Recommended Reading

My mom is an elementary school librarian, so reading has always been a big part of my life.  The only resolution I repeat and consistently achieve each year is to “read at least 1 book per month.”  Lately it’s been more like 4+ books per month.  I complain a lot about my crazy long commute, but really I’m not sure what I’d do without the daily reading blocks my time on the LIRR gives me.  I’ve read more books this past year than any other time in my adult life!

I just wanted to pop in and share some of the things that have made my fingers flip through pages (or scroll through Feedly) extra quickly lately…

{think} blog posts from other RDs

According to Elle – “Debunking Yet Another Low-Carb Claim

          An educated look at the recent study that pitted a low-carb diet versus a low-fat diet.  I think this is basically a must-read!

Bitchin’ Nutrition – “Testing Your Intestines

          Information on the types of tests required to diagnose food allergies and intolerances involving wheat and gluten.

Grapefruit & Granola – “School Vs. Clinical Dietetics

          A comparison of her days in a school cafeteria versus the hospital.  This one is probably most interesting to other Dietitians.

Dietitian Cassie – “Are Organic Foods Worth It?

          I’m cheating, this is actually a video segment!  She discusses which foods it is most advisable to buy organic.

{fun} two books I really loved recently

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Little Giant of Aberdeen County

From the back of the book:

Meet Truly Plaice – part behemoth, part witch, part Cinderella.  Born larger than life into a small-minded town, Truly breaks her family into smithereens.  Her mother dies during Truly’s birth, and when her father follows shortly afterward, Truly and her dainty sister, Serena Jane, are destined for very different fates.  As Truly grows larger and larger on a rundown farm, she watches lovely Serena Jane become the town’s adored May Queen and the obsession of a local boy, Bob Bob Morgan – the youngest in a line of Aberdeen’s doctors, who for generations wove their influence among the town’s citizens.  Yet no matter how far apart life propels them, Truly and her sister are forever linked.  And Truly will find her future shaped by Serena Jane’s relationships, a centuries-old antique of Dr. Morgan’s, and the reality that love cannot be ordered to size.

This book was 340 pages long and I tore through it in one day.  Putting it down was not an option!  Baker was beautifully descriptive and I think she achieved the perfect balance of tragedies to happy endings.

Dead Wrong by Allen Wyler

Dead Wrong

Note – This book I received free of charge to review from Astor + Blue.  I was not obligated to post unless I wanted to and I did not receive compensation for this post.  It’s also available on the Nook.

From the back of the book:

When a top secret program of implanting harrowing memories into innocent people comes to light, neurosurgeon Tom McCarthy is literally caught in the crossfire.  While McCarthy looks forward to a three-day weekend, his office is suddenly raided by two Department of Defense investigators bent on arresting him for a crime he didn’t commit. All hell breaks loose when an inadvertent scuffle escalates, leaving one agent dead at the hands of the other, and McCarthy fleeing but hopelessly trapped inside the labyrinthine corridors, heating ducts, and stairways of a gigantic Seattle medical center.

With the CIA and Seattle PD closing in, McCarthy unwittingly pulls Dr. Sarah Hamilton into the fray. And like rats in a maze, they struggle to stay one step ahead of their deadly hunters, while simultaneously uncovering a trail of corruption that reaches shocking dimensions.

Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler, DEAD WRONG brings the reader inside the world of an insidious and terrifyingly plausible narrative, to create a heart pounding, claustrophobic and nightmarish thriller.

The only reason I didn’t finish this one in one day as well was because I started it during the work week.  I could not wait to see what was going to happen next or to learn more about why things were unfolding the way they did.  Wyler did a nice job of switching between first and third person narrative and the shifts in perspective helped to pull me in as well.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I was pleased with the ending.

Do you have any books to recommend?

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Weekly Wrap-Up; Five Things, Crankily

I had a perpetual case of cranky-face this whole past week.  Nothing concrete set it off – Adam and I haven’t had a fight in ages, the dog hasn’t been being a little monster, and my work week was pretty varied so it was more interesting and less stressful than usual – but I was constantly in a bad mood.  I was also super hungry all week, which I guess probably was a trigger for some of my ire.  It was a real bummer.

Rather than trying futilely to fight it, I plan on giving in and wallowing.  I’m going to spend the next two days eating pizza and catching up on tv in the hopes that the grump works its way out of my system by Monday.

