French Pastries Make Anything Better

Hey ya’ll! It is Monday. For the first time, I’m actually pretty excited that it is Monday. It is the last day of class for me and the best part is we are having speakers in some of my classes because they assumed that most people would go out of town, so class is optional (well except for my applied physiology class, but I have to turn in my review paper, so weeeee). I have a delicious treat for ya’ll this Monday. FRENCH PASTRIES. Seriously I think that French pastries make anything better. One of the best places in the city is Mille Feuille, which is located over near NYU. Man if only Columbia was over there. I would be probably 5000 lbs (haha jk because that would kill me). Anyways there is nothing like a delicious pastry and some hot chocolate on a cold day.

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It is a really small shop, but it is packed with delicious treats. I was so cold, but the inside of the bakery was so warm that I think I was almost sweating. I made Carrianne sit outside with me, so I didn’t die to death inside while I nommed on my treats. It is a really cute shop though. The interior is decorated nicely, there is some stools to sit on, and it smells amazing. One of the coolest things about this little bakery is that they offer cooking classes for french macarons and croissants. Let me tell you, this is definitely the place you want to learn how to make either from (they have amazing macarons!).

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Ummm look at these containers of french pastries. I think I died and went to heaven. I have actually been here before on a trip with my dad and little brother to New York. That is how I knew about this place beforehand since pastries isn’t the top thing I’m creeping on yelp for. It was really hard to choose what I wanted to get because I was torn between so many things. Look at those cronuts, they look so good. If we go back, I’m definitely going to be getting one of those because they had chocolate, raspberry, and almond. I would have gotten the chocolate or raspberry, but anyways on to what I ended up eating.

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Look at this beautiful piece of croissant. It is pink, my favorite color. I think that is probably one of the main reasons that I gravitated towards this treat. The pink on the outside was beautiful. It was a raspberry flavored sugar that was sprinkled all over the top of the croissant. It was beautiful, but it was definitely a mess. When I was done eating this, I had pink stains all over my mouth. It was a pretty cute look for me.

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Look at the flakiness of the croissant. When you bite into it, the crust just falls apart in your mouth. It was so buttery and delicious. It was definitely one of the best croissants I’ve had in a long time. Although nothing will ever compare to the chocolate croissants I have had in Europe (the funny thing is, the best chocolate croissant I had was in Germany). The sugar had soaked in a little bit in the pastry, so there was also a nice hint of raspberry in every bite.

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Look at the inside of this croissant. It was an almond raspberry croissant, so the inside was filled with raspberry jam and almond paste. OMG. HEAVEN. When the two were mixed together, it was a sweet bite. The raspberry jam was perfect. It was made from fresh raspberries, so it didn’t have that artificial taste to it. I really hate when pastries just use pre-made fillings because having everything made from scratch makes it so much better. The almond paste was not too overwhelming, which was good because that helped it go along with the raspberry jam. I gobbled this thing up. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that goes here. Just be prepared to get messy.

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This place has some of the best macarons of my life. These little things are packed with so much flavor, which is what makes a good macaron. I hate when they are cooked perfectly, but do not taste what the actual flavor is. These were coconut and pistachio. The pistachio is definitely a favorite. It tastes like freshly roasted pistachio nuts. If you closed your eyes, you would think that you are actually eating pistachios. The coconut was the same way. It tasted like fresh coconut bursting inside your mouth. Other macarons that I have had from this shop include salted caramel, passionfruit, lemon, chocolate, and raspberry. Every single one of those is delicious. The salted caramel and passionfruit are definitely at the top of the list though. This place even made Carrianne enjoy macarons, so you know that Mille Feuille is legit. Noms.

Have an awesome Monday! I know I am going to! No case of the Mondays over here.

What is your favorite kind of pastry?
Have you ever had a pastry from France?

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The Ultimate Holiday Bucket List

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I disappeared on you, but I’ve been crazy busy working on my research paper for applied physiology. I really am geeking out and love the topic that I’m writing about, which is how caffeine consumption affects endurance training versus resistance training. Maybe when I’m done I’ll have an educational post about it! That would be awesome, sharing my knowledge with the blogging world! Anyways I’m super excited about the holidays. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Thanksgivukkah, Chrismukkah. Oh how I love the cheer in the air, but maybe not the chilly weather that is going along with it (25 degrees, but feels like 16, not cool weather, not cool). Since I love the holidays so much, I’ve decided I’m going to share an epic holiday bucket list with ya’ll!

