5 + 5

Five random life updates –

{1} We took some stuff to Goodwill last weekend and now we are living in an empty apartment (minus a blow-up bed and all of my clothing).  Literally the only things in our living room are boxes of seltzer!

{2} Last weekend was the first time in 5 weeks that Adam and I were both home and not traveling.  Phew!

{3} This weekend we’re on the move again – we are heading to Solomon Island Maryland to spend some time with my family, including my youngest cousin who I haven’t seen since Thanksgiving!

{4} We finally saw “Late Night” and loved it.  If it’s still in theaters in your area I recommend going if you haven’t already.

{5} Then we watched “Always Be My Maybe” on Netflix and loooooooved it!  It’s officially our new favorite movie.  Super funny and touching.  Ali Wong is one my favorite comedians and she was fantastic as a leading lady.

Five things I ate and loved the last week – 

{1} Yogurt bowl.  Wegman’s chocolate Greek yogurt with pluots and Nature’s Path coconut chia granola.

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{2} Dehydrated rainbow carrot snacks from Trader Joe’s.

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{3} Cheese tea (aka bubble tea that you sip through foamy layer of milk and cream cheese sprinkled with salt) with strawberry heart jelly.

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{4} Marshmallow!  We shared a cup of carnival cake and marshmallow at Kirt’s Ice Cream.  And I was living my best life with this snack combo – Kilwin’s caramel chocolate marshmallow with iced coffee.

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{5} BBQ.  No Limits Smokehouse is a new-ish spot in Belmont and it’s wonderful.  I had a fried chicken sandwich (<– super juicy!) and collard greens, plus we got smoked mushrooms that were my new favorite savory thing I’ve ever eaten!

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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)

Book List 2017

I know I said that I wasn’t blogging again this year, but I had to pop back in to share my final stats for my yearly resolution – read at least one book each month.

Here were 20162015, and 2014‘s lists.

And here were the books I read in 2017…

The list is in chronological order.  F = fiction, NF = nonfiction, and M = memoir.
  1. The Sound of Gravel – Ruth Wariner  (m)
  2. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  3. Truly Madly Guiltily – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  4. What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  5. The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  6. The Dead House – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  7. The Bone Vault – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  8. The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  9. The Kills – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  10. Entombed – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  11. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion  (f)
  12. The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion  (f)
  13. Missing Pieces – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  14. Free Refills; a Doctor Confronts his Addiction – Peter Grinspoon, MD  (m)
  15. After Perfect, a Daughter’s Memoir – Christina McDowell  (m)
  16. Chaos – Patricia Cornwall  (f)
  17. Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  18. Once We Were Sisters – Sheila Kohler  (m)
  19. Legal Tender – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  20. Everywhere That Mary Went – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  21. The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman  (f)
  22. Death Dance – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  23. Bad Blood – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  24. Killer Heat – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  25. Lethal Legacy – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  26. Dangerous When Wet – Jamie Brickhouse  (m)
  27. Rough Justice – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  28. Hell Gate – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  29. Silent Mercy – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  30. Night Watch – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  31. Death Angel – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  32. The Weight of Silence – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  33. Terminal City – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  34. Little Mercies – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  35. Devil’s Bridge – Linda Fairstein (f)
  36. Killer Look – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  37. These Hidden Things – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  38. Two Nights – Kathy Reichs  (f)
  39. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick  (m)
  40. Mistaken Identity – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  41. Right Behind You – Lisa Gardner  (f)
  42. Moment of Truth – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  43. And When She Was Good – Laura Lippman  (f)
  44. To the Power of Three – Laura Lippman  (f)
  45. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day  (m)
  46. Deadfall – Linda Fairstein  (f)

I read a lot of murder mysteries!  I didn’t have any standout favorite books this year but I did really enjoy everything by Liane Moriarty.

What was your favorite book you read this year?

MadeMerry

I was not a stellar food blogger this week.  I had several work lunch parties and I didn’t take pictures then.  And it was a particularly heinously stressful work-week so adult dinners did not happen – one night I went out for drinks with a girlfriend, one night we ordered in pizza, one night I ate chips in bed and fell asleep fully dressed… you get the gist.  I do have photos of a fun box of samples and the exciting ensuing snacks!

