Weekend Wrap-Up; Last Days Of Summer

I don’t know how it got to be mid-August already, but we are doing everything we can to make the most of our last days of summer.  This weekend we grilled, ate too many bowls of ice cream, and even got our toes wet going stand up paddle boarding!

SUP has been on my bucket list for years and I am so thrilled I finally got to try it out.  I loved it!  Amazingly, given my general level of grace and athleticism (level: zero), I didn’t fall once.

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We had an absolute blast and the hour flew by.  SUP is definitely something I want to do again.  I can see how on-board yoga would be a ton of fun too.

Here are some of our sunny eats…

lunch

A pink grapefruit bonanza Friday at work.  Chobani 2% Pink Grapefruit Yogurt with two sliced red plums and Polar Pink Grapefruit Seltzer on the side.

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I ran out of time in the morning to also pack an afternoon snack and, duh, this wasn’t enough food.  Enter candy at my desk.

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I’m not a big black licorice person either, but I don’t know how anyone dislikes Good & Plenty.

A strangely satisfying sandwich.

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I put two split hot dogs on a Bagel Thin (toasted with butter) with shredded light three-cheese blend and balsamic ketchup and this throw-together-the-last-of-the-fridge-contents-before-grocery-shopping sandwich ended up rocking my face off.

snacks

Friday’s at-work breakfast.  <– I wake up too late for breakfast most weekend days so I couldn’t make this a category

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An Amazing Grass Chocolate Superfood packet (from Urthbox) with vanilla soy milk and a Pink Crisps apple.

I was all about the coffee this weekend.  I ended up calling Adam on the ride home from work practically crying while I stared at a McDonald’s coffee advertisement.  This home-brewed Starbucks espresso blend with fat-free sweetened condensed milk hit the spot.

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I did go to McDonald’s for a $1 iced coffee the next morning though.  Meh.  These guys were much better.

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All shared with the husband, who is another raging java addict.

It is fair to say that I was also all about the ice cream.

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I’m retty damn excited about that Horchata spiced Blue Moon as well!  I had Strawberry Biscoff Sour Cream Gelato over warm double-chocolate sour cream brownies two nights in a row.

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The brownies were just the Baker’s One Bowl recipe with a heaping cup each chocolate chips and low-fat sour cream stirred into the batter once it was mixed up.

To end the weekend, on Sunday we went big before we went home, with Pat Bing Soo from Tous le Jours.

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Now I get why people rave about TlJ, that bowl was Adam’s favorite shaved ice yet.  Milk and strawberry shaved ices topped with scm, vanilla ice cream, red bean, watermelon, mocha, strawberry, kiwi, and mango.  Everything was delicious but we could barely make a dent in that monster!

dinner

Friday, we ate the last of our veggie, turkey, and marinara pasta bowls.

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This meal is really a better fit for fall and you will definitely be seeing it again in the months to come.

On Saturday, we grilled.

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Adam did an awesome job making dinner and then the three of us ate our meals outside (the boys also had steak).

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My plate had grilled asparagus, zucchini, and turkey hot dogs, oven-roasted corn on the cob, a few sautéed mushrooms (topping for the steak), and Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce for dipping.

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We marinated the asparagus in A-1 citrus marinade and tossed the squash in evoo before grilling.  Everything came out fantastically.  I can’t believe we lived in this apartment for more than a year before we fired up our grill!

And on Sunday, we went out in the city.  Haru unveiled a new Times Square Location and a new seasonal cocktail this summer and they invited me in to check them both out.

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The restaurant is down a side street and out of the tourist foot traffic of Times Square and the location is quite pretty.

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The lighting was terrrrrrrible for photos – too yellow for my crappy camera and nonexistent photog skills – but good for eating, and the tables were nicely lit at 7pm.  I hate eating a meal in the dark.  The music was unobtrusive – mellow and pretty quiet.  I hate dark rooms and loud noises because I basically like to dine like an 80-year-old.

Adam ordered hot sake and said it gave him a nice warm feeling.

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I am not a sake girl, but I stuck my tongue in and did have to agree that it was smooth.

I, of course, went with the seasonal cocktail – The Red Lotus.

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If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, I have the recipe to share with you!

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Yum!  The drink was not too sweet but it felt nice and juicy.  It went down very easily.  I adore lychees and am always sad that you don’t see them on more menus but now that I have the recipe I can make this drink at home.

Adam started with the miso soup.

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He said it was what you would expect.

And we shared an order of the appetizer special – Lobster Gyoza.

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Holy lobster meat, Batman Aquaman!  The dumplings were bursting with lobster – this dish is a steal for just $10.  The gyoza were a good size and they were easy to bite; I hate struggling with stringy foods and chopsticks.  The flavors were very straightforward, which let the lobster shine.

The husband went with the sushi for dinner.  2 tuna / whitefish / yellowtail / albacore tuna /shrimp / tobiko / and a tuna roll.  (I count an extra piece but I’m not sure what it was.)