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1. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (perks of living in NYC, but you can always watch it on TV too).

2. Host a Thanksgivukkah bash at my apartment.

3. Finally bake pumpkin challah (and use the leftovers for challah french toast).

4. Decorate the apartment for the winter holidays (I’m thinking dreidels, menorahs, a fake Christmas tree, mistletoe)

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5. Bake my delicious holiday cookies, as many times as possible (Christmas and Hanukkah shapes – I need to go cookie cutter shopping too).

6. Watch all the classic Hanukkah movies: 8 Crazy Nights, The Hebrew Hammer, A Rugrat’s Hanukkah (such classics)

7. Enjoy all the Christmas classics too with my roommates!

8. Go on a classic holiday last minute gift shopping adventure with my little brother (probably get chased by a red car down the highway like always).

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9. Buy my first Menorah, preferably with a cat theme (I’m growing up, no longer a bat mitzvah girl, but a grown up Jewish girl in the city).

10. Go the the Menorah lighting on 95th at least once during Hanukkah.

11. Test out the inventive sufganiyot at Zucker’s Bakery in East Village (Sweet potato with marshmallow filling, pumpkin with cranberry filling – noms).

12. Go to a Christmas Tree lighting event in the city with my roommates!

13. Go see the Nutcracker at David Koch Theater with my roommates (as you can tell we love roomie dates).

14. Have a gingerbread house making party at our apartment.

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15. Decorate my first big Christmas tree when I go home for winter break (I’m so excited – we usually have our tiny fake white tree).

16. Buy a tacky Christmas or Hanukkah sweater.

17. Go to a bunch of holiday parties in the city and wear my tacky sweater with antlers on my head (this is definitely happening for sure on December 6th).

18. Kiss someone under a mistletoe (hmmm this might be hard to do, but I like a challenge).

19. Attend the Latke Festival in Brooklyn (maybe I should enter the competition – haha yeah right).

20. Bake a bunch of holiday treats to make gifts for all my friends.

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21. Take a ton of photos.

22. Drive around Austin to find the best holiday lights in the city, and maybe trek to San Marcos to go to a drive through Christmas light show.

23. Get my hands on as many holiday goods as I can (peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint cake pops, gingerbread flavored treats, etc).

24. Walk down 5th ave and other streets looking at all the beautiful holiday window displays.

25. Have a classic Christmas adventure in New York by doing tons of holiday touristy things!

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this! As we are speaking, I’m working on some things on this list (pumpkin challah hehehe). Have an awesome rest of your Sunday. I’ll be getting in bed soon to finish my paper!

What is on your holiday bucket list?
What is a classic Christmas or Hanukkah tradition?

A return to Oatmeals (the greatest breakfast spot)

Hey ya’ll! Sorry I’ve been gone all weekend, but I decided I needed a weekend of rest. Plus I’ve been working hardcore on my review paper, which I think is going to be pretty awesome! Carrianne and I had a really chill weekend. We fought with time warner cable online, we did some light shopping, and we returned to our favorite breakfast spot. Ya’ll know breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so when we were in the West Village I had to go back to Oatmeals. Oh how I love you Oatmeals. A shop dedicated to my favorite breakfast item: oatmeal.

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This was Carrianne’s bowl of heaven. She ended up getting the Canadian, which sounded really tasty. It had cinnamon roasted apples, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, maple syrup, and sea salt. Seriously one of the best combinations ever. You can never go wrong when you get bacon. It adds that crunch along with a salty smoky flavor. The maple gives it a little sweetness to bring in the roasted apples. The cheese becomes melty when you mix it in with the hot creamy oatmeal. This was definitely a very inventive bowl of oatmeal. I would have never thought to put all of these things in together.

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Carrianne isn’t a big fan of cooked apples, but she said that in this dish it was perfect. The apples were soft, but provided a nice texture along with all of the other ingredients in the bowl. Her favorite part was definitely the maple syrup. She thought it provided a nice taste to the array of flavors going on in the dish. She liked the sweet, yet savory idea behind it. She is more of a savory taste person while I am a sweet, so this was a nice balance in her opinion. I definitely will be getting this one sometime soon because it looked amazing and she gave it two thumbs up.

