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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

HELLO FROM GLORIOUSLY WARM NYC!

Sidewalk Sunshine

Before we begin, I have another confession to make.

As I explain in my About page, Bean is one of my more popular nicknames. So much so that I will respond to the name Bean, should someone desire to punish me in public.

Well, an L.L.Bean catalog arrived at our apartment yesterday, and I have taken GREAT pleasure in the extensive product descriptions that make me lord and master of the rustic suburban furniture world.

  • BEAN’S Adirondack Chair
  • BEAN’S All-Weather Braided Rugs

Interested in one of my Waterhog Mats? I’ll have to get back to you.

I get a huge kick of out this. Please don’t judge me.

Now that’s off my chest, how’s everyone’s weekend been? Mine has been truly STELLAR so far. Both days started off RIGHT, which I’m convinced set the tone for everything else!

Wonders never cease

Into this weekend’s Green Monster Mix:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 scoop banana Spirutein
  • 1.5 tbsp crunchy PB
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbs flax meal
  • dash cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 4-5 handfuls of spinach

Everybody in the pot and let ‘er whir!

Morning bliss

I honestly can feel the energy that these smoothies give  me slowly spread through my bod as I drink them! So awesome.

After digesting yesterday’s Green Monster, I hit up Equinox for a quick interval treadmill workout. This one is super simple, but it keeps me entertained and is definitely a go-to when I want something relatively short and with moderate intensity.

K.I.S.S. Interval Treadmill Workout

Minute Incline Speed

0-3:00

4 4.8
3:00-5:30 0 7.6
5:30-6:00 0 8.4
6:00-9:00 6

4.6

9:00-11:30 0 7.6
11:30-12:00 0 8.4
12:00-15:00 7.5 4.4
15:00-17:30 0 7.6
17:30-18:00 0 8.4
18:00-21:00 9 4.2
21:00-23:30 0 7.6
23:30-24:00 0 8.4
24:00-27:00 4 4.8
27:00-29:30 0 7.6
29:30:00 0 8.4

*I ended this workout with a 3-5 minute cool down, walking at a zero incline with a speed of 4. And a stretch sesh, always :).

Back at my apartment, I did a super-speedy turnaround, because I had my dear friend Hillery’s birthday brunch to attend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn!

Birthday girl on the left, just doin' her thang!

Brunch was at a very cool restaurant called Dumont Burger, which I’d heard about before through my foodie radar. Hillery’s older sister Christy had done some killer planning for the brunch, so we arrived to a Bean’s long wooden table, replete with the yummy makings for Bloody Marys and Mimosas, as well as an adorable pre-fixe birthday menu! Thanks, Christy!

THIS BRUNCH WAS SO.MUCH.FUN!

We started with delicious salads for the table, and then almost everyone ordered the signature burger for their entree.

It took all of my willpower to snap this shot before diving in.

 DuMont Burgergrilled brioche, Boston bibb, tomato, red onion & house made pickles. I added Gruyere cheese to mine (best cheese ever).

Slapmesideways, this burger was INCREDIBLE!

The brioche bun and pickled onions added a perfect amount of sweetness to the tender juicy (medium rare) beef and the salty Gruyere.

Gone baby gone

This was absolutely one of the best burgers I’ve had in the last few years.

NOTE: It is very easy to get to this part of Brooklyn from the city–quick 10 minute subway ride on the L from Union Square–so don’t let logistics deter you if you’re feeling a Dumont Burger!

Every one of us DEMOLISHED our burgers. Satisfied and full in the wonderful, caveman way that only red meat can provide, we spent another hour or so enjoying eachother’s company and polishing off the Bloodies and Mimosas!

Friend Love + Denim = Good as it Gets.

Nellie and her main squeeze

Birthday babe and HER leading man!

After finishing up at Dumont, we headed to the nearby Radegast Hall & Biergarten to continue the fun!

This place is enormous, with a lively, open atmosphere that’s perfect for a sunny Spring day! I can’t comment on the beer, since a fountain Diet Coke with lime was calling my name, but I CAN comment on their traditional German food offerings, which are displayed loudly on an expansive indoor grill.

Ach, mien!

But I won’t.

While standing in the bathroom line at Radegast Hall, I caught a whiff of the unmistakable scent of (take a big leap with me here)…CHOCOLATE. I commented on this phenomenon aloud, and the girl next to me confirmed my sanity nostrils’ message.

Turns out, we were next door to the famous Mast Brothers Chocolate shop!