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His fish was fresh and flavorful.  Adam said the size, texture, and temperature were all good.  Usually you see yellow caviar instead of red so he was very excited about his tobiko roll.

I did the vegetarian sushi.

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Avocado / eggplant / shitake mushroom / tofu / asparagus / oshinko / inari / and an avocado cucumber roll.

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My plate looks simple, but this was the best veggie sushi I’ve had in years.  The rice was nicely seasoned and the vegetables were all cooked beautifully.  The mushroom had an almost smoky flavor and that bite of eggplant was the best tasting vegetable I’ve had at a restaurant this year!

All in all, we both agreed that the menu was straightforward but on point.  Haru isn’t doing anything unique – there weren’t any specialty rolls that thrilled us – they are doing the basics incredibly well.  We’ll be back!

Please note – I dined at Haru free of charge.  I was not provided with further compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.

The Red Lotus Seasonal Cocktail, for 1

  • 2 oz. peach vodka
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • 3 lychees
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 lychee for garnish

Muddle lychees and shake with vodka, juice and syrup.  Squeeze in some lime, drop the wedge in and shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish the drink with lychee for soothing effect.

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Weekly Wrap-Up; Play It Again, Sam!

This week’s meals were so good that I went ahead and had most of them a 2nd time.  Always nice when you can make leftovers work in your favor.  And I even have a recipe to share.

breakfast

Breakfasts came from this sweet package courtesy of Nonni’sBiscotti Bites.

DSC01115Please note – I was sent these products free of charge to sample.  I was not provided with additional compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

They recently introduced two new flavors: Double Chocolate Salted Caramel (salty and sweet, with the occasional extra-exciting pocket of caramel) and Very Berry Almond (sweet in an understated way; nice for breakfast).  All three flavors have ~40 calories per cookie.

I packaged them up for breakfasts at work.  With coffee, of course.

DSC01143DSC01166DSC01191These were not quite as good as the amazing Almond Thins, but I was still a fan.  Want to try some for yourself?  Nonni’s is hosting a giveaway –

To encourage fans to experience the fresh-baked greatness for themselves, Nonni’s Biscotti is hosting a series of giveaways on their social pages.  The “Who’s on top?” giveaway will begin July 14, where fans can help Nonni’s decide which of Nonni’s three Biscotti Bites flavors is the most favored, for a chance to win free products!

Nonni'sOn Tuesday, I mixed things up with a smoothie instead.

DSC01149Frozen blueberries and banana with vanilla almond milk, maple syrup, and lavender.  YUM!

lunch

Lunches were all about the (chicken)salad.  I made another Asian-inspired take on the classic.  This time, I borrowed the flavors from our favorite Vietnamese sandwich – the Bahn Mi.

DSC01105Bahn Mi Chicken Salad, Yields: 6 servings; Hands-on Time: 15 minutes

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 16 oz cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  1. In a large bowl, combine carrots, cucumber, sugar, vinegar, and salt.  Let sit, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Drain all of the liquid off of the vegetables.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss until well-combined.

On Monday, I brought a bigggg bowl of chicken salad, with a piece of baguette, and fresh cherries.

DSC01125Wednesday was chicken salad on a bagel thin with butter lettuce, plus cherries, and McClure’s Bloody Mary Chips.  <– the chips were spicy, but not as flavorful as I was hoping they would be

DSC01157I don’t have access to a fridge on Tuesdays, so I did regular green salad from the cafeteria.  With black-eyed peas, pickled jalopeños, shredded mozzarella, and Italian dressing on top.

20140708_115949For Thursday, I packed leftover salad and the last of the cherries.

DSC01174But then after a very quiet morning we were slammed all afternoon and I didn’t have time for lunch.  I ended up eating coffee and a KIND bar at my desk while I worked.

DSC01193At least I have a nice lunch waiting for me today!

snack

Several slices of leftover pizza, which grew on me once it was cold.

DSC01171The leftover ice cream sandwiches were not bad either.

DSC01150Jelly Belly.

DSC01168This yogurt bowl was the best thing of the week.  Fage 2% Greek yogurt with a layer melted Cacao Bliss underneath!

DSC01187Coconut water to rehydrate after a trip to the gym.  This TJ’s kind was delicious.

DSC01146Speaking of the gym, I’ve been keeping up with it!  I realized that yesterday had been 20 days since I started getting activity back into my life; another ten days or so and hopefully a month of being consistent will help the habit stick!

dinner

I was tooting my own horn pretty loudly every evening this week; these dinners were all fantastic.  That said, I apparently don’t have pictures from Monday night and I cannot for the life of me remember what we ate!  Probably more chicken salad.

These bowls seem like a mishmosh of ingredients, but everything went together well.  Kath’s low and slow sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, and canned baked beans, topped with shredded cheese, pickled jalopeños, and plain Greek yogurt.

DSC01163Apparently Adam does not want baked beans with his sweet potato again any time soon, but I thought they was good.

