I volunteer in a program at my college that helps students with special needs. A few weeks ago, I was helping one of the instructors teach a nutrition class on dairy. She first began the class by stressing the importance of trying new foods, no matter how different they may seem- something I totally agree with. She then asked the class for different types of cheeses. Here, I mentioned sheep cheese. At this, she made a face and said “ewww” as if this was the weirdest thing she ever heard of. She then said that I had a “unique” taste of food and that sheep’s cheese was something that she wouldn’t ever try. Now, what I didn’t like was that a lot of the students mirrored her reaction, thinking that if the teacher thought it was disgusting, it must be. Following this, she said that her favorite type of cheese was feta and then turned to me to confirm that it came from cow. I had the great pleasure of telling her that feta comes from sheep 🙂
Moral of the story: Try and be open to new and “different” things! (Especially when people look up to you as a role model). Oh, and know where your food comes from 😉
After this little win, I was really in the mood for some feta/sheep cheese. As you can see, this dip was the result. I have no measurements for this recipe because it all depends on the size of your serving plate and taste preference.
Tomato Feta Dip
feta cheese, crumbled or shredded
Pour olive oil in a dish or serving platter until the bottom is completely covered. Next, scatter small bits of onion on top. Sprinkle on a coat of garlic powder, followed by thyme, basil, oregano, and pepper to taste. Add a layer of tomatoes and then feta cheese. Again, sprinkle with garlic powder, thyme, basil, oregano, pepper, and a quick drizzle of olive oil. Serve with toasted bread, crackers, or (in my case) a spoon.
I hope everybody enjoyed their holidays! I sure did. Next up is New Years! Although I am never tired of sweets, I figured it would be good to veer away from those for awhile. Instead, let’s go for something silky, which is the best way I can describe this dish. So silky, in fact, that it seems to slide down the throat without any effort. I’m definitely making this the next time I have a sore throat (which might be next week with all the yelling I do as the ball drops 🙂 )
Mashed Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese
1 medium butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
5 oz fresh spinach leaves
2 oz goat cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and cover a shallow baking sheet with foil. (Note: use a pan with sides- the squash releases liquid while roasting and it’s so not fun cleaning up the mess). Cut the butternut squash once horizontally and once vertically, so it’s cut into quarters. Remove its seeds and “guts”. Place the quarters face-down and peel-side up on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. Heat oil in a pan and sauté spinach until it is withered. Set aside. After the squash is done, hollow out the insides (don’t burn your hands!) and place in a food processor. Puree until smooth. (Likewise, you can simply place the insides in a bowl and mash until smooth. Add in spinach and then mix in goat cheese until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Me and my siblings (I’m the one in the middle!)
Meet my new obsession for this holiday season: coconut macaroons. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made these in the last few weeks. These babies have helped me avoid overdoing it on the overwhelming amount of holiday cookies my house seems to be accumulating. The best part? They’re made with all good-for-you ingredients. Therefore, I feel no regret constantly popping them in my mouth 🙂
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 egg whites
2 tbsp vanilla protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
optional: dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all the ingredients together and pinch into balls. Bake for 18 minutes. If desired, melt some chocolate chips and drizzle over the macaroons.
Remember that saying “Never judge a book by its cover?” Please apply to the following. If not, I am sorry to say that you are missing out. These little creations of mine may not win any beauty contests, but they are awesomely good. Perfect to plop into your mouth when you’re on the go too. The key here, however, is to use a nice sharp cheese (or a mixture of them).
I’m thinking of serving them as an appetizer for Christmas by arranging them in a triangular Christmas tree shape. Yes, I know, aren’t appetizers supposed to be appetizing? Lucky for me, my family (minus my brother sometimes) does not care how food looks, as long as it tastes good. Now if only my friends were the same way… Good thing it’s a family party!
Broccoli Corn Bites
3 cups steamed broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup (can add more) of shredded sharp-tasting cheese (I use provolone and mozzarella)
1 cup panko
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
few drops of hot sauce
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Mix all ingredients together and form into balls. Bake for 24 minutes, flipping after 12 minutes.