Recycled balls

(What kind of blog is this anyway?)

Before we get into the sloppy seconds, let’s start at the beginning …

Yesterday evening, I met up with my favorite Brooklyn bloggers — Vani, Emily, and Diana — at Hanco’s, the latest go-to spot when in need of a ball-fix. The ladies all ordered sandwiches, but I got this beauty of a salad:

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My salad contained lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, grape tomatoes, and mint leaves and was topped with roasted peanuts and fried red onion (though now that I think about it, I’m not sure the salad had any onion at all) with Vietnamese vinaigrette on the side. For $2 extra, I got some tofu on it. I know $2 is pricey for a few little slivers of the ‘fu, but given that the salad was only $4,50 to begin with, I decided I could splurge.

Obviously, we weren’t going to go to Hanco’s and not order the balls. I got an unsweetened (except for the natural sweetness from the fruit) lychee black tea. And then I arranged a color-coordinated photo shoot for it.

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We also enjoyed a high level of success with the self-timer:

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Once we had worked out way through the teas, Diana came through with themostamazingcookiesever, maple-nut oaties that Heather had sent her.

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I had three. Each one looked like this and tasted like perfection:

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And then came the ball recycling. Diana had some balls left in her cup, and I wasn’t about to let them slip unappreciated into a landfill! I brought them home, gave them a little rinse, and set a few up in a snack for last night (and saved the others for a more exciting job this morning).

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Last night’s snack involved yogurt, ricotta, and PB2 (ummm, is that the third time I ate this yesterday??) with a ball smiley face and overzealous cinnamon freckling.

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There were some other exciting things that came home with me.

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Diana brought her Newman’s Own mints for me because, while she is partial to gum, I obviously love these mints and eat them nonstop. Thanks, Diana! My supply was running low, but I am no longer anxious about that. Phew.

The rest of the loot is from Emily. I won her book giveaway last week, so she brought my prize to dinner … along with some other fun goodies, like a beautiful big envirosax bag (super handy for an expansion expert such as myself!) and some fun bookmarks. Plus, check out her stationery! Can you tell she’s a teacher (though not for long!) or what?

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Clearly, reading is sweet!

What else do you think is sweet? Or, if you’re feeling feisty, when are sloppy seconds ok with you?

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Nut safety (and a winner!!)

First things first. It’s time to announce the winner of the Everybody’s Nuts Pistachi-YES giveaway! Random.org has made its selection from the 93 entries (including comments, link-backs, and emails from non-bloggers), and the winner is #78:

Amie: The nut recall makes me sad because then nuts get a bad name. :(

Amie, I will be emailing you soon to arrange for delivery of some safe and disease-free nuts 😛

Onto the food!

As I was sipping my sugar cookie sleigh ride tea at 9:23 am this morning, I noticed one of the nurses set a promising foil-wrapped platter down on the other end of the conference room table, along with a pile of plates and knives. This could only mean one thing: cake. I didn’t want to seem too eager, so I whispered across to Rosey that there was cake in the conference room, and she hopped right up and headed down to get the ball rolling. And it turned out to be banana walnut, yum! Here’s my piece, heated in the microwave and then slathered in whipped vanilla frosting that I found in the fridge:

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The cake kept me going until lunchtime, when I broke out another fun treat: butternut squash, ground beef, and eggplant shepherd’s pie from mom! She packed this big slice in the food bag I brought home from MA yesterday.

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I think there’s kale in there, too? I had it on a bed of arugula. It was perfect and yummy and tasted like mom’s cooking because that’s what it was. I wish I had more!

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I also had a bite of Vianni’s tasty tuna macaroni salad:

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And finished Mildred’s salad for her:

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And two of Mildred’s daughter Adriana’s chicken nuggets:

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I haven’t had chicken nuggets in years! Somehow, they tasted better than I remember …

Post-lunch was a blood orange. I shared half with my coworkers (finally, they liked the looks of something I brought in!) since they were intrigued by the color. None of them had ever seen or heard of a blood orange before.

