Monthly Archives: February 2015

Board Game Victory! Savoring It While I Can….

FOOD

I honestly can’t recall everything I ate this week, but it’s been pretty typical fare.  Here’s what I have pics of!

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I made black bean and sweet potato chili with corn bread for our bloody mary and board game lunch!

I made black bean and sweet potato chili (in the pressure cooker!) with corn bread for our bloody Mary and board game lunch!

the beginning of the Bloody Mary Bar!  Most of the condiments weren't out yet.

the beginning of the Bloody Mary Bar! Most of the condiments weren’t out yet.

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tofu green curry.  It was only OK.  Not from one of my two usual places.

tofu green curry. It was only OK. Not from one of my two usual places.

veggie pizza

veggie pizza

veggie pho.  Also only "ok".

veggie pho. Also only “ok”.

caramel apple bars.  Smelled wonderful, but couldn't try them because of the apple allergy.  I did, however, have some of the leftover caramel!

caramel apple bars. Smelled wonderful, but couldn’t try them because of the apple allergy. I did, however, have some of the leftover caramel!

snow day breakfast of oats with banana, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.

snow day breakfast of oats with banana, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.

FITNESS

It was so nice to get back to the gym after the thaw.  I did two new classes and really enjoyed them both.

BodyPump is a barbell class that combines weight training and some cardio.  It was really awesome, and I love that they have this class really early in the morning most days.

Mixxedfit is the other one.  Best way to describe it is a hip hop dance class on boot camp steroids.  They make a point of not liking to be compared to the “other” dance class….which I assume means Zumba.  I suppose it could mean Jazzercise, but I’m not sure that’s actually a thing anymore!  Anyway…big movements, intense on the cardio side, and incorporates non-dance moves like squats.  Overall, it was fun and so challenging I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish it.  I’m sure I also looked completely ridiculous.

Otherwise I did runs and circuits.

LIFE

This past week has been a bit difficult and I’m frankly incredibly exhausted.  Hopefully things will even out soon.

On Sunday KP and NS came over for Bloody Mary’s, board games, and girl time.  We mostly just sat at the kitchen table and talked and drank our Bloody Mary’s and mimosas and ate lunch.  We did play two games though.  One is called the table cube which isn’t actually a game per se, but a deck of cards with questions that encourages conversation.  I do have to say that we got the card no vegan wants to get (and all 3 of us are)….which animal would you leave off the ark?!  It was actually kind of funny.  Ticks and mosquitos were chosen!

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We also played Sorry and R joined us for that.  For once, I actually won.  I don’t win games often!  I think I grounded R a few times for bumping me off the board (or showing KP and NS how they could bump me off).  It didn’t work though.  She called my bluff.

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It snowed again last night, so we’re all home today, even D.  I went up to A’s school yesterday to bring her home for a long weekend.  She was already planning on coming home, but we were worried with the impending storm, that we wouldn’t be able to.  Problem solved!

Hope you’re all staying dry and warm, wherever you are!

Bumble and Ginny sharing some sunshine!  They're definitely hanging out more, which is cool to see.

Bumble and Ginny sharing some sunshine! They’re definitely hanging out more, which is cool to see.

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a girl and her kitty!

a girl and her kitty!

 

Beware the Flamethrower

FOOD

We have spent several days cooped up due to Snowmageddon 2015, so the first part of the week were throw together meals of what I had on hand.

an Instant Pot meal (which is a pressure cooker for those who don't know) of tofu, cabbage, yukon potatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, and tamari.  Really, really yummy.

an Instant Pot meal (which is a pressure cooker for those who don’t know) of tofu, cabbage, Yukon potatoes, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, and tamari. Really, really yummy.

green smoothies!  Kale, banana, coconut milk, clementine, and chia seeds.

green smoothies! Kale, banana, coconut milk, clementine, and chia seeds.

mushroom rice over romaine

mushroom rice over romaine

The mushroom rice was inspired by JL Goes Vegan’s book Vegan Pressure Cooking, which is a family favorite!

more tofu/veggie fun with some leftover cornbread from the weekend.

more tofu/veggie fun with some leftover cornbread from the weekend.

On Wednesday D and I had to leave the house for a doctor’s appointment, so we decided since we were out, we’d go out to lunch.  We went to a local place that makes really great veggie burgers and, totally hungry, I ordered The Flamethrower.  Replete with pickled jalapenos, onions cooked in hot pepper sauce, fresh peppers, and extra pepper sauce.  It was awesome.  And I hurt ALL day after.  Seriously…beware the flamethrower….

I didn’t eat the rest of the day.  Never.  Again.  (Maybe…)

Today I went out to lunch with AC and HF.  Yardhouse has a Gardein menu, so it was the Orange Peel Chick’n with brown rice for me!  And a white ale.

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spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker - perfect in 3 minutes!

spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker – perfect in 3 minutes!

spaghetti squash stir fry!

spaghetti squash stir fry!

