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Posts Tagged ‘review’

Have you ever tried the Stonyfield cream-top yogurts?

If you have and you love them, you’ll love these.

If not, and you just like yogurt…you’ll love these, too.

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Stonyfield, based off of feedback from their consumers, has now stirred in the cream to create an even smoother, silkier texture and delicious taste.

If you’re a cream top-yogurt fan, you will be happy to know that the cream you’ve always loved is still there, it’s just stirred in. 

Their whole milk yogurt is the creamiest yogurt I’ve ever had!

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As always, all of their yogurts are organic and sweetened only with naturally milled cane sugar. They’re made without artificial colors or flavors, and are made from organic milk produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones (rBST).

Kristina from Stonyfield sent me a package of their new whole milk yogurts with the cream stirred in to sample (yes, the samples were free, but my opinions are my own).

Honestly, I had never had whole milk yogurt before these arrived on my doorstep. I actually can’t get them around here, so I was happy to be able to try these flavors!

In the sample pack, I got:

  • Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
  • French Vanilla
  • White Chocolate Raspberry
  • Strawberries ’n’ Cream
  • Chocolate Underground

I’ve tried their Chocolate Underground yogurt, but only in the fat free version.

And, after trying these yogurts, I can see why people love the whole milk varieties. They are insanely creamy and are not nearly as tart than other yogurts.

In fact, their Strawberries ’n’ Cream yogurt tasted more like strawberry ice cream than yogurt. Delicious!

And while I loved the Chocolate Underground, I think my favorite was a tie between the Strawberries ’n’ Cream and the White Chocolate Raspberry.

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The White Chocolate Raspberry yogurt reminded me of the raspberry pudding pops I used to have during the summers growing up. Do you remember those?

 

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If you haven’t tried their new Whole Milk yogurts (or if you’ve never tried ANY of their Whole Milk Yogurts), here’s your chance!

The prize: 4 Stonyfield coupons (for both quart and 6 oz. size), plus a reusable Stonyfield bag.

To Enter:

  • Leave me a comment with your all time favorite yogurt flavor

 

Good luck! I’ll be picking a winner on Thursday!

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Happy, happy Friday !!!

I am SO ready for the weekend – my family is coming up to visit and it’s going to be fun! We have plans for floatinis, movie watching, froyo eating, and having lots of laughs.

And to start your weekend off right, I’ve got a couple of giveaways for you!

First –

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A few weeks ago, I received these new teas from Celestial Seasonings to sample (the samples were sent to me free, but my opinions are my own).

I was sent three new Antioxidant Max Green Teas to try and their new Sleepytime Decaf Lemon Jasmine Green Tea.

Antioxidant Max Green Teas

Combining the health benefits and smooth taste of Celestial Seasonings green tea with delicious, nutrient-rich superfruits, these new wellness blends contain 35% more free radical-fighting flavonoid antioxidants than other leading flavored green teas and provide 20% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C with each serving. Available in three flavors:

• Blackberry Pomegranate

• Blood Orange Star Fruit

• Dragon Fruit Melon

Sleepytime Decaf Lemon Jasmine Green

The newest variety in the lineup of delicious, health-supporting green teas features the well-known blend of chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass featured in the bestselling specialty tea of all time, Sleepytime herbal tea, but adds healthful decaf green tea and a refreshing, calming lemon jasmine

These came at the perfect time, too. I don’t drink hot tea much in the summer, but in the winter, that’s all I want during the day.

I already love their regular Sleepytime Tea, but the new Lemon Jasmine Green is delicious! I think it will be my new bedtime tea.

Out of all the new teas, I liked the the Blackberry Pomegranate and the Sleepytime Lemon Jasmine the best! But I definitely enjoyed them all.

Also – and this is something I love – Celestial Seasonings’ tea boxes use 100% recycled paperboard, including 35% post-consumer waste, and can be recycled again when empty. AND their natural fiber tea bags are manufactured through a totally chlorine-free (TCF) process, meaning that no dioxin is released into the environment. Plus, they never contain starch or gluten, and they’re completely biodegradable and compostable – making them better for you and for our planet. Best of all, because our unique pillow-style tea bag doesn’t need a string, tag, staple or individual wrapper, we save 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year! Pretty cool, right?

