Grilling in the Rain and Protein Fudge

Yesterday, it rained all day. Slightly tragic for a Memorial Day BBQ, but we were very resourceful:

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The grill was set up on the porch with an umbrella overhead…fool proof. In addition to veggie burgers and brats, we had caramelized onions, cucumber yogurt salad, carrots and hummus, corn salsa, and blue tortilla chips:

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Last but not least, an apple crumble and a birthday cake:

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Everything was delicious.

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And now…time for a protein fudge recipe I made a while ago. I was inspired by a thin mint protein fudge recipe by the Fitnessista. My version nixed the thin mint concept and made a few substitutions.

I combined 2 scoops of chocolate Tera’s Whey protein powder with one scoop of oat bran (I just used the protein powder scooper to measure the oat bran):

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Then, I added two tablespoons of honey peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a pinch of truvia, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract:

 

 

 

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Mix it all together:

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And flatten it out in a small tupperware:

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Meanwhile….it’s time to make the frosting! Melt 2 tablespoons chocolate chips with one tablespoon of milk:

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Spread on top of protein mix and allow to harden in the fridge:

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By the time I took these pictures, the fudge was half eaten…sorry. Also, if you are judging my fudge consumption, at least a week had passed since the making of the fudge and the pictures above. So there. 🙂

 

Ricotta Vegetable Bake

Today was a wonderful morning. In recognition of the anniversary of my birth, my roommate left a fabulous surprise for me on the kitchen table:

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Not one, not two, but three herb plants! I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, and now I will have fresh basil, parsley, and rosemary to use. This was such a great gift – thanks, roomie!

Unfortunately I didn’t have these spices last night when I made an Italian style ricotta-vegetable bake. It goes like this…

Saute one onion in a skillet:

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Add two yellow summer squash and one large zucchini:

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Add 1/3 cup tomato sauce and liberal shakings of basil and oregano:

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In a 2 quart casserole pan, add a thick layer of reduced-fat ricotta cheese:

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and then layer with mixed greens and slightly more than half of the squash/zucchini/tomato mixture:

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Add a layer of cooked barley and the rest of the ricotta cheese (I used a 15oz container):

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Bake at 350° for 35 minutes:

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This should make about 4 servings – basically it’s lasagna without the noodles!

Space…and Vegetable Curry (not)

Two things of note in my day:

1. I fought an epic three-day battle with the internet and finally won. I have a new router.

2. Forever Young Prom happened. First Ave dance floor, will I see you again?

Besides that, I have decided I need some space and will be taking a break from blogging about anything but recipes and other impersonal items. Hopefully a vegetable curry recipe will be coming in the near future…

 

 

Look Up and Laugh

[source]

Tough times will happen to everyone. Unless you’re…..no wait, couldn’t even think of any example to put there.

I have had a tough week, but I am a strong believer in taking perspective and looking at the positive. I may not have realized too much perfection, as Buddha says, but I’ve still managed to have some laughing at the sky. Reasons to look up and laugh:

1. Impulsive 15-mile bike ride on my way home from work

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Maybe I just wasn’t ready to go home, I needed to clear my head, and the weather was gorgeous. This did me good.

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2. T-Swift is my girl

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Taylor is my iPod’s best friend. Now. Always. Still. Did I mention one time I saw her in concert?! And by one time, I mean TWICE. She is a lyrical genius. (yes, Papa Bear, I know you’re smirking).

harry styles and taylor swift, harry styles, harry styles taylor swift breakup song, tim urban, tim urban haylor song[source]

3. Fresh laundry smells so good

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Sometimes a roll on the bed with a fresh load of laundry will do wonders for your health.

4. I feel recovered – no quotes

Something very interesting happened this week, and I feel like I passed a major milestone. I have been under a fair amount of stress, but – for weird reasons I am not quite sure about – I also feel like I am more powerful, thoughtful, balanced, and stronger than I have been at any other time. Like I said…weird.

It’s not a secret that even though I would say I’ve been ‘recovered’ from my eating disorder (quotes intentional) for several months, I will have serious struggles occasionally. See here for the most recent example. But, right now, for the first time, I really feel confident to say I feel RECOVERED. No quotes. 🙂

I feel as though I have managed a tough situation without any input, tips, or shoulder-whispering from ED. And the best part is – and the part that makes me feel so strong about all of this – I didn’t even fight it. It just wasn’t there. It’s like ED knew not to even bother since I was taking care of things myself.

I know this doesn’t necessarily mean that I will never have another struggle of this variety, but this felt like a major turning point for me. I have learned that I can really support myself after all, and having that realization allowed what was left of my self-doubts to fall away.

