Darla Has a Twisted Sense of Humor


It was nice having the day off with the kids yesterday, which meant time for cooking!  Crock pots and cookies, oh my! 

Breakfast was pancakes (which will always be R’s default breakfast request).  She doesn’t like to eat foods she’s unfamiliar with.  I sometimes wish she would be more adventurous, but then I remember that it is this reluctance to try new food that has probably saved her life.  With her nut allergy being so severe, if she was more open to “lunch swapping” at school or eating random things when not at home under my watchful eye, I shudder to think what could have happened.

Lunch was leftover butternut squash soup with some spicy black eyed peas added to it to make it more robust and filling.  It worked, and it was a fun flavor combination with the natural sweetness of the soup with the squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and the siracha-spiced garlicky black eyed peas.  I’ll have to do that again.

For dinner, I made a crock pot deconstructed cabbage roll dish.  I loved cabbage rolls when I was a kid.  My mom didn’t make them ever, but I remember having them at buffets and maybe even hot lunch at school.  So I decided to make my own version.  However, I’m inherently lazy, so the idea of steaming a head of cabbage just to have leaves that are easy to roll is not a thrilling concept.  Instead, I threw all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooked it on low for 7 hours.  I chopped up an entire green cabbage, 12 ounces of chopped up tempeh, a diced onion, a can of diced tomatoes with their juices, minced garlic, 2 cups of cooked barley, dill weed, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of sugar.  This is based on a recipe for the Vegetarian Slow Cooker book that I love so much.  And it was fabulous!

Before turning the crock pot on

DINNER!!!  Very tasty, and very filling

Between all this, I ate a piece of the blueberry cake-ish thing I made the other day, and also made a batch of cookies from the vegan cookie book my parents got me for Christmas.  There’s a chapter in the book on cookies that mimic and veganize mass produced cookies.  I made the recipe for Vanilla Wafers, and it was a HUGE hit.  The entire family loved them.  They’re crispy and chewy at the same time, and have a great flavor.  So between those, the blueberry cake thingy, and a batch of brownies D made on Sunday, my kitchen is overflowing with desserts!  I guess there are worse things….

Blueberry fun.  It’s a bit gooey, but tastes like a coffee shop muffin.

The cookies before they hit the oven.  One thing I’ve noticed with this cookbook, is all the cookies are cooked on parchment paper.  Certainly makes clean up easier!

My very own awesome vanilla wafers!

This morning was a very busy morning, so I ended up eating a Clif bar after we dropped R off at at school.  Lunch was some popcorn while on the road.  Dinner was a mish mash of things I picked up at the grocery here in Morehead (business trip).  I grabbed a microwaveable Healthy Choice soup (that I haven’t actually eaten…but it’s there if I get hungry!) and a vegan sushi wrap (that I DID eat because I love those) with avocado, cucumber, lettuce, and carrot in a rice paper wrap.

even has a cute little plate!

I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  I went to the hotel website last night to see if the rooms came with a refrigerator and microwave.  I really wanted to pack some of the leftovers of my cabbage stuff to make sure I’d have good food.  The hotel room description did not mention anything, so I didn’t pack anything.  I was saddened a bit to find that my room has both!  Alas…at least I have a place to put my breakfast fruit and water bottles for tomorrow.


I am whole again!  I have a training calendar taped to my fridge for me to check off my workouts!  I spent a portion of Monday reading about Triathlon training, and came up with the attached 11 week training plan to get me through Smithfield.  Woo hoo!  It’s not just a nebulous goal now.  I now have direction on how to get there.

Smithfield Triathlon Training Schedule!

After dropping R off at school and picking up my rental car, I went to the Y to do a swim workout before hitting the road.  I do have to say that I am absolutely loving the swimming – more than anything else (even the running).  It’s funny because I can’t listen to my audio books or anything else, but I feel such peace in the water.  I’ve missed that, and am regretful that I didn’t keep up with swimming after I got out of the Navy.  Alas, at least it’s a passion rediscovered, right?

For the last week and a half, I’ve had swim workouts printed out and in a baggie to keep at the edge of the pool to keep me on track with my workout.  I was mortified today to find it missing from my swim bag this morning.  I had to wing it, and ended up doing 900 yds, and I’m pretty sure I was close to my intended workout.  I did 200 yds of warm ups, 150 yds pull, 150 yds kick board, 3 x 50 yds of sprints, another 150 yds of pull, and 100 yds of a cool down.  It’s my longest swim yet, and it felt great.  It’s weird, though, to not be all sweaty and nasty after.  Almost feels like I’m cheating!  I sat in the hot tub for a few before jumping in the shower. 


Most of Monday was spent cooking and puttering about the house.  I cleaned the floors, did the dishes, some laundry, some research, got some work done, and basically stayed in my jammies!  The kids played a lot, ran around, and drove me crazy.  All told, a good Monday.

I spent a few minutes packing an overnight bag before bed on to get ready for a brief work trip.  I also packed my swim bag, so all I had to do was get up, get the family ready to go, and head out.  D and I took R to school together, and then he took me to the car rental place (work pays for a car for this – can’t fly to where I’m going and get there any faster, so I have the option of taking my own car or letting them spring for one.  Seems a no brainer to me!). 

Today was spent traveling to Morehead City, NC.  I have meetings down here all day on Wednesday, so I took the drive down after my swim this morning. 

Darla said it would take 5 hours to get here.  If she had her way, it would have taken twice that!  For my newer readers….Darla is my GPS unit.  I finally got one about a year ago when I got lost getting to a rental house in Nags Head for a girls weekend.  S was yelling at me for not having one, and actually bought me one that was on sale at BJ’s wholesale club.  Anyway, the first time I used her (she has a female voice), she was telling me to get over to the right to prepare to turn right.  She kept repeating herself because I wasn’t getting over (traffic was brutal), and I blurted out “Shut Up Darla!”.  So she’s been Darla ever since.  I take her with me when I travel, and everyone calls her Darla.  Even my Dad when we were in Chicago…it was hilarious to hear him say “sush…stop talking, I’m trying to hear what Darla’s saying”.

Anyway, Darla has a sick sense of humor.  She always gets me to where I need to be, but she often takes me in the most round about ways possible.  Today was no exception.  Most of the drive I was on Hwy 17.  Each time there was a Hwy 17 Business Route in every little side town I was in, she made me get off the highway, then gave me conflicting directions until I was lost (always in the least happy parts of the town I was driving through), and she basically made me crazy.  I finally caught on to her game after the third time she did it to me.  Eventually after I ignored her enough, she’d get with the program.  It ended up taking me 4 hours to get here instead of 5, so that was a bonus.  And just goes to show again how much she likes to torment me.

About the drive, I do have to say it was very sad.  There isn’t an interstate that connects the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Virginia Beach area of VA where I live and Morehead City.  I had to take local roads and highways all the way down, and it took me through some very dreary places.  Most of what I drove through seemed to me to be the poorest areas I have ever seen, and it made my heart break.  It probably didn’t help that the sky was gray and threatening rain the entire time. 

However, I do have to say that Morehead City is kind of pretty.  My hotel is nice and sits on the water, and while it’s a lot of strip malls where I am, it doesn’t seem even remotely as rural as what I drove through all day.  Just down the street is the UNC Marine Sciences center, and I bet that in the summer, the beaches here are hopping.  I hope that if I need to come down here again (which I’m pretty positive I will), that it will be in nicer weather!

My view.  See what I mean about a dreary day?  Imagine what it would look like on a warm and sunny day?

So here I am, in my hotel room, and what I should be doing is getting ready for my meetings tomorrow.  So that’s what I’m going to do!  Good night!

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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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