Birthday Weekend Wrap-Up {I’m 30!}

My parents came to visit last weekend and Adam had two full days off so we were able to have lots of family fun.  My mom and dad technically didn’t come for my birthday, the dates just worked out, but we spent the weekend doing all of my favorite city things – walking, and eating, and eating while walking! – and hanging out with good childhood friends so it was pretty perfect.  And I’m 30 now, whomp, whomp.

Here are some highlights of the best places we walked and things we ate from the weekend…

Thursday night we walked around Williamsburg and had dinner at Pies ‘n Thighs.  I had hibiscus iced tea.

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And a chicken biscuit with hot sauce and honey butter.

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Instead of pie we did dessert at Milk Bar.

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Cereal milk soft-serve with cornflakes and hot fudge.

Friday we drove up to Montauk to explore.  We checked out the beachfront towns and hiked along this very cool stone pathway near the lighthouse.

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We stopped at the Long Island Levain and fell in love with the giant walnut chocolate chip cookies.

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And had lunch at Lunch.

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The seafood bisque was good.

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But lobster rolls were better.  They give you a big pile of buttered hot lobster meat and let you assemble your sandwich yourself.

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We stopped at a random restaurant late that night on our drive back and ended up having an amazing meal but I have no pictures because I wrongly assumed it would be terrible.  Adam and I plan on going back very soon for the flourless chocolate cake (though next time it won’t come with a birthday candle!).

Saturday was spent in Park Slope and Midtown.  We started with Doughnut Plant.

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Everyone loved their doughnuts (minus the beignets which just aren’t up to Plant standards) but tres leches are clearly the best.

Then trained to Grand Central Station.

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Cold brew from Café Grumpy.

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We shopped a bit, then explored Chelsea Market and The Highline.

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Watermelon juice from Num Pang was refreshing.

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And so was the mint seltzer from Brooklyn Soda Works.

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We headed back to Brooklyn for dinner.  Drinks at Pork Slope, aka my favorite bar.  And hibiscus vodka is definitely a favorite drink option.

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We got tater tots and spicy chicken nuggets – meh and yum! respectively – for appetizers which was good because I actually hadn’t tried any of the food at PS prior to that.

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Dinner was Luke’s for round 2 of lobster rolls.

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Best in the city, I think.  And they had cans of Downeats, the tasty cider I tried last weekend in Buffalo.

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I didn’t take a photo of the maple soft-serve at Corner of Vermont but it was worth a mention.

Sunday was our SoHo/Lower East Side Day.

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We started in DUMBO to park near the F train.

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And had to get coffees at Brooklyn Roasting Co.

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Then we had amazing brunch at Russ & Daughter’s.

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My “Lower Sunny Side” came with sunny side up eggs, Nova lox, and latkes.

Ice cream at Morganstern’s.

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Omg.  Vietnamese coffee and raw milk ice creams topped with fudge sauce and double Luxardo cherries.  I assumed everyone would share with me and they did not but I still managed to take this down.

We ended our weekend with dinner at The Smith.  The drink menu was on point; my “East Village Passion” had rum, lime, passionfruit, and fresh mint.

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We had ridiculously good fried green beans to start.

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I saw photos of the mac and cheese on instagram and had no choice to order that for my meal.

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With a watermelon and feta salad.

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So good.  We ordered the s’mores jar for dessert, obviously.

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Sadly I didn’t love it, but Adam was more than happy to eat my share.  Since he did not eat a giant ice cream after lunch that’s probably fair!  We will definitely go back again.

I left some things out because this post is already a bit lengthy, but I seriously did almost everything I love.  With the people I love.  <– aww!

Reunited And It Feels So Good

I had an absolute blast in Buffalo but this past week I have been so freaking excited to be home with my boys.  I usually miss them by the end of my workday so a long weekend away feels like an eternity.  I am lucky to have a husband and dachshund who are both so great! {/sap}

breakfast

Black and white coffee.

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Or Vanilla Chameleon Cold Brew with chocolate milk and an apple on the side.

Cereal with milk.  And blueberries.

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Plus Guava Mandarin Polar seltzer.

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I lugged that back from Wegman’s in Buffalo and it was so worth it.

Coffee-eee-eee.

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Always worth it.  I’d be lying if I said my birthday drink freebie wasn’t bringing me a lot of anticipatory joy.

lunch

Asian-ish.

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Microwave noodles and roasted seaweed.

Oatmeal bowl.

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Chai-spiced oats from Target with maple almond butter on top and 2 black pluots on the side.

Yogurt bowl.

