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A Jazzy Gift Giveaway!

It’s present time!!!

Okay, so the food highlighted in this post all come from a new cookbook – The Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites.

And one lucky reader will get their very own copy to make fun and awesome (and healthy!) vegan eats!

The book is by Laura Theodore who is much more than a cookbook author.  She’s the host of the Jazzy Vegetarian TV show on Public Television, hosts a weekly podcast called “Jazzy Vegetarian Radio”, and has been featured on several major networks and publications.  Oh, and on top of all this, she’s an award winning jazz singer!

complete with my sticky notes as I figure out what I'm going to make!

complete with my sticky notes as I figure out what I’m going to make!

This book is certainly jam packed with awesome recipes and tips, but there are two things that set it apart for me.  The first is that she has an entire chapter dedicated to menus.  Most people don’t eat a single thing at a meal, and when you’re having guests, a full menu from beverages to dessert are important. It’s also nice to take some of the planning out of making a meal!  Laura put together 10 sample menus (all with recipes from her book, naturally), that can inspire different gatherings.  The Lunch Brunch, Portable Picnic, and A Taste of Italy have been my favorites.  The second thing she does is pair each menu with a jazzy playlist!  I think that’s a fun a whimsical addition to a “simple” cookbook!

Okay, so on to the grub!  I made several recipes from this book including Red Quinoa, Avocado, and Chickpea salad, Coconut-Encrusted Tofu Cutlets, Paprika Roasted Cauliflower, Easy Vegan Paella, and Cinnamon-Maple Mini Muffins.  Everything turned out great and the family enjoyed.

Reprinted here (with permission) is the recipe for the muffins.  They were a big hit with my kids, and didn’t last long!

Cinnamon-Maple Mini-Muffins

Makes 12; Nut Free

Ingredients

*1 cup whole-wheat flour

*1 tsp baking powder

*1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*1/8 tsp sea salt

*1/2 cup raisins

*1/3 cup + 1 tsp nondairy milk

*1/3 cup maple syrup

*1 tbsp exta-virgin olive oil

Directions

*preheat oven to 375 F.  Oil a 12 cup mini-muffin tin.

*combine dry ingredients, then fold in the raisins.

*stir in the wet ingredients, and mix until just incorporated.  The batter will be quite thick.  Don’t over mix or the muffins will be tough.

*divide the batter into the prepared tins.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*let cool for 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temp.

these were simple and tasty, and an easy additions to our lunches for the week!

these were simple and tasty, and an easy additions to our lunches for the week!

the Easy Vegan Paella was one of my favorites. I'd always been intimidated by paella, but this was very yummy - and easy - with the perfect crusty bottom.

the Easy Vegan Paella was one of my favorites. I’d always been intimidated by paella, but this was very yummy – and easy – with the perfect crusty bottom.

these paprika roasted cauliflower bites never made it to the dinner table....D and I ate them all in the kitchen.

these paprika roasted cauliflower bites never made it to the dinner table….D and I ate them all in the kitchen.

these paprika roasted cauliflower bites never made it to the dinner table....D and I ate them all in the kitchen

So, if you’re interested in this musically inspired cookbook, please just leave a comment on this post indicating you would like to be entered into the drawing.  A winner will be picked and announced in one week (4/20/14).

I Lack the Hoarder Gene

so that big project that went live last weekend? Totally awesome. I'm going to have those for months now, but I couldn't be much happier with how things went. I hope this means more time for blogging!!

FOOD

One of the challenging things about go-lives is eating well. You're working in a command center for 10-15 hrs per day, and unless you bring food with you, it's take out or the bulk junk food everyone brings as treats.

To alleviate some of that, I bought a ton of bulk foods to share at the command center – things like apples, granola bars, animal crackers, and pretzels. Not totally “clean” food, but better than bags of chips, cases of soda, and crate of cookies (which is what's usually there).

I made a double batch of one of my favorite soups, and brought that, a green smoothie, and fruit with me to get by every day.

This weekend was almost no food, but that was due to a fun case of food poisoning on Saturday evening. A totally different story, but I can say it fully sucked!

FITNESS

I managed a few runs and even a yoga class this week, despite the crazy hours. I think it helped keep me even.

