Tag Archives: wildflour

Tuesday Treasures: Foodie Edition

I’m so happy that you all enjoyed my recap of the CT NOW Love Your Body 5K! Not only am I proud to have run it in less than 30 minutes, but I am still feeling inspired by the message behind the event. Being surrounded by so many others who share my passion for self love is pretty powerful.

I went to visit Heather a couple of weeks ago (you can read about some of our shenanigans on her blog) and came home with some amazing new memories created with her, her boyfriend Matty, and her best friend Raquel. But I also came home with far less money (lose) and a crapload of foodie treasures (win). Obviously I decided to share said treasures with you today just so I could use alliteration in this post title.

Of course whenever visiting Heather, we make it a point to visit Wildflour, a vegan bakery, cafe, and juice bar, while blogging in bliss. The vegan eats at this place are incredible and if you are ever in the Providence, RI area, I highly recommend passing on any of the restaurants by the mall and making the short drive to Pawtucket, RI to visit Wildflour (and the vegan restaurant next door, Garden Grille). Whenever I go there I leave with $30-$50 worth of goodies to take home and devour (as slowly as I can because I want it to last). This trip was no different. Here’s my haul:

  • a slice of whole wheat cheese-less butternut squash & broccoli flatbread
  • pineapple coconut jerky (YES)
  • raw garlic tomato kale chips (so far I’ve tried this flavor, garlic, and pizza…must try salt & vinegar and nacho still)
  • soba noodles with slaw (bottom left)
  • tofu tuna-style salad topped with carrots, served over greens (bottom right)

I threw MANY of these goodies into my lunch salad beasts and am in fact still working through the soba noodles (my first time having them and they are very interesting but it’s taking me awhile to use them since I’m not a huge noodle person). Pictured above is the entire container of the tofu “tuna” salad, thrown into a bowl and amped up with more greens and veggies. It was incredible!

I dreamed of dipping the pineapple coconut jerky into plain Chobani from the moment I purchased it, and that’s just what I did for a nighttime snack. However I was foolish to think the four pieces of jerky above would be enough with all that Chobani. I ended up polishing off the whole bag on that fine evening ūüôā

The flatbread was a great carby option for me this past Saturday when my stomach wasn’t feeling well, and I enjoyed half the kale chips on the way home from Heather’s (great road trip snack) and half at work one day while at my desk typing away.

I’ve tried the Dino Smoothie¬†(almond butter, banana, almond milk, spinach, kale, blueberry) at Wildflour before and though I ADORE it, I wanted to go for something new and had a mean green craving! So this time while blogging there I snacked on the Sillyantro (spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber, OJ, ginger). The ginger was just what my sensitive stomach ¬†needed and the OJ was the perfect hint of fruit to balance out those greens. I wish a juice bar like this existed near me!

I always get a large black slow-pour coffee and vegan scone to keep me company as I blog with Heather, but they didn’t have my usual (spinach and mushroom) that day. No worries, another savory beauty awaited me…the above broccoli cheddar (vegan of course) scone. Holy moly! I always dip my scone in that heavenly coffee and was happy to try a new flavor.

Wildflour was also bustin’ out the free samples that day. I’m not a huge raspberry fan but the above gluten-free razberry cheesecake brownie sample rocked my world. The real star though was a sample of this beauty…

That seems like a steep price but I’d say it’s worth every penny. The above pumpkin cheesecake is made with tofu and Heather promised it’d make me swoon. My BB never breaks a promise!

The two of us also made a fun little trip to Whole Foods, where I happened upon a gem I’ve been anxiously awaiting to try since I first heard about it a month ago…the limited edition Cedar’s PUMPKIN SPICE HUMMUS! I also purchased two squeeze packs of Justin’s Honey and Vanilla Almond Butters – perfect for sampling these new-to-me flavors. Heather also gifted me with a jar of garlic-stuffed olives she had at her house, because she knows olive garlic (haaaaa).

