New Noosas

I’m free (again)!  After a short return to work I’m back on vacation for the next week, woo-hoo!

Honestly?  I need a vacation.  I was only back at work three days but I stayed late for more than an hour on Thursday and Friday and now I’m tuckered out.

Thankfully I had a few exciting things to get me through my week.  Like a luscious line up of fun new beverages: Black Hand nitro cold brew / Secret Squirrel Vietnamese iced coffee / La Colombe triple draft latte / Maeil caramel macchiato / Harmless Harvest strawberry coconut water.

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And an extra exciting package of product samples from Noosa.

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Noosa yogurt is already pretty much angel pudding, so when they offered to let me try their new line of Noosa Mates (yogurt with premium mix-ins) I jumped at the chance.

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They were even better than anticipated!  Loved them all.  I was happy with the portion of both yogurt and toppings and each one has between 240-270 calories.  Banana Chocolate Peanut with Guittard chocolate chips and salted peanuts.

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Honey cranberry almond with pepitas and granola.

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Coconut almond chocolate.

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Maple ginger with candied ginger and gingersnap crumble.  I wasn’t expecting to like this because I think that I think that ginger is too spicy, but it was delicious!  The candied ginger was chewy and delightful.

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Honey pretzel peanut.

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I ate some fun stuff on my free days too.  Like doughnuts (which were just awful, but how cute is that pink wall?!).

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And a trip to Red Hook.

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We had key lime pie from Steve’s.

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And crab sandwiches from Brooklyn Crab.  Snow crab roll with Cholula-orange aioli.

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Alaskan king crab roll with warm butter and chives.

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Plus cole slaw.

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And a  Passion Paloma with mescal, passionfruit puree, and grapefruit soda.

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Plus we stopped at Baked for coffee and brought home a grasshopper bar for dessert later in the week.

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After a long span of eating every meal out, I was excited to make us a fancy dinner.

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Smoked turkey kielbasa with onions and bell pepper.

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Plus pommes aligot <– super cheesy potatoes.  I loosely followed this recipe.  I had to lighten up a few ingredients to accommodate what we had in the fridge (less butter, 2% milk instead of cream, low-fat three cheese cheddar blend) and it was still insanely yummy.

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I served my leftovers piled all together in a bowl with smoked paprika maple mayo on top.

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By the end of the week I was so exhausted by my three days of work that I got Chipotle instead of cooking anything!  Rice / sautéed veggies / chicken / pinto beans / corn salsa / spicy salsa / sour cream / cheese.

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Have a great weekend!

Llamas, And Pigs, and Humans, Oh My!

Three-day weekend highlights, including lots of new “bests”…

Unicorn smoothie!  The layers were acai and pitaya with coconut water and plain Greek yogurt.

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Bananarama smoothie.  Frozen banana, plain Greek yogurt, a hot chocolate packet, and Banana Wave Banana Milk.  <– free product review alert: the banana milk is a vegan milk made of banana puree, soy, oats, and other ingredients.  One serving contains as much potassium as a small banana as well as 29 vitamins and minerals and 1200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.  One cup has 150 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 5 grams of added sugar.

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Black bear, aka Otha‘s coffee concentrate with housemade chocolate milk.  This shop was adorable and we want to go back immediately.

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Du’s Donuts.  Adam’s all time favorites.

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Lunch at Llama Inn.

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I had soft-boiled eggs with delicata squash, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds, and chimichurri sauce.

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We got our own desserts, flan for Adam and key lime pie for me.  Best key lime pie of the decade, it was enrobed in toasted meringue!

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Lunch at Pig Bleeker.  We had a Salty Spritz – vodka, St. Germain, and apricot, with a salty white wine rinse, and a Champagne Sherry Cobbler that was the all-time best drink we’ve ever had – Fino sherry, fresh citrus, and champagne.

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I got a fried chicken thigh sandwich with Pig Beach mustard sauce, house pickles, mayo, and hot sauce.  The meat was smoked before it was fried and it was by far the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted.

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Durian mochi.

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Malter Chronkite from Mister Dips, a malty chocolate-dipped cone.

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Spicy crunchy tuna sushi bowl.  Brown rice with ginger, rice vinegar, seaweed, and black sesame seeds / canned tuna fish and smoked trout with Sriracha and mayo / quick pickled cucumbers / fresh avocado / panko and fried garlic toasted in butter / Sriracha on top.

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Chopped romaine salad with honey mustard dressing, dill, sautéed mushrooms with garlic, shredded chicken, crumbled blue cheese, and homemade raisins.

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I am on Saturday/Sunday so I’ve only got two days of work before a day off, woo-hoo!

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Chocolate “Cheesecake” Oatmeal

Kids.  Work is really freaking stressful this month.  My goodness.  I had Wednesday off this week (from working the previous weekend) and I practically spent the whole day in a coma.  And yesterday I bought multiple coffees before 10 am.  I promise to whine about post a work sitch update sometime soon, but for this post I’m keeping things short and simple.

Some of the best things I ate this week…

Oatmeal with chia seeds, two kinds of chocolate chips, and a scoop of cream cheese.  It was heavenly.

