Remember When I Said I’d Be a Better Blogger

Clearly I misled you….(I refuse to say “lied”)…


So we will return to regularly scheduled programming later this week where I'll actually have a product review a book review and the always beloved giveaway. Yes, I'm not beyond bribery to lure you back, o readers….

Well, I had one lovely (tho hectic) week at home before heading off to DC on Sunday. More of those days of getting up at 5am (tho my sister mocked me when I refered to that at 'freakishly early'), being away from home until 1030, and then not getting enough sleep, but lovely nonetheless. A day or two away I can handle (enjoy even), but a whole week is too much….

Sunday morning I was up bright and (disgustingly) early, went to visit A at college, have breakfast, then make a Whole Foods run to stock up her dorm. I was really proud of the grub choices she made.

When I left her, I headed towards DC, parked at a train station near my hotel, and hopped the metro into the city. I spent most of the afternoon at the American History museum, contimplated offering my budgeting services at the Capital building, wandered past the White House, and both loved and enjoyed my day in one of my favorite towns.

I got hungry and Yelp guided me to a wonderful place on 19th and Penn (just a few blocks from the White House, but not touristy) called The Founding Farmers. They have a very solid farm-to-table philosophy, and while certainly not a vegan restaurant, they have a meatless menu and a strong sustainability ethic that I just have to love.

 

While normal people (read:non solo diners) had a 3 hr wait, I breezed past them all to a corner spot at the bar. Not only did I have a great meal (veggie loaf that reminds me of Thanksgiving), but I made a new friend! Ever have one of those experiences where you meet someone and it feels like you've been friends forever? It's so rare, but happened to me. D is funny, smart, and just amazing. We spent a large part of the afternoon gabbing, and met up again tonight. Great times. For the record, I had pickled veggies and the vegan 'bacon' burger. D's recommendation. YUM!

 

So the rest are pictures. Ginny and Tonks have more than integrated into our family. Bumble still doesn't love them, but isn't as annoyed (unless they chase her tail). Sam, on the other hand, LOVES them and gets in full blown mommy mode. It's so cool.

 

So that's it for now. Happy Monday my friends.

 

Blogger of the Year Award Goes To….

Not me! I know, and I'm sorry. Craptastic blogger lately, and I know it. Sad thing is, I think about blogging every day…and them the entire day gets away from me.

Not to whine or anything, but I've had 15 hr days, 3 days per week for the last month, and the days I'm am home before 10pm are me trying to make up to my family for not being there all those other days.

I'll get better, I promise. Blogs may be short and sweet (just like me!), but I do have a plan to get them back on track.

In the mean time, a brief update on the last few weeks.

Run, work, yoga, work, travel, work, study, work, cook, work, spend time with my family, work.

R turned 10! And A came home from college for the weekend to celebrate. She's kicking butt at school and I'm very proud of her. My son won the lead in the school play, and my husband has been picking up double duty due to my crazy schedule.

I went to WI for a very cool conference and have spent the weekend visiting my family. I go home tomorrow, and I can't wait.

I also will have a giveaway coming up (a sort of penance) as well as a review or two, so stay tuned for that!

Until then….I give you my highlights in pictures…

 

 

 

 

 

The Chains That Bind Us

FOOD

You know how it is – it's time for lunch and everyone is trying to figure out where to go. You're the only vegan of the bunch, and feel guilty if everyone is “forced” to choose based on your favorite hippie joints. So when they pick one of those national chain restaurants, you cringe a little on the inside (knowing that they don't even have salads that don't have chicken in it), and hope for the best. You can always sneak a granola bar back at your desk.

All I can say, is thank heavens for D. Even though he isn't a veg head like me, he's very conscious of what's available that I might enjoy. Not just the ability to deal with piecing together a few side dishes, but having a truly yummy dish. So when we walked into TGIFriday's, I didn't have high expectations.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised when the restaurant manager went out of her way to make me a pasta dish that, while not 5-Star vegan restaurant dish, it was tasty and special and made just for me! A simple pasta dish with roasted veggies, garlic, and spicy bruschetta sauce. It was nice to not just eat a side salad, hold everything! So while they're pretty much never my first choice, I don't think I'll balk so much at those restaurant chains that bind us all.

Another fun dining out experience came from a local restaurant called Chow. This time, while not a vegan place either, they did have vegan specific menu items. I opted for the Vegan BBQ plate, and had some bbq gardein strips, mashers (which were awesome), and fried pickles!

