Category Archives: seafood

New Yoga Endeavors

I went to a 90-minute “Power Yoga Flow” session at a new yoga studio downtown this morning – PYP Studio in State College.

Afterwards, I rewarded myself with this.

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But more on that after my Yoga recap:

It was insanely hard – maybe harder than a running my half-marathon in April. I hadn’t been expecting such a high intensity class, so I found myself utterly unable to put my best effort into most poses. Such things, at least for me, require mental prep time.

For at least the first hour, all I could think was, “these people are insane,” and “I’m never coming back here again.”

I had never been to a yoga class set up like this one. It started out with everyone in child’s pose, and the instructor, a tiny British lady with a fierce voice, gave kind of an opening “sermon.” Or a dramatic monologue maybe? She spoke about how we constantly reach outside of ourselves, searching, wanting, trying for more, when all we need is right here in the present. She challenged us to stop seeking approval from other people and to appreciate the perfect, innocent human being buried inside of us amidst the daily craziness. Throughout the session’s resting poses, she always came back to this theme, reiterating her points, and dramatizing them in the context of our movements.

During savasana at the end, which I enjoyed so much in my complete exhaustion, she played “Let it Be” by the Beatles. Tacky, yes. But still somehow in line with everything else she was doing.

Dave, of course, said all of this sounded terrible when I told him about it at brunch. And yes, it was definitely different and intense. But during the last 30 minutes of the class, as the exhaustion had broken me down enough, I discovered new, refreshing thoughts within myself. One of them was that it makes complete sense to me that in a “church-like” format, in which we challenge the mind to center itself and connect with its core, we would challenge the body at the same time to go to its limits.

So then, after yoga, I picked up Dave and we went to Pine Grove Mills, which is about 5 minutes from our house, to try the new breakfast place that opened there on Monday, Naked Egg Cafe. A co-worked told me about it yesterday, and I was so excited when I looked at their menu and discovered they have salmon Eggs Benedict!

In light of my new plan to stop drinking coffee, I ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast tea. By the time our food arrived, I had finished the entire pot, about five cups or so, because we waited for about 45 minutes!!! Sure, they recently opened and the place was packed, but waiting that long for breakfast is not acceptable in my opinion. When we got the food, we couldn’t believe the small portions. I paid $12.99 for the salmon benedict and there wasn’t really as much smoked salmon under the egg as I would have expected. Plus, why wouldn’t they serve some sort of potatoes on the side? Pretty disappointing. It tasted good, but not great. On the plus side, the food is all local. That’s why I wanted to like the place so much. We’re thinking we’ll give them one more chance and come earlier in the morning when it’s not as crowded and order something else. But it’s still a bummer because no other place in town that I know of makes salmon benedicts or even has a breakfast menu with smoked salmon on it.

Enough complaining. After brunch, we went to the Farmer’s Market to stock up on some organic produce. I bought eggplants, onions, tomatoes, and parsley. We also each bought a pastry from an Amish woman, plus I had a macaroon and Dave a gluten-free brownie. Splurge alert.

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Filed under eating out, gluten-free, seafood, yoga

Boating at Bald Eagle State Park

Dave’s parents are in town for the 4th of July weekend. We met up with them this morning for breakfast at the Waffle Shop, and then headed to Bald Eagle State Park. We rented a Pontoon boat for four hours and enjoyed some pleasant times out on the water.

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Dave and his parents also had some good times in the water.

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After they were done swimming, we ate our packed lunch.

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We had bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, crackers, brie, white wine, cherries, and sparkling water.

Successful 4th of July activity! Somehow, it feels more festive spending this holiday in one of the founding states. It’s also my first 4th of July as a permanent resident!

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Filed under holidays, seafood

Three-Course Turkish Dinner

After running 6 miles on Sunday morning (first time doing a longer run since my Half Marathon on April 13), I spent most of my day in the kitchen preparing an elaborate Turkish dinner.

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Aren’t my head-band and flowery apron something? Dave was handling the food photography because he got excited to use the tripod and a nicer camera than my iPhone (which I usually use). Anyway, I didn’t know he would put me into 80% of the pictures or I would have chosen to look less ridiculous.

