Friday Favorites #21!

Happy Friday!!! We made it – woohoo!! DJ had to work super late last night (around 11 pm), but in turn he gets today entirely off! I still have to work on school shtuff all day, but I love having him around. I have faves bursting at the seams this week- definitely will have to save some for next week too!

  1. Trader Joe’s Tzatziki– oh man, this stuff is so creamy and delicious. I like putting it on my “chik’n”, eating it with hummus and pita chips, or putting it in my salads.

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2. Trader Joe’s Sliced French Brioche. The obsession is real. This is a must-try. We use it mainly for sandwiches, french toast, and grilled cheese!

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3. Little Pink Book. I am sooo old fashioned in keeping “paper records”. I don’t totally trust technology plus I’m bad at it, lol. Anywho- this little book is so fun & adorable for storing all contacts and addresses. I’m sure my mom is happy to read this considering it means I won’t constantly text her, “What is so & so’s address again?”

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4. Crispy Chickpeas from Trader Joe’s. This is more of a DJ Friday Fave, I like these, but DJ loves them. I actually prefer the Saffron Road brand, but these are still yummy.

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5. Olay Instant Hydration Eye Cream. I gotta say, I am usually so skeptical about face and eye creams- they cost an arm & a leg, but do they actually work? I noticed a difference in my under eye puffiness and also general smoothness in my under eyes by using this for one day! It lasts for a long time too because you only need very little.

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6. Fyre Festival Documentaries. This is kind of old news now, but I have to include it! Oh man, this is a fascinating documentary! I suggest watching both- the Netflix and Hulu styles are different & you learn different aspects about the whole mess through each. I won’t even give a synopsis because I’m sure y’all are well aware about it by now. Gosh, it’s entertaining.

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7. Airpods! DJ has wanted to get these for me for a long time for a Christmas or bday gift for the last couple years, but I always said I didn’t get the point. I didn’t see how they were that different truly from the regular headphones. WOW, was I wrong in my thinking- these are a game changer!! He finally got them for me this past Christmas, and I am sooo glad. They are sooo much easier, don’t catch on everything, and I think my form is better running because I can truly stand up straight without the headphones tugging on my phone. Also, I can do HITT routines while listening to podcasts or music… I couldn’t do that with my wire ones because they needed to be connected to my phone.

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8. Maybelline’s Colossal Volume Mascara. We have all seen the commercials for this mascara, and I had a sample I finally tried. I usually use “They’re Real!“.. but that can be sooo doggone pricy. This Mascara is insanely comparable, maybe even adds more volume, and is a price I can justify!

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9. The Wife Between Us. Wowzas, this book is a good one! Some people compare it to the style of Behind Closed Doors, one of my favorites from last year. This book, similarly, had sooo many twists and turns at the end, my jaw was nearly on the floor. Thanks, Maureen, for the suggestion! I really hope they make this a movie!

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10. The Final Table. Where my cooking show fanatics at?!?! This is a must watch! The Final Table takes the best chefs from around the world and they compete in the ultimate cooking competition. This is top tier cooking competition gold.

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Question for you:

  • Any favorites for you this week?!

Have a great weekend, my friends 🙂

xo <3

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**There are affiliated links in this post, but all ideas and opinions are my own! Some images are from a Google Image search- ya know the really crisp professional looking ones 😉 **

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Our Valentine’s Day!

This is gonna be a short & sweet (pun totally intended) post filling in the foodie gaps from the last update up to our Valentine’s Day! (I know y’all are probably sick of any and all Valentine’s Day chat by now, so thanks for tuning in anyway!).

Sunday February 10th, we both got up early and went to church. When I came home we were still super low on groceries, so I put together some canned butternut squash puree & a dollop of Fage mixed and heated up with mixed nuts, pumpkin butter and Ezekiel bread. It was surprisingly very satisfying! Ya never can know how those hodge-podge concoctions are gonna go, but it’s often when I discover my new favorite snacks!

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The afternoon was just working on school assignments & I think I squeezed a run in.

For dinner I was really getting down to the bare bones in the fridge- I needed some protein, so I whipped up some eggs, beans, and salsa & paired it with homemade pumpkin hummus that I defrosted from the freezer.

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February 11th I woke myself up with Fage, oatmeal, PB2, and mixed nuts. The thought of breakfast & coffee causes me to jump out of bed in the morning, haha. For this one, basically anything I could find in the cupboard I was throwing into that bowl.

