Pumped Up Kicks

FOOD

I was not very motivated to cook today. I had a baked potato and leftover Tofurky for breakfast this morning, and a Moe’s salad for lunch. I’m blogging instead of thinking about dinner (though still full from lunch, so dinner will likely be light anyway!).

I did manage to bake a batch of banana chocolate-chip muffins yesterday at least!

FITNESS

I wasn’t very motivated to do anything here either! But I managed anyway 🙂

Last Valentine’s Day D got me a new Nike GPS+ running watch. It has an optional shoe pod to track indoor runs (though I almost never do those), so in early spring, I switched from my Brooks Ravenna’s (which I’d been running in for 4 yrs at that point – with no problems) to Nike running shoes. While they are stability shoes (what I need due to high arches and a tendency to supinate), they never felt right. I’d been toying with the idea of switching back, but just hadn’t. The past two months I’ve had ankle pain in my right foot after runs, so I figured the time had come.

What’s one of the perfect motivations to lace up and get out the door? New toys. So…to gain motivation, I hit up Running Etc to get new running shoes and then head to First Landing State Park for a run.

I explained my predicament to the sales clerk, and he had me run in three pairs of shoes; Brooks, Saucony, and Ascics. I was determined to give them all a fair shake. Brooks won for comfort, and I’m not back in my Ravennas!

My run right afterwards was awesome, and I was totally digging my new kicks!

LIFE

Not very motivated here either! Are you sensing a lazy Saturday theme here?

After I woke up, had coffee, and caught up on blog reading, I started working on the coming week’s dinner menu. From there, I made a grocery list. And then plopped on the couch. I knew I needed to hit up the grocery store and should take advantage of the long weekend by doing some of my batch cooking today. I just didn’t feel like it!

Thankfully since I went out to run in Virginia Beach, I was out and about anyway and picked up most of my groceries at Whole Foods.

Then I napped.

I know I shouldn’t care when there are days that I just don’t feel like doing things. The thing is, I tend to thrive on chaos and being frenetically busy, and don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have something to do or just don’t feel like doing anything. I should take it as my body (and mind’s) way of telling me to chill out I suppose.

So for the rest of the evening, I’m going to chill out. D and I originally planned to go out and maybe see a movie…but he’s not feeling very motivated either. So we’re going to relax together and just enjoy an evening in.

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Not Such a Nature-Hating Vegan Afterall!

FOOD

My lack of cooking earlier in the week was made up for yesterday for sure!  We tend to vacillate on holiday meals.  Sometimes we cook and sometimes we decide it would be easier to just go out.  I suppose since neither D nor I have any family close by, we don’t have typical traditions.  Yesterday though, we decided would be a cook day.

On the menu was butternut squash gratin, Tofurky, stuffing, green bean casserole, roasted carrots and onions, spicy mashers, and pumpkin pie.  A feast to be sure!

my Thanksgiving feast

Today has been leftovers, but I’m currently making a big batch of black bean soup (say that 3 times fast!) for dinner.

Crissie’s Butternut Squash Gratin

Ingredients

1 med butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and sliced thin (I used a mandolin)

1/4 med onion – diced

*2 tbsp Earth Balance

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

*1 1/3 cup coconut milk (you could use soymilk too if desired)

*1/2 cup Daiya cheddar shreds

*salt and fresh pepper to taste

Directions

*pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

*melt Earth Balance over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until soft.

*stir in flour until well blended.

*add coconut milk slowly – stirring constantly, until well blended

*raise the heat to high until it starts to boil, and let it boil for 1-2 minutes until thick – stirring constantly

*add the daiya and stir until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

*layer the butternut squash in a 2 qt casserole dish and pour on the cheese sauce being sure it’s well blended and coated.

*bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 30 minutes

FITNESS

One of the hot yoga studios near me was actually opened on Thanksgiving morning, so I went to a 75 minute hot vinyasa class.  It was definitely one of the harder ones I’ve been too, and left feeling pretty wiped out.

I decided that I want to become a yoga teacher, just so I can create classes for myself at home.  D thinks it’s a great idea – and when I said it would be fun to volunteer and teach classes at maybe a homeless shelter or something, he said no…I’d be a lousy teacher.  Jerk.  Perhaps I’ll rethink that career turn….