FITNESS

We were literally snowed and iced in most of the week, so there was a drop off in my gym going fun for a few days.  I did some workouts at home – mostly kickboxing.

Today I was back in the gym for Zumba and some running on the treadmill.

As an FYI, we’re breaking records for cold in Virginia right now.  Like record’s from the 1890’s.  And I saw a guy run past my house yesterday in shorts and a knit cap.  Idiot.

LIFE

I have literally been working from home all week.  Kids had off Monday for President’s day, and every other day this week their school has been canceled because of the weather.  It only snowed one night, but since we have no resources here to clean it, the roads have been nothing but ice.  Cold temps and bursting pipes are a problem around here, so in we mostly stayed.

The benefit of working from home is pajamas all day.  My neighbor stopped by a couple times this week, and I swear I started feeling self conscious about my jammie and sweatshirt attire.  The downside of working from home is it’s easy to sit in front of a computer and not move for a good 15 hours.  I will say I got a TON done.

D had a follow-up procedure on Wednesday to see if he’s healing from his Crohn’s flare in Nov/Dec.  On the down side, we had to brave some really treacherous roads.  On the plus side, hardly anyone else did, so he was seen on time and there was hardly anyone in the hospital waiting room.  So I set up my Surface Pro 3 and worked!

Oh!  and D took me to the movies.  I love the movies but rarely have time to go anymore.  However, he knew how much I wanted to see The Kingsman (I’m sorry, but Colin Firth and Mark Strong are amazing), and it didn’t disappoint.  Best movie I’ve seen in a LONG time.

HF is in town, so she and AC and I got together for a quick lunch.  Otherwise it’s been as much family time as possible.

OH!!!  M GOT HIS UNIVERSITY ACCEPTANCE LETTER TODAY.  Yay 🙂

Hope your week has been warm and cozy, and that you have a great weekend!

my favorite "office" spot this week.  Lying in front of the fire.

my favorite “office” spot this week. Lying in front of the fire.

Bumble all snuggled in a blanket on the couch

Bumble all snuggled in a blanket on the couch

nice thing about working in IT...I can work anywhere.  Especially in a quiet and empty hospital waiting room.  And forgive my crazy blocking out.  Work files ;)

nice thing about working in IT…I can work anywhere. Especially in a quiet and empty hospital waiting room. And forgive my crazy blocking out. Work files 😉

 

 

New House, New Rules

FOOD

So two weeks have gone by, and I’m still loving the Instant Pot and playing in my new kitchen.  Breakfasts have consisted of smoothies and oats, lunches are whatever I have leftover, and dinners have ranged from tacos to soups!  All told, lots of good stuff.

my typical breakfast drink!

my typical breakfast drink!

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made a batch of homemade soy yogurt that was really good - my best yet!  Very tart, just how I love it.

made a batch of homemade soy yogurt that was really good – my best yet! Very tart, just how I love it.

broccoli soup

broccoli soup

tofu and potato taco salad

tofu and potato taco salad

curry with lettuce and yogurt

curry with lettuce and yogurt

another taco salad

another taco salad

red lentil soup and quinoa salad

red lentil soup and quinoa salad

leftover soup

leftover soup

leftover taco salad

leftover taco salad.  I love tacos in all forms!

my sister's black bean soup and some cornbread

my sister’s black bean soup and some cornbread

The weather has been mostly cold (other than a random 70 degree day), so I’ve been all about spicy food and soups.  Nothing better on a cold day than soup!

FITNESS

This is one area that I have to say has really picked up!  I joined a new gym, and have been going almost every day.  I’m still a YMCA member (can’t beat it for families), but I was really looking for an environment that was a bit more inspired.

I downloaded a free week pass to a gym near me, and found out my employer gets a discount, so after a week, I joined.

They have Les Mills classes there, and I’ve taken two of those so far – Insanity and CXWORX.  I’ve also done Zumba, various cardio machines, and TRX.

Probably my favorite thing is they have a completely blacked out theater room where they play movies while you workout.  It’s amazing how quickly an hour on an elliptical or treadmill goes when you’re watching a flick.

LIFE

It’s been such a busy couple of weeks!  We’re pretty much completely moved out of the old house and into the new one!  D has instituted a “new house, new rules” philosophy that I love.  For the first time, there’s basically no junk food in the house, everyone is more or less picking up after themselves regularly, and we’re all living healthier and happier!  Well, except for R and D actually getting sick last week (bronchitis and sinus infections).  But that’s not related to the new rules (I HOPE!) 😉

D had the audio people in to install the new TV and speakers, so that’s been fun.

My custom spice rack came and is mounted!  Up-cycled wine barrels, and it looks absolutely beautiful.


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The kids have had friends over often, and we had AC and JC over for an evening of drinks and snacks too.

M had his regional competition this past weekend, and his play came in 3rd!  They don’t advance to State, but it’s the farthest his school has ever gone and I’m incredibly proud of him.  My friend HF came to see it too, which was a very cool added bonus.

