Monthly Archives: June 2013

DIY Spa Sunday!

FOOD

Okay, so I spent quite some time in the kitchen playing with food, though not all of it to eat! More on that later….

It's truly been a simple Sunday in the kitchen. Breakfast was a giant green smoothie of watermelon, banana, strawberry, and spinach. Lunch was leftover brown rice, curry cabbage and peas, and the spicy cucumber namul again – this time with half an avocado sliced into it too. I haven't had dinner, but since my lunch was SO late, I may just munch some fruit or skip it entirely.

 

I did spend some time in the kitchen prepping my lunch for tomorrow….but I'll tell you about that tomorrow 🙂

FITNESS

I did another P90X video today. Disc 2 in the kit – plyometrics. HOLY. COW. No weights or bands – but crazy jumping moves (they have low-impact modifications thankfully) and squats.

At 41 minutes I had to press pause. I wanted to barf, and was planning on quitting then. However, after sitting down for about 5 minutes, I saw the screen on pause, felt like a wuss, and finished it. As a result, I have two shots of my HR monitor. 548 calories in 64 minutes (and at least 5 of those, I was sitting down).

 

I also couldn't keep up with several of the moves. When that happened, I either did the modifications or did squats until they move on. My oldest walked past the living room at one point, saw me running in circles, and just went “huh…ok”. Then left.

What I really liked about this and yesterday's video is they break everything down into 30-60 second segments, and it makes the workout really fly by (even when contemplating hurling).

I also can definitely feel the mild soreness in my chest, back, abs, and thighs from yesterday's workout. Quite the intense little program!

LIFE

So biggest news….my son M left today for 3 weeks at camp 😦

I know he's going to have a really great time. He's been excited for weeks and apparently knew some people as soon as he got there. But still…..I'm going to miss him terribly. His sisters gave him a big group hug. They're sad he's away too….

 

A VERY long time ago (mid and late 90's), I would occasionally make my own beauty products. Lotions and soaps mainly, but still had a great time making and using them. Over the years I've gotten busier and could start affording store bought brands, so I hadn't thought about making my own in years. However, as articles about animal testing, sourcing of ingredients, chemical laden products, and more blogs talking about “green beauty”, the ideas have been percolating in the back of my melon for a few months now.

I put a lot of thought into the things I will put IN my body. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are the bulk of what I eat (don't get me wrong…this girl loves her chips and salsa and wine and beer too!), but I'm always conscious about every bite I take. I won't eat it if I suspect it's not vegan, and I won't use any clothing/cosmetics/etc that have animal products in them (leather, lanolin, beeswax, etc) or engage in animal testing.

So after D left with M to go to camp, I whipped up some recipes, worked out, and got busy on my own little Spa Sunday!

I belonged to a book club in the mid-90's (similar to that tape and CD club!), and got this book in a batch of 5 for 1 penny. I haven't looked at it in years, but could never bring myself to put into the donate bin. I'm glad I didn't. A few of the things I did today either came from or were inspired by this book.

Here's my list!

Making the toner took the longest, only because it involved boiling and cooling of ingredients. I used fresh mint from my herb garden and the zest of an organic orange. Steep each in boiling water until cool, mix, add vodka, and…based on a suggestion from my cousin SR, added some freshly grated ginger!

 

The face scrub was just 1/2 cup of strawberries, the juice of one lemon, and about 1 tsp of jojoba oil (I have it on hand, as I use it as a moisturizer in the winter.

The cinnamon and sugar body scrub was 5 tbsp of date sugar (I wanted a course sugar) and 1 tbsp of cinnamon. That's it! When I got my washcloth wet and put my liquid soap in it, I dumped about 1/4 of the mixture in and scrubbed away. It smelled so yummy and worked very nicely.

I ended up not mixing molasses and lemon, and just used straight molasses. I thought about beer too, but I'll use that next time!

My face mask was 1/2 of an avocado mixed with 1/2 of a ripe banana. I applied after I was out of the shower, let sit for 10 minutes, and then rinsed.

My final step was to apply the toner. It was light and refreshing, and it made a ton! I certainly won't be running out anytime soon.