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So, I guess there was some perfection after all.

NROLFW: Stage 6

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/molliefeldman/Desktop/nr6.doc

As described in the NROLFW Overview (suggested prior reading), The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women is a 6-month strengthening plan. The plan includes 7 Stages, with two Workouts (A and B) for each Stage.

Summaries of Past Stages
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5

The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Stage 6 was all about variety. Each exercise within each workout had different set/rep instructions, so I’ll indicate that with my weights below.

Stage 6, Workout A (repeated 4 times)

Negative Chin Ups (3 sets of 1 for each workout)
Workout 1: completed all sets
Workout 4: completed all sets

Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown (10 sets of 2 for each workout)
Workout 1: 95 lbs
Workout 4: 105 lbs

Barbell Split Squat (workouts were sets x reps as follows: 2 x 10, 2 x 8, 3 x 6, 3 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: 20 pounds plus bar
Workout 4: 30 pounds plus bar

Push Up (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 2 x 8, 3 x 6, 3 x 4, as many reps as possible)
Workout 1: 10
Workout 4: 19

Stage 6, Workout B (repeated 4 times)

Reverse Lunge, One Dumbbell on Shoulder (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 3 x 8, 3 x 6, 4 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: 15 lbs
Workout 4: 20 lbs

Dumbbell 2-point Row (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 3 x 8, 3 x 6, 4 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: 15 lbs
Workout 4: 20 lbs

Dumbbell Push Press (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 3 x 8, 3 x 6, 4 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: 20 pounds
Workout 4: 20 pounds

Back Extension (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 3 x 8, 3 x 6, 4 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: with 25 pounds
Workout 4: with 25 pounds

Incline Reverse Crunch (workouts as follows: 2 x 10, 3 x 8, 3 x 6, 4 x 4, 2 x 10)
Workout 1: 10 reps
Workout 2: 10 reps

Overall, Stage 6 was a nice shake up with more variety. I don’t think I changed my weight enough throughout the different workouts to really get the full benefit of doing different set/rep combinations. Still, it’s nice to know I’m done with the second to last stage, and it will definitely be an accomplishment when I finish the whole program!

More NROLFW
Overview
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5

Ready for PROM

Hi folks. This morning I was working on a NROLFW Stage 6 post (something I’ve been procrastinating for weeks) when my internet went out. What is the cause of this?! Still unknown. Strangely, this happens at my apartment occasionally. Generally my solution (after all of the obvious thing don’t work), is to go away and come back later. Then, it’s working! Magic? Perhaps. One of my roommates fixes it? Perhaps.

Anyway, I don’t have a NROLFW Stage 6 post due to this incident. Probably just the world trying to tell me that:

[source]

But, really, we all know that’s not true. How did the caveman live without Google?! Speaking of, I was just listening to one of my favorite NPR shows, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, and their celebrity guest was Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt. He definitely made working at google sound really fun! At the Googleplex – as they call it – there are events and activities and fitness classes offered all day long, and the only three rules are that 1) you have to wear clothes, 2) you have to have fun, and 3) you can’t bring your boa constrictor to work.

The final rule was implemented after someone interpreted the ‘pets allowed’ policy to mean they could bring their boa constrictor. Naturally, the snake got loose and caused a little bit of a stir.

Still, I can’t complain…my job is amazing. Just last night in fact my job was to go to Sebastian Joe’s.

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I got a scoop of “the flavor formerly known as Nicollet Pot Hole.” (Why it is only formerly known…I’m not sure) Let me tell you – this is the flavor for chocolate lovers! It is chocolate with sea salt and caramel and truffles. So good. It was super rich though – I could hardly finish one small scoop!

I am so fortunate to have a job where my main responsible is to do fun things with high quality people and give them love. ❤

In other news, I am SO excited for the weekend. Why? BECAUSE I’M GOING TO PROM!

FOREVER YOUNG[source]

No, I am not having an underage rendezvous this weekend. Rather, I will attending the most rockin late 90s/early 00s dance party at First Avenue presented by Radio K.

In the immortal words of Dane Cook, “screw guys, I just wanna dance.”

Beef and Mushroom Taco Salad

I have two food goals currently.

1. Cook smaller recipe sizes. Even though I’m only cooking for myself, I’ve been making full recipes. The result is I will end up eating the same thing all week. I want to get more variety, so I’m trying to make less food at one time. This will force me to cook more during the week. While time consuming, I really enjoy cooking and think that will be a positive thing.

