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

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

Days 3 and 4. Be a Kid. Again.

Okay so I didn’t update much yesterday because it was too late when I got home and I was being lazy about typing up an entry… So welcome to the wonderful world of matrimony! hahaha. I’m combining days 3 and 4 BECAUSE I CAN! :)

Today I have tonssssss of pictures to show you. :) But let’s start with what went down yesterday :)

 

I went on a Whale Watching Tour! Saw about 3 different whales, but the captain said there were at least 12 whales out and about when we were on the water.. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I took quite a few pictures of a few whales fluking and then I have some of Dolphins!! It was so beautiful. Amazing. Wonderful. Awe-inspiring.. Need I go on? You get the picture. The trip was very educational, and surprisingly that was a nice turn for a vacation! Normally I’m just like “give me the food and everything will be okay.” haha But this time it was neat to have something really educational instead of just oh yeah, that’s cool. Move on to the next photo..animal…building  whatever it was that you look at on vacations.

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Next we went walking around in Newport Beach.. That place is ridiculously expensive… but my word they had some delicious food. And I loved that the kitchens were open! They had display kitchens!!! It was so awesome.

 

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We sat right by the kitchen. Talked to their sushi chef and then I just stared off into space watching all the cooks work on the line. haha It’s crazy how lost I get and basically tune everyone out to see them work. But up above we had Sushi that was tempura fried and contained tuna, salmon, avocado and asparagus. The sauces, however I have no idea what they were but they tasted amazing.  Bottom right was my dish, Kai Braised Honey Mustard Beef Short Rib with buttered mash and broccolini. ‘Twas delicious and I believe nutritious ;)

 

Moving on!  Day 4.

 

We went to Universal Studios. Craziness. I don’t think I need to explain so I’ll just show you some pictures I liked the most. :) Enjoy, my friends.

 

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In NYC.. with my Oh, Sleeper shirt. They are my all-time favorite band, by the way. I just thought you should know. AND maybe you should go listen to them… :)

 

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For those of you who don’t know…. I am a HUGE Fast and the Furious fanatic.. I love those movies. All of them. They have fast cars and some of my favorite actors and they make me happy watching them. :) This Skyline (pictured above) is the car Paul Walker drove.. my my my what a wonderful car. YES.

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Marilyn!

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Water World. This was a pretty crazy skit they did. A guy falling into the water that was on fire… As well as tons of explosions. That was fun. Apparently a lot of famous actors did this skit for us!

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Going through “Little Europe” That was neat. And of course the classy Irish picture.. because, well, I’m Irish. c:

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Largest Hot Topic store I have ever seen in my entire life. I bought some new gauges that were on sale :D

And I love Jamba Juice so I had to take a picture of this really cool signage. :)

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End of the day! A lot of fun!

 

Okay one last note.. While we were on the Tram tour… They were filming a Ross commercial (one of my all time favorite stores to shop…) AND they were also filming The Mindy Project… Also another show I enjoy watching. All in all it was really fun and exciting. The rides were enjoyable and the lines were nothing like they are at Six Flags. Universal Studios… I might come back to see ya. ;)

 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

-April

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

 

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!

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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!

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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