Free Is Fo’ Me!

Helloooo! Happy Monday.

(Get ready for a long food-filled post!)

Normally, Mondays make me want to punch myself in the gut, but not this Monday.

Why? I woke up freezing in Philly and had to drag myself out of bed, but it was easier to do once I remembered this little guy:

Dunkin’, I love you.

Free iced coffee for the next five Mondays? Oh yes. I will be there. Every week. Usually I treat myself midweek or on a Friday, but now I can look forward to Mondays, too. You best believe I will be  happily freezing to death on the first Monday in November, shivering while clutching on to my free iced cawf. As a co-worker of mine always says, “Free is fo’ me!”

Still taking advantage of everything pumpkin for as long as I can; in addition to my pumpkin coffees, iced and hot, The Great Pumpkin Bread, pumpkin yogurt breakfast bowls, and pumpkin pie protein shakes at my gym, Julie’s Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe called to me and I knew I had to make them for dinner and dessert at a family friend’s house on Saturday (where I also got to try some Pumpkin Liqueur!).

This is suuuper easy. Definitely click on the link to Julie’s page, where her pictures are way better, but this is all that it took!

Much sampling ensued. Second row, fourth column cookie, you were delicious.

I also planned on putting some cream cheese icing on the top of some of the cookies, which are super moist and cake-y, using a sandwich bag with the corner cut off…hey, it works, albeit a little messy! But then I found this….talk about retro. This cake decorating kit is straight outta the fifties (check out that box!)…it was my great grandmother’s!

It worked great…except for the fact that I am way too impatient and the first set I decorated ended up looking like this:

Oops.

Melty melty. But still delicious! Don’t worry, I made some pretty ones, too. Sprinkled with Pumpkin Pie Spice on top. These would be great as cupcakes, too, I think. I definitely want to experiment with these on the next batch I make.

And my little pumpkin-crazed pup would not stop “speaking” for one.

Ever hear a husky talk? It is hilarious, adorable, and so, so strange. Unlike anything I have ever heard before. He is my little dinosaur. We are trying to teach him to do this:

Mishka looks so much like Koda, only Kodes has brown eyes. Such cool dogs.

Some other eats this weekend were courtesy of the Natural Products Expo East swag.

Ozery Bakery Inc.’s Apple Cinnamon Morning Rounds contributed to a weekend breakfast.

I toasted one, and added some maple syrup and vanilla yogurt. These are seriously doughy, with big chunks of apple. The back of the packaging suggests using the rounds to make french toast, and I think I will definitely have to try that. My mom toasted one and ate it plain, and said it was great by itself.

Big thumbs up! I will be adding these to my list of items to search for when I make a monthly forever-long trek trip to Whole Foods/ TJ’s/Wegmans. I also really like their Whole Grain OneBuns; I have been using them for breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

Also on that list will be these guys:

While snacking on these spicy Simply 7 Hummus Chips in Spicy Chili Pepper (which I am now obsessed with) and checking out the nutritional facts on the back, I discovered this little recipe for Spicy Black Bean Dip. I had just walked the pup and was about to head over to Philly for our weekly football/veggie pizza/lounge-all-day fest, and thought that sounded like a great football-watching snack.

I made a few changes/additions. Basically, I took a half of a small red onion, chopped coarsely, and two whole garlic cloves chopped in half ( I love garlic) and pulsed them a few times in a blender (I wish I had a good food processor….like a fancy Vita-Mix, swoon!). Then added a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, and pulsed a few more times. I added a dash of cayenne pepper and also a few bits of a dried chili pepper (we like things hot), added some of my favorite Adobo with Cumin seasoning in place of the salt, and also a few spoonfuls of a salsa we picked up at our local farmer’s market that reminds me a lot of the salsa I would make when I lived in Arizona (I need to make it more often!). This fresh mashup contains the bare essentials of a good, hot, salsa; tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, peppers. Using this pre-made deliciousness meant less veggies for me to chop and dice, which is always a plus. Pulsed a few more times, put into a container to bring along with me, and topped with some shredded taco cheese.

I use this seasoning on everything!!!

Tastes WAY more appetizing than it looks!

A family friend grows all kinds of amazing hot peppers, and knowing my lust for them, they give me hoards of them on a regular basis. I have some fresh ones, plenty frozen ones, and have attempted to dry some of them. Look how cool they look now!

Twisty!

This dip totally got the seal of approval, and I plan on making it more often. Definitely a better option than gorging on uber-cheesy queso and other high-fat, caloric, nutritionally devoid snacks. With some super-hoppy IPA with hints of tropical punch, a billion refills of my Camelback (still trying to ward off this cough with tons of water), and these chips, it was a perfect spread for football-watchin’.

The RW Garcia Dippers were great for the black bean dip. Seasoned with just Himalayan Pink Salt & Tellicherry Cracked Pepper (fancy!), these were all-natural, gluten-free, and matched perfectly. They were a little bland on their own, but perfect with a flavorful dip like this as to not overpower the taste of the dip itself. Another to add to my list of thumbs-up products.

(As a disclaimer, these opinions are solely my own and I have not been compensated to review any of these products. I acquired them on my own and just enjoy sharing products that I love to people who also may be interested!)

On the art front, my freelance time this week will be dedicated to working on a logo for a friend who is starting a non-profit benefit, as well as doing a drawing as a gift for some friends…it will be unveiled here after it is finished and given to them! I will say that it deals with jungle animals, which are some of my favorite animals to draw.

With the exception of pup walks on Friday and Saturday, I haven’t hit the gym since Friday, and I’m excited for BodyPump and some cardio today. I am totally missing yoga, but with this nagging cough I have, I know I won’t be able to give it my all and will just annoy everyone around me! But I know yoges (and glorious savasana) will be there waiting for me when my cough finally leaves!

Have a fabulous week!!!

xoxo

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