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Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

Bon Appetit

Bonsoir! (good evening) After a night of French dining, I’m starting to channel my inner Julia Child. The restaurant we went to for my mom’s birthday this evening was a small and quaint venue operated by a team from France. HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN HERE?!?!?? There are no words for my first French dining experience. It was one of the most delicious meals of my life.

It all started with a piece of fresh rosemary and olive bread with a glass of pinot blanc.Followed by a few appetizers.


Cheese flight:Escargot!!!

My main course:

With a Bordeaux:

And finally, three examples of heaven desserts:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

One Happy Girl,

Nora

What is your favorite cuisine?

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I’m the type of person who cannot be idle. I find that when I have down time I end up getting antsy and think of anything and everything I could be doing. That being stated, sometimes you just need a day where you can stop, smell the flowers and relish in the peacefulness of having nothing on your agenda. Today was one of those days.

After my short country side run this afternoon I took myself on a “garden tour” around our backyard. My mom is extremely devoted to her gardens. She takes such pride and pleasure in them, and spends the majority of her day carefully tending to them. I think her dedication is what makes the flowers so beautiful.After my garden adventure we went to my cousin’s house for their birthday barbecue. I had a plate of grilled chicken, fruit and a mixed green salad with pear slices in a lemon vinaigrette. It wouldn’t be a birthday with out cake so I had a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and a little mint chip ice cream (can never resist mint chip 🙂 )After the party, I went for a nice walk-and-talk with my mom. When we returned I headed into our back yard to do a cart-wheel,  just because I haven’t done one in ages, and proceeded to lay in the grass and stare at the sky for a while. Sometimes you just have to soak in the beauty.

It was such a nice day that we decided to sit outside and absorb the beauty over crackers, hummus, bread, cheese and a bit of Dr. Loosen Riesling.

Life is good.

Peaceful,

Nora

What are your favorite ways to spend down time?

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I’m a little over excited for this post! I could hardly sleep last night because I had thoughts of fresh produce, artisan bread, flavored pastas and hummus running through my head. Today my parents and I ventured to my version of Disney Land: The Farmers Market. I have always been a Farmer’s Market enthusiast. I distinctly remember a time during my childhood when my family would go to Farmer’s Market almost every Saturday during the summer. I would always willingly hop out of my bed, excited by the prospect of finding handmade clothes for my barbie dolls and tasting locally produced cheese curds (I especially liked the pizza flavored cheese curds…I was a strange child.). There is nothing like waking up at 6am and entering a customer packed venue filled with smells of fried dough and dirt , to obtain “the good selection” of plants and produce. The energy at the market is what appeals to me the most. The vendors are so passionate about their products and you know you are purchasing something that was tended to with care. I always try to buy locally grown/ produced goods when I can because supporting the community is something that is very important to me.

The produce this time of year in Upstate NY is not at it’s best, however; we did not walk away empty handed. My mom bought several vegetable plants and herbs for her garden which will be amazing to have this summer–you can’t  get any fresher than straight from your own backyard 🙂 !

We made a stop at the Mediterranean store at the market for ground cinnamon, goat cheese, fresh hummus and kalamata olives. We also purchased some locally harvested honey and locally produced Bailiwick Cheddar Cheese from Wake Robbin Farm.

Our trips to the market are never complete with out buying a loaf of bread from our favorite vendor. Today we purchased one of our favorites: Calamata Focaccia. This bread never disappoints and has large pieces of kalamata olives under the top layer of airy dough sprinkled with sea salt. Simply stated: heaven in bread form.Because we tend to be Sunday morning coffee, biscotti and newspaper people, we purchased three of these lovely chocolate almond biscottis to round out our trip. I’m looking forward to trying this tomorrow, they smelled buttery and divine!

I’m off to enjoy some bread, cheese and wine with my parents!

Buy Local,

Nora

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Saturday was my last day working at the bakery. This job has been one of the best experiences of my life and has influenced me to pursue a career in the food industry. Working in the customer service bakery of a large grocery store has taught me the importance of consumer relations and shown me the dynamics of a large business. I am always incredibly inspired by the creativity and excitement that goes on in the store.

My last shift was all I could have asked for. I was on the schedule from 9:30am-6pm to do “demo” aka providing samples to customers. The employee who typically provides demonstrations had another obligation and was unable to sell on this day. I give her so much credit because it is NOT an easy task to be on your feet talking to people and selling products for 8.5 hours 5 days a week! I prepared for my last shift with the world’s greatest breakfast: oatmeal. (I was thrifty and used my microwave to minimize my gas bill!)

In the mix: 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/8 cup rolled oats, half of a banana (sliced and microwaved separately for 30 seconds, then added to my oats 1/2 way through cooking.), 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, cinnamon, vanilla extract and 1 TBS ground flax.

Topped with: 2 large strawberries, Crofter’s South America Superfruit Spread, 2 chopped Brazil nuts and coconut butter.

I was sampling our Pecan Raisin Sourdough and Kerrygold Butter. This is such a special bread that our bakers make from scratch on the weekends. I remember last summer when they were perfecting the recipe and I got to bring some home to sample. It is sweet satisfaction to see this bread come full circle. I’m not a huge butter on my bread person (something about disliking it as a child) but I absolutely love Kerrygold. It is so rich and brings out the best flavors in the bread; a perfect combination.

