iPod Zombie


I don’t remember everything in the past few days (many have been traveling days), but some highlights included nice salads, smoothies, eggplant, and green curry.

the makings of a BAS. Lettuce, onion, cuc, avocado, chickpeas, and a cumin/lime dressing.
pre-blended blueberry cinnamon smoothie
being able to blend and drink directly from mason jars makes me insanely happy
grilled simple veggie kabob with some fresh corn
garbanzo tacos! Okay so I seriously meant to open pintos, but chickpeas worked too! Tossed in with sautéed bell pepper, onion, and garlic, then topped with lettuce, daiya, and siracha.
all fresh and local veggies for my garden smoothie (even though technically….it didn’t come from any garden of mine).
I have no idea how V8 gets them red. I get an ugly green…but mine tastes SO much better.

I’ve also started focusing on raw foods….and started a new blog!  This one is dedicated to nut-free raw foods and food allergy resources.  Since it deviates from my normal blog format and tone, I thought starting up a second one would be smarter.  I’ve had this idea brewing in the back of my head since last September, but finally did it.  If you’d like to check it out, here it is!  The Nut Free Raw Vegan.

recipe for my homemade spicy pickled veggies is on my other blog. But this was my snack. A nice change of pace.

I picked up my CSA haul Saturday, and then went farmer’s market hopping.  As soon as I got home, I whipped up a veggie whole foods juice in the Vitamix, and then started thumbing through my new Babycakes book (vegan and mostly gluten-free dessert recipes from the famed bakery in NYC).  I whipped up a batch of vanilla cupcakes that are currently cooling on a wire rack in my kitchen.

Saturday’s CSA score!


The past week has been very active, even though I wasn’t always home.  I got in a few runs, DVD’s, and a yoga class.

On a very happy front, my iPod has come back from the dead.  I’m not sure if that means it’s now a zombie, but as long as it doesn’t try to eat my brains, I think I’ll be OK.  So far I’ve run twice since it’s resurrection, and my brains are still intact.  I think…

We also finally had our first golf lesson.  LOVED IT.  D and I have some time set aside to practice this week (which we did after work today), and will hopefully have our next lesson in a week or two.  We have 4 total, so I’m hoping to be actually playing a game in the next month.


A quick soccer update.  My favorite team Chelsea FC is here in the US on a brief tour.  On Wednesday they were defeated by the MLS all-stars.  I have mixed feelings about this though.  One one hand, I’m happy the US team one – maybe it’ll show that we’re starting to grow as a country with soccer talent (though to be honest, only about half of the MLS all-star team is US by birth).  Also – they are supposed to represent the best of the best of all the MLS teams…so by all intents and purposes, they should totally kick butt.  So in that sense – I don’t feel too badly that Chelsea lost (by only a point).

On to the fun stuff.  D, R, M, and I went out-of-town Thursday evening.  We headed to where A did her pre-college program.  We spent the night at a very nice hotel, had dinner in their tavern, played pool, toured the grounds, and then went to sleep.  Early the next morning, it was off to see her end of program fashion show!  The inspiration was an exhibit about the life and culture of India.  The fashion show was titled Jewels of India, and here are a few pictures from it.

D explaining the finer points of pool strategy to M and R…
and now SHOWING M how he should go for his shot 🙂
my daughter modeling her outfit!
hood up!
walking away
my girls!

When we got home, all A could ask for was healthy food.  She ate like crap when she was on campus and wants to do a healthy food detox.  Lots of fresh fruits and veggies for her!

My Cat Is An Addict and I’m an iPod Killer. Not Sure Which Is Worse.


Well being home in my own kitchen just makes me insanely happy (and it turns out, makes my family happy too!).  I picked up my CSA (last week’s was donated to a local food bank since we were heading out of town and wouldn’t have used it), went grocery shopping, and went nuts cooking.

