See You Next Year!

Last night we made cheesecake brownies with the cherry gourmet sauce my grandma sent us for Christmas.

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Yum!  I had several but my camera was charging at that point.  Plus a huge bowl of popcorn {with melted butter, for the win}.  We stayed up past 2am so there was plenty of time to eat.  Our sleep habits are ridiculous.  I know I said I wasn’t making any resolutions, but in 2013 I am going to have to mature up my sleep schedule.

Of course, I overslept this morning and I didn’t pack food.  I have to start packing food for work because buying breakfast and lunch is a huge waste of money.  Both were good though.  A cheddar basil scone.

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And some waldorf chicken salad.

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I also bought a grande caramel macchiato from Spot but I forgot to photograph it.

I wanted Thai food as my last meal of 2012 and Thai Orchid Cafe delivered.

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Pad Kee Mao, aka Drunken Noodles, ordered Thai spicy.  In contrast with last night, this was the best plate of food I’ve been served in forever.

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Perfection!

Followed by a brownie with ice cream for dessert.

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…plus another brownie; they are so flipping good!

We are going to watch a few more episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and then I hope to turn in early.  I know most people like to party on New Year’s Eve but my goal is always to be in bed before the ball drops.

I assume you’re all reading this tomorrow morning; what’d you do for New Year’s Eve?

Resolutely

2012 was a good year, but sadly that was in spite of my resolutions, not because of them.  This was a year of good food, good time, good friends.  A year of learning and professional growth.  A year I got to spend with my favorite man and my favorite dog.  It just wasn’t a year of goal achieving.

Let’s look at how I did.  {I reordered my resolutions from least to most successful}

#1 – Work out a minimum of three times per week.

Fail.  Wow, what a fail.  I have no excuses and little in the way of explanations.  I have to do better in 2013 because otherwise my freaking heart is going to stop.

#3 – Put the time and effort into my school work that I can be proud of each week.

Ish.  I did pretty well this semester, but not A’s across the board and I certainly could have done that.  This was my first semester in Dietetics with an outside job and with that addition I am proud of my performance compared with other semesters.  I definitely should have worked less so that I could study more, but in the end we needed the money more than I needed slightly higher test scores.

#4 – Continue working on being a positive person.

Mostly Win.  We went through a lot of bad(ish) stuff this year and it really helped me to appreciate all of the good in my life.  This is an arena where you can always do better, but I think I made steps in the right direction.

#2 – Continue to read at least one book a month, for a minimum total of 30 books this year.

Total Win!  Check out my list –

January

Death Du Jour – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Deadly Decisions  – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Fatal Voyage – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Grave Secrets – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Bare Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Monday Mourning – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Cross Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Break No Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Bones to Ashes – Kath Reichs  (f)

February

206 Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Firefly Lane – Kristin Hannah  (f)

Spider Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

March

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins  (f)

April

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins  (f)

The Surgeon – Tess Gerritsen  (f)

May

Kitchen Counter Cooking School – Kathleen Flinn  (m)

Flash and Bones – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Postmortem – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

Body of Evidence – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

All That Remains – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

How to Eat a Small Country – Amy Finley  (m)

Mocking Jay  – Suzanne Collins  (f)

Cruel and Unusual – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

June

The Body Farm – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

From Potter’s Field – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie – Wendy McClure  (m)

Service Included – Phoebe Damrosch  (m)

Ice Cold – Tess Gerritsen  (f)

July

The Heart and the Fist – Eric Greitens  (m)

The Silent Girl – Tess Gerritsen  (f)

Cause of Death – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Unnatural Exposure – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Point of Origin – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Sellevision – Augusten Burroughs  (f)

Black Notice – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

The Last Precinct – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Blow Fly – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

August

Trace – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Predator – Patrica Cornwell  (f)

Book of the Dead – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

September

October

Talking with my Mouth Full – Gail Simmons  (m)

November

Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum  (f)

Bones Are Forever – Kathy Reichs  (f)

Scarpetta – Patricia Cornwall  (f)

The Scarpetta Factor – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

December

Port Mortuary – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

Red Mist  – Patricia Cornwell  (f)

I missed September but read 47 books in total.  Go me!  This is a something I hope to continue.

