Complete the following sentence: I have always wanted to , but have been hesitant because I felt . This is a question posed to students we work ...
Feta cheese has had a place on my dinner table since I was a little girl. Whether it’s crumbled in a traditional Greek Village Salad or tucked inside Spanakopita Triangles, it’s a favorite in my family. Feta is considered a table cheese among us Greeks. It’s typically served alone on a plate in large chunks that are drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with oregano and freshly ground black pepper. That’s right, feta is finger food to those of us that appreciate its salty, sharp flavor.
Really good Greek feta can be difficult to find and you want to look for feta that’s stored in brine (heavily salted water). The brine keeps the cheese from drying out and maintains its freshness. Here are a few more tips from Elena Paravantes, Nutritionist, writer and Mediterranean diet expert, regarding what to look for when choosing quality Greek feta cheese.
And…if you just can’t imagine eating feta cheese plain, here are some great ideas from Olive Tomato.
There are few things that I value more than education. And as a Professional Career Counselor by day, I’ve provided career guidance to thousands of individuals exploring ways to make themselves more marketable and competitive in the job market. One of the key ways to have an edge over other candidates in any given industry is to pursue additional training and education.
It’s not uncommon to have several different careers throughout your lifetime. In fact, I work with people every day who want to make a career transition. The truth of the matter is that over time our interests change, our values and needs shift, and many of us have the desire to pursue new challenges once we master something.
US Career Institute is a vehicle for your professional development. With over 30 years of providing certificate and degree programs for professionals wishing to advance their career or make a transition, they are a great choice for those that are self-motivated, need a flexible schedule outside the traditional classroom, and desire a vocational degree directly applicable to the world of work.
For instance, their Dental Assistant program is a 100% online curriculum with electronic lesson books and virtual labs. In as little as four months, you can be on your way to a career with a bright outlook and faster than average employment trend base on labor market data from the US Department of Labor and Employment. Just in Colorado alone, the need for dental assistants is expected to increase by at least 33% in the next 8 years.
Their Online Personal Trainer Certification program is also a popular course with the increase in health and wellness initiatives across the country. According to Health.com, Colorado is the 8th healthiest state in the US. That’s probably not a surprise given all the outdoor recreational activities we have in our back yard. There’s a pocket of labor market growth in our state for fitness trainers. Compared to national employment trends, the need fitness trainers is projected to increase by over 25% by the year 2020 based on data from the US Department of Labor and Employment.
If you’re considering a career transition or even a tune up, check out the degree and certificate programs offered at USCI. We’re excited to have them as a network sponsor and appreciate their support and partnership.
Getting older typically affords you the wisdom to identify short cuts that make life simpler. After years of learning the hard way, we become more perceptive at choosing our battles. My older daughter refers to this as “second child syndrome” and reminded me of how I’ve come to fully embrace it when my younger daughter called, “shot gun” as we loaded into my husband’s car to go to dinner a few nights ago. Without hesitation, I crammed myself into the back seat. My older daughter gave me a look of disgust as if I just cut off my right arm to let her sister have her way. I simply replied, “It’s about choosing your battles, Julia.” Her eyes made a “you never let me sit in the front” roll.
There have been countless significant lessons learned from fighting the uphill battles in life and I haven’t met anyone who has looked back wishing they took the easy road to avoid the insight waiting at the top of the hill. I’d like to say that I’m smarter than I was 10 years ago, but I honestly believe that I’m just more forgiving of myself. I still mess up. A lot. But I think I’m quicker to stop myself half way through and ask, “What am I doing?” or “Why am I doing this? There’s got to be a simpler way.”
Today’s spanakopita recipe is a perfect example of this. Spanakopita is Greek Spinach Pie and one of those things that I make only a couple times each year. There isn’t really a reason why; and now that I think about it, I absolutely need to make a point of baking a pan of it every couple of months. This weekend, I wanted to showcase traditional spinach pie in a more sophisticated way. These spanakopita triangles are perfect for entertaining and look amazing on a platter. Spanakopita is traditionally made in a large pan with a thick layer of spinach, onions, feta, and a few other delicious things between several layers of phyllo and butter. It’s pretty simple.
The triangles, on the other hand, take quite a bit more time and concentration. The phyllo is cut into strips and folded like a flag with a heaping tablespoon of the spinach mixture tucked inside. I got through 15 of them and said, “Why am I doing this? Fuck it! I’m making the rest in the pan.” Because what I really wanted to be doing was watching Season Two of House of Cards. Call it wisdom if you want. I’m calling it making life simpler and knowing when to choose my battles. So here you go, Spanakopita the easy way AND the hard way. Choose your own adventure.
Locally Sourced Ingredients
Garlic Olive Oil, Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company (Fort Collins) – They bring an abundance of flavor to Fort Collins with their extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. This is a tasting bar, folks!; complete with bread samples for dipping from The Little Bird Bakeshop. With over 45 premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars, it’s a stop you need to make when you’re in Old Town. They also offer gift boxes for the people in your life that have everything or are just difficult to shop for.
Whole Nutmegs, Savory Spice Shop (Fort Collins) – A natural partner to cinnamon, nutmeg has a strong flavor and a little goes a long way. Whole nutmeg can be stored in your spice cabinet indefinitely and grated on a fine grater as needed for unique flavors in your dishes. Nutmeg also pairs well with cumin and is essential with cooked greens according to Rachael Ray.
Get the Recipe
Andrea’s Spanakopita (pan version)
15 oz fresh baby spinach (chopped)
1 lb Feta cheese (crumbled)
1/4 c freshly grated Romano cheese
5 eggs (slightly beaten)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 med yellow onion (chopped and sautéed in olive oil)
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c parsley (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced or finely chopped)
1 lb unsalted butter
1 lb Phyllo dough
Combine first 11 ingredients in large mixing bowl. Melt butter in medium sauce pan over low heat. Brush bottom of 14″x20″ pan with melted butter. Lay 1 sheet of Phyllo dough in bottom of pan and brush with melted butter. Repeat this process until you use 1/2 lb of Phyllo dough (approximately 8 sheets) buttering generously between each layer. Spread spinach filling over Phyllo dough. Top filling with 1 sheet of Phyllo dough and brush with melted butter. Repeat this process until you use the remaining sheets of Phyllo dough (approximately 8 sheets). Cut into squares using sharp knife. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or cool to room temperature before serving.
Andrea’s Spanakopita (triangles)
Prepare the filling the same way as listed above. Cut the phyllo in 3 inch strips lengthwise. Brush one strip with butter. Add a second strip and brush with butter. Add a heaping tablespoon of the spinach filling at one end and fold like a flag. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 22-25 minutes without turning.
For a video demonstration, refer to the Tips for Storing and Handling Phyllo Dough post. It’s the second video.