It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Valentine’s

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As long-term blog readers know, the Emily holiday theme-food calendar is pretty packed.  There’s Apple Month (September) and Pumpkin Month (October into November), and November/December are the only time of year I’ll eat eggnog, candy cane, and gingerbread.

My mom recently asked me why Valentine’s Day and Easter don’t get any love?  I decided it’s lame that only August – December get theme flavors, so brought two new holidays into the party, albeit likely with less fervor.  Valentine’s Day (February) gets chocolate-covered cherry and cinnamon, and Easter (April) gets coconut and lemon.

Here was this month’s themed-food stash:

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Those goodies will be the main content of this post, along with a few other things that I LOVED (<– staying on theme).  It works out to be work lunches/snacks since this week’s dinner situation was beyond bleak – 1. nachos 2. Chipotle 3. frozen meal from Trader Joe’s 4. Adam and I got into bed and fell asleep before 8pm.

Chocolate cherry yogurt, chocolate cherry cashew KIND bar, and a Sumo mandarin.

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Valentine’s trail mix with chocolate hearts, dried dark sweet cherries, and roasted pecans.  Plus a Junami apple.

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2% yogurt with blackberries and muddy buddies.

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Vanilla bean yogurt with tangerine, blackberries, vanilla granola, and citrus crumble cake.

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A coworker just came back from the Philippines and she replenished my stash of these amazing powdered milk candies.

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Best bite sip of the week – very vanilla iced coffee.

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Do you have any romantic plans for next Tuesday?

Highlights From Last Week/end

Long time no blog! Life has been busy and work has been crazy and Adam had time to spend with me last weekend so I didn’t waste a single moment on the computer.  This weekend is going to be pretty exciting too… follow me on Instagram for instant updates.

Speaking of Insta, do you follow @coffeecupsoftheworld?  We went to the pop up exhibit in Manhattan last weekend and thought it was pretty neat.

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Fitting, since coffee’s been a pretty big feature of the past week.

Here were some of the best bites…

To start, the single best bites of the month.  Milk Bar for an iced latte (my favorite in the city) and a Thanksgiving croissant – “stuffing” flavored bread filled with in-house roasted, shredded turkey, homemade gravy, and cranberry sauce!  Adam and I swooned and were more than a little sad that we shared instead of getting one each.

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Chocolate halvah iced coffee.  Better in theory but still not terrible in practice.

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Chocolate cherry smoothie – plain Greek yogurt, frozen cherries, vanilla almond milk, vanilla bean paste, brown sugar,cocoa nibs.

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Brunch at Lighthouse.  With a grapefruit mimosa.  We were blown away by our first chilaquiles experience, they are like a bowl full of nachos!

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Brown butter sprinkled chocolate chip cookies I made for a birthday party at work.  I used the dough base from this recipe and they were fantastic, the little bit of crunch from the sprinkles was perfect.

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Ice cream from Davey’s.  A Halloween candy mashup and cookie butter chocolate chip.

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Dinner at Ducks Eatery.  I don’t have a photo of my dinner, which was undercooked and kind of gross, but the appetizer/drinks situation was breathtaking.  Exhibit A – smoked mussels with chili oil on toast with maple, smoked butter, and chives.

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12th st sour with egg white foam.

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Pièce de résistance – the Café Canard – Tullamore dew, espresso, brown sugar, cream, and nutmeg.  I’m not one for hot coffee but sipping it through a cloud of sweet, foamed cream is pretty appealing.

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Lentil bowls.  Red lentils cooked with with garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, carrot, onion, tomato paste, and turkey bacon.  Topped with cheese, hot sauce, plain Greek yogurt, and a serving of roasted zucchini.

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Stoneridge Orchards sent me a nice package of dried fruits to try.  Their products are all organic and always produced without sulfites, artificial preservatives, colors, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

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Dark chocolate cherries with almonds were a work snack.

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P.S. that snazzy glitter sleeve is part of my ongoing campaign to make my office life more enjoyable.  Fancy glass water bottle and a felt succulent.

