Couch Potato, Twice Baked

This past week I came home from vacation and went back to work.  It wasn’t all bad, the end of vacation means I get to see this face –

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We made it home in time to celebrate his Buyday.  With steak!

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Here are the highlights of what the humans ate this week…

Coffee (coffee! coffee!).  Wicked Joe Coffee sent me some samples.  WJC is a sustainable, family-owned company producing certified organic, fair trade coffees.  They offered to let me try out the goods in celebration of the fact that they are available in 247 Sprouts Farmers Markets nationwide.

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I tried both blends (cooked in our drip coffee maker than cooled and served iced) black and with skim milk to taste-test and give them two thumbs up!  I also did some fun, sugary coffee pairings based on the tasting notes to jazz up my return to work mornings.  Wicked French says “bakers chocolate with an unexpected hint of sweetness” so I used fancy chocolate milk.

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Big House has “sweet notes of caramel and citrus” so I swirled in dulce de leche.

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Yogurt bowls.  Vanilla almond granola / cloudberry peach skyr / and three(!) colors of plucots.

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Passion fruit Fage / an apple / and an Rx Kids chocolate chip bar.

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I snuck in one last day of midweek vacation with Adam on Wednesday and we went on a lunch date at the gorgeously cool Chaan Teng in Hell’s Kitchen.

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I had shrimp and chicken dumplings to start.

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And a sweet and spicy cocktail with tequila, tamarind, basil, Szechuan peppercorns, mango juice, lime, and chili.

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They had kung pow duck!  With chilis , peppers, peanuts, and jicama.

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Snack attack.  We finally got to Astoria to try Chip.  My s’mores cookie was gooey perfection and now I can’t wait to go back.

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Cola candies.

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Korean Chili KIND bar.  <– I like their savory flavors even better than the sweet

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These dried mangos from TJ’s are out of this world good.

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If you stretch the definition of “cooked” to its limit, I made five nights of home-cooked dinners!  Turkey and sharp cheddar sandwich on a toasted whole-wheat croissant.

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BBQ chicken salad.  Local greens / ranch / baby heirloom tomatoes / pulled chicken breast with Korean bbq sauce / smoked cheddar.

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An assortment of freezer items, and eggplant that I actually cooked myself.

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TJ’s Thai sweet chili veggie burgers.

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Crinkle cut fries (with ketchup and mayo).

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Steamed/sautéed eggplant cooked with canola oil, fish sauce, gojuchang, honey, and garlic scapes.

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I made pimento cheese twice baked potatoes!

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This was my first time making twice backed spuds (or even eating them for that matter) but they came out great.  The filling was a mix of potato / extra-sharp cheddar / diced pimentos / mayo / smoked paprika and cayenne.

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Served with baked tofu.

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And beautiful roasted purple and orange cauliflower.

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The potatoes were great leftover too.

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With leftover duck that I chopped up and reheated in a skillet.

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And oven-baked okra fries.

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Have a great weekend!

Duck Confit

Top 10 bites this week…

Pastries and coffees at Lilia.  An espresso-cream filled doughnut and something that tasted like a fancy funnel cake.

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Egg and cheese on a whole-wheat roll.  With an iced latte and a tangerine.

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Candy oats bowl.  Rolled oats with chia seeds, mini chocolate chips, and a few caramel M&M’s.  (<– they are so good!  Adam and I are both obsessed and we mailed a bag to my parents who flipped over them as well.)

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Nectarine yogurt and red cherries.  So excited that it’s cherry season.

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Cafeteria came through with a fancy pasta bar.  Tortelini with peas, pesto, and shrimp.

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Best meal of the week was a midweek lunch date at Sauvage.  The service was impeccable and the space was beautiful.

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I love a good tiled floor!

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We started with the seeded Kouign Amann which was buttery good.  Plus an unpictured cocktail that was fizzy and citrusy but that I’m not finding on the online menu.

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Adam ordered mind-blowingly good hen of the woods mushrooms with poached eggs.  I just got a salad — with oranges, za’atar, and duck confit!!  <– 2nd best duck I’ve ever eaten

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It is disgustingly warm in NYC and I had ice cream in some form every day this week.  Best = Van Leeuwen‘s honeycomb and black sesame and ash flavors.

