Hello, 2018!

On a personal level, 2018 is off to a great start.  Adam’s and my last week of 2017 staycation was deeply wonderful, so I’m starting the year in a damn good mood.

Though perhaps I’ll be less ecstatic today, by the time this post goes live I will already be outside attempting to dig my car out from the foot plus of snow dropped by the bomb cyclone.  I work this weekend so thankfully I was already off for the worst of it on Thursday.

Here were the best bites from the year so far…

This week’s coffee – Starbucks espresso roast.

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Plus on my snow day I sipped on a super fancy Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew with chocolate milk.  Total frothy, creamy, goodness.

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Yogurt bowl work lunches are off to a good start.  Coffee and Cream Chobani with maple almond butter granola and a Pacific Rose apple and MadeGood chocolate chip granola minis.

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Mint Chocolate Chunk Chobani with chocolate Cheerios and chocolate-covered cocoa nibs.  This new flavor was surprisingly delicious, just like mint chip ice cream.

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Smoked turkey and Swiss sandwich box from Starbucks.

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Popping champagne gummies for the new year.  I have loved all of the bears from Project Seven that I’ve tried so far.

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Yummy vanilla bean French pudding.

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Exciting limited edition seltzers tasting.  We didn’t like the cola as much as I had hoped – it was too weird to have the flavor without the sweetness – and the unicorn kisses wasn’t magical but was very tasty.

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I totally rocked it in the kitchen this week; three meals were 10/10.  Like good luck bowls to start the year – forbidden rice / collard greens – sauteed with garlic / hoppin’ john – a slightly bastardized version with orange bell pepper added in.

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Hot wing pasta with carrots and celery on the side.

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Whole wheat pasta shells / sauteed baby spinach and green onion with fish sauce / shredded chicken breast with cream cheese and hot sauce / sharp cheddar.

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Chick pot pie hot dish (loosely inspired by this recipe from Molly Yeh).

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Shredded chicken breast / tons of sauteed mushrooms, onion, celery, and peas / roux + caned low fat milk and chicken broth with sour cream, hot sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika / tater tots!

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Hope everyone’s 2018 is off to a good start!

A Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate!  I am actually at work today, but Adam and I had a great weekend making merry.

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We pretended it wasn’t raining and took a long walk around Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

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I was very excited to check out the holiday decorations at Chelsea Market and the Oculus and Brookfield Place.

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Best bites highlights…

Nobletree eggnog cappuccino.

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I also bought a fancy Ronnybrook eggnog and dumped it over ice with a triple shot of espresso, so good.

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We had yet to stand in the Dominique Ansel line to try a cronut but when I read this month’s flavor I knew it was time – eggnog caramel!

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Crispy, chewy, gooey; they were totally fantastic and worth the wait.  Eggnog caramel may be my new favorite thing.

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Lunch at Kobrick Coffee.  I had a grilled cheese with swiss, shallots, and horseradish maple mustard.

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Plus a Strong Island Iced Tea – gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, cynar, Hella cola tonic, lime juice, and soda.  The little coffee cup was Adam’s cortadito – a crazy delicious cross between a cortado and a Cuban coffee.

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Holiday flavors jelly beans – eggnog, pumpkin pie, cranberry, hot chocolate, and peppermint.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer.  The pink drinks were my attempt at making a peppermint marshmallow vodka that did NOT work.

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Rice and Gold for dinner for a whole jerk roasted duck.  Wrapped up with jerk-hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, and moo shu pancakes.

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We also had cured salmon crudo with onion ash, myoga, jalapeno, and maple bourbon soy sauce.

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Charred eggplant with Chinese yogurt, scallion, and crispy shallot that was one of the best dishes I ate this year.

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A Bondi Kelly – white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and charred pineapple.

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And a citrus salad dessert special with cardamom labne and yuzu nata de coco.

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We brought home our leftover duck to put on nachos which was the best idea ever.

