Tag Archives: Running

Would You Like a New House With That Flu?

FOOD

So my goal in the next week and a half is to buy no groceries if at all possible and eat what I have in the house.  I have a tendency to over-shop and then forget I have six bags of lentils, eight bags of rice, etc.  You get the point.  So it should be no problem whipping up some awesome healthy eats without spending a dime on groceries.

Why, do you ask, am I doing this?  Two reasons.  I have too much food lying around – more than my family will ever eat if I don’t stop grocery shopping.

Also – I don’t want to move it all to the new house.  Oh wait, what did I say there?  WE BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE.  More on that below ;)

So my eats this week have been oatmeal for breakfast (out of the old fashioned oats, and this week I’ll tackle the Irish oats!  Saving the best for last!).  Smoothies of course.  Lentils soups (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had 6 bags).

blueberry and banana oats.

blueberry and banana oats

lentil soup for days!  Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it's been so cold, that soup is perfect.

lentil soup for days! Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it’s been so cold, that soup is perfect.

FITNESS

Since my last real post, I’ve gone on a few runs and did yoga at home.

However, I’ve been doing a lot of moving – packing boxes, loading them into my minivan, and taking them to the new house or the storage unit and unloading them from the van.  So in essence…I’m doing weight lifting!  I can feel it in my arms to be sure :)

LIFE

D and I closed on a new house this past Monday.  I am a highly superstitious person, and don’t like to talk about some things until it’s a “done deal”, which is why I haven’t posted about it before now.  D and I actually decided last spring that we wanted to buy a new house.  We’ve decided to stay in VA for at least another 7-10 years (so R can finish school) before we even think of leaving, so we decided now was a good time to buy that dream home with a pool.

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We wanted to wait until after summer to start looking because we had too much going on (I was in go-live hell, my parent’s came to visit, lots of work travel), so we looked a bit online, but started working with a relator in late September.  And we found our dream home in late October, made an offer, and there ya go.  We all agreed (sellers and us) to put off closing until after the holidays were over, but now it’s done, and it’s our house!  Oh, and it’s only a mile and a half from where we live now.  Same school district, which was important.

vegan foodie packing....

vegan foodie packing….

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here.  She's been having way too much fun in this...

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here. She’s been having way too much fun in this…

new house = new dishes!  HF helped me pick out the perfect ones.  Here's the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

new house = new dishes! HF helped me pick out the perfect ones. Here’s the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

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The only thing that isn’t perfect about the house is the wallpaper.  Kitchen, dining room, eat-in kitchen, and all 3 bathrooms are wall paper.  We have a contractor starting on Monday to get rid of it all and paint most of the house.  Then, it’ll be really perfect.  Death to wallpaper!  Oh, we’ll have before and after pics to share because I don’t think anyone will believe me about how crazy it is until it’s gone….

I’m also having a custom wall mountable wine rack made out of a wine barrel!  So excited.  Spice snobbery can be proudly displayed on my kitchen wall!  And it’s an up cycled Napa valley wine barrel.  See.  Dream home :)

Anyway, the hope is we’ll start living in the home around the very end of this month.  So I do apologize for the lack of posts this week, it’s been a bit hectic around here!

In other news, I’ve been sick and so has the young one, so that’s put some damper on the week.  We both appear to be on the upswing though, so that’s good news.

Monday's morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Monday’s morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Wednesday's morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday’s morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding.  Proud IT mama right here!

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding. Proud IT mama right here!

just because she's ridiculously cute

just because she’s ridiculously cute

they're starting to finally get along!  Sleep on the same bed - just not too close.  Even playing somewhat together.  They've graduated to frenemies.  Only took a year and a half...

they’re starting to finally get along! Sleep on the same bed – just not too close. Even playing somewhat together. They’ve graduated to frenemies. Only took a year and a half…

poor sicko hasn't slept well most this week.  Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap.  Worked wonders.  And this is today's morning picture :(

poor sicko hasn’t slept well most this week. Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap. Worked wonders. And this is today’s morning picture :(

So thanks for your patience, and more to come.  Also, if you haven’t already, please enter my giveaway – you have nothing to lose and perhaps a new smoothie book to gain!  Here’s the link, and thanks for playing ;)