A friend told me about a new studio that opened here called 9 Rounds (it's a chain) that I want to check out next weekend. It's boxing/kickboxing/circuit training, but all done in 30 minutes. Sounds fun, and it's just down the road.

I was supposed to run in the Cherry Blossom in DC yesterday. It was the entire reason I went out of town. I can say I was genuinely pissed off when I got food poisoning from dinner Saturday night. I spent the entire night throwing up (feel sorry for AC – she and I shared a hotel room, and there's no hiding that kind of sound!). I ended up being awake for about 30 hrs before the pain passed enough to sleep. However – I will be up there for work in early May and plan to run the course.

LIFE

Well, the primary things this past week has been work, broken snow globe, and then DC. Here's a quick summary (or as quick as I can be!)

Went to work Saturday evening around 830 pm for go-live night! It went well, and while there are always hiccups along the way, the entire week was good. Busy – but good. Talk about being proud to work with the smartest people I've even known! They make what we do look easy! We have 3 more months of these, but to have that first one done – and to prove that you did it right – means a ton.

I have never been in danger of being a hoarder. I've always known that – if I don't look at something for 6 months, I clearly don't need it and throw it away. I don't attach emotional ties to objects. I did, however, have a fleeting sad moment earlier this week, and have found (and lost) that one object that actually held sentimental value. For mine and D's first Valentine's day, he bought me a snow globe with a little boy holding roses. He said it's so the first flowers he bought me would never die, and I've loved that snow globe for a very long time. The destruct o-cats broke it this week, and I really was sad to have to pick up all the broken pieces and throw it away. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but still. Kinda sad anyway.

Saturday morning I picked up AC and headed to DC. On the way we stopped to see A and take her to brunch, which was really nice. AC and I got to DC, checked into our hotel (which was not ready), so chilled in the hotel bar for a bit to wind down. Once our room was ready, we freshened up, then headed out to the National Museum Building for the expo and packet pick up. Talk about disappointed. They ran out of t-shirts, so I got my bib and nothing else.

From there we grabbed dinner, then it was off to the DC United game and to meet up with LS. I got sick 20 minutes into the game – and a few times during it. We held out and got to see them win, which was awesome. Sadly I was sick the rest of the trip. I did try to go exploring with AC during the day, but when I fell asleep on a park bench behind the Smithsonian Castle, we both knew I was toast.

Thankfully, once LS was able to meet up with us at the American Art Museum, I took the metro back to the hotel where I dozed off and on until 7, when AC got back. We watched Superman, Game of Thrones, then went to sleep. I feel much better today, but still can't really eat.

On the way home, we picked A up again and then met up for lunch with CT and HF too! These are the girls from the Seattle and Vegas trips, and it was fun to all be in the same town (CT lives in Seattle now), then I got home, and cleaning, catching up on blogging (yay!), and planning to hit the hay early for work in the morning!

 

 

Inconsistency Is My Consistency

I know, I know, it's been nearly two weeks. Sorry about that. That big project I keep talking about goes live tonight, so I've been otherwise occupied! I can't promise my blogging will be any more consistent until it's long over, but I promise I will try (and it will be “over” in July!).

FOOD

My eating has been all over the map on some days. Usually it's healthy stuff, like green juices, green smoothies, soups, and salads – but not always. My schedule has been, in a word, hell. It feels like the only time I'm home is to sleep, and that sucks.

The meals where I'm eating out or doing something quick has left me feeling weighed down and icky. Not fun. But on the positive side, it's been mostly good stuff, so that's good.

FITNESS

This has been sadly lacking and has left me feeling bummed more than anything else. Sort of losing my motivation! Mostly just some mild yoga.

I had a dr's appt last week, and have to keep physical activity to light things – another reason for the lack of runs. I'm still not fully cleared, but hope to soon. I have a race next weekend!

LIFE

Without boring you with too many details, lets just say it's been busy. R had an exorcist-like illness about a week and a half ago and I was lucky enough to get it next. Thankfully it only lasted about 30 hrs, but it wasn't a fun 30 hrs!