And other than that, the week consisted of typical me-food. Smoothies, blended salads (which is really just a smoothie of just veggies), Ezekiel toast with bananas, watermelon, and some Mexican take out!

FITNESS

The past week has been a very active one, including one very special evening.

I've had several runs – some better than others. I'm starting to get bored with my surroundings again, and that's never a good thing.

I had a great bike ride on Saturday with R. We did 8 miles at the Great Dismal Swamp canal trail. I rode my hybrid this time, and not my racing bike – and man, oh, man, did I have to work to keep up with her! It was a ton of fun though.

This last week has continued my yoga streak as well. I'm fully hooked on Ashtanga, and have been doing an online class pretty much every day. D mentioned that he'd like it if I did a studio class now and then – to be sure I have someone to correct my form, etc, should I need to. He's so thoughtful.

Anyway, I googled Ashtanga in my area and was surprised to find a few studios that do a class once in awhile. What was even cooler, is that there appeared to be a multi-day Ashtanga workshop in Virginia Beach over the weekend. You could do the entire thing for $350, or go class by class for $34-55 each. At D's urging, I signed up for a workshop on Friday night.

I arrived and there were 30 of us. Several new to that style of yoga, and when the person leading the workshop got going, I was in for an amazing experience. He spent an hour or so talking through the philosophy of Ashtanga yoga, cracking jokes, telling stories, and basically just having a great time. The last 45 minutes or so, he led the class through the primary series. At the end, he asked how many people were from out of town – turns out over half the class was. I was surprised. I was even more surprised to find about 1/3 of the class had flown in just for his classes! Turns out, this guy, David Swenson, is some rock star in the yoga world, and I happened to just “fall in” to one of his workshops. Talk about getting luck!

LIFE

Well, what can I say. Another week gone, and it's been crazy. Even though it was only a 4 day week (as is this one for me), it was still crazy. For various reasons, I don't get home until very late three nights per week, and trying to keep up with all of my life's demands as sort of been sucking the life out of me.

There's not much to tell for the week itself, other than it wasn't bad at all, just busy. I've picked up a new project at work, so that will be pretty cool.(I hope – it's something I haven't done before).

Friday was vehicle hell. I left Friday morning for work, and my van stalled. Finally got it started and went home, transferred everything to my daughter's car (she's up at college, so her car is here), and not a block down the road, her check engine light came on. I gave up, went home, and let my boss know I was working there for the day!

My van is in the shop, and A's car is just fine (it's a diesel, and if you don't drive it regularly, it gets angry…after a while, the check engine light went back off and all is right with it).

Friday evening was the yoga workshop, Saturday was yoga, bike rides, then going out with AC for some dinner and drinks. Sunday was errands, bulk cooking, and cleaning. Not a jam packed weekend, but still a nice one!

 

 

An Exorcist Worthy Meal

FOOD

Okay.  It’s not pretty, and I’m sorry.  Food can’t always be beautiful.  I mean really – have you ever seen a pretty split pea soup??  Me neither.  I mean seriously – it was split pea soup they used for Regan’s “moments” in the exorcist (to this day, scariest movie I’ve ever seen).  But I can tell you that what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste and ease.  It’s spicy and smokey and creamy and yummy, and sometimes – that outweighs the fact that it’s ugly.

photo (7)

Crissie’s Exorcist Soup

Ingredients

*1 bag of split peas

*4-6 cups veggie broth (I started with 4 and ended up adding 1 more while it was cooking).

*3 carrots, peeled and diced

*1/2 yellow or white onion, diced

*1 tbsp red pepper flakes

*1 block (4 ounces) smoked tofu

*1 tsp ground thyme

*1/2 tbsp sea salt

*2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

*Put everything but the salt and pepper in a crockpot.

*Cook on High for 8 hours.  Stir and it will be creamy!

*Add salt and pepper, switch to warm, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Again – not pretty – but super tasty!

FITNESS

Yesterday was the 5K with my youngest!  We were very excited the night before, and before heading off for bed, we put all our gear aside!

Up at 630 race day morning, we had breakfast (normal pre-race toast with sunbutter and banana), and then it was off to the races.

It was a very informal local race, and D brought his bike and camera to pedal along with us along the route.  He had to dodge bags of powdered paint and glitter spray stations, but he managed it all very well – all while cheering us on and snapping some pics.

