Hell Of A Halvah

Highlights from this week…

It’s really lovely to have a husband who arranges me flowers and buys me cupcakes when I’m cranky!  Related note – it’s also really nice to live walking distance from Sweethaus because apparently they are our favorite cupcakes on the planet.

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Random drink assortment from work, the lemon rose blossom water was surprisingly delicious.

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Weirdest/most exciting snack award goes to – this Japanese candy we brought home from NY.  It was like a fun dip but with a cola flavored lollipop and fizzy milk powder.

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Fantastic product sample – Absolutely Gluten Free sent me their newest snack item: TahiniBARs.  Halvah is a candy made of sesame paste and it is both Adam’s and my very favorite treat.

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The TahiniBARS come in vanilla, pistachio, and cocoa nibs.  They are certified kosher, dairy free, and gluten free.  Each serving has 100 calories.

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We LOVED them!  They absolutely stacked up to the halvah I grew up eating and the artisinal varieties we’ve had in NY.

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One of my favorite ways to eat halvah is crumbled up in yogurt, so one day I made an absolutely ridiculous snack – plain Greek yogurt / vanilla TahiniBAR / Soom chocolate tahini spread / red plum and green pluot.  Delicious.

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We had some tasty dinner too.  Like bbq chicken fried rice.  Fried rice / carmelized red onion / shredded rotisserie chicken / fresh corn / collard greens cooked with rice vinegar / bbq sauce / eggs.

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Jalopeno popper pasta, loosely inspired by this recipe.  We used whole-wheat shells, turkey bacon, no cream, and less cheese; plus I topped mine with panko.  With roasted zucchini.

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Leftovers with an assortment of baby wines.  I do NOT recommend the rose.

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Homemade buffalo chicken dip / scooped with baby carrots and potato chips / celery sauteed with butter, salt, pepper, and celery seed.

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I’m trying out a recipe that sounds super fun this weekend, so please cross your fingers for me that it turns out!

Sour Cream Successes

Big life update – I have a job.  I joined a medical team for nutrition support (at the same hospital that Adam will be working at!).  It’s a fantastic learning opportunity but life has definitely been pretty crazy recently.  Actually, I interviewed for and was offered the position during my notice period at my last job, so things have been pretty crazy for the last month.  Also I started work the day after we moved.  Whew!

Big food updates – here were the highlights the past week…

Coffee combo = espresso from For Five with skim milk and ice.

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Rule Breaker Snacks sent me some cookie samples to try.  Their bean-based treats all have chickpeas as the first ingredient.  The concept is actually really neat, their snacks are all vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and peanut-free -as well as free from the top 8 allergens – so they are a great option for a kid’s lunchbox (or to pack to eat at a hospital!).

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The P’nutter chocolate chip blondie only got a 7/10 from us because the flavor that was similar to peanut but not actually peanut threw us a bit and we found there to be somewhat of a baking soda aftertaste.  If you were someone with a peanut allergy you definitely may feel differently though.

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But the birthday cake blondie was a 10/10!  Truly, rating it just as a cookie and not a “healthy” cookie, I loved it.  It just tasted like a really yummy sugar cookie.  The sprinkles were super fun and didn’t have a chalky taste.  And the texture of both bars was perfection – chewy without being crumbly.  You would have no idea that either flavor was bean-based.

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I get subsidized meals at the hospital cafeteria so I mostly will be eating lunches there and will have less to share on that front, though this week I did eat three (incredible!) lunches at my desk and was able to take a picture.  Salad with marinated mushrooms, chickpea salad, celery, grapes, and honey mustard dressing.

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Salad with mushrooms, salmon, banana peppers, and blue cheese dressing.

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Turkey burger with cheddar, blue cheese, red onion, and pickles.  Plus pita chips.

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We finally got ourselves some pans and to celebrate I made some reeeeeally good dinners.  Key note – I put Trader Joe’s low-fat sour cream in everything we ate this week and everything was fantastic so I think I will start keeping sour cream in stock more often.

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Esquites – loosely following this recipe – aka the best dish I’ve ever made.  I swapped serrano for jalopeno and used half mayo and half sour cream.

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With baked shrimp and cabbage.  I marinated the shrimp with evoo, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, and tomato paste and baked it on top of shredded cabbage.

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A hot take (<– that’s a pun!) on my black eyed pea salad.  Sauteed red, orange, yellow, and green bell pepper and green onions / salt, pepper, smoked paprika / BEP / turkey bacon / cubes of cheddar / mayo and sour cream / topped with Cholula.

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Stroganoff-ish turkey.  With tons of sauteed mushrooms and roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes.

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One night we had a tasty meal out at Mono Loco.  Fresh grapefruit mojito with Cruzan rum!

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And I got nachos with pinto beans and crazy good roasted chicken.

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Snack highlights this week were ice cream!  Whole Food’s vegan peanut butter chocolate bar(!!) topped with cardamom ice cream and strawberry sprinkles.

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Scoops of tres leches and cream cheese from La Flor Michoacana.