I did spend most of last Saturday with NS goofing out and about town. It was a really nice day so after grabbing lunch (and a monster margarita), we walked around, stopped at several places for drinks, coffee, people watching, and eventually dinner. That dinner ended with vegan doughnut holes :)

The next week will be some weird and long hours, but I'm also very excited. This project has been going on about 18 months, and my favorite part is go-live! Getting the users on the systems we've spent so long designing, building, and testing is always a thrill. Tonight at midnight is our first site, and that means 24 x 7 onsite support for a week. I'm sure it'll be chaotic often, but truth be told – that's part of the fun!

I spent today hitting up Costco for command center snacks. So many people are coming to support, that I certainly don't want them to starve! I picked up things like granola bars, bottled water, buckets of pretzels, animal crackers, and a tub of Twizzlers. The rest of the day will be cooking up quick and easy meals I can eat at work, since I know I'll have even less kitchen time than I do now. I'll try and nap, but I doubt I'll be very successful – I never am.

So anyway, if you don't hear from me again for awhile, I'm sorry. When things let up a bit, I'll be more consistent with it (and with eating my clean food and running and…..

 

Racing, Family Fun, and Playing Card Games for Horrible People

FOOD

Last week was totally chaotic, and I didn’t take many food pics at all.  Most of the week’s foods were smoothies, salads, and juices – so pretty much the usual.

green smoothie!

green smoothie!

a cold beet and cucumber soup

a cold beet and cucumber soup

Moe's salad with black beans and tofu.  I'd been craving this for a bit!

Moe’s salad with black beans and tofu. I’d been craving this for a bit!

 

white wine sangria at brunch Sunday

white wine sangria at brunch Sunday

kale and beet salad!

kale and beet salad!

today's St. Patrick's Day green juice!

today’s St. Patrick’s Day green juice!

FITNESS

This past weekend was Shamrock race weekend, and I did the 8K on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day for a run, and I enjoyed it along with 10,000 other’s!  I felt sorry for the full and 1/2 marathoners on Sunday – their weather pretty much stunk.

Race start, the curve around to the beach, and the after party!

Race start, the curve around to the beach, and the after party!

Other than the race, I’ve had a few other runs in the past week, yoga, and some strength training.  Also, a fairly typical week.

LIFE

Well, it never slows down, does it?  Work is getting crazier than normal – we’re less than two weeks away from our first go-live.  And then we have them almost every other week until July!  No rest for the wicked….

It was also University Spring Break so A was home!  That meant getting as much family time as possible.

On Tuesday, D and I went to a local pub with some friends and played this hilarious game called Cards Against Humanity.  To put it bluntly – cards are passed out and the goal is to come up with the most insulting and funny response possible.  It was a really fun evening.

D and I grabbing a beer before our friends got there

D and I grabbing a beer before our friends got there

AC and JC joining us for a night of fun

AC and JC joining us for a night of fun

After my race on Saturday, we all went to Busch Gardens for pass holders appreciation day (the park opens a day early for season pass members – which we are).  From there, D and A went off to her university and R, M, and I went home.

D and I sitting at a picnic table while the kids went on a roller coaster

D and I sitting at a picnic table while the kids went on a roller coaster

Yesterday I had brunch with AC, went grocery shopping, and spent the day prepping fruits and veggies for the week.

photo 1 (8)

for my Sherlock friends out there!

for my Sherlock friends out there!

Just Like Dad Used To Make

FOOD

Breakfast on Saturday was quinoa and berries! I really think I can eat this all the time and not get tired of it. Seriously, I make a big batch on Sunday's in my pressure cooker, and simply take 1 cup of frozen mixed berries and 1 cup of quinoa, microwave it for 2 minutes, mix and eat. Sometimes I put a dollop of non-dairy yogurt on top (when I have it). Good stuff, I'm telling ya.

Lunch was toast with sun butter, sliced banana, and drizzles of agave. Very reminiscent of something my dad made for me as a kid (peanut butter, banana, and honey sammiches)! Of course we can't have PB in this house and I don't eat honey anymore, but this is just like Dad used to make! It's also my fav pre-run meal.

Dinner was out with the family! A is home from college, so we went to a little Italian place that happens to also have a vegan menu. I had Gardein “Chicken” Marsala with Mushrooms and a salad. My dish was not pretty, but it was exceptionally tasty.

Breakfast this morning was a green smoothie and lunch, I'm not (too) ashamed to admit, was an Amy's vegan frozen cheeze pizza. I know, highly uninspired, but I was not in the mood to cook.

