Take Me Out

This weekend we: Ate all the take-out.  Took the dog on several long walks.  Washed the dog and turned him into an adorable woolly mammoth.  Did our grocery shopping for the next two weeks.

I also went on a really great run and started re-watching America’s Next Top Model.

Highlights include…

Obsessed with these Trader Joe’s bbq popped chips.  I prefer a smoky bbq flavor and this fits the bill.


Even more obsessed with this Evil Twin pink pineapple IPA.  Served in a go-cup because we took a cocktail hour walk with Webster that knocked our socks off.


We got great take-out from a local Mediterranean spot.  Tons of pita bread with all of the smokey eggplant dips.  Plus bulgar with tzatziki and chicken (plus roasted broccoli).


And we ordered all of their desserts!


We also got great take-out from a local Szechuan spot.  I had kung pow tofu with veggie rice noodles and Chinese cabbage with peppers.



Adam is post-call this morning and I am taking my weekend day off so we get to share the same space for a bit, woo-hoo!  We have some really exciting date options to chose from, like a grocery trip and maybe the gym.

I worked Saturday and Sunday – and was off on Friday but spent the entire day reading and/or watching tv – so I don’t have too much excitement to share this recap.  We did go on a very delicious dinner date Saturday night though.

weekend highlights…

Coffee coffee.



Cinnamon chocolate pudding.


Snowdays shaved ice!  Black sesame with grass jelly, mochi, and strawberry sauce.


Yesterday I made a dish that was moussaka-adjacent.  No potatoes but the other layers were there.  Roasted eggplant / sauteed turkey with tons of onions, spices, and tomato / mornay sauce with parmesan.


And Saturday we did an awesome Israeli dinner at Timna.  You select an entree and then the table gets all of the appetizers tapas-style.  Also we ordered two desserts because we just couldn’t choose!  It was one of our best meals to date.  Falafel with pickled mango.


Kubneh bread baked in a flower pot served with crushed tomato, creme-fraiche, and jalapeño salsa.


Grilled beet salad with beluga lentils // tuna sashimi with green tabouli, tatziki, and ponzu // grilled cauliflower and artichoke with curried yogurt, homemade raisins, and pickled onion // smoked eggplant with feta cheese and sumac.


I had “the fish,” striped bass with cherry tomato confit, grilled zucchini, grilled fennel, fried eggplant, Greek yogurt, and bread crumbs.  We loved the meal from start to finish but the fried eggplant was my favorite bite of the night.


Kubneh bread with creme patisserie, white chocolate, and honey and sage ice cream.


Sicilian pistachio ice cream with tahini, silan, and shredded halva.  swoon 


Back to the grind we go!

Destination City


this week I loved…

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm.  It took me forever to find a balm with both tint and spf but this one fits the bill perfectly!

A blog book review.  Dawn Lerman’s My Fat Dad was sent to me free of charge to try/read for the blog.  Her chapter on moving to New York City walked the reader through the different cultural food neighborhoods in a way that made my mouth water.

Living in a destination city.  I had two different sets of friends visiting NYC for work trips this week.  It was fantastic to get to catch up with them!  However, I went out after work for dinner and/or drinks multiple times and I am flipping exhausted.


P.S.  My favorite bar (Pork Slope in Park Slope) now has $1 jello shots, clearly I backed the right horse!

this week I ate…

Vietnamese-ish iced coffee.




A killer smoothie – with banana, blueberry, and avocado.  So creamy.


Poppy seed bagel with olive cream cheese.


Oatmeal bowl.  With cookie butter and a pixie tangerine.


Greek yogurt bowl with Cheerios and plums.  I also crumbled a brownie in there (see below) and it was pretty fantastic.


Taboule salad from the cafeteria.


Whole Foods hot bar.  Lots of veggies, rice with black beans and cheddar, and broccoli mac and cheese.


I needed a 2nd coffee snack more than once.


