Tag Archives: My Recipe

Knowing The Season Based on How Hot or Cold Your Workout Clothes Are

FOOD

I finally made a batch of homemade vanilla soy  milk.  It’s been on my to do list for a few months, but I’ve been lazy.  Seriously, I have no good excuses…I have a soy milk maker for crying out loud!

I have honestly gotten complacent about making my own dairy-free milks and was mainly subsisting on Silk Soy Milks (their Very Vanilla is amazing) for quite awhile.  Unfortunately, now that they’re making Almond Milk, I can’t buy their brand for risk of cross contamination (with R’s allergies, I just won’t take the risk – and if you read their food label, they can’t guarantee nut-allergy safety).  I haven’t found another soy milk brand I like, so have really just been using So Delicious Coconut Milk (which I like for most things).  But I really wanted a very vanilla-type milk, so decided it was time to make my own.

I used to buy my soybeans in bulk because of my milk making, but since it’s been so long, I didn’t want to use beans that are too old and sitting in my garage!  This last Sunday, I picked up some fresher beans, and went to town.  No real recipe to post because I followed ideas from others.  Soak the beans, peel them (easiest to as they’re submerged, and just rub the skins off – it reduces the beany-taste), put them in the Soy Milk maker with 2 tbsp of gluten-free oats (it makes it nice and creamy!), strain, then add a small amount of salt and any other ingredients you want.  I used some raw sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean (to make it VERY vanilla).

it really is an amazing feeling to make your own food from scratch!   Ease of mind too, when you're dealing with food allergies.

it really is an amazing feeling to make your own food from scratch! Ease of mind too, when you’re dealing with food allergies.

Most my other eats this week were typical.  Green smoothie breakfasts, leftover Sunday bulk cooking lunches (hello Cream of Broccoli Soup!), and a holiday party lunch at the Yardhouse where they have a Gardein menu!

soy milk, pineapple, banana, mango, and spinach.  I LOVED that I took this to a meeting this week, and not only was there another green smoothie drinker in the house, but one of my co-workers took a swig (and loved it!)

soy milk, pineapple, banana, mango, and spinach. I LOVED that I took this to a meeting this week, and not only was there another green smoothie drinker in the house, but one of my co-workers took a swig (and loved it!)

green smoothie to-go!

green smoothie to-go!

Gardein orange chick'n with brown jasmin rice.  Seriously...I can get this out and about now!  And with a White Ale, it was awesome.

Gardein orange chick’n with brown jasmin rice. Seriously…I can get this out and about now! And with a White Ale, it was awesome.

For dinner tonight, I really wanted something light.  I love cooking my rice with a tea bag thrown in.  It imparts a different flavor profile, and can really change a dish.  Tonight was green tea, but I’ve done chai or spicy teas for a more Indian feel.  Green tea for an Asian feel.  You get the idea…just play with the teas and make what sounds good!

Green Tea Rice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 green tea bag (and play with flavors for different meals…I’ve used Pumpkin Spice tea to flavor rice I was serving with maple and cinnamon roasted squash!)
  • pinch salt

Directions

  • I use my fuzzy logic rice cooker (everyone should have one…it does everything), but you can cook the rice based on the package directions – just throw the tea bag in at the beginning).
  • Add your choice of veggies and toppings.  Tonight I did steamed carrots, Mirin (a sweet Japanese vinegar) and Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce).  If I wanted a heartier meal, I’d throw in Chickpeas and black sesame seeds too.

The bottom line is to play with it.  Earth balance + brown sugar = a sweeter dish.  In these dishes, I let the tea drive the flavors.  There’s no need for your food to be boring (it’s sort of my life’s motto….life is too short for boring food!)

WP_20141218_19_12_19_Pro

And lastly…my friends at the FoodDuo have posted one of my favorite recipes in their 12 Days and 8 Nights of holiday dishes for compassion!  It’s an easy Balsamic Brussel Sprout recipe that’s sure to sway the ardent brussel-sprout hater!  I made them for my family in WI at Thanksgiving, and am pleased to report they were a hit.  They’re doing an amazing series of vegan food bloggers, their favorite holiday recipes, their holiday wishes, and their charities of choice, so definitely check them out.  I’m so honored to be part of their blog series, and there are some incredible recipes to be had….like jello pie.  Really?!  I’m making that….

FITNESS

You want to know the difference between winter and summer in Virginia?  It’s the workout bag….

Seriously, if you keep a workout bag in your car, you can definitely tell the season.  In the summer, my clothes are hot when I show up at the gym (or yoga studio) in the winter…they’re freezing.  This is how I know that winter has begun…

I threw my yoga clothes into my car on the way to the office on Wednesday.  My hot yoga studio has four locations (two in the area), and knew I could hit one up at the end of the day.  I always keep my Manduka yoga mat in my vehicle, so it was just a matter of shorts, a tank, and some shoes/flip flops (that aren’t work heels) to wear home.

Yeah…I forgot this isn’t summer and it’s not that easy….