Salad night.

DSC01183Butter lettuce and shredded cabbage topped with Hemp Hearts and Mahi Mahi – I baked the fish with lemon juice, coconut oil, and smoked paprika.  For our dressing, I mashed together tons of ripe avocado with lime juice, hot sauce, salt, fresh cilantro, and evoo.  Everything tossed together was ah-mazing.

We morphed our salad leftovers into tacos the next night.

DSC01196Soft tortilla with shredded carrots and cabbage, mahi mahi, avocado sauce, green Tabasco, and cheese.

DSC01200Plus pineapple hard cider from ACE.

DSC01202ACE’s website informs me that they sell a honey apple cider.  I’m going to need to find that immediately.

Does your family rely on leftovers or do you crave something new each night?

Weekly Wrap-Up; By The Day

This is a short “week” because my weekend technically starts tonight (Thursday night) – my parents are coming into town and I took Friday and Monday off.  Woo-hoo!!

And since I managed to photograph every single thing over the past three days (minus tons of water and diet coke), I thought it would be fun to do an old-school recap and go by the day rather than grouping things into meal categories.

Monday

Breakfast at my desk, iced Americano and fat-free chocolate milk for the win.

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Lunch was one of those yogurt bowls I’ve been loving lately.

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TJ’s 0% Honey Greek Yogurt with strawberries {that I picked myself!} and some granola from my KIND package.  I used Raspberry Clusters with Chia Seeds this week and was a big fan; this flavor had some nice tang compared with the first bag I tried.

It was a fabulously busy day at work and I ran around all afternoon.  I’m usually not involved with the Labor and Delivery floor, but I’ve recently started following my Gestational Diabetes patients when they go inpatient so there is better continuity of care.  Getting out of the clinic is always nice because it breaks up the day.  And it’s good to have a little more time to go over the education when we are in a hospital room and not my office where other clients knock at my door right and left.

I ate some of the green curry turkey salad, straight from the container, the minute I got home.

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I was feeling snacky, and there were already leftovers for Adam to eat, so I decided to do a series of snack plates for dinner.  First, a Jazz apple with Mary’s Gone Crackers Sea Salt Pretzels and TJ’s Teriyaki Turkey Jerky.

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I don’t know how TJ’s gets their jerky to stay so soft, but that stuff is delicious.

Next up was a bowl of cucumber salad.

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I let some thinly sliced Persian cucumbers hang out with some sugar (1 tsp of sugar per cup cucs) for a bit then folded in tons of Sriracha and crushed peanuts.

And I ended the night with nachos, aka the craving that lead me to a snack-style dinner in the first place.  2 servings of potato chips baked with 2 servings of low-fat three cheese blend.

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The chips were part of the rather embarrassing “reduced guilt” line and they were amazing.

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I read the bag very carefully before deciding to give them a try; the chips are made using less oil (I have no idea how) but no scary ingredients like Olestra.  The flavor was identical to TJ’s normal kettle chips and the texture was slightly crunchier, which I think is an improvement.  I will definitely buy them again.

Tuesday

Astonishingly, I woke up early enough on Tuesday to go outside for a quick run.  I only had time for 15 minutes of actual running amid my walking, but the weather was gorgeous and getting out there was glorious.  I have been on a total workout hiatus since our move (almost a year ago!!) but starting Saturday I have been making a concerted effort to get back into the habit.  <– hold me to that, please!

I was home and dressed in time to blend up this swampy smoothie.

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It was only slightly better than it looked.  Frozen strawberries with honey, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and Kiss Me Organics Matcha Powder.

Since Tuesday is my inpatient day, I packed a lunch that didn’t need the fridge.

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An apple cinnamon oatmeal bowl with Cacao Bliss and a pear on the side.

I always want to tell you guys more about what I’m doing at the hospital but I like my job and want to keep it so it’s best to follow HIPAA.

I can say that I charted on an impressive 10 patients and I left the hospital a little late which caused me to miss my train.  While I waited to get home I purchased some fun snacks.  A blackberry mojito tea (sans lemonade) from Starbucks.

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And a bag of the new York Patty minis.

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I had searched for that stupid candy for weeks and was thrilled when I spotted it at Target.  Yorks are my favorite chocolate-based candy.

When I got home I made green curry.

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I sautéed shredded carrot, green onion, broccoli, and peas in evoo; then whisked together a can of light coconut milk with tons of green curry paste and a little galangal and brown sugar; then let everything simmer for a while.  Served on a bed of brown rice.

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So flipping good.  And I didn’t even follow a recipe so I’m pretty proud of myself.  Adam wasn’t home because he was on nights all week but I watched “Longmire” while I ate which was a nice substitute.  Are you watching that yet?  It is super good; there was a scene in the 2nd episode of this season that made both of us cry!

Wednesday

I slept in until the last possible minute yesterday so I did another breakfast at my desk.

