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Did you see? I’m kicking the added sugar habit during August!

I’m back with another satisfying salad assembly post. This time we’re going spicy!

Step One: Greens/Lettuce

My base for this salad was a head of organic romaine, placed in tupperware big enough to fit a Duggar family casserole in it.

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Step Two: Vegetables!

Frozen broccoli (will be defrosted by lunch), frozen corn (ditto), red onion, and carrots. Peppers (any color but green – gross) would have been a great addition, but I didn’t have any.

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Step Three: Protein

A crumbled black bean burger via The Daily Garnish. My favorite!

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Step Four: Fat

Avocado – the best part of any meal, snack, or other munchie.

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Step Five: Flavor!

Salsa! In it’s own container so I can keeping adding it as I eat up the greens. Plus hot sauce, duh.

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Step Six: Grains/Carbs!

Two whole wheat tortillas on the side.

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The best thing about my giant salads is that the only sugar that occurs is natural! Okay, maybe not those tortillas … I’ll have to investigate.

The lovely Gracie of Girl Meets Life recently announced the launch of FreelyBe, the explanation of which I’ve copied from the website.

 “Our plan is twofold, but the two outreaches are inherently intertwined.

 1) First, we want to partner with already-existing organizations and individuals that we believe have the mission, values, and integrity that it takes to bring freedom to the world. The unfortunate truth is that there are hundreds of amazing charities and organizations that simply do not have the resources to grow and become as effective as the world needs them to be. Some ways we’ll help are:
– work with organizations to develop an effective business strategy by using our resources and knowledge in PR, digital marketing, research, etc.
– serve as a point of contact in NYC to provide a volunteer force and/or plan events
– promote their cause via our own website/marketing tools to raise not just funds but also awareness

2) Next- we aim to reach the public and connect them to these organizations. We want to teach people what genuine and freedom-causing charities look like. So many people in the world want to help, but they just have no idea where to start. We want to show them what that help in action already looks like.

In short, Freely Be is the middleman between organizations and the public. The relationship between the two is imperative if freedom is to be spread in the world, and its our job to cultivate, grow, and maintain that bond.”

I immediately signed up to participate as a blogger and volunteer as a person.  I admire Gracie’s blog for many reasons – her humor, her bluntness, her obvious passion for life and for helping others.  I’m so glad that I can help promote Freely Be as an organization I have a passion for and truly, truly believe in.

Kick the Habit

Freely Be’s first “event” is called “Kick the Habit.”  Here are the details from Gracie’s email:

Before you can change the world, you need to change your own. To share freedom, one must be free themselves. In an effort to bring that freedom, we are launching a fun FREEDOM rally- Kick the Habit.

Is there something in your life that just isn’t good for you? Addicted to smoking? Spending too much on cocktails? Taking cabs when you could be walking? Can’t stop the urge to shop?

Then its time to kick the habit!

From August 1-31 we want to hear your stories and challenge you for the month to improve YOU!

So get ready to send us your emails, videos, tweets, etc. on how you Kicked the Habit and are encouraging others to do so as well. We’ll also be opening up the Freely Forums so you can discuss your kicked habit with others who might share the same one.

Think you’ll want to take it a step further? We propose taking the finances you would use on that habit, and donate it towards a good cause.

You take on the challenge – help others, help yourself. What have you got to lose (other than yellow teeth and early-onset wrinkles?)

My habit I’m going to kick in August?  Added and artificial sugars.  They’re in everything.  And it’s gross. 

[ source ]

 have actually been thinking of trying to cut out added sugars for a few days and Gracie’s email was all the motivation I needed.

 I already have a bunch of posts in mind to write for August, including: how to find added sugars, sugars’ affect on the body, and natural replacements.  Let me know if you have any other ideas or suggestions!

Now, excuse me while I go bury my face in Pinkberry for the next four days …

What would you give up to gain a better life?  How long?  A month, a year, forever?

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This morning, I headed to the library to check out some books to read (obviously). I spent a while wandering around the fiction section and eventually made my way downstairs to non-fiction. An older man, who I originally assumed to be an employee, greeted me, and I said hi back. Then he asked for my “beautiful name.” UM bye. I ignored him and just continued looking for books. I heard someone talking kind of softly, clearly on a cell phone, and realized it was him. I moved around and he followed me through the stacks. CREEPER STATUS. Eventually I lost him, went back upstairs to the new releases, didn’t see him any longer, and so I went back downstairs to look around again without freaking out. As I’m walking out the door, I see him outside on his cell phone. I walk by and he tells the person on the other line to hold on and he calls out to me “Excuse me, miss, miss!” I ignored him, walked to my car, and made sure no one was following me as I left. Seriously? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IS ACCEPTABLE? It is rude, you could be my grandfather, and legitimately who has actually ever picked someone else up by creeping on them? No one.