Want to win these teas to try for yourself?

One lucky winner will get the package pictured above, which includes one box of each of their new flavors.

To Enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me YOUR favorite tea

For additional entries:

  • Follow @SleepytimeBear on Twitter and leave a comment
  • “Like” him on Facebook and leave a comment
  • Tell me what flavor tea you would make if you could create your own – it can be anything!

I’ll pick the winner on Monday morning, February 7th.

And remember the Chobani Holiday Recipe Challenge I participated in?

Well, all of the recipes have been posted on their Facebook page and if you vote, YOU have a chance of winning an entire year of yogurt! Yup – a whole year of free yogurt. Can you imagine?

Enter here for you own chance at an oven mitt, a tote bag, and most importantly, an entire year’s worth of Chobani!

Happy Friday!

Fashion for this week coming soon…

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Angell Bars: Eat No Evil

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I’d like to try some organic candy bars that are a little better for you than run-of-the-mill checkout-line confections. Plus, they’re made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients, making them better for everyone involved.

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I’m pretty sure I answered that email in less than 10 seconds, and just a few weeks later, those bars were delivered to my doorstep.

Every one loves a candy bar sometimes, right? This company knows that and have done what they can to create a bar that satisfies that craving while taking care to responsibly use the ingredients needed.

From their website:

…we know that energy bars and gourmet chocolate bars have their place. In fact, we enjoy them ourselves. But sometimes, what you really want is a candy bar. A good old-fashioned candy bar, with chocolate and chew and crunch and all those things that make candy bars so great. But you DON’T have to have a candy bar loaded with corn syrup and made from GMO ingredients, grown with petroleum fertilizers and harsh pesticides. You don’t have to buy chocolate that may have been farmed by child- and slave labor. You CAN have a candy bar that tastes good and that you can feel good about eating. You can have an Angell bar.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m more than okay leaving out HFCS and genetically modified ingredients.

Angell Bars sent me their 3 bars to try and review, and (as always), these opinions are my own. (I did receive the bars for free, but I am not being compensated in any way to give a good review.)

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The Dark Angell bar is a mix of rich, dark chocolate with a creamy center and crunchy almonds. It’s also vegan and really good.

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The other two didn’t get close-up pictures because I was too busy eating them – oops!

The milk chocolate Crisp one (which is also gluten free) was actually really good! I’m normally a dark chocolate person, but this one wasn’t too sweet and I loved the crisps in the bar.

And while I normally think of myself as a total chocolate person, I actually think I liked the Snow Angell bar the best. This one was a creamy coconut center, wrapped in white chocolate, and nut free.

I loved the coconut richness with the sweet white chocolate – delicious!

While Angell Bars aren’t available in every single store yet, you can find out if they’re near you on their website – you can also order them online.

 

What’s your favorite candy bar? Have you found a healthier alternative?

Don’t forget to enter my CSN giveaway! I’m choosing a winner on Monday, so get your entries in!

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With everything that’s been going on with the new house and work and winter weather, it’s been busy!

My blogging schedule has changed – and I don’t mind it – but it’s taking me a while to find a balance again with everything else, too. Our new house is awesome and we love it and just feel so blessed to be in the place that we’re in, but we also have an even longer drive to work every day, which has caused us to make some changes in our schedules.

All in all, things are going well. It’s just taking some time to get used to it all.

While I haven’t been documenting all our meals, I’ve been trying to make sure I get pictures of great new recipes and things that are happening.

And right now, these are some of my favorite things:

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My nephew. Seriously – one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen. And I’m not just saying that because he’s family! He’s adorable, right?

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Our hallway with the cabinet we got from Nick’s parents. The house is coming together and no longer feels empty.

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These Xpress SmartCups that I won from Janetha!

They’re travel french press cups and they have given us the option for fresh coffee on a few busy mornings lately : )

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So easy to use: put your coffee grounds in the cup, add in your boiling water, put the lid on and let it sit/brew for a few minutes – then take the rod and press into the lid slowly until it clicks in at the bottom.

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And you can’t really see it in this picture, but right in the lid (where you take your sips), there’s a thin layer of mesh that also helps keep any grounds from getting out into your coffee.

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I love these cups! I’m going to be sad when they’re gone.

