Fashion, Fun, and Food

FOOD

My greens consumption has gone down ever so slightly the past few days.  Though I’m sure I eat many more than the average american!

Monday night was baked falafel with a lemon tahini sauce in a pita.  Yum yum yum.  Tuesday was Taco Tuesday like normal – though not with me actually cooking.  We went to Costa Azul just up the street after picking A up from school.  It had been a loooong day, and I wasn’t up to cooking.  And since D is pretty rarely up for it, dinner out it was.

falafel patties heading into the oven
my dinner!
veggie fajitas at Costa Azul

Last night I met up with a girlfriend at Carrabba’s for some Wine Wednesday, and while there we split a zucchini appetizer and I had a salad too.  Carrabba’s is always a fav.

Tonight we’re talking A out for a celebratory dinner, but not sure where yet.  Her choice (though I’m hoping she picks Geisha, my favorite Japanese place!).

FITNESS

Tuesday I went for a nice run before work.  It was clear, in the 50’s, with only some slight gusts of wind, and seemed perfect to bust out a quick 4 miles.  I’m glad I went before work since as the day progressed it got really windy and rainy.

Wednesday at 5am was another WOW session (Women on Weights).  Here’s the workout:

Strength Training Sets Reps/Sets Weight/Set
Reverse Sit-Up 2 15 Ico_delete
Abdominal Crunches 2 15 Ico_delete
Goblet Squat (Feet Together) 3 10 15 Ico_delete
Mountain Climber 3 10 Ico_delete
Squat w Dumbbell Swing 3 10 10 Ico_delete
T Push Up 3 10 Ico_delete
Side Squat with Front Raise 3 10 10 Ico_delete
Lunge 3 10 Ico_delete
Alternating Reverse Lunge 3 10 Ico_delete
Push Up with Tricep Raise 3 10 10 Ico_delete
Dumbbell Row, One-Arm, Bent-Over 6 10 15 Ico_delete
Squat w Overhead Press 3 10 10 Ico_delete

I also renewed my USA Triathlon membership for 2012 (woo hoo) and made my winter tri training schedule that will take me through the end of April!  It’s pretty aggressive with the number of days, but the workouts themselves should be totally doable.  I have a few new book resources, and I built the plan from that.  I used this book for my swim workouts (is waterproof and can have poolside!), and this for my indoor cycling.  Also waterproof, so I can sweat on it while it’s on my handlebars!  I added my 3 days a week of strength training, and 3 days of running from a 1/2 marathon training plan.  All told, I should be ready for Tri season!  Now…I just have to pick my races!!!

LIFE

It’s been another good week so far with regards to work.  Early in the year, the meeting schedules are still pretty light, so I can get a lot done.  Which is good, because I have one particular high-profile project with a looming deadline.

Monday I had my knitting hat class!  After a few setbacks in the beginning (wrong sized needles and messing up the cast on the first time), I really got the hang of it.  There are 6 of us in the class, and 5 of us belong there.  One sort of acted like a total know-it-all about knitting and kept trying to correct the instructor.  I figure if she’s that great, she doesn’t belong in a 101 class!

I have my own little deadline to finish the hat and scarf I’m working on.  I must have 6 inches done on the scarf before the next class (in 2 weeks), where we learn how to decrease and finish it.

A few random pictures from dinner out on Tuesday…

M playing with his phone
R jamming to something on the iPad....
and A...probably laughing at something D said...

Today was a pretty monumental occasion.  I’ve mentioned a billion times that my eldest daughter goes to a special art high school.  She has developed a particular love of fashion, and as part of her junior year independent project, she requested to put on her school’s first ever fashion show.  Keep in mind that her school didn’t have any type of fibers or fashion related program until she and a small handful of students showed interest in wanting to learn it.  I love that about her school – if a student has a desire to learn something and they don’t have the program or expertise – they get it.  It’s so awesome for the kids.

Anyway, after months of preparing, the show was today.  A was responsible for the set, make up, models, ensuring the participating designers had their projects done on time, the music, arranging for photography and videography….every single little detail.  So it was really an art AND business/management project.  Oh…she she did 3 dresses for it too.  The only one who did (yes, that’s me, oozing with pride).

