Winners And Losers

I ate some really yummy prepared foods this week but I did not do so hot cooking my own meals.  I had the day off on Wednesday and I spent most of the day cooking/baking and it did not go well.

I tried to make Oreo marshmallow peppermint magic bars.  No.  I ended up with a molten stew of brown gook.

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I couldn’t feed this to anyone but it actually did taste delicious and I did scoop a serving into a jar to eat with yogurt.

I also spent several hours making brown stock and then lentil and tortellini soup.  This venture at least looked like food but it tasted like… nothing.  We ate Chipotle bowls for dinner.

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Here were some of the things I ate that did work —

This work lunch looks unassuming but it was truly one of the best things I’ve eaten in months.  Vanilla bean Greek yogurt with cranberry relish and maple + almond butter granola.

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Plain Icelandic-style yogurt with cookie sludge, a SnapDragon apple, and La Colombe.

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Cherry vanilla Chobani with golden kiwis and Heritage Flakes.

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Some of my snacks were fairly fantastic as well.  Seaweed salad.

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Turkey jerky.

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Carrots and garlic hummus.

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Kombucha.

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Coffee Chai tea.  Good Earth offered to send me a sample and since chai is my favorite tea and I love coffee I accepted.  It was delicious!  Just a bit spicy and roasty.  I drank a cup at work instead of a 2nd coffee a couple of days and did not resent it.

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Hershey’s caramelized creme gold bar with peanuts and pretzels.  It was so interesting and tasty, way more complex than a regular Hershey bar.

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Treats at Vanilla Bean, our new favorite Long Island spot.

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I had a Nutella-studded brownie and a delicious iced latte.

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I may not have cook-cooked dinner but my throw-together dinners were good.  Trader Joe’s frozen section did not let me down.

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Fish sticks with roasted green beans and blue cheese and spicy cocktail sauce for dinner.

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I also made great “Thanksgiving leftovers” baked sandwiches.

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Sourdough, sliced smoked turkey, cranberry relish, mayo, and lots of Kerrygold Skellig sweet cheddar.

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With burnt broccoli that still wasn’t terrible.

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Please cross your fingers for no more kitchen disasters for me!

A Week Of Splendid Sandwiches

Can I really use that title in a week without a single grilled cheese or lobster roll?  I did have some exceptionally above-bar poultry-based sandwiches.

The winning ‘wiches…

Milk Bar‘s Thanksgiving croissant is the best sandwich of all time.  Adam and I waited for it with baited breath this year.

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The seasoned croissant is stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing!

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Flip Bird at the Ashland does a damn fine chicken sandwich – pulled chicken, harissa honey, pickled coleslaw, sambal mayo, and crispy skin.

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And my homemade toasted sandwich dinner was nothing to sneeze at.

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Sourdough / Applegate Farm smoked sliced turkey / 4 year aged cheddar / smoked maple mayo (olive oil based mayo, maple, liquid smoke, smoked paprika).

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With roasted zucchini on the side.

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Other fun stuff…

Vegan eggnogs in my coffee.  Adam really enjoyed the TJ’s almond milk version but I remain loyal to Silk.

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Here’s my current holiday stash, so exciting!

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Amazin’ Raisin sent me some samples to review.  The fruit-flavored raisins contain three ingredients – California raisins, citric acid, and natural fruit flavors – and are packed with flavor but no artificial sugar or sulfur dioxide.  Adam and I have both been really enjoying them.  So far his favorite flavor is pineapple and mine is watermelon.

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Some key work eats included raisins and a Larabar.

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And blackberry Siggi with holiday grapes and a maple maca bar.

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Really, the best dinner of the week was movie theater pretzel bites with fake cheese.  We went to see Thor: Ragnarok and split our sides laughing.  Our AMC has extra-wide seats that fully recline so the whole experience was really nice.

We also went gaga for these scallion pancakes from Trader Joe’s.

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They were crazy flavorful and satisfying.  I topped mine with mayo and Sriracha.

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With baby carrots and potato snacks for an appetizer for crunch.

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A girlfriend and I met for a mid-week dinner at Bricolage and were both big fans.  Sriracha butter wings to start.

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And we both had pink drinks!  She had the pink soda salted lemonade and I picked an option with a cute name that I can’t remember where you pick a spirit and let the bartender go crazy.  I said “vodka, no ginger” and ended up with something delicious with raspberry and lime.

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My caramelized shrimp claypot was 10/10.  Georgia white shrimp, vidalia onions, cherry tomatoes, and chili paste with rice to soak up the sauce.

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Enjoy your weekends!

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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Oh My Gourd, It’s Pumpkin Month!

I didn’t do the best job with photography this week but I wanted to post anyways to share my pumpkin stash!

Oooh.

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Ahhh.

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Woo-hoo!

