Road Trip Adventure

Two of our favorite people recently moved out of Brooklyn for Traverse City, MI and our last three days were spent on an epic journey road tripping to their gorgeous wedding.  We spent two full days in the car and only one day in Michigan but it was totally worth it to see one of my oldest childhood friends get married.

We were a bit worried about the 30+ hours we had to spend driving but it honestly ended up flying by.  We had my fully-stocked i-pod, a funny book on tape, and brand new scenery outside our windows.  Plus we are stupid in love with each other and probably could have just talked for 28 hours (I definitely fell asleep towards the end!) and had a good time.

Five out of six meals Friday and Sunday were eaten in our car, mostly junk food.  Here were a few of the culinary highpoints…

Apples with peanut butter.

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Carrots and dip.

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Not one, but two, marshmallow flavored lattes!!

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Cola gummies.

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This total throwback.

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The gas station cashier got such a kick over how excited we were to find Surge.  Unsurprisingly, it didn’t taste as good as I thought it did as a kid.

We ate very well in Traverse City too.  Breakaway for coffees.

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Espresso that actually happened to be roasted in Brooklyn!

Lunch and drinks at Rare Bird Brewery.

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Adam and I split macaroni and cheese with roasted duck and salad with roasted beets and spiced pepitas.

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The food was good but the drinks were better, I had a locally brewed ale that tasted like key lime pie!  Plus an apple sour beer.

Ice cream at Moomers.

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White chocolate Oreo and black cherry.  We actually had this twice in one day because our friends did an ice cream cake for the wedding.

Late bar food dinner at Workshop Brewery our first night in town.

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Nachos with beans and ancho chicken.

I’m off to spend the day with my husband!

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Four Day Week Top Five

I’m not at work today!  Or tomorrow, or the next day, or the next!!  Even better, I get to spend every second of the next four days with my husband, who just came back from a trip out of town.

Nothing is as exciting as this long weekend, but here are five foods from the week that were thrilling in their own right…

{1} Compartés bars.  They are crazy expensive but I am completely obsessed.

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The Salty Malty bar was one of the best chocolates I’ve ever eaten.

{2} Taco salad.

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Romaine, carrots, chopped tomato and onion, corn, cheddar, salsa, sour cream, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.

{3} Junky fast-food style chicken wrap from the cafeteria.

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Totally delicious and definitely not nutritious; this is why I mostly pack my lunches for work even though I eat for free in the cafeteria – the salad bar is available but nine times out of ten I’m going to pass it up for something I can eat with fries.

{4} A product review from Sonoma Syrups, whose goods contain no perservatives or artificial flavors or colors.  The syrups can be used in alcoholic drinks and baking, but no one is surprised that I tried them out in iced coffee.  Sea Salt Caramel isn’t quite as robust as a scoop of dulce de leche, but it definitely made a better coffee than the Starbucks’ caramel macchiato.

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The Vanilla Hazelnut was tasty too.  A 2 Tbsp serving of the syrups has </100 calories and is strong enough to flavor a 10 ounce cup of dark coffee.

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And Meyer Lemon was yummy enough that I didn’t even wish this iced tea was coffee!

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Heads up PSL addicts, they do have a pumpkin spice syrup.

{5} Meze meal.  I met a girlfriend for drinks and dinner mid-week.

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I ordered spanakopita, smoked cremini mushrooms, and hummus with warm chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs.  The spanakpita was meh (we both thought it tasted like something you’d buy frozen at Trader Joe’s) but the hummus was great.

Enjoy your weekend!

Three Day Weekend Staycation

Not only was I off last Friday for a three-day weekend, but Adam started a 2-week vacation and was free to hang out with me all three days as well!  We had originally thought about taking a trip to Boston but the hotel situation was prohibitively expensive and we live in the best city on Earth so it made more sense to do a staycation instead.  Basically we had a three day long date!  We walked and ate and repeated until we were sunburnt, stuffed, and smiling.

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Friday: we took the train to the new-ish Hudson Yards Station.

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Walked around Chelsea and got coffees at the up and coming Chelsea Terminal Warehouse.  Walked along the Highline.

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Walked through Greenwich Village.  Watched the sunset at Chelsea Piers.

