Chicken Sausage & Goat Cheese Pizza With A Quinoa Crust

I love comfort food. And I love healthy food. So it’s only natural that I love to find healthier versions of my favorite comfort foods. Like PIZZA.

I’ve tried cauliflower crust before, and while it was tasty, I found it labor intensive and the crust fell apart in my hand.

Then I came across a recipe for quinoa crust….say what? 

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This quinoa crust is so far the closest thing I’ve had to the real deal. The crust has the perfect amount of crunch and the flavor of quinoa doesn’t over power any toppings you use.

If you’re going to make this wonderful crust you’ll want to plan ahead. The quinoa needs to soak for at least 8 hours. But after that it’s smooth sailing and super easy to make. 

As for the toppings…the sky’s the limit. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand and experiment! We had some olive tapenade in the fridge that I was trying to think of how to use…when I thought of pizza the rest of the ingredients came flowing in. 

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For the sauce we’ve had a jar of ajvar that I’ve been waiting to pop open. If you haven’t heard of ajvar sauce before you’re sorely missing out. It’s a tomato sauce that’s also made with red peppers and sometimes eggplant. It’s full of flavor and you can do almost anything with it. Top it on chicken or fish, toss in pasta…and use as a sauce for pizza!

Along with the tapenade I thought roasted red peppers, spinach and goat cheese would all be great accompaniments. And for protein? Spicy chicken sausage…a healthier and leaner alternative than pork sausage. 

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I made this pizza for myself and a friend for a movie night. I paired with a simple side salad and a glass of red. Whether it’s movie night, date night or just any ol’ weeknight, I hope you enjoy this pizza!

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Chicken Sausage & Goat Cheese Pizza with a Quinoa Crust
Serves 2
A healthy alternative to "regular" pizza. A quinoa crust serves as the base with chicken sausage, goat cheese, olive tapenade, roasted red peppers and spinach as tasty toppings.
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Prep Time
8 hr
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
Prep Time
8 hr
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
For the crust
  1. 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp oregano
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
For toppings
  1. 1/2 lb spicy chicken sausage
  2. 2 oz goat cheese
  3. 3 tbsp ajvar sauce*
  4. 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  5. 2 tbsp olive tapenade
  6. 1/2 cup spinach
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put quinoa in a medium sized bowl and cover with water. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse quinoa and put in a food processor with water, olive oil, oregano, salt and baking powder. Mix together until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Line a small pan with parchment paper and pour mixture onto pan. Bake for 15 min. Flip crust and bake another 15 min. or until edges are brown.
  4. While crust is baking cook sausage in sautee pan over medium heat. Set aside.
  5. Spread ajvar sauce over crust. Crumble goat cheese evenly. Spread peppers and tapenade evenly. Top with spinach. Drizzle olive oil over spinach. This will help spinach cook evenly without shriveling. Add sausage over top evenly.
  6. Return pan to oven and bake for 10 min. Let cool for 5 min. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. *Ajvar sauce is a sauce made with tomatoes, red peppers and eggplant. It is very flavorful and adds to any dish where you'd normally use tomato sauce. If you are unable to hunt any down using regular tomato sauce is just fine!
A Full Plate http://afullplateblog.com/

Hyde Park Village Blogger Summer Sample Stroll

When it comes to shopping and dining in the Tampa Bay area one of my favorite places to go is Hyde Park Village in South Tampa. It’s an adorable area comprised of 6 blocks of a variety of high end stores and restaurants. They are currently going under a redevelopment project, where they are enhancing Hyde Park’s overall look. New shops and restaurants have also started to move into the village.

Tuesday night, Hyde Park Village invited the Tampa Bay Bloggers out for a Blogger Summer Sample Stroll.

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The stroll allowed us to visit most of Hyde Park’s stores and restaurants for discounts, fun projects, nibbles and sips. It was a great way to see some of the new places that have recently opened and also to see what was new at my favorite places.

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We started off at Blue Moon Trading Company, a home furnishing and design service boutique.

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All the ladies agreed…we could easily move into any home furnished by Blue Moon.

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I loved the rustic, unique features of the furnishings. They also had some beautiful delicate jewelry and fun accessories.

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Next was Juxtapose, a clothing boutique. They have a fun mix of clothes, accessories and furnishings. 

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Locally made pearl jewelry!

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Loved this FL tank.

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On to Paper Source. I had never heard of or been to Paper Source before, but I cannot WAIT to go back and throw them my wallet and tell them to “gimme all the things”.

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This place is a crafters paradise. They have classes every month where they’ll teach you fun thinks like card making, letterpress, DIY invitations and more.