In the meantime, here are a few things that did make me smile last week…

{1} The best breakfast.  How flipping cute are these Stumptown Cold Brew boxes???

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Adam and I geeked out when we spotted them at WF.

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And it was totally delicious; sweet and creamy.  My Bananas Foster Larabar Uber wasn’t bad either.

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To quote Lara – “It’s basically bananamazing!”

{2} The most on-theme lunch.  Blueberries and caramel apple pie Greek yogurt, plus licorice and caramel apple Twizzlers for later.

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I loved the licorice; apparently I am a fan even when it’s not enrobed in candy coating (though that’s not to say that I didn’t also eat Good & Plenty several times this week!).  I was not a fan of the yogurt, though I can’t say that was really a surprise.  In my endless quest to try every apple(pie) flavored item on the market there are bound to be a few losers.

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Worst of all, it didn’t even fill me up, I got fries from the cafeteria as well.

{3} The best lunch.  This day’s break was much more satisfying, the honey-chia combination was killer.  I will be pairing those two up again soon.

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With blueberries and a Hemp & Chia O’Coconut snack on the side.

{4} The best dinner.  Eaten in two courses.  First, a snack plate of baby carrots, buffalo blue cheese pretzel nuggets, TJ’s turkey jerky, and Tribe roasted vegetable hummus.

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Then later, pizza pizza – buffalo chicken – and a side salad.

luigis

From Luigi’s if any locals are looking for a recommendation.  The crust was so good; chewy almost like Naan!

{5} The best dessert {of the season}.  I know, I know, I’m eating pumpkin in September, but the Ralph’s location near our apartment closed early last fall and it’s essential that I get my fill of this goodness before it goes away.

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Salted caramel pretzel and pumpkin pie cream ices.  <– best flavor ever.

What do you do to help yourself get over it when you’re feeling cranky?

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Insta-Wrap-Up; VIII

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while – some of these pictures are from July!  I just haven’t had the Instagram bug as much lately.  I’m still loving looking at other people’s stuff, but my life just never seems that photo-worthy, ya know?

pretty things in Philadelphia

in philly chinatownbenjamin franklin bridge

this made me laugh in Park Slope

iced your mom

we finally tried Max & Mina’s!  That’s toasted marshmallow and caramel swirl Captain Crunch.  Soooo good.  We tried the herring flavor too – not good, but certainly true to life.

captain crunch at max and mina's

dog love: my boys taking a nap

webster

our cart at Whole Foods the other day – beer, coffee, and gummi candy

whole foods haul

my new favorite thing on the internet

awareness for those who can't even

Related joke:  If you say “Pumpkin Spice Latte” three times in front of your mirror, a girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you her favorite things about Fall!

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Weekend Wrap-Up; Attack Of The Killer Sandwiches

Did everyone have a great weekend?  Mine was low-key but good; I got my hands on not one, but two of my top favorite sandwiches, so that was nice.  The weekend following a three-day weekend always feels a bit too short!  Assume many, many coffees went unphotographed.

breakfast

Iced coffee and I ate the top off of this cappuccino muffin.

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I’m not really a muffin fan but I had been craving one like crazy all week and Friday seemed like a fun time to give in.

Peanut butter chocolate chip bar from GoMacro.

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This came in my Urthbox but I would buy it again on my own.  Eaten on the go because I spent most of Saturday helping a friend move.

lunch

I packed a nice yogurt bowl for work on Friday, with sliced plucot and a Jax banana coconut water on the side.  The bananas foster yogurt was good, but a bit too sweet (note – if it’s too sweet for my tastes it is way too sweet for 90% of the adult population).

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Plus brown sugar sea salt seaweed snacks and caramel apple Twizzlers for the afternoon.

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Both snacks got two thumbs up.

Green juice from Foragers.  Kale, spinach, cucumber, pineapple, and mint.

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I’ve been wanting to go to Foragers for ages so it was good to try out the juice bar.  They have so much fancy stuff, including this super-soft apple caramel I bought the husband.

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I also scored myself a licorice.

snack

Chocolate-covered bears are always good.

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I finally got to make the chia tea lemonade.

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Quite nice!  I will definitely do this again.

Orbit gum loses its flavor and get’s hard too chew very quickly, but it’s neat that my gum is on theme for the month.

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I handed my girlfriend a piece of gum, right after I let her use my apple scented hand sanitizer, and she cracked up.  I might be a bit obsessed.

dinner

We got take-out from Bareburger to go with our “The Office” marathoning.  I ate baby carrots in the car so I could get some veggies in.

