The End Of The First Month Of The New Year

I’m two weeks late and about a hundred pictures short, but here, finally, is a (bi)weekly wrap up for the end of January.  I blame a bout of the cold, a string of loser dinners, and a case of the mid-winter blues for my lack of timeliness and photo-taking-enthusiasm.

Gaps aside, here were some eats from the past two weeks…

{rated within their category; i.e. the yogurt bowl is an 8 out of 10 compared with other yogurt bowls not compared other dissimilar items}

Green monster from the cafeteria.  They sometimes set up a smoothie bar at the rotating station.  I chose spinach, strawberry, mango, and coconut water.  8.5/10

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Chocolate iced coffee.  8/10

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Work snack – an apple and coconut caramel bar.  The score here is for the Thai Coco coconut milk drink, which was creamy and sweet.  9.5/10

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Soursop yogurt with blueberries and vanilla granola.  8/10

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Turkey reuben-ish sandwich from the cafeteria.  Sliced turkey, swiss cheese, pickles, spinach, and cole slaw on a whole-wheat wrap.  Plus french fries dipped in 1000 island.  6.5/10

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Cola kombucha.  6.5/10

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This Milka Oreo candy bar didn’t have as much cookie in it as I wanted.  6/10

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But these TJ’s sour gummies are the best gummy candies Adam or I have ever tasted.  10/10

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Biscuit breakfast sandwiches for dinner.  Buttermilk biscuits (<– I don’t recommend this recipe, the biscuits had no flake) / maple Sriracha mayo / smoked gouda / fried egg.  6/10

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Pumpkin soup.  Roux, canned pumpkin, and chicken stock with sautéed onions, carrot, and maple chicken breakfast sausage on the bottom.  This didn’t turn out as well as I was expecting it to, the salt and pepper pumpkin seed brittle I sprinkled on top was by far the best component.  5/10

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Escarole and white bean skillet with (turkey) bacon and artichoke.  7/10

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Creamy turkey pasta.  Ground turkey sautéed with garlic, browned mushrooms, and oven-roasted tomatoes, tossed with sour cream, and whole-wheat pasta.  7.5/10

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I’ve got some yummy things planned for this weekend so hopefully the next post will be slightly less lame!

 

New Orleans Vacation 2016

New Orleans was our best travel experience of 2016.  We stayed at a cute hotel in the French Quarter and had enough time to really get to know the area.  It was a great way to finish up the year.

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This was my first trip to Louisiana and I think we managed to pack a lot in.  We visited three local breweries, walked around Loyola and Tulane, explored the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, went to the World War II Museum….

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We also tasted tons of local (or at least Southern) flavors – pralines, divinity, snowballs, beignets, pimento cheese, etouffe, grits, chicory coffee, milk punch, and hurricanes.

Here were some of our best bites…

♥Pralines.  They were everywhere and the smell was amazing.

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♥Hurricanes.  We went to Pat O’Brien’s (<– yuck!) and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

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♥Frozen daiquiris, this one was eggnog!

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♥This pecan pie soda was actually horribly disgusting, but it was fun to try!

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♥Snowballs.  NOLA served me the best snow-cones of my life, I had one every day.  This was wedding cake (a blend of vanilla and almond) and egg custard topped with sweetened condensed milk.

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♥Breakfast at Café Du Monde.  This was a must-stop for us, it was actually the only activity I had planned when I booked our tickets.  The beignets did not disappoint and neither did the chicory coffee café au lait (served on crushed ice).

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♥Breakfast at District Doughnut.  We got a Nutella doughnut and a biscuit with pimento cheese.

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Plus yummy Vietnamese coffee and an iced coffee with cola and chocolate milk (<– delicious and infinitely better than it sounds).

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♥Brunch at Willa Jean.

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I had the shrimp and grits – gulf shrimp, etouffee gravy, grits, and slow poached eggs with cheddar biscuits on the side.

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Cookies and milk for dessert.  With a beater of dough and vanilla-infused milk.

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♥Flights at Abita.  <– one of our very favorite breweries  They had our old favorites and some fantastic limited edition flavors including vanilla Turbo Dog and a key lime gose.  We had beers, Zapps chips, and a root beer on draught and were in absolute heaven.

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♥Lunch at Cochon.  They had house-made eggnog.

