Shimmying in Charlotte + Recent Eats

On top of my titles as selfie queen, peanut butter lover, and daughter of God, add saxophone enthusiast.

Not because I can play the saxophone by any stretch of the imagination, but because I went to the MOST FUN jazz sax concert in Charlotte, NC this weekend with my dear friend Lauren and her awesome parents.

Going to NC for 24 hours for a saxophone concert is one of the most random things I’ve ever done, but that’s what I love about the whole thing. There’s a saxophonist named Gerald Albright who Lauren and I talk about all the time, even though we only really knew one of his songs (“Slam Dunk” – highly recommend if you want a good time).

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our “Ger bear”

Lauren’s parents had an extra ticket and very generously invited me down to hang out with them and watch the concert. And BOY did we have a blast!

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Gerald was ridiculously amazing, even more so than I was expecting. The other saxophone star above was Kirk Whalum, who solo’d in Whitney Houston’s song, “I Will Always Love You” (casual..maybe you’ve heard it) and played for her for almost ten years. WILD.

There was also some dancing and soul trains involved during the concert, and we were all loving it. Even if Lauren and I were likely the only ones under the age of 35 there. We shimmied our way through the concert (and the whole weekend, honestly).

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The best part of the weekend was just spending time with Lauren and her parents. They are the most beautiful family. They also know to take a couple Boston girls to Chick-Fil-A immediately upon arrival in NC.

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my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich ever

A milestone, you could say. It was perfect.

Lauren’s mom also brewed some delicious iced tea at home that we sipped as we chatted in their living room. I rather enjoy the simple things in life.

Before the concert on Saturday night, we went to dinner at The King’s Kitchen, which I would describe as an upscale Southern restaurant. The food was utterly delicious, AND the proceeds go towards feeding the hungry and towards life skills development programs.

I got the pot roast, which came with three sides and either corn bread or a biscuit. I went with mac and cheese, green beans, collards, and a biscuit (you know I love corn bread, but when the waiter suggests the biscuit, you go for the biscuit – a good move).

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I finished e v e r y t h i n g.

The show was about three hours long, so afterwards, we made one last pit stop at Amelie’s French Bakery for near-midnight dessert. We split a lavender lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake, vanilla eclair, and raspberry lemon tart between the four of us.

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I think the raspberry lemon tart got the best vote all around!

On Sunday morning, I made them avocado egg toast because it is a) a joy for me to cook breakfast for people; b) necessary for every person to try avocado egg toast. I had peanut butter honey toast because they bought natural peanut butter for me *happy crying eyes*.

After breakfast, we headed to Mass and then had a light lunch at Chopt, ” the creative salad company.”

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sweet corn quinoa salad + turmeric ginger iced tea

Ugh, so fresh and delicious.

I already miss Lauren and her parents!! Thank you all so much again for your hospitality, generosity and love ♥︎ It was such a fun weekend.

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Also, I love Charlotte! I will be returning one day 🙂


Lastly, here are some recent eats and scenes that I haven’t shared yet from the past week!

My friends and I have still been using up our Groupon classes at The Ring. I will be so sad when it’s over. I LOVE BOXING.

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I cooked fava beans for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. They remind me of edamame!

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Overnight oats forever and ever. This one was with blackberries – a fine addition!

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My girl Elayne invited me to go to spin class with her at the HandleBar a couple weeks ago (I’m so behind with this recap), and as always with spin, the class kicked my butt! But the instructor was awesome and so fun.

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Two Fridays ago, my friends Justin and Kevin and I went to eat at Pho Countryside as our pre-exam studying treat. It keeps us going.

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It was everything I needed.

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We followed that up with some frozen yogurt at Cafe 472 (with Elayne!).

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Kevin and I shared apple pie flavor with granola, but I am convinced they actually made us pineapple flavor. It was great regardless.

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Some more of my beloved Asian friends invited me to join them for Kimbap on a different day. It’s basically like extra large sushi rolls with lots of yum stuff like bulgogi meat, seasoned veggies, egg, and spam if ya fancy. It was so tasty. I have such generous people in my life, my goodness!!

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Lots of peanut butter Puffins as a night snack these days.

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Overnight oatmeal smoothie bowls are my go-to weekend breakfast this summer.

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I think I followed up that smoothie with these scrambled eggs shortly after. Just cuz I was extra hungry. I forget how delicious simple scrambled eggs with ketchup is!

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I had whole wheat three cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomato pesto for a couple nights. This night I decided to put the leftovers over some greens.

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I’ve still been eating a lot of sandwiches for lunch just about every day!