I got to the yoga studio…wearing my work skirt, tights, high heels, and sweater…but no jacket because it was a little warmer than the previous weeks.

So not only did I have to put on clothes that were chilly….I had to leave in shorts, a tank, and sweaty as hell after an hour in a 100+ degree room…with no coat.  I go back to that sweatsicle blog post….let’s just say the drive home was uncomfortable…

Oh well, it was nice going into the hotter-than-hell room after putting on freezing clothes.

I’ve mentioned before that I hate winter, right??  Ugh…hard to believe I’m from a cold weather state!

LIFE

The past few days have been busy, but not in an “I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out” way.  I’m used to early mornings and late nights, but in the end…I completely love what I do.  I realize that I’m in the lucky minority who gets to say they love what they do every single day.  And sometimes it’s more challenging than others, but I’d not change it for anything!

My eldest, A, is home from University, and that’s been a trip.  She has a tendency to spread out where the rest of us don’t (her pillow and blanket are on the couch, her food and cups are left lying around), and while I’m glad she’s home, it’s making me nuts.  I keep walking around the house and finding her crap everywhere.  She must be making her roommate crazy….

D is still doing his daily #morningpicture with R!  I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years of him taking a daily selfie with the young one!

6tag_171214-092345 6tag_151214-082904

Other than that, not much to report.  D is feeling much better, and we’re still focus on healthy (no fiber) weight gain.  He has a few more procedures to make sure we’re on the right treatment path, but the fact that he’s feeling better and doesn’t need surgery is enough for me.  We can work the rest out!

So for now, I will leave you with a few pics…..

Halloween is my favorite holiday...the rest are sort of unimportant!  A had the brilliant idea of putting a Santa hat on Jack to make it work.  Brilliant....

Halloween is my favorite holiday…the rest are sort of unimportant! A had the great idea of putting a Santa hat on Jack to make it work. Brilliant….

totally my cats.....

totally my cats…..

Bumble, the Tree Killer....

Bumble, the Tree Killer….

 

A Tale of Thanksgiving, Dating (and Breaking Up With) Bourbon, and Travels to the Cold Midwest

FOOD

Well, what a week!  I flew home to WI the day before Thanksgiving, cooked a bunch of holiday vegan food, went out to eat with my sister and cousins, and then went to Chicago for several days for work.

So…I had access to a kitchen for a few days and took advantage of that, and otherwise mostly ate out (except for an awesome vegan meal my sister made of black bean soup and local fresh grain bread with a balsamic/olive oil dip – of which I forgot to take pictures because I was more concerned with catching up with my sister who I haven’t seen in a year and a half!).

After I arrived and my Dad picked me up, we went grocery shopping, drill battery hunting, and then off to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.

This, my friends, is a yummy drink that swirls frozen margarita with frozen sangria.  Genius.

This, my friends, is a yummy drink that swirls frozen margarita with frozen sangria. Genius.

my veggie hot pot of yumminess for dinner.

my veggie hot pot of yumminess for dinner.

a vegan Thanksgiving with my parents and sister and her family!  Cornbread, maple roasted root veggies, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, vegan stuffing (mom made that one), tofu pot pie, and green bean casserole!

a vegan Thanksgiving with my parents and sister and her family! Cornbread, maple roasted root veggies, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, vegan stuffing (mom made that one), tofu pot pie, and green bean casserole!

The night I arrived, I spent time in the kitchen drinking wine, listening to Irish music, and cooking.  Sort of like I never left VA (expect I didn’t know where anything in the kitchen was!).

chopped mushrooms to make the base for the green beans

chopped mushrooms to make the base for the green beans

roasted butternut squash for the soup

roasted butternut squash for the soup

using my mom's Ninja to make the soup!

using my mom’s Ninja to make the soup!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my sister and I went around town and stopped for tapas and drinks at a neat place called Stilt that’s local to her.

sweet potato fries, squash soup, and pretzels with stone ground mustard.  And beer for her and wine for me!

sweet potato fries, squash soup, and pretzels with stone ground mustard. And beer for her and wine for me!

Saturday night was a major reunion of sorts.  In my estimation, it’s the first time this group got together in about 9 years!  Three of our cousins and my sister and I.

all the pretty girls!

all the pretty girls!

tofu hot wings which were delicious!

tofu hot wings which were delicious!

AC will be happy...I finally tried a bourbon drink!  This was a bourbon sour with a beer float on top.  Quite good, actually.  And my sister's yummy mojito.

AC will be happy…I finally tried a bourbon drink! This was a bourbon sour with a beer float on top. Quite good, actually. And my sister’s yummy mojito.

And then it was off to Chicago for a conference.  And here were some of my eats along the way…

butternut squash soup.  So glad it's a thing this time of year...

butternut squash soup. So glad it’s a thing this time of year…

roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries

roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries

grilled asparagus with sea salt and lemon

grilled asparagus with sea salt and lemon

went to a Greek place that really didn't have much vegan options, but did whip me up some yummy veggie kabobs!

went to a Greek place that really didn’t have much vegan options, but did whip me up some yummy veggie kabobs!