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Vanilla Skyr Icelandic yogurt with blueberries, KIND peanut butter granola, and chia seeds.  This was so tasty; I need more of that yogurt immediately.

dinner

Adam was at the hospital when I got home on Sunday so we had to turn Monday into date night.  He picked me up at work and came bearing red velvet cupcakes.

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We went to dinner at East Wind Snack Shop by Prospect Park.

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We came in for the foie gras bao, which ended up being only ok.  For the cheap price the amount of foie gras was very fair, but I would have rather paid a bit more and gotten a better meat-to-bun ratio.

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But my Happy Buddha Vegetables were yummy.

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They describe this dish as “jasmine rice, fermented tofu, seasoning, and all sorts of vegetables.” I’m not sure what the green sauce was but it was worth going back for.  Then we walked to the theatre (our movie theatre) to see “Ant-Man.”  The character development was weak but the movie was still hilarious so we’re glad we went.

I didn’t have time to do a real grocery trip this week so the following two nights were admittedly a little weak.  This meal was fine but it’s not winning any prizes.

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Cheez-its, leftover roasted veggies that Adam made last week, and a turkey and Havarti cheese sandwich.

This meal was a bit better.  It definitely tasted good.

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We needed a carbohydrate side so we had beer!  Tusker is one of my all-time favorite beers, and pretty much the only lager I enjoy.

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With roasted veggies – asparagus, okra, and zucchini – with Applegate chicken nuggets.

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A copious amount of ketchup was added after I took that picture.

My parents come to visit tomorrow.  And Friday is my birthday.  I’m old, but excited!

Honey Chipotle Chicken And Vegetable Quinoa Bowls {Recipe Redux}

From the Redux team

Fresh from the Garden

The season of bountiful produce has arrived. Whether your produce comes from the Farmers Market, a CSA share, or a plot of dirt out back, show how you are using fresh July fruits or veggies.

Bowls of grains and protein topped with big piles of roasted vegetables are a dinner favorite in our house year-round, but in the summer-time it’s nice to be able to count on in-season produce that’s both fresh and locally grown.

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For these bowls I used both veggies and fruits – zucchini, grape tomatoes, and yellow peaches.  Plus some slightly out of season fresh lime juice.

Honey, chipotle, garlic, and lime marinated chicken strips.  Roasted zucchini.  And white quinoa with tomato, peach, honey, chipotle sauce.

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Honey Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Quinoa Bowls; makes 4 hearty servings

  • 1/2 tsp and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground garlic
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp and 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp and 1.5 Tbsp honey
  • 7.5 oz can chipotle peppers in adobe
  • 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4 cups sliced zucchini, sliced in 1/8 inch thick circles
  • 10 oz grape tomatoes
  • medium sweet onion, cut in half and then sliced into 1/4 inch thick half circles
  • 2 cups chopped yellow peaches
  • 2.25 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1/2 Tbsp canola oil

{In advance}  In a large, durable baggie, combine 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, lime juice, 1 Tbsp evoo, and 1 Tbsp honey.  Remove six chipotle peppers from the can (be sure to keep them!) and then dump the rest of the peppers and sauce into the bag.  Stir marinade until well-combined.  Add chicken breasts and toss to coat.  Marinate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

{When you’re ready to get cooking}  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prep two baking sheets with baking spray (and aluminum foil if desired for easy clean up).  On one tray, place the zucchini in an even layer; they can be bunched but try not to overlap.  On the other tray, place tomatoes, onion, and peaches in an even layer.  Drizzle the remaining 2 Tbsp of evoo evenly over the vegetables, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp salt.

Roast the tomatoes, onions, and peaches for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tomato skins have begun to blister but not brown.  Remove that tray from the oven and set aside to cool.  Bake the zucchini for an additional 15 – 20 minutes, 40 – 45 minutes total.

{While the vegetables are roasting} Stir together chicken broth and quinoa in a medium pot on high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Pour the canola oil into a large, lidded pan over medium-high heat, turning the pan to coat.  Working in batches as needed so as not to overcrowd the pan, cover the pan and cook chicken breasts 5 – 7 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Set aside cooked chicken until cool enough to handle then slice into thin strips.

{Once the quinoa is cooked}  Allow the cooked tomatoes, onion, and peaches to cool for at least 5 minutes.  Place them in your food processor and process 5 – 10 seconds until homogenous.  Add the remaining 6 chipotle peppers and the remaining 1.5 Tbsp honey and process until combined.  Stir the sauce into the cooked quinoa.  Note – you most likely will have more sauce than you need, we used about 3/4 of our batch and then saved the rest for turkey sandwiches and tortilla chip dip.

{When you are ready to serve}  Divide the quinoa evenly among four bowls, topping with additional sauce if desired.  Top with cooked chicken and zucchini slices.  Serve outdoors, if possible.

