Monthly Archives: September 2011

Zombies, Monsters, and Pool Popularity

FOOD

In light of the fact that I haven’t posted in nearly 6 days, I’m not going to do a play by play of all the meals this week.  I will say I ate healthy and well all week.  I was very gluten-lite, and I love how I feel when eating like this.  Lot of hummus-based snacks, fresh juices, little caffeine (yep, on that kick again), soups, stews, and pastas (mostly gluten-free, but one night it wasn’t).

Here are a few picture highlights:

avocado hummus with my raw crackers as a snack at work

black bean ancho chili tacos from Taco Tuesday! Definitely on of the highlights of my week!

dinner BAS with homemade dressing

acorn squash alfredo sauce over brown rice pasta, peas, corn, and carrots

FITNESS

This week has been all pretty much yoga until today.

A few weeks ago, I bought an Active Schwaggle (think Groupon, but for active-related lifestyle) for half off at H20 Audio.  I redeemed it this past week for a waterproof iPod armband and headphones.  They came yesterday, so I just HAD to hit the pool today.  What a great motivator, let me tell you.

H20 Audio's nano armband holder

waterproof headphones

It worked great.  I have an iPod nano, but they make armbands for all iPod sizes.  I swam for a half hour, and even found myself sprinting during faster paced songs.

The reactions at the pool were funny.  When I hopped into the water, one of the Dad’s there ran over to warn me I was getting my iPod wet.  He thought I had forgotten it was there.  After my workout, and after I was in the whirlpool, I was bombarded by the lifeguard’s asking me questions about it.  It was pretty neat.

LIFE

This has been a rough week.  My project was going live on Wednesday night, and we were still having some last-minute issues.  Tuesday was tense as it took the team all day to work through the last one.

Go live night came at 8pm, and it seemed like everything was going well.  When we were nearly finished – a file corrupted and we had to start from scratch.  At 2am.  Miraculously it worked and we had all the users back online by 7am – before the workday really started.  Thank goodness.  It did mean being up all night unexpectedly though.

I will say that pacing around my house at 2am with my headset on running a perpetual conference call, it was a tough call between the espresso machine and the bottle of wine!

I canceled all my Thursday appts, and went to bed at 9am for a 3 hour nap.  I was (gladly) committed to a happy hour event that evening already, so I threw on jeans and a sweater, and hit up a German pub with the group for a couple pints of decompression.

Friday was a busy day with back to back meetings.  After work, AC and I hooked up for some shoe and makeup shopping, and then for a nice dinner.  I was home by 10 and went straight to bed…..

And woke up at 10am on Saturday!  I was so excited – I can’t remember the last time I slept like that.  Right after I woke up, I had a text from S asking what I was up to.  When I told her I just woke up, she suggested breakfast, so we met up for that.  During breakfast, we decided that an outlet mall trip to Williamsburg was in order, and after going home and taking a quick shower, I picked her up around 130.  Another last-minute decision (since we were in WB anyway), we went to Busch Gardens!  It’s opening weekend of Howl-O-Scream, and we had a blast.

I’m really glad we went…Howl-O-Scream is my favorite time of year, and I was feeling a bit depressed about missing out on going to DC this weekend.  The family and I were going to head up, but the major rain storms killed those plans.  S and I managed to keep mostly dry as we rode rides and went through haunted mazes.

So while it was a tough week, at least it’s over and everything worked out okay in the end!

A few parting shots for ya…

my eldest children after dinner on Wednesday, doing some bizarre Sumo-type dance thing

which then turned into patty cake

 

Sammie trying to sneak into the dining room while we're eating

and then pretending that she didn't notice that I busted her trying to sneak in!

some of the new direction signs at BG

S and I

 

Someone Called Me EASY!

FOOD

I had a lunchtime smoothie/shake yesterday that was so awesome, I had it again for breakfast today.  It’s simple, but sometimes the best things are.  Nothing overly fancy…just a cup of vanilla soymilk, a frozen banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, and a scoop of Chocolate Vega powder.  It reminds me of chocolate malts when I was a kid!

We were supposed to go to Busch Garden’s yesterday, but our plans changed.  My husband was worried about the rain, so we ended up not going.  That meant leftover Creamy Winter Squash Bake for dinner.  I’m not complaining…except that it’s now gone!

I made a batch of raw crackers yesterday totally inspired by Gena’s Choosing Raw version!  My only difference was the pulp I used.  I used the pulp from my morning juice (romaine, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon, and cucumber).  I also used 2 tsp’s of the Spicy Sesame Salad Sprinkle from the Xmas Spice Kit.

