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!

Freedom!

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I’m on vacation!  Friday was my last day of work for 11 glorious days!  I prepped for vacation by eating all of the ice cream last week 🙂

For a work-week this past week was not a bad one.  Adam and I were off together on Wednesday and got do some Lower East Side wandering.  And over the weekend we did some Long Island exploring.  Plus I met with friends for brunch.  And ate all the aforementioned ice cream.

Last week’s flavor themes: (Stumptown) coffee // ice cream // cheese // corn // egg.  Highlights…

Brunch at The General Greene.  I had the farro bowl with pesto, roasted sweet potato, avocado, and a poached egg.

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Black Brick Coffee just might be our new favorite spot.  It’s a neat space and my Stumptown latte was ridiculously good.

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Trader Joe’s new coconut cold brew coffee is pretty tasty, especially with chocolate milk.

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Vanilla bean yogurt with blackberries, granola, and chocolate tahini.

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Plain Greek yogurt with black plum and Oreo cheesecake.

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Sandwich with curly fries.  Spicy chicken / mayo and mustard / lettuce / pickles.

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Because I don’t eat enough nachos at home, they were a special in the cafeteria this week.  Pinto beans and cheddar with olives, corn, bell pepper, and onion.

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Our Long Island exploration took us to both Farmingdale and Babylon.  We had a flight of craft beers at Lithology.  My favorite was the honey rye with rosemary, followed closely by the sour farmhouse ale.

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We also did lunch at Swell Taco.

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My burrito was giant and packed with grilled chicken, refried pinto beans, rice, veggies, salsa fresca, sour cream, and Monterey jack.

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I’ve seen multiple foodie instagrammers try to say that Ben’s compares with Levain <– NO.  PSA – this was not good.  These cookies were greasy and terrible and I threw mine out after two bites and still had a stomach ache.

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We checked out the Filipino goodies at Johnny Air Mart and snacked on calamansi soda and Polvorón shortbread.

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Bubble tea from Vivi.  Grapefruit Yakult with crystal boba and coconut jelly.

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Brigadeiro Bakery taught me that I actually don’t like ice cream as much as I think because apparently brigadeiros are my favorite dessert.  <– they are a condensed milk candy so that’s not that surprising

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Stumptown coffee soft serve with sprinkles and cookie dough at Scoops.

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Birthday cake soft serve with sprinkles at Milk Bar.

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Cookie dough with toasted coconut soft serve at Stew Leonard’s.  This was both the best soft serve and the best edible cookie dough we’d ever tasted.

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Sweet milk and browned butter pecan ice cream at Malai.

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BBQ chicken salads.  Baby romaine with ranch / cheddar / cucumbers / leftover cole slaw / shredded chicken with Korean bbq sauce.

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Bean and chicken bowls.  Sautéed onions and green pepper / cheddar / shredded chicken with cilantro sauce – cilantro, roasted jalapeño, canola oil, honey, and salt / pinquito beans from Susie Q.

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The beans were a kit sent to me to review.  They came with a premixed seasoning packet (mild red chili, onion, garlic, and select spices) so they were a snap to prepare, and much tastier than canned beans.  They kept their shape after cooking and were firm but not chewy or mealy.  <– I would buy these with my own money

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I know these eggs look god-awful, but they were amazing.  Scrambled with unsulfured chicken hot dogs / kimchi / and cheddar.

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Dinner at Colonia Verde.  This restaurant is insanely gorgeous, Adam and I were in heaven.

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I drank the Patient Extra – Cachaca, Luxardo Maraschino, grapefruit, lime, and citrus bitters, which was fabulous.

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And ate duck confit tacos and grilled sweet corn salad with carmelized pepitas, cotija cheese, and mint.

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P.S. It’s my birthday today!!

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Food To Stay

I’m posting a day early because my week ends a day early – I’m off today and then working through the weekend.  Unfortunately at 6:30 am I am already behind on my long to-do list, so I’ll try to keep this post short.

Highlights from this week…

Cafeteria sandwich day.  A wrap with turkey, cheddar, and veggies.

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Plus fries.

Coworker potluck lunch to celebrate the three of us with summer birthdays.

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My plate had sweet Filipino spaghetti with tofu, rice pilaf with dried fruit, and homemade falafel.  We also had 1 million +1 desserts.