I have been dipping many-a-vegetable into the hummus. So incredible. I love dipping savory food into a slightly-sweet dip. Last night I was even dipping chicken into it.

I was pretty proud of the below epic snack combo that I came up with at work one day last week. I peeled the banana, put vanilla almond butter on each bite, and topped it off a pretzel stick. Legendary! I just finished the vanilla yesterday and next up will be the honey AB.

Finally, Heather, Matty, and I ventured to Trader Joe’s right before I went home so that she could do some grocery shopping and I could shop for things I didn’t need.

  • BBQ Popped Potato Chips – SO MANY CHIPS IN A SERVING #win
  • Nacho Kale Chips – Only $4…the Wildflour bag I got was about $8. Just to give you an idea of how crazy this deal is.
  • Savory Thin Mini Edamame Crackers – These kinda remind me of rice crackers. We’ll see how they are!
  • Balela Middle Eastern Salad¬†– All things Caitlin. Chickpeas, cilantro, tomatoes, black beans, and fabulous flavor. This stuff has made it into all my salads and I’ll be sad when it goes bye-bye.
  • Olive Tapenade¬†– WOW I love olives and this has been great in my salads, on bread, on meat, you name it. Another sad face when this guy goes.
  • Hot & Sweet Mustard – I’ve heard so much about this gem from many favorite bloggers like Katie! I am a mustard fiend and am gonna bust this open when I finish my current jar.

And okay, I was in Massachusetts in the company of TJ’s wine. So much CHEAP wine. In CT, our grocery stores can’t sell wine (we only just got Sunday sales, talk about behind on the times). So I picked up the above three bottles of Charles Shaw (Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz) for $2.99 each and the Blue Fin 2011 Pinot Noir for $3.99. You may recall that I sampled the Cab recently and was super impressed. Can’t wait to give the Merlot and Shiraz a spin. Also had the Pinot Noir and wow, I sure can see why it was a whole dollar more expensive ūüėõ GREAT stuff and I don’t even usually like Pinot Noir (too light).

Mother-daughter wine glass sizes ūüôā

FINALLY my last Tuesday treasure in foodie land is the below gem from my town’s farmers’ market. I spontaneously stopped by on Saturday after the 5K (notice my Team #AmazingMe tee!) since it’s right by my usual weekend study spot, Daybreak Coffee Roasters. Can you believe this guy was just $3?! He was in a bucket with a bunch of other smaller butternut squash that were the same price. NO brainer, I picked out the biggest squash in the pile! Just to make my girl Lisa proud of me. And apparently it was the last day of the market so good thing I stopped by! Hello fate.

Oh how I love a vegetable that’s bigger than my head.

My mom is away for the week but once she returns, we have big plans for this big squash. I hear that the skin tastes tres gross so does anyone have any tips on easy squash peeling-and-roasting? Who has some recipes I can try? I already know I want to do quesadillas but need more ideas because this is one big squash!

Which of my Wildflour goodies would you like to munch (or sip) on most?

What was your last gem of a find from Whole Foods and/or TJ’s?

Tell me about your most recent farmers’ market purchase!

Healthy Living Summit 2012 – Part One

I suppose I could have come up with a more creative title than that. I’m pretty sure a zillion other bloggers have been publishing posts this week that say the exact same thing. But #sorrynotsorry, I hope (I KNOW) the content of my posts make up for any lame titles I throw your way ūüôā and remember if you missed my recap of the Chobani dinner I attended while in Boston for the 2012 Healthy Living Summit, you can check it out here!

Thursday:

Please keep reading. Don’t be afraid!

My HLS ’12 weekend actually started in a different MA town, home of my BB (best blend) Heather. Since her house is on my way to Boston, I decided to stay over with her Thursday night to make the drive in on Friday shorter. AND oh yeah, because I love hanging out with her. I took a half day at work on Thursday and got to her house before rush hour traffic hit (win) and we immediately hit the road for one of my favorite restaurants ever, Garden Grille…after we took some pics, of course.