I'm still not making perfect squares...but it'll still scoop up hummus as well as any other cracker!

my container of raw crackers

They came out perfectly.  I’ve had some more misses than hits when it comes to the crackers and breads in the dehydrator.  I figured it out – I’m not a fan of flax meal.  I know, I know….blasphemous vegan….and while I like whole flax-seed crackers – I can’t stand the flax meal.  The beautiful thing about Gena’s recipe is that it uses ground pumpkin and chia seeds!  I threw those in the Vitamix and made a nice flour out of them.  And now I have to order more in bulk – especially since getting the mega-mason jars from my Dad last week!

they're HUGE. Perfect for storing my bulk seeds and gluten-free flour blends.

Lunch was a black bean, veggie, and rice wrap and a pomegranate smoothie.  Very tasty, and ridiculously filling.  I’m not going to be hungry for hours!

On a fun food front…I’ve signed up to participate in this year’s Vegan MoFo!  In a nutshell….you blog at least 5 days a week for the entire month of October about vegan food.  Food you make, food you eat, whatever – but it’s all about vegan food.  I woke up this morning with my theme pretty well cemented in my head, so I’m pretty excited.  I have a lot of work and kitchen experimenting to do (I know, the horror, right?), but I’m really stoked.

FITNESS

I went for a run yesterday!  It was a gentle run, but was still wonderful.  I did 2 miles – very sloooooow miles, but I was still happy to be outside and moving.

I went iPod free as planned, and it was pleasantly nice.  When neighbors said hello, I actually heard and acknowledged them!  And it was such a beautiful day, that I didn’t need a distraction.  I imagine it being one of my few runs since early July helped – I was just so happy to be out, that I didn’t need an audiobook or music to lose myself in.

My back is still sore, but I’m working with it.  My doctor and I both have the goal to have me back and doing what I love, so I’m cautiously optimistic.  I’m not dumb enough (this time) to push it too hard and re-injur myself, but at the same time, it’s tough to not lace up and run out the door after a tough (or not so tough) day.

LIFE

After my run and smoothie yesterday, D headed out with A to do some driving.  He was supposed to be back by 2 so we could head up to Williamsburg, but he apparently changed everyone’s plans.  He and A got back around 330 instead, so we ended up not going.

I went to S’s house instead.  I was getting cabin fever, and I’ll admit to being severely disappointed for not getting to go to the last day of the regular season at BG.  S was sweet enough to let me in (I brought wine) and we hung out and caught up for a few hours.  It was very nice.

Today has been meetings, dentists, and x-rays!  After my first morning meeting, I had my routine dentist appt.  Both good and bad news I’m afraid.  One the good side – my hygenist said I’m easy!  Probably one of the few times that could be construed as a compliment.  My teeth are clean and had no tartar build up.  On the bad news…I’ve finally cracked my molar (stupid teeth grinding and clenching) and have to get a ceramic crown in 2 weeks.

After I saw my Dr a little over a week ago, she wanted me to try taking Aleve 2x per day for a week to see if my back pain was being caused by inflammation.  After the week, I was to e-mail her to let her know how it went.  And while I think it’s slowly getting better, it still is a constant ache.  So….it’s now time for X-rays (no gloating Dad) and a referral to Ortho.  I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but I guess we’ll see.  She ordered the tests first thing this morning (had replied to my email about 15 min after I sent it), and I got my X-rays done during my lunch.  More to come on that I’m sure.

One fun thing about a rainy weekend was R and her legos.  She’s been obsessed with it since opening the box Tuesday, and she actually assembled the entire 1000+ piece pirate ship!  Now I imagine she’ll get her Sponge Bob legos from her room and find a way to have him drive the ship….

such a serious expression!

So now I have to really get planning!  I have a guest blog to finish up, and my MoFo organizing to get underway!  There are worse things than being busy doing things you enjoy 😉

2 Movies in One Weekend, Great Food, and Finally a Good Night’s Sleep!

FOOD

It’s been a pretty rainy weekend, which meant spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen!  The weather has also turned (hello, 30 degree difference in less than 24 hrs), so it’s finally fall – and that means warm and comforting food.

One of the recipes I threw together was in an effort to use up the last of my cut up butternut squash before it went bad.  I love green bean casserole, so I wanted to do something similar, but with squash.  This is what I came out with, and I have to say I loved it!  I probably could have pre-cooked the squash a bit more though, so keep that in mind if you make it.

Crissie’s Creamy Winter
Squash Bake

This recipe would handle most leftover
vegetables well.  It’s gluten-light the
way I made it, but could easily be gluten-free if omitting the breadcrumbs.