I told you it’s been a great weekend.

After leaving Radegast, Nellie and her sweet boyfriend Eli indulged me for a quick peek inside Mast Brother, where they have like TEN different free samples!

Williamsburg, BK for the win!

Everything I tried was fabulous, but my favorite was the Black Truffle, believe it or not. Threw me off at first, but the distinctness of the truffle dissipated as the dark chocolate slowly started to melt, and the two flavors blended into a rich, earthy sweetness.

If I ever get my wonderful mama to Brooklyn, Mast Brothers has its work cut out for them.

Back in the city, the rest of my afternoon was perfectly leisurely.

After fixing myself a yummy dinner, which included a respectable slice of 1-2-3 Cake, I met a friend at the neighborhood Smith Restaurant  for a quick drink. Just wasn’t quite ready to end the fantastic day! The front of the Smith is essentially a giant window, which they open up in warm weather to create a lusciously breezy dining area and bar.

I enjoyed every cold, frothy sip of my Pilsner before heading home for the night :).

Today has been awesome as well, so I think I’ll save the details for tomorrow and we can start the week on a positive note!  Have a wonderful Sunday evening!

WHAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR WEEKEND?

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TGIF!!! I hope you all are as pumped to head into the weekend as I am!

As a warm-up for your taste buds, I present my absolutely delectable breakfast and lunch today!

A Strawberry Sunrise: Greek yogurt with cinnamon, honey and strawberries. Pb&J on a whole wheat English muffin with Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

Maple-glazed turkey on whole wheat with Swiss, lettuce, avocado, grain mustard and balsamic vinaigrette (my addition!). Side o' carrot and celery sticks.

Savored every bite of these meals, and now moving riiiight on to LAST night for some more foodie pics!

Last night, I had a scrumptious dinner with a great dude at a hip tapas restaurant called Boqueria (Flatiron location). Not a shabby equation, eh?

My friend Rob, who lived/studied in Barcelona and is fluent in the language, chose Boqueria to satisfy a recent hankerin’ for some authentic Spanish grub, and I couldn’t have been more pleased! I LOVE tapas restaurants, and Boqueria did not disappoint.

I let Rob do the ordering, since I had hungry eyes for it all he had a better sense of what would be authentic amidst the vast array of options. Great job, Rob!

We each started with a local Barcelona beer called Estrella Damm, which we used to wash down these LUSCIOUS  nuggets! : Dátiles con Beicon: Dates stuffed with almonds and Valdeón (blue cheese) wrapped in bacon

4 dates in one night - ain't no thang!

Note: This isn’t my picture, which was rather off-putting in the dim light, but the bacon on ours was more thoroughly cooked.

I’ve had this dish at tapas restaurants before, and surprisingly, it can go wrong. Boqueria hit the nail on the head, however–the dates themselves were HUGE and juicy, the blue cheese melted in my mouth and most importantly, the bacon was perfectly crispy!

We then moved on to two more appetizers, which arrived together:

Bread buddies

Left: Pan con Tomate: Grilled bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil. The freshness of the ingredients shone through in this dish’s clean and clear flavor (there was no hint of facewash).

Right: This octopus salad was a daily special. The meat was tender, almost mimicking an olive tapenade, and it was perfect on the crunchy baguette slices [can anyone supply a Spanish equivalent here?].

Rob also ordered a Spanish red that we enjoyed with our apps, while our main dish simmered away in the Boqueria kitchen! (takes 30 mins–order in advance)

Stole the Show

Paella de Mariscos: Bomba rice, monkfish, sepia, squid,shrimp, clams, mussels, saffron, salsa verde

knew it tasted fantastic, Rob knew why

Crunchy goodness

See that glistening, caramel-colored film on the bottom? Apparently it’s called the Soccarat: The browned, crusty layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the common Italian or Spanish dish known as paella

Rob and I had NO shame when it came to scraping up every last bit of the rich, buttery Soccarat. Lil’ public elbow grease never hurt anyone.

We finished the dish with warm, happy bellies, and I couldn’t imagine the meal getting much better…

Remember when I called Rob a bang-up guy? He deserved that titled BEFORE last night. HE OWNS that title AFTER last night.

Apparently, halfway through the meal, Rob realized that we were a five-minute walk from Madison Square Park and subsequently…

While I duck and cover, please absorb that I’d actually NEVER been to Shake Shack before. I have no idea how this happened, with a great love for burgers and a greater, indescriminate  love for desserts. But so it was.

