Tag Archives: goat cheese

Goat Cheese Basil Pizza

What’s the best part of having had a restaurant cooking job during my early college years? My mad pizza dough making skills.

Not that it’s very hard. But everything is so much easier when it’s something we’re used to…

So, I decided to try out a new topping combo last weekend: goat cheese and basil. Deliciousness to the max.

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For the dough, I used

  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4.5 cups flour

I kneaded it until my arms hurt and it was solid and doughy. Then, I covered the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit out and rise for two hours. After that, I kneaded it again before covering it back up and putting it in the fridge overnight.

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The next day, all I had to do was roll it out into two pizzas in a greased baking pan with corn meal, cover them with marinara, and add the toppings of basil and goat cheese.

Gluten and carbo-loading. No better excuse than working out 6 times a week!

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Best Snack Plate

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Amazing Thursday night dinner companion: honey drizzled goat cheese on whole wheat crackers plus dark chocolate covered almonds. I’ve wanted more of this pretty much constantly since we finished it!

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Filed under deserts, Uncategorized

Of Dark Runs and Cemeteries

I’m a huge weirdo for many reasons, and one of them is that I like cemeteries. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deliberately go to them just to, you know, creep around. Nor would I ever step on one by myself at night because that would be scary. But I like history and genealogy and thinking about all the individual lives that happened in the span of time (nerd alert).

So today I hung out on a cemetery. But more about that later.

Dave and I got up at 5 today to go to the gym and continue with his German lessons. When we got to our apartment gym, we couldn’t believe our eyes, but there were already two girls in there working out – at 5:15 am. I know that’s not even that shocking, but it was the first time this ever happened.

Two people kind of fill up the place, so we had a problem. Dave suggested we run outside. This was a bit of a crazy idea because it was pretty cold and also pitch black. We were only in shorts and t-shirts, but we just started running. After we warmed up and it got a bit lighter out, it was actually pretty enjoyable. I quizzed Dave on German declinations as we were going. Yes, you may judge.

Back at the apartment and happy to be warm again, we had some breakfast and went over more German grammar.

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Omelette with goat cheese, salsa, and avocado slices. Oh, and the first of four cups of coffee I’ve had so far today (oops).

When lunch came around at work, I was too tired to think straight. That’s because we have been going to bed kind of late and today is the day it’s catching up with me. So I decided to go for a walk with my Spotify spring playlist.

This is where I ended up.

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This is the Woolrich cemetery. I sat down in the shade, listened the music, and called my mom and a friend.

This is an especially intriguing cemetery because it’s really old. Woolrich was founded in 1830 by John Rich II, and many 19th century Rich family members are buried here. When I first got hired, I read the Woolrich history book and then later discovered the graves of many people mentioned in it here. Kind of cool, at least to weirdos like me.

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Filed under Breakfast, running

Busy Foods

What do you do when days get too busy to allow for some quality cooking time? Naturally, you turn to your leftovers.

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Last night’s dinner was a mixture of this and this. A bed of spinach with leftover quinoa sweet potato salad, almonds, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.

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Tonight, we had the last remains of this. Vegan “cheesy” penne.

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And since the penne didn’t have enough left to hook us up with lunch for tomorrow, I tried a new pumpernickel sandwich creation with veganaise, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and avocado.

I was able to squeeze in a three-mile-run during lunch today and then stayed at work until 7 p.m. preparing for a freelance presentation tomorrow.

Food prep after work may have seemed like a big chore, but it’s so nice to relax while cutting vegetables and watching some mindless TV at the same time. One crazy busy day of this week down, four to go.

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Filed under dairy-free, gluten-free, leftovers, running, vegan

Smoked Salmon Bagels

Breakfast is and always has been my favorite meal of the day. Growing up, I always loved the elaborate spread my family put out on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

It’s hard (read: impossible) to produce a big feast on weekdays, but Dave and I definitely try to have something we really enjoy for breakfast on weekend days when we have the time.

My all-time favorite right now might be bagels with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on the side. We haven’t made this in a while, but I planned it in as an easy and delicious meal for today. I did my 15 minutes of yoga while Dave prepared everything. He was excited to have me try his new scrambled eggs creation.

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Don’t let the small serving of eggs fool you – I had seconds. He scrambled eggs, almond milk, green onions, goat cheese, and a few dashes of Trader Joe’s hot sauce. I was beyond impressed! He seriously could make this for some sort of gourmet breakfast place. I get hungry just remembering it right now.

The salmon was premium smoked salmon from Scotland and the bagels fresh from the Wegman’s bakery. So delicious.

Here is the thing though. I always used to have this creation with cream cheese. Since I’m trying to phase out dairy and avoid it whenever I can, I opted for Earth Balance this time.

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For those of you who don’t know, this is a vegan, soy-based buttery spread. This is the first jar I’ve ever bought of it and the first time I’ve knowingly tried it. For those of you who do know it, what are your thoughts and what do you mostly use it for? Is it a butter substitute than can be used across the board or just for very specific things?