This evening I'm working on a couple new dishes, so stayed tuned!

FITNESS

I love having the little bit of extra time on the weekends. R and I ended up skipping the hike (too wet outside still), but I did get in an awesome run. It was sunny and the temps were about 60 – totally perfect. After the run was a strength routine and an ab routine (ala FitOrbit).

Today I went to a hot yoga class. I'm a little sore, so it felt that much better.

LIFE

It's been a pretty low key weekend. D went to pick A up from University and she's home for her spring break week! While he was doing that, I ran errands and worked out. Then we went to dinner, and were in bed by 10!

Today was another very simple day. Yoga, laundry, prepping fruits, veggies, and grains for quick meals during the week, a movie (watched the Hurt Locker…didn't like it…), and pj's by 3pm. Can't complain.

I will be having a giveaway later this week, so stay tuned! It's a new cookbook, and I'm working through several recipes so I can have a good sense of it. So far, so good, so keep reading for a chance to win!

 

No, Kim Kardashian’s Butt Isn’t the Topic of This Post

FOOD

The past couple of days have been very simple on the food front. I like that about FitOrbit – simple and clean meals. I didn't do 100% of their meals, but when I subbed something of my own, it was with similar nutritional breakdown.

Take for example my mornings. They are hectic and I certainly don't have time on a week day to make a tempeh scramble! My go to's are smoothies, and now (when I make a big batch in advance on Sunday), the quinoa/berry/coconut milk yogurt breakfast. I'll save the time-consuming dishes for the weekends (maybe).

So naturally I've had smoothies or quinoa the past two days! I did pick up a new raw vegan protein powder by Garden of Life called Raw Fit. It's high in protein and low in sugar, so exactly what I was looking for. I love my Vega too, but wanted to try something new. So far (and I've only made two smoothies with it!), I'm a fan.

My smoothie is 1 cup vanilla coconut milk, 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 2-3 cups greens (spinach or kale or both!), and 1 scoop of powder. It's tasty and very filling.

Snacks have been veggies mostly (like cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper strips), popcorn, wasabi chickpeas, and…admittedly…a piece of much needed dark chocolate (it had cinnamon and pepper oil – CRAZY hot and strangely tasty).

I had a slow cooker veggie chili for two days in a row. I'm not complaining at all because it was good and I love leftovers!

FITNESS

Yesterday I hit up a hot yoga class after work. It was an awesome class. I love this instructor – she gives such great verbal cues that not only has me verifying my alignment in each pose, but she articulates it in a way that not only explains exactly what my body is doing, but what benefits it's getting too. Pretty much all of the instructors at this studio are like that, and I love it.

Today was cycling, an exercise band workout, and a quick (but killer) ab workout. Abs before work, cycling and strength after. I keep thinking it would be great to be a morning exerciser…but I hate mornings almost as much as I hate being cold (and those that know me, know that I hate that a LOT). Mornings are a necessary evil, but purposely getting up an hour or two before I absolutely have to seems insane.

LIFE

It's been a good two days. I don't have any late nights again for over a week, and I'm definitely taking advantage of that! I took R to her swim team practice on Wednesday (something I don't get to do often). I love watching her swim. It's hard for me to fathom that she's a competitive swimmer at 10 (and has been for nearly 2 years!). With my hectic schedule I don't get to take her often, but definitely love it when I do.

Last night I went to yoga before going home. Since dinner was in a crockpot, it worked out perfectly. Chili and Almost Human, and we were all quite happy!

On the happy news front (because news isn't usually a happy topic), a US Congresswoman from my very own state of Virginia has proposed legislation to ban animal testing for cosmetics! I know in a climate where everyone is worried about the economy, jobs, healthcare, unrest in the Ukraine and Venezuela, and Kim Kardashian's butt size, I think it's great that this is coming forward. I honestly think that if people understood the extreme torture that cosmetic animal testing causes – for NO REASON (non-animal testing has proven to be more reliable, less expensive, and obviously cruelty-free), that this bill should be a no-brainer. Then again, I've thought that about many other proposed laws before….please don't let us down (again) Congress!

