Llamas, And Pigs, and Humans, Oh My!

Three-day weekend highlights, including lots of new “bests”…

Unicorn smoothie!  The layers were acai and pitaya with coconut water and plain Greek yogurt.

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Bananarama smoothie.  Frozen banana, plain Greek yogurt, a hot chocolate packet, and Banana Wave Banana Milk.  <– free product review alert: the banana milk is a vegan milk made of banana puree, soy, oats, and other ingredients.  One serving contains as much potassium as a small banana as well as 29 vitamins and minerals and 1200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.  One cup has 150 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 5 grams of added sugar.

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Black bear, aka Otha‘s coffee concentrate with housemade chocolate milk.  This shop was adorable and we want to go back immediately.

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Du’s Donuts.  Adam’s all time favorites.

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Lunch at Llama Inn.

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I had soft-boiled eggs with delicata squash, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds, and chimichurri sauce.

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We got our own desserts, flan for Adam and key lime pie for me.  Best key lime pie of the decade, it was enrobed in toasted meringue!

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Lunch at Pig Bleeker.  We had a Salty Spritz – vodka, St. Germain, and apricot, with a salty white wine rinse, and a Champagne Sherry Cobbler that was the all-time best drink we’ve ever had – Fino sherry, fresh citrus, and champagne.

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I got a fried chicken thigh sandwich with Pig Beach mustard sauce, house pickles, mayo, and hot sauce.  The meat was smoked before it was fried and it was by far the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted.

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Durian mochi.

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Malter Chronkite from Mister Dips, a malty chocolate-dipped cone.

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Spicy crunchy tuna sushi bowl.  Brown rice with ginger, rice vinegar, seaweed, and black sesame seeds / canned tuna fish and smoked trout with Sriracha and mayo / quick pickled cucumbers / fresh avocado / panko and fried garlic toasted in butter / Sriracha on top.

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Chopped romaine salad with honey mustard dressing, dill, sautéed mushrooms with garlic, shredded chicken, crumbled blue cheese, and homemade raisins.

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I am on Saturday/Sunday so I’ve only got two days of work before a day off, woo-hoo!

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Chicken Wing Style Meatballs

This week’s top three were tippity-top good!  Sweet and spicy, my favorite combo…

{1}  Fluffy cloud sesame vanilla yogurt bowl goodness.

TJ’s vanilla bean Greek yogurt with halvah cotton candy folded in.

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{2}  Chocolate chip vanilla chia pudding.

Chia seeds + vanilla hemp milk + mini chocolate chips.

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{3}  Chicken wing style meatball dinner.

Inspired by this Spicy Habenero Wing Sauce I got from Moore’s Marinades.  <– free sample alert – this product was provided for me without charge to review, I was not given any additional compensation for this post and all opinions are my own.

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I made spicy meatballs with wing sauce, ground chicken, and celery and onion (the veggies were minced and cooked in butter first).  I used panade instead of breadcrumbs and they ended up being the juiciest, best meatballs we’ve ever made eaten.

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Seriously, Adam and I ate the whole batch in one night because we kept going back for more!

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Served with an on-theme side, sautéed carrot, celery, and spring onion.

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Have a great weekend!

Pastrami Smoked Salmon On Sourdough

Once again, this title reflects the most exciting thing I ate in this post.  Honestly though, everything I ate this weekend was pretty darn tasty!

Iced coffee with cake popsicle used for ice.  <– gaaaaah!  so swoontastic!

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Perfectly sweet just enough sour smoothie – passionfruit sorbet / plain Greek yogurt / frozen blueberries / princess flavoring / water.

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Snacky lunch at work.  Mandarin, uncured turkey pepperoni, yummy cinnamon roll Chobani.

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Cafeteria sandwich.  Spicy chicken, pesto, red pepper, and tomato, on an insanely cheesy roll.

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Mr. Flip sandwich from Flip Bird – pulled rotisserie chicken, harissa honey, pickled coleslaw, sambal mayo, and a piece of crispy skin.  It was a 10/10.

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Dinner from the freezer – ice cream and a naan pizza.

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The cilantro pesto pizza – which I got with a free coupon given to me for review – was delicious, the flavor was a bit spicy, which was a nice surprise.

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Lox and cream cheese on a bagel sourdough toast.

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This pastrami-style smoked salmon from Trader Joe’s is my all-time favorite smoked salmon.

