Pretty Lights & The Plague. Merry Christmas/Sickmas!


Oh my, where to start? It's been a pretty great food week! On Sunday, D and I went to AC and JC's house for dinner. AC made an awesome spicy vegan soup with lots of “build your own” add ins. It was really tasty (I know you're reading this – send me the recipe?).

Monday night was a yummy take-out Thai night with NS. She even sets the table pretty when food comes from restaurant tubs! Tofu green curry, fresh spring rolls, pineapple masaman curry, and drunken noodles. And wine (of course).

Tuesday was dinner at Busch Gardens. Pasta with red sauce in Italy for me! Christmas dinner I made tofu/potato tacos, but didn't eat any (sick). Yesterday I made red thai curry soup and a grilled vegan cheeze and veggie sammich.

Today was oatmeal and a Moe's salad.

In the middle of all these yummy meals were juices and a pressure cooker mushroom soup from JL at JLGoesVegan! The only sub I did was to use Buckwheat groats to make it gluten-free instead of barley. I did an exact substitution, and it came out great. Here's a link to the recipe! It's really yummy, so you should hurry up and make it. She has a lot of great recipes on her site, so check it out.


Well, I managed one run before catching the plague this week. I was really bummed about missing my Christmas morning run. I did a meditation session on YogaGlo yesterday when I just couldn't relax, and that worked great. I really need to start doing that regularly (I think I sense a New Year's resolution here!).


Well, I may as well get past the less than pleasant. I got really, really sick. It started with a mild sore throat late on Christmas Eve and turned into full blown “can't get out of bed” nastiness for two days. I'm feeling more animated today, but still under the weather.

Other than that, it was a really nice week. Dinner and drinks at AC's house (which included something with bourbon – which I still don't seem to like) was very nice and long overdue (not her cooking, just the four of us hanging out). Monday was work, and then dinner and a quiet night hanging out with NS.

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, D, the kids, and I went to Busch Garden's for Christmas Town! It was wonderful, and D only likes going when it's cold, so he lucked out. Pretty lights, laughing, and hot spiced wine.

We usually go to a movie on Christmas Day after give carnage is over, but with me being sick, it just didn't happen. It was a quiet day at home for everyone, and truthfully, I spent most of it in bed. I knew I was sick when I took a 2 hour nap. I almost never nap….more because I'm not capable than not wanting to.

Yesterday I mostly spent in bed too, other than to make dinner. D took the kids to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was sweet. I'm sure they were getting cabin fever!

R left this for me to read while they were at the movies. I look at my cats very differently now…

Today was running errands (breakfast with me and the kids), Whole Foods, and then having my battery die at an Italian Deli/Bakery in Virginia Beach and needing my car jumped. Then off to get a new battery, run more errands, and then come home. 7 hours later, I'm a hot mess and ready for bed. Too much excitement for one sicko (though I'm definitely on the up swing).

A is having dinner at her boyfriend's house, and I'll probably crawl out of bed here soon to do the same here.

At least the weekend is upon us! Hopefully it'll be filled with yummy food, family fun, and be utterly plague-less!


Crissie and the Case of the Vanishing Bathrobe

Sounds like a Nancy Drew book, right?!


This week has been mostly notable for my first ever homemade Pho-ish soup!! I will admit – I was making it up as I went – but it was really yummy. I started with a carton of pho broth base. Cheating I know, but if you've ever read how involved Pho broth is, you won't blame me too much for not starting from scratch. And while Pho is traditionally a beef base, the broth I found at Whole Foods was vegan (of course) with a mushroom base.

Anyway, I brought it to a simmer and threw in a package of mung bean thread noodles, and then added veggies galor – bean sprouts, scallions, baby corn, waterchestnuts, and tofu. When it was done, I topped it with more scallions, cilantro, and plenty of Siracha! My eldest was also quite happy with the results!

I also made a few really yummy juices, which made me happy.


I squeezed in a few runs, but not much more than that. I'm looking forward to the next week where it'll be slightly less hectic than normal (kids don't have school and R's swim team is on break too).