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We sat at the bar while we waited.  I got a peach julep slush.  swoon

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My sandwich was grilled chicken topped with smokehouse sauce, blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms, turkey bacon, and fried onions.  {my favorite “burger”}

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Ridiculous.  It is the Big Blue Bacon with modifications to make it pork-free, if you want to try one for yourself.

Adam worked overnight on Saturday and I got home late so I went with my old-standby dinner.

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Plus turkey jerky… for protein.

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I’m not even embarrassed, popcorn’s a whole grain.

Sunday we went to Fletchers.  {my favorite bbq}

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I got the chopped chicken sandwich, which I smothered in pickled jalopeños and their amazing bbq sauce.

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Plus banana puddin(g) for dessert.

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I just wanted to taste the pudding – we were planning on stopping for pie afterwards – but it was so flipping good that I couldn’t stop eating until I basically licked the bowl clean!

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Weekly Wrap-Up; Appletastic

I don’t have a ton to share today – it’s only been two days since my last wrap-up and I didn’t photograph snacks at all – but what I do have is appletastic.  More than 50% of these eats involved apple in some form!  Let’s do this post old-school style…

Wednesday morning I made myself a go-cup of iced cold brew with vanilla almond milk.

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A few minutes after I snapped that picture I spilled the entire thing in my lap.  Whoops.

It was a good day to lose my coffee because I had a nice breakfast already packed for work.

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2% Coconut Chobani topped with two types of sliced plucot and some fresh raspberries.  I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do when plucot season ends, they are my very favorite.  I’ve even gotten the husband hooked on them, finally.

I had an extra-busy morning at work playing catch up.  On Tuesdays I do coverage care on inpatient floors in the hospital so I’m not in the clinic.  Usually I only miss 1 or 2 new patients because that’s our slow day, but this week we got slammed, and I came in on Wednesday to several charts on my desk.  I spent the morning trying to call people to set up appointments but of course none of the numbers on file worked.  <– major flashbacks to my teacher days!

Lunch was apple walnut oatmeal with TJ’s freeze-dried apples.

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Appletastic!  {I promise to stop saying that now.  At least for this post.}

I thought I was fine without my morning coffee, but I practically missed my train home because I was so desperate to get a cup.

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Adam was working a 24-hour shift so I was on my own for the evening.  Fueled by caffeine, I had grand plans of hitting the gym and then cooking a respectable meal to leave in the fridge for the husband.  Really though, I ate two bags of microwave popcorn for dinner after reading this Buzzfeed sad Buffy Tumblr round up and crying so hard that I upset the dog.

Yesterday morning I had much more success with my java.  Coconut iced coffee – cold brew with Almond Joy creamer, skim milk, and coconut water – for the win.

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Plus a KIND apple cinnamon & pecan bar.

Lunch stayed on theme.

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An apple cinnamon raisin Fage with an acutal apple.  Plus I ate Good & Plenty and Diet Dr. Pepper at my desk while I charted at the end of the day.  I’m not sure what my deal is but I have been crazy obsessed with licorice lately.  I knew my lunch wasn’t big enough so I had also packed a seaweed snack for the afternoon but then I couldn’t bear to have anything but G&P.

Dinner came from the grill.  Our unseasonably warm weather has the upside that it encourages outdoor cooking.

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Jennie-O recently sent me some coupons, so the timing was perfect.  P.S.  The timing is good for your too, Jennie-O is running a sweepstakes through September 14th.

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Please note, I purchased the turkey with a free product coupon.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

My burger making skills?  Not so perfect.  There’s a reason that Adam is usually in charge of the grill.  I thought I had a genius idea, to make the patties out of just lean ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, bbq sauce, and crumbled blue cheese. 

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Without bread crumbs or some other binder, the patties were wet and strange and they never did quite become burgers.  Next time I’ll use one of their recipes.

Our Moa kiwi hard cider definitely took some of the sting out of my failure.

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And overall dinner was pretty delicious.

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These were the two best looking patties, if that tells you anything.  I ended up smothering them in more bbq sauce.

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Plus corn on the cob – grilled in tin foil packets with evoo and truffle salt.

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And asparagus – marinated in evoo and Bone Suckin’ mustard before it went on the grill.

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Not bad, not bad at all.  And while I wrote this post I snacked on a small bowl of melted peanut butter (TJ’s chunky pb with chia and flax) with chocolate chips.

