switzerland, Germany, England and China! That was really really cool and exciting to hear their stories!   Watched the Pageant of Arts play-type thing, which was absolutely fabulous.  They showed famous works of art, but the people painted in the regular ones were replaced with actual people painted just like it! Standing still in the same position, not moving a single muscle… How is that even possible?! You couldn’t even see the people breathing! Insane. BUT so awesome.  Had an adventure on the trolley ride home with some drunk people getting a little too ambitious with their words haha but it was really funny.

Now for pictures! Because I know thats the best part :)

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All sorts of Kale.

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an all herb stand. It was crazy busy. And had some herbs I had never heard of before .

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pomegranate pluots… those things were ridiculously amazing!

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sunset from my room :)

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this was at the play, we were in an amphitheater but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the actual play so I decided to take some before it all started haha, of the wonderful mountains :)

 

have a wonderful day :)

-April

Separation anxiety

Wow… I’m kind of disappointed in myself you guys.. I can’t believe I didn’t post anything all summer. I have taken loads of pictures and everything with every intention to post an entry with my new recipes and so forth. Shame on me. I apologize for being a poor blogger. Haha

So the separation anxiety title. Means many things in this case. I’m away from my parents and my boyfriend for the first time ever on a trip. And also because I haven’t been taking good care of my blog like I should be! But that should change because I’m asking that you keep me accountable and I have also asked my boyfriend, Drew to keep me accountable and do my entries! I have so many ideas and I want to share them with my fellow readers. Y’all are my support group! :)

With that aside, this week for sure I’ll be on track because guess what!!??
I’m on a trip. By myself. I feel so grown up you guys. Wanna guess where I am? :)
I’ll give you a hint, it’s on the west coast!
And I’ll be posting pictures soon of my travels and then finally tell you where I am! Hehe I like playing games so join me and lets play the guessing game! :)

Much love,
April.