When It Snows It Blizzards*

When it comes to the big, important stuff – having jobs, our health, and a great marriage – Adam and I know that we are unbelievably lucky.  That said, man oh man, this week was annoying.  The snow has been relentless, I wore my favorite sweater to work only to get to the cafeteria and douse myself head to toe in balsamic vinegar, Adam had to have both of his big toe nails emergently removed, and my car has a flat tire.  When it rains it pours*.  I’m pretty sure I have never been so glad for a weekend!

There was a lot of stress snacking going down this week that I didn’t do the best job of photographing, but I am going to recap the most delicious things…

breakfast

Iced coffee on the train and plain yogurt with peanut butter at my desk.

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I had a ridiculously amazing coffee combo this week…  Cold-brew with chocolate milk and toasted marshmallow coffee syrup!

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So insanely good.

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Are you admiring my nails?  Scroll to the last section of this post.

snack

GH Cretors elevated our snacking game by sending me a big box of the two flavors from their new organic line – Simply Salted and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Note – the popcorn was sent to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Pre-popped popcorn can never really compare to freshly popped, but these are definitely the best bagged varieties we’ve ever tried.  They are nice and crisp.  Adam – who likes to pretend that he doesn’t like popcorn – was crazy for them, so that’s saying something.  We preferred the Simply Salted because the EVOO was good, but not quite as flavorful.  Both are organic and kosher and have 40 calories per cup.

I surprised my sore husband with a giant, sweet latte.

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I got myself a rocky road latte as well.  Meh.

We tried the hazelnut torte bar from Lindt’s new “Creation” line.

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Now I want the crème brûlée flavor!

I’m still loving the Ice Chips.

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Lemon was a very nice way to transition back from lunch to work this week.

lunch

Fage with raspberry and butterscotch peanut butter.

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The citrus fruits shown in my lunches this week are fresh Mandarins from Trader Joe’s that were wonderful.  Very sweet and juicy with almost no seeds.

Baked yucca fries from the cafeteria.  I had about double what’s shown because I started eating before I sat down.

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They were paired with the salad that ruined my outfit.

TJ’s egg white salad and popcorn.

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The egg salad was practically inedible; whyyyy was there so much turmeric??

Popcorn, Applegate Farm sliced turkey, mini Jarlsberg, and olives.

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The tasting plates were fun, but I was missing my yogurt bowls.

dinner

If you judge a dish by how good it tastes cold and leftover, straight from the casserole dish – I definitely do! – then my pizza mac and cheese was a real winner.

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Adam heated his serving up, but he also recommends that you try the recipe.

Chipotle night.  I ate a giant rice bowl with chicken, veggies, and pretty much all of the toppings.

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Our neighborhood is pretty much a food wasteland, but I think Chipotle would be Adam’s first pick even if we lived somewhere with more going on!

This was our best dinner of the week:

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Roasted broccoli and kalettes (aka kale-Brussels sprout hybrids).

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Southern pickle “fried” chicken.  <– I am so proud of this one; check the recipe sidebar!

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I served mine on a toasted, open-faced sandwich with a bit of mayo.

Last night we had fabulous kale salads.

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I massaged a bunch of kale with Sepo sauce in the morning and then tossed it with roasted broccoli, cubed avocado, and roasted coconut chips when it was time for dinner.

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We were supposed to have chicken on top of our salads but I accidentally left the remaining tenders sitting out on the counter overnight so instead I had a grilled cheese sandwich while I wrote this post.

fancy nails

So my jazzy nail polish?  Actually nail wraps from Jamberry.

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One of the girls I used to cocktail waitress with is a Jamberry consultant (her sales page is what I linked above) and she sent me a sample kit so I could try them out.  I am pretty amazed by how easy they are to put on; really not tricky or time-consuming at all, maybe almost as easy as slopping painting on polish.  Plus they are very cute!  I will definitely buy some to try again.

P.S. Thanks to Way Back Machine, I was able to find my old employee profile (click to enlarge) –

employee profile

Omg!

Veggie Lovers Pizza Mac & Cheese + Browned Butterscotch Peanut Butter Recipes

It was a low-key weekend – we never left Long Island – but I do have two legitimate recipes to share.  They’re very good!  Next weekend we have multiple city trips planned so I wanted to make the most of my free time in the kitchen.

This weekend I…

…Had a yummy breakfast at work.

