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Archive for the ‘chik'n strips’ Category

Working on the weekends isn’t too bad when the days are mellow and the weather is mediocre (I swear I heard the phrase “June gloom” six hundred and fifty three times yesterday).  Having interesting patients helps too…

My shift flew by and as 7 pm approached I texted dinner plans to Kyle. 

me: Veggie Grill take-away tonight?

kyle: yes.  what do you want?

me: Baja Fiesta salad, add chik’n, dressing on the side

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Done and done.

I got this same order last time so I knew it would hit the spot. 

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This time I had my camera to take photos of my Baja Fiesta salad at home (as opposed to my cell phone for sub-par pics).

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Chopped romaine, papaya, avocado, roasted corn salsa, quinoa, cucumber, cilantro, tortilla strips and a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (plus the chillin’ chickin’ I added on).

I love their ginger papaya vinaigrette, but I also squeezed some lime juice in for an acidic punch.  It complements the avocado.  :)  

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I also dumped some extra quinoa on top because I like carbs

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Obviously none of these tweaks were necessary, and getting the salad how it’s intended in the restaurant is perfectly delicious.  I’m just unable to leave anything be once it enters the kitchen.  Cookbook recipes included.  Anyone else have this problem?

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Kyle got the All Hail Kale salad, which is one I’ve been eyeing for some time now.   I’m glad he got it so I could scope out how it looks. 

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It has marinated kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts with a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (you can add blackened chickin’ or tempeh for extra).  Kyle got it with blackened chickin’ and a side of sweetheart fries (aka sweet potato fries).

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He said it was really good.  In fact, he was talking about it all night…so I’m not sure what he was expecting, but clearly it was way better than he was anticipating.  I don’t think I need to say how the fries were.  They were obviously outstanding. 

The Veggie Grill is definitely becoming a staple take-away in our lives.  It’s such an easy option – fast and fresh – plus I adore that they are bringing veg-friendly fast food to the masses.  I will support that.  They recently opened a new restaurant in The Grove, too.  Expand and dominate a la Starbucks!  Now if only they would open up their next location on the I-5. 

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After dinner I had a lot lot lot of dessert.  I lost track of the number of rice cakes I had, but I know that the peanut butter jar was left feeling significantly ravaged. 

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The art of packing food is my specialty.  Much like making my daily work eats (tutorials here), packing food for traveling is a bit of a craft.  Some may find it easier to buy meals at the airport rather than go through the hassle of taking extra baggage through security.  Personally, I’m not one of those people.  I don’t care if it adds 25 pounds of dead weight that I have to schlep by plane, train, and automobile, for me it’s SO worth the energy.  The cost to benefit analysis probably differs depending on your diet and distance, but knowing I won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for crappy food (with limited vegan options) is worth it.  Peace of mind for a peaceful stomach. 

Tips:

  • BYOB (tea bags and empty water bottles) – The way I get around the liquid law is filling up my klean kanteen at the fountain (for free) once I’ve made it through airport security.  Also most places will give you free hot water (some charge 25-50 cents).
  • Skip the salt – Flying causes bloating and there’s no reason to add to that.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I already feel gross within a second of boarding a flight.  So I generally try and ditch the pretzels and salted nuts and drink plenty of fluids.  And get an aisle seat 😉
  • Pack way more than you think you’ll need – This is the same as how I pack for work.  If I have too much stuff, fine, it’s not like I have to eat it all in transit.  Having extra bars and snacks is hardly a disaster.  Being hungry and unprepared, on the other hand, is totally miserable and leads to bad choices due to less than stellar options. 
  • Produce produce produce – Is there anything more portable than fruit?  No.  Apples, bananas, etc. are all naturally ready to bring on the go. 
  • Nibble mindfully – Because of time changes, my body never really knows what’s going on and I end up doing more snacking than eating full meals.  Rather than snack the whole trip long, I make sure I am truly hungry and not just bored.  [In other words, bring lots of magazines, books, movies, crosswords, etc. to keep your mind preoccupied so you aren’t using your mouth instead]

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Veggies, hummus, bread, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, apples, orange, oat bakes, dark chocolate squares.