Greek beets....a cold dish of beets in garlic and olive oil.  It's the exact dish that turned me on to beets years ago!

Greek beets….a cold dish of beets in garlic and olive oil. It’s the exact dish that turned me on to beets years ago!

my standard hotel breakfast...steel oats, potatoes, OJ, and toast.

my standard hotel breakfast…steel oats, potatoes, OJ, and toast.

FITNESS

Well one thing is for sure…there’s no way on earth this girl is running outside in the Midwest in the middle of winter.  No way…no how.

Snow.  Cool to see in movies...not so cool to be in....

Snow. Cool to see in movies…not so cool to be in….

So, it was treadmill runs, yoga, and even a zumba class with my sister!

All fun stuff, but was glad to get home to mild weather that I can run in outside :)

Funny how thin one’s skin gets when moving south….though I was never meant for the cold, even as a kid!

LIFE

It’s been a really great, if not crazy, week.  I flew into Chicago last week Wednesday and then went to WI for the holiday weekend.

plane selfie!!

plane selfie!!

Thanksgiving dinner was at my parent’s house with my sister, her husband, and two kids.  I got to cook, play a game with my niece and nephew (after being told I buy them overly complicated games…they got back at me by bringing them and having me play!), and have Thanksgiving dinner with my family for the first time in eleven years.  The last time I was there for Thanksgiving was right before accepting a job and moving to VA.  So I bet you can all guess what I was thankful for this year!  While I missed my husband and kids, I know they had a great time without me.

my eldest, A, was home from college.  Apparently fell asleep completely wrapped in my blanket, and Bumble kept her company all night!

my eldest, A, was home from college. Apparently fell asleep completely wrapped in my blanket, and Bumble kept her company all night!

I spent a night at my sister’s house, and we caught up, attempted to watch movies, but really just talked through them (Love Actually and The Bourne Identity), worked out, went shopping, hung out and played another game with the kids, and then hung out with some cousins.

Sunday I took the train down to Chicago, checked into my hotel, and hit the bar to wait for my friend to arrive.  It turns out watching a Packer game in Chicago is a totally different experience.  I honestly don’t watch (American) football and normally couldn’t care less, but it was fun.

I had dinner with BS then went to bed to get ready for the conference the next day.  I also had too many bourbons.  So as much as AC wanted me to start drinking bourbon (she’s a big fan) it seems we’ve had only a brief love affair….we started dating on Sunday and promptly broke up on Monday…..

The conference itself was amazing.  I got a ton done, and was even interviewed (on camera!) for a publication specific for my industry.  Kinda crazy.  AC came down (we’re in related lines of work), and even though we shared a room, we hardly saw each other!  Our specific work responsibilities meant we were interested in different parts of the conference, but we still managed a fun night on Tuesday at a lovely GE 100th Anniversary event.

the most awesome hotel picture ever.  This was in my bathroom...it says (if you can't see it)...Your comfort is important to us, and with that in mind, we would like to inform you that opening the windows will allow flying insects and spiders into your room.

the most awesome hotel picture ever. This was in my bathroom…it says (if you can’t see it)…Your comfort is important to us, and with that in mind, we would like to inform you that opening the windows will allow flying insects and spiders into your room.

my last morning in Chicago turned out to be sunny (if not crisp!).  My hotel was on Michigan Ave, so it was a nice walk through the loop for breakfast and window shopping before heading back to catch the shuttle to the airport.

my last morning in Chicago turned out to be sunny (if not crisp!). My hotel was on Michigan Ave, so it was a nice walk through the loop for breakfast and window shopping before heading back to catch the shuttle to the airport.

Then I came home, worked, and took care of D, who’s in the middle of a pretty ugly Crohn’s flare-up right now.  We’re in the waiting game of test results to determine next steps, and he’s hanging in as best he can.  It’s impossible not to be worried about him though.  Send happy and healing thoughts his way, if you’re so inclined.

Other than that, it’s cleaning, shopping, cooking, and just being happy to be home!

 

 

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!

No Sense Crying Over Moldy Chocolate

FOOD

When one doesn't blog for 10 days, it seems silly (and relatively impossible) to document everything eaten in that time frame! I will do my best in a montage of pictures, but rest assured, it's pretty Crissie-typical fare. Smoothies, soups, salads, a vegan pizza, taco-related things, tofu pot-pie, etc.

Not all my meals were wonderful, as noted Friday night. JC, AC, D and I went out for the evening – art gallery, dinner, and drinks. Art gallery – fun. Drinks – always good. Dinner – sucked. Turns out the restaurant we went to (and had been to many times) is closing mid-March. They had nothing for me to eat – they were actually OUT of rice and pasta. So crazy. So…I was given a plate of green beans, asparagus, and sliced tomato. It wasn't awful, but certainly not a filling meal either.

I'm attaching here a recipe for one of my fav tofu snacks, on request. These are awesome just to snack on, but are equally good on sammiches or in wraps.