Turkey jerky.


Best ever brownies.  Just this recipe without the fluff.


Baby carrots with great feta dip.


I had Thai food in Williamsburg with Adam and a girlfriend.  Drunken noodles with mock duck that were as spicy as they were delicious.


We cooled our mouths down with soft-serve from Milk Bar.  Fruity pebble soft-serve(!!) with fudge sauce and sprinkles.


Indian at the Grand Central food court.  And yes, I realize that is a lame spot to take an out-of-towner.


Starbucks sandwich for a quick dinner on the train and then I went straight to bed!


I did make dinner at home one night!  Whole-wheat vermicelli noodles with ginger and garlic chicken, shredded cabbage, bell pepper, and a tahini lime sauce.  With cashews on top plus tons of Sriracha after the picture.


We snacked on a servings’ worth of cashews and sliced bell pepper while we cooked.

Good friends, good eats, it was a good week!

Back At It

We are back at the old grind.  The first week of real life after vacation felt loooooong.  It’s good to be back at work though, and great to be back with the dog!

Here were some of the best bites this week…

This week’s coffee was fan-freaking-tastic!  Blackhand that I brought home from my trip to Richmond.  It was super strong and roasty.


With strawberry watermelon Polar that’s my new favorite flavor.


I also tried the caramel almond Nutchello.  It was pleasant but not as strongly flavored as I was hoping for.


Midmorning snack of baby carrots and wonderful red cherries.


Cafeteria lunch.  They are making a fancy new hybrid burger that is half turkey half veggie; it was good!  My korma veggies were not so good, I ended up swapping them for fries.


Yogurt bowl.  Salted caramel noosa (<– yum!) with blueberries and blackberries and awesome gorp-style trail mix my aunt gave us.  Plus a golden nugget mandarin orange on the side.


Better yogurt bowl.  Plain Greek yogurt, berries, red plum, Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes, nature’s sprinkles (chia) for healthy fat, and Amy Sedaris’ sprinkles for joy.


This ridiculously adorable cookie from Starbucks made for a fun end of the day snack.


And carrots with caramelized onion dip was the perfect thing to crunch through while I cooked this week.


We also really enjoyed lemonade with pink lemon!  Perfect with mint sparkling water.  The lemons were orange on the outside, pinkish on the inside, and sweeter than their yellow counterparts.


Brinner for the win.  Banana pecan pancakes, berries, and amazing turkey bacon, with maple syrup poured on after the picture.


Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea, but it’s a great idea when your drink and dessert are also on theme.  We planned the pancakes because we both had coffee-flavored beers to try.


And we tried the crazy expensive, crazy good Compartes donuts & coffee bar.  I thought it was totally worth the price.


Our other dinners were also winners.  Nachos!  Maple bacon kettle chips with TJ’s low-fat three cheese blend, turkey bacon, shredded turkey breast, broccoli, and green pepper.


And Greek salad night.  Greens with Greek feta dressing, cucumber, tabouli, TJ’s stuffed grape leaves, and crunchy roasted chickpeas.


Last night we ate Chipotle and caught up on TV. <– kind of the best date night

The F Word

So this week has been awful – I have the flu and I’m dying.  Yup, sick, dying, but definitely not overly dramatic.

Remember how I was sick last week (with a cold, I guess?)?  I felt ok-ish over the weekend, like a person again on Monday, and then like death after his robe got caught in a jet engine on Tuesday.  I felt so bad I actually went to an urgent care center and willingly let them shove q-tips down my throat and up my nose.  Long story long, no strep, but I have the flu.  Ugh.

So 95% of my meals have looked like this:


Or like this:


But I did eat two really good bowls of dinner on Sunday and Monday!  A Greek salad – romaine topped with TJ’s feta Greek dressing / roasted chickpeas / cucumber / TJ’s tabbouleh / TJ’s stuffed grape leaves / and pimento stuffed green olives.


