Monthly Archives: July 2013

Maybe Not a Vanilla Girl

FOOD

Okay, okay, more pictures to summarize the past few days. Pretty simple though – smoothies, avo toast, salads, and noshing on fruit.

I did get to try out a new raw foods cafe on Monday with AZ. It's literally right across the street from my office, so that was cool. The fresh juice was fantastic, and the soup was only OK. AZ got the raw pizza and really enjoyed it, so I'm definitely going to try it again.

Perhaps the most creative I've gotten in the past few days has been with an avocado quinoa salad. It's not overly difficult, but was quite tasty.

Crissie's Spicy Avocado Qunioa Salad

Ingredients

*1 cup uncooked quinoa – rinsed and cooked per package directions (I used my rice cooker)

*1 avocado

*2 hot peppers (I had serrano's on hand, but any will do)

*1/2 bunch cilantro

*1 tbsp red wine vinegar

*1/4 red onion

*1 1/2 cups black beans (you can use one can or fresh – I used the leftover black beans from last Monday)

*1 tsp sea salt

*1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen – I used fresh roasted corn)

Directions

*cool the quinoa slightly (I just threw the bowl in the freezer while I made the sauce)

*put the avocado, onion, cilantro, & hot peppers into a food processor or blender. I used my vitamix. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed (will depend on the ripeness of your avocado)

*add the black beans, salt, and avocado sauce to the quinoa and mix well. I prefer to eat it cold, but can be eaten right away if you're desperate.

I put it atop a salad with some tomatoes and sprinkled just a hint of red wine vinegar on top. An awesome no oil added yummy dinner!

 

On a side note, I've always considered myself a vanilla girl. My fav ice cream has always been vanilla (except a period as a girl when I'd give just about anything for a scoop of Blue Moon). When given the choice, I usually choose simple fare. And then I discovered Salted Caramel Chocolate Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. I had it at VVC2013, and my Whole Foods has finally started carrying it. And then it got me thinking – I don't eat plain food. I'm a spice snob and love to make good and tasty and flavorful food. So it seems I am no longer just a vanilla girl after all.

FITNESS

Well, my youngest is REALLY getting into biking (I sense a triathlete in the making), so I've done some running while she bikes, and today we went on her longest ride yet. That child cranked out 8 miles like it was nothing.

D's also been going on rides with R from our house to the park, then hiking around the park trails. So he's working out too (which I love).

 

D and I have been talking, and the three of us may be signing up for an October Breast Cancer 10 miler. I think it would be cool. I went on a bike trip with my Dad as a kid (the great bike ride across WI), and when I told R about it this morning, she announced that we have to do it next summer. We shall see, but that would be awesome.

LIFE

Busy, busy, busy. I know that's nothing new, but sometimes it would be nice to not be so busy! It's not even work that has me feeling overwhelmed (though it's crazy right now between a ton of projects, hard looming deadlines, and it being budget season), but life outside of work has been nuts.

We're still dealing with maintenance issues at home. The AC broke again yesterday, but was fixed today. The tech thinks ants got in and disrupted the arc or something, so now we're going to get inspected and treated for ants. That treatment is tomorrow. New insulation is being put in under the house, and we're getting measured for that tomorrow, and the tree guy is taking his sweet-a$$ time getting the dead and fallen tree out of here! Last I heard he MIGHT be here Friday.

The good news is the fan under the house is just fine and is running again, so hopefully we won't have any more moisture build up problems.

We're also trying to nail down A to define what she needs before she leaves for college. In 2 weeks. Oh, and then there's dealing with the fact that my first born child is leaving home. In 2 weeks.

But enough complaining, things have been awesome too. I took today off to spend with R, and after our long trail ride, we are about to head to Busch Gardens for some fun and fireworks!

 

 

Long Days, Longer Nights, and Good Eats

FOOD

Well, once again I've let 4-5 days pass with no post. It's been a freakishly crazy week, and while I probably could have taken a quick 5 minutes to post, I do tend to get long winded and end up spending an hour or more writing.

Monday, I made some sweet black beans in the pressure cooker. Over saffron rice and with sliced avocados on top. One of our stand-by week night meals.

Every day but one started with a green smoothie. The one day that didn't, I picked on up for lunch. As it happens, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has started making green smoothies AND carrying vegan chick'n for wrap and flatbread options.

love my avo toast with pickles!

 

was happy to have prepped fruit for an early morning

I picked up a vegan Indian cook book at the library earlier this week, and have been playing around with that a little bit today. I made a spicy mint chutney with the fresh mint in my herb pot (truly, the only herb to grow well). It came out great! I had some leftover Egyptian lentil soup that I made over the weekend, and decided to top it with the chutney for my lunch today. Yum!