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Coffee and a Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond KIND Bar (former freebie).  I’m still completely awed by how wonderful this flavor is.

Back to my old standby for lunch.

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Fage 2% Greek Yogurt with Meyer lemon curd, granola, and strawberries.

We have no food because we’ll go out to eat with our guests, so I planned on buying food on my way home but ran out of time for anything but coffee (with skim milk and sugar).

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I had to do my best to cobble dinner together.  Lean Cuisine stuffed pretzels and baby carrots with hummus.

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Not too terrible, but if I’d thought ahead I would have eaten a salad at lunch.

I also ate chocolate-covered gummy bears while I wrote this post.

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🙂

Do you guys miss my old style of posting or are you happier with the new wrap-ups?

Weekend Wrap-Up; Purple Hair Don’t Care

It’s been a fun weekend.  On Saturday I did this again –

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Welcome back, purple hair, I’d missed you.

Things have been pretty low-key since I last posted.  Adam has an insane schedule for the next month and I was trying to soak up as much time with him as I could.

Plus we were pretty productive – we spent Saturday buying him 2 of the 3 pairs of shoes he desperately needs (new running shoes, comfortable shoes for the hospital, and days off shoes).  We even made a trip to the gym.  I spent 30 minutes on the treadmill, doing some half-hearted running intervals and incline walking.  I can’t go back for a few days – I can’t wash my hair until the color sets so I don’t want to sweat – but it was a good start.

Here is some of what I did on the food front…

breakfast

Iced Americano with fat-free chocolate milk.

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Still obsessed.

Baked oatmeal with maple and pecans for Sunday brunch.

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I loosely followed this recipe.  I cut back on the sugar and used candied pecans.

lunch

Thursday I had packed a lunch, but then when I went into the cafeteria to buy a drink the special called to me.

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My baked potato with cheese sauce, broccoli, onions, and pickled jalopeños was delicious.  Not as filling as I’d hoped though, I ended up buying a snack later that afternoon.

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Friday my abandoned lunch from the day before was already in my office.

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Quaker Summer Berry Oatmeal,

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topped with Big Slice Cinnamon French Toast Kettle Cooked Apples.

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The apples were delicious, their texture was perfect.  I went to Target that very day to buy more.  Coincidentally, the oat bowls were on sale and I got more of those too.

snacks

Iced coffee from Café Dada.

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Yum x infinity.  I salivate when I think about this coffee.

Adam and I split a rocky nut Snickers.

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The marshmallow layer is crazy.

More sugar.

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We are both completely obsessed with these Juicy Bears.  They are so juicy!

dinner

A fancy Friday dinner.

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Salad – arugula with yogurt blue cheese dressing, shredded carrot, and Emmy’s Blueberry Cashew Super Cereal.

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With groats, raisins, cashews, and dried blueberries the cereal really seems like more of a salad topper anyway.  Plus a reject piece of too small chicken from our new favorite recipe.

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Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken, serves 2 – 4

4 oz light feta cheese

  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 10 queen sized pimento-stuffed green olives
  • medium lemon, juiced and zest (reserve both juice and zest)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp smoked brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.  Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place feta, capers, olives, and lemon zest into the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse until well-combined and no large chunks remain.
  3. Using a serrated knife, slice into the side of each chicken breast until you are a quarter-inch from the other side.  Basically you want to be able to open the breasts like little books.
  4. Open the chicken breasts and place into the baking dish.  Spread filling mixture onto one side of each breast, then close the “books.”  Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the chicken, then drizzle with lemon.
  5. Place baking dish into the oven and bake 40 – 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

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Saturday’s dinner was less exciting.  More salad.

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Arugula with carrots, blue cheese, sliced green olives, crumbled feta, and flax.

Plus eggs cooked with pizza sauce, more arugula and olives, and shredded Parmesan.

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The olives seemed like a really good idea but in the end their juiciness was not appreciated in the eggs.

Last night I ate pizza for dinner.

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Thank you, cheese, for being you!

Have you ever dyed your hair a crazy color?

All Of The Sads

Frick!!!  As I went to write my post wrapping up this weekend I accidentally deleted all of my pictures!

Including the picture of the brownie batter donut from Dunkin that I got to try – the filling was gritty like batter but the donut itself was boring.

And the really amazing burgers I made – Hawaiian Burgers with pineapple and macadamia nuts and pineapple bbq sauce.

And an adorable photo of Adam and I gearing up for the gym – yep, we finally joined a gym!  I’ve been three times thus far and working out again is rocking my face off.  On Saturday I ran 20 minutes, split up into intervals of 5 minutes with walking in between.  Then on Sunday I did 60 minutes on the treadmill, 20 sets of 2 minutes walking/1 minute running.  So fun.  <– that’s not sarcasm

And the delicious salads we had with our burgers – a lettuce blend topped with yogurt blue cheese dressing, macadamia nuts, raisins, and Linwood Shelled Hemp.

