Challenge Accepted? Yes, Please!

It’s been a while… I have been meaning to get on here and share many things with you fellow readers! But today I made a semi-Paleo dinner and that is what I’m going to share with you guys.

I got to thinking and I have decided that I will be doing Paleo in moderation for a bit.  Maybe by doing this I can get the rest of my family on board with me in doing the full on Paleo “diet.” Slowly but surely we will go full on Paleo! Hopefully!  We had a grain in our meal tonight, and to be more specific, it was Quinoa. But hey! It’s not like quinoa is terrible for you!  There is a large amount of fiber, vitamins and protein in that little grain/seed.. whatever you want to call it.

The more I started thinking about this whole Paleo in moderation thing for us, the more I realized that 90% of the time before I had already been cooking semi-Paleo! I started reading more and getting more involved in this, and that’s when I started finding it more difficult to plan meals every week and such. I don’t want to slide off of the path, if you will.  Granted I was doing just fine without reading all of this extra stuff.  Now that I am becoming more educated it is quite nice to have conversations with people and get to explain what in the world you’re doing and why you’re eating such things.  I think this way of eating is way better than eating frozen crap that parents just stuff their kids with for dinner every night.  It’s sad really.  Kids are growing up not knowing how to cook a scratch meal for themselves, let alone a spouse and eventually their family.  In a way it kind of depresses me.  I mean I started cooking around 3 years old, and from then on I started cooking dinners for my family.  I think that children should be involved more with family.  Turn off those video games, the iPads, your cell phones… etc. Get involved in that kitchen! Or do crafts, work in a garden.. Heck, go play paintball or air soft! All of it is fun! Hiking, fossil collecting, four wheeling… It is all so fun and good for you! Exercising, playing sports, going to church.  There is so much to do. Yet no one seems to do anything like that anymore.  Technology has taken over! :(  So after reading this, I want to challenge you to  go out with your family or if you’re not married yet, go out with friends! Do something active and good for you.  Whether it be running, drawing, baking, hiking, road tripping or even gardening it is still an activity that frees your mind.  You will be amazed how stress free it is when you can just escape and relax for a while.  Do it! You’ll love it, I know you will. :)

On to this Semi-Paleo Recipe.. That I sadly have no pictures for.. but it was delicious by the way!

 

Grilled Shrimp Packets with a Pineapple Salsa

(serves 4-5)

1 1/2 lbs shrimp

1 cup quinoa

1 bag of baby spinach (or more!)

2″ piece of ginger minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno, minced

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 pineapple, cubed

1 lime, juiced

1 bunch of cilantro, minced

1 avocado, cubed

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Fire up your grill!

Partially cook off your quinoa.  (leave about ten minutes left for it to cook.)

Peel and devein your shrimp (if needed), combine garlic,  half of the ginger and half of your cilantro and toss shrimp in the mixture, season with salt and pepper as well.

You will use foil, about 18-20″ long.  Start with spinach leaves, then add the partially cooked quinoa and add your shrimp.  Pour over a little water.  Wrap your packet up and make sure that it is sealed decently well, you don’t want it to leak out on your grill!

Put the packets on the grill for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, other half of the cilantro, pineapple, lime juice, and the other half of the ginger in a bowl. Add salt to taste. This is your salsa.

Pull those packets off  open them up and serve with the salsa and avocado on top! Delicious!

 

Sounds good doesn’t it? I know you want to try it! This would also be a fun recipe to do with your kids because you can teach them how to clean shrimp, start a grill and basic knife skills! You can even piddle around in the yard if you wanted to while you’re waiting on the packets to cook! I hope you enjoy this recipe, just like my family did. :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and let me know how it turns out for you or if you made any changes!

-April

 

 

 

15/20’s Leg Rage

Hey guys! I’m bringing you a killer workout today! Which is then brought to you by a very crappy day at work. So benefits all around. Yay.

Well to begin the day, I was yelled at by my boss. A no-no whenever someone talks to me. Do not yell at me and I will be calm and peaceful with you.. Yell at me, I will treat you how you treat me right back. Point established? Yes. So 8 a.m. get yelled at while having a “professional” conversation discussing my status at work. Benefits, insurance.. the whole nine yards. Mind you, whenever I get really really angry, I cry. Which sucks because it’s like I’m not weak, I just have a problem controlling my anger and so I cry so I don’t beat the crap out of you kind of thing. Make sense? I hope so. haha. Well what was supposed to be a five minute meeting turned into like twenty five minutes. Right before lunch rush. Who the heck talks to someone right before a huge rush?! Especially in that manor.. Ruined my whole day. But I somehow managed to get myself together and stay in a semi-non angry mood the rest of the day. Just kind of depressed. Lame.

