Not Only Cucumbers Get Pickled!

I wanted to take a moment from my regularly scheduled blogging to say hello and thank you.  I started this blog just over a year ago as a way to document my adventures in training for the Shamrock Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon, as well as my cooking and life adventures.  In the beginning, I don’t think anyone really read it, except for the occasional family member.  As the year has gone by, and I’ve run a few races (including my first FULL marathon), I started looking at my stat counter and where readers are actually from.  Most are family and friends that I know personally, but I’ve been seeing more and more readers that I DON’T know.  I can’t tell you how excited I get when I see people who’ve stumbled upon my blog from one link or another, and I am very happy that my writing may entertain or inform you just a bit.  So feel free to say hi, post a comment, send me an email, follow my Facebook page, or forward me on to anyone else who needs a laugh!  And if you have a blog you’d like me to read – send it on!  I love reading other people’s stories (not only on being vegan or running), and connecting with everyone out there.  So keep reading, and don’t be shy!

Well as predicted, I went a little ape on the baking Tuesday evening and yesterday.  It was a lot of fun, and I had a blast putting together my gift buckets (2 for $1 at the dollar store – WAY cheaper than cookie tins!).

cooling sugar cookies and chocolate chip!  I know chocolate chip cookies aren’t exactly holiday style, but who doesn’t love them?!

 After they cooled, I put them in my tins to clear up counter space.

 Brandied fruit bars.  I pretty much winged it on this one.  I have a recipe from a Holiday Cookie book that I used as a guideline.  I had dried tropical fruits on hand, so I used that (simmered in brandy to soften).  Instead of orange or apricot marmalade, I used a peach-mango preserve.  I didn’t actually eat one, but A said it was really good!

 mini lemon bundt cakes.  Another recipe from the Joy of Vegan Baking, though instead of one big bundt cake, I made 12 little ones!

 Pumpkin spice muffins.

 chocolate brownies.  R was a little afraid at first that I made them only for my friends…but I promised there would be some left over for her.

 The packed little bucket of baked goods

Buckets for all!

The festivities were scheduled to start between 4 and 430.  Since I threw the group together, I wanted to be there early.  D got home from work around 345, and we left right away.  He didn’t stay of course (this was a girls night, after all!), but he was my designated driver (hello.  It’s called Wine Wednesday!).  He stopped in, said hi to a couple of the girls where were already there, and then proceeded to rearrange the buckets on the table so they were in color order, and no two colors were next to each other.  He’s so cute.

Most of the girls were able to make it, so there were 10 of us total, and we had a really good time.  We drank several bottles of red wine (two of the girls got a bottle of white!), some appetizers to share, and regular meals too (though I didn’t….apparently wine was the only nourishment I wanted).  We pooled some gift cards (A still had the gift card she won at my house at our Vegas party last spring!), so between that one and two other’s in the group, we each only paid $20 out of pocket.  Not too shabby!

I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, and if I had been thinking, I’d have asked our waitress to take a picture of the group.  Alas…hindsight and all.

 This is me before the festivities began. 

 A couple of the girls, D and A…

 H and D…

 and C and C!

 And while I didn’t get a picture of her, L made me homemade pepper vodka!  It’s special for my bloody mary’s!  I have to wait 7-10 days, so I think this will be perfect on New Year’s.  And I’m REALLY excited to do something with those peppers too!

D came and picked me up from Carrabba’s around 8.  He arrived earlier than I was ready to leave (which was my fault since I texted him that we were wrapping up).  All the girls wanted him to come inside, but he refused since he was in jammies.  None of us would have cared, but that’s okay.  They all did come by the van to see him though, so they likely saw his jammies anyway!

I was quite pickled, and went to bed shortly after getting home.  Today was a working from home day, so that was good.  I was surprisingly not feeling badly when I woke up – just thirsty!  D kissed me goodbye, and left for work.  I had coffee and some toast!

R wanted to go to her daycare today because her friend was back from vacation and she wanted to play with him.  So I took her for a quick haircut and off to day care before running home for my team meeting webex.  Between catching up on emails, I finished the laundry and the kids picked up the house.  I decided it was time to workout!  I didn’t want to run outside (just not up to the cold, and I’m still lacking in good cold weather running pants), and the treadmill still isn’t situated in the new gym upstairs.  I also didn’t feel like hoofing it to the gym to workout there, so I busted out a workout DVD and used my (pitiful) hand weights and exercise bands.  It was a good workout though, and I busted through an hour of squats, push ups, lunges, and other crazy stuff. 

After my workout, I really wanted something hearty to eat.  I had only picked at a few things during the day, and was finally feeling really hungry!  I came across this split pea soup recipe reading Susan’s blog yesterday, and since I had everything on hand, I whipped up a batch in my pressure cooker.  D and A had some too, and I proceeded to can the rest in my pressure canner, and have 6 jars cooling on my counter as I type this!

By dinner time, I really just wanted something light and full of intense nutrients.  Enter the green smoothie!!!  Today’s smoothie had one cup of water, one cored (but not peeled) green apple, some frozen pineapple, an orange, a lime, and a handful of spinach.  I was looking for my flax seed, but am apparently out.  Anyway, it whipped up this day-glow green concoction that was very good.  It was VERY tart – and maybe next time I’ll only use half a lime.  But it was still really tasty!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!!  Hard to believe that it’s already here.  I plan to do a lot of cooking tomorrow, gift wrapping, and hopefully go for a nice run while it’s sunny!

 My pea soup.  It was really very tasty.  Another amazing recipe from FatFreeVegan!  With the leftovers canned already, I won’t run out any time soon!

 My green smoothie before the Vitamix blended it…

…and after!  Notice the Disney Tervis?  Yeah…I just got that last week!

So now I’m ready to wind down for the night and hopefully get a good night’s sleep.  So good night everyone….and don’t forget to say HI!


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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

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