It's funny – I've never found the holiday's to be any more hectic than any other time of year. I can't say I've ever had a crazy holiday social calendar, and with living so far from family, we don't really have those parties to bounce around to. Boy oh boy, is this year different. Every single weekend (and several week days!) have been jam packed with gatherings. Of course last weekend was girls slumber party and then the cookies & cocktails party, this weekend was busy, and so will the next two!

Friday was NS's birthday! What better way to celebrate than at Busch Garden's Christmas Town. We headed up around 4 and with the very mild weather, got to spend the evening walking around, enjoying the lights, and just having an overall great time.

Saturday was a family fun time. We went to a play – A Christmas Carol – and then out to dinner. R wasn't a huge fan of the play (it was her first real theater experience), but I think that was mainly because of the accents and some difficulty understanding what people were saying or singing. M, my actor, really loved it, and A actually made one of the costumes in that production when she interned at the Virginia Stage Company last year! Overall, it was a really nice production. Dinner after was Hell's Kitchen! I didn't take a pic, but I had a BBQ Fickn burrito!


Okay, so I have had this rather drab terry cloth bathrobe for nearly 10 years. For some time now, I've wanted a new one, but of course the one's I like (spa robes) aren't really cheap – and I can't exactly justify one when I have one! Anyway, about 3 months ago or so, it vanished. Seriously – it was hanging on the back of my bathroom door one day next to my summer satiny bathrobe (yes, I have two different ones that I change up with the weather), and then one morning, it was gone. I searched my room, bathroom, and closet, and couldn't find it. After a couple weeks, I confided in D that I think that, in my desire for a new one, my subconsious took over and I must have thrown it away – but don't remember doing it. He started searching all over for it, and for a couple months, it stumped us both.

I have to say – I was looking forward to the justification of a new robe πŸ™‚

Then one day about 2 weeks ago, D went into A's room to get her desk chair to let R use (R's broke), and in her room was MY bathrobe! I have no clue how it got there (I'm assuming A borrowed it and didn't put it back), and while it's been nice having my robe again…I'm sad I'm not getting a new one 😦

Oh well – time to get dressed because it's off to AC and JC's house for dinner soon!



Baking with a Hammer is the Only Way to Go


Okay, so clearly the big highlight is that I baked. And I used a hammer. Next time, I need to find a reason to use power tools πŸ™‚

We had a vegan meet-up at NS's house. But first?? GIRLS SLUMBER PARTY. Yep….I'm 40 years old, and I still slept over at a friends house! NS, KP, and I hung out, drank a bit too much wine, and made homemade pizza. Yes – three vegans in one house overnight. Madness ensued.

NS made me tofu scramble in the morning. So spoiled πŸ™‚


Sunday was the Cookies & Cocktails party! I made a candy cane & chocolate chip cookie from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur that my parents got me for Christmas a few years ago. She has a whole holiday chapter, and these were perfect. And I got to use a hammer to smash a bunch of candy canes, so that made it all worth while.

For my contributed cocktail, I made my Ghetto Gin Gimlet. When I was 'younger' my fav drink was a Tom Collins. At that age (don't ask) the Tom Collins mix was too expensive, so I'd mix gin, Rose's lime juice (must be Rose's…it's sweet), and diet citrus soda (50/50, Sundrop, Fresca, etc).

My fav cocktails of the evening was KP's Pointessia with champagne, cointreau, and cranberry juice, and NS's White Russian (no idea how she made it – but it has Kalua and cocount milk at least). Totally awesome.

On a side note, I made a killer Taco Tuesday taco salad with lettuce, refried beans, spicy tofu, fajita veggies, guacamole, vegan cheddar shreds, and salsa. Everyone ate it up!


lt good to get back to some runs this week. I needed it! Yoga is on the docket too – hopefully with the holiday's, things will ease up a bit at work and yoga will be more of an option.

