Cooking and Movie-Thon Weekend

FOOD

Most meals have been from the bulk cooking of last Sunday.  I can’t seem to get enough butternut squash soup lately, and I had that three different days this week.  The rice/beans/green chili dish also went very far, and I enjoyed it plain and in taco shells as well.

butternut squash soup at work!

butternut squash soup at work!

this version of rice and beans involved a LOT of hot sauce

this version of rice and beans involved a LOT of hot sauce

I am admittedly still shying away from most raw foods since all the allergy issues hit, but I’m back on morning smoothies as a way to ease back in.  Can you believe it’s been since September since I had a salad?!?  It’s kind of depressing, actually.

orange, cranberry, coconut water, kale, and spinach smoothie.  Quite tasty (if not too pretty!)

orange, cranberry, coconut water, kale, and spinach smoothie. Quite tasty (if not too pretty!)

Today was another bulk cooking day!  I made a huge batch of quinoa, several new cookbook recipes (details to follow in the coming weeks!), and one of my favorites – tofu pot pie!!

BIG vat of quinoa....

BIG vat of quinoa….

tofu pot pie!  I needed to make it again before I head to WI for Thanksgiving and make it for my parents and my sister and her family :)

tofu pot pie! I needed to make it again before I head to WI for Thanksgiving and make it for my parents and my sister and her family :)

tonight's dinner of socca, stuffing, and tofu pot pie

tonight’s dinner of socca, stuffing, and tofu pot pie

FITNESS

I had a difficult time feeling inspired to work out the past few days.  It was cold and my schedule was really crappy.

However, that was rectified today by one of the best runs I’ve had in awhile.  Not only was the weather perfect (in the 60’s), but I seemed to have everlasting energy.  I ran a different route than normal, and that helped too.  I have a tendency to get bored easily (character flaw most of the time), so it was fun running through a different neighborhood than usual.

LIFE

I had a day off this past week, but not for run things.  I had a procedure on Wednesday and took the day off for it.  No big deal – just checking my esophagus and surrounding areas for allergy issues.  I could only do part of the procedure because I was allergic to one of the things I was supposed to drink, but otherwise it went off fine.  Results are back, and all is looking good and healthy!

Otherwise, it’s been mostly quiet.  With D’s flare-up, we’re keeping things low key.  I went to a movie on Friday (Gone Girl – crazy flick), took R to a movie on Saturday (Guardians of the Galaxy, which was awesome), and then we watched two more movies last night (Underworld and Edge of Tomorrow).  I think my brain felt like it was melting by the time I went to bed, but it was still kind of fun to do as little as possible.

One fun thing this weekend was watching Ginny figure out that on hardwood floors, she should stop and slide to her destination rather than run full tilt into walls, etc.  She was a nut last night, and we were all laughing for hours.

Bumble figured out that lying across a heat vent was the best way to stay warm.  Smart girl….

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Today was some work and bulk cooking.  I’m totally excited because I’ll be reviewing three new cookbooks on the blog in the coming weeks.  I spent a TON of time cooking (and eating) some fantastic stuff.  Again, more to come, but stay tuned because all of them involve giveaways and recipes.

I’m heading out of town on Wednesday!  I have a conference in Chicago the first week of December, so it seemed like a good opportunity to go home and spend my first Thanksgiving in 11 years with my family (parents, sister, and her hubby and kids).  I’m looking forward to seeing them and doing some of the cooking, though I’m not looking forward to the weather!  (see last post about hating the cold).

AC will be meeting up with me in Chicago, so that should be a ton of fun too.  I am sad about missing Thanksgiving with D and our kids, but I know they’ll have a great weekend.

 

Sweat Icicles Suck

FOOD

I love bulk cooking.  I mean, I like normal cooking too – especially on the weekends – but during the week, I’m infinitely grateful for my Sunday bulk days (and Thai food, if I’m going to be honest!).

A was home for the weekend, so I just had to make her fav meal.  Tofurky, mac no cheese, and roasted veggies (did carrots this time).  Holy yum.  D was out running errands, so he didn’t have any until his lunch at work on Monday.  And then he proceeded to tell me how excited he was to have it for leftovers.  Yeah…I Tweeted that….my omni husband loved the vegan leftovers!

a big vat of mac no cheese!

a big vat of mac no cheese!

BEST LUNCH EVER.  Tofurky, mac no cheese, and roasted carrots.

BEST LUNCH EVER. Tofurky, mac no cheese, and roasted carrots.

I also went a little batty on Sunday in the cooking dept.  I don’t have pics for everything (planning to take pics as I’m actually eating stuff), but made butternut squash soup, cinnamon-maple muffins, pinto beans & rice with green chilies, quinoa salad, quinoa & veggie curry, chili-lime tofu, tacos, and a few salad dressings.  And despite all this, I STILL had Thai food one day.  And Italian (eggplant sammich with Daiya mozz!).

rice, beans, green chilies, and cumin. Simple.  Tasty.

rice, beans, green chilies, and cumin. Simple. Tasty.

chili-lime tofu triangles.  For salads, tacos, etc.

chili-lime tofu triangles. For salads, tacos, etc.

a really horrible veggie flat-bread at Uno's this weekend.  Bland, boring, and sad.

a really horrible veggie flat-bread at Uno’s this weekend. Bland, boring, and sad.

vegan eggplant "parm" sammich.  Yummy, but so huge, it fed me for days!

vegan eggplant “parm” sammich. Yummy, but so huge, it fed me for days!