Now to the task at hand: Cook a three-course Turkish dinner for four people in three hours. All three recipes were new to me, but the cookbook Sultan’s Kitchen has been phenomenal so far, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

1. The Appetizer – Grape Leaves Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Rice

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Just looking at this has me wanting to make another batch of these beyond-delicious things. It was my first time making vegetarian grape leaves. In the past, I’ve stuffed them with rice and ground beef or lamb. But no longer. The combination of pine nuts and currants with cinnamon, dill, and parsley is out of this world. Sprinkled with lemon-juice, they’re a fresh, tangy summer treat. They could be their own meal and I definitely devoured the left-overs for lunch on Monday. Triple yum!

We served them with some fresh baguette and Raki – an anise flavored liquor that no Turkish meal should be without.

2. The Main Course – Flounder Fillets Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Spinach, and Scallions

Holy moly. Flounder fillets are expensive. The recipe called for 3 lbs., but that would have meant $45, so I decided to get four and divide all the other ingredients in half too. That was a good choice, since we had so much other food, too.

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First, you cook the pine nuts in olive oil until they’re golden brown, then you add garlic, spinach, and scallions and saute the mixture until it has wilted. After letting it cool, you place the desired amount in the center of the fillet and then fold it over, holding it together with a tooth pick.

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Number one and two.

Then, you steam the fillets in a mix of dry white wine, chopped tomato, lemon juice, spices, and dill for eight minutes. When it’s done, you sprinkle it with parsley.

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We served this course with bread and a choice of red and white wine. Don’t you want to take that piece of baguette and make it soak up the delicious sauce? The dish was the perfect mixture of herbs, fish, and a tangy mix of wine, tomato, and a kick of spiciness due to paprika and red cayenne pepper. So good. So so good.

3. The Desert – Rose Water Pudding

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This was a basic pudding made with whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, and cornstarch, but the rose water gave it a very unique flavor. We actually sprinkled these servings with cinnamon before putting them on the table, but were too absorbed into conversation by that time to remember taking pictures.

It was so much fun to try three new recipes and introduce our friends to Turkish cuisine. They seemed to really enjoy everything. Dave and I definitely loved all three dishes, so we’ll definitely make them again. The leftover grape leaves definitely were a special Monday lunch treat.

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Filed under deserts, drinks with dinner, leftovers, recipes, running, seafood, Turkish

Leisure-Time Marathon

I love Saturdays just as much as the next person, and this week was especially delicious, both literally and figuratively speaking. We packed so many activities into today that I feel like the weekend should be over already. And it’s not. So I’m winning.

It all started with a 7 a.m. workout at our apartment complex gym. I did the elliptical for 30 minutes while Dave ran and lifted weights.

This made us pretty hungry, so we had sweet potato pancakes for breakfast.

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3 eggs and one mashed sweet potato – bam. The trick is to use plenty of coconut oil for frying and keeping them small-ish to make them easy to flip.

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I topped mine with almond butter and maple syrup. The flavors of this mixed with coffee flavor put me in heaven. We went over German dialogues while eating.

The next stop was Cafe Lemont for some lattes (regular for Dave, almond for me).

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Dave studied German vocab and I worked on a freelancing project. Coffee shops and Saturdays are a dream combo, if you ask me. Especially if they have non-dairy, non-soy latte options.

Around noon, we left to go grocery shopping. On our way to Trader Joe’s, we realized we were both starving, so I introduced Dave to this all-you-can eat Asian buffet. I had been there before and wanted him to experience the insanely large variety of food.

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It was $10 per person for the lunch buffet, which included an appetizer bar, a Chinese buffet, a salad bar, a huge selection of sushi, and a ton of desert options. They also have a Mongolian-Grill style setup, but I stuck to pretty much appetizers and sushi.

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Contentment.

Afterwards, we went to Trader Joe’s before returning home for some reading and TV time. I think every weekend needs several hours of couch-time. It was hard not to take a nap, that’s for sure.