Here are a few shots of the event.  They don’t do it justice, and I can’t wait to see the official photos.   Her brother and sister were really excited too!

A (on the right) with her three friends/models, posing for a post-show picture
a quick picture of some of the models....didn't get them all, but honestly was focusing on the girls wearing A's dresses!
and A....the future fashion mogul!!!

After the show was over, the class instructor, the program director and the head of the school were talking to A about her inspiration and other ideas she has, and plans for the future.  The head of the school was very impressed (they all were….A was just glowing with pride, it was wonderful) and has offered to put her name out in some fashion circles to see if anyone is interested in having an intern this summer.  Like in NY.  Holy crap!  She’s SIXTEEN.  hee hee

Okay, I’m done.  Because that’s really been the coolest part of the week!

Greenalicious…Green Lantern…Lizard Woman….You Get The Idea…

FOOD

Green.  The color of the day, and the predominant color of my food.  I’m craving them like nobody’s business!  My youngest had a couple of books a few years ago.  One was called Pinkalicious, and one was Purplelicious.  There are more in the series now, but R is too old.  If you have a 4-6 yr old little girl in your life, I’d suggest picking these up though!  In each, she ate foods of predominantly that color, and her skin and hair turned to match.  That’s going to be me.  Greenalicious!

Breakfast yesterday was a green smoothie.  Unsweetened coconut milk (So Delicious brand as always), many handfuls of spinach, half of a banana, and some frozen pineapple.

Lunch was a turkish red lentil soup and a kale and beet salad from Pasha’s (and a glass of malbec).  The waitress knew what I wanted before I even ordered, which is just funny.

I forgot my camera, so D took a pic of my food with his phone. Clearly my skin isn't green. Yet.
my pretty (and pretty amazing) kale and beet salad
and because he was being cute...he took a picture of HIS food. Turkish french toast. No syrup or anything, but he said it was incredible

For a mid-day snack, I made some kale chips.  I also whipped up a kale salad, and a smokey tempeh and greens stew with….KALE.   I will admit that I was too full to eat dinner (kale must expand 100 fold in my belly), so the salad and stews were left for today!

SO simple. Olive oil, sherry, and then sprinkled with sea salt when they come out after roasting 35 min at 300 degrees. Heaven pretending to be a green chip thingy

This morning I had coffee and fruit for breakfast.  Lunch was the kale salad I made last night (steamed a ton of kale for 10 minutes, then coated in a lemon juice/garlic/olive oil dressing).  I threw in some chopped beets that I picked up yesterday (cheating by using the canned kind, but was still awesome!).

okay, not nearly as pretty as the kale salad from Pashas, but it was good. I steamed the kale too long and used a bit too much garlic, but I'm more than willing to experiment on myself with future versions of this salad

I roasted a big bunch of beets (regular and golden ones) for use in a wild rice and orange salad for dinner tonight, as well as roasted a butternut squash to make a coconut/squash/rice dish.  Oh, and will be serving with some homemade baked falafel.  I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s post to find out how THAT went 🙂

individually wrapped baby beets, heading into the oven for a long roast
I love winter squash! I actually like it more than summer squash...

FITNESS

This morning was another 5am strength training session!  Only 4 of us showed up (out of the 6 in the class), but we had one heck of a workout.  I’m seriously considering signing up for the next class when this 6 weeks are up.  Thanks to my sister, I track my workouts in a website/application called My Fitness Pal.  Since I already wrote it there this morning, I figured I’d cut and paste it.  Here’s the workout I did this morning, at least when I remembered of it:

Strength Training Sets Reps/Sets Weight/Set
Lat Pulldown 3 15 60 Ico_delete
Bench (Chest) Press, Machine 3 15 30 Ico_delete
Biceps Curl 2 15 20 Ico_delete
Seated Row, Floor, Machine 2 12 60 Ico_delete
Front Raises, Straight Arm 2 12 5 Ico_delete
Abdominal Crunches 3 15 Ico_delete
Deadlift, Straight Leg 2 15 30 Ico_delete
Reverse Crunch 3 15 Ico_delete
Russian Twist 3 20 Ico_delete
Plank 3 1 Ico_delete
Flat Dumbbell Fly 3 12 75 Ico_delete
Push Ups (push-ups) 3 12 Ico_delete
Walking Lunges w Leg Lift 2 30 Ico_delete
Sumo Squat 2 15 40 Ico_delete
Squat w Side Leg Raise 2 10 Ico_delete
Box Jump 2 15 Ico_delete
Barbell Row, Bent-over 2 15 30 Ico_delete
Dips 2 15 Ico_delete