Oatmeal with cinnamon because winter sucks.

Oatmeal with cinnamon because winter sucks.

Thai food goodness!  Tom Kha tofu soup on top, and tofu/eggplant green curry on the bottom.

Thai food goodness! Tom Kha tofu soup on top, and tofu/eggplant green curry on the bottom.

cinnamon-maple-raisin mini-muffins

cinnamon-maple-raisin mini-muffins

FITNESS

Well I totally forgot that running in the cold = wheezing for an hour afterwards.  I tend to remember to warm up in the house before going out – or at least walking for 5 minutes or so….but NOOOOOO…..not me.  I get amnesia every freaking winter.  And let me be frank here.  I don’t have asthma, but for some reason, I wheeze and cough after running in the cold if I don’t warm up indoors first.  Another reason why I’m not meant to be in cold weather.  Ever.

No yoga at home this week.  Mainly because we have this rule about turning on the heat at home – or letting it be set above 68 degrees (don’t get me started…I’m married to an Eskimo), so the thought of stripping down to a tank and shorts to do yoga in my own home is horrifying.  And it’s been cold, like 62 in the house cold, so there’s no way I could do yoga here.  Good thing my yoga of choice is normally hot yoga, so walking into a 100 degree or so room in a tank and shorts is pure bliss right now.

Until I go back outside and all my lovely warmth and sweat turns to icicles.  Sweat icicles suck.  Winter sucks.  And people, I won’t lie….I’m in Virginia.  Where winter is like 50.  But that still sucks.

LIFE

If you didn’t get the hint it’s cold.  Not like Buffalo, NY cold (and I feel for them…I mean, everyone wants to break records, but not because of things like cold and snow!).

But really – it was in the mid-70’s on Wednesday last week, and 30’s by the weekend.  My allergies are a mess, my young one got sick, and I am forced to remember how sporadic Virginia weather can be.  But I’m not complaining.  Nothing against the good residents of Buffalo, NY, but I’m glad it’s not me!

I mentioned that A was home.  It was awesome.  I took her and R to the salon to get haircuts on Saturday.  Then we met up with M and D at the movies.  Big Hero 6 is totally amazing, and everyone should see it!

R hanging on the back deck on Monday.

R hanging on the back deck on Monday.

M and D got haircuts last week!  Such handsome boys.

M and D got haircuts last week! Such handsome boys.

I took A back to university on Sunday and then hung out with AC that night.  Which I totally can’t complain about.

Sadly, after nearly 3 years in remission, D is in the middle of a Crohn’s flare-up.  It sucks on so many levels.  He’s in pain, he’s tired, and there’s nothing I can do.  The meds to make him better temporarily make him feel worse, and in all, he’s a sad little lump that I can’t help.  He really thinks it was working nights, bad diet while working nights, and stress.  I definitely agree.

my sweet sick ones.  The young one with a head cold/allergy hell, and my hunny with a flare-up.

my sweet sick ones. The young one with a head cold/allergy hell, and my hunny with a flare-up.

One last thing.  While I was out with AC last night, R (who’s 11, by the way), sent this picture to all of us (me, D, M, and A).  And proceeded to say that it was meant for me.  In which I promptly grounded her for being a brat child…

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And I will leave you with a few random pics from the past few days!

morning picture!!!

morning picture!!!

Ginny being snuggly

Ginny being snuggly

I have this addiction to solitaire.  Especially while watching TV.  And while I was catching up on last season's Bone's, I got my highest completion time.  Don't judge...

I have this addiction to solitaire. Especially while watching TV. And while I was catching up on last season’s Bone’s, I got my highest completion time.  I was proud. Don’t judge…

I sent this to A - she met some guys at a part who were wearing Man U shirts, and she walked up to them and asked them how it felt to suck.  THAT'S MY GIRL!!!!

I sent this to A – she met some guys at a party who were wearing Man U shirts, and she walked up to them and asked them how it felt to suck. THAT’S MY GIRL!!!!  Go Chelsea!!!

because cats are cool...

because cats are cool…

 

It’s the Little Things

FOOD

Everyone knows I love food.  Love cooking it, love eating it, and love making dishes for other people.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make this even more special.  Like my husband’s boss gifting me with several huge CSA hauls of hers that she just didn’t have time to go through.  Eggplant, shallots, TONS of greens, and all sorts of fun stuff.  It was a very sweet gesture, and I had tons of fun with it all.

Spicy eggplant with Indian spices and cilantro

Spicy eggplant with Indian spices and cilantro

plenty of leftovers of cumin basmati rice, red lentil dahl, and eggplant.  INDIAN FOOD FOR DAYS

plenty of leftovers of cumin basmati rice, red lentil dahl, and eggplant. INDIAN FOOD FOR DAYS

I was traveling all last weekend, and had some special meals whipped up, including this amazing Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, and the owner came and sat with me for awhile explaining how it was made, why he moved to the US, and how much I remind him of his little sister.  Again, a little thing, but created a  memorable evening for me.

