Tag Archives: Wacky Pets

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!

 

 

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!

 

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!)

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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!

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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….

 

I Like To Kick & Punch Stuff

FOOD

Sunday I went out for Thai food with NS!!  We both had the Tom Kha soup (mushroom-less for me, mushroom-full for her!), and I opted for my typical tofu green curry dish.  It was a yummy lunch.

I could eat this soup every day.  I suppose that means I should learn how to make it!

I could eat this soup every day. I suppose that means I should learn how to make it!

Dinner was mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, green beans, and baked tofu.

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I love being back home and in the kitchen.  Seriously…it’s awesome.  Green smoothies everyday?  Check.  Plenty of quick leftovers for tasty and healthy vegan meals.  Of course.  Some fun junk food?  Naturally.  So yeah…I do love to travel…but love being home more!

so you totally can't see it in my stylish pink mason jar, but I enjoyed an awesome green smoothie on the trip into work yesterday!

so you totally can’t see it in my stylish pink mason jar, but I enjoyed an awesome green smoothie on the trip into work yesterday!

coconut water, pineapple, vega vanilla smoothie powder (needed an extra oomph), banana, baby kale, and spinach.

coconut water, pineapple, Vega vanilla smoothie powder (needed an extra oomph), banana, baby kale, and spinach.

Lunch yesterday was leftover Indian food, and dinner was a quick Boca vegan chickn patty and leftover mashers and gravy.

Breakfast today was another green smoothie – blueberries, oatmeal, water, banana, cinnamon, kale, spinach.

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And lunch was roasted brussel sprouts and my current favorite spicy butternut squash soup!

big batch made Sunday eve.

big batch made Sunday eve.

lunch today!

lunch today!

Dinner was the last of the mushroom gravy served over rice with a Tofurky kielbasa.

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FITNESS

So I get bored easily.  Have I mentioned that?  And while I’m not exactly bored with running or yoga, I have been feeling the desire to do something else too.  To be honest, I don’t have a ton of free time to be a gym rat, so it had to be something fun at home.  So…kickboxing it is!

I have always loved kickboxing, but unfortunately my local Y doesn’t have a good schedule of classes I can attend.  It seems to be geared towards the stay-at-home mom, and the once a week kickboxing class is in the middle of a normal workday.  I’m not about to pay for a separate studio just to do kickboxing, so I’ve opted for the Les Mills home workouts.  So far, so good.  I’m always worried about my tendency to get bored easily impacting my ability to work out at home, but I’m hoping this is enough fun to get me past that!  The fact that I like to kick and punch stuff should help.

LIFE

It was nice on Sunday to get out and about with NS.  I was hoping to do some shopping after lunch, but between the cold and wind (and we ALL know how I feel about being out in the cold and wind!) and a typical Sunday where local shops are closed, it just didn’t work out.  Aside from that though, lunch was awesome and it was fun planning her upcoming birthday party!

The first day back in the office is usually pretty crazy, and yesterday wasn’t much of an exception.  Fortunately, I was able to be all caught up before I went out of town, and between the holiday weekend and staying on top of work emails after conference fun, I wasn’t all that behind.

Last night was a chill night at home for the most part, and today was more work and a lot of working from home on a report and presentation.  All good stuff, but lots of research.

D’s Crohn’s is still a pain, and I hate that I can’t just make it go away.  He has another procedure on Friday and we’re awaiting results from some tests from last week.  He did say he was feeling better today than he has in the past few weeks, but definitely not back to normal yet.

Until then…snugly cat and morning pictures!

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Oh Green Smoothies, How I Have Missed Thee!

FOOD

So happy to be eating at home.  First smoothie in over a week!  Only down side is I made it too frozen, and was then cold until I made tea to warm me up.  Damn winter.

First I had to core and slice up a pineapple!  I actually did this last night, but used a contraption my Aunt J got me last year.  $2 for a pineapple at Costco that I sliced up myself vs buying pre-cut pineapple for MUCH more at the grocery.

First I had to core and slice up a pineapple! I actually did this last night, but used a contraption my Aunt J got me last year. $2 for a pineapple at Costco that I sliced up myself vs buying pre-cut pineapple for MUCH more at the grocery.

coconut water, banana, pineapple, baby kale, and spinach.

coconut water, banana, pineapple, baby kale, and spinach.

yum!

yum!