And the banging cheese plate we made for dinner on Friday – green apple, dried apricots, green pepper, baby carrots, and three amazing cheeses: a cave aged blue, the goat’s milk cheddar we’re obsessed with, and a heart-shaped Neufchâtel.

Boo.  I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Weekly Wrap-Up; Cheesetastic

This week’s eats were all about the cheese and carbs {see also: several servings of unpictured pizza and popcorn}.  I’m missing many of the day-time meals but I managed to capture every single dinner for a change.

breakfast

Apple and honey french toast for Rosh Hashanah.

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I soaked a slice of Trader Joe’s sourdough in 1 large egg, a splash of milk, vanilla extract, and some cinnamon maple sugar and then cooked it in 3/4 Tbsp butter.  After my toast was frenched, I tossed a chopped Pink Lady apple in the rest of the Tbsp of butter with a little more cinnamon maple sugar.  Then I topped my french toast with my cooked apples and drizzled the whole thing with honey.

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Delish.

Tropical smoothie courtesy of the husband.

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He said Thai young coconut, frozen mango and banana, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk all went in the blender.

On the weekend we ate eggs as a family.

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For two, I scrambled together 4 large eggs with salt, pepper, 1 slice of 2% provolone, and a big scoop of 2% cottage cheese.

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Cottage cheese is my favorite scrambled egg addition; normally it tastes very sweet to me but in eggs it is so cheesy!

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Plus toast with Strawberry Crofter’s on the side.

lunch

Leftover mac and cheese that I attempted to stir-fry.

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I reheated the mac in canola oil with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha and then scrambled in an egg.  I’m not sure this dish really worked.

This next one looks like a “snack” picture, but I did in fact drink giant coffees for lunch two days this week.  I had several errands that ended up running long.

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The one pictured was a clover-brew of their Hawaiian blend, which was fantastic.  And yesterday I cashed in a drink freebie so I went big – venti non-fat iced latte with an extra shot of espresso and 2 shots of salted caramel(!!).

snack

Microwave mug cookie.

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Number 2 Pencil is basically a single-serve cookie genius.

Milk drink.

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This was a China Town find.  ‘Twas very thick and sweet.

ZICO latte.

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This flavor might even be better than their chocolate coconut water.

Sourdough with Smart Balance Light.

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If I’m eating bread with butter (versus jam) I almost never toast it, for some reason I prefer my buttered bread raw.

Froyo.

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Another snack that was on repeat this week.

dinner

You already saw our vegan mac and cheese.

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Served with roasted green bean fries for our green.

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We ate our fries right off of the baking sheet, like animals.  We don’t have a dishwasher and plates are annoying to wash, damn it.

Salad and casserole night.

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Adam said that my Cheesy Eggplant Bake is my best recipe, and that’s really saying something because I even cut back on the cheese this time.

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Served with side salads.

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Romaine lettuce blend, hemp hearts, cucumber, TJ’s peanut dressing, and Iberico cheese.

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The dressing did NOT go with the rest of the salad but it was all we had.

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The cheese was from this TJ’s pack that fancied up our whole week.

Kale nachos.

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A kale chip base topped with broccoli, roasted corn, and melted cheese.

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This was one of my better ideas.

Pizza on a quesadilla.

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Inspired by Jenna’s idea, but particularly this comment.

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I made quesadillas with flour tortillas and TJ’s reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend.  Then topped them with Tj’s fat-free refried beans, ground turkey (99% fat-free, cooked with taco seasoning), sliced orange bell pepper, and manchego cheese.

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With roasted kale on the side.

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I told you this was a cheesy week!

fun

We put up a photo wall.

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An assortment of pictures from college (round 1) to now, “framed” with washi tape.

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It may not be perfect, but we love it.  And it was so nice to add a pop of color to our drab living room.

We saw a racoon in our parking lot.

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This may be the first little bandit I’ve actually seen in person, which is funny because I’m completely obsessed with them.

We went on a three-hour bike ride in Central Park.

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Bike riding in the park may just be my favorite activity.  I’ve chosen it for my birthday several times now.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Weekly Wrap-Up; In August

First of all, I need to announce the winners for my Müller Yogurt giveaway: lucky numbers 2, 3, and 6.  Grace, rachelesimms, and Jenny, shoot me an e-mail with your mailing addresses so I can get your coupons out!

This wrap-up spans more than one week and while this obviously wasn’t everything that I consumed, I ate a lot of really good stuff so the volume of pictures was a little overwhelming.  I didn’t try to break this post up into breakfast/lunch/dinner, instead I’ll keep things loosely chronological.

-1- I made a cheese quesadilla on a Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Flour Tortilla with Rolled Oats and Flax Seeds with sliced apple on the side.

quesadilla

There were lots of Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) goodies eaten recently and we were very impressed with all but one of them.  The texture of the tortilla definitely helped make my plain cheese quesadilla a little more interesting.

