Tofu, Ghost’s, and Camping! What’s Not to Love About That??


Three of the past 5 days have been spent traveling, so my meals have been mostly salads, coffee, and the like.  I made a big batch of my spicy tofu soup, so that was good.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a soup mood!

I attempted my first camping-related dehydrator experiment.  I had read that you can dehydrate pretty much anything and be good to go.  Can of peas?  No problem.  Cooked rice?  Absolutely (and brilliant I think – making my own Minute Rice!). Bread?  Why not (though I picture the Lord of the Rings final movie where Sam whines about the elven bread…thinking it’ll be something like that).

I had made a big crock pot of my red beans and rice last week, and froze half of it.  After reading the camping books, I thought it would be PERFECT for a camp recipe.    Beans are tricky though.  Over dehydrate, and you end up with powder.  So I set the timer for 12 hrs (based on the books as a guesstimate), and left from there.  After 8 hours, the beans and sauce were perfect.  Unfortunately…there was sausage in there (added for D), and they didn’t dehydrate fully, which could go rancid (another reason why meat is gross).  If I dehydrated it enough to dry the sausage, the beans would be powder.  The key is to dehydrate each ingredient separately, and then combine them after the fact for reconstitution.  I even have a (very old) food saver I’m going to use.  Alas.  I’ll try something else soon.

I also made a batch of pinto beans in my rice cooker ala JL Goes Vegan.  I used pinto beans, onion, garlic, Sirach, and veggie broth, but followed the same concept.  They turned out well enough to use in burritos and the like, so I packed them up and put them in the fridge.

Yesterday was both a good and bad food day.  I woke up WAY earlier than the rest of the family (as usual), and made a cup of coffee in the hotel and read while waiting for everyone else.  Of course D and the kids wanted to go out for breakfast, and I was saving myself for the Whole Foods buffet bar.  So here I am – up at 630 am, and it’s after 11 before we’re finally sitting down to eat.  At Ihop.  I’m cranky and feeling sorry for myself because I was up the longest, I’m starving, and I have to wait for them to eat their omelets and such before I can finally eat (no WAY I was wasting myself on stinking oatmeal when that buffet was awaiting me).  So I pouted for a bit that my family couldn’t just be happy eating like me for once – and that I’m always the one sacrifice any variety in my diet for them when it comes to dining out.  I got over it after having a glass of tomato juice and a side salad, which took the edge off my starvation and annoyance.

Anyway, by the time I got my buffet, it was almost 2.  I ate several yummy things while they watched.  I was too hungry to take a picture, sorry!

When I got home from the weekend trip, I found several big bags of bounty from AT’s garden on my porch!  She had texted me earlier in the day that she dropped some off.  “Some” is an understatement!  I’ve already decided that I’m going to grate the monster zucchini in my kitchen aid attachment, use some to make bread, and freeze the rest for later use.

The only thing not shown here is the HUGE bag of tomatoes she left too.

This morning was a veggie V7 juice (tomato, kale, onion, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, hot pepper).  It was all fresh from AT’s garden except the kale, which was a gift from one of D’s co-workers.  So woo hoo!

Lunch today was some macro Hunan dumplings I picked up at Whole Foods.  They were awesome.  I munched on a banana during my afternoon meeting, and then had a salad and quesadilla (Daiya cheddar cheese, my rice-cooker pinto beans, and onion) for dinner.  A very tasty food day!


My highlight is definitely Friday.  During my lunch time (between meetings), I went to the Y and swam.  First workout since I hurt my back!  I took it easy – doing 15 total laps for a total of 750 yds.  I took my time and didn’t push it, but it felt good.  I could feel the tension in my back most of the time, but it wasn’t painful really, just present.  I promised D that if I started to hurt, I’d stop.

The swim took about 25 minutes total, and then I sat it the hot tub for 10 minutes before taking a quick shower and leaving.  I think I was giddy all day because of it.

I did a lot of walking this weekend, and some of it got to me, but I hung in there.  Saturday night we did a guided walk for an hour and a half.  We hoofed it all over Richmond.  I figure that had to count for something.

I was hoping to run today, but my long afternoon meeting left my back really sore from sitting.  I have a chiropractor appt tomorrow, so I decided it would be prudent to wait until after that. 


The past few days have been a blur…but a happy blur.

I worked Thursday and Friday, though I don’t recall much about it now.  I finished the wash and was excited to put the drying rack out on the back deck.  For once, we had gorgeous weather – low 80’s, no humidity, and wonderful!