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Snack central.  Seriously, I have no editing skills.  Just wait ‘til you see everything hidden in that bag:

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Probars, Corazona’s, Larabars, Clif bars, Luna bar, KIND bar, Artisana cashew squeeze pack, Attune bar, Love Grown granola, Udi’s granola, dried fruit

And my latest raw obsession too…

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kaia foods makes really yummy raw foods including sweet things like granolas, as well as savory things like these sprouted pumpkin seeds

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The good news is that I will have plenty of bars leftover to throw in my bag.  So when I’m struggling in Paris, I will have backup options and then some. 

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Hummus and dip-ables (carrots, celery, bread).

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Produce in zoom.  The salad is pretty much just romaine, carrots, corn, and avocado…with Trader Joe’s faux chicken on top. 

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I’ve had these before and they are pretty good.  They remind me of the same “chik’n” that The Veggie Grill makes. 

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It’s soy based with vital wheat gluten too.  It comes with some seasoning on it, which lends itself to a Mexican flavored meal.  Hence the Chipotle-salad-esque meal.  

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I only kept the soy meat separate for commute purposes…it will be added on top once it’s time to dig into the greens. 

Now about those “oat bakes”…

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I decided microwaved “bakes” were a smart portable option instead of oatmeal.  So I turned to Ashley, the queen of breakfast bakes.

The first one I made was a spin on her ba-nilla bake

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I have to say, almond extract is quite an interesting ingredient!  I’m going to have to get some of my own soon (my mom shocked me by having it in her cupboard, but I should have known she’d have it).

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Where my recipe differs from hers is my grain and milk choices.  I opted for oats instead of buckwheat.  I also skipped the almonds and replaced the almond milk with soy.  Since there was almond extract in the bake already, I decided on soy milk.  I also threw in golden raisins and dried cherries because I think tart dried fruit goes so well with vanilla.  Otherwise, it was pretty much the same recipe.

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Mixity mix. 

Ba-nilla Oat Breakfast Bake [serves 1]

*adapted from this recipe

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Here it is after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

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This photo steamed up the camera lens, but you can still see how it’s like a baked good as opposed to a bowl of oats. 

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The ease of this is so mind blowing.  Now, I haven’t tasted it yet, but I did lick the spoon, so I am pretty sure it’s going to rock. 

The second “oat bake” I made was my own recipe using up the second half of the banana and whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen.

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Frozen blackberries?  Sure, why not! 

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Nuts & Berries Breakfast Oat Bake [serves 1]

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Once they had cooled I packed them up in tinfoil. 

I’m pretty sure I’m covered in the food department.  Now, hopefully I won’t get to Spain and realize I am missing my toothbrush or something. 

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Adios amigos! 

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My latest quinoa salad was fantastic, and the best part was that it yielded way more than I expected!

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What’s a girl to do? 

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This was an everything but the kitchen sink everything in the fridge kind of salad…including a Strawberry Shortcake coloring book. 

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It had leftover broccoli, leftover sweet potatoes, leftover quinoa, and a new product too!

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Quorn Naked Chik’n Cultets do have trace amounts of egg whites, so they aren’t vegan.  But I had never seen them before and they were on sale, so why the heck not?

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Here they are in all their frozen glory.

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And here they are after a few minutes in the micro.  They are easy peasy, I’ll give them that!  It may even outweigh the laundry list of ingredients.

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I then added the diced chik’n to the top of the salad beast (seen above).

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If you thought I was exaggerating about the salad’s contents, think again:

  • spinach
  • mixed lettuce
  • steamed sweet potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • raw sweet peas
  • avocado
  • leftover quinoa
  • Quorn chik’n

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Eaten outside with the sunshine beating down on me.  Pure bliss.

It was so good in fact, that later that night I had the rest of the quinoa for dinner. 

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I know, I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes going AGAIN!?!  Lately I’ve been pretty good about avoiding food ruts, but when I find a good thing, some times it’s hard to deny myself. 

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Even if it is something as contradictory as fake chik’n and a wholesome clean quinoa dish.

Now the leftovers are all gone :(  Please sir, can I have some more!?

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As Kyle and I attempt to empty our fridge and freezer before moving, I have discovered both the pros & cons of pre-packaged meals. 

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Pro:  Mindless, easy prep (box –> plate? even a caveman Kyle can do that)

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Con: Stipation (where the greens at, yo?)

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Ok, we aren’t eating ONLY thawed sh!t…

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I still had some odds and ends that I pulled together for a salad, which included the raw One Lucky Duck Rosemary quackers I bought last week.