Ingredients 

*1 clove garlic — minced

*1/2 medium onion — finely chopped

*1 can green beans

*1 small package of Brussel sprouts – steamed

*3-4 cup butternut squash peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

*3 tbsp Earth’s balance soy-free vegan margarine

*3 tbsp flour (I used a gluten-free blend, but any flour will work)

*1.5 cup coconut milk

*1 tsp lemon juice

*1/2 tsp thyme

*1/2 tsp oregano

*1 cup elbow macaroni (cooked.  I used Quinoa noodles to keep gluten-free)

*Nutritional Yeast to Taste

*Bread Crumbs

*Salt and pepper to taste

 Directions

1. Lightly spray a casserole dish.

2. Sauté onions and garlic over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until
soft.  Add squash, cover, and cook for 10
minutes.

3. Add green beans, squash mixture, and cooked pasta into the
casserole dish.

4. Make a white sauce.  Melt the
margarine over medium-high heat.  Add
flour and mix until very well combined.
Slowly add coconut milk, stirring constantly to eliminate any
clumps.  Continue to cook until mixture
thickens.  Add thyme, oregano, salt, and
pepper.

5. Pour white sauce over vegetables and pasta, and mix well.

6. Sprinkle the top with nutritional yeast and bread crumbs.

7. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

I really liked this, and it made plenty of leftovers for the week.

Last night, dinner was with a couple girlfriends before going to a movie.  We went out for Thai (always a favorite), and I actually DIDN’T get tofu green curry!  I got the sweet and sour tofu.  While it was very good – it wasn’t as good as my green curry is.

This morning I woke up early after a very good night’s sleep (that was highly overdue).  I decided to make a few batches of homemade gluten-free doughnuts from my new Allergy-Free Desserts cookbook.  I made the actual doughnuts baked in my groovy pans, but also used a good portion of the dough (I made a double batch) to make some fried doughnut holes.  I will admit – I did that in an attempt to get my husband to eat them.  I never fry anything.  I think frying food is disgusting and messy and incredibly unhealthy.  However – I do know that D is struggling with this gluten-free thing, and gets ridiculously tired of healthy food.  I thought I’d compromise a bit with the doughnut holes.

I left some of the doughnuts plain, dipped some in powdered sugar, and some in cinnamon.  I think they came out great – though a bit dense.  The kids loved them.  D didn’t.  I wonder if I told him that I bought them at Krispy Creme would change his mind!?  🙂

This evening is a planned lentil-sloppy joe dinner with cole slaw, but that may change if we do end up at Busch Garden’s this afternoon.

I also made fresh juice today for the first time in a few weeks.  I love juice, and am going to use the leftover pulp to make some raw crackers.

juice ingredients

LIFE

Friday night D and I actually went out to the movies.  It’s been months since I’ve seen something at a theater, and so we were really excited.  We picked Drive since it was rated 8.8/10 and looked from the previews looked like a fun action movie.  I won’t go into too many details, but neither of us liked it.  It was awkward with little action – except the violence scenes which were over-the-top and excessive.  Oh well.

Our original plan was to go to Busch Gardens on Saturday evening.   Unfortunately, it rained ALL day, so that killed those plans.

I woke up at 7, and headed to the lab to get my blood drawn at 8 when they opened.  Nothing bad, just typical yearly physical stuff.  The place was a zoo, so it was after 9 by the time I got out of there.

I met up with D and R at the pool for a bit, then we all went back home.  D took R to her gymnastics while I stayed home and puttered about the kitchen making a bunch of different things.

Late in the afternoon, AC planned a girls night for dinner and a movie.  She really wanted to see the latest Sarah Jessica Parker flick.  I decided I was a really good friend because I went…to a chick flick…with a rating of 3.7/10 on IMDB.  I started trying to figure out how to smuggle wine into the theater.

Pleasantly enough – the movie was cute.  I’d give it a solid 6/10.  AC, L, and I had a nice time.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve gotten together, so despite the rain killing my original plans, the evening turned out nicely anyway!

Today the plan is to go up to Busch Garden’s around 2.  The rain has stopped, and while it’s still chilly (70 degrees), it’ll be great jeans and sweater weather to roam around the park for the last normal day of the season.  Next weekend Howl-O-Scream opens (my very favorite time of year – the entire theme park gets haunted for a month), so today is our last chance for many of the rides.

I can’t express how much I needed this weekend.  It’s been a very busy and chaotic couple of weeks, and this coming week at work will likely be much of the same…but just having a couple of days to feel normal again has been great.  Hopefully this peaceful feeling will carry forward with me in the week to come!

Long Week, but a Happy Birthday for My Little Monkey

FOOD

I was asked to post the recipe for the stuffed bell peppers I made last weekend, so here it is.  The recipe comes from Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  I’ve made it a few times now, and love it.