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Saturday: we drove into Dumbo.  Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Took the free ferry to Ikea and spent an hour playing design a dream home (we did not have a couples fight, probably because all we needed to purchase was Swedish gummy candy from the bulk bins).

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Spent the afternoon exploring Red Hook.

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Sunday: we stopped for coffees in Floral Park.  Got brunch in Park Slope.  Walked a bit in Carrol Gardens.

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Ate nachos in bed and watched NCIS.

I had to be choosy or this post would be too long even longer because we stopped at at least ten different spots for coffees and ice creams alone, but her were were the culinary highlights…

Cold brew from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Aussie iced coffee from Bluestone Lane.

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It was boiling hot all weekend and we drank about a million beverages, including an ultra-hydrating product sample – coconut water from Harmless Harvest.

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They sent me some free product coupons and cute cups in exchange for this post.

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Harmless Harvest is my favorite coconut water anyway – the company is Fair for Life certified, the flavor is sweet and not “gaggy” like some brands can be, and the bottles are often pink*! – so I happily accepted.  *Per the company – “Coconut water is clear when bottled but contains a variety of antioxidants which can turn pink once they interact with sunlight.”

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I was told to include a photo of myself enjoying the coconut water and while I tried pick a picture Adam was busy guzzling down my drink, so clearly Harmless Harvest gets a thumbs up from him as well!

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Adobo-ritos with chicken and kimchi fried rice from 2nd City.  We also had really fantastic calamansi lime jello shots.

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Our first time at Dominique Ansel.  I thought the pastry was meh but we also tried the burrata soft serve (with balsamic caramel and a macerated strawberry) and it was mind-blowing.

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Black sesame cream mochi.  We also picked up some cola gummies!

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Seafood lunch at Brooklyn Crab.  We got beers and view.

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Simple but wonderful salad to start, bibb lettuce with sweet and spicy pepitas and a maple goat cheese vinaigrette.

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I got a blue crab roll with Old Bay mayo.

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Steve’s Key Lime Pie, finally, I have wanted to go here since our original move to Brooklyn.

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The swingle – aka key lime pie on a stick dipped in chocolate! – did not disappoint.

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Brunch at Bricolage.

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Bloody Mary.

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I got the vegetarian crepe with king oyster and maitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, and fried eggs.  Served rolled up in lettuce leaves with fresh mint and a spicy sauce.

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Coke float soft-serve at Milk Bar.

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Only two more days until the next weekend – this one’s going to be a four day doozy!

Time Crunch

Remember when I said seven days of work in a row wouldn’t be too bad?  I’m old now.  I am tired.  I don’t have a ton to share because 2/4 dinners this week were Chipotle.  And I only cooked one of the two non-Chipotle nights, the other we walked the dog to get milkshakes and then I got into bed the minute we got home at 7:30, fully dressed.

Coffee, obviously.  Starbucks pro tip – order the cold brew “with room, no water” so you can ensure it doesn’t get too diluted behind the counter.  I put milk in my coffee anyway so I’d rather temper the concentrate strength myself.

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With almonds.

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I’m still dying over the Grady’s Cold Brew with fat-free half & half and milk.

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My lunches this week were centered around a generous box of freeze-dried fruits samples from Crunchies.  The products are vegan, gluten-free, and kosher, and they contain no added sugars or flavorings, just fruits that have undergone a low-pressure drying process.  Bonus – Crunchies sources the fruits directly from the farmers who grow them.

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the free products were my only compensation for this post, all my own opinions, blah blah

We buy a lot of freeze-dried fruit because Adam often packs it for work so we were excited to try some new options.

Lows – raspberry.  Too seedy and sour/bitter.  To be fair, I don’t like any of the freeze-dried raspberries I’ve tried and I don’t love fresh raspberries.

High – everything else!  These were the best freeze-dried fruits we’ve tasted.  The strawberries weren’t too sweet or sour – no mouth pucker, the banana flavor was super strong, the grapes were sweet and a bit chewy, as were the pineapples.  10/10.

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I enjoyed the fruits in yogurt bowls for lunch (I took half the bag and Adam took the other half with him).  Plain Siggi’s, strawberry banana, Nonni’s dark chocolate banana.