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But my favorite 2 things?

1. I finally have a KitchenAid! My mom and dad bought this for us as a housewarming present, since we finally have room for a stand mixer in this house. I am so excited about this and have been baking up a storm!

2. Eating dinner at a real table.

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At our old house, our layout was a bit strange and our “dining room table” was more of a catch-all in a room that also served as a “catch-all” so we never ate at our table.

In the new house, we have dinner at our table every night and just catch up on the day. No tv blaring right in our faces OR in the background – just us enjoying our meal. It’s been really nice to have that time together each evening.

 

What about you? What are you loving right now?

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How in the world did I wait so long to try coconut oil?

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A week or so ago, I got a fun package in the mail – a huge jar of coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.

I know I’m like months behind on this trend, but I’m so happy I finally had the chance to try it.

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Coconut oil is…strange. But a great strange!

It’s solid at room temperature, so it’s hard for me to call it an “oil”. But seriously – opening that jar brings up summer time memories of playing at the beach and the smell of my mom’s suntan oil (that stuff was not solid at room temp).

And while I would have loved to make something with limes and pineapple or something else completely tropical, I found a muffin recipe on their website that I knew I had to try.

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I made this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, and only made a few changes – I cut everything in half (only making 12 muffins) and used all whole wheat flour and skim milk.

Yeah…I was thinking the same thing after opening the jar.

Pumpkin and coconut? Won’t this be too strong? Will the coconut flavor overpower the subtle spices and dark chocolate chips?

Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

Sure, the batter smelled a bit like coconut after adding the melted oil, but after baking, these were simply some of the best pumpkin muffins I’ve ever had.

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Nick even liked them, and he’s not a huge fan of pumpkin anything!

 

Have you ever used coconut oil? What’s your favorite way to use it?

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A few weeks ago, I got an offer to sample Sokenbicha Tea, Japan’s leading tea brand, before it made its U.S. debut at Whole Foods nationwide this October.

*I received these samples for free, but my opinions are my own.

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Sokenbicha’s authentically brewed teas are unsweetened, contain zero calories and are made with tea blends and natural botanicals from around the globe. Sokenbicha is inspired by the teachings of Kampo, a traditional Japanese herbal approach to health and wellness dating back more than 1500 years.

The five varieties of Sokenbicha are:

  • Revive, a crisp oolong tea blend infused with pomegranate and raspberry notes, black tea and rose hips
  • Defend, a mild oolong tea blend with guava leaves and ginseng
  • Purify, an aromatic green tea blend with chamomile and aloe
  • Shape, a bold barley tea blend with peach flower notes, pu’er and green teas
  • Skin, a full-bodied barley tea blend with cinnamon and ginger

They recommend sampling the drinks in the above order, and I definitely agree! Sweet tea lovers will be drawn to Revive, traditional Chinese oolong tea fans will like Defend, green tea drinkers will enjoy Purify and adventure seekers will likely appreciate the bold Japanese-style barley teas Shape and Skin.

Nick and I had fun trying each flavor – they were so different from each other, and I love the variety and different blends.

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Green tea is one of my favorites, especially iced, and I have to say that the Purify was my favorite. It was so fruity and sweet, I would have sworn it had added sugar or fruit juice, but it was just the blend of teas. Delicious!

Along with my tea samples, I also received a Sokenbicha reusable bag and journal.

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And what makes these teas even better?

The beverages will be introduced in 15.2 fluid ounce bottles made from PlantBottleTM packaging – a PET plastic that features up to 30 percent plant based material. 100 percent recyclable, the bottles are made through a process that turns sugar cane and molasses into PET plastic. Sokenbicha™ has zero grams of sugar and zero calories and includes no added preservatives or artificial flavors. Cool, huh?

Want to win some Sokenbicha of your very own?

Three lucky winners will score their own Sokenbicha Tea samples along with eco-friendly shopping bag! Thumbs up

  • Leave me a comment telling me YOUR favorite type of tea – hot chai, iced black, green tea?

For additional entries:

  • Tweet: @BranAppetit is giving away @SokenbichaTea! and leave another comment letting me know you did
  • Link to this giveaway and leave another comment for me

 

I’ll be picking a winner Monday at lunch! Good luck Smile

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Busy, Busy

Good morning!  🙂 I’m so happy it’s the weekend.