When I got home I had a pre-planned Cold Peanut Noodle Salad for dinner (practicing already!). I knew I was going to be tired after work and want to shower, so the night before I cooked soba noodles, chopped veggies and created a peanut sauce. All I had to do when I got home was assemble, pour a glass of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay and enjoy! Easy as pie.In my bowl: 1/2 chopped romaine heart, 1/2 bundle of soba noodles, 1 medium carrot, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1 inch of cucumber, 1/2 stalk of celery, 1 small bunch of broccoli. Topped with a peanut sauce: ~1-2 TBS crunchy natural peanut butter, juice of 1/2 a lime, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 TBS low sodium soy sauce.

This was an amazing meal! I love how well the noodles took to the sauce, and the raw vegetables were so refreshing. It was a large bowl of food that required just a splash more chardonnay to complete it ;).

For dessert I had the last of my Mint Cookies and Cream frozen yogurt ~3/4 cup with fresh strawberries. Shortly after dessert I fell asleep on my new futon at the early hour of 9:30pm while watching the movie Maid of Honor. It was a long day.

I woke up at 7am this morning and knew it was another great day for a run. I stumbled into the kitchen for a quick pre-run meal of a Lemon Zest Luna Bar and Jonagold Apple, and returned to bed to read my book for a few hours. I MISS READING FOR FUN!!!

After my run I had a late “brunch” (11am?) of another thick green monster smoothie ( 1 large frozen banana, 5 ice cubes, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder, cinnamon, 1 TBS crunchy peanut butter, a bunch of baby spinach and 1 cup vanilla soy milk. I forgot the Amazing Grass GREEN Superfood today and my smoothie ended up taking on a mint-ting-a-ling color) and a slice of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Coconut Butter and Cinnamon.

I did not have any obligations today, therefore; I was on a mission to find a decent Wi-Fi signal so that I could FINALLY upload my pictures and blog! I can’t believe I have been internet-less for an entire week! It is sad how dependent I am on technology, but hey, it’s my life. I spent a few hours at a local bookstore while my pictures slowly uploaded. I was successful but it was an extremely time consuming process. While I was there I snacked on a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar and Iced Coffee that I brought from home. No more $4 lattes for this girl! (I had a gift card to Starbucks thus why I had a few purchases earlier in the week.)

Now that we are all caught up I’m off to make an early dinner and get to bed before my first day at my internship! I’m beyond excited to start and have been waiting for this day to come for so long! I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve, I hope that I am able to sleep tonight.  I’m going to try my hardest to post tomorrow. I can’t wait to officially have internet in my apartment on Wednesday.

The Future Awaits,

Nora

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I have been slightly “missing in action” from my blog, however; I have been enjoying my last few days of college. This evening my friends and I made a simple and delicious meal to share together and have a relaxing evening. We started with a chilled glass of Arctic Fox wine, a salad of mixed greens, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and blue cheese dressed in raspberry-cherry vinaigrette and pesto pasta with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and Italian sausage. I think that pasta dishes are the perfect option for a dinner party. They are affordable, crowd pleasing and easy to prepare. Stuck in the kitchen is the last place you want to be when company arrives!

For dessert we used my favorite boxed brownie mix from Ghiradelli. I had a Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream and a homemade raspberry sauce. I love this mix because it is so decadent and rich! The best part: I only have to mix a few ingredients together and put it in the oven for 45 minutes. It is so easy and feels extravagant!

It wasn’t a fancy or complicated meal, but it was extremely thoughtful and nice to share among friends. I love cooking great meals for one, but there is nothing like enjoying good food in good company. It soothes both the body and the soul.

In recent news, I found an apartment aka a hole to call  my own and I will be moving on Friday! I have never had a place all to myself and I have to admit that it is a bit strange. My new apartment is in an older building and not by any means what I would consider “nice”, however; it does have a small bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area with an affordable 3 month lease. I’m not sure what I will be doing after August, so I was unable to commit to a nicer place with a typical 6-12 month lease. Even though it’s not the best, at least it is something. I’ll be sure to post some pictures once I have brightened the space up a bit.

Next Steps,

Nora

What are your favorite “ready-made” meals?

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For some reason last night I was CRAVING eggs. I had a very breakfasty day starting with cold cereal and vanilla soy milk with fruit for breakfast and an almond/pumpkin butter sandwich and more fruit for lunch. It was EXTREMELY cold and wet out so I needed something warm and cozy for dinner.  To continue with my breakfast streak and add some veggies to my diet, my dinner solution was an inspiration from Musings of the Granola Girl: Veggie “Frittata” with a Berry Salad. I apologize for the poor quality iphone picture:

Frittata : 3 egg whites, milk, heaping handful of spinach, 4 baby bella mushrooms, 1/2 Roma tomato, 1/4 red bell pepper, generous handful of Parmesan cheese. Whisk together the egg whites and milk and let them set in a small fry pan. In a separate pan sautee mushrooms and spinach. Once the eggs have become firm, top with sauteed mushrooms and spinach, fresh tomato and red pepper slices, and top with cheese. Remove Fritatta  from the pan (the pan I used wasn’t oven safe), place on a lined baking sheet and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes become slightly crisp. Finish with cracked black pepper and hot sauce.

Berry Salad: mixed greens, 4 sliced strawberries, handful of blueberries, ~1 TBS toasted sliced almonds, cucumber, clover sprouts, balsamic vinaigrette.

It was almost like a pizza with an egg base. I let the eggs set up for long enough so the bottom had a nice crispy crust to it, which was a perfect base for the copious amount of toppings I used. The salad was a perfect contrast to my savory dish, and provided an elegant  dinner feel to my breakfast main.

Loving Breakfast,

Nora

Do you like having breakfast for dinner? What is your favorite choice?

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