Lunch was an attempt at a wrap, but the whole grain tortillas I bought yesterday kept tearing…so it was more like a salad on top of parts of a tortilla and mostly eaten with a fork.

romaine, black beans, corn, and BBQ sauce.  Recipe courtesy of Happy Herbivore...it's amazing and a simple lunch.

romaine, black beans, corn, and BBQ sauce. Recipe courtesy of Happy Herbivore…it’s amazing and a simple lunch.

I was feeling the need to bake some goodness for my family (mainly because my husband went out and bought…gasp…PACKAGED COOKIES).  Yikes.  Oatmeal-Raisin it is!

recipe from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

recipe from the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

And dinner was Indian!

can't make Indian without some homemade garlic naan!

can’t make Indian without some homemade garlic naan!

the key to perfect saffron rice is to pinch and soak the threads in hot water (or non-dairy milk) for about an hour before making.  Use this time to soak your basmati, and you get plump and fluffy rice every time

the key to perfect saffron rice is to pinch and soak the threads in hot water (or non-dairy milk) for about an hour before making. Use this time to soak your basmati, and you get plump and fluffy rice every time

whipped up a base in the Vitamix of soy yogurt, green chilies, garam masala, salt, lime juice, Earth Balance, and a splash of coconut milk.  Simmer, and add veggies.

whipped up a base in the Vitamix of soy yogurt, green chilies, garam masala, salt, lime juice, Earth Balance, and a splash of coconut milk. Simmer, and add veggies.

after cooking completely, add about 1/2 cup of tomato.  Salt and pepper to taste!

after cooking completely, add about 1/2 cup of tomato. Salt and pepper to taste!

speaking of veggies (see what I did there?!?)...5 cups of assorted carrots, potato, and cauliflower

speaking of veggies (see what I did there?!?)…5 cups of assorted carrots, potato, and cauliflower

and enjoy a spicy, warm, and wonderfully filling dinner

and enjoy a spicy, warm, and wonderfully filling dinner

FITNESS

For today’s workout, I went to Hot Yoga down in Norfolk at my favorite studio, Hot House.  It was a 60 minute stability class, and was perfect for many reasons.  One, I’m a bit stiff from the traveling, and doing this class in the intense heat always loosens my muscles up well.  Also my brain has been a bit scattered the past few days – between traveling, catching up on work emails, and worrying about D – I needed the mental break that yoga always give me.  I’ve been lax on meditating the past few weeks, and it’s starting to show in my frayed nerves.

LIFE

Last night was M’s last performance for The Little Mermaid.  He was Sebastian, and it was an awesome show.  What cracked me up was the line of kids after the show that wanted his autograph or to pose for pics of him.

Sebastian (M) and Chef Louis posing before the show!

Sebastian (M) and Chef Louis posing before the show!

Then it was a night of trying, but failing, to go to bed early.  It was 930 when I tried…and 1230 am when I finally succeeded.  Then up early this morning (630 am) to get M off to his SAT’s!  Hard to believe that University is just around the corner for him.  And he wants to be an English teacher, which is pretty cool.

I had the house pretty much to myself all morning.  D slept in late – part of the Crohn’s is he gets no nutrients and lacks energy and is super tired – and R always sleeps in on the weekends.  I did dishes, some Christmas shopping on Amazon, finished laundry, and managed to watch an episode of Sleepy Hollow (I needed a new show, and Hulu has the entire series!).

After yoga, I came home, made lunch, showered, and have been mostly puttering around the kitchen.  I’m having lunch with NS tomorrow, so I’m doing some of my bulk cooking today.

Ginny "flops".  It's what we call it because she completely becomes boneless cat, lies upside down, and wants her belly scratched...

Ginny “flops”. It’s what we call it because she completely becomes boneless cat, lies upside down, and wants her belly scratched…

when I play in the kitchen, these two pester me for a coffee cup full of fresh water from the fridge.  So spoiled....

when I play in the kitchen, these two pester me for a coffee cup full of fresh water from the fridge. So spoiled….

me putting away dishes really just made a bed for Ginny

me putting away dishes really just made a bed for Ginny

she likes to hang out above the shower and freak me out

she likes to hang out above the shower and freak me out

Happy Saturday!!!

 

 

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…