I have so much stuff to do this morning, but most of it will be fun!

  • bank for $ for market
  • farmer’s market
  • grocery store
  • bookstore for gifts
  • eye appointment to order contacts
  • library? we’ll see.

Then back home to eat + get ready for an afternoon on the river!

Last night, I mixed up some muesli so I would have a quick breakfast this morning, only this one had a new ingredient.

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This mix has:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla

Then this morning I added:

  • 2 spoonfuls of yogurt
  • fresh strawberries + raspberries
  • trail mix

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Diane from GreensPlus was kind enough to send me some of their Omega3-Chia seeds to try, so today was my first trial! I think I put a little too much in this little dish, but they’re definitely filling! I can’t wait to try them in other ways – I already have some other recipes bookmarked and waiting  🙂

So what is chia seed?

Salvia hispanica, also known as Chia (pronounced chee’ah), is the richest and only unprocessed, whole food source of pure Omega3. A member of the mint family, Chia is native to Central America and has been used traditionally for over 3000 years.Ancient Aztec warriors prized Chia as an endurance–promoting Superfood, eating it in bread just before battle, and drinking it in water before running long distances on foot. Mixed in lemonade or fruit juice (known as chia fresca) Omega3 Chia seed quickly becomes a refreshing, performance-enhancing energy drink. (From GreensPlus.com).

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If YOU would like to try chia seeds too, you can email diane@greensplus.com! I know it’s hard to find in some areas, so definitely contact her if you’re interested in trying them. I see lots of fun smoothies, yogurt, puddings, etc in my future  🙂  I actually made one recipe with them last night, but I’m waiting to post it until I try it!

I’m off!

Fun contests!

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Back to Blah

Guff….my tummy is all gurgly again. I don’t know if this Honduran stuff kicking in again or something that is just not agreeing with me.

I’m not really feeling as bad as I did the first few days we were back, but I’m not feeling very good. Nick said I’m normally weird when it comes to my stomach, and that’s probably right. But I want to be normally normal! Maybe I need an allergy test or something.

My yogurt snack today was tasty, thanks to 2 things.

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Fresh, local raspberries (ridiculously good) and dark chocolate covered dried raspberries (holy yum).

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I got these raspberries today from The Chocolate Spike and they are delicious! Why can’t I find dried raspberries more often? They’re so good.

I had a fun snack break with some coworkers, finished up work for today and headed home. I was hoping to get in a run today (finally), but that was a no go. One, I started getting these weird stomach cramp-type things in my side, like in my ribs? but now they’re just everywhere in my poor belly.  Then it started raining when we got home. I’m hoping Nick and I are both feeling up to a run this weekend so we can get back to it. I miss it! but I don’t want to start when I already don’t feel great.

Dinner was good, again! These zucchini from the farmer’s market are just too good. I need more!

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We heated up the leftover couscous, mustard chicken and veggies tonight – thank goodness I had something easy in the fridge because I did not feel like cooking tonight.

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Lovely local veggies  🙂

Alright guys, I’m off to lay in my pjs, read, and hope that my tummy starts feeling better soon.

What was the best part of your day today?

Mine was eating lunch outside with Nick and buying those awesome chocolates  🙂

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Sound the trumpets! We sold our truck! Hallelujah!

We have been trying to sell this truck for over a year, which proved to be much tougher than we thought. I think we’re selling it to a good family, which makes feel better about it since Nick and I got engaged in that truck  🙂

Telework went well again today, but it is hard getting used to a slower connection / loading on my computer at home compared to being in the office. That was the only thing that was frustrating today.

I got hungry this afternoon, so I grabbed a sample packet I bought last week to try.

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Since I ordered the sample packs, one of them came with a little sample of the Kids SuperFood and it sounded pretty good! It has all kinds of stuff in it, not just greens, so I was excited to try it.

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I mixed this packet with a mixture of skim + almond milk and a few ice cubes in the blender. The verdict?

I really liked this one! It tasted kind of like a chocolate malt flavor – not like a super chocolatey cup of milk, but it was tasty. This one does have soy protein in it, though, which is different than their other products.