M, for his first day home, got to make a special request for dinner.  Lasagna – which I knew he’d pick!  For me, I made a BAS (for my newer readers, that’s the Big A$$ Salad).  This one had tons of romaine, red onion, avocado, fresh CSA corn, and a lime/cumin/olive oil dressing.  D ate it too – M and R didn’t like it.

I went to visit A at her pre-college program, and we went out to a local hippy restaurant.  We split an appetizer and dessert!

our vegan corn cakes! Served with a tomato ceviche, grilled zucchini, and micro greens. By FAR my fav of all the dishes.
roasted quinoa dish with summer squash and eggplant. It wasn’t bad…but it was bland. Nothing special, but grateful for a vegan and gluten-free main dish offering.
vegan creme brulee made from coconut milk! It was super tasty. Too sweet and too rich for us to finish, but that doesn’t make it not tasty.

I finally jumped on the salad-in-a-mason-jar kick.  I’ve been seeing them on other’s blogs and most recently the Vitamix Facebook page.  I couldn’t handle the coolness factor anymore and made one.  Two actually – put one in D’s lunch on Monday.  He giggled.

the trick is to put the ingredients that won’t wilt on the bottom. Mine has radish, onion, corn, cucumbers, and thick tomato slices (in a homemade vinaigrette). Topped with romaine. When ready…shake and eat!

Monday was Indian, which is the usual for our Meatless Monday’s.  Potato and peas in a tomato cream sauce (cream provided by coconut milk), and a mixed veggie curry.  Served with cumin seed basmati rice, and for the rest of the family, garlic naan (none for me since I didn’t feel like making a gluten-free version).

D asked the kids if any of their friends cook ethnic food. They said no. Makes me sad for them…and happy that my kids get exposed to a world of food outside of traditional american fare….


Since getting home, all my workouts have been runs.  I’m itching to be able to get back to Crossfit though.  It’s been nearly 2 weeks, and I hate that.

Today’s run was a blessing and a curse.  It was really hot and 100% humidity.  But still…it was great.  I brought water with me, and was really getting into a killer part of the book I’m listening too (CIA spy thing).  So anyway…a few hours after I’m back and cleaned up, I pop my headphones in to listen to my book some more….and my iPod has a white screen.  Nothing.  Nada.  DEAD.  D does some research, and it turns out it’s a common problem when it’s overly sweat upon.  I had it clipped to my bra strap, and I got so sweaty in today’s run that I maimed and possibly killed my iPod.  It’s now draining the battery and sitting in a bag of rice hoping to be resurrected.  Wish me luck…this is my 3rd one….

I’m trying to find a local-ish half around Christmas time.  I think that would be a fun time to do a big run.  There’s a Disney one in January, but I don’t think I’ll be free to take the time off to enjoy it.  Planning to finally do another full next year too.


It’s been insanely busy.  Obviously vacation was a busy time, and it was a blast.

last day! D, R, and I before we left FL.
super sleepy girl. Passed out. Snuggled up. And still wearing her seatbelt 🙂

I’m very proud of M.  We picked him up from camp on Saturday, and during the awards ceremony, his cabin was given an honor award.  These young men took it upon themselves to take younger homesick kids under their wings – cheer them up, play with them, check up, and make them feel safe.  I love him for that.  And honestly…expect no less from a child of mine.

I’m also very proud of A.  She’s been away from home for a few weeks now, and even though having some homesickness as well, she’s really being independent.  She’s taking this program very seriously, and I cannot wait to see her and her creations on Friday.

I felt great going back to work yesterday since I was so caught up before I left.  On that front, I have great news!  The final funding hurdle was surpassed and my project is officially a go!  That means….much more travel in my future.  But that travel takes me back home, so that’s an extra cool benefit.

Also on the work front, I’ve been asked to help consult on a gig on the west coast.  If all goes through, I may be spending some time in the Bay area coming up too.  Anyone want to come with??