 

A Week of Bulk Eats Makes Life Easy

FOOD

For the most part, all of my meals this week have been the one’s I prepared last weekend.  There were two exceptions.  D, R, and I went out for dinner on Tuesday evening because we were out and about, and would have gotten too late if we ate at home.  The second was when I spent the night at HF’s house, and we went for Thai.  Otherwise, it was all bulk cooking eats!

simple breakfast to take to work.  1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 sliced banana, and 1/2 cup blueberries

simple breakfast to take to work. 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 sliced banana, and 1/2 cup blueberries

put it all into a bowl, add hot water from the break room coffee pot, microwave for an extra minutes, and eat!

put it all into a bowl, add hot water from the break room coffee pot, microwave for an extra minutes, and eat!

Spinach and Artichoke Soup

Spinach and Artichoke Soup

Stuffed Bell Pepper

Stuffed Bell Pepper

baked potato with refried beans and salsa

baked potato with refried beans and salsa

rice noodles with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and teriyaki

rice noodles with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and teriyaki

baked potato with butternut squash and black bean chili

baked potato with butternut squash and black bean chili

creamy garlic pasta w/brown rice noodles

creamy garlic pasta w/brown rice noodles

smoothie!

smoothie!

I have to say, that bulk cooking really made everything easy on the eats front this week.  I still would make meals for the family, but since my food just needed to be warmed up, I wasn’t skipping or missing meals.  The down side is when I feel like getting creative in the kitchen, I would think, “but no, I already have my meal planned”, and sometimes that made me a little sad.

FITNESS

This week was more runs than yoga.  R’s swim team practice started up again, so I would take her and then hit the treadmill while she was in the pool.  I did that three days this week plus an outdoor run today!

LIFE

This was a really good week.  The kids all went back to school.  R and M started school on Monday, and Friday afternoon I drove A back to university as her classes start tomorrow.  She’s going through that moment we all do where she’s questioning if she’s in the right major, etc., and it’s been a tough few weeks for her.  I think she’s excited to have a new semester ahead of her though.

Work was pretty low key still this week.  I was covering for my boss while she was on vacation in Mexico, so that was some fun change to my day.

M left Friday morning for a trip to a university in Northern Virginia for a state theater competition.  He’ll be home sometime late tonight.  He said it was a blast and they got a trophy.

I visited Friday night with my friend HF.  We went shopping (she helped me pick out new dishes!), had dinner, and just hung out.  Her little boy is so cute, and on Saturday morning, I crawled back into bed so he could pretend to wake me up by tickling me.

the mall we went to is an outdoor mall.  Which is crazy in the winter!  This was the water fountain.

the mall we went to is an outdoor mall. Which is crazy in the winter! This was the water fountain.

Last night was AC’s yearly post-holiday party, and D, R, and I went to that.  Also a lot of fun and nice Saturday evening.

bedtime selfie!

bedtime selfie!

Today I’ve been cleaning, organizing, and getting ahead on some work coming this week.  D is in the Outer Banks taking pictures, A is away at school, and M is on his way home, so it’s mostly be me and R hanging out.  A nice and peaceful end to the week.

a week's worth of morning pictures, including R apparently falling asleep on the way to school!

a week’s worth of morning pictures, including R apparently falling asleep on the way to school!

Bumble keeping warm between fuzzy blankets.

Bumble keeping warm between fuzzy blankets.

GOAL CHECK IN

  • felt I did great on the consistency of my workouts, even though they were pretty much all runs (with the exception of some home yoga).
  • didn’t manage fully gluten free, as I had gluten when I went out to dinner on Wednesday.
  • meal planning – nailed it, thank you!
  • wine – enjoyed some wine at dinner with HF and at the party last night.  This is in line with my plan.  Also had one glass at dinner Tuesday, which I didn’t need, but was likely habit.  I’ll have to keep a better eye on going out.
  • meditation – haven’t figured out the best way to work that into my work days now that vacation is over.  I only got in one day, and that was today.  Though at 10 minutes, it’s my longest one yet.
  • blog regularly – not so good.  I was hoping to get in 2-3 this week, and didn’t.  Will keep trying though!