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The rest of the berries were paired with toasted nuts and roasted things for some “it still feels like fall” dinners.  10 out of 10 for this product review, by the way, these were by far the best dried fruits I’ve ever eaten.  Sometimes dried cranberries can be displeasingly chewy but the texture here was quite pleasant.

Warm kale salad – sauteed kale / dried blueberries / pepitas / turkey bacon / honey thyme balsamic vinaigrette.

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Cranberry almond chicken salad – shredded chicken breast / mayo / stone ground mustard / dried cranberries / slivered almonds.  The sweetness of the cranberries was perfect with the mustard.

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Roasted vegetable medley – butternut squash / shredded brussel sprouts / dried cherries / pecans / more vinaigrette / topped with goat cheese.

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I’m off to enjoy a long weekend!

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Double Chocolate Cherry and Pumpkin Spice

We’re a week into Pumpkin Month and I still haven’t cracked open any of my pumpkin beers!  I have, however, purchased more (I spotted Schlafly in Manhattan – finally! – and couldn’t pass it up).  Thankfully I consider November gourd drinking time as well.

I didn’t do the best job with photos, but here were some of my eats last week…

Home-brewed coffee (espresso roast with fat-free half and half) with honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.

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I dumped most of that yummy coffee into my purse and consoled myself with espresso and chocolate milk when I got off the train.

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Pumpkin spice coffee with pumpkin juice that ended up being too spicy for me.  I wanted it to taste like that amazing pumpkin smoothie Odwalla used to sell.

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I also was NOT a fan of the pumpkin pie Quest bar, big surprise.  My coffee and chocolate-covered almonds were still a good snack though.

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As was this pear and Epic Bar combo.

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Liberte lavender! yogurt with banana and almonds for lunch.

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My other yogurts for the week came in the form of a product review – i.e. sent to me free of charge, with no additional compensation for this post.  Greek Gods yogurt is both Adam’s and my absolute favorite so when they offered to send me their three newest chocolate flavors I jumped at the opportunity.

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Because they’re made with whole milk, the yogurts have too much saturated fat for me to consider them an everyday staple, however, as a treat they are fantastic.  Compared with ice cream they have less than half the saturated fat and calories (and double the protein) and 100% of the flavor and creamy decadence.  Like I said, Adam and I both consider them to be the most pleasing yogurts on the market.  And we have been eating them everyday this week!

Chocolate Cherry I decided to use in a smoothie recipe.  For 2 – blend 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup frozen dark cherries, and 8 ounces chocolate milk.  Yum!

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Chocolate Strawberry I topped with freeze-dried strawberries, chocolate-covered cocoa nibs, and pecans.

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And Chocolate Mocha turned into pumpkin spice mocha, with pumpkin spice granola and pepitas on top.

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Dinners were weak this week.  I made this ridiculous grilled cheese sandwich – Havarti and sharp cheddar on cinnamon swirl bread – three nights in a row!

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And leftovers saved me from having to cook the only meal that counts as a meal.  Pumpkin sausage pasta and broccoli salad were weirdly fantastic together.  Topped with smoked paprika and shredded cheese.

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Last night we went to Biang!  We split shredded potatoes and garlic bok choy and I had Mt Qi spicy pickled veggies on hand-pulled noodles.  My elbow was practically touching the girl next to me, so no photos.

Today, we’re hoping to go to Smorgasburg and dinner in Williamsburg.  Have a great weekend!

Bushwick And Beyond

Weekend theme flavors: rose, tahini, coffee, and duck.

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I am super lucky that my husband feels the same way that I do about trying new foods and sharing foods; splitting things means we get to have tons of tastes!  I feel lucky to have him in general too! (<– see also: the gorgeous flowers below that he surprised me with after work on Friday)

For Saturday breakfast we shared a soursop smoothie. It couldn’t compare to the fresh stuff I had at home but was still yummy.  Frozen soursop puree, caramel almond milk, and cinnamon and nutmeg.

