Brunch At Queens [blank]

In spite of the bitter, freezing cold, I spent my weekend appreciating Astoria.  I drove in Saturday and Sunday for two (cheese-packed) brunches.  Plus yummy post-brunch iced lattes – always iced, always – at Kinship and Gossip.  Finally, I did some expensive but adorable shopping at Lockwood.

Queens Kickshaw.  We started our meal with a gouda grilled cheese – brioche with gouda, pickled jalopenos, guava jam, and black bean hummus.  Such a good combination of flavors!

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I had an interesting cocktail with vodka, apricot liquor, golden raisin shrub, and orange bitters.

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And mac and cheese with broccoli pesto on the bottom and an egg on top.  The pasta was ridiculously good, but actually the best thing on the plate was the side salad; the salads were perfectly dressed rainbow chard with herbs.

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Queens Comfort.  We shared a King Kong Doughnut to start – banana bread with peanut butter topping.

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My friend and I both ordered the fried green tomato benedict – fried green tomatoes on a buttermilk biscuit with spinach, hollandaise, hot pepper jelly, and poached eggs.

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Back at my Queens apartment, I served a dinner and dessert worth noting.  Shave-ice style yogurt bowl – plain Greek with condensed milk, sliced banana, Frosted Flakes, and a few Luxardo cherries.

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Pasta bowls with torn lasagna noodles, tuna, roasted zucchini, and a sauce with gojuchang, brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce.

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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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Merry Christmas!

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My holiday greeting is a few days late but that’s ok, my holiday celebrating was late too!  Adam and I both worked Christmas day this year (and Thanksgiving… and New Years) so we saved our gift opening and merriment for the 26th.  It was actually kind of fun, we had an item that needed to be exchanged and we just ran right out to the mall and did it.

Here were the food-based highlights, no candy canes, sugar plums, or fruit cakes, but good all the same…

Making the most of the end of eggnog season with several eggnog iced lattes (with a quadruple dose of espresso!).

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Christmas day I packed a bottled coffee for work (1.5 thumbs up) plus an exciting peppermint seltzer.

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Saturday we headed to Brooklyn for Thai food at super artsy and cool Samui.

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Apparently Christmas Eve lunch is not a thing because we were the only people in the restaurant!  At least there was no one blocking our view.

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The food was great, this was the 2nd best green papaya salad I’ve ever gotten.

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And I had yummy shrimp Pad Thai in an egg crepe.

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Ice cream for dessert to celebrate the first night of Hannukah – “Festival of Lights”cream cheese ice cream with pieces of chocolate rugelach.

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Actual Christmas day I came home from work and ate leftovers with the dog, but Christmas Eve I had a pizza and beer party with the husband.

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We made taco pizza that was fantastic.  TJ’s thin crust / refried beans / Mexican cheese blend / seasoned ground turkey / cilantro sour cream.  With roasted zucchini on the side.

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And for our belated Christmas dinner we made brinner, aka breakfast for dinner.

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Red and green eggs – a scramble with red bell pepper, green onions, spinach, and parsley, plus cheddar.

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The best roasted potatoes from Serious Eats.  <– seriously, they were THE BEST

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Enjoy the rest of your year!

Vacation Part 1/3

We’re on vacation!  Friday through next Sunday Adam and I have 10 glorious days off together!!  We’re spending time in New Orleans and next weekend we’re doing a staycation in the city.

You can tell we’re in vacation-mode because we ate 90% of our meals out of the house and with drinks and dessert and have been purchasing all of the coffees.

Espresso at Variety.

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New Orleans cold brew at Blue Bottle.

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Espresso at Mixtape.

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Iced coffee and a chocolate croissant at L’imprimerie.

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Drinking chocolate at Devocion.

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Dinner at Sally Roots.  Booze face.

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I got jerk chicken ramen!  Chicken broth, yummy jerk chicken, noodles, fish cakes, bamboo, spinach, and wood ear mushroom.

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We did dessert at Guadalupe Inn.  Drinks with meh chocolate tres leche cakes and churros stuffed with fabulous goat milk caramel.

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Best brunch of the year at Rider.  Safe Word of the Day and Covet Thy Neighbor’s Drink.

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The Cure = crispy rice and lentil cakes, duck confit, cilantro, hoisin, sriracha, and poached egg.  Adam had lox and fries, a combo you didn’t know how much you needed.

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Dessert at Odd Fellows.  Crème brulee and banofee ice creams with brown butter cake crumbs on top.

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Pretty damn good brunch at Forrest Point.  This drink was named “Fancy Pants,” Flor de Cana, Wild Turkey, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple, lemon, Lapsang Souchong, star anise, cinnamon, and demerara sugar!