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They have a wide array of journals, planners, cards…including a nice assortment of Rifle and Paper Company products (!) This is definitely going to be my go to place when it comes to Christmas shopping.

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We popped into Francesca’s next, which is one of my favorite clothing stores. They have the cutest, colorful clothes. I especially love their jewelry (which they usually always have a good sale on). I enlisted the help of an associate to find a necklace to go with a dress I just got. I also couldn’t resist these adorable flamingo studs.

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I took a spin into Downtown Dogs, which is an amazing dog boutique filled with healthy treats, adorable collars and fun toys.

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It’s a good thing Maddie wasn’t with me or I would have had a hard time leaving!

Don Me Now was next. Another store that I hadn’t been to yet until that night. Loved their clothes and I have my eye on a few dresses. Don Me Now specializes in helping customers find their own, unique style.

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Next door was Albisia. Ever since I saw a friend donning their jewelry in a photo on Instagram I have been obsessed with them. 

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Their jewelry is handmade on site and is absolutely gorgeous. So delicate and dainty and you can almost feel the love that goes into making these pieces.

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A quick stop into Carlton Ward Photography to lay eyes on some beautiful photos of Florida landscapes. 

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Carlton Ward aims to make a difference with his photographs to promote conservation of the environment. 

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White Magnolia was the next stop. At this delightfully divine bridal shop our sales associate, Ashley, enlightened us on ways they can customize wedding dresses to make them especially unique.

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None of us had seen some of these customizations before and were in awe.

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Cap sleeves, lace overlay and rhinestones, oh my!

When the time comes I will definitely be making a stop here. The dresses are absolutely gorgeous.

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Our last shop that we stopped at was the always loved Anthropologie.

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Hello Meg!

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Did you know that Anthropologie does personal styling? They are great at helping you find unique pieces and how to create multiple outfits with them.

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On to the FOOD!

Our first restaurant stop was Timpano’s. 

I’ve always passed this place by, but have never gone in so I was very happy to finally sample their eats!

Cocktails first!

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How cute are those mini martini glasses? We got to sample the La Catrina, the Pear-fect Martini and the Cucumber Blood Orange Cosmopolitan. My fav was the Pear-fect Martini.

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We also got to sample some of their delectable appetizers.

Veal Short Rib Flatbread

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Calamari Frito Misto

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Fire Roasted Meatballs (My fav…I went back for seconds…and thirds…)

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Tuna Tartare (so very fresh!)

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Next, we made our way to Wine Exchange, where we got to sample a Rose flight.

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I was especially excited about this. I’ve recently tried some great roses lately and am loving learning about this wine. It is perfect for Florida summers!

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My favorite was by far the Renegade. I must hunt down a bottle!

Our last stop was Piquant, another favorite place to dine of mine.

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Chef Rosana made us samples of Don Monsieur, which had short ribs in it and topped with bechamel…I’m wiping drool from my mouth just thinking about it!

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We also got to sample a soon to be new menu item…duck poutine.

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This was my first time trying poutine, and it will not be my last!

To drink we got to taste a Grand Mariner Mango Slushie…de-lish.

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The perfect way to end a perfect stroll. I loved being able to visit some shops that I had not visited before. It was a wonderful night filled with good shopping, great food and fun with friends!

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What’s your favorite place shop and place to dine at Hyde Park Village?

I attended the Hyde Park Village Blogger Sample Stroll as part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers group. All opinions, as always, are my own.

 

 

 

Taking My Fitness Into My Own Hands

I have always loved working out. Ever since I started learning more about fitness in college I have loved the feeling a good work out gives you and how it helps shape a healthy lifestyle.

Even though I love to work out I’ve noticed that over the years I tend to go through an ebb and flow of work out routines. I’ll be super into whatever I’m doing…and then one day I’ll start becoming bored with it or feel like I need to switch things up. Or sometime life gets in the way and weeks will go by without me lacing up my sneakers. 

My most recent ebb and flow happened when I decided to leave CrossFit a year ago. I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted anymore and felt that I needed to try something new. Around this time was when I changed jobs. I went from a 9-5 desk job to a job that had me out and about quite a lot. 

I had heard a lot of great things about OrangeTheory and decided to give that a go. I enjoyed the classes…coaches were great, workouts were great…but because of my schedule I just couldn’t get myself into the studio more than twice a week (when I was used to working out 5 times a week). 

Fast forward a year later and I started noticing something I was not so thrilled about. I looked at photos of myself on Facebook…I looked in the mirror…my body looked different. My clothes were getting snugger. I wasn’t feeling like myself. I felt sluggish and bloated. 