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And today, my Dad called.  He’s a couple doors down from the best spice place on earth (The Spice House in Milwaukee), and he was just calling to see what I need from there (hello poultry seasoning and onion powder!).  Thoughtful thing to do.

FITNESS

It is no surprise that the past week or so has seen yoga and running as my workouts.  It’s actually been a struggle the last two weeks with finding (aka….MAKING)  time.  D has been on nights and I’ve been exhausted.  I don’t like to think I forget how much he does around here, but I think for awhile there I had.

It seems like I’m always freakishly busy doing one thing or another, and I forget that he does all the little things (and a lot of the big things too!).  He does special little things with the kids, and even with me.  Silly things like texting me pictures of flowers or being a sounding board as I’m trying to solve some problem or another.  A week with him on nights and us barely seeing each other, certainly reminded me of just how big those little things are.

Anyway, on the fitness front, I mostly went for shorter runs and did yoga at home.  On the weekends, I hit the studio, but not during the week.

LIFE

I’m happy to say that D is back on days again!  Although he’s still not successfully flipped his sleeping schedule back yet.

While he was on nights, I did the Halloween thing with the kids, tried to keep everything together for a week, and then went out of town for several days.  I did get to spend a day with A though, and that was definitely a fun day.  Lunch at our favorite Pho joint, Whole Foods, and a few hours at the mall rounded out a fun mother-daughter day.  I miss her, and while soup and shopping seems like a little thing, it was pretty big for me.

Spicy Pho for me!

Spicy Pho for me!

And for my favorite little thing….D’s morning pictures!  Every morning he snaps a selfie with R as he’s dropping her off to school.  Not a big deal at all, but when I tell people about it (or post their daily shot with #morningpicture), I realize how incredibly special it is.  When I’m traveling, I find myself flipping through week’s worth, and it always makes me smile.

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So there you have it.  Me coming to the realization that life’s best moments aren’t the big ones I keep planning for, but the little ones that happen around me every day.

Pizza is ALWAYS a Good Idea

FOOD

The week has been great on the food front!  Thank goodness for bulk cooking.  I had lots of stuffed bell peppers and soup for lunches.  I’ve also had a lot of other awesome stuff!

from one of my local fav's, Yorgo's Bageldashery - tofu, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on a toasted everything bagel!

from one of my local fav’s, Yorgo’s Bageldashery – tofu, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on a toasted everything bagel!

the Berkeley vegan pizza from zPizza

the Berkeley vegan pizza from zPizza

Irish oats with cinnamon

Irish oats with cinnamon

Tofu Taco Tuesday!

Tofu Taco Tuesday!

Irish oats with cinnamon and blueberries

Irish oats with cinnamon and blueberries

gluten free black bean pasta (jury is still out on if I actually like it), but with Happy Herbivores Creamy Dijon pasta sauce which I know I love

gluten free black bean pasta (jury is still out on if I actually like it), but with Happy Herbivores Creamy Dijon pasta sauce which I know I love

butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup with a twist!  From the new Happy Herbivore book, it’s butternut squash with green chilies and limes.  I love it.

The temps are dropping, and I’m definitely starting to favor warming foods.  Fewer smoothies and more oatmeal, less salads, and more soup.  And of course, pizza is always a good idea.

FITNESS

I only went for one run this week.  The wet and cold and wind are just not my thing.  I did, however, hit up several hot yoga classes.  I have to say, it’s my very favorite form of exercise.  And there’s something awesome about stepping into that room when it’s cold as crap outside!

LIFE

Another busy week down!  It was a great week though, so can’t complain.

D is back to working nights for a go-live, so it’s been pretty quiet this weekend.  I’ve spent most of the past two days working (at home though), cleaning, and running errands.  I plan to spend the rest of the evening cooking and prepping for the week ahead!

I also popped open a bottle of my birthday wine from my parents!  So far, so good!

I love that my sister got me a pack of spices and my parents got me wine.  It’s awesome when people know you so well :)

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Other than that, I plan to wrap up in a blanket, drink more hot tea, and watch Robots with my kids!

#morningpicture

#morningpicture

another #morningpicture

another #morningpicture

D with a comfy Ginny in his lap

D with a comfy Ginny in his lap

Not a Mainstream Kinda Girl

FOOD

Yesterday began with a yummy green smoothie. Typical for me – coconut water, Vega vanilla powder, frozen mixed fruit, banana, and spinach.

As much as I totally dig grocery shopping, D has taken that over the past few weeks. I must admit, it's been nice (though he has a tendency to come home with junk food!). While he went and ran errands yesterday (dry cleaning, fancy olive oil and vinegar shop, taking a pit stop to go see a movie, and eventually hitting up the grocery stores!) I spent a big chunk of the day bulk cooking.

First up was a big batch of slow cooker bell peppers! A simple recipe of sauteed veggies mixed in with brown rice and topped with an orange flavored tomato sauce, cooked on low for 5 hours. That'll be lunches several days this week!

I also made a creamy cauliflower soup, a batch of rice, a batch of grains, some soymilk, and pumpkin spice cookies!

This morning I had blueberry pancakes topped with blackberry jam (I've always been more partial to jam vs syrup), and lunch was a pepper and dinner a soup!