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We split a variety of small plates – a roasted carrot special with mint, Louisiana blue crab rice, and whole fried shrimp with pickled mustard seed hot sauce.  The fried herbs were aromatic and wonderful and the best bites were a mix of everything at once.

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♥Dinner at Brennan’s.

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Insanely creamy Caribbean milk punch with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Mt Gay black barrel rum, cream, and vanilla bean.

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Ridiculous foie gras “sweet potato casserole,” with sweet potato puree and candied pecans.

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I had the cheddar risotto for dinner.  With Cherokee Rose cheddar, smoked maitake mushrooms, collard green puree, and a brown butter sauce.

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♥Dinner at SHAYA.  <– best meal of the trip and also best meal of the year

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That’s a halvah cappuccino.  I also had a Pearl Diver – vodka, labneh, vanilla, and lavender bitters.

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We shared a trio of appetizers – Moroccan carrots with chermoula and mint / baba ganoush with green garlic / tershi = a creamy pumpkin spread with crispy garlic and chili oil.  All with fantasmic pita bread and herbed olive oil.

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Also foie gras with rose tahini and carob molasses on challah toast (omg).

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I had the matzoh ball soup for my entrée.  With slowed cooked duck, dill, charred leaks, lemon oil, and a cinnamon-scented broth.  Best matzoh balls of my life!  Adam had slow cooked lamb and the bites I stole were truly the best thing I’ve ever tasted (fyi I don’t typically eat mammals but I’ll have a taste occasionally if I know the meat is humanely-sourced and Adam says the flavor is worth it).

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Dessert(s).  We basically rolled away from the table!  Chocolate babka with halva ice cream and labneh cheese cake with burnt honey ice cream.

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It was a wonderful trip!

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P.S. No post coming from this weekend, it was the husband’s birthday and I was in celebration-mode versus blogger-mode.  And now we’re both back at work.. womp wah.  Have a great week!

Stick To Your Ribs Dinners

Thank you, to all those who have served.

The weather is starting to cool down a bit more – I can no longer comfortably wear my sandals* – and our dinner choices have shifted towards steamy, stick to your ribs meals.  *Note – I’m still wearing the sandals, I’m just not comfortable any more.

This was also election week and it’s safe to say that I ate my feelings in the form of booze, caffeine, and sugar.  I am a woman, but I’m also cis/straight, white, sans disability or preexisting health conditions, and unlikely to get an abortion, so I know my feelings of disillusionment and heartbreak really pale in comparison to many others’.

On a happy note, here were some of the yummy things I ate this week…

This week’s coffee blend was soooo roasty and good.

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I doubled up with train coffee and post-train coffee a few days, but I’ll note that this quad was enjoyed on a day I skipped the 1st coffee.

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Starbuck’s holiday spiced sweet cream cold brew is good!  It tasted like good tidings and cheer!

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Did KIND bar read my blog?  Limited edition caramel apple pumpkin spice is right up my alley.  With a sweet Ambrosia apple.

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I also love LARA’s hazelnut, hemp, cacao option.  The crunchy nibs are great.

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I was too busy at work for lunch one day and ate this turkey and stuffing sandwich on the way home in literally less than 3 minutes.

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Plain Siggi’s with chocolate tahini and grapes with pumpernickel pretzels on the side.  Yes, I put the grapes in the yogurt.

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Elderflower yogurt (very floral) with persimmons and pumpkin spice Cheerios.

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Strawberry cottage cheese plus grapes and pumpkin spice pepitas and granola.  I didn’t enjoy this seltzer as much as I expected to.

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Stress eating candies of choice –

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Leftover turkey bolognaise that continued to knock our socks off.  Thanks to turkey bacon, mirepoix, and 2+ hours on the stove, this sauce was packed with flavor.

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With wine kombucha.  Blueberry Mint was sweet and drinkable.

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Leftover black eyed pea cakes.  Topped with cheddar, fire-roasted corn, salsa, and a sunny side up egg with smoked paprika.

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We’ve loved this chili from Iowa Girl Eats for years.  This year I stepped it up a bit with lemon-pepper chicken, carrots and celery added to the base, and an additional hour of cooking time to concentrate the tomato before I added the beans.

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Pumpkin beers to keep me company while I cooked.  <– Adam and I both thought these two were some of the best of the season.

