Weekend Wrap-Up; Last Days Of Summer

I don’t know how it got to be mid-August already, but we are doing everything we can to make the most of our last days of summer.  This weekend we grilled, ate too many bowls of ice cream, and even got our toes wet going stand up paddle boarding!

SUP has been on my bucket list for years and I am so thrilled I finally got to try it out.  I loved it!  Amazingly, given my general level of grace and athleticism (level: zero), I didn’t fall once.

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We had an absolute blast and the hour flew by.  SUP is definitely something I want to do again.  I can see how on-board yoga would be a ton of fun too.

Here are some of our sunny eats…

lunch

A pink grapefruit bonanza Friday at work.  Chobani 2% Pink Grapefruit Yogurt with two sliced red plums and Polar Pink Grapefruit Seltzer on the side.

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I ran out of time in the morning to also pack an afternoon snack and, duh, this wasn’t enough food.  Enter candy at my desk.

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I’m not a big black licorice person either, but I don’t know how anyone dislikes Good & Plenty.

A strangely satisfying sandwich.

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I put two split hot dogs on a Bagel Thin (toasted with butter) with shredded light three-cheese blend and balsamic ketchup and this throw-together-the-last-of-the-fridge-contents-before-grocery-shopping sandwich ended up rocking my face off.

snacks

Friday’s at-work breakfast.  <– I wake up too late for breakfast most weekend days so I couldn’t make this a category

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An Amazing Grass Chocolate Superfood packet (from Urthbox) with vanilla soy milk and a Pink Crisps apple.

I was all about the coffee this weekend.  I ended up calling Adam on the ride home from work practically crying while I stared at a McDonald’s coffee advertisement.  This home-brewed Starbucks espresso blend with fat-free sweetened condensed milk hit the spot.

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I did go to McDonald’s for a $1 iced coffee the next morning though.  Meh.  These guys were much better.

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All shared with the husband, who is another raging java addict.

It is fair to say that I was also all about the ice cream.

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I’m retty damn excited about that Horchata spiced Blue Moon as well!  I had Strawberry Biscoff Sour Cream Gelato over warm double-chocolate sour cream brownies two nights in a row.

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The brownies were just the Baker’s One Bowl recipe with a heaping cup each chocolate chips and low-fat sour cream stirred into the batter once it was mixed up.

To end the weekend, on Sunday we went big before we went home, with Pat Bing Soo from Tous le Jours.

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Now I get why people rave about TlJ, that bowl was Adam’s favorite shaved ice yet.  Milk and strawberry shaved ices topped with scm, vanilla ice cream, red bean, watermelon, mocha, strawberry, kiwi, and mango.  Everything was delicious but we could barely make a dent in that monster!

dinner

Friday, we ate the last of our veggie, turkey, and marinara pasta bowls.

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This meal is really a better fit for fall and you will definitely be seeing it again in the months to come.

On Saturday, we grilled.

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Adam did an awesome job making dinner and then the three of us ate our meals outside (the boys also had steak).

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My plate had grilled asparagus, zucchini, and turkey hot dogs, oven-roasted corn on the cob, a few sautéed mushrooms (topping for the steak), and Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce for dipping.

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We marinated the asparagus in A-1 citrus marinade and tossed the squash in evoo before grilling.  Everything came out fantastically.  I can’t believe we lived in this apartment for more than a year before we fired up our grill!

And on Sunday, we went out in the city.  Haru unveiled a new Times Square Location and a new seasonal cocktail this summer and they invited me in to check them both out.

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The restaurant is down a side street and out of the tourist foot traffic of Times Square and the location is quite pretty.

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The lighting was terrrrrrrible for photos – too yellow for my crappy camera and nonexistent photog skills – but good for eating, and the tables were nicely lit at 7pm.  I hate eating a meal in the dark.  The music was unobtrusive – mellow and pretty quiet.  I hate dark rooms and loud noises because I basically like to dine like an 80-year-old.

Adam ordered hot sake and said it gave him a nice warm feeling.

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I am not a sake girl, but I stuck my tongue in and did have to agree that it was smooth.

I, of course, went with the seasonal cocktail – The Red Lotus.

red lotus

If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, I have the recipe to share with you!