Overall, it was fun, and while I was thinking I may smell like a fruit basket by the time I was done, I don't! I have drier hair and skin, so I picked ingredients that were moisturizing and gentle. The strawberries with their hulls provided mild exfoliation without making my skin burn. The mask was so hydrating, I didn't need to apply moisturizer or jojoba oil afterwards. The molasses was probably the most surprising though. My hair is curly, and I don't use shampoo (haven't in 7 years). I just condition daily and that's about it. That, combined with the foods I eat, has mostly rectified my dry hair issue. However, it's summer and I love being outside and in the pool/ocean, so I want to be sure to take care of it without having to buy big treatments. I used about 1/8 – 1/4 of a cup (my hair is fairly short), applied it right after rinsing out my conditioner, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I was expecting it to be sticky and difficult to use, but it wasn't. It rinsed out nicely, and my curls dried softly.

So there, my first (but not last) DIY Spa Sunday!

Oh, and also….R woke today with no fever, and has remained fever free all day! Woo hoo….

 

Sweet and Spicy. Just Like Me :)

FOOD

It's so nice to be home 🙂

Breakfast yesterday was some coffee and cantalope. Very minimalist I know, but what I wanted. For dinner, I made up some curry cabbage and peas from Isa Chandra's Appetite for Reduction, a cucumber namul inspired by an Any Phyo recipe, and some brown rice.

 
I didn't really measure, but about 1 tsp of chili oil, 1 tsp of agave, 1-2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic, and about 1 tbsp of sesame seeds on top of a peeled and sliced cuc. It was spicy and cool and crunchy. Love this stuff.

using the sweet curry for the cabbage with the spicy cucumbers made a really nice contrast with this dish.

I also whipped up a batch of cookies for the rest of the family and put a slow cooker of veggie broth in to cook overnight.

I'm still keeping all my veggie “parts” in the freezer to make homemade broth. So easy and cost effective too – not to mention I control the flavors. I added some whole garlic cloves and fresh garden herbs in this batch.

end result was 2 quarts

Today was more fruit, leftovers, and some curry tofu. And with that, I used up the last of my bottle of sweet curry powder!

 

FITNESS

I was hoping to hit the gym today, but my youngest is sick. After picking through workout DVD's, decided to finally P90X a try. I don't have any dumb bells of significance, but I do have resistence bands, and the video's have that option. I did Chest & Back and the Ab ones. They were both pretty challenging. There's a 90 day program with it. I'm not sure if I'll do it, or use these videos to do strength training at home. Either way, it was a good workout today!

 

LIFE

R woke up yesterday with a pretty high fever, so we all spent the day snuggling and watching movies. When she was resting, D and I even watched two we had from Netflix and hadn't yet returned.

For the new-to-me movies:

Man on a Ledge – really enjoyed it. I didn't know what to expect, but both D and I thought it was very good.

21 Jump Street – okay, I didn't want to see this. I was a huge fan of the TV show, and that was a drama. This movie and all the previews showed two bumbling idiots. That said….I was dying laughing through the whole thing. They did an incredible job in the first 20 minutes of making silly statements that made the viewers realize they can be fans of the show…and that this WASN'T like the show. I thought D was going to fall off the sofa a few times since he was laughing and shaking so hard. I had no idea Channing Tatum could actually act and be so funny. Loved it, and would totally watch it again.

Jack Reacher – I very much wanted to see this as soon as it came out, but just didn't get to. Now I'm glad I didn't pay more than the $1.50 Redbox price for it. It was crap. Don't get me wrong – I actually really like Tom Cruise, but even he couldn't carry the movie that was full of bad acting, dumb plots, and terrible cliches (hello, Russian bad guy in a track suit, anyone??).

All the rest of the movies were ones we have at home and have seen bunches of times, so no review 🙂

I am amazed that I watched 8-10 HOURS of movies yesterday. I normally can't sit still for more than one TV episode at a time before I feel the need to “do something”. It was actually kind of nice!

Today R woke up with a fever again (though lower) and went longer between spikes. I'm hoping it's a good sign that she's on the mend. It's been a quiet day at home for the most part – I certainly haven't gone anywhere. Tomorrow is the last day of vacation before heading back to work! Hopefully R will be better since she's supposed to start day camp on Monday. We'll see how she does!

 

early this morning, snuggling in bed and reading. We were all up very early and none of us slept well last night.
my sleepy (fur) babies. I think they're both just so happy to have life back to normal…or as normal as we get!