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Yummy cola flavored hard candies.  Cola is our favorite candy flavor, hard, gummy, sour, or otherwise.

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Trader Joe’s frozen lemongrass chicken sticks with a side of baby carrots.

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2nd best meal of the week was this homemade masterpiece.  I know that chicken looks awful and raw but it was actually perfectly cooked.  I baked chicken thighs that marinated in miso, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and fish sauce all morning.

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Paired with roasted broccoli and kimchi and turkey bacon fried rice.

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Enjoy your weekend!

Pastrami Smoked Salmon On Sourdough

Once again, this title reflects the most exciting thing I ate in this post.  Honestly though, everything I ate this weekend was pretty darn tasty!

Iced coffee with cake popsicle used for ice.  <– gaaaaah!  so swoontastic!

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Perfectly sweet just enough sour smoothie – passionfruit sorbet / plain Greek yogurt / frozen blueberries / princess flavoring / water.

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Snacky lunch at work.  Mandarin, uncured turkey pepperoni, yummy cinnamon roll Chobani.

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Cafeteria sandwich.  Spicy chicken, pesto, red pepper, and tomato, on an insanely cheesy roll.

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Mr. Flip sandwich from Flip Bird – pulled rotisserie chicken, harissa honey, pickled coleslaw, sambal mayo, and a piece of crispy skin.  It was a 10/10.

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Dinner from the freezer – ice cream and a naan pizza.

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The cilantro pesto pizza – which I got with a free coupon given to me for review – was delicious, the flavor was a bit spicy, which was a nice surprise.

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Lox and cream cheese on a bagel sourdough toast.

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This pastrami-style smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s is my all-time favorite smoked salmon.

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Served with a quick salad of tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, olive oil, and Himalayan salt.

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I made a recipe!  Cheddar bbq turkey meatloaf.

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I ate all of the crispy cheese bits that started to burn to the pan and was sooooo happy.  Plus roasted broccoli.

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Do you have a favorite type of smoked fish to recommend?

Lilia, Looking Glass, Loves

In spite of the rain, Adam and I had an absolutely lovely weekend.  Let’s be real though, we think going to the grocery store is a hot date, so pretty much anytime we’re together is considered lovely!

We tried a new restaurant, explored Prospect Heights a bit, spent a rainy morning running errands, saw “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (<– only ok), got in a long walk with the dog before the rain, and caught up on TV.  I even managed to get in a short run before the skies opened.  I was up and out of bed before 7:30 on Sunday which gave us a much earlier start than usual.

Here are the highbites…  <— ahahahaha

Did everyone celebrate National Donut Day on Friday?  Doughnut Plant gave out free mini sprinkle doughnuts with all purchases.

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I got a tres leches cake doughnut and a super strong Vietnamese iced coffee.  The freebie was actually my favorite part.

Soursop (my favorite fruit!) juice from Gloria’s.

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It smelled amazing in there and we want to go back and get a meal soon.

The movie may not have been great but our cola-themed snacks were on point.

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We weren’t expecting much from 7-11 brand pop rocks but they were the fizziest I’ve ever had.

Saturday night we tried out a new restaurant in Williamsburg – Lilia.

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Our meal ended up being fabulous!  We started with housemade mozzarella on toasted garlic bread with lemon and bottarga (salted, cured fish roe).

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Plus roasted trumpet mushrooms with arugula, balsamic, and toasted almonds.  The ‘shrooms were too chewy for my taste, but Adam adored them.

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And I had an Aperol Spritz that was fantastic with our appetizers.

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My dinner was the best plate of the night, sheep’s milk cheese filled agnolotti pasta with saffron, honey, and dried tomatoes.  The creamy filling and (wonderfully) chewy pasta were wonderful with the slightly sweet and spicy (thanks to a bit of pepper) sauce.  We were both swooning.

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We had to go to dinner quite early to ensure we could score a table as a walk-in so we had time afterwards for more date night fun.  Brooklyn Cupcake – oreo cheesecake and flan filled.

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And beers at Barcade.