We chatted away during that rush hour/accident-caused traffic I’d missed before, and arrived at Garden Grille about to eat each others’ arms off. Appetizers were necessary.

Instagram them apps.

I finally got to try the famous Garden Grille sweet potato fries, and was so impressed. I have to admit I prefer ION’s because those are crispier (more fried ūüėČ hehe) but these were still amazing, especially paired with that housemade BBQ sauce. We also went with the special side, garlicky sauteed greens. My Garden Party beverage (vodka, basil, mint, lime) matched perfectly!

I was so happy that we got to sit outside and savored my refreshing cocktail throughout the meal, which blew my MIND: blackened Cajun-spiced tofu with pepper jam, charred corn & black beans, squashes, and smoked paprika aioli. HEAVEN. I’m so glad I’ve gotten over my tofu-texture aversion.

I never wanted this to end! Unfortunately it did. I was tres sad.

A walk down Thayer Street and shopping trip in its Urban Outfitters location cheered me right up! I adore the artsy vibe from this college town. Every person and business I pass seems so open to new ideas and ready to learn. I could probably sit outside with a cup of coffee and people watch for a good while. Or maybe with a cup of fro-yo?

I knew the second I finished dinner that I was going to want a dessert. Do you ever have those evenings? I honored my craving (and am proud to say I did so) at a self-serve frozen yogurt shop whose name now escapes me. As usual I did mostly toppings. After I finished, we did a bit more walking and called it a night.

Friday:

I woke up at 8AM the next morning (I was shocked – that’s late for me!) and did two Tone It Up Beach Babe DVD workouts recommended to me by Heather, who happens to be a TIU enthusiast. The Surfer Girl and Summer Arms segments combined to give me a pretty good 45-minute workout, which felt pretty GREAT since I’d had two lackluster gym days previously. I only have one more segment to try out and then I will finally be able to review the DVD – and give you guys a GIVEAWAY! Oh I’m a tease.

I LOVE YOU.

After the workout I had one thing on my mind – my beloved vegan spinach and mushroom Wildflour scone. I don’t normally eat baked goods for breakfast. They don’t give me that energy I need to power through my morning. However, this savory scone does not have the same “crash” effects as most cafe offerings. I treat myself to one of these bad boys each time I visit Heather. Last time I went I went through a guilt-ridden debate over whether or not I should get it, but this time I just WENT for it without questioning whether or not I “should” get the scone – something I noticed and took pride in!

About to head to Boston with my Dino.

We blogged and I did encounter a challenge of “shoulds” and “should-nots” before we departed for HLS. I wanted a Wildflour green smoothie that Jenny had let me try last time the three of us went there and she ordered one. The Dino is made with good-for-you ingredients – spinach, kale, blueberry, banana, almond milk, almond butter – but I have always had a stigma in my brain about smoothies that says they don’t fill me up yet are still many calories, which can then result in me intaking too many calories. Heather was there for me as usual and offered to share the Dino with me on the ride to Boston. Deal! I was in heaven with each sip and am so glad that I fought the guilt and ordered it. And thankful too, because we got stuck in traffic and didn’t make it to our originally planned lunch at Flour Bakery & Cafe until an hour past schedule!

Salad as big as my head? Yes please!

I again went through a bit of an embarrassing debate in my mind – and at the counter – over what to order. The poor Flour employee had to deal with my questions about how much mayo was in the curried tuna salad I had my eye on. Even after trying a sample and LOVING it, it was hard to let myself choose that as my salad’s protein. Another stigma I have stored away…tuna/chicken/seafood salads are full of hidden calories from too much mayo. Finally I mentally said “fuck it” to the guilt and ordered the curried tuna salad on my greens. And then I threw in a side of homemade hummus for good measure, and ate every last bite. WHAT WHAT.