Last night when I was cooking, I had to spread out the spice bag to get to what I needed (seriously….Indian food cooking uses an impressive array of spices).  I left them so I could catalog some ideas, and while I was cooking, I noticed Bumble going crazy with some of the bags of spices.  Not like batting them around…but rolling around in them like she does around fresh catnip (Mom gave me a paper bag full once….Bum kept running full speed into it and rolling around and actually slept ON the bag).  We did an experiment and discovered that Bumble treats celery seed the same way.  It was absolutely the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time….

Cat Seeking Rehab From Celery Seed….

Okay, even though I try to keep my blog silly and funny and happy….it’s time for a bit of sobering comments.  Sorry.

I refrain from commenting on or posting anything political on Facebook.  I have a large number of family and friends who have very different opinions than I do, and I find that engaging in any of the discussions isn’t worth the damage it could to do those relationships I value so much.  It’s going to be hard because it’s an election year, but I don’t care.  These are people I either love or respect, and they are entitled to what they believe (even if I think it’s wrong).

But that said.  This is my blog and I can say whatever the hell I want.  And right now, I want to talk about guns.  And murder.  And Colorado.  I’ve read a number of posts about how it’s not our gun laws that are the problem.  And it’s a load of BS in my view.  Here are a few statistics I want to share about the number of gun-related deaths annually in different countries, and you draw your own conclusions….

Australia – 35

England AND Wales together – 39

Germany – 194

Canada – 200

USA – 9,484

Seriously.  What will we do in the US?  We will hold a vigil.  We will sing songs as we display the victims’ picture.  We will light candles.  And we won’t change a damned thing.  Shame.  On.  Us.

South Carolina Has the Nicest People…VA Has the Worst Drivers!

Last post of the rambling sort!  Going in a bit of reverse chronological order (because it’s easier for my brain that way).

We’re home!  We arrived in our driveway at around 3pm.  We left Orlando yesterday around 130pm or so, stopped for the night in Florence, SC (a town full of the nicest people I’ve ever met in one place), and then got home to VA this afternoon.  All told, our drive home was pleasant and uneventful.  I will say I could tell when we crossed the state line from NC to VA.  All the drivers became worse….just saying.  I used to think WI had the worst drivers….until I moved here.  The left lane is for going slow, and a blinker means “get the hell out of my way, I’m coming, like it or not!”…more often I encounter rude drivers than friendly ones.

But that said….I’m happy to be home.  I love VA and missed her….

dinner tonight! A simply spiced lentils and rice dish (garlic, cinnamon, and cumin) with a bit of siracha for some fun. Felt great to cook and eat my food. Will feel even cooler to pick up my CSA and some fresh produce this weekend.
happy to pick up Sammie a day early. She’s beat from a week playing with younger pups!
geocaching at Mile Marker 1 in GA (rest stop). They found the cache, signed the log, and left a trackable (a dragonfly my Dad got D). Got an email this afternoon that someone else found the cache and picked up the dragonfly to bury somewhere else in the country. So cool.
our last dinner out at a Chili’s in Florence, SC. I had a custom vegan salad. They were really nice and accomodating…especially since they closed before we got there. Everywhere we went in Florence, everyone was super nice. Good town…

Yesterday we woke up and checked out of our villa.  We went out to breakfast and then hit up Downtown Disney for some planned shopping (we didn’t buy much while at the parks) and then hitting the road.  We spent a lot of time at the monster Lego store (R is working on Diagon Alley for Hogwarts as we speak, and I picked up some fun things for my nephew’s birthday next month), and the Disney World Store (new antenna balls, things for the kids, an outfit for my Godson, etc).