So, if you would like to be hit on by a man who could be your grandfather, please head to your local library on a casual Saturday morning. Don’t shower, don’t fix your second-day hair bun from when you get out of bed, wear $5 Soffee mesh shorts and an oversized t-shirt with no make up. Walk out with a new boy toy. Why am I single again?

If you’re not looking for boyfriend advice, I can offer you some different advice – how to build a satisfying salad! To me, salads are not an appetizer, side dish, or meal in which to cut calories. Oh, no. I have a salad for at least one meal everyday, usually lunch. More often than not, I have a theme – Asian salad, Taco salad, etc., but sometimes my giant container of tupperware is just a vegetable free-for-all. This salad is the latter.

Step One: Greens/Lettuce

Add your greens to a salad bowl meant for a family of four. Don’t share. In this case, I used a couple of handfuls of organic mixed greens and about half a head of organic romaine.

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Step Two: Protein

I used chickpeas here. With beans, I usually buy organic and/or low sodium. After rinsing, I add about half the can to my salad.

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Step Three: Vegetables!

In this salad: carrots, celery, red onion, and sugar snap peas.

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Step Four: Fat

Fact: feta makes it beta! Fun fact: up until last year, I pronounced it “fay-ta” until my friends made enough fun of me to change it to the correct pronunciation of “feh-ta.”

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Step Five: Flavor!

I love Bolthouse Farms dressings! They’re all super healthy, low fat and low-cal (which just means I add more), and so flavorful! I just tried this flavor, Raspberry Merlot, and love it! The sweetness is so great with the salty feta.

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Step Six: Grains/Carbs!

Stacy’s Pita Chips* added a great crunch to my salty and sweet salad.

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And there you have it, a filling salad for one!

*Extra handfuls of pita chips are required for this recipe.

After Emily made me those delicious eggplant fries and zucchini chips last Friday, I’ve been wanting to recreate the deliciousness. I remembered to buy an eggplant at Whole Foods the other day and got out of work early last night, so I decided to give it ago.

I gathered my eggplant, two eggs, and some breadcrumbs …

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Assembled my dipping and crumb-ing stations …

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Chopped my eggplant …

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and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

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Crispy deliciousness with a side of marinara.

As tasty as they were, the ones Em made me were better! I think next time I’ll bake for longer and use whole wheat or panko bread crumbs.

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This was also had. Easy homemade lemonade + vodka. Yay summer!

I still have half of that eggplant left. I kind of want to make more fries and I kind of want to do something else … hmmmmm.

These are my confessions .. not Usher style.

1. Breakfast and lunch are healthy, balanced meals.

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Green Monster with frozen strawberries, chocolate protein powder, spinach, and raw oats.

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Waffle-wich with egg + goat cheese, plus a mango.

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Post-grad double fisting: smoothie and coffee.

Dinner? Healthy, sure. Balanced? Ummm … By the time I get home after traffic, I have no desire to cook. So lately, my dinner consists of a massive pile of kale chips with nutritional yeast, and lots and lots of carrots and hummus. Some bread. Maybe some tuna if we’re getting fancy with the can opener.

2. I always have dessert. Always. Arctic Zero, you are my lover. Minus your price. Yes, it’s low-cal, but I make up for that with the Hagrid-sized handful of peanuts and the even bigger handful of carob chips. And the half can of whipped creams. Seconds on the peanuts, carob, and whipped cream occur more often than not.

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3. I have actually cried over not being able to run. A couple of times in spin. Including this morning.

4. Although, I now crave spin. When I get back to running (4 weeks and 6 days!), spin will definitely keep a place in my weekly routine. I also want to invest in a cushioned seat, clip-in shoes, and, eventually, a road bike.

5. Recovered as though my body, and mostly my mind, are .. I still HATE that my thighs touch. HATE.

6. I cried last week driving home from seeing my friends. Sometimes actually seeing the people you miss just makes it worse. Being that I was actually wearing makeup for once, it got in my eyes and burned and I had to pull over on 84.