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An opal apple and chocolate biscotti dipped in coffee.  I threw out the coffee as soon as my treat was gone, I just can’t do the hot stuff.  I made up for it with several iced coffees enjoyed during errands-running on the weekend.

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One of many.

…Enjoyed an even better work lunch.  1/3 cup rolled oats + 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries + 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 2 Tbsp malted milk powder + 1 Tbsp cocoa nibs.

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Just shake it together and cover with hot water when it’s time for lunch.  The crunchy chocolate bites were amazing; nibs are so much better in oatmeal than chocolate chips.

…Discovered my new favorite hard candy – Ice Chips.

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Please note – Ice Chips Candy reached out to me about doing a review and provided the above product samples free of charge.  I was not given any further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Ice Chips, which come in small chips shaped like shards of ice, are made of xylitol which is an anticariogenic sugar alcohol (i.e. eating gum or candy made with xylitol before acidogenic foods can help to reduce the formation of dental carries or cavities).  Xylitol is as sweet as table sugar but contains fewer calories so two Ice Chip candies only contain about 5 calories and if you ate an entire tin – as I was tempted to! – it would be about 125 calories.  <– don’t do that though, sugar alcohols give many people diarrhea when consumed in excess

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The texture of the chips is freaking amazing, hard enough to suck on but they break apart in a really pleasing way when you crunch them.  And their flavor game is on point – my favorite so far are Coffee ‘n Cream and Lemon, but I am really looking forward to Eggnog.

I also really liked this egg.

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I don’t even care that I’m a month early, birthday cake is a stupid Easter flavor!  It was really yummy though.

…Processed up some tasty (browned butterscotch)peanut butter.

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All you need is a food processor, 4 Tbsp browned butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, and 1 lb roasted, salted peanuts.

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I’m planning on packing the peanut butter with Greek yogurts for lunches this week.

…Drank a smoothie in the snow.  Not the best weather for it, but smoothies are always good.

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This one had (frozen:) blackberries, dates, and soursop puree, and Hint of Honey almond milk.

…Cooked green eggs and ham toast.

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The eggs were scrambled with spinach and leftover mushrooms and asparagus from Thursday’s dinner.

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The best buttered toast.

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Inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s “The Bread” we butter our toast first and then bake it.

…Drank a killer strawberry mojito.

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The dream team was Cruzan Key Lime Rum and Strawberry Minta soda.  With frozen strawberries instead of ice to keep things cool without watering it down.

…Checked out The Little Beet at the newly revamped mall food court.

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The new options were all awesome, there is a potato place that looks very unhealthy but very delicious.  Adam had a cheesy meal at Melt Shop.

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And I got a trio of charred string beans, charred kale, and buckwheat soba noodle salad.

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The kale was soooo good, a little bit spicy and much more flavorful than the kale chips we make at home.

…Made gooey macaroni and cheese that tasted like a pizza!

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Veggie Lovers Pizza Macaroni and Cheese; serves 4 – 6

  • 6 oz short-cut pasta
  • 4 cups chopped, cooked broccoli
  • 1 cup sliced, canned mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 25 slices turkey pepperoni, sliced in half
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 2 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 cups skim milk
  • 5 oz reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded
  • 5 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Prepare an 8×8 inch casserole dish with baking spray.  Mix the mozzarella and cheddar together and put aside 1 large handful (2 oz).
  2. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan (large enough for all of your ingredients) over medium-high heat.  Whisk flour into melted butter to form a roux.  Cook 60 – 90 seconds, whisking constantly, until roux has darkened to a sandy tan color.  Whisk milk into roux and cook 1 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened.  You shouldn’t have any lumps, but if you do now is the time to whisk them out.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add 8 oz of cheese to the sauce, working in 3 small batches and stirring until the cheese has fully melted.
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in cooked pasta, vegetables, and pepperoni.  Pour mixture into your prepared casserole dish.
  6. Top the casserole with an even mixture of marinara sauce, followed by the remaining 2 oz of cheese.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cheese has browned.

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Home Again, Home Again

I am feeling much better now, though the week did feel very long to me.  Here’s to hoping the weekend feels long too!  I have not been to the grocery store since a week before I left for St. Thomas, but somehow we made it through.

breakfast

Adam sweetly helped ease me back in to normal, non-vacation life by driving me in to work on Tuesday.  We made a doughnut date of it!