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I ended up getting one of the Happy Endings, which means it was a sweet based oatmeal. This one was the S’mores. Ya’ll know I can’t resist s’mores. It had dark chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, graham crackers, and a chocolate syrup drizzle. Oh man this was a bowl of sweetness. I was in oatmeal heaven along with s’mores heaven. I think that is the best type of heaven to be in. The dark chocolate was so rich. When you swirled it into the oatmeal, it just became a creamy melted chocolate pond. The marshmallows were really cute. They reminded me of the ones that you find in a hot cocoa mix. They melted too in the oatmeal, which enhanced the creaminess of the oatmeal even more. I love the taste of marshmallows.

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I really thought the graham crackers were interesting. I was expecting the classic large square chunks of graham crackers or I thought they were going to be crumbled over the oatmeal. I actually enjoyed these. They were really cute and provided a small amount, not overwhelming, of graham crackers. Graham crackers are my least favorite part about s’mores, so I was glad that they were really subtle. The chocolate drizzle was a nice touch too. It wasn’t drenched, which I appreciate. Overall it was another amazing oatmeal experience. I’m so sad that I don’t live closer because I would probably go here at least twice a week for breakfast. I think my wallet is happy though that I live far far away.

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The best surprise was this oatmeal cookie. The guy working convinced Carrianne and I that we needed to try this. Not that we really needed much convincing because look at it. It is just calling out for you to take a bite out of it. At first I thought it might be a little hard, which I hate. I was wrong. The cookie was so soft. It was chewy and delicious. The icing was perfect on top too. It wasn’t too sweet and it wasn’t too thick. I could eat a ton of these things. Actually they are huge, so I probably could only eat one by itself. I would definitely recommend getting this if you ever go here! Such a good treat.

Have an awesome Monday! I’ll be tortured in class for hours upon hours. Yay for 6 hours of straight class.

The Greatest Foodie Adventure

Hey ya’ll! Happy Friday. I have been crazy busy today. This morning I had an interview at the New York City Food Bank for an internship of a lifetime. I really hope I get the opportunity to intern there! It would be amazing. Then I had plans with a friend to go on a free walking tour through Chinatown from a company called Free Tours by Foot. That was probably the greatest foodie adventure I’ve been on since I’ve moved here. It was a food tour, so it was based around the food in Chinatown. We went to a ton of delicious places while learning about the culture of Chinatown and how Chinatown was developed. Lets get to the yummy part, which was the food.

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The first stop was a dumpling shop. At the beginning, I just wanted to eat anything because I hadn’t eaten all day because I had been back and forth from my apartment to places. I was excited though we were getting dumplings because who doesn’t love a good fried dumpling. I sort of laughed that the name of the place was Fried Dumpling. It probably said something else in Chinese, but our tour guide had no idea. It smelled so delicious outside. I wanted her to hurry up and explain, so we could get inside and get our nom on.

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Get in my belly. The tour guide went on to explain the the pork and chive were the most popular, so I decided why not go ahead and get that. My friend and I ended up splitting a thing of ten dumplings. They were delicious. There was a nice juice inside, the pork was really tender, and the chive wasn’t overwhelming. The dough of the dumpling was perfectly fried and crispy in all the right places. The best part of this place was that 5 dumplings only cost a 1$. Apparently this is a huge thing in Chinatown. I definitely know where I will be heading from now on. I’ll pretty much become a dumpling with prices like these. This was the perfect way to the start the tour. As we enjoyed our dumplings, our tour guide, Meredith, from Free Tours by Foot, went on to explain a little bit about herself and the company.

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The next stop on the tour was Xi’an Famous Foods. The funny thing was that I had actually creeped on this place before in one of my many yelp searches for legitimate Chinese food in New York. So when Free Tours by Foot said we were going here, I got a little foodie excited. This store has many locations in the city, which include East Village, Midtown West, and Chinatown. Of course since we were on the Chinatown tour, we obviously were going to the Chinatown shop, but it was nice to learn that there are bunch of shops around the city and much closer to where I live then Chinatown (bc this is so far away from my apartment – oh wait, so is everything that is anything, first world struggles).