And a grain salad – bulgur with evoo, s&p, and allspice / roasted broccoli / browned mushrooms/ toasted walnuts / yellow raisins / and minced green olives.


When I’m not on death’s door I can toss together a pretty great meal.

I hope everyone is feeling healthy this weekend.

Sprinkles And Sandwiches

By the time this post goes live I’ll already be on my way to work (wan wan).  I’m working Saturday/Sunday because I have Friday/Monday off, and I’m heading in extra-early because we have family visiting and I need to be done and free to hang out in the afternoon.  The good thing about visitors is that we’ll probably take them to Ample Hills!

Friday was a boring mix of buying new couch slipcovers and filing our taxes (wan wan), but Monday we’ve got some fun breakfast plans lined up.

A few of my dinners were pretty darn weak, but all of this week’s lunches were exclamation point worthy.


Daytime Eats

This weeks’ coffee – Starbucks espresso blend with skim milk.  With a piñata apple.


And a chocolate pretzel protein bar.


Or a wonderfully juice sumo mandarin.


Or a lavender kombucha.


Plus buttered toast.


I also had an Americano with chocolate milk.


Plus Adam and I split a butterscotch latte while we ran errands.


With extra espresso, Adam loved it too.

This week’s tea – Roobios.


Amazingly, this caffeine-free herbal was my favorite tea thus far.  With milk and honey it was downright delicious.

I’m still excited by this gum.


The flavor dies in about a minute but who doesn’t love a gum with sprinkles?

Oatmeal bowl.  Oats with freeze-dried raspberries and blueberries and peanut butter chocolate chips.


The oats were great, but I ate much earlier in the day than I usually do (and then stayed for an hour of overtime!) and I ended up also getting a guava cheese empanada on the train home.


Yogurt bowl.  Plain 2% Greek yogurt with fresh blackberries and pomegranate, toasted pecans, chia seeds, and Heritage Flakes.


Yogurt bowl.  Maple Chobani with blackberries, pecans, and Heritage Flakes.


Salad bar.  I love the days when the cafeteria does a Greek section; my salad was loaded with falafel, tzatziki, and taboule, plus black-eyed peas, olives, and cucumber.


Friday, Adam and I went to lunch at a new restaurant near our apartment.  The meal was underwhelming, but I made a great yogurt bowl for dessert when I got home.


Plain Greek with peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, maple pecan granola, more pecans, and Luxardo cherries on top!

Nighttime Eats

House snacks included cashews – I’ve been making Adam trail mix bags for work and snacking heartily while I assemble them.


And chocolate-covered gummies.


And fun snacks included two girlfriend outings this week.  A coworker and I got drinks at Colonie after an outlandishly frustrating work day.  Bolivian Rose – Singani 63, Aperol, Dolin dry vermouth, Combier, and a super fragrant lemon twist.


And I introduced a friend to the Korean-style shaved ice at Snowdays.


They had specialty flavors – Thai iced tea!  Topped with mochi, sweetened condensed milk, and grass jelly.

The mid-week blahs led to some pretty disastrous meals.  Like big salads – baby kale, cashews, chia seeds, pomegranate, and peanut sauce – and horrifyingly cheesy nachos.



Or a sandwich night where the only veggies to be found were a side of baby carrots.



My sandwich – with a butter-toasted brioche, roasted turkey, raw milk cheddar, special sauce, and tons of pickles – was delicious but not the healthiest.

But we went on a really fantastic Tuesday night date at Talde.  Now that I know that I like ginger in drinks I could order the Ginger Rose – Four Roses bourbon, Applejack, lemon, and ginger-cinnamon infused grenadine.


The drink was good but the meal was to die for; truly one of the best dishes we’ve ever had.  Acorn squash rendang with Malaysian grits, fried shallot, pickled shitake, and a six-minute egg.