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0% Fage, raspberries, pom seeds, maple peanut butter.

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Vanilla yogurt, grapes, pom seeds.

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2% Fage, pineapple, coconut butter.

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And here’s my only dinner photo, turkey and eggs.

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Ground turkey sautéed with celery, evoo, tomato paste, Sriracha, brown sugar, and fish sauce.  Topped with soft scrambled eggs.  I made Adam a similar but less spicy dish for breakfast when he got home from work and he loved it.

Now I have a three-day weekend!

Working Weekend Wrap-Up

No traditional weekend for me, my only day off was Thursday.  I’m actually working straight through this Thursday – 7 days in a row – which means next weekend will be a three-day extravaganza!  It’s hard to complain about 7 days anyway, my last year at Buff State when I was doing school/internship/part-time job there were a few stretches where I went 30 days plus without a true day off.

The past 4 days in numbers –

  • glasses of iced coffee – 7
  • packed lunches – 0
  • product reviews* – 2
  • desserts – 10 billion
  • books read start to finish** – 1

notes: *the products were both sent to me free of charge and neither company gave me additional compensation for this post; **the book was a murder mystery that I actually hated but needed to know the ending to

Here are the highlights…

Key lime cookie from Schmackary’s.

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With white chocolate, pistachios, and cream cheese icing.  The middle is the best part.

Three new dark chocolate flavors of Nonni’s Almond THINaddictives* – Dark Chocolate Banana Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, and Double Dark Chocolate Almond.  FYI – hit up their Facebook page for a new flavors giveaway.

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They are 70-80 calories per pack (2 thins) and crisp but not too crumbly.  I though the double chocolate flavor was a bit plain but the cherry and banana had great notes of tart and sweet.  This week I paired them with my coffee but I’m also looking forward to crumbling them into yogurts.

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That combo is killer, Grady’s is thick and sweet and it makes my heart sing.

Traditional breakfast.

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Potatoes, scrambled eggs, and (turkey) bacon.  Covered in ketchup because I grew up in St. Thomas and we put ketchup on everything.  <– real talk, I didn’t know that ketchup wasn’t an automatic pairing for chicken wings until I went to college; now I mostly use other condiments but scrambled eggs always get ketchup

The cafeteria is pretty grim over the weekend but Friday I did eat this seafood feast.

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Fried shrimp, potato wedges, and vinegar-based cole slaw.  We had leftover ice cream from our birthday party and I taught my coworkers about Australian iced coffees.

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They loved it!

Since I didn’t have my yogurt lunches I got my probiotics in the form of Health-Ade Kombucha*.

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Their small-batch (2.5 gallons) fizz is organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free.  They do their fermenting in glass containers only and the bottles are fantastic and just begging to house a handful of wildflowers.  Health-Ade generously sent me a case of Ginger Lemon.

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I have to confess here that I actually kind of hate ginger.  Nonetheless, I found the kombucha to be very enjoyable.  The flavor behind the spice was very “clean” and just sweet enough.  I still wouldn’t buy this flavor once I finish my samples but I will damn sure scoop up Pink Lady Apple or California Grape the minute I spot them.  P.S. I brought a bottle to a ginger loving friend and she said it was hands down the best kombucha she’s ever tasted.

Date night in Hell’s Kitchen.  My NCIS obsession finally paid off for Adam – I took us to Donna Bella Bake Shop because it’s co-owned by Pauley Perrette (aka lab tech Abby).  We had a dreamy lemon bar and this delectable brownie with a cookie crust and ganache on top.

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We walked past Room Service and decided to do Thai for dinner.

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That guava mojito was terrible and weak.  But the crispy duck salad wasn’t half bad.

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I ordered the Pad Noh Mai for dinner, shrimps, minced chicken, fresh basils, Thai chili, and bamboo shoots with herbs chili paste garlic sauce.

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The menu promised spice and it delivered.  I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant though, Hell’s Kitchen is a bastion of excellent, authentic Thai restaurants and you can do better.

I cooked!  A real dinner, a stew, made of vegetables no less.  I put the crock pot to work for me, filled to its brim.  Onion / garlic / carrot / kale / red bell pepper / white beans / red lentils / diced tomato / veggie broth.