Wednesday we went to the main Universal Studio’s theme park.  We rode all the rides, and had a really great time.  It was strange not going to a Disney Park or Seaworld, but we’ve never really done Universal, so it was really cool.  D had the brilliant idea of bringing my Camelbak to the park (it’s the small 1 liter one I use for long runs), and R wore it while we were out all day.  We filled it 3 times, so she drank 4 liters of water that day.  Didn’t wear out in the heat once!  Forgive all the pics that show her sucking down water, but in the July FL heat, it was absolutely brilliant.

taking a break in an air-conditioned shop and drinking some water (and looking cool in her sunglasses)
as R puts it….getting “misified”. finding a fan blowing in the park with water to cool her off.
my vegan theme park lunch. Rice, boiled corn, and steamed asian veggies. Not bad really (oh…and 3 beers too….no pics of those as I drank them all…)
me as we’re heading in!

After we got back to the villa, D took R to swim while I did laundry and ran out for dinner.  I got to pick, so I went to a Mediterranean place and picked up a Gyro for him, and a Vegan platter for me with hummus, rice and spice wrapped in grape leaves, babaganouj and tabouleh.  It was fantastic!

So…it was a quick trip (only 2 full days in FL), but a totally awesome one.

I’m going to end this post by answering a questionnaire from Heather at Where’s The Beach!  She gave me a Sunshine Award, and here are the rules 🙂  Thanks Heather!!

  • Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass on the award to some fabulous bloggers

Favorite Color? Purple.
Favorite Animal? Penguin.  Always as been.  My Dad actually “adopted” a penguin in my name at the Milwaukee County Zoo when I was a kid.  And if you don’t love Penguins now…watch Surf’s Up.  Hilarious.
Favorite Number? I’ve vacillated about this over the years.  I won’t give a number, but will say that odd numbers are my favorite.  All the best things in my life (except one) happened in an odd year.  That one would be the birth of my husband.  Otherswise…odd rocks.
Name 3 places to visit from your bucket list: China, Greece, and Toronto, Canada.  I’ve always wanted to go.  I hear it’s like NY.  But clean…
Favorite workout move: Pigeon (yoga move.  kills me, but is wonderful).
Name 2 shows on TV you love: Blue Bloods (because I would love to be from an Irish Catholic Cop Family in NY) and Castle.  Don’t get me wrong.  Love being from my family too 😉
What is your passion? Healthcare – and making it safer and accessible to everyone (should be a right and not a privilege) and my family.
Giving or giving presents? Well hell.  I love both.  I love seeing someone (or talking in the case of my family who is far away) get something I pick out (hint hint Dad….watch the movies so we can talk about them!), and I love getting them too.
Name a talent you’d love to have: construction skills.  I’d love to build things – a table, a cabinet, a house.  Doesn’t matter.  I wish I could do that.

Here are the bloggers that I nominate for the Sunshine Award and I’d like to see fill out this questionnaire on their own blogs!!!

CW at Crystal Can Do It! who has been going through an inspiring journey.  I’ve known her for a long time, and her story is one that would move anyone to be a healthier and happier person!

JL from JL Goes Vegan.  Her’s was the first Vegan blog I had ever read.  She probably doesn’t know this…but she was the first to inspire me to incorporate more raw foods in my diet.  I also met her at last year’s VVC, and she’s the life of the party…everywhere she goes.

Susan at FatFreeVegan.  I was making her recipes over 10 years ago before I even became a vegan!  She is the reason why I don’t use names in my blog…..I followed her example when she talks about her daughter E.  I also got to meet her (and eat with her!) at VVC last summer.  She’s very sweet and smart…and she’s really the inspiration on how I’ve modeled my own blog.

Carrie at CarrieOnVegan.  I love her healthy, whole food recipes.  If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right.  I met her briefly at VVC last year also (I belive I was driving a group back to the dorms after the gala!), and I remember wishing I had talked to her more.  We’re both a little shy in groups….at first 😉



Holy Long Week, Batman

Okay, it’s been a week, so I can’t possibly do my normal format, or it would be pretty impossible to read!

It’s been a busy week.  My eldest is having a good time at her pre-college program, but she’s a bit homesick.  She doesn’t admit it directly, but wants to text, talk, and Skype often, and she seems to really miss us.  I know she misses my food.