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I sampled a few with hummus and they were pretty tasty.  My only issue was that they are a bit dense and tend to get stuck in your teeth.  I hate to say this (given my O.L.D love affair), but the Livin’ Spoonful raw crackers are way better.  The quackers are better suited as appetizers for dips and the like, whereas the Livin’ Spoonful ones are more versatile (ie salad crumble-able).

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The few that I managed to crumble in the salad were great, but I ate the rest on the side.

Here’s another winner of a meal.

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Talk about ghetto.

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I mixed the LightLife BBQ SmartWings with edamame and corn, letting the excess sauce coat it all.  And as embarrassing as it is to admit, it was kinda good. 

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This meal looks rather hideous, but at least it featured some greens (praise the lord).  I used the stir fry veggies with teriyaki seasoned tofu and scrambled eggs.  Yup, eggs.  Being broke and desperate sometimes trumps being vegan.  At least when you have 2 more days until moving across the country…

And in case you didn’t already think I was the most pathetically cheap creative person on the planet, here’s dessert.

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Toast + carob chips + raw cashews = a make-shift nutty sammie

No joke, all I did was toast the bread then melt the carob chips to hold the nuts in place.

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Now, on to a serious matter.

We are peacing out of NYC and heading to CA this weekend, but we are only going to be there for a few days and then we are off to Cabo San Lucas for vacay.  So, the serious part.

Question: How do I bring a pound of white powder into Mexico without ending up on Locked Up Abroad?

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The thought of going without my NuNaturals Stevia for the next few months is frightening…but then, I really don’t want to go to jail over some non-sugar (as amazing as it is).

Please.  All suggestions are welcomed.

And now, back to packing, the most miserable task ever. 

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Thanks for the support guys!  I am soooo excited to head West, and we don’t have that much time left until we peace out of the big apple either!  It’s crazy.  So my latest activities have been moving related:

  • truck rentals/appraisals
  • packing/storage research
  • transferring my RN license
  • changing my address for everything under the sun
  • updating my resume
  • renewing my passport (unrelated to moving but it does expire soon)
  • wedding, wedding, wedding

So cooking has been on the backburner…and pics of my AM eats are MIA, but trust me you’re missing nada.  Dinner isn’t exciting either, but I still got it on film.

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Sweet potato & hummus (are you getting sick of this combo yet?), carrots, and a completely thrown together stir-fry thang.

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Looks a hot mess.  Tastes the opposite.  It was the last of my TJs faux-meat strips (still pretty meh about them) with zucchini and edamame cooked in soy sauce. 

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Look, the meal wasn’t anything I am remotely proud of in terms of plating, but I can’t deny how good it tasted. 

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Earlier today this was full of luscious medjools.  They are insanely good, and I am so glad WFs has been stocking them again.  I savored every single bite. 

And now, in a completely random and non-Hungry Hungry Hippie related topic…

What happened to Lady Gaga?  Is it just me or does she seem much skinnier lately…

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Circa Poker Face pictures. 

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Cut to the latest Telephone photos.

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I can’t help but notice the change in her arms, thighs, and face (she’s the third from the left below).

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I still love her like crazy…just sayin’

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The above photos are image clips from a video, so I don’t see how they could have been touched-up or edited in any way, but the below is a campaign she just did with Cyndi Lauper…her arms are definitely MIA, but that may be due to the magic fault of photo shop(?).

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Regardless of her physical appearance, I’m clearly obsessed with her music and her willingness to fly her freak flag (love the little monster), but, it does make me wonder how the limelight has affected her own feelings about her role as an icon (yes, she is totally an icon) and her body image.  Opinions?

What are the chances my patients (or boss) would freak out if I wore my make-up like this?

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I dunno…I’m bookmarking this one for Halloween, if nothing else. 

Night all!

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Do you see the problem here?

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I don’t know WHAT I was thinking when I was packing this food up…clearly there was no shot in hell that this amount of food would tide me over for my entire 12 hour shift. 

Salad? Check.

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Apples? Double check.

Pretz/carob/raisins? Check. 

Drank? Check.

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And yet, all those goodies weren’t even close to enough food…by my 2 pm lunch break I was left with nothing but my ensalada.  Where the bars at, yo?!?!

Indeed, supplementation was very necessary (see below).

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I bought this big a$$ tub of nuts/carob chips/seeds/dried fruits/yummies because I knew it would make up for the lack of bars in my packed eats.  Oh and did I mention the totally inappropriate amounts of caffeine.  My heart rate was probably in the low 200 range.  Where better to be than the cardiac ICU, right?  YUM-MAY!