Today I went on my first hike!  I signed up for a local hiking meet-up group, and they were having a group hike at a city park very near my house.  I signed up and D agreed to go with me.  I was excited for days, and this morning we left around 915am.

I will say I had mixed reviews on the experience.  This meet-up group (even though there were 25 of us there) wasn’t very warm and welcoming of new members.  Maybe they’ve been established for a while, who knows, but D and I felt very isolated.  When the hike began, they all gook off going at a really fast clip – too fast to actually explore or appreciate the surroundings.  As soon as we stopped to take a picture, we lost them.  Clearly they didn’t care about it.

As for the hike itself though, it was really nice.  D is an experienced hiker, so I managed to not get lost or break my ankle navigating over all the fallen trees and roots covered by layers of leaves.  In the end, we went about 4 miles (per his GPS) and had a nice morning.

this is the pic D took where we lost the crowd
to my family in WI…our leaves apparently change colors here too!
my sweetie
random carved bear
so glad D brought a tripod! We never ever get pictures together…

I’m excited about the hike for a few reasons.  I’ve always been a lousy vegan when it came to getting nature ON me.  My idea of roughing it has always been a hotel without a bar.  But for the past year or two (since D has gotten into hiking and geocaching and wanting to go on solo camping trips), I’ve been re-thinking my aversion to the great outdoors.  I want to try camping in the spring, but figured a few hikes would be in order first.  So far…I’m happy with the experience, but not sure I’d want to go alone.

LIFE

It’s been a very peaceful few days.  Yesterday was spent at yoga, cooking, and reading.  After dinner, we all laid out in the living room (Sammie and Bumble too) and watched Lord of the Rings.  Need to watch the three of them before the first Hobbit movie comes out in a few weeks!

Today was hiking, baking, and more relaxing.  D went out to the mall after we got back from the hike.  While he was out, S came by for a glass of wine and some catching up, which was nice.  Tonight I imagine we’ll watch the next LOTR’s movie, The Two Towers.  I’m not sure what’s on deck for the rest of the weekend – perhaps nothing (which is an odd feeling for me).  And that’s perfectly OK with me!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie is Not a Runner’s Food

FOOD

I honestly don’t have much in the way of food pics yet.  I’ve been living off of party leftovers, which has been totally fine with me!  With today being Thanksgiving though, I’m sure I’ll have tons of pics for my next post.

FITNESS

Tuesday’s workout was a run and yesterday’s workout was another swim.  I will say that for the run – just my advice here – pumpkin pie is NOT a good pre-run snack.  My belly wasn’t happy throughout that 5 miles, that’s for sure.  I made it through it, but it wasn’t my best run and I felt pretty off the rest of the day.

The swim was awesome though, as it was R and me!  She had a half day at school, so I took a half day off work.  I picked her up, and with bag already packed, we hit up the pool and staked out our lane.

We swam laps for a half hour.  Me doing freestyle the whole time, and she doing various drills.  She announced that she needed to work on her 200 and 400 IM’s (where she swims all 4 strokes over that distance), so she did that.  And then spent awhile working on her butterfly since that’s her newest stroke.  It’s funny how grown up and serious my 9-year-old sounds when she’s talking about swimming.  I think it annoyed her that I was only swimming freestyle because she kept offering to teach me something new.  It was cute.  But learning the butterfly isn’t going to make me a better triathlete!

After the swim, we relaxed in the hot tube for about 15 minutes, and then showered and went home!  It was pretty awesome.

LIFE

Holiday weeks tend to be pretty low-key.  Not a lot of meetings, so that was nice – I got a lot done.  I’m definitely excited to be off until Monday.

Last night we went to the Botanical Gardens for their Million Bulb Walk.  A had to work, so it was D, M, R and I and we met my friend L and her little one while there too.  It was a nice night – in the 50’s – so at the park entrance we picked up some hot apple cider, grabbed our cameras, and went on the 2 mile walk.  It was very pretty and we all had a great time.

D was really the one getting the best shots!
love this pic of M in a green tree!
R is greened out too

L and me on the tram, waiting to head back

Right as we were leaving, A got off work, so she met up with us at Franco’s and we had a family dinner out.  I had some eggplant and pasta, which was very yummy in a homemade and authentic red sauce – which my Italian husband appreciates (since I don’t make one myself).