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Yum!  The drink was not too sweet but it felt nice and juicy.  It went down very easily.  I adore lychees and am always sad that you don’t see them on more menus but now that I have the recipe I can make this drink at home.

Adam started with the miso soup.

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He said it was what you would expect.

And we shared an order of the appetizer special – Lobster Gyoza.

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Holy lobster meat, Batman Aquaman!  The dumplings were bursting with lobster – this dish is a steal for just $10.  The gyoza were a good size and they were easy to bite; I hate struggling with stringy foods and chopsticks.  The flavors were very straightforward, which let the lobster shine.

The husband went with the sushi for dinner.  2 tuna / whitefish / yellowtail / albacore tuna /shrimp / tobiko / and a tuna roll.  (I count an extra piece but I’m not sure what it was.)

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His fish was fresh and flavorful.  Adam said the size, texture, and temperature were all good.  Usually you see yellow caviar instead of red so he was very excited about his tobiko roll.

I did the vegetarian sushi.

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Avocado / eggplant / shitake mushroom / tofu / asparagus / oshinko / inari / and an avocado cucumber roll.

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My plate looks simple, but this was the best veggie sushi I’ve had in years.  The rice was nicely seasoned and the vegetables were all cooked beautifully.  The mushroom had an almost smoky flavor and that bite of eggplant was the best tasting vegetable I’ve had at a restaurant this year!

All in all, we both agreed that the menu was straightforward but on point.  Haru isn’t doing anything unique – there weren’t any specialty rolls that thrilled us – they are doing the basics incredibly well.  We’ll be back!

Please note – I dined at Haru free of charge.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.

The Red Lotus Seasonal Cocktail, for 1

  • 2 oz. peach vodka
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • 3 lychees
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 lychee for garnish

Muddle lychees and shake with vodka, juice and syrup.  Squeeze in some lime, drop the wedge in and shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish the drink with lychee for soothing effect.

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Friday Favorites

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Here are the things that rocked my face off this week…

1:  Easy, giant, veggie-laden pasta bowls.

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Hearty and healthy is always a good combination – pasta / zucchini roasted with truffle salt / 2 pints of browned mushrooms / ground turkey sautéed with spices and chopped green peppers / red sauce

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I could not even believe how buttery the roasted squash ended up tasting.  Zucchini may just be my new favorite pasta addition, after soft-boiled eggs, of course.

2:  Roasted Red Pepper Falafel and Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes from Veggie Patch.

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Please note – these products were sent to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided with additional compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

I had not tried VP products prior to their media team reaching out to me, but now I am looking forward to buying more on my own.  Both products had about 7 grams of protein per ~200 calorie serving and were nice and filling as the “meat” to a meal.  We thought that red pepper was a zippy take on falafel and we very impressed with the texture of the red lentil cakes – the carrots studded throughout were neither soggy nor crunchy and they provided a nice note of sweetness.

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Fittingly, we ate the goodies on top of Greek salads two days in a row.

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All Veggie Patch products are free of GMOs and trans fats.

3:  Pumpkin Yoghurt from Noosa.

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OMG!!  I know, I know, Pumpkin Month is still 7 weeks away, but this flavor is a Target-exclusive and I could not run the risk of it disappearing.  p.s. if any New Yorkers spot the new coconut flavor, please tell me immediately so I can go buy it.

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The ingredients list includes cream cheese and cinnamon, which is probably why this tastes like flipping cheesecake.

4: 4-Ingredient Strawberry Biscoff Sour Cream Gelato.

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Gah!  I made Lady and Pups’ Self-Made Sour Cream Gelato and swirled in cooked strawberries and Crunchy Biscoff before putting it in the freezer.

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There’s no going back.  This stuff is too easy; the base is literally just sour cream and sweetened condensed milk that you stir together.  FYI – I used low-fat sour cream and fat-free SCM and encountered zero textural issues.

5: Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale.

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Just, are you kidding me?!  Add this to the list of short beers that I can happily finish a full bottle of myself.  It was the perfect balance of cinnamon sweet to, you know, beer.  And when I went to the website to link I discovered that they have a Caramel Apple variety and my heart actually skipped a beat.  How do I get my hands on that???