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Click the link below to see what other Redux members cooked up.  I’m hoping someone tackled watermelon!

Buffalove

This weekend some friends and I traveled (many hours!) back to Buffalo for a quick visit.  It was fantabulous!  We got lucky with good weather, caught up with great friends, and hit up almost every place that we’d been missing.  We didn’t take even a single group photo because apparently we’re old, but a good time was had by all.

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I didn’t get any people pictures and I didn’t take many food shots either.  Here are a few things I did capture…

Mike’s sandwich – a toasted bagel with cheese, cream cheese, and a fried egg – at SPoT Coffee.

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Plus we got coffee there every morning because it was roasty and delicious.  Clearly I can get amazing coffee in NYC but SPoT is still one of the main places I miss.

Green juice at Ashker’s.

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Spinach, kale, cucumber, pineapple, and mint.

Drinks at Blue Monk which now offers 5 oz pours.

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Shown is a very tasty Downeast Cider.

Crepes at Sweetness 7.

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Mine was topped with syrup and a fried egg.

Hot bar at Wegman’s, of course.

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We actually went to Wegman’s twice!

We also went to the Co-op, walked up and down Elmwood Ave, and did a round of lemon drop shots for my upcoming birthday

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This Week I…

…Made a Redux recipe that I can’t post yet so I don’t have much to share today.  Also we got Chipotle twice.

…Love love loved some of Polar’s summer seltzer flavors.

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You can’t go wrong with fizzy strawberry.

…Finished season 3 of OITNB.  I wasn’t a fan.  But of course I kept watching and will still watch season 4 next year.  I hated every single major decision Piper made this season!

…Tried the last three flavors from my GoMacro sample package.

Cashew butter (sweet rejuvenation) tastes exactly like a pureed cashew so your level of love for cashews would definitely affect your enjoyment of this bar.

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Peanut butter (protein replenishment) wasn’t my favorite; it was too boring.

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But banana + almond butter (prolonged power) was amazing; it tastes like a dried banana!  The texture works perfectly here.

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P.S.  My coffee this week was Brooklyn Roasting Co’s Peru blend cold-brewed with cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla bean.  So good.

…Ate a veggie and cheese omelet for breakfast the next day and it was like I hardly knew myself.

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I have to give the cafeteria credit though, this was delicious.

…Read this Buffy the Vampire Slayer article on Buzzfeed and wondered how it’s possible that anyone has a favorite character that isn’t Anya.  From any show ever, not just Buffy.  Though Kitty from That 70’s Show is also pretty wonderful.

…Ate some amazing yogurt bowls for lunch.

Soursop yogurt with plucot and white nectarine and Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes.

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Salted caramel Greek yogurt with KIND peanut butter granola and a white nectarine.

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Plain Siggi’s with plucot and yellow nectarine and a giant chocolate chip cookie.

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We baked Take a Megabite’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies and they are fantastic!  And yes, I totally crumbled that cookie into my yogurt.

…Adore LL Cool J for giving me Lip Sync Battle.  Celebrities compete against each other in choreographed lip syncing madness and it is hilarious.  My love for Anna Kendrick grew exponentially when she killed it against John Krasinski, but Anne Hathaway’s “Wrecking Ball” is clearly the standout performance of the season.

…Packed for Buffalo.  Some friends and I are driving there for a visit today!

Around The Web

you shouldn’t get too crazy about what you eat {everybody be chill}

HuffPost has a great article on quitting sugar.

And Be Truly Nourished explains why there’s no “perfect” diet.

Related – Buzzfeed actually has a pretty good round-up of small ways to make healthy choices.

the English language is amazing

this is only the coolest

source

writers' manual

source

this sentence has five words

source

these things made me giggle

motivation

source

the savanna

source

cat calling

source

That last one!! Are we sure I’m not someone’s dad?  Because I live for a good pun!

I’d Have To Say April 25th

This was the most boring week of the month (July includes my trip to Maryland, a trip to Buffalo, a visit from my parents, and my 30th birthday!) but Adam and I kept things fun with lots of little dates.  Honestly, I have more fun going to the grocery store with my husband than I would have doing almost anything with someone else, so grabbing donuts before work with him is pretty thrilling.

breakfast

Breakfast note 1 – I stuck with a coffee combo that worked: Dark Roast Community Coffee with skim milk and fat-free half and half.  The coffee bag says to use 2 Tbsp grounds to 6 oz water and I use 3 Tbsp and my crappy coffee machine and it comes out perfect for my tastes.

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Breakfast note 2 – the GoMacro bars in this post are another former freebie.  The flavors I had this week were my new favorites, they had a lot more texture than the previous ones I tried.