Lindsay, Chelsea, Meg, Heather, me, Lisa

Once Heather and I checked in at our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, we grabbed our HLS swag and lugged it up to our room so we could get settled and ready for dinner. It was around this time that the weekend became all about connecting with so many of the bloggers I’d been following, chatting with, and relating to for as long as years in some cases. At BlogHer I learned so much about myself and experienced NYC through food, drink, and workouts. At HLS I forged bonds with girls I never truly thought I’d get the chance to meet. That was the main takeaway for me from this conference.

Meg, Lisa, and me at dinner at Figs.

Two girls I was most excited to meet were my Canadian blends Meg and Lisa. The three of us have bonded over our struggles, past for some and present for others, with our relationships with food. We support and guide each other in the journey to balance every single day. When I first saw Meg at the door of my hotel room, I hugged her so hard that I think I crushed her…and pushed her into a wall. Every single word we said to each other was just so US and we already knew that. Does that make any sense?! We just seamlessly transition from blend to friend. Of course I had to snap a picture of her with her MUSSELS and her MUSCLES, since she adores seafood and we are always sending each other photos of seafood we’re eating.

That broth was so good. I stole my fair share.

And I attacked Lisa the moment I saw her too! She is just as beautiful in person as she is on her blog – always looks SO put together and has the best wavy hair! And she was wearing a brightly colored dress, which I can always count on her for. I truly never imagined we’d meet one day, so I am just so thankful that I could hang out with the girl who encourages me anytime I open up on this blog about my guilt issues.

Our dinner group!

Oh yeah – the food at dinner! Well I had a late lunch so I just got a roasted beet salad with goat cheese. Very average, but Chelsea and Linz shared a slice of their fig and prosciutto pizza with me, and THAT was impressive.

Can I have a vanity moment here – arms?

After dinner it was time to head to the hotel for the HLS Cocktail Party. I wish the music had been louder – there was no dancing! I was too busy chatting and being a goofy ham anyway, though.

First stop: photobooth with costume props.

How funky is your chicken?

Call me DEFINITELY.

Who doesn’t love a good selfie?

There were apps and desserts there, but I skipped out on the latter. When there is cheese available, and when I am drinking wine, that is ALLLL I want.

CHEESE ME.

I’ll have some crackers with my cheese.

Kettle corn and Taza dark chocolate.

Regular, red velvet, and poppy (?!) whoopie pies.

Meghann, Julie, and the rest of those who put on HLS did a really great job. I cannot imagine undertaking such a task!

Kicking things off.

This girl does it all!

My BB has totally turned me into a Pinot Grigio fan!

I say YES to her dress.

What a fun evening of reuniting, meeting for the first time, and lots of PICS.

Meg, my love, you are so tiny!

I could squeeze her all day long.

I am forever in awe of Tina‘s amazing upper body. Hello Crossfit!

It was good to see Theodora again, in her trademark Lilly attire.

Courtney is so beautiful!

What a thrill to finally meet Sara. I could chat with her for hours!

The best moment of the evening (of HLS…of the week…the month…you get it) came courtesy of Becki. She approached me and introduced herself. I smiled and said hello back, but honestly didn’t at first make the connection that this was one of the girls who had written her own #AmazingMe post after I had written mine. However as soon as Becki said that she had to come introduce herself to “the girl who wrote #AmazingMe”, I immediately realized who she was…and felt tears come to my eyes. The comments and feedback I have gotten on that post have touched me several times over, but THIS was the culmination of it all. THIS was the chance for me to meet, in person, someone that I directly inspired and someone I made feel good about herself.

Two amazing girls.

Becki’s post about her accomplishments and why she is a wonderful human being was heartwarming to read, but to literally FEEL how genuinely thankful she was to have been inspired to write it was a feeling I really can’t even begin to describe. I am so thankful in turn to her for helping me see how beneficial it is to put myself out there as a blogger and be honest and myself in my posts, because not only will I get feedback from readers that will aid me in my journey to balance, but I also will continue to be someone readers can relate to and remember whenever they are fighting that negative voice themselves. THANK YOU BECKI for introducing yourself, and I hope that we can have a good long chat next time I am in town!

What is the most touching moment blogging has brought to you?

