No More Dread Pirate Cat!

FOOD

Weather is warming up, so I ditched the oatmeal and am back to my regular scheduled smoothies. Checking out a new protein powder this week – Garden of Life Raw Chocolate. I have to say, I’m a fan! Vega is still my all time fav, and I always have at least one of theirs on hand. Currently the vanilla protein + greens. Both are good though and keep me hella full (especially since I don’t actually like food in the mornings).

Monday was taco fun! I made some homemade pinto beans (recipe below), though I halved it to prevent leftovers. My kids SUCK at eating them. I also made this tofu recipe, with a few mods. I used agave instead of honey (you know, bee vomit. Some vegans choose to use honey – I don’t), and added 1 tbsp of olive oil to the sriracha/agave to coat the tofu. Then I air-fried for 20 minutes at 350, shaking after 10. Layered rice, beans, tofu, and veggies, using tortilla chips at scoops!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pinto beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I prefer any but green)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker (I use an IP or a Cuisinart electric PC that has a sauté feature – if yours doesn’t do this step on a stove top)
  • Sauté onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft
  • Add cumin, oregano, and stir
  • Add beans, add enough cold water just to cover
  • Add bay leaves
  • Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. I know it sounds like a long time (and it is), but the purpose is to make the beans fall apart so you get that refried bean consistency
  • Let the pressure release naturally
  • IF there is excess liquid, pour it off. You don’t want it soupy
  • Remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender or potato masher to purée the beans
  • Add the wine, vinegar, and salt and pepper (I usually use 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
  • Simmer 10-15 minutes

Also had several other yummy eats. Veggie burgers, silken tofu “eggless” salad, and a red Thai curry soup with veggies and tofu too.

Last night we went out to eat – it was Dining Out for Life in 60 cities across the country to raise money for local AIDS service organizations. Participating restaurants donated a minimum of 25% of their proceeds to LGBT Life Center here in our area. My delightful dish was a chimichuri salad with a Beyond Meat burger!

FITNESS

I actually made it to hot yoga this week!!! Woo me! And I’m fully sore too. Went to a vinyasa flow class and it fully kicked my butt. Love it.

Also several runs too. Been a stressful week, so that helps keep me sane.

LIFE

So our cat Ginny is a long haired sweetie pie. However, she had so many knots and mats that I started calling her the Dread Pirate Cat (get it – dreadlocks)? Anyway, Monday she had an appointment to get shaved. Now she looks like a lion, and it’s a little ridiculous, but I imagine she feels much better. And it turns out she really was just fluffy, and not fat!

The rest of the week was primarily work and school. It was definitely tough to focus this week – too much personal stuff going on. But, it’s not like I don’t get my stuff done, just been a little less enjoyable. Oh well.

Picked up the last of the plants for the garden! Cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash.

After working really hard for a long time, my eldest A learned on Tuesday that she got accepted to nursing school! Her cohort starts May 7th. Going to be a lot of work for her – she works full time too – but I know she can do it and I’m so incredibly proud.

Last night was definitely the best of the week. It was awesome to get out and about and de-stress with one of my favorite people. Honestly, it was a near perfect evening.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s a friend’s bday costume party tomorrow night, and if I can get my papers finished, a theme park trip too!

Until then, other fun pics, including proof that Kuma hates mornings, just like the rest of us!

I Forgot How to Watch TV

FOOD

Hard to believe I’ve been home for two straight weeks! Other than an overnighter in Richmond visiting my girlfriend H.

That means, lots of home cooking! Breakfasts were usually oatmeal or a smoothie. I did have tofu scramble two days in a row though! One morning at Food for Thought in Williamsburg on the way up to Richmond, and one at Shore Dogs in Richmond. I was feeling quite spoiled!

I also learned to grill! Well, ish. I’m still starting out, but I got a gas grill and the first attempt was quite the success! Buffalo tempeh, corn on the cob, potatoes, and portabello mushrooms.

Also made a few different chilis and soups. Up at H’s house we made a sweet potato/black bean chili and cornbread. So yummy! H was excited to use a fancy new pan.

Other chilis!