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After doing a ton of schoolwork it was time to finally acquiesce to a full grocery trip. But I will say- TJ’s is the pretty much the adult equivalent of going to the park. On my way I grabbed some Starbucks cause I was feeling chilled to the bone that day! It was one of the colder days of this winter. *Cue the laughs from my midwest friends*

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Aaaaaaand here we are.

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For dinner I defrosted a pack of thanksgiving turkey and made turkey noodle soup for the Deej with some egg noodles I picked up. He enjoyed it even more than I expected! It served as a lunch throughout the week & he usually had it with a slice of lightly warmed buttered brioche.

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I had a salad full of the fresh veggies from TJ’s with hummus, Lightlife’s Savory “chick’n” tenders, and lotsa hummus. I like to cook the chik’n till it’s kinda crispy & it almost serves as a kind of crouton in the salads.

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February 12th I finally found and tried the Banh Mi Bowl recommended by the lovely Kate over at LiveintheNautical. Y’all this stuff is so guuud. I wasn’t as big a fan of the dressing, but the actual bowl itself was just delish & fresh! The tofu in it was sooo hearty & yummy.

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In the evening, I attended School of Leadership. This is a four-week course I’m taking through our Church, and WOW, it’s enlightening. I feel like I’m drinking wisdom from a fire hose. So much knowledge and practical application. I am just loving every second of it & have made some new friends through it. At this point in time there is only one week left- crazy how quickly it flew.

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On February 13th I gathered together all my Valentine’s I was making for Boys and Girls Club and paired them with a chocolate. The Valentine’s were 3D which I thought the third graders would like. After I made the Valentine’s I panicked because I realized the Snickers had nuts in them & I didn’t know if any of the kids had an allergy. I switched out any of the Snickers for another type of chocolate & left those for DJ since their his fave anyway!

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I was craving some of my “chick’n” so I made it with roasted beets, corn, and topped it off with tzatziki sauce from TJ’s (that tzatziki sauce is the bomb! I’ll include it in my FF).

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On February 14th I went to Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. Holy hyperness… I thought they were sugar filled last week- oh man, you haven’t seen chaos till you’ve seen a third grade classroom on Valentine’s Day! LOL! It was so much fun. I came home to these gorgeous roses from DJ and yummy treats & cards from friends & family. <3 They are the bestt.

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This card was from DJ… he said each one of these dogs represented one of my moods. LOLOL.

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Oh, and this was from a friend at church! Tell me this isn’t the cutest little idea for a Valentine ya ever did see?!

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I made Deej a little box of some of our faves- our favorite candle, his favorite granola, and then made a little note saying “Will You Accept This Rosé?” As a play on the Bachelor. CHEESY, I KNOW!

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For dinner I made him heart shaped grilled cheese on our TJ’s brioche and tomato soup- his favorite weeknight meal. Just when ya didn’t think it could get cheesy-er 😉

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For my dinner I had my stuffed purple sweet potato with Fage, avocado, meatless crumbles, and almond vegan cheese. This is one of my personal favorite go-to winter meals.

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I also made a big ol’ batch of these cookies for dessert. I think I should have made them thicker because they were a bit too crumbly, but the flavor was wonderful!

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On the 15th I woke up at 4:30 am bright and early & could not fall back asleep; I was so excited for the weekend we had before us! I started the day with oatmeal, protein powder, blueberries, granola and stevia.

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After drilling my brain with school work, around 3:30 pm we left for SF for a staycation. I was feeling pretty sick, the cold that is going around definitely got me, but I was ignoring it. That’s my go-to when I’m not feeling good- just pretend it’s not there. That is NOT sound nursing advice, hah. I did stock up on Advil, Halls, & Vitamin C to take along. We stopped for gas on the way, and I captured this rainbow. I will share about the weekend in a separate post because it was fun, special & so very memorable. Can’t wait!

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Questions for you:

  • Favorite hodge-podge meals?
  • What is a staple in your home? (Truly can be anything- food, candle, cleaning supplies- anything at all!)

xo <3

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One Cheesy Birthday Weekend!

Happy Thursday, Everyone! I am pretty stoked to share this post. Last weekend was just so gouda!

Also, this time last week I was super overwhelmed, but I can tell ya I am feeling 100% better this week. Thank you for all your sweet words of encouragement, wisdom, and perspectives. Can’t explain how much they helped & how thankful I am for y’all! Okay onto the fun-filled weekend!!