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Israeli Couscous and Lentils

4 large bell peppers

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cups cooked Israeli couscous

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils, drained

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed or not – I’ve used both and had good results)

1 tbsp minced fresh parsley (I skip this – I can’t stand parsley)

1/4 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 tbsp orange juice (I use water instead)

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 cup water

1/4 tsp cayenne

*Slice the tops off the peppers and remove and discard seeds and membranes.  Chop the pepper tops and set aside.  Place peppers upright in your crock pot.

*Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add onions and pepper tops, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

*Mix the couscous, lentils, onion mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, spices – adding salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon into the pepper cavities, packing lightly.

*Mix the tomato paste, OJ or water, sugar, mustard, and water.  Stir to blend well.  Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Pour over and around the peppers.

*Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

I can’t tell you how glad I made these over the past weekend.  This has been a brutal week, and I needed the good leftovers!

The only other dish I made was a simple one in the rice cooker.  Another one that left plenty of left overs for the week.

Squash, Tofu, and Wild Rice Blend

Squash, Tofu, and Wild Rice Blend

1 pkg of Lundberg Organic Wehani & Wild Rice blend

5 cups of water

1-2 cups diced butternut squash

1/2 block pressed firm tofu, diced into bite-sized cubes

1-2 tsp of miso

*put it all into the rice cooker, and cook on the Brown Rice setting

I like this dish because it feels cleansing.  It’s simple and filling, and I don’t feel weighed down by it.  I usually use brown rice, but I’ve had this pouch of rice blend for several months and decided to use that.  I imagine any whole grain would work well.

LIFE

It’s been a long and exhausting week.  Not a bad one…but long.  Monday was a normal workday, and at 9pm Monday night, one of my bigger projects started it’s go-live.  That came back up as planned at 5am Tuesday, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were all-hand working late to make sure every little thing was working as planned.  My team did an amazing job, and we can mark this one off, done, and successful!

R’s 8th bday was Tuesday.  She had a fun day, and we went out to her favorite restaurant for dinner and presents.  Then it was time to come home and have cake!  She requested a strawberry cake with vanilla frosting, so that’s what I made her.

A took this one of R attacking a present to open. She looks like a little monster 🙂

so happy to get a 1000+ piece Lego set from my parents!

so happy to get her cake and we're all singing at the top of our lungs (likely way out of tune)

love this shot that A took! Though R was giggling so much, it took her about 10 attempts to get the candles blown out!

she wanted the piece with the R...but didn't want and end piece. So I gave her a "blank" piece and the icing to write an R on her slice of cake!

nom nom nom

This weekend, we’re planning a Williamsburg trip to the outlet mall and Busch Gardens.  Hopefully the predicted rain won’t get in the way!  I’m just looking forward to a weekend that includes lots of sleep and some fun family time!

 

I Clean the House…You Teach Her to Drive!!!

FOOD

I ended up spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen yesterday.  Never a bad thing, really.

I made a batch of lentil and couscous stuffed bell peppers in the crock pot.   It’s one of my favorites, and I was really looking forward to making it for weeks now.

aren't they just so pretty and colorful??

I also made a loaf of Italian bread to serve with dinner, complete with olive oil and spice dipping plates.  I then made some salads with my homemade dressing of happiness, and a big lasagna (forgot to take a shot of that).  Before bed, I made a batch of pumpkin pie doughnuts!  I mostly used the recipe here on Oh She Glows.  They came out totally awesome.

my salad with a jar of the dressing

yum, yum!

bread with dipping oil

on the way into the oven

and after!

This morning (after my now needed 2 cups of coffee), I made a brown rice pasta with acorn squash alfredo and peas.  This was one of my favorite meals last fall, and I think I ate it almost every day for months.  I am SO excited that winter squash is back (I’m a much bigger fan than of summer squash).

don't think I could ever get sick of this

Lunch was a quick burrito, and dinner was a leftover bell pepper.

I baked a cake tonight.  R’s birthday is tomorrow, and her special request was a strawberry cake with vanilla frosting.  So…cake has just come out of the oven, and I’ll frost it up tomorrow!

LIFE

So R is still running a low-grade fever.  When she’s not feeling well, she likes to camp out on our bedroom floor.  She is mostly feeling just fine keeps running this crazy fever.  No sinus infection or strep – just a nasty summer virus that lasts a good week and ends with a full body rash – which just started.  It marks the end of contagion at least…and probably the beginning of fun for the rest of us!

camping on the floor...controlling the remote...just like her father

I worked from home again today and got quite a bit done before R’s 315pm Dr’s appt.  Once I got home around 430, I went back to work, and have been going pretty much since!  I think I put way more hours in when I’m home.  I get the morning with her, and D has to come home for the afternoon.  I have several VP meetings and need to go in.