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Here were some snacky, squashy highlights from the workweek…

Coffee = Wicked Joe’s with 1% cow’s milk.

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My hospital’s cafeteria has a sushi bar now.  They don’t have brown rice or any vegetarian options so it’s not something I’d get for lunch every day, but this spicy shrimp tempura roll sure was fun.

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Pumpkin spice Siggi’s with a Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice KIND bar and a SweeTango apple.

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KIND bar with a cranberry almond Noosa.

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I’ve been loving turkey-cheese roll ups as a snack recently.  Provolone, smoked turkey, and a bit of pesto rolled up and microwaved until warm and melty.

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La Colombe latte can with a polvoron (a fantastically delicious milk cookie my coworker brings us from the Philippines).

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Dragonfruit lemongrass kombucha.

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I got a blog invite for the 2017 Healthy Brand Showcase.  Adam and I tasted some yummy things (shared on my Instagram Live) and I came home with tons of samples.  I’ll be sure to share when I try product I love.

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Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Law And Order SVU (Spectacular Vittles Unit)

I still don’t want to talk about anything important.  I’d rather think something else than the fact that my hometown was just ravaged by yet another hurricane.  St. Thomas – and the devastated Caribbean as a whole – is pretty much all I’ve been thinking about for the past 2 weeks.  Let’s talk about yummy food instead.

Three facts before we get into the meat of this post –

{1} I just learned that vittles is actually an outdated spelling of the word “victuals.”

{2} I was serving on the jury for a criminal case for the past 5 days.  I don’t dread my civic duty at all, and it was a very positive experience.  Deciding a verdict is an awesome responsibility and I feel like I got a learn a lot about our legal system over the past week.

{3} I have added to my apple stash!  Gum, kombucha, and gummy bears, all of which I highly recommend, by the way.

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Plus Noosa Yoghurt sent me a fun package of fall flavors, including one of their newest flavors – Apple!

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The highlights…

This week’s coffee – Campfire Blend.  Plus I purchased a latte every day on my lunch break.

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Since I couldn’t have my camera with me in court, I’m missing a lot of my day-time eats this week, but I do have shots of my packed snacks (including a full lunch for my Thursday back at work).  Maple Chobani with Heritage Flakes and a gingergold apple.

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Apple Noosa with an apple bar.  This Noosa really does taste like pie filling!  The yogurt is soooo creamy and sweet and the apples are just a bit cinnamon-y.

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Pink lady apple kombucha, cinnamon apple sauce, cinnamon apple oatmeal, and sour caramel apple gummy bears.

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Snacks worth mentioning include: this 365 brand popcorn.  It’s low sodium but totally not bland; I loved it and I usually won’t even eat bagged popcorn.

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A yogurt bowl with chocolate Siggi’s yogurt, chopped plucot, granola, and a few caramel chips.

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Trader Joe’s new peanut butter roundels.  They are basically supersized peanut cups, so obviously we are obsessed.

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It’s not officially fall until today, but we still made some cold weather comfort foods for dinners.

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Grilled cheese sandwich on whole-wheat sourdough with labneh, sharp white cheddar, and a sprinkle of sumac.

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Dipped in tomato soup (a low-sodium boxed variety from TJ’s that was good but not great).

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With roasted squash.

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I also made a ridiculously delicious Mac and Cheese and Greens casserole.

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Make a roux with 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour // whisk in 1 cup skim milk and 8 cups baby spinach food processed until smooth with 3 Tbsp pesto and salt and pepper to taste // stir in 9 oz shredded sharp white cheddar and a healthy sprinkle of cayenne and smoked paprika // fold in 8 oz whole wheat shell pasta cooked according to package directions // pour into a casserole and top with 1 oz cheese // bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

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On the agenda this weekend?  We’re hoping the weather holds out for a final trip to Smorgasburg and a first-time visit to Roosevelt Island.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria

My title is a tongue in cheek joke about how the weather channel is turning me into a crazy person this month.  I was having such a good week too.  The VI was finally getting some desperately needed federal assistance and national news coverage and my parents got cell service back and I was able to talk to my mom.  But now, Maria is expected to hit the Virgin Islands as a category 3 hurricane this week.  Fantastic.

I’m still not really feeling up to prattling on about my days, but I did have some fun this week so I’m posting a top five…

{1}  favorite work bites

{a} coffee coffee coffee

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{b} I am still obsessed with that Trader Joe’s nut and seed mix

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{c} I also packed a nice tasting plate – dried apples, TJ’s crispy cheese bites, and a maple salmon bar.

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{d} This cafeteria wrap was on point.  Chicken / pinto beans / tomato / bell peppers / banana pepper / cheddar.

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{2}  apple eatventures

{a} I made caramel apple bread from scratch!  Basically just pumpkin bread made with apple sauce instead of pumpkin puree and totally just an excuse to use these caramel chips.