I spent several days working late in preparation for vacation!  Except Thursday. On Thursday it was a girls night celebration for LC’s new job!

Sunday we took M to camp.  He was SO excited, though when we said goodbyes, I wasn’t the only one a little teary.

my son, growing up too fast….
M meeting his cabin counselor

From there, D, R and I headed for the long drive to Orlando.  We stopped for the night at a really nasty hotel in Lumberton, NC.  It’s not that we weren’t on the lookout for somewhere fairly decent…and even though it was rated as 3 stars, it should have been zero!!!  I realize I have become a hotel snob over the years.

stopping at a rest stop for a little yoga and geocaching. R and I stretching with a little down dog…
third row, all to herself
D put R to work cleaning the windows when we stopped for gas

Even though our mini-van has 3 movie screens, R opted to listen to The Hunger Games with us instead.  We’re all really loving it.

my dinner from Ruby Tuesday’s (somewhere in NC). Balsamic tomato slices, roasted spag squash, and grilled asparagus!
sleepy baby…

We checked into our villa yesterday….to find another family staying in it!  Not sure what the mix up was, but we got assigned a new one, got some room service credits for the troubles, and settled in.  We hit up Downtown Disney for some dinner and walking around, and headed back to sleep around midnight (I know…out late, but after being cooped up in a car for so long, we were all a bit stir crazy!).

R and I at Downtown Disney
R and D at Downtown Disney

Breakfast was a vega berry smoothie!  So very tasty.  Lunch was actually a Vega chocolate bar at Universal Studios (didn’t want to risk not having anything viable to eat), and dinner was a vegan pasta primavera and soup.

my travel food! Raw vegan goodies.

We spent today at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.  It was an absolute blast.  Harry Potter World was truly magical, though much more crowded than the other areas of the park.

R taking us through a survivor-esque challenge at the Jurassic Park area of Universal Studios
and R leading the way!

In an effort to not bore the crap out of you and/or write a crazy long post…everything has been great this past week, we’re intensely enjoying being on vacation, but I’m also ready to see my older two kids….

Working Late Balancing Out Pre-Mature Vacation Brain


Due to an unexpected interruption, this morning was a bit more rushed than normal.  Yes – too rushed, even, for a homemade smoothie.  Enter gluten-free pretzels and hummus for breakfast.  With coffee.  On the road.  Yum…(insert sarcasm here).

Lunch was a veggie burger and fries out with D.  I felt like hell most of the afternoon for eating so unhealthily.

As such…dinner was a veggie packed salad.  SO not an exiting food day!

Later this evening I’m going to start planning my travel food so I don’t end up eating like crap and feeling even worse.


I’m living on the workout DVD’s lately.  I will be until my travels next week are completed.  DVD’s and hotel gyms….that’s okay though.  At least I’m not just sitting on my tush.

Today’s workout was intense ab work.  It was tough, and I’ll feel it tomorrow I’m sure!


Work.  All day, all night.  I’m not complaining AT all though – I’ve mentioned a billion times that I totally love my job.  It’s tough – never dull and boring – and I make a difference in the lives of other people.  Can’t really beat that.  However…my brain is starting to check out in preparation for vacation in just over 3 days…and I find myself working until late in the evening to be sure everything is wrapped up and I can fully focus on fun in Florida all next week (yeah…say THAT five times fast….).

Update on A.  Monday was a little boring as she was still doing program orientation stuff.  Tuesday was an inspiring day spent getting ideas by visiting galleries and museums – as well as visiting stores to determine what the target selling audience is (she’s in a fashion and marketing program).  She was particularly inspired by the jeweled colors and embroidery of some Indian exhibits (yes as in India, not Native Americans).  Today has been classes where she said she’s learning a ton.  She designed a trend board and designed sweaters, learned how to make croquees (not sure what those are…will google later), and learned how to layer fabrics based on the grains.  Her last text said “I am pleased”.  That’s always a good thing.