We got a new dryer yesterday from Craig’s List.  Ours has been dying a slow and painful death for months.  I don’t think it heated up at all for the past 6 weeks…

hubby hooking up the new-to-us dryer

I’m heading into the office in a little while to visit with my team.  We have  big project going live tonight.  We’re bringing one of our systems down at 9pm to do a full hardware and software upgrade.  Should be done by 5am.  They asked me to bring beer.  Instead I’ll take them to happy hour in the morning!

A couple of packages arrived today from my parents.  One is a big gift for R tomorrow, and the other was a gift for me!  My Dad sent me these huge mason jars.  He knows I use them like crazy, and I could always use big ones to store my seeds and bulk flours.  So excited!

they're HUGE

While I was working and baking a cake, D was taking A out driving.  They were gone for quite a while – he’s starting to focus on her night-time driving.  She should be getting her license in mid-November.  He said she did great.  Which is good, because he’s responsible for all driving education.  You see…I’m a ridiculous control freak with driving.  It started when I commuted between western Milwaukee and Chicago every…single…day.  Nearly 2 hrs each way every day.  It was pretty brutal and I did it for quite a long time (it’s when I discovered an intense love of audio books, but that’s a WHOLE other discussion).  Anyway…since then, I don’t do well when other people drive.  To but it bluntly….I’m a BAD passenger.  It’s not in my daughter’s best interest to be a developing driver with me freaking out in the seat next to her.  Just saying.  I’m doing a public service, really.  D’s not thrilled that he’s tasked with doing the 45 hours of behind the wheel driving with her, but cope.  I do the cooking and the cleaning.  He can teach our kid to drive.

 

Funky Yoga, Great Food, and a Flat Tire from Hell

FOOD

I really can’t complain about food this weekend.  I was lucky enough to have two nights with dinner plans with friends – both great friends who are always concerned about picking vegan friendly restaurants just for me.

Friday night I met up with L at Pasha Mezze, a Turkish restaurant in Norfolk.  We started out with a bottle of Red Zinfandel and the hummus appetizer.  For my meal, I had a cup of their red lentil soup (which I’m addicted to – have to have it every time I’m there – and have tried several times to recreate, and just haven’t yet managed it).  I also had the Weekend V Cuisine special, which was a piece of grilled bread topped with mushroom, eggplant, and tomato, plus a vegan sauce and yummy spices.  I managed to eat a little less than half of that!

hummus bowl

this is SO good. A little spicy, but just wonderful...

it was huge. Very tasty, but a little difficult to eat.

Saturday morning was coffee and another eggplant on Udi bread sandwich.  Lunch was a veggie wrap and a smoothie.

Dinner was the best though.  AC and I went to La Bella’s for dinner, and they actually have a separate vegan menu.  Nice!  I started with a salad, and then had the Gardein chicken parmesan.  Gardein Chick’n  breasts in a spicy marinara sauce with vegan cheese.  YUM.

sorry, but I had to use the flash. There was NO lighting otherwise.

I ate the leftover italian food for breakfast this morning 🙂

FITNESS

A few weeks back, I had picked up a Groupon for a local-ish non-hot yoga studio.  We don’t have many non-hot places, and I know I’ve said it before, but there are days where I just want a peaceful class – not one where I feel I’m getting a huge workout.

The Groupon was only $20 for 20 class.  Normally $200, so I really can’t complain that I have to drive 15 miles to get there.

There was an 1130am class I wanted to go to check out.  The studio location surprised me a little – it’s on the top floor of an office building in Virginia Beach – on a very busy road.  During most of the class we could hear various sirens flying by, which was a little distracting.  I also found the music choice odd.  Now don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t always have to be mild Tibetan chanting type music – I like to rub a little funk on it now and again myself – but blasting very loud Black Eyed Peas during what was supposed to be a Yoga 101/Beginners/Gentle class seemed odd.  Pump it up for a power class, but dial it down for something like this.

Aside from being annoyed by the music and sirens, it was a good glass. The pace of the class was good, and her instruction was decent.  She corrected postures, but didn’t explain any modifications.  For me – there are certain poses I can’t do as long as my back hurts (hello intense backbends).  Thankfully I’ve been doing yoga long enough to know what the right modifications are, so I just did them and ignored her at points.

My plan is to go for a light jog later today (maybe 2 miles).  Or possibly swim now that my tattoo is healed.

LIFE

I had my yearly physical on Friday.  My doctor is extremely happy with my health, and that makes me feel good.  I was a very different person 5 years ago.  We spent a long time talking about my veganism – which she completely supports – and the progress I have made from a health perspective.

I mentioned to her that my back is still hurting, though not as bad as when I saw her in early July.  The chiropractor helped some – but I think I’ve gotten out of it everything I can.

