Tag Archives: wine

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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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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Road Trip Day 1: Drive to Charleston, SC

Our five-day vacation is finally here, and it started with an 11.5 hour drive to Charleston, South Carolina. Since we’re meeting friends in Wilmington, NC, we knew we wanted to go to SC first, so I can cross that state off my list as well. As of today, I’ve added Virginia, NC, and SC, which bumps me to 42. West Virginia will be added on our way back. Anyway, we were thinking about where to go, and Charleston seemed like the coolest option, especially since rain was predicted and Myrtle Beach wouldn’t have been all too fun in monsoon-like conditions.

We hit the road at about 8:30 a.m. On our way out of town, we got soy vanilla lattes at Starbucks and enjoyed them with our breakfast scone and mini-croissants from Wegman’s (we picked up food for the road last night).

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We managed to assemble quite the feast. Wegman’s is awesome. This was my first time trying their bakery, and I concluded they have the most European-like baked goods I’ve ever tasted in the U.S. This is a dangerous realization, but who doesn’t splurge on a vacation?

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My lunch was a seven-grains salad and a roll with baked cheese around it.

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We also got several mini-pastries. This one had a pomegranate filling and was so fantastic that I savored every bite for as long as I possibly could. What better entertainment could I bring on a road trip?

Afternoon snacks included carrots, apples, sweet potato chips, dried fruit with nuts and chocolate, and of course Kombucha.Image.

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We arrived in Charleston around 8:30 p.m. during an epic down pour. Looks like our three days down in the Carolinas will be accompanied by rain, but we’ll have plenty of things we’ll want to see that don’t involve the beach (although I’m dying to swim the ocean as well).

We checked into the Hampton Inn in the historic district, put on our rain coats, and walked around. The hotel location is ideal – there are tons of little bars, shops, restaurants, and boutiques around here. We noticed there are tons of young people, everyone is extremely well-dressed, and it seems like you need a lot of money to live here. Of course, I love the palm trees lining the streets and the warm tropical air. I actually didn’t mind the rain (I’m a huge fan of summer rain, and lobbied for a restaurant with outdoor seating).

We finally settled on 39 Rue de Jean, which is a French restaurant with a nice, laid-back feel right by our hotel. We were able to sit outside in a covered area and enjoy the rain and relative quiet.

The food was fantastic. Dave was happy he gave in and let me push for this place.

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He had the snapper special with baked mashed potatoes, potato slices, and seared vegetables. He was in heaven.

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I had the Grilled Portabella and Ratatoille, topped with some baked goat cheese. It was delicious all around, but the goat cheese was especially amazing. It paired really well with my French Pinot Noir!

Now we’re beat, of course, and excited for some daytime exploring around Charleston tomorrow, before we head up to Wilmington.

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Filed under drinks with dinner, eating out, Travel

Sleepless

I should know by now that the worst choice I could make is take a nap on the couch on a weeknight. But all it takes is a glass or two of wine and I am too tempted to resist.

I slept from 8:45 to 10:20 p.m. and then was up talking to Dave for at least an hour. Since then, I haven’t really been able to fall asleep, although I was dozing until about 2:30 a.m. At that point, I got up because the first spring downpour is happening and is accompanied by lots of wind, which makes for a loud spectacle. I took a ho bath and played a few rounds of Scramble with Friends. Now I think I might give the sleep thing another try.

I toyed with the idea of making chocolate-covered strawberries for work. But then I had a little talk with myself about where my priorities are….

Anyway, here is what we had for dinner.

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There is the first of two glasses of wine that caused all of this.

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More Takeout

I had such a busy weekend to begin with, so the being robbed of one hour last night didn’t help. I felt like I was running against the clock the entire day.

This morning, we had the smoked salmon bagels and omelette combo again. Once we had fueled up on food and caffeine, we did some serious spring cleaning. I took apart the entire kitchen, deep cleaning the tops and insides of the stove top, the fridge, the counter tops, and the floor. Dave was busy with the bathrooms, dusting of all surfaces, and vacuuming. We also did multiple loads of laundry.

This helped me digest breakfast, so around 2 p.m., I was ready for my run. I decided to give myself a break from long-runs this week after doing 10 miles last weekend. Instead, I ran four miles at a faster pace. It was so nice but also unfamiliar to run in 60-degree spring weather. Definitely something my lungs will have to get used to. Overall, I’m not too satisfied with how the run went. I have to do a better job at hydrating the night before and my shins were really sore, so more stretching and icing is in order. My resolution now is to do yoga every morning before work this week and going for two runs this week after work. The time change will help with that because it’s going to be light out past 7 p.m. now.

Truthfully, I’m looking forward to the half marathon being over so I can focus on running shorter distances faster. I always hated running fast, but I think I’m getting to a point were I am up for the challenge.

After my run, we skyped with my high-school friend and her fiance in Germany and hit two grocery stores.

I picked up more takeout from the Wegman’s hot bar – this time completely vegan – yay for progress.

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Brussel sprouts, carrots, Chinese vegetables (Dave ended up eating them because they didn’t go well with the other flavors), roasted squash (so insanely good. It melted in my mouth like chocolate), Indian potato and cauliflower curry mix, and Thai vegetarian meatballs in red curry.

Then three of my friends came over to watch Soul Kitchen, a German film by my favorite Turkish director Fatih Akin. We watched it with English subtitles on Netflix and I learned a new word: grub, as in “Pub & Grub.” I love when that happens.

We snacked on vegetable chips, peanut butter cups, and black berries. I also had two glasses of wine.

Now quickly to bed before the time change screws me for the entire work week.

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Filed under dairy-free, drinks with dinner, eating out, gluten-free, running, vegan, yoga

Meeting Marathon

Yes, it was a long day of meetings, but I got something out of it: I was fed three times without having to cook or pay.

In the morning, one of my co-workers made herself into a Friday hero by grabbing Starbuck’s for all of us on her way in. She greeted me at 8 a.m. with the grande chai vanilla latte I requested yesterday plus some mini lemon scones (I practiced restraint and only had one).

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Our meeting (which was between our department and an outside consultant and was a ton of fun) started at 10 a.m. and lasted until almost 2 p.m. I consumed two cups of Starbucks coffee after finishing my chai and was definitely buzzed, which resulted in me taking 13 pages of notes (obsessive much?).

Lunch was provided and absolutely delicious. I had some walnut, cheddar (oops), and strawberry salad, and a veggie wrap with feta, avocado, and spinach.

Between more meetings in the afternoon, I snacked on carrots and sesame honey cashews again.

Not that two free meals aren’t already a win, we also had tons of leftovers, which we split up amongst each other like the good co-workers that we are. I got to take home a third of the strawberry salad and three wraps. Since I only slept 5 hours last night, not having to make dinner was a very pleasant turn of events.

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On top of the salad and the wraps, Dave and I still had leftovers from my potluck dinner last night, so we added olive bread and brie to our plates. Enter white wine, and my perfect dinner after a long day was complete.

Now that my stomach is happy, I am pretty glad that I have absolutely nothing else on the agenda for tonight. I’m going to watch a mindless movie, go to bed early, and rest up for my 6-mile run that’s on the schedule for tomorrow. Wild plans, I know.

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