Afterwards, I did a quick half hour on the treadmill.  It was 22 degrees out.  No way I was running outside in that, and until my ear ache is fully gone, I’m avoiding the pool.

LIFE

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  After church, D and I went out to lunch at Pasha’s (one of my favorite local places in Norfolk).  Since he’s agnostic (I’m Catholic), we just met up after I was done at mass.  Pasha’s has a jazz brunch thing on Sunday’s, so it was quite cute, just the two of us.

After lunch, we dropped the Bug off at the dealership and went home.  Then I did our weekly meal planning, and headed off to the grocery.

The rest of the evening was spent in the kitchen, and then watching Facebook for updates on the Green Bay Packer’s game.  When no one I knew….my sister, my cousins, or my friends who are diehard Packer friends weren’t posting about ANYTHING, I knew it wasn’t good news.  Alas, GB lost, and the season is over for us.

Today is a federal holiday, so my kids are off of school.  Since we’re down a vehicle, I stayed home while my husband took mine to work.  I had only one meeting, so was able to knock a lot more off my to-do list.  While wearing workout clothes and no makeup.  I love days like today!

Turning an Experiment Into a Committment

FOOD

Back in August when I went to Vida Vegan Con in Portland, I came home with a desire to explore gluten-light living.  Over the course of the past 3 months, I’ve done my best to minimize or avoid it altogether.  The last 4 weeks, I’ve had very, very little gluten, and I can honestly say – this is no longer a trial.  I feel better when I have no gluten.  My stomach is more settled, I have more energy, and I feel more alert and focused.  And to add some TMI – my PMS symptoms were nearly non-existent for the first time in a LONG time (mostly stomach problems).  I’m convinced, and will continue to root gluten out of my life as much as possible.

So again I had a week with pretty much no postable pictures!  It’s not that I haven’t cooked…but I just sort of neglected to take any shots!

I ended up coming down with a wicked head cold on Wednesday, so much of my week has been fresh juices.  There’s something awesome about juicing in the winter.

I’ve made a few vegan chilis, lentil soups, tofu/potato/lime/cilantro tacos, and even gravy-baked mushroom tofu “steaks” this week though.  Sad I didn’t bust out the camera for that!  Here’s a recipe though.

Crissie’s Gravy-Baked Mushroom Tofu Steaks

Ingredients

*1 block pressed tofu cut into 6 steaks

*8 ounce container of baby bella mushrooms (or those of your choosing)

*2 tbsp Earth Balance (or vegan margarine of choice)

*2 tbsp flour (I used chickpea flour to keep it gluten-free)

*1 1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious plain coconut milk)

*3 cloves garlic

*1 tbsp soy sauce (I used the gluten-free tamari)

Directions

*preheat the oven to 350 degrees

*in a medium saucepan on med-high, melt the Earth Balance, and then saute the mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms start releasing their liquids and are well cooked.  Mix in the flour.  Slowly add the coconut milk, stirring until thick.  You may have to bump the heat up until the sauce becomes bubbly.  You’re essentially making a cream-of-mushroom soup!

~hint – my eldest daughter “thinks” she hates mushrooms, so I used my immersion hand blender to smooth out the mushroom chunks.  It’s not necessary – unless you’re trying to hide the ingredients the way I did!

*add the tamari/soy sauce.  Simmer for a minute or two.

*dust the tofu steaks with sea salt and fresh pepper.  I did a quick sear in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes on each side before placing in a baking dish.  Once in the dish, cover the steaks with the mushroom soup mixture.

*bake – uncovered – for 20-25 minutes

I served with vegan mashers (the gravy from the dish drenched on top), a salad, and steamed veggies.