Can you even believe that tomorrow today is Friday?  Thank heavens for the short weeks that follow three-day weekends!

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Apple Month Round-Up

09/04/14 means we are four days into Apple Month!  P.S. Two different friends texted me about Apple Month in the beginning of September and I pretty much died of happiness.  I love it when I can share my thematic fervor with others.

Hopefully you guys are planning on celebrating September with lots of apple goodies as well – don’t you dare order a Pumpkin Spice Latte this month! – so I wanted to share a few of my favorite items.

* Trader Joe’s freeze-dried Fuji Apple Slices are my all-time favorite dried fruit.

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They are unsweetened and unsulphured.  The slices are sweet, and closer to chewy than crumbly like some freeze-dried fruit can be.

* Caramel apples are good in theory but messy and impossible in person, caramel apple flavored candies are much better.

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I was impressed with the Werther’s last year (along with caramel apple Milky Ways that I don’t think are available any more but recommend buying if you spot them), and the Twizzlers were a pleasant surprise.  The caramel filling has the perfect amount of sweetness and grit.

* All of the Crispin ciders are good, but Honey Crisp is our favorite.

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This is the sweetest hard cider I’ve ever tasted.

* Ole Smoky send me a jar of their Apple Pie Moonshine and it has become my new favorite thing for themed drinking.

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Adam and I took some sips straight from the jar and were thrilled with it; quite sweet and smooth and the flavor truly is apple pie filling.

old smoky apple pie moonshine

I included the recipe for my new September drink below, and I’ve also started dreaming of some kind of apple moonshine shot with something creamy like half & half, in a honey and graham cracker rimmed shot glass, of course.

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Apple Pie à la Moonshine, serves 1

  • 2 oz Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine
  • 1 oz Goldschläger  (any cinnamon vodka would work here as well)
  • ginger ale to taste

Pour Ole Smokey and Goldschläger over ice.  Top with ginger ale.  Garnish with an apple slice if you’re fancy.

apple pie a la moonshine - eatingchalk.com

The Moonshine was provided to me free of charge to review, but all of the other products were purchased with my own money.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.  I just really like theme months.

What is your favorite item for Apple Month?  Are you going to go for the early release PSL, or wait for October like a sane person?

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10 Things

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Long time no see!  My mini posting hiatus was not for lack of things to blather about.  The husband had a full day off on Saturday and we like to make the most of our time mooning at each other and eating mass amounts of cheese so I didn’t take any photos.  Then I spent Sunday eating more cheese and watching a truly horrifying amount of Netflix (more on that below!).

I picked ten things to share for this post, ranging from product reviews and beauty (ha!), to entertainment, to foodie.

{1} Let’s start with the best meal of the week, the best meal of the whole year, actually.

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Runner & Stone, down in the burgeoning area on 3rd Ave in Park Slope, is officially my new favorite restaurant.

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The space and the menu were beautiful and thoughtfully done.  The dishes are not too pricy, but this meal felt luxurious.  I don’t remember what was in this amuse-bouche, but it was complimentary and tasty.

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As was the house-made bread and butter.

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We started dinner with a round of drinks.  Vodka soda – with Industry Standard, a Brooklyn-distilled vodka – for me and a Gowanus – aka an extra dirty martini – for Adam.

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He went with two small dishes for dinner.  White bean soup with sherry,

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and the deconstructed duck pastrami.

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Both were delicious, but my dish totally stole the show.

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Rye pappardelle with smoked salmon, dill, and house-made crème fraiche.  I loved how playful this was, and more importantly, how tasty.

We obviously had to try dessert.

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An orange wine with their buckwheat tres leches.

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Runner & Stone, we’ll be back!  Soon!

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We ended our date night by stopping in at some of our favorite Brooklyn haunts for drinks, as well as dessert round 2 at Ample Hills.  What a night!

{2} I’ll be less verbose about items 2 – 10, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less exciting.  This homemade dinner looks God-awful, but it really was wonderful.  TJ’s Sprouted Red Jasmine Rice with curried lentils and Jenna’s Baingan Bharta, topped with plain yogurt and Sriracha.

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I didn’t love the eggplant – apparently I really do dislike garam masala – but I used to think that I hated lentils and I was pleasantly surprised by them.  I usually make lentils just to be nice to Adam, but now I want to make them again for my taste buds too.  They were soooo easy; we just simmered red lentils with water and a little salt, curry powder, turmeric, and smoked paprika.