And NOW–now I can’t even remember my own name, let alone how this wasn’t in my life until less than 24 hrs ago.

Bells will be rinngginnggg

The CONCRETE (we chose to build our own):

If you’re not familiar with the famous Shake Shack Concrete, it’s like a Dairy Queen Blizzard or a McFlurry–but BETTER. If you’re not familiar with the Dairy Queen Blizzard OR a McFlurry? I have pity but no miracles for you.

Mine: Vanilla custard, bananas, peanut butter sauce and chocolate-covered toffee. His was the same, subbing cookie dough for the toffee. Both left me reeling but I preferred mine :).

Honestly, I didn’t have words then and I don’t now. I just kept sort of laughing and eating until I was practically licking the cup clean and crying. If you haven’t been, don’t be a foo’ and wait as long as I did!  This cuppaluv was the PERFECT end to an all-around awesome night.

I’m off to attend to a slightly healthier dessert that’s bakin’ in the oven as we speak :).

Have a great Friday night!

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Although tuna packets and almond extract managed to make it into my suitcase yesterday, somehow my COMPUTER CHARGER did NOT, and my post last night wiped the lil’ guy’s battery clean out!

It should be arriving in the mail soon–thanks Dad! Until then, this battle to post on my iPad is a bloody one! (no iPad, this is NOT the Canterbury Tales and I did NOT mean to say ‘thence’ and ‘simple imple’)

PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

I beg to differ. Today, the small stuff MADE my day.

1) I discovered that jacket pockets can make fantastic cup holders.

Ain't no shame in this game

2) I mustered the courage to order a curveball for lunch today (I KNOW I’m not the only one who views lunch as the highlight of a workday). I was inspired to order this after droooling over Allie’s post, another favorite blog of mine.

Thankfully, the sushi I ordered was lipsmackin’ good! Fresh fish and avocado, all wrapped up in chewy, nutty brown rice.

Keep that palate dancing!

It was a wee bit light, but I happily rounded it out with some hummus, veggies, and a chunkertwo of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt

I am chocolate hear me roar

3) I drank,  have been drinking, and will FOREVER continue to drink out of my new pink tumbler cup!

I feel pretty!

I picked this up at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $7.99. It’s environmentally friendly, makes drinking water 10,000x more fun, and is ahhh-dorable. I’m smitten.

4) Lastly, I worked out in some of my brand new workout gear!

Practically edible

I am a strong believer in the power of attractive exercise gear as motivation to get your butt to the gym.

Not only does cute gear help get you there, but it improves the exercise experience as well. If I’m decked out in my colorful Lycra finest instead of a ratty tee and soffes, I find that the following occurs:

I feel better about my appearance–> I will allow myself to be enjoy being seen in public –> I have a more positive attitude –> I’m more encouraged to complete my workout to the best of my ability!

I know it’s simple imple, but it’s TRUE.

The best part about tonight’s new getup? It was  SUPER CHEAP!

If you’re on a budget but in need of new exercise clothes, please let me direct your attention to the nearest TJ Maxx! I got ALL OF THE ABOVE FOR $78.

If you live in NYC, here are several locations:

407 E 59th St–(the one I went to!)
Manhattan, NY 10022
620 Avenue of the Americas # 3
New York
808 Columbus Avenue
New York
250 W. 57th Street
New York
Now that I’ve convinced you that it’s sometimes a good idea to sweat the small stuff, here are a few more tips for little things that can make a big difference in the quality of your fitness routine:
  • Keep your music FRESH. A few new songs can do wonders!
  • Change it up. try different classes, intervals, outdoor versus indoor exercise, weight training versus cardio. Keeps things interesting and your body will thank you for the variety.
  • Look forward to your pre-workout and post-workout snacks. Make it something you love the taste of–your favorite granola bar, Greek yogurt and berries, an apple with peanut butter–whatever will treat those ‘buds right and give you the energy you need This applies if you’re rolling right into a meal as well!
  • Jazz up your H2O. I love adding an Emergen-C packet or sugar-free Crystal light to my water bottle. Makes it that much more fun when you need some hydration!
  • Chew Gum. I don’t always do this, but somehow chewing gum during a boring treadmill or elliptical workout helps the time go by!

And here it comes (dramatic, I know, but I like separating my No. 1 tips–you’re listening, aren’t you?!)