 

Candles & Cats Don’t Mix

FOOD

I start every morning with a cup of black coffee. And despite many people's claims that to truly get healthy one must kick the habit…not going to happen. One cup of coffee isn't going to suck my body into acidic hell. So it stays. And that will make me and everyone around me (especially in the morning!) very happy!

That said….

Breakfast yesterday was a green smoothie, lunch was a quick spicy tofu soup, I had a post-run snack of a baked potato with refried pinto beans and hot sauce, and dinner was a soup and salad.

my standard recipe of onion, garlic, tomatoes, and sriracha. This version was also cabbage and asparagus.

Breakfast today was a green juice (used up the last of my kale and cucumber!), morning snack was a green smoothie (and used the last of the pineapple), lunch was spicy hummus and gluten-free seed crackers (not pleased with this choice…truth be told…but found myself hungry after yoga, really sweaty, and no easy meal in site), a PM snack of Allegro hot chocolate in unsweetened coconut milk, and dinner was a butternut squash and black bean soup served over quinoa.

I've been loving making juices almost every day the past two weeks. I hope to get these in at least 3 days per week once I go back to work. It's also a great way to use up produce that's not going to last much longer!
threw in a scoop of Vega Vanilla Smoothie powder for some extra staying power
holy crap, this was good. Whole family loved it. D and M each had two servings.

FITNESS

Yesterday – shortly after writing my “come clean” post – I went for a run. I am on W2D2 (week 2, day 2) of the 10K app, and the run was just under 2.5 miles. I will be honest – it's a bit frustrating. The app includes walk breaks – and the goal is to build up the endurance – and I really just want to blow through them sometimes, especially when I'm feeling strong, but I also know that overduing it is dumb.

Today I went to a hot yoga class, and I have a new favorite instructor! I took his class earlier in the week, and he's just awesome. Great instruction, walks through the class to be sure everyone is in the right alignment, and has a great and playful energy. I have a feeling I'll be specifically seeking out his classes in the future.

LIFE

The past two days have been blissfully simple. Today was my last day off, and this time away from work has been quite lovely. We're gearing up for a busy year, so I'm glad to come into it after a week and a half off!

D is feeling great and is allowed to have fiber again. No raw broccoli or anything, but he's back to his green smoothies, is putting weight back on, and looks awesome. Kids have mostly been big lumps and enjoying their vacations too!

In this morning's meditation session, Ginny joined me…like she always does. This time, she decided to check out my candle a little too closely and ended up with a singed whisker! She was fine, but the room smelled awful, so I cut my meditation short (only 4 minutes in!).

I have a confession to make. I totally love the Biggest Loser. While I disagree with some of what they do (losing 15 lbs in a week…no matter how big you are…can't possibly be good for the long term), I do still find the show fun and inspiring. I can relate to people who want to change their lives, regain their health, and need help doing it. Thing is, I haven't watched it much the past few years and completely forgot about it. Until this week. And in between reading, cleaning, relaxing, and hanging out with my family….I've been binge watching the heck out of Season 16 on Hulu.

my Biggest Loser companion…though she clearly fails to see the value of the show!

 

GOAL CHECK IN

I know it's only been two days, but here's how I stand with it:

  • 100% gluten free
  • worked out both days
  • no wine
  • the crackers today – while GF, were still a processed food. I was really disappointed in that. I haven't bulk cooked, and when I got home from yoga, the kids were in the kitchen making lunches for themselves (tofurky sammiches!), and so I didn't have the room to make something. Truth is…I could have picked something better. Even a banana to get me through a half hour until I could reclaim the kitchen.
  • meditated yesterday for 8 minutes and today for 4. Yesterday's was bad…mind kept wandering…but that's part of the process. Today was great until the smell…
  • my goal is to be around 1200 calories per day. Nailed it today….was under yesterday (which is NOT good). I think it was partially because I slept in yesterday and also went to bed fairly early last night, so there really weren't enough hours in the day. And while I've been tracking my calories for years…there's a shift when I'm not drinking any!

