Flan And Floats

Five fun things from the past weekend:

{1} My cousin graduated from VCU with her doctorate like a total badass so we had family in town for celebratory fun.

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{2} We had an amazing meal at Little Star, culminating in the best flan I’ve ever tasted.

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{3} My hair is pink(ish) thanks to this temporary tint spray.  It is subtle, but there’s more color than I was able to capture in a photo.

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{4} Adam and I had the best snacks.  Wegman’s mint chocolate chip yogurt.

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Super meta – smoked gouda pimento cheese dip scooped with pimento cheese chips.

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We made root beer floats with what turned out to be the best ice cream of all time – CoolHaus’ The Best of Both Worlds vanilla tastes like a marshmallow dream.

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{5} I made a tasty dinner.  Chicken tenders (cooked similarly to this) with whole wheat panko and silk chili // dipped in homemade honey mustard // with honey glazed brussels sprouts.

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We sipped on this surprisingly good Three Notch’d sugarcane pecan all while we cooked.

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Chocolate + Coffee, Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Highlights from the past week…

Personal Life:

We had several boons come together in the last week or so.  Related – I am waaaay overdue on sharing some big life updates.  In short, the highlights are –

  1. Adam is officially a board-certified surgeon (woo-hoo!)
  2. Adam got his dream job and is all set up to be a critical care attending in New York this summer (woo-hoo!!)
  3. We’ve lined up our New York apartment
  4. Our lease here was a month short but we’ve finally lined up a place to live in Charlottesville in July

Television:

I finally talked Adam into watching “Hart of Dixie” with me and he is as smitten as I am!  Related – read this Buzzfeed article.

The Bob Dylan cover in this terrible WGU commercial makes me ugly cry every single time I hear it.

Food:

This was one of my best coffee combos this year, Dark as Dark with chocolate milk.

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Related – Whole Food’s hazelnut mochas (with light syrup, extra espresso, and ice) are freaking delicious.

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Both of our moms went a bit overboard and we are drowning in Easter candy.  The highlight, as always, is these pectin jelly beans.

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And the low was these terrible new m&m’s.

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Still loving these Stinger peanut butter cracker bars.

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Related – I finally found these in a snack-sized kids portion and now I am eating even more of them.

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We had a duo of fruity beers that did not disappoint.  Abita’s Lounging Iguanas pineapple coconut IPA is a 10/10.

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Pizza night.  A simple turkey pepperoni pizza on Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust plus a simple side salad.

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Trader Joe’s vegetable biryani with vegetable dumplings frozen meal.

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I made a veggie take on this fire chicken with cheese.

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With tofu instead of chicken, plus roasted broccoli and Japanese sweet potato.

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Heart On

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine’s Day!  I love a holiday with theme colors.

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This week I loved…

Stumptown cold brew with milk.  I’m not sure if I had ever tried the chocolate flavor before, I loved it.

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An epic chocolate cherry smoothie.  Plain Greek yogurt, frozen cherries, and chocolate milk.

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We don’t really do Valentine’s gifts, but the husband did buy me cupcakes!

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Salted caramel and a delicious funfetti.

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A take on this lemon poppy seed chicken casserole.  We added tons of roasted broccoli.

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A take on shakshuka, with red bell pepper and chipotle.  Topped with roasted zucchini, sumac, and two fried eggs.

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Adam was not around for Valentine’s dinner and I’m fighting a pretty bad cold so I loved myself with Brazos Tacos take-out for dinner.  The Solid – pulled chicken, refried black beans, roasted corn pico, sliced avocado, and jack cheese // Tres Quesos – Oaxacan cheese, manchego cheese, and queso fresco, with refried black beans, sliced avocado, roasted corn pico, and pickled watermelon // chips and salsa.

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Bonus – things I love deeply that you might not know about from the blog:

{1} Diet soda.  It is truly the only food I cherish more than coffee or cheese!