So for some totally cool news…..I won a lottery entry into the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in DC in April!!! So those of you who know me, I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to DC during the Cherry Blossom season. I live 3 hours away, and we try to go every year. The race is a very big deal, and a couple years ago, they went to lottery-based entries because it would sell out in less than a minute. As it happens, AT texted me the day the lottery opened, so when I had a free moment, I entered. I was so shocked to get the notification yesterday that I'm in! So totally cool – in one of my very favorite cities in my favorite time of year getting to run a race I love….too perfect. Who's up for a road trip to our nation's capital?!?


Well, where to start? I was deliriously babbling by 8pm on Friday. D and the kids poured me into bed, and I was out before 9…..and I slept for 10 hours!

Saturday was mostly a blur until it was time to have D drop me off at NS's house. I showed up in jammies, and when KP arrived, we got busy breaking into the wine and making pizza.

Sunday was the party – which was awesome – and then D and the kids picked me up and we went to see the new Hunger Games movie – Catching Fire…which was totally killer! Everyone needs to see it. I hate that I have to wait another year or two for the next one….

my fav pic of the weekend! AC, NS, KP, and I at the party!!

Yesterday I had an early morning meeting, then it was D and my's annual pre-holiday day off together. We stay home for a bit, then finish Christmas shopping, have lunch, happy hour, and basically spend the day with just us. It was a totally amazing day. You don't want the details (trust me), but it was a great day all around.

Today was back to work (hello crazy schedule) and D took R to the Myth Buster's live show tonight! Speaking of…they just walked in. Gotta run, say hello, and head to bed!!!


Need a Nose Job Before Getting Glasses

Okay, deviating from my regular format for a few reasons tonight. 1 – it's been 5 days since my last post (Forgive me Father, For I have Sinned) and 2- I have nothing good to really good to post in the food or fitness sections!

On the food front, I did make one really awesome dish. Sweet and Sour Lentils with veggies over rice. They were really killer, and I'm glad it made enough to feed me most of the week. I made a carrot and apple curry soup too. Also glad it made a lot – at one point I was drinking it cold and pretending it was a smoothie (that was today). I've also only had ONE green smoothie and no juices. Ugh. My days started at 530am or earlier and didn't end until very late, so it was leftovers or food on the run. To be honest, I feel like hell because my diet deviated so much from my normal one. Ugh.

I have not run in days….it's been too cold, I've been too tired, or I've not been home. Those, my friends, seem like weak excuses when I write them out. I've got some cold weather running gear – so no real excuse there (other than I hate the cold), tired or not, what's 30-60 minutes to get in a quick run? and 3 – I can run anywhere, and shouldn't need to be home. I seriously need to re-locate my motivation!

As for my life this week. NUTS. I know, we're all nuts this time of year. Parties, planning, work, family…yep…all that. It's almost the end of the year, so it's crunch time at work in some respects, and my project load is increasing and not decreasing (not complaining…just is what it is). There's constantly events to plan or participate in, and my social calendar is as full as I can handle. I actually bailed on a dinner tonight because I needed an evening of downtime with my family.

I think last night was the last proverbial straw for my exhaustion though. 5am start to the day, and a nearly midnight finish. Up at 5 again this morning, and I had to talk (either presenting or leading meetings) non-stop from 8am – 5pm! Just crazy!

So part of the end of year fun is calling to find out what my HSA (healthcare spending account) leftovers are. Thankfully, I had enough on my card to get a new pair of glasses! You see, I wear contacts, but lately have been having issues with my left eye, and have been wanting to wear glasses more often. Sad thing is, I don't have a pair of glasses I would really wear out and about. I have one, but don't love how they look, and my other are my “sleepy glasses”, which are all jacked up from falling asleep in them. So down to my favorite eye doctor I go, and spent a good hour trying to find a pair I loved. My optomitrist has stylists (they probably are something legitimate besides that, but they basically let you know if the glasses look good). Well….I have a tiny face apparently, and a tiny nose. We went through dozens of pairs of glasses, and none of them fit my face. I guess you're not supposed to have any space on the bridge of the glasses and the bridge of your nose (if you do, they slide down), and my nose is so tiny, none of the glasses did that! I started to think I'd need a nose job before I could find a pair of specs that fit my face! We eventually did find that one perfect pair, and I'm totally excited for them to be ready!

