All By Myself

<– that title is facetious, I’m actually living with my cousin and her fiance and they are taking very good care of me!  But this was my first week surviving solo without Adam and Webster.  On a related note, look at the stickers I just bought!!!

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We had a fantastic, fantasmic, over-the-top wonderful vacation, by the way!  We hung out with some of our favorite people, ate some of our favorite things, and got to walk up and down the beach fifteen times, all the while exclaiming how beautiful the water was.

I brought back the best ever cold brew (Grady’s) from New York.

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Plus my new favorite cup, from St. Thomas!

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I got back to Charlottesville from New York on Sunday night so I didn’t have time for a grocery trip this week which meant I mostly ate a bunch of (tasty) nonsense.  Like cafeteria food that I carted home.  Chicken tenders + fries + seaweed salad.

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A Beyond Burger with hot sauce and tomatoes.

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And Wegman’s hot bar.  I pretty much got every chicken and vegetable option from the “Asian” section.

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One night my cousin threw a dinner party and cooked an honest-to-god, grown up meal – eggplant parmesan and garlic bread (plus a fancy cheese plate and homemade chocolate chip cookies).

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And Thursday I finally made it to free pretzel night at Hardywood because my work hosted an after-hours journal club there.

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On The Move

It was an odd week here because we are moving all of our stuff to New York today.  Note – we’re not moving, all of our stuff is moving; we’re living out of suitcases in Charlottesville for the next month+.  Anyway, I was afraid to dirty anything in the kitchen while we were trying to sort and pack so 90% of our food this week came in a take-out box.

Here were the highlights…

Coffee combo – Starbucks Komodo Dragon blend with sweetened condensed milk.

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This month’s Snack Crate from Poland.

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Poke bowl from Poke Bowl.  Sushi rice with tofu, krab, cucumber, edamame, spicy mayo, seaweed salad, green onions, and onion crisps.

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Dumplings from Got Dumplings.  More seaweed salad plus tofu dumplings and curry chicken dumplings.

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One night we did sneak away from packing to get dinner and play in trivia night at Firefly.

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I had a mango margarita and totchos – tater tots with house-made cheese sauce, avocado, pico de gallo, black beans, and sour cream.

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We are crossing our fingers for a smooth move today and then tomorrow we’re heading to Pennsylvania for some friends’ wedding.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

…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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Flavors Of Fall

Next week is the start of Pumpkin Month!!  But first, here’s a collection of “fall flavored” things –

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The maple Mars bar was a disappointment.  (Mom, sorry, it came as part of a Snack Crate, I cannot get you one).

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But the pecan pie granola was a delight, especially paired with a Trader Joe’s caramel apple Greek yogurt!

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More apple goodness, this Rave variety was crispy and sweet.

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And in other packaged goods new, I obsessively searched for this Oreo coffee creamer for the past 2 months before I finally got my hands on it.  <– worth it

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Pimento cheese and crackers at Grit.

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I put leftover bbq chicken on a yummy salad.  With butter lettuce, honey mustard dressing, cashews, and cucumber.

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This frozen meal from Trader Joe’s remains the best chile relleno of my life.

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My in-laws were in town a few days this week and we had a great time seeing them.  Including a trip to Asian buffet.  I had really tasty seaweed salad and the best egg tart I’ve ever eaten.  Here were my fist and last plates (with several in between!).

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Three Kinds Of Eggs

Highlights from this week included eggs served three different ways, a new take on pesto, and my current favorite snack combo…

The week started out on a high point – a breakfast date at Golda.

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Quad espresso + ice + cream.

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I had the grilled asparagus toast – strawberry-chili mostarda / alfalfa / ras al hanout / soft egg / charred lemon / local sourdough.

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Homemade coffee combo = half and half, ice, and Stumptown Founders blend.

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Snacks of note include fresh alfonso mango with cottage cheese.

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Our Deadpool movie snack was right on the nose.  DP 2 was not as good as the first movie but still laugh out loud funny.

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My current favorite snack combo is roasted chickpeas with blistered peanuts.  Eaten in bulk.

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Tuesday – my early day, when I leave the house before 6 am – I drove across town after work to attend what ended up being a very disappointing lecture on TPN.  The speaker ran a bit late and I didn’t start heading home until after 9 pm, at which point I was basically whimpering from hunger.  Suffice to say, this is the most satisfying Chipotle bowl that’s ever been eaten!

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The other three nights I cooked legitimate meals and had some major successes in the kitchen!  Like a Mediterranean frittata, complete with a new recipe page.

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Replete with feta, zucchini, and sumac.

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One night I made okonomiyaki.  We use three eggs and a heaping 1/3 cup flour for 2 servings.  With shredded garnet yam, roasted cabbage, and ginger.  Topped with Sriracha, Kewpie mayo, green onion, and seaweed.

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I also tried a new take on pesto that turned out to be delicious.  The last time we made homemade pesto we found the raw garlic and basil to be a bit too spicy, so this time I cooked them.  Sweet onion, green onion, and garlic sauteed in evoo / basil cooked with the onion for 90 seconds or so / tossed in the food processor with more evoo, parmesan, and pine nuts.  Served with whole wheat pasta with baby kale, toasted white beans, and roasted heirloom tomato.

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Weekend plans include a bridge walk, a bar date, and a bbq spot.

Open Toasted Sesame

Highlights from the week…

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Lemon shortbread Greek yogurt with a Jaffa mandarin and a coconut seltzer.

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Coconut Chobani with Heritage Flakes and a sumo mandarin and a lemon seltzer.

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Cookie butter cotton candy.

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Sandwich night.  Mock beef shaved tofu sauteed with red bell pepper and bbq sauce / served on a brioche bun / with mayo and provolone.  Plus broccoli.

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Barley bowls.  Barley / roasted zucchini / crumbled seaweed snacks / canned mackerel and smoked sardines mashed together with some mayonnaise / Sriracha and gojuchang on top.

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A knock-your-socks-off good dinner date at Gristmill.

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The Ali Baba cocktail = gin, lemon, cream, egg white, and toasted sesame.

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I went with the pre-fix option because I wanted too many things to choose!

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Local greens salad with carrot, watermelon radish, and toasted sesame vinaigrette.  This was delicious af and while we were eating it the owner came by and excitedly told us about sourcing his greens, so that was fun.

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Chicken liver mousse with bread crackers, concord grape jam, and dulce de leche.

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Best plain cheese pizza I’ve ever eaten.  <– Gristmill is famous for their wood-fired oven.

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Plus we had an affogato and that thing lurking in the back is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten with caramelized white chocolate ganache and sourdough pretzel crumbs.

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I work the weekend so I’m off today, woo hoo!

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!!!