7. I am more excited for/depressed over the last Harry Potter than any 23 year old should be.

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If I still had a dorm room, I might have this poster up. Maybe.

8. I am also way more excited about 16 Handles coming to Fairfield than anyone should be. Especially someone that’s lactose intolerant. It’s fine. I’m thinking a fro-yo tour of a Tasti-D-Lite breakfast, Pinkberry lunch, and 16 Handles dinner is in store. Who’s in?

9. I’m still hungry after breakfast number one. Part two, coming up …

My title refers to the time left until my orthopedist says I can start a running program! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I had an appointment Friday morning and he said everything was looking good, I can stop using my crutches, still no walks or runs, but it’s healing! “We’ll get you on a running program in six weeks.”

I know my Exogen Bone Stimulator has A LOT to do with my healing the bone. I use it every night for 20 minutes. Oh, and, my insurance does not cover the $4500 machine – because it’s not REALLY necessary, just speeds up the process. Exogen is so awesome though … they comped my bone stimulator. As in, it was completely free to me. Yes kids, making less than a living wage sure does have its perks. Or, perk. That’s the only example I have.

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My tib-fib X-Ray. This is the one from the front, so you can’t see the fracture since it’s on the inside of my bone. I didn’t get to snap a picture of the side view X-Ray which shows the bump of healing bone – that has gotten significantly smaller over the last three weeks!
Thursday I had an alumni networking event in Boston, so I drove up Wednesday night after work and got to see my friends’ brand new apartment in Brighton! They just moved in the week before and I’m so proud of them – it’s huge and gorgeous. I’m jealous.
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Dress: Lila Frock by Tabitha via Anthropologie
Belt: Continual Cincher via Anthropologie
Pearls: 21st birthday from Momma and StepDad
Not seen: Black cardigan from Target, Nine West heels
My adult networking outfit. The Lila Frock from Anthropologie. Happy Half-Birthday to me, thanks Mom. Considering I wear this to work:
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Bandeau: Free People
V-Neck Tee: Splendid
Jeans: Joe’s Jeans
Yeah, I need some professional clothes. Jenny, feel free to come raid the closet.
Friday night Emily and I had a date. She greeted me with wine (a Yellowtail blend that I swear is the Communion wine I get at church), egg plant fries, and zucchini chips. Plus marinara. A well-balanced dinner when paired with “Say Yes to the Dress.”
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Oh, and these for dessert. Chocolate and peanut butter covered banana bites. She loves me. Our plan was to make Jessica’s Breakfast Pizza for … breakfast. However, it was 8am and already hot and humid. After the gym (boring bike and a fun circuit by Em!), we stopped at Whole Foods for yogurt bar. Yogurt bar does not have Greek yogurt, so we grabbed fruit and turkey bacon and splurged the extra $.30 on Fage over Chobani. Sorry about the Starbucks, WF Milford.

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  • Fage Greek yogurt (the best)
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • TURKEY BACON

The next couple of hours look like this:

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Except much clearer and 3D than this BlackBerry picture. Thanks for the fab weekend lover!

Yup, I went there. After two years of reading about “green monsters” on healthy living blogs, I finally did it. Bought protein powder, brought out the blender, and mixed vegetables and fruit. For breakfast.

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In my smoothie:

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 packet Jay Robb Whey protein, vanilla flavored
  • 8ish ice cubes
  • about 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract

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Verdict? Delicious! I really couldn’t taste the spinach at all – just strawberry-vanilla deliciousness.

I also made a strawberry banana one a few days ago and am excited to try out the chocolate flavors I picked up too.

Last Monday, my day off, I headed into the city to meet up with my friend Sarah. What are two twenty-something girls to do in the city on a warm summer day? Clearly, go to the zoo. Well, first we stopped at Chickpea for that 3pm meal of pita, hummus, and tahini. There were vegetables too, but clearly lack importance compared to the others.

We set out for the Central Park Zoo. Too bad we were entirely unsure where in the park the zoo is. So we followed Sarah’s iPhone directions the best we could and just strolled along the way.

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Some highlights included:

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Awesome polar bear.

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Wearing my sandals.

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The stork that brought Sarah to this earth and dropped her at the zoo.