 

 

See Ya Later, Alligator

FOOD


The past few days have been great on the food front. It's been nice being off, and the daily juicing has felt very luxurious! It's also something I hope to do more of in the new year.

a juice of Romaine, spinach, chard, kale, beet, and pineapple. And totally amazing! The book is interesting too ;)
Romaine, Swiss chard, cucumber, lemon, and ginger green juice.
a busy Sunday cookday! Polenta with a mushroom ragout (took 2 hours, but OH so worth it!), another pumpkin pie, mustard salad dressing, roasted beets, and a BAS of epic yumminess

 

baked veg risotto (which was a minor fail…had to drain off excess liquid), and topped with green beans. Not fancy, but still hit the spot.
green smoothie at the hospital waiting room with D (he was there for a procedure). Water, pineapple, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and mixed greens!
post yoga BAS from the Whole Foods salad bar
Moe's burrito with tofu, rice, beans, and veggies. On the road (and no, I wasn't driving….I was parked and snarfing my dinner!)
today's dual drinks! On the right was my juice of the day – romaine, kale, spinach, pineapple, cucumber, and beet. On the left, a late morning smoothie of water, banana, frozen blueberries, and mixed greens. Funny to me how they look almost identical (I can honestly only tell the difference because of the straws….)
NYE dinner at Mannino's and it was amazing! All vegan – zucchini appetizer (best I've ever had), pasta with EVOO, fresh garlic, and parsley, and the second best brussel sprouts I've ever had (still like mine the most!)

 

FITNESS

The past couple days – since my last post – have been one run and two yoga sessions.

I hurt my foot the other morning. It was dumb – it was 4am and Bumble was scratching at a box in my room leftover from Christmas. She was keeping me up, and I was ushering her out of the room and tripped. I twisted my left foot and scraped my right shin. Really stupid, and it hurt for two bloody days.

Oh, and my golf adventure on Saturday left me hurting by Sunday. How crazy is that?? Part of my lower back and neck were so sore. I seriously need to practice…

However, a hot yoga class on Monday eve definitely hit the spot! It felt so good and my back and neck stopped hurting.

Yesterday was raining mostly during the day, and since we hiked around the theme park in the evening (and I was letting my foot rest), I stayed in.

Today it was feeling good, so I went for a 3 miler through the neighborhood. Felt good to end 2014 with a quick run!

LIFE

It's hard to believe what's been jammed into the past three days!

Christmas clean up doesn't take me long. I'll be honest – not my favorite holiday – and once it's past (like, the 26th), I start to remove all traces. So yes, decorations are packed up and the tree is down. And if I hear one more Christmas song now that the holiday is over, I'll probably scream (I can only handle Christmas music on Christmas Day….and then only in small doses). Some day I'll get to the psycological root of my dislike of Christmas (may have something to do with watching Holiday movies in July during my youth), but for now, I'll just cope.

D was playing with his new lighting equipment and captured a couple fun pics! I love M in his Chelsea gear!

Yesterday we finally hit up Christmas Town. We go every year, but couldn't make it before the actual holiday. Between D's flare-up, A's work schedule, and the rain – last night was really the only day we could make it. It was cold, but still fun.

And today is New Year's Eve! D and I went out to dinner – alone – and had an amazing time. We went to a local Italian place in Portsmouth and had not only great food, but a fun time together (and chatting about scary movies with the staff!).

And now, 2014 is almost over (only 30 min left on the East Coast), and in reflection….I'm glad to see it go. It wasn't a “bad” year, but one that was more hectic than I want my life to ultimately be. There were some great moments to be sure, but I felt like much of my life was living me rather than my living my own life. Most of that was due to a crazy work schedule, but ultimately, all of it was my own doing. I have a tendency to take on too much, convince myself I thrive on chaos, and rarely take a breather. In the end, I spent 3/4ths of the year covered in hives and running from place to place. 2015, I hope, will be much different. But for now, I will take these lessons learned and combine them with some new plans and outlooks for 2015!

 

So Happy New Year my friends!

 

 

Pigeon, Pictures, & a Pretty Day

FOOD

Well, two days in a row of dusting off my juicer!  I love it, but I tend to go in fits and spurts when it comes to using it.  I will admit, that it’s mostly a time commitment thing.  I went to a slow juicer last year – which I’m glad I did – but it takes longer and I have to cut up the pieces first.  So, from beginning to end, it takes me about 20 minutes (picking and prepping the produce, juicing, and cleaning up after).  I don’t always allow myself that extra time in the morning!  And with my Vitamix, a smoothie takes about a minute.

cucumbers, kale, spinach, romaine, ginger, celery, and lotsa lemon!

cucumbers, kale, spinach, romaine, ginger, celery, and lotsa lemon!