FITNESS

Yesterday I did a Yogaglo class at home. I cannot get over how sore I still was from golf. I mean…golf. Seriously, 200 year old people golf. It's not supposed to hurt. My lower back didn't appear to get that message. And it's not even all of it, just half. So weird. My husband gave me helpful tips like “your swing sucks”. Thanks Captain Obvious. I figured that out.

I went for a run this week before work, and it was awesome. A little chilly, but not bad at all. I normally listen to audio books, but finished my last one and haven't picked out a new one yet, so I ended up listening to a podcast. Overall, it wasn't bad, and I do prefer something like that over music.

LIFE

I spent much of yesterday – when not cooking or finishing laundry – watching movies. Enemy of the State and Eagle Eye, actually. No way I was going to a scary movie with D! All told, it was a perfect day. I was no longer “recovering” from the over indulgence of wine from the day before, but I was still just chilling out at home. It was nice going into the week feeling relaxed and organized.

Today was also a really good and easy going day. Only one big meeting, and a lot of time spent getting a lot done. Oh, and I have a #morningpicture to share! D sends one every day, but I realize I haven't been sharing them. So here is D and R as she's being dropped off at school!

I had an article published in our local alternative news outlet today! It's about the Teal Pumpkin Project – an awareness campaign for kids with food allergies and how Halloween can be a challenging time for them. AltDaily is my go-to for finding out all the cool things happening in my area. From the emerging Arts District and beer breweries (believe it or not, it's only recenly legal to have brewery tasting rooms, so they're popping up everywhere!), to concerts and festivals – it's definitely a good resource. Certainly not the mainstream paper, but I've never been a mainstream kinda girl anyway ;)

Here's the article!

So that's it for my Monday. All told, not bad at all :)

 

Golf, Grub, a Recipe, & an Angry Liver

FOOD

Thanks to some weekend bulk cooking, I’ve had some pretty tasty eats this week!  My life is always significantly easier when I take the time to prep on the weekends, but it’s been so hectic lately, that I haven’t done much of it.  I really think I need to make a much better effort to do this.

one of my favorite fall stewps!  Butternut squash, rice, lentil, potato, and kale.  Yumminess for days!!

one of my favorite fall stewps! Butternut squash, rice, lentil, potato, and kale. Yumminess for days!!

my stewp served with Tofurky roast, maple baked sweet potatoes/carrots/butternut squash, and extra roasted carrots.

my stewp served with Tofurky roast, maple baked sweet potatoes/carrots/butternut squash, and extra roasted carrots.

just the stewp for lunch one day

just the stewp for lunch one day

co-worker made vegan crockpot chili with quinoa and my maple corn bread

co-worker made vegan crock-pot chili with quinoa and my maple corn bread

elbow noodles with an acorn squash alfredo sauce and some killer pressure cooker brussel sprouts!

elbow noodles with an acorn squash Alfredo sauce and some killer pressure cooker brussel sprouts!

Crissie’s Butternut Squash, Rice, and Lentil, and Greens Stewp
Ingredients

1 medium onion — chopped
2 cloves garlic — minced
2 medium carrots peeled and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium red potatoes, cubed
½ medium butternut squash chunks
⅓ cup lentils
½ cup brown rice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 each bay leaf
1 tbsp seasoning blend of choice (I like Italian, but Curry would be awesome too!)
5 ounces kale leaves
1 tsp salt

Directions

*Sauté onion, carrot, and garlic in olive oil for 5-7 minutes, until soft and just starting to brown. (I use my pressure cooker on the sauté setting. If yours doesn’t have one, use a skillet on the stove.
*Add the potato, squash, lentils, rice, broth, bay leaves, seasoning, and stir to mix.
*Cook for 10 minutes on High Pressure. Let the pressure release naturally.
*Open the lid carefully away from your body (there will be a lot of steam), and add the kale. No need to mix it yet.
*Add the cover and bring back to High Pressure for 2 minutes. Release pressure manually.
*Add the salt, stir, and serve.

FITNESS

Yoga, running, and GOLF!

Yes, that’s right.  I went golfing!  D and I have talked about it for a long time, even took a few lessons, but we finally went and did it.  And you know what?  It was fun.  Know what else?  I’m really sore, so it’s not as easy as it looks!

LIFE

D and I participated in a charity golf event yesterday, and we had a blast!  AD and her husband JD were our golf partners, and we really did have a great time.  We played best ball, which was good for me!  I even had a few good moments, including a putt that gave us a much needed birdie on a hole!

golf selfie #1!!  Me and D :)

golf selfie #1!! Me and D :)

golf selfie #2!  Me and AD!

golf selfie #2! Me and AD!

The rest was hanging out, drinking wine, and laughing a lot.  My understanding is that’s how golf really goes, and if so, I should have started playing a very long time ago!

The rest of the week was pretty normal.  Work, school, swim team, and general chaos management!  I did get a billion comments about how I don’t look like me anymore because of the haircut.  I think it’s funny….just bangs!

still me!

still me!

This weekend will be spent recovering my liver from yesterday’s golf adventure, and then cooking, cleaning, and relaxing as much as possible!