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And our Christmas Eve dinner was snowflake pasta with pesto, red bell pepper, baby kale, and turkey pepperoni.

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May your day be bright.

Winter Weekend Wonderland

Three fun facts…

{1} NYC got its first snow this weekend.

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{2} Adam and I used the blustery weather as reason to spend an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum.  So much Van Gogh!

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{3} We also watched and loved the first season of Stan Against Evil.

{bonus fact} It’s Adam’s birthday today!  I was going to write a gooey, disgusting, you’re-my-everything post but our ten year anniversary is on December 28th so I’ll save up my feels.

Weekend eats highlights…

Eggnog ice cream spiked iced coffee.

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Jalapeño cheddar potato pierogis at Baba’s with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

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BBQ spread at Fletchers.  I had smoked chicken, cole slaw, pickles, and rivers of bbq sauce.

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Egg ‘n grog pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds.  It was a delicious, boozy custard.

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Edible brownie batter!  For 2, mix 1 Tbsp melted butter / 1 Tbsp granulated sugar / 2 Tbsp brown sugar / 1 Tbsp cocoa powder / 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour / 1.5 Tbsp milk of choice (I recommend eggnog).

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I made stroganoff-ish turkey bowls.  Ground meat sautéed with shallots, paprika, sour cream, and tons of fried mushrooms.

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With carrots and hummus for additional veggies.

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And Holiday Cheers Health-Ade Kombucha for fun.  <– I was expecting to hate the ginger but this ended up being my all-time favorite kombucha, it was all sweet and no spice

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Chicken tenders and slaw.

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Oven-fried chicken tenders (using a rough version of this method) coated in crushed Heritage Flakes and drizzled with homemade honey mustard.

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With homemade cole slaw on the side.  I adore slaw and this quick version was better than any I’ve had in a restaurant.  I didn’t make notes for a recipe but it’s sliced cabbage and golden raisins in a mix of mayo, sour cream, mustard, sugar, and rice vinegar.

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Fantastic cheese plates.  Fancy TJ’s crackers with white stilton with apricots, honey goat cheese, and raw milk cheddar.

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Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll Ale that tasted like a cookie.

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Plus carrots and orange bell pepper with hummus.

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And sugared nuts and dried figs.

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Miracle On 9th Street

New York City is the best place on Earth and that is doubly true around holidays!  Adam and I had a lovely weekend with lots of walking and we explored Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and saw and ate all sorts of fun holiday and city things.

Like lights in the Lower East Side.

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And wild swans in Sheepshead Bay.

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Coffees, specialty cocktails, pizza rolls, and other fantastic eats…

Mace’s Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop-up is officially my new favorite holiday activity!  I wish I had taken pictures inside because it was freaking magical.

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The specialty cocktails were so fun!  I had a Not Even a Mouse – pumpkin spice infused rye whiskey, Budweiser-marshmallow syrup, pumpkin puree, egg, and a marshmallow mouse.

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And a Snowball Old Fashioned – gingerbread bourbon, sugar, and pecan bitters.

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Iced latte love.  Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Orso.

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Yogurt bowl win.  Plain Greek yogurt with maple jelly and vanilla bean powder with golden kiwi and granola on top.

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Ice & Vice double scoop that was truly the best ice cream Adam or I have ever eaten.  TBT – earl grey, dark chocolate, and speculoos chip and PSL – pecan, sorghum, and latte toffee.

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The Nog at Sugar Sweet Sunshine, pumpkin cake layered with eggnog pudding and whipped cream.

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Luda’s Dumplings.

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We shared shrimp and loaded potato with garlic sour cream and mushrooms on top.

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Brunch at Butter & Scotch, aka the restaurant that’s decorated like the inside of my heart.

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I had biscuits with mushroom gravy and an egg on top.

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The NameShake.

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Birthday cake slice (the leftovers were still moist 24 hours+ later, fyi) and a Unicorn Treat – a brown butter cookie drenched in sprinkles!