I’ve decided not to make an resolutions tonight.  2013 is going to be a big year with lots of challenges already – graduation! moving! getting a big girl job! passing the rd exam! thinking about having a baby! adjusting to Adam’s residency schedule!  Instead, I think I’m going to focus on my birthday list.

Are you making any resolutions this year?  How did you do on your 2012 resolutions?

A Meal That Should Have Been Put Out To Pasture

Goodbye, Sunday; and hello, work week.  More importantly, soon it’s goodbye, 2012!  And that first sentence was especially unimportant because I worked today and only have two shifts during the actual week; go figure.

This day got off to a great start and then rapidly went downhill.  Sometimes that happens.  And I plan on doing some baking to cheer us up as soon I hit publish.

On a good note, check out this awesome box of new flavors that Cascadian Farm sent me to sample –

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I guess they heard my incessant raving about how good their Dark Chocolate Almond Granola is 😉  I ended up trying both products today, since I have no self-control when it comes to trying new things.  Both products (plus the Crunchy Bars in Peanut Butter and Oats & Cocoa) will be available in January of 2013.

Granola with yogurt for breakfast.

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I ate a big bowl of the Cascadian Farm Organic Berry Cobbler Granola on top of Wegman’s low-fat vanilla maple yogurt.

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The granola was marvelous; I might like it even more than the dark chocolate almond!  It was sweet without being too sweet and crunchy without being tooth-breaking.  The light isn’t tricking you either, it actually is pink!  Even the bites without dried fruit leave you with a lovely taste of berry cobbler.  Adam ate a big bowl too and said that the granola held up nicely in milk.  He reported that he found it to be delicious, with a good amount of clumps.

The bar I ate as my snack at work.

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The Cascadian Farm Organic Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bar gets the same review as the granola.

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I loved it!  And did a little bit of incessant raving this very afternoon as I tried to tell the husband how good my snack was.  It had exactly the texture I’m looking for in a crunchy granola bar and crumbled nicely.  And the oats had this amazing aftertaste of honey.  I wish I had a better food critic’s vocabulary because I don’t really have the words to describe how good the honey flavor was.  I’m going to go with – round, clover, and authentic (vs. honey flavoring).  Does that make sense?

And I can now report that both the granola and the bar did a good job of keeping me full.  The only other thing I needed to eat before the end of my 4 o’clock shift was this handful of hard candy that I was using as a cough drop.

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Also delicious, by the way.  They were milk coffee candies I found in an Asian market in Philly and I wish I had bought another bag-full.

My Cascadian Farm goodies kept me full through work, but by the time my shift was over I was starving.  Adam picked me up from work and we headed to an early dinner at DeFlippo’s with a Living Social deal.

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Fun right?  Nope, it sucked.  Like super sucked; sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked.  I was served the worst plate of food I’ve ever had in my life.  But on a positive note, it was so terrible that it was actually funny, so at least we got a good laugh out of the deal.  P.S.  The lighting is that bad in the rest of the pictures.

Caesar salad that was swimming in dressing and cheese and randomly came topped with tomatoes.

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Cold bread with even colder butter.

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Shrimp cocktail appetizer that Adam and I split.

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Randomly, this was delicious.  I don’t know how DeFlippo’s pulled it off – my guess is that microwaving the rest of the meal gave them time to shine with the appetizer! – but this was some great shrimp cocktail.  The shrimp had good texture and tasted very fresh.  They were served with enough cocktail sauce that you could actually dip each shrimp and the sauce was tasty as well.  Overall the dish was yummy; it was a very good deal for the price.

And then came my meal.

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French fries were inexplicably offered alongside my “Italian” “food.”

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These actually weren’t bad and I ended up eating most of them in desperate hunger.