Food, Fun, & Fundraising

FOOD

Eats for the past week have included leftover stuffed pumpkin, orange beets (in color and flavor!), green curry tofu, and vegan pizza!  It was nice to spend part of last Sunday in the kitchen preparing for the week.  Life feels so much more balanced when I do that!

pressure cooked orange beets!  I totally love these things.

pressure cooked orange beets! I totally love these things.

oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

PHO

PHO

green curry tofu

green curry tofu

a Bolivian vegan burrito thingy

a Bolivian vegan burrito thingy

a vegan slice of pizza

a vegan slice of pizza

Taco Tuesday!  Very simple - refried beans with veggies

Taco Tuesday! Very simple – refried beans with veggies

FITNESS

Yoga and running!  Temps are dropping, so that’s been very nice.  When running, it’s certainly more comfortable when it’s not super hot outside.  Same with hot yoga – if it’s chilly, it feels that much more amazing to step into a heated room.  Going back out into a cooler evening also feels good after sweating it out for an hour or so!

Today my entire family did a 5K!  This is the second birthday in a row where I started my day with a race.  I guess that means my birthday won’t fall on a weekend again in many years :)

M, A, and me at the 5K this morning.  It was a bit windy, but an otherwise wonderful morning.

M, A, and me at the 5K this morning. It was a bit windy, but an otherwise wonderful morning.

Today’s 5K was a fundraiser for the Virginia Beach SPCA.  I wanted to do this to honor our recently lost Sammie and Tonks, and of course to raise money for the animals.  We raised a total of $220, so I’m quite proud of that!

LIFE

It’s been a really good week.  Work has been great, and everyone in the family is doing well.  A is recovering from mono quite well and the rest of us have managed to stay relatively healthy (allergies aside)!

D surprised me with two massages this week!  One was Tuesday evening and one couples massage late on Friday night.  Such a sweet guy.  It’s a shame the one of Friday was awful!  Both of the therapists we had were terrible, and I definitely will never go back there again.  It was still a sweet thought though!

Other than bad massages, the weekend has been great.  D and I went out to an Irish place for appetizers and a few drinks.  Saturday I got my haircut and then D and I went out with AC and JC for a bday celebration.  Drinks at their yacht club, pics by the water, then out for Bolivian food.

me taking a pic of D being the evening's photographer!

me taking a pic of D being the evening’s photographer!

sunset at the yacht club

sunset at the yacht club

Saturday morning as I was heading to get my hair cut

Saturday morning as I was heading to get my hair cut

me, D, JC, and AC

me, D, JC, and AC

selfie!

selfie!

me and AC.

me and AC.

Today was the 5K and then lunch and then relaxing!  My birthday dinner tonight is in the works, and I’m excited.  Tofurky, roasted acorn squash, portabello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts!

Oh, and in honor of Chelsea winning YET AGAIN yesterday, I’ve decided I want this room….

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Peace & Strength

FOOD

I won’t fib.  My whole food veganism  has been put to the test lately.  Not the veganism part (not even a little bit!), but the fresh whole food part.  Developing food allergies as an adult sucks, and I have been particularly afraid of any raw food since my hospital visit nearly a month ago.  For me, that means cooked foods only – and some processed ones too.  I haven’t had a green smoothie in nearly a month, much less a salad!

Today I decided enough is enough.  I cannot be afraid of the food I’ve eaten for 40+ years anymore.  A new food allergy can pop up anytime, but OAS is rarely deadly – more of a mouth tingling annoying/scary thing.  I now have epi pens on me constantly, as well as a bottle of benedryl.

So today marked the re-entry of green smoothies.  I’m happy to announce that I didn’t stop breathing once during the drinking of said smoothie.  And while my ears itched a bit (which has likely nothing at all to do with my breakfast and everything to do with the crazy weather changes), I was nonetheless thrilled.

Breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning!  Flax milk, mixed frozen fruit, 1/3 of a banana, and lots of spinach.

Breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning! Flax milk, mixed frozen fruit, 1/3 of a banana, and lots of spinach.

And here are the remaining eats of the past week or so.

always a safe bet!  Tofu green curry.  This is courtesy of a place down the street from my office.  I like the ones with eggplant more, but the flavors here are amazing.

always a safe bet! Tofu green curry. This is courtesy of a place down the street from my office. I like the ones with eggplant more, but the flavors here are amazing.

baked potato with black beans and a small amount of shredded cabbage.  My first raw food attempt since mid-Sept.

baked potato with black beans and a small amount of shredded cabbage. My first raw food attempt since mid-Sept.

a beautiful salad I made at Whole Foods.  I ate the beets, but nothing else.  Still freaked a little at this point.

a beautiful salad I made at Whole Foods. I ate the beets, but nothing else. Still freaked a little at this point about eating any raw veggies.

Ruby Tuesday's!  Can't complain that they make eating vegan easy.  Roasted spaghetti squash, plain baked spud, and steamed broccoli.