We Skyped last night, and she seems to be doing great.  Misses us, but is having a blast.  Apparently her dorm room is the central hang out for the floor.  Fun times!


Tears, Traffic…..and Video Games!


I have to say my favorite meal since Saturday afternoon was dinner Saturday night.  I had 4 poblano chili’s from my CSA on Friday, and since I was heading out-of-town, wanted to do something fun with them.  So – in addition to a pesto ratatouille, I made chili rellenos!  Super simple, nicely spicy, and I wish I had more than 4….

Crissie’s Vegan Chili Relleno


*4 poblano peppers, tops cut off and seeds scooped out

*1 cup dry basmati rice (cook according to package directions)

*1-2 jalapeno’s (fresh or pickled…whatever you have on hand)

*1 pkg vegan cheese (I used Dayia Pepper Jack shreds)

*1/2 small diced onion

*1 pureed tomato (I actually used about 10 cherry tomatoes)


Extremely simple.  I mixed the jalapeno’s (I used pickled because I had it), onions, tomato, and cheese into the rice.  Stuff the peppers with the mixture.  Put on tray, and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 (I used my toaster oven).  Seriously – that’s it.  SO yummy.

I had to slice them one down the center to get more stuffing in them!

I also had 4 green tomatoes.  Not being from the South originally, all a green tomato is to me is one that isn’t finished yet.  What the heck am I supposed to do with them?  I don’t fry food, so that was out of the question.  I decided to grill them!  So – I sliced them thickly and let them marinade all afternoon in a mixture of cranberry/pear white balsamic vinegar, blood orange olive oil, and a small amount of brown sugar.  Then grilled them.  Well  – I put them ON the grill…then D took over (he’s getting anal retentive about the grill).  They were very unusual.  I loved them – but have nothing to compare them to since I’ve never eaten them before.  They were still firm, and the marinade complimented them nicely.  I can imagine they’d be really yummy on a sammich.

hitting the grill!
grilled green tomatoes!
my dinner

Sunday, Monday, and this morning were green smoothies.  Sunday and today at home, and yesterday in my hotel room.  Yep – took my blender with me, even though it was only an overnighter!


Sunday morning (even before having coffee!), I did a workout video.  Don’t read too much into that….I overslept and needed to get my workout in before hitting the highway.

Monday was a rest day – unless you count walking around DC for 2 hrs – but I didn’t.

Today I did two workout DVD’s, for a total of an hour.  It’s been raining all day, so I had to keep my workout indoors.


Sunday around 1130, the whole family packed up to take A off to her 3 week pre-college program.  She’s away from home.  For 3 weeks.  Living in a dorm!  WITHOUT PARENT’S.

on the drive up. Such a big, grown up young lady (with her stuffed bunny….)
I only cried a little….
R saying her goodbye’s to her big sister
Dad and daughter. The Dad who…by the way…wanted to stop BACK at her college the next day to see her. We didn’t want to humiliate her by only being able to be away for 36 hrs…
in front of the dorms
with her model pose

From there, the remaining family (D, M, R, and I) went to DC.  The drive was totally brutal…hail…falling trees….3 hrs to go what should have taken just over 1….

We grabbed a quick dinner, played in the pool, and then went to bed around 11.

R going airborne as D tosses her in the pool

Monday morning I took D, M, and R to the metro station on my way into work, and they  hit up the American Art Museum’s Art of Video Game exhibit (can’t tell you how intensely appropriate that is for all three of them).  When my meetings were over, I went into the city, met up with them at the National Zoo, walked around for a bit (but it was 111 degrees, and I was still wearing my linen pant suit – sans jacket of course), then hit the road for a hellish drive home

waiting for the museum to open
and still waiting

just because he’s a cutie 🙂
sleepy girl

Still….it was a great weekend.  Tears, traffic, and all.