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My friend and I ended up splitting the Lamb Burger. Lamb at a Chinese shop? Yes, I was a bit weirded out too. The tour guide from Free Tours by Foot said that this was a really popular item and a good snack to go since we were on a walking tour. However I definitely want to go back because she said that they were known for their noodles and soup, which are two things that are not easy to do while walking. This was delicious. The bun was steamed on the outside and the lamb inside was soft and broke apart in your mouth. It was really spicy, which I enjoyed. One lady said she was sweating, which I laughed at because it was 40 degrees outside and it wasn’t THAT spicy. There were onions and peppers packed along with the meat, which was nice. Overall it was definitely a win. You go Free Tours by Foot, you go!

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Next stop was ice cream. I know what you are thinking, who eats ice cream in Chinatown and when it is cold outside? It wasn’t that cold actually. Plus my mouth was a little spicy and hot from the lamb burger, so it was nice to cool it off with some ice cream. This place was really interesting. They had a ton of odd Asian flavored ice cream like lychee, sesame, something I can’t even pronounce, almond cookie (apparently this is some Asian treat), and others. It was hard to pick because they all looked so good.

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I ended up getting the almond cookie one since it was a traditional Chinese treat that was mashed inside of ice cream. It was really good. The almond flavor wasn’t too overwhelming and I liked the nice surprises of crunch from the smashed cookie inside the ice cream. It was definitely a sweet treat to have. I want to go find those almond cookies and try them by themselves. My friend got this special Chinese one that had butter in it along with an American flavor of cherry vanilla. Of course the tour guide laughed at him for getting an American flavor, but he redeemed himself by getting the butter one too. I was getting full at this point, so definitely my advice on food tours is to always split things!

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The next stop was Mei Lai Wah, which was sort of a bakery, but kind of a dim sum shop, which also had random things like rice and noodles. I was so pumped to go here. When Free Tours by Foot had said that we were going to be getting BBQ pork buns on the tour, I was like OMG OMG OMG YESSSSSSSSSSSS. BBQ pork buns are pretty much my thing. I have to always have them at dim sum. My family knows too that this is like my ultimate dish. Anyways food.

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This is nirvana. Not even joking. My friend ended up getting the baked BBQ pork bun, which is a sweet version of this classic dish. It is topped with a honey egg glaze. He enjoyed it so much that he went back inside to buy some steamed BBQ pork buns to try. I don’t lie about BBQ pork buns people! The greatest thing about this shop was that the buns were only .80 cents. Ummm yes. And they were huge. I will definitely be coming back here all the time. I got two BBQ steamed buns to go because I knew I would want to enjoy them later. I wouldn’t have minded trying the shrimp dumplings or the rice noodles too, but I didn’t have time to get those or eat them on the walk.

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Free Tours by Foot is great because you get to learn historical information while nomming on delicious treats. Our tour guide decided to let our stomachs digest some of the food for a bit, so she took us to a Buddhist temple, which was really interesting. It was really beautiful inside with all the ornate statues. I was happy to sit down. We had been walking for a bit and my legs were getting a little tired. Problems of an old person. Struggle bus. There was an quirky old woman there offering grapes to her relatives that had passed on. We learned that the Buddhist offer food at the alter in order to feed them in heaven. I thought that was pretty cool. Hopefully someone manages it, so that the food doesn’t spoil.

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This was our last stop on the tour. I was sad, but at the same time I was looking forward to taking a rest because I was so exhausted. This was a sweet bakery unlike the more savory one we went to in order to get the BBQ pork buns. Apparently I was the only person on the tour, besides the guide, that knew anything about classic Asian dishes. My parents raised me right giving me lots of dim sum and other Asian food.

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Once again I had to get the treats to go, and I even got one for the roomie. I know how she loves her egg custard tarts, so I was like yep definitely getting two, so we can enjoy them together when we sit on the couch and vegetate tonight. We are cool like that. I also ended up getting a coconut bun too. I was a bit interested in how it would be, so I can’t wait to see if there is cream or not inside. I love that surprise, unless it is really gross.

Anyways I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed the food tour. Free Tours by Foot will definitely be having my business again. I can’t wait to go on more foodie adventures to places like the Lower East Side or Greenwich. The best idea behind the tour is that you pay what you want for the tour. Some people can either pay nothing while others will tip the guide huge. I think it depends on your experience on the tour, how much you paid for food, and how much money you have in general. Poor college students, like myself, can tip 10$, which I think was fair because I spent a lot of money on food. I definitely recommend this Chinatown tour though!

What is your favorite Chinese dish?
Have you ever been on a food tour?

