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

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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 :)

DSC_0151

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

 

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

 

 

 

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