{3} Another dinner success.

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Arugula blend salad with cave-aged blue cheese, sweet and spicy pecans, and a maple vinaigrette,

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topped with a Shallotta Salmon Burger.

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I had big plans for a salmon burger and egg sandwich but apparently the patties were pretty good because by the time I went to make my eggwich Adam had eaten them all up.

{4} This item involves a generous box of free samples from Numi Organic Tea and Nutiva.

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As I said, these items were provided free of charge.  I was no provided further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

They’ve teamed up to promote their genius mash-up recipe idea: chia iced tea.  Sounds good, right?  I haven’t actually tried the recipe yet – I’m getting on that this weekend – but I wanted to share it with y’all, along with my thoughts about the products in general.

Iced Tea + Lemonade and Chia Seeds

  • 1/2 tsp. Nutiva Organic Black Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. water, room temperature
  • 1 Numi Organic Tea – Breakfast Blend black tea bag
  • ½ cup water, boiling ½ cup lemonade Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices
  1. Add chia seeds to 2 tbsp. of room temperature water. Stir to combine, and set aside for 5 minutes, until chia soften. 
  2. Meanwhile, bring ½ cup of water to boil.  Steep tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes. 
  3. Discard tea bag and pour tea into a tall glass. Add lemonade and chia seeds and stir to combine. 
  4. Top with ice, garnish with a lemon wedge and serve. 

So far for the teas, I’ve only tried the Breakfast Blend so far.  The mint is definitely up next once I’ve thinned out my tea bag stash a bit; it smells insanely delicious.

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I can’t say that I adored it, but I have been hating most hot teas.  I’m excited to try it iced, a much better test for me.

Chia seeds are always fun.  I used the black variety in one of my favorite smoothies.

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1.5 Tbsp chia seeds + 1.5 cups frozen strawberries + 1.5 cups lemonade.

And the O’Coconut Snacks are great.

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They’re basically macaroons, with chia and hemp for extra flavor.

{5} Speaking of coconut, I made coconut iced coffee that rocked my face off.

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Cold brew with TJ’s coconut water and a big glug of Almond Joy coffee creamer.  Gah!

{6} A killer alcoholic beverage.  My strategy of choosing booze that sounds like dessert has never served me wrong.

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Does honey beer even need more explanation?

{7} Another product review.

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See disclaimer above.  Free item.  No other $ exchanged.  All my opinion.  Yada, yada.

Valentia sent me their Even Glow Vitamin C Serum (sold exclusively on Amazon).  I have basically no makeup or skin care regimen – no wrinkle cream, no foundation, and I guiltily put sunblock on once or twice a month – so I am not the best judge, but I was a fan.  The serum smells like lemon meringue pie!  I haven’t used it long enough to discern any long-term, wrinkle-busting effects, but day-to-day it makes my skin look a bit glowy.  Photo-evidence straight out of bed, 5 minutes after application, prior to putting on mascara or brushing my teeth.

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Speaking of terrible selfies… I need to show you guys my hair.  My hair has been a hot mess ever since I dyed the whole thing brown after the purple to gray debacle.  It looked like it could be my natural color and was just inexplicably damaged.  I figured if I went blonde(ish) at least the damage would seem less sad.  So I went in for some highlights/ombre.

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I love it!  I couldn’t get a great picture but this is definitely an improvement.

{8} While we’re taking about hair… Who saw season 1 of “The Killing?”  Linden’s 90’s style, face-framing wisp bangs drove me freaking crazy!  In spite of my ceaseless Facebook ranting about the bangs, over the past week I’ve Netflixed my way through almost all 4 seasons.  I haaaaaated the season 3 finale but I’m hoping they fix things up in the Netflix-exclusive final 6 episodes.  Also, I’m thrilled that Jewel Staite makes some appearances, but she has rocked as both a badass space cowboy/mechanic and badass space doctor, why have all of her recent parts been the easy-to-please girlfriend?

{9} I never watched Chelsea Handler’s tv show, but I just started her third book.

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Her stories are hilarious.  The books are kind of terrible for my commute because I feel bad laughing so loudly on the LIRR.

{10} It’s Apple Month!!!  I’ve got a round-up post of important apple products headed your way tomorrow.  And yes, I’ve already started my pumpkin beer collection.

Do you think you’ve eaten your best meal of 2014 yet, or is it coming up this holiday season? 

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