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Mango yogurt with Luxardo cherries, plus I added a banana from the cafeteria at work.

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Another dessert-y lunch, plain Greek yogurt with cookie butter, granola, and a Pink Lady apple.

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My mother-in-law sent us a giant box of sugar cookies for Easter.  Both of our mothers still send us Easter baskets, actually, there’s a lot of candy in this house!

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Leftover cheddar bbq meatloaf with roasted green beans.  Adam butchered the meatloaf getting it out of the dish and then mashed it onto my plate because I pretty much live like a princess.

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<– that was sarcasm, but I really am pretty spoiled.  Case in point – honey beer with dinner.

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Sweet potato fries with tons of extra-sharp cheddar and ground turkey with Korean bbq sauce.  I realize that the photo is pretty rough, but it was one of the yummiest things I ate all week.  We highly recommend the frozen fries from Trader Joe’s.

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Hot pasta salad.  I sautéed big chunks of green bell pepper and onion in tons of olive oil and smoked paprika, tossed with crispy roasted chickpeas, and cheese tortellini.

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Are you dying eggs this weekend??

Coconut, Citrus, And Guava, Oh My

Did I mention last week that I need a vacation?  This week was worse.  Thankfully, starting tomorrow we are on vacation!!  Here are the highlights from the past five days that felt like they lasted for ten…

I kept my coffee combo the same, but did kick things up a notch one day with an Aussie iced coffee!

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Limoneira recently expanded their orchards to include blood oranges and Cara Cara oranges and they sent me a box of goodies to sample.

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The Cara Caras were good, and the blood oranges were the best I’ve ever had – juicy and sweet and just a bit tart.  They made a very good work snack (with roasted pecans and TJ’s butterscotch short breads).

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And were fantasmic mixed into coconut yogurt with Heritage Flakes.

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It was a week of exceptionally good yogurt bowls.  Plain Greek with TJ’s mixed nut butter, vanilla granola, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and shortbreads.

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Chicory + coffee yogurt with granola and nibs.

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Adam and I both were off on Wednesday and we went to Sunday in Brooklyn for brunch.  I had “The Elvis,” charred banana, housemade fluff, sunflower butter, and green apple, on whole-wheat bread.

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Plus pie and espresso at Blue Stove.  This guava chess was good but not great.

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Snacks of note included jelly beans on the first day of Spring.

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This lime fresco popcorn.

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And the epicness that is Trader Joe’s dried fruit selection.  Dried persimmon?!  The carabao mango is out of this world, it’s like candy.

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Three of five nights I ate a grilled cheese sandwich* while watching Bob’s Burgers** but twice I did manage to cook a legit dinner.  Like egg sandwich pitas.

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Scrambled eggs with smoked paprika, red bell pepper, and spring onion in a pita with mayo and sharp cheddar.

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Plus a cruciferous veggie mix sautéed with cashews and soy sauce.

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Green curry chicken and veggies.  The chicken strips were baked after marinating in a spicy Sriracha marinade, with yellow onion, green onion, green bell pepper, and roasted zucchini, in a green curry sauce.

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We kept the coconut theme going with our drink.

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*grilled cheese notes: this week they were on quinoa bread but rye or sourdough is best / sharp cheddar with pickle relish is my preferred combo / always cooked in butter.

**Bob’s Burgers is my new favorite cartoon series (other than Rick and Morty which is just one of the best tv shows of any genre), I like it even more than Futurama.  It’s the perfect balance of funny yet sweet.

See ya next week!

Brunch At Queens [blank]

In spite of the bitter, freezing cold, I spent my weekend appreciating Astoria.  I drove in Saturday and Sunday for two (cheese-packed) brunches.  Plus yummy post-brunch iced lattes – always iced, always – at Kinship and Gossip.  Finally, I did some expensive but adorable shopping at Lockwood.

Queens Kickshaw.  We started our meal with a gouda grilled cheese – brioche with gouda, pickled jalopenos, guava jam, and black bean hummus.  Such a good combination of flavors!

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I had an interesting cocktail with vodka, apricot liquor, golden raisin shrub, and orange bitters.

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And mac and cheese with broccoli pesto on the bottom and an egg on top.  The pasta was ridiculously good, but actually the best thing on the plate was the side salad; the salads were perfectly dressed rainbow chard with herbs.

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Queens Comfort.  We shared a King Kong Doughnut to start – banana bread with peanut butter topping.

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My friend and I both ordered the fried green tomato benedict – fried green tomatoes on a buttermilk biscuit with spinach, hollandaise, hot pepper jelly, and poached eggs.

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Back at my Queens apartment, I served a dinner and dessert worth noting.  Shave-ice style yogurt bowl – plain Greek with condensed milk, sliced banana, Frosted Flakes, and a few Luxardo cherries.

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Pasta bowls with torn lasagna noodles, tuna, roasted zucchini, and a sauce with gojuchang, brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce.

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Walking Weekend

I didn’t watch any of the game, but my weekend sure was super.  Saturday morning Adam and I woke up extra early and went into the city to watch the sunrise.  We parked in Dumbo, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, wandered around lower Manhattan, and then walked around Chelsea.  Then we took the subway to Park Slope, did a long loop through our old neighborhood, and walked back through Fort Greene to our car in Dumbo.  Throughout the day we ended up walking >11 miles.