She’s very adamant that we continue to work on making it better (which will make my Dad happy to hear).  We’re trying a one week regiment of Aleve.  She knows I’m not a fan of taking pills, but she’s worried there’s an inflammation component that hasn’t gone away, and a 7 day program of that will help – if inflammation is the problem.  If not, it’s a consult to ortho and rehab.  I loved her statement that “you will not live with chronic back pain – we need to get you back to doing what you love”.

I did have a very disappointing moment Friday afternoon though.  A few weeks ago, I purchased a Groupon for a 3 hr house cleaning.  D and I have been talking a long time about getting a cleaning person in, and I have a few referrals from friends, but I wanted a top to bottom deep clean done first – preferably by someone else.  So when I got this deal, I thought it was perfect!  They even had online scheduling, so several weeks ago, I booked it for tomorrow (the 12th) afternoon.  Woo hoo, right?  Wrong.  Friday, I got this email:

Subject: Appointment with Pristine Pixies Cleaning Services 

Christine,

I apologize but we cannot meet on Monday, September 12th at 2 pm. We are closing the business due to personal circumstances beyond our control. Please contact Groupon (via the Contact Us link on their website) for a full refund. Please accept our apologizies for any inconvenience.

Thank you,
Lisa

I’m so completely bummed out!

R is sick at the moment.  She came home from school on Thursday complaining of a sore neck.  We figure she just slept wrong and gave her some motrin and kept her home from Thursday night gymnastics.  When she woke Friday with it hurting still, I stayed home with her.  Around 2pm, I went upstairs (she was playing a computer game) to see how she was doing.  She mentioned it still hurt, and then pointed to where it hurts.  A light bulb went on, and I asked her if her neck hurt….or if her THROAT hurt.  Ah…it hurts when she swallows.  Ugh.  Sure enough, an hour later she was running a fever.  I think the motrin we were giving her for what we thought was muscle pain, was masking the fever.

D took her to urgent care yesterday – not so much because we felt that she was urgently sick – but because she gets strep and/or a sinus infection this time every year.  Unfortunately, the urgent care doc was a jerk, said he didn’t know why she had a fever, but refused to prescribe anything for her.  So tomorrow I will be calling to get her into HER doctor and get this taken care of.

I feel terrible for D too, because he got stranded in VB for 3 hours Friday afternoon.  He was on his way to a meeting, when he blew a tire.  Unfortunately, the locking lug nut was stripped, and he had no way to remove the tire to change it.  He called our insurance company to arrange a tow….and it took them 3 hrs to show up.  He tried getting a new locking lug nut yesterday, but no one had them – so he’s off to the dealership today to try to get one.  And to buy a new spare tire.

But aside from all this, the past few days have been pretty good.  I got a manicure on Friday and then had a nice dinner and drinks with L, got to do a yoga class and then take a nap on Saturday before going out to dinner and catching up with AC, and today is going to be about cleaning, cooking, and relaxing.  All in all, a very nice weekend.

L at dinner Friday night. She's so adorable!

Exploring the Concept of Gluten-Lite

FOOD

I am increasingly interested in gluten-free foods and eating.  I attempted to be gluten-free during Lent, and failed.  It was just too hard and I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I made it about a week (mostly by just eating raw foods), and will admit that I felt wonderful.

After the VidaVeganCon conference a couple of weeks ago, my fascination with gluten-free living was sparked again.  I’ve written a few times about my new cookbook purchases and baking attempts here, here and here, so I suppose it won’t come as a shock that it’s something I’m still interested in.

I’m afraid of going cold-tofurkey on it though.  I imagine I’d have a similar experience as I did during Lent.  Sometimes (often) all-or-nothing works well for me, but let’s be frank…this is the sort of think I’m going to have to ease into.  If I don’t, I can see myself locked in a room with pounds of cooked pasta and bread screaming I GIVE UP.

I have decided to explore the idea of gluten-lite.  Sort of like the higher raw concept, can’t that also be done with gluten?  I sure as hell am going to try.  I won’t be perfect, I know, but I’m hoping it’ll be easier to explore gluten-free eating if I take it at a leisurely pace.  I also do not have any diagnosis that indicate I have any allergy or intolerance to gluten, but I’m amazed at the myriad of symptoms out there related to it – symptoms that everyone I know has sometimes (some much worse than others).  This is sort of an experiment for me to see if I experience any subtle changes in how my body feels or processes food based on reduced gluten intake.

So, most of my meals this week I’ve attempted to be as gluten-light as I could.  Certainly didn’t happen all the time, but I have been trying!

green tea rice, spring rolls made with rice paper, and a colorful salad. Think this was gluten-free

watermelon, banana, strawberry smoothie! Definitely gluten-free! And tasty!