I also made a shredded veggie bake. It's a ton of shredded veggies (cabbage, zucchini, cauliflower, onion, and potato), mixed with chickpea flour and a blend of silken tofu and spices. I had that for dinner (topped with the chutney) along with a nice salad.

 

FITNESS

This week has been a tough one to get good workouts in. I've had several really long days at work (a work dinner one night, and 7am meetings two other days) as well as some pretty awful insomnia. I find myself with so little energy, that it's a little worrying!

All I really managed was some yoga and walks. I'm not complaining, but I would have loved a run, spin class, or a swim! Alas…that's what's the weekend is for!

at least someone has the energy to run!

LIFE

Well, as I mentioned, it's been a long week. Most of my days started at 8am or earlier, most went until 6pm or later, and when I wasn't working late, I took R to swim team practice. My insomnia has been the worst it's been in a long time too, so that didn't help either! Thankfully, I pretty much slept well and through the night last night, so today has been MUCH better.

On Monday the plumber and sheet rock guys came to fix the upstairs tub. Bumble had a vet checkup, and all is well there.

Next Monday the electrician comes to try and fix the fan under the house (hope we don't need a new one!).

Last night was a quiet night. I really wanted to go to bed around 8, but D wanted to watch a movie, so we laid down and cuddled up on the couch while watching a movie with R and M (it was Happy Gilmore). It was probably a good thing I went to bed late – I was stupid-tired and slept until 7, which was nice.

This morning I was up several hours earlier than everyone else, so I watched the season finale of Hell's Kitchen (Mary got robbed), made breakfast, and just chilled out. I toyed with the idea of going to Busch Gardens, but D's on call and with our new austerity program, decided against it. A had to work, M had a friend over for a bit, and we've been having a Harry Potter movie marathon (on film 4 right now). And speaking of Harry Potter…a new book is coming! All told, a nice Saturday!

I'll leave you with Morning Pictures!

 

 

On the Run Again

FOOD

Random pictures of food goods for the past five days.  Green smoothies still reign supreme, but had to shake life up with some avo-toast one morning too!

One particularly stressful day called for dark chocolate too…

A simple salad from our favorite pizza joint in Virginia Beach when we were on the way home from the Eastern Shore.
One of my staff brought me some fresh squash from her garden!  I made an Italian tofu, squash, and bell pepper rice dish, and served in on a salad with an avocado/balsamic dressing.
Today’s green smoothie!  I had a huge watermelon from the farmer’s market over the weekend, and after cutting it up, ran out of room in my containers….so into the freezer it went for my smoothies!

FITNESS

I think the best workout of the past few days was definitely yesterday.  I did an hour on the treadmill (now that the furniture from Christmas has been donated and that room cleared out again!).

It wasn’t all running, but it was much more running than walking.  I figured it’s a gentler surface for my joints than outside, and I’d just go in 10 minute increments, reassess to see if I had any pain, and see what happens!

What happened was an awesome run, no pain, and I felt high as a kite when I was done.  Today I have some mild soreness – but not from RA-related crap, just normal stuff after a longer run.  Love it too!

LIFE

M came home from camp on Saturday!  He had an amazing month, and has been in a bit of a depressive funk since he got home.  Not sad to be home, but very much missing all the people he was with.  They all apparently got very close, and have definitely been keeping in touch, and plan to continue.

He was also offered a job as a counselor next year!  He’s VERY excited about that too.  He’s been wanting to do that since he was about 12, so I’m very proud of him.  It’ll suck with him being gone all summer, but I’ll worry about that next year.

As soon as M saw us, he started to cry.  It was so cute…that I started to cry….

What I Haven’t Eaten Is Still An Impressing List

FOOD

Daily green smoothies for breakfast is still my favorite thing. Mornings are usually so hectic, that it's all I have time for!

Yesterday was my standard smoothie, but today I added a scoop of Vega French Vanilla nutritional shake powder. I don't love “protein powders”, and I don't feel that my plant-based diet is even remotely deficient in protein (and in the US we're a protein-obsessed society and don't need nearly what we think we do), so I usually avoid it. That said – when I know my smoothie is going to be a long-term meal (ie – no chance to eat real food for several hours), I will throw some Vega in. Vega is so much more than protein – it's major antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. That scoop gives it some oomph, and staying power when I need it to. If you're trying to get more nutrients into your diet and are usually a processed food person – this is a good place to start.