The blend of textures and flavors – crispy with creamy, spice with sour – was unbelievably satisfying.  Dessert was sweet with salty.


Pretzel-potato chip bars with chocolate ganache.

And we started the week with veggie tofu bowls.


Extra-firm tofu was marinated in stone-ground mustard, lemon juice, honey, and evoo then baked ’til crispy.


Served on top of honey butter shredded carrots, and sautéed brussels sprouts tossed in the tofu marinade.

And ended the week with veggie packed pasta.  TJ’s spinach tortellini with red sauce.


We gussied up the sauce with sautéed mushroom and onion and roasted zucchini and graffiti eggplant.  I followed the Serious Eats trick of adding pasta water.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Let’s cross our fingers for more warm weather!

Salads, Berries, And Chocolate – Post Blizzard Eats

Fun fact about how old I feel – I spent an hour digging out my car on Sunday and it took until midweek before I could get up from my chair without audibly groaning.  This was my first year (ever!  I grew up on an island) having to do it and now I totally understand why so many people have heart attacks each winter.

daytime eats

The LIRR was still closed on Monday but thankfully Adam was around to drive me to work.  Silver lining – I spent extra time with the husband and we got to eat doughnuts for breakfast.


I got an iced latte and a black sesame cream doughseed.



Tuesday was much less exciting, coffee with vanilla almond milk and a piñata apple (Let’s be real though, I’m always excited about coffee!).


And coffee with fat-free sweetened condensed milk in it is downright thrilling.  Plus a protein bar and a pear.


More SCM love and more strawberry seltzer.


Speaking of strawberry, this week’s tea – white strawberry.  This was a particularly pretty blend.


The most exciting breakfast of all involved halo halo.  Plus cereal and chia seeds.  I’m still not sure if my Filipino coworker was impressed or horrified that I was putting it on plain Greek yogurt!


I packed a couple homemade “instant” oatmeal bowls this week.  Rolled oats, nonfat milk powder, brown sugar, chia seeds, and pecans, mixed with hot water at work.  One day was freeze-dried raspberries with a peach on the side.



The other was strawberries with a tangelo.



I also brought in brownies!  I made a double batch of milk crumbs (from Milk Bar) and dumped them in my favorite brownie batter along with some caramel chocolate chips.  They got rave reviews from my coworkers.


And apparently I missed them when they were gone because one day I bought chocolate cookies and an iced coffee for a train-ride snack.


Lunches also included a slice of ridiculously overcooked veggie pizza.


And a delicious salad topped with falafel and giant scoops of tzatziki and tabbouleh.


nighttime eats

Adam had to take me home from work on Monday too – my train didn’t start running until the absolute last second on Tuesday morning – which meant we got to do a dinner date as well.  The streets were still crazy so we decided to eat wherever we could park.  We found a spot next to… Ramen Yebisu.


I got the veggie miso ramen with shitake mushroom, scallion, onion, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and kelp.  With an egg on top.  It was good, but just couldn’t compare with the epic ramen they serve up the road at Chuko.

I went out on Thursday too.  I met up with friends for drinks and dinner after work.  Drinks were bourbon, lemonade, and iced tea slushies at Pork Slope.  Dinner was obscenely cheesy sandwiches at Melt Kraft.


I got the Melter Skelter (<– ha!), raclette cheese, pickled green tomatoes, jalapeño, bbq chips, and watercress.


So good.  The pickled tomatoes were a really nice contrast to the rich cheese and chips are always a good sandwich topping.

Another night, Adam ate leftovers and I ate a guava cheese empanada on the train.  We sat together for our salad course though.


Arugula with sweet and spicy pecans, chia seeds, and golden raisins, dressed with lavender honey, evoo, balsamic, and lavender salt.

Plus we shared new gummies.


My salad was spicy sweet and these were sour sweet.

I did manage to cook one real meal.  I put chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning along with a jar of salsa and tons of chopped bell peppers and onion – plus a little bit of salt and evoo – and came home to this –


Served with TJ’s Cuban black beans and tons of cheese on top.