I almost forgot, I got a special delivery at work yesterday! I get back to my office and found this on my desk! Inside were two bags full of specific fruit, veggie, and herb goodies with two recipe cards. I had no clue who it was from, but was quite excited anyway :)

With that said….THE WEEKEND IS HERE! On my agenda is a group hike with R at the botanical gardens tomorrow, my eldest coming home from university, a family movie, grocery shopping, running, yoga, and (heaven help me) lots of sleep.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

 

 

Winter, Mammos, and Tofu. My Week So Far.

FOOD

I’ve been very happy to be home when it comes to food!  I’m still doing the FitOrbit meals for the most part (which have been quick and easy!).  Yellow dal with cucumber sauce, green smoothies (my fav!), kidney bean curry, veggie chili, and of course plenty of fruits and veggies.

The only sub meal I did was my spicy tofu soup.  It’s a high nutrient, low fat meal, and always makes me happy on cold days.  We were snowed in again for a couple days, so I wanted to use what I had on hand.  Tofu is always on hand!

spicy tofu soup baby!  my own personal comfort food.

spicy tofu soup baby! my own personal comfort food.

FITNESS

I am again grateful I have a treadmill.  This is the first year in a LONG time that I’ve said that out loud!

We were hit with snow again on Monday, and school was yet again canceled for two days!  I don’t think our warm state will handle it well when it comes to the school districts.  One has already instituted monthly Saturday classes for kids, and I’m guessing ours will follow suit or extend the school year.

LIFE

Well, I’m going to start off giving a hive update!  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll learn I’ve been mysteriously plagued by chronic hives for about 15 months now.  They’d wax and wane, but from Sept – Dec they got so regular and horrible, that I became desperate to try anything!

I did a cleanse in January, and to be honest – no changes in the hives.  February was a focus on gluten, and my hives lessened significantly.  The entire week last week in Florida, I only had one small outbreak, and have otherwise been good.

I honestly don’t think my diet has had much difference, though I will say I have found correlation with gluten.  I’m not gluten-free, but I’m definitely gluten-lite.

I’m starting to think my friends are right.  It’s been stress mostly causing them.  I don’t like to think I feel stressed, but this past year has been pretty intense from from just about every angle.  My oldest went away to college, lots going on at work, late nights, early mornings, and not enough time to workout – which is my major stress reliever.

The past 6 weeks or so have been better on consistent runs and yoga, work – while nuts – is going well, and A seems to be handling the whole college thing just fine…and so maybe it really is stress.  I guess we’ll see!

Life otherwise, has been inside the last few days.  Snow, ice storms, and general mayhem.  Seems to be the theme this winter!

my "helper" Ginny on Monday.

my “helper” Ginny on Monday.

R and her Tonks, visiting me between meetings on Tuesday!

R and her Tonks, visiting me between meetings on Tuesday!

I did have my very first mammogram this morning!  I was nervous, but it honestly wasn’t that bad at all.  Mild discomfort, but I was in and out pretty quickly.

899

My Florida Adventure

FOOD

Well, I just spent the last week in Florida! I had oatmeal and bananas for breakfast every morning in my room, a banana and granola for lunch (the conference was a healthy-food desert), and vendor sponsored dinners every night – of which I had some variation of salad most of the time.

When I was out on my own, food got a little more interesting! Veggie flat bread, falafel, stuffed greek peppers, black bean soup and a great lentil/hummus/tabbouleh/pita dish (that was in Morocco at Epcot!).

Since I’ve been home, it’s been pretty much all FitOrbit meals and fresh juice.

one of the toys I got at the conference.  A water bottle with a center you can fill with fruit!  Today I used cucumber slices

FITNESS

My workouts consisted of the hotel gym treadmill, a few body weight workouts (burpees, sit ups, pushups, etc), and YogaGlo.com classes on my laptop in my hotel.

Oh, and according to my FitBit, I walked TWENTY SEVEN MILES in three days. Yep, gotta love a gigantic conference room floor!

So speaking of the FitBit….I have to send mine back. Yes, I am one of the lucky FitBit Force owners who have gotten the contact dermatitis/burns on my wrist from wearing it. It breaks my heart – because I love it – but it’s tearing up my arm and needs to be returned. They’ve recalled them and aren’t selling them anymore either because this is apparently a little more common than originally thought. Ugh.