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Chilaquiles!

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Skillet s’mores with Fernet.

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I did manage to make some dinners at home – chicken enchilada casserole.  I loosely followed this recipe from Jo Cooks, with brown rice and the addition of green chilis.  With roasted zucchini on the side and chips for dipping.

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Other things that are making me happy… this assortment of cola-flavored goodies.  The gum was great the seltzer was too plain.

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We found (freshly made) coquito at a bar in Bushwick!  It tastes like coconut eggnog and joy.

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The Body Shop sent me this sweet holiday gift.  Fantastic eyeshadow and delightful smelling things.  FYI – they are offering a bunch of gift sets that will contribute to rainforest conservation, I recommend everything strawberry.

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Happiest thing of all?  I’m on vacation!

Biscuit Brunches

Did everyone have a good weekend?  I had two days off with the husband so mine was fantabulous.  We had two great brunches, cooked two tasty dinners, accomplished all of our to-dos… the weather even held out for us.

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Have you registered your Starbucks card yet?  This was free.

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This coffee – a triple shot maple iced latte from Bittersweet -was better though, probably because we bought it with a giant chocolate chunk cookie that was both doughy and crispy.

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Brunch 1 was at The General Greene in Fort Greene.  Adam went there a few weeks ago and has been raving about the biscuits.  I thought mine tasted like cornbread.

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I drank a Middleton – whiskey, mezcal, lime, luxardo cherry, and earl grey syrup.

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And ordered the Huevos Salvadorenos.  Sunny side up eggs on bean and cheese pupusas with salsas, crema, and curtido (a fermented cabbage relish).  Plus yucca fries.

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Brunch 2 was bbq at Blue Smoke in Flatiron.  FYI – that’s a cold brew coffee with bourbon maple cream.

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I also had a mind-blowingly good Milk Punch.  It tasted like melted egg nog ice cream!

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And a bright eyed sandwich, aka the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever eaten.  Fried egg, pimento cheese, and spicy fried chicken on a biscuit doughnut.  Runny egg and pimento cheese might be the best thing ever and the person who decided to make a biscuit doughnut is obviously a genius.

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We checked out the new Smorgasburg location at Skylight One Hansen on opening day.

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The space was gorgeous but way too hot and with too many opportunities for bottlenecks to form.  Worth it though, for this scoop of toasted nutmeg ice cream from Malai.  It was scrumptious.

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Sunday’s afternoon treat was winter melon bubble tea with boba and grass jelly.

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I was excited about two new recipes and actually cooked us a real dinner both nights.  Prep-work sustenance was pumpernickel pretzels and pumpkin beers.

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Cooking Light’s black eyed pea cakes.  Topped with a relish of sautéed red and yellow bell peppers and turkey bacon.  Plus broccoli.

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Sunday’s dinner was even better though, and I didn’t even follow a recipe.  I spent three hours cooking up this turkey bolognaise and the time commitment was worth it!  Best sauce we’ve ever had.  Served on orecchiette pasta with roasted zucchini on the side.

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Have a great week!

Queens International

NYC readers – did you march/attend Pride Parade yesterday??  It was my weekend to cover work but I did manage to snag some on-theme treats (x2).  And we didn’t have the energy to do much dinner cooking but we did have amazing Asian food in Queens (x2!).

Thursday through Sunday I worked every day but one so I’ve been drinking all of the coffee.  Thanks to caffeine, this post is mostly a complete recap, I think I’m only missing one meal from each category.  Here’s what I’ve got…

Seriously, all of the coffee.  Always in the morning and a few times as an afternoon snack as well.  Highlights include a latte from Hungry Ghost and a cold brew from Starbucks that I ordered full-strength (usually they add water).

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With yummy bars.  Coconut Chocolate Chip.

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Caramel Almond.

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A creamy tropical smoothie.  Frozen mango, guava paste, avocado, and vanilla almond milk.  I used a whole avocado (split into two servings) and I think next time I’d only use half, the creaminess was great but the flavor was a bit much for me.

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Doughnut Plant‘s Pride doughnut = yeast with raspberry glaze.

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Yogurt bowl.  Strawberry lingonberry with real berries and Heritage Flakes.

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Trail mix bags.  The standout ingredient was cinnamon roasted chickpeas.

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Mini peanut butter cups (x ten thousand) make the afternoons seem less lengthy.

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Sandwich and fries on a busy day.  I was worried about mealy tomatoes when I bought this but they ended up being roasted and the chew and smokiness totally made the sandwich.  There was a nice layer of spinach on there too, it was actually a pretty sandwich.