We have really been loving the crockpot this winter, all of our best chicken has come out of it.

One more day of work and then I’m spending my weekend being low-key and boring, running errands and catching up on tv.

Goodbye, 2015

It’s been a good year but I’m ready for 2016!

I still tend to think in terms of school years rather than calendar years, so I don’t usually set new year’s resolutions (though in 2015 I did lose a few pounds and make a major career move, woo-hoo!).  However, for the past 5 years I have made it my mission to read at least 25 books a year.  I’m pretty proud of the 35 I read this year so I included the list at the bottom of this post.

I’m heading to a NYE party tonight and then I’m up early for work on the 1st, so without further adieu, here’s the final wrap-up of the year…


A final eggnog iced coffee while I set up my planner for 2016!!


Otherwise this was the coffee combo for the week –


With wonderful fruit options, a cocktail grapefruit.


And a piñata apple.


Plus tea at work.


Caramel was yummy, and it smelled delicious.


I had Monday off – the end of a fabulous four-day weekend – so I got to have a yogurt bowl at home.


Plain Fage with maple syrup, blackberries, chia seeds, and praline pecan granola.

Oatmeal from home, at work.


With vanilla almond butter.

Cafeteria salad bar.


I made myself a Greek salad with romaine with balsamic, marinated cucumber salad, tzatziki , tabbouleh , and falafel.


Monday was our 8-year wedding anniversary (we got married on our 5th dating anniversary so it was also our 13th year as a couple)!!  I consider myself the luckiest person alive that I get to spend my life with Adam.  We celebrated with food, of course.  We headed into the city early and got our favorite coffee {Brooklyn Roasting Company},


and our favorite ice cream {Morganstern’s}.


We split a scoop of American egg with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate sprinkles.

Then we enjoyed our favorite dinner of the year (maybe my favorite dinner of our marriage!) at Bowery Meat Company.  It was a truly epic meal of several courses whose highlights included roasted cauliflower, foie gras, Spanish wine, and an entire casserole of duck lasagna.  We held hands, and giggled, and were generally disgusting, and I didn’t take a single picture*.  *Other than instagramming the duck lasagna, because how could I not?


The nights at home, appetizers included delicious leftover buffalo chicken pizza and carrots with hummus.



I’ve determined that pretty much no matter what I eat for lunch I am frantic with hunger by the time I get home from work so I usually eat something before I try to make dinner.

Tuesday’s dinner didn’t require much time or effort though, because we brought home leftover duck lasagna.  swoon.


I consider myself a fairly good cook and it is safe to say that I’ve never made a dish that tasted as good as these microwaved leftovers!


With salads on the side.


Spinach / lavender salt, lavender honey, evoo / sweet and spicy pecans / golden raisins.

And Wednesday I designed a quick dinner around this (former freebie) Bertolli Asiago Cheese and Artichoke sauce.


We tossed the sauce with sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, shredded chicken, and orecchiette pasta.  It obviously couldn’t compete with the duck but was still good.

2015’s reading list

They’re listed in chronological order.  F = fiction, NH = nonfiction, and M = memoir.  I bolded the year’s top ten favorites.

