It’s Pumpkin Month!

Pumpkin Month is here!  On the Emily calendar September is for apples, October and November are for pumpkin, November and December are for eggnog and gingerbread, and December is for peppermint.  This month’s on-theme stash is especially bountiful.

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Here are some highlights from the weekend…

My favorite coffee combo – espresso and chocolate milk.  I hate “mochas” because the syrup is gross but this iteration of chocolate and coffee is the best.

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Brunch at Benchmark.

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I had a roasted vanilla lemonade with vodka.

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This unassuming omelette was actually stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese.

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My best lunch came from the Starbuck’s refrigerator case.

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We cooked two tasty dinners.  Broccoli salad based on this recipe from Cooking Light.  We roasted the broccoli and sauteed the onion and served the salad warm, which I highly recommend.  I also swapped maple for honey and rice vinegar for cider vinegar.

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Served with white bean and basil dip with orange bell peppers and potato chips.

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Plus a disappointing cider.

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And I loosely followed Rachel Ray’s recipe for pumpkin and sausage pasta.

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Served on butternut squash pasta shaped like tiny pumpkins!!

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With roasted honey sriracha smoked paprika cauliflower.

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And our last and favorite cider, just in time for pumpkin beers.

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Non-food wins included…

I started reading One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories and now I’m completely obsessed with B.J. Novak.  The collection of stories fits together in ways that are surprising, moving, and sidesplittingly wry.

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Watching the dog put himself to bed, complete with covers and his head on a pillow.

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He’s the best.

Road Trip Adventure

Two of our favorite people recently moved out of Brooklyn for Traverse City, MI and our last three days were spent on an epic journey road tripping to their gorgeous wedding.  We spent two full days in the car and only one day in Michigan but it was totally worth it to see one of my oldest childhood friends get married.

We were a bit worried about the 30+ hours we had to spend driving but it honestly ended up flying by.  We had my fully-stocked i-pod, a funny book on tape, and brand new scenery outside our windows.  Plus we are stupid in love with each other and probably could have just talked for 28 hours (I definitely fell asleep towards the end!) and had a good time.

Five out of six meals Friday and Sunday were eaten in our car, mostly junk food.  Here were a few of the culinary highpoints…

Apples with peanut butter.

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Carrots and dip.

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Not one, but two, marshmallow flavored lattes!!

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Cola gummies.

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This total throwback.

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The gas station cashier got such a kick over how excited we were to find Surge.  Unsurprisingly, it didn’t taste as good as I thought it did as a kid.

We ate very well in Traverse City too.  Breakaway for coffees.

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Espresso that actually happened to be roasted in Brooklyn!

Lunch and drinks at Rare Bird Brewery.

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Adam and I split macaroni and cheese with roasted duck and salad with roasted beets and spiced pepitas.

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The food was good but the drinks were better, I had a locally brewed ale that tasted like key lime pie!  Plus an apple sour beer.

Ice cream at Moomers.

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White chocolate Oreo and black cherry.  We actually had this twice in one day because our friends did an ice cream cake for the wedding.

Late bar food dinner at Workshop Brewery our first night in town.

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Nachos with beans and ancho chicken.

I’m off to spend the day with my husband!

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1, 2, 3 / 366

We are four days into 2016 and I’ve yet to have a weekend day – my Christmas four-day weekend and an upcoming vacation (yay!) meant that it was my turn to work both the holiday and Saturday and Sunday. <–worth it!  The weekend coverage shifts – and subsequent week days off – are one of the main “perks” of my new inpatient position.  And clinically the last few days have been fascinating, lots of malnutrition, bowel obstructions, and parenteral feeds.

The only downside to the extra busy days (and terrible weekend-menu cafeteria food) is that there’s no #newyearnewyou around here, instead it’s been lots of junk food and zero gym time.  You win some, you lose some.

daytime eats

I opened the year with an extra shot of espresso in my iced latte, a good way to start anything.

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Plus an apple with cheese.  My apple selection this weekend was Piñata and Pink Ladies, all of which were exceptionally juicy and crisp.