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I also had a half banana that was leftover from breakfast yesterday with some dark chocolate dreams peanut butter. All in all, it was a good chocolatey snack today.

After my snack, I tried to take my computer outside to finish out the day, but I couldn’t see the screen! So I came back inside and worked until about 5:15 – Mondays are my busiest and the slower loading screen was not helping me today. BUT I got everything done.

While Nick was on his way home, I got the pork marinating for tonight and I’m glad I did that early! He came home and I left with him to meet the family that’s buying the truck. We let them take it and drive it for a while, then they brought it back here and Nick will finalize everything tomorrow. Thank goodness! I’m glad everything went well and that we found someone to buy it, but it did push dinner back a bit.

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We both had a salad tonight since we’re swimming in tomatoes right now. I can’t complain though – every one is delicious. I had some romaine, black olives, and a bunch of  tomatoes.

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I’ll call this my Triple-P Plate: Pattie, Pork, Peaches.

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For the pork, I marinated it in some oil, balsamic, honey, salt, and pepper. Nick grilled those and the peaches, and all I had to do was heat up some of our lentil / brown rice patties from last night!

Grilled fruit is so good. I’m sad we didn’t grill more tonight, but then I knew we wouldn’t have any for the rest of the week 🙂

I’ve already got my lunch packed and I’m ready for pajamas and some fun reading.

Nite!

Have you grilled fruit? what’s your favorite one to grill / cook?

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Happy Saturday! I can’t believe it’s already 5:30 – today has been a lot of fun, but it’s gone by too fast!

Nick ended up going into the lab this morning so work on some stuff while I got groceries, so I took breakfast on the run with me.

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Earlier this week, I ordered some sample packs from Amazing Grass to try out after seeing so many good reviews. I used this chocolate infusion meal packet with 1 cup of almond milk and about 1/2 cup of frozen berries.

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I’m not sure if it was the frozen berries or the combo of the berries + the packet, but it was much sweeter / tarter than I thought it would be. The cocoa flavor was really good, but I kind of wish I would have tried it with banana instead of berries. It just wasn’t what I expected – but still good!

I also took some hard boiled eggs with me.

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I dropped Nick off at his building and got started on my list of places:

  • WW to weigh in for the month
  • Walmart for soap, Nick’s cereal (way cheaper than at Kroger) and skittles for his movie treat
  • Farmer’s market for kale, rainbow chard, mixed greens, lettuce, peaches, nectarines, squash, zucchini – yum! I can’t wait to use all of these.
  • Kroger for the rest of my groceries
  • library, where I didn’t find anything….

After I got all the groceries, I went back and picked Nick up and we stopped to get a quick lunch to take home and eat before heading out for the movie.

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We stopped by The Easy Chair, a coffee shop here, that makes pretty good sandwiches. I really wanted their hummus + veggie but they didn’t have hummus! So I got the garden burger on fresh honey wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and their spicy mustard.

I added a few cherries when we got home and scarfed this down so we could get back to town.

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Oh, plus some unsweetened blueberry tea!

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They always have a few flavors of iced unsweetened tea on hand – that and their cookies are why we go most of the time  🙂

As soon as I finished eating, we got back in the car and drove to the movie theatre to see….

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Julie & Julia! I loved it! I haven’t read the book, but I loved this movie. It was so funny and Meryl Streep did such an amazing job playing Julia Child. Plus, it’s about food, cooking + blogging – what could be better?

I took this snack in with me for the movie

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and I apparently shouldn’t eat chocolate in dark places. I came out with melted chocolate on my leg, shorts AND shirt! I’m a mess.

This weekend is also Steppin’ Out, a big downtown festival in Blacksburg with tons of vendors, artists, crafts, bands, food…all kinds of stuff. We always go look for cool presents for our family, so we went and walked around for a while after the movie got out.

I ended up getting this juice – fresh squeezed oj with pineapple and cranberry – it was so hot and muggy out there!

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We picked up a few gifts for people and then headed back home.

Now I’ve got a load of laundry going and Nick’s taking a quick nap on the couch.

I think we’re grilling for dinner tonight but I haven’t decided on the sides yet.

I also have to make a dish or 2 for a potluck tomorrow  – I better get moving!

Have you seen or read Julie & Julia?

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