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Adam and I had an absolute blast playing a two-player game where you hunted ghosts.  I never played arcade games with guns growing up but I think I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Sunday’s dinner made use of a former freebie – Popkoff’s Chicken Pelmeni.  The dumplings were delicious, the chicken was perfectly seasoned.

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We tossed them with sautéed onion, shredded brussels sprouts, and chicken hot dog, and Neufchatel cheese and smoked paprika.

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I have one more Popkoff’s coupon and then I will definitely be buying the products with my own money.

I’m Alive!

So it’s been awhile since my last post, huh?  My two-week illness (a cold and then the flu) turned into a three week plague extravaganza complete with conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis, and a two-day stay at the hospital.  Yippee.  I didn’t really feel like myself again until just a couple of days ago.

Now I’m back in action, and I even have a week’s worth of meals to share…

daytime eats

I was still recovering on Monday so I started my week off with mint sparkling water cut with Sprite.

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I’m usually not a clear soda (or non-diet soda) fan but the day I got home from the hospital I swear it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.  I didn’t even want diet coke that week, which says a lot about how sick I felt.

The real clue that I was basically dying is this – this small iced latte was my first cup of coffee in more than a week.

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I also had a glass of kefir.

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Maple was such a fun find.

By the next day I was fully ready for my lifeblood again.  Nonfat caramelized honey (<–yum) iced latte with extra espresso.  Sipped while grocery shopping.

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I worked Saturday/Sunday which thankfully meant I had Wednesday off.

And yesterday I had a yummy Kevita kombucha.

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Lavender melon.  Kevita is a little more refreshing – and less sour and yeasty – than other brands of kombucha.

Packed lunches were my old standbys.  Oatmeal.

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Oats with chia seeds, strawberry shortcake m&m’s, and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter.  Plus a piñata apple on the side.

And yogurt bowls, with blueberries and blackberries. 2% Fage with maple pecan granola, chia seeds, and more pecans.

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Vanilla bean with Heritage Flakes.

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Plus truffles from a coworker for dessert.  With a side of Easter themed nails.

Wednesday at home I made an Easter-inspired spread.

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Egg salad with potato chips, and warm carrot slaw (sautéed shredded carrots tossed with golden raisins, walnuts, mayo, and stone-ground mustard).

nighttime eats

Monday night I took the dog on an extra-long walk after work… and then laid down on the couch in my coat for more than an hour!  I was too tired to cook anything, but hungry enough to go back and reheat a second plate of leftover pizza.

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Plus baby carrots.

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We try to always keep them on hand because they are perfect for distracting the dog while he gets his nails clipped.

Tuesday I managed to cook dinner and try a blog product sample (two birds with one stone).  Popkoff’s sent me some free coupons for their new line “farm to freezer” frozen Russian dumplings.

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The farmer’s cheese Pelmeni were fantastic – they cooked in under 10 minutes and were perfectly tender yet chewy.  Plus, you have to love the short ingredient list: “Farmer’s Cheese, Wheat Flour, Water, Egg, Sour Cream, Salt, Sugar.”  We kept things simple and tossed them with sautéed mushrooms and cabbage and low-fat sour cream.

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Topped with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  I have two more freebie coupons and I would purchase the dumplings with my own money so this is a meal you’ll likely see again.

Wednesday was the warmest of the season (68!) and we made the most of it by taking the dog on a long walk – in sandals and t-shirts – for water ice.  My strawberry and cola cup hit the spot.

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Then we did fish taco night for dinner.  We need to make tacos more often, Adam and I were both raving about this meal.

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Toasted taco shells / sautéed onions and bell pepper / shredded cheese / roasted tomatillo salsa / mahi mahi cubes sautéed with lime, cilantro, and green onions / dollops of sour cream.

Yesterday I ate a guava and cheese empanada on the train.

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Dinner part deux was TJ’s frozen gnocchi with eggplant and zucchini.

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10/10.  We relied a lot of frozen foods to get through this week but the quality of our meals didn’t suffer any.

I hope everyone is feeling well for the weekend!