Ruby Tuesday’s! Can’t complain that they make eating vegan easy. Roasted spaghetti squash, plain baked spud, and steamed broccoli.

in an attempt to reclaim smoothies, decided to check this out.  I have a package in my office now for those moments I'm hungry, but can't get to a normal meal.  Surprisingly tasty mixed with plain water, and held me over for hours.

in an attempt to reclaim smoothies, decided to check this out. I have a package in my office now for those moments I’m hungry, but can’t get to a normal meal. Surprisingly tasty mixed with plain water, and held me over for hours.

went to a lovely restaurant in Virginia Beach - that is NOT a veggie place.  They still made me a wonderful meal, and this was the salad course of roasted beets.

went to a lovely restaurant in Virginia Beach – that is NOT a veggie place. They still made me a wonderful meal, and this was the salad course of roasted beets.

my main dish at Terrapin's - a vegan mushroom and celery risotto.  YUM!

my main dish at Terrapin’s – a vegan mushroom and celery risotto. YUM!

post-yoga lunch at Whole Foods today.  Butternut squash posole.

post-yoga lunch at Whole Foods today. Butternut squash posole.

bulk cooking for the week included a Tamarind Chickpea dish!  I plan to serve over basmati with a small salad for weekday lunches.

bulk cooking for the week included a Tamarind Chickpea dish! I plan to serve over basmati with a small salad for weekday lunches.

a sugar pumpkin stuffed with a hominy/tomatillo stew!  This is currently in the oven as a main star of tonight's dinner.  I love cooling temps :)

a sugar pumpkin stuffed with a hominy/tomatillo stew! This is currently in the oven as a main star of tonight’s dinner. I love cooling temps :)

Irish oats with tons of cinnamon and a 6 oz container of So Delicious blueberry coconut milk yogurt.

Irish oats with tons of cinnamon and a 6 oz container of So Delicious blueberry coconut milk yogurt.

FITNESS

Most of the last week has seen me with a nasty head cold and upper respiratory cold – so I hadn’t been doing much of anything other than some gentle yoga.

Thankfully, by the time Saturday rolled around, I was feeling mostly myself!  I went for a run yesterday – the first in nearly a week and a half – and while I overestimated my capability, it was still awesome.  The first mile and a half felt normal, but I definitely started noticing some wheezing right around mile 2.  I eased up my pace, took a few walk breaks, and managed back home around the 4 mile mark.  I wish it had felt stronger, but I think I went out too hard initially, and expected too much.

Today I went back to my hot yoga routine.  I seriously can’t articulate how amazing yoga is for me.  It’s been about 13 years since I first started doing yoga, and I still feel like the newby in class.  Today, as always, the instructor asks you to pick an intention for class.  How the instructor asks varies by teacher, but today I was asked to remind myself why I was there.  The intention was to focus on me – and not someone else (what I often do).  I had a few cycles of breath to think about it, and what draws me back time and time again is the ability to find peace during class.  Not because it’s not challenging – because it is – but because I find that hour to be the only time when I can shut the outside world out.  The only hour when I stop thinking about my to-do list, work, family, and life in general.  The only hour where I find the peace to be in the moment I’m in, without analyzing the past and planning the future.  Where I can be in the present moment and that’s enough.  I envy people who find that easily (like my husband), but I don’t.  I’ve never figured out how to shut off my brain, so that hour of yoga is a balm to me that I have a hard time articulating.

In addition, I do hot yoga predominately, so aside from the mental vacation that provides me, it’s also something I do (and why I was drawn to it in the first place), to make my body strong.  So it took me little time at all to set today’s intention.  For peace and strength.  That’s why I do this.

LIFE

My oldest A went back to university last Sunday – against my better judgement.  She was so worried about missing classes, and as much as her mom I wanted to keep her home until she felt 100%, I couldn’t deny her going back to keep up with her studies.

She had a setback the next day (long story of bad care, screwed up medication doses, and the need for antibiotics), but by Tuesday afternoon she was feeling well.

I also had a Dr appointment this past week.  The allergies, swelling throat freaking me out, and the fact that I have my physical this time per year was why I went.  Good news is my blood pressure is still awesome, as it mostly everything else.  However, having the diminished swallowing capacity and throat thing has now led for my doctor to order an upper GI scope.  She initially told me I needed a barium (and AC kindly contacted the vendors to make sure they’re vegan…they are), but apparently she’s changed her mind on what test to do.  I’m not looking forward to the test, but perhaps getting to understand why my throat keeps swelling – not enough to affect breathing -but enough to freak me out!

So my family was supposed to go camping this weekend.  Due to illnesses and sketchy weather, we decided to put it off.  I have hence found out that if I successfully manage to camp for more than one night in my backyard, AC is screwed.  Her husband JC will tell her that if I can do it, so can she (because I definitely don’t like nature, bugs, nor lack of running water and bar).  So for AC, if no other reason, I had to stay safely ensconced in my house all weekend long!

Friday night was out with AC and a friend of hers visiting from her hometown in TN.  We hung out a bit and then went to dinner, which was very nice.  Saturday was family time, and today was yoga, shopping, and prepping for the week.  I didn’t realize how much I needed a low-key weekend.

On the majorly positive side, I’m going home for Thanksgiving!  By home, I mean my hometown in Wisconsin.  I happen to be going to a conference in Chicago that starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so it worked out very well.  Thanksgiving with my sister and her family and my parents is something I haven’t experienced in 11 years (and is my sister’s fav holiday!).  And Saturday night, it’s party-time with my cousins!  A few drinks and catching up sounds like a perfect holiday weekend to me.