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Salad / mac and cheese / hardboiled eggs.

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Another Pride treat, from Ample Hills.  In a cone with oatmeal lace.

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The Queens International Night Market was fun, like a smaller, more focused Smorgasburg.

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We split a taro shaved ice with mango, scm, boba, and mochi.

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I had a very disappointing duck bao.

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And Filipino tacos that were absolutely one of the best dishes we’ve ever tasted.  Chicken sigsig, crispy shells, and lemon mayo.  They were such a pleasing mix of textures and flavors!

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The Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens is basically just the storefront version of the market.  I want to try something in practically ever window we walked by!  I loved what I had too.  Bahn Mi at JoJu.

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My “Hot Chicken” had grilled lemongrass chicken with spicy mayo and kimchi, plus pickled vegetables, and a soft cooked egg.  And for $5.99 it was giant, that picture only shows one half!

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And afterwards we walked to Red Ribbon Bakeshop.  The Ube Overload cake was gorgeous but bland and the Halo Halo was fantasmic.  Shaved ice with various sweetened beans and fruits, milk , leche flan, and whipped mango topping.

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My only “homecooked” meal was basically an assembly of parts but I ate chips and dips and three day old roasted broccoli for dinner while I wrote this post so I’ll pat myself on the back for it.  Plus it was delicious.

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Potato and onion pierogis with tons of roasted zucchini, tossed in a sauce made of cream cheese and chicken stock, topped with hot smoked salmon.

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I only work four days this week thanks to the weekend shift, woo-hoo!

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Similar To Cake By The Ocean

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I’m mashing last weekend’s post into this week’s – and we’ve done a lot of good eating! – so I had to filter down to only the most delicious things.  Here are the best bites from the top five categories…

{1} all the coffee!

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We ordered The Unicorn at Box Kite, obviously.

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We went to Birch Coffee and loved it so much that we went back at the end of the day to buy a bag of beans.

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Then went back again a few days later for another latte!

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Locally roasted coffee that comes in cups with trees on them is just too exciting.  And there were birch trees etched into the sidewalk out front!

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{2} protein-packed salads

Beans, eggs, and lots of fish.  At Whole Foods – spring mix with tangerine vinaigrette / salmon / two kinds of bean salads / parmesan / and a hard-boiled egg.

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At the cafeteria – romaine with blue cheese / veggies / corn / kidney beans / cheddar / egg.  Plus my coworker brought me a giant piece of baked salmon and I tossed that on top too.

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At the cafeteria when I worked last Sunday and pickings were getting slim – I did the best I could with fried fish and a steamed vegetable mix.

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It wasn’t bad, but I did buy a train snack that night.

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{3} killer sandwiches

Breakfast: egg and cheese on a croissant with turkey bacon.

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Lunch: do taquitos count as sandwiches?  I’m including them either way, because this lunch was too good not to share.  Tortaria knocked our socks off.  Adam and I split a platter with mahi and cauliflower (and pork for him).  Plus spicy fries and tons of guacamole.  And a tamarind agua fresca.

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The sauces sitting on the tables – green salsa, blended salsa, and something creamy and smoky – were astonishingly good.  And that ridiculous quantity of food (why include chips and fries in the same deal?!) cost less than twenty dollars.

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Dinner: cod bahn mi at a new Vietnamese/taco spot in Park Slope.

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Don’t question it, the combo worked, I went with a girlfriend who got tacos and we were both very pleased.

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{4} sweet stuff

Cake by the ocean.  Cookies by the Hudson.  We got giant chocolate chip walnut cookies from Levain and enjoyed them in Riverside Park.

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Tropical smoothie at home.  Frozen mango and soursop with guava paste and vanilla almond milk.

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Ben & Jerry’s Empower-Mint flavor is yummy and it supports an important cause.

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Siggi’s yogurt with berries and shredded halvah.

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Birthday cake croissant from Union Fare.  It’s topped with ground sprinkle dust and filled with sprinkle-studded pastry cream!

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It was also just one of the best croissant we’ve ever tasted.

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{5} hearty homemade dinners

Spanish flavors reigned supreme on the home front this week.  Tomato garlic crock pot chicken served with brown rice tossed with garlic, tomato paste, raisins, and chopped olives.  Plus roasted broccoli.

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I also made fantastic enchiladas.

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Whole Foods’ roasted garlic green chile enchilada sauce costs a ridiculous $4+ per can and it is soooo good.  Our filling was ground turkey breast cooked with TJ’s vegan chorizo and tons of roasted yellow squash and zucchini.  Plus cheese galore.

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