Thursday the 10th I finished up my last blog post and enjoyed some butternut squash with vegan butter, salt, pepper and a slice of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread as a little snack.

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For dinner I made DJ a Bubba burger (his favorite at-home burger) with gruyere cheese & brussels.

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I had my big ole’ salad with Nasoya marinated tofu and all the veggies in the fridge.

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I also sliced up the rest of our cheesecake thingy-ma-bob from New Years to freeze. No way we could finish it all. (I took off the top layer of the cookie to finish off though, lol!).

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Friday the 11th I just cranked out school work- it felt good to make a dent and get a few assignments done.

Saturday the 12th was the The Great Mac ‘N Cheese melt off at Soma StrEat Foodpark in SF. Amy and I had talked about maybe going, but I messaged her the night before unsure if I would be able to go with the school load. However, I got up extra early on Saturday, got my 10-mile training run in, finished my assignments for the day, then texted her since we could make the last couple hours!!! DJ and I hit the road taking beautiful 280 into the City.

MAC AND CHEEEESE TIME!!!!

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I believe they had twelve food trucks all serving their usual food and a special mac ‘n cheese dish at each stop.

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There was a Kevita stand too. I was soo thirsty after my run & the hour-drive, so I made a dash for the tent. The guys there said they weren’t actually selling them, but since they were closing they decided to give me a bottle for free- hey, I’ll take it! The apple cider vinegar is one of my faves.

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The lines were CRAZY long. So the three of us split up to different trucks.

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I stood in line to try the “tex mex mac” from the Grilled Cheez Guy.

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It was oookay. Not the best compared to the others. The best part were the candied jalapeños on top!

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Now for the good stuff! Amy stood in line to get the “almost famous” garlic (your left) and the classic with a crispy fried bacon-gruyere mac n’ cheese ball from Jackrabbit (right). Oh me oh my! They were both delicious- I could have ate that garlic one all day, but DJ’s fave was the bacon-gruyere.

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Here is the inside of it! It really was so good. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like bacon! Then again, this may have changed my mind…

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The three of us all joined back up in line with DJ as we ate the dishes Amy and I grabbed. The line DJ was in was the longest at the fest- I think it took about 45 minutes to get to the front to even order. While we waited and passed other food trucks as we moved up, we grabbed a couple more dishes to sample and share.

Below was the favorite of Amy and DJ’s over all! This was probably my second favorite! It is a hot cheeto mac and cheese with corn from sip n’ slurp. Corn in mac n’ cheese is soooo goood- why is that not a common thing?!

img_7314img_7010Then The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen had some BOMB crab mac n’ cheese. Wow oh wow this was good. I loaded it up with hot sauce and that added to it- yummm.

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And for what we waited a loong time for- these mac n’ cheese balls from Chef’s Food truck. These balls were deep friend m n’ cheese with truffle oil and parmesan. All I have to say is worth the wait. One of the greatest bites of anything I have ever had in my whole life. YUMMMMMMMM.

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To end, we had to vote for our faves! It was hard to choose. When you entered the fest you were given a noodle to vote for your favorite dish.

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We voted for Chef’s Truck, Slip n’ Slurp  & Jack Rabbit. The winner when announced were #1. Chef’s Truck (the mac n’ cheese ball- AMEN) #2. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (crab mac- I totally get why they placed!) and #3. JackRabbit (absolutely deserved to place, all their mac was out of this woooorld).

DJ wanted to take the long route back home. The views were stunning along the bay.

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On Sunday January 13th it was my 25th bday. Cue the quarter life crisis!!! DJ got up around 5 am to go help set up venue for church, and I woke up around 6 am to join up with the welcome team. It’s such a blessing to have weekends back. I missed serving & spending time with my Church fam.

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But lots of coffee was absolutely necessary!

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After church, we decided to try out one of the best breakfast spots in town for a little bday brunch- Joanie’s.

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This gem is a french restaurant in the heart of Palo Alto. In order to get seated you have to first put your name on the waiting list- I kind of liked this method rather than hunting down the host to put your name on the list.

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We knew we’d have a crazy long wait (about an hour) so we perused the Farmer’s Market right outside for a while.

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It was the most interesting & diverse Farmer’s Market I have ever been to! They had everything from dim sum dishes to avocado toast specialties and german bread. If we weren’t waiting to eat breakfast I could have found plenty to nom down on there. We’ll have to go back!