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Pecan praline beignet for me.  Doughnut Plant is great so it’s super fun that there’s a location right near my hospital now.

An apple and a hot chocolate.

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Less exciting than doughnuts, but still good.

Iced coffee with chocolate milk and a bar.

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I loved the Oatmega bar in theory, but unfortunately it was insanely fishy.  I just couldn’t do it.  I ended up going down to the salad bar for a snack in the late morning.

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Cheddar cheese and sunflower seeds packed a protein punch (8 grams of protein if you assume 2 Tbsp of each) to make up for the bar I threw away.

lunch

Salad bar and french fries.

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Baby spinach topped with cucumber, olives, broccoli, a marinated veggie mix, and balsamic dressing.  The blob in the left corner is fried plantains.

Salad bar and blurry Chipotle leftovers.

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Baby spinach with ranch and a bit of extra cheese, topped with my dinner leftovers.

Oatmeal day.  Quaker cherry pistachio oatmeal topped with coconut butter with a cinnamon applesauce on the side.

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This was the day I had my salad breakfast snack so I did manage to hit up the salad bar three days in a row, a feat that feels extra impressive when you remember that my stomach was still a bit iffy.

dinner

Chipotle night.  We legit eat Chipotle at least once a week, it’s a problem.

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Brown rice with sautéed veggies, pinto beans, chicken, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and all of the salsas.  The three salsa combo was key to helping me enjoy the brown rice (I really prefer white rice but brown is a whole grain so it has more protein and fiber).

We did a pre-dinner dessert date at Ample Hills.

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I didn’t love the red velvet, but their caramel and honey flavors are all deep burnt sugar good.

Adam was on call on Wednesday and I definitely made myself a big bowl of chia pudding for dinner.  Thank goodness for those lunch salads, eh?

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Gina’s recipe base – 3 Tbsp of chia seeds in 1 cup of Hint of Honey almond milk with a splash of vanilla and honey whisked in.  I topped my bowl with Girl & The Fig salted fig caramel and it was flipping amazing.

Last night’s dinner came straight from the freezer.  Salmon patties from Whole Foods plus asparagus and a mushroom medley from Trader Joe’s.

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The patties were unpleasantly dry so I made a dipping sauce of mayo, garlic aioli, pickle relish, and smoked paprika.

I drank a Genny Cream Ale while I cooked.

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And ate a zoo of gummies for dessert while we watched the “Parks and Rec” finale.

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Omg.  The P&R finale basically killed me – I loooved it.  Every single detail was perfect, down the very last second of the ending being a sweet moment from Ben.  LOVE.

Do you watch “Parks and Recreation?”  What’d you think of the finale?

Biscotti Giveaway Winners

lucky you

The two winners of my Nonni’s Biscotti giveaway are # 6 and 18 –

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David and Deb, please e-mail me with your mailing addresses so we can get out your prizes.

unlucky me

I had an absolutely fabulous time back home… until I got struck with a not-so-fabulous case of food poisoning!  You guys, I was the sickest I’ve ever been.  It was insane.  I’m not recapping my vacation because I can’t even begin to think about reliving those meals.  But it really was a great trip before the puking started!

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Chocolate Marshmallow Love {Recipe Redux}

This is my first post for The Recipe Redux, the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians.  “The Redux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you.  [It aims] to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover.”

I will be posting my Recipe Redux entry on the 22nd of each month.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to see what others posted.

Each month has a prompt/theme, and this month, because most people probably still have Valentine’s candy hanging around, we were prompted to share our favorite chocolate matches.  I know that most people will go with peanut butter.  Some fringe folks will adore chocolate and mint.  I’ll be shocked if one of the healthier bloggers doesn’t go with chocolate-dipped fruit.  For me, it’s all about the s’more – my favorite thing to pair with chocolate is marshmallow.

Clearly s’mores creations are near and dear to my heart (Over the past few years I have created recipes for s’mores brownies, cups, snack balls, pies, cupcakes, and more – check out my recipes in the right sidebar!), but one recipe – My S’mores Monster Cookies – is a bit healthier than the others.  The monster cookies use peanut butter and only a little bit of butter.  Plus they are loaded with rolled oats.  Even better, the s’mores monster cookies are my Valentine’s favorite recipe, so this month was the perfect time to whip up a batch for him.