 

Traveling Fun (with a grey cloud too, just to be consistent)

Well, I've been on vacation for the past week, so haven't blogged (though I intended to). It was a road trip, and I did all of the driving…turns out you can't blog and drive at the same time. Who knew?

FOOD

Sadly, I don't have a ton to report on the food front. I'm the only vegan in my family, and didn't prepare well other than having my “snacks” around (fruit, raw cookies, etc). I realized on Monday, that I hadn't had a real meal since the previous Wednesday – before we left home for our trip. All of my “meals” were snacks of a collection of side dishes.

That said, I did have a highlight or two. My mom made a veganized version of her potato salad for the party, specifically so I could have some. My dad made a pasta salad, my cousin brought a fruit plate, and my friend RS brought many GF/vegan/nut free treats for me. I very much appreciated everyone thinking about my dietary habits, and it didn't go unnoticed!

I will say that I'm happy to be back home and in my kitchen. I've gone shopping and replenished my supplies of fresh fruits, veggies, and greens. Last night for dinner, I made a simple Pasta e Fagioli with some gluten-free quinoa elbow noodles. The recipe is from Happy Herbivoire Abroad, and couldn't be simpler!

 

Today started with a green juice, snacked on some hummus, and have been grazing on grapes, cantalope, watermelon, and strawberries all day.


FITNESS

I got in two runs while I was away. One on the high school track near my sister's house in WI, and I took along all three little ones (my nephew – 5, my niece – 9, and my daughter R – 9). They were my little running buddies – for a lap or three – then they played on the playground while I ran in circles.

The other run was on a treadmill in Ohio. R was my running buddy again, running away on the 'mill next to me!

Today I wanted to run, but my knee is hurting a bit, so I figured low impact would be better. I did a DVD and some yoga at home instead.

LIFE

Well, certainly the biggest part of life the past week was the road trip.. All 5 of us packed into the van early Thursday morning and hit the road to WI. We traveled from VA, through WV (which was beautiful), KY, and then stopped just north of Indianapolis for the night. It was when we stopped when we realized we didn't have the toiletry bag, so no shampoo, makeup, meds, hair tools, razors, glasses, contacts, etc. Everything for all 5 of us was in the one bag…and we didn't have it. We spent most of the night in Indy hitting up Walgreens. The next day, we called my optomitrist and he sent my prescription to a Sam's Club that was on our route just outside of Chicago, so I ended up being ok. But it was a pain in the butt. I can't travel without some drama or another!

We left Indiana, went through parts of Illinois, and got to my sister's house in Wisconsin around 430. It was a couple hours later than planned, but storms and traffic had us barely moving through Chicago.

Friday night was really nice. D's family from Iowa and Illinois (his Uncle who basically raised him, and his two kids – D's cousins – who are like brother and sister to him) came up too, and my family, my sister's family, Uncle T, E, and TR, plus my parents hung out, drank a bit, and had pizza (I had a nice salad from the grocery store).

Saturday was the big party. We celebrated my daughter A's high school graduation. Family and friend's came, and it was really lovely. It was really fun to watch all the kids play together.

Sunday we went to the Strawberry Festival in a nearby town of my sister's, and then hit the road to Ohio. We didn't arrive until around 1030 (a later than planned start plus bad storms and traffic in OH delayed us a bit), but we checked into the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OH, ready to tackle the world's 2nd largest theme park (Cedar Point) the next day!

 

You guys all know I love theme parks. I go to Busch Garden's a good 10+ times per year. BG is rated the world's most beautiful theme park – for a good reason. Lot's of shade, green spaces, a big focus on conservation, plus awesome rides and food. I'm spoiled, so while Cedar Point may technically have more rides – we were pretty disappointed. Yes, they have 17 roller coasters….and half were down. There were no green spaces or shaded areas, and it was a really hot day. And the food…don't get me started. There wasn't anything that wasn't deep fried meat or cheese, and no good beer….and I ended up not eating for over 7 hours. I almost cried when we saw a Panda Express on our way out and I got some crunchy white rice and over cooked broccoli. I didn't care, I was so hungry.

 

 

We got back, the kids played in the indoor waterpark, we ate dinner (I had a portabello sammich they pieced together for me in the restaurant at the hotel), and then bed.