“Eggplant parmigiana” {strong emphasis on the quotation marks} that was the single worst dish I’ve ever been served.

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The dish could not have more clearly been bought frozen.  They must have tried to fry it at some point, because the eggplant had sopped up an astonishing amount of oil.  The makeup was 80% breadcrumb, 10% cheese, 5% sauce, and 5% eggplant.  It was terrifically bad.  I made myself eat away a corner so as not to be rude, and when I made Adam taste a bite I laughed so hard I almost cried.  <– he called it abhorrent.

We got milkshakes on the way home.

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Peppermint swirl for me!

And now I’m off to make brownies.

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Have you ever had a meal so bad it was actually funny?

Oh Baby Please Don’t Snow

Hello, again.  I didn’t blog the two days after Christmas because I got hit with a winter cold.  I’m still feeling badly but I’m definitely on the mend.  And yesterday was our 10th/5th anniversary!  10 years of being together and 5 of being married; they line up exactly because we made a point of getting married on our previous anniversary.

We spent yesterday doing our favorite things (sushi, froyo, a movie…) and just enjoying each other’s company.  I don’t talk about it a lot on the blog, but I am so fortunate to have Adam in my life and I could not be happier.  We both feel unbelievably lucky to get to be together.  We watched our wedding video this morning and had a great time reminiscing.  I’m going to try to get it up on YouTube if I can because it’s also hilarious!  And there’s great footage of my grandpa giving a toast (a poem he wrote for the event) that made me cry.  It is so amazing that we have his voice on record, it makes our wedding video all the more special to me.

Breakfast today was a big bowl of cereals.

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All Bran Bran Buds, the last serving of Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Almond Granola (Adam ate through this stuff in a hurry!), toasted coconut, and skim milk.

I also had the rest of the dip (4-5 Tbsp?) with some kettle chips.

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And this cookie butter candy bar that I found in the back of the pantry while putting away Christmas gifts.

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Score!

The afternoon brought nachos (with black beans and salsa).

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We need “tv watching food” for our “How I Met Your Mother Marathon.”  <– it’s good, but no “Scrubs”

To drink, I had the organic aloe vera drink from Aloic.

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I have missed aloe drinks like crazy since we moved away from Brooklyn (where you find find them in every bodega, in fabulous combinations with tasty tropical fruits) so when Aloic offered to send me two bottles to try I happily accepted.  Here are the stats –

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The drink’s taste was crisp and clean; it went down easy!  And the pieces of aloe were fun to chew.  If you’ve never tried an aloe drink with pulp, the closest comparison I can think of is the jelly that often comes with bubble tea.  Delicious.

And I ate the last of the tree pasta with salt and evoo.

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I really need to consume some veggies but my cold is making everything healthy sound terrible.  Also, I have yet to go back to hot yoga and I can feel my wallet weeping with every missed class during my unlimited Groupon period.

I’m not going to post dinner, because I’m not sure yet what we’re having.  Instead two updates –

1. The weather – it is freaking snowing!

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That was the view from inside the car before Adam dug us out yesterday so we could go on our anniversary date.

2. My hair – it’s freaking purple!

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I continue to lose dye with each shower (that’s clearly not right) and as the color gets lighter it becomes much more noticeable.

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I love it!

My Elfits

You know how sometimes something is so lame that it goes full circle and becomes awesome?  That is what I like to think happens with this particular activity.  Every year I pull out all of my red and green stops in the week leading up to Christmas.  Since I was working in a children’s toy store the week before Christmas, this year I really tried to go all out.  Here we go…

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P.S. I coined the term “elfit” while describing this tradition to my coworker the other day.  It may have been my proudest moment to date.

What lame things did you do to get in the holiday spirit this year?

Our New Christmas Traditions

Happy holidays, from our family to yours!

We spent the last two days making memories and building our own traditions.  We missed our family like crazy, but other than it was one of our best Christmas days ever.  It helped that most of our new family traditions involved eating lots of tasty food!