My lack of exercise wasn’t the only thing to blame. I started thinking about how my eating habits had changed since my new job. At my desk job my go to lunch was a salad I brought from home, a healthy sandwich or leftovers from the night before. And I always had a stockpile of healthy snacks within reach (almonds, yogurt, dried fruit, etc.) Since my new job entailed me to be in my car a lot I didn’t have the ability to bring my lunch along with me. Luckily, I am not a fan of fast food…but even so, meals at places like Panera and Jersey Mike’s still add up. I realized that I had become more carb dependent in my meals and didn’t have as much focus on lean meats and vegetables. 

So, as much as I love trying new fitness venues, I realized that I needed to take a different approach this time around. Take my health back to basics. Luckily, Jon was in need for a change as well. An Anytime Fitness had just opened around the corner from us, so one day we decided to sign up for memberships together. 

For about a month and a half now I have been consistently going to the gym 5 days a week (give or take a few busy weeks along the way, but hey, we’re all human!). I started off by taking advantage of a free personal training session that Anytime offered when we signed up. After my first session I signed up for a few more training sessions. My trainer shared my healthy lifestyle philosophy and was great at pushing me when I needed it. She also gave me the tools I needed to create my own workout plan.

After my last training session one of my fav bloggers, Fitnessista, was starting up her yearly Summer Shape Up. I decided to give it a whirl and loved it! It was 4 weeks of fun (and sometimes intense) total body work outs mixed with cardio, barre and yoga.

After Summer Shape Up I decided to turn to BodyBuilding.com. Jon has been doing their Big Man on Campus program and enjoying it so I decided to see what programs they had for women. The website is great…it gives a handful of free workout plans based on your skill level and what your fitness goal is. I’m currently doing this plan plus 20-30 minutes of cardio each day after my strength training. 

It’s very different to be working out on my own. I’m used to not thinking and having a coach tell me what to do. Relying on a coach to push me. But what I’ve realized is that I can be my OWN coach. Being able to walk myself through exercises has helped me focus more. Not only on my form, but also on my body. And I’ve found that I can push myself when I need to, which I never thought I could do!

Aside from my fitness makeover I’ve been making over my eats as well. I’ve been focusing on centering my meals around lean proteins and vegetables again. I’ve been limiting my carb and sugar intake. And also just practicing mindful eating…really paying attention to my body and letting it tell me when I am hungry and when I have had enough. Results? I feel fantastic. I feel lighter and have more energy. And just this week I’ve started to notice some changes physically.

Most importantly? I feel healthier and more like ME. It always amazes me how much what we see in the mirror can play with our emotions. A few months ago I was feeling very down about how I looked and very self conscious…feelings I hadn’t had in years. And I have always been one of those people who believe that self esteem comes from within and that how you look shouldn’t define you. But I realized that what I was feeling was associated with me not taking care of myself properly like I have always prided myself on. Now that I’m back to working out regularly and eating healthier I feel more like my old self and therefore more confident. There has been no drastic change in my appearance, but just the fact that I’m taking care of myself, that my body is working hard and that I’m fueling it correctly…makes me feel GOOD.

Have you recently undergone a “fitness makeover”? What do you do when feel you need a change regarding your fitness?

Give and Grub’s Give Back Event

Remember when I told you all about Give and Grub?

Give and Grub is still going strong and working to fight hunger in Tampa Bay. For each delicious meal they sell they give one FREE meal to a child in need in Tampa Bay.

The last time I was at Give and Grub I got to taste some of their delicious meals. But there’s two sides to this amazing organization. Give and Grub reached out to me and asked if I’d like to join them for their monthly Give Back event, where they give out the free meals to kids. Being an avid volunteer and having passion for giving back to the community I was ecstatic to be able to see first hand the other side of Give and Grub.

I met up with the Give and Grub crew at the Boy and Girl’s Club in Tampa. The truck was set up in front of the building and they had a fun photo booth set up inside. The kids all got their meal from the truck and had such fun with the photo booth.

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Now that it’s summer Give and Grub’s mission is even more important. Without school kids miss out on meals they would have normally gotten at school. Give and Grub partners with Feeding America who let’s them know the centers that have kids who are most in need of meals. They then plan on doing a Give Back event at a center such as the Boys and Girls Club and they not only give the kids a free meal that day…they also give them 5 meals to take home with them to have during the week. How amazing is that?

By now you may be thinking: how can I help?? I want to be involved! It’s so simple. Visit the Give and Grub website: http://www.giveandgrub.com/, locate the truck and go buy a tasty lunch or dinner! OR even better…request the truck! Give and Grub goes to offices all the time. What better way to give your coworkers an awesome lunch resource and also give back than with the Give and Grub truck?

