Weekend Wrap-Up; Five Favorites

On Saturday, I kept myself busy with errands and drinking all the coffee.

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On Sunday, we went for a three-hour bike ride in Central Park.

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Oh my goodness.  The weather was absolutely beautiful but we both agreed that three hours was too long – I am going to do my best not to sit today!

Here are my five favorites from the weekend…

{1}  Rose Apriums, an apricot-plum blend.  They are similar to the Plucot/Pluot (my favorite fruit of all time) but more apricot than plum.  Wonderful.

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I packaged materials from home and ate them in a tasty granola bowl at work on Friday.  2 chopped Rose Apriums, 1/2+ cup KIND Banana Nut Clusters, and skim milk.

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Another summer fruit worth mentioning is the Sonya apple. They are perfectly sweet, and juicy without being drippy.

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The book in the background is my final recommendation. It is a compilation of food writing – book excerpts, magazine articles, blog posts – from 2013, divided into sections about meat, eating local, home cooks, etc, and it has been delightful to read. Now I want to get my hands on some of the other years.

{2}  A copy-cat ABP bbq chicken salad.

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I enjoyed this salad so much when I sampled it at Au Bon Pain, I knew I would have to recreate it at home.

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A romaine base topped with ranch dressing, corn, cucumber, tomato, three-cheese blend, and chopped chicken that was tossed with TJ’s Carolina bbq sauce.

{3} Green eggs (no ham).

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An easy dinner that tasted so good. I sautéed frozen spinach and corn with evoo, dill, a pinch of sugar, and green Tabasco, then tossed in chopped chicken and chunks of raw goat’s milk cheese, and scrambled in two eggs.

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Corn is so freaking good in scrambled eggs.  I like it when everything gets a bit charred before you add your eggs.

{4}  A killer sandwich from Bareburger, the Big Bacon Blue burger with a few modifications.

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I ended up with grilled chicken, turkey bacon, sautéed mushrooms, fried onions, smokehouse sauce, and blue cheese.

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I was swooning over this sandwich; it ended up being the best “burger” I’ve ever eaten. I’m pretty jazzed about that season drink in the background too – to be shared in September!

{5}  Chicago Mix from Trader Joe’s. You can’t go wrong with a caramel corn/cheddar popcorn blend.

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After our bike ride, Adam and I spent Sunday on the couch with “The Office,” and the popcorn was thoroughly enjoyed.

Any summer goods you want to recommend?

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Weekend Wrap-Up; Knock On Wood

My office (not our clinic but specifically my office in the clinic) didn’t have power for two painful days this week and it made things a little crazy.  Fingers crossed, I think we have the problem fixed for good now.

My head was kind of all over the place – I accidentally ate pizza three meals in a row, Monday dinner through Tuesday lunch! – so I don’t have a ton to share, but I am pretty jazzed about the things I did photograph…

breakfast

I made amazing cold brew this week.

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Starbucks espresso roast (in this ratio) with maple cinnamon sugar dumped in with the grounds.

I wish I had a bigger French press because day 2 of leftover coffee was just as delicious.

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With a yummy Sonya apple.

Coffee and cereal from the cafeteria.

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That coffee contained a horrifying amount of sugar; the sugar lid popped off while I was pouring and I didn’t have time to get back in line.  I totally drank it, but I’m taking it as a sign that I should just go back to not putting sugar in my coffee.  (I used to sugar 1/10 times and lately it’s been more like 8/10.)

Coffee with dried Jackfruit and chocolate milk.  Speaking of the sweet stuff, it’s amazing that I didn’t get a headache from this sugar bomb breakfast.

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No granulated sugar but I did do two pumps of cinnamon dolce – and an extra shot of espresso! – since this was a freebie cash-in.

lunch

You’ll spot tea in all of my lunch pictures, so I’ll start by mentioning the sweet box I received from AriZona.

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Please note – I received the tea free of charge to review.  I was not provided further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

They recently launched a new line of OAK Reserve Teas – black tea steeped with American Oak chips during brewing.  I am pretty picky about black tea, but I have to say that I loved these!  I was very impressed.  I was expecting the flavor to be smoky, but it was more woodsy?!  The lemon was my favorite; mellow versus sour and the citrus played nicely off of the oak.  They are made with maple sugar and that flavor definitely comes through in a pleasing way.  The lemon and lightly sweetened both have 75 calories and 22 mg of caffeine per bottle, which I think makes them an ok candidate for an “everyday drink.”  The unsweetened has zero calories, and rather than adding fake sugars they let the tea stand on its own.  <– love!  I am obsessed with the fact that manufacturers make “diet” drinks with nonnutritive sweeteners versus occasionally just cutting back on or leaving out the sugar entirely

The PR rep sent me a recipe for a cocktail that sounds pretty darn yummy (look at the bottom of this post), but Adam just dumped some Johnny Walker into the lemon variety one evening and was quite pleased with the final result.  We both plan on purchasing the teas with our own money once this very generous shipment runs out.

Back to lunch.  Oikos Caramel Macchiato Greek Yogurt with 2 dapple pluots and KIND Banana Nut Clusters.

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This lunch was great.  The granola (a former freebie) was wonderful; the best variety of KIND granola that I’ve had yet.  The banana came through strongly but not at all in that fake “banana” flavoring way.  I was kind of shocked by how much I enjoyed it.  I am excited to eat more of all of these lunch components again.

Chocolate Strawberry yogurt (I guess this flavor is new?) with blueberries and pomegranate.

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I never think about pomegranate for my lunch yogurts, but the little pops were delightful.

Chobani Coconut 2% Greek Yogurt with blueberry, pomegranate, and roasted coconut chips.

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Best lunch of the week.

snacks

This happened more than once…

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I am basically heartbroken to have eaten the last of my Chinatown crème brulee (or maybe coffee?) flavored hard candies.

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Pea protein chips from my 2nd Urthbox.

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Guava and cheese empanada on the train.

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dinner

Is anyone at all surprised that we ate Chipotle for dinner?

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My usual salad combo.

Not a lot to share in this category this week.  You know we did Chipotle a 2nd night too. One night I ate pizza.  And tonight (I’m writing to you from Thursday) I made a spinach salad with blue cheese, sweet and spicy pecans, dried cranberries, and lavender salt.

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It’s packed to-go because one of the husband’s friends invited us over for dinner.  I am super awkward about taking food photographs in front of new people, so that’s all she wrote!

Oaked Cocktail Recipe

  • 1 oz Amaretto Liqeuer
  • 2 oz AriZona OAK Brewed Tea  (Emily note – use the unsweetened variety or skip the sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 mint sprig

oak

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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.

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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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