During spring break I had some special guests over, and while they were working hard outside, I made lunch! Pineapple/tofu stir fry, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies!

It got a little cold for a few days, which was perfect for BBQ tofu, mashers, mushroom gravy, sweet carrots, and my favorite kale salad with oil-free lemon tahini dressing and some homemade sangria.

Also had some yummy meals out.

FITNESS

Sadly, still haven’t gotten to yoga, but there have been plenty of runs!

LIFE

Overall, been a great two weeks. Spring break week I worked from home most of the week. The best part though, is I have a garden! I’ve had a small herb garden for years, but have always wanted a large enclosed one. The one time I tried to grow veggies, the local critters got their fill while we had almost nothing.

It was built over two days, and I’m forever grateful to the little construction team that made it happen.

The trip to Richmond was really nice. We stopped at my fav cidery up there – Buskey’s. Seriously, the jalapeño lime is amazing! The manager made us Bloody Mary’s with their organic vegan Bloody Mary mix, and it was so tasty.

Then we went to H and C’s house where we made dinner and hung out at talked all night. B was visiting from Seattle, and he came by too. I hadn’t seen him in 5 yrs, so that was really cool.

I took R to the movies yesterday to see Tomb Raider. Actually the second time I’ve seen it, but I really liked it and I knew she’d totally love it.

Last night was really lovely out, so we went boating with M and R. We cruised around for awhile and then pulled into a spot for dinner and drinks. Then it was back to my house to hang out with my son and his girlfriend.

Otherwise, normal life! Cribbage club, work, wacky pets, and lots and lots of studying! This week was particularly intense on the school front. I worked ahead a lot, so I was able to knock out all the papers fairly early in the week, with finishing the biggest one today. So I found my Sunday late afternoon with me being bored. House was clean, food prepped for dinner, and I needed a mental break from school stuff. After an hour of reading the news and chatting with the kids, I actually turned on the TV. I don’t have anything against TV, I know I used to watch it, but the past 6 yrs or so saw a significant decline in it – mainly because of school and work and family and social lives. After deciding I didn’t want the commitment of a movie, I threw on How to Get Away With Murder and decided to blog and start dinner 🙂 I guess I forgot how to watch TV!

Wild Week of Travels!

FOOD

Well, it’s been a week and only one night home, so lots of meals out!

I had an amazing meal at Q Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston (no pics – sorry!), but it was a General Tso’s Tofu that was divine.

Also met up with my good friend AF for Indian one night at Kashmir’s in Boston. We split some somosas, and I also had the vegetable korma, which was yummy.

My one night home saw me making my fav soup – it’s a Thai red curry sweet potato soup with rice and kale (with leftovers for 2 the next day). That morning was also a breakfast at a local spot – Portobello mushroom and hummus bagel with fruit. Really, really good.

Thursday evening was hitting the road again, and we had a really simple dinner at the hotel – mine was just rice and roasted veggies. And some vodka cranberries too 😉

The next night we discovered the joy of a place called Busboys and Poets! OMG. Great place for anyone who may have mixed company (vegans + omnis) – tons of yummy vegan eats and certainly a selection of non vegan ones too. We got the crispy Brussel sprouts and coconut tofu bites as appetizers. I also got Korean BBQ “beef” sammich with Asian slaw and a side of tabbouleh. WOW.

So good, we grabbed R and went back the next day for lunch. I had the tempeh panini, tabbouleh (I’m a fan), and a 2 bean harira soup. Now, if they’d just open up in my area! Apparently it’s a small chain in the DC and MD area.

This morning back home was my go-to simple breakfast – especially when I need to go grocery shopping! Oatmeal topped with cinnamon and coconut milk yogurt.

The afternoon was some apps and drinks after hiking. For me – monster cucumber slices with hummus! They gave pita rounds too, but I don’t really eat those, so they ended up bringing double the cucs!

FITNESS

Lots and lots of walking! And today I swapped out a planned hot yoga class (which I need terribly – my hips are SO tight), for a hike instead since it’s such a gorgeous day! Left my phone in the car though, so no pics. But it was an amazing day. Can’t wait for a bit more sustainable days of good weather to start to see blossoms.