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Served with a quick salad of tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, olive oil, and Himalayan salt.

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I made a recipe!  Cheddar bbq turkey meatloaf.

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I ate all of the crispy cheese bits that started to burn to the pan and was sooooo happy.  Plus roasted broccoli.

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Do you have a favorite type of smoked fish to recommend?

Coconut, Citrus, And Guava, Oh My

Did I mention last week that I need a vacation?  This week was worse.  Thankfully, starting tomorrow we are on vacation!!  Here are the highlights from the past five days that felt like they lasted for ten…

I kept my coffee combo the same, but did kick things up a notch one day with an Aussie iced coffee!

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Limoneira recently expanded their orchards to include blood oranges and Cara Cara oranges and they sent me a box of goodies to sample.

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The Cara Caras were good, and the blood oranges were the best I’ve ever had – juicy and sweet and just a bit tart.  They made a very good work snack (with roasted pecans and TJ’s butterscotch short breads).

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And were fantasmic mixed into coconut yogurt with Heritage Flakes.

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It was a week of exceptionally good yogurt bowls.  Plain Greek with TJ’s mixed nut butter, vanilla granola, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and shortbreads.

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Chicory + coffee yogurt with granola and nibs.

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Adam and I both were off on Wednesday and we went to Sunday in Brooklyn for brunch.  I had “The Elvis,” charred banana, housemade fluff, sunflower butter, and green apple, on whole-wheat bread.

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Plus pie and espresso at Blue Stove.  This guava chess was good but not great.

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Snacks of note included jelly beans on the first day of Spring.

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This lime fresco popcorn.

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And the epicness that is Trader Joe’s dried fruit selection.  Dried persimmon?!  The carabao mango is out of this world, it’s like candy.

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Three of five nights I ate a grilled cheese sandwich* while watching Bob’s Burgers** but twice I did manage to cook a legit dinner.  Like egg sandwich pitas.

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Scrambled eggs with smoked paprika, red bell pepper, and spring onion in a pita with mayo and sharp cheddar.

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Plus a cruciferous veggie mix sautéed with cashews and soy sauce.

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Green curry chicken and veggies.  The chicken strips were baked after marinating in a spicy Sriracha marinade, with yellow onion, green onion, green bell pepper, and roasted zucchini, in a green curry sauce.

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We kept the coconut theme going with our drink.

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*grilled cheese notes: this week they were on quinoa bread but rye or sourdough is best / sharp cheddar with pickle relish is my preferred combo / always cooked in butter.

**Bob’s Burgers is my new favorite cartoon series (other than Rick and Morty which is just one of the best tv shows of any genre), I like it even more than Futurama.  It’s the perfect balance of funny yet sweet.

See ya next week!

Top Five This Week

{1}  Fiber One sent me samples of their newest product line – layered chewy bars.

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I’m a fan!  Sometimes fiber-added products hurt my stomach, but these gave me no issues.  They are chewy without being tooth-breaking and salty-sweet – my favorite flavor combo.  They come in double chocolate almond.

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And the even more delicious salted caramel and dark chocolate.

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{2}  I made a tasty strawberry sauce.

It was quick and easy, just fresh strawberries quartered and cooked in a skillet over medium heat.

Paired with passion fruit yogurt with Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes.

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And plain yogurt with vanilla granola and a few Luxardo cherries.

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{3}  Ben & Jerry’s and New Belgium partnered on a cookie dough beer and I paired it with cookie dough ice cream.

We ended up not loving the beer, which had a chemical aftertaste to it, but the ice cream (which I topped with melty Biscoff) was obviously delicious.

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And speaking of Speculoos…

{4}  Starbucks has a cookie butter bar and it is out of this freaking world.

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{5}  I spent 3+ hours making over-the-top lasagna.

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Loosely based on this recipe, it was totally worth the time commitment.

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I made a red sauce with ground turkey and TJ’s soy chorizo.  My béchamel was a four-cheese doozy made with cheddar-gruyere and parmesan-gouda. I skipped the ricotta, but did top my dish off with more parmesan-gouda.

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{bonus}  My schedule – I worked President’s Day and work this upcoming weekend which means I was off from work yesterday and today for a midweek weekend!  And Adam is off today too so we’ve got some Upper East Side fun planned.  See you next week!

