How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria

My title is a tongue in cheek joke about how the weather channel is turning me into a crazy person this month.  I was having such a good week too.  The VI was finally getting some desperately needed federal assistance and national news coverage and my parents got cell service back and I was able to talk to my mom.  But now, Maria is expected to hit the Virgin Islands as a category 3 hurricane this week.  Fantastic.

I’m still not really feeling up to prattling on about my days, but I did have some fun this week so I’m posting a top five…

{1}  favorite work bites

{a} coffee coffee coffee

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{b} I am still obsessed with that Trader Joe’s nut and seed mix

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{c} I also packed a nice tasting plate – dried apples, TJ’s crispy cheese bites, and a maple salmon bar.

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{d} This cafeteria wrap was on point.  Chicken / pinto beans / tomato / bell peppers / banana pepper / cheddar.

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{2}  apple eatventures

{a} I made caramel apple bread from scratch!  Basically just pumpkin bread made with apple sauce instead of pumpkin puree and totally just an excuse to use these caramel chips.

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{b} Caramel apple oatmeal.  Rolled oats / caramel chips / cinnamon / chia seeds / dried apples.

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{c} Caramel apple Twizzlers.

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{d} Apple pie milkshake.  Vanilla ice cream / Greek yogurt / applesauce/ cinnamon and gingerbread spice.

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{3}  cobb salad pasta salad

Whole wheat bowtie pasta / crumbled fancy aged blue cheese / turkey bacon / chopped chicken breast / hard-boiled eggs / diced avocado / shredded spinach / roasted baby tomatoes.

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{4}  a Mile End meal recreation

Mile End Deli has a Brussel sprouts dish on their menu that we were over the moon for, so I recreated it at home.  Our version was roasted brussel sprouts / tossed with crispy turkey bacon / plus olive oil and honey / sprinkled with sumac / on a base of labne.

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While we cooked – which took no time at all – we sipped on Switchel.

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Up Mountain Switchel sent me a box for review.  The lemon flavor was too spicy ginger for me, but I loved the Yerba Mate.  The ingredients list is short and simple (the four things listed on the front of the bottle plus water) and a serving has 54 calories and 10 grams of sugar.  It paired nicely with our meal and would be a good alternative option to booze or soda with dinner.

{5}  a trip to the South Fork of the Hamptons

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{a} Doughnuts and coffee at Grindstone.

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I had a Nutella s’mores brioche doughnut and a vanilla latte.

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{b} La Colombe black and tan (draft latte and cold brew) at Sag Town Coffee.  P.S. Apparently I am obsessed with Sag Harbor, it is so cute!

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{c} Lunch at Lunch.  Instead of a lobster roll I went with the seafood chili – with a bloody mary – and was quite pleased with my choice.

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{d} A cup of birthday cake ice cream at Scoop Du Jour.

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{e} And best of all, we got to stick our toes in the sand at the beach.

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It was a super foggy day and the crashing waves were gorgeous.  Plus we saw about a million seagulls.  <– best beach day ever

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Coffee And Eggs

Important Things First

I was finally able to speak with my parents and they are alright (and the rest of my island family members are safe as well).  Phone service, power, and most cell service are out, so for the foreseeable future I can only talk to my parents when they manage to borrow a working cell phone.  Communication on-island is tricky as well, radio stations were down and when I spoke with my parents briefly Friday afternoon they didn’t even know that Jose had been updated to a category four (thankfully that ended up being a nonissue).  We got unbelievably lucky and our home’s roof is fully intact.  When I got off the train Friday morning I had a voicemail from my dad and I was so relieved I starting sobbing in the middle of the street like a crazy person.  It’s been an emotional weekend, I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude for how fortunate my family was.

The United States Virgin Islands as a whole was not so lucky.  St. Thomas and St. John were decimated by Hurricane Irma.  On St. Thomas, our only hospital, airport, fire station, and post office were destroyed.  Looking through my friends’ pictures of the destruction on Facebook is heart-wrenching.

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If you feel compelled to help the VI, here are some options:

  1. A friend I trust is crowdfunding via YouCaring and will distribute money to local foundations
  2. Tim Duncan vowed to match donations up to $1million
  3. Kenny Chesney also started a foundation
  4. If you are interested in volunteering to help with clean up, here is where you can register

Weekend Eats Highlights

{1}  apple adventures

I broke into some of my Trader Joe’s apple goodies – freeze dried Fujis and cereal bars.  Along with a coffee Chobani yogurt drink.

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{2}  delightful drinks

Iced coffee with chocolate milk, my favorite beverage combo.  I also loved my lavender mint water.

