Lately

Hi there! My oh my, where did June go?  I feel like I blinked and suddenly it’s July! Please slow down, summer. Summertime is always pure craziness with plans, but this summer just seems even crazier. Since I can’t seem to find the time to sit down and blog weekly, I wanted to share a few things going on around these parts lately, and share a recipe too while I had a few minutes.

Lately I’ve…been working constantly
I manage a seasonal ice cream shop, mini-golf, and barbeque restaurant (which I worked at for 7 years growing up), and along with management duties, I’m also the prep cook for the restaurant, so this all keeps me extremely busy. If you’re looking for me Thursday-Sunday, I basically sleep there.  I absolutely love it but I am also absolutely exhausted when Sunday night rolls around.  Monday is the new Friday in my book!

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Ice cream unloading
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Lately I’ve…spent as much time as possible with my Nana
Brandon and I escaped reality for a few days last week and headed down to Cape Cod to spend time with my Nana at her cottage on the water. It was my favorite place as a child and still remains my favorite  place today. The quiet, the serenity, the sound of the ocean,  and having daily cocktails with Nana can’t be beat. Grandparent time is the best time in my book.

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Lately I’ve…been loving ocean-side runs and outdoor workouts
Thanks to my second family living right on the beach and taking me in on a weekly basis, I’ve been enjoying ocean-side runs multiple times a week this summer. It doesn’t get much better  than exercising with a view like this. I will never be able to express my love of the ocean enough.

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Plus, while on the Cape, Brandon and I rode 22 miles on our bikes and it was a blast. Now I want to bring my bike everywhere! Outdoor workouts make sweating so much more fun.
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Lately I’ve…been loving ice cream way too much (no surprise here)
Do I even need to explain? I think not. YOLO.
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A father’s day ice cream cake for my Dad (1/2 for him, 1/2 for me hehehehe)

Lately I’ve…been missing my grandfather
It’s hard to believe a month and a half has passed. I love you, Bop.
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Lately I’ve…been praying for this puppy
Can someone please say a prayer that this puppy comes into my  life soon? Please? I’m begging.
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Lately I’ve….been making these cookies:
I’ve made these 3 times in 3 weeks, so believe me when I say that these are addicting! They are now my absolute favorite gluten-free homemade cookie. Love, love, love. Thanks Sally!
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Gluten Free Almond Butter Choc-Chip Cookies
Inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction
Ingredients
-1 large egg
-1 cup almond butter at room temperature ( I used creamy, but crunchy would work too.)
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1/2 cup  light (or dark) brown sugar, lightly packed
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup to 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips  (or any type of chocolate chip you prefer. The chips I used were mini, so I reduced it down to a 1/2 cup amount, which was plenty!).

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Then, in a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg.

2) Next spray a 1 cup measure with butter spray, and measure the almond butter accordingly. Then add the almond butter, baking soda, and brown sugar to the bowl with the egg. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined (this may take a few minutes). Then fold in the chocolate chips until combined.
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3) Now form your cookies. Scoop the dough and roll it into cookie formation with your hands, one by one (using about 1.5-2 tablespoons of dough per cookie), placing them onto a parchment-paper covered baking sheet.  Once the cookies are on each sheet, gently press down on the dough mounds with the back of a fork.
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4) Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes (no more than this). The cookies will probably look  under-baked, but they will harden and be completely cooked in the next few minutes during the cooling process. Allow the cookies to cool for  about 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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These are so addicting. I used dairy free chocolate chips, but you could truly put any sort of chocolate chip into these. Plus, I think slivered almonds would be a fantastic addition to this recipe, too. These are simply amazing to eat and so so easy to make. Thanks again for the recipe, Sally!

Have a great rest of the week, friends!

What have you been up to lately?
Have any new recipes to share?
What’s the longest bike ride you’ve taken? 22 was mine!

Friday Confessions

Hi friends! Happy Friday. Another week almost over…sheesh! I am not sure where June is going but I want summer to slowww down.  Why does the best time of the year always have to go by the fastest? Why why why? Well, I truly haven’t had a chance to write since my last post, so I wanted to try and squeeze a quick post in before the weekend, I have lots to share!