Food for My Brain Bonus:  Streaming the old seasons of the American version of “The Office” on Netflix.  I realize that I am several years late, but now I’m obsessed.  I started watching last weekend and I’m up to season 5, if that tells you anything!  It is horrifically awkward – I suffer from severe secondhand embarrassment and had to watch the entire first season with squinched eyes, through my fingertips – but also incredibly funny and sweet.

How much do I envy you – have you gotten your hands on a caramel apple beer yet?

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Five Favorites For Friday

A new “favorites” series might be the answer for weeks where I don’t have it together to photograph most things. Weeks like this week, where terrible bedtime choices rendered me unable to do anything productive outside of 9-5.

I had a ton of fun and I ate a lot of things (all of the things!), and now I’ll share my five favorites with you guys…

1: Pineapple Noosa with multi-colored grapes.

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This new flavor was lovely. P.S. I also snagged a Target-exclusive, pumpkin Noosa that I am quite excited about.

2: Salads from Chipotle.

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Actually, I made Adam get Chipotle with me two nights in a row, so this actually may be more of an addiction than a favorite.

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Lettuce / pinto beans / grilled veggies / chicken / cheese / sour cream / corn salsa / mild salsa. Plus the ridiculously delicious, lime-y, salty chips.

3: Shredded chicken Bahn Mi and Thai tea with boba from Bahnmigos.

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I went to a stand-up show with a friend on Wednesday so I *had* to get dinner in Brooklyn. These guys make the best Bahn Mi; they have the perfect balance of flavors and ingredients (spicy Sriracha and tangy pickled veggies, crunchy baguette and silky mayo). That’s Mindy Kaling’s memoir in the background. It was also fabulous.

4: Brown sugar seaweed snack with TJ’s turkey jerky.

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Another good balance of salty to sweet. This was a nice mid-afternoon snack.

5: Amazing flavors from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

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Adam and I split Thai tea and black sesame. This was the husband’s first visit but now he is as obsessed as I am. The flavors are so true to life!

Bonus: These hard candies are still rocking my world.

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If I had known how good they were going to be I would have bought multiple bags. I still can’t decide what flavor they are though,  because there is a lot of coffee roast for creme brulee.

Note: my favorite meal of the week was technically a romantic (poorly lit) dinner at Freeman’s. We shared Coho salmon with mustard sauce and five cheese mac and cheese. Plus chamomile infused scotch with grapefruit and honey. swoon

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Around The Web

What I’m nodding along with -

Nutrition Unplugged’s post on energy density

The Bloggess’ take down of “Women Against Feminism”

What I’m watching -

All about the cop dramas for summer!  Longmire is my Western.  The sheriff is “the strong, silent type” personified and Katee Sackhoff (from “Battlestar Galactica”) plays a badass deputy.

longmireRookie Blue is my Canadian cop show.  One of my all-time favorites.  High drama but very funny.  I am rooting so hard for Chloe and Dove to make it.

rookie blueAnd from the law breaker perspective, if you’re not streaming Orange is the New Black on Netflix yet then you really need to be.

What I’m laughing at -

types of commassource

dinnersource

magicsource

pizza is a vegetablesource

remembersource

What are your favorite summer shows?

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Weekend Wrap-Up; Two Thumbs Up

It was a lazy, low-key weekend so I don’t have a ton to share.  I just wanted to pop in with a few of the things that rocked my face off.  We had a few loser meals and moments, but overall times were good.

In the lows list… This alcoholic beverage.  A girlfriend and I found a little bar in Park Slope with watermelon daiquiris and margaritas.  Sounds good, right?

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No.  The bartender used some nasty, fake syrup and the end result was like  frozen children’s cough syrup.

Related to the alcoholic beverages, Adam and I got Wendy’s for dinner on Friday.  And now I remember why we haven’t been eating fast food for past six months.  I did have a very tasty Frosty float, but the food was not good.

Saturday’s dinner was lame as well, because Adam worked a 24-hour shift so I ate popcorn in my underwear while watching the last of “Orange is the New Black.” <– how good is OTNB??!  It took me forever to get into it but now I totally get the obsession

But then Sunday I had a fairly good rice bowl.

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Always good to end the weekend with some vegetables.

Other tasty things… I have one serving left of my Chameleon Cold Brew.

