Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, And Eggplant, Oh My!

Goodness me, did we fit in some fantastic eating this weekend!  Three restaurant stops that were three of our best meals in NYC to date.  I spent the past three days giddy and full.

Highlights…

First things first – they can’t all be winners.  Both of these products seemed like things I would flip for so it felt like I should put out a PSA that I was not a fan.  The protein krispie treat tasted stale and horrible and the drink was more peanut than caramel.  Plus I’ve decided that the new Starbucks blonde espresso is not for me because I like the roasty flavor of the traditional espresso.

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I do recommend this salted caramel cold brew that I drank with skim milk.

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I am also a fan of toasted turkey and cheese sandwiches on brioche buns.  With kettle chips and roasted green beans.

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Now the stuff that knocked my socks off – Joyce Bakeshop.  We got baked goods with our coffees on a whim and the kouign-amann ended up being the single-best pastry I’ve ever had.

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Dinner at LIC Market.  We ate on the beautifully verdant back patio and our scenery was lovely but the lighting was terrible.  Fries with raclette to start.

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With a gose.

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I ordered two veggie sides as my entree.  Brussel sprouts with soy, sweet chili, and garlic and eggplant with lemon aioli.  The eggplant was one of my favorite dishes of the past five years, which is really saying something because we’ve had some exceptional eggplant dishes lately.

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Brown butter pecan cake with a sherry chocolate sauce.

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Dinner at Olmstead.  Another stunning interior + terrible photo lighting situation.

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My cocktail was not great – the only item we didn’t swoon over – but Adam’s fig sherry with vanilla and bitters was pretty delicious.

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The menu is set up for sharing so we got to try a bunch of things.  <– We actually felt like they encouraged us to order a little too much because we ended up having to take leftovers home.  Duck liver mousse (with honey drizzled on top!) with garlic crostini and pickled cauliflower.

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Beer-battered delicata squash rings with green tomato and a spice crust.

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Sweet potato and uni dumplings.

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Cauliflower okonomiyaki with yuzukoshō mayo and spicy hazelnuts.

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I had trout with creamed brussel sprouts and shaved chestnuts as my entree.  Adam’s succulent tamarind lacquered lamb is lurking in the background.

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We ordered the “peanut butter and jello” for dessert because how could you see that and not??!  It was strawberry mousse with strawberry jello and peanut butter powder.  It was ridiculous and amazing and I literally giggled every time I took a bite.

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Olmstead, LIC Market, and Joyce Bakeshop, we will be back!

A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate!  I am actually at work today, but Adam and I had a great weekend making merry.

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We pretended it wasn’t raining and took a long walk around Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I was very excited to check out the holiday decorations at Chelsea Market and the Oculus and Brookfield Place.

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Best bites highlights…

Nobletree eggnog cappuccino.

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I also bought a fancy Ronnybrook eggnog and dumped it over ice with a triple shot of espresso, so good.

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We had yet to stand in the Dominique Ansel line to try a cronut but when I read this month’s flavor I knew it was time – eggnog caramel!

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Crispy, chewy, gooey; they were totally fantastic and worth the wait.  Eggnog caramel may be my new favorite thing.

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Lunch at Kobrick Coffee.  I had a grilled cheese with swiss, shallots, and horseradish maple mustard.

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Plus a Strong Island Iced Tea – gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, cynar, Hella cola tonic, lime juice, and soda.  The little coffee cup was Adam’s cortadito – a crazy delicious cross between a cortado and a Cuban coffee.

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Holiday flavors jelly beans – eggnog, pumpkin pie, cranberry, hot chocolate, and peppermint.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer.  The pink drinks were my attempt at making a peppermint marshmallow vodka that did NOT work.

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Rice and Gold for dinner for a whole jerk roasted duck.  Wrapped up with jerk-hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, and moo shu pancakes.

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We also had cured salmon crudo with onion ash, myoga, jalapeno, and maple bourbon soy sauce.

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Charred eggplant with Chinese yogurt, scallion, and crispy shallot that was one of the best dishes I ate this year.

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A Bondi Kelly – white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and charred pineapple.

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And a citrus salad dessert special with cardamom labne and yuzu nata de coco.

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We brought home our leftover duck to put on nachos which was the best idea ever.

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And our Christmas Eve dinner was snowflake pasta with pesto, red bell pepper, baby kale, and turkey pepperoni.

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May your day be bright.

It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

Eggnog, peppermint, and rugelach, oh my!

Adam and I spent the weekend eating all of the holiday things!  We did an eggnog tour of Brooklyn one day and then a Brooklyn holiday ice cream tour the next.  I learned that even if you share and leave a lot of leftovers you can still tire of eggnog very quickly, and I’m probably someone who enjoys eggnog more than the average reveler.  I also affirmed that no matter how many twinkly lighted and tinsel bedecked holiday pop-ups I encounter, I will still clap my hands in glee every time.

Alphabetically, here are some Brooklyn spots celebrating with holiday pop-ups and/or themed items:

16Handles.  Peppermint froyo with Oreo and hot fudge.

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Ample Hills.