1)Post-wedding depression is a real thing.
I’ve heard about the post-wedding blues before but I never thought much of them. Now I totally get it. I wasn’t even the bride and my sister’s wedding being over and done with has seriously depressed me. I think it’s the long-awaited anticipation and build-up of such a fun, life-changing event suddenly being over that’s the culprit of it all. The day after the wedding, we all had the post-wedding wedding blues, that’s for sure. In the last couple weeks though, one thing that’s helped cheer us all up is catching some glimpses of  the professional wedding photos. (This is just a Facebook peek, but it’s so cute) LOVE!
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2)I’m beginning to think I have a serious ice-cream problem.
Last week, I ate ice cream for dinner twice, and this week I’ve had a cone every day for the last four days; whoops. I wish I could say I was sorry but…I’m not.
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3)I am 100% positive my hair has never been this long.
Originally I was growing my hair out for the wedding, but now that it’s over, I’m not sure what to do. Keep it long? Chop it off? I’m liking it long but goodness gracious it’s a pain in the heat. Suggestions welcome!
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4) Everyday is a gift
I’m trying to remember this each and every day, especially when I’m feeling down about something or defeated. One of my closest friends was recently in a horrible car accident and although she was injured and suffered a terrible wrist-break among other things, she is thankfully on the road to recovery and is SO optimistic and up-beat. Having dinner with her this week put it all in perspective.  Everyday is truly a gift. I love you, Tiff!
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5)These are the best cookies ever.
No joke, I made a gluten-free Almond Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookie recipe last week and the entire batch was gone in 2.5 days (thanks mostly in part to me). I’ll share the recipe next week!
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6) Whenever I am feeling unmotivated to work out, new clothes always help.
I’ve been loving outdoor running over the last month, but lately it has been feeling harder and harder  to get motivated in the morning. A new top and new sneakers did the trick. (Thanks to my love for the shoes, and to Nike outlet for an amazing deal!)
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7) I just love my Dad( s )
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s out there this weekend, especially mine.  I am so grateful for you each and everyday. And to my second Dad, too! I am so blessed to have you in my life!
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Have a great weekend, friends : –)

Ever suffered from the post-wedding blues? How did you cure them?

What should I do with my hair?!

my sister is beautiful

Hello, hello! Oh my goodness it feels like I haven’t written in forever (because I haven’t) so I have about one zillion things to catch you up on. First things first. Sadly, my Grandfather passed away on May 17th at the age of 85. We are so thankful that he lived a long life, but that does not make the fact that he is no longer with us any easier. The sorrow my Nana and family is feeling is heart-wrenching. Boppa meant the world to us. His passing happened 8 days before my sisters wedding, too, which was (and still is) extremely difficult to comprehend.  As a family, we’ve helped each other cope and grieve together. We knew Boppa would want my sister to have the best day of her life on her wedding day, so it was essential we made sure to stick together as a family for both Kimmie  and Nana’s sake. We love you, Bop.
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Secondly, in exciting news…my twin sister is married! With Boppa watching down on us, Kimmie and her longtime-love Jimmy tied the knot this past Sunday evening, May 25th, at Castle Hill Inn in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. Everything turned out perfectly: the weather, the setting, the dresses, the food, the entertainment, it was magical. Plus, having our entire family together in one place was so special. My aunts, uncles, cousins and friends traveling from near and far made it even more special! My sister stated that it was ‘the best day of her life’, which is just what we all wanted to hear. I’m SO happy for these two…and I’m psyched to have a brother.
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For now, here are some pictures of our weekend in Newport and of Kimmie  & Jimmy’s big day. Everyone loves wedding pictures, right? (Well, I know I do, and I’m guessing some of my fellow ladies out there do too!)

Leading up to the wedding : Day 1, Newport:
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Day 2: Rehearsal
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Day 3: Kimmie’s Wedding Day!

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The stunning Bride

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Steaming away to calm my nerves!
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Off to Castle Hill Inn!
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The most beautiful bouquets
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Beautiful Mom
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Sisters :- )
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Father-daughter moment <3
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Family!
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Mom and daughters
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Wedding party!
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With our Mom’s <3
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With my handsome date

Congratulations, Kimmie and Jimmy. I love you!

p.s. I promise I’ll be back soon with a recipe or two…PROMISE! : –)

Have you ever been to Newport?
I love Newport more and more each time I visit!

What’s your favorite part about weddings?
I have too many favorites…the vows, watching the first dance, the flowers, and dancing are all a tie for me!

Kimmie’s Bachelorette: atlantic city fix

Hi my name is Meredith and I used to write a blog. Sheesh! I can’t believe I haven’t written in so long. I feel like I have so much to share. But life is full of phases right? Happy phases, sad phases, stressful phases, we’ve all experienced them at one time or another. I feel as though I just went through a five-month crazy-busy, can’t-slow-down phase that caused my life-work-school-blog balance to become obsolete, so now I’m trying to fix it. Quite possibly the best motivator ever to fix it is having my boyfriend home. That being said, I will be back to writing more frequently soon, soon, soon!

Speaking of phases, my family is obviously going through a wedding phase right now. My sister’s wedding is 10 days away…eeeeek!  As stressful as wedding plans and preparations can be, it has been so fun to celebrate Kimmie. Two weeks ago, nine of us jet-set to Atlantic City for her bachelorette-party weekend and it was memorable. I was so excited because the bridal party includes many of my closest friends and family members, but I was also a bit nervous because I just wanted her to love everything about the weekend. Well, after dancing, laughing, drinking, celebrating & gambling  I think it is safe to say she loved it, and safe to say I have had my Atlantic City fix for awhile!
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Since my sister’s bridal party members come from all over New England, it made the most sense for those of us in Northern New England to fly to Atlantic City. Obviously mimosas in Logan Airport were necessary at 7 a.m.