LIFE

The rest of my trip to Boston was great. I got to see AF, who currently lives there (his wife is a professor), which was great. Fortunately got to see him and his wife LF on the ski trip in Feb, and will see them again in late April. AF had just flown in from New York and literally met me at the restaurant with carry on in tow!

I will say that Boston was really cold, but I managed to survive ;). Also – they have way too few Starbucks. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is their thing – but other than really not liking their coffee, it’s not a healthy spot I ever go to. It was literally in the airport on my way home before I finally got to one! I know – first world problems – but a girl cannot survive on hotel java alone!

The conference – from the Economist magazine – was amazing. It was there Healthcare Forum 2018, and with Boston being the global hub of life sciences, it really was incredible. The panels, topics, and people were all very exciting, and it was totally worth it.

I flew home the next day, landed around 4, did wash, made soup, and packed for a long weekend away! R’s team advanced to the robotics championships, which was held in MD. She had to be at school at 3am for the bus, and while I had meetings I had to attend on Thursday (being the ONLY day in the office for nearly a week), I headed up after. Rolled into town around 8, which really wasn’t bad.

The competition was so much fun, and the kids did wonderfully. They didn’t advance past the qualifying rounds, but still – what they accomplished was quite impressive. We walked through the pits, and some of these teams have sponsors like NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Deloitte, etc. We were honestly sitting among the future engineers of the world, and it was really inspiring.

Yesterday we drove back home and eventually got to bed around 1130. I seriously slept like a rock until about 9am!

Today was a hike and then chilling at the waterfront having some apps and drinks and watching boats go by. Pretty perfect day!

I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s spring break, and I’ll be working from home for all but tomorrow. R has tennis camp (she’s stoked), and it’ll be me mostly cleaning house and yard and gardening!

Hope you’ve had a great holiday if you celebrate it, and a lovely weekend regardless! Until then – misc pics from the week! Some in Boston, some home, and some in between!

IKEA gets it!

On the Road Again (to Beantown!)

FOOD

Well, been a combo of homemade eats and travel eats, which is becoming more and more normal it seems. It was a chilly week so there were more oatmeal mornings and less green smoothies, but above all, nourishing and healthy starts to my day. Also a burrito, homemade tofu/potato tacos, a quinoa salad, Vietnamese salad (one of my current favs), veg soups, and a really great dinner out, which included vegan chik’n! But the best had to be a strawberry/coconut milk drink my son made for me at Sbux!

FITNESS

No time for yoga this week, but plenty of runs, which are always awesome. I’m hoping to hit up a hot yoga studio in Boston if I can find the time. Otherwise, will stick to runs.

LIFE

Overall, been an excellent week. It started with Tuesday’s cribbage club, and me retaking the lead. I would’ve taken a pic (seriously, I kicked his ass!), but he took the pegs out before I could. Sore loser 😉

Thursday was time with friends. Went to M&R’s house and we had a taco bar! It included me making my tofu/potato tacos at their house. Started marinading them before work, and then just stir fried them up! Wine, fire pit, cupcakes, and good friends – excellent time, as always.

Friday was another lovely evening out. Went to a local spot in Virginia Beach – 5 star Yelp rating with over 300 reviews – and man, I know why! Not only was the food (and drinks) amazing, but it was just a lovely place. The chef/owner came out to every table to talk – I made a point of thanking him for having a hearty vegan dish (I’m often relegated to side dishes – we were at a seafood place), and he told us his wife and daughter are vegetarians, so he knows how important it is. Then we struck up a conversation with this older couple seated by us when I heard the gentleman say he was from Boston (and had HIGH expectations for good seafood). Well, I was heading there the next day, and asked for advice. 30 minutes later, the chef/owner came back, laughed, and said “I treat everyone like family – you guys are taking too long, time to get out!” All while laughing. It was funny.