Crissie's Baked Tofu Snack

Ingredients

*1 block tofu pressed and sliced

*1/4 cup OJ

*1 tbsp mirin

*1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*1/2 tbsp minced ginger

*a couple shakes of cayenne pepper

Directions

*combine all the ingredients except the tofu into a marinade.

*place tofu slices in a shallow dish so they don't overlap, and pour the marinade over it.

*Let marinade as long as possible, flipping the tofu slices half way. I usually like to do this overnight if making on a week night, or all day if a weekend.

*Bake at 375 in the same dish for 40 minutes.

FITNESS

Well, it's been a very active 10 days, so that's good!

I will admit that all of my runs have been on the treadmill – even after the snow thawed. I just really hate winter.

I will also admit that I almost fell off my treadmill…twice…when the urge to dance struck at the wrong time. That's what I get for downloading the new Crystal Method album I guess :)

I've also been doing some workout DVD's, yoga (of course), and even hit up a new (to me) class at the gym. Kettlebells. I've heard plenty about them, but figured I'd check it out for myself. The class is so popular, I had to get there early enough to get a ticket.

So here's my summary – I wasn't impressed. I took the 15 minute technique class before, and was hoping for a tough strength training workout. Instead, this was…I think…meant to be a cardio workout. But here everyone is throwing these bells around while doing lunges, squats, etc – and all I kept thinking was how everyone was going to get injured. The moves didn't seem safe, and I don't think I'll be hitting that class up again. Apparently being ticket #13 was NOT my lucky number!

LIFE

In a word, busy. I've had some overwhelming moments in the past two weeks – where I think I felt like I was on the verge of cracking. Nearly crying at my keyboard at work when I discovered my chocolate coconut milk yogurt was moldy was my first clue. I don't want sweet food often, but Tuesday was a rough day, and finding my healthy chocolate yogurt inedible left me nearly hysteric. Thankfully I had backup chocolate in my desk drawer.

My days nearly all week started at 530 am and didn't end until midnight. In a word, I've been just simply exhausted.

Thankfully this weekend was planned with some fun things, and it's been just what I needed. It started Friday night with AC and JC. We went to a small glass exhibit opening, then went to dinner and out for a few drinks.

D took this pic of me while I was looking at some of the art!

Saturday was a basketball game! I've only been to one game before – last March at a conference. It was amazing, but I realize a totally unrealistic experience. It was New Orleans v. the LA Lakers…in a box with unlimited food and alcohol…and Robert DeNiro was at the game! Last night's game was a college ball game here, but it was still fun. I didn't understand some of what was going on, and at times it moved too fast for me to figure stuff out. The ref's seemed to have been bribed by the other team, we watched several rambunctious fans get ejected during the second half, and all the ref's were escorted immediately off the court surrounded by security as soon as the game ended. I'm not sure if any of that is normal, but it certainly made for an interesting evening. Oh, and we lost, so that was a bummer. We were lucky to have VIP tickets from a co-worker who couldn't be at the game, so that was really cool.

Today was work and cooking to get prepped for the week! Two soups, stuff for salads, trail mix, and, of course, cookies.

So here's to a new week which is sure to be as crazy as the last…but I will do my best to not have moldy chocolate, so it should turn out okay!

 

Squirrels, Snowmegeddon 2, and Wine Workouts

FOOD

I haven't left home since picking up the kitties on Tuesday. Yep – snowmageddon part 2!!!! On his way home from work Tuesday, D asked me if we needed any essentials. Seriously – wine was all I could think of. All the other meals were just what I had already on hand!

Last night I made (more) vegan tacos with cilantro rice. Totally awesome, and for some reason, everything tastes better as a taco.

Recipe is below, and while you can totally get by in life without a rice cooker, I feel like my fuzzy logic machine is one of the stars of my kitchen. It makes rice, other grains, steamed meals, soups, cooks beans, even makes cake! I use it several days a week, and it way worth the extra few bucks ($60 or so). Here's a more recent model of the one I have – but I've had mine for 4 years, and it's more than made up for itself financially.

Cilantro Rice

Ingredients

*1 cup long grain white rice (if you use brown, adjust the liquid accordingly)

*1/2 onion, diced

*1 tbsp earth balance (or olive oil)

*1.5 cups water

*2 whole garlic cloves

*1/2 cup cilantro

Directions

*saute onion in Earth Balance in the rice cooker (or stove top on medium) until soft. About 5 minutes.

*add rice, water, garlic, and cilantro.

*in rice cooker – put on white rice setting. On stove top, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until rice is cooked and water is absorbed.

*remove garlic cloves before serving.

Basic Pinto Bean Tacos

Ingredients

*1 can pinto beans

*1 can diced green chilies

*1 onion, diced

*4-5 garlic cloves, minced

*1 olive oil (if NOT using a non-stick pan…omit if using non-stick)

*1 tsp cumin

*1 tsp chili powder

*1 tsp oregano

*1/2 can diced tomatoes

Directions

*Saute onion and garlic over medium heat until soft.

