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

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

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.

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

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

 

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