My Camera Roll of Ice Cream

Happppee Day of Independence! I had a half day of work yesterday and the day off today so I’m doing exciting things like visiting my pals at the dry cleaner and cleaning out my camera roll to free up some storage. Aka discovering ice cream cones I’ve been L O V I N’ this summer.

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Vanilla soft serve with crunch coat. Alway in a cone!

I was going to do a Saturday Satisfaction post today buuut it’s Wednesday. Jay kay to that. So here’s some sweet summertime food pics. Summer is actually my least favorite season but but BUT it does make room for some tasty cones and treats.

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Piña Colada in FL with the fam

I’ve never cared for the beach but if people I love are there, I’m there! And if fun cocktails are there too, bonus. I was surrounded by my immediate family, aunts, uncles and cousins from all over the country when sipping on this piña colada.

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Pesto egg sandwich from TRISM

I just love Ohio. Home to the egg sandwich above.

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Wild boar. No. thank. you. hehe.

And this guy who is grilling up boar that he shot. I didn’t give it a try but he enjoyed it!

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Bday brunching on toast + mimosas

This toast for my birthday toast party, too! We replicated “Let’s Get Toasty” for my 23rd last month.

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Chocolate ice cream with raspberry sauce. I went back to ask for a cone 🙂

Annnd this fam + friends. Home is just the best!

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Double dark chocolate brownie underneath a palm tree!

In addition to disliking summer/beaches (surrry!), I typically dislike soft serve. Or rather, prefer the scooping kind. Especially when dark chocolate is involved!

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AM tacos, fries, slaw and grapefruit mimosa with the roomie!

I’m done with the dislikes! Fully love and adore and treasure tacos for breakfast. Not the eggs+bacon breakfast tacos but the hummus+roasted veggies kinds. Whiskey ketchup with these fries included!

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Smoothie-ing on the couch to Princess Diaries

Obsessed with smoothies made with my new Vitamix too! Once a friend told me to look on Groupon for discounted ones, I snagged it and have used it every day since. Thank ya, Keri!

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Weekend on the water with fruit in hand!

Also loving this dude and juicy peaches. I can confirm that fruit tastes best when wearing a fruit bathing suit!

Future eats aka recipes I want to make STAT (here is why!!):

Happy patriotism celebrating and ice cream savoring to you!

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Why I’m Ecstatic To Make New Recipes

I just watched Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, ate the last two of these REMARKABLE salted chocolate peanut butter balls and am drinking a cold brew (fav kitchen item = Toddy) in bed before I venture off to the grocery store. They key is to wrap up the mug in a blanket so it doesn’t fall over. You’re welcome.

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I’m so so excited to go to the grocery store. Because I have new recipes to try and a cleared out kitchen to back me up.

For Lent, I focused on my needs, not my wants which included taking a hard look at my food inventory. This may sound odd but being interested in food/cooking, I would still go grocery shopping when I had enough food at home to feed myself (regardless of how appetizing it sounded).

Ok, that’s probably not odd. I think everyone does this. We live in a country of excess annnd you already knew that. But it was bothering me. In addition to other areas of my life, excessiveness in any form was making me feel all. sorts. of. guilty.

I don’t need to buy jars of nut butter when I had 7 bags of nuts (now 3!) to whip up my own in a food processor. I don’t need to stock up on frozen veggies when they’re on sale because I already had 8 bags of broccoli, green beans and spinach at home. I will be just fine eating edamame pasta every week for lunch because I bought a Costco sized box of it in college. I graduated from college 50 weeks ago. Lesson learned: don’t buy Costco items to feed a large fam when I’m only feeding myself.

After weeks on weeks of extremely minimal grocery shopping, savings lots of $ in the process (that’s money to the donut fund hehe) and achieving a cleared out cupboard, fridge and freezer, I am now ECSTATIC to try new recipes. I am finally at the point where I need to buy more and it feels goooOod.

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I strayed away from adventuring with new recipes before because I always had so much on hand that I just worked with what I could find. My meals came to fruition by throwing random veggies, grains and a protein source into a bowl. I paid attention to a macronutrient balance with some vitamins and minerals on board and called it a day.

I miss the intentional innovation. I miss trusting people who develop recipes for a living. I miss actually cooking instead of just roasting a pan of brussels sprouts, boiling brown rice and opening cans of tuna.

I don’t miss wandering through aisles of Kroger to buy items “just in case I’m in the mood for it sometime this week”, to “be prepared for the future” or thinking  “I gotta use this coupon!” Nor do I miss the view of overflowing boxes and bags of “staples” when I would open my cupboard.