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Saturday breakfast was all about the cartons – a winter cheer cold brew and an Icebox Water.  The water was a freebie product review.  It’s really hard to characterize the taste of water (unless you dislike it for some reason, Dasani tastes like carrots to me and I think it’s terrible) but I will say that I found this one enjoyable/refreshing and definitely inoffensive.

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Obviously the ideal would be that people would refill reusable water containers but Icebox Water does offer a more environmentally sustainable option to bottled waters.  Each BPA-free carton is 100% recyclable (and made of 76% less plastic than traditional bottles).

Sunday was my busiest day and thankfully my biggest coffee.  Plus strawberry champagne(!!) seltzer.

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The cafeteria is only partially open on the weekends and the offerings are grim.  I relied mostly on packaged foods from home for lunches.

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Plus gross cafeteria pizza that went unphotographed.

nighttime eats

You have to eat black eyed peas on the 1st.

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I made my favorite BEP recipe – beans / chopped green pepper / smoked almonds / chopped Dubliner cheese / green Tabasco / plus the new addition of shredded chicken breast.

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With a big pile of green beans roasted with shallots on the side.

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Saturday we gussied up some long-ago leftover leftovers.  I made my artichoke and mushroom pasta unhealthy great again by pan-cooking it in lots of evoo and adding an obscene amount of Sriracha and mozzarella cheese.

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This was better than the original dish.

Sunday, Adam met me after work for date night.  Fonda did not disappoint.  I spotted the Rosalita margarita on Instagram and knew that it would be fantastic.

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I was right!  It’s a hibiscus margarita with a hibiscus salt rim, swoon.

We split a salad that was scrumptious – avocados, roasted carrots, toasted pecans, soft goat cheese and romaine hearts drizzled with a lime mustard vinaigrette.  I swear, there was more avocado than lettuce!

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As well as fried sweet plantains with sour cream and queso fresco.

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Adam got chicken enchiladas and I got a vegetarian chile rellano.

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Roasted poblano pepper filled with carrots, zucchini, corn kernels, pickled jalapeños and Chihuahua cheese. Served with a roasted tomato guajillo sauce, pickled onions and Mexican crema.  Stuffed chiles are my favorite Mexican dish and this was the best version I’ve ever had.

With Kahlua tres leches for dessert.

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We both want to go back immediately.  I’ve got my eye on the brunch menu.

Snacks for the week included fancy popcorn from my stocking.

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And cookies.  David Lebovitz’s chocolate chip cookies really do deserve all the veneration they’ve gotten in the food press.  I made a batch for a NYE party and both the party-goers and my co-workers lost their minds over them.

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Recipe notes, because you know I always have to change something:  I used salted butter, skipped the nuts and doubled the chocolate instead – a mix of semisweet and milk chocolate chips, and refrigerated the cookies as preformed balls instead of slice and bake logs.  I don’t think my changes hurt anything, in fact I’m pretty sure the nut for chocolate swap was an improvement!

I also made a less lauded but still terrific peanut butter (chocolate chip) mug cookie.

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My year is off to a sweet start!

Homemade S’mores Milk and Weekend Brooklyn Love

Adam and I had a pretty great weekend… in spite of me misplacing my – expensive! – favorite sports bra and spending half of Saturday in mourning.  Seriously – I don’t change at the gym, I didn’t pack it on a trip, and we are very careful to check the machines for runaways when we do our laundry – where the frick is it?!!  But when we weren’t checking and rechecking literally every drawer in the house, we did manage to have some fun.

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highlights…

Homemade S’mores Milk

It’s official, I’m a genius.  I put it in coffee, obviously.

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S’mores Milk, makes 2 cups

Inspired by Tosi’s Cereal Milk.  This recipe requires you to strain the solids out of the milk, you can use a fine mesh sieve but I used my French Press and that worked really well too.  Smooshy marshmallows will not work for this, you need crispy ones; if you can’t find the Mallow Bits I recommend picking the marshmallows out of Lucky Charms!

