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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Bowls On Bowls

Seven wins from the past seven days…

{1} Peeps coffee creamer!!  It tastes like vanilla marshmallow!!!  But they should have made it pink.

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{2} Speaking of marshmallow, I made cereal bars with Trader Joe’s neapolitan cereal.  I brought them to a work event and they were a hit.  I used my go-to recipe but took things up a notch with the addition of vanilla bean paste.

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{3} I placed a super exciting order with the Mexican Candy Lady.  The standout so far has been these flan gummies.

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{4} Berry breakfast bowls.  Liebe strawberry quark (<– this was 10/10, btw, super creamy and delicious!) / fresh blackberries / granola / cacao bliss.

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{5} Cava bowls are currently our favorite take-out, there are a ton of toppings to choose from.  This was greens / tzatziki / crazy feta spread / harissa / roasted vegetables / grilled chicken / pickled onion / cabbage slaw / chopped cucumber / kalamata olives / and green harissa dressing.  Plus a side of really yummy house-made pita chips.

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{6} I made my own bowls too.  Roasted sweet potato / bok choy sauteed with garlic and green onion / candy salmon / fried egg.

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{7} A take on okonomiyaki – pancakes stuffed with roasted cabbage and corn.  Topped with mayo and Sriracha.

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Cheese In All Its Forms

Highlights from a lazy weekend…

Chocolate Stumptown cold brew + a peanut butter chocolate chip Perfect Bar.  <– my two favorite flavors from each company

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Mild cheddar Just the Cheese snack.  <– my official favorite flavor from my box of samples

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Garlic and chive cheese + a chicken sesame bbq Epic Bar.  <– my favorite flavor from Epic

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Grilled cheese + maple vanilla coconut chips.

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Plain Icelandic yogurt with yellow plum and chocolate caramel sunflower butter honey.  <– do NOT recommend those honey packets

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I am still having a Brazo’s Tacos obsession.

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Chicken and Mexican-style street corn frozen meal + a guava kombucha.  <– my favorite Synergy flavor, other than grape chia

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I made the quickest nachos dinner ever, by buying bbq chips and then filling a box at the Whole Food’s hot bar with shredded cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, red onion, and roasted bell peppers.  5 minutes in the oven later…

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I Like My Snacks Like My Jokes – Cheesy

There was not a lot of excitement in dining the past week – I was fighting a cold over the weekend and my taste buds were out of whack, plus Adam has been out of town at a surgical conference the past week and I am unable to adult without an audience.  All that is to say I mostly ate take-out and crackers the past seven days.  I didn’t bother taking photos of my “meals,” but I did have several snacks worth sharing!

Snack themes include: cheese / coffee / chocolate + nut butter / yogurt bowls.

This Suju Uber Greens juice was the closest I got to a vegetable over the weekend.

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I received a verrrry exciting box of samples {these products were provided to me free of charge / no other compensation was provided / all opinions are my own} this week – Just the Cheese, aka 100% Wisconsin cheese baked into bars and mini bites.  They are gluten-free and trans-fat free and damn delicious.  Paired with an apple or some nuts they feel like a solid mini meal, the bars especially are quite satisfying.

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I believe I have tried every crispy cheese product on the market at this point and I can confidently say Just the Cheese is the best.  Per the company – “While most “cheese crisps” are air-dried, Just the Cheese® is oven baked, caramelizing the cheese which results in a cheesier flavor and crunchier texture.”  <– it’s true!

Aged Cheddar (my favorite flavor so far!), Grilled Cheese, and a honeycrisp apple.

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Wisconsin Cheddar and a side of Webster.

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Coffee combo for the week – Lavazza espresso and chocolate milk.

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This cold brew coffee drink from Koia was a caffeine failure; why is it so god-awful sweet?!

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Another loser was this almond butter chocolate bar, we are obsessed with Epic’s jerky bars in this house but this was too sticky for my tastes.

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Meanwhile, I am still obsessed with these dark chocolate almond Perfect Bars.  They taste like straight-up cookie dough.

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And I’m newly obsessed with these pb cups from Theo.  They are palm oil free and they are shaped like hearts!

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Liberte coffee bean yogurt with honey and peanuts.

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Plain Greek yogurt with banana, granola, and coconut cacao bliss.

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Strawberry Guava Passionfruit Mango Banana Pineapple Coconut Plum

There was not much excitement around here this weekend, Adam was out of town and I worked a Sunday coverage shift at work (and it was a particularly long and harrowing day!) – I mostly ate frozen meals and snack foods.  Here were the highlights…

How many drinks do I need to pack for a weekend work day?  Unsurprisingly, I’m a pretty big fan of the new strawberry guava diet coke.

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I tried the new cinnamon shortbread latte from Starbucks (with half syrup and double espresso), it’s pretty good.

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My 1st year working as a teacher in New York I ate about a million protein bars and lately I’ve gotten back on that train.

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Yogurt bowl wins.  Trader Joe’s guava passion fruit whole milk Greek yogurt (it’s amazing!) with sliced mango and TJ’s freeze-dried banana slices.

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Wallaby caramelized pineapple Aussie creme yogurt with chopped black plum and shredded coconut.

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Spicy shrimp tempura sushi from Whole Foods.

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Kashi Mayan Harvest bowl. 7/10 on the frozen meal scale.

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Red’s chicken and Mexican street corn (8.5/10).  Severe with roasted broccoli.  That whole plate got topped with copious amounts of Kewpie and Sriracha.

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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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