I’m still working on incorporating the remaining dry ingredients I have on hand like dried figs, lentils and farro. Aka I’m making a fun lemony, goat cheese salad with those folks for lunches this week. I’m also spending some time in the kitchen this weekend to make:

These three recipes were all chosen with the most purpose…

  • I have breadcrumbs to use up for the veggie burgers.
  • I’m swapping grapes for raisins in the broccoli salad because I need to finish off a bag of raisins.
  • My boyfriend got me dark chocolate bars (90% cacao = theeee best) for V-Day that I still haven’t finished so I found a snack with chocolate involved. Yes, it’s exactly 2 months later and yes, this is why the whole evaluation of my groceries occurred.

Time to stop typing, throw a hat on to cover up my greasy hair, take my reusable bags on over to the grocery store and get to cooking so I can spend patio weather on a patio and not covered in tomato sauce, cashews and protein powder.

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Letzz hope these recipes are tasty. Even if they aren’t my favorite, I will eat them and try again next week. Loving this super geeky, need-focused, food process.

Fam & Food in North Caroline – Pt. 2

Holay molay, it’s been 21 days since I posted part 1 of my family time and food excursions in Charlotte. But nonetheless, here is part two of the trip I made last month. Mostly in pics because the details are now a little fuzzy. MMMkay?

I left off on Monday morning by running around Teagan’s campus and getting lunch with her in the cafeteria. I met about 13 of her friends within a half hour of simply walking to get a glass of water or an apple. Everyone was incredibly friendly and it was the best!

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I drove north that afternoon because one of my college roommates goes to graduate school in Greensboro. Unfortunately, her car got a flat tire so some of that time together was in the auto shop. Glad you car is back to normal, Lez!!

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We ate in my car at a NC staple because there isn’t indoor seating. Catching up with burgers wrapped in foil and sweet teas was bliss.

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Theee next day was my final day off work. I went on a morning run and then made my way to Green Brothers Juice Co. for an acai bowl. I started this book and hopefully I break my habit and actually finish it. I love starting books and not finishing them and I don’t know why.

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I wasn’t hungry but while I was away from her campus, I wanted to go to 7th Street Public Market. Markets are MY FAV but it was slightly underwhelming compared to others I’ve been to. I strolled around with a hot pink kombucha and got a sushi burrito to go.

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After watching Teagan’s tennis match, we went to YAFO Kitchen for a nice big bowl of fresh Mediterranean food. Falafel, rice, carrot slaw, chickpea salad, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, hummus and tahini dressing = nothing short of my dream meal.

 

 

On Wednesday, I worked from Teagan’s apartment and we adventured to the Botanical Garden at UNC Charlotte afterwards. The garden was gorgeous and nothing at all like my college campus’ scenery.

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Just down the street from UNC, I scouted out an ice cream shop that makes macaron sandwiches. YES PLEASE. I got mint ice cream in between two chocolate macarons and covered in cocoa puffs. The picture does not depict the size of this divine dessert. It was my dinner because this thing filled me right up.

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On Thursday, I worked from Teagan’s apartment again! We had to do an errand for my dad in the evening aka were on the road as the sun was setting. We grabbed dinner with her friend in the cafeteria, watched Grey’s Anatomy and called it a night.

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My last day in NC called for a different work environment. A dietitian blogger I follow who lives in Charlotte recently posted about Sunflour Baking Company.  After some Instagram creeping, I was sold.  An iced vanilla latte and avocado, egg and cheddar breakfast biscuit for me!

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My trip concluded on Friday when my boyfriend drove to campus to watch Teagan’s tennis match. I met up with him after my work day and we said our goodbyes to my sister. Evan was in the area because he was helping my dad assemble furniture in High Point, NC for work 🙂

Evan and I drove up to High Point that night, saw my college roommate again over tacos and margs and hit the road back to Ohio with my dad. Annnnd may have gone to Chick-fil-A the next day for sweet teas because we missed the south so much. We’ll be back to see ya, Teags!

Fam & Food in North Carolina – Pt. 1

Hey hey and happy Monday!! I am typing this on day 5 of 9 of my Charlotte, North Carolina trip 🙂

My little sister goes to school near Charlotte so myself and almost the entire fam bam (we miss you, Brennan!) traveled south to visit her and watch her be the rockstar she is in tennis. I extended my trip before AND after the weekend with four vacation days and working remotely so I’ll be laptopping from her school’s library later this week! It’s a gooood life.

When I got in on Thursday, Teagan and I roamed around her beautiful campus. I visited her two years ago but it was so nice to see it all again and move after sitting on a plane.  She’s a cutie!