Saturday was my flight to Boston in the morning, solo dinner, and then a trip to the theater (by myself – which I love to do). I saw The Irish and How They Got That Way at the Boston Stage Company. It was an interesting show/musical – 6 cast members who talked and sang about the history of the Irish, but mainly about the Irish in America, how they got here, and how they were treated. The singing was wonderful, and some of the songs were poignant and some were funny (like No Irish Need Apply – though it was about a rough time in Irish-American history). Overall, I really enjoyed it and learned something along the way.

Today was the Fine Arts Museum and a trip to Chinatown. The museum is great, and I spent most of the day there. They had a Chihuly installation – and he’s my very favorite glass artist. Ever. I’ve been all over the country and seen his work, so it was a pleasant surprise to find one there! Then it was back to the hotel to watch some March Madness and have a light dinner.

I’m really excited to see friends for dinner tomorrow night. Also excited for the reason why I’m here (the main one, anyway). The Economist – one of my fav magazines for ages – is having a Healthcare forum in Cambridge that I’ll be a part of. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting the heck out of that!

This weekend, R also had her regional robotics competition! M (older brother) and others went to go cheer her on. While they were not a finalist, they DID advance to the championships next weekend! She’s so excited and I’m so proud of her.

Finally, just some normal goofy misc pics

JEFSWYF (and why she makes me sad)

FOOD

As usual, the week after traveling means I’m digging my kitchen even more than normal. Of course I did get tofu green curry (several times!), some salad bar salads (loved the Whole Foods one since they also had tofu eggless salad, and the typical daily green smoothies. Otherwise we had one big Indian food night (talking 7 dishes!) and one night was homemade pizzas!

FITNESS

Oh yes, it’s nice to be home! Several runs and even got in a hot yoga class (man, how I miss those). Crazy schedule should be easing up for a few weeks anyway, so hopefully more yoga coming.

When I’m doing one of my longer runs, I always end up in my old neighborhood. There’s a minivan parked in front of a home that has the license plate JEFSWYF and while it used to annoy me, now it just makes me sad. Now – I don’t know who Jeff’s wife is, but I wonder if SHE knows who she is. Hear me out – it makes me sad when I hear people – especially women – who define themselves in terms of others instead of themselves. Yes, she’s clearly a wife, but that’s a role, not an identity. Based on the minivan, I’m sure she’s a mother too, and I would imagine a wonderful one. But that’s also a role and not an identity. And I realize I’m judging this woman based on her license plate, but I have known women like this in my life. Who introduce themselves in terms of their husbands instead of themselves. I’d rather know about YOU. What do you like, what makes you happy, where did you go to school, what are your views and opinions on things. And I have to say when I see license plates like that, it does make me feel a little sorry for that person. It may be unwarranted, but I’d rather see a plate that says something other than their role in a relationship. Maybe it’s because most of the women I know – my friends, family, and co-workers – are all kick-ass, educated, intelligent, and strong, that I get sad when I see a woman who may not be. I want to grab her and tell her she’s worthwhile of being her OWN person too! (Ok, rant done)

LIFE

Been a pretty good week since getting back from Vegas. It took nearly the entire time for my skin to recover tho. Ugh – dessert air and dry skin suck.

Back to some of the regularly scheduled programming, including Cribbage Club! And in last week’s edition, the student surpassed the master! Okay, it wasn’t by much, but still. I’ll have to make sure he doesn’t make a habit of it 😉

Thursday night was a night in eating Indian food. I made 7 dishes, which was probably too many, but it’s fun. My eldest had a guest come down from Canada for a long weekend, and after some drama which included a lost phone and a trip to the phone store to get it replaced, it ended up being a pretty chill and nice night.

On Friday I hit up the movies to see Tomb Raider! I remember when the first one came out – my eldest was 5 and I took her to the drive in just to see it. It was really one of the first times I remember a totally kick ass female character, and was glad A would see it.

Saturday was my 2nd fav holiday (after Halloween)! It was mostly a night in making homemade pizzas, playing Exploding Kittens, and watching movies. Went out briefly, but was just as happy to chill at home.

Sunday was the regional robotics competition that my youngest R is in! She had a great time and it was a ton of fun to see the robot wars and how incredibly talented these future engineers are. They’re all so supportive and honestly – silly. Between major rounds there was the tendency to bust out into some serious group dances.