I spread a pretty thin layer on my bagel before adding the smoked salmon.

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It definitely helped make it less dry, but was, of course, way less creamy than the cream cheese. I think I need to try it again with a thicker layer. Good thing tomorrow is another weekend day!

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Filed under dairy-free, seafood, yoga

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

Today was the warmest day in a long time – 45 degrees and sunny. It doesn’t get much better than that for running in early March, and Woolrich looked very inviting with its pine trees and surrounding mountains.

Around 10 a.m., I had a snack to fuel up.

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Just some leftover veggies and apple slices with almond butter. Plus plenty of water.

I did 3 miles at a much faster speed than usual. I would estimate it was a 9-minute pace, but I’m not sure because I forgot my phone and didn’t measure my time. It was definitely hard and I had to focus on my breathing a lot in order to avoid a side ache. But the important thing is that I made it. It felt great to see the improvement my training has brought yet again.

On to lunch.

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Just my standard spinach salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. Yum, goat cheese 🙂 🙂

I’m still tired from the late-night we had on Monday due to that cooking class. I don’t know if it’s normal to be paying for it for this many days. Maybe I just need to sleep more at night. I am ready to be back at my normal energy levels.

When I got home, it took some self-convincing to get in the kitchen and start dinner. But, I’m glad I did because that meant I got to eat quality food and learned a new recipe, which I found here.

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced [I used two smaller ones]
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar [I used this many, but maybe reduce it a little – the smell of vinegar was quite strong…]
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced [mine was more medium than small]
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (do not peel)
  • 1 firm red apple, diced (do not peel)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cook quinoa on the stovetop and dice two small or one larger sweet potato(es). Coat the sweet potatoes in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; then spread them out on top of a sheet of alu foil and place on a baking pan.

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While the potatoes are roasting in the oven for 20 minutes and the quinoa is cooking, combine the cider vinegar and 3 tbsp. olive oil with salt and pepper and beat it for about a minute until the mixture gets thick.

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Then fry the onions in another tbsp of olive oil on a low setting for 8-10 minutes.

Combine the quinoa, onions, apples, dried cranberries, and sweet potatoes in a big bowl.

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Look at all those colors! Add the onions next.

Finally, toast the pine nuts in the same pan you used for the onions for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown.

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I loved how they smelled once they began toasting.

Then pour the pine nuts in the bowl with the other ingredients.

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Mix all of the ingredients carefully and dinner is ready.

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Dave and I both had two servings and there was still enough for two good lunch portions for tomorrow. I really loved how the flavors worked together and it tasted like rich, quality foods. Much needed after yesterday’s eating out escapades.

To round it all off, I had some chocolaty deserts.

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My usual Trader Joe’s favorites: dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups and dark chocolate covered ginger.

After dinner, I caught up with my German soap and journaled for an hour while enjoying a hot almond milk with cooca powder. I really recommend this creation.

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Double desert night. My work here is done.

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Filed under dairy-free, deserts, gluten-free, leftovers, low carb, recipes, running, salads, vegan

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese & Dried Cranberries

I am in a goat cheese phase. Which is weird because I detest blue cheese and only like really mild versions of feta. Most people think the feta thing is pathetic because I’m Turkish. They are right, and it’s not just feta, but olives too.

Anyway, the goat cheese. Yum. Especially with dried cranberries. So, naturally, I moved the thing on the dinner menu that contained both up to early in the week.

But first, when I got home, I made a strange choice. I was starving and decided to go for… a spoon of raw honey. That’s definitely never happened before, but it kind of did the trick.

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I got this from Nature’s Marketplace at Wegmans. It’s kind of naive that I think if I buy something from there it automatically must be super good for me. Pure, raw, and wild surely must mean superior to standard honey, right? But my ignorance aside, I actually think honey is a product where this really matters.

On to dinner.

Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries

Ingredients:

  •  One bag of baby spinach
  • One container of goat cheese
  • One can of chickpeas
  • Half a box of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup of dried cranberries
  • Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

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I used the Trader Joe’s baby spinach. It’s one of the things Trader Joe’s sells for way less than other stores.

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Such freshness.

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I mixed in the dressings to taste with just the spinach in the bowl. I didn’t want the goat cheese to absorb balsamic vinegar – yuck.

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Then I added all the other ingredients. The entire container of goat cheese was last. I was going for a dominant goat cheese taste here, so feel free to adjust the amount.

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And this is me taking our plates back for seconds. After that, the leftovers were enough for my lunch tomorrow. Dave always goes out to lunch with colleagues on Wednesdays.

Now I’m sad that I most likely won’t be having goat cheese again until next week.

Also, quick running update: I stuck to the elliptical today during my lunch workout because my legs are a little achy. I figure better take a day off than pay with a stress fracture. I’ve been doing plenty of Yoga too, so hopefully I’ll be able to do four miles on Thursday with no problem.

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