Toasted spicy veggie wrap. Certainly not gluten-free due to the flour tortilla

everyone getting ready for dinner...which turns out was a gluten-free meal. Huh. Maybe it's not as hard as I think it is...

the simple pre-meal salad

BBQ tempeh cubes with some vegan cheezy dirty mashed potatoes from Happy Herbivore

today's breakfast - eggplant with rice cheese on gluten-free toasted Udi bread

LIFE

It has been a stressful week…and only the slightly crazy need apply.

Unfortunately, we had to take a 2 week project delay for the one that was supposed to go live this week.  I have a bigger one going next week (but everything looks good on that one), and we’re going to try this one the week after.

I gave a presentation yesterday that went well.  At least something did this week!

The kids are back to school, and we’re at least getting some type of routine around here.  It helps that M and A are in the same school (in the morning anyway).  R hurt her neck, and has actually missed a day and a half.  Ugh.

I’m looking forward to this evening.  I’m finally getting a manicure, and then having dinner and drinks with my friend L.  Tomorrow is supposed to be swimming and gymnastics for R, but it depends on how her neck is feeling.  Then a hair cut for her too.

So now the workday is beginning and I better get my butt in gear!

random picture of bumble in a box

 

I Got an Email Reply!!!

Okay, so last Thursday I wrote an email to a manufacturer to request they modify their advertising to correct a mistake declaring their products animal free.  Read here!  I got a reply today!  Here it is!!!

Crissie:

We use a common ingredients listing for all the signs and UPC labels we print for our soaps. All the soap has the same non-animal ingredients but each soap of course does vary with fragrance, color and added ingredients. There are very few soaps that have non-animal products such Shea Butter and Honey (honey), Goats Milk (added goats milk) etc.

Technically your comment is correct but because our customers are concerned about the soap not using tallow we use animal products in our signage. I never thought about the issue you raised and will make a signage change when we run our next batch.

Regards

David

So, I’m excited that they are taking into account something they hadn’t thought of before.  I can understand how their company thought they were targeting a specific consumer (those concerned about tallow), and ended up with another (those concerned about animal products).  So woo hoo!

 

A Study to See if Sarcasm Increases Due to Lack of Sleep (may take several posts to determine)

FOOD

Do you ever have those days where you get so little sleep that you either need to eat everything not nailed down in order to stay awake…or the thought of food is just unappetizing?  Today for me was the latter…

Breakfast was 2 cups of coffee, though there isn’t enough caffeine around to make me feel peppy today.  Thankfully I had a really busy day, so I was too busy being busy to notice I wanted to pass out and sleep.  Small favors I guess.

I did eat my leftover brown rice pasta/acorn squash alfredo dish at one point.  And a vanilla frosted cupcake because I’m proud of it and needed to eat one – not really because I was hungry.

I munched on a few wheat thins late in the afternoon and had a salad for dinner that I put together at the grocery when R and I went there after I picked her up.  I wasn’t hungry for that either, but figured I should eat it anyway!

I did roast my two eggplants so I could make some baba ganoush.  I’ve been wanting to make some homemade for sandwich spreads anyway, and these two were just on the edges of still being good to eat.

roasted eggplant!

FITNESS

Funny.  Breathing was fitness today.  I stayed awake.  I’m still awake.  Calorie burning machine, I’m telling ya.

LIFE

Before bed last night, I managed to make everyone’s lunches (yeah me for preparing!).  R was in bed by 830 (a total miracle), and D and I went to bed by 9.  It was awesome – we were so excited to get a really good night’s sleep.  Today was not only the kids’ first day back to school, but D’s first day back after a week off laid flat with a bad back.

Too bad that it doesn’t matter how good my intentions are.  If my brain doesn’t want to shut off – it won’t shut off.  I was still lying wide awake at 230 am – and my alarm went off at 510.  Ick.

I made breakfast, made sure everyone was up on time, and starting putting the lunch fixings into respective bags.

D and I have a silly thing where I always put a note in his lunch (and he leaves me little notes too – like in my luggage!).  They’re usually silly, always lovey, and he’s kept every single one of them since I started doing this about 3-4 years ago.  I think it’s neat that he pulls them out once in a while to read them.  Anyway, I was writing his note this morning when R walked into the kitchen.  She says in a very knowing tone “you’re writing my note aren’t you.  Just admit it!”.  I smiled.  Of course I wasn’t writing her a lunch note…but I sure as hell was going to!

R's lunch note (after it was in her lunchbox with all her food)

Work was intensely busy, but again that’s probably a good thing.  Pulling off this project go-live tomorrow is still in question as of this evening (two big issues to still surpass).  Send good and positive thoughts my way.  This is the most “down to the wire” anything I’ve ever worked on has gotten.  Ugh.