Goodbye, Apple Month

Can you believe that it is already October?!  Time has felt like it is flying ever since we moved back to the city but this year in particular is booking it.  Never mind the fact that I am somehow 30 years old even though I still feel like high school was maybe six years ago tops.

breakfast

I kept this week’s coffee combo simple –

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I wanted to be able to get a good feel for this stuff –

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This was the perfect month to review* Rigoni di Asiago’s Dolcedì sweetener because it is made of apples!  10 kilograms of organic apples go into 1 kilogram of Dolcedì.

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The liquid sweetener is USDA certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher, and can be used in the same ways you would use table sugar (1 teaspoon of Dolcedì would substitute for 1 teaspoon of sugar, a 1:1 ratio) in hot and cold drinks.  It has 15 calories per Tbsp (table sugar has 15 per teaspoon).  You can also use it in baking but I haven’t tried that yet.

The liquid is sweet but flavorless so it really doesn’t alter the taste of your drink – unlike honey and agave – and I found that it quickly dissolved completely into solution in my iced coffee.  I don’t typically sweeten my drinks but when I do I would definitely use the Dolcedì again in the future.

Along with my sweetened coffees I had bars

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and orchard apples.

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We were not impressed with the scant variety available for apple picking but these ended up being some of the best apples any of the four of us have ever eaten.

lunch

Plain yogurt with blueberries and pomegranate, sea salt caramel apple granola and chia seeds, and an apple on the side.

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Plus I brought in turtle pretzel magic bars for my coworkers and I totally snagged one for after lunch.

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The other days I stuck with THIS for dessert –

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Omg.

Kodiak flapjack on the go and TJ’s freeze-dried Fuji apple slices.

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I hated the pancake cup – it was like choking down raw batter – but those apples are amazing.  I shared a taste with two coworkers who said they were the best they’ve ever had.

Plain Siggi’s with blueberries, strawberry preserves, and caramel apple granola and chia seeds.

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The caramel apple chia combo has rocked my world this month, though I have had to start carrying floss in my purse to deal with errant seeds.

“dinner”

Dinners this week were exceedingly weak.  Apparently our busy weekend of walking wore us out because Adam and I have been unbelievably tired.  Like on Monday we got into bed at 7:30 pm tired.  And then on Tuesday we took a nap before bed.  I guess maybe I do feel thirty!

Monday I ate a Starbucks chicken Santa Fe sandwich on the train.

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It was good, and thank goodness because when I got home I ate this strawberry Cow Tail under the covers.

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Hence “dinners.”

Tuesday I at least legitimately included some vegetables in my snack-based dinner.  Carrots with hummus.

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Several rounds of pretzels with string cheese.

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And roasted green beans.

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This was actually a pretty balanced meal.

And Wednesday I cooked a grown-up dinner.

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Can you call heating up a package of TJ’s Palak Paneer cooking?

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I had to make the brown jasmine rice and roasted zucchini we served it with so I’m counting it.

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With a dollop of goat’s milk yogurt on top.  And my final La Brea Bakery review* on the side – flatbread.

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They were all good but this was our favorite bread so far.  It had that perfect naan texture, fluffy yet chewy.  And the flatbread includes sprouted whole wheat flour (along with white flour) which made the flavor just a bit more interesting.  A+.

P.S. Now it’s October it is finally Pumpkin Month!!!

*These products were provided to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided any additional compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Weekend Top Five

{1} Apple picking upstate.

The selections were pretty weak – they only had two varieties!

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We picked small bags and then moved on to the brewery.

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They had housemade cider and wine slushies so that part of the day was a bit more exciting.

{2} Pecan Pie Bar.

Omg, kids, this candy was ridiculous good.

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I’m not even embarrassed that I ate it two months early – pecan pie month isn’t until November on the Emily is crazy calendar – because this is my new favorite thing.

{3} Friday dinner at home.

Leftovers scrambled into easy eggs.

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Turkey hot dogs, roasted broccoli, and spinach.

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With cider from Wolfer Estates.

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It was good but not my favorite.

{4} Saturday pizza night.

TJ’s red pepper, provolone, and pearl mozzarella wood-fired pizza.

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With roasted zucchini.

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I burned the life out of the pizza but roasted squash is our end of summer favorite.

{5} Sunday night Thai food with friends.

We went to Siam Orchid, a tiny little spot that makes the best Thai food in Brooklyn.

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My drunken noodles with vegetarian duck were on point!