One event I hope not to turn into a tradition was December 23rd’s 3 am grocery trip.  We had a slight misstep with the baking I did for my co-workers’ Christmas gifts.  One of my pies burnt to a crisp and I had to go buy a replacement gift in the middle of the night.  Also, we ate the salvageable half of the burnt pie… at 3 am.

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I made my Hello Dolly Pies and they were delicious.  I hope everyone liked them!

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We exchanged gifts at our company holiday breakfast.

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Our bosses took us out for a delicious meal at Mythos.  I had never been there before but I’m still sure that what I ordered was the best thing on the menu.  A burrito with turkey, eggs, potatoes and cheddar, smothered in hollandaise.

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It came with berries and Greek yogurt on the side and everything was delicious.  I ate half and brought the rest to Adam who loved it as well.

We ran a few errands when Adam picked me up from breakfast and we ended up going on an adventure.  Vineeta International Market has been hiding under my nose on Grant for months!

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We had a grand time wandering around and came home with lots of goodies.

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Including the Thumbs Up cola we shared.

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Then we trimmed the tree.

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We couldn’t buy a big tree because the dog is a monster but we enjoyed this little magical grow tree I bought Adam for Hanukkah.

And then we had pie.

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Gaaah; can this be a yearly tradition?  That pie is so fricking good.

So was the eggnog seltzer I sipped on all day.

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I had a salad for lunch.

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Romaine with peanut sauce, buckwheat groats, chopped honeycrisp, and cheddar.

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Plus the last of the sugar-plum candies.

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We did pizza for dinner.

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Why mess with our usual traditions?

Then we stayed up late watching “How I Met Your Mother.”  We’ve decided that’s our new tv marathon of choice.

This morning (Christmas!!) we slept in late like a couple of old people.  It was pretty great.  The dog started his morning with sirloin and bacon wet food.

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And I started mine with toffee.

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Plus a glass of eggnog with nutmeg.

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Then we got all fancy with breakfast.

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Seriously fancy.  Check out we bought at Wegman’s –

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Lobster for Christmas breakfast?  That can definitely become a tradition!  We cooked turkey bacon and then used the skillet to sautéechopped lobster tail in butter.  Then we scrambled in egg whites (leftover from the pies, plus one yolk) and baby spinach.

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It was quite good.  And lunch was a winner as well.

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We used this Christmas tree pasta that my co-worker gave me.

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I sautéed sliced mushroom, chopped red peppers, and baby spinach in butter and evoo.  Then I tossed in pasta, a big dollop of Nayo, and a huge handful of shredded cheese.

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Ridiculous good.

And the bowl Cannoli ice cream I had next was even better.

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Ben and Jerry just keep getting it right.

For dinner we went over to our friends’ house for a party.  We brought over a good dip, and terrible chips for everyone to try.

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The White Chocolate Peppermint Pringle’s looked so nasty that there was no way Adam and I could pass up the experience of trying them for a measly $2.  Pro tip – freaking terrible, aka totally worth the money to try.

My dinner plate.

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Tons of salad with mashed potato and mac and cheese.  With homemade strawberry shortcake for dessert.

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I ate about half.  Plus a candy cane.

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That cane was actually my hook in a candy cane fishing game we played.  We went through a series of challenges from Minute to Win It.  Hilarious.

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Adam and I won!  Woot!

We took a long walk to get home and stopped for sushi on the way back.

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I had two pieces of inarai (tofu skin) but some amazing fried thing.  It was the perfect way to end a great holiday.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

P.S. Here’s a video of Webster opening his Christmas present.  You’re welcome.

Use Your Noggin

Hello, hello!  The days I’m excited to blog are always the same days I’m utterly exhausted.  Go figure.  Saturday was a symphony of holiday flavors but also a 9+ hour day at work.  Instead of posting last night I had a total tantrum and passed out fully dressed… so here is a 2-day recap.

Remember when I said “Saturday was a symphony of holiday flavors”?  You know, like five seconds ago.  Well, my day went eggnog –> candy cane –> gingerbread; bam!