So with that, I leave you for a bit and hope you’ve all had a great weekend too!

Hitting the Gym & Turning My House Into a Petri Dish

FOOD

Food has predominately been simple the past week or so.  I’m still a little leery of raw foods, so I’ve been avoiding them.  Which actually pisses me off a great deal, because I love raw fruits and vegetables.  I’m assuming when allergy season is over, my dietary habits can get back to normal.

Until then, my meals have consisted of several soups (butternut squash is my fav!), lentils and rice, Venezuelan black beans and rice, and cooked veggies.

Mujadarrah.  A fancy way of saying simple lentils, rice, and crispy onions.  Truthfully though, it's one of my fav simple meals - especially doused with hot sauce.

Mujadarrah. A fancy way of saying simple lentils, rice, and crispy onions. Truthfully though, it’s one of my fav simple meals – especially doused with hot sauce.

black bean and rice night!  I love when the entire meal can be made in a rice cooker and pressure cooker!

black bean and rice night! I love when the entire meal can be made in a rice cooker and pressure cooker!

quinoa, frozen berries, and vanilla coconut milk yogurt

quinoa, frozen berries, and vanilla coconut milk yogurt

butternut squash bisque!  Had it a lot this past week.  Sometimes plain, sometimes with added quinoa or rice for more oomph.

butternut squash bisque! Had it a lot this past week. Sometimes plain, sometimes with added quinoa or rice for more oomph.

I did try a smoothie.  Tongue got tingly after 2 sips, so I stopped.  Ugh.

I did try a smoothie. Tongue got tingly after 2 sips, so I stopped. Ugh.

roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes

roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes

Thai edamame - with toasted coconut and lime

Thai edamame – with toasted coconut and lime

roasted asparagus

roasted asparagus

FITNESS

Lots of workouts the past week or so!  I’ve gone to the gym 2x per week to workout with a small group doing strength training.  5am workouts aren’t the most fun, but it’s nice to get it done and to do so with others.  I’m usually a solitary exerciser, but when it comes to strength training, groups are better for me.

Even more exciting than going to the gym is the formation of a No Meat Athlete running group here in Virginia Beach!  For those that don’t know, Matt from No Meat Athlete has been a great source of information and motivation for me and many other veggie based runners.  I was really excited that this sanctioned group started, and getting active with other veg head runners is fun.

LIFE

In a word.  Sick.  Hectic too, but that’s nothing new.  My oldest, A, is home from University with a nasty case of mono!  I fell so horrible – never seen her so incredibly sick.  D and I couldn’t let her stew in a dorm room, so she’s home.  Frankly, she doesn’t seem much better, and I know she’s worried about her classes.  I’m more worried about her health.  Mono can take 1-2 months to recover from, and that just sucks.  So right now my house is a bit of a petri dish!

I am also sick at the moment, though not like A.  This time of year I seem to always get allergies gone bad (sounds like a bad B movie, right?!).  What starts out as an itchy throat and sniffles turns into a full fledged sinus, ear, and respiratory infection.  For me, the itchy and swollen throat (which is a freaky feeling) has been going on for 2 weeks.   The past few days, it’s escalated into the nasty stuff.  I have a Dr appt on Tuesday in case it doesn’t run it’s course by then.

Other than illness, the past week has been quite busy and fun.  D went to Iowa for his High School reunion and had a blast.  While he was gone, I took my kids and one of R’s friends out of town for the weekend to hit up the Virginia State Fair and spend the weekend in a hotel.  I grew up living just a mile or two from the Wisconsin State Fair, and I have nothing but the best memories of that.  I had’t been to a fair in over 10 years, so really wanted to check it out.  Honestly, we didn’t stay very long.  Not for lack of wanting to, but A wasn’t feeling hot – which at the time we thought was just exhaustion because she worked the night before – but in retrospect was mono.  And her going on all the Midway rides with R and N probably didn’t help!

M, A, R, and N in front of a Virginia Grown veggie stand at the Fair!

M, A, R, and N in front of a Virginia Grown veggie stand at the Fair!

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So, we really only did rides and left.  A bit disappointing for me (I really wanted to see the animals), but there’s always next year.

D got home from his trip and immediately had to start working nights to support a go-live.  It always throws the rhythm of our life when one of us has to do that!

This weekend is also pretty booked.  The young one has her first swim meet of the season and I have a vegan drinks meet up tonight (that I hope I’m well enough to attend).  Tomorrow will be typical prep for the week ahead, and resting as much as possible before heading back to work on Monday!

silly girl at team practice this week

silly girl at team practice this week

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Killer Food and a Fundraiser

FOOD

The past few days have been simple foods – even though one tried to kill me!

A very obnoxious story, but I have something called Oral Allergy Syndrome (read here – it’s relatively fascinating as much as it is annoying/scary), which essentially takes my severe environmental allergies and makes me occasionally allergic to raw foods that are somehow related.  In the past two years I’ve developed allergies to apples, peaches, cherries, sugar snap peas….and now avocados.  Seriously.  Freaking avocados…I’m crushed.  Guacamole is a food group, after all.