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After our zillion modes of transportation (car, flight, shuttle, car), we finally arrived at our hotel for the weekend, Revel Resort, and scrambled to decorate Kimmie’s hotel room. A lingerie clothesline, gift bags, and lots of pink bubbly helped to spruce up the room. She loved it!
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Our first night there we all wore matching “team bride” tank-tops which was a blast, and we bar-hopped in the Borgata Hotel.
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We fought our hangovers the next day by way of outlet shopping, coffee consuming, gambling, board-walking, and more drinking (obviously).
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Saturday night was also memorable, beginning at American Cut Steakhouse and ending at HQ nightclub. We all wore black while Kimmie wore white (and her bride-to-be-sash), along with our matching cute/obnoxious flashing rings I insisted we wear! We celebrated a birthday too (love you, Sar!) What a blast we had. The pictures say it all.
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What a fun girls weekend…love these ladies! I think it’s safe to say we have all had our Atlantic City fixes for awhile Winking smileWe love you, Kimmie! As fun as the weekend was, I certainly wasn’t loving life upon our return since I had 4 finals that next week, starting on Monday. Thankfully, I got through them, with lots of help from iced coffee!
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Now I am thrilled to say I am done with classes until my semester begins in September. Best.feeling.ever. Since studying is over-with, I can focus on my maid-of-honor speech, which I am starting to get a bit nervous about…help!!

Have a great rest of the week, friends : –)

Have you ever been the maid of honor or spoken at the wedding? Any tips you can share with me?

Ever been to Atlantic City? If so, where’s your favorite spot?
I loved our hotel, I’d stay there again in a heartbeat!

Lately: smiles and celebrations

Hello, hello, long time, no talk! I didn’t intend to be absent for so long, but things got a little exciting around here last week…Brandon came home! Lately there’s been a lot of smiles and celebrating going on around these parts : –)
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Obviously I couldn’t resist making a sign, and because I’m a secret poet I had to rhyme Winking smile

I wish I could bottle-up the emotions I felt as I saw him walking towards us; it is a feeling I’ll never forget. Having him home is so surreal! Simple things like getting coffee and bagels together, going to the grocery store, watching t.v.; it’s these little things that I missed the most. I’m so happy to have him back.  Even just being in the same time zone is SUCH a treat because we can actually communicate throughout the day. This may not sound major, but it was something we couldn’t do as a result of the Australian/U.S. time difference so it’s a wonderful feeling.
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We met my best friend Julia’s newborn baby boy, Jackson, the day after B arrived home…he is so precious!

Brandon planned a Vermont getaway for us over the weekend which was unforgettable. A fun road trip with just the two of us was the perfect way to celebrate his homecoming together. We toured (and gorged on ice-cream)  at Ben & Jerry’s, visited Lake Champlain Chocolates and Cabot Cheese, had (too many) drinks, danced and sang the night away at a David Nail concert, and mostly just enjoyed being together again.  I don’t think I stopped smiling all weekend!
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Is there anything better than free ice-cream samples? I think not.
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What a small world…we even saw friends at the concert! Hi girls : –)
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This would be my hang-over cure bagel. Maple walnut cream cheese for.the.win.

To top off the weekend, I headed to Connecticut to celebrate my sister & the bride-to-be at her bridal shower hosted by her future sister and mother-in-law. To say this shower was beautiful is an understatement. It was EXQUISITE. The decorations, décor, food, festivities, and people were amazing. What a special day for my sister. Love you Deb and Lauren!
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Future sisters!
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It is truly the season of bridal showers! Last week I also attended my friend Suzanna’s shower and it was such a fun day. Can’t wait for that wedding!
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There’s one more thing that’s been celebrated around here lately:
Last week I received my acceptance letter into the Master of Science in Food and Nutrition program at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, beginning in September of this year. I am BEYOND excited. This program acceptance is what I’ve been working towards for the last year-and-a-half, and besides that, it also means that Brandon and I get to move back to Massachusetts this fall. Hip-hip-hooray!  Thank you all for the kind words and support <3
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The celebrations will be continuing this weekend, too! I’m off to Atlantic City for Kimmie’s bachelorette with 8 beautiful ladies. It’s her last fling before the ring and I can’t wait! GET ME TO FRIDAY. Have a great rest of the week, friends. xo

Ever been to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in VT?
What’s your favorite B&J flavor?
I am a die-hard cookie dough lover, but I tried the ‘candy bar pie’ flavor this past weekend and now I’m hooked!
 