  • 2 cups skim milk or milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup Jet Puff Mallow Bits
  • 4 squares graham crackers, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp hot chocolate milk
  1. Place all of the ingredients together in a container and stir to combine.  Cover and store in the fridge for 8 – 16 hours.
  2. Strain, discarding solids.  Milk can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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Cheesy Spicy Eggs

Coming up somewhere just behind coffee, diet coke, dulce de leche, and popcorn, corn cooked in scrambled eggs is one of my favorite meals.

This plate was TJ’s frozen fire-roasted corn, chopped spinach, and sliced shishito peppers (<– so much spicier than I was expecting!) cooked in coconut oil with eggs scrambled in and chunks of Kerrygold Skellig sweet cheddar tossed in at the end.

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C’est Cheese in Port Jeff

C’est Cheese is always worth the drive up Port Jefferson for dinner.

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We shared a beer sampler.  The Framboise was my favorite.

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A cheese plate.  Adam loved the Tallegio and I was all about the 7-year Gouda.

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And a grilled cheese with blue cheese and a raspberry-cranberry relish on marble rye.  The cheese and jam combo made for the best bites of the night.

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Snacky in Williamsburg

This weekend one of my lifelong best friends celebrated her 30th(!!!) birthday.

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After the party, the husband and I had dinner at Snackys, one of my favorite Williamsburg spots.  We shared a seaweed salad and a Chinese big bun stuffed with pickled vegetables.

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And did rice bowls for dinner.  I know the photos aren’t much, but my Spicy Korean BBQ Chicken Bowl was great, yummy sauce and big bites of kimchi.

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Our 1st Smorgasburg of 2015

NYC people – if you haven’t done Smorgasburg yet you need to get your life together.  They added a few new vendors this season and it is happy, foodie, perfection.  We couldn’t find the Snowday truck but you can bet I’ll keep an eye out from now on.

We got lattes at Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Buns from Bite Sized Kitchen.  I got red curry chicken with peanuts, cilantro, and fried garlic and shloots (topped with loads of sweet chili sauce).

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And beer-battered cheese curds with truffle cheese sauce from Curd’s the Word.

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Remember this post?  The stupid sports bra is the fourth item I’ve ever lost… which would be a really good track record if 2, 3, and 4 hadn’t all been within the last year!

The Girl In Sonoma {San Francisco}

Our last two days were spent enjoying the beauty of California wine country.  And eating.  So much eating!  We were trying to pack in as much fun as possible on our last full day and we went a little crazy ordering food.  We definitely didn’t finish everything shown, but we did eat quite a lot.

We started Friday with coffee,

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and fruit and bread.

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We split a Satsuma, an unpictured banana, and a rosemary roll from ACME Bread Company.

We saved the sourdough roll for an amazing lunch of bread, cheese, and chocolate.

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Plus earl grey panna cotta for dessert.

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We had the Cowgirl Creamery Mount Tam fresh from the source because we were there for a history lesson and cheese tasting.

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Best tour of the trip!

After cheese, it was time for wine, with a tasting at Matanzas Creek.

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The grounds were gorgeous and the wine was de-lish!  We liked it so much we even bought a few bottles to bring to Thanksgiving.

Next up was beer (and more cheese!) at Lagunitas Brewing Company.  Brown Shugga was my favorite, unsurprisingly.

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They had pretzels out for palate cleansing between tastes,

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but we also got a big plate of cheesy nachos.

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This was the point in the day where I was getting a little too full!

But we forged ahead with a trip to Bouchon Bakery for a butterscotch éclair.

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And finally settled in at The Girl and the Fig for an outstanding dinner.

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Those light green olives were shockingly good.

I had to get a lavender mojito, it was made with Cruzan rum!

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We started with a cheese plate with apple, house-made fig cake, spiced nuts and baguette.

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We choose a P’tit Basque sheep’s milk, Bohemian Creamery’s The Bomb goat’s milk, and a Bleeting Heart Moolicious Blue.  Because we had to fit cheese into every single meal that day.