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So I was at Target one day and needed to buy more bread for my sandwich lifestyle. I usually get the Harvest Wheat loaf for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I tried to find an equivalent at Target.

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This one looked fine enough. When I got home, I decided to look at the ingredients (since the TJ’s one has a short and sweet list and I wanted to compare). I found…

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My first instinct was, “Aw man. I wish I could return this. HFCS is gross.” But then I thought, “Will I die? No. This is food. This is fine. It is bread. I will enjoy this bread and be grateful for it.” Do I want to buy this bread every week? Nah. But my life will not be a spiraling pit of doom if I have this bread for lunch every day for a couple weeks.

*steps off soapbox*

Last Sunday we went to Toscanini’s for ice cream Sunday! This is my favorite ice cream place in Boston. Listen to these flavors: thin mint (amazing) + matcha cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (yes, that’s one flavor and yes, it was delicious).

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Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.

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On Friday night, a bunch of us celebrated our girl Zoe’s 21st birthday! She was abroad this summer and visited Boston to celebrate with us this weekend. WOOHOO!

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We started with apps and margarita’s at Sunset Cantina.

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And then moseyed on over to Landsdowne for some dancing!!

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I needed a midnight snack before bed that night. Smashed banana pb bread with cinnamon did the trick.

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When I don’t eat overnight oats for breakfast, Gina’s cookie dough cereal is another one on repeat.

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And last night I had another variation of pb banana that I hadn’t eaten in so long – Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie! With Greek yogurt to dip into it (remember when I did that all. the. time?).

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Hope you all have a marvelous Monday and a kick butt week! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So tell me:

Are you a fan of jazz music? 

Have you ever been to Charlotte, NC?

Do you like Chick-Fil-A (juuuust talking about the food here)?

The top three things from your weekend!

Favorite Dorm Foods

It’s not time for me to head back to school quite yet, but I know that some college students are already packing up to hit campus again. Bless your souls.

In honor of the start of a new semester/quarter, I thought it would be cool to share some of the foods that kept me alive in the dorms (since you all know that I’m so darn spoiled in the dining halls) and maybe give my fellow college students some ideas!

fave dorm foods

Peanut Butter

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Obviously. I finished SEVEN jars after all. Accompaniments of choice include bananas, apples, crackers, tortillas, and straight up spoons (I don’t eat the spoon).

Oatmeal + Protein Powder + Banana + Peanut Butter

I had a couple 8 AM classes, so a quick dorm breakfast was necessary on days when I wanted to get out of bed at the last possible minute. My go-to breakfast was 1/2 c. rolled oats cooked with water in the microwave, a whole sliced banana, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, and a big spoonful of peanut butter.

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Sometimes I would actually make this concoction the night before, let it cool, and then put it in the fridge to eat cold the next morning (to avoid waking up my roomie!). Sounds strange, but it was sort of like overnight oats. Bonus points if you put them in an almost empty pb jar.

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Popcorn

Some nice, light microwave popcorn smells great, tastes great, and lures friends into your buttery-smelling dorm room. That being said, I was uber lazy and just bought a huge bag of white cheddar popcorn for myself. Finger-lickin’ good.

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Roasted Chickpeas

Any sort of roasted beans are like CRACK to me. I bought a bag of these roasted chickpeas from TJMaxx over Thanksgiving. I felt bad that these were so loud when I ate them in the dorm…but not bad enough to not eat them. 😀

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I also love Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans and roasted edamame. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Bars

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Oatmeal bars, KIND bars, granola bars, Larabars… I’m not super picky.

Mixed Roasted Nuts/Trail Mix

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Essentially, nut butter in its original form, sometimes with other dried fruits. This photo also happens to include Wheat Thins, which are also a fabulous snack choice.

Apple Chips

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Especially with almond butter!

Greek Yogurt {Sweet}

I love oats, but when I wanted to mix it up, Greek yogurt did the trick. Plain Greek yogurt with chia seeds, cinnamon, banana, peanut butter, and Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins (fave cereal).

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Puffins by themselves were also a convenient and sweet snack.

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also extremely crunchy and loud

Greek Yogurt {Savory}

The generous folks at ADF Foods Lmtd. sent me two bags of Nate’s Mediterranean Bites — one Southwestern flavor and one Garlic and Pesto flavor. They’re freezer falafel bites, and the packages even come with a container of tzatziki sauce that you can thaw/microwave.

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I liked the Southwestern ones better than the Garlic and Pesto, probably because the Southwestern ones had a spicy kick 🙂 They also have a Kale flavor and Sweet Potato flavor!