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There were so many holiday choices we had to get a flight to taste them all!  In the front row – Eggnog with rum / Festival of Lights cream cheese ice cream with raspberry rugelach / Candy Cane.

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Bearded Lady.

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BL Eggnog – bourbon, spice, a whole egg.

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Brooklyn Cupcake.  Coquito cupcake.  <– not a seasonal item actually, it’s on the menu year-round

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Ladybird Bakery.  Eggnog mousse tart.  <– this was more visually appealing than anything, 5/10.

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Leyenda<– most festive stop of the weekend, 2nd only to Miracle on 9th Street

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Coquito Ho Ho – Resposado Espolon tequila, Oloroso sherry, Braulio, coconut cream, cinnamon, egg.

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Oddfellows.  Eggnog and Santa’s Cookies milk sorbet with chocolate chip cookies.

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And here were the highlights of my less festive eats…

We were pretty pleased with this 7-11 cold brew can.  Made with skim milk and minimal sugar and it had way more flavor than anything we can get from the thousand Dunkin Doughnuts near our apartment.

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Brunch at Forest Point.  We need to come here more often because it’s amazing.  Oban Sour – Moto Whisky, Mizu Lemongrass Shochu, yuzu-maple cordial, lemon, pimento dram.

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I also had hummus, Israeli cucumber salad, fantastic grilled naan, harissa, and perfectly poached eggs.

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Lunch at Lion’s Milk.  We shared a sandwich with black olive paste, toasted sesame oil, and kasseri cheese.  Plus Turkish coffees.

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Tofu bowls for dinner.  With mint lime kombucha.

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Roasted buckwheat and kobucha squash with roasted elephant garlic / roasted zucchini / baked garlic brown sugar tofu / Sriracha.  Except apparently neither Adam nor I like buckwheat one bit; we ate off our toppings and had cheese and crackers instead.

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I try to have every healthy dinner include a protein, carb, fat, and veggie, and technically these meals fit the bill.  Smoky honey chips with melted sharp cheddar and carrots with hummus.

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Homemade onion dip (with turkey bacon and sharp cheddar!) with roasted broccoli and TJ’s cheesy tree crackers for dipping.  I also dipped baby carrots and kettle chips but they didn’t make a nice forest.

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I shredded two large sweet onions and spent 50+ minutes caramelizing them and it was well worth it.

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Especially because I sipped this peachy and delicious Shiner Bock Holiday Cheer while I cooked.

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Two more nights of Hannukah and one week ’til Christmas!

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Winter Weekend Wonderland

Three fun facts…

{1} NYC got its first snow this weekend.

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{2} Adam and I used the blustery weather as reason to spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum.  So much Van Gogh!

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{3} We also watched and loved the first season of Stan Against Evil.

{bonus fact} It’s Adam’s birthday today!  I was going to write a gooey, disgusting, you’re-my-everything post but our ten year anniversary is on December 28th so I’ll save up my feels.

Weekend eats highlights…

Eggnog ice cream spiked iced coffee.

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Jalapeño cheddar potato pierogis at Baba’s with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

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BBQ spread at Fletchers.  I had smoked chicken, cole slaw, pickles, and rivers of bbq sauce.

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Egg ‘n grog pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds.  It was a delicious, boozy custard.

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Edible brownie batter!  For 2, mix 1 Tbsp melted butter / 1 Tbsp granulated sugar / 2 Tbsp brown sugar / 1 Tbsp cocoa powder / 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour / 1.5 Tbsp milk of choice (I recommend eggnog).

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I made stroganoff-ish turkey bowls.  Ground meat sautéed with shallots, paprika, sour cream, and tons of fried mushrooms.

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With carrots and hummus for additional veggies.

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And Holiday Cheers Health-Ade Kombucha for fun.  <– I was expecting to hate the ginger but this ended up being my all-time favorite kombucha, it was all sweet and no spice

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Chicken tenders and slaw.

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Oven-fried chicken tenders (using a rough version of this method) coated in crushed Heritage Flakes and drizzled with homemade honey mustard.

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With homemade cole slaw on the side.  I adore slaw and this quick version was better than any I’ve had in a restaurant.  I didn’t make notes for a recipe but it’s sliced cabbage and golden raisins in a mix of mayo, sour cream, mustard, sugar, and rice vinegar.

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Fantastic cheese plates.  Fancy TJ’s crackers with white stilton with apricots, honey goat cheese, and raw milk cheddar.

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Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll Ale that tasted like a cookie.

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Plus carrots and orange bell pepper with hummus.

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And sugared nuts and dried figs.

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Miracle On 9th Street

New York City is the best place on Earth and that is doubly true around holidays!  Adam and I had a lovely weekend with lots of walking and we explored Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and saw and ate all sorts of fun holiday and city things.

Like lights in the Lower East Side.

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And wild swans in Sheepshead Bay.

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Coffees, specialty cocktails, pizza rolls, and other fantastic eats…

Mace’s Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop-up is officially my new favorite holiday activity!  I wish I had taken pictures inside because it was freaking magical.

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The specialty cocktails were so fun!  I had a Not Even a Mouse – pumpkin spice infused rye whiskey, Budweiser-marshmallow syrup, pumpkin puree, egg, and a marshmallow mouse.