Adam and I shared for dinner.  Local mushroom raviolo with sunchoke purée, truffle pesto, local mushrooms, and chicories.

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And the house-smoked trout sandwich with farm egg salad, caper aioli, pickled red onion and dill.

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Both were absolutely amazing.  The sauce under the pasta and the pickled red onions on the trout totally made the dishes.

We got an after-dinner drink with Firelit coffee liquor and Sailor Jerry rum.

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And had dessert that was my favorite dish of the entire trip.  Chocolate and salted fig caramel trifle with cocoa nibs and Italian meringue.

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Adam was amazed by the nibs and I was obsessed with the marshmallowy meringue.  Plus we came home with a jar of their salted fig caramel.

We had such a wonderful dinner at The Girl and the Fig that we ended up going back for brunch on Saturday!  We met up with a medical school friend who is doing his residency in Fresno and he said The Girl was his favorite Sonoma spot.

Fig Fashioned.

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Mussels and frites for the table, which I was totally brave about and ended up loving.

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And the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life.

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We left completely stuffed; the three of us were barely able to get coffee, hours later.

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Our flight was a red-eye and it didn’t leave until after 10 pm so we were able to spend the whole day catching up.  Our friend chose to spend his one day off for the week with us so we were thrilled to make the most of it.

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A perfect end to a perfect vacation!

Weekly Wrap-Up; I Survived!

I survived my first week of full-time work!  Well, almost; I’ve still got to get through today.  And I am very excited to hit the couch as soon as I get home.  TV, how I’ve missed you!  {Random Note – “Mom” on CBS?  So flipping good.  I laugh out loud over and over again.  Also “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” randomly got really good too.  It seemed like a train wreck at first but they’ve pulled it together; it’s another llol situation.}

I do plan on sharing a bit more about work as time goes on.  And I’ll definitely post a picture of my office (I have an office!) once I get it all set-up.  I have some work outfits at the start of this post though, and I’ll try to keep that going.

Last week’s eats were fairly boring, but I’m proud of how (relatively) healthy I managed to keep things.  And I even captured 95% of what went in my mouth on film.  What you don’t see is the snacking I did before dinner every night while I packed my lunch.  Also there was coffee.  So, so much coffee.

fashion friday

New navy, polka dot top from the Loft.

DSC06235I didn’t realize how similar day 2’s look was to day 1.

DSC06265My mom got me this mint cardigan on her trip to Amsterdam.

DSC06286I wish my pictures were clearer so you could see details like this fun neckline.

DSC06318And Friday’s look will get looped to next week.

breakfast

As of now I’m eating on my train ride so things have to be portable.  Sticky Bun Larabar Uber.

DSC06224Still not my favorite flavor, but I liked it better than the first time I tried it.

Pecan Pie Clif Bar.

DSC06252Such a fun seasonal flavor.  I really hated the gingerbread and spiced pumpkin ones, but this was delicious.

Super smoothie.

DSC06308Frozen strawberries with plain Greek yogurt and chocolate peppermint soy milk.  Adam and I love this blend.

lunch

Lots of repetition here but I changed up little details to keep things interesting.  Turkey sandwich round 1.

DSC06204A Sandwich Thin with Applegate Smoked Turkey, Crofter’s Grape, and a TJ’s goat cheese medallion.

DSC06206With a cameo apple.

DSC06208And a baggie of Angie’s Iced Gingerbread Kettle Corn.

DSC06212The husband and I both love this popcorn; not too sweet or spicy.  It’s not on their website but I found my bag at Target.

Butternut squash round 1.

DSC06241Roasted butternut squash with chopped spinach and craisins with WF’s Korean BBQ Sauce on top.

DSC06242On the side,

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Turkey sandwich round 2.  This time with a slice of light havarti, banana peppers, and a bit of Miracle Whip.

DSC06267Plus a pair of tangerines.

DSC06271And Twix Gingerbread.

DSC06274This meal was the week’s winning lunch.

Butternut squash round 2.

DSC06290With TJ’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette in place of bbq sauce.

