Chocolate + Coffee, Chocolate + Peanut Butter

Highlights from the past week…

Personal Life:

We had several boons come together in the last week or so.  Related – I am waaaay overdue on sharing some big life updates.  In short, the highlights are –

  1. Adam is officially a board-certified surgeon (woo-hoo!)
  2. Adam got his dream job and is all set up to be a critical care attending in New York this summer (woo-hoo!!)
  3. We’ve lined up our New York apartment
  4. Our lease here was a month short but we’ve finally lined up a place to live in Charlottesville in July

Television:

I finally talked Adam into watching “Hart of Dixie” with me and he is as smitten as I am!  Related – read this Buzzfeed article.

The Bob Dylan cover in this terrible WGU commercial makes me ugly cry every single time I hear it.

Food:

This was one of my best coffee combos this year, Dark as Dark with chocolate milk.

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Related – Whole Food’s hazelnut mochas (with light syrup, extra espresso, and ice) are freaking delicious.

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Both of our moms went a bit overboard and we are drowning in Easter candy.  The highlight, as always, is these pectin jelly beans.

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And the low was these terrible new m&m’s.

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Still loving these Stinger peanut butter cracker bars.

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Related – I finally found these in a snack-sized kids portion and now I am eating even more of them.

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We had a duo of fruity beers that did not disappoint.  Abita’s Lounging Iguanas pineapple coconut IPA is a 10/10.

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Pizza night.  A simple turkey pepperoni pizza on Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust plus a simple side salad.

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Trader Joe’s vegetable biryani with vegetable dumplings frozen meal.

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I made a veggie take on this fire chicken with cheese.

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With tofu instead of chicken, plus roasted broccoli and Japanese sweet potato.

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Little Star = Big Star

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We ate some really yummy things last week!  Here were the highlights…

{1} Canned coffees that I schlepped back from New York.

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{2} Lemon meringue macarons at the farmers’ market at IX Park.

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{3} A Trader Joe’s shaped meal that was both quick and delicious.  Cauliflower gnocchi + turkey summer sausage + pizza sauce + broccoli rabe.  You can bake the gnocchi (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes) and it comes out great.

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{4} A Korean feast at Maru on the downtown mall.  I had the spicy chicken and cheese plate – spicy gojuchang marinated chicken served with rice cakes and Korean sweet potato and topped with melted cheese.

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It was spicy, and smoky, and kind of amazing.  The portion was gigantic and my leftovers – which I stir-fried with eggs and roasted broccoli – were kind of amazing as well.

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We also had pat bing soo – shaved ice with red bean, mochi, and milk powder.

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{5} Dinner with my cousin at Little Star, a newish, supremely gorgeous, tapas spot.  The space and the tableware – which was thrifted and eclectic – were beautiful.

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We ordered all the things and loved every single bite and sip.  All three of us agreed it was one of the best meals we had eaten all year.  Agave Angel – mezcal, lime juice, and cream.

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3 month aged manchego with apricot honey preserves.

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Charred shishito peppers with romesco and pasilla de Oaxaca chile.

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Sunny side up eggs with salsa negra, green onion, sesame seeds, grilled bread, and hickory sauce.  <– this was the top dish of the night, the contrast of the sweet hickory sauce with the eggs and salsa was divine

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Shrimp and grapes with garlic, leeks, tequilla, and pickled chiles.  We went right ahead and sipped that sauce.

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Seared tuna with rendered foie gras, salsa molcajete, cilantro oil, and charred onion.  <– 2nd best dish of the night, which is unsurprising when you consider the words “rendered foie gras”

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Coffee service.

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Crumb cake with meyer lemon curd, ear gray cream, and mezcal caramel.

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Creme carmel flan with peaches.

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*swoon*

Strawberry Guava Passionfruit Mango Banana Pineapple Coconut Plum

There was not much excitement around here this weekend, Adam was out of town and I worked a Sunday coverage shift at work (and it was a particularly long and harrowing day!) – I mostly ate frozen meals and snack foods.  Here were the highlights…

How many drinks do I need to pack for a weekend work day?  Unsurprisingly, I’m a pretty big fan of the new strawberry guava diet coke.