-2- Alvita Tea sent me some of their tea.

tea from alvita

Alvita makes single-herb teas that are third-party certified organic, gluten-free and kosher.  When I returned the e-mail offer for free samples, I requested teas that would be good iced during this hot summer, so they sent me Ginger-Peppermint, Passionflower, and Raspberry.

alvita tea

I loved the flavors of Passionflower and Raspberry, but Ginger-Peppermint was too much spicy ginger for me.  Adam loves that flavor though, so if you are a ginger fan I would recommend it.  I did try the flavors hot (aka by following the brewing instructions) but the pictures were boring so instead I’ll show you two ways I served the tea cold.

First, Ginger-Peppermint iced tea.

iced tea

Whenever I make iced tea I toss 2 tea bags per ~6 oz cold water in a glass and let it sit until the color looks right to me.  This oh-so-scientific method has never failed me!

Next, Passionflower “Thai” iced tea.

homemade thai-style iced tea

For this tasty treat, I followed the brewing instructions but tripled up on tea bags.  Then I chilled my tea concentrate and served it with a couple of tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.  Quite delicious.

-3- I made the best flipping sandwich I’ve ever had.

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I know that’s a big claim, but it’s so true.  I mashed a can of TJ’s Smoke Trout with Miracle Whip, spread my trout salad between two pieces of whole-wheat bread with three slices of sliced Velveeta, and cooked it in a skillet with a little butter.

smoked trout grilled cheese

Served with baby carrots and sliced pepper.

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My sandwich was so smokey and gooey!  I want another can of that trout asap.  This was actually the first sandwich with Velveeta I’ve ever had (I don’t know that either of my parents have ever tasted processed cheese food, we never had it in the house growing up).  The cheese was leftover from another recipe and while I would not buy it again, it did make this sandwich mighty good.

-4- The dog and I were kicked out of the apartment one afternoon while our tub was being redone.

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We went to Shake Shack for their outdoor seating and I got a chocolate-vanilla twist with chocolate toffee and cheesecake blondie stirred in.

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I know that looks amazing, but in spite of the promising flavors the taste just wasn’t good.  I threw out 2/3 of it; after it melted all over me first, of course.  I think I am officially done giving that Shake Shack location more chances.  But bad food doesn’t really matter when your lunch date is this cute –

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Those eyes!

-5- I made two smoothies, one bad and one good.  The bad was frozen mixed berries with frozen spinach and orange-mango juice.

berry smoothie

Adam loved his glass, but I drank mine purely for the nutrients.

The good was this strawberry almond smoothie.

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Frozen strawberries with Barney Butter Crunchy Almond Butter, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

-6- Another food served in two rounds – salad.  Thankfully both of these iterations were amazing.  Salad one,

salad with homemade croutons

was lettuce, homemade croutons (leftover torn french bread tossed with evoo, salt, and pepper and baked at 375*), shredded carrots, chopped green pepper, TJ’s Greek Style Feta Dressing, and Hemp Hearts.

homemade croutons

The Hemp Hearts made the salad with their unique flavor and texture.  I got this sample package at the co-op and if I can’t find this product at Whole Foods I might just go back to Buffalo to buy more!

hemp hearts

Salad two,

salad

was lettuce, shredded carrots, smoked gouda, feta dressing, and toasted almond slivers.

salad with smoked gouda

The ratio of fatty toppings to healthy greens in this salad was way off, but it tasted soooooo good.

-7- We ate tofu nuggets and roasted brussels sprouts for dinner.

tofu and brussels

I got really sick of roasted brussels sprouts a few years ago and I think I finally have my taste for them back.

roasted brussels sprouts

The nuggets were extra-firm tofu that I’d sliced and frozen (freezing tofu gives it a great spongy texture when it’s cooked) then coated in corn starch and cooked in canola oil.

tofu nuggets

My attempt at a sweet and sour style sauce wasn’t very good, but the “nuggets” of tofu were pretty exciting.

-8- I made a winner of a dinner with a meal that was quick, easy, tasty, and healthy.

barley bowl

Bowls of barley topped with TJ’s Smoked Herring (that we mashed with a little Miracle Whip), TJ’s Sweet Sesame Seaweed, a drizzle of Sriracha, and a soft-boiled egg.

seaweed, egg, herring and barley

This was the best dinner of this post!  We stirred our bowls so everything got coated in egg yolk and the flavor was fantastic.

-9- I discovered my new favorite combination of cereals: half a serving of Cascadian Farm Dark Chocolate Almond Granola with a serving of Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs.

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The Kashi cereal almost reminded me of Smax.  That bowl was topped with skim milk and chopped nectarines.

-10- I finally did a work out.

yoga mat

Barre3 is promoting their 7-Day Body Blast program and they offered me a complimentary month of online workouts.

Barre3 is a unique fitness system combining the arts of Pilates, yoga and ballet barre work.  I took a class the last time I was in the city and loved it.  The monthly subscription is only $15 and it gives you access to a myriad of online workouts.  You can select 10, 20, 30, 40, and 60 minute classes, choosing to focus on a specific set of muscles or on working your whole body.  The videos are great and the oral instructions are clear enough that once you’ve done a workout once or twice it is easy to follow along without having to watch the movements on a screen.