GO INTO EACH WORKOUT WITH THE ATTITUDE THAT YOU WILL DO YOUR BEST, AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. Perhaps this sounds trite, but you’ve heard it before for a reason.

I am all for setting goals, but at the end of the day,  you exercise for yourself and your own well-being and no one else. If you tell yourself before each trip to the gym that you will do what feels right for YOUR body ON THAT DAY, you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy your workout!

Aight guys, I’m hitting the hay. My next few days are BUSY but I’ll try to give you a little this and that when I can!

Tell me: What small things make a big difference in your day? Do you have any tricks for getting your booty in gear?

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BACK IN NYC after a marvelous Easter break at home!!!

I hope everyone came out of their weekend with a yummy lil’ nugget of positive memories!

Don't say it. And don't judge a Yummy by its cover.

I was definitely a little blue as we headed towards the airport this morning. It’s always tough to say goodbye to my family and the Marshmallowfluffernutter.

I can't work with this woman.

Sorry, PUFF

That's better. Now feed me ham for eye contact.

My departure was bittersweet however; because not only did I get to return to my beloved NYC, I came back with some serious LOOT a Big Girl Easter Basket!!

Don’t misunderstand me–nothing is better than the traditional Cadbury/Peeps/”Nest” material that doesn’t seem to disentangle from your fingers/Plastic eggs with something in them?! Oh, it’s a jelly bean…

Alright, maybe I can think of a few better things. Which is why I was excited that this year I  didn’t get a traditional Easter basket.

[for real though moms out there everywhere, these baskets are bomb–then, now and always–thank you!]

Instead, this year my mama let me pick out some fun specialty items from the grocery store! AND I let me pick out some fun specialty items from the family pantry! That’s what I like to call TEAMWORK.

Behold, the fruits of our combined my efforts!

And another lesson learned in photography!

Starting from the bottom left and moving clockwise (you’ve got this):

  • Tuna packets. Glamorous, no. Fast, filling and keep forever? I’ll let that freak flag fly.
  • Extra Long Lasting Watermelon Gum; 2nd shout out to this amazing stuff
  • Ah, more Yummy nuggets! Unsulphured dried apricots.
  • Ak Mak Sesame Crackers; incredible crunch and sesame flavor; incredibly addicting
  • Whole Foods bulk bin Whole Wheat Fig Bars, a.k.a FIG NEWTONS FOR GROWN UPS. Nuff said.
  • Amazing Grass Amazing Meal “100% whole food nutrition mix” in Chocolate and Vanilla Chai: never tried it but heard great things; will report.
  • McCormick Almond Extract. Because it was unopened and Mom had an extra. So sue me.
  • Vosges Dark Chocolate with banana and walnut bits. New-to-me flavor. Will report but let’s be serious; how could that go wrong?
  • Publix Fruit and Nut Breakfast Bread. I probably can’t pass this sugary, good ole’ white-processed-flour loaf for healthy, but it’s doughy and delicious and reminds me of my sweet grandfather, which is ample reason for me :). Highly recommend if you live near a Publix!
  • Last but certainly not least: to-go packets of  JUSTIN’S MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER

Uh, can we highlight that again?

and Essie nail color Lilacism--get in the game

I decided that this product deserve a moment in the spotlight.

If you like almond butter, if you HATE almond butter and if you are simply neutral to it/have no earthly idea what almond butter is…

YOU.MUST.TRY.THIS.JAR.OF.LUV

Not only does it have an ingredient list as pure and unadulterated as its heavenly taste, but the founder of the company SELF-PROFESSES his love for this particular flavor on the side of the container.

It is a wee bit pricy, but if you are EVER in the mood to treat yourself to something that is healthy, wholesome but totally decadent tasting, consider this baby.

There’s one product that actually didn’t make it into the above picture, because I was using it in cahoots with my Justin’s jar all weekend 🙂

Great Harvest 9-Grain Bread. The healthy foil to my Publix Breakfast Bread.

I first heard about Great Harvest Bread Company through Kath’s blog, Kath Eats Real Food. This was one of the FIRST healthy living blogs I stumbled upon, and it caught my attention because Kath and her husband own a Great Harvest bakery in Charlottesville, VA, where I went to college.

For months, I watched with longing as Kath posted mouthwatering photos of steaming Great Harvest loaves, some oozing cheddar cheese, others swirled with cinnamon or studded with nuts. So when I spotted the brand at the Nashville Whole Foods last year, you’d better believe there was one on the checkout conveyor belt before mom could notice you can say teamwork!