2. Have more variety in the foods I buy. Although I make a variety of recipes, I typically stick with the same set of staple foods and just make them in different ways. Yogurt, apples, bananas, chicken, spinach. Eating a wider array of foods will – I’m hoping – be both fun and nutritious since I will getting a greater range of vitamins and nutrients.

As a result of these goals, my grocery shopping trip to the farmer’s market and co-op included these food I don’t normally buy: ground beef, chicken sausage, cantaloupe, peaches, rainbow chard. I also tried to round out purchases with foods that I get sometimes but aren’t regulars. For this, I got: mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and turkey sandwich meat.

From this spread, a taco salad was born. *full recipe below

First, cook 1 onion in some coconut oil spray:

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Add 1/2 pound ground beef:

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As the meat starts to cook, add a heaping 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, paprika, and stir to combine:

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Add mushrooms:

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Once cooked through, serve atop greens:

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And add the fixings:

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I added cheese, avocado, salsa, and black bean chips.

This dinner was delicious! Since the recipe I made was for two portions, I get to look forward to the next serving tomorrow. Some chocolate and coconut milk finished off the meal perfectly. 🙂

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serves 2
Ingredients
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- generous 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- generous 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Method
Heat a skillet with non-stick coconut oil spray. Add onions and saute.
As the onions starts to become translucent, add beef.
As beef begins to brown, add crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, and paprika.
Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until meat is done and veggies are tender.
Serve as a salad or tacos!

Art-a-Whirl

Art-a-Whirl is an annual studio tour event that takes place in Northeast Minneapolis. The event is in its 18th year, and it’s the largest open studio tour in the country.

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Not knowing much about the event besides that you could look at art, I decided to check it out with a friend. There was a huge variety of art and exhibits! There were the things you might expect like pottery:

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wood carvings:

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photos:

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and paintings:

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But there were also a lot of nontraditional forms of art. Like these crazy stuffed monsters:

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and this monkey chair:

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and this awesome lego exhibit:

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Art was displayed in studios, galleries, restaurants, and businesses. Almost all of the art was for sale, and it would be a great place to get a gift! I bought a pair of earrings that were packaged with a nice quote:

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My favorite piece of art was an interactive exhibit about people who did crimes they got away with.

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The exhibit was a display of the remnants from a literary party held in the space a few weeks prior. At the event, partygoers listened to recorded stories of people talking about crimes they committed and got away with. Later, they shared and recorded their own crimes. At the exhibit, I could listen to the original stories, the stories of the partygoes, and see pictures scattered around the floor from the event. There was a notebook where viewers of the exhibit could write their own confessions.

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The stories were really interesting – ranging across everything from stealing money to lying to a teacher to attempted prostitution. It was fascinating and forced the viewer to consider the fact that we are all – in some way – criminals. If so, what is the real distinction between us and what we consider more traditional criminals?

While exploring Art-a-Whirl, a caffeinated pick-me-up sounded good, so we decided to check out Diamonds Coffee Shoppe.

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Although likely due in part to the art festival, the line out the door indicated this is a popular spot in the Northeast neighborhood.

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They had a surprisingly extensive menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. As well as a nice looking array of baked goods:

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They had traditional coffee drinks as well as smoothies (which, I noticed, were made with real fruit!) and loose leaf tea.

I decided to try something different and got a blended iced latte:

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Oh my goodness. It was SO GOOD. My friend got a blended iced mocha and said it was the best thing he’d ever tasted (disclaimer: he is a bit prone to hyperbole).

If this were in my neighborhood, I would definitely go there at least quasi-regularly. Alas, it is not – but I would recommend it to anyone near Northeast, and I will enjoy it vicariously through you!

Bestowed: May

It’s amazing. The excitement never seems to lessen any time I see this beauty in the mail:

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It’s Bestowed time of the month again!

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Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. Each month’s items are unique and provide a fun way to try new products without buying them myself (or having to buy a large size).

Inside May’s package were….

Simply Sprouted Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips – These chips are gluten free and will be good for a low sodium/low saturated fat snack when I want some crisp!

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California Olive Ranch Everyday EVOO – This item seemed especially appropriate since I just listened to a Balanced Bites podcast about olive oil. I learned that a lot of olive oils have the nutritional content severely diminished because the olives are pressed a long time after they are removed from the tree. Additionally, olive oil needs to be stored in a dark cool place to maintain its nutritional superkick, and the large clear bottles sitting on the top shelf near the light at the supermarket achieve the opposite effect. The #1 lesson: don’t buy olive oil in clear bottles! This olive oil from California Olive Ranch goes from branch to bottle in just a few hours and is stored in protective green bottles.