 

Dinner tonight was a red lentil soup that was just amazing. I have been obsessed with an Anatolian Red Lentil soup at a local Turkish restaurant, but my attempts to recreate haven't been so successful. Lo and behold, I found this recipe. I used it as a base, tweaked it to be gluten free, vegan, and a bit spicier – and what I ended up with was a soup that I like MORE than the restaurant version. YUM. Plenty of leftovers too.

I also whipped up a batch of homemade soymilk. From scratch, it's less than $1 per gallon. And here's how I milk my soybeans!

 

Okay, so I decided to research fruits and vegetables. I want to know what I HAVEN'T eaten. I have said for a long time that I eat more and varied foods since becoming vegan, and I wanted to see what plants were out there that I haven't noshed. I found this comprehensive list and started scrolling. I have a LOT of food to try….

The most shocking on the list for me are those that aren't very unusual or hard to find, but still have never had. Like apricots and figs and persimmons.

FITNESS

Now that I can get to my treadmill again, I put it to good use last night. D was stuck at work until after 9pm last night, A was working, so it was just R and I. Since she spends the day at Y camp, I didn't feel like dragging her back there so I could workout while she hung in the child care area.

So I spent 45 minutes huffing and puffing and working on getting my running legs back.

LIFE

Busy. Crazy. Hectic. Awesome. My life 🙂

I worked from home for a half the day yesterday to accommodate the tree guy, pest guy, and plumber. Plumber and sheet rock guy come back Monday. Oy.

My Aunt J bought a VitaMix, and we spent some quality family time chatting about it last night. I can't wait to hear what she's whipping up in it.

D ended up being at one of his sites last night for 11 hours. It was near 10pm when he got home – hungry (the vendor didn't feed him while he stayed all night working his butt off to fix their mistakes), cranky, and exhausted. Then had to be back early this morning.

So it was just the girls and me last night. I got a lot of cleaning and laundry done, and caught up on Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef!

Since D had to be out so early this morning, I got to take R to camp, and snap the rare Morning Picture with me in it!

Work was fine. Only two meetings today – one with one of my teams and the other a more anxiety-inducing one. I had a presentation in front of all the senior executives today, and while I know my materials, my projects, and can answer any questions tossed at me, I still get very nervous in the hours leading up to it. As in I can't eat, forget anything with caffeine, etc. That's the reason I had my power-smoothie today – I nursed that sucker for 4 hours. My meeting was 1-3, with me being 3rd on the agenda. No way I could eat lunch!

And now – now I'm going to book my birthday trip. Big birthday this year – big trip. I'm so excited. More to come later on that 🙂

 

Not a Yoga Snob

FOOD

Well, this weekend was awesome on the food front. Friday night was a fun evening of making Indian food with my girl S. We decided on a girls night in at her house, cooked up a wicked storm, had wine, and hung out.

On the menu? Red lentil dahl, spicy mashed eggplant and potato, basmati rice with cumin and cardamom, and cauliflower and potatoes. And wine (S belongs to some wine club, so that was awesome).

Saturday was green smoothies and mac n peas. GF elbow pasta, peas, cheddar Teeze, and some fresh ground pepper. Comfort food without the gluten, fat, or calories!

I was supposed to host the vegan meet-up event, but with illness and house tradgedies, I had to cancel. Since I was perfectly healthy, I hung out at H's house. She was going to come to the party, so it was nice we still got to spend the evening together. She had a beautiful spread of fruits, hummus, crackers, tortilla chips, guacamole, and veggies. With a couple glass of chianti and her pups becoming my total snuggle muffin, it was another wonderful girl's night in.

Sunday was my normal day of grocery shopping and food prep. I ended up making Indian for dinner again, this time with tandoori veggies and garlic naan in addition to the red lentil dahl.

Today I had green smoothies twice (one as a normal breakfast and one for dinner because I was too tired to eat anything that required effort). Lunch was some kale with garlic-tahini.

 

FITNESS

I went to the best yoga class yesterday! And what's even more awesome, is that I went to the Y and took advantage of my membership there.

For the past several years, I've paid extra to go to my hot yoga studios in the area. At $17-20 per class, it certainly isn't cheap. I don't want to do a membership to any one studio, because my work takes me all over the area and some days I can be near one place, but other days closer to home. Anyway, with us paying more attention to budgets and spending, I thought I'd go to a class at the Y (we have 16 Y's in our area, and I can go to any Y in the world with my membership, my family goes to the Y almost every day for one reason or another, I may as well use what I have!).

I will admit, I went into thinking that it would be sub-standard somehow. It's not a hot class. It's at a regular fitness place and not somewhere “dedicated” to yoga. Blah blah blah. I was so happy to be wrong. S met me for the class, and while it was not a hot class, it was not easy either. The instructor was as quality and experienced as any yoga studio I've been to in the last 10 years, and I will definitely take her class again.