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Finally time to be seated!

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I ordered a Mimosa, and this is how it came! So cute. And it was less than $10. That is unheard of around here.

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I ordered the Tuscana omelette with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onions, provolone cheese, and basil pesto sauce. Goodnessss this was good. Only second behind Bill’s epic omelette. But this was a very close second. The hash-browns were just to die for. And the blueberry muffin was easily the best muffin I have ever had. I’ve raved about it to basically everyone I have come in contact with since.

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DJ had their breakfast medley and said it was one of the best brunch meals he has had in the Bay.

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We LOVED Joanie’s. I would say it is a contender for the best brunch spot in the bay, yes, even up against Bill’s.

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After brunch we decided to go the mall to look around. I grabbed a lolli from See’s candy of course!

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When we came home I picked up the mail and found the best treat ever in it! Cyranny from Cyranny’s Cove sent the sweetest holiday greetings & it arrived right on my bday- serendipitous? I think so! It made my day! She even incorporated a little inside joke to the postage, hehe <3

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In the evening I whipped up a Bubba burger for DJ & alll I wanted for my bday was mushroom & black truffle flatbread from TJ’s. I had been saving it in the freezer for my bday for a couple weeks now! I told Deej all I wanted to do was eat this flatbread, sip on some red wine, and blog for my birthday. So that is what we did!

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I added some crushed red pepper and tabasco to the flatbread, and it was so yummy. Then we just opened up some cards & gifts- It was a perfect birthday & I felt so loved!!

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Monday the 14th it was back to school full force and all I’ve done is school the last couples days since. We are gearing up for our marathon this weekend though. My mom and Pete are joining us in San Diego!

Questions for you:

  • Peak of your week so far?
  • Pit of your week so far?

xo <3

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One Big Rambling Post!

I started this post a few days ago, but haven’t had the chance to finish it until today- SOoOooo I woke up extra early to get this sun-of-a-gun done once and for all!

Hey y’all! This is my last official catch up post before going back to school tomorrow. I looked over the curriculum, and it looks really intense this semester. I know it will be okay, but I’m pretty anxious to just get started and get back in the groove of things. I have to remind myself these first weeks with “syllabus shock” are always overwhelming. So with a big deep breath I will get us all caught up. Sorry if I am MIA for a little bit here while I adjust back to the crazy study schedule, but know that I will blog and read your blogs whenever time allows. Gonna always need a study break, ya know? 😉

December 29th was a must needed restful Saturday. We did a whole lotta nothing, and it was great! I think I worked on some blogging & for dinner whipped us up some mahi mahi I had in the freezer with veggies for dinner. We watched our Arrested Development in the evening, of coursee.

December 30th we went to church in the morning, and we food was scarce in the apartment at this point since I still hadn’t been to the store since we left. I had some frozen bison taco meat for DJ I had before hand (thank goodness) & I made a hodge-podge for myself of eggs, squash, and hummus for lunch. It weirdly worked!

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I grabbed a See’s candy lollipop & headed to Trader Joe’s to get some real foood.

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And that brings us to NYE- December 31st!! Woohoo! Last year for NYE we were in Texas with my mom and Pete. (PS. WHAT was I thinking with that type of falsies? Someone should have given me a stern talking to, lol!!! What a stage I went through. Oy to the veyyy). Anywho- we just stayed in, and it was so fun & relaxing. I suggested we do that again this year and try to make soufflés since we’ve been talking about doing that together after going to Cafe Jacqueline. We got all our ingredients together and got to work while listening to our ole’ buddy, Frank Sinatra.

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While the soufflé was in the oven we enjoyed some yummy appetizers. Did I go overboard for just two people? Nahhhh, no such thing! Most everything is from TJ’s & I pulled out my homemade hummus. The artisanal bread was wonderful! I also made some roasted carrots & beets. I have never made my own roasted beets before, but it may become a staple- they crisped up so easily like chips & were just delicious!

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^^ Fun fact: That was all frozen cheese (half regular/half vegan) from when we went to wine country a few months ago. Cheese freezes very well. You just defrost it & it’s good to go. (Just don’t let it melt- I accidentally let the pepperjack/some of the vegan provolone go a tiny bit too long).

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I also saw these champagne gummies I could not help but resist! They were very tasty!