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{3}  stupendous snack

Trader Joe’s hit it out of the park with this seed and bean medley.  Apparently dried fava beans are my favorite thing, who knew?

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{4}  eggy eats

I breakfasted at the hot bar before starting my shopping at Whole Foods.  Scrambled eggs with potatoes and turkey bacon and an iced latte.

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Homemade chilaquiles!  Tortilla chips heated in a skillet with olive oil / tossed with green salsa and sour cream / with roasted zucchini folded in / and cheese / topped with two burnt fried eggs.

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{5}  Brooklyn bites

Brooklyn Kolache Co.

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We shared poppy seed, chocolate, and jalapeño egg and cheese.

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BKG Coffee Roasters.

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This spot was adorable and my latte was yummy.

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Hurricane Irma

No blog post from me this week.

This Wednesday my hometown was devastated by Hurricane Irma so that’s obviously all I’ve really been thinking about.  I have been told that my family all made it through ok, but I have not been able to talk to my parents yet and honestly doubt I’ll be able to communicate with them until next week.

US news coverage of my beautiful island – a United States territory whose inhabitants are American citizens – has been abysmal, but it is going to take months – years to rebuild.  If you feel compelled to help, here are two good donation options:

http://cfvi.net/donate/donate-fund.php

https://www.youcaring.com/localorganizationstbdaswefigureoutwhereitisneeded-942020

I’ll be keeping Florida and the rest of the southern coast in my thoughts today.

Cinnamon And Marshmallow In My Coffee

I have eaten some very yummy things over the past four days!  Adam and I both worked the holiday, but first we got to spend almost two full weekend days together!!!  Good times.

Things [literal things] that made me happy this weekend…

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Thanks to all of Target’s cheap “back to school” goodies, we have a jazzy new shower curtain and bedspread.

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The sheets underneath are pretty happy-making too.

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A Saturday trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Such a fun way to spend a morning.  We were expecting things to be sparse due to the season but there was still a ton of beauty to admire.

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As of last Friday, it’s Apple Month.

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This spiced apple bourbon hand soap is currently the best smelling thing in our house!

Culinary highlights…

I haven’t eaten anything apple yet but I did cram some pretty fall-forward flavors into my coffees.  Cinnamon.

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And toasted marshmallow.

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Though I also had a very summer-y Australian iced coffee with Wandering Bear cold brew and vanilla Curious Creamery ice cream.

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Cheddar-chive biscuit and a matcha iced latte at Annex.

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Brunch at Maison Premiere.  We had a pastry assortment that was out of this world.

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Maison Jungle Bird – Hamilton Black Rum, Cruzan Black Strap Rum, pineapple, Campari, and sugar cane.

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I had the duck confit hash with bell pepper and poached egg.  <– not as good as Colonie, sadly

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While at the Garden, we had lunch at the Yellow Magnolia Café.  (<– newest venture from the chef/owner of Wilma Jean)

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I had wonderfully crispy, lemony fried chicken.  Served with habanero honey, collard green slaw, and delicious wild rice.  I suspect that there was honey butter in the rice because I don’t even like wild rice.

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We took a long post-lunch walk for coffee and ended up also getting ice cream for dessert – blueberry with blue velvet cake from Little Cupcake Bakeshop.

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Friday night I met a girlfriend in the Lower East Side for dinner and drinks.  Sizzling noodles at The Tang.

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I ended up with way too much food because I also couldn’t resist the Chungking Express salad – romaine, soft-boiled egg, honey, black vinegar, and chili oil.

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How fantastically ridiculous are the drinks at Mother of Pearl?!  My daiquiri – with Campari, grapefruit, and rosemary tincture – was tasty to boot.

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We made an oldie but a goodie – buffalo blue cheese black bean burgers.  Served with raw carrots and celery the first night.

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Our citrus-y sip-while-you-cook line up did not contain any winners, we hated both of these drinks!  <– normally I wouldn’t include this in a “highlights” section but they both sound so good in theory that I wanted to make sure I warned you

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Sunday night I got fancy with a Southern dinner.

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Pan-fried catfish!  I made a spice rub with salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, brown sugar, and smoked paprika and cooked the fish for 3.5 minutes on each side.  Drizzled with a lemon butter pan sauce.

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Plus sautéed collard greens with shallots, toasted coconut, and avocado (plus lemon, rice vinegar, and liquid smoke).

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Flavor themes of the weekend – Campari / eggs / coffee / collard greens.

Buffalo Chicken Ballyhoo

Is it seriously September already??  Actually, don’t answer that; if I think about how fast this year seems to be going it makes my head spin.  At least now it’s Apple Month.