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It has been so yummy with chocolate milk.

I had cereal for breakfast at work on Friday and I enjoyed it a surprising amount.

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I am not usually a big cereal person because I don’t find it to be all that filling, but after Total Raisin Bran and raspberries and I didn’t get hungry again until it was time for a late lunch.

And what a lunch it was!  I found the Watermelon Chobani!

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{with cherries and Jax chocolate coconut milk}  It was good, but after all my anticipation, it wasn’t quite as amazing as the pink grapefruit is.

Other amazing things… We saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” last night and it was so funny.  One of the more hilarious movies I’ve seen in the past year.  Oh God, Chris Pratt.  And I saw “Sex Tape” last weekend and that also made me laugh out loud.  If you are on the fence I recommend heading to the theatre for both.

TLDR?  Wendy’s is bad.  Watermelon Chobani is good, but not as good as pink grapefruit.  “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Sex Tape” were both amazing.

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Weekly Wrap-Up; Greek Week

“Greek Week” because half of the eats in this post are Greek yogurt and the other half are dinners infused with Greek flavors.  It was a repetitious, but quite tasty, week.

No weekend post because I did all of my birthday excitement a week ahead of schedule.  Adam had a giant, two-day test this week so we’ve been keeping things low-key.  Unfortunately, I’ve also been feeling a bit under the weather.  I actually stayed home from work on Monday with a migraine.

This week I kept my meals a bit smaller and planned in more snacks.  This schedule worked well for me and is one I will probably continue next week too.  The random snacks mostly came from my UrthBox {UB}, another new thing that I’m a fan of.

Minus many, many unpictured troughs of coffee or popcorn, here are most of my bites for the past week…

breakfasts/lunches

Coffee and cherries.

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Coffee, Strawberry/Blueberry/Banana SMOOCH {UB}, and a Don’t Go Nuts Gorilla Power Bar.

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The bar was insane, it tasted like freaking coffee cake!

Chobani 4% plain with maple syrup and chopped red plum and dapple plucot.

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I tried the yogurt because it was a limited edition but I think I’m definitely a 0 – 2% girl; fuller fat dairy always tastes a little sour to me.

Fairway soursop yogurt with blueberries and roasted coconut and a Jax soursop coconut water.

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Another new item, Chobani Banana Maple with Steel Cut Oats plus blueberries.

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Not a fan.  I was expecting everything to be blended into a homogenous product but this was (strangely thin) yogurt with random clumps of soggy oats.

At least pink grapefruit – with more plum and plucot – is always delicious.

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On the only non-yogurt day, I made myself a “taco salad” from the cafeteria.  Romaine with black olives, red peppers, cheddar and pepperjack cheese cubes, avocado, and tons of salsa.

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Yeah, no.  The avocado was frozen (why on earth would you ever freeze avocado??!) and what I assumed to be salsa was actually roasted red pepper.  Yuck city.

snacks

Chameleon Cold Brew is (briefly) back in our life!  We carted a bottle home from Whole Foods in Philadelphia.

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Served iced with chocolate and skim milk.

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CCB is my favorite cold brew ever.  <– I looked up the website to link  toin this post and saw that they now make mocha and vanilla varieties and I’m basically dying

Thai coconut curry popcorn {UB}.

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Crème Brulee hard candies from Chinatown.

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So good.  They have a roasty, coffee-like flavor that is wonderful.

TJ’s turkey jerky with Mary’s Gone Crackers Everything Pretzels.

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Those pretzels are downright addictive, perfectly salty with great crunch.

dinners

Easy, vegan pasta bowls.

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Whole-wheat rotini with broccoli, roasted zucchini, and tons of marinara sauce.

Greek nachos!  I baked pita chips topped with three-cheese blend, crumbled fat-free feta, tomato, red, onion, and chickpeas that I tossed with lemon juice, evoo, and oregano.

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This meal was easy but super fun.

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And we took the leftovers on a picnic to Corona Park the next day.

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We tossed together the leftover red onion, tomato, chickpeas, and cheese with TJ’s Greek dressing, capers, cucumber, and spinach to make a tasty Greek salad.

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Everything was yummy and we had a wonderful time on our picnic, but we did totally end up going to Panera for food later that evening!