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Have a great weekend!

Well There Goes Your Social Life

Another New York snowstorm?!  Can it be Spring already??!  I shouldn’t complain, Adam and I both were off from work on Wednesday and I already drink enough coffee to power a small city so it’s not like the few minutes I had to wake up earlier on Thursday to deal with the snow were a big deal. <– I should note that I literally mean that I only need a few extra minutes, I don’t have to dig out my own car because I’m married to the kindest man on earth!

Highlight bites this week…

Coffee, coffee!  Cafe Bustelo.

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Cold brew with coconut palm sugar (and skim milk).

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Protein cookie and a sumo.

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Coffee Greek yogurt with coconut butter, red walnuts, and granola, plus a Pink Lady apple on the side.  The coconut/coffee combo is 10/10.

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These 7-11 bites are super cute, and I love anything that tastes like cake batter.

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It seemed like half of Queens had closed up shop on Wednesday but Adam and I still managed to find a good lunch.  Chicken and udon soup.

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With an Oreo milk tea with pudding.

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Plus we went to Coffee Factory for a ridiculously adorned coffee shave ice.

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It’s a testament to how good Stumptown is that I was equally excited about my iced latte.

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Do you remember last year when I declared that the spring holidays deserve theme flavors too?  Easter gets lemon, coconut, and anything in the shape of an egg!

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I snacked on coconut shortbread cookies and candied lemon slices to welcome the first day of Spring.

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The Trader Joe’s eggs were cute, but the chocolate to caramel ratio was too large for my liking.  I much prefer a thinner, softer shell, so the Godiva eggs were absolutely perfect.

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Godiva actually sent me the eggstra special chocolates to review on the blog {I received no additional compensation / all opinions are my own}.  The box includes solid milk chocolate, dark chocolate ganache (3rd favorite), dark chocolate with raspberry, milk chocolate with almond butter (my favorite), and milk chocolate caramel (2nd favorite).  There’s 60 calories per egg, which feels more than fair because these are definitely a two-to-three-bite candy.

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Important note – Godiva also has an assorted gift-box special for Spring that includes both cookie dough truffles and white chocolate pralines – among other flavors – and I’m having a very hard time not buying it immediately.

My dinners were darn impressive this week.  Spicy Cajun shrimp pasta bowls on whole wheat linguine with tons of roasted zucchini and sun-dried tomato.

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Homemade turkey Reuben burgers / roasted green beans / french fries / with ketchup and thousand island.

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Chicken sandwiches.  Boneless skinless breasts marinated in lemon juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, Sriracha, fish sauce, and ginger; breaded in panko; and baked / on brioche buns / with mayo and provolone.

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Plus we had sauteed bok choy and leeks on the side.

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And buttermilk and chive chips while I cooked.

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Last night a girlfriend and I went on a balls tasting tour of the Lower East Side for dinner.  Boba Guys for Hong Kong milk tea with tapioca balls and almond jelly.

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Meatball Shop for chicken meatballs with pesto.  Plus a Dead Flowers & Red Bottoms cocktail – mezcal, tequila, lime, honey, and hibiscus.

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p.s. who is 1990’s enough to get the joke in my title??

And Now My Favorite Color is Zhough

Highlights from the week…

Fancy shmancy coffee.  I cold pressed espresso roast with vanilla bean powder, brown sugar, and clove.

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Honestly though, my current favorite-favorite combo is espresso, ice, and chocolate milk.

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Milkadamia sent me a box for review [no cash was exchanged, all opinions are my own, yadda yadda].  Their macadamia nut milk is vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.  The unsweetened vanilla has 50 calories, 1 gram of protein, and zero grams of sugar (1 gram carbohydrate) per 8 oz serving.  The milk has almost no flavor, but that is pretty much what I’m looking for in my nut milks because I want them to make my coffee creamy without distracting from the coffee taste.  The unsweetened vanilla went perfectly with a cup of iced coffee this week, no clumping or separation to be found.

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I also used it in a smoothie with frozen blueberries and coconut chunks, vanilla, maple, and chia seeds.

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My packed work eats were all about the Sumo mandarin and plain Greek yogurt combo.  With maple or granola.

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Snack attack.  Peanut butter puffs.

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Mexican marshmallow shortbread cookies.

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Super sour soda and cola hard candies.

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Mini sundae from Van Leeuwen.  Cookies and cream topped with hot fudge, almond brittle, and sprinkles.

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All of our dinners this week had a Middle Eastern bent, thanks to lots of zhough and copious amounts of olive oil.  Like scrambled egg pita sandwiches.  Scrambled eggs / sauteed orange bell pepper and red onion / whole wheat pita / zhough.  With roasted zucchini.

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Pita chip nachos!  Sharp cheddar / red onion and cucumber / marinated chickpeas with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh parsley, oregano, cayenne, and paprika / zhough and tzatziki.

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Veggie bowls.  Sauteed red onion, yellow bell pepper, and roasted eggplant / tomato sauce / marinated chickpeas / zhough and tzatziki / fried egg.

