On chilly days like yesterday—during which I will inevitably exude a little woe cold is me whining—the only thing that can pry me from the warmth of my comforter is the allure of a hot a mug filled (and refilled) with replacement warmth.

While I’m still not ready to reinstitute coffee art, I turned to several cups of rudimentary, expressionless coffee for my replacement warmth fix.

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I love holding hot mugs when I’m cold. I also have a weird habit of holding them against my face. I can’t remember who said this the other day, but thank you for making me feel like less of a freak for enjoying some warm ceramic to the cheek.

Criteria for breakfast: (a) delicioso, (b) efficient hypothermia alleviant and (c) apple-friendly (since I’m currently rolling in the galas).

Apple & Cinnamon Oat Bran

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In the mix: 1/2 cup oat bran cooked with 1 cup water, thinly sliced banana & cinnamon; whole gala apple chopped and microwaved for 90 seconds in almond milk & cinnamon; topped with whipped cream.

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I liked the addition of the banana to the oat bran, and I loved how apple-y my bran was with a whole apple! (I usually use half.) Oh, and the whipped cream was okay, too…

When I got snacky, I switched to my second favorite breed of manzana: el honey crisp.

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After playing with red hues for a bit, I did slice and consume it with a spoonful of almond buttah.

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I was really tempted to dive into one of my Barney Butter jars—but I still have about 3/4 left in my MaraNatha container. I’m weirdly anal about opening a new item when I’ve not yet finished my last (not that all ABs are created equal!). In the event that I break some boundaries, do nut butters go bad once opened? I’m not sure I’ve ever granted a nut butter a long enough lifespan to go bad… so I don’t think this should be a problem.

I think I drank 15 cups of tea yesterday. This is another thing I do when the weather takes it wintery plunge: OD on tea. During the summer, I probably consume—without exaggeration—20 cups of water a day. During the winter, this dwindles to ~2 cups; the other 18 get replaced with water’s warm and more flavorful offspring.

I love green tea, and this vanilla flavored one on the left is amazing. I switched it up with a cup or two of that raspberry jam on the right, but it wasn’t very good. I’m not big on fruity teas.

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When lunchtime rolled around, I’d already decided on my star ingredient.

Sun-dried Tomato Tapenade.

I made this on Wednesday during my salad dinner prep, using this recipe.

It was really simple, and essentially just involved boiling the sun-dried tomatoes and throwing the ingredients into the blender.

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The result was everything I’d imagined it to be: very sun-dried tomato-y and kalamata-y. Hate to repeat myself, but these are two of my absolute favorite things to eat. And they are very agreeable flavor companions.

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As my stomach’s brain started devising a tapenade-driven plan of attack, I polished off the last of my FSTG The Works chips.

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The perfect grainy compliment to my salty sun-dried tomato concoction.

There wasn’t much left in the bag, but that aluminum emptiness is always a sad sight.IMG_1089

During lunch brainstorming, a light bulb went off and I remembered the meal that first brought sun-dried tomato tapenade into my life.

It was one layer of the best sandwich I’ve ever tasted from Jettie’s in D.C. Jettie’s is a really cute and unfailingly delicious little sandwich shop in D.C..

I reasoned that I shouldn’t deprive myself of the best sandwich I’ve ever tasted just because I relocated to a Jettie-less city and decided lunch would be a D.I.Y. Hummock Pond sandwich.

Hm, I’ve pulled the D.I.Y. card two days, two lunches and two sandwiches in a row. What gives? My name is Sarah, and I am a sandwich plagiarist. I do love getting creative and making up my own flavorful concoctions—but sometimes I feel like the best things have already been created.

I sort of feel the same way about life musings. Hasn’t it all been said before? There are no Voltaires or Thoreaus “of today;” we simply do our best to regurgitate what’s already been said in a wittier, pithier, more modern tone. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just a sandwich plagiarist and a thought plagiarist traipsing around under the guise of an innocent 22-year-old New Yorker. [Insert evil laugh.]