It seems like I’m always picked on or pointed out the most for stupid crap. I blame it mostly on the fact that I am a Female who is 19 years old and working in a kitchen. See the problem? I’m a very young female working on a line. You never see that. But here I am trying to make my career choice happen. I will be a chef, and I will be respected! I’ll respect you if you respect me! That’s how it should go at least. The Golden Rule right?

 

Okay, So enough about the terrible day. On to this awesome workout! I came up with this workout a long time ago. Just a forewarning when I’m angry or frustrated I tend to go a little overboard with my workouts. Just to let it all out. This is particularly going to target the legs, thighs butt.. whatever you want to refer to the lower half of your body as workout wise haha. I call it 15/20’s because 80% of this workout involves repetitions of 15 or 20. Makes it easier to remember. And Leg Rage because it focuses on legs and I was in rage mode. Moving on! Get that Metal music playing and start this workout! :)

 

Workout:

—-stretch, foam roll, stretch—- DO IT!

Started with a 2 mile run. Moderate pace.

50 standing squats

20 side leg raises (Right) — lay on your side and keep your leg straight, raise up and down.

20 side leg raises (Left)

20 in and out raised squeezes — lay flat on your back, raise your hips and move your legs in and out, squeeze your butt.

20 L-raised small presses (Left) — elbows propping you up, L shape leg and raise. Do small upwards presses with leg.

20 L-raised small presses (Right)

15 Straight leg reverse up and over bent leg (Left) — elbows propping you up, straight leg up and down the up and across other leg.

15 Straight leg reverse up and over bent leg  (Right)

15 Push-ups

15 Tricep dips

50 Knee-raised crunches — hold legs up at a 90 degree angle and do normal crunches.

Finish with stretching, foam rolling again!

— Feel free to add or deviate from this workout. You can add weights on your legs if you wanted to! You can repeat as many times as you want to, I did it once and I was dead. Then again I have a kneed injury so I’m taking it easy. Remember as you’re doing these leg exercises to keep your core tight. Go slow if you need to, focus on technique rather than speed. It’s not about how many reps you do, it’s about how well you do them.  If you have any questions at all feel free to ask. I know some of these exercises you may be like What in the world does that mean? well I’m here to help! Don’t be afraid to ask! :)

I hope you enjoy this workout!

-April

 

Smokin’ Farmers Adventure

I have a very special treat for you guys today! I made salsa yesterday. It was delicious and spicy! I went the the Dallas Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago and I found these beautiful habaneros and decided I couldn’t live without them as well as some Honeycrisp Apples… (those are my most favorite apples ever. I mean EVER!) That is usually the only kind of apples I will ever eat. They are the right amount of sweet and sour, they’re just perfect! And then I found some herbs… more like a bunch of herbs. Basil, Mint, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary and Pineapple Mint (have you ever heard of this herb? It tasted really good… Good for tea apparently.)

After we went and shopped a bit we went and had BBQ at probably the best place I’ve ever had BBQ. Texas BBQ, that is and it was delicious. The little shack in one of the stalls at the Farmer’s Market was called Pecan Lodge. Well worth the wait as well. My dad, stepmom and I waited in line for about one hour. We saw it on Diner’s Drive Ins and Dives. So seeing it on Food Network it HAS to be amazing, right? I had the Pulled Pork (South Carolina Style) and Brisket with fried okra.  My dad had the Meat Trifecta, which was smoked sausage, pork ribs and brisket and a side of coleslaw. My stepmom had pork ribs and brisket with a side of coleslaw. By far the best and most tender pork ribs I have ever had. And the Pulled pork was amazing too. The sauce that came with it was great. I had never had South Carolina Style sauce before and I must say, it is actually really good! It opened my taste buds up to a new side of BBQ! But for the brisket, I think I got em’ beat. haha ;)

Anyways, back to that amazing salsa. I had a bag full, I mean a BAG full of habaneros and I had no other choice but to make salsa and lots and lots of guacamole over the course of these 3 weeks. Now I have a bunch of seeds for ridiculously large and tasty habaneros. Pure unadulterated habaneros. Yay. :)

farmers market

 

Look at all of that produce! Amazing.

