Holiday Vampires!


I’ve been so bad.  I haven’t taken pictures of any food for days!  Probably because pictures of baked potatoes gets old after a while 🙂

In all seriousness though, I just haven’t really taken many pictures.  My food has all been great as usual; salads, tofu, lentils, lots of chickpeas…and baked potatoes before every run!

I did try making a gluten-free cinnamon coffee cake Sunday morning.  It failed.  Just like every stinking gluten-free thing I try to bake.  Ugh.  I’m starting to get a complex…

I did make up a dish in the rice cooker last night that came out so yummy, I thought I’d share.  It’s another one of those dishes where any complimentary spice combo would work.  I went with a Middle Eastern flavor with the Baharat spice blend from last year’s Xmas kit.  It has a nice heat to it, and if you can get or order some (click on the link, and it’ll take you to where mine came from), it’s quite yummy, and I’m having fun cooking with middle eastern and asian flavors.

Crissie’s Persian Rice Cooker Quinoa


*1 cup rinsed quinoa

*2 cups water

*1 cup coconut milk (I used the So Delicious plain coconut milk from the cooler section of the grocery, but canned would work too)

*1 cup chickpeas (I had a lot left over from my pressure cooker the other day, but a canned of drained and rinsed chickpeas would do well too)

*2 tbsp Baharat spice blend

*1 tsp salt


Throw it all into the rice cooker and cook on the white rice setting (if your cooker distinguishes between them).  You could also cook it stove top.  Just bring everything to a low boil in a sauce pan, cover, and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.

See what I mean about the versatility?  Go Caribbean with some Jerk season, or Italian with an Italian blend.  A combo of Ginger and Curry would be awesome too.  For that matter – switch the quinoa for rice!  Make it Mexican with cumin and chipotle powder and black beans instead of chickpeas.  I tend to love dishes that only need a minor change to make a big difference.  Life is less boring that way!

I still haven’t gone grocery shopping, so it’s looking like tonight will be some Indian dishes like red lentil Dahl and chick pea Chana masala.  And rice.  And perhaps naan if I’m not feeling too lazy (though it’s not looking good just now).


It’s been all running for me the past few days.  The weather has been amazing (high 60’s and sunny), so I couldn’t exactly stay inside.  Considering it’s December, I have to take advantage of days like that when I can!

My runs all weekend were fueled by potatoes.  Just saying.  Perhaps a banana too (though not together, because even I think that would be gross).

I’ve been missing my Garmin Forerunner 405.  It started acting really wonky last spring (beeps incessantly while charging and doesn’t display the HR correctly), and I finally gave up using it last June.  I’ve been using the Nike GPS on my phone, but it’s just not as cool or comprehensive.  Don’t get me wrong – for a free iPhone app, it rocks.  But it’s not the same data overload my forerunner gave me.  And my Forerunner tracked my cycling too, which my Nike app doesn’t.  After seeing them wickedly marked down for Black Friday (no, I didn’t get a new one), I decided to try to resurrect it.

I plugged it in last night to fully charge it (away from ear shot), and today did a firmware update.  It was still doing the dumb beeping, so I did a reset and cleared all the history from it.  Then I learned how to turn off sounds!  So…either it’s going to work and still beep and I won’t care, or it won’t work.  Not sure yet, but when I go for a run tomorrow, I’ll tell you!


The past few days have been phenomenally busy; though I didn’t actually GO anywhere!

Friday evening, we all sat around and watched TV, it was rather nice.  At one point, D and I were debating the finer points of mental healthcare in the US, when M interrupted us to say “it’s okay girls, you’re both pretty” to get the debate to stop.  We almost died laughing.  He’s pretty hilarious.

Saturday morning I woke up and pretty much immediately started cleaning.  It took me until 6pm, but I went through, sorted, scrubbed, organized, and purged every room downstairs.  I had boxes for donation, boxes for recycling, and boxes for eBay!  I was a cleaning fool, and it felt great.

To be honest, D and I have been toying with the idea of building a house in a year or so, and I was struck with the urge to get rid of things that just sit around being useless.

Saturday night, my husband took A, M, and A’s boyfriend to dinner and then a dubstep concert.  It’s a type of techno music.  That meant R and I were home alone for a girls night.  I made up a quick and easy dinner, and we snuggled in to watch the Harry Potter marathon on ABC.  Then we played (and I lost) a game of Sorry! and headed up to my room, where we fell asleep in my bed watching Psych around 10pm.  It was awesome.  D and the kids got home around 2am.

Sunday I had the house mostly to myself.  As late as D and the older kids were out, they weren’t moving much before noon.  R and I had breakfast and watched cartoons.  Then I went for a run, then spent all day finishing the wash, wrapping presents, and balancing the home budget (making some changes for savings in case we really do build a house).

D ran errands and then he made dinner!  I think buying him that Weber charcoal grill back in Oct is the best gift ever!

Today has been rough (been up since 1am), but at least I had a 1/2 day off.  A had a dentist appt, then we went to the post and the Goodwill drop off.  Then we drove through our neighborhood looking for a picture to demonstrate the Crazy Wreath People.  She shot one, which doesn’t even do the full house justice.  You can’t see all the wreaths on the side!

18 total on this house. I think VA is full of crazy wreath people because they feel to make up for the lack of other things that mark Christmas as a winter holiday. Like snow.

We also found a house full of holiday vampires.  What is a holiday vampire??  It’s those crazy blow up dolls (okay, not dolls, but blow up santas, snow men, etc).  This one house had about 30 of them.  My daughter called them holiday vampires because they apparently only rise at night.  During the day, they’re “sleeping” and deflated on the lawn.  Looking even more tacky than when they rise at dusk.

the side of the house...
a close up of the light up reindeer family
...and...the front of the house. Full of Holiday Vampires waiting for the dark to rise from the dead.



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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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