FITNESS

Another two days of strength training sessions at the Y this week!  5 am classes are early, but I admit to love getting it done and out of the way so early in the day.  Now…if I can only extend that to cardio workouts, I’ll be set!

This week’s sessions were different, but no less grueling.  Wednesday was a lot of leg and butt work, and I will admit to my tush being quite sore.  We did some torturous thing with a band and single leg squats that I thought were going to kill me!  I do like the small person trainer session though.

I ran one day and swam one.  Until I got sick 😦

LIFE

It’s been a busy, but mostly good week.  Work was great.  I either delegated off most of my meetings, or blocked my calendar around the ones I couldn’t avoid.  By the end of Monday, I had read, color coded, filed, and sorted ALL of my inbox at work.  That was almost 1000 emails.  WOO HOO FOR UBER PRODUCTIVITY!!!  I was in the office by 8, had no meetings (other than a quick 15 minute huddle with one of my teams), and stayed until 630 or so (aside from a quick lunch with D at Jason’s Deli), but it was a really good day.  After being off for a bit, it was nice to get in and feel so focused.

Tuesday I had my weekly VP meeting at a different location, grabbed a quick lunch, and then was back in my office kicking ass.  I had a to-do list for each day of the week, and pretty much knocked it all out.

On Wednesday, it all went downhill.  I finished my workout, showered, and was on the way to work when the snot monster struck.  Hard.  By the time I was in my office, I was hunting down my co-worker DS who always has Sudafed and Advil (she’s an allergy monster like I am).  I felt like hell all day, but got through it.  I was home by 430 though, and feeling sorry for myself.

Thursday and Friday was tough, and I felt like dirt.  The Neti pot wouldn’t even break through the clog (sorry for the visual).  I eventually took a hot shower, and then used it right after that.  Miraculous.  It didn’t do much for the ear ache, but certainly helped the drips.  My insomnia tends to double up when I’m sick, so I didn’t sleep much after Tuesday.  Thank goodness for Twitter, Facebook, iBooks, Kindles, and my iPad.  I probably would have gone nuts without those!

Today I feel MUCH better.  Still a bit clogged and itchy eyed, but I can breathe again and itching to get out and about!

On a totally fun note…one good thing about being sick was my ability to catch up on 2 weeks of Vampire Diaries, CSI:NY, and to make massive headway on my knitting.  I also signed up for a hat class at Knit Wits the next two Monday’s!  My goal is to finish my scarf, and make a matching hat!

Speaking of….time to go work on that!

Someone Tell Me What Day It Is!

FOOD

Okay, I can’t possibly list everything the past four days, but here are some highlights:

Curried lentils and rice with some Tofurkey sausages (made at my parent’s house), yogurt and bananas, Cajun tofu, table side made guacamole, veggie fajitas, BEER, Moe’s tofu rice bowl, vegan veggie pizza, and my fav (though no picture) of tofu parm from the Happy Herbivore cookbook made for me on Friday night by my daughter A!

Some of the meals were back in WI, and some here in VA.  I don’t have pictures of them all, but I managed to snap some of them.

Cajun tofu dinner!

 

curried lentils and rice with tofurkey keilbasa
guacamole made at our table. LOTS of cilantro 🙂
veggie fajitas
onion, mushroom, orange bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, Daiya chz vegan whole wheat pizza

FITNESS

Despite the travel, I’m happy that I made time to hit the gym a couple of times.  I spent Wednesday night at my sister’s house, and Thursday morning she and I and her son G went to their YMCA.  She’s been taking the kids there for swim lessons for a while now, but wasn’t a member nor had worked out there (she actually works out every day at her house….something I’m incapable of doing myself!).

Since I’m a member here in VA, I can go to any YMCA in the world – and bring a guest.  I called ahead to be sure, and they set aside a week-long guest pass for C.  We checked in, dropped G off at the kids play area, and I headed to the weight area while C hit the treadmill.

I was setting up to do my strength training workout when I noticed that they didn’t have light barbells (I needed 30 and 40 lbs).  I asked for help from the woman working in that area and she was really wonderful.  They didn’t have the lighter barbells, but showed me modifications I could do with dumbbells.  She also asked if she could look over the workout (I had explained to her where it came from), and she made a comment on what a good workout it was, so that was nice.  I finished up right as C was also, and while I hit the showers, she got the full tour of the place (and signed her family up as members!).