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I tried the new cinnamon shortbread latte from Starbucks (with half syrup and double espresso), it’s pretty good.

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My 1st year working as a teacher in New York I ate about a million protein bars and lately I’ve gotten back on that train.

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Yogurt bowl wins.  Trader Joe’s guava passion fruit whole milk Greek yogurt (it’s amazing!) with sliced mango and TJ’s freeze-dried banana slices.

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Wallaby caramelized pineapple Aussie creme yogurt with chopped black plum and shredded coconut.

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Spicy shrimp tempura sushi from Whole Foods.

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Kashi Mayan Harvest bowl. 7/10 on the frozen meal scale.

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Red’s chicken and Mexican street corn (8.5/10).  Severe with roasted broccoli.  That whole plate got topped with copious amounts of Kewpie and Sriracha.

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Christmas Cheer

Holiday highlights…

For the 1st time in six years Adam and I were both off for Christmas!  It was the perfect day.  We opened presents in front of Nick Offerman.

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And got Thai take-out and watched The Office.

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A good 90% of my gifts were edible so I spent the rest of the day eating sugar.

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Related – because my cousin knows me very well, her Christmas gifts to me included delicious homemade latkes

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and Christmas-themed beer.

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The rest of the week included…

I figured for my last round of coffee and ‘nog I should go big or go home – Homestead Creamery’s eggnog is the best I’ve ever tasted.

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I spent more than an hour one night making dal that ended up being inedible but the roasted purple brussel sprouts I tossed into the oven as an afterthought we stunningly good.

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We made red and green sheet pan crab fried rice.  Use this method.  With basmatti rice, crab, green onion, red bell pepper, and broccoli.

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P.S. Today is our 11th wedding anniversary (and our 16 year!! dating anniversary) and we have super fun stuff planned ♥♥

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…And A Partridge In A Pear Tree!

This post includes five sweet things, four holiday theme items, three types of eggnog, two homemade dinners…

Stumptown Cold Brew with Trickling Springs egg nog.

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Grady’s Cold Brew with Promised Land Holiday Nog.

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I made my banana toffee magic bars for a cookie exchange at work and they came out really well!  I subbed in caramel chips for butterscotch and it think it was an upgrade.

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Sweethaus‘ holiday cupcakes are somehow eight times better than their already fantastic regular offerings.  Eggnog and gingerbread with meringue frosting.

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Hardywood’s gingerbread stout is stupid good and dangerously easy to drink.

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This lavender can from Kombucha Town is my current favorite kombucha; it’s very mellow.

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Fancy tuna salad makes an easy dinner.  A mix of tuna and smoked sardines with mayo, dijon, and capers / roasted brussel sprouts / baby carrots / Trader Joe’s everything crackers.

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But Wegman’s take-home meal section makes an even easier dinner.  Spicy general tso chicken with fried rice and seaweed salad.

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And one night I did legitimately cook – a protein, some veggies, and even a sauce.  Asian take-out style tofu!  This recipe but with oven fried tofu (similar to this method) in place of chicken.  I also used rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and added in some cashews.

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1st Week Of Pumpkin Month

It’s Pumpkin Month!  Check out this year’s stash –

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Here is some of the gourdy goodness I’ve eaten so far…

Pumpkin milk iced coffee.

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Chobani pumpkin with maple Cheerios.

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Trader Joe’s pumpkin yogurt with Justin’s maple cashew butter, plus a rave apple and a chocolate chip cookie.

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Other tasty things from the past week include…

Duck confit hash from Farm Bell Kitchen.

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Mexican candy with guava paste and dulce de leche.

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Grapefruit yogurt drink with mango jelly and popping grape boba.

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Vietnamese caramel chicken with jasmine rice and sauteed bok choy and shredded carrot.

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Shrimp fried rice, cooked on a sheet pan.  <– this is such a fantastic idea!  We will definitely use this method again

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Spinach and artichoke chicken (similar to this recipe) with roasted cauliflower.

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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!