Well, ramble aside, I juiced a HECK of a lot this morning, ending with a full quart of green goodness!

For lunch, I ate all the leftover veggies from Christmas.  M ate the rest of the Tofurky this morning!

carrots and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil and maple syrup.  Just a smidgen of the stuffing still in there from the Tofurky still!

carrots and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil and maple syrup. Just a smidgen of the stuffing still in there from the Tofurky still!

Late afternoon I whipped up a green smoothie (though it always cracks me up when it doesn’t turn green!), and dinner was leftover red curry soup from Christmas eve.

water, cranberries, banana, strawberries, clementine, and mixed greens (Swiss chard, kale, and spinach mix from Costco)

water, cranberries, banana, strawberries, clementine, and mixed greens (Swiss chard, kale, and spinach mix from Costco)

Yesterday, I met AC out for lunch (silly girl went to work!).  Thai food, of course.  Green curry tofu, naturally :)

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I also picked up some vegan dark chocolate mix at Whole Foods, and whipped up a massive cup with the rest of my homemade vanilla soy milk!  I was SO yummy.

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FITNESS

I was planning to hit up the hot yoga studio yesterday, but ran out of time.  I did do the Evening Simmer Down 45 minute yoga class on Yogaglo though.  It was a pretty good class – legs up the wall is one of my all time favorite poses.  It was a very gentle class, and I found myself able to do pigeon without my normal modifications for my knees at the end!  That was encouraging, as it’s been a bit painful on one knee to do it – so I’ve been doing the modified version on my back for the past 6-7 months.

what it normally looks like!  My RA affects my knees (though it hurts when I don't move for too long - not when I'm active).  But this pose would be sore on my bent leg.  Not last night though!

what it normally looks like! My RA affects my knees (though it hurts when I don’t move for too long – not when I’m active). But this pose would be sore on my bent leg’s knee. Not last night though!

this is the modification I typically do.  Same stretch without the pressure on the knees.   I definitely listen to my body when doing yoga, and it's been screaming "pigeon modifications" for most of the past year.

this is the modification I typically do. Same stretch without the pressure on the knees. I definitely listen to my body when doing yoga, and it’s been screaming “pigeon modifications” for most of the past year.

Running makes my hips tight, and pigeon is my favorite way to open them back up again!

This afternoon I went for a run, and then hit up the golf course to try out my new clubs!  I definitely need to practice.  It would have been nice to actually hit the ball each time I tried ;)

To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.  Hovering around 60 and very sunny, it was the perfect day for running and smacking balls around.

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LIFE

After lunch with AC yesterday, I hit up Whole Foods and Costco.  I was expecting the day after Christmas to be hectic, but both stores were relatively empty.

D played with his new camera lighting equipment he got from my parents, and made the kids pose for him.  Pay no heed to the overly dramatic pose of the eldest and the crazy bed head of the young one….

M & A.  Reminder...M is in theater and A is an artist.  Need I say more?

M & A. Reminder…M is in theater and A is an artist. Need I say more?

R and Ginny.  Who's looking highly unamused by the adventure.

R and Ginny. Who’s looking highly unamused by the whole thing.

Here, I think R is having MUCH more fun than Ginny.

Here, I think R is having MUCH more fun than Ginny.  Is it me, or does she look like she’s pleading for rescue?

M had two friends spend the night, A had to work, and R has spent the past several days building and programming a robot.  So far it has moved blocks, rolls around the house, and served as an attack cobra….

Today D went into work for most of the day.  He’s had time off to deal with his Crohn’s and wanted to be sure he’s all caught up on year end stuff!  Other than running and (trying) to hit golf balls, I did some morning meditation, read, did some laundry, and lazed about.  All told…lovely couple of days!

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my morning meditation partner! She also stays with me when I do yoga at home. And I admit to moving to the carpet so I don’t have to move her when she’s lying in the middle!

as a quick note, a big congrats to Jessi for winning the Happy Herbivore Holiday & Gatherings cookbook giveaway!

