Use Your Noggin

No full post this week – I’m feeling a bit under the weather – but I had to bop in and share the FANTABULOUS eggnog goodies I tried this week.

Eggnog in my coffee!  Trader Joe’s light ‘nog with Starbucks’ Christmas blend espresso roast.

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Eggnog Nutrament.  Also worth noting – TJ’s starfruit seltzer is pretty fantastic.

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Eggnog yogurt!!  With persimmon and a gingerbread oat bar.

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Eggnog ice cream.  It was so creamy.

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Miracle On 9th Street

New York City is the best place on Earth and that is doubly true around holidays!  Adam and I had a lovely weekend with lots of walking and we explored Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and saw and ate all sorts of fun holiday and city things.

Like lights in the Lower East Side.

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And wild swans in Sheepshead Bay.

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Coffees, specialty cocktails, pizza rolls, and other fantastic eats…

Mace’s Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop-up is officially my new favorite holiday activity!  I wish I had taken pictures inside because it was freaking magical.

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The specialty cocktails were so fun!  I had a Not Even a Mouse – pumpkin spice infused rye whiskey, Budweiser-marshmallow syrup, pumpkin puree, egg, and a marshmallow mouse.

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And a Snowball Old Fashioned – gingerbread bourbon, sugar, and pecan bitters.

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Iced latte love.  Brooklyn Roasting Company.

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Orso.

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Yogurt bowl win.  Plain Greek yogurt with maple jelly and vanilla bean powder with golden kiwi and granola on top.

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Ice & Vice double scoop that was truly the best ice cream Adam or I have ever eaten.  TBT – earl grey, dark chocolate, and speculoos chip and PSL – pecan, sorghum, and latte toffee.

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The Nog at Sugar Sweet Sunshine, pumpkin cake layered with eggnog pudding and whipped cream.

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Luda’s Dumplings.

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We shared shrimp and loaded potato with garlic sour cream and mushrooms on top.

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Brunch at Butter & Scotch, aka the restaurant that’s decorated like the inside of my heart.

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I had biscuits with mushroom gravy and an egg on top.

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The NameShake.

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Birthday cake slice (the leftovers were still moist 24 hours+ later, fyi) and a Unicorn Treat – a brown butter cookie drenched in sprinkles!

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The space was adorable, the music was wonderful, and as we were rolling ourselves to the door the waitress brought us a chocolate chip cookie to go since we had been so excited about everything.

Dinner at Thursday Kitchen.

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You have to get a light-up booze-filled capri sun!  I went with strawberry.

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The menu is tapas style so we got to taste a lot.  Everything was so interesting, and perfectly spiced.  Pan-seared plantains with Korean chimichurri, honey ricotta, roasted pistachio, dried cranberry, and crispy plantain crumble.

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Duck confit empanada with dill crème fraiche, cumin, and pickles.

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Gnocchi with Korean chili pepper sauce, garlic aioli, parmesan, and crispy seaweed.

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My homemade dinners weren’t bad either.  I made vegetarian “rice” and beans casserole.

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Riced cauliflower / pinquito beans / onion and bell peppers (yellow, orange, and green) baked in evoo / red enchilada sauce / sour cream / shredded cheese.  I topped my bowl with more sour cream and some Cholula sauce plus beet and goat cheese cassava chips.

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An epic take on cheeseburgers and fries.

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Roasted green beans and butternut squash.

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Cheeseburger roll ups!  Crescent roll dough / ground turkey sautéed with chopped onion and pickle relish / mayo and ketchup / shredded cheese / brushed with garlic butter.

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Happy 1st week of December!

Winners And Losers

I ate some really yummy prepared foods this week but I did not do so hot cooking my own meals.  I had the day off on Wednesday and I spent most of the day cooking/baking and it did not go well.

I tried to make Oreo marshmallow peppermint magic bars.  No.  I ended up with a molten stew of brown gook.

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I couldn’t feed this to anyone but it actually did taste delicious and I did scoop a serving into a jar to eat with yogurt.

I also spent several hours making brown stock and then lentil and tortellini soup.  This venture at least looked like food but it tasted like… nothing.  We ate Chipotle bowls for dinner.

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Here were some of the things I ate that did work —

This work lunch looks unassuming but it was truly one of the best things I’ve eaten in months.  Vanilla bean Greek yogurt with cranberry relish and maple + almond butter granola.

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Plain Icelandic-style yogurt with cookie sludge, a SnapDragon apple, and La Colombe.

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Cherry vanilla Chobani with golden kiwis and Heritage Flakes.

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Some of my snacks were fairly fantastic as well.  Seaweed salad.

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Turkey jerky.

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Carrots and garlic hummus.

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Kombucha.

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Coffee Chai tea.  Good Earth offered to send me a sample and since chai is my favorite tea and I love coffee I accepted.  It was delicious!  Just a bit spicy and roasty.  I drank a cup at work instead of a 2nd coffee a couple of days and did not resent it.