{2} Running.  I am not fast, and I am extremely careful with my knees so I don’t run that often, but it is one of my favorite things.  I run about 3 miles in about 30 minutes one time most weeks and I love every second of it.

{3} Wegman’s hot bar “Asian” section.  I get hot bar chicken at least once a week as a pre-dinner snack but it never makes it onto the blog because it just photographs so abhorrently.

{4} “The Office.”  My love of tv is well-documented and over the past year “The Office” has become one of my favorite shows.  I have seen every episode at least three times!  So much of what is happening with the world right now is scary and sad and I’m really loving feel-good shows that are an escape from reality.

2018 Book List

Despite not making any resolutions, 2018 was a really fantastic year for me in accomplishments – I lost a little weight and scored a snazzy new job!  However, on the one goal I did set – read a least 1 book a month – I fell far short.  In New York I did 95% of my reading during my 2 hour+ plus daily commute and since we moved to Charlottesville I have basically stopped reading.  I desperately need to get back on the bookworm train (figuratively at least!).  So I guess for 2019 I will set one resolution: read at least one book per month.

Here were 201720162015, and 2014‘s lists.

And here is 2018 {in chronological order;  F = fiction, NF = nonfiction, and M = memoir} –

  1. Furiously Happy; a funny book about horrible things – Jenny Lawson  (m)
  2. The Children of Willesden Lane; a true story of hope and survival during World War II – Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen  (nf)
  3. Life Sentences – Laura Lippman  (f)
  4. Look at You Now; my journey from shame to strength – Liz Pryor  (m)
  5. Fresh off the Boat – Eddie Huang  (m)
  6. After I’m Gone – Laura Lippman  (f)
  7. The Hue and Cry at Our House; a year remembered – Benjamin Taylor  (m)
  8. An Abbreviated Life – Ariel Leve  (m)
  9. Break in Case of Emergency – Jessica Winter  (f)
  10. One Day We’ll All be Dead and None of This Will Matter – Scaachi Koul  (m)
  11. The Most Dangerous Thing – Laura Lippman  (f)
  12. I’d Know You Anywhere – Laura Lippman  (f)
  13. Uncommon Type, Some Stories – Tom Hanks  (f)
  14. Look for Me – Lisa Gardner  (f)

Weekend Things

4 things I loved this weekend that weren’t food:

{1}  Clothing – the anthropomorphic pizza t-shirt from Roberta’s that is officially my favorite thing I’ve ever owned.

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{2}  TV show – “Making It,” aka the best reality show ever created.  It’s super talented crafters making amazing projects that are rife with puns and have a million creative details plus unscripted Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler saying hilarious and supportive things.

{3}  Buds – these splendid flowers from Trader Joe’s.  I don’t even like roses but these take my breath away.

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{4}  Movie – Crazy Rich Asians.  This film was stunningly gorgeous, uproariously funny, and so darn touching that a moment towards the end brought the whole theater – including Adam and I – to tears.  Go see it!

4 edible things I loved this weekend:

{1}  A two-tone vanilla rose smoothie.  Banana, Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and vanilla bean // with strawberries, plums, and rosewater.

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{2}  Coffee themed snacks.  Chocolate-covered beans from Shenandoah Joe’s.  <– I am obsessed

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A quad iced latte with a truffle.

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Kung Fu Tea oreo slush with tapioca and coffee flavored popping boba.

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{3}  Tacos from Brazos.  We shared grilled tilapia with red cabbage slaw, avocado sauce, radish, and lime / mashed potato, yam, mushrooms, cilantro, spicy honey, and jalopenos / and chicken with black beans, roasted corn, avocado, and jack cheese.

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{4}  Brunch at Fry’s Spring Station.  They improved upon fried chicken and waffles with smokey pimento cheese and candied pepper honey.

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Dachshund Diaries

Top five from this weekend…

{1} It was the seventh anniversary of Webster’s buyday! <– click that link for some amazing baby dachshund photos

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We ate some bacon-flavored wet food.

