Nature At Its Best!

Lately I have been in the photography rage mode. Yes, rage. I think that basically sums up how I feel about my camera. Not the kind of rage that is like someone going crazy angry and such, but this rage is going to go towards the obsessive, I want to take a picture of everything. And I love it. You can never capture too many memories. As they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

With that said, I would like to share with you my trip to my grandparents house in Arkansas. They have a lot of land and the most wonderful part about it? Theres only two houses and the rest is beautiful land that God created! :) How awesome is that? You go to Texas and it’s like concrete jungle, you go to their house and BOOM nature at its best!
We only got to stay the weekend, but in just a few short days we sure do get a lot of stuff accomplished.  Hiking, shopping (with the girls of the family), fish fry, games, talking and of course some frozen yogurt! We always have a frozen yogurt trip when we go to Arkansas because that is when I finally talked my dad into going and then he discovered this wonderful treat so after that it has become a tradition! Since I have been on this picture taking mode lately I went on a hike and just took random pictures or of things I thought were cool or beautiful and so forth and so on.

Anyways… How about some pictures? :)

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their front yard! with a pond!

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the railroad tracks in the back of the property, it just goes into nothing but trees and then a really beautiful bridge!

 

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This cute little dog’s name is Cricket :)
and to the right is the dutch oven we fried the hushpuppies and fish in! Nothing like good ol’ cast iron to cook in :)

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Well I hope you enjoyed this post!

-April

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Shrimpies and Superfoods!

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Spring time has actually started showing its face here in Texas now. Rainy days and nights, little bit of thunder. It’s quite nice. :)
I have a salad for you today, my fellow readers… And it fits the summer salad category more, but its Texas and the weather is so bipolar that, well you can eat it whenever ;)

So this is a superfood salad I assume that is what you would refer to it as.  Kale, Swiss Chard, pecans, purple onions, dried blueberries and green apples.  Deliciousness in a bowl. Yes. Paired with a light vinaigrette. Winning!   So onwards with this awesomeness! I really do like Kale… in fact, its slightly bitter taste is growing on me. I like how at first its kind of sweet then goes bitter and when you pair it with sweet toppings it tastes wonderful and balanced. Yay! As I was making this I also thought that it needed some meat, so I added some little shrimpies to the mix :) Yes, I said shrimpies.. because I’m cool like that.. ;)

The wagon pictured below was just so cool I couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys :)

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This wagon is so awesome, I couldn't resist not sharing it with you guys!

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Recipe time! Needs a cool name.

Delightful Kale Salad

Serves 6-8

1 bunch Kale, chopped

1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped

1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced

1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1 c pecans

1/4 c dried blueberries (or other dried fruit you like)

2 T organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2 T brown sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t black pepper

5-6 T olive oil (or walnut oil)

 

Method:

Chop, rinse and dry your Kale and Chard.  Prep all of your other ingredients.

Make the vinaigrette. Mix the vinegar and brown sugar together. Whisk to dissolve the sugar a bit, add salt and pepper whisk again. Then drizzle in the oil as you create and emulsified dressing! Congratulations you just made a simple yet elegant salad. :)

If you chose to add shrimp like I did here is what I did :)

Shrimpies: 

2 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined.

2 t smoked paprika

2 lemons, juiced

2 limes, juiced

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 T coconut oil

Method:

After your little shrimpies are prepped and ready to go. Mix them with the paprika, lime and lemon juices, salt and pepper. Let it mellow together for a bit as you toss your salad all up.

Heat your pan add the oil and then saute those bad boys up. Top your salad with them and enjoy!

 

I hope you enjoyed this salad recipe and as always let me know if you added or changed this recipe in any way. Get creative! Make it your own! :)

-April

 

 

Rat-tat-tat-touille!

Why yes, I made Ratatouille. It was delicious. My family devoured it in seconds.  Successful? Duh! And to answer your next question.. Of course I will share the recipe with you! :)

But first, I have some news!! I got a Nikon D3200 camera!! Happy (Late) Birthday to me! I was super excited to open that box. It was awesome and I love my camera. I will now get to bring you wonderful images of yummy food. YES!

Is it just me or do you ever find yourself just looking at the pictures of food rather than looking for that recipe you had intended to look for in the first place? I find myself doing that pretty much everyday and let me tell you, I find some really amazing pictures. I just sit there saying to myself “I want to take pictures like that…. I hope I can make my pictures that beautiful…” etc etc. I’ll spare you the pity. haha.  So with that said, you will now be joining me not only in my (interesting?) life adventures but also as I play around with my camera and share with you the pictures that give way to an adventure themselves.  EXCITEMENT!!!

Look at that steam!

Look at that steam!

Steak :)

Steak :)

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Alrighty, Recipe time :)

Ratatouille

Serves 5-6 People

2 yellow squash

2 zucchini

1 eggplant

4 roma tomatoes

4 garlic cloves

1/2 red onion

2 celery stalks

1 1/2 T tomato paste

water (add to the thickness that you would like)

salt and pepper to taste

Italian seasoning

1 t coconut oil

 

Method

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Mince garlic, chop onion and celery.  Heat coconut oil in a pan, add garlic, onion and celery and cook until translucent.

-Meanwhile, thinly slice the eggplant, squash, zucchini and tomato.

-Once your sauce is done pour in the bottom of your oven-safe pan. Layer on your vegetables, I did zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and tomato.. repeat, repeat, repeat!! until you go in a circle and completely fill the pan.  Top with Salt and Pepper and sprinkle over the Italian seasoning. Voila!