I’ve done the Ballet Fit (40 minutes) class twice.  It is a total body workout with a good mix of arms, legs, and core work.  There are lots of pulses so it ends up being pretty good cardio too.  I intended to branch out so I had more to review, but I loved the Ballet Fit class so much the first time that I wanted to do it again.  Plus, I’m trying to get better so I don’t have to keep pausing the video every five minutes to die.

workout

All you need for the online workouts is a mat (I ended up tossing my shoes), some light weights, a pillow*, and a chair/couch/counter to serve as a bar.  *They recommend a core ball but I found a folded pillow worked just fine in a pinch.

-11- I finally found a good combo for homemade egg cream.

homemade egg cream

Chocolate Nesquick and plain seltzer worked like a charm.

chocolate milk and seltzer

Even Adam, who normally hates my egg cream attempts, thought this was good.

-12- A friend and I had a great night in Williamsburg.  We explored on foot, then settled on Mizu for dinner.  I got a Hijiki salad to start.

seaweed salad

Black seaweed with carrot and tofu.

seaweed salad at mizu

I didn’t like my salad – which had a strange, woody aftertaste – but my Futu Maki was delicious.

sushi

Crab stick, cucumber, avocado, egg, and pickles.

sushi at mizu

The sweetness of the tamago made the wasabi extra delicious.  And fun gum with the bill is always good.

bill at mizu

Afterwards we were very lucky to spot a sign for snow cones at Handsome Dan’s.

snow cone

I got an earl grey snow cone with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.

earl grey with sweetened condensed milk

Are you freaking kidding me?!

We walked over to the water on our way home and the view of the skyline was even more exciting than our snow cones.

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I ♥ New York.

-13- I made another really good sandwich.

turkey sandwich

A Whole-Wheat Sandwich Thin topped with smoked turkey, smoked gouda (from TJ’s), and Crofter’s Strawberry Spread.

jam, smoked gouda, and turkey

The smokey-sweet thing will always be my favorite.

-14 – We pulled out our popsicle molds.

popsicles

These dulce de leche lemon popsicles are insane.

lemon cream popsicle

I had a little extra “batter” that I poured in my iced tea and it knocked my socks off.

-15- I made tropical fruit salad.

tropical fruit salad

2 bananas, 2 minneolas, 2 kiwis, and a handful of TJ’s Roasted Coconut Chips.

kiwi, minneola, banana, coconut

Leaving berries out of this salad made the leftovers feel a lot fresher than usual.

-16- We ate a dinner dipped in ketchup.

dinner

Kale chips,

kale chips

with TJ’s Mahi Mahi Burgers.

mahi patties

I ended up only eating one of my burgers, so I ate the leftover for lunch the next day with the rest of the fruit salad.

lunch

The Mahi mahi was simple but good with a little Miracle Whip on a Sandwich Thin.

mahi sandwich

This was the one product that I don’t think we’ll buy again; the patties were greasier than I’d like even though the nutritional stats were good.  It was nice to feel fancy with lots of fish this week.

That’s all she wrote!

Wow.  I need to blog more often; what a terrifyingly long post.

On The Run

This morning Adam, Webster, and I headed to the park.  They went frolicking and I went running.  I started the Couch-to-10k plan, again.  I refuse to go back to week one (I’ve started the plan four times in as many months, it’s embarrassing at this point) so I did the first day of week two – intervals of 4 minutes walking / 1 minute running, x 8.  Plus 5 minutes of straight running at the end as I hurried to find a dog and husband who are bad at following directions!  I was great to be outside.

The rest of the day included schoolwork, a shift at work, and an evening of tv.  In fact, we are mid-Bones right now so I’m keeping this short.

Here’s what I ate…  An Alter Ego Mini Dark Velvet chocolate bar.

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This stuff was amazing, the perfect blend of milk and dark chocolate.  It had dark’s tang with the creaminess of milk.  Total love.

Soft pretzel.

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Vegan chicken nuggets with some sharp cheddar.

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A Salty Peanut Awesome Bar.

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This would have been awesome, but the whole flax seeds kind of ruined it for me.  Nonetheless, this Yumvelope (the source of the bar and the candy) was a good one.

Hot bar (two of the wontons were Adam’s).

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Two kinds of sautéed veggies plus a piece of sweet and sour chicken.

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.15 lb of gummi candy.

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A giant slice of Buffalo chicken pizza with blue cheese for dipping.

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I am, in a word, stuffed.

Two Meals At One

Our last day in Charleston was our best day yet!  Technically we’ve got tomorrow morning as well, but we head for the airport before 6 am so I don’t have high expectations.  It was our best day of vacation, but I can’t give this post the love it deserves because I still have to pack!  Keeping it quick…

Workout – 25 minutes on the stationary bike.

