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

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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 :)

brisket 1    smoker

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

 

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