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Also pizza.  Is there a better food on the planet than buffalo chicken pizza??

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It’s almost the weekend!  Who has green beer on their Saturday agenda?

Cookie Monster

Friday, Friday, Friday!  How did a short week feel so long?  At least I had multiple sugar highs to carry me through.

Munk Pack sent me a sweet (but actually protein-packed) box of samples.  Munk Pack Protein Cookies contain a whopping 18 grams of plant-protein and 6 grams of fiber per cookie.  They are gluten-free, vegan, and do not contain sugar alcohols or soy.

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I let Adam review two flavors on his own because he’s the one whose lifestyle depends on quick, protein-packed snacks (and he’s already obsessed with Munk Pack’s oatmeal packets).  He thought double dark chocolate was good but not great and was over the moon for oatmeal raisin spice.  To quote – “5/5.  A little bit savory but not too spicy.  Firm on the outside but moist on the inside, with a good texture from the oats.  Very filling, it kept me satisfied for hours.”

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And personally I liked peanut butter chocolate chip but I loooooved the coconut white chip macadamia.  All of the flavors were very substantial, I actually ended up skipping lunch yesterday because I was still so satisfied from the cookie I ate for breakfast at 9!

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Peanut butter wasn’t necessarily a cookie-cookie but was a darn good protein bar but the coconut flavor was straight-up decadent.  It had the slightly gritty consistency of cookie dough and was one of the more delicious packaged cookies (dessert options included) I’ve ever eaten.

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Plus we threw a baby shower for a coworker this week and I made and ate a million desserts.  Matzoh toffee candy.

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Triple fudge brownies with maraschino cherries and cherry cream cheese frosting.

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I did eat one or two things that weren’t sweet.  Like super spicy Thai food.  I went out for lunch with a girlfriend in Astoria and had a great bowl of extra spicy pad see ew with mock duck.

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Plus Adam and I hung out for a bit at Gossip; love it there.

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Still obsessed with this Trader Joe’s seed and bean snack.

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It was a week of fantastic home-cooked dinners.  Like Asian-style cabbage wraps.  <– best dish of the week

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Red cabbage cups / ground turkey sauteed with shredded carrot, spring onion, orange and bell pepper/ crushed peanuts on top.

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Plus two dipping sauces – miso, lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, gojuchang / avocado, cilantro, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, Greek yogurt, evoo.

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Another night I used the leftover avocado cilantro sauce to make a killer salad.  With red cabbage, arugula, spring onion, shredded carrot, yellow bell pepper, black beans, sharp cheddar, and salty peanuts.

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With an assortment of global gummy candies for dessert.

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And another night we made loaded cheeseburger cheese fries!

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Waffle fries / cheese / tons of sauteed onion / mini turkey cheeseburgers / with ketchup and mayo on top.

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Plus broccoli slaw on the side, sauteed with rice vinegar and cream cheese.

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Have a happy weekend!

MadeMerry

I was not a stellar food blogger this week.  I had several work lunch parties and I didn’t take pictures then.  And it was a particularly heinously stressful work-week so adult dinners did not happen – one night I went out for drinks with a girlfriend, one night we ordered in pizza, one night I ate chips in bed and fell asleep fully dressed… you get the gist.  I do have photos of a fun box of samples and the exciting ensuing snacks!

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MadeGood reached out to me recently about trying their goods.  They are a certified organic company that makes granola bars, granola bites, and crispy treats.  Their products are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, and free of eight common allergens (dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, egg, fish, shellfish, and soy).  PLUS they are made with a vegetable powder made of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shitake mushrooms and the granola products provide 20% of the RDA for vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, and E per serving.

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Normally I am unmoved by snack items with “hidden” fruits and veggies – though I do totally understand why they can be helpful for picky kids! – but in this case I am 100% on board.  The MadeGood products all had a savory quality that made them completely addictive!  Adam and I both felt that the crispy squares were the best crispy treats we’d ever tasted!  And the granola items struck a good balance between chew and crunch.  In short – I am a new fan.

Snack attack highlights from the week…

Kanzi apple / chocolate banana granola bar / vanilla crispy square / kale chips / chicken Sriracha Epic bar.

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Strawberry granola minis / mixed berry granola minis / raspberry amazin’ raisins.

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Apple cinnamon granola minis / chocolate chip granola bar / seaweed snack / Pacific Rose apple.

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Malted milk hot chocolate (two pouches because I like my hot cocoa Turkish coffee style) / Lady Alice apple.

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I’m sad it’s my last week for eggnog in my coffee.

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But I did use plain skim in this Limitless Cold Brew so I could taste the vanilla.

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Some non-edible stuff {ranked from least to most exciting}…

It’s Christmas next week.

I am almost finished with Felicia Day’s memoir (and loving it) so I started watching her web-series The Guild and I’m loving that too.

Starting this morning Adam is on vacation for the next 10 days!

Next week is our ten year wedding anniversary!!

I am off part of next week too so we can celebrate together!!!

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!