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Hershey’s caramelized creme gold bar with peanuts and pretzels.  It was so interesting and tasty, way more complex than a regular Hershey bar.

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Treats at Vanilla Bean, our new favorite Long Island spot.

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I had a Nutella-studded brownie and a delicious iced latte.

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I may not have cook-cooked dinner but my throw-together dinners were good.  Trader Joe’s frozen section did not let me down.

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Fish sticks with roasted green beans and blue cheese and spicy cocktail sauce for dinner.

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I also made great “Thanksgiving leftovers” baked sandwiches.

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Sourdough, sliced smoked turkey, cranberry relish, mayo, and lots of Kerrygold Skellig sweet cheddar.

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With burnt broccoli that still wasn’t terrible.

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Please cross your fingers for no more kitchen disasters for me!

Thanksgiving Week

I always have a lot to feel thankful for and last week was no exception.  With working two weekends in a row and Turkey Day my schedule worked out perfectly for lots of fun free time with the husband!  We had a great time in the city on his post-call day and were able to drive to Pennsylvania Thursday evening to spend the holiday with his family.

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Highlights…

Fancy coffees –

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Noble Tree iced latte at Nickel and Diner.

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Stumptown Winter Cheer.

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Vietnamese cold brew.

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Fun city restaurants –

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Supermoon Bakehouse!

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So cool.  We tried a banana split sundae twice baked croissant – caramelized sous vide whole bananas, banana caramel sauce, creme patissiere, and chocolate almond creme, topped with chocolate fudge, banana caramel, dehydrated banana, gold leaf, and torched meringue.

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And a Golden Boy Doughnut – golden turmeric brioche filled with mild chocolate salted caramel, rolled in sugar and topped with a chocolate shard – aka the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten.

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Crazy good ramen at Ganso.  A girlfriend and I went after work one night and it was so fantastic that I went back with Adam the next day!  The first time we shared blistered shishito peppers.

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And I had triple shrimp ramen – with shrimp paste chicken broth, thick Sapporo noodles, chili-fried shrimp, dried shrimp, garlic chives, and moyashi sprouts.

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The second time we had wings and beer.

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And I had the Tori Shio – Japanese sea salt-chicken broth, toothsome Tokyo noodles, crispy chicken thigh chashu, ajitama egg, and greens.

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On-theme eats –

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Pumpkin yogurt with Heritage Flakes and a mini pumpkin persimmon.

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Fruit and nut yogurt with toffee bits, pecans, and orange raisins.

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A pre-holiday plate on Tuesday night.

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Crock pot cooked turkey, Trader Joe’s cornbread stuffing, cranberry dressing, and roasted green beans.

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Plus a cranberry beer!

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Our Thanksgiving tradition…

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Stuffing nachos!  With turkey, cranberry, and lots of cheese.

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Plus broccoli that I pretended was green beans.

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My actual Thanksgiving plate.

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Our contribution to the meal was peanut butter, butterscotch, toffee candy.

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Have a great week!

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A Week Of Splendid Sandwiches

Can I really use that title in a week without a single grilled cheese or lobster roll?  I did have some exceptionally above-bar poultry-based sandwiches.

The winning ‘wiches…

Milk Bar‘s Thanksgiving croissant is the best sandwich of all time.  Adam and I waited for it with baited breath this year.

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The seasoned croissant is stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing!

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Flip Bird at the Ashland does a damn fine chicken sandwich – pulled chicken, harissa honey, pickled coleslaw, sambal mayo, and crispy skin.

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And my homemade toasted sandwich dinner was nothing to sneeze at.

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Sourdough / Applegate Farm smoked sliced turkey / 4 year aged cheddar / smoked maple mayo (olive oil based mayo, maple, liquid smoke, smoked paprika).

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With roasted zucchini on the side.

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Other fun stuff…

Vegan eggnogs in my coffee.  Adam really enjoyed the TJ’s almond milk version but I remain loyal to Silk.

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Here’s my current holiday stash, so exciting!

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Amazin’ Raisin sent me some samples to review.  The fruit-flavored raisins contain three ingredients – California raisins, citric acid, and natural fruit flavors – and are packed with flavor but no artificial sugar or sulfur dioxide.  Adam and I have both been really enjoying them.  So far his favorite flavor is pineapple and mine is watermelon.

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Some key work eats included raisins and a Larabar.

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And blackberry Siggi with holiday grapes and a maple maca bar.

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Really, the best dinner of the week was movie theater pretzel bites with fake cheese.  We went to see Thor: Ragnarok and split our sides laughing.  Our AMC has extra-wide seats that fully recline so the whole experience was really nice.

We also went gaga for these scallion pancakes from Trader Joe’s.

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They were crazy flavorful and satisfying.  I topped mine with mayo and Sriracha.