We left Tuesday with no real plans, which felt nice. We toyed with going to Niagra Falls, Philly (I've always wanted to go there), and a few other things. In the end, we had our GPS avoid the toll roads, and took some back roads and highways through Pennsylvania (which was absolutely the most gorgeous country I've ever seen in my life), Maryland, and then back into Virginia again. We got home around midnight, went to bed, and didn't wake up until after 10 the next day!

Oh, and while walking through the house…expecting to find our toiletry bag…there was nothing. So we started thinking we left it on the lawn when we were packing up, and someone walked off with it. And then D remembered….we have a mini van where the seats fold in…and if the seats are up, there's big hidey-hole storage areas. We put it there. So we had it the whole time. Damned travel drama.

 

Mayo With Law & Order Theme Music

FOOD

Today was fun with mayonnaise! No…not that nasty stuff made with raw eggs….but the groovy vegan kind. Nasoya has come out with some revamped vegan mayonnaise (and for those that were Miracle Whip kids like I was, they have a normal version too!).

They sent me two jars on the house to see if I could make anything fun…and I did. Here are two of their stories (insert Law and Order music here).

First up was a Tofu eggless salad. It’s sweet and spicy and mustardy. Here’s the recipe!

Crissie’s Sweet & Spicy Two Mustard Tofu Salad

Ingredients

*1/2 cup whipped Nayo Whipped

*2 tbsp dijon mustard

*2 tbsp yellow mustard

*1/2 tsp salt

*1 celery stalk – diced small

*2 green onions – chopped with about 1/2 of the green part

*1/4 cup blend of bread and butter pickles and pickled jalapenos (a sweet and spicy relish would work great if you can find one)

*12 ounces lite firm tofu (from the box on the shelf, not the produce section packed in water).

Directions

*Blend everything except the tofu in a dish.

*Chop the tofu into small pieces. This works awesome in a hardboiled egg slicer.

*Eat on anything you like. I used some gluten free bread, but see this as road trip food on crackers this coming week!

I wish I had some sprouts to put on top!  Some fresh ground pepper was nice though.

My second dish was a topping for some tempeh tacos. For this one, I used the regular Nayonaise (not the whipped) to create a topping for my dinner. Here’s the full recipe.

Crissie’s Tempeh and Potato Taco’s with Simple Spicy Aoili

Ingredients for Tacos

*8 ounces tempeh – cubed and preboiled for 20 minutes (allegedly helps with digestion)

*2 tsp chipotle chili powder

*1 tsp cumin

*1 tsp adobo seasoning

*1/2 tsp salt

*1/2 of a lite beer – I used Miller lite, but any beer will do

*3-4 dashes liquid smoke

*1/2 tsp agave nectar

*2 small potatoes – peeled, diced, and microwaved in saltwater for 4 minutes

Directions for Tacos

*Coat the tempeh cubes in the spices and let sit for a few minutes. Add the beer, liquid smoke, and agave. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

*After nuking the spuds (be sure they’re covered in salt water), run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

*Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high until well heated. Add the tempeh and potatoes and stir fry until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

*Eat however you love tacos! I put mine on some corn tortillas with a spicy cabbage blend and my Nayonaise Spicy Aoili!

Ingredients for Simple Spicy Aoli

*1/2 cup Nayonaise

*3 tbsp hot sauce of choice (I used siracha, but any fav hot sauce will do)

*juice of 1 lime

Directions for Simply Spicy Aoili

*blend all that stuff together! I used a small blender, but a wisk would work too.

So here’s my take on Nayonaise. They were at the Vida Vegan Con Conference last month, and that was the first I saw of their revamped product. I will say, I like it. I grew up a Miracle Whip kid, and this is the first vegan company that I’ve found that has tried to replicate Miracle Whip over regular mayo. Don’t get me wrong…after I grew up and before I was vegan, I became a mayo eater becaues my husband is….but I missed Miracle Whip. It’s fun to have it back…in a cruelty free sense.

If you make these recipes, please let me know. Next time you’re in the market for some vegan mayo, try out Nasoya.

FITNESS

I was up earlier than everyone today and plugged in a workout DVD and then did a short yoga sequence to work out my kinks. Nothing major, but still got my blood pumping.  I wanted to run, but it was windy and I don’t want to push my luck!  Tomorrow though, I’m hoping too (if the planned storms hold off).

