Too much

Ohhhh my goodness, the food at the party last night was completely expansion-worthy! (The party was fun, too.) Here’s the birthday girl, Olivia, modeling one of her creations:

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Olivia made everything herself, using her own recipes! And it was phenomenal.

This pizza was the star of the evening:

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It had ricotta, honeyed goat cheese, caramelized onions, and truffle oil. I lost count after a while, but I might have had 12 (or more) pieces.

Olivia also made baby pulled pork sandwiches:

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I had one sandwich … and then kept picking more pork off the tray every time I walked by and saw that a piece had fallen off of its bread.

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She also made ridiculous macaroni and cheese and an amazing baked french onion cream cheese dip. Here’s my first of many bowls:

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I also had a couple of these savory elephant ears:

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They were herby and also had some delicious crispy meat — maybe proscuitto? — inside.

Here’s another bowl. Was it the second? Was it the seventh? No one knows.

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On top of all of this, Olivia made cupcakes! Super chocolatey and moist with mascarpone-kahlua frosting.

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I had one full cupcake, but by the end of the night, things had devolved to the point where I was dipping pretzels into the icing on others. My camera had been relegated to the purse by then.

Some other things I encountered included a piece of Entenmann’s chocolate-covered donut:

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And 1.5 of Kate’s perfectly chewy secret-recipe chocolate chip cookies:

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And an, errrr, unpictured cup or so of skittles that went down wayyyyyy too easily.

The party itself was a blast, and I wish I had remembered to take some pictures of the apartment because it was gorgeous and had way more space than I’m used to seeing in NYC. I also got to catch up with some old NYU friends (hi Jenniy!) that I hadn’t seen in ages. Thanks, Olivia!

I slept till 10 this morning (apparently, the trick to being able to sleep in is to go to bed at 3 am) and then went right to the gym because I had so much energy from all that extra food last night! I did 30 minutes steps, legs on the machines, and 30 minutes elliptical. The whole thing took about an hour and 45 minutes and I burned just under 800 calories, but honestly, I’m looking forward to when the half marathon is over and behind me and I can put an end to this cardio-loading (and the inadvertent yet not unrelated carb-loading). It’s taking a toll! With that in mind, I also spent some time this morning perusing YogaDork (an amazingly witty, sarcastic, and informative yoga blog, even for someone like me who has a somtimeslike-hate relationship with yoga) because I need to find more body-friendly ways to exercise!

What is too much for you right now?

Product moved

First things first: the cakes were a success in class last night! I did not have to bring any home with me, so my plan to move all the sugar out of my freezer was effective. I just have two little chocolate cupcakes that wouldn’t fit in the tupperwares to cart up there, and that’s it. Phew, cake-overload disaster averted.

Also, in honor of my birthday yesterday, I went shoe shopping at Payless. This is irrelevant to food on the surface, but it’s actually connected because food is the only thing I have spent money on since starting grad school. Until yesterday, I hadn’t bought shoes in two years because I needed the money for groceries. Evidence:

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Yes, that is the sun shining through the hole in the sole of my shoe.

Here are my new friends:

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My feet are happy.

Back to food, I had an early egg salad dinner around 4:30 before heading up to class. To make the salad, I chopped one of my Eggland’s Best peeled hard-boiled eggs and mixed it with 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp dijon mustard, paprika, dill, cayenne, and one cup chopped arugula. I topped it with 1/8 chopped avocado, coarse sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

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Dessert took place at class, of course 😛 My cakes were so good!

Piece #1:

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Piece #2:

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And a cupcake!

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It’s back to the grindstone for me today. I have one more paper left, and it’s not going to be a fun one! It’s due Thursday morning, so you know how I’ll be spending all of today and all of tomorrow … with a little fun break for an exciting event this evening 🙂

Will you be taking any fun breaks today?

A thousand cakes

There was more work with eggs to be done this morning!

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I made french toast with two slices of whole wheat bread that my coworker Jessica gave to me earlier in the week and a batter that consisted of an EB egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of soymilk. I turned the french toast into a sandwich with a tbsp of the spicy “south of the border” pistachio butter I made yesterday:

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Salty, sweet, and spicy … my favorite combination!