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Snow leopard – so pretty! And creepily looking directly at me …

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Piranha

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This penguin was standing by itself staring at the wall for the entire ohhh, twenty minutes? we were in penguin section. We named her Ethel. She’s our special friend.

We met another friend, Jenny from the Blog, for a stroll and some dinner. We stopped at Columbus Tavern and LOVED it! Sarah and I split the artichoke appetizer – they were roasted and had parmesan and some other delicious goodies on there. Must recreate! Oh, and then I had some salad, which was basically a vehicle for goat cheese, as most things are these days. This recipe looks good …

Have been so rainy and gross! But that’s ok because it’s officially summer – not that it really means anything to me now that I’m not in school but it’s still exciting! I celebrated with the obligatory green iced tea from Starbucks (venti, of course), and a classic summer dinner: a burger and chips!

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Okay, so it’s a Boca burger (the vegan one – it’s SO good!) and kale chips, but still. It’s the healthy, animal-free version of a classic. Boca vegan burger on a multi-grain sandwich thin with ketchup, red onion, and mixed greens + carrots and garlic hummus and kale chips on the side. And of course, since, it’s summer, it’s still so light out at dinner time, hence the beautiful picture! New camera, I love you.

This has been my favorite breakfast lately. It’s quick and easy to prep and travels well to work with me.

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Egg whites and goat cheese on a sandwich thin (or a wrap, waffles, or bread) + frozen blueberries. A pint, of course.

My mom always tells me that when I was little, a toddler maybe, my mouth and hands were continuously stained purple from the massive amount of frozen blueberries that I ate. When I bought the four pints at Whole Foods the other day – as they were organic and on sale, I had to stock up – I put two in the freezer so that they couldn’t go bad before I finished them all. That turned out to be an amazing idea.

I’m currently typing up this post from the Detroit airport, en route to Indiana for the weekend for a Leadership Conference for my sorority. The collegians have a t-shirt swap tonight and until yesterday, I was brainstorming which shirt I could bear to part with but soon realized I’m an alumnae and will not be able to participate in the swap. Not ok. Alums need clothes too. Even more so … we are poor. Well, at least I am. I’m hoping to come back with at least a pen.

I’m still shocked I fit everything into these two bags:

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Two days later …

The weekend was fun, but quick! And definitely not the most nutritious. I mean, it was dining hall food. I was in the same time zone but I still feel really tired and off, like my body doesn’t know what time it is. I’m right now sitting in the Detroit airport on my way home. This is the random food that I’ve managed to find today:

  • Two coffees with soymilk (from the cafeteria)
  • Starbucks fruit cup (bought yesterday from the campus Starbucks that was open for 4 hours, and only because we were there)
  • NuGo Carrot Cake bar (too sweet)
  • Apple
  • Earl Grey tea
  • Mixed green salad with tomatoes, chickpeas, carrots, craisins, and balsamic that tasted like nothing
  • Gardenburger sans bun, with ketchup, lettuce, and onion from a burger joint in the airport
  • Banana

I’ve eaten so much fruit this weekend my blood sugar must be through the roof. But I got to see a couple of my chapter sisters and meet new ones from all over the country!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pen – but I did score an engraved keychain. Sorority SWAG FTW!
I just want some hummus.

Awesome title, I know.

Today I took a solo road trip to Rhode Island for a little sorority advising session. Per usual, I arrived embarrassingly early. Don’t worry, I had time to take a picture of myself for no reason.

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Dress: Forever 21
Pearls: Graduation present
Evil Eye Bracelet: LF
Nails: Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos

On the way out of Providence, I spotted a Mary Lou’s and quickly pulled in to grab an iced coffee for the way home. I’ve heard so much about Mary Lou’s from Tina and was dying to try one of the legendary fun flavors! There were the typical Vanilla and Hazelnut, but they also offered a Milkyway flavor, Mint Mocha, Cinnamon Hazelnut, Caramel, and a couple of “Secret” flavors. The secret flavors, Milkyway, and Mint Mocha intrigued me, but I ended up going with a blend of my favorites: Vanilla Hazelnut, black, two Splenda. Large, of course.

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The drive was an easy two hours each way, and as tempted as I was, I resisted the numerous outlets on the way home. Win.

Yesterday I had to work, as I usually do on Sundays. So instead of spending time with my dad, uncles, and other family, I spent time with unattended children coming into the store to buy a pixie stick and wrapping presents. But first, I went to spin and ate breakfast.

