Vanilla Beans And David Bowie

Fun things from this week –

Double vanilla bean coffee.  I added ground vanilla to the coffee grounds and the final cup.  Plus sweetened condensed milk!

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A tiny ice cream scoop.  Bluegrass Creamery does a “two bite” cup, which I think is the best idea ever and wish all eateries would offer.  Plus it came with a free topping!  This was cookie conundrum topped with chocolate chip cookie.

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Chicken nachos.  Black bean chips with cheese, shredded chicken, heirloom tomato, fresh corn, and homemade guacamole.

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Labyrinth on the big screen.  Yes, the Labyrinth.  Our local theater is showing old movies for $5 a ticket this summer.  It was great!  And I had the very best movie snacks.  A chocolate covered marshmallow from Kilwins + these new baby gummy bears from Trader Joes.

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Goses.  Passion fruit and sour tropic fruit.

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Tacos.  Three cheese (Oaxacan cheese, manchego cheese, and queso fresco, with refried black beans, sliced avocado, roasted corn pico, and pickled watermelon) and fish (blackened tilapia, red cabbage slaw, red onion, avoverde, cilantro, and lime)  from Brazos.

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Local Love

Highlights from this week – my in-laws are in town and we had fun showing them Charlottseville one last time // we had some great dinners out, including a new spot that’s a new favorite // Wissotzky Tea Company – an international, family-owned tea company based in Israel with offices in London and the United States – sent me some of their inventive flavors to try…

Coffee for the week: Trader Joe’s espresso blend with sweetened condensed milk.

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Tea samples; their four newest, spiciest flavors: Ginger and Turmeric Spiced Chai, Pumpkin Spiced Chai, Salted Caramel Chai, Spiced Nana Mint Chai.  I cold-brewed my cups per the company’s instructions – a ratio of 4 cups cold water to 5 tea bags, covered in the fridge for 15-36 hours.

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Salted Caramel Chai with a splash half and half (added post picture).

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Spiced Nana Mint Chai with sugar and fresh lime.  <– fair warning, this flavor was too peppery for Adam’s tastes

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Tropical flavors from the Mexican ice cream place down the street: passionfruit, guava, and mamey!

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Plus I picked up these super interesting gummy candies.  They have milk in them and the texture is extra soft and very unique.

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Roasted green beans and TJ’s turkey corn dogs.  Apparently I love corn dogs, I couldn’t stop raving about how tasty these were!

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Sheet pan hash: potatoes, onion, bell pepper, shredded brussel sprouts, and maple chicken breakfast sausage.

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Smoked Kitchen and Tap: a bbq spot we love in Crozet.  I had smoked turkey, cole slaw, and creamed corn with smoked jalopeno.

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The Local: an amazing spot in Bellmont.  I had the best, most Southern plate – buttermilk-brined fried chicken with pimento cheese mac and cheese, collard greens, and house made hot sauce and a buttermilk-chive drizzle.

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Modern Nosh: a newish, super cute deli (which means I finally have a deli in Charlottesville!).

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I had a half turkey reuben and soup with the best matzoh ball of my life.

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Plus we split latkes that were wonderfully full of garlic.  Yum!

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Snack Assist

Serendipitously, on a week when my meal plan was absolutely anemic, I received an awesome box of goodies from deliciousness.com.  <– samples were provided to me free of charge but with no additional compensation, all opinions are my own

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CrrrunchBites Chili Lime Almonds.  It’s an almond, wrapped in a rice cracker, coated in seasoning.  They were crunchy and tasty (and not too spicy for Adam).  Very satisfying to snack on (though I also could have easily kept eating the whole bag!)  They’re vegan and gluten-free and there was nothing on the ingredients list that concerned me.

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Mozaics Popped Veggie Chips.  They are gluten-free, vegan, and primarily made of peas!  BBQ was good but Salsa was great; once again, flavorful without being too spicy or too salty.  The chips are popped instead of fried so a 1 oz/23 chip serving only has 100 calories and thanks to the peas each serving contains 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

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Hope & Sesame sesame milks.  I think these fill a really big hole in the plant-based milk market!  The products are all vegan (and therefore dairy-free and lactose-free), soy-free, and gluten-free, and except for the chocolate-hazelnut flavor they are tree-nut-free.  A 1 cup serving has 8 grams of protein – just like cow’s milk, which is awesome because the low-protein content is my main concern about most alternative milks.  Plus they are creamy and taste like sesame.  We liked vanilla straight from the carton but hated it in coffee and loved the chocolate hazelnut all-round – in a cup of strong coffee the chocolate didn’t come through much but it was creamy without separating and left you with coffee’s roastiness but none of the acidity.

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Highlights from the week include…

Coffee coffee.

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Mango beer line-up.  The sour wasn’t worth finishing but we enjoyed the IPA.

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We finally saw End Game!  We loooooooved it.  I laughed, cried, and enjoyed the heck out of Captain America and Captain Marvel’s uniform-clad behinds.  Our movie snacks weren’t bad either.

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Sandwich night.  We made simple sandwiches that were terrifically good – Trader Joe’s white whole wheat bread (untoasted), smoked turkey, havarti cheese, and mayo and yellow mustard.  Plus baby carrots and Salsa Mozaic Chips.

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Salad night.  These were the best salads I’ve made all year.  Sweet lettuce with Greek feta dressing / Mexican street corn salad / chili lime almonds / heirloom baby tomatoes / hot-smoked salmon.

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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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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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Peanut Butter, Chocolate, And Coffee

I took a long weekend, hence the extra-late post.  Adam takes attending call in a nearby town once a month and this time I tagged along!  I went out for lattes at an adorable coffee shop, had truly fantastic Thai food, and got a flight at a local brewery (complete with a margarita flavored Radler served with lime and a sugar rim!), but mostly I hung out at the hotel room so I had to pack the essentials.

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You know, “the essentials,” peanut butter, chocolate, and coffee.

More on that peanut butter – B.Nutty offered to send me some samples and I jumped at the opportunity because, holy crap, white chocolate pretzel peanut butter!!  They also sent me Totally Toffee – made with honey roasted peanuts, toffee, milk chocolate, and almonds – and Blissful Blueberry – with blueberry and milk chocolate.  I haven’t opened the berry one yet but the toffee and pretzel flavors are both 10/10 delicious.

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All flavors are gluten-free (including the pretzel one) and trans fat-free.  I can’t stop eating them by the spoonful!

Also they’ve made great additions to snack plates and yogurt bowls.  Honeycrisp apple / cucumber / baby carrot / B.Nutty irresistible pretzel.

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Plain greek yogurt / blackberries / granola / B.Nutty totally toffee.  That’s Thai tea in the back.

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Other snack wins include… mocktails with club soda and bitters.

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This Peeps cereal that tastes like a bowl of straight up marshmallows.

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I don’t usually photograph the stuff I eat at work but I made an exception because this bbq Love Corn was so tasty.

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A whole set of Trader Joe’s wins – vegan jackfruit crabless cakes and bbq popped chips with roasted broccoli and homemade chili oil aioli.

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Have a great week!

 

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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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