Since I had that many habaneros I decided to roast them off just to take some heat away. I didn’t want some burn your face off salsa! I want edible goodness. So I roasted the Habaneros, Jalapeno and Garlic all in a pan with, well some bacon grease. ;) While those bad boys were roasting i prepped my other ingredients: cilantro, tomatoes and purple onion.  Recipe time!

April’s  Habanero Salsa

1 t Bacon grease (I keep a container by my stove, which made this easy access)

21 Habaneros

1 Large Jalapeno

6-7 Garlic cloves

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Can Diced Tomatoes

2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced, diced. however you feel like chopping them up.

1/2 Purple Onion, 1″ chunks.

1/2 t Granulated Garlic

1/4 t Onion Powder

Kosher Salt and Pepper (to taste)

 

Method: 

De-seed all of your peppers. Leave habaneros whole and chop jalapeno into 1/2″ chunks. Peel garlic. Put peppers and garlic in a medium to large skillet on medium high heat and just leave it. Toss occasionally. (took about 25-30 minutes for a really good color and roast on them).

peppers1

peppers 2

Next get a blender or a food processor and throw in canned tomatoes, romas, purple onion (in chunks) and cilantro.

Once the peppers and garlic are done add them to the blender (or food processor.)

Blend all that yummy goodness together.

Add your spices. Blend.

Taste and adjust your seasoning and then ENJOY! or you know, store however you would like.

salsa jar

Canned goodness!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. You can add it to anything. Eat it with your breakfast on your eggs or in a taco. That is what I like about salsa is that it is so versatile. It is just the right amount of spice that makes you want to keep eating it. So if you’re ever in Texas you should go by the Dallas Farmer’s Market and go to the Pecan Lodge and eat some BBQ. The best of both worlds, fresh produce and eating delicious food. :)

-April

Day. Made. In 3…2…1…

Hello!

I’ll cut right to the chase… with a cliche! ;)

Today started out as a super retarded day at work. Someone called in, someone was out because of a serious cut to the finger…. So picture this. Three people on the line, and you have five stations to take care of… see the problem?

Well it is not too big of a problem because this seems to happen a lot. But its okay! We did it and it was semi-fun! Everything starts getting crazy because you’re having to run here and there and then mid prep you’re called to go take some retarded OSHA Blood-borne Pathogen test… A test that seemed to NEVER end! Which you know, it obviously did otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing this.. ;) After that finally back onto prepping for the day. I have about 25 minutes left before rush hits and then I remember I completely forgot to marinade the chicken for my special… Are you freaking kidding me?! — I really did say that, out loud. Maybe a little louder than I should have, but I could not believe I forgot to do that. I even had it on my prep list for the day. So rush rush rush got that marinade ready and the chicken in! BOOM! I win! All before rush hit. End of story… well end of prep. Lunch rush hits and it was interesting as always.

kale special

My special! As I promised in my post with the recipe. Here is what it looked like all pretty and almost perfect!

morning

 

Sunrise on the way to work this morning. I know its not safe taking pictures and driving, but I couldn’t resist not taking a picture. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Here is where the day gets so much more interesting and fun and exciting and any other way to describe being happy feeling… SO, when I finally get a chance to step out for just a second to go to the restroom is when the day got a bajillion times better!!!  In the bathroom stall two girls walk in the room and were talking and the whole time I’m thinking I know that voice..  So I walk out of the stall and OH MY GOSH!!! It was Kylee!!!! I’m pretty sure people heard us out in the cafe, but we were screaming like little girls and hugging and laughing etc. It was awesome. Made my day and it was such a nice surprise! haha She was there being interviewed to play on the weekends in the cafe! How cool is that?! AHH!! It was awesome.