New Jersey friends, any recommendations of fun, girly, day-time activities in Atlantic City in case the weather isn’t conducive for bathing suits?

Two years gone by

Hi friends, Happy Easter Monday! I hope you had a memorable day and weekend with your families. I spent Easter with some of my favorite people.
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We were missing a few other favorites (furry friends included) but one in particular was constantly on my mind:
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Today’s the day that I (along with his family and friends) have been waiting for for over two years now: today Brandon comes home FOR GOOD! It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by, but somehow they have. And now we can officially kiss our long distance relationship goodbye…AMEN! I’m headed to the airport tonight with his family and oh.my.gosh. the butterflies in my stomach are out of control. I swear I will have a permanent smile plastered on my face for the next year.  When I knew he was boarding his plane last night, the smiles just didn’t stop. Someone pinch me, I can’t believe it’s finally here! 
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I couldn’t be prouder of my love for his accomplishments over the last two years. In that time, he made lifelong friends and a lifetime of memories. I am so happy we were able to share part of his Australian journey together.
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Anyway, I have so much to share but for now, here’s the recipe I promised last week. I made this way too many times last week…literally for 3 out of 7 days this was on my dinner plate. Whoops. I guess you could call me an incredibly boring eater, but like I said, it’s just too good to stop! And yes, I have a cauliflower problem.

Cauliflower Poppers
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Ingredients:
3/4-1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large mixing bowl, mix olive oil, nutritional yeast, and garlic salt together.
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2) Wash and chop cauliflower into florets; then place in mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
3) Stir all together until the cauliflower is mostly covered with the yellowish mixture.
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4) Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then turn each piece over with a fork and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until browned.
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5) Try not to eat the entire batch…good luck! 
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This dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, and relatively low in calories, too. It has quickly become my staple side-dish… I am hooked!  I suggest making a double batch if you are serving four or more people, otherwise, you might run out too quickly. Just a tip!

Counting the hours until we’re off to the airport tonight, yay! Wish me luck : –)
Also, best of luck to all of the Boston Marathon runners today, I’m cheering for you. And to my dear friend Michelle, who continues to be my inspiration day-in and day-out, I’m thinking of you. Love you, girl xoxo

How was your Easter?
Do you like cooking with nutritional yeast?
I was a bit afraid at first, but now I love it!
What’s your favorite cauliflower recipe?

28, feeling great: Confessions

Happy Friday, friends! It is safe to say April is the month of birthdays around here. First was Brandon’s (he is only 6 days older than me) and on Wednesday my sister and I turned 28. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..where does the time go? I really do not know. What I do know is that I wish my twin sister her very best year yet. 28 is proving to be a huge year for her already! To start, she’s getting married and she just started a new job. Who knows what else the year will bring? I couldn’t be prouder of her. Anyway, since it’s Friday and all, I’d say it’s time for some confessions:

1) It always seems that every year at least one person asks me what it’s like to share a birthday as a twin.
I love getting twin questions, and I always answer this one in one simple word: AMAZING.
It’s amazing to share a birthday each year with your very best friend.
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It’s amazing to grow up and have joint birthday celebrations (twice the cake, twice the friends, twice the fun!)
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It’s amazing and a true blessing to be a twin.
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2)I should have been a wedding planner
As much as wedding-related activities can be stressful, it has truly been such a fun process with my sister and it was SO fun to make her wedding invitations this past weekend.  Although we were very tired of gluing and assembling after 150+ invitations, they came out better than we ever imagined. Looks like I should have been a wedding planner…or maybe just an invitation maker!
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3)I couldn’t have felt more loved on my birthday
Seriously,  I am so blessed. I have the best boyfriend, family, and friends around. The flowers, cards, packages, multiple phone calls and all of the messages I received throughout the day were so touching. Even though I had to be  in class all day, I couldn’t stop smiling from the amount of love I felt. Thank you all for your kindness. 28 feels great so far!
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Also, this was by-far the highlight of my food-related birthday treats:
A Dairy Queen Confetti Cake Blizzard. OMG. All I can say is, if you have a DQ in your area, go order this NOW.
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4) I am positive I have a cauliflower problem
Ever since my Mom introduced me to a gluten-free, dairy-free “cauliflower poppers” recipe that involves nutritional yeast as a main ingredient, I have been HOOKED on cauliflower. I’ll share the simple recipe soon, it is a definite keeper!
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5) 11 days remain…
The countdown is dwindling…Brandon is home in 11 days and counting! I have to pinch myself on a daily basis; I can not believe we are almost down to single digits. Ahhhh!  Wishing my love a wonderful last week with his mates down-under.
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I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Anyone else ever want to be a wedding planner?
Have you cooked with nutritional yeast?
Do you like Dairy Queen?
I am literally obsessed.