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

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

 

 

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