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And frolicked in the dog park.  There were no other dogs there, so it was basically Webster’s ideal afternoon

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{2} We found our new pizza spot – Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.

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Such tasty crust!  We had the Annie Oakley – spicy buffalo chicken breast, pineapple, pickled jalapeno, mozarella, and cheddar.  I did not know that spicy pizza was what was missing from my life!  Plus we had a pink lemonade sour.

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{3} Wegman’s bakery bar now has caramel stuffed brownies and cookie dough stuffed brownies and they are damn good.

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{4} We also loved this caramel pecan ice cream.

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{5} Simple salad dinner.  Sweet baby lettuce / baby carrots / pine nuts / ranch / herbed turkey.  With homemade cheesy garlic bread.

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Sour Cream Successes

Big life update – I have a job.  I joined a medical team for nutrition support (at the same hospital that Adam will be working at!).  It’s a fantastic learning opportunity but life has definitely been pretty crazy recently.  Actually, I interviewed for and was offered the position during my notice period at my last job, so things have been pretty crazy for the last month.  Also I started work the day after we moved.  Whew!

Big food updates – here were the highlights the past week…

Coffee combo = espresso from For Five with skim milk and ice.

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Rule Breaker Snacks sent me some cookie samples to try.  Their bean-based treats all have chickpeas as the first ingredient.  The concept is actually really neat, their snacks are all vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free -as well as free from the top 8 allergens – so they are a great option for a kid’s lunchbox (or to pack to eat at a hospital!).

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The P’nutter chocolate chip blondie only got a 7/10 from us because the flavor that was similar to peanut but not actually peanut threw us a bit and we found there to be somewhat of a baking soda aftertaste.  If you were someone with a peanut allergy you definitely may feel differently though.

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But the birthday cake blondie was a 10/10!  Truly, rating it just as a cookie and not a “healthy” cookie, I loved it.  It just tasted like a really yummy sugar cookie.  The sprinkles were super fun and didn’t have a chalky taste.  And the texture of both bars was perfection – chewy without being crumbly.  You would have no idea that either flavor was bean-based.

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I get subsidized meals at the hospital cafeteria so I mostly will be eating lunches there and will have less to share on that front, though this week I did eat three (incredible!) lunches at my desk and was able to take a picture.  Salad with marinated mushrooms, chickpea salad, celery, grapes, and honey mustard dressing.

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Salad with mushrooms, salmon, banana peppers, and blue cheese dressing.

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Turkey burger with cheddar, blue cheese, red onion, and pickles.  Plus pita chips.

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We finally got ourselves some pans and to celebrate I made some reeeeeally good dinners.  Key note – I put Trader Joe’s low-fat sour cream in everything we ate this week and everything was fantastic so I think I will start keeping sour cream in stock more often.

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Esquites – loosely following this recipe – aka the best dish I’ve ever made.  I swapped serrano for jalopeno and used half mayo and half sour cream.

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With baked shrimp and cabbage.  I marinated the shrimp with evoo, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, and tomato paste and baked it on top of shredded cabbage.

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A hot take (<– that’s a pun!) on my black eyed pea salad.  Sauteed red, orange, yellow, and green bell pepper and green onions / salt, pepper, smoked paprika / BEP / turkey bacon / cubes of cheddar / mayo and sour cream / topped with Cholula.

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Stroganoff-ish turkey.  With tons of sauteed mushrooms and roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes.

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One night we had a tasty meal out at Mono Loco.  Fresh grapefruit mojito with Cruzan rum!

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And I got nachos with pinto beans and crazy good roasted chicken.

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Snack highlights this week were ice cream!  Whole Food’s vegan peanut butter chocolate bar(!!) topped with cardamom ice cream and strawberry sprinkles.

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Scoops of tres leches and cream cheese from La Flor Michoacana.

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Have a great weekend!