LIFE

First of all a big ‘ol HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dad’s out there! Of course the two most important to me are D and my Dad!

We had a low-key day. We went to the outdoor pool at the Y and goofed off and then came home and relaxed. Right now, all five of us are sitting outside chilling by the fire light. M is playing his guitar, D is catching up on Twitter, A is lying on the deck reading, R is playing with fireflies, and I’m blogging. Good times.

Naysoya sent me their products on the house. That said, I’m giving my honest opinion about their two products.

Eat Mor Veege Chili. Great Advice from a Cow.

FOOD

Since I'm going to be out of town a lot starting next week, I've been trying to use up everything in the house and not buy anything new – especially if it'll spoil. As a result, it's been a lot of beans, rice, pastas, etc. It's kind of nice to go through the pantry, fridge, and freezer and realize just how much food we have (and how I probably don't need to grocery shop nearly as often as I do!).

This was a punjabi red bean stew over cardamom basmati rice. I originally was going to make a Jamaican Rice and Peas, but was out of canned coconut milk.

I did make what ended up being one of my favorite smoothies though. It was all fruit – and made up of most of the fruit I had left in the house! Watermelon, lime, grapes, strawberry, and frozen banana. It made a ton, and A and I split it. I will say, I'm fully digging the watermelon/lime combo.

 

Today I went to the Richmond Vegetarian Festival! It sucks that I wasn't overly hungry – I wish I had been. There were tons of food tents and trucks, but all I managed was a spring roll and some sweet plaintains (couldn't finish them…my fav way to eat them is with hot sauce, and they didn't have any), and some watermelon tea – which was amazing!

 

FITNESS

I couldn't take it anymore. It's been 3 months since I've ran and it's been eating me alive. I know I planned to wait until after summer to try running again – to give my body time to heal and adapt to RA – but I've been feeling really great other than some minor twinges in my hands, so I went for a run yesterday.

It wasn't a long run at all – only 2 miles. But it was the BEST 2 miles. I did my usual 5 minute walking warm-up, and when I started to run, the biggest grin spread over my face. We'll see how it goes, but I really hope to add regular running back into my life.

 

LIFE

Yesterday was the coolest day. For the past 9 years, D and I have gone to Busch Gardens sans children to celebrate our anniversary by drinking beer and riding rollercoasters. Since we'll be on our road trip for our anniversary this month, we went a little bit early. We had an absolute blast. It's the Food & Wine festival, so we drank and ate (he more than I…little in the way of vegan offerings) through the park. Twice.

 

about to hit the road!

 
I think I'll move to France….
says who….?
or maybe I'll move to Greece instead…
such a hottie….

 

While D and I were away, the kids had a fun day of their own. Playing outside, popcorn and a movie, baking cookings, and then off to laser quest! Oh, and apparently Bumble…who'd been standing guard in front of the dishwasher for a day, caught her prey. My little hunter. According to A, she strutted around the house for 10 minutes before putting it down (and A swooped in with paper towels to dispose of it).

 
the picture on the left was 8am on Thursday. On the right, 930 pm…

 

victory was hers!

Today I went up to Richmond for the Vegetarian Festival, which is just getting bigger and bigger each year (which is awesome), and then stopped at the outlet mall in Williamsburg to pick up some stuff my son needs for camp later this summer. So far…a totally wicked weekend.

 

Eat Mor Veege Chili. Great Advice from a Cow.

FOOD

Since I'm going to be out of town a lot starting next week, I've been trying to use up everything in the house and not buy anything new – especially if it'll spoil. As a result, it's been a lot of beans, rice, pastas, etc. It's kind of nice to go through the pantry, fridge, and freezer and realize just how much food we have (and how I probably don't need to grocery shop nearly as often as I do!).

This was a punjabi red bean stew over cardamom basmati rice. I originally was going to make a Jamaican Rice and Peas, but was out of canned coconut milk.

I did make what ended up being one of my favorite smoothies though. It was all fruit – and made up of most of the fruit I had left in the house! Watermelon, lime, grapes, strawberry, and frozen banana. It made a ton, and A and I split it. I will say, I'm fully digging the watermelon/lime combo.

