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Posts Tagged ‘feta cheese’

Dinner tonight was something that I had been dreaming about all day: Grilled Brown Sugar Barbecue Salmon, Grilled Corn on the Cob and Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese. Before I get into the details, let me just say that this meal was heaven on my palate.

During the Summer I have uncontrollable cravings for barbecue sauce. When the weather breaks the 80 degree mark I simply cannot get enough barbecue sauce in my life. I went to the grocery store last night to do a quick “in-and-out” trip to pick up a few staples for the week (is it even possible to do a quick grocery store trip?). Per-usual, I ended up doing a few laps around the store to browse all of the wonderful products that I did not need to buy. My eye caught a new Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce and temptation struck. I did not need the sauce but my mind started going wild with thoughts of beautiful grilled dishes that it would be PERFECT for. I couldn’t resist, I was sold.

I think that salmon is a fish that is enhanced by just a touch of sweetness. One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is with a mixture of whole-grain Dijon mustard and honey. I thought that a brown sugar barbecue sauce would have a similar flare and decided that the first way I wanted to use my new sauce was paired with this succulent fish.

I pre-heated my grill pan (and coated with non-stick cooking spray) to a medium heat and brushed one side of my fish with a light coating of an herb-infused olive oil. I placed the fish in my grill pan olive oil coated side down and waited about 3 minutes until the color slightly changed and it had a light, crispy coating. I brushed the top side with the oil before flipping and continued to cook the fish until it reached the internal temperature of 130 degrees (I use an electronic meat thermometer. I find when you cook your protein to the proper temperature that it has the perfect flavor and consistency.) When the fish was done cooking I brushed the top side with an even coat of the barbecue sauce.

My fish was moist on the inside with a good crunch on the outside. The barbecue sauce was a nice compliment to the fish and it was love at first bite–brown sugar barbecue sauce + salmon= match made in heaven.

For my corn I simply coated each side in a light layer of my herb infused oil and grilled it for about 10 minutes (start the corn before the fish!), turning every few minutes.

My cucumber-tomato salad was simple yet elegant. I used about 1/2 of a cucumber sliced into 1/4 inch pieces and quartered, and a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes. I drizzled the mixture with in olive oil, white wine vinegar and cracked black pepper and tossed to coat. I finished this salad with feta cheese. It was cool, crisp and sweet; an easy and refreshing summer salad combination.

I paired my meal with my new favorite summertime wine: Kendall-Jackson 2008 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. I have found that this wine works nicely with grilled foods, especially ones incorporating a garlic based barbecue sauce 🙂 .

YUM.

Lately the  the recipe section of my brain has been going wild.  I have a few new things I want to try in the next few days so stay tuned!

Inspired,

Nora

What is your favorite sauce?

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Dinner last night was simple and satisfying. For some reason warm weather always makes me crave grilled items and fresh produce. I marinated a chicken breast in barbecue sauce and grilled it on my cast iron skillet. I wish I had access to a real grill but my make shift grill pan over an open flame is the next best thing! My chicken was perfectly moist and delicious. On the side I had a rather big salad of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, button mushrooms, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes and feta cheese. I dressed this salad in a homemade mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and cracked black pepper. This dressing was so good that it caused an epiphany: If you have the time, MAKE YOUR OWN SALAD DRESSING! My dressing was the simple and the perfect consistency, really highlighting the crisp vegetables.

Once again, I had strawberries on my mind for dessert. I found a Jell-O pudding in the back of my fridge that I’m pretty sure was expired (gross, I know) but it looked okay so I decided to eat it anyways. I topped it with strawberries and whipped cream. NOTE TO SELF: BUY ICE CREAM ASAP!