 

Christmas Contemplation

FOOD

Lots of tasty eats this last week. Happy hour with AC, lunch with D, plus whipping up dishes at home means plent of food and leftovers!

 

a simple baked potato topped with black beans and vegan sour cream

made some homemade pinto beans in the pressure cooker, and had meals for days! Corn tortilla tacos with beans, rice, and all the toppings.

taco salad!

happy hour with AC last week Friday. Sparkling wine, edamame, and roasted garlic and peppers!

cucumber, carrot, ginger juice

steamed cauliflower over pasta with a “cheezy” sauce and ground black pepper

stopped at Colley Cantina with D for some blackened tofu tacos

Of course we did have a holiday stuffed into the last week, and that always means special foods. Christmas Eve was homemade soups and sammiches! The soups I made were Tomato Tortilla and Red Curry Kale (my personal favorite!). Sammiches were a marinated tofu with a veganaise/mustard/nooch blend and sliced onions. Seriously I think it’s the best sammich I ever made (and mostly courtesy of Vegan Sammiches Save the Day). Oh, and Snickerdoodle cookies too!

 

Christmas dinner was Tofurky roast, cornbread, maple roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, herbed rice (recipe below), and balsamic brussel sprouts. And pumpkin pie!

 

Holiday Herbed Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice – rinsed
  • 1 tbsp either Earth Balance or Olive Oil
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Poultry Spice
  • 2 cups water or broth (I used broth)

Directions

  • put Earth Balance or Olive Oil in a pan and heat. (I use my rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, you can do this over medium heat in a sauce pan on the stove.
  • add rinsed rice and stir to coat for 1-2 minutes
  • add poultry spice and mix well
  • add water/broth. stir, then pop in the garlic cloves (doing it whole gives a hint of flavor rather than full frontal!). If you’re using a rice cooker, just close the lid and select the appropriate setting (for me, it’s White Rice). If cooking stove top, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes.

I liked going the herbed rice route this year rather than the heavy mashed potatoes. This meal was heavy enough!

my day-after-Christmas green juice! It was SO good too. Romaine, kale, celery, fennel, ginger, lemon.

 

FITNESS

My Christmas morning run was absolutely awesome. It was a beautiful day – about 60 and sunny – and it was great to take off in a t-shirt and fly thorugh the neighborhood.

Aside from yesterday’s run, I’ve had a few other runs, kickboxing, and yoga.

 

LIFE

The past week has been a whirlwind of activities. Most of my collegues takes at least some time off this time of year (myself included!). That meant this past week was focused on being fully caught up at work so it’s not a struggle when I go back on Jan 5.

It was also the last mad dash to get Christmas finished. Shopping, wrapping, shipping, etc.

she was SO over wrapping! Which I completely understand.

Christmas Eve was our traditional pj and family game night. We all get new jammies, put them on, and then play our new game! The winner picks breakfast the next day. This year’s adventure was Headbanz Act Up. It was SO much fun. I played it with my sister, niece, and nephew last month when I was visiting, and knew I had to get it for my family. A and I tied, and breakfast was biscuits and gravy, potatoes, and smoothies!

Christmas Day itself was very low-key, as most of our holiday’s tend to be. We slept in, did the gift and breakfast thing, then relaxed all day – doing our own things – until it was time to make dinner.

R playing with her Lego Mindstorm. Ginny deciding if she’s going to attack it!

new golf clubs for me!!!

But now that the day has come and gone, the rest of the week off can just ease on by, and that’s an awesome feeling.

Most people get contemplative at some time in their lives. For many it’s New Year’s or their birthday’s. For me, it always seems to be around Christmas. I take stock of my life, and look more at things I want to change. Don’t get me wrong, I think of the great things too, but it’s around now that I focus on things I want to do. It’s my time of renewal, so to speak. And because I’m a planner, I guess it makes sense that this happens for me just before the new year kicks in.

This is a time for raw honesty, but at the same time, to be non judgemental. More to come on these thoughts in the coming days as they become more solidified in my mind.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and continue to enjoy some fun and peace through what’s left of 2014!

 

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!

 

 

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.