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

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.

whale dolphin

 

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.

 

food

 

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.

 

DSC_0841

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… :)

 

DSC_0875

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.

DSC_0943

DSC_0742

DSC_0868

 

Marilyn!

DSC_0854 DSC_0859

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!

DSC_0871 DSC_0889 DSC_0891 DSC_0879

 

 

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

DSC_0948

DSC_0963 DSC_0957 DSC_0953

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. :)

DSC_0966

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

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? :)

DSC_0281

 

their front yard! with a pond!

DSC_0289

DSC_0302

DSC_0349

the railroad tracks in the back of the property, it just goes into nothing but trees and then a really beautiful bridge!

 

DSC_0359DSC_0363

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 :)

DSC_0356

DSC_0339 DSC_0335 DSC_0310             DSC_0314

 

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 :)

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

 

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