LIFE

Well, what can I say…it's been busy. Friday was a normal workday, and ended up being a really productive one. Even a late afternoon meeting ended up being totally awesome, so no complaints here.

M sent another post card from camp, and he's apparently having an amazing time. It's hard having him gone for so long, but he's happy, so I can't complain.

A has been going through all her check lists (mainly because D and I are making her) of everything she needs done before she heads off for University next month. I'm in denial and we'll talk about how my baby girl is leaving home later when I actually have to deal with it.

S's husband was out of town this past weekend, so she and I were thinking a girls night would be fun. We originally talked about the Outer Banks (if you're an East Coaster, otherwise known as the OBX) – Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Hatteras, NC. Not too far from us (a little over an hour), but we decided that the weather was too poopy and we weren't willing to spend the $$ for a night away, so we did a sleep over at her house. Indian food, wine, catching up….couldn't ask for a better evening.

Saturday I took a nap when I got home, made some lunch, and lazed about until going to H's house. D wasn't feeling hot (not as sick as A was, but definitely fighting it off), so he was mostly resting.

H's pup is the cutest little thing. He's very snuggly and small, so we became fast friends lying on the sofa. I seriously couldn't imagine Sammie lying in my lap on the couch!

Sunday was house work, laundry, grocery shopping (actually paying attention to sales!), prepping food for the week (dinners and lunches), and hanging out at home.

For some reason, I ended up with major insomnia last night, and it was past 2 when I fell asleep. Getting up this morning was rougher than normal, but once at work, I mostly wake up anyway. This evening has been chill, D took R to swim team practice, I did dishes, chatted with my Uncle in FL, and I am now heading to bed!

 

I’m a Google-Diagnosis Rock Star

FOOD

The past two days have been green smoothies for breakfast. They were both pretty much the same, except the greens. Water, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and kale yesterday, and subbed in Romaine today. This morning I made a double batch to take to work in case I got hungry at the office mid-afternoon!  I ended up drinking the leftovers after getting home from work.

I didn’t eat lunch yesterday because it was too hot to eat. I snacked on frozen fruit (while trying to find a way to shove myself into the freezer), and had the rest of my spicy tofu soup for dinner.

I also made a batch of banana bread. My bananas were about to turn and it was either peel and freeze them or make bread. I chose to bake the bread – but used the toaster oven so I didn’t add to the already oppressive heat of the house by turning the oven on!

For lunch today I made another big batch of cucumber gazpacho from Going Raw. This has quickly become my new favorite raw soup.  Judita Wignall is brilliant, and if you’re on Twitter, follow her @judita

I whipped up a quick Indian meal for dinner tonight. It was a long day and I forgot to pre-plan dinner, so after taking a look around, ended up with the below. It was quite tasty!

Ingredients

*1/2 block pressed tofu, cubed

*1/4 chopped onion

*1/2 tbsp. minced garlic

*1 tbsp. Rogan Josh season

*1 can lite coconut milk

*about 1/4 – 1/3 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

*2 handfuls kale (so scientific right?! But you know exactly what I mean!)

Directions

*heat a non-stick pan on medium-high. When hot, add tofu and onion and sauté for a few minutes.

*add the garlic and sauté for several more minutes. You don’t want the tofu dark brown, but a nice light stir-fry.

*add the seasoning, stir well.

*add coconut milk and cauliflower. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and cook until your desired degree of mushiness of the cauliflower.

*add the kale, recover, and cook another 5 minutes.

*salt to taste and eat it!

So really the basics of this recipe are the onion, garlic, and coconut milk. The spice blend can be as varied as you want. I have my hippie spice box (I am a spice snob) and it’s fun to just see what I have and what might taste good together. I went with the Rogan Josh, but almost did the Bangkok or Tandoori blends.

FITNESS

Yeah, I got nothing on this yesterday or today. Yesterday I was home dealing with maintenance people and, with it 90 degrees IN the house, I did enough sweating.

Today was just a really long day and my plan of going for a run was killed by rain storms.

LIFE

Well, I will say life is better than it was two days ago. And I’m a Google-diagnosis GODDESS. Yes…I was dead on with what was wrong. Bad motor. It finally got fixed in the late afternoon yesterday. The house really didn’t get well cooled down until sometime in the middle of the night, but hey…it’s fixed and that’s pretty much all that matters.

With that said….Tuesday night was pretty horrific. I didn’t end up sleeping outside, though it was tempting. R slept on my bedroom floor because my room has more windows and more likely to have some type of breeze. Not sure it did, but we didn’t care if she crashed on our floor.