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MadeGood reached out to me recently about trying their goods.  They are a certified organic company that makes granola bars, granola bites, and crispy treats.  Their products are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, and free of eight common allergens (dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, egg, fish, shellfish, and soy).  PLUS they are made with a vegetable powder made of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shitake mushrooms and the granola products provide 20% of the RDA for vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, and E per serving.

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Normally I am unmoved by snack items with “hidden” fruits and veggies – though I do totally understand why they can be helpful for picky kids! – but in this case I am 100% on board.  The MadeGood products all had a savory quality that made them completely addictive!  Adam and I both felt that the crispy squares were the best crispy treats we’d ever tasted!  And the granola items struck a good balance between chew and crunch.  In short – I am a new fan.

Snack attack highlights from the week…

Kanzi apple / chocolate banana granola bar / vanilla crispy square / kale chips / chicken Sriracha Epic bar.

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Strawberry granola minis / mixed berry granola minis / raspberry amazin’ raisins.

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Apple cinnamon granola minis / chocolate chip granola bar / seaweed snack / Pacific Rose apple.

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Malted milk hot chocolate (two pouches because I like my hot cocoa Turkish coffee style) / Lady Alice apple.

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I’m sad it’s my last week for eggnog in my coffee.

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But I did use plain skim in this Limitless Cold Brew so I could taste the vanilla.

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Some non-edible stuff {ranked from least to most exciting}…

It’s Christmas next week.

I am almost finished with Felicia Day’s memoir (and loving it) so I started watching her web-series The Guild and I’m loving that too.

Starting this morning Adam is on vacation for the next 10 days!

Next week is our ten year wedding anniversary!!

I am off part of next week too so we can celebrate together!!!

Book List 2016

My favorite (only?!) resolution for the past six new years has been to read a least 1 book each month.  I’ve always loved to read, but keeping track has been a great addition because it lets me look back and fondly remember my favorites.  Here were 2015 and 2014‘s lists.

Books I Read in 2016 –

The list is in chronological order.  F = fiction, NF = nonfiction, and M = memoir.  I bolded the year’s top five favorites.
  1. Depraved Heart – Patricia Cornwell (f)
  2. I See Rude People; One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society – Amy Alkon (m/nf)
  3.  Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling (m)
  4. A Girl Walks Into a Bar… Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle – Rachel Dratch (m)
  5. The Skeleton Cupboard, The Makings of a Clinical Psychologist – Tanya Byron (m)
  6.  The Death Class, A True Story About Life – Erika Hayasaki (nf/m)
  7. Bonk, The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex – Mary Roach (nf)
  8. Find Her – Lisa Gardner (f)
  9. Nancy Drew and the Triple Hoax – Carolyn Keene (f)
  10. Egg and Spoon – Gregory Maguire (f)
  11. The Checklist Manifesto, How to Get Things Right – Atul Gawande (nf)
  12. My Fat Dad, a Memoir of Food, Love, and Family, with Recipes – Dawn Lerman (m)
  13. Life from Scratch, a Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness – Sasha Martin (m)
  14. Less Medicine, More Health; 7 Assumptions that Drive too Much Medical Care – Dr. H Gilbert Welch (nf)
  15. White Walls; a Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In between – Judy Batalion (m)
  16. Bastards – Mary Anna King (m)
  17. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, A memoir of food and love from an American Midwest family – Kathleen Flinn (m)
  18. Autumn Balloons – Kenny Porpora (m)
  19. Stir; My broken brain and the meals that brought me home – Jessica Fechtor (m)
  20. Final Jeopardy – Linda Fairstein (f)
  21. Cooking as Fast as I Can; A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness – Cat Cora (m)
  22. Night – Elie Wiesel (m) {reread}
  23. The Point of Vanishing, a memoir of two years in solitude – Howard Axelrod (m)
  24. One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories – B.J. Novak (f)
  25. Likely to Die – Linda Fairstein (f)
  26. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, a mostly true memoir – Jenny Lawson (m)
  27. Cold Hit – Lisa Fairstein (f)
  28. After Alice – Gregory Maguire (f)
  29. Lust and Wonder – Augusten Burroughs (m)
  30. January First, a child’s descent into madness and her father’s struggle to save her – Michael Schofield (m)

What was your favorite book you read this year?  Do you make any NYE resolutions?