Warm Weekend Winners

It was 50 degrees outside this weekend!  Twice!!  I had an absolute blast pulling out my flip flops and spring jacket.

Conveniently, my favorite things from the past three days make one complete day’s worth of meals…

{coffee}

Maple Shay, a nonfat iced latte with maple syrup from Brooklyn Roasting Company.  I need to put maple into more of my lattes, it really is fantastic.

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{breakfast}

Brunch at Colonie.  I had the dandelion greens salad – with walnut, anchovy, tarragon, parsley, and a poached egg.  It was actually kind of terrible, beyond bitter, but thankfully Adam shared his duck hash with me.

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And dessert was good!  Eggnog panna cotta with bourbon and blood orange.

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{lunch}

Whole Food’s hot bar.  Clockwise from the bottom left – macaroni and cheese, buffalo-style seitan, roasted squash, roasted carrots, and honey Sriracha brussel sprouts.  Whenever I hit a hot bar I try to pick a protein, mostly veggies, and the cheesiest starch available.

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{dinner}

Tandoor Chef recently offered to send me some free-product coupons so I could try their frozen entrees.  I’ve loved their Pad Thai for years so I readily accepted.

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Adam reports that his chicken tikka masala was loaded with meat and that the sauce was creamy and well seasoned.  My channa masala was tasty as well, and quite filling; there were 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber for a 380 calorie serving.

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I served our meals with roasted broccoli with green onion, gojuchang, and black sesame seeds.

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{dessert}

Cake batter Cookie DŌ.  Ready-to-eat dough with white chocolate chips and sprinkles.

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{I love New York}

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Hello, 2017!

How is everyone’s year going?? So far, the word for my 2017 is tasty.

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Here are some culinary highlights from the first week…

Coffee first, always coffee.  Espresso roast and chocolate milk before work.

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I also had the best iced latte of the year from Birch; their shots are extra strong and roasty.

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Adam and I both had Monday off of work and we started our new year with a trip to Serendipity 3.

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Veggie chili for my lunch.

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I kept lunch boring because I was focused on the main event – sundae funday!  A giant scoop of peanut butter pie with hot fudge and bananas.  <– swoon city

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Work lunches were centered around a box of free product review samples I received from ips snacks.  The snacks – crisps and popcorn – are all made with whey protein and pack at least 5 grams of protein for </ 150 calories.

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I have to admit that I liked the snacks a lot more than I was expecting to.  The salted popcorn was honestly the best bagged popcorn Adam or I have ever tasted!  It was filling, satisfying, and totally delicious.  The chips would rate poorly if I compared them to chip-chips, but score a 9/10 as snack crisps.  Very few snacks, especially ones that pack less than 200 calories, keep me full enough in the afternoon that I don’t consider gnawing my own arm off on the train, but these did the trick.

I packed crisps and fruit to pair with toasted turkey and cheese cafeteria sandwiches.  BBQ chips and a cara cara.

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Sea salt and black pepper chips and an Asian pear.

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Snack attack.  Popcorn and a honey kolsch.

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Yogurt bowl with plain Greek, chocolate tahini, sliced snap dragon apple, chia seeds, cinnamon, and sweet and spicy pecans.

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I was killing it with dinners this week.  Three different veggie-forward, flavor-loaded, 10/10 dishes!  When I made fried green onions last week I saved the infused oil and that’s what I used for cooking this week.  First, a simple salad to start off the new year.

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Oak leaf lettuce, TJ’s Greek-style feta dressing, cucumber, dill, and roasted chickpeas.  With hibiscus kombucha on the side.

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Next up, spicy cabbage salad with turkey and peanuts from Bon Appétit.  I only ever read this magazine on plane rides but this recipe alone would be worth the subscription cost!

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I doubled up so that we could get 4 big dinners out of it, and roasted the cabbage so it was less voluminous, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly <– something I rarely do.

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Served with cheesey breadsticks, aka pizza dough rolled up with an obscene amount of cheese.

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Finally, I tried my hand at shakshuka.  Based loosely on the recipes from Serious Eats and My Name is Yeh, my version had red bell peppers, red jalapeño pepper, and serrano pepper.

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Served with hunks of sourdough.

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I’m excited to do a little more exploring in the kitchen this new year.  My meal plan list for the next month or so includes menemen, mapo tofu, kaya jam, okonomiyaki, and chilaquiles!