Saturday morning I went to my Y back here in VA to take R for her swimming lessons.  Not to brag (okay, maybe a little bit), my little bugger is the fastest of the group.  She’d lap everyone for each drill.  And I swear…her breast stroke is way better than mine!

After she was showered up, I dropped her off in the Interactive zone to rock climb and play, while I hit the weights.  That makes THREE times in one week.  Probably a record for me.  A bit later that afternoon, I did a 45 minute run in my neighborhood.

LIFE

The funeral was a very emotional time, but also a chance to see family.  I saw and got to talk to relatives that had lost touch over the years, and it was just amazing.  It really renewed my goals to keep in better touch with everyone.  Just because I chose to live far away shouldn’t mean I isolate myself from everyone.

My favorite part was spending time with my niece and nephew.  They just got a Wii for Christmas and really wanted me to watch them play…hence the pictures of the back of them!  We also did a FaceTime chat with D and my kids, which was fun.  At one point, I was doing FaceTime with S back in VA, and G and M (my sister’s M) popped into the screen.  The look on S’s face was priceless, and the kids had fun chatting with her for a couple…until my sister shuffled them off to bed!

M and G playing Wii
yes...that's my sister in a little kid chair playing Wii with my niece 🙂
G playing with my iPad. He figured out how to not only play games, but launch Netflix and find Thomas the Tank Engine!

C and I watched the Lincoln Lawyer (which was good), and went to see Mission Impossible 4 the next day (which I’ve seen twice now, I like it so much).  Then it was back to my parent’s house, where my Dad and I went out for Mexican food and beer.  Okay…only I had beer, but still….it was really nice.

I left WI Friday early afternoon and landed in nice 70 degree weather in the early evening.  I was home by 7, and in bed by 930!

The weekend here has been hectic too, but I’m not complaining.  Gym, running, cleaning, rented movie watching (Super 8), going to a party, church, menu planning, bill paying, grocery shopping, homemade pizza making, and pretty soon, packing lunches for tomorrow, and setting out my workout clothes for my 5am class tomorrow!  Whew.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

So my time off if coming to an end.  I will admit that I’m looking forward to life as normal again, and spending all day tomorrow meeting-free in my office, catching up on the past 2 weeks I’ve been off.

A Travelers Tale

FOOD

The past few days have been a whirlwind of traveling. I’ve stuck mostly to fruits, coconut milk yogurts, and salads. Traveling can be a bit challenging for me sometimes. I’m sure it’s difficult for my parents – I’m staying with them, and they don’t eat the way I do. I know they’re worried I’ll have things to eat in their house!

Monday night was a salad and some stir fried veggies and rice. Not too bad. Tuesday morning was a vanilla So Delicious yogurt and a banana. Lunch was a bagel – not my best lunch ever. Dinner was a salad and some pasta with veggies when out to dinner with my folks.

I just woke up, but I’m planning on making a lentil and rice dish after having some coffee. This afternoon is the funeral, so I don’t imagine we’ll be eating until dinner.

FITNESS

I signed up for a Women on Weights class at my YMCA. We meet Mon/Wed at 5am for 6 weeks. Even though my flight was Monday morning, I didn’t want to skip the first day! So I set my alarm for 415, had a cup of coffee, and headed to the gym.

There were five of us and the trainer. She put us through a full body strength training session over that hour. Because of needing to give us detailed instruction, we didn’t do as many exercises as we will, but she stressed the importance of form, so we really focused on that.

What we did:

ABS:
15 crunches with feet in the air
15 reverse crunches

*repeat

LEGS:
15 dead lifts with a 40 lb barbell
15 walking lunges on each side
15 reverse lunges on each side
15 sumo squats with a 20 lb dumbbell

*repeat

CHEST:
Chest press…lying flat..15 reps with a 30 lb barbell
Dumbbell flys on an incline bench. 15 reps with 12 lb dumbells
Didn’t have time, but I guess decline dumbell flys will be in there too

*repeat

ARMS:
Bicep curls using a bar. I don’t know what it was called…it’s a weighted bar, but not a barbell. There are three colors (green, yellow, and red). I used yellow. 15 reps

15 bench dips

*repeat

BACK:

15 lat pull downs while sitting on a balance ball – 85 lbs

15 back rows while sitting on a balance ball – 65 lbs

*repeat

There will be a lot more I learn, but it’s a start. And…my entire body is sore!!