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My feelings about this MIX1 dark-berry high-fiber antioxidant drink can be summarized in a word sound effect:  hmmmm. 

Pros: Hellllooooo, did you SEE those nutritional stats?  Amazing.

Cons: I couldn’t figure out if it was a watery drink or a creamy drink.  So weird.  It was almost like a watered down version of a yogurt.  Ok, that sounds nast.  It was a very subtle flavor, and not as sweet as the other flavors I tried (and loved). 

So, the big question, is it worth the $$$?  I’m thinking no.  The other flavors were just so dang good that even though this one wasn’t bad per se, it just couldn’t hang with it’s sister MIX1 dranks.  Looks like the vanilla blueberry flavor set the bar too high!

After my lunch break I was actually pretty busy, so I didn’t really want have time to eat my bonus buy until 6 pm.  Awwww, nuts.  I like when days are busy though, so before I knew it, it was time to meet up with my girlfriends for dinner.

This month was Heather’s turn, which means East Village navigation.  Thank goodness for my brand new Blackberry’s google maps app.  I only made a few extra turns, as opposed to the usual 30 minute detour scenic route. 

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Eventually, I made it to Antibes bistro.  The above photo is compliments of my new phone I’m in love with it in case you hadn’t deduced), however, it doesn’t have a flash 😦 so all pics after this were too dark to make out.  Picture a mini-bucket of focaccia bread and a bottle of wine (2006 Baron E. de Rotschild malbec).  Now picture the bread in my hand.  Now repeat that image a few times. 

As usual, we could have chatted forever and ever and ever…food was definitely not the highlight of the dinner.

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(Heather’s cell phone does have a flash) 

For dinner I got the Roquefort & Poached Pear Salad (minus the roquefort) which was said to have arugula, poached pear, toasted walnuts, dried currants, and a shallot mustard vinaigrette.  I spotted this on the menu and thought it sounded delicious, but it fell a bit short.  Why you ask? 

1) No walnuts were anywhere to be found

2) The “poached” pear was kinda soggy and haphazardly placed on the plate

3) This salad was actually an appetizer and when I asked the waitress if I could have it as an entree (read: please make sure it is big enough to fill me up), she said the size couldn’t be altered (??)

4) Presentation?  Boo.  Size?  Boo.

5) They were all out of the butternut ravioli (the ONE veg option)

At least the waitress was kind enough to offer me a side of sautéed green beans.  Still, anyone who reads my blog on a semi-regular basis knows that these portions are not gonna fly with my voracious appetite.

Get with the times Antibes…not everyone wants to eat meat.  Alternatives would be nice, I mean, how hard is it to offer brown rice and a seasonal vegetable? 

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I definitely had a big snack plate (slash second dinner) when I got home.  Served up on the side of Tazo green tea was Soya Kaas mozzarella cheese, dates, and apple slices

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OoOo…this tea was dang good!  Unfortunately, it kept me up later than I wanted, hence the second sweet treat.

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If you want to give your taste buds a wild ride, add carob chips to Oikos caramel Greek yogurt. 

Back to the grind tomorrow.  Night!

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It’s no secret, I love trips home.  West Coast sunshine, family and friends…can’t get enough!  This trip was jam packed, due to Kyle’s birthday celebration and an insane amount of wedding planning.  Since I have photos up the hoo-ha, I’ll try to avoid the mundane (read: heaps of Stacy’s pita chips and hummus), such as this:

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And show you only the highlights, like this:

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Brewskies and cake.  Now that’s a trip home!

As I mentioned before, Friday was Kyle’s birthday, so we celebrated all day long.  The key to having a fabulous birthday is having me in charge the following.

Step 1: Massage (no pics, duh!)

Step 2: Mexican

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Roasted veggies, black beans, and avo.  This beast was money.

Step 3: The Bay Area

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Step 4: Surprises!

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Unbeknownst to Kyle, friends from LA were assembling in San Francisco…so fun!  I’m not the best in terms of putting together surprises (I literally can’t keep secrets from Kyle – I get so nervous/anxious/excited that I’m going to blow it), and there was a minor hiccup (we went to the wrong Starbucks…but there are worse places to end up in error), but it all worked out.

Step 5: Booze

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Wow, I’m a light weight!  I was definitely boracha after (two of) these, but in my defense, it was 4 pm when we started.