After that wonderful ending to work I then got to go hang out with the kids I nanny for. The little girl and her friend had piano today so it was me and the boy and my cousin came over for a play date! We went to Sonic then the park and drained some energy. Those kids are so goofy. They met some boy at the park and played for a while. And! the little boy they met complimented my lanyard!! He knew who Gravedigger was! WHAT?! I was shocked and proud at the same time and I didn’t even know the boy. When he said Gravedigger was his favorite I was like Oh yeah!!  Then I asked him if he liked the old or new driver and he replied with “The old one, duh!” I wanted to hug that kid. That’s the right answer little boy! Good job!

kids playing

After that, came home. Now here comes the good part…. DINNER! YAY!  I made grilled Balsamic Ginger Pork Chops with roasted Broccoli and Butternut squash with a twist. As always, has to have the April flair on it!

Nutty Vanilla Butternut Squash 

1 Butternut Squash, cut into 1/2″-1″ chunks

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Now starting with those ingredients put them on a baking sheet and toss the squash in olive oil and the salt and pepper.

Roast for about 20-25 minutes.

 

Then

Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Ginger, minced

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Paste (I always use vanilla bean paste)

1 Cup Hazelnuts (You may use any nut you prefer)

Lemon Juice

Salt/Pepper

 

About 5 minutes before the squash is cooked heat a skillet over medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Add the hazelnuts toss to coat and cook for a few minutes until aromatic.

Add the squash toss to combine.

Add the rest of the ingredients and the lemon juice and seasonings will be to taste.

Then enjoy! :)

 

You will notice that I use Ginger A LOT… and that’s because its good for you!! And it tastes good :)

Anyways, this is probably the best way I have ever had Butternut Squash. Its just the right amount of sweetness you need but its not overpowering at the same time. Soooo good! With the roasted Broccoli, you can’t really go wrong with roasting anything.. I don’t think? As for the Pork Chops, anytime I use Balsamic Vinegar as a marinade I always and I mean ALWAYS grill it. It creates a nice caramelization on the meat and tastes wonderful.

Finished off dinner with some homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies :) … Paleo of course!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and let me know if you change it up or anything!

-April

 

Paleo-tastic!

Hey guys,

So all day today when I was trying to get together my list to go grocery shopping I kept asking myself what in the world do I want to cook for dinner? Something simple? Gourmet? WHAT?!

So I got on Pinterest… my weakness.. Probably any female with an internet connection has this Pinterest-coma weakness. Am I right? Anyways, I typed “Paleo Dinner Ideas” into the search bar and low and behold a bunch of recipes pop up. Jackpot!! Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling didn’t see anything I really wanted to put forth the effort to make tonight nor for the rest of the week for that matter. Then I came across this awesome recipe for Thai Basil Beef (in meatball form). It looked amazing. I clicked on the link, which led me to a Paleo blog and they have some awesome recipes on there. I have to start looking for more of these types of blogs, especially since I am new to this whole Paleo thing…

Problem solved I had decided what I was going to make for dinner tonight as well as the rest of the week. I just kept adding more things to my list until I had five dinner ideas.  And tonight we had Thai Basil Beef meatballs with my homemade tomato sauce and yellow squash spaghetti. It was delicious.

As you know I am new to this whole blog thing so if I do something wrong with linking or tagging another blog in my posts please inform me! It will be greatly appreciated. And that way I don’t upset anyone in the process. Thank you in advance. :)

Thai Basil Beef Meatballs

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 lbs ground beef (preferably 80/20)

1/2 c almond flour

2 eggs

1 roasted red pepper, about 1/3 c, chopped

1/4 c wheat-free soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 t fish sauce

1 t sriracha, chile sauce or hot sauce

1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 lime, zested

salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except the beef). Now add the beef and mix well, making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Portion out the mixture, using a cookie scoop, onto a parchment or silicone/silpat lined baking sheet.

Pop in the oven until cooked through, and the tops have slightly browned (you may need to switch to broil), about 20-30 minutes.

source: http://www.health-bent.com/

And then I just served it with boiled yellow squash noodles and my homemade tomato sauce!

Also for another sauce, and sadly, it is not paleo approved… But I wanted to experiment with another sauce because I was not entirely sure if tomato sauce would pair well with these meatballs since they were going to be a whole new flavor other than normal hamburger meat with italian spices etc.  So I was looking in my refrigerator and I saw mushrooms, fish sauce and lime juice. Standing there for a minute trying to put a few things together in my head I came up with a fascinating sauce! It was a lot of different flavors that paired nicely with the meatballs. I knew there was lime zest in the meatballs so why not have lime juice in the sauce? Hello, not wasting any food items here so using zest AND juice from the lime. Mission accomplished. uh buhzinga!! :) Fish sauce? already in the meatball? Say what?! Yet another reused ingredient. Yes!