Yogurt bowl with vanilla Siggi’s, chopped plum and nectarine, and maple peanut butter.

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The peanut butter is fantastic, we’ve been eating a lot of toast.

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Usually paired with these sugar crunch grapes.

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A final snack highlight was these dill almonds.

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I just tossed almonds, evoo, a pinch of salt, and several shakes of dried dill in a skillet until they were toasty.

Chipotle.  We may have eaten Chipotle 2 out of 3 days this week.

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I’m not exactly winning at dinnertime meal prep motivation lately.

I did make this yummy tossed-together dinner though.

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Leftover pasta with TJ’s turkey summer sausage, peas, red bell pepper, and sharp cheddar.

You guys know that I don’t often do beauty product reviews on the blog, but this pitch was sent the week I turned 31 and I was feeling vulnerable.

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I’m so glad I accepted because I ended up being impressed with the ToGoSpa products.  Rather than creams or gels – which, let’s be real, I’m too lazy to deal with – their active ingredients are packed in collagen gel pads you stick on your face.  P.S. they are paraben and dye free.

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I was afraid to smile when I took my selfies (see the horror show below) but I soon realized that the EYES pads actually stay put really well, I spent the 15 minutes with them on my face working around the house and they didn’t budge.  Bonus – the wording on the packing made me smile: “for best results, take them out of the package and put them on your face!”

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per usual, I was not provided further compensation for this post and all opinions are my own

I’ve tried the Ice Water and Green Tea ones so far, because I definitely sport dark circles thanks to my NCIS obsession.  True fact – it is really, really hard to take a flattering picture sans makeup, on a camera (so no front-facing option), and afraid to smile.

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You get the idea.  I can’t say that my face looked markedly different but the area under my eyes certainly felt much nicer.  I definitely plan on continuing to use the treatments.

Last Week’s Top Six

Better late than never?  I spent my weekend in a malstrom of giant bowls of stovetop popcorn and NCIS episodes and couldn’t pull myself away to blog.  I’m currently watching NCIS but it will probably be awhile before I eat any more popcorn!

Last week’s top six…

{1} Australian iced coffee.

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Cold brew concentrate, chocolate milk, ice, and a scoop of ice cream.  I started several mornings this way.

{2} Product samples from Viki’s Granola.

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They sent me some tasty granola to review.  Banana walnut was my favorite.  The granolas are gluten-free and have </160 calories per 1/4 cup.  The texture was unique, they were much softer and less clumped that most of the other granolas I’ve tried.

Very nice in my yogurt lunches.

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Especially with sugar crunch grapes.

{3} Compartes Birthday Cake Bar.

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White chocolate with sprinkles and three types of vanilla bean, it tasted like cake!  These bars are so worth the $10 price tag, I want to try more.

{4} Pasta salad, served cold.

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Whole wheat bow ties / spinach pesto / heirloom baby tomatoes / baked tofu with balsamic / cubes of swiss and sharp cheddar.  We almost never eat cold pasta salad and this felt fun and summery.

{5} Pimento cheese nachos.

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Our favorite meal, with a southern spin.  Zapp’s sweet pimento cream cheese chips, shredded chicken, red bell pepper, and candied pecans.

{6} Fantastic oven-fried chicken.

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We made a version of this chicken from A Cozy Kitchen and it blew our freaking minds.  With a garlic butter sauce instead of the spicy one.  We plan on making another batch this week.

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The King

The top five things I ate this week…

Birch Coffee cold brew blend.

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Chia!  Pudding with Hint of Honey almond milk, chopped dates, and chocolate covered cacao nibs.

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Yogurt with chopped plum and plucot and the last of the lavender almonds.

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This snack combo.  If I’d had some bacon jerky to go with my baby bananas and peanut butter cups I would have had a snack fit for The King.

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There were a couple of BIG stressful changes at work this week and I mostly ate pizza for dinners but I did make this one fantastic home-cooked meal.  A combo of my two favorite salads – Bahn Mi Chicken and Green Curry Turkey.

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Chicken with curried mayo and ginger, pickled vegetables, chopped red peppers, etc.  Plus honey butter Sriracha toast!

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Just today between me and the weekend!

Duck, Duck… Bacon!

This week Adam and I tried duck bacon and fell head over heels in love.