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Ok. So I don’t know how I came up with this except for the fact that I’m weird and it just popped into my head the other day. Waffle-sandwich with egg whites, feta, and drizzled with honey. IT’S GOOD. Just trust me. Oh, and another pint of organic blueberries.

Lunch provided by Panera. Why are Asian chicken salads so good?

I was overly excited for dinner because I had Safita leftovers.

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Leftover Branzini, pita, and beet salad. I added the arugula, carrots, and baba ghanoush. Still so, so good. I reheated the fish in the oven and it tasted exactly as amazing as it did the night before. So did the beets. And the pita. Don’t worry, Em, we’ll go there soon!

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Tank: Sugarlips
Blouse: BB Dakota
Shorts: Hudson
Shoes (obviously not seen): Navy TOMS.

Work outfit from yesterday. I’ll spare you the frizzy curls and make-up free face. You’re welcome. And yes, TOMS make me look like an elf. But they are also the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. So there.

PS – JUST DISCOVERED I CAN ORDER MARY LOU’S COFFEE ONLINE. And apparel. Well, that explains the 12 year olds decked out in pink and black screaming offers of a menu at me.

Last night, my mom, brother, and I took my step-dad out to dinner for an early Father’s Day meal.  My mom chose Safita, a middle eastern restaurant in Fairfield.  It opened fairly recently (winter?) and I’ve been dying to try it.

When we sat down, we were give pita bread, green olives, olive oil, and za’tar spices.  The pita wasn’t the chewy, fluffy kind I love, but you could tell it was house-made, which is always appreciated.

We ordered two appetizers.  The vegetarian kibbeh:

“Cracked wheat shell, stuffed with spinach and chickpeas.”

This. Was. Amazing.  There were whole chickpeas, as well as mashed, and an equal amount of freshly cooked spinach.  I’m not sure what the sauce was – a little tangy and spicy, but so great!

The chicken rolls, however, were definitely the better of two amazing appetizers.  Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture, but essentially they were roasted, shaved chicken meat wrapped up in crunchy, wheaty rolls.  They came with a dipping sauce that was simply delicious.  It was tart and tangy, and my mom and I were scooping it up straight from the serving dish.  My mom couldn’t put her finger on the tastes, but I thought balsamic and raspberry.  Clearly we didn’t pay too much attention to the menu at the time, since this is the description: “Chicken, onion, pomegranate juice, and sumac rolls.”  So I was close!  The waiter told us pomegranate and balsamic.  I’ll have to look up what sumac is since the only thing that comes to mind is a poisonous bush.

Everyone loved their entrees as well.  Lamb shawarma for my step-dad, chicken shawarma for my mom, and the mixed grill for the brother, which came with chicken, beef, and lamb.  I definitely won the best food award I make up in my mind at every restaurant, though, with my Branzini aka Mediterranean sea bass.  OH DAMN IT WAS SO GOOD.  There’s no description for it, as it was a special, but I was given  quite the large portion of fish with a beet salad.  This is after I ate half:

Those blobs of sauce on my beets and on the side are a creamy yogurt-tahini sauce.  Yes, it’s amazing too.  I left this for tonight’s dinner just because I wanted to taste it again.  I could have easily finished it all in the moment, but I’m glad I didn’t.  After sitting for a few minutes I was perfectly satisfied with the pita, piece of kibbeh, chicken roll, and half my entree.  Not overly stuffed, which is always a nice feeling.

The food didn’t feel heavy or greasy in my stomach at all.  Lactose intolerance win!  We had the Safita Special Blend Tea after dinner – “Hot tea made of a special blend of herbal mixtures including caramom (similar to ginger) and irfeh.”  Hmm, well I know what cardamom is but have no clue about irfeh.  Let’s google.

Ok, looks like it’s Arabic for “cinnamon.”  Funny, mostly I just smelled and tasted honey.  It was the perfect sweetness and so pretty!

LOOK AT THE TEENY SPOON!

That’s not tiny, that’s TEENY.  I want one!

Not only because of the tiny spoon, but this was the best meal I’ve had in a long time.  Probably since I went to Italy three years ago.  I am going back ASAP.  My dad would love it.  I already texted two of my friends that we’re going, they don’t have a choice.  It was all just so delicious.

If you live in Fairfield county, GO TO SAFITA.  You will not be disappointed by the food, the service, the decor, or the food.  Again.

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