Isn’t that Ironic?

I’m sitting here on my computer surrounded by my cookbooks and chowing down some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Oh! and watching some cooking show about desserts. I don’t know if thats sad or…? I won’t go further. I find it ironic because I’m going through Clean Eating cookbooks and finding new ways to be healthier…. and here I am eating ice cream. Like some sad wanna-be chick flick except I’m not crying or wallowing in my self pity of why I can’t find a man.. haha okay that was a little overboard BUT you get what I mean now. :)

I want to share with you my favorite recipe so far. I was making a chimichurri sauce one day and I accidentally screwed it up.. Well I was standing there thinking I was going to have to throw it away and start over which really bothered me by the way because thats a lot of herbs! So I look over on my counter and I have some avocados left over from the other night… utilize those bad boys. My sauce had separated and I didn’t want to add mustard or honey or anything like that as an emulsifier so I used avocado as my emulsifier and BOOM sauce came back together and tasted way better than I had intended! Beautiful creamy chimichurri sauce and who knew adding avocados would make it so wonderful and balanced?! It took the bite away from my careless addition of too much vinegar. (note, don’t get carried away with the vinegar like I did, you can always add, never take away!)  So, who wants to see a new recipe?! I do! haha

 

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Quinoa patties, these things are dynamite. Delicious little crispy bursts of flavor.

Quinoa Patties: 

Cook quinoa as follows on package. I like using red because of the color. But you can use any kind of quinoa you’d like!

1/2 c shredded carrots

1/2 c sliced spinach

3 green onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

start with 1/2 c almond meal (it all depends on how much liquid you leave in the quinoa…)

1 egg

Instructions: 

cook the quinoa, let cool slightly mix in the carrots, garlic, spinach and onions. Season. Taste and adjust. NOW here comes the tricky part. Add the egg, start with 1/2 c almond meal and mix. You want a thick consistency and you also want it to stick together. Test it by making a ball in your hand and press it out like a patty, if it stays together voila you’ve reached the correct consistency. if not, keep adding almond meal.

Make the patties and cook in olive oil until crispy and golden brown!

 

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I like odd shaped plates.. and I wanted to play around with the presentations since I usually just serve everything family style. I think I may start doing this more often. Makes for neat photos :)

 

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Corn Relish: 

2 Avocados, diced

1/2 lime, juiced over avocado

1/2 Purple onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 large jalapeno, minced

3 ears of corn, cut off of the cob

2 roma tomatoes, diced

salt and pepper

 

Instructions: 

Prep all ingredients but the avocado. Mix together and when you are ready to serve the dish add in the avocado and squeeze lime juice over to prevent oxidation.

 

 

Chimichurri: 

1 bunch parsley

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 T oregano (preferably fresh, but you can used dried)

1 cup spinach

1 jalapeno

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 avocado

salt and pepper

6 T olive oil

Instructions: 

Rip off the leaves (stems are okay) of the parsley and cilantro, add in leaves ONLY of oregano (because of the woody stem) and then the rest of the ingredients except olive oil into a blender. Blend until slightly smooth.  Then slowly add in olive oil and taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning to your liking. and enjoy with chicken, pork chops… steak. Anything you’d like!

 

Make the dish your own. Let me know how you like it :)

April

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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

Family Matters

Today I’m going to go on a more serious note, recently my dad had some really serious medical issues happen…. Which kind of opened my eyes to what we really were eating. Yes we were eating paleo, but is that really the direction my parents needed to be going? So when we got his tests back and found out what caused it I realized that I needed to make a diet change. Not just because he needed one to better his body, but I want to be there to support him as he would do with me if I were in this situation. we are now doing a more moderate version of paleo and sticking with just olive oil. Coconut oil is great and everything, but since his fat levels were beyond what they need to be, we have had to change to a more digestible fat for our bodies. Therefore, I will be sharing with you modified Paleo. :)

Anyways, I have a recipe for you guys :)

Sweet Potato Chili: (Serves 8)

2 lbs Ground Turkey

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 Large Sweet Potatoes

2 Jalapenos, minced

1/2 Purple Onion, diced

4 Medium-large cloves of Garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder

1/2 Tablespoon of Cumin

1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Cans of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 can of Black Beans

3 Ears of Corn, shaved

 

Instructions:

Brown your turkey, add in garlic, onion, jalapeno and saute until translucent.  Add in the spices so they can mellow out for a little bit, then add the sweet potatoes. Saute those for about 6-8 minutes until slightly golden.  Add in the corn, tomatoes and black beans. Add the stock, cook until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning and enjoy. :)

 

I also made a sauce to go on top of the chili, because I made mine kind of spicy, this helped calm it down for my mom.

Avocado Cream Sauce:

3 Avocados

1 Jalapeno

3 cloves of Garlic

1/2 purple onion

1 bunch of Cilantro

2 Tablespoons (or more) of Apple Cider Vinegar

4-6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

Place in a blender and puree. Taste and Adjust.

 

 

I hope you enjoy this dish!

When I’m cooking I don’t really measure, so I should probably measure more precisely haha. But none the less, taste your food when you’re cooking because that is when you create and find new ways to change a recipe! Make it your own!

-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

 

 

 

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. :)

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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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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.

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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.

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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