Though it may not be completely Paleo, its still 90% Paleo.. eh? eh? Still count? No! I know it has alcohol in it, but it was rather tasty!

Mushroom Sauce (that needs a clever name)

1 t coconut oil

6 Baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 c Red Wine

2 T Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 t Raw Honey

1 t Fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

Heat coconut oil in saute pan and add mushrooms, cook until water from the mushrooms start to come about.

Add the rest of your ingredients and reduce in the pan. Season accordingly and enjoy over those meatballs!

Their blog has pretty pictures along with the meatballs. I apologize for not posting any pictures.

Thank you again for tuning in! I will try and post every other day and bring you more recipes. Enjoy!

-April

Happy Friday!

Today has probably been the most exciting Friday at work, well pretty much ever.  Every week we have the opportunity to create new specials. I usually work salad station so I had to come up with a salad special. So I started thinking about what in the world I could make. And I was like oh yes! I know what I can make! I’ll do what I made for dinner last night!! Which was this weird concoction that actually turned out to be amazing. I really need to post pictures! Anyways, it was sautéed kale, citrus ginger chicken and a jicama salsa type thing I thought of. It. Was. Amazing. Such a light dish with so many wonderful flavors going on. Craziness.

So making this for the tasting at work I was nervous as I’ll get out. Walking out there with the plate I kept telling myself, don’t trip. Dang it April wipe this concerned look off of your face! (I never knew I could get so nervous bringing some plate of food to some managers and a chef.. But I was sweating like crazy. Ridiculous, I know. It’s kind of like you do something for a living and give your all everyday and still some how you manage to get stressed or nervous.
Now when I’m on that line and there’s a line out the door that is my adrenaline rush for the day. That is what I live for! It’s my escape and I’m free those few hours of rush. And it’s awesome. I love that feeling; your heart is pumping you’re sweating (not into the food… Silly) and you have practically four pages of orders and it’s just like get it done! Pump these orders out one by one super super fast!! And then you see the looks on the customers face and they are so excited to eat this delicious food and that is what makes that crazy rush so much better. Seeing the satisfaction and smile on their faces when they get their food. Eat it. Devour it.

So back to the recipes. And guess what? It’s all Paleo :) Nom nom nom!

Citrus Ginger Chicken

serves: 5

3 Chicken Breasts (cut in half horizontally)

2 Inch piece of ginger minced

3 Garlic cloves minced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Zest and Juice of 1 orange

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon

Zest of 1 Lime

S&P to taste

** I set aside just a little bit of the zest I was going to use for the Chicken marinade and used the zest in the salsa for more color.

Mix all of the ingredients and put into a Ziploc bag. Add chicken and move it all around to get the chicken covered and marinade for at least 20 minutes. (Feel free to marinade longer!! But since there is citrus in there I would be careful not to go over 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours)

Jicama Salsa

1 Small Jicama diced

1 Jalapeno diced

1/4 Red onion diced

5 Medium/Large Strawberries diced

1-2 Tablespoons Cilantro minced, chopped, obliterated basically. :)

Salt to taste

Juice of 1 Lime

Add about 1 combined Tablespoon of all three zests. **see ginger chicken recipe

Mix all of the ingredients together. Try to keep all of the knife cuts the same size so it makes for a more uniform looking salsa.

Sauteed Kale

2 bunches of Lacinto Kale, washed and chopped

S&P to taste

1 1/2 Teaspoons Coconut oil

3 Cloves Garlic minced

1/4 Cup Water

Heat a large pot over medium high heat, add coconut oil and garlic.

Stir until fragrant. Add kale.

Toss around until coated in oil and semi-wilted looking.

Add water and continue stirring Kale. Cook for about 5 minutes or longer if you want softer Kale.

These are the pictures from dinner last night. Sorry, I will post pictures of the beautiful presentation when I make it at work for the special ALL WEEK!!! So Excited!!!

jicama salsa

Jicama Salsa ^ look at all that goodness and color!

citrus ginger chicken

Citrus Ginger Chicken ^ with some roasted veggies as well, just because I can!

I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes! Let me know what you think and/or if you tweaked any of the recipes! Thanks!

Have a great Friday :)

-April