Top Ten Last Week

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{1} Kobrick Coffee

I stepped up my espresso game with their housemade chocolate milk.  Adam and I were both swooning after every sip.

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{2} Pumpkin yogurt bowls

2% Fage with pumpkin puree and pumpkin butter, cinnamon, slivered almonds, and pumpkin spice granola.  With an Asian pear.

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Plain Siggi’s with pumpkin x2, pumpkin spice cheerios and frosted mini wheats, and a few candy corns.  With a gingergold apple.

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Pumpkin Chobani with cereals and another apple.

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{3} Bobwhite Counter

Fried chicken sandwich with pickles and pimento cheese.

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{4} Pumpkin Smoothie

We make at least one every October.  Pumpkin puree, plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla almond milk.

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{5} Xzibit “Pimp My Ride” style Reese’s

Reese’s stuffed with Reese’s Pieces.  My peanut butter cup obsession usually does not extend beyond Justin’s minis but I am bewitched by these; the bit of crunch takes the cups to a whole new level.

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{6} Molly’s Cupcakes

They have a whole slew of gooey stuffed cupcakes.

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Cake better was perfection!

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{7}  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Unsurprisingly, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess)’s 1st memoir did not disappoint.  I added her 2nd book to my Christmas list less than halfway through.

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{8} Nachos

I turned my copycat Chipotle bowl leftovers into nachos.  Nachos > salad bowls.  Tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, sautéed onions and peppers, and shredded chipotle honey lime chicken.

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{9} C’est Cheese

Adam and I had a weekday off together and we spent several hours of it on the phone dealing with our retirement accounts.  We desperately needed booze and cheese afterwards so we headed to Port Jefferson for lunch.  Baked brie with raspberry jam.

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Beer flight – Post Road Pumpkin / Telekinesis sour / Framboise / Imperial Biscotti Break stout.

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Plus a Spanish salad with mandarin oranges, Manchego, olives, and a honey tarragon vinaigrette.

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{10}  David Pumpkins

Bless you, SNL, this is my new favorite thing.

{Bonus}  Be sure to check out SaveTheDay.Vote, Joss Whedon’s super PAC that produces short PSAs about the importance of voting (for Hillary).  The subject matter is sobering but somehow the videos are all still laugh out loud hilarious.  Whedon is already my role model, and I am so impressed with all of the celebrities to chose to participate.

P.S. Happy Halloween!

It’s Pumpkin Month!

Pumpkin Month is here!  On the Emily calendar September is for apples, October and November are for pumpkin, November and December are for eggnog and gingerbread, and December is for peppermint.  This month’s on-theme stash is especially bountiful.

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Here are some highlights from the weekend…

My favorite coffee combo – espresso and chocolate milk.  I hate “mochas” because the syrup is gross but this iteration of chocolate and coffee is the best.

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Brunch at Benchmark.

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I had a roasted vanilla lemonade with vodka.

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This unassuming omelette was actually stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese.

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My best lunch came from the Starbuck’s refrigerator case.

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We cooked two tasty dinners.  Broccoli salad based on this recipe from Cooking Light.  We roasted the broccoli and sauteed the onion and served the salad warm, which I highly recommend.  I also swapped maple for honey and rice vinegar for cider vinegar.

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Served with white bean and basil dip with orange bell peppers and potato chips.

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Plus a disappointing cider.

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And I loosely followed Rachel Ray’s recipe for pumpkin and sausage pasta.

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Served on butternut squash pasta shaped like tiny pumpkins!!

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With roasted honey sriracha smoked paprika cauliflower.

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And our last and favorite cider, just in time for pumpkin beers.

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Non-food wins included…

I started reading One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories and now I’m completely obsessed with B.J. Novak.  The collection of stories fits together in ways that are surprising, moving, and sidesplittingly wry.

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Watching the dog put himself to bed, complete with covers and his head on a pillow.

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He’s the best.