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The space was adorable, the music was wonderful, and as we were rolling ourselves to the door the waitress brought us a chocolate chip cookie to go since we had been so excited about everything.

Dinner at Thursday Kitchen.

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You have to get a light-up booze-filled capri sun!  I went with strawberry.

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The menu is tapas style so we got to taste a lot.  Everything was so interesting, and perfectly spiced.  Pan-seared plantains with Korean chimichurri, honey ricotta, roasted pistachio, dried cranberry, and crispy plantain crumble.

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Duck confit empanada with dill crème fraiche, cumin, and pickles.

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Gnocchi with Korean chili pepper sauce, garlic aioli, parmesan, and crispy seaweed.

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My homemade dinners weren’t bad either.  I made vegetarian “rice” and beans casserole.

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Riced cauliflower / pinquito beans / onion and bell peppers (yellow, orange, and green) baked in evoo / red enchilada sauce / sour cream / shredded cheese.  I topped my bowl with more sour cream and some Cholula sauce plus beet and goat cheese cassava chips.

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An epic take on cheeseburgers and fries.

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Roasted green beans and butternut squash.

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Cheeseburger roll ups!  Crescent roll dough / ground turkey sautéed with chopped onion and pickle relish / mayo and ketchup / shredded cheese / brushed with garlic butter.

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Happy 1st week of December!

Thanksgiving Week

I always have a lot to feel thankful for and last week was no exception.  With working two weekends in a row and Turkey Day my schedule worked out perfectly for lots of fun free time with the husband!  We had a great time in the city on his post-call day and were able to drive to Pennsylvania Thursday evening to spend the holiday with his family.

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Highlights…

Fancy coffees –

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Noble Tree iced latte at Nickel and Diner.

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Stumptown Winter Cheer.

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Vietnamese cold brew.

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Fun city restaurants –

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Supermoon Bakehouse!

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So cool.  We tried a banana split sundae twice baked croissant – caramelized sous vide whole bananas, banana caramel sauce, creme patissiere, and chocolate almond creme, topped with chocolate fudge, banana caramel, dehydrated banana, gold leaf, and torched meringue.

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And a Golden Boy Doughnut – golden turmeric brioche filled with mild chocolate salted caramel, rolled in sugar and topped with a chocolate shard – aka the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten.

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Crazy good ramen at Ganso.  A girlfriend and I went after work one night and it was so fantastic that I went back with Adam the next day!  The first time we shared blistered shishito peppers.

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And I had triple shrimp ramen – with shrimp paste chicken broth, thick Sapporo noodles, chili-fried shrimp, dried shrimp, garlic chives, and moyashi sprouts.

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The second time we had wings and beer.

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And I had the Tori Shio – Japanese sea salt-chicken broth, toothsome Tokyo noodles, crispy chicken thigh chashu, ajitama egg, and greens.

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On-theme eats –

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Pumpkin yogurt with Heritage Flakes and a mini pumpkin persimmon.

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Fruit and nut yogurt with toffee bits, pecans, and orange raisins.

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A pre-holiday plate on Tuesday night.

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Crock pot cooked turkey, Trader Joe’s cornbread stuffing, cranberry dressing, and roasted green beans.

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Plus a cranberry beer!

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Our Thanksgiving tradition…

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Stuffing nachos!  With turkey, cranberry, and lots of cheese.

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Plus broccoli that I pretended was green beans.

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My actual Thanksgiving plate.

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Our contribution to the meal was peanut butter, butterscotch, toffee candy.

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Have a great week!

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Pumpkin’s Still In Season

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This post includes three more days of vacation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday); I eased back into the work-week after my trip.  It’s supposed to be in the 20’s in NYC later today so now I kind of wish I was away on vacation again!

Highlights from the week…

Coffee!

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Pumpkin spice my grandma brought me from Winans.