DSC06292And a side of tasty mango.

DSC06294The flavors here were good but this meal was a little too mushy overall.

dinner

These are all single girl dinners; I was on my own every night this week.  Adam had a week straight of night shifts and with my new schedule we literally saw each other for less than 30 minutes a day.  I miss him!

Soup night.

DSC06257My box of pumpkin soup from TJ’s was terrible.

DSC06259It was weirdly sweet and I ended up throwing out the majority of my bowl.  My side made up for it though.

DSC06262The last of the tortilla chips with fancy cheese microwaved on top.

Sandwich night.

DSC06278My sandwich was a little burnt, but oh-so-good.  I mashed together a can of Smoked Trout with Miracle Whip and smoked paprika and then put it between two pieces of gingerbread swirl bread with a slice of light havarti and cooked the whole thing in a pan with a little butter.

DSC06280With a giant pile of kale chips on the side.

DSC06285The smokey-sweet combo on my sandwich was amazing.

Egg night.

DSC06300Two eggs scrambled with evoo, frozen roasted corn, chopped jalopeño, sugar, and Sriracha.

DSC06307Another kale pile.

DSC06303With popcorn.

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Fun night.  Yesterday I met up with a friend who works in Park Slope for dinner.  I had some time to kill before she got off so I walked a ton (my feet are still killing me!) and got the best cup of frozen yogurt.

DSC06312Eggnog and praline yogurts with pralines, toffee, and malt balls.  Fan-freaking-tastic!

Then we went to Song for Thai food.

DSC06315My “Spicy Noodles” weren’t spicy at all, but they were nice and chewy and I came home with leftovers for lunch.  It was great to see a friend on a “school night.”

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my coffee giveaway.  You’ve got until 2 pm Saturday to comment.

Do You Remember When People Used To Blog 3x A Day?

Do you remember when people used to blog three times a day?  Yeah … I can’t even handle once a week!  I don’t have a wrap-up, but I did manage to get 2 – 3 items from each category, and the stuff I do have to share was all awesome.  Here we go –

breakfast

1. Pumpkin pie (crisp?) in a bowl.

DSC04900I topped some TJ’s low-fat pumpkin Greek yogurt (3/4 of the container or so; the serving seems oddly large to me) with some of my Simply Sweet Granola and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

DSC04898I made my oats a little too toasty, but I was very pleased with the yogurt.

2. Pumpkin Pie Through A Straw.

DSC04934That’s right, I cracked open my first can of pumpkin!

DSC04939I’ve made this smoothie for years and it is a total winner.  The husband is usually not as into the pumpkin thing as I am and he likes this even more than I do.

3. Sundae on a Wednesday.

DSC04967This was the most dessert-y of the “dessert” breakfasts but it was still pretty healthy.

DSC04970Wallaby low-fat maple yogurt topped with Crispy Green bananas (former freebie), and melted Biscoff Spread.

snacks

1. Cinnamon Crunch Somersaults and a caramel macchiato.

DSC04997I made so many updates to my coffee (a little more of this, a little less of that) that it was basically a big cup of espresso and caramel, aka perfection.

The crunchy portion of this snack was brought to you by this generous package I received from Somersaults:

somersaultsDSC04643I received this package free of charge.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

They recently had their top flavors certified as GMO-free and expanded their retailer list to include Target and Costco and they’re trying to spread the word about their good news.  Fun snack facts – a serving of Somersaults has as much protein as a serving of almonds (with half of the fat) and they are a good source of fiber and vitamin E.  Also they are Adam’s very favorite snack!

DSC05000I thought that the Cinnamon Crunch (a new flavor this year) was great; a good blend of sweet and seedy.

2. Cinnamon Pumpkin Beer Bread.

DSC04961Just Beer Bread made with a pumpkin beer and a layer of cinnamon sugar (we used cinnamon maple sugar) on top.

DSC04959DSC04964Quite good with schmear of butter.

3. An actual sundae.

DSC04996Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Honey Caramel Greek Frozen Yogurt with melted Biscoff Spread; I was all about the Biscoff this week.