Of course, the minute the sunrise started getting gorgeous my camera started dying/getting too cold to function.

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We punctuated our walk with stops for coffees and desserts, but most of it went unphotographed due to my technical difficulties.  Highlights included a dulce de leche iced coffee from Terremoto turned into an affogato with a scoop of goat milk tahini ice cream from Seed + Mill.

I did manage to get a shot of breakfast #1, at the Oculus.  We split a “hell of a nerve” from Joe and the Juice – banana, elderflower, and strawberry juice.

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Plus pastries and lattes at Eataly (with sips of Italian cola).  I got a cream filled croissant; the pastry wasn’t flaky enough for me but the cream was fantastic and I ate it out with a spoon!

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And I had to Instagram breakfast #2 at Santina.

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I had a fantasmic egg sandwich.  Fluffy egg on a soft bun with tons of fontina cheese and green chiles.  I pretty much swooned after every bite.

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Friday’s breakfast was a smoothie.  Frozen strawberries with plain Greek yogurt and chocolate-mint soy milk.

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And Sunday I made an egg sandwich at home.  Smoked gouda and a fried egg on a brioche bun.

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Another highlight was dinner at Pig Beach.  We loved their vibe and their great 90’s music playlist <== we listened to “Pony” by Ginuwine!  There weren’t a ton of menu options for me so I ordered some sides and then got some from Whole Food’s hot bar later on.

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Macaroni and cheese, yummy purple cole slaw, and buckeyes for dessert.  Plus a 10/10 vodka soda and an amazing drink with vodka, honey, and rosé.

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I may not have watched the Super Bowl, but I definitely spent Sunday making and eating on-themed foods!  We had nachos with buffalo chicken on TJ’s honey butter chips.

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Muddy Buddies – made with Biscoff cookie butter instead of peanut butter because I’m bringing them into work at there’s a nut allergy.

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And I used a fun product sample from Moore’s Marinades to make my buffalo chicken baked pasta.

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I used their Blue Cheese Buffalo Wing Sauce – instead of putting in hot sauce and blue cheese separately – and my pasta came out great.  P.S. heat haters, this sauce is more tangy than spicy and I recommend it for wimps too.

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Have a super week!

Hello, 2017!

How is everyone’s year going?? So far, the word for my 2017 is tasty.

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Here are some culinary highlights from the first week…

Coffee first, always coffee.  Espresso roast and chocolate milk before work.

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I also had the best iced latte of the year from Birch; their shots are extra strong and roasty.

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Adam and I both had Monday off of work and we started our new year with a trip to Serendipity 3.

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Veggie chili for my lunch.

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I kept lunch boring because I was focused on the main event – sundae funday!  A giant scoop of peanut butter pie with hot fudge and bananas.  <– swoon city

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Work lunches were centered around a box of free product review samples I received from ips snacks.  The snacks – crisps and popcorn – are all made with whey protein and pack at least 5 grams of protein for </ 150 calories.

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I have to admit that I liked the snacks a lot more than I was expecting to.  The salted popcorn was honestly the best bagged popcorn Adam or I have ever tasted!  It was filling, satisfying, and totally delicious.  The chips would rate poorly if I compared them to chip-chips, but score a 9/10 as snack crisps.  Very few snacks, especially ones that pack less than 200 calories, keep me full enough in the afternoon that I don’t consider gnawing my own arm off on the train, but these did the trick.

I packed crisps and fruit to pair with toasted turkey and cheese cafeteria sandwiches.  BBQ chips and a cara cara.

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Sea salt and black pepper chips and an Asian pear.

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Snack attack.  Popcorn and a honey kolsch.

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Yogurt bowl with plain Greek, chocolate tahini, sliced snap dragon apple, chia seeds, cinnamon, and sweet and spicy pecans.

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I was killing it with dinners this week.  Three different veggie-forward, flavor-loaded, 10/10 dishes!  When I made fried green onions last week I saved the infused oil and that’s what I used for cooking this week.  First, a simple salad to start off the new year.

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Oak leaf lettuce, TJ’s Greek-style feta dressing, cucumber, dill, and roasted chickpeas.  With hibiscus kombucha on the side.

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Next up, spicy cabbage salad with turkey and peanuts from Bon Appétit.  I only ever read this magazine on plane rides but this recipe alone would be worth the subscription cost!

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I doubled up so that we could get 4 big dinners out of it, and roasted the cabbage so it was less voluminous, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly <– something I rarely do.

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Served with cheesey breadsticks, aka pizza dough rolled up with an obscene amount of cheese.

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Finally, I tried my hand at shakshuka.  Based loosely on the recipes from Serious Eats and My Name is Yeh, my version had red bell peppers, red jalapeño pepper, and serrano pepper.

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Served with hunks of sourdough.

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I’m excited to do a little more exploring in the kitchen this new year.  My meal plan list for the next month or so includes menemen, mapo tofu, kaya jam, okonomiyaki, and chilaquiles!