And I'm clearly whining a lot, so I'm going to stop now. I really am not complaining – I like being busy, and I love what I do…I just haven't slept much the past few days and have had no down time. But that, my friends, is going to change this weekend!

Guess who came home last night?!? Yep…A is home from her first semester at college! D went to get her last night. They got home late, but it'll be nice to have her home for the next month.

Chill tonight with the family (already in jammies!), run club tomorrow, more family time, then girls sleepover to bake cookies and eat homemade pizza (all vegan, of course). Sunday is the Cookies & Cocktails party, and my contribution will be Snickerdoodles (or oatmeal raisin maybe…or both!) and my Ghetto Gin Gimlet.

And until my next post, I will leave you with random pics of the week.




It’s Amazing the Plans Enough Wine Will Inspire


Well again, it'll be mostly a recap in photos. Juices, tofu pineapple stir fry (that D loved so much, he ate it two days in a row!), panera sammich, hot chcolate, Mexican quinoa bowl, cauliflower soup, veggie chili, baked oatmeal, and wine.

Today I'm making some Mexican flavored tofu for the week plus some falafel-ish chickpea burgers.

One thing that's awesome about my juicer – is I have far less wasted produce. If it looks like something only will last another day or two – I juice it! I've had two juices this week that yielded over 24 ounces just by cleaning out the fridge!


I got in all but one of my runs this week. I still got workouts in (DVD one day, and yoga the others), so I'm not stressing it.

The group run this week was canceled due to a local race (that I did not do), but that's okay.

This week I plan to take my bike in for a tune up, dust off my trainer, and start doing some indoor cycling. I'm seriously toying with the idea of doing a Tri or two in late Spring/Summer. I can't express how awesome it feels to feel good again – to not have pain with movement except when it's because it's a muscle I haven't used in a long time. I'm not dumb enough to think it'll be all the time, but I am hopeful that it'll be most of the time.


It's been another nutty week. Late nights, early mornings, and very little rest or sleep. Again – not BAD, just incredibly hectic.

R missed swim all week. She was sick early last weekend, and has had a persistent cough the entire week. It's finally starting to get better, but not enough to allow her to swim all week. I feel bad because she missed a swim meet this weekend – and she REALLY wanted to go since it was against her old swim team.

Friday was our work Christmas party, which was nice. The only downside is there's actually a big smoking area where we had it – and where most people were – so I stunk to high heaven when I left as well as had a bit of a sore throat. I got home, took a shower, and went to bed. I was fine by morning, as I sort of assumed I would be.

Saturday night was girls vegan drinks night! I met KP and NS in the vegan meet up group over a year ago, and we finally realized we can hang out even if it's not a meet up event! So, last night we went to Bardo's and drank much wine, ate yummy food, planned a girls trip to New Orleans in the spring, sketched out some business ideas, and planned a sleep over next weekend. Yeah, good times πŸ™‚

Today I pretty much stayed in bed until 115. IT WAS AWESOME. My dad called around 11 ish, and woke us all up. He felt bad – though he shouldn't. There was no logical reason to think an entire family of 4 would still be asleep that late – but it was still amazing. I woke up, ate some leftover chili, and then crawled back into bed to watch Netflix and read.

OH. Speaking of Netflix….I have a new favorite TV show. Arrow! The first season is on Netflix, and I was hooked in the first 5 minutes. So amazing. I've watched 4 since Saturday, and I'm going to be so sad when I run out. It's that good and you should watch it. D had read a spot on review – it's everything Agents of Shield should be. It's not that I don't like the Marvel show – but it's campy and not always my first choice of something to watch.

as much as Bumble seems to dislike the little beasts, she certainly plays more. In this picture, all I imagine going through her little cat brains is “back off bitches…this is mine!”.