WIAW: While Abroad

Hey ya’ll! It is that awesome time of the week again, What I Ate Wednesday, thanks to the lovely Jenn. Unfortunately I’m going to have to recap some of the past today because I don’t have time to write an elaborate post about what I have been eating lately. Plus I’ve been slacking on the picture taking front. I have been too busy studying for my advanced nutrition midterm and working on my lab skills, such as blood pressure. I’ll probably kick the butt of all of it, but I would rather be overprepared for everything. So I’m going to recap the rest of my Spain trip in this awesome post because I realized that I forgot to share the rest of the trip with ya’ll. Get ready for some delicious, appetizing Spanish food porn coming your way.

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When we were in Barcelona, we went to heaven. Also known as La Boqueria. It is this huge outdoor market. It was amazing. There was so much to see inside. There were also little restaurants spread throughout the place. I pretty much wanted to gobble up everything that was in sight. It was really hard to just choose a few things to snack on because we really wanted to sit down and get some tapas too.

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Isn’t this beautiful? I thought so. I really just wanted to rob the entire candy stand. I’m not gonna lie, but I totally kept taking free samples of everything when the Spanish woman working the shop wasn’t looking. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a candy is good or not, so I thought why not test taste. Since we were getting tapas in a little bit, my brother and I decided to each get a huge bag of candy to take home with us on our long journey. Well he ended up eating his all before we even left Spain, but I got to enjoy mine when I was back in America and on my long journey. This candy was the bomb. I really miss it actually. It was pretty cheap too.

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Since it was a pretty hot day, we ended up getting smoothie/juices. It was a mix between a smoothie and a juice. It was really delicious. I ended up getting the pineapple coconut one. You could taste the fresh pineapple chunks in it mixed with the creaminess of the coconut. My brother got a watermelon one. It was really good too. His was more juice like while mine had the consistency of a smoothie. These were all over the market too. Pretty cheap. At some places, you could get a small one for one euro. I like cheap things.

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After walking around the market a bit, we decided to sit down and get some tapas. We ended up getting calamari of course. This was actually some pretty good calamari. It was salty, but when sprinkled with the lemon juice it became a little more acidic. It was really good. I wish there would have been more to enjoy because you can’t go wrong with ordering anything that is fried. Especially squid. It is definitely always a win win (lies though because I was poisoned by horrible food at this place in Sevilla – trying not to think about it).

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Of course we were getting patatas bravas too. These were very hasbrown like, which was delicious. It is always a safe choice to go with patatas bravas. As long as they aren’t just drenched in sauce then you are good to go. I think we ordered a few other things, but apparently I blacked out at this point in the meal and stopped taking pictures. I think we were in a rush that day because we were taking the train back to Madrid. This feels like forever ago too, which is sad because it was only a few months ago. I definitely miss this trip. It was amazing.

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I know when I was recapping my Spain trip that I wrote about the greatest meal of my life, but I lied. This meal was definitely tied with it. We went on a day trip to Malaga, which was so beautiful. It was a nice coastal town where we could look out at the ocean. I wish we would have gone to the beach while we were there, but it was a long drive from where we were staying, so we couldn’t stay that long. Anyways this restaurant we went to while we were there was AMAZING. This is caramelized apples with foie gras. Ummm YES. It tasted as good as it looks. The crispy sweetness of the apples went well with the foie gras. My life belief is that you should always treat yourself to foie gras. You won’t regret it.

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These were definitely some of the best croquetas I had on my trip. Actually the dipping sauce was amazing. It was like a spicy mayonaisse. That is definitely want you want to be dipping fried cheese balls in. I think that these were just your basic jamon (ham) croquetas. They may have been simple, but definitely packed a ton of flavor. I think that all croquetas should come with a delicious sauce like this.

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These were some really interesting things. At first I thought I was at an Asian restaurant, but then I remembered that I was in Spain. I thought these were eggrolls, but I’m still not really sure what they are. Anyways they were the best things EVER. They had duck in them, which was tender and delicious. The sauce that went with it was sweet and tangy, which went nice with the crunch of the fried wrapper. I was sad that I couldn’t remember the name of these because I am always looking for them at tapas restaurants in the city.