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So when we first took out our soufflé from the oven it hadn’t quite risen all the way, but I think it eliminated the “rise” after we let the cool air in. We cooked it a few minutes longer and it puffed up a bit more and the cheese got all yummy & caramelized on top! (but that’s why there is a divide in it- from when we tried to get a slice the first time around).

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The flavor was spot on- we tried to recreate the corn/ginger/garlic flavor, and it was pretty doggone close! Next time we are going to cook it a little longer & I think I’m going to whip my egg whites a bit more to give it more rise (isn’t that how it works?). It was still so light and airy, we enjoyed every little nibble!!! Once I perfect it I will share the recipe!

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We then plopped on the couch to watch the NYE show. This year looked frigid in the ole’ NYC.

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But ya cannot forget dessert. Believe it or not we still had room for this bad boy below.

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We saw this recipe on Tasty and when is a better time to recreate this monster than NYE? Here’s the thing though- we like every baked good we eat at home severely undercooked- practically asking for salmonella (what’s life without living on the edge). So all cookies, brownies, etc…must only be kissed by the oven! This meant it didn’t all “compact” the way it did in that video and really was just a big glob, but man, was it ever a good glob! SO rich, but goood. (I may or may not have had my slice with some double fudge brownie ice cream too).

^^ haha, it’s so obnoxious.

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Jan 1st was the last day off for DJ before he went back to work, so we just chilled at home, worked on Christmas “thank yous”, enjoyed leftovers throughout the day, and I went on a 12-mile run at some point. I also read a big chunk of The Hate You Give– I can’t wait to finish it- I could do a whole post on how it has challenged my perspectives & opened my eyes. Highly recommend this read to everyone.

The 2nd I spent nearly the entire day posting on Poshmark! LOVE Poshmark.

The 3rd I had a Facetime Dinner date with my best friend from Ohio, Rachel. MISS HER soooo much. My picture I took didn’t turn out, but she got one from her end!

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After, I went to Sara’s to hangout and catch up after our holidays. We had some tea and gabbed away for hours.

Friday, January 4th- January 5th were another two days of just getting things off the to-do list and ready for school and shipping Poshmark sales. In the evening I made these bacon wrapped scallops for DJ since our leftovers were getting low.

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He loved them! Definitely a two-thumbs-up recommendation!

Sunday, January 6th, we went early to church to help on the serving team (I’m so thankful I finally have a schedule that allows me to be a part of that again!). Since DJ “bumps out” (tears down the equipment, venue since it is a rental, etc.) after the 11:30 service we had some time between the two to grab some breakfast/brunch. We went to the table in Willow Glen that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I realized I kinda stalk restaurants- I’ll drive by a few times, look them up on YELP, go into a deep Google review dive, and then finally visit and introduce myself in person.

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Since it was raining outside & somewhat chilly their outdoor seating area was freed up. I had my winter coat on and they had heaters, so we agreed to go ahead and sit out there to weather the storm. The temperature was actually just fine with the heaters! We did walk through the inside of the restaurant to get there- loved the vibe and how it was decorated.

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The menu had such unique options & changes frequently! It was a bit on the pricier side, but it’s all seasonal locally sourced ingredients and everything was wonderful- the service, food, environment.

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The coffee was yummy- but could have been a bit hotter (but that’s what I say everywhere 😉 ).

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DJ tried their lemon ricotta pancakes and they were what lemony dreams were made of!! Sometimes when I order the lemon ricotta pancakes the “lemon” doesn’t quite come through, but the flavor was brilliant in these. Can you tell I snagged a few bites?

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I had their avocado, crab, and egg toast that was considered a “snack”. This was not your average avocado toast- it had Dungeness crab & trout roe on perfectly cooked toast (very slightly burnt). Mmm!

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Monday January 7th I met with my nurse friend Kim in the afternoon for coffee at Orchard Valley in Campbell. I am totally gonna have to come here to study! They had so many tables & it was nice n’ quiet.

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It was lovely to catch up with Kim, I always leave our conversations refreshed and encouraged.

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In the evening I made us Sriracha Shrimp Bowls with eggs & artisanal bread (still left from TJs!). It was a great combo, kinda reminded me of bibimbap!