If you were at the HLS cocktail party, what was your fave photobooth prop? Your fave food item?

Out of all the eats in this post, what looks best to you? ūüôā

Myth-Busting: I Eat At Home!

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway for a case of Barres: The Real Food Bar. I have never had this much participation (197 entries!) in a giveaway before – woo hoo! I used a random number generator to pick the winner:

Congratulations to the winner Daphne!

Please email me with your address so I can forward it along to Julia at Barre – thank you again to all who entered! Now let’s get to today’s post!

Burnt (on purpose) Digiorno pizza slice, broc, black beans, and some turkey burger and grilled chicken with spicy mustard.

I get a lot of comments on both the blog and Instagram, as well as tweets, about¬†how often I dine out. I am always excited to share my drinks and eats from restaurants, whether via restaurant reviews or photos shared on social media. I definitely tend to write about restaurant meals more often than I write about meals at home. For that reason, I think there’s a bit of a misconception that’s developed (and I can see why). I feel like many of my readers think I eat out all the time.

Leftover vegan Wildflour sweet potato & black bean flatbread, purchased during my last visit with Heather, eaten at home after class on Friday.

And while I do dine at restaurants an average of 3 or 4 times a week, I eat at home as well! The truth is, the more nights I eat out, the more stressed I feel. There’s a guilt aspect to that unfortunately. I think there is a stigma our media’s projected about eating at restaurants: that no matter what you order, it’s bad…that if you finish your plate, even if you have room for it, you’ve eaten too much…a lot of all-or-nothing thinking is associated with restaurant meals. I’ve struggled with that for the last couple of years, and it’s especially hard to get over when I love restaurants so much, but I’m working on it.

Leftover vegan Wildflour raw lasagna, purchased during that same visit. Eaten during class on Friday night.

However I also get more stressed the more I dine out because there is really nothing like a relaxing night at home with a home-cooked meal, my family, and the DVR. I’m lucky to be living with parents that are grill maestros (my dad) and healthy dish mavens (my mom). I feel the most satisfied and content on a weeknight after I kill it at the gym, shower, and settle in on the couch in my PJs with my dinner plate. Just thinking about it right now is calming to me. No matter what fabulous tasting I have planned or which unique restaurant I’m headed to, there is no night better than a night in.

Takeout from my fave Mex place in CT, Loco Perro, of East Hampton. Salsa, black beans over sauteed veggies, and shredded chicken quesadilla with light cheese. Enjoyed while watching latest ep of “Newsroom” on the DVR.

I don’t want any of my readers to think that I’m always out eating crazy food and drinking weird martinis every night because that’s not who I am. I don’t have that much energy! The truth is, I’m a homebody. I’m a grandma. I crave routine and I crave calm. I’ve been working on staying home MORE nights each week, for my own mental health. Whether I’m out on a weeknight eating a salad or a four-course wine dinner, I get stressed. It doesn’t matter what I order; it’s just the fact that I’m not home. I want the couch. I want my family. I want the distance from the place I ate dinner to my bed to be nothing more than one flight of stairs.

Pinto beans, cornbread, turkey sausage, squash & zucchini, and Ore Ida frozen fries with spicy mustard. Thanks, parents!

I also wanted to bring this up because I really, really want to get more into the daily life posts that I see very often in the blog world. I want to be relate-able to my readers and also be able to share more about my musings, workouts, and eats each day. I feel like sometimes I put pressure on myself to review every meal I eat out. While I love putting them together, restaurant reviews are time consuming, especially when I get so excited and passionate that I feel like I could write forever and ever. Most of the time I have to STOP myself from including every last detail in a review.

Dinner’s accompaniments ūüėČ quite a pair.

It’s nice to just open up a new post and write about what’s on my mind at that moment – like I did here. And this is MY blog! My restaurant and tasting reviews aren’t going anywhere, but I’m thinking with daily life posts I can project a more accurate image of who I really am!¬†

What do you guys think? Would you like to see more daily eats/workouts/fashion posts from me?