LIFE

Oh gee, where to start? The conference itself was awesome. I went to to some great sessions (the favorite of mine being a congressional panel discussing upcoming possible legislation around what I do), met with dozens and dozens of vendors, did a scavenger hunt for a Vespa (didn’t win, but it was fun), and went to a ton of evening events.

as a Vet, I loved that this is even a thing!  I went and ended up meeting with some newly discharged vets to give advice as an “experienced health IT professional”.  This felt great to do.
a very small sampling of the conf room floor.  Each of these are vendor booths that develop tools and technologies to try and make care better

I also tweeted the heck out of everything, which was fun.

my tweet was scrolling on the big screen just before Hillary Clinton came on stage!  I was so proud :)
Oh, and the main keynote speaker on Wednesday was Hillary Clinton. I was in the front row (off to the side) and very much enjoyed the hour. I didn’t like some of the questions that strayed from the topic (healthcare technologies), but she redirected everything back to the topic at hand, which I appreciated.

To highlight a few fun ones…..

One vendor did a fun night and had an ice sculpture that was a luge for martinis. They’d mix them, pour them in the luge into your glass, and you’d have a chilled martini! I did not partake, but thought it was cool.

Another sent limos and a car service to collect you and bring you to a lakeside firepit bourbon tasting, wine tasting, and cigar rolling evening. I had the wine. It was good. Car service to and from my hotel was much appreciated as well.

Then there was the river boat, balloon ride, and Irish pub evening. Probably the most fun of the vendor nights, though they were all nice.

Thursday after my morning sessions (the conference ended), I met up with my Aunt/Godmother and Uncle for lunch! It was a very nice time – my Uncle B constantly ribs my food pics on FB. All in good fun, of course. It was nice to catch up.

Thursday eve I saw a friend of mine that moved to FL last year. KD and I went to Taverna Opa, and it was a blast. Belly dancers, sparklers, shots, and table dancing….and that was pretty much everyone in the place! Flying napkins and shouts of “Opa” ensued.

Friday I spent my solo day at Epcot. I walked through the world showcase twice, sampled some beverages, shopped, took in the arts, movies, and performances of each country, and had a very nice time.

Believe it or not, I was in bed before midnight every night.

I came home Saturday and other than my normal grocery and food day yesterday, have been home with the family. Today was work from home – school was canceled for snow/sleet/ice storms. All told, I’m really happy to be home.

Welcome to the Sunshine State!

FOOD

This week when I was still at home, I stuck to the quinoa and berry breakfast. I know I love it, I can make bunches in advance and take to work (which I did), and I sincerely don't mind eating the same thing every morning. A lot of the other recipes sound amazing, and when I have free time in the kitchen on the weekends, I plan on checking them out. For now, simple is good!

I'm traveling for work this week, so that's going to be a bit of a challenge. I'm staying in a condo with a full kitchen, so I stopped at the grocery last night. I picked up some Nature's Path Optimum Power Blueberry Cinnamon Flax oatmeal, bananas, and sea salt (butter less, of course) popcorn.

In my few meals out (I just got here yesterday), I've opted for salads mostly, and today also had some hummus with crispy flatbread.

I have all vendor-sponsored dinners this week, and there's not usually many healthy options. Whenever possible, I'll pre-eat a salad or something, just so I don't end up with anything I'll regret later.

FITNESS

I hit up the hotel gym this morning for a run. I really wanted to run outside in the warm Florida morning – but I didn't prepare to figuring out how to carry my hotel room card, phone, etc.

After my run, I did an ab sequence from FitOrbit.

I also walked an additional 8 miles by wandering around Busch Gardens in Tampa and Downtown Disney in Orlando. I love my FitBit and FitOrbit combination!

LIFE

Well, I'm out of town for the week. I'm in Orlando for a conference, and admittedly, 1-2 days of much needed R&R. I took off yesterday morning, had a direct flight here, and killed time in Downtown Disney until my condo was ready, around 2.

I had a wonderful dinner with my Aunt and Uncle who live in FL most of the year and back home in WI the rest.

Yesterday was also my son's first formal dance! Thankfully D took many pics since I wasn't there :(

I fell asleep watching Shrek 3 on ABC family last night in my hotel – I was beat. Woke this morning, worked out, cleaned up, and headed out to check into the conference. From there, it was mostly driving as I went into Tampa to go to Busch Gardens. Honestly, I only stayed an hour. Ours in VA is much nicer and bigger. There weren't any places to just sit and relax and read – which is really what I wanted to do. So I went back to Orlando, grabbed a late lunch/early dinner, wandered around some more, then headed back to my room!