Nog based overnight oats for breakfast.

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I put 1/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup Silk Soy Nog, and 1 Tbsp chia seeds in the fridge overnight, then Saturday morning I added 1 sliced banana and a big dash of Christmas sprinkles.

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So festive and delicious.  Also, holy frick, I love chia seeds so much.

My candy cane came in the form of a Peppermint Stick Clif Bar during work.

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This is Clif’s best seasonal flavor by far.  The bar has the perfect amount of peppermint.

Gingerbread was a cupcake surprise from the husband.

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He had an appointment near Fairy Cakes in the afternoon and he brought me home a gingerbread stout cupcake with cream cheese icing.

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It was ridiculous good, maybe the best cupcake I’ve ever had!  The cake had a great ratio of spice to sweet and was so fluffy and moist.  I shared one big bite with Adam but downed the rest with gusto.

The rest of the day’s eats were out of season, but still good.  From fall I borrowed an apple and a Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale.

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I split the beer with Adam and ate the apple on my own.

I guess nachos are actually appropriate for any season, right?

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Adam and I shared a tray, straight from the oven.  We topped scoop-style tortilla chips with roasted brocoli and green pepper, Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa, and Cabot Reserve Aged Cheddar.

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We loved them.  He was a little iffy on roasted brocoli as a nacho topping but it was delicious.  And I was worried about that type of cheese versus a regular cheddar, but that ended up being perfect too.  And the pineapple salsa is hands-down the best jarred salsa I’ve ever had.

Blah, blah, blah, and then I started having a fit and had to go to bed.  I didn’t get anywhere near enough sleep during the weeks Adam was gone and I’m still really freaking tired.

Sunday was a super hungry day and I ate a ton of crap.  A brunch of sorts, was low-fat coffee yogurt with honey roasted peanuts and honey,

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a few pieces of toffee candy from home,

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and several handfuls (about 3 servings or 250 calories worth) of dried turkey.

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During work I drank a Starbucks Vanilla Doubleshot.

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Working with crowds of Christmas shoppers is exhausting but also really rewarding.  Five different people today thanked me effusively for my help and that was a really good feeling.  Actually, one super hot guy told another customer that I was fantastic and I about died!

Adam picked me up after work for a fun treat.

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Bubble tea from Gin Gin!  Best bubble tea I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot.  I got a medium red bean milk tea with regular and popping boba (the purple one is Adam’s taro).

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We both swooned over how good they were and finished our drinks in the car long before we made it home.  And we called my mom on speaker on the drive and drove her crazy scraping through our ice for errant tapiocas!

Dinner was pizza.

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And we shared a beer.

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We were gearing up for a long night of baking.

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I’m giving my co-workers all pies for Christmas and we are not even close to finished still.  Sorry, husband!

We made smoothies mid-baking for strength.  Frozen strawberries and blackberries blended with So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk.

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And I’ve done a little nibbling while we baked.

I have a holiday breakfast with work tomorrow and then I’m spending Christmas Eve on the couch with Adam.  I have two days off in a row for the holiday and I am so excited to spend them with my boys!

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Did you give any handmade gifts this season?

It’s Begining To Look A Lot Like Christmas

We are four days away and it is starting to snow!  We might have a white Christmas after all.  Also, the world didn’t end today; yay.

Sorry I missed a post last night (after going on and on about how I was “back,” natch) but I was still running errands as the clock neared midnight.  Two crazy days in a row are over and I’m ready to recap.

Thursday’s brunch included two of my best savory recipes.

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A Nacho Turkey Burger topped with some Citrus Guacamole.

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We even toasted our buns (in a hot skillet with a bit of Smart Balance Light) so the meal felt extra fancy.

I also had a deeelicious drink; 1 cup each Chameleon Cold Brew coffee and eggnog.

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I know it’s cold out for iced coffee but I couldn’t resist the chance to pair my favorite coffee with my favorite winter flavor.