  1. Bones Never Lie – Kathy Reichs (f)
  2. I Forget to Remember, A Memoir of Amnesia – Su Meck (m)
  3. The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, And Other Small Acts of Liberation – Elizabeth Berg (f)
  4. The Next Queen of Heaven – Gregory Maguire (f)
  5. Fairyland, a Memoir of my Father – Alysia Abbott (m)
  6. Yes, Please – Amy Poehler  (m)
  7. Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach (nf)
  8. Born Round, A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite – Fran Bruni (m)
  9. Flesh and Blood – Patricia Cornwell (f)
  10. With or Without You – Domenica Ruta (m)
  11. The Story Sisters – Alice Hoffman (f)
  12. Tender at the Bone – Ruth Reichl (m)
  13. Comfort Me with Apples – Ruth Reichl (m)
  14. Garlic and Saphires – Ruth Reichl (m)
  15. Crash and Burn – Lisa Gardner (f)
  16. Delancey – Molly Wizenberg (m)
  17. Someone is Watching – Joy Fielding (f)
  18. If Only You People Could Follow Directions – Jessica Henry Nelson (m)
  19. Working Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner – Judy Melinek M.D. (m)
  20. The Removers – Andrew Meredith (m)
  21. Let the Tornado Come – Rita Zoey Chin (m)
  22. Bossypants – Tina Fey (m)
  23. Unorthodox, The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots – Deborah Feldman (m)
  24. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery (f)
  25. Delicious – Ruth Feichl (f)
  26. Head Cases, Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath – Michael Paul Mason (nf/m)
  27. Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood – Leah Vincent (m)
  28. Speaking in Bones – Kathy Reichs (f)
  29. My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places – Mary Roach (m)
  30. Cooked, A Natural History of Transformation – Michael Pollan (nf)
  31. Burn Down the Ground – Kambri Crews (m)
  32. Thinking in Pictures, My Life with Autism – Temple Grandin (m/nf)
  33. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (f) {reread}
  34. Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee (f)
  35. Gulp, Adventures on the Alimentary Canal – Mary Roach (nf)

Do you set new year’s resolutions?

Things I’m Loving From Trader Joe’s

Buffalo doesn’t have a Trader Joe’s (yet!), but that doesn’t mean I can’t pine over the goods I plan on purchasing once we are back in the city this summer.

The following are some of the things I bought when I was in Ohio last month.  They were all new to me and most of them I’ve now decided I can’t live without!

1.  Roasted Coconut Chips.

roasted coconut chips

Coconut chips are nothing super new – I’ve been picking them out of tropical trail mixes since I was a kid – but it was nice to see them get their own package.  These guys are perfectly sweet and crunchy.  Nutrition stats for 1 oz – 160 kcal, 1 g protein, 4 g fiber, 10 g saturated fat.

2.  Zesty Nacho Kale Chips.

zesty nacho kale chips

I love the idea of kale chips but the ones I try to make up at home end up being tiny, burnt, kale carcinogens.  And the amazingly delicious ones sold at Wegman’s cost more than $7 a bag.  This 2-serving bag was less than $6 and the chips were the best I’ve ever had.  They seem to have roasted giant leaves without cutting them up first so the chips are big and chunky and delicious.  Nutrition stats for 1 oz – 150 kcal, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, and 1 g saturated fat.  Plus 130% RDA for Vitamin A!

3.  10 Minute Bulgur.


This was our first time trying bulgur and we both loved it.  The taste and texture were exactly what I’m always hoping for from rice.  <– no, I can’t describe it any better than that; I love food and I love writing but there is a reason I’m not a food writer, people!

It really did cook in 10 minutes – it’s pre-cooked – making it a super easy grain for a quick dinner.  We paired it with black beans, tomatillo, sautéed spinach, and avocado.  A one 1/2 cup serving, which turns into a ton when cooked, has 280 kcal, 11 g protein, and 6 g fiber.

4.  Organic Sweetened Condensed Milk.

organic sweetened condensed milk

SCM, aka nectar of the gods, is nothing new, but the squeeze bottle system sure is nifty.  I love putting SCM in coffee (like a lazy Vietnamese coffee) and this way I can use 1-2 Tbsp in my cup occasionally without having to worry about storing the rest.  This was a nice blurb to see on the back of the bottle – “Trader Joe’s Organic Sweetened Condensed Milk is made from organic milk from cows not treated with hormones or antibiotics, and sweet organic cane sugar.”

Are you lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your town?  What are your favorite TJ’s goods?