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I also had some blurry yogurt art made from fruit salad and yogurt that traveled from MA to NY with me yesterday:

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I was hungry again by 2:30 and had a cheese stick, also courtesy of mom:

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The final mom treat of the day came at 4:30. I broke up two of mom’s kitchen sink muffins (she sent me home with a ton yesterday!) and spread about a tbsp of cashew-almond butter over them before microwaving to get it all melty, YUM:

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It’s probably worth mentioning that I left my Newman’s mints at home by accident, so lots of other candies made their way into my belly throughout the day.

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I stayed late at work because I was planning to go to the 6:30 gyrotonic class at Kinespirit with the free coupon Melissa gave out at the blogger brunch last month. I was somehow still feeling a little bit underfed when I left work and knew I would need to last until I got home at 8:30, so I had an emergency spoonful of the office’s extra chunky Skippy:

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That did the trick!

I was very unsure of what to expect from the gyrotonic, but it ended up being just what I needed tonight. I’ll have to talk about it more in my next post because I’m too tired now!

What’s the best exercise class you’ve ever taken?

Icy toes

Brrrrr, my toes feel like they’re about to fall off! Why is it sooo cold again?! I had to return to all the layers for my jog to the gym this morning. Once there, I just did 25 minutes on the Stepmill since I got the strength out of the way in MA yesterday. Then, it was time to come home for breakfast!

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img_7853I had a perfect breakfast cookie waiting in the fridge this morning. No need to freeze this one! The cookie included 1/3 cup of Bob’s Red Mill extra thick oats, 1/3 mashed banana, 1 tbsp almond-cashew butter, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp Newman’s dried berry blend, and the teeniest splash of soymilk. On top, I spread 2 tbsp PB2 (reconstituted with a splash of soymilk) and some nuts from the Easter candy my step-uncle gave me yesterday:

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For extra staying power, I had a boat egg on the side with spray butter and freshly ground black pepper:

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Plus another exciting new tea! I emailed Celential Seasonings a while back to say that I couldn’t find their dessert teas anywhere, so they sent me an entire box of Almond Sunset. I know this is breakfast time and not dessert time, but I had to try it out right away. I’m glad I did!

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And now, it’s time to head back to work. I always feel so out of sorts after extra days off. It’s hard to re-adjust! Plus, I’m fuh-reeeeeeeeeeeezing.

Do you go out in search of day-after-Easter candy sales?

Last chance for safe pistachios! Get your entry in by 6pm tonight.

Phew, that was close!

Today had the potential to be yet another monster of an expansion day, but my tummy is kind of relieved that it was not!

When I got up this morning, I went downstairs (ohhh, to live in a multi-level house again …) to the living room so I could do my Self Challenge 2009 workout. What can I say … I’m serious about fixing my legs! I can feel my poor little muscles getting stronger again, too, and I was able to do some of the exercises that hurt too much to do last week, yay!

My dad picked me up a bit after 11 am, and we headed over to LA Roberts, a NaMA (that’s coolspeak for North Attleboro, MA) restaurant, to enjoy Easter all-you-can-eat brunch with Rae Ann (my stepmom) and her family.

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Some background on LA Roberts: it was the fanciest place in town in 1987. In 1987, I distinctly remember that the all-you-can-eat brunch included yogurt because it was the only thing I would eat. The famed LA Roberts brunch seems to have devolved over time because there was no yogurt this morning, hmph. Nor was there cereal, toast, peanut butter, or jam.

The brunch did, however, come through with lots of lukewarm serve-yourself buffet platters full of foods that are not my favorite: ham, sausage, hash browns, other potato things, scary quiche. Because I’m good at scavenging, however, I put together a lovely little big spread.

Let’s play a game. I’ll show you a picture of the item, and you see if you can guess what it is. I’ll provide the answers at the end.

Item #1:

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Item #2:

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Item #3:

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Item #4:

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Item #5:

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How do you think you did?