As rough as our night was, I felt the worst for A. She spiked a fever late that evening and had no relief at all. She stayed downstairs on the couch all night since the living room was the coolest in the house – relatively speaking. She mostly watched TV and alternated lying on the couch and on the wood floor where it was a little cooler. Poor baby.

I stayed home yesterday (A ran a fever all day, even with alternating Tylenol and Motrin every 4 hours), but it broke just before bed. She slept in my room a bit while the AC guy was tromping around the house, but was mostly just miserable. I’m happy to report that the only thing she has today is a sore throat and an insufferable case of boredom.

The tree guy “might” fit us in this weekend. The plumber called and I have to call him back to make an appt. to fix the upstairs shower (forgot to mention that one), and the guy to fix the moisture barrier and do the treatment called today and we’re playing phone tag. D is taking the plumber, I’m taking the fungal treatment, and we’ll collectively figure out tree-guy. Whew!

I went to my new office today! All my stuff was there (except a printer) and I managed to unpack, get a ton of work done, and had a very good day. The commute sucks – especially in the evening – so instead of a 10-15 minute commute, it’s 45-60.

As usual D took R to day camp and snapped morning pics both days (I love that – it’s been almost 2 yrs that he’s done that with her every day).

Now, I’m going to go make lunches for R and I (not D since he has offsite meetings all day tomorrow and won’t be in the office), and prep all the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner (slow cooker red beans and rice), and then drag my happy a$$ off to bed.

G’night peeps.

Another One to File Under “You Can’t Make Stuff Like This Up”

FOOD

Today was a simple day on the food front. Nothing overly fancy, which ended up being a good thing because it was one heck of a rough day.

For breakfast I made a monster smoothie full of banana, orange, strawberry, kale, and some frozen watermelon (I've taken to freezing fruit just before it's about to turn and using it in smoothies). It was big, and cold, and filling, and awesome. I'm out of spinach and have been using kale in my smoothies. It definitely has longer staying power, though a stronger taste.

Lunch was the last of the garlicky beans served up on a bed of romaine lettuce.

For dinner I decided on soup. My uber spicy tofu soup, to be exact. Why would I do this? It's hot as hades outside and a BAS or raw soup sounds better, right? It's because it's so hot (and my AC broke), that I decided to take a page from super hot dessert and tropical climates. Eat spicy food – heat up on the inside and you'll cool off on the outside. I have no idea if it worked, but it was tasty.

 

FITNESS

Prior to AC drama, I did hit up a killer spin class today. I'd never had this instructor before, and she was awesome. I loved her teaching style, and she pushed us very hard. When the guy in front of me got off his bike, his shorts were dripping and leaving puddles on the floor. Gross, yes, but I don't think anyone left that studio dry.


LIFE

Well, what can I say? Today sucked a bit.

First, I slept poorly. D is stuffy and has been snoring badly the past week or so. Not his fault, but I'm a crazy light sleeper, so he was waking me up every 20 minutes or so (he doesn't normally snore). It got so bad, that I curled up on the floor in the corner hoping the distance and the fan would drown it out.

Thankfully it was already scheduled as a work from home day, so I didn't have to worry about being overly presentable. D took R to daycamp, and I got busy working.

 

It was a work from home day for two reasons. The first is the movers were moving my office and I had no where to physically work. Most of us worked at home today who were being moved. The second was because I had my annual pest inspection scheduled for this afternoon (between 3-5pm). Just the normal stuff – checking for critters, termites, verifying the moisture barrier under the house was doing it's job. Stuff like that.

Anyway, A woke up not feeling well. Her boyfriend had been sick, and sure enough, she woke with a sore throat and general crappiness. Even though she's 18, I was glad to be home today so she wasn't home alone and sick.

Around noon or so, the AC unit started making this horrific noise. I actually recorded it to play for the maintenance guy (whenever he may show up). Also, the unit fan wasn't running, but the inside blower is fine. I have google-diagnosed it as a busted fan motor. Sadly, I need the expert to confirm and fix it….especially before the vegan meet up party I'm hosting this Saturday. And because it's hot, I'm spoiled, and I want air conditioning.

So, in our 90's+ heat with high humidity and rain in the forcast, our AC is off and busted.

Oh, and part of a tree fell in our back yard and is stuck in another tree. On the sunny side, it didn't hit the fence or anything.

And the pest inspector showed up two hours early, I had to miss a pretty important meeting, to find out the moisture barrier isn't exactly doing it's job. No critters or termites – but definite pooling of water under the house. Which needs to be fixed and also requires a preventative fungal treatment.

As of right now, I'm sitting outside because it's cooler than inside. And I'm seriously considering sleeping out here….if I can find a way to make the bugs go away.