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I topped my bowls with shredded cheese, pickled jalapeño, and plain Greek yogurt.  Plus cucumber slices and Trader Joe’s pumpkin soup crackers on the side.

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Chili, meat sauce, baked potatoes… what’s your favorite hearty, stick to your ribs food for winter?

Bites And Frights

How in the world is it November???  I promise not to spend the rest of this year talking about how the year is running out, but it really is blowing my mind.

On the agenda before January?  Christmas shopping, finding the perfect day planner for 2017, and plans for three out-of-town trips right in a row.

Presently, I’m waiting for Adam to get home so we can go to brunch.  And these were the highlights from the past week…

I actually did a pretty good job with capturing things this week minus a plethora more of nachos and iced coffees.  I tried a new blend from Birch.

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Espresso and a KIND bar.

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Coffee, chai latte, and an almond croissant.

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I found a white chocolate seltzer for my Halloween lunch.  It didn’t have much flavor, but my oatmeal was good – with chia seeds, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and candy corn, plus I stirred in pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt cream cheese at the end.

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Other lunches centered around this sweet box of samples from LÄRABAR.  They offered me a chance to try their newest product – BITES, “truffle-like bites made from real food to satisfy your sweet craving.”  The bites are vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and only use Fair Trade Certified™ cocoa and coffee.

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We tried three of four flavors (I’m saving mint chocolate for December, aka Peppermint Month) and were big fans.  Cherry Chocolate Chip was enjoyable but not our favorite, I thought Double Chocolate Brownie was fudgy and great next to coffee, and Adam loved the fact that Chocolate Macaroon was coated in coconut flour.

I had a serving of brownie bites with a Noosa pumpkin yogurt and some gum drop grapes(!!) for lunch.

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Coconut macaroon went with plain yogurt with yummy chocolate tahini on top.

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This week’s snack highlights were nut and seed centric.

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Also, of course, candy.  Another product review, Magic Candy Factory sent me a super exciting sample –

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That’s my name!  I think this company is really exciting, you can choose from 100’s of shapes, or write a custom message, and MCF will 3D print you a gummy.  The candy is vegan (no dairy, no gelatin), gluten-free, nut-free, and kosher.  Most importantly, it’s delicious.

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We tried sublime strawberry and Adam declared this his favorite gummy candy of all time.

Orange and black nachos for Halloween.  TJ’s pumpkin chips topped with cheddar, olives, black beans, and shredded chicken.

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Plus pumpkin beers and Peeps.  Warlock was fantastic this year.

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For the rest of the week, I made a big batch of pumpkin seed pesto.  Served on pizza with cheddar and sliced turkey, I promise it was tastier than it looked.  With a pea sprout salad.

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And we tossed the rest of the pesto with pumpkin-shaped pasta, parmesan, shredded chicken, and roasted cauliflower.  Almost nothing is better than pesto pasta.

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Enjoy your weekend!

 

Top Ten Last Week

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{1} Kobrick Coffee

I stepped up my espresso game with their housemade chocolate milk.  Adam and I were both swooning after every sip.

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{2} Pumpkin yogurt bowls

2% Fage with pumpkin puree and pumpkin butter, cinnamon, slivered almonds, and pumpkin spice granola.  With an Asian pear.

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Plain Siggi’s with pumpkin x2, pumpkin spice cheerios and frosted mini wheats, and a few candy corns.  With a gingergold apple.

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Pumpkin Chobani with cereals and another apple.

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{3} Bobwhite Counter

Fried chicken sandwich with pickles and pimento cheese.

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{4} Pumpkin Smoothie

We make at least one every October.  Pumpkin puree, plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla almond milk.

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{5} Xzibit “Pimp My Ride” style Reese’s

Reese’s stuffed with Reese’s Pieces.  My peanut butter cup obsession usually does not extend beyond Justin’s minis but I am bewitched by these; the bit of crunch takes the cups to a whole new level.

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{6} Molly’s Cupcakes

They have a whole slew of gooey stuffed cupcakes.

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Cake better was perfection!

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{7}  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Unsurprisingly, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess)’s 1st memoir did not disappoint.  I added her 2nd book to my Christmas list less than halfway through.

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{8} Nachos

I turned my copycat Chipotle bowl leftovers into nachos.  Nachos > salad bowls.  Tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, sautéed onions and peppers, and shredded chipotle honey lime chicken.