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I also had an iced Americano while we did a big grocery restock trip.  Pro tip – ask for “light water” so you can add some milk without losing espresso.

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Lunch was a smorgasbord at SmorgasburgDuck bun, smothered in sweet chili sauce.  The crunch from the fried shallots makes this our favorite bao in the city.  {A+}

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I cooled my mouth down with an earl grey egg cream. {A}

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We tried a savory crepe with egg, chili sauce, and a crunchy cracker.  {B}  The texture ended up not really being our speed, we both wished we had gone for the extra egg in it.

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Palm sugar with tamarind caramel ice cream for dessert. {A+}  This had such a unique flavor.

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I tasted a bite of cinnamon rose and it was pretty amazing as well.  We grabbed an unphotographed coffee at some point in there too.

Our evening plans included a tasting/tour of Owney’s Rum at The Noble Experiment so we wandered around Bushwick a bit.  We were parked about a mile from the distillery so we got to see a few cool spots.  And the tour was great; we really love factory/brewery/etc visits.

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I also had a vodka soda with cherries.  <– desperately needed lime

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For dinner we fell head over heals in love with Faro.  Gorgeous tableware, locally and humanely sourced foods, and delicious dishes.

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We started with ricotta gnocchi with ramps, morel mushrooms, fava beans, and cured egg.

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Plus a little gem lettuce salad with miso anchovy vinaigrette, pistachio, soft-boiled egg, and mint.  It was amazing, truly the very best salad we’ve ever had!  Adam and I both thought it was the best dish of the day.  The mint made it absolutely perfect.

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Drinks were a meh rosé and a sour porter which we loved.

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We shared our entrées (more tastes!).  Squid ink corzetti with peekytoe crab, uni, shiro dashi, and sorrel.  I really dislike long pasta – I should have looked up corzetti before I ordered – but Adam was swooning.

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And I lost my mind over our dry aged duck breast.  It was served on a fantastic turnip puree.

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Key lime tart with fresh strawberry sorbet for dessert.

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We will be back!

Sunday baking project – tahini granola.  Best granola I’ve ever made; I ended up eating a big bowl with milk for dessert at the end of the day.

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For breakfast I ate it on top of plain Greek yogurt, with fresh berries, and a single Luxardo cherry.

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Plus a rose latte in an amazing cup.

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We spent our afternoon wandering around Chelsea Market to get out of the unseasonable cold.

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Lunch was a sharp cheddar grilled cheese with a chocolate milk stout.

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Seed + Mill served the highlight of the day – goats milk yogurt with the best tahini I’ve ever had.  We couldn’t believe how delicious this was!  I can’t wait to take my parents there this summer.

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My home-cooked dinner was delicious as well, thanks, crockpot!

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Chicken, potatoes, and baby carrots were cooking away with 40 cloves of garlic while we spent the day out of the house.

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Served with roasted green beans with a sprinkle of almonds and cheese.

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Yum.  And I am basically stuffed again reading through this post!

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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.

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

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

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Midmorning snack of baby carrots and wonderful red cherries.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

Top Ten Loves Before Valentine’s

Here are the past week’s top ten eats –

{1} This breakfast.

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Cashew date granola bar, grapes, and string cheese.

{2}  And also this breakfast.  Cold brew.

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Plus a Ruby Frost apple (<– crisp and juicy!).

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And rice cakes.

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My co-worker brought in rice cakes and candy for the Chinese new year.

{3} Raspberry cinnamon lassi and a pretzel roll.

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An unconventional snack combo but a good one.

{4} Strawberry vanilla smoothie.  Adam and I shared, I didn’t actually finish a Big Gulp of smoothie.

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Inspired by my lassi, I added a big shake of cinnamon.

{5} Killer yogurt bowl.

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Fage pineapple yogurt topped with chia seeds, toasted walnuts, blueberries, and Luxardo cherries.

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Why am I not putting cherries on top of everything I eat??

{6} Cafeteria salad bar.  Toppings included cheese, olives, and white beans.  With a side of tortellini salad.