These made for an easy and tasty lunch or dinner in the dorms if I was running short on time or if the dining halls were already closed for the night. For a light meal I would warm up four of these in the microwave (although an oven would have been ideal!) and eat them dipped in plain Greek yogurt.

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I tried the tzatziki the first time (pictured above), but warming up frozen tzatziki in the microwave made the sauce separate. A little stir helped it out a bit, but I still preferred dipping the bites in thick and creamy Greek yogurt. Also, thawing the tzatziki in the fridge would have probably been a wiser decision.

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Overall, I’m a fan of the falafel bites. For someone with limited time during school and a desire to eat as healthfully as possible, these Mediterranean bites delivered. These babies have 5 grams of protein per two falafels, and they’re made with wholesome ingredients. I dig. They’re delicious too!

Freezer Burritos

^^^Those two words can sound sketchy. However, ADF Foods reassured me that good freezer burritos exist. Enter: PJ’s Organics. This company makes both classic burritos and breakfast burritos that are frozen and microwaveable.

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These are GREAT! Perfect for a quick snack, very tasty, and also made with wholesome ingredients. They sent me the Turkey & Eggs Breakfast Burrito, Traditional Chicken Burrito, and the Steak and Cheese Burrito. I can’t tell you which one was my favorite, but know that they were all mighty delicious.

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turkey and cheese breakfast burrito

Again, this is no Chipotle-level burrito, but it’s definitely a step up from other freezer convenience foods I’ve eaten (scary flashbacks to Marie Callendar’s chicken pot pie). One of the best things about PJ’s burritos is that they’re not too salty. HALLELUJAH for less water retention!

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steak and cheese burrito

Honestly, I was sad when I finished the last one. So do not fear the freezer food! These ones at least.

*Disclaimer: ADF Foods Limited sent me Nate’s Mediterranean Bites and PJ’s Organics Burritos for free. All opinions are my own.

So tell me:

If you’re in college, what are your favorite dorm/apartment snacks?

Do you have any favorite freezer foods? I would love to hear about them! 

WIAW: Fluffy and Peachy

Howdy!

I honestly could not think of a better title for this post, but fluffy things sound nice and peachy things sound cheerful, right? It’s also WIAW, which means food, which means awesomeness.

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Awesomeness brought to you by Jenn!

I came up with the two adjectives, fluffy and peachy, when thinking about the wicked breakfast I had a week ago. When you’re in a family that loves eating at restaurants, you tend to describe foods as if you’re trying to advertise them on a menu. Thus, here’s what I ate last Wednesday, along with some {hopefully appealing} adjectives to describe my eats! Don’t worry, I didn’t say moist…Except for just now.

I also finally took pictures of all my eats from one full day!

Breakfast

Fluffy and peachy:

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Peach oatmeal smoothie (with peanut butter blended in) + PB puffins on top

This thing is so fluffy I could die. When it comes straight out of the blender, there’s still a lot of air so it’s like a mousse. It might just be my favorite summer breakfast! Eaten with a spoon of course.

Snack #1

Crunchy and sweet:

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Oat and honey bar

I didn’t really need captions for this one did I?

Lunch

Savory and spicy:

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Pork, cheese, spinach, and spicy mustard sandwich

Love that spicy brown mustard! It seriously MAKES the sandwich.

Snack #2

Crunchy and charred:

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Spicy brown rice crackers.

These things make my taste buds party, but my mom threw out the box at the store (such a space-saver), so I don’t know what the brand is!

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Leftover grilled veggies with sun dried tomato hummus

Any vegetable in the fridge is doomed to the fiery pit of hummus. Dooooomed.

Snack #3

Classic and…that’s it.

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Banana with pepita sunseed butter

Tchu know.

Dinner

Fresh and nutty:

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Fish and mango spring rolls (a la madre) with peanut sauce

Gosh, I loved this dinner. Although, in this picture the peanut sauce looks like baby food. I had to warm it up in the microwave to get is a little less carrot-mash-y.

Dessert

Sweet and tangy:

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The usual. Dried figs with Greek yogurt {recycled photos}.

This reminds me— I haven’t had dried figs and Greek yogurt since last Wednesday I think! I’ll change that right now 😀

Can we just reflect on the fact that there are 4 more days of high school left for me?? I’m currently in the very giddy, excited stage of the process, since all our senior events are coming up soon. But I’ll hit the emotional stage sometime this month, don’t you worry. Oh and I also had my last dance class EVER yesterday. What?!

Also, I want to wish my dad a very happy birthday! You’re the best, pop. I love you so much! ♥

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Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!

So tell me:

Describe your favorite meal from yesterday.

What do you like to eat with hummus?