Around 6 p.m., we decided to play tennis on our apartment complex courts. It was much colder than it has been today and pretty windy as well, but we wanted to give it a try.

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I had to wear a headband and a jacket, but once I warmed up, I could take those off. We played for about an hour and the score at the end was 15:1 for Dave. I really suck at tennis, but really enjoy it at the same time. I have great ambitions for beating Dave one day. Maybe this “season” will bring more success than last summer.

Back in the apartment, I made dinner and we watched The Mindy Project. Have you guys seen it? It’s hilarious and so current. It’s one of the few shows Dave and I enjoy equally.

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Dinner was spinach salad with avocados, toasted cashews, goat cheese, and dried cranberries, The dressing had balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds, sugar, cayenne pepper, and poppy seeds in it. Desert was chocolate coconut ice cream, naturally, though no pictures were taken.

Not too shabby for a Saturday in State College, if I do say so myself. Getting up early is my new favorite thing.

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Filed under Breakfast, dairy-free, deserts, eating out, gluten-free, recipes, salads, seafood, vegan

Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salmon Cakes Vol. 2

Dave had class tonight, so I got a little over an hour for some full-power mid-week cooking and cleaning. I danced in the kitchen to a strange mix of music on Spotify – from 90s to high school classics to German pop.

I gave these salmon sweet potato & quinoa cakes another attempt – this time, I remembered to put the eggs into the mix instead of having to put them on top fried.

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After cooking a medium sweet potato and half a cup of quinoa, I mixed them with 6 oz. of wild Pacific salmon, half a chopped onion, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of cornmeal.

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Then I seared them in olive oil for about 4 minutes per side.

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They held together a little less well than last time, despite the eggs! I think that’s because I didn’t cook the sweet potato for long enough. It was less doughy and sticky than last time.

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Deliciousness. If you make this, make sure to add enough salt and pepper. Also, I think it would be even better with green onion than just with regular onion. Yes, now that I think of it, definitely use green onions or scallions.

Six cakes meant we have leftovers for lunch. Yay!

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Sunny Valley

Saturday started with two lazy hours of scrapbooking in our pajamas. We just got our wedding picture prints a week ago, so now it was time to sort through all of them and choose the best ones for the album. I used this time to digest breakfast before my run and consume more unreasonable amounts of Teen Mom on Netflix.

Then, I headed out for an 8-mile run. Last one before the half marathon next week. The weather was glorious, like last week.

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This was my favorite spot – maybe half a mile left, all downhill, and an amazing view of Happy Valley and the Central PA mountains.

When I got back, I sat outside our door for 50 minutes, stretching and talking to a friend on the phone, because I forgot my key and Dave was at the grocery store.

When he got back, I was starving, so I made sweet potato pancakes.

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Just really mushy sweet potatoes and 3 eggs.

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Fried in coconut oil.

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Topped with Earth Balance and maple syrup.

Definitely hit the spot.

Soon after, my friend/coworker and her husband drove in from Lewisburg and we showed them around State College before heading to a dinner meeting for the Knuetes freelancing project we’re working on together.

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Stopping on at Saint’s Cafe downtown.

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Beers and appetizers at Duffy’s Tavern in Boalsburg. First time sitting outside!

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I got the crab-stuffed buttoned mushrooms and they were freaking amazing.

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Enjoying the semi-warm and sunny day.

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Avocado Obsession

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I want to eat avocados with every meal possible! It’s a true obsession, and this is only the beginning.

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This was actually Dave’s lunch yesterday. I prefer to schmier the avocado on the bread as if it’s cream cheese and put an egg sunny side up on top.

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My dinner tonight: brown rice with avocado, a fried egg, and nutritional yeast.

More to come. I am 100% committed to this obsession.

Dave and I went to Gigi’s tonight to have some drinks, and an appetizer (technically for desert), and play a game of backgammon.

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Beer as pre-run fuel.

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Spinach-crab dip with artichokes.

Dave beat me 5:1. Reminds me of long vacation days in Turkey, when I could accomplish a victory once a week if I was lucky.

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Filed under dairy-free, drinks with dinner, eating out, seafood