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We plopped down to watch the train wreck that was the premiere of Colton’s season of The Bachelor. Lemme say, it easily could have been an hour, not three. I’m going to watch every second, but I am beyond tired of the virgin storyline, and quite frankly, I think some of the girls need to check themselves because a couple were downright disrespectful about it. I know I don’t usually get heated up in hurrr, but I could go off! First night favorites: Cassie and Katie. I thought Bri’s entrance was gold (although she looks a lot like Lauren Bushnell which…….. ehhh… that’s all I’ll say). I also didn’t mind Erika’s entrance! I liked that it was simple & a play on her name. Demi’s trouble, but I’m here for it. I’m surprised Jane & Erin got sent home. Would love to hear your thoughts!!

Going from reality TV back to reality, I told DJ something I wanted to try this year was one recipe per week of his request to get me out of my own cooking comfort zone. One of his favorite soups is cream of veg from the Dixie Stampede. I made it a long time ago (probably four years), and he requested it to be his recipe of the week. I made it on Tuesday the 8th, and it was crazy easy, but he kept raving about how much he loved it.

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Yesterday, the 9th, I started school. I don’t know why, but I was suffering from some severe anxiety that made it hard to even get through even a paragraph of reading. I thought I got it all under control after my residency ended, but it’s creeping back up. I think seeing the massive load of assignments we have this semester plus some big life changes (more on that to come) just felt overwhelming to think about (although it’s all great stress to have). And I know the anxiety is disproportional… I submitted an assignment and forgot to indent and space in a couple spots, and it nearly sent me into a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the day (It was a TWO point introduce yourself post). Coo-koo, I tell ya what! Maybe it’s hormones… is it a full moon?! I bet it’s a full moon. Nope, it’s not a full moon, I just checked. Scratch that. Hmm idk. I’m just gonna ride this wave out. I read some scripture in the evening which really helped put me at ease, and I already feel better refreshed this AM. Okay enough rambling- gotta get back to work. I get to see my third graders today too at B+G club that I haven’t seen since mid-December, so I have that to look forward to this afternoon!

Question for you:

  • Any recipes you’ve tried lately that you love?
  • Best book you’ve ever read? (I’m making my 2019 reading list now!)

xo <3

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Plants & Face-Plants.

Hey guys!!! I just finished up food prepping for work and am sitting back eating my usual giant summer salad. I’m pretty excited to write this update because there have been some fun happenins the last couple weeks.

April 21st I headed back to work. I forgot my lunch *sad face*, but discovered this gem in our hospital cafeteria instead. I always pack my lunch because we barely have time for our breaks so running to the cafeteria and back doesn’t make sense… plus it’s wayy more cost effective to pack. Anyway, this little gem is from Urban Remedy. Oh me oh my, so delish! If you see this out and about, snatch one! This bowl had quinoa, roasted sweet potatoe, cumin, himalayan pink salt, chickpea croutons, pumpkin seeds, and beets with tahini dressing. Lemme tell ya, a nurses lunch break is the most sacred, best part of the day (if they get it). Haha.

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April 23rd was a little “sandwich” day (a day off shift between a stretch of shifts), so basically my day consisted of sleeping and snacking.

DJ and I have been using Freshly to fill in a couple meals here with the couple codes they have for the first couple boxes. They have a southwestern bowl that I like combining with other foods- this combo was mmm mmm goood. I’m really feeling a quinoa kick lately. It just goes with everything!

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Also, from TJ’s I have started getting pickled beets and dolmas that I love combining with hummus and tofu and a slice of Dave’s Killer bread. The combo itself is killer 😉

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In the afternoon I went on a nice little jog to soak up some beautiful sun & blooms.

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The other kick I’m on is a purple sweet potato stuffed with avocado and Fage yogurt topped with cumin, paprika, Himalayan salt, and cayenne.

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After working the 24th, I came home starvin’ marvin’. I decided to whip up a makeshift pizza with the ingredients we had since all the pizza shops were closed. I made “naan” pizza with tandoori naan, tomato basil pasta sauce, sautéed veggies, and red pepper flakes (with of course some ranch… anyone else like ranch with their za?). My midwest is showing…

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And finally…. a moment to breathe for a bit on April 25th! I slept in and spent the morning cleaning up, catching up on emails, getting requirements done for grad school, yadayadayada. In the afternoon I had garlic and herb shrimp from Freshly over kale.

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On April 26th, I met up with my friend from work, Alexandra, for coffee at Voyager Craft Coffee in San Jose.

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Such an interesting place! I’m surprised I haven’t been here before now.

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The coffee and conversation were fantastic. I’ll definitely be back here for a pick-me-up!

