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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Easter Weekend

I have an odd smattering of things to share this post.  Mostly because the weekend was a little all over the place – Saturday we had friends visiting from DC and Sunday I had to work.  The weekend coverage shifts here are actually kind of fun because I am responsible all of the nutrition support consults and I get to see surgical/trauma patients that are usually covered by a different team.  This weekend I had a ton of complicated TPNs to keep me on my toes!

Three fun things…

{1} On theme beverages.  I actually hated both of these a lot, but they were fun to try!

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{2} Beer flights at local breweries.  Pro Re Nata is always our favorite and their hazy IPA was my favorite taste of the day!

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{3} Dinner at Sultan Kebab.  We went with my cousin and we all were raving by the end.  I had my first knafeh experience (layers of shredded phyllo baked with fresh mozarella cheese drizzled with lemony sugar syrup) and it was life changing.  Plus, how amazing is their presentation of Turkish coffee with Turkish delight??

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BBQ Chips, BBQ Beans, BBQ Nachos

Highlights from the last week include several new (to me) things…

I don’t usually show my at-work meals, but I wanted to share one of the perks of working in the South – biscuit breakfast sandwiches in the hospital cafeteria.  This had turkey chorizo sausage, a cage-free fried egg, and cheddar.

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These Don’t Go Nuts granola bars have the best texture, almost like a streusel.

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Other snack highlights include this assortment of bbq flavored crisped chickpeas and corn.

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Chocolate beers and hibiscus drinks.  I loved the s’mores beer, liked the tea, and hated the other two.

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My aunt shared a recipe for Chicken Provencal Soup with us and we loved it for dinner.  It’s packed with potato, diced tomato, onion, carrot, and celery.  I dipped some naan in my broth.

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We made fantastic bbq bowls another night.  Collard greens and celery (sauteed with lemon, garlic, butter, and harissa hot sauce) // shredded chicken (cooked in the crock pot with ketchup, yellow mustard, brown sugar, cayenne, paprika, and red onion) // baby heirloom tomatoes // and smoked paprika candied pecans.  Remind me to cook more collards!

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We turned our leftovers into something fantastic with the help of these two products.  1) Hickory BBQ kettle chips that Boulder Canyon sent me to sample.  FYI – Boulder Canyon chips are – certified gluten free – trans fat free -vegan – kosher – made with green energy.  They had a good amount of smoke and tang and weren’t greasy at all.  Bonus, my bags, at least, had tons of foldsies!  2) Borlotti beans that we bought at Mekelburg’s just because the box was so pretty.

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BBQ kettle chips + beans + leftover chicken + roasted corn + sharp cheddar + smoked paprika = nachos!

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Little Star = Big Star

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We ate some really yummy things last week!  Here were the highlights…

{1} Canned coffees that I schlepped back from New York.

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{2} Lemon meringue macarons at the farmers’ market at IX Park.

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{3} A Trader Joe’s shaped meal that was both quick and delicious.  Cauliflower gnocchi + turkey summer sausage + pizza sauce + broccoli rabe.  You can bake the gnocchi (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes) and it comes out great.

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{4} A Korean feast at Maru on the downtown mall.  I had the spicy chicken and cheese plate – spicy gojuchang marinated chicken served with rice cakes and Korean sweet potato and topped with melted cheese.

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It was spicy, and smoky, and kind of amazing.  The portion was gigantic and my leftovers – which I stir-fried with eggs and roasted broccoli – were kind of amazing as well.

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We also had pat bing soo – shaved ice with red bean, mochi, and milk powder.

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{5} Dinner with my cousin at Little Star, a newish, supremely gorgeous, tapas spot.  The space and the tableware – which was thrifted and eclectic – were beautiful.

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We ordered all the things and loved every single bite and sip.  All three of us agreed it was one of the best meals we had eaten all year.  Agave Angel – mezcal, lime juice, and cream.

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3 month aged manchego with apricot honey preserves.

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Charred shishito peppers with romesco and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.

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Sunny side up eggs with salsa negra, green onion, sesame seeds, grilled bread, and hickory sauce.  <– this was the top dish of the night, the contrast of the sweet hickory sauce with the eggs and salsa was divine

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Shrimp and grapes with garlic, leeks, tequilla, and pickled chiles.  We went right ahead and sipped that sauce.