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{9} C’est Cheese

Adam and I had a weekday off together and we spent several hours of it on the phone dealing with our retirement accounts.  We desperately needed booze and cheese afterwards so we headed to Port Jefferson for lunch.  Baked brie with raspberry jam.

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Beer flight – Post Road Pumpkin / Telekinesis sour / Framboise / Imperial Biscotti Break stout.

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Plus a Spanish salad with mandarin oranges, Manchego, olives, and a honey tarragon vinaigrette.

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{10}  David Pumpkins

Bless you, SNL, this is my new favorite thing.

{Bonus}  Be sure to check out SaveTheDay.Vote, Joss Whedon’s super PAC that produces short PSAs about the importance of voting (for Hillary).  The subject matter is sobering but somehow the videos are all still laugh out loud hilarious.  Whedon is already my role model, and I am so impressed with all of the celebrities to chose to participate.

P.S. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Yogurt — Froyo — Beer

This weekend was low-key but exactly what we needed.  Inclement weather killed our Saturday plans (instead we ran some errands and caught up on tv) and Sunday I was scheduled to work.  I’ve got Wednesday off in exchange for yesterday so my workweek will be two mini 2 day blocks <– nice!

Here were the weekend’s top eats…

We made a quick trip down to Rockville Center to check out Kookaburra Coffee.  They had toasted marshmallow coffee syrup!!  Fan-freaking-tastic in my triple shot iced latte.

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Spooky yogurt bowl.  Plain Fage with pumpkin butter stirred in, topped with chia seeds, salted peanuts, cocoa nibs, and a few candy corn.

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I put a lemon cream popsicle in seltzer water with some whiskey.  Creamy, fizzy, and boozy, the trifecta.

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Pumpkin pie froyo, topped with pretty much all of the dessert-y toppings.

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Cheese plate dinner.  With dates, apple, and sautéed green beans with almonds.

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The highlights were this paprika cheese from TJ’s,

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and these Malbranche Mura Cha Cha matcha tea biscuits I was sent to review.  The cookies are gluten-free and vegan and absolutely bursting with matcha flavor.  Be forewarned – if you don’t like the tea you won’t like the cookie, Adam loves both.

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Copycat Chipotle salad bowls.  Romaine // spicy salsa // shredded cheese // chipotle honey lime chicken // sautéed onion and orange and yellow bell pepper // black beans // fire-roasted corn.

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I sipped pumpkin beer while I sautéed my chicken.  Both were delicious, 8-9/10.

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I’ve got three different pumpkin iterations packed for tomorrow’s lunch!

 

Pumpkin Nice Latte

How are we more than halfway through October?  And less than three months away from the end of 2016??  I can’t handle it!  Here was this week…

I had leftover sweetened condensed milk from a recipe so I put it in TJ’s coffee concentrate.  Then I spent the entire morning certain I was going to die but also overcome with glee.

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This Target brand salted caramel hot chocolate is delicious.  Apparently I was into my morning sugar this week.

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Yogurt bowls for lunch.  All on theme, thank you.  Chobani pumpkin with pecans and pumpkin spice cheerios and frosted min wheats.  Plus an Asian pear.

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TJ’s pumpkin yogurt with more cereal and an apple.

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Noosa pumpkin with pumpkin spice granola and pumpkin seeds.

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TJ’s caramel apple yogurt with Heritage Flakes and sliced almonds.  This was the best of the apple yogurts, fyi.

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It was a snack-heavy week, here were the highlights –

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Related – a new pretzel shop opened right above my train and it is a problem.

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Most dinners this week were weaksauce.  Adam and I both get a bit bummed out as the weather cools down and we’ve had a hard time motivating ourselves in the kitchen.  Case in point – I ate nachos two days in the row.

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At least these nachos had turkey breast on top.  And eggs with spinach in them on the side.

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Another night I made a super simple turkey and cheddar toasted sandwich.

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Inspiration did finally come, in the form of a box of lemons.  Limoneira sent me a sample of their citrus.  Limoneira Company is a 124 year old international agribusiness dedicated to sustainability.  Their lemons are quite tasty, almost sweet.

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I made Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken.  Served with roasted broccoli and lemon pepper cauliflower rice.

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Also Dulce de Leche Lemon Popsicles.

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Cross your fingers for me that the weather’s nice in NYC today, if there’s no rain I’ve got a fun activity planned.