Vino + Virginia Visitors

We had a great weekend being tourists in Charlottesville + the surrounding area because my mom was in town.  She came up for a quick visit and we all had a blast!

We celebrated May the Fourth…

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Went on wine tastings…

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Explored the farmer’s market…

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Five fun highlights were –

{1} Charlottesville City Market.  We saw someone hand-pressing tortillas so obviously we had to get a chicken taco.

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Plus I never turn down Vietnamese iced coffee.

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{2} Rocket Coffee in Crozet.  I had a great iced latte plus a bagel (<– shipped in from H&H in NYC!) with cream cheese.

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{3} Spirits from Vitae.  We loved it here!  So many Caribbean flavors and they did a theme menu for May the Fourth.  I had a taster of paw paw liquor plus a Cantina Punch – golden rum, mauby syrup, pomegranate juice, lemon, and aloe juice.

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{4} Dinner at Maya.  I didn’t snap any pictures but it was the best meal of the weekend!  I had the crispiest, most succulent duck confit of my life and we shared a s’mores torte with housemade marshmallow fluff!

{5} Dinner at Tillmans.  Greek salad plus pimento cheese served with red pepper jelly and crostini.

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Hope it’s a great week!

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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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Chocolate + Coffee, Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Highlights from the past week…

Personal Life:

We had several boons come together in the last week or so.  Related – I am waaaay overdue on sharing some big life updates.  In short, the highlights are –

  1. Adam is officially a board-certified surgeon (woo-hoo!)
  2. Adam got his dream job and is all set up to be a critical care attending in New York this summer (woo-hoo!!)
  3. We’ve lined up our New York apartment
  4. Our lease here was a month short but we’ve finally lined up a place to live in Charlottesville in July

Television:

I finally talked Adam into watching “Hart of Dixie” with me and he is as smitten as I am!  Related – read this Buzzfeed article.

The Bob Dylan cover in this terrible WGU commercial makes me ugly cry every single time I hear it.

Food:

This was one of my best coffee combos this year, Dark as Dark with chocolate milk.

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Related – Whole Food’s hazelnut mochas (with light syrup, extra espresso, and ice) are freaking delicious.

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Both of our moms went a bit overboard and we are drowning in Easter candy.  The highlight, as always, is these pectin jelly beans.

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And the low was these terrible new m&m’s.

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Still loving these Stinger peanut butter cracker bars.

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Related – I finally found these in a snack-sized kids portion and now I am eating even more of them.

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We had a duo of fruity beers that did not disappoint.  Abita’s Lounging Iguanas pineapple coconut IPA is a 10/10.

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Pizza night.  A simple turkey pepperoni pizza on Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust plus a simple side salad.

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Trader Joe’s vegetable biryani with vegetable dumplings frozen meal.

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I made a veggie take on this fire chicken with cheese.

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With tofu instead of chicken, plus roasted broccoli and Japanese sweet potato.

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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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Party Peeps

7 highlights from the last 7 days…

Chocolate chip banana bar.  I found it in our hospital’s cafeteria but apparently it’s such a new product it hasn’t made it to the website yet.

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Crazy freeze-dried fruits from Trader Joe’s.  The dragonfruit wasn’t a fit for my tastes but the grapes were sweet and amazing.

IMG_4283Birthday cake Peeps!  Look at their adorable sprinkled butts!

 

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Kung Fu Tea.  Almond milk tea (half sweet, extra ice) with Oreo and aloe jelly.

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Squid ink pasta with tahini sauce, 5 spice tofu, roasted zucchini, and chili oil.

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Slow-cooked parmesan garlic chicken and potatoes + broccoli.  We didn’t brown our chicken and it still came out great.

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Greek salad – romaine and cucumber with TJ’s Greek feta dressing, green olives, crispy cheese bites, and roasted chickpeas.

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Have a great week!

Little Star = Big Star

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We ate some really yummy things last week!  Here were the highlights…

{1} Canned coffees that I schlepped back from New York.

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{2} Lemon meringue macarons at the farmers’ market at IX Park.

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{3} A Trader Joe’s shaped meal that was both quick and delicious.  Cauliflower gnocchi + turkey summer sausage + pizza sauce + broccoli rabe.  You can bake the gnocchi (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes) and it comes out great.

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{4} A Korean feast at Maru on the downtown mall.  I had the spicy chicken and cheese plate – spicy gojuchang marinated chicken served with rice cakes and Korean sweet potato and topped with melted cheese.

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It was spicy, and smoky, and kind of amazing.  The portion was gigantic and my leftovers – which I stir-fried with eggs and roasted broccoli – were kind of amazing as well.

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We also had pat bing soo – shaved ice with red bean, mochi, and milk powder.

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{5} Dinner with my cousin at Little Star, a newish, supremely gorgeous, tapas spot.  The space and the tableware – which was thrifted and eclectic – were beautiful.

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We ordered all the things and loved every single bite and sip.  All three of us agreed it was one of the best meals we had eaten all year.  Agave Angel – mezcal, lime juice, and cream.

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3 month aged manchego with apricot honey preserves.

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Charred shishito peppers with romesco and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.

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Sunny side up eggs with salsa negra, green onion, sesame seeds, grilled bread, and hickory sauce.  <– this was the top dish of the night, the contrast of the sweet hickory sauce with the eggs and salsa was divine

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Shrimp and grapes with garlic, leeks, tequilla, and pickled chiles.  We went right ahead and sipped that sauce.

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Seared tuna with rendered foie gras, salsa molcajete, cilantro oil, and charred onion.  <– 2nd best dish of the night, which is unsurprising when you consider the words “rendered foie gras”

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Coffee service.

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Crumb cake with meyer lemon curd, ear gray cream, and mezcal caramel.

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Creme carmel flan with peaches.

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*swoon*