*Add spices, and cook for 1-2 minutes

*Add beans and tomatoes. Cook until warm, and simmer until rice is done!

I served on tortillas with shredded cabbage, hot sauce, and avocado. Who said a vegan meal couldn't be quick, tasty, and cheap? Not this girl!

Dinner tonight was from Happy Herbivore Light and Lean. It's the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. Her books are still among my favorites for healthy and easy fare.

FITNESS

Well, I mentioned that I haven't left home for a few days, right? So strange. I don't do cabin fever well!

Anyway, I have been making the most of my captivity with indoor workouts. Tuesday evening, as the snow was falling, I realized I hadn't actually met my FitBit step goal for the day – despite my hour long treadmill workout! So, I decided…after some wine…that I could walk on my treadmill…barefoot…and hit that goal. Of course AC (who was stuck at work overnight to manage the whole snowmageddon thing) completely egged me on. So I did…and 7 minutes later, my FitBit went nuts telling me how awesome I was. And I was able to feel smug that I met my goal. I love my FitBit.

Yesterday I set up my bike trainer upstairs in the gym/spare room. I couldn't bear two dreadmill days in a row, but still needed something. I dusted it off (it had been in the garage, and after a spider crawled off of it and I appropriately screamed and scared the crap out of my son), and got ready to roll! I plugged headphones into my laptop, and watched an episode of Bones on Hulu. The 45 minutes consisted of a warm up, leg work (pedaling with just one leg for 60 seconds, then switch legs), some hill work, and a cool down. It was a killer workout.

Today was treadmill and yoga and balance ball ab work. I have some new music on my iPod finally, so I was feeling pretty energized! Yoga was a restorative class on YogaGlo to open my hips back up from the runs and cycling, and before the yoga, was an ab series on both a large and small balance ball.

LIFE

Well, have I mentioned it snowed?? And that I haven't left my house since 3pm on Tuesday? And that I don't do well looking at the same rooms for days at a time??

Despite that, it's actually been a good week. I've gotten a ton done both at work and at home. Most of it in either workout clothes or pajamas. Actually – all of it in either workout clothes or jammies!

D went out and about and took some fun pics in the snow on Tuesday.

IMG_7599 (Small) IMG_7600 (Small) IMG_7601 (Small) IMG_7602 (Small) IMG_7603 (Small)

Kitties are doing great, if not a little slow moving. The pain meds make them goofy and even more lovey, if possible. Ginny still loves her puzzle box…just needed to move it where she could get to it without hurting herself!

But here's funny story….when it gets really cold or wet outside (and it's both right now), we'll occasionally get critters in the house. One poor flying squirrel realized today just how crazy our household could be today….

Around 10 am, one found its way behind my fridge. Ginny (who's still a little slow moving and slightly high) found her first. Tonks was out cold and Bumble apparently lost all of her hunting instincts in her old age. Anyway, M is upstairs (still sleeping), I just get off a conference call, and R starts yelling that there's a squirrel in the kitchen (not in a hysterical way – like her mama would do, mind you). Sammie – the nearly 12 year old Lab – helps Ginny corner the poor thing. Anyway, after 5 mintues of screaming, running, brooms, Tupperware, and towels, the poor thing was finally back outside, flying into the horizon. Sammie seemed proud, and Ginny seemed disappointed. I was hysterical (not the fun way – the crazy way), and R was laughing her head off. And M slept through the entire thing. My life….

Considering just shy of 2 inches kept us grounded for 3 days last week, imagine what 10 inches did this week! Kids have been off, and will be tomorrow too. I'm hoping to go into the office tomorrow, but that all depends on the cold and refreezing of the roads. My neighborhood hasn't been plowed, so I'm not so confident I'll be out of my confines tomorrow or not!

Without getting into too much of my liberal feminist detail, I did write my Congressman this week – twice – about HR7. Believe it or not, I was not combative, but really did try to get him to see the other side. I was quite proud actually. I know I won't change his mind – and I applaud people who stand up for what they believe it – and enjoy having a meaningful conversation with people to understand (and hopefully portray) my convictions – but I need to try since he is supposed to represent me in Washington.

Okay, on a totally fun note, D started watching Scandal (as I did recently) and now we're caught up with each other! We still have all of season 3 to catch up on together before it starts up again on Feb 27. I had to constantly text my sister (who watches the show) every episode I watched and was freaking out about one thing or another. I honestly think this is the most well written show I have come across in ages. The monologues/rants are completely epic. If you don't watch it, the first 2 seasons are on Netflix. Do it. You'll love me for it.

Speaking of TV….we've been cable-less for almost 5 months now. Totally don't miss it. Netflix is all we pay for, and Hulu on a computer is free. I don't miss out on any of my shows, and I've discovered new ones I never would have checked out before (hello, Line of Duty, Almost Human, House of Cards, and Goodwife)….I watch more TV now than I ever did before!

Now I realize I'm babbling, and I'm going to stop. A bit more work, some Scandal, then bed time!

 

Oh….Chelsea v West Ham game ended in 0-0 yesterday. Man City coming up this weekend! GO BLUES.