IMG_7191 IMG_7200 IMG_7230 IMG_7301 IMG_7309 IMG_7335 IMG_7344 IMG_7348

At one point R got a little rambunctious and I ended up with a face full of purple (that I’m STILL trying to get off), but all told, we had a lot of fun.  She ran her first race and experienced all the awesomeness that entails (like wearing a race number and getting a medal).

LIFE

Life yesterday was all about the race for the  most part.  It felt good to run with R and I hope we run many more races together.

After getting home, I realized I may not do one of those “color runs” again though.  I have paint I couldn’t get off in the shower, no matter how hard I tried!  I’d not tell R that though – her’s appeared to come off just fine!

D took a nap, M went to hang out with friends, and R and I were pretty mellow, hanging out with the kitties and watching dumb TV shows and reading.

kitty in a baseball cap.  Too cute to pass up.
kitty in a baseball cap. Too cute to pass up.

I’m glad it’s a short week this week, and I hope you all had a nice Holiday weekend too!

I’m Sucky and I know It

FOOD

Okay, so I’ve been a sucky blogger lately. The last couple weeks have been a madhouse around here – and it’s going to get crazier next week once school officially starts back up for the kids and swim team is in full swing again. But that said, here’s some pics and food tips from the week.

I did another day of smoothies – but just one this time. I made them all before work, and even though I was at work late (past 8pm), I still couldn’t drink them all. I saved them for the next day and tacked on an extra half-day of smoothies.

One of my favorite things to do is flavor up my rice with tea. I’ll put in a bag or two in the rice cooker, and this time I did a green tea bag in the cooker with a cup of brown rice. After it cooked, I added some mirin (sweet rice wine vinegar – I eyeballed it) and some sesame seeds.

I sliced up some cucumbers and sprinkled on rice vinegar (not the mirin – just normal stuff), agave, toasted sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Let sit for 30 minutes, and it’s good to go! It’ll last 2 days before getting soft.

The other highlight was finding a diner (yes, a true hole-in-the-wall diner) in my area that has a killer tofu scramble! I had it with veggies sausages, potatoes, and grits.  I was so happy!  They have a normal menu too, so it was awesome to find a place that had something other than oatmeal for me! OH, and they serve their drinks in jars. Gotta love that!

The rest are just pics of awesome things I ate. A real recipe is coming in the next post – for a killer soup I made today!

red beans and rice
avo toast!  mashed avocado with lime and herbamare seasoning salt
pho!!!

FITNESS

Despite the crazy week on non-blogging, I have gotten in a few good workouts. Runs mostly, plus yoga of course.

I’m still really loving YogaGlo, and am trying out a new style! I’m doing the beginners series of Ashtanga, and it’s fun to try something different. Of course the prevalent style is around here is Hatha (even in hot yoga, it’s essentially hatha yoga in a hot room), and while there are definite overlaps, I did do a log of new things (hello, arm balances and “hovering”….OW).

despite the difficulty using my mat for up dog and down dog, I just couldn’t make her move.

Tomorrow is R’s and my race! It’ll be her first running race, and our first together. She’s very excited, and I’m really proud of her. We went today and bought white shirts and shorts so when we get covered in paint and glitter, we’ll really sparkle! D is going to ride the course and take lots of pictures, so buckle up for my next post! It should be a ton of fun.

R getting fitted for new running shoes!  She’s worn her Brooks out (and will still race in them), but moved to Asics.  I’m a die-hard Brooks girl myself.

LIFE

Oh, where to begin?!

Sunday was our last hurrah at Busch Gardens for the summer. Fear not, Howl-O-Scream opens on my daughter’s birthday in less than two weeks, and guess where we’ll be?!?!

bumper-car selfie

Other than that, long days all week. Most started no later than 8am and didn’t end until 10pm. And that’s being OUT of the house. That’s going to be the status quo for a few months though, so I better get into a good rhythm or I’m likely to go bonkers.

The kitties are doing great (Ginny and Tonks) as well as Bumble. She’s definitely getting used to them and not running away and hissing anymore. She lets the little beasts get close – nose to nose even – as long as they aren’t feeling feisty. When they attack her tail, she still gets pissed off. The dog, on the other hand, loves the heck out of them. Ginny was lying down on Sammie, and I think they were both in heaven.

don’t mind that R is still in pajamas…but she was super excited for her Dr. Who lunchbox!!!