Which do you enjoy more – eating out or eating in? Which is more relaxing to you?

What’s your favorite meal to make at home?

What are you opinions on the way our media skews the consequences of dining at restaurants?

How to Save a Weekend + CT GIVEAWAY!

If you have a moment, head on over to the fashion company Free Endearment’s blog, which today is listing out bikini-ready tips for summer. The last one is from yours truly! And while you’re at it, check out my darling friend Jenny’s new blog, Tofu Swag. The fabulous title clues you in to what you can expect – vegan food porn and sassy commentary. Need I say more?

My weekend started out kind of crappy. I was feeling really, really down ever since Wednesday, and despite the fact that I had plenty of fun planned for Friday through Sunday, I was not feeling good. Blame my usual issues. However, I managed to slowly salvage the weekend – and my mood – thanks to family, friends, and the power of positive thinking.

Jenny, me, and Heather – three blonde triplets!

So without further ado, I give you – how to save a weekend:

1. Wear a new shirt that makes you feel fabulous. Express surprise when your best blend wears a brightly colored shirt with an interesting back as well. Proceed to bring sexy back.

2. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Otherwise photographic gems like these wouldn’t exist.

Oh HEY cardboard fox!

3. Go with your gut. If your first instinct drink order is a cucumber martini and the ginormous Greek dip platter is calling your name…do it. If you’re dreaming of a Wildflour vegan scone…order it.

Greek dips and Effen Good cucumber martini at Bar Louie in Foxborough, MA.

Still dreaming of this mushroom and spinach scone.

4. Drink wine. Preferably with family friends, your parents, and your best friend by your side. And preferably local wine.

Lidia and I at the gorgeous Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT.

BFF

5. Don’t be afraid to ask your mom for a hug if you’re feeling down. Cry on her shoulder. It doesn’t help anyone to feel guilty for putting your worries on her or to hold your sadness inside. Just let it out so you can get to the smiling.

Height diff much?

6. Wear a flowy dress. Spin around. Jump. Channel your inner flower child.

7. Have the best dad in the world. Need I say more?

8. Drink tequila out of a wine glass at the vineyard. It looks like white wine – they’ll never know!

That is NOT Pinot Grigio.

Classy pairing.

9. Go to the beach. Yeah, that’s it. Just go.

I’ve fallen…and I can’t get up!

10. When selecting a restaurant for a Sunday dinner, look no further than the local spot where your sister is a waitress. She’ll pour you LOTS of red wine, give you slow service because she knows she can, and make sure you leave smiling (and not just due to the wine).

Sis and I at Giovanni’s, her place of work, in Glastonbury, CT.

This is NOT one glass.

I ended my weekend feeling WAY better than I had going in. I think I can give credit to every part of the ten steps above for how much better I felt, and am continuing to feel. Oh, and I don’t have work tomorrow. YAY.

And now it’s time for a giveaway for my Connecticut readers. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is sponsoring an excellent outdoor summer concert series at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows. This Friday, July 6, receive a free dance lesson at Dancing Under the Stars. Or next Friday, July 13, listen to Music of Elton John at Rocket Man. Finally, on Friday July 20, get your fill of Big Country. Lawn tickets are only $20 in advance, and table tickets are just $40 (both prices go up $5 if you purchase at the door). Child lawn tickets are always $5!

But you have the chance to go for free by entering a giveaway for two lawn tickets for one lucky winner! The tickets work for any of the 3 shows in July mentioned above. To enter, just comment telling me which show you’d most want to attend (mandatory). Entries close this Thursday 7/5 at 12PM EST!

For extra entries (leave a comment for each) you can:

  1. Follow me on Twitter
  2. Follow Hartford Symphony Orchestra on Twitter
  3. Follow me on Pinterest

Good luck to all who enter!