By the time we got home, we were all pretty beat.  I was reading when R saw me, grabbed her kindle, and hopped into bed next to me.  The two of us read for about 20 minutes, then went to sleep.  It was a really, really wonderful day.

snuggly readers!

Today is mostly about cooking, possibly going to a hot yoga class at one of my studios that is actually open today, hanging out with my family, and likely going to the movies (we tend to every major holiday).  Tomorrow I am going on my first ever hike (D is experienced and coming with me, thankfully).  There’s about 25 people in the East Coast Hikers meet up group going tomorrow, and I’m very excited to go, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of pictures and stories to tell on that!

If I don’t post again later and you’re a US reader, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  If you’re not a US reader – have a wonderful day anyway!

I’m More of a Brave Kinda Girl

FOOD

Sunday was much more relaxing than normal!  After the vegan party, I didn’t need to bulk cook for the week, as I had plenty of yummy leftovers to tide me over.

Breakfast was my favorite pre-workout meal; Ezekiel bread with sunflower seed butter, sliced banana, and a bit of agave.  Lunch was a mish mash of things from the Whole Foods salad bar (we’re talking quinoa salad, tabbouleh, greens, etc).  I’m so happy we finally have a WF here!

you gotta know I have a workout coming when I’m eating this! It’s insta-energy for sure.
a huge BAS. Yay Whole Foods!

Dinner was leftover Syrian Lentils and Rice from one of the party guests and some acorn squash alfredo pasta.

Today breakfast was Ezekiel toast smeared with leftover artichoke dip and Tofurky deli slices and greens.  Lunch was some bean soup that MJ brought to the party (and delightfully left for my enjoyment).  Dinner was more pasta leftovers with a Tofurky kielbasa.  I have a happy belly.

FITNESS

I finally signed up for another race!  The Sam Adams Surf n Santa 10 miler!  AE is running it too (my tri friend and neighbor), so we’re going to leave the families snug in their warm beds and run in the winter cold at the Oceanfront.  The best costume wins trips to Boston (where AE is from), but I’m planning to win by enlisting my fashion designer daughter to make me the best holiday themed running costume.  I’ve been having nightmares of trying to run as the abominable snowman from Rudolph (whose name is Bumble…by the way…my cat’s namesake).  Whatever…I want that trip!

Surf N Santa!

So in the last two days I’ve had two workouts.  One running and one swimming.  Yep…back to the pool.  Weather is turning colder, so indoor workouts are necessary.  It was so awesome (though D was cute, reminding me to bring lotion because my skin wouldn’t like the chlorine).  R was just happy and wants to swim together later this week.

LIFE

I finally got to see the new James Bond movie yesterday!  I’ve been looking forward to this for nearly a year.  I’m a HUGE 007 fan and Daniel Craig is by far my favorite.

The movie was a mixed bag for me.  The first half had a lot of unnecessary junk in it.  Plot and characters alike.  It really didn’t get good until the Inquiry part, but then it got good.  No gadgets really (or hot new car), but very much back to basics.  Some key characters passed the torch by the end of the movie, and that wasn’t a bad thing.  In the end, it was fun (not worth full price, but matinée for sure) and Bond did what he did best – blow things up and shoot people.

When D and I got home, it was time to watch Brave with the kids.  This movie…I loved.  From the music to the psychotic curly red mop on the main character, to everything about it.  We all got weepy (hello, it’s a Disney movie….ever see Bambi??  Can’t watch a Disney flick and not get a little teary), but nothing about this movie was disappointing.  I’m definitely more of a Brave kinda girl.

On a fun note, I was informed today that I get to interview one of my favorite cookbook authors next month!  She has a new book, and I’m getting an advanced copy to test out recipes and write about, PLUS I get to do a giveaway for a copy too!  The magic date is later in December, so stay tuned for your chance to win!  Seriously…vegan or not…her books are always easy and always a crowd pleaser!

 

Vegan and a Movie Recap

So today it’s all about the food!

I hosted a vegan meet-up, and my theme was vegan comfort food and a movie.  Everyone was tasked to bring their favorite vegan comfort food, and holy cow did we eat a ton!