Tomorrow is a new day, with new possibilities. Let's hope they're more favorable!

With that, good night. I really and truly have nothing more to say!

 

Pudding, Sparklers, and a Little Hero Worship

FOOD

Eat For Life. Eat For Health. It sounds like common sense now that I see it in print like that! Duh…crappy foods make you feel crappy, and good foods make you feel good. Common sense, yet not so easy to follow. Those happen to be the names of books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I know I've blogged briefly about him before, but hadn't really gone into much depth. To be honest – I'm not going to go into detail now either. Let's just say that they are very inspiring and profound to me. Similar to The China Study (seriously should read that one – it's life altering), Dr. Furhman's philosophy on food being healing has meant more to me in the past 7 months than ever before.

It's amazing how being diagnosed with something can alter how you view things – and hopefully anyone with a health related diagnosis uses it as the wake up call it should be. For me, the diagnosis is an auto-immune degenerative joint disease. I've known for some time that it was coming, ignored the symptoms for a good 6 months, then finally made my way to my Dr. to confirm and begin discussions on treating it. I had one request. Give me 6 months to fix myself before going on any medications.

I went gluten-free (ish….it's a work in progress) and have felt remarkably different. Then a blogging friend and fellow VVCer (Carrie – who blogs over here and is a remarkable, soft spoken, and wonderful person, and maybe I have a bit of hero worship going on!) started a Healthy challenge in the spring on Facebook that focused on the philosophies Dr. Furhman advocates when it comes to healing our bodies with high nutrient foods. Talk about perfect timing! The first challenge was in the Spring, and we're on our third that started just today. Each “session” brings me personally closer to eating well and more importantly, feeling well. It also connects me with other people who motivate and encourage each other, and all have the same goals. Good health.

So….don't be surprised if over the next several days/weeks/months my recipes and the like are very “nutrarian” focused. Doesn't mean it's not the best food you'd ever want to eat (and believe me…I eat well!), but there's more of a spin on the high nutrient density food. Because seriously….I'm 6 months into my diagnosis, med free, and intend to bloody well stay that way.

So what the hell does a Nutrarian eat??? Mango pudding. Lots and lots of mango pudding (other than what A stole because she's a Mango Monster). I took Dr. Furhman's recipe and tweaked it with sunflower seeds instead of almonds, but whipped up this amazing mango/banana/date/vanilla/sunflower seed pudding thing. That was breakfast.

 

Lunch was a bean burger on lettuce wraps. I'm having picture drama, so no pic, but I took the garlicky rice and beans from the other day, made a couple burger patties, and baked them up for 45 minutes (flipping half way through). Awesome! Served those puppies up on some big collard leaves, and called it a brilliant meal.

Dinner was a really big kale salad (BAS, I'm telling ya – kale, garlic tahini dressing, hemp seeds, tomato, and shredded carrots), and I'm stuffed.

FITNESS

Coming off the high from yesterday's run, I decided to run again today. Outside 🙂

It's hot and sticky and wet and rainy, but still awesome. I took a few walk brea

ks along the way, but had fun trekking through my neighborhood today.

LIFE

Real cute pic my husband made for me last night. With sparklers!

 

As far as Monday's go, this one wasn't so bad. Half the day was meetings, but that meant half my day was real work.

We got a post card from M today from camp! He's having a blast, is a counselor-in-training (hello, summer job next year!), and saved someone from drowning on the 4th! My little hero. He's such a good guy, and as much as I miss him (which is a lot), I'm glad he's having fun.

Other than that, it's been a typical Monday. R went to day camp, A worked, D and I worked, and then R had swim team practice. We watched some cool special about Disney theme parks after dinner and got to see places we've been to a bunch, and create a list of things we still need to see!

 

So that's it. Happy Monday – hope yours has been as good as mine!

 

Psychic Treadmill

FOOD

Holy crap, I feel like I need to do a week in review! I can't believe it's been a full week since my last blog post. I'm telling ya, vacations and holiday weeks make me completely lose track of time!

I have two recipes for ya to make up for it. They're both versatile and can be switched up for any possible flavor combinations your brains can dream up. The first one is a sammich filling. I feel like I'm cheating for calling this a recipe really. It was more of a “what the heck do I have that I can throw together for a main dish because I'm starving” kind of thing.

Crissie's Tofu Curry Sammiches

Ingredients

*leftover tofu – mine were grilled curry triangles I made by marinating them in veggie broth, ginger, and sweet curry powder. However – ANY will work…smoked, Italian, etc. I had about 8 ounces.

*1/2 cup vegan mayo. I used the blue capped Nayonaise.

