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

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…

beach

 

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

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

 

 

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. :)

farmers market

 

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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peppers 2

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.

salsa jar

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