I worked 9+ hours and was sooooooo hungry when I got off.  I would have loved to go straight home for dinner but we had errands to run so I ended up getting Moe’s instead.

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But who would complain about Moe’s?

I got a naked burrito (aka a cheaper rice bowl) with rice, black beans, sautéed onions, green peppers, and mushrooms, lettuce, corn salsa, cilantro, guacamole, and sour cream.

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Plus chips with queso.

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I ate all of the queso, 2/3 of the chips, and 3/4 of the bowl.

When we finally made it home (more than 12 hours after I left!) there were presents from both sets of parents.

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My mom sent us homemade toffee.

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It was the perfect bedtime snack.

Friday I started with a salad.  Romaine topped with 1.5 chopped turkey burgers, shredded cheese, a dollop of guacamole, buckwheat groats, and honey mustard dressing (I accidentally used way too much dressing and it was kind of gross, boo).

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Also half a honeycrisp with 1 Tbsp each peanut butter and Biscoff spread, melted.

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And I drank a Guava Rockstar Punched at work.

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<– yum

I have the best bosses on earth and they surprised us with pizza for dinner mid-shift!  It was too exciting.  I had a a veggie slice and a buffalo chicken slice.

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Mr. Pizza has the best crust in Buffalo.

And I won this candy bar.

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When I got home I made myself eat fruits and veggies first though.  A handful of baby carrots.

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An ambrosia apple.

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And finally my tasty snack.

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1 serving of Green and Black’s Toffee Milk Chocolate Bar,

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and a cup of eggnog mixed with Silk Soy Nog.

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Topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Finally, some general updates –

  1. My hair – I’m still leaving the tub purple after every shower and my new hair is a bit lighter than the original photo I showed you guys.  I will have to have Adam snap a picture the next time I’m home during good light.
  2. Christmas – we are not going to visit any family, boo.  But Adam and I are going to have our first ever Christmas with just the two of us; it’s time that our little family started to develop some of our own traditions!

If you celebrate, where are you spending Christmas this year?  Do you and your significant other have any of your own holiday traditions?

Candy Cane Vodka

Do not put this vodka in eggnog.  That would be disgusting.  But beyond that, go crazy.  My friends and I drank it in Sprite and/or club soda.  The vodka becomes sweet and a little bit thicker and it goes perfectly with something fizzy*.

*It’s also good straight from the bottle!

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Candy Cane Vodka

The following recipe can be increased as needed.  Just keep the original ratio between the vodka and candy intact.

  • 2 candy canes, broken into smaller pieces
  • 6 oz good vodka
  1. Place vodka and broken candy cans in a covered container until candy has completely dissolved, 36 – 48 hours.
  2. Stir occasionally.  Or shake, if you’re into that…

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Sweet ‘n Salty Puppy Chow

I’d never made Puppy Chow (or Muddy Buddies, Garbage, etc) before this attempt and I knew I wanted to start out on the right foot.  As much as I love sugar (a lot!), I prefer a mix of flavors to a dish so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.  Enter Cheez-its.

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This Puppy Chow has the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  You can definitely eat it by the handful.  I certainly did.  And so did my friends, who generally eat much more like dietitians than I do!  Plus this great party snack comes together in a snap.  You basically just melt, mix, and shake-shake-shake!

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Sweet ‘n Salty Puppy Chow, yields 8 servings

  • 2.5 cups corn squares cereal
  • 2 cups Cheez-its
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Place powdered sugar into a large sealable food-storage plastic baggie and set aside.  Prepare a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place chocolate and peanut butter into a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring regularly, until fully melted.
  3. Use a spatula to fold cereal and crackers into melted peanut butter and chocolate until evenly coated.
  4. Place mix into powdered sugar bag, seal, and shake, shake, shake until squares are evenly coated.
  5. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread into a thin even layer.  Let dry, 1o minutes or so.  Store in the fridge in a sealed container.

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What does your family call it?  Puppy Chow, Garbage, Trash, Muddy Buddies, something new??