*2 tbsp dijon mustard

Directions

*cut the tofu into smallish pieces – I did small cubes

*mix the mayo and mustard together. Add the tofu and mix well.

*eat however you want to – I put mine in corn tortillas and topped with some hot sauce and avocado.

Crissie's Garlicky Pinto Beans and Rice (Pressure Cooker recipe)

Ingredients

*1 bag of pinto beans, soaked for 8 hours or overnight (I started soaking when I woke up in the morning)

*3 inch strip of kombu seaweed (if you have it – if not, no big thing)

*4 bay leaves

*2-4 cups leftover COOKED rice (I had brown rice from recipes earlier in the week).

*6 cups of broth (I used homemade veggie broth)

*2 tsp oil (I used olive oil)

*1 onion, diced

*2-3 pureed tomatoes (a can of diced or stewed tomatos – not drained – would work also)

10 cloves of garlic (minced or chopped fine)

*1 tsp cumin

*1 tsp dried cilantro (or 2 tbsp fresh)

*1 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

Directions

*rinse the soaked beans, put in the pressure cooker with the seaweed (if using – it allegedly helps reduce gasiness of the beans), bay leaves, and broth.

*bring to high pressure, cook for 10 minutes, and let come down naturally (vs. quick release)

*keep about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, but drain the rest.

*Heat the oil in the pot over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and slowly roast until nicely browned – but not burnt. (if your pressure cooker isn't a non stick surface, add up to 1 tbsp oil)

*Add the onion, turn the heat up to medium, and sautee for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent, but not brown.

*Add the rice, and stir well – similar to making fried rice. Add cumin, cilantro, and salt, and mix well.

*Add the beans – they will be mushy. Stir completely – the beans will take on a refried bean appearance, and that's perfect.

*Simmer for 10 minutes – adding reserved cooking liquid if necessary.

*EAT! I made quesadillas with them by spreading the beans and rice on a corn tortilla, adding sliced avocado, tomato, a small amount of grated vegan Teeze, topping with another corn tortilla and pan-frying it until golden. Top with a ton of hot sauce and pretend you're on the coast of Mexico.

 

This is a family pleaser to be sure. The rest of my family isn't vegan and they raved about it.

All the rest is just going to be a week in pictures review since you're probably tired of reading this much….

this one was fun. I was in an all day summit meeting on Monday, and brought my own food, naturally. The biggest topic of conversation for awhile there was “the what's Crissie eating?” game. Fruit salad, a raw cucumber gazpacho (KILLER), and a salad jar. The containers were quite a topic too….

FITNESS

I loaded up my iPod with some guided yoga and did a couple “hot” sessions in the back yard. It's hilarious watching my Sammie pups do down dog when I'm doing down dog. But I'll tell you – shivasana (corpse pose) isn't relaxing when your dog realizes you're lying on the ground and starts licking your face and sitting on you (she's an 80 lb “pup”). It is cute though.

My swim workout yesterday got cut short when my goggles snapped after 15 laps. I finished out on a kickboard and back stroke, but was quite aggrevated none the less.

Today I went to the Y with my husband and daughter. They made plans to run together (D is thinking of starting a running program, and R LOVES to run), so I tagged along. They did about 20-30 min on the treadmill then hit the outdoor pool to goof off.

I can't help myself – I love running and am absolutely convinced I can find a way to keep doing it, despite the whole joint disease crap. I thought the treadmill would be the perfect thing, since the landing is so much softer than pounding pavement. I went in not expecting too much other than a fast walk at a steep incline, but willing to bump it up if I felt OK (I'll be honest – the knees have been KILLING me since last week's P90X plyo adventure).

My knee twinged a bit the first 5 minutes or so, but I did bump it up and do some running intervals for 32 minutes. Run 2, walk on an incline for 1, repeat. It was awesome, I was a sweaty mess, and felt great.

As a silly side note, I was amazed at how the heart rate display on the treadmill was dead on – even though I wasn't holding the handle. I kept thinking “wow, based on my age and weight entry, it's nailing the assumed HR based on my speed!”. Yeah…..not a psychic treadmill. I was wearing my Polar HR monitor, and the treadmill is apparently Fitlixx and Polar compatible. So my monitor was transmitting to the treadmill display. Still…a psychic treadmill would be pretty cool.

I wanted a longer workout, so I hit up one of the bikes for about 10 min, but it bugged my knee, so I finished up with an extra 20 on the Elliptical. All in all, thrilled with the workout and torched almost 480 calories (per my HR watch, and not the psychic equipment).

 

LIFE

Since it was a holiday week, it was very light on the work front. Many people take off or full vacations, so I ended up getting a TON done and fully caught up from my vacation.

