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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Berries In My Sandwich And My Beer

Five fun things from this week…

{1} Blanchard’s holiday blend coffee with sweetened condensed milk.  And the next day I made a shakerato!

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{2} A duo of fruity ales.  I did not care for the tea taste of the Suncrush but the Troegs bosenberry tart ale was super interesting and packed with flavor.

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{3} A toasted pb&j with this winning combo.  FYI: toasting your peanut butter sandwiches is the way to go.

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Served with the classic pb&j sides – baby carrots and apple slices.

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Plus a new favorite – chicken and waffle chicken chips.

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{4} Dinner from Got Dumplings.  Tofu dumplings, kimchi, and peanut noodles.  Plus guava and mango tea with boba and lyche jelly.

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{5} I made tom kha gai.  And it was good!

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Tastes Of The Tropics

Tropical tastes from the last week include – coconut, Cuban food, rum, soursop, starfruit.

The best things I ate last seven days…

Caramel spice latte in a can.  My brain won’t accept that I hate coconut milk in coffee yet but this did smell amazing.

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But I loooooove Kirt’s marshmallow ice cream blended into iced coffee.

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These 7-11 gummies were rainbow sherbet, cotton candy, and starfruit flavored.

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We ordered chocolates from Bon Bon Bon – an adorable candy shop in Detroit – and the packaging alone filled me with glee!

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Plus the bon bons were inventive and delicious (and adorable!!).

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Cocktails at Vitae, an amazing little local craft distillery.  I had a Flower Sour – barrel-aged rum, lavender, simple syrup, lemon, egg white, and lilac.

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And we brought home a bottle of golden rum and made yummy cocktails at home too – rum, soursop, and club soda.

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A duo of IPAs.

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We had a sampler of beers at Random Row. We did not do well at trivia, but had a wonderful time.

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Lunch at Ace BBQ.  I had a biscuit with pulled jerk chicken and pimento cheese.  Plus coleslaw and a grape soda.

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Sheet-pan – aka one pan – hash.  You cook everything on the same pan, starting with the hardiest vegetables and added the more delicate things as time goes on.  This was Japanese yam, purple sweet potato, bell peppers, green onion, pinto beans, and cojita cheese.

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Topped with baby heirloom tomato, cilantro, and homemade guacamole.  This was fantastic!

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And my leftovers – additionally topped with hot sauce and a fried egg – were somehow even better.

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Thai chicken pizza.  I made a sauce out of tamarind, peanut butter, and ginger and we topped it with shredded chicken, mozzarella cheese, and carrots, green onion, and cilantro.

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Simple sandwich night – Trader Joe’s white whole wheat topped with mayo, yellow mustard, colby cheese, and smoked turkey.  Plus baby carrots and chicken and waffle chicken chips!!

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Adam had to travel near Richmond this weekend for work and I tagged along for dinner at Kuba Kuba, a great Cuban spot.  Cafe con leche with condensed milk.

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Codfish cakes with enchilada sauce, fried eggs, and Cuban toast.

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And we shared flan and tres leches!

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Best dinner of the week award goes to this plate – chicken salad made with toasted almonds and kimchi / potato pancakes with paprika and ginger / roasted green beans.

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Have a great week!

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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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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.

7 For 7

Long time no blog!  Here were 7 highlights from the past 7 days…

{1} This chocolate chip cookie dough chia bar is quite tasty.  With a pinata apple.

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{2} We finally went to Paradox Pastry and now it’s my new favorite place.  The nutella hand pie and birthday cake macaron we shared were out of this world delicious and I wanted to try pretty much every item on the menu.

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{3} We went on a crepe date at The Flat.

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Shredded chicken with brie and local Jams by Daniel.

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The Owl Man = milk chocolate, cinnamon, and marshmallow fluff.

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{4} My mom sent some Rothschild Farms raspberry honey mustard dip in my stocking this year and it’s like snacking on my childhood.  Pretzels for dipping are nonnegotiable but baby carrots aren’t bad either.

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{5} Dinner bowl #1 – Stir-fried cauliflower rice (with soy sauce, rice vinegar, cashews, and eggs) with Trader Joe’s Mandarin orange chicken-less morsels.

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{6} Dinner bowl #2 – Broccoli rice and shredded carrots stir-fried with zhoug sauce // honey garlic chicken thighs – thighs, garlic, honey, and soy sauce put in the crock pot on low for 8 hours // bok choy sauteed in some extra sauce // a fried egg.

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{7} My cousin introduced us to Peter Chang’s.  We had sweet glutinous rice cakes and I had numbing shredded duck.  Szechuan chili is such a fun spice sensation.

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Hot, Hot, Hot

There is no condiment I find as essential as hot sauce (fyi – I normally like to keep an open Cholula in the mix as well!),

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so when Moore’s Marinades offered to send me some samples from their new hot sauce line I jumped at the opportunity.

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We loved them both, even Adam who is a bit heat adverse.  The sauces brought a lot of flavor with the spice.  I prefer a hot sauce that I can take a taste of without running for a glass of milk (think Sriracha in terms of heat intensity).

With the Harissa Hot Sauce I made a smoky harissa turkey chili.

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Ground turkey / olive oil / sweet onion / celery / bell pepper / poblano pepper / salt, pepper, smoked paprika / liquid smoke / harissa hot sauce / white beans / crushed tomato.  Topped with cheddar.

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On the side, I made dumb bread! <– from scratch!

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With the Spicy Mustard Hot Sauce I made hot honey mustard chicken nuggets.

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Homemade baked chicken nuggets (chicken chunks / dipped in flour / then egg / then breadcrumbs) tossed in the tastiest sauce I’ve ever made – honey, spicy mustard hot sauce, mustard, butter.

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