Breakfast – Virginia’s on King.

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My plate.

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2 sunny side up eggs.

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Hash browns.

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Grits.

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Homemade biscuit (with butter and jam).

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I basically licked my plate clean!

Fun 1 – Middleton Place.

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Fun 2 – A stop at Sonic for a big Coke Zero with strawberries.

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Fun 3 – We explored some more downtown and stopped at a coffee shop to warm up.  While we were hanging out we just might have designed some Easter eggs.

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Dinner – Breakfast was so good that we headed back to Virginia’s for a 2nd meal!  Our instincts weren’t wrong, they brought us tasty cornbread (studded with broccoli!) with butter.

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We also shared an order of pimento cheese with flat bread.

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I went full-on Southern for my final meal.

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Fried catfish.

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Sweet potato fries.

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And baked mac and cheese.

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When in Rome.  Everyone shared bites and agreed that my plate was amazing.

See you in Buffalo!

Charleston, Day 1 And 2

Hello from the South!  I’m blogging in a spring-ish 50-something degrees (it’s better than Buffalo!).  Actually, I’m blogging from Adam’s computer this trip, so I’ve got to keep things quick.  We are having a terrific, delicious time.

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Breakfast day 1 – brunch at the famous Hominy Grill.

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I got a(n extra spicy) bloody mary.

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And a bowl of she crab soup.

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Charleston is famous for its she crab soup; this bowl was super creamy and loaded with pieces of crab.  I adore anything with sherry.

We ordered a piece of buttermilk pie for the table.

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But it was much drier and less custard-y than we were hoping so we all just took a small taste.

It was a rainy first day so we did lots of inside and driving activities.  We got in some good sight-seeing and scoped out a few spots to hit up during the rest of our trip.

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One of our stops was Whole Foods for stocking up on goodies.  <– chocolate coconut butter packets, it’s good to have you back in my life!

There was froyo next door.

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I didn’t really love any of the flavor offerings so I got a small cup of cheesecake yogurt with tons of popping boba.

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Can’t go wrong with boba.

We went to Hyman’s Seafood for dinner and they brought us complimentary hush puppies.

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Best hush puppies ever; they had the perfect amount of sweetness.

We also started with fried pickles.

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Lots of fried food in that dinner.  I got french fries as my side,

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with steamed shrimp.

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Every component of my meal ended up smothered in tartar and cocktail sauce.  I’m a girl who loves her condiments.

I was exhausted by the end of the day and crashed into bed hard.  Let’s pretend it was the 20 minute stationary bike ride I started the day with, and not the heavy dinner!

Day 2 we skipped the gym and slept in.  Instead I made it a healthy morning by starting my day with an apple.

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Then we headed to Bakehouse for breakfast.

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The offerings were as delicious as the space was adorable.  The cookies and bars looks amazing but the closest we came to them was splitting a caramel marshmallow.

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I also did a toasted marshmallow cappuccino.

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Adam and I shared breakfast.

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We had a mixed berry scone.

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And a piece of Greek turkey strata.

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It was a great breakfast.

We spent our second day exploring on foot.  King Street and Meeting Street provided lots to look at.

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We even got to see dolphins!

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I couldn’t get a picture to save my life, but we saw lots of waving flippers and even a mama/baby combo.

Tastes from the day included…. Praline,

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a drop of the spiciest hot sauce available (I stuck a toothpick in it and touched it to my tongue; I honestly didn’t think it was that hot!),

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honey,

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an Earl Grey macaron (<– squeeee!),

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a KIND bar,

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and some watermelon Zots from one of the many old-time candy stores.

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All good, but I am definitely a lunch eater; when we got back to the hotel to change for dinner I was starving.  Enter the perfect snack –

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Diet coke and Cacao Bliss?  Yes please!

But I sure was glad I saved room for dinner.  We had an incredible Southern meal at Magnolias.

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Bread with ridiculous cream cheese herb butter came when we sat down.

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And we ordered a pimento cheese plate to start.

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Sadly, the cheese wasn’t quite as sharp as I was hoping for, but everyone else at the table loved it.  Pimento cheese was at the top of my to-do list for the Southern vacation though, so I hope to try again tomorrow.

I ordered a Bellini to drink (champagne/peach nectar/and a touch of grenadine),

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but ended up swapping with Adam halfway through for his vodka/creme de cassis/pineapple juice martini.

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For dinner I went with the “Fresh, Local, and Vegetarian.”  You can’t go wrong with a name like that!

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Sautéed spinach, fresh corn salad, roasted carrots, fried green tomatoes with jalopeño pimento cheese, and mashed potatoes.

We were too stuffed for dessert, though the menu listed a cream cheese pecan brownie with white chocolate ice cream that I’ll probably be dreaming about!

In fact, I’d like to be dreaming now; goodnight!

Have you ever been to Charleston?  Is there anything we just can’t miss on our last day?