Coffee, cinnamon applesauce, and GoMacro apples + walnuts (morning harvest).  They should have just called this flavor “apple pie” because that’s what it tasted like.

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An aprium – apricot-plum hybrid like a pluot but more apricot than plum – and GoMacro sesame butter + dates (sweet revival).  Sesame butter is a bit sweeter than other nut butters naturally; I’m having a hard time explaining the flavor of sesame butter but it is what this bar tastes like.

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Doughnut Plant date before work.  The fresh lavender flower flavor was tasty but the yeasted doughnut was too big for me for breakfast, I’ll have to stick to the cake varieties unless another really fun flavor pops up.  Adam had the chocolate chip cookie special and was basically swooning.

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Freeze-dried Fuji apple slices and GoMaco granola and coconut (balanced goodness).  The oats gave this a great consistency.

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That pop of pink is a new notebook from Target.  I’m obsessed.  I also bought a new day planner.

lunch

I was all about the sandwiches this week.  Caprese sandwich from the cafeteria.  Tomato, basil, mozzarella, and spinach.

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The plainest sandwich ever, also from the cafeteria.  Turkey, cheese, and mayo on a white roll.  I didn’t even have a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain on the side.  I badly sunburned my knees last weekend, long story, and I was feeling a little under the weather that day.

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Starbuck’s Thai-style peanut chicken wrap.  I was impressed with this, all of the fancy new foods looks pretty good.

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Lunch date at La Bagel Delight.  We spit a poppy seed bagel with lox and dill cream cheese.

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On Friday I did get back to my yogurt bowl roots.  2% Lingonberry & Strawberry Siggi’s with chopped aprium and pluot and KIND peanut butter granola.

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Kids, that granola is ridiculous – somehow it tastes like cookie dough?!

snack

Saturday – July 11th or 7/11 – was 7-11 Day so I got a free small slurpee.  Sour Patch watermelon and Coke were amazing together.  Also, I eat my fair share of sugar but half of a small slurpee kind of makes me want to die so I’m horrified by the existence of that extra-large cup.

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Guava cheese empanada.  I will be so sad if this food truck moves away from my LIRR station.

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Ice cream date.  We got raw egg topped with salted caramel, sesame honeycomb, and Luxardo cherries.

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Morganstern’s ice cream is indescribably chewy, it is truly some of the best I’ve ever tasted.  And I cannot get over those cherries.

Have you seen this cute iced drink promotion at Starbucks yet?  Those ice cube stickers kill me.

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Maple latte.  With a sky-blue straw that made me so happy!

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I took a girlfriend to Nunu so I could try that spicy beer again.  And I forgot to write down the name for a 2nd time.  I enjoyed it, but not as much as I did when it was paired with chocolate; a full pint by itself was a bit much to get through.

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A chocolate chip cookie and a GoMacro cherries + berries (sunny uplift).  I was expecting to hate that flavor but it was actually yummy, the cherries were nice and tart and it had some oat texture.

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That cookie was totally not homemade.

dinner

My family sent me home from Solomon’s with some of my uncle’s amazing crab cakes.

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Best meal of the week.

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We sautéed the crab in a mix of melted butter and evoo.

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Served with a caprese-style salad on the side.

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Red and green lettuce mix dressed with truffle salt, evoo, and balsamic vinegar and topped with Kumato tomato and mozzarella.

Date night in the Lower East Side.  We got bowls at Korilla and they were so freaking good!  Sticky rice, gojuchang chicken, red kimchi, cucumber kimchi, monterey jack cheese, and a fried egg.  Plus Korean bbq and hot sauces.  My mouth was on fire and I was in heaven.

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We cooled down at Snowdays.  Black sesame shaved ice with sweetened condense milk, mochi, and Fruity Pebbles.

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We had parked in DUMBO so we got to walk home over the bridge.  It was so hot and sticky but still super fun.

Another day, another bowl, this time a Chipotle date on our couch.

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I got salad with peppers and onions, chicken, mild salsa, green salsa, sour cream, and cheese.  Plus chips and a giant diet coke on the side.  We go to Chipotle so often that the counter staff recognizes us, which is the most embarrassing thing on earth, but we can’t stop!

The opposite of date night, I made this dinner by myself while Adam worked a 30 hour shift.

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My Cheesy Eggplant Bake with diced yellow onion and light Havarti added in so I could use up some leftovers.

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Plus a great salad.

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Red and green lettuce // dressed with lavender salt, evoo, honey, and balsamic vinegar // topped with sweet and spicy pecans, dried bing cherries, and chia seeds.

Any other drink freebie deals I should know about for this summer?