-Bake until tender, mine cooked about 25-30 minutes. But then again I cooked it in a cast iron skillet I had preheated. Also I cooked them uncovered the first 15 minutes and then covered them to steam them a little the last 10 minutes.

 

—-You can also top this off with cheese and then broil it to make it GBD! (Golden Brown and Delicious :) )

 

I hope you enjoy!

-April

 

You Dip, I Dip, We Dip! Triceps :)

I have another workout for you, my fellow readers! :)

Legs and Triceps my friends! I know everyone focuses on those legs for the summertime and well, of course I do too.  Because swimsuit season is just around the corner everyone is working hard to look good! Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Nothing weird about this, but alas, I am here with a wonderful workout to help you along your way. :)

Whenever I was doing this workout I started laughing because it made me think of an old song from the 90’s (from when I was a kid!!) Da’ Dip! Which in fact came out in 1996, I was three when it came out. How crazy is that?! Anyways, whenever I was doing the triceps dips that song popped in my head… “when I dip you dip we dip, I put my hand up on your hip…”  Its good motivation, eh? :) And while I’m talking about this song, my favorite part in the song, well the funniest part, rather was “This is my world I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut so what’s up?”  It’s just funny to say.. and then you get to thinking about some squirrel that just wants to be left along because all he wants is his little acorn.. haha Makes me think of Scrat from Ice Age.

Okay, enough goofing off. Let’s get down to business, the whole reason for this post! THE WORKOUT!

Da’ Dip Workout

Run (I ran about 1 mile and 3/4)

60 Walking Lunges (I did 30 half-way through my run and then 30 at the end)

after your run:

100 Squats (You can even add weights!)

50 Tricep Dips

100 Crunches (i.e. 25 each of raised leg, elbow to knee L+R and normal)

finish with stretching and foam rolling!

Feel free to add or take away from this workout. I know my legs were dying by the end of this workout haha but its nice!

Enjoy and have a nice day! :)

-April

Birthday. Birthday. Birthday!!

 

Yesterday was my birthday!!! Dang, I’m 20 years old now… But I don’t feel any different.  When you get older do you feel any different? Or like those people once you hit a certain age you get all upset and want to cry? haha I know someone who used to be like that.  It was kinda funny.

I realize its been a while since I’ve posted. I feel bad for not keeping up with my blog.  But that should change soon! I’m becoming not so busy and freaked out about things.  Want to hear about yesterday?! I know you do.. :)

I woke up super early for once, which never happens on my day off, yeah thats right I had not only my birthday off, but they whole weekend! Yes!! Anyways did the usual ate breakfast, chilled then decided to go around and shop and use up some of my giftcards. Went to Ross, Thrift Town and Goodwill. Okay, I confess, I really like thrift shops… It’s cheap and besides who wants to pay $35.00 for a pair of jeans?! I definitely do not want to. I’m more of a um I’ll pay $15.00 for jeans or less… Unless the jeans fit like a amazingly well, then I’ll pay the extra.  But I bought 3 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of pants/capris, and a pair of overalls! All under $30.00. Winning!
After all of that was done it was time to go pick up the kids from school.  Picked up my cousin and the little boy and they’re shouting “Happy Birthday!!” It was cute c: We got back to their house and opened up the presents!! I got cooking stuff, yay! Then we went to Jamba Juice and the park. Success. It was fun and we ran through the field and screamed. How else does a 20 year old nanny spend her day??
After that I took them home then I went home and got ready to go out to dinner with my friends.  We went and had Chinese food, which is my all-time favorite cuisine.  Delicious!
Opened gifts with my parents and then went to bed.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

But the most exciting part of the weekend was cooking a brisket for my birthday!! Believe it or not I hadn’t had a brisket since I was 6 years old! So we went to our old house and got a bunch of Pecan Wood and some Apple wood. Oh yes. We started smoking it on Saturday morning and ate it on Sunday evening.  The bark on that brisket was amazingggg.  I will post pictures, don’t worry.  Started it saturday, we had to work in shifts.  We kept an eye on the temperature because we didn’t want it to go over 250 degrees.  So whenever I went to bed my brother stayed up and then woke me up at 630 on Sunday which is when I started cooking and watched the temperature.  I made Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream, Meyer Lemon Cupcakes, White Dill Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Black Pepper Pinto Beans and Cornbread.  SOOOOO much food! But it was so wonderful.  Okay, now it’s picture time :)

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wood      brisket 2lemon cupcake

 

Doesn’t that look delicious?! I will share with you the frosting because it was amazing and paired so well with the lemon cupcake.

Buttercream Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)

5-6 T heavy cream

1 t vanilla bean paste, extract or just 1/2 vanilla bean

1/2 t almond extract

1/4 t lemon extract (Or juice!)

2 cups powdered sugar

 

Cream your butter, add in the extracts.  Add the powdered sugar in increments so you don’t have a mess with the mixer.

For the sugar I just went by texture so you may need more than that.  As for the cupcakes I used the recipe from this blog: http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/150103/the_best_lemon_cupcake_recipe
The frosting I created went so well with these cupcakes. It was light and had just enough lemon that connected it with the cupcake and then the almond flavoring was light and rounded out the tartness from the cupcake.

I hope that link works, if not let me know!

Also I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a wonderful day!

-April

 

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).

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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