Spicy shrimp pasta bowls.

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This recipe was one of my favorites growing up, but I don’t think mine tasted as good as my mom’s does.

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***Whoops! If anyone decides to try this recipe – I meant to write 4 SERVINGS not cups of pasta.

You just toss everything together in a baking dish, cook, and serve on top of noodles with a little parmesan.  I also tossed a bunch of chopped spinach in with our bowls.

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Adam loved it, thanks, Mom!

When was the last time you went on a picnic?

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Weekly Wrap-Up; Birthday Weather

It was a big week here, we had a birthday and a serendipitous, surprise visit!  I turned 29 yesterday; that sounds old, old, old.  I may not have a house or a baby, but I have a husband and a dog who I love beyond words so that feels pretty good for almost-30.

We didn’t have time for a real grocery trip after our Philadelphia weekend and we relied a ton on packaged and purchased food.  Here are some highlights…

breakfast

Coffee (I’m still doing the 1/2&1/2!) and a Blackberry Bliss Mama Chia.

DSC01401I probably wouldn’t have bought the chia on my own – it came in my UrthBox – but I ended up really liking it.

KIND Bar.

DSC01433Madagascar Vanilla Almond.

Birthday freebie coffee!  I love that Starbucks does that.  You’ll notice that I stuck with my birthday tradition of doing tacky, glittery nails.

DSC01447Venti iced skim latte with an extra shot of espresso, 2 shots of white mocha, and caramel drizzle.  I was buzzing.

And this doesn’t go here but speaking of sugar, I’m not sure I ate enough candy this week…

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Oatmeal (with Cacao Bliss) and freeze-dried apples.

DSC01398That fruit is so flipping good.

Cereal and yogurt.

DSC01404Total on Chobani 2% Pink Grapefruit.  I was equally impressed with the yogurt the 2nd time around.

Lots of packed snacks during a 4 hour afternoon meeting.  I ate a salad beforehand, and also required lots of coffee.

DSC01426Chocolate-covered gummy bears, applesauce, and Everything Pretzels from Mary’s Gone Crackers.  The pretzels were from a bag that the company sent me to try.

DSC01423Delicious!  I thought these were much better than the sea salt flavor I tried before, which wasn’t bad either.  These were just like eating a very crunchy everything bagel.  And still made with whole grains including brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet, and seeds including flax, sesame and chia, just like the original flavor.

My dietetics co-workers brought in lunch for my birthday!  They are pretty much the sweetest.

IMG_20140722_113456IMG_20140722_114820Salad with a great, thick balsamic glaze, homemade spinach and feta pastries, and chocolate zucchini cake for dessert.  Everything was delicious; I tried to bring leftovers home for Adam and I ended up eating them all on the train!

dinner

Half salad and sandwich deal from Panera.

DSC01408I did the Thai chicken salad and the Thai chicken flatbread and was impressed with neither.

DSC01413DSC01418The sauce was too sour and the apple on the side was sadly the best part of the meal.

DSC01416Thankfully, things get much more festive from here.

On Wednesday, my parents were traveling to Ohio to visit my grandmother.  They were flying on miles so they had a long day with lots of connections, including a 3-hour layover at LaGuardia.  When the got off the plane in NY, they learned that inclement weather had grounded their final flight, and then would be stuck until the next morning.  Silver lining – they stayed at my house for the night and we got to visit and go out to birthday dinner!!!!

It ended up being the best “bad news” ever.  We teased them that they jinxed themselves by complaining about not making it out for Indian food during their June visit, so of course we had to take them for Indian food.

DSC01440It was too dark for pictures, but we shared several appetizers and a bunch of dishes and all left full and happy.  Everything was amazing and our waiter was the sweetest man.  Namaste is great.  We even found froyo nearby with birthday cake flavor.

DSC01445I topped my “cake” with marshmallow, strawberry pie filling, and a million sprinkles.

And I actually ended up having froyo last night on my real birthday was well.

DSC01450Frozen yogurt > cake!

For my birthday dinner we did takeout from Bare Burger.

DSC01455Turkey with ketchup mustard, spinach, tomato, a fried egg, and tons of pickles.

DSC01458We ate burgers and giant diet cokes while we watched Longmire and it was a great way to celebrate :)

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