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It’s probably a good thing that that package cost $14 or we’d be eating duck bacon for every meal!

Our other flavor theme was lavender caramelized almonds.

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Love Our Nuts sent me a giant bin (<– free sample) and I put them to good use.

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In a pan over medium-high heat dry toast 2 cups of raw almonds for 2-3 minutes until starting to brown.  Add 1 Tbsp evoo, 2 pinches of salt, and 1/4 cup lavender sugar and cook 1-2 more minutes, stirring regularly, until the sugar is fully melted and the almonds are coated.  Spread almonds on a greased cookie pan or sheet of tin foil until fully cooled before storing.  If you want to try this recipe at home Love Our Nuts is actually hosting a giveaway right now, all you have to do is visit their social media pages.

I also had a lavender doughnut from Doughnut Plant.

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For this week’s coffee I cold brewed my Birch cold brew blend.

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The tasting notes say caramel and chocolate finish so I stirred a dollop of caramel into this cup because why not?

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I also had a really fantastic latte from Gorilla.

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And a Starbucks latte that didn’t actually pair that well with savory trail mix.

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Yogurt bowls for lunch.  Plain Siggi’s with chopped plum and lavender almonds.

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And fig with chopped plucot and KIND maple chia granola.  Plus a so-so kombucha from Trader Joe’s.

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Chocolate x2.

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A coworker and I got tasty drinks at Grand Army after a particularly long day.  This Trans-Siberian tasted like an adult Capri Sun!  I also had a fantasmic peach sour beer.

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The night Adam was at work I ate Mexican leftovers in bed.

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But the other nights were duck bacon extravaganzas!

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Like this duck bacon, double cream gouda, and egg toasted croissantwich.

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Served with a spinach salad with lavender almonds (dressed in evoo and lavender honey and lavender salt!).

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Killer cheese plate.

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Envy apple, baby carrots, orange and yellow bell pepper, lavender almonds, duck devils on horseback, gouda, and sharp cheddar.

Have you tried duck bacon yet?

Weekly Wrap-Up

Loves of Late

Family time: My parents were taking a quick vacation in Philadelphia this week and I took a mini road trip and drove up to spend the day with them!  I love the Magic Garden mosaics.

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TV: Rizzoli and Isles is on it’s final season and we have been loving it.  It is the most unrealistic of the cop shows that I enjoy but it’s also very funny and heartwarming.  All seasons are streaming on Hulu and I highly recommend going back to the beginning and giving it a watch.  Also, the first three episodes of Documentary Now.  Adam and I thought the 1st season went quickly downhill but the very first episodes are comedy gold.

Coffee: the beans we bought at Birch are fantastic, even when brewed in our crappy coffee pot at home.

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Every time I go to Reading Terminal I hit Old City Coffee.

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Also in Philly, I finally tried La Columbe.

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Stuff: My new planner!  I love new planners in general because I’m a dork but this one has shiny cut outs on the front. (from Blue Sky, fyi, but I couldn’t find it listed on the website)

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I also just bought a shirt with cut outs on it, apparently that’s my summer trend.

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The day I visited my parents we walked around the city all day and it was just so darn hot that we ended up buying me a new outfit so I could take the world’s most refreshing shower before dinner.

Eats

Coffee, duh!  More cups than were shown above, obviously.

Terrible picture of the yummy pecan pastries a coworker brought it.  She cut back on sugar which can leave baked goods overly tough but these ended up tasting like a pastry-scone hybrid.

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Yogurt bowl – plain Greek with chopped red plum, granola, chia, and sprinkles.

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Oatmeal bowl – with dark chocolate cacao nibs, chia, and coconut butter.  Plus an apple on the side.

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Chia pudding.  The fizzy coconut water was horrible, btw.

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When in Philly, (chicken) cheesesteak.

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Pocky stick snack.

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Turkey cheese roll ups.

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Dinner at Devon Seafood with my parents.

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I had the bouillabaisse.

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Chipotle night, midweek road trips tire you out.  My burrito was stuffed with chicken, pinto beans, peppers, cheese, sour cream, corn salsa, and lettuce.

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Best for last, the one thing I actually cooked myself!

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White quinoa / red lentils with lemon, tomato paste, and ginger / roasted zucchini and garlic sautéed mushrooms.

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Have a great weekend!