My oldest was apparently so excited about my DIY spa Sunday last week, that she invited a bunch of girls over, read through my books, and spent all day Tuesday doing a spa day too!

I also got to hang out with AC one evening too. Pedicures, wine, and dinner. Always a perfect evening.

It's weird with M gone. Thankfully his camp posts pictures on Flickr occasionally, and I've seen 7 of him in the last week. He's clearly having fun. I will NOT say being surrounded by girls in bikini's are the reason (he's the boy on the left)….I email him everyday giving the DL on our mundane days, but hopefully it makes him happy.

 

R started day camp this week to. On Monday, she spent a good half hour explaining to me the difference between a recurve and compound crossbow – and why she prefers one over the other.

On the 4th, we usually go to Busch Gardens for their fireworks display, but just weren't feeling up to it. D took R to the Norfolk waterfront for their display, and A and I stayed home and watched 4 hours of So You Think You Can Dance. I know. Don't say it….

I took R to the water park on Friday afternoon. We packed a cooler with lunch and water bottles, and dealt with the massive crowds until we couldn't take it any more. It was still fun to hang out though!

I also spent half a day reworking our family budget. We have the major expense of a kid heading to college next month (YIKES), and decided it was time to take a new look. D and I have a new one and am quite happy with it. A lot of changes, but they're good changes. More focus on investments and retirement (which, despite my baby face, will creep up on me when I'm not paying attention) than traveling and going out all the time!

To that end, I also started looking at my grocery expenses. Between groceries and eating out, we spend a ridiculous amount! So, I had fun doing research and shopping differently than I normally do. I'm amazed at the results – tons of food, organic fruits and veggies, and spent 1/10th of what I normally do. CRAZY. It's sort of becoming a game now….the “how little can I spend” game! I'm competitive. I'll win 🙂

Other than cleaning and goofing off, D and I have watched several Netflix movies and I'm about 95% to convincing him we don't need cable. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I promise that life getting back to normal will mean more regular posts and less weekly novellas.

 

How About a Box of Fun?

We're going to have a little bit of a special addition of RunCrissieRun today. Not to fear, we'll be back to regularly scheduled programming soon enough.

I wanted to share some information about a company called Vegan Cuts. I'll be honest…I'd heard about it for a while now, but never really took the time to learn what it actually is. After going to Vida Vegan Con 2013, I got to meet people from Vegan Cuts, and see what their company is really about.

So here it is in a nut shell. There are two major categories of vegans out there. Dietary vegans – who's only concern regarding animals is about the food they put in their mouths, are where many of us start. Most vegans I know fall into the other catgory – as I do – and we are ethical vegans. This means that it's not enough that we keep animal products out of our bellies, but we keep them out of everything, including clothing, beauty products, household cleaner, and basically anything that involves our lives. This is called being an ethical vegan – I don't want to contribute to the suffering of any animal, so while a certain mascara, for example, may not have animal ingredients in it, the company may test on animals, and therefore I, as an ethical vegan, will not use it (even if it's free).

For me, becoming an ethical vegan was an evolution after starting as a dietary vegan. My friends going shopping with me would always wonder what the heck I was doing when I would check the ingredients on those cute pumps at the mall before trying them on or consiering buying them. Don't get me wrong – they're all used to it now – but shopping can be trickier than people realize (especially when locating companies that do and do not test on animals).

Enter Vegan Cuts (you had to know I'd get to the point soon). They provide a way to purchase ethically made/vegan products that go beyond food. Beauty products? Check. Clothes? Yup. Killer handbags? Oh yeah.

They also have this groovy little box program. You can sign up for a Vegan Snack Box or Beauty Box and get sample sizes of various products to try them out. Sort of like a test drive before buying that new car.

I was the lucky recipient of a vegan cuts box just a week ago. It had a mixture of food and non-food products, and was quite a fun little surprise to open. Sort of like a birthday present – you know you're getting something, but you have no idea what it is until you open that box!

My box had a bag of GF chips, chia seeds (which I LOVE making pudding with), lip balm, this killer cookie from Michy's, a snack bar, a package of superfood macro greens to put in a smoothie, dried fruit snacks, sweet chickpea snacks, vegan parmesan, and a sports drink powder to fuel my workouts.

 

This particular program is $19.95 per month, and you get 7-10 vegan products dropped right to your door. It's a neat way to try out new things and expand your vegan-purchasing options. If you're interested in checking it out, just click here!

Disclaimer – Vegan Cuts sent me this box on the house. That said, the freeness of it did not impact my review. I think it's a groovy program – like a book of the month club – but for fun vegan products.