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S’mores Monster Cookies

Yield: 12 monster-sized cookies; Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Jet Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits or mini marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Line 2 ungreased baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
  2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the egg.  In order – add sugars, vanilla, baking soda, butter, and peanut butter, mixing well.
  3. Use a spatula to fold in oats, chocolate chips, and mallow bits.
  4. Scoop dough with a 1/4 cup measuring cup and roll into balls.  Evenly space six balls per baking sheet.
  5. Bake 13 – 15 minutes until browned.

Notes:

  • You can also use a Tbsp of dough per cookie to create a larger batch of smaller, less monstrous cookies and they will turn out fine
  • I prefer to use natural, no-added salt peanut butter for this recipe – just be sure to stir the top layer of oil into the jar before you measure out your peanut butter
  • If you want to sneak in a little more fiber, swap out half of the chocolate chips with 1/3 cup dried fruit such as dried cranberries

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What is your favorite flavor to pair with chocolate?

This Week I Loved…

This week I loved:

Baking

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I made a batch of my Buttered Rum Raisin Cookies for a birthday and work and my coworkers all gave rave reviews.

Sia

When it comes to all things pop-culture – including but not limited to music, Netflix-exclusive tv shows, memes, and modern slang – Adam is usually a month or two behind the other American 20-30 year olds.  This past week, I’ve gotten him up to speed on Sia and now we’re both obsessed.  Her sound is unique, the work she’s showcased of Maddie Ziegler’s is breathtaking, and when you compare her artist persona to someone like Kanye she seems like a dream.  I for one adore the mega-bangs; the focus is on her art instead of her looks and they are somehow just not as douchetastic as the Daft Punk helmets.  Sidenote – to be fair to Adam, he actually has been listening to Sia for the past 5 years, even if he wasn’t aware of it, ever since we loved her music in “Dollhouse.”

Spiced iced coffee

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I cold-pressed a big batch of espresso blend with cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.  This was delicious; I want to add some spice to all of my future brews.

Turkey sandwiches

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An onion roll with turkey, lettuce, red pepper, pickles, pepperjack, and mayo from the cafeteria.  And turkey sandwiched between whole-wheat bread that was oven-toasted with butter and gouda at home.  The toasted sandwich was divine; I almost considered making myself a second round when I was finished eating!

Weight Watchers commercials

I think that these commercials are amazing; they manage – in a quick, funny! way – to really get at a lot of the social and emotional factors that contribute to overeating.

Minta

minta mint soda flavored with cane sugar

Minta – a mint flavored soda line made with fruit juice and cane sugar – recently sent me a box of Original, Strawberry, and Lemon to sample for the blog.  I am not exactly looking to add a non-diet soda to my daily life, but I love that these use cane sugar instead of HFCS and I think they are definitely a great treat.  The Original and Strawberry have 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar per 10 oz can (Lemon has only 80 calories because it has less sugar, 19 grams).  They are freaking delicious; like the best mojito you’ve ever had!  Adam was expecting to hate them – “mint soda?  that sounds disgusting” – but he was smitten after his first sip.

Berry chia yogurt bowls

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Fage with fresh blackberries, white chia seeds, and Heritage Flakes was my lunch order this week.  The tablespoon of chia really helped to make these more filling than my past yogurt bowls.

Yes Please

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I finished Amy Poehler’s book and I loved it even more than I had anticipated.  She managed to make me laugh, cry, and seriously take stock of what I want out of myself and my life.

The new menu at Bare Burger

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I had a turkey burger with pimento cheese, duck bacon, stout onions, and horseradish remoulade.  It was delish.

The anticipation of a mini tropical vacation!

If the weather cooperates, I will be on a plane by the time you are reading this post.  It’s my mom’s birthday this Sunday and I surprised her by booking a ticket home for a long weekend.  St. Thomas, here I come!

 

Love From Nonni’s Biscotti {Giveaway}

I know that Valentine’s Day has passed, but I still have a little love to share with you guys.  Nonni’s Biscotti reached out to me and offered to send freebie coupons to two readers.

They recently sent me the Cioccolati and Salted Caramel flavors to try, and Adam and I highly recommend them.

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All of the flavors have between 90 – 110 calories per cookie and go great with coffee.

The chocolate ones were good, because duh, but the salted caramel?  They were incredible.  Look at the freaking pockets of caramel!

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Ridiculous.

Want a chance to try them on your own?  Simply leave a comment on this post before 6 pm EST on Saturday, February 21st.  Two winners will be randomly selected.

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