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This was a tapas from the gods in heaven. It was toasted bread with mushrooms, shrimp, and a creamy ranch sauce. It was so good. I was sad that we had only gotten one order because we each only got to enjoy one piece of it. The shrimp was cooked and seasoned perfectly while the mushrooms had been sauteed in butter and oil providing a nice texture along with the crunch of the bread. The sauce was amazing. All creamy, fattening sauces are good anyways, so this was just like mmmmmmmmmmm.

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Well we couldn’t go anywhere without having an order of patatas bravas. Since this was one of the best meals of my life, these were obviously going to be one of the best patatas bravas on the trip. I loved how they used not only the spicy traditional sauce, but also drizzled some mayonaisse based sauce on top too. When the sauces blended together, it gave a creamy spicy combination to go along with the crunchiness of the fried potatoes. Man, how I miss these things. I seriously dream about these little bites of heaven all the time because it is so hard to find traditional and delicious patatas.

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Since we are totally fatties and it was our vacation, so we were treating ourselves, we had to get a dessert. It took a bit to pick because I wanted those eggroll things, but in dessert form. However they had ran out of that, so we settled for this cinnamon apple dessert. It was definitely a winning choice. It was amazing. It had caramel, cooked apples, cinnamon, vanilla icecream, and walnuts. I died. Literally. It was perfection. It was literally gone in about less than a minute. My brother and I of course had our typical spoon fight over the last few bites.

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Breakfast of champions right here. I’m not even sure what any of this is, but my dad stopped at a pastry shop and just picked a bunch of things for my brother to have. I got the doughnut looking thing. It was not your typical doughnut. It sort of reminded me of this cronut craze that is going on. It was more pastry like on the inside and then topped with a sugar glaze.

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Here was my breakfast of champions. I think this was called a bombello or bombom or something along the lines with the letters bom in it. It was like eating cake for breakfast. Actually it literally was. The inside was a sweet buttercream. The pastry was a cream puff that had been dipped in rich dark chocolate. It was good. The other thing was just a basic little pastry roll stuffed with sweet cream. Everyone was grabbing to get a bite of my big pastry. It was that good. I was in a sugar coma though after breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day.

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We stopped at this interesting little tapas place in Barcelona. You pretty much picked all the tapas you wanted from a bar and went back to your seat to enjoy them. You paid by the amount of toothpick and the size of the toothpick, so that was pretty interesting. It was a good place to go to get a little snack before we went on a long adventure for the day. Some of the stuff was really good while some of the other things were just all right. It was overall an experience.

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I obviously have to share some more sweets, specifically helado. I love ice cream. In Spain, it was actually pretty delicious. This was more of a gelato style kind of ice cream place. I ended up getting white chocolate with raspberry and chocolate chunks in it. It was really good. I think the owner said that it was one of the most popular flavors. After I had a few bites, I knew why. The tartness of the raspberries went along well with the rich flavor of the chocolate. It was so good. A nice treat for a warm day (although the weather was never really that hot while we were there, which was nice).

Well that is all I have for ya’ll today! I hope you guys have an awesome Wednesday. Now it is back to studying for my exams. I am ready to kick some butt though. I know I’m good when I have literally memorized every single thing and can repeat it without looking at any notes. I could practically teach the class.

Where is the best place you have traveled and eaten the best food?
What was the best meal of your life?

S’mores Banana

Hey ya’ll! Today is such an exciting day. We had our first “snow”. Technically it was only snow flurries, but it was still exciting to wake up and see it snowing out the window. I’m lucky because I get to stay inside, enjoy the weather from the window, sip on my hot chocolate, and study for my advanced nutrition exam. This makes me one happy camper! It also is getting my really excited for the holidays. I can’t wait for Thanksgivukkah! Also as an avid shopper, I’m looking forward to Black Friday, but enough about that! Onwards to the delicious recipe that I’m about to share with ya’ll: Banana S’mores! A healthy alternative to my favorite treat.

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Banana S’mores

1 banana
10-12 mini marshmallows
a sprinkle of chocolate chips
aluminum foil

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.. Unlike how I did it in the picture, you want to peel your banana first before placing it into a sheet of aluminum foil. Once you peel the banana, place it in the aluminum foil, wrapping the foil around the sides of the banana. Then make a deep slice into the banana, so that it spreads open a bit.

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3. You then want to stuff the banana with your marshmallows and chocolate chips. This is the fun part. You can either just do marshmallows and chocolate chips or you can get really creative, such as adding nuts, dried fruit, etc. You can also either limit yourself by only putting a few or you can add a lot.