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With baby carrots and potato snacks for an appetizer for crunch.

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A girlfriend and I met for a mid-week dinner at Bricolage and were both big fans.  Sriracha butter wings to start.

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And we both had pink drinks!  She had the pink soda salted lemonade and I picked an option with a cute name that I can’t remember where you pick a spirit and let the bartender go crazy.  I said “vodka, no ginger” and ended up with something delicious with raspberry and lime.

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My caramelized shrimp claypot was 10/10.  Georgia white shrimp, vidalia onions, cherry tomatoes, and chili paste with rice to soak up the sauce.

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Enjoy your weekends!

Pumpkin’s Still In Season

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This post includes three more days of vacation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday); I eased back into the work-week after my trip.  It’s supposed to be in the 20’s in NYC later today so now I kind of wish I was away on vacation again!

Highlights from the week…

Coffee!

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Pumpkin spice my grandma brought me from Winans.

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Pumpkin smoothie with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cow’s milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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BBQ at Salt and Bone.

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I got a ridiculous but tasty Percocet with aged rum, coco lopez, citrus.

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And had turkey breast – 3 hour smoked with a butter sauce – cole slaw, and a few bites of Adam’s potato salad.

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Thai food in Sunnyside.  Fried tofu.

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And drunken noodles that actually had enough veggies for my tastes.

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One of our favorite winter traditions is visiting Winter Village at Bryant Park for a thick hot chocolate.

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Gooey walnut chocolate chip cookie from Chip in Astoria.

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Buckeye straight from Ohio.

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We tried something fun from Minamoto Kitchoan – Sakura Gomora, sweet bean and mochi wrapped in a cherry blossom pancake.

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Packed lunch – strawberry and rosehip kefir cup with a cupcake crumbled in!  Plus a snap dragon apple.

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I brought in chocolate cupcakes (from a mix!) with homemade cream cheese frosting and Amy Sedaris sprinkles for a coworker’s birthday.

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Yogurt with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats.

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Roasted fall salad – quinoa / shredded brussel sprouts / leeks / turkey bacon / sweet and spicy pecans / gold raisins / and oven-fried sage.

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One of the co-founders of CHUT UP reached out to my about sampling their new line of condiments and I happily accepted, so those were featured in dinners for the rest of the week.  All three flavors are made with minimal processing and no added sugars (and they’re tasty!).

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I made a veggie-packed version of chana masala with the addition of celery and orange and yellow bell pepper.

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Topped with apple and caramelized onion chutney.

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And a dinner for dipping with blue cheese dressing and beet ketchup.

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Roasted broccoli and a root veggie mix from Trader Joe’s (carrots, beets, parsnips, and sweet potato).

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Baked chicken tenders crusted in panko after an overnight marinate in peri peri hot sauce, minced ginger, lemon, and brown sugar.

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Won’t You Brie My Neighbor

Bites from the week…

I was on a FUN – aka sweetened and spiced – iced coffee kick.  Dark roast cold brewed with brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and extra cinnamon.

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La Colombe pumpkin spice draft latte.

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Vanilla cold brew from Bowery Coffee Co with half and half.

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Since we have multi-grain sourdough in the house I’m back to loving toast.  With Smart Balance, strawberry jam, and cheese!

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Yogurt bowl lunches.  Pumpkin Chobani with toffee bits and sweet and spicy pecans and a Snap Dragon apple.

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Pumpkin Noosa with a brown sugar cinnamon peanut butter packet.  Plus a honey tangerine and a Sweet Thorn kombucha.

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Maple yogurt with vanilla granola, banana chips, and tangerine.

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Plus one day I got cafeteria sushi.

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A quick but delicious dinner.

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Roasted brussel sprouts and a sliced RosaLynn apple.

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A toasted sandwich with smoked sliced turkey, pumpkin butter, and brie.  The sandwich was so freaking good that I ended up making it again for dinner the next night too (except we were out of turkey so I added cheddar for a double-cheese dream!).

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Pumpkin sausage pasta topped with cheese and fried sage!

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I loosely followed this recipe from Rachel Ray.  A few key changes – I toasted my pasta / I used half as much pasta (whole wheat bow ties) so there was a greater ratio of sauce / I used turkey maple breakfast sausages / I added orange bell pepper with my onions / I used extra stock instead of wine / I added cayenne pepper / I used fat-free half and half.

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Best thing I ate all week?  Banoffee (aka banana toffee) Magic Bars!

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My coworkers loved them so much they asked my to post the recipe on the blog.

Banana Toffee Magic Bars, makes 24 squares

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 15 sheets graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chopped dried baby bananas (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup unsweetened banana chips
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in heating oven.
  2. When butter is fully melted, remove dish from oven and combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Mix well, then press firmly into the bottom of the dish.
  3. Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of crust then top evenly with sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting.  I recommend storing these in the freezer and letting them come to room temperature to serve.