 

 

An Exorcist Worthy Meal

FOOD

Okay.  It’s not pretty, and I’m sorry.  Food can’t always be beautiful.  I mean really – have you ever seen a pretty split pea soup??  Me neither.  I mean seriously – it was split pea soup they used for Regan’s “moments” in the exorcist (to this day, scariest movie I’ve ever seen).  But I can tell you that what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste and ease.  It’s spicy and smokey and creamy and yummy, and sometimes – that outweighs the fact that it’s ugly.

photo (7)

Crissie’s Exorcist Soup

Ingredients

*1 bag of split peas

*4-6 cups veggie broth (I started with 4 and ended up adding 1 more while it was cooking).

*3 carrots, peeled and diced

*1/2 yellow or white onion, diced

*1 tbsp red pepper flakes

*1 block (4 ounces) smoked tofu

*1 tsp ground thyme

*1/2 tbsp sea salt

*2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

*Put everything but the salt and pepper in a crockpot.

*Cook on High for 8 hours.  Stir and it will be creamy!

*Add salt and pepper, switch to warm, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Again – not pretty – but super tasty!

FITNESS

Yesterday was the 5K with my youngest!  We were very excited the night before, and before heading off for bed, we put all our gear aside!

Up at 630 race day morning, we had breakfast (normal pre-race toast with sunbutter and banana), and then it was off to the races.

It was a very informal local race, and D brought his bike and camera to pedal along with us along the route.  He had to dodge bags of powdered paint and glitter spray stations, but he managed it all very well – all while cheering us on and snapping some pics.

IMG_7191 IMG_7200 IMG_7230 IMG_7301 IMG_7309 IMG_7335 IMG_7344 IMG_7348

At one point R got a little rambunctious and I ended up with a face full of purple (that I’m STILL trying to get off), but all told, we had a lot of fun.  She ran her first race and experienced all the awesomeness that entails (like wearing a race number and getting a medal).

LIFE

Life yesterday was all about the race for the  most part.  It felt good to run with R and I hope we run many more races together.

After getting home, I realized I may not do one of those “color runs” again though.  I have paint I couldn’t get off in the shower, no matter how hard I tried!  I’d not tell R that though – her’s appeared to come off just fine!

D took a nap, M went to hang out with friends, and R and I were pretty mellow, hanging out with the kitties and watching dumb TV shows and reading.

kitty in a baseball cap.  Too cute to pass up.

kitty in a baseball cap. Too cute to pass up.

I’m glad it’s a short week this week, and I hope you all had a nice Holiday weekend too!

Yes, Pot Pie Can Be Sexy!

FOOD

Friday was pretty cool on the food front. Avo and pickle toast for breakfast, leftover lemon-pepper tofu steaks and cuc salad for lunch, and for dinner…the best ever. Couples Tofu Pot Pie! It's only a couple's pie because D and I made it together, but still….it was incredible. Super simple too…so read on for a savory pie that will warm your belly and comfort you after a long day!

Couples Tofu Pot Pie (Can be Singles Tofu Pot Pie if no one will make it with you)

Ingredients

*2 pie crusts. Can be homemade – I wasn't feeling that adventurous. Most rolled up pie crusts in the freezer section are vegan.

*2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces

*1/2 block of pressed extra firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces (I like making them the same size as the potatoes)

*16 ounce bag of frozen veggies of choice. I went with the Americana corn/peas/green beans combo

*1 quart veggie broth (I used homemade – but do what you need to here)

*3 tsp poultry seasoning

*2 tsp sea salt

*1 tbsp corn starch

*3 tbsp water

Directions

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Put potato cubes into a stock pot and cover with the veggie broth. Bring to a boil and then cook on med until potatoes are softened, but still a little crisp (about 10 minutes)

*Add tofu, veggies, salt, and seasoning. Bring to a boil.

*Mix the cornstarch in water, and add to the boiling stock pot. Cook on high until it starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

*Roll out pie crust and place in a pie dish.

*Scoop filling until it hits the top. You will have extra filling – which is cool since it's yummy and that means leftovers.

*Top with other pie crust, crimp edges together, and cut some vents in the top.

*Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool a few minutes, and then eat!

leftover pot pie filling with a biscuit top!

FITNESS

Yoga has been the exercise of choice the past few days. Party due to convenience, and partly because it's just what I wanted to do.

Friday I did not work out. It was a hectic day at work, and D and I had plans for Friday evening, so a rest day it became!

Saturday was spent moving my daughter, so hopefully climbing 5 flights of stairs with her worldly possessions counted, at least a little bit. I really wanted to bike, but the rain just wouldn't let up.

I did do a 90 minute yoga class around 9 pm last night though. It was called Ayurveda Vata Yoga, and it's focus was restorative, joint health, and calming the mind. It was a wonderful class, and I got to use my new bolster! I really like this class specifically for the focus on joint health. I know many people with arthritis fall into the trap of being sedentary – and nothing could be worse. If we don't keep the joints lubricated with regular movement (gentle movement!), then the arthritis gets worse. It's a viscous cycle, because I know personally how fearful it can be to exercise – for fear that the pain will get worse. Truth is, the right kind of exercise makes the pain better, or even go away. Anyway, in this particular class, gentle and circular motions on all joints were performed, and it was not only relaxing, but also very releasing. Loved it.