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The sweet potato combo made another debut that afternoon.

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April 27th I woke up early and jogged my standard route and took note at how every single time I run there seem to be new flowers in bloom!

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I spent the day meal prepping again, and then had my standard massive salad for dinner. (carrots/bean burger/hummus/onions/mushrooms/power blend greens/avocado with green goddess dressing).

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The weekend at work was rough, rough, rough. Usually weekends are a respite from the craziness, but for some reason this one was ruthless. Needless to say, I was excited a couple days off. April 30th, I woke up with a twist on my sweet potato creation and instead did put yogurt & avocado over a rice cake.

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The rest of the day was spent getting Mother’s Day gifts, perusing the shops in Los Gatos, & making a bucket list for places to visit, hike, and eat in SF! I am determined to knock a bunch out this summer.

May 1st (how is it May already?!) I met my friend, Kim, at Cafe San Jose for brunchy food. Kim is also a nurse so it’s always a big breath of fresh air talking to someone who just “gets it”, ya know?

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This place is quite eclectic!

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I’ve been wanting to try this breakfast joint for foreeveeer. It had the best Yelp ratings and lived up to, no no surpassssed, the hype.

To start, I ordered an egg white veggie omelette… and oh. my. goodness…. this was the largest omelette I have ever seen. IT WAS HUGE (wait until you see it relative to the rest of the food in a couple pics).

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I also had read that trying their Swedish pancakes with ligonberry was a must. And I saw why… this was perfectly, perfectly cooked. The pancake was light, the buttery and fruity flavor tremendous…. one of the best breakfast morsels of all time. I am taking DJ back here ASAP to try this dish.

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In the afternoon I went for a nice long run.

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In the evening I made a Blue Apron meal- Mexico City Chicken Tinga Tostadas. DJ loved them! Can never go wrong with a Blue Apron meal (although I tend to make quite a mess when cooking up a storm).

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May 2nd was the last day off before another stretch of days. The day before going back to work I tend to get pretty down and feel anxious the whole day. (Sunday Scaries some might say…. but it could be any day of the week with a nursing schedule). I usually just meal prep and try to stay preoccupied with cleaning and what not. This day I was feeling extra anxious after such a horrible weekend….I had to do something to get me out of my funk, so I pulled out my SF Bucket List and tried to find something I could knock out in a couple hours. I decided to put the food prep on hold and get myself heck out of the house.

I got in my car, made sure I had enough gas in the tank, opened the sun-roof, rolled down the windows, blasted music teenage style and drove into the city.

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First stop was Twin Peaks. This overlook promises the best views of SF.

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After driving up a winding road, I parked with no problem (which is rare in SF) at the bottom of one of the peaks (there are two next to each other- hence twin peaks).

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It was FREEZING up there and so windy. I thought I was going to fly off the peak, lol. I held onto my hat and made the trek up the stairs.

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It was worth it. It provided a 360 degree view from the top. (and provided sub zero degree temps!) (Ok that’s dramatic, but it was chilly chilly!).

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After appreciating the majesty of the peaks, I headed to my next spot: The Sutro Baths.

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I didn’t think I’d been to the Sutro Baths before, but I actually had… with my friend Annie! There is a fascinating history behind them you can read here. They are situated right next to Lands End, one of my all time favorite hiking spots.

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I popped in my headphones and listened to a podcast while making the SF oasis my playground.

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In this moment when I took this picture, I embraced the warm sun beating down, had this view in front of me, and took a deep breath. I felt peace, just peace. The anxiety of going back to work dissipated for this brief moment in time.

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I came back home, feeling much refreshed, and food prepped with whatever groceries we had leftover. I made a stuffed sweet potato with leftover southwestern bowl and cottage cheese from breakfast at Cafe San Jose.

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I also prepped the second half my omelette with cottage cheese, southwestern bowl, and avocado.

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The next couple work days went well. I needed a bit of a break from the insanity that had been my last few shifts.

And this brings us to May 5th… you know what that means!! CINCO DE MAYO!!! I love an excuse for Mexican food. Can I get an Amen?!

I went on an easy run early in the morning, but suffered a nice little fall. I tripped literally over my own two feet. I fall far too often when I run. Unfortunately, this was not going to be my last tumble for the weekend…. stay tuned…

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I quickly forgot about the horrible fall as I got ready to hang out with two of my favorite people- Amy, DJ’s twin and my friend Sara y’all may remember from several blog posts.