The Triathlon was this weekend, and while I wasn’t able to do it, we had already booked (and paid for via Hotwire) the hotel in Richmond, so we decided to go anyway.  At the last minute (Friday morning), we decided to add an additional night and leave Friday instead of Saturday, stay in Williamsburg, and really make a weekend out of it.

I took Sammie to the Pet Hotel for her weekend fun/spa treatments Friday afternoon before we left town.  She was all booked for doggie day camp, ice cream social, and grooming.

We hit the road around 530pm on Friday, checked into the hotel by 7 in Williamsburg, and went to Busch Gardens.  The reason we went was really to see their Illuminights display.  Since we missed fireworks on the 4th due to storms, we’d been wanting to hit Busch Gardens to make up for it. 

We had a blast.  Each country was decked out in lights, and at 930, we got to see an awesome fireworks display.  The D, the kids, and I had a great time (as usual) and we were back to the hotel by 1030.

The hotel wasn’t great – there are no really NICE hotels in Williamsburg (they’re serviceable…but not 4 star!).  Internet didn’t work, the beds were lumpy, and my husband snored like a freight train (allergies I think, since it’s not common), so it was a LONG night.

Saturday morning we went to breakfast and then to the Williamsburg outlet mall and spent way too much time and money there (though it was all things we needed to get).  D hasn’t really gotten new clothes in a long time, and the kids’ all seem to have outgrown all their clothes and shoes.  D got some hiking pants and socks too, which was quite a score with the discounts.

We left there around 1230 and went to Richmond – which is only about a half hour north of where we were.  We stayed at the Berkeley hotel in the downtown area.  I got a heck of a deal on hotwire ($92 for a normally $250 hotel room) and it was in a great location.  We walked around the cobblestone street area, going into a local bookstore where we picked up a few things and got to chat to the very nice and knowledgeable store clerk, a coffee shop, and just walking around and admiring the area.

That afternoon was a trip to Dave and Busters to let the kids play and use up the tickets they earned during M’s birthday dinner back in WI.

In the evening, it was off to the Eeerie Nights Ghost Tour!  We walked the half mile to the 17th St Farmer’s Market in Richmond where the tour starts.  It was a suprirsingly big group, and we spent an hour and a half walking through Richmond and listening to the stories of scary historic deeds long past, and the possible ghost sitings they caused.  It was campy, but fun.  It was a beautiful night, and while R may have really been taken by the stories (in a fun way), it was pretty cool to hear the actual stories.  I will say that a couple of the stories did not portray Virginia nicely – such as the slave trades, the Lumpkin Slave Prison (which is where the Amtrak station now is!), and other horrific things that were done.  But they were still good stories to hear since we really shouldn’t forget the mistakes of the past. 

The 17th St Farmer's Marker

our tour guide!

the canal area
the state capitol building
governor's mansion

Sunday was all about REI and Whole Foods.  After breakfast, we went straight to REI, where we spent about 2 hrs poking around.  D – newly on his hiking and camping kick – was talking to everyone who worked there to learn as much as he could.  I pretty much corralled the kids the entire time, which was still fun.  We picked up a few things, but mostly picked up information.  And now EVERYONE is excited to try camping!

R checking out a tent D was eyeing for his solo ventures

hiding in the sleeping bag

After REI was Whole Foods, which was then really my turn to get giddy and happy.  I picked up groceries I can only get there, and while we were walking around – saw a live beehive display.  I don’t eat honey, but D does, so we took some pictures of the beehive, and the beehive guy was there giving honey taste tests, which D partook of.  It was cute.

After that, we were going to hit Cary Town to shop, walk around, and so I could go to Penzy’s spices, but it was already after 2 and we wanted to head home.  It was a nice drive (D drove, I read mostly), and we were home by 5.  We emptied the van and spent the rest of the night relaxing.  It was a great weekend.  It toally made up for my lack of ability to do the Tri.

Today was back to normal for everyone, but it was still a good day.  I picked up Sammie, who had a great time, and was all bright and clean and happy.  Her “report card” indicated she did just fine, and all the staff came out to say goodbye and tell us what a sweetie she is.  She must have had fun, because she passed out as soon as we got into the van, and hasn’t moved much since!

tired puppy!

So there’s my recap of the past 5 days!  Sorry it’s so long…I just don’t seem capable of a short post! 


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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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