Here were eight things from the end of the eighth month…

{1}  coffee excitement

A match made in heaven?  I put creamy pecan popsicle in my iced coffee.

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The lattes at Black Brick are roasty and delicious.

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{2}  brunch at Loosie’s Café

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This space was gorgeous!  I had a grains bowl with shitake and king oyster mushrooms, purple kale, quinoa, roasted beets, cucumber raita, mint, and a soft egg.

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{3}  “milk and cookies” at The Bedford

Adam and I split a The Dude’s Caucasian – house-made vanilla bean espresso vodka on the rocks with a drizzle of cream.

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And a Drunken Cookie – underbaked chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed injected with white chocolate.  <– omg

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{4}  lime, mint, and elderflower sparkling water

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{5}  Curious Creamery ice cream mix

Please note – this product was given to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

It is mix that doesn’t require an ice cream maker, all you have to do is beat it with the milk of your choice and freeze.  It takes about 15 minutes of hands-on time, and we found the ice cream consistency to be enjoyable after 5 hours (and it continued to be good 48 hours later too).

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I used 2% cow’s milk but you can also use full-fat, skim, almond, etc – the mixes themselves are lactose-free and have no trans or saturated fat.  I made the vanilla packet plain – Adam thinks it tastes like marshmallows! – and the chocolate I mixed with dulce de leche and roasted pecans for a turtle sundae.

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We didn’t love the final product, but did quite like it.  I’d say the ice cream is better than 7-11 brand, Turkey Hill, or the no-name stuff at cafeterias; on par with most store-bought ice creams; and not as good as Ben and Jerry’s or the ice cream we can get at places like Ample Hills or Ice and Vice in the city.  If I’m living somewhere that isn’t NYC in the future I would definitely make it again.

{6}  the last of the seasonal summer beers

These ended up being two of my all-time favorite strawberry beers.  Shiner Strawberry Blonde / Saranac Strawberry Tart.

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{7}  out-of-this-world good buffalo chicken tenders

I base all of my “oven-fried” chicken on this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.  I used skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders and baked for 24 minutes at 425 degrees.  I mixed smoked paprika and cayenne in with my flour and used panko as my bread crumb.

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The final product was tossed with a mix of buffalo sauce, butter, and brown sugar.

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Paired with carrots and celery – steam/sautéed and finished with thyme honey balsamic vinaigrette – to keep the theme going.

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{8}  buffalo chicken and blue cheese cheese fries

Our leftover chicken got to participate in something magical – waffle fries baked with cheddar, blue cheese, and buffalo chicken on top.

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Have a great weekend.

12:36

Quick post.  I worked this weekend and honestly it kind of sucked.

Three things from this weekend that I don’t want to complain about –

{1}  Coffee.

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Coffee, coffee!

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{2}  Pizza.

This was crappy cafeteria veggie pizza but I stilled loved it.

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{3}  Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I’m not saying I’ve been ignoring my bursting to-do list to rewatch a sitcom from the ’90’s for the 3rd time, but actually that’s exactly what I’m saying.

It’s just so good!  Really funny and packed with puns.  Harvey Kinkle makes my list of most amazing television partners (see also: Booth from Bones and Ben from Parks and Rec) and Sabrina Spellman is such a crazy good role model that I’m pretty sure STW is going to be required watching if I ever have children.

P.S.  If you can tell me what the title refers to you’ll be my new best friend!

Sandwiches And Scottie Dogs

Bites from this week…

I had an exciting product sample to review – Nocciolata Dairy Free Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread.  It’s organic, vegan, and made without palm oil.

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The spread tastes like Nutella but better – it’s creamier and the sweetness has less bite.  I ate many a spoonful this past week!

I also enjoyed it in an excitingly neon strawberry smoothie.  Frozen strawberries / pitaya / cow’s milk / chocolate hazelnut spread.

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And in yogurt bowls with Greek yogurt and a trio of plucots.

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Non-yogurt lunches came from the cafeteria (and were tasty as all get out).  Toasted sandwich – cheesy focaccia / mayo / spicy chicken / cheddar / tomato / spinach – with sweet potato fries.

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Bean and veggie quesadilla – with pinto beans / mozzarella / bell peppers / onions / corn / and tomato.

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This week’s work snack was candy – Japanese milk chews and black licorice.

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My coffee (former freebie) was 10/10.  This is less roasty than what I usually go for but still totally swoon-worthy, it isn’t the slightest bit bitter or sour.

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Adam was gone every night this week and I am unable to make myself adult if no one is there to see it so dinners were convince foods and/or nachos.

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I’m scheduled to work the next five days but feeding myself a vegetable is definitely job #1 for the weekend.