On the side, I immersion blended 1/2 cup yogurt, just under 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta, 1/2 cup pumpkin, the usual spices, and one chopped date. Joining the pumpkin yogurt this morning was a tbsp of ground flax and a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut:

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One at work, I broke out my Passover sponge cake and, coincidentally, Heather had brought in some farfel kugel that she had made from leftover Passover ingredients as well. Our second Passover took over the conference room. Here’s the view from my desk:

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Have I mentioned that the agency where I work was started by nuns?

Moving on, I had some Jewish cake and kugel:

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And then I had seconds of each:

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Since I sit right there, I kept taking more teeny pieces of each all day long. I don’t even want to guess how much of that is in my belly right now!

Lunch was my last serving of the mushroom agnostuff:

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And a couple of spoonfuls of Mildred’s gandules:

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And a piece of her bollo, which is made of cornmeal and milk, among other things. The texture was like polenta, but the taste was more like slightly sweet cornbread to me.

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And the piece of cheesecake flan that Vianni made and brought in yesterday in honor of Mildred’s birthday. I had asked her to save me a piece since I knew I would miss it!

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It was amaaaaazing. I shared a couple bites with Deborah, but mostly I inhaled the whole thing.

After lunch, I headed downstairs to work on an event I had helped organize. Some volunteer moms and their children came to the agency to do an art project with our families. At the end, we had snacktime with oranges and Girl Scout cookies …

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I had two plates like that … and then about four more of those little cookies in the background. Out of control, I tell you!

When I came up from the event, Mildred had put out leftovers of her actual birthday cake from her celebration at home. I know, does it ever end? 😀

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It was a pineapple cake with marshmallow frosting and sugar flowers. Maybe I’ll be sick of cake someday, but it hasn’t happened yet!

When I got home tonight, I had the final piece of sponge cake (I rescued it from its solitary perch on the conference room table as I walked out of the office) with the pumpkin banana yogurt I brought to work today but never got a chance to eat. The yogurt turned the cake healthy by association.

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And to end this post on a slightly healthier note, I did go to the gym this morning. I have special strength plans for tomorrow, so I focused on cardio today with 20 minutes on the Stepmill, 10 minutes on the rower, and 15 minutes on the elliptical (plus the usual jogs there and back, stretching, and abs). Stats: 1 hour and 16 minutes, 536 calories, 137 average heart rate, 174 max.

While at the gym, I did some interesting reading. Did you know that you would have to eat 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves in order to die of rhubarb poisoning? That’s word on the street, according to The Oprah Magazine. I had always kind of envisioned taking one bite of rhubarb leaf and collapsing unceremoniously to the ground. I guess I was wrong. Interesting fact #2 from the same magazine: apparently, the fatty acids that are stored in hip fat aid fetal brain development. So, ummmm, let’s get the fat flowing. Enjoy your cake!

If I didn’t have to sleep

Last week, I bought this little bunch of “apple bananas” at a fruit shop near my office in East Harlem.

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They were the color that I normally love bananas, but apparently partly green is a no-go in the world of apple bananas. I took one bite and thought my tongue had fallen out because I could no longer feel it. Guess they weren’t ripe yet! I let them sit for the weekend and then decided to revisit one for my snack this morning. For size orientation:

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And I could actually taste the apple flavor in there!

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Inginia and I had our group this afternoon, and while Inginia put together a fun lunch spread (as usual), I worked some kitchen magic to make blue playdough for the kids:

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For lunch, I had 1.5 thin slices of French-ish bread with Inginia’s mustardy tuna salad:

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And 1/2 of a mini english muffin with peanut butter:

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A juntos (minus the extra 1/2 slice of bread and tuna):

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Some parents brought in an Entenmann’s walnut danish ring (whyyyyyyyy?), so I had two small slices (with another little dabble of pb on the side):

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The same parent also brought in a carton of Dole strawberry banana orange juice.  I usually only drink water because I’m a much bigger fan of eating than drinking, but I had to have a sip because I used to love these juices when I was little. My sip did not disappoint!

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After the group, I relieved my tuna breath with a Newman’s ginger mint, the best breath mint ever.

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I think I had four of these over the course of the day/evening.

Later in the afternoon, it was orange time! Note the neat edges on those orange peels thanks to my fancy schmancy orange peeler from Myrna:

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I also had a small handful of these pita chips from Jessica. So salty and garlicky, mmmmmmmmm:

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I had my first course of dinner right before I left work around 5:20: a cup of the pumpkin-sofrito Buitoni’s mushroom agnosomething and 3-grain tempeh that I made last night.