DSC04993I bought the frozen yogurt by chance (I needed vanilla frozen yogurt for my pumpkin smoothie and this was all I could find at the store near my house) and ended up adoring it.  The flavor was so complex!

lunch

1. Sandwich success.

DSC04944I’ve been planning this sandwich combo for weeks, ever since a serendipitous trip to Trader Joe’s.

A whole wheat Bagel Thin topped with Applegate Farms roasted turkey, TJ’s pumpkin butter, and a TJ’s mini brie bite.

DSC04954DSC04952The brie and pumpkin butter mash-up was just as good as I thought it would be.

Roasted green beans on the side,

DSC04950and TJ’s Hawaiian Style BBQ Potato Chips.

DSC04946This was a fun lunch to munch through.

2. A trip to Chobani Bar in SoHo.

DSC04992A girlfriend and I took the train into the city from Queens.  We snacked on Somersaults on the way in.

DSC04980She had never tasted them before but was an instant fan.

A quick walk down Prince Street and we were at Chobani.

DSC04982DSC04983The space was very pretty, but strangely they had no seating.  We ended up finding a nice spot on a sunny stoop.

DSC04985DSC04988I ordered a half-size of toasted coconut and pineapple.  Plain yogurt topped with pineapple, toasted coconut, and Turkish hazelnuts.  It comes with light agave nectar but I asked that they leave it off.

DSC04990I was very impressed with my bowl; the pineapple was so sweet!  My friend got the same thing and I did and she liked it too.  We both agreed that we probably wouldn’t go back but that we were glad we went.

dinner

1. Mac and cheese, please.

DSC04921This combo of ingredients made for one heck of a dinner –

DSC04906While my mushrooms were browning…

DSC04910I ate some of the rest of the bbq chips,

DSC04905and opened a Pumking.

DSC04911I agree with what I’ve read online, this year’s batch wasn’t the best.  I really enjoyed it the first few minutes but after that I grew tired of the flavor.  In fact, most of the bottle ended up in my cinnamon pumpkin beer bread.  At least my dinner was good.

DSC04917Salads on the side.  A romaine blend dressed with a sprinkle of salt and 1 tsp each honey and olive oil.

DSC04931My salad was technically on the bottom, not the side.  I topped my greens with mac (Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar, with spinach, mushrooms, and Bela smoked sardines) and then topped my whole bowl with crumbled goat cheese.

2. Taco night.

DSC05008I recently received a package from Ortega to help me celebrate National Taco Day:

DSC04972I received this package free of charge.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

They sent along some recipes on which they collaborated with Chef Aarón Sánchez, including this vegetarian one –

taco recipeI really liked the sound of it, but you know I had to put my own spin on the recipe.

Vegetarian Black Bean Tacos, serves 3

  1. Heat evoo in a large pan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and jalapeños and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in beans (liquid and all) and taco seasoning mix and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Mash up some of the beans with the side of your spatula while you stir.
  4. Heat taco shells according to package instructions.
  5. Stuff the bottom of each taco with spinach.  Spread the bean mixture evenly among the tacos on top of spinach.  Top tacos evenly with feta cheese.

DSC05014We loved them!  The beans were delicious, if I do say so myself.  And the taco shells were wonderful; they seemed to hold together much better than ones I’ve used in the past.

life

1. The house.

DSC04890Three full months of living here later, we finally bought shelving for the living room.

DSC04886There’s not a lot on them right now (I managed to find spaces for all of our books in the office in the interim) but it’s nice to have one less blank wall.

2. The man.

DSC05004I didn’t talk about it on the blog, but a month or so ago Webster had a cluster seizure.  It was very scary, and more importantly, it meant that we had to start medically treating his epilepsy.  He’s been on medication for more than a month now and he has been seizure-free the entire time (yay!).

DSC04882Feeling better has given him time to focus on his other interests, like sitting with his butt up in the air like a total weirdo.

What’s going on in your life?  Tell me something good from the last week?