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Seared tuna with rendered foie gras, salsa molcajete, cilantro oil, and charred onion.  <– 2nd best dish of the night, which is unsurprising when you consider the words “rendered foie gras”

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Coffee service.

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Crumb cake with meyer lemon curd, ear gray cream, and mezcal caramel.

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Creme carmel flan with peaches.

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*swoon*

Insta Vacation Highlights

Last week was perfectly relaxing bliss, I could not have asked for a better vacation!  Adam and I were thrilled to get to go home [St. Thomas, USVI].  I had time with the husband, friends, and family / I watched some of my favorite people get married on a beach in St. John / I ate tasty things / I stuck my toes in the sand and swam in the ocean!

We flew in and out of JFK to get home which meant sneaking in a little NYC visit as well  – we had just enough time for two fancy dinners and brunch with city friends.

The fun is fairly well-documented on my instagram but here are some highlights of the highlights…

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If I had to pick my top three sips/bites they’d be…

{1} Roasted baby carrots with harissa hot honey, peanut dukka, and hibiscus yogurt from Freek’s Mill.

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{2} A snow cone with tamarind and dulce de leche.

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{3} A salmon patty from the spot near the airport.

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Back to the grind.

Let Them Eat Cake

I am going on vacation next week and I definitely already have vacation brain!  The past 7 days I’ve done barely any cooking and taken barely any photographs of what I have been eating.

Here were five great highlights…

{1} Cake in all forms!  Billy Idol Cake from Paradox, aka white wedding cake with lemon curd.

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{2} Cake ice cream > ice cream cake.

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{3} I have come around to Adam’s point of view that Sicily Rose makes the best lattes in Charlottesville.  Their fancy espresso machine is key.  Four shots on ice with skim milk in a small cup is 100% perfect.

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{4} Poblano x2 pasta bowls.  Trader Joe’s creamy chicken poblano ravioli with celery, poblano pepper, and TJ’s turkey summer sausage sauteed in a butter.

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{5} We finally made it to Lampo and it lived up to the hype.  The Fungi pizza was downright decadent; Sharondale Farm pioppini and oyster mushrooms, thyme, onion, garlic, panna, aged provolone, grana padano.

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Adam and I shared two amazing salads.  Cavoletti di Bruxelles – shaved brussel sprouts, chives, fennel, hazelnuts, maple garum vinaigrette, pecorino.

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Cavolo Nero – Tuscan kale, candied almonds, ricotta salata, golden raisins, pickled mustard seed, apple cider vinaigrette, crispy parsnip.  This was the best dish of the meal.

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Plus I had the Hell and Honey cocktail; Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Espolon, aperol, grapefruit, scorpion pepper honey.

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And we had the budino for dessert; chocolate pudding, sweet cream, olive oil, salted hazelnut brittle.

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P.S. I will not be blogging from vacation – though I will share some fun on instagram – so I’ll see you guys after St. Patrick’s Day!

Smoky Salsa Sustenance

This was a good week in home-cooking!  And snacks.  And ice cream.  Highlights include…

Tortuga coffee with half and half.  I brewed it with a bit of vanilla bean powder.

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These peanut butter cookie dough protein bars are legit.

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We roasted Japanese yams with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika and they were delicious; just amazingly creamy.

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Trader Joe’s honey hedgehog butter cookies.  Just a little bit savory and sweet.

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Freeze-dried banana slices.

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These Jalapeño Popper Turkey Burgers are one of the best recipes on my site.  With roasted broccoli.

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Okonomiyaki!  With purple Japanese yam, roasted green cabbage, and green onion.  Topped with Kewpie and Sriracha.

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Plus Thai iced tea on the side.

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We made the best tacos I’ve ever eaten, hands down.  Filled with a loose take on this slow cooker chicken taco recipe.  We used chicken thighs, taco seasoning, paprika, garlic, lime, serrano pepper, sweet onion, and red and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with cheese, sour cream, and a loose take on this smoky salsa roja recipe.  We used extra chipotle and subbed in lime and brown sugar for vinegar and molasses.

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IPAs on the side.

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For nacho night we baked our flour tortillas into chips.  Topped with cheese, sour cream, homemade salsa, and black beans sauteed with green onions and serrano pepper.  Plus a side of roasted green beans.

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Happy weekending!

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