After picking up R, it was a quick trip to the grocery, then home for a late conf call (regarding above mentioned project).  R kicked back to read, and I got busy filling out (in triplicate) the emergency contact forms for the kids.  And lab permission slips.  And student conduct policy acknowledgements.  Really – I’m happy to design the school system a software package to allow parents to enter this information ONE TIME EVER – for all children.  For free.   If it means not having to do this in TRIPLICATE every stinking year.

R lying back on the couch in the green room reading a Magic Treehouse book

my fav shirt - especially since it's a new school year. Want to be sure all her new teachers know clearly and think to ask her about her allergies!

Anyhow…while D made dinner (yes, you read that correctly…my husband made dinner), I went to pick A up and take her and M to Target to pick up the last of their school supplies (funny thing about high school…they don’t know what they need until after the first day).

The rest of the evening has been catching up with everyone about their day, having a bloody mary, reading some blogs, and hoping to get some sleep (though until this project is done – and my big one next week – it’s not going to be too likely).  A sure bet that at least my blog posts will be fun to read as they get increasingly sarcastic and incoherent 🙂

Bake or Bust!

FOOD

The past couple of days have been studying and researching baking.  And not just “regular” baking, but complete allergy-free baking (gluten and nuts being my focal point).

Saturday Night Cookie Fest was a total disaster, but today I fared a bit better with cupcakes.

I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes that started out great, but fell pretty drastically in the center.  I really just plugged that hole with frosting!  I then baked a batch of vanilla cupcakes that from the outset seemed much denser than the chocolate one.  The chocolate almost taste like pudding inside, where the vanilla is a heavy-duty cake.

pretty ugly once the insides collapsed!

at least the vanilla held their shape

I whipped up two batches of “buttercream” frosting – one vanilla and one chocolate – busted out the piping gun, and got busy!

no laughing at my attempt to make them pretty! A cake decorator I am NOT!

I’m relatively proud of the results.  D likes the vanilla, but isn’t too sure about the chocolate one.  And since he’s ridiculously picky (always asking me for that 1940’s full fat version of food), I take that as success…at least with the vanilla ones.

I have a few theories about my cupcakes sinking, and may have to make some modifications and keep trying.  I’m done baking for a bit though – I can only handle it in small doses.  At least with cooking, I can add things or make changes as I’m going to make sure I like the meal in the end.  Not so with baking.  If you don’t get it right before cooking, you’re sort of screwed.  I don’t like that.

My favorite dish this weekend was last nights wrap.  I was so in love the with Homegrown Smoker wrap I had in Portland, that I made my own version!

my killer wrap from Portland

First, I made up a batch of acorn squash alfredo over brown rice rotini noodles as my mac n cheese base.  I sautéed some Portobello’s, and stacked them on a tortilla with purple cabbage and sauerkraut.  It was actually really very tasty.  I probably could have used some bbq tempeh or something else in it, but I was still very thrilled with the result.  And then decided I wanted more, but was too lazy to wrap it up, so ate it “deconstructed”!

cooking 'shrooms

before I wrapped it up!

Tonight is a BAS.  So much sugar (from the baking), that I need something a bit more cleansing.

this evening's Big Ass Salad

FITNESS

R and I ran together today!  She will be 8 in just over a week, and she’s always asking to go running with me.  I want to encourage her love of running (all kids LOVE to run…we just start to hate it when we get older), and since I’m coming back from a back injury, I thought it would be perfect for us to do it together!

So the two of us hit the canal trail to do day 1 of the Couch to 5K program.  While I really just wanted to run, I know that I can’t until I know my back can handle it.  It ended up being perfect.  We chatted, and R was very proud of herself for the almost 2 miles we went.  When we pulled back into the driveway, she announced in a very dramatic sigh to my husband that “we had a great workout”.  It was awesome.

LIFE

Much of this weekend was work or worrying about work.  It’s going to be quite a long and challenging week.

Yesterday I went for a long overdue pedicure.  Since we’re going into winter dress code at work (no open toed shoes), I thought it would be fun to get something bright, so my toes are now green!

Last night D and I finally watched a movie we’ve had from Netflix for weeks, Love and Other Drugs.  It was cute, but we both felt there were parts drawn out too much.  Overall, we were just happy to have 2 hrs to be in the living room to watch a movie!

Today has been very low-key.  Baking, working out, and basically getting everything ready for the chaos of fall to begin.  Summer is always a bit of a reprieve when the older kids are home, and it’s just D, R, and I in the mornings.  Now we’re back to the school year, and it always takes us just a bit to hit that groove.

Now it’s time to figure out what to have for dinner, get backpacks organized, lunches packed, and try to get to bed before midnight!