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We met up with my parents for lunch and spent the afternoon on a patio in the sunshine. Followed by naps, of course! We made a last minute decision to go see “I Can Only Imagine“. My dad said it was the best movie he has ever seen. Agreed!! We picked up the little bro from the airport and I snoozed alllll the way back to Teagan’s apartment.

Teagan had a tennis match on Friday so we cheered her on to victory before meeting up with my sister and brother-in-law when they landed. We made another last minute decision to head to downtown Charlotte for two March Madness games!

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We snagged pizza before walking over to the Spectrum Center to see Kansas State vs. Creighton and UMBC vs. Virginia aka we watched history in the making when UMBC won! We listened to “Who let the dogs out” for our entire drive home lol.

As my family expected from me, I did my food research for fun spots to adventure to! That began on St. Patrick’s Day with Reigning Donuts — theee cutest walk-up window serving hot donuts and coffee. We got a variety and I fell in love with the lemon poppy seed. A. MAZE. ING.

Teags had another match so we all cheered her on again! Afterwards, we made our way to SouthBound for a dinner of grapefruit margs, Mexican street corn and fish tacos — my dream meal! We hit up a gas station for snacks and slushies to accompany our card playing to end the night.

 

We said goodbye to my parents and younger bro in the morning before trying out another donut shop – Your Mom’s Donuts. Strawberry for me and cinnamon with cream cheese frosting for Teags! We enjoyed them outside before going to Mass.

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Teagan had homework to do so my older sister and brother-in-law hopped around to 3 breweries. We went to Sugar Creek Brewing, Queen Park Social and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (thanks for the recs, guy who sat next to me on the plane!!). Patio weather treated us SO NICE.

 

We met up with Teags afterwards for dinner and ice cream! The dinner move was Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar — a restaurant that does burgers, sushi and burger sushi incredibly well. Teagan and I went before 2 years ago and ordered the same meal (Cheeseburgooshi) because it’s the best thing ever! We followed it up with Golden Cow Creamery for one scoop of Dunkaroos (TBT! We were fangirling and fanboying) and one scoop of peanut butter!

 

We all fell asleep watching UMBC but didn’t bring them the best of luck this time around 😦 Megan, Nick and I grabbed lattes from Mugshots in the morn before they flew back home. I ordered lavender aka one of my favorite flavors to ever ever exist!

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I’m off to go run, eat lunch in the cafeteria like a college student, roam around a botanical garden and then meet up with my college roommate who goes to grad school in North Carolina! Be back in a few days for the week recap with more outdoor exploring, tennis match watching and innovative food finds!!

Not Today

My laptop does its own thing sometimes. I can’t blame it. I do my own thing sometimes, too.

No matter what song I was playing last on Spotify when I closed my laptop for the day, a different song would consistently appear the next morning. That gem of a song is Not Today by Hillsong.

Even when I was playing throwback Miley (that I turned into a Halloween costume four years ago) or Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas album or Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé melt the world with their talents, Not Today was the song that I would sip coffee through a straw to for a solid two weeks.  Until my laptop did its own thing again. That’s irrelevant.

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I listened to Not Today many times before this trend started occurring so it wasn’t complete craziness. However, I was never playing it at night so the fact that it was consistently there in the morning as “the song I was listening to when I was on Spotify last” didn’t add up. Thank you, God for fidgety technology.

At first, I didn’t give it much thought beyond ‘wow, this song is simply exceptional!’ as I  sent the link to my sister. But after day three of this consecutive occurrence, I smiled…quite a lotta bit.

And after day five and eight and eleven, reality hit that I needed to hear those lyrics. Beginning my day by telling Satan that he holds no power over me for the next 24 hours was completely necessary. I like to begin every day in prayer but acknowledging a second guy’s presence was transformative.

The lyrics are beautiful and I encourage you to slowly read through them. But it all boils down to these two lines:
Let the devil know not today
Not now not ever again

You may have seen similar lines on t-shirts or mugs or as a common expression. It’s fairly common. And I want it to be more common in my life and everyone else’s. The whole world. No one excluded, mmkay?

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Acknowledging God in all his glory will always come first, of course. But if we are failing to acknowledge Satan, we are failing to stare evil in the eye and choose to overcome it. We are failing to be the best version of ourselves if we don’t look at who is fighting us to avoid that from happening. We are failing to leave this world better than how we entered it if we aren’t recognizing the one’s who mission it is to lead us further from this greatness that we are called to.

We’re in an ugly battle. One that has already been won. But we still have the daily opportunity to reconfirm or forget that. And it changes everything.

I hope you too have a laptop that serves you up this error. Because “Not today. Not now not ever again.” was the best error this macbook has thrown my way.