Okay, my falafel-ish burgers are done, and it's dinner time! Here's hoping my first attempt at a homemade veggie burger doesn't suck!


Even I Don’t Keep My Bras in a Freezer


I had my ever favorite red lentil soup with kale & beet salad for dinner Saturday night with AC. Every time we go out (which is pretty much to the same Turkish spot), I think about getting something different. I rarely achieve that goal….

Sunday was a fresh juice – my favorite so far. Very green, and very awesome. Then AZ came over, we had a quinoa/spinach salad for lunch, and I honestly can't recall what dinner was (I know…oh so long ago!).

I did make a batch of raw crackers in my dehydrator yesterday though! I saved the pulp from two juices, and mixed it up with some flax meal, sea salt, bavarian spice mix from the Spice House in Milwaukee, and water. They came out SO great.

Last night I prepped my morning juice produce and also make a batch of pumpkin/bean chili and corn bread for mine and D's lunches today. Both from The Happy Herbivore, and personal favs of mine. I also made a spicy/sweet cranberry relish because nothing says “oops, I forgot this for the holiday meal” like cranberries two days later….


Today was my juice (another yummy green one), a smoothie I took to work, the chili, my raw crackers with hummus, and then the leftover Tofurkey and baked spud for dinner!


Yesterday was a rest day. Which is awesome because my legs and hips were sore! Not to worry, not injured nor RA related – just “I've run more than I have in a long time” kinda sore. And I think the squats and lunges the group did as a warm up played a role too!

Today I went for a run as soon as I got home from work. I didn't get home until just after 6, so I kissed D, said hi to the kids, then scooted upstairs to get changed. I realized (after hunting through my drawers) that all off my sports bras were washed on Sunday and hanging on my drying rack, which is in the garage. I sprinted down the stairs, into the garage…and forgot why I was there. I went to the deep freezer, opened it (clearly thinking whatever I needed was in there), before I realized I needed to get something else. I apparently needed today's run to clear my scatter brained head.

It was a nice night, so just a long sleeve T and pants were needed. I clipped blinky on my behind and took off. As I was running along, I passed a guy dressed in all black. Black pants and black hoodie (with the hood up) and he looked like a shadow. I always get surprised when people go out in the dark like that. It seems like they should be up to no good! Anyway, I ran past him, and he caught up to ask me about blinky and where he could get one. Yay for safe running!


Saturday afternoon I went downtown to visit some local shops to do some Christmas shopping. There are a lot of cute boutique and vintage stores down there, so I thought it would be nice to try and knock some things out before meeting up with AC.

There's an olive oil and vinegar shop in Virginia Beach that opened a new store! I saw the new store on their FB page, and was out of my Traditional Balsamic (I bring back my bottles for discounted refills), so I headed down! Of course I couldn't leave without something new and found this AMAZING dark chocolate balsamic. Holy cow….I think it's my new favorite!

AC and I had dinner and then stopped for drinks before calling it a night. Sunday morning was quiet – especially as D left to take A back up to school.

AZ and her boys came over for a few hours in the afternoon, and the kids watched The Hobbit, with AZ and I hung out, flipped through recipe books, and just caught up.

D got caught in some nasty traffic, and ended up spending the whole day with A! They went to the science museum and hung out, which was really cool. A few more weeks, and she'll be home for a month!

Today was back at work, but it was a good day. I thought I'd have a hard time getting back into the groove, but I think my few days off were more recharging than the “holy crap, I have a ton to catch up on” kind of thing.

I am freaking out a bit about being ready for Christmas. St. Nick's is Friday and I don't have a tree yet, nor really anything for the kids. Christmas I have a few things, but not nearly what I need. So this weekend – despite a swim meet and plans with girlfriends – will be ALL about the shopping and prep! Oh well, that 'recharged' feeling is gone πŸ™‚

Hope everyone (US side of course) had a wonderful holiday weekend!