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Pumpkin smoothie with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cow’s milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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BBQ at Salt and Bone.

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I got a ridiculous but tasty Percocet with aged rum, coco lopez, citrus.

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And had turkey breast – 3 hour smoked with a butter sauce – cole slaw, and a few bites of Adam’s potato salad.

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Thai food in Sunnyside.  Fried tofu.

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And drunken noodles that actually had enough veggies for my tastes.

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One of our favorite winter traditions is visiting Winter Village at Bryant Park for a thick hot chocolate.

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Gooey walnut chocolate chip cookie from Chip in Astoria.

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Buckeye straight from Ohio.

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We tried something fun from Minamoto Kitchoan – Sakura Gomora, sweet bean and mochi wrapped in a cherry blossom pancake.

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Packed lunch – strawberry and rosehip kefir cup with a cupcake crumbled in!  Plus a snap dragon apple.

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I brought in chocolate cupcakes (from a mix!) with homemade cream cheese frosting and Amy Sedaris sprinkles for a coworker’s birthday.

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Yogurt with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats.

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Roasted fall salad – quinoa / shredded brussel sprouts / leeks / turkey bacon / sweet and spicy pecans / gold raisins / and oven-fried sage.

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One of the co-founders of CHUT UP reached out to my about sampling their new line of condiments and I happily accepted, so those were featured in dinners for the rest of the week.  All three flavors are made with minimal processing and no added sugars (and they’re tasty!).

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I made a veggie-packed version of chana masala with the addition of celery and orange and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with apple and caramelized onion chutney.

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And a dinner for dipping with blue cheese dressing and beet ketchup.

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Roasted broccoli and a root veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (carrots, beets, parsnips, and sweet potato).

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Baked chicken tenders crusted in panko after an overnight marinate in peri peri hot sauce, minced ginger, lemon, and brown sugar.

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Won’t You Brie My Neighbor

Bites from the week…

I was on a FUN – aka sweetened and spiced – iced coffee kick.  Dark roast cold brewed with brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and extra cinnamon.

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La Colombe pumpkin spice draft latte.

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Vanilla cold brew from Bowery Coffee Co with half and half.

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Since we have multi-grain sourdough in the house I’m back to loving toast.  With Smart Balance, strawberry jam, and cheese!

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Yogurt bowl lunches.  Pumpkin Chobani with toffee bits and sweet and spicy pecans and a Snap Dragon apple.

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Pumpkin Noosa with a brown sugar cinnamon peanut butter packet.  Plus a honey tangerine and a Sweet Thorn kombucha.

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Maple yogurt with vanilla granola, banana chips, and tangerine.

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Plus one day I got cafeteria sushi.

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A quick but delicious dinner.

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Roasted brussel sprouts and a sliced RosaLynn apple.

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A toasted sandwich with smoked sliced turkey, pumpkin butter, and brie.  The sandwich was so freaking good that I ended up making it again for dinner the next night too (except we were out of turkey so I added cheddar for a double-cheese dream!).

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Pumpkin sausage pasta topped with cheese and fried sage!

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I loosely followed this recipe from Rachel Ray.  A few key changes – I toasted my pasta / I used half as much pasta (whole wheat bow ties) so there was a greater ratio of sauce / I used turkey maple breakfast sausages / I added orange bell pepper with my onions / I used extra stock instead of wine / I added cayenne pepper / I used fat-free half and half.

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Best thing I ate all week?  Banoffee (aka banana toffee) Magic Bars!

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My coworkers loved them so much they asked my to post the recipe on the blog.

Banana Toffee Magic Bars, makes 24 squares

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 15 sheets graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped dried baby bananas (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup unsweetened banana chips
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in heating oven.
  2. When butter is fully melted, remove dish from oven and combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Mix well, then press firmly into the bottom of the dish.
  3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of crust then top evenly with sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting.  I recommend storing these in the freezer and letting them come to room temperature to serve.