And I couldn’t resist bringing the remainder of this weekend’s loaf back along with the rest of my prizes.

Remind me to tell you about the time I got stopped by Security coming back from Easter break one year and had to watch the security guard pull tuna packets out of my suitcase with his right hand, while holding a loaf of bread in his left.

I just smiled serenely.

I'm worth it.

Ok, I know I’ve shared a lot today. But I think I still owe a few of you something. The few of you that haven’t been able to concentrate on the rest of this post, because you’re stuck trying not to imagine to figure out what the uniformly-sized brown nuggets are in my first picture.

It’s time I put you at ease.

First, a caterpillar

My mom and I randomly snagged a pack of these slice-and-bake cookies as we made our way through Publix. We’d both heard of the Immaculate Baking Company and its commitment to premium, natural ingredients and baker convenience, and we were sold!

The whole family was HIGHLY dubious when we opened the plastic, dipped the ‘nugs in a small packet of sugar crystals (provided) and popped them in the oven with a prayer.

now a butterfly!

They were SCRUMPTIOUS! We wiped the nervous sweat off our brows and ate these chewy golden wonders with Hagen Daz Vanilla. I am definitely going to pick these up and other flavors when I need an easy dessert recipe!

He showed those 'nugs who's boss.

Apparently thumbs-ups run in the family.

I can’t be the only one…what do you put in your ‘Easter Basket’/ raid your parents’ pantry for when you’re home?

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Happy Easter!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend, no matter what you were celebrating!

I done good

I always look forward to my trips home to Nashville to be with my family on the holidays. This was a particularly poignant Easter for me, however; because in two weeks, this house is officially no longer ours.

The five of us have relished every year in this beautiful home, but with time has come different needs for our growing family, and we have found a house closer to the heart of Nashville that is much more practical for the future.

I knew all of this going into the weekend, and was worried that I would be too emotional–too caught up in the “last time”-ness of each ritual to to enjoy my weekend at home.

Breakfast: Frothy coffee; toasted fruit and nut bread smeared with almond butter; berry, spinach and yogurt smoothie

Lunch: Toasted multigrain, cherry preserves, melted gruyere, over-medium egg; arugula salad with reduced balsamic;....sneaky carrot with sea salt; chocolate avocado mousse as needed

Easter Dinner: Lamb chops with rosemary marinade; creamy mashed potatoes with peas and mint; bibb lettuce salad with feta, garden-grown asparagus and grapefruit

Ginger cookies and cocktails for dessert

But I realized something over the course of the day.

These aren’t really last anythings.

As long as I can remember, my family has sat down together for dinner on every single night possible. Those first memories didn’t take place in Nashville, however. They took place in Baltimore, MD, where I was born and spent the majority of my childhood.

Boy, did those firsts and lasts feel like mountains at age twelve. And boy, did I NEVER want to feel that sense of displacement again.

Thankfully, today carried not even the faintest hint of that sensation.

Because at age 26, as I watched and participated in my family’s pure joy–pure absorption in one another

And as we sat down together once again at the dinner table, so many years and rituals later after that wrenching move

I knew with a fill-up-your-lungs deep conviction that we’ll be taking everything precious with us when we go

Yes, that includes the bourbon.

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This post is a tribute to my darling friend Frances, who first served me a version of this recipe one cold, particularly lonely NYC night, because she knew without my saying, that CHOCOLATE was just what the doctor ordered…

Friendship like you read about

Remember when I mentioned that protein powder + sweetener + Greek yogurt can taste like buttercream frosting?

Well, if you don’t love those ingredients,

OR IF YOU JUST REALLY LOVE FROSTING

You rang?

You might

There’s not

Wanna

much

Sit down

else

For this one.

To say.

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE:

  • 2 VERY ripe medium-sized avocados (almost on the verge of going bad)
  • 1/2 c high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I’ve used Ghiradelli and Sharffenberger)
  • 1/2 c Agave (or honey, maple syrup, or feel free to experiment with sweetener of your choice)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt to taste (start with 1/4 tsp)

Peel and cut avocados into 1/2 inch chunks. Throw all ingredients into food processor. Process, scraping down sides until texture is smooth and everything is incorporated. Add any extra cocoa powder or sweetener etc. to taste. Transfer to Tupperware and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes, or as long as you like.

Grab a spoon…or get a firm grip on the sides of that Tupperware…and DIG IN

Oh, and this one’s Over the Counter

Thank you, Frances :). Love you girl!