 

Today I went to the Richmond Vegetarian Festival! It sucks that I wasn't overly hungry – I wish I had been. There were tons of food tents and trucks, but all I managed was a spring roll and some sweet plaintains (couldn't finish them…my fav way to eat them is with hot sauce, and they didn't have any), and some watermelon tea – which was amazing!

 

FITNESS

I couldn't take it anymore. It's been 3 months since I've ran and it's been eating me alive. I know I planned to wait until after summer to try running again – to give my body time to heal and adapt to RA – but I've been feeling really great other than some minor twinges in my hands, so I went for a run yesterday.

It wasn't a long run at all – only 2 miles. But it was the BEST 2 miles. I did my usual 5 minute walking warm-up, and when I started to run, the biggest grin spread over my face. We'll see how it goes, but I really hope to add regular running back into my life.

 

LIFE

Yesterday was the coolest day. For the past 9 years, D and I have gone to Busch Gardens sans children to celebrate our anniversary by drinking beer and riding rollercoasters. Since we'll be on our road trip for our anniversary this month, we went a little bit early. We had an absolute blast. It's the Food & Wine festival, so we drank and ate (he more than I…little in the way of vegan offerings) through the park. Twice.

 

about to hit the road!

 
I think I'll move to France….
says who….?
or maybe I'll move to Greece instead…
such a hottie….

 

While D and I were away, the kids had a fun day of their own. Playing outside, popcorn and a movie, baking cookings, and then off to laser quest! Oh, and apparently Bumble…who'd been standing guard in front of the dishwasher for a day, caught her prey. My little hunter. According to A, she strutted around the house for 10 minutes before putting it down (and A swooped in with paper towels to dispose of it).

 
the picture on the left was 8am on Thursday. On the right, 930 pm…

 

victory was hers!

Today I went up to Richmond for the Vegetarian Festival, which is just getting bigger and bigger each year (which is awesome), and then stopped at the outlet mall in Williamsburg to pick up some stuff my son needs for camp later this summer. So far…a totally wicked weekend.

 

Yes I Had a Pink Mini-Skirt. Don’t Judge. You Did Too.

I can't believe it's Wednesday! I swear, time is just flying lately. I'm still not able to work out, but today my neck is a ton better. Only small twinges. The conservative approach of motrin/ice/heat/time seems to be working. I think tomorrow I can definitely hit up a spin class or zumba. Still nothing that could impact my neck – even yoga – but I can get my slugging butt moving again. It's been tough just sitting about!

Food has been a lot of the normal stuff. Juices, smoothies, and the like. Today I made an awesome lunch that I'll totally make again. I made the sauce from the Creamy Dijon Pasta recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore, but instead of serving on pasta, I steamed cauliflower and green beans. No kidding – two huge bowls was only 250 calories. That sauce, which uses the boxed/silken lite tofu, is amazing. The entire book was worth that one recipe (though they all rock). It's like an alfredo sauce – but with a protein kick and none of the greasy fatty cheese goo.

 

Apple, carrot, and ginger juice. Served over ice, just to shake it up a bit.

My dinner juice Monday night. Celery, tomato, scallions, collard leaves, radishes, cucumber, 1/2 bell pepper, and lemon. It was good – couldn't finish it…I think 2 scallions was a bit much. Next time, I'll skip the onion, especially before bed!

 

Work has been hectic, but have hit some major milestones this week, so that feels good. I'm moving my office tomorrow to a new permanent location. My big goal really is to get settled and everything on my to-do list done before the end of next Monday. After that, I'm out for 2 weeks, and catch up..quite frankly…is a b*****!

 

I saw this in the store and couldn't keep myself from cringing. Seriously…THIS is the best of the 80's we needed to resurrect??? I'm horrified (mainly because I think I had that pink skirt 20 years ago).

 

D was still asleep, and Bumble was highly unamused that I was awake and may expect her to be up and about too.

 

Today's morning picture! D and our youngest R.

 

Went out with AC last night. It's been WAY too long. I think we've started about 10,000 conversations, but have yet to finish one. It's one of my favorite things about our friendship…never a lack of stuff to talk about and we could have fun in a paper bag. Anyway, we hit up a pub in Virginia Beach and I had me some Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy beer. First of all, it's a really tasty beer. Second, you can't get Leinenkugel's in Virginia normally (only can now because it's a special brew) – but I grew up with it, as it's a native WI beer. I will say the bartender looked at me like I had 4 heads when I asked for the Leiny. Of course only us Wisconsinites would know that's what it's really called.