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Navitas Coconut Water Powder – Coconut water is all the craze these days – or so I hear. I actually haven’t tried straight coconut water, but I do drink coconut milk on a regular basis. I haven’t looked into it too much, but I think the idea is coconut water provides several natural minerals and vitamins. My thought is that is also provides calories though, so it’s not necessarily the greatest replacement for plain water all of the time. This is a coconut water powder that you can mix into 8oz of water for an on-the-go hydration fix.

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TeeChia Seeds Cereal – This is probably the item I am most excited about in this month’s package. It’s a cereal made from super seeds! It’s made particularly to be quick and easy, and even though it has the consistency of a hot cereal (like oat bran), you only need to add water (hot or cold) and let it sit for about a minute. No cooking or anything required!

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Dark Chocolate Sun Cups – Dark chocolate + sunflower seed butter = enough said.

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Larabar Uber – I’ve actually had several of these newish larabar varieties already. The uber Larabars are made with more nuts and protein than the original larabar varieties. I like them a lot as a quick and tasty snack, so I was happy to get another on in the package!

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Good Eating Salads by Parragon Books – The final item was something I’ve never gotten in a Bestowed package before: a cookbook! The cookbook offers over 140 different salad ideas, full color photos, and step-by-step instructions for everything from grilled meat to dressings. I flipped through and some of the salads looked really yummy, but I don’t foresee myself using this book too much since I have a tried and true salad recipe that never lets me down: throw a mix of whatever veggies I have on top of some lettuce. Done.

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That sums up the May Bestowed package. I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts as I sample all of these new products!

Make sure to check out my other Bestowed posts:
April
March
February
January

Italy: Part 5

This will be my final Italy post! One of the major activities Noah and I did while I was Rome was a trip to the Great Synagogue and Museum. The Synagogue is located in what was formerly the Jewish ghetto, and it is still a working synagogue with services held three times a day.

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The Great Synagogue was beautiful – very large and ornately decorated. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the synagogue or museum, so I don’t have photographs to share. I was unaware of this before, but Roman Jews consider themselves to be separate from both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. They have their own distinct pronunciation of Hebrew and their own tunes for prayers. There are currently 17 functioning synagogues in Rome (all orthodox – like most of the world outside of the US), and the Jewish community in Italy numbers about 35,000.

The former ghetto area around the synagogue still has a high Jewish population, and there are several kosher restaurants and bakeries, Judaica shops, and a Jewish school.

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Although Rome doesn’t have a particularly bright history with regard to the Jews, they are one of the only European cities to have never expelled the Jews. The ghetto was imposed as a side effect of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to the Protestant Reformation. In response to the Protestant movement, the Catholic Revival cracked down on ‘heretics’ of all kinds and – as a result – reduced the rights of Jews. Until that time, Jews had enjoyed a fairly comfortable place within Roman society.

The ghetto, of course, changed all that and up to 9,000 Jews were forced in the seven-acre ghetto for 300 years. Although most of the original ghetto storefronts and buildings are destroyed, there are still some remnants of the past – such as this 6 story building:

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And a church that stood at one of ghetto’s exits:

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The church was strategically placed at the ghetto’s exit so Jews would be forced to see it upon leaving. Many Jews were made to go to the church on Shabbat to listen.

Although the area has a negative history, it is now a bustling and vibrant reflection of the thriving Jewish life that still exists within the city. They even have free wifi on the streets!

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Or claim to…we couldn’t really get it to work. 🙂

After a long afternoon touring the Great Synagogue, museum, and ghetto, it was time for lunch.

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pizza and veggie antipasto

For my last night in Italy, we decided to have a great feast. We went to a pizzeria called Da Francesco.

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Although technically a pizzeria, the restaurant had an extensive menu. Since it was my last night, we decided to do as the Romans do and go for the multi-course meal. To start, there was bruschetta, antipasto, and roman style artichoke (basically just an artichoke with tons of olive oil…as far as I could tell).

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For the primo (first) course, we shared a pasta dish – homemade spaghetti with porcino cheese and black pepper:

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For the secondo (second, and main) course, I ordered a roasted chicken breast dish and Noah had pizza:

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Everything was delicious, but our eyes were a little bigger than our stomachs and we weren’t able to finish everything:

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Overall, my trip was amazing. Between seeing the sights, eating great food, and visiting the most wonderful boyfriend in the history of the world, I had a great week. 🙂

Other Italy Posts
Italy: Part 1
Italy: Part 2
Italy: Part 3
Italy: Part 4