New Friends – One of Blogging’s Infinity Benefits

Please take a moment to vote for me (up to 10 times…a day…) in round one of the¬†Hartford Courant 2012 Websters¬†for CT’s Best Blogs! I’m nominated for Best Overall Blog, Best Health Blog, Best Food Blog, and Best Social Media Account! Thank you to those who nominated me, and voting for round one closes this Friday 3/30 at 11:59PM EST.

I have been feeling so grateful lately for the friends that this blog has brought me.¬†I tried out Tisane on Monday night with a found-through-Twitter friend Olivia, and am going to Cuvee this Thursday for drinks with Amanda, who I met through Twitter after I started mentioning La Petite France on the blog (she does PR for them). I’ve hung out with Bethany several times, both at her adorable apartment and at some amazing Corey Wry restaurants in Manchester. This sounds cheesy, but it’s SO hard to meet new people after graduating college and starting work. My co-workers are great, but I work at a small company. I’ve met everyone – in fact, I met them all within my first week! And I am always up for meeting NEW people. The problem is that I can only meet so many at work, and even at class.

Salted edamame, edamame hummus, veggies, and wonton chips that Oliva and I enjoyed at Tisane!

I’ve met Jasper White, the founder and owner of a restaurant that I love, the Summer Shack. I’ve been shown the hottest spots in Boston by Ken of Pete & Gerry’s after finding out about their heirloom eggs and sampling custard that used them at the Mohegan Sun WineFest.

And of course on that Boston trip I also met Heather for the first time! She has proven to be a true friend (who shares my brain) and even came to stay with me a couple of weeks ago for an evening. I can’t wait to visit her next!

FitFluential Ambassadors ready for dinner – in lace tops, totally unplanned.

Lovely lady after our walk/run through my town. She adored my favorite cafe, Daybreak!

You can read Heather’s two recaps of our time together here and here!

Heather elected to sip on black Snickerdoodle coffee with her Wildflour vegan spinach and mushroom scone.

I went for coffee with a splash of steamed skim and a rosemary and caramelized onion scone that Heather’s manfriend, Matty, was nice enough to pick out for me!

Yup, definitely two peas in a pod. We couldn’t let our time together go by without getting our sweat on either! I reintroduced Heather to a machine she hadn’t done in awhile, my go-to StepMill.

Because taking phone pics in the gym is completely normal.

Another blogger I’ve found a lot in common with is Kelly B. of Cupcake Kelly’s! She and her family play music in and volunteer at the same Greek Festival that my best friend Lidia and I attend every single summer. She married into a Greek family and, just like me, adores their food (well, except the moussaka – Kelly, let’s work on that! ;-)) and especially their desserts (she is Cupcake Kelly after all).

Where am I going with this? Well, a Greek baptism took place in Kelly’s family, and she generously offered to send me some of the leftover Greek desserts from the baptismal celebrations! I was blown away by her generosity. It means so much to me when someone offers to do something for me that I know they understand I will appreciate. People being thoughtful just makes me happy ūüôā

These photos don’t do the treats justice because they’re still in their labeled bags, but I wanted you all to see the names written out! Most of the desserts were new to me, which made me very psyched. The¬†melomakarona (above left) tasted similar to gingerbread. I used good old Wikipedia to discover that it’s usually made with cinnamon, which explained the gingerbread-like taste! The¬†kourabiethes (above right) were covered in powdered sugar! They’re made with almonds and even sometimes brandy ūüėČ

I bet a lot of you are familiar with¬†baklava,¬†a very rich but very amazing dessert that is made with layers of filo pastry and chopped nuts. It’s often sweetened with honey, and even my ridiculously pickly little brother, who usually won’t even touch anything that looks the least bit interesting (that’s my wording, not his), really liked it. I shared some with my dad too, the newfound Greek food fan.

The cookie above tasted similar to shortbread cookies to me. More specifically, Girl Scout shortbread!

Yup, as you can see, I ‘m pretty damn lucky to have not only started this blog, but met so many amazing people as a result. I’m feeling particularly grateful for that today, so I wanted to share those feelings with all of you, and ask this:

What is an unexpected benefit that blogging or reading blogs has brought you?