Bumble still pretending she's in the great outdoors…while refusing to leave the deck because she's actually afraid of grass.

D and A are at a concert tonight, so it's just me and the younger two (16 and almost 10), chilling out in the backyard. M is playing his guitar, R is chilling in the hammock, and I'm enjoying a nice Red Zin and blogging to all of you. Cheers, and hope you're having a Wonderful Wednesday too!

 

Lamest Post EVER

The past few days have been crazy! I apologize for not blogging sooner, but I have a good excuse. My oldest had her first high school graduation (she goes to 2, one for academics and one for art). And my son middle one turned 16. Today, I am blogging from Busch Gardens as he celebrates with a bunch of his friends…and I celebrate a day of wandering through my favorite theme park with a backpack, a book, my iPad, and the first Food & Wine Festival. All in all….great times.

I have a neck injury (think it may be a pinched nerve), so I have no workout updates…as I'm sadly sidelined. I was hoping it was a pulled muscle, but massage hasn't helped and I can't pinpoint exactly where the pain is. Going to try and see a chiro this week.

Instead, here are some random pics of the past few days!

 

 

I know this is a lame post. I'm sorry….family life has been so hectic, that I don't even know where to begin! I hope you've all had a great weekend! I sure have 🙂

 

Busy Fools

FOOD

This morning started out with a really big green smoothie. I'm running out of produce to juice (I know, vegan problems, right?), so rather than a juice and a smoothie, I just went with the blended fun. It's my running favorite lately of spinach, pineapple, strawberry, and banana. It filled a huge quart mason jar and took me over an hour to drink!

I chopped up a cantelope intending to snack on it, but never quite got around to it.

 

Lunch was Thai (tofu green curry, naturally) with my friend S. We hadn't seen each other in a while, so that was really nice.

For dinner, I threw together some stuffed bell peppers. I'm pretty hell bent on using as much of the food as I have lying around as possible, and not dining out so much. Since I made a big batch of brown rice on Sunday for the week, this was simple to throw together.

Crissie's Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

*3 bell peppers

*2 cups cooked brown rice

*1 jar marinara sauce of choice

*1 can beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannellini beans, since those scream “Italian” to me)

*daiya cheddar shreds (optional, but a tasty addition).

Directions

*boil water, and submerge the cleaned bell peppers in them for 5 minutes. Remove and drain.

*put the peppers in a casserole dish so they're tight fitting and able to sit upright

*stuff said peppers with yummy filling

*sprinkle Daiya shreds on them liberally

*cover, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour

It's a super simple recipe, but exactly what I'd been dreaming of for a couple of days now.

 

FITNESS

Today was another workout DVD. I'm trying to channel Heather from Where's the Beach and realize that the benefit of the DVD workouts is that I can wear whatever I want. In this case….my pajamas (so it's a tank top and short, but still…sounds cooler to say I can workout in my PJ's).

 

LIFE

We're planning our vacation for later this month. The purpose of our trip is to go back to my hometown in WI to celebrate A's high school graduation with family. It's much easier for us to go there than for everyone else to come here. Since it's our vacation as much as it is a trip back home, we decided the other day to make a couple day stop in Sandusky, Ohio to go to one of the most celebrated theme parks out there – Cedar Point. For anyone who reads this regularly, you know I'm a Busch Gardens junkie (going at least 10 times per year, if not more), so I'm really excited. So's the rest of the family, so we'll be some rollercoaster and waterpark fools for a few days. It's also not out of the way on the drive back and forth from VA to WI and back.

Otherwise, we're getting ready for graduation stuff. Since A goes to two high schools (one normal, one arts), she has two graduations. The first one is tomorrow night, and the other is next week. In the middle of it all, M turns 16 this weekend too! Then a week later, we have to take A to her university for an overnight Freshman orientation. Then get home just in time to pack up and head to WI. When we get back, M is off to camp for a month. Of course Father's Day is in there too, and can't forget about that. Just reading this, I think I'm going to need a vacation from June….