Thank you again to Give and Grub for letting me be a part of their Give Back event. It was a great experience and I’m so glad to see you all continuing to make great strides at striking out hunger in Tampa Bay!

 

What’s On My Plate – 07/08/15

Breakfast

 

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Is there anything better than homemade pancakes? Fact: I barely ever eat pancakes at a restaurant because Jon’s are my favorite.

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A good ol’ fav. Scrambled eggs, avocado, chicken sausage, ketchup.

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Avocado toast! With scrambled eggs, chicken sausage and yes, ketchup. Another norm around here.

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It’s hard to tell but there’s greek yogurt under that pile of KIND granola.

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My friend Ashley and I started off our 4th of July with brunch at Stella’s in Gulfport. This was their spanish omlet with chorizo. Not pictured: a killer spicy bacon bloody mary.

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A Jon creation. Slow cooked scrambled eggs with some kind of yummy tomato creation atop toast. Side of fruit and bacon.

Lunch

 

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We had friends in town a few weeks ago for a wedding. We HAD to take them to our fav place for dim sum, Ha Long Bay.

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That seem weekend we had other friends in town and we got lunch with them at Pom Pom’s, which I’ve raved about before. This was there Turkey with Ginger Cran Chutney on pumpernickel and their asian slaw on the side. Delish!

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This was a salad creation by moi from leftover salmon cakes. Roasted corn, black beans, tomato, cucumbers and spinach. For the dressing I did a sriracha ranch.

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Another creation using leftover salmon cakes. Brown rice, roasted corn, black beans. Topped with guacamole! 

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A fav salad lately…turkey, goat cheese, cucumbers, hearts of palm and artichokes with a french vinaigrette. 

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Another fav salad…lemon grilled chicken from Trader Joe’s, caramelized onion cheddar, hearts of palm, artichokes and sundried tomatoes with a french vinaigrette.

Dinner

 

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Roasted pork loin, mashed sweet potatoes with kale and goat cheese and roasted asparagus.

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Jon cooked this delicious meal when we had friends over. Roasted pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and ratatouille. 

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Needed a quick dinner one night and stopped by to get sushi at Rollboto. Love this place!

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Dinner at Three Birds Tavern for a Lightning game. We hadn’t been to this place in FOREVER and decided to give it a try. I got the Shishito Pepper Burger and subbed chicken breast for the burger. It was nothing too special, but pretty good all the same. Fries were great!

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Home. Made. Lasagna. Do I need to say more? I will any way…Jon made this completely from scratch…homemade pasta and all.

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I made salmon cakes and we had them with leftover mashed sweet potatoes with kale and goat cheese.

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Jon got fresh Grouper so he served it blackened with a baked potato and a yummy mixed vegetable creation.

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Take out night! We wanted thai and discovered our fav thai place (The King and I) closed!! Apparently they sold the building (wonder what’s going in there??) So we took out from #9 Bankok down the street from them. Yellow curry with chicken and papaya salad. 

 

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Another Jon creation. I wanted to make a mexican casserole and he took it over…I don’t even remember everything that was in but it was delish!

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My friend Lora and I went to happy hour at Copperfish in Tampa. I’ve been wanting to try this place for forever! They have the BEST happy hour specials…you all seriously need to check them out. Half off cocktails, wine and beer. And they have some of their house favorites at a seriously reduced rate. Pictured is their fantastic burger, grilled oysters and oaxaca shrimp. 

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I know this photo looks gross, but I promise it was tasty! This is one of my fav quick meals. A sweet potato covered in turkey chili and cheddar. 

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Homemade Grouper tacos and rice and black beans! One of the best meals in the past few months. Jon used coconut flour on the Grouper and was an excellent touch!

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4th of July! Smoked bratwurst on a potato roll with potato salad and my green bean salad

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Chinese Green Beans with Ground Turkey. One of the best meals I’ve made in awhile (if I do say so myself). This recipe was so easy and SO tasty. I’ll definitely be making it again!

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Jon’s latest creation. Grouper with a coconut milk curry sauce complete with sweet potatoes, pineapple, mango and spinach. Served atop soba noodles. All made from stuff we had in our pantry/fridge/freezer!

 

snacks

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This was a standard snack while we had friends in town. A cheese and meat plate that we couldn’t get enough of.

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When Jon made his homemade lasagna we stopped at Mazzaro’s for supplies. We got a gelato treat as a result! This was their strawberry balsamic flavor and it was glorious! 

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After a shopping trip at Trader Joe’s I just had to dig in to my finds. Their caramelized cheddar is seriously my fav cheese in the whole wide world.

What’s been on your plate lately?

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