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Sweet Potato & Turkey Chili with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Longest title ever, amiright? It may be a mouthful (literally) but that mouthful was the highlight of my weekend. After a long week, Friday finally made its appearance. I had an empty apartment and a hungry man coming over for dinner, so I knew salad was off the table. Earlier in the week, I had made a plan in my head that I was going to attempt my first chili recipe. Then, Friday rolled around and the fact that I still had chili on the brain meant one thing: I’m making chili and I’m totally adding sweet potatoes. Because…fall.

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Hot Diggity Dawgs: One year later…

Remember that time I was invited to a restaurant to sample gourmet mini hot dogs? If your memory is as bad as mine (or you’re new to Bytes), let me provide you with a refresher. It was about a year ago when my cousin and I stopped by Bull & Bear for mini dogs, massive beers and mighty fine sweet potato fries. We had a dog gone good time and I wrote about it here.

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Brotherly Birthday Love.

Some of the best feedback I’ve ever received on my blog was from my brother Matt. It came three days before my 23rd birthday (I’m now 26) in the form of a Facebook message:

“Hey what happened to your blog? It really changed. You’re getting way too hipster.”

Oh wait. It gets better.

“Well if you want my opinion, it wasn’t bad before … I don’t know, just my thoughts. All your doing is putting up songs and little quotes. Who can’t do that?”

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Birthday Bytes.

“Allana loved her birthday so much she would start planning the next years party the day after her birthday.”

Oh, it’s the truth. This is what we tell people when they ask what our birthday parties were like as kids. My brother Matt loved the presents, I loved the parties. Matt would rather get one big gift and no party whereas I would beg and plead for the biggest and most grand party ever, inviting everyone I knew (which, as kids, were your 20+ classmates from middle school, your cousins and family friends.) I was and still kind of am a total people-pleaser. And what better way to please people than to throw a giant fun party with cake and games?

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Public House Brunch

My affinity for brunching began when I was living in New York. If I had the rare treat of a Sunday morning off from work, there was no question what the plans of the day included because they always, without question, included brunch. I’m not talking about some fancy meal between breakfast and lunch – this is New York and clearly these meals don’t come cheap. Usually before venturing out, my roommate and I would bounce ideas off each other from our rooms as we lay in bed, texting names of restaurants with food + drink deals we’d found via Yelp. Or, if we didn’t feel like typing we’d just call out to each other, screaming hoarsely from one room to the next.

“This place has an unlimited bloody deal for $20, brunch included.”

Sold.

And just like that, I began to love brunch. Whether I associated that in-between meal as time spent catching up with friends or with exploring the crowded streets of Manhattan and BK with hundreds of other hungry New Yorkers on a Sunday morning, brunch kind of became my thing. Plus, I can never get enough pancakes.

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