 

D!ET Is a Four Letter Word

FOOD

So, before I get to what I ate or drank…I want to talk a bit about diet. I read diet books – I won't lie. I just reread Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet over the weekend. Hell, it was the book A Diet for a New America by John Robbins that first turned me vegetarian when I was 15 (by the way, it's about animal rights and not weight loss). I think like most people who've struggled weight wise (keeping it off or on!), we look for a guidebook or roadmap to follow to get to that “perfect” size. I admit that while I carried Kris Carr's book around all weekend, I wanted to cover up the title because it says “diet”. I didn't want people to judge me for reading a diet book when I clearly have a few pounds I could stand to lose. I'm drawn to that book to fight an autoimmune condition, but that's besides the point. I'd take the weight loss too in a heart beat!

When is it that the word “diet” became a curse word of sorts? A 4-letter word right up there sh!t, and f***? The definition of diet is “the usual food and drink of a person or animal”. All the word means is “what I eat and drink”. Since the 80's (or earlier, I'm sure!), “diet” has mean something different. Sinister.

So I'm taking back the damed word. I eat a vegan diet. I follow a lot of advice I've read in diet books! My diet is what it is…sometimes it's stellar, sometimes it's deep fried and covered in wine. So what. It's MY diet. You have your diet. And diet should NOT be a four letter word. Don't be afraid of it.

Okay….on to what I actually consumed in my DIET the past few days….

Both Sunday and Monday mornings began with a green juice. I absolutely love starting my day that way. The more I juice, the more adventurous I get in what I throw in there. My go-to base seems to be a head of romaine, an apple, and a lemon. From there, it's whatever I have lying around in my crisper or shelf.

Sunday's green juice also saw about 2 cups of green grapes (they don't have much shelf life left), celery, and 1/2 of an English cucumber. Later that morning I had a giant green smoothie of plain coconut milk, pineapple, spinach, strawberries, and frozen banana.

 

Monday's green juice was the same as Sunday's, but with slightly less grapes. While I love fruit, I tend to like my smoothies more “green” than fruity.

Before work on Monday, I packed a heck of a travel cooler. My juice (didn't have time to drink it at home), a really big green smoothie – the same as Sunday's, a BAS, spicy sunflower seeds, and raw lemon “cookies”. I definitely felt ready for the day.

 

Monday night dinner was some yummy lentil tacos from Happy Herbivore Abroad. It's a family favorite and easy peasy to whip up. Served over some simple garlic rice, it was wonderful on some corn tortillas with hot sauce, avocado, and tomato.

 

Today's breakfast was a green juice and lunch was a BAS with leftover grilled tofu, onion, tomato, brown rice, and an oil-free sundried tomato vinaigrette. Yummy!

 

I wasn't overly hungry around dinner, so I roasted up a few onions with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple, but something I really love.

FITNESS

Sunday I did backyard hot yoga again for about a half hour. This time it was a guided podcast session on my iPod. I'd rather do a streaming video class, but that's just too hard when I'm outside.

Monday I hit the gym after work for some elliptical fun (I say “fun” in jest…I don't really like working out in place). I'm more focused than ever to be able to run again.

Today was a fitness DVD. I know I typically mock those, but I have a feeling that they're going to become a positive thing for me. I'd rather be outside running, and going to the gym isn't always something I have time for. That means streaming online classes (which shake things up), or getting over my annoyance with repetitive workout videos. I will admit that today's was fun (it was a Hip Hop Abs Fat Burning Cardio disc). I wore a HR monitor, and I burned as much as I typically do spinning. So yay for that!

LIFE

I really can't complain. Life is chaotic and wonderful. Work is busy, as always, but I love it. And my life in general is pretty groovy.

Sunday D and I went down to the Oceanfront. Our intent was to just wander around, but as it happens, there was a festival going on, complete with an air show. We walked around while watching planes do fun and crazy stuff, and eventually found our way to a little place for a drink. It was really hot out and really wonderful. I did get some sunburn (ugh, you'd think I'd have learned by now), but it was still a really great day.

 

Monday was a normal day. Up early, round up the masses, get them all out the door, and head to work. The evening was spent hanging out and enjoying family time.

Today was much of a repeat, except I was up early so I worked out. Then work, home, dinner, chill. We're heading out on vacation on the 20th, and I booked our couple days at Cedar Point in Ohio at the tail end of our trip.

Other than that, I leave you with some picture of Bumble figuring out that she loves being outside…even if she rarely leaves the patio deck!