My contributions to the potluck were a pumpkin pie, apple cake, artichoke dip with french bread, acorn squash alfredo, and green bean casserole.  Other dishes brought were seitan and dumplings, Tex Mess casserole, Cajun red beans and rice, Syrian lentils and rice, two Japanese dishes that were outstanding, but I couldn’t tell you what they were called, potato casserole, chocolate chip cake, split pea soup, veggie soup, and lots and lots of wine (gotta love vegans!).

I’m sure I missed something, but the bottom line was awesome eats!

even made tent cards!
artichoke dip and bread

so this is the wine that’s LEFT after everyone went home 🙂

We put a healthy dent into the food, but I can tell you I have no need to do my typical Sunday bulk cooking tomorrow!  I have a boat load of leftovers that will keep me in yummy comfort food for at least a week.

I’ll admit that I was really nervous in the hour before the party.  It’s a little nerve-wracking opening your home to a bunch of mostly strangers.  While I’ve met a few before at the two other meet-ups I’ve been to, it’s different when it’s at your house.  People started arriving right about 6pm, and most were here by 630.  We spread out the food, talked for a while, and then piled all our chairs into the living room to watch a movie while eating and drinking.

The movie we picked to watch is a vegan documentary called Vegucated.  I saw it screened in Washington DC a year ago and really enjoyed it.  It’s quirky and most of the group hadn’t seen it before, so it was unanimously voted in.  It’s about a vegan filmmaker who decides to document three very different people as they do a 6 week experiment in veganism.  It’s available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and of course for sale too.  It’s a good movie and worth watching, vegan or not.

squishing into the living room to watch the movie. Too bad it’s chilly out….this would have been perfect for backyard movie night.

For me, this was an amazing night.  I’m not one to break out of my social comfort zone easily, so I’m kind of proud of myself.  I’m getting to know more locals who eat like I do (or at least are willing to enjoy vegan eats, even if they aren’t themselves…which are always welcome in this group).  I’m looking forward to attending and hosting many more of these in the future.

Country Music Incites Violence??

FOOD

I honestly didn’t do much in the way of cooking this week.  Most of my food I made on Sunday, with the highlight being a 5 course Indian feast for dinner.  Monday and Tuesday I didn’t get home until after 10pm each night, and Wednesday was out with friends, and another late night last night.  Thank goodness for bulk cooking, or I’d starve!

 

all my spices lined up and the rice cooker busy with some basmati!

 

big pot of red lentil dahl

 

kids getting ready for dinner

 

dinner time! I ate this all week and wasn’t sad one little bit.

 

I’m getting ready for tomorrow night though!  I’m hosting a vegan and a movie potluck at my house.

FITNESS

My evenings lately are rarely spent at home.  For a variety of reasons, I’m not getting home lately until quite late several nights per week.  What that does is force me to try to run in the morning – which would be significantly easier if I could sleep in first!

So I managed to squeak in a few runs this week, but honestly, I hate morning running.  I’d rather lace up at 9pm than 5am…it’s just not my thing.  I wish it were, and hopefully life will slow down (just a little…I couldn’t handle it if things got TOO dull).

LIFE

Well let’s see, it’s been a crazy week.  My kids played some Dance Party game on the Kinect on Sunday and I got a few silly pics of M doing his thing.

Bumble took over Sammie’s bed (it was outside in the sun when I was mopping the floors). Sam just stood there staring…but didn’t make Bumble leave…silly puppy, she outweighs the cat by a good 60 lbs!

Wednesday was girl’s wine night.  We try to get together a few times per year, but at least once just before the holidays.  We scheduled it back in August or September just to get it on the calendar.  It was a great time as always.

We just booked a trip for D to take A to tour a college in New England in two weeks.  They’re both really excited.  I’m more scared than excited (hello, who gave her permission to grow up and stuff?!?!), but happy for her too.  She’s looking at two out-of-state schools and one in state school.  Here’s hoping for scholarships!!!

Okay, so the title of my blog post is actually something I heard today on the radio.  Now, I’m not trying to dis country music (I’m not a fan, but I’ve decided to try again….maybe).  Anyway, I’m listening to Alt Nation in my car today, when the DJ starts talking about how much he loves to see Dolly Parton live because she plays a billion instruments (and shreds it, even with long fake nails…) and that she has the voice of an angel.  But he hates country music, said it’s a parody of real music, and makes him want to punch someone who lives in a rural area.  I was both horrified and amused….