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I didn’t bother to season or brown anything so the end result was a little bland, but topped with melted cheese it was hearty and satisfying.

Three down, four to go.

Food To Stay

I’m posting a day early because my week ends a day early – I’m off today and then working through the weekend.  Unfortunately at 6:30 am I am already behind on my long to-do list, so I’ll try to keep this post short.

Highlights from this week…

Cafeteria sandwich day.  A wrap with turkey, cheddar, and veggies.

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Plus fries.

Coworker potluck lunch to celebrate the three of us with summer birthdays.

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My plate had sweet Filipino spaghetti with tofu, rice pilaf with dried fruit, and homemade falafel.  We also had 1 million +1 desserts.

Yogurt bowl with vanilla Siggi’s, chopped plum and nectarine, and maple peanut butter.

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The peanut butter is fantastic, we’ve been eating a lot of toast.

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Usually paired with these sugar crunch grapes.

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A final snack highlight was these dill almonds.

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I just tossed almonds, evoo, a pinch of salt, and several shakes of dried dill in a skillet until they were toasty.

Chipotle.  We may have eaten Chipotle 2 out of 3 days this week.

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I’m not exactly winning at dinnertime meal prep motivation lately.

I did make this yummy tossed-together dinner though.

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Leftover pasta with TJ’s turkey summer sausage, peas, red bell pepper, and sharp cheddar.

You guys know that I don’t often do beauty product reviews on the blog, but this pitch was sent the week I turned 31 and I was feeling vulnerable.

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I’m so glad I accepted because I ended up being impressed with the ToGoSpa products.  Rather than creams or gels – which, let’s be real, I’m too lazy to deal with – their active ingredients are packed in collagen gel pads you stick on your face.  P.S. they are paraben and dye free.

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I was afraid to smile when I took my selfies (see the horror show below) but I soon realized that the EYES pads actually stay put really well, I spent the 15 minutes with them on my face working around the house and they didn’t budge.  Bonus – the wording on the packing made me smile: “for best results, take them out of the package and put them on your face!”

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per usual, I was not provided further compensation for this post and all opinions are my own

I’ve tried the Ice Water and Green Tea ones so far, because I definitely sport dark circles thanks to my NCIS obsession.  True fact – it is really, really hard to take a flattering picture sans makeup, on a camera (so no front-facing option), and afraid to smile.

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You get the idea.  I can’t say that my face looked markedly different but the area under my eyes certainly felt much nicer.  I definitely plan on continuing to use the treatments.

Last Week’s Top Six

Better late than never?  I spent my weekend in a malstrom of giant bowls of stovetop popcorn and NCIS episodes and couldn’t pull myself away to blog.  I’m currently watching NCIS but it will probably be awhile before I eat any more popcorn!

Last week’s top six…

{1} Australian iced coffee.

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Cold brew concentrate, chocolate milk, ice, and a scoop of ice cream.  I started several mornings this way.

{2} Product samples from Viki’s Granola.

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They sent me some tasty granola to review.  Banana walnut was my favorite.  The granolas are gluten-free and have </160 calories per 1/4 cup.  The texture was unique, they were much softer and less clumped that most of the other granolas I’ve tried.

Very nice in my yogurt lunches.

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Especially with sugar crunch grapes.

{3} Compartes Birthday Cake Bar.

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White chocolate with sprinkles and three types of vanilla bean, it tasted like cake!  These bars are so worth the $10 price tag, I want to try more.

{4} Pasta salad, served cold.

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Whole wheat bow ties / spinach pesto / heirloom baby tomatoes / baked tofu with balsamic / cubes of swiss and sharp cheddar.  We almost never eat cold pasta salad and this felt fun and summery.

{5} Pimento cheese nachos.

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Our favorite meal, with a southern spin.  Zapp’s sweet pimento cream cheese chips, shredded chicken, red bell pepper, and candied pecans.

{6} Fantastic oven-fried chicken.

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We made a version of this chicken from A Cozy Kitchen and it blew our freaking minds.  With a garlic butter sauce instead of the spicy one.  We plan on making another batch this week.

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