R and I had plans to hike the Windsor Castle trails today, but all evening and then overnight and morning rains derailed that plan. By mid day I was feeling very tired and drained (didn't sleep well), so I opted for an energizing yoga practice. 60 minutes of an anusara class (never had done that style before), that focused on bringing energy back into an overtired body. Sun salutations, back bends, hip openers, and deep breathing did the trick. I feel much better than I had earlier in the day.

Bumble the Zen Kitty joining me for practice today

LIFE

It's been a weekend filled with ups and downs. Friday evening the girls spent together. A took R back to school clothes shopping (nothing like the fashion student helping the 10 year old pick out clothes!) and then they went to dinner and a movie. M was at a birthday party, so D and I were on our own!

We had talked about going out to dinner, but he came up with a better plan. I pick the meal, and we cook together! He was open for anything but chickpeas (he's getting more open to my way of eating), and then we'd watch a movie. So, he picked up a couple bottles of wine on his way home, and we played music, danced, cooked, talked, and had an overall perfect evening. We watched a movie, then hung out with all the kids when they started getting home around 10 pm, then went off to bed. It was absolutely wonderful.

Saturday everyone was up early to take A up to college and move her to to start her own life adventures. Check in to her dorm was smooth and easy, and she's a pretty minimalist kid, so aside from a laptop, clothes, and toiletries, the only items she brought was her sewing machine and a small blender for morning smoothies! When we left, she had plans to meet up with some friends (she knows several people going to school there), and texted regularly as she was out playing pool, and then going rock climbing at the universities gym. This week is Freshman orientation week, so plenty of activities. We met her roommate, and so far the two girls are getting along great. She seems nice – and it should be interesting – she's a chemistry/nursing major with my art school daughter.

We all managed to say goodbye without too many tears, and the 4 of us headed home while A stayed at her new “home”. Sigh.

Today has been pretty relaxing. The weather has been horrible, so it's been cleaning, TV/movies, and getting ready to make a big Latin feast for dinner. Oh, and kitties. Lots and lots of kitties!

So all told, it's been a great weekend. Hope yours has too!

 

 

Zen Cat

FOOD

All my mornings have started with a green smoothie. In one I put my Vega supplement, but otherwise just straight up, just how I like it!

I also whipped up a batch of acorn squash alfredo! This has got to be one of my favorites of all time. I had a batch made when my parents were visiting last year, and I remember my dad liking it. Wish he could share in this batch too!

Last night I baked up some lemon-pepper tofu steaks. With a side of cucumber/red onion/bell pepper salad, it was a light and crisp meal.

FITNESS

I took one night off as a rest night, but otherwise have been loading up on yoga classes every day! I'm totally in heaven. It's been fun building up my home yoga practice too. I already have a mat, blankets, blocks, and a strap. I did splurge on a bolster that just arrived today! Can't wait to use it. My little studio is pretty much fully equipped!

I've signed up for a 5K on Memorial Day! And what's even cooler is doing it with my youngest. It's called Sparkle Me Wild, and you basically get dusted with paint and glitter all through the run. Too cool for her first race experience! I want her to find them fun rather than competitive (she gets enough of that with swim team).

Speaking of runs (nice segue, right??), I had a killer run last night. It was in the mid-70's, low humidity, and beautiful. Just shy of 4 miles, but it was blissful. I've missed this.

LIFE

It's been a pretty good week. Hectic, but good. Most nights I've stayed home making dinner while D took R to swim team practice. A is trying to see everyone before heading off to university on Saturday. M, I think, is just looking forward to school starting back up and having his boring summer end.

Sleep has been a bit more elusive, and none more so than last night. I managed a whopping 2 hrs of sleep. I was afraid I'd be a hot mess today, but have done much better than anticipated. My morning picture today helped :)

Last night I did what was supposed to be an uber relaxing yoga class at 10pm so I could be nice and chill before bed. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. Something fairly major bubbled up at work yesterday, and I was working well into the late evening about it. As a result, my head was spinning – which is more or less my normal state anyway – and I couldn't shut it off. Also the beasties (all 3) were trying to get in the room to play – and they were distracting me. At one point I finally let Bumble in (she's MY cat afterall…), and while I was in my lying pose, she curled up in my hair and started to purr. My racing brain immediately calmed down and all I could do is smile, pet her gently, and finally find the zen I was looking for. She's my zen cat! Then, of course, she wanted to leave and all my zen went with her. Brat cat….

 

Low Key Heaven

FOOD

I was up early this morning and feeling more adventurous for breakfast than I normally am. I whipped up a batch of gluten-free lemon & blueberry waffles! They were pretty good, but not enough lemon. If I make them again, I'll definitely add more zest or even extract.