I woke up this morning with an odd craving for cold cereal. I assembled a bowl of 1/2 cup Go Lean Crunch, 1/2 Cup Heart to Heart, 1 sliced banana, sliced strawberries, 1 TBS ground flax, cinnamon and 1 cup vanilla soy milk.
It was my first day at my internship so I was rather excited this morning. I debated bringing lunch because of my financial situation, however; because it was my first day I wanted to scope out the scene and try the cafeteria. I had a turkey, lettuce, red pepper and mayo sandwich on a whole wheat pita, a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette and an apple. It was pretty good and only set me back about $4 but I’ll probably pack a lunch from now on. It was another intern’s last day with the company and the department had a send-off for him after lunch. I was really excited because it was complete with CAKE! I had a small piece of dense yellow cake with white frosting (I made sure to get an edge piece for the extra frosting 🙂 )

After work I went to the gym. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting home for dinner until about 7pm, so I planned a head and packed a pre-gym snack and an easy dinner. I had a Tropical Fruit Tart Larabar around 4pm. It was such a nice treat for a hot summer afternoon and fueled my workout. I did about 40 minutes on the precor machine followed by crunches and arm weights. I always thought that I preferred morning workouts, but I really liked how it broke up my day. It was relaxing, and having dinner already prepared was KEY!

When I got home dinner was waiting for me. Last night I realized that I had a portabello mushroom cap to use so I created a stuffed portabello mushroom with couscous, spinach and feta cheese topped with grape tomatoes and more feta as the main component of my meal (I’m planning on some simple sides to accompany this dish but took this picture last night.). To prepare, I cleaned the exterior of the mushroom with a dry cloth (aka paper towel), discarded the stem and gills of the mushroom and brushed the outside with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried basil and cracked black pepper. I then placed the mushroom cap side down on my cast iron grill pan, added the remaining vinaigrette mixture evenly into the belly, grilled it until tender and let it rest on a plate before adding the filling.

For the couscous, I placed 1/4 cup dry whole-wheat couscous in a bowl, added 1/2 cup of boiling water and let it sit about 5 minutes before fluffing and allowing it to cool. I added a handful of freshly chopped baby spinach, about 2 heaping TBS feta cheese and cracked black pepper into the couscous and mixed to combine. I placed this mixture in the mushroom cap and finished it with grape tomatoes and more feta cheese.

My internship is absolutely amazing! I feel so lucky to have found a position in the food industry incorporating aspects of social media and marketing. I am extremely passionate about food, family, healthy living and social media (obviously!) and can’t believe that I was able to find an involved internship composed of all these elements and more. I don’t want to go into details but today I was able to learn about and work on projects that dealt with iPhone apps, Twitter and blogging. Seriously, someone pinch me!

Working Girl,

Nora

What tips do you have for balancing work, exercising and healthy eating?

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Apparently I have an over packing problem.  I struggle to close sandwiches, wraps and omelets in the same way that I struggle with my suit case every time I travel.

This morning I woke up and decided it was an egg day. The sky was dark and a misty rain was present in the cold air. I thought about oatmeal and pancakes but knew I needed something a bit more savory. My solution: egg-white omelet with spinach, broccoli, mushroom, tomato, vegetarian sausage (I crumbled up a Yves and heated it with my veggies) and feta cheese, a side of whole wheat toast with raspberry jam, coffee and orange juice. I do not make omelets for breakfast often (they are more of a dinner dish for me) because I have an extreme “sweet breakfast” complex, so when I do I tend to go a little overboard. I somehow managed to get it on my plate in a presentable manner, and topped it with Sriracha hot sauce and cracked black pepper. It was the perfect breakfast for this cold morning, and filled me well.

After breakfast I went to a Vinyasa yoga class.  Let me tell you there is nothing better than doing relaxing yoga in a warm room when it is miserable outside. It brings out a whole new uplifting mood! When the class was finished the clouds parted, the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue. Although the temperature was still in the upper 40’s it was an amazingly beautiful day! After class I stopped by the grocery store to visit my co-workers and pick up some produce. I think that my 10am yoga class followed by grocery shopping is becoming my Sunday routine. I picked up some goodies for dinner and headed home for lunch.

I was parched after yoga and shopping so I wanted something refreshing for lunch aka a green monster, granola and raw almonds bowl, apple, carrot, green grapes and Medjool dates with almond butter. I mixed up my green monster a bit, my combination was: 1 large frozen banana, 3 large fresh strawberries, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1 cup unsweetened original almond milk, cinnamon, cacao and vanilla extract. The strawberries gave it a darker color so it looked like sludge. Since it wasn’t an exciting lunch I neglected pictures but it looked something like this (didn’t I have the same thing last Sunday haha…yep!) with about a cup of big green grapes and a large carrot.Miss Congeniality is on TV and I have a bunch of work to do so it is going to be a stay-in day. I have something nice planned for an early dinner before going to a 7pm meeting.  I love having relaxing Sundays. When I was younger my family would attend church together, have a great brunch, do yard/house/school work all day and gather for a thoughtful and comforting dinner. It was the perfect way to end a hectic week, and refresh ourselves for the week to come. I now see why Sunday is meant to  be a day of rest.