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And a Snowball Old Fashioned – gingerbread bourbon, sugar, and pecan bitters.

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Iced latte love.  Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Orso.

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Yogurt bowl win.  Plain Greek yogurt with maple jelly and vanilla bean powder with golden kiwi and granola on top.

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Ice & Vice double scoop that was truly the best ice cream Adam or I have ever eaten.  TBT – earl grey, dark chocolate, and speculoos chip and PSL – pecan, sorghum, and latte toffee.

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The Nog at Sugar Sweet Sunshine, pumpkin cake layered with eggnog pudding and whipped cream.

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Luda’s Dumplings.

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We shared shrimp and loaded potato with garlic sour cream and mushrooms on top.

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Brunch at Butter & Scotch, aka the restaurant that’s decorated like the inside of my heart.

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I had biscuits with mushroom gravy and an egg on top.

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The NameShake.

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Birthday cake slice (the leftovers were still moist 24 hours+ later, fyi) and a Unicorn Treat – a brown butter cookie drenched in sprinkles!

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The space was adorable, the music was wonderful, and as we were rolling ourselves to the door the waitress brought us a chocolate chip cookie to go since we had been so excited about everything.

Dinner at Thursday Kitchen.

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You have to get a light-up booze-filled capri sun!  I went with strawberry.

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The menu is tapas style so we got to taste a lot.  Everything was so interesting, and perfectly spiced.  Pan-seared plantains with Korean chimichurri, honey ricotta, roasted pistachio, dried cranberry, and crispy plantain crumble.

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Duck confit empanada with dill crème fraiche, cumin, and pickles.

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Gnocchi with Korean chili pepper sauce, garlic aioli, parmesan, and crispy seaweed.

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My homemade dinners weren’t bad either.  I made vegetarian “rice” and beans casserole.

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Riced cauliflower / pinquito beans / onion and bell peppers (yellow, orange, and green) baked in evoo / red enchilada sauce / sour cream / shredded cheese.  I topped my bowl with more sour cream and some Cholula sauce plus beet and goat cheese cassava chips.

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An epic take on cheeseburgers and fries.

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Roasted green beans and butternut squash.

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Cheeseburger roll ups!  Crescent roll dough / ground turkey sautéed with chopped onion and pickle relish / mayo and ketchup / shredded cheese / brushed with garlic butter.

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Happy 1st week of December!

Thanksgiving Week

I always have a lot to feel thankful for and last week was no exception.  With working two weekends in a row and Turkey Day my schedule worked out perfectly for lots of fun free time with the husband!  We had a great time in the city on his post-call day and were able to drive to Pennsylvania Thursday evening to spend the holiday with his family.

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Highlights…

Fancy coffees –

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Noble Tree iced latte at Nickel and Diner.

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Stumptown Winter Cheer.

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Vietnamese cold brew.

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Fun city restaurants –

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Supermoon Bakehouse!

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So cool.  We tried a banana split sundae twice baked croissant – caramelized sous vide whole bananas, banana caramel sauce, creme patissiere, and chocolate almond creme, topped with chocolate fudge, banana caramel, dehydrated banana, gold leaf, and torched meringue.

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And a Golden Boy Doughnut – golden turmeric brioche filled with mild chocolate salted caramel, rolled in sugar and topped with a chocolate shard – aka the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten.

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Crazy good ramen at Ganso.  A girlfriend and I went after work one night and it was so fantastic that I went back with Adam the next day!  The first time we shared blistered shishito peppers.

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And I had triple shrimp ramen – with shrimp paste chicken broth, thick Sapporo noodles, chili-fried shrimp, dried shrimp, garlic chives, and moyashi sprouts.

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The second time we had wings and beer.

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And I had the Tori Shio – Japanese sea salt-chicken broth, toothsome Tokyo noodles, crispy chicken thigh chashu, ajitama egg, and greens.

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On-theme eats –

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Pumpkin yogurt with Heritage Flakes and a mini pumpkin persimmon.

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Fruit and nut yogurt with toffee bits, pecans, and orange raisins.

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A pre-holiday plate on Tuesday night.

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Crock pot cooked turkey, Trader Joe’s cornbread stuffing, cranberry dressing, and roasted green beans.

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Plus a cranberry beer!

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Our Thanksgiving tradition…

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Stuffing nachos!  With turkey, cranberry, and lots of cheese.

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Plus broccoli that I pretended was green beans.

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My actual Thanksgiving plate.

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Our contribution to the meal was peanut butter, butterscotch, toffee candy.

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Have a great week!

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It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Thanksgiving

Adam and I both worked Friday, Saturday, Sunday so I don’t have a lot to share.  THREE  exciting things: this weekend I…

{1} Made an on-theme Thanksgiving time dinner and ate it with the last pumpkin beer of the season.

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Chicken cooked in the crockpot with Korean bbq sauce and fresh cranberries / on a bed of roasted shredded brussel sprouts and cabbage.  Plus I went back and added melted extra-sharp cheddar on top, which was perfect.

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{2} Discovered the best ice cream flavor ever.

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{3} Dyed my hair purple!

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