We decided to go to Aqui, basically a Cal-Mex Panera. We had Aqui-perfected Mexican eats and drinks, awesome conversation, and plenty of laughs.

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Their veggie quesadillas were by far my favorite dish I’ve had there (which says a lot because I love all their dishes).

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When we caught the Cavs game on a TV in the restaurant, we glued ourself to the game for the last few minutes. When Lebron made that game winning shot, Amy and I did not hide our excitement. Have to represent the CLE in the CA! GOOO CAVS!

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After an unforgettable time, we went to Target to pick up sweets and went back to our apartment to watch The Sinner to wrap up the evening (woah, this show is twisted, but I love it. It’s giving off major Girl on the Train vibes).

Sunday, May 6th, I woke up bright and early to run a half marathon with Coastal Trail Runs, this one was called the Horseshoe Lake Trail Run. I ran a Coastal Train run last year and it was extraordinarily challenging because you run up a mountain essentially. I love them though because they are a great way to get some phenomenal views and have a nice long run on trails I would never dare to go on my own.

Now, I have to say…before the race I did think I was going to get murdered. I went on an emotional marathon before the race even began. The GPS took me up a tortuous road on a random mountain. Upon the Alexa-wannabe GPS robo-lady announcing, “you have arrived”, I found myself in the middle of nowhere. No other cars, people, or gu stations were in sight. I didn’t know what to do, especially because I didn’t have cell service.

Finally, a car slowly approached my isolated destination and I could make out a mid thirties guy with a neon shirt on, snacking on what looked like trailmix- I put my bet on the fact that he was a runner. I mean I had to be close to the start, right? I waved him down from my driver’s side and he rolled his window down. I asked if he was going to the race. In a British accent, he confirmed he was and told me to follow him but warned me the following road was treacherous. We started on a dirt road that was narrow, and I’m pretty confident would not allow two cars going in both directions. What if another car comes? I thought to myself. One wrong move, you are over the mountain. After ten minutes I found myself deeper and deeper into the mountain, the fog thickening, and my personal plot thickening. Christmas tree farms were on either side, with their Christmas decor still on full display. The smiling dirt dusted snowmen didn’t fill me with joy, but rather terror. This was the stuff of horror films.

At this point I was confident that this man was just leading my back to some obscure location to be murdered. I tried calling DJ, but the call immediately dropped. I didn’t know what to do, then he finally pulled over to the side of the road. I barely cracked my window as he got out of his car and ran back to me. He said, “You should be OK now, just take this road straight for another 20 minutes, I’m going to step on it so I’m not late”.

Another 20 minutes?! It was already 7:20…. the race started at 8:00. What the….. ? I thanked him, and he took off and left me literally in the dust. I drove at a more legal speed down the road, and finally, at 7:50 arrived at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, the starting point. They may want to update their online directions. Baha.

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After racing to the porta-potties, I sprinted to the start as the gun went off.

The race was horribly bottle-necked for the first couple miles, but evened out after a bit. I was awe-struck by the views, worth the 1800 feet ascent.

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I did have another fall at about mile 9. Whoooops! I can’t seem to stay on my own two feet. At the finish as DJ greeted me with a big hug, he just said, “Again?!” as he surveyed my dirt covered face, hands, and knees. Lol.

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And the best part of races….. the post race snacks!

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When I say I ate dirt, I literally ate dirt. I caught my body with my face. Haha.. I knocked the wind out of myself, so my chest still kinda hurts when I cough or turn in weird directions too. I find the whole thing pretty hilarious. Before this weekend I had gone quite a while without falling, so I was due for a good tumble.

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**WARNING: Graphic image to follow**

My knee is struggling though for sure…. not sure how I’m gonna be on it for 12 hours tomorrow.

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I ended up in 4th in my age group. After the race, DJ and I headed to Bill’s Cafe (our favorite), that now has a location within walking distance of our apartment. WOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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I had a massive breakfast of my go-to French Garden omelette and a Bill’s Mimosa.

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DJ had their scrumptious crab Benedict. (Their home-fries and potatoes are the besttttt around too).

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Last evening, we headed to DJ’s family’s for some yummy grilled food & great chats. We also started a documentary called Wild Wild Country on Netflix. It’s already super fascinating after one episode. Has anyone watched it?!? Thanks for hanging in there for this looooooong post. How are you?!

xo <3

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