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{b} Caramel apple oatmeal.  Rolled oats / caramel chips / cinnamon / chia seeds / dried apples.

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{c} Caramel apple Twizzlers.

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{d} Apple pie milkshake.  Vanilla ice cream / Greek yogurt / applesauce/ cinnamon and gingerbread spice.

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{3}  cobb salad pasta salad

Whole wheat bowtie pasta / crumbled fancy aged blue cheese / turkey bacon / chopped chicken breast / hard-boiled eggs / diced avocado / shredded spinach / roasted baby tomatoes.

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{4}  a Mile End meal recreation

Mile End Deli has a Brussel sprouts dish on their menu that we were over the moon for, so I recreated it at home.  Our version was roasted brussel sprouts / tossed with crispy turkey bacon / plus olive oil and honey / sprinkled with sumac / on a base of labne.

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While we cooked – which took no time at all – we sipped on Switchel.

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Up Mountain Switchel sent me a box for review.  The lemon flavor was too spicy ginger for me, but I loved the Yerba Mate.  The ingredients list is short and simple (the four things listed on the front of the bottle plus water) and a serving has 54 calories and 10 grams of sugar.  It paired nicely with our meal and would be a good alternative option to booze or soda with dinner.

{5}  a trip to the South Fork of the Hamptons

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{a} Doughnuts and coffee at Grindstone.

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I had a Nutella s’mores brioche doughnut and a vanilla latte.

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{b} La Colombe black and tan (draft latte and cold brew) at Sag Town Coffee.  P.S. Apparently I am obsessed with Sag Harbor, it is so cute!

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{c} Lunch at Lunch.  Instead of a lobster roll I went with the seafood chili – with a bloody mary – and was quite pleased with my choice.

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{d} A cup of birthday cake ice cream at Scoop Du Jour.

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{e} And best of all, we got to stick our toes in the sand at the beach.

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It was a super foggy day and the crashing waves were gorgeous.  Plus we saw about a million seagulls.  <– best beach day ever

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Buffalo Chicken Ballyhoo

Is it seriously September already??  Actually, don’t answer that; if I think about how fast this year seems to be going it makes my head spin.  At least now it’s Apple Month.

Here were eight things from the end of the eighth month…

{1}  coffee excitement

A match made in heaven?  I put creamy pecan popsicle in my iced coffee.

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The lattes at Black Brick are roasty and delicious.

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{2}  brunch at Loosie’s Café

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This space was gorgeous!  I had a grains bowl with shitake and king oyster mushrooms, purple kale, quinoa, roasted beets, cucumber raita, mint, and a soft egg.

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{3}  “milk and cookies” at The Bedford

Adam and I split a The Dude’s Caucasian – house-made vanilla bean espresso vodka on the rocks with a drizzle of cream.

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And a Drunken Cookie – underbaked chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed injected with white chocolate.  <– omg

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{4}  lime, mint, and elderflower sparkling water

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{5}  Curious Creamery ice cream mix

Please note – this product was given to me free of charge to review.  I was not provided further compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

It is mix that doesn’t require an ice cream maker, all you have to do is beat it with the milk of your choice and freeze.  It takes about 15 minutes of hands-on time, and we found the ice cream consistency to be enjoyable after 5 hours (and it continued to be good 48 hours later too).

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I used 2% cow’s milk but you can also use full-fat, skim, almond, etc – the mixes themselves are lactose-free and have no trans or saturated fat.  I made the vanilla packet plain – Adam thinks it tastes like marshmallows! – and the chocolate I mixed with dulce de leche and roasted pecans for a turtle sundae.

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We didn’t love the final product, but did quite like it.  I’d say the ice cream is better than 7-11 brand, Turkey Hill, or the no-name stuff at cafeterias; on par with most store-bought ice creams; and not as good as Ben and Jerry’s or the ice cream we can get at places like Ample Hills or Ice and Vice in the city.  If I’m living somewhere that isn’t NYC in the future I would definitely make it again.

{6}  the last of the seasonal summer beers

These ended up being two of my all-time favorite strawberry beers.  Shiner Strawberry Blonde / Saranac Strawberry Tart.

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{7}  out-of-this-world good buffalo chicken tenders

I base all of my “oven-fried” chicken on this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.  I used skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders and baked for 24 minutes at 425 degrees.  I mixed smoked paprika and cayenne in with my flour and used panko as my bread crumb.

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The final product was tossed with a mix of buffalo sauce, butter, and brown sugar.

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Paired with carrots and celery – steam/sautéed and finished with thyme honey balsamic vinaigrette – to keep the theme going.

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{8}  buffalo chicken and blue cheese cheese fries

Our leftover chicken got to participate in something magical – waffle fries baked with cheddar, blue cheese, and buffalo chicken on top.

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Have a great weekend.