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My second course took place in class with variation #2 of flax pudding because Heather was looking for a tofu-free method (and because I was out of tofu AND yogurt):

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For that pumpkin pie flax pudding, I brought 1.5 cups unsweetened soy milk to a boil with 6 tbsp ground flax, cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves/ginger, and 2 chopped dates. After a couple of minutes there, I immersion blended in 1.5 cups of canned pumpkin and poured the mix into a container to chill in the fridge overnight. For my purposes, one serving equals one cup — so this recipe makes 3-4 servings.

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It would probably also work without the pumpkin because the flax seems to have incredible gelling properties. It just might come out a little bit looser.

Next up was my snack/dessert baggie with manchego cheese samples from the gourmet deli, two of mom’s kitchen sink muffins with sunflower seed butter for spreading, and sample pieces of Tate’s Bakeshop chocolate chip cookies from the deli:

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When I got home tonight, I snacked a bit while I got tomorrw’s food ready … as in I shoveled big piles of fruit salad and groatmeal into my mouth too fast to photograph them. What’s a girl to do when it won’t all fit in the container??

I was also super-excited to find that my first issue of Eating Well had arrived! I won the subscription from Brandi a little while ago, and I can’t wait to start reading it 😀 Sadly, I can’t start yet because I have to go to bed ASAP.

What would you be doing right now if you didn’t have to sleep?

Oh, one more thing (about me again, because obviously the world revolves around me) … I got hired!! Thanks to the tireless efforts of Heather, my supervisor, my amazing unpaid internship has miraculously found space in the budget to hire me full-time after the internship ends on May 8. I’ll officially start on June 1. I’ll be able to keep doing what I currently do (and what I love to do!) about 1/3 of the time; the other 2/3 will be a different more paperwork-based job but still good experience. So, not only will I continue to get my social work experience; I will also learn a new system and have a small amount of financial stability to get me through the last year of grad school. Phew!

Buffeting around town

Wife and I arrived at the dinner reception location, Charlotte’s University Place Hilton, with about 45 minutes to spare, so we took a stroll along the boardwalk behind the hotel.

There were drummers, giant chess pieces, and lakefront perches:

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Just before 7, we wound our way back to the Lakeview Ballroom, collected our table assignment, and planted ourselves firmly at Table 7:

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Well, not all that firmly, since the hors d’oeuvres were calling us!

Crudites and grilled veggies:

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Crackers:

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CHEESE!

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Fruit (with an unpictured chocolate fountain!):

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Here’s my plate with grilled zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant; carrots and tomatoes with spinach-artichoke dip; two crackers with green cheese triangles (it was herby and so delicious!), cheddar cheese sticks, and dill havarti cubes; and grapes and strawberries:

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Servers came around with a couple more goodies, so I also had a smoked salmon-wrapped broccolini:

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And an antipasti skewer with roasted red pepper, artichoke heart, fresh mozzarella, olive, and sundried tomato (and my sweet tea in the background, finally!):

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I also got a small appetizer dessert plate with fruit and chocolate:

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img_8263The champagne toast was next, but I don’t like champagne (I know, I know, how is that possible?), so I had sparkling white grape juice. The toast from Ilin’s dad is when the waterworks started again. I’m such a sap for father-daughter stories!

When the toasts were finished, it was time for the dinner buffet! I filled my plate with Mediterranean salad (spinach, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, huge chunks of feta), caprese salad, asparagus with goat cheese and pinenuts, a mountain of sauteed veggies, and a small piece of salmon on a bed of spinach (there was also rice pilaf, beef, and chicken breast, but I passed on those because my goal was to leave the reception still able to walk on my own two feet):

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Everything was delicious, obviously.

For drool purposes:

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Dessert was more chocolate fountain!

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Our tablemate, Ilin’s friend Ivana, had the genius idea to fill a teacup with chocolate and use a roll from the dinner buffet to dunk!! I wish she had thought of that sooner because I was just on the cusp of overexpansion at this point and did not want to push it. I took a picture to document the brilliance:img_8287

With that, Wife and I said our goodbyes and went on our way back to Kristin’s house, stuffed but not overstuffed. Everything about the ceremony and the reception was so beautiful and perfect and sincere, and we had a lovely time. Congratulations, Ilin and Theo!

What’s your favorite item for chocolate fountain dipping? Mine is banana!