On Monday I made a delicious meal of red lentil soup, fresh bread with coconut butter spread, and a massaged kale salad (which included avocado).  My lips were tingling, and after some Benedryl and a walk, I felt fine.

it really was fantastic...and will make again, but just skip the avocado.

it really was fantastic…and will make again, but just skip the avocado.

Tuesday, I made a green smoothie that had a small amount of avocado in it (along with coconut water, pineapple, spinach, and hemp seeds).  Again, a very small amount of tingle, took no Benedryl, and then worked for the day with no ill effects.  By this time, I figured everything is in my head, my mouth really didn’t tingle after meals, and I’m crazy.  After all, I haven’t developed a new food allergy for over a year, and eating nothing out of the ordinary.

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Then yesterday happened.  An hour before a planned hot yoga class, I had one of my favorite meals.  Sprouted grain toast topped with sliced avocado and fresh cracked pepper.  Within 5 minutes I had blisters all over my lips and tongue.  Not hives…angry and ugly blisters.  I took two Benedryl, waited an hour, started having a hard time swallowing, so hopped it to the Emergency Dept.  So now…avocado is off the menu.  And I’m pissed.

hard to believe something so innocent looking (and yummy) is plotting my demise

hard to believe something so innocent looking (and yummy) is plotting my demise

My one allergy-free meal I am sharing is something I made on Wednesday for dinner!  In honor of the Scottish vote for independence occurring the next day, I made an Irish meal of Colcannon (using red cabbage, because it’s what I had) and mushroom gravy.  While I realize it’s an Irish dish and not a Scottish one, per se, I wasn’t about to eat Haggis.

comfort food at it's finest!  And ridiculously healthy and I can eat this pretty much every day.  Both recipes courtesy of Happy Herbivore!

comfort food at it’s finest! And ridiculously healthy and I can eat this pretty much every day. Both recipes courtesy of Happy Herbivore!

FITNESS

In the past few days I’ve hit up a few hot yoga classes, both regular and vinyasa (that was an accident, but I survived it!).  Also several runs.

I did miss my Friday night yoga, but I had a good excuse.  My run today wasn’t perfect – not as much energy as usual (I blame the Benedryl and Prednisone), but still was happy to shake that off.

Temps are dropping to standard fall fare around here (mid to high 70’s), which is my favorite season and weather – especially for running!

And I’m happy to say my new Garmin is exceeding my expectations.  It connects to the satellites even in my house, and I’m pairing it with a heart rate monitor as well.  Yay data!

LIFE

It’s admittedly been a tough week in our house.  Losing Sammie on Monday has definitely been hard, and while we all will say we’re happy for her that she didn’t suffer a lingering illness, it still leaves a major hole.  I find it being the little things – like having FedEx deliver a box and the house being silent (she barked at everyone!), and not sweeping the house every day (we have wood floors and she shed…a LOT), and not seeing her sweet face in the window when I pull into the driveway, and not sneaking her the crust of my bread after dinner or a bit of the mashed potatoes from Wednesday’s night’s colcannon feast.  She really did love mashed potatoes…

Not all the feelings have been sad ones, and we’ve made a point to remark on all the wonder and love she was full of.

Allow me to segue a bit (it’ll make sense in a minute).  I was commenting to D today after my run that I haven’t run a race in ages.  The last one was with HF back in May/June, but we mainly walked the 4 miler Run Like a Girl race.  So as I was looking online for upcoming races, I came across one that I knew I had to do.  When I brought it up to D, he decided he…and the kids…want to do it too.

The Virginia Beach SPCA is hosting a 5K and fundraiser ON MY BIRTHDAY next month.  If that doesn’t scream “fated” nothing does.  So…my family has registered for this event and I’ve created a fundraising page.  This is to honor Sammie and Tonks (our kitty who passed in June from Feline Leukemia) and to help the SPCA raise money so all furry friends can find forever homes.  If you have the inclination, here is our fundraising page.  Just click on the link and it will open.  Any donations are welcome and appreciated.

In other family news, D was given a media pass to the airshow this weekend, and got some amazing shots of the Blue Angels and other feats of fighter jets.  I’m so proud of him – he really networks and puts himself out there to pursue his passion.  I do hope we’re in the position some day to let him do that as a career.  He’s so very talented!

looking cute and ready to spend the day in the media tents and taking pics of pilots, planes, and sky divers!

looking cute and ready to spend the day in the media tents and taking pics of pilots, planes, and sky divers!

my sister got R a Dr. Who Monopoly game for her birthday!  Big Dr. Who fans, and this has gotten quite a workout already.

my sister got R a Dr. Who Monopoly game for her birthday! Big Dr. Who fans, and this has gotten quite a workout already.

morning picture!

morning picture!

another morning picture!

another morning picture!

I love this one of R peeking her face between us.

I love this one of R peeking her face between us.

being serenaded by my young one as she plays A Song for Christine!

being serenaded by my young one as she plays A Song for Christine!

sitting in the backyard trying to read as Bumble cuddles in my lap.

sitting in the backyard trying to read as Bumble cuddles in my lap.

and finally...the view of the beach as HF and I had lunch today.  It was too chilly/windy to stay outside, but it was quite beautiful.

and finally…the view of the beach as HF and I had lunch today. It was too chilly/windy to stay outside, but it was quite beautiful.