4. Then place in the oven on a baking sheet. You can either let it cook for 12 minutes or just keep on the oven light and monitor it for when the marshmallows get toasty. I prefer the second option because I get to make it as melty as I want.

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5. Remove from the oven, let cool, and eat out of the aluminum foil wrapper. Enjoy.

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This treat is so delicious and really low calorie. If you are having a sweet craving, but don’t want to spend all the calories in something super fattening then this is the way to go. It provides you a ton of fiber from the banana base and you get the sweetness from the marshmallows and chocolate chips. If you really want it to be s’mores like, you can crumble a graham cracker along the inside of the banana before you place it in the oven. I didn’t miss the graham cracker part because my favorite part of a s’mores is the way the marshmallow gets crispy on the outside, but is extremely soft and melted on the inside. This sort of reminded me of a campfire treat and you could actually make these while camping. Instead of placing them in the oven, you just put them over the fire.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this recipe because my stomach sure did! I can’t wait to get creative and make all kinds of combinations with my bananas. Now it is back to studying for nutrition. Fatty acids are on my mind. Nerd out.

What would you put in your stuffed banana?
What is the best s’mores flavored treat that you have had?

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (Spaghetti Squash)

Hey ya’ll! It’s Monday. If this were a normal school, I would totally be happy because I would have the entire day off for Veteran’s day to study for my advanced nutrition exam that is on Wednesday, but no I have class from 3-9. Go me. In order to cheer myself up, I have decided to share another recipe with ya’ll with some of my favorite ingredients. One is obviously pumpkin. I think pumpkin is one of the greatest things about fall, besides my birthday of course. The other ingredient is spaghetti squash. Ya’ll know I can’t live without my spaghetti squash. Seriously that thing is a staple in my diet. A good one too. So today I have for ya’ll: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1/2 spaghetti squash (if you really don’t like it, you can use regular noodles)
1/2 to 3/4 c of pumpkin (depending on how pumpkiny you want it)
1/4 c of light cream cheese
1/4 c of skim milk
1/3 c of shredded cheese (I used WW Mexican blend)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
sprinkle or two of pepper
Turkey bacon and green onions for garnish

1. First you will want to cook your spaghetti squash. I heat my oven to 400, stab my spaghetti squash all over with a knife, and then place in the oven for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Then I remove, let it cool, and then split it in half. You only need half of the spaghetti squash or even less than half because it provides a ton of “noodles” for the recipe.

2. Place your noodles in a medium pot and turn the heat on medium low.

3. Add pumpkin, cream cheese, skim milk, shredded cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot. Continuously stir as the ingredients heat.

3. You want to heat the dish until the cream cheese and shredded cheese has completely melted through. There will be no white chunks in the noodles is when you will be able to tell that it is ready.

4. You can let it sit on low heat while you work on the garnish. Heat a small skillet pan and place two to three slices of turkey bacon on. Cook until crispy. Then chop up into small pieces to place on top of pasta dish.

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6. Split into two or three servings depending on how much you want to eat. It is a pretty low calorie recipe since you are using spaghetti squash instead of actual noodles. This way you don’t need to feel as guilty.

7. You can top each bowl with green onions too, which gives it a nice flavor. Enjoy.

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This sort of looks like a pile of mush that isn’t appetizing in the least bit. However then you realize it is made with cheese. Who doesn’t love cheese? If you don’t like cheese, we probably can’t be friends. Actually that is a lie because one of my friends is allergic to dairy and I still love him. Anyways this dish is cheesy goodness with a light pumpkin flavor. To get it more pumpkin flavored and less cheese like, you will need to add more pumpkin. I thought it was perfect like this because it was a cold day and I was looking for something warm and filling to bring for my dinner that evening to class. The best part about this dish, besides it being super cheesy, is that it is pretty healthy for you. All the cheese and milk was low fat or fat free. Plus the base of the dish is just a vegetable. That is why I love spaghetti squash. You can create any pasta dish that you want without all the unnecessary calories while still getting a good source of fiber. It is a win-win in my eyes.

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Cheeeeeeeeese!

Happy Veteran’s day! I’ll be having fun in class all day, so wooo!

What is the best thing you have made with spaghetti squash?
Have you ever used alternative options for noodles?