Peace and Love,

Nora

Do you usually do something special on Sunday?

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Mediterranean style dishes are among my favorites to eat during the summer months. I love the fresh flavors and the lightness of olive oil and fresh herbs in dishes. On of my favorite cold salads that my mom makes all summer long is Ina Garten’s  Shrimp and Orzo Salad, full of fresh flavors like dill, parsley and feta cheese. Since I started my day as “throwback Thursday”, I might as well end it similarly.

For dinner tonight I made a simple cold orzo salad filled with spinach, asparagus, red bell pepper, tomato, sliced kalamata olives and cucumber and topped with seared lemon-thyme shrimp and roasted broccoli. I also had a glass of Spanish Quarter Cabernet-Sauvignon on the side.

Orzo:

Bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add 1/2 cup orzo pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.

-Strain the pasta and run under cold water. Place in a medium-sized bowl and add 1/2 TBS olive oil and 1/2 TBS white wine vinegar and toss to coat. Add chopped asparagus (about 2 large stalks) red bell pepper (about 1/4), Roma tomato (about 1/2), kalamata olives (about 5 sliced), cucumber  and torn spinach.

-Top with feta cheese, shrimp and roasted broccoli to serve.

Lemon-Thyme Shrimp

-Defrost 8-10 medium sized shrimp (or use fresh whatever you have access to). Coat with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, cracked back pepper and finely chopped thyme.

-In a small saute pan heat olive oil and garlic. When garlic slightly browns add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes per side.

-Remove shrimp and place on top of pasta.


This was a fantastic and simple dinner. I had ended up having about 3/4 of the pasta mixture (I forgot how much 1/2 a cup of dried pasta ends up being!) and saved the other part for a nice salad topper or side dish for tomorrows lunch! After dinner I had multiple desserts. I started with one of my new samples from Chobani: Chocolate Greek Yogurt. I received a sample of their Champions line in the mail today and have been dying to try the chocolate flavor. It was delicious! It still has the sour taste of Greek yogurt with a slight cacao flavor. It was a bit too sweet for me but delicious nonetheless. When I finished I needed a real chocolate fix. The yogurt was good but I wanted more of a true chocolate flavor. Another Mr. Chocolate Bunny Attack ensued, along with a mini chocolate egg that was in the basket. What can I say, I really love chocolate!

Last we saw.

Became this at one point.

What remains. officially one bite left!

I am beyond stuffed at this point. Good food for a dreary night.

Happy Almost Weekend,

Nora

SIDE NOTE: I took a picture of my dinner with my iphone, thus the poor quality. I was in the comfort of my own apartment with access to a camera but decided against snapping a photo. My room-mate was also making dinner and doesn’t know about my blog. I am a very open person, my family follows my blog and I have told some of my co-workers, however; my friends have a negative connotation associated with the blog world, so I refrain from telling them. When I mentioned my juicer purchase to my room-mate she ridiculed me for it. Every time I “plate” a dish in her presence I get funny looks, and when I speak of my breakfast I get a “I don’t eat breakfast, and if I do then I just grab fruit or something easy…why do you bother?” reaction. In the past when I have documented food at restaurants I receive similar ridicule, so typically it is just easier not to explain my blog to my friends.

Do you openly discuss your blog? Thoughts? I blog because it is what I believe in, and no one would change that for me. In fact if anyone read the New York Times Dining section yesterday, there are LOTS of people who document their food. One of my favorite sentiments in the article was “In the unconscious mind, food equals love because food is our deepest and earliest connection with our caretaker.” People also mentioned that they liked to show off what they are eating and share it with others.  Ultimately the two most important things in my life family and food. I like to share my discoveries, comfort and love of food with those I am closest to because it represents an element of care.  Okay, sorry for the rant.  CHECK OUT THE NY TIMES LINK!!

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