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Hello again!

I had a fantastic day yesterday, from my 6 am cab ride to the airport (stick with me till the end!) to the moment I crawled into my soft cool sheets and went lights out.

This day was long, filled with joy and beauty, and reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am to not only have family members that love me, but that I truly respect and admire as incredible individuals.

Evening light at home sweet home

First though, backtrack with me a bit to the start of my journey in the slightly less glamorous LaGuardia airport.

Well that’s not fair, I actually DO enjoy airports. There’s something fun about pretending I’m Tom Hanks in The Terminal exploring them and seeing what goodies they have to offer. However, I DO NOT enjoy spending money on their price-inflated products (can I get a witness?!), so I try to pack meals and snacks to take with me when I travel. Yesterday morning, I whipped up a SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast at home and wrapped/baggied it to eat once I was settled at the gate.

I miss you

What did I come up with?

A PORTABLE PANCAKE BREAKFAST SANDWICH!!!

I have made this utter dee-LIGHT before, but I completely forgot how delicious, easy and convenient it is! I came up with the idea one day when I was craving a PB&J and didn’t have any bread in the apartment. Somehow, the Kodiak Cake box caught my eye, and I saw no good reason why two hearty pancakes couldn’t sub in!

A true Renaissance mix

WORKED LIKE A CHARM! I just whipped up two bread-slice-sized Kodiaks (or you can use WHATEVER pancake recipe you like) using 1/2 c of the mix, and spread them with about 1.5 tbs of peanut butter and jam to taste! (I used TJs natural crunchy and TJs Strawberry)

A KEY move that I stumbled upon was taking advantage of the pliability of the still-warm cakes to gently press the edges together around the sandwich and seal in the fillin’. This creates a somewhat pita-pocket-like result.

Lemme tell you, this concoction is the BEES KNEES. I may even go so far as to say it is better than a PB&J on mere bread (first try, then find me for battle). I ADORE pancakes, but they’re usually viewed as weekend-warriors only because of their lack of portability. NO LONGER!

I’m sure I looked like a complete fool sitting at my airport gate MARVELING at the paper-towel-wrapped lump in my hand.

I'd do it again and I won't apologize neither

My mind has been reeling with potential Portable Pancake combinations!  Almond butter and maple syrup? Bacon, egg and cheese? Egg, cheese and jam? The CHEESE stands alone?!

I topped my doughy-love off with a crisp apple and boarded the plane soon after

That may or may not be dessertstalking.com in the background.

My flight to Nashville was super easy! I was in and out of sleep until touchdown.

Both of my parents arrived to pick me up at the Nashville airport (never gets old), and we  headed towards home in the bright and breezy Spring weather. As we pulled into the driveway, I was greeted by the third member of my welcome wagon, our family dog PUFFERDOODLESNUFFERFLUFF!

Ok, her  name is Puff, but I can’t help but throw together an amalgam of mushy nicknames for her whenever I see her :).

You rub, I indulge

After a bit of unpackin’ and bloggin’, the  rest of my day continued to offer up some seriously delicious eats as my mom and I had a blast running errands and cooking our way through Good Friday!

To cover as much ground as possible for short attention spans with efficiency, here is a quick Foodie Flipbook of the day’s highlights!

Lunch: Spinach salad with sesame dressing. Tuna salad with mayo, Dijon, diced sweet pickles and freshly ground pepper. Served with Ak Mak crackers--love

Paired with Starbucks; first KIND bar ever! Wholesome ingredient list, chewy texture. Big fan.

Dinner spread: Arugula salad with cucumber, sunflower seeds and sweet onion dressing; deviled eggs; baked shrimp with butter sauce over brown rice

Deserving of a highlight

Oh fine, you too

Chocolate Avocado Mousse; recipe to come!

Night Cap

We drew-out our delicious dinner for hours and capped the night with a bit of Tennessee bourbon, simply to celebrate our being together!

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that my day began on a positive note as well. That’s because my cab driver (If you don’t already, LISTEN to them) gave me the following advice as we drove through a growing New York sunrise:

“Be positive, aggressive and bold. If you think negative, you will always have negativity in your life. If you think positive, you will always be shining like this bright sunshine.”

I was stunned by the simplicity and utter truth of his words, and vowed to keep them in mind in the way that I approach the world.

It’s no surprise then, that I ended up having such a wonderful day :). Now enjoy the rest of yours!

Has a cab driver ever told you something that you found inspiring?

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