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I totally ate pizza the other 3 days.

{7} Super leftovers soup.

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Whenever we make extras of a dish that would go well in soup, we toss them into the freezer for an easy dinner at a later date.

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The bag included bok choy, shallots, red pepper, and shredded chicken, the broth was TJ’s miso ginger, and we had a Tupperware of orecchiette pasta in the fridge from the night before.

{8} Sandwich #1, Bareburger date.  Plus fries.

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My turkey burger was loaded with pimento cheese, spinach, tomato, pickles, mayo, and mustard.

{9} Sandwich #2, Thai chicken crunch.

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Toasted bread with tons of melty peanut butter, Sriracha-mayo chicken salad, and pickled cucumber and carrot.

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Served with roasted green beans.

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The sandwiches were quick to assemble and very tasty and fun.

{10} Valentine’s-themed love, because I’m a sucker for anything limited edition.

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I bought a Starbucks molten chocolate latte the first day they came out, because of course I did (only available until February 14th).  It was freaking delicious.

{bonus} A mid-week date with Adam!  We both had Thursday off and we spent the day in Manhattan.  We ate giant sundaes at Serendipity 3 and took a frigid but fabulous 4 mile walk in the 17 degree weather.

Aaaaand now I work all weekend.  Think warm thoughts for me, please!

S’Mores And S’more

Since I worked the weekend, I had Tuesday off this week, woo-hoo!  I used the time to get my holiday gift shopping 100% purchased, wrapped, and packed for shipping, woo-hoo x2!

daytime eats

This week’s tea – Chestnut.  This was my favorite flavor yet; not as good as coffee, of course, but still pretty sweet and roasty.  And the smell is unbelievable, I got a yummy whiff every time I opened my desk.

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With an almond cookie from my co-worker.

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Or s’mores trail mix.

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Wheat squares cereal, salted brown butter dark chocolate, sweet and spicy pecans, and these fancy marshmallows my aunt and uncle sent me for Hanukkah.

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That s’mores box was gone within 24 hours.

This week’s coffee:

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Also I enjoyed a Winter Cheer (Stumptown cold brew with mulling spices!) with a cocktail grapefruit (a mandarin and pomelo hybrid that has the tang of a grapefruit without the bitterness).

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And one morning I made us pink smoothies – plain Greek yogurt and orange juice with frozen grapes, blackberries, and pomegranate.

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I only have one work lunch photo this week, we have been slammed and I ate hurriedly at my desk while I worked so I mostly stuck to pizza.

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But Tuesday at home I did eat a tasty yogurt bowl.

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Plain Greek yogurt with the last of the cranberry sauce, fresh pomegranate, chia seeds, and Maple-icious Pecan Granola.  I’m going to miss that sauce.

nighttime eats

First things first – I started almost every dinner this week with an appetizer of a big hunk of ciabatta schmeared with Smart Balance.

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Also cocktail hour with this dream team:

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Adam bought me those ridiculously exciting Luxardo cherries for my birthday and I’ve been hoarding them for winter cocktail hours ever since.

Monday night we harnessed the power of the soft-cooked egg yolk and made easy but amazing bowls.

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Mine was roasted green beans, maple chicken breakfast sausage, and a sunny side up egg on top.  Best meal of the week!

The leftovers weren’t half bad though, scrambled eggs with chopped sausage, frozen spinach, and TJ’s sticky toffee cheddar cheese.

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Speaking of, I know it sounds a little a lot weird, but if you see that cheese a Trader Joe’s, buy it, the sweet and savory combo just works.  Full disclosure though, it does have dates and raisins in it.

Wednesday and Thursday we ate giant Chipotle-style salad bowls.

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Baby romaine base // sautéed onions and peppers // sautéed chicken that was marinated in ginger, garlic, chipotle, lime, honey, and canola oil // avocado // shredded cheese and sour cream.

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If I could figure out how to make those fabulous lime-y chips at home we’d be able to stop going to Chipotle!

P.S.  Happy birthday to my (funny, handsome, smart, kind) husband!!!