I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes and some baked beans for lunch. Not gourmet, to be sure.

For dinner though I made up a spinach salad with a homemade orange/dijon dressing (fresh squeezed OJ, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and blood orange infused olive oil) as well as a white bean, kale, and potato soup.

FITNESS

Around lunchtime, I did another yoga class from YogaGlo. I have to say, I really am digging this site. I opted for the restorative class and it felt great.

A couple hours later, I decided to go out for a run. It was an awful run (I hate it when that happens). I just couldn't get my legs under me and lost all energy. I realized I hadn't eaten in about 9 hours, so I imagine that had something to do with it. I also got caught in the rain, but that wasn't so bad!

LIFE

It's been a quiet day. Other than my run, I was home all day, and spent most of it cooking, reading, monitoring our plethora of pets, or watching movies with my family. It was a pretty low key weekend, but that's needed once in awhile! It's A's last weekend at home, and that just feels so strange.

She still doesn't know who her roommate will be – the girl she was assigned changed residence halls, so A's pretty much in the dark. Quite frankly, A is trying to change too, but it's not likely. Her dorm is on the medical college's campus – which is a couple miles from the main campus where all her classes are.

As for now, it's time to get everything prepped for the morning! Clothes to iron, lunches to make, and sleep to have!

Hope you all had a great weekend :)

 

 

 

Maybe Not a Vanilla Girl

FOOD

Okay, okay, more pictures to summarize the past few days. Pretty simple though – smoothies, avo toast, salads, and noshing on fruit.

I did get to try out a new raw foods cafe on Monday with AZ. It's literally right across the street from my office, so that was cool. The fresh juice was fantastic, and the soup was only OK. AZ got the raw pizza and really enjoyed it, so I'm definitely going to try it again.

Perhaps the most creative I've gotten in the past few days has been with an avocado quinoa salad. It's not overly difficult, but was quite tasty.

Crissie's Spicy Avocado Qunioa Salad

Ingredients

*1 cup uncooked quinoa – rinsed and cooked per package directions (I used my rice cooker)

*1 avocado

*2 hot peppers (I had serrano's on hand, but any will do)

*1/2 bunch cilantro

*1 tbsp red wine vinegar

*1/4 red onion

*1 1/2 cups black beans (you can use one can or fresh – I used the leftover black beans from last Monday)

*1 tsp sea salt

*1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen – I used fresh roasted corn)

Directions

*cool the quinoa slightly (I just threw the bowl in the freezer while I made the sauce)

*put the avocado, onion, cilantro, & hot peppers into a food processor or blender. I used my vitamix. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed (will depend on the ripeness of your avocado)

*add the black beans, salt, and avocado sauce to the quinoa and mix well. I prefer to eat it cold, but can be eaten right away if you're desperate.

I put it atop a salad with some tomatoes and sprinkled just a hint of red wine vinegar on top. An awesome no oil added yummy dinner!

 

On a side note, I've always considered myself a vanilla girl. My fav ice cream has always been vanilla (except a period as a girl when I'd give just about anything for a scoop of Blue Moon). When given the choice, I usually choose simple fare. And then I discovered Salted Caramel Chocolate Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. I had it at VVC2013, and my Whole Foods has finally started carrying it. And then it got me thinking – I don't eat plain food. I'm a spice snob and love to make good and tasty and flavorful food. So it seems I am no longer just a vanilla girl after all.

FITNESS

Well, my youngest is REALLY getting into biking (I sense a triathlete in the making), so I've done some running while she bikes, and today we went on her longest ride yet. That child cranked out 8 miles like it was nothing.

D's also been going on rides with R from our house to the park, then hiking around the park trails. So he's working out too (which I love).

 

D and I have been talking, and the three of us may be signing up for an October Breast Cancer 10 miler. I think it would be cool. I went on a bike trip with my Dad as a kid (the great bike ride across WI), and when I told R about it this morning, she announced that we have to do it next summer. We shall see, but that would be awesome.

LIFE

Busy, busy, busy. I know that's nothing new, but sometimes it would be nice to not be so busy! It's not even work that has me feeling overwhelmed (though it's crazy right now between a ton of projects, hard looming deadlines, and it being budget season), but life outside of work has been nuts.

We're still dealing with maintenance issues at home. The AC broke again yesterday, but was fixed today. The tech thinks ants got in and disrupted the arc or something, so now we're going to get inspected and treated for ants. That treatment is tomorrow. New insulation is being put in under the house, and we're getting measured for that tomorrow, and the tree guy is taking his sweet-a$$ time getting the dead and fallen tree out of here! Last I heard he MIGHT be here Friday.

The good news is the fan under the house is just fine and is running again, so hopefully we won't have any more moisture build up problems.

We're also trying to nail down A to define what she needs before she leaves for college. In 2 weeks. Oh, and then there's dealing with the fact that my first born child is leaving home. In 2 weeks.

But enough complaining, things have been awesome too. I took today off to spend with R, and after our long trail ride, we are about to head to Busch Gardens for some fun and fireworks!