And now, it's only 7, and I'm ready for bed. It's going to be a long week, so I may as well get some while I can, right??

So I leave this some pics!

 

Realizing I Don’t HAVE To Do Everything Myself

I'm going to start outside of my normal format, just for a quick update. In an effort to not only stay on track with healthy eating and exercising, but also to remove all of the time of planning out of my hectic schedule, I have become a member of FitOrbit. I realized this past week when I finally verbalized how insane and overwhelming my schedule has become that it was time to take the guesswork out of healthy eating and exercising, and let someone ELSE plan for a change. It's tailored to me and my goals, and my personal trainer seems pretty cool thus far. Anyway, unless specified, the meals will be based off my meal plan (so I can't share the recipes). I will have my own meals in there as time permits, but will stay within the caloric and nutritional ranges of assigned meals. Anyway, since my go-lives will run through the end of July, I plan to stick with this until at least then – when I may have a bit more breathing room in my life. I'll write about my thoughts on them as an organization along the way…

FOOD

Breakfast yesterday was a quinoa and blueberry dish! It was really, really good, and the only change I made was to use frozen mixed berries instead of fresh blueberries. Not a big change, to be sure. This dish is a total keeper.

Lunch was also incredible. I had a southwestern pita, with pinto beans, daiya cheese, salsa, and romaine.

I did my own dinner, which was leftover tofu pineapple stir fry.

Breakfast this morning was some Irish oatmeal. It was tasty, but not as filling as the quinoa breakfast yesterday and I found myself hungry before lunch. That tends to happen with me when I eat oatmeal though.

I had black bean chili for lunch today – but I forgot to take a picture! Another yummy dish.

So far, and it's only been two days, here's what I like:

*the meals are created for me based on my dietary preferences and any fitness goals. That makes me very happy, so things I'm allergic to, like apples, or things I just won't eat, like meat, dairy, or nuts, are excluded.

*I can star meals that I really enjoy so my trainer knows it's ok to give me that meal again.

*I can comment on a meal also, so she can take my feedback into consideration when making my next set of meals.

*I can swap out what I'm assigned based on what I want, what I have on hand, or what's easiest for me. That's what I did today at lunch!

*I can indicate “restaurant meal” and enter a name and zip code, and it will pop up with known menu items that are healthy. That's a neat feature.

*I get a grocery list, which makes it easier for me when I'm shopping.

What I don't like:

*I don't find the nutritional content provided robust enough. I personally like to track calories, fat, carbs, fiber, sugar, and protein. FitOrbit does not display fiber and sugar – so I have to research and calculate that myself.

FITNESS

Okay, so no FitOrbit update here, other than I filled out a profile of my specific goals when it comes to fitness (strength training that won't bore me to death, etc), and the days I have free to work out. I'm then matched to a trainer – an actual real life person – and we email and work together to find workouts that I will do. So for example, I have a treadmill, a bike trainer, small dumbbells, a balance ball, and exercise bands. That's it for personal equipment. She's still able to create circuit training for me on weekdays when I very much need to work out at home – and then maybe something more complicated that requires a gym on the weekends when I have the freedom to go. I really like that personalized attention.

Aside from that, I'm sticking to my running training plan, so even though it wasn't a FitOrbit workout day yesterday, I still went running. And it was a good run too! I was really tired yesterday and not sure I had it in me, but sure enough, it was exactly what I needed.

Today is an off day. Mid week is my toughest time, so a resting humpday is a good thing!

LIFE

While busy, yesterday and today have been good ones. I got home around 8:30 last night, but had a hard time winding myself down to sleep. Same thing happened on Monday – I was up until 1 am just trying to fall asleep! I hate it when that happens (which for me, comes in waves, but I tend to not sleep that well).

Today I had early meetings, but then a big break between a presentation at an executive work group, and a dinner meeting on the other end of town. I know I could be doing something else, but doing a quick blog post seemed like a good idea!

So that's it for now – I leave you with pictures of casserole kitties, morning school drop off, and a “monkey” on my back!