Anyway, here’s my copycat D.I.Y Hummock Pond sandwich, which—in the name of being a proper plagiarist—I will rename:

Sarah’s 7-Layer Sandwich

Insert the following seven layers between two slices of toasted whole wheat bread.

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Layer 1: Slice of Jarlsberg swiss cheese (best swiss EVER!)

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Layer 2: Grilled, balsamic-marinated baby bella mushrooms

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Layer 3: Spinach sautéed in garlic

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Layer 4: Roased red peppers, warmed in your grill pan

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Layer 5: Black bean salsa

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Jettie’s sandwich uses black bean & corn salsa—which I’d strongly suggest using. I only had regular salsa and cooked black beans on hand, so I mixed 2 tbsp. of each together for a little makeshift bean salsa.

Layer 6: Sun-dried tomato tapenade!!! Be generous; this layer makes the sandwich.

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Layer 7: Another slice of jarlsberg, for a necessary abundance of melty cheese.

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The result:

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You didn’t think that was the money shot, did you?

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Perfectly packed with seven delectable layers.

The lighting was weird so here’s  a picture with the flash.

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OH MY GOD. Dear Jettie’s, I love you. Like, seriously, if I could marry the owner of Jettie’s, or Jim Halpert, I would be the happiest girl en el mundo!

If you have any semblance of love and respect for your tummies and taste buds, you will construct this beauty in the very near future…

Just as I was getting snacky, my Kashi sample finally came!

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I’m not much of a cereal eater. But when I do enjoy a bowl, I rarely eat it with milk (with the exception of Golden Grahams, Rice Krispies and Corn Pops—because all of those taste magnificent soggy). I opted for a greek yogurt mess.

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I loved Honey Sunshine! It sort of tasted like a honey-fied, healthified version of Cap’n Crunch!

When it came time for dinner, though it was World Vegetarian Day, I felt like I’d lagged in the protein department. So I made a big tuna salad mix to have on a bed of greens.

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In the mix: 3 oz. tuna, two heaping dollops of plain greek yogurt, 1/3 gala chopped, dried cherries, slivered almonds, very quick honey drizzle and krazy salt.

I had a few spoonfuls before plopping it onto my salad because it was SO good. I sort of just wanted to eat it out of the bowl, but that would’ve made my salad entirely undesirable.

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My salad base was 3 cups fresh spinach, English cucumber slices, sweet onion, celery and cherry tomatoes.

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With the star in the center of it all.

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I rarely use bottled dressing, but for some reason, my balsamic-honey combo didn’t sound good. I thought Cranberry Balsamic would go really well with the sweet tuna salad.

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Correcto!

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Perfect bite of the night goes to a cucumber slice harboring onion, cherry tomato and an all-inclusive dried cherry, apple and almond tuna dollop.

Mandatory dessert was a few bowls of popcorn, which I seasoned with garlic and chili powder.  IMG_1145

It was really good—especially the chili powder.

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But, a few handfuls in, I needed my sriracha. I’m a creature of habit. And hot sauce.

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Ok, so I wanted to pass along that bloggie award today, but, again, I’ve managed to write a book of post. Any advice on keeping posts shorter? I’m all about constructive criticism, so have at me :).

I’m going to leave you with this EVIL picture that my cousin just texted me. He’s visiting my grandparents in Florida and being fed the best food by the world’s greatest cook, a.k.a. Nanny. When we visit, she puts out a wine & cheese, veggie & dip galore for lunch. I was considering going down with him this weekend—but decided to stay in NYC. Here’s to regret.

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I’m missing out on: my adorable Nanny & Poppy, and what looks to be lots of fresh fruits, dippable veggies, hummus, guac, salsa, crab dip, FSTG, and Jarlsberg(!) among other cheeses. And that’s just what I spy from this iPhone pic.

I hope all of you are eating well like my Floridian familia and have fun weekend plans!

-Sarah

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