Tag Archives: chocolate

Camping at Black Moshannon State Park

This past Saturday, Dave and I took our first couple’s camping trip since moving to PA. This is a little surprising considering Dave used to camp on the regular during his years with Boy Scouts. His Eagle Scout skills definitely go under-used these days, but we’re hoping to change that. He has a lot to teach me, from setting up a tent in a reasonable time-frame to building a fire to packing the right gear.

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We got to the camp site around 3 p.m., went for a hike, and got back just in time to get the fire going before it got dark.

It was in the low 40s even during the day (I don’t know how low the temps dropped at night), so the fire was necessary. I don’t know if it’s Dave’s Oregon-ness, but he didn’t really feel that it was very cold, while I was freezing the entire time. Sitting by the fire was my favorite part. Once it gave off enough heat, we could star thinking about dinner.

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The first course was Jewish Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Challah. Our friend brought it to a party we went to on Friday night and gave us some of it to take camping. It was absolutely delicious. He has since sent me the recipe and I hope to try making it sometime soon.

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The second course was a quinoa/potato salad with dried cranberries and roasted pine nuts. Not your typical camping fare, but a good idea since it didn’t need to be refrigerated and was hearty and filling.

For dessert, we had some dark chocolate before getting to my favorite part:

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Spiced apple cider made by holding a kettle directly over the fire from a piece of wood. 

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We enjoyed the cider while I read out loud from a book we’ve been reading together since April. It was so nice. This sounds lame and cliche, but I really never feel like I am unplugged from technology anymore and there is rarely space in my head to do some good old reading from an actual book. Being in nature with nobody but Dave and away from phones and laptops made me so much more receptive to the story. 

I was cold during the night despite about 5,000 layers and a mummy bag. This was mostly due to my lack of an inflatable pad. Overall, I really liked the experience though, and we’re kind of thinking of a two-day backpacking trip for the spring to see if that’s something we would enjoy doing together. Until then, I will stick to my heated apartment and soft mattress!

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C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E

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We’re going to see an outdoor showing of E.T. tonight with some friends, and I fully plan on falling asleep in my lawn chair wrapped in a blanket due to exhaustion from a crazy week.

But before that, we played some Scrabble at home. I had some wine and some German chocolate – Joghurette. This was my absolute favorite chocolate as a child. I recently met up with one of my best friends from Germany in New York, and she brought me four packs!

It’s really much too sweet for me now, so Dave has been eating most of it. But I had to have some tonight for nostalgia’s sake.

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Salmon Lasagna

We had a great time with Dave’s parents during their four-day visit. Having them over for dinner after I got back from work on Friday made me wish we could love in the same town and have family dinners and game nights on a regular basis. We’d love to one day move back to Dave’s home town, Portland, OR, but academic careers don’t often allow people to freely choose where they live. Fortunately, we love Central PA as well and enjoyed showing off our favorite spots.

After boating at Bald Eagle State Park and fire works at the foot of Mount Nittany on the 4th, they came out to Woolrich to see where I work on the 5th. They got a mill tour and we had lunch at Leo’s in Lock Haven, a small and delicious, authentic Italian deli place my co-workers and I love.

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I had a mozzarella sandwich, which is my favorite. Their bread is so fresh and amazing.

When I got home, I started making one of my specialties – salmon lasagna. I learned how to make this when I worked at a restaurant during college in Germany.

Salmon Lasagna:

Ingredients:

– 12 cooked lasagna sheets (boiled in oiled and salted water for 10 minutes)
– 18 ounces cooked salmon (I used Trader Joe’s wild Pacific salmon)
– 2 16 oz. bags of frozen spinach, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s organic)
– 1.5 cups of Hollandaise Sauce (can buy ready-to-eat at TJ’s)
– medium bag of shredded cheese (I used a three-cheese blend)
– Garlic salt and pepper

Directions:

After boiling the lasagna sheets, I put the pot in the sink and run cold water into it until I can touch the pasta sheets. I separate them and put them on a plate, alternating a horizontal one and then a vertical one. I end up using only 9 sheets for the lasagna, but cook 12 because there is always potential of some breaking. It helps to stir the sheets up while they’re cooking in oiled water a few times.

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While the sheets are cooking, cook the spinach and press it in a colander; then spice it thoroughly with garlic salt and pepper.

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Now, line up all the ingredients to assemble the lasagna.

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The Hollandaise cups from Trader Joe’s are a pricey alternative to packets, but buying them ready-to-eat saved me some time.

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I used one and a half of these packets and saved the rest in a zip lock bag.

For assembly, begin with a layer of Hollandaise sauce, then add three sheets of lasagna next to each other lengthwise in a casserole dish. Add another layer of Hollandaise sauce, then spinach, then salmon. Add a new layer of pasta sheets and repeat, then another. Add Hollandaise sauce at the top of each layer as well as the bottom to hold them sheets together better. Finally, sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40ish minutes. Check the oven to see how the cheese is doing. You can decide how brown you want it to get.

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I served this with some fresh, white baguette, which we also had with brie, olive oil, and wine for appetizers. Dave’s parents loved the lasagna and Dave and I enjoyed the left-overs two days later for lunch.

For desert, I went the easy route and bought Trader Joe’s Creme Brulee.

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As you can see, pretty much the entire meal was courtesy of Trader Joe’s. I was working and had limited prep-time, so going the ready-to-eat route with a lot of the ingredients was ideal for me.

Dave and his dad did the dishes, we all went for a walk around the neighborhood, and then we taught his parents how to play “Settlers of Catan,” during which we enjoyed more chocolate and wine.

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Lemon Dijon Salmon and Asparagus

Major rain/snow/slush fest today. I worked from home until lunch because the roads were so bad. An hour-long commute in slippery conditions is definitely not my idea of a good time.

Lunch yoga was cancelled and moved to tomorrow, so I did a yoga video this morning and planned to run tonight indoors. We have a gym at our apartment complex, so I begrudgingly resolved to use the treadmill there. But, upon my arrival, someone was already using it. Last resort: the elliptical.

I actually love working out on the elliptical, but it often feels like a half-ass workout. Not today. I put in 30 minutes of high-intensity intervals, rocking out to my new training playlist, which happens to contain some Turkish pop (perfect for 90s-style workout lip-synching).

So I guess this means I’m not really running at all this week, but cross training instead. Oh well, my knees and shins will thank me, and I have a 10-mile run coming up on Saturday, which will surely put an end to my freshly non-sore legs.

After my workout, it was time for a seafood dinner.

Lemon Dijon Salmon from Trader Joe’s with a side of asparagus.

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The fish baked in the oven for 18 minutes. I really love the lemon dijon marinade, and it was cooked just about right. Dave deserves credit here – he made dinner while I was at the gym.

Desert was another Trader Joe’s favorite, if not THE favorite.

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Dark chocolate covered ginger… As good as it sounds. The best part is that it takes only about five of these tiny geniuses to make me feel completely satisfied – no binging danger at all.

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Filed under dairy-free, deserts, gluten-free, low carb, running, seafood, yoga