The answers, clockwise from the beans: (1) baked beans (I found them in a tin between the maple syrup and the whipped cream, hmmm), (2) broccoli (I spooned out all the broccoli from a giant vat of chicken penne alfredo), (3) fruit salad topped with apples in syrup (I found this teeny bit of fruit salad on a table by itself in the corner, floating in a flood of its own juices … or the juices of its originating can), (4) piece of berry scone (yes, the scones were pre-cut into fourths, but that ended up being fine with me since it was actually too sweet, if you can believe that coming from me, the cake queen. I ate half and gave the other half to my dad), and (5) the star of the show, a slice of French toast with thawed frozen strawberries.

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I think I managed to do pretty well for myself, and I was pleased the the food was good enough to eat but not good enough to lead to further expansion.

The company was also quite enjoyable. My step-uncle (?) David brought bunny ears for everyone to wear. My dad was serious about arranging his perfectly. It was clearly a multi-step process:

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img_7833As soon as we finished eating and the bunny ears were properly arranged, we all headed back to my dad and stepmom’s house to relax for a few before I had to leave to catch the bus. I received some fun Easter goodies that will surely be making an appearance quite soon.

At 2:15, dad and I left to go pick up my mom so they could both take me to the bus station in Providence. I heard through the grapevine that, after the big drop-off , my mom went back to my dad’s house to hang out with my stepmom’s family and they all passed a lovely afternoon together.

What a whirlwind trip! It’s relatively easy to get to MA from here, but I so rarely have the time and it always ends up being very rush rush rush. I hope I can go back for a more leisurely visit this summer!

As you know already, my bus came equipped with Wi-Fi. So excited that Peter Pan is moving with the times! If only my computer could have lasted longer without a charge …

On the bus, I ate my packed “snunch” of 1/2 cup matzo muesli with 1/2 cup plain yogurt and a cup of fruit left from yesterday’s chocolate fountain. Pardon the blur. We had some bumpy roads, and I wasn’t about to wait for smoothness to dive into this!

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I got back to my apartment just before 8 and made a little snacky plate while I raced around to get ready for the week. The plate included the final two pieces of pumpernickel baguette with cashew-almond butter and coconut, a pile of peanut roasted chickpeas, and some overflow fruit salad from home that I couldn’t fit into a container for the fridge.

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I also had this itty bitty piece of a slice of my mom’s birthday cake.

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She saved and froze (now you know where my dessert-freezing compulsion comes from) the slice for me from her birthday celebration with my step-dad’s family. Wallen, step-grandpa (I’m realizing I’ve never had to explain these family members in writing before, so I’m suddenly having to concoct labels I’ve never actually used!), makes the most amazing chocolate fudge frosting from scratch, so my mom requests it on yellow cake every year.

I’m in bed now and it’s wayyyyyyyyyy past my bedtime — not how I wanted to start the week! — so I need to hit the sheets stat.

What is your favorite activity when traveling as a passenger in any kind of vehicle? Sleeping is mine.

Don’t forget about the pistachios!

Who loves her new dishes?

I do!

Dinner last night was the other half of my out-of-this-world caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza:

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And dessert was a pile of strawberries, blood orange pieces, and fresh pineapple topped with 1/4 cup of plain Oikos, nutmeg, and unsweetened coconut (with 1/2 of a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie from the freezer bag):

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New plate love:

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There may have also been some Hershey’s spears dipped in cashew-almond butter:

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And some crumbs from the Passover sponge cake I made:

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I just got back from the gym where I did the same workout as Wednesday so that I will soon be running pain-free with hip adductors of steel. Stats: 1 hour 28 minutes, 416 calories, 114 average heart rate, 172 max.

I am now patiently awaiting the arrival of my sister Emily. She took an overnight
flight from San Francisco and should be here momentarily. I haven’t seen her in over a year! She’s coming for the weekend in honor of her best friend’s birthday, but her trip sadly coincides with me needing to get a bus at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to head up to MA for Passover with mom and Easter with dad. But we’ve got all day today to visit, yay!

Are you going to see any long-lost family members this weekend?

Win pistachios!