Then it was back to work and normal routines! Oh, except one thing. I FINISHED THE FIRST TERM OF MY DOCTORAL PROGRAM THIS WEEKEND!!! WOO. Next term starts April 9, so a few weeks to chill and read my trashy vampire books before getting down to business once again.

Hope you’re all having an amazing week too!

Vegas, Baby!

FOOD

Aside from whipping up an awesome Indian meal late last week (garlic naan, tofu korma, & cumin basmati), most my meals have been in Vegas since last Saturday. I did grab a lot of cold pressed juices this week, though failed to take pics of them. There’s a place at our hotel (Palazzo) called The Juice Farm. My fav was the beet, orange, ginger, parsley, collard one. Beets are great for the liver, and since Vegas is NOT great for the liver, the juices were a must! I tend to gravitate towards Asian food, and while I didn’t snap enough pics of the yummy eats – they really were yummy. Veggie sushi, edamame, green curry, roasted eggplant, congee, sake, and tofu bibimbap.

FITNESS

Runs last week is it. This week was mostly a ton of walking, both on the conference room floor and of course on the Vegas Strip.

LIFE

VEGAS BABY! But I’m pretty sure you already knew that 😉

Before I tell you WHY I’m here, let me tell you how I got here! So – the east coast was hit with a nor’easter that grounded thousands of flights for days. While it had passed by Saturday (barely), some flights were still affected. Funny enough, 3 of my co-workers flew a different airline and left on time. My flight – on Delta – was supposed to leave at the same time – but was delayed 2 hrs (the plane coming was late). So first the ticket agent tells me I’ll have to spend the night in Atlanta. Okay, not the end of the world. I have a girlfriend there that I would love to see, so if that was the case, I’d just call E and crash with her! But then….the ticket agent says “well, I can get you there tonight, but it’s going to be ugly”. Um okay. Define ugly. Norfolk – Atlanta – Kansas City – Salt Lake City – Vegas. Huh. Okaaaaay. Since I have nothing better to do, why not?? So I proceeded on a cross country adventure. They smartly put my luggage on a flight heading to Vegas from Atlanta that had no seats on it, but rather than risk losing my bag with so many hops, my bag made it to Vegas before I did. However….it did get there pretty much the same time my colleagues arrived, so they grabbed it for me and took it with them so I could just cab straight to the hotel! They’re the best. And honestly, Delta did great. The delays were not their fault, they still got me to my destination in one piece, and I was upgraded to comfort + or First Class when it was available and gave me Sky Priority so I’d board really early. Longest layover was in Atlanta, where I found a spot to hang out and charge my stuff!

Me and several co-workers were there for a conference – (HIMSS – the largest healthcare IT conference). Overall, it was a really great conference. Since accepting a new role with a focus on innovation and start-ups, coming to it this year was a totally different experience. Typically I’m meeting with vendors I already had, or those in the space where I was investigating new technologies for my customers. This time it was attending the Innovation Symposium, meeting with institutions who are or have built a similar program to what I’m working on. Looking at and meeting with small start-ups to identify potential opportunities. It can be an overwhelming show for sure, but I really did enjoy it and learned a ton this week.

And you can’t come to Vegas for a week and NOT have fun too! Three of my girlfriends flew in to spend part of the week together. The four of us had traveled to Vegas before several years ago (for AC’s bday), so it was like getting the band back together again!

Also on a total fluke, my cousin was here for one day for her job! She and I hadn’t seen each other since our Grandma passed away 9 years ago. We grew up in WI, but I moved to VA and she moved to CO – both within a few months of each other 14 years ago, and none of our travels to visit family overlapped except for the funeral. We had lunch and caught up, and were just happy to be able to connect.

Otherwise it was a little bit of gambling (okay, one night where I played blackjack down in Old Vegas), lots of walking, chilling out, and a show.

And of course, there’s the obligatory Kuma and Ginny pics!

Okay friends, about to head to the airport for my journey home. I’m definitely ready for my own bed, a full night’s sleep (I hope), and the ability to focus on all the school work I’m currently behind on!