Step 6: Fancy shmancy dinnah

After we were adequately sauced up from an afternoon at Elephant & Castle, my mom picked us up and we made our way to Ponzu.  Located a bit off of Union Square, this Asian restaurant was perfectly easy to get to and had a classy feel to it without being overly showy.

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We started with wine salty edamame.

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Then got a few small plates for all of us to share, including the potato and edamame samosas (vegetarian wontons filled with mint, cucumber raita, potato, and edamame), as well as asparagus (with fennel and a miso vinaigrette), and Kalbi short ribs (kiwi marinated beef, cilantro-lime kimchi salad, traditional red leaf lettuce).

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Obvs, I didn’t partake in the short ribs, but the rest of the apps were scrumptious.  The asparagus was divine and I would pay $$$ to get the recipe of the miso vinaigrette that they used.

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My mom, sis, and Ethel all got the Tempura Nori Wrapped Ahi with
bhutanese red rice, furikake spice, ponzu, frisée, and shiitake candy.  They were all members of the clean plates club, so I’m guessing it was tasty.

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Kyle ordered the Angus Flat Iron Steak with horseradish marble potatoes, szechuan glazed baby carrots, and onion jus.  He couldn’t stop raving about it.

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Mateo got the Miso Marinated Black Cod with a swiss chard stir fry, saffron rice cake, and wasabi sake-beurre blanc.  This dish definitely won the award for the prettiest plated.  How amazing does it look?  Yum.

However, I still think I ordered the best dish of all…

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Wok Fired Udon Noodles with roasted winter vegetables, crispy tofu, napa cabbage, soy & sriracha.

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Looks can be deceiving, as there were so many veggies wrapped up in the noodles…the dish also never seemed to disappear!  Try as I might, it was a long while before I made a dent in it, and I was definitely the last one eating (pretty rare for me).  The flavor of the noodles and veggies were great, but the tofu was kinda on the bland side.  It was fried and although the crispy exterior was good, the inside lacked the taste that the rest of the dish had.  Still, it was delicious thanks to the extra sauce in the bowl.  My stomach was very satisfied.

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Birthday boy!

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As if dinner wasn’t perfect enough already, Kyle got a Banana & Nutella Spring Roll with vanilla anglaise dipping sauce.  Now that’s a birthday treat!

So as you can see, Friday was pretty busy…but things really got crankin’ on Saturday…

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Wedding cake tasting started bright and early.

And was followed by registry fun at Crate & Barrel, the purchase of a new BlackBerry at Verizon, invitation/save-the-date research and finally lunch.

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TJ’s Organic Black Bean Soup topped with a fistful of Garden of Eatin’ Guac-a-mole chips.

After lunch, we began a save-the-date assembly line sweat shop.

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Print.  Stuff.  Seal.  Stamp.  Send.  Repeat.

That pretty much took up the rest of the day…so when we finally got to sit down to dinner, it was a nice break.

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Orange overload on the top of the plate (raw carrots and a steamed sweet potato with roasted red pepper hummus), and golden raisins/dried cranz with green bizzles on the bottom of the plate.

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Zoom.

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My mom actually insist I post this photo demonstrating my inability to practice moderation (or, as I like to think of it, my ABILITY to demolish a tub of “14 servings” in a single sitting).

I know my mom reads my blog on occasion, but more importantly, she’s seen how I eat my entire life, so really, this shouldn’t be a surprise to her.  But for some reason, she was a bit taken aback when I started scraping the corner of the nearly empty tub with some (unpictured) pieces of sourdough bread.

Yes mom, as a side dish I had 14 servings of hummus, and no, this is not my first time completing such a feat.  Obviously, I am a regular at this rodeo.

The next morning was a chaotic mix of last minute wedding tasks [church organist music, more STDs (crass humor – not me!?)], but eventually we had to say goodbye to CA and head to the airport.

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I packed enough plane snacks for the entire airport, but only took a pic of this new product, Trader Joe’s Chicken-Less strips.

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In a salad with spinach, green beans and dried cranz.

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With enough broccoli to stank up the entire plane (sorry fellow travelers!).

Now I am catching up on my life in NYC…how was everyone else’s weekends?

For the married ladies, how was your wedding planning process?  Did you do it from a different state?  A different city?  Across the country perhaps?  Or did you live where you were getting hitched?

Have you taken advantage of my OpenSky discount yet?

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