Yesterday I took a break from family stuff and went to the gym to hit up a Zumba class. While my workout was good, it ended up being a bit of a pain in the butt. First, TSA took my padlock, so I didn’t have that. Then I got to the gym, and realized I forgot towels. Ugh. So I bought two at the Bally’s store.

Today I’m taking a rest day, but will be at the Y by my sisters house bright and early Thursday morning to do the strength routing and maybe (big maybe) do a quick run on the treadmill.

LIFE

I am in WI this week for a family funeral. I left VA early Monday morning, and had a rather enjoyable 3 hr layover in Philadelphia. I got to see the entire Chelsea soccer game while having a bloody mary at the terminal’s bar. My flight to Milwaukee was delayed slightly, but not too badly.

My Dad picked me up, and he went straight to Outpost, which is a natural foods store here. I picked up my yogurts, lentils, Mary’s Gone Crackers, hummus, and some Gardein chickn scallopini.

I went to dinner with my mom, then got back to their house. Mom went to bed, and Dad and I stayed up for a few more hours. It was about 1 am when I went to sleep!

Yesterday was going out for coffee with my mom, going to the gym, going to my sisters house, and then meeting back up with my parents for a birthday dinner for my Mom.

I’m hoping that today goes well for all of my family. There will be people there I haven’t seen in a very long time

I’ll try and blog again before heading home Friday, but may not have the chance. If not….I’ll be back this weekend!

Goodbye 2011, Hello New Year!

I know it’s been 5 days since my last post.  I have been off work, so I should have blogged more, I know.  I just didn’t have it in me this week, so I apologize!

FOOD

I’ve done some cooking this week, but not a ton.  A few recipes out of different books, the biggest hit last night being a tempeh chili-cheeze-mac thingy made with quinoa noodles.

I’ve been out for Thai food twice, and sushi (veg of course) once.

FITNESS

Most days have been running, but I did hit up a Zumba class the other day.  They are so much fun, but one heck of a workout.  According to my meter, I burned 481 calories in that hour.  It’s no joke, I’m telling you.  And I always leave with this bizarre sense that I can Latin dance 🙂  Salsa isn’t just a food group, ya know!

Today’s run was my favorite.  It was 64 degrees, and I wanted to get away from my neighborhood to run.  I went down to the Oceanfront and did 5 miles there.  I forget how much fun it can be to people watch.  In my 5 miles I saw…

~Beach lights in the sand (you can drive it at night and see things like jumping fish in Christmas lights)

~A newly married couple getting pictures on the beach.  The groom was cute trying to lift his wife’s white dress off of the sand

~an older woman (70’s easy) with bleach blonde hair, fur coat, leggings, and big fur boots strutting down the boardwalk like she was a playboy bunny

~a bunch of people running/biking/rollerblading/walking

~some crazy tourists who must be from a cold place running around soaking wet in bathing suits

~surfers

~families

~big dogs

~sailboats

I love living by the beach 🙂

LIFE

It’s been quite a week.  I had to splurge for all new tires for my van (not a fun expense 3 days after Christmas), but mostly just stayed home with the kids.

I have an unexpected trip back home to WI next week to say goodbye to a family member who passed away, and to celebrate her life.  Never the reason one wants to gather with loved ones.

I spent a bit of time going back to my January 2nd post of last year to look at my goals for 2011.  I really didn’t do the best on them that I could have.  I did make some progress, but not nearly enough.  I notice that I have much of the same ideas for this year.  Constantly work to improve my fitness and diet, save money for my kids’ college, volunteer, and keep in better touch with family.  This week definitely brought that last one into sharp focus for me.

So goodbye 2011.  You were a tough year, but I’m not complaining.  2012 – I welcome you with open arms and heart, and high hopes.

Happy New Year!