A came home for a weekend and brought a friend of hers, which was nice.  Her friend is from Atlanta, and they’re going to her house for spring break next month.

Oh, and D’s birthday was Friday and of course Valentine’s day was Saturday.  We went out to dinner for his birthday, and were traveling to see the play on Saturday.  We did snuggle up and watch a movie when we got home though, so that was sweet.  Fortunately, we’re not the type of couple who really needs a reminder to love each other, so it was a day for us, just like any other.

the three of us at Maninno's for D's bday.  M was out of town for his play and A was up at school.

the three of us at Maninno’s for D’s bday. M was out of town for his play and A was up at school.

I had brunch with NS yesterday and we’ve planned a Bloody Mary and board game day for next weekend!

Other than that, work work work!

Morning Picture Time!

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Other picture time!

the view from my hotel balcony on a work trip last week.

the view from my hotel balcony on a work trip last week.

Ginny

Ginny

sunshine kitty

sunshine kitty

Bumble deciding to join us at the head of the table for dinner one night...

Bumble deciding to join us at the head of the table for dinner one night…

and when Derek made her move because that's his seat....she sat in the chair that R's friend had been in!

and when Derek made her move because that’s his seat….she sat in the chair that R’s friend had been in!

GOAL CHECK-IN

  • food has been great and wine has been minimal, so that’s good!
  • dining out has been limited too, with the exception of my work trip – which involved eating out, and it wasn’t overly healthy.
  • doing great on the fitness goals.  Lots of running and new variety too!  My new membership gets three free hours with a trainer who is teaching me how to use the stuff in the gym.
  • blogging consistently – massive fail
  • meditate daily – massive fail (as in not at all since I’ve moved)
  • slowing down – I think that’s going to be impossible.  The more I try, the more I fail.

I Drank the Kool Aid (oh, and a recipe too!)

FOOD

I have to say, the Instant Pot is pretty cool.  I’ve seen several bloggers write about it, and after several months, decided I needed to have one.  It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and dutch oven all in one.  I’ve used it at least 4 times since I got it this weekend.  Aside from the week’s worth of steel oats I made, I used it to make basmati rice (in about 4 minutes!), stew, a pot of beans, and a new dish too (keep reading for recipe)!  It’s official.  I’ve drunk the pressure cooker kool aid.

Sunday night I made tofurky, roasted carrots, basmati rice, and mushroom gravy.

I love that the family gets so excited for Tofurky night!  It was so good, and there were no leftovers!

I love that the family gets so excited for Tofurky night! It was so good, and there were no leftovers!

Monday and Tuesday were nearly identical green smoothies for breakfast (though they’re purple!).

water, pineapple, orange, banana, spinach, and frozen berry blend.

water, pineapple, orange, banana, spinach, and frozen berry blend.

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Monday afternoon was broccoli soup, and dinner was a veggie burger on corn tortillas with ketchup, mustard, and cabbage.

3 mason jars (2 cups each) of creamy broccoli soup.

3 mason jars (2 cups each) of creamy broccoli soup.

I love the cabbage for crunch. Yummy and quick meal.

I love the cabbage for crunch. Yummy and quick meal.

Lunch today was leftover soup, and dinner was fun in the Instant Pot!  You can use a regular pressure cooker too.

all my ingredients, ready to go!

all my ingredients, ready to go!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Lentils, Rice, & Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger root (I use the jarred ginger rather than mincing fresh root – reduce to 1/4 tsp if you use ground)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used hot curry)
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  •  1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water or veggie broth (I used Better than Bullion veggie base)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • use the saute feature of your electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot (for a stove top pressure cooker, use medium heat) and cook the onion and garlic in a little bit of broth or water until translucent.
  • add ginger, cumin, curry powder, and mustard seed.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  • add lentils, rice, and water or broth and close the cooker.
  • Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.  Quick release.
  • Add cauliflower, remaining 1/2 cup of water, and salt.  No need to stir.
  • Close the cooker and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Let it naturally release.
  • Stir and eat!
topped with cabbage for crunch!  A one pot meal that's filling and healthy.

topped with cabbage for crunch! A one pot meal that’s filling and healthy.

FITNESS

Sunday I went for a run in my new neighborhood!  I did a nice 4 miler that included a loop around a local park.  It was really nice.

Today I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill and checked out a new piece of equipment – a cross trainer.

LIFE

It’s been a really good couple of days.  Sunday was tea, organizing the new house, chilling by the fire, grocery shopping, booking the spring break trip for me, R, M and one of M’s best friends (D has a big project and can’t take off, so M’s friend is coming instead) and Yahtzee!  R and I had a rematch and she won.  Then we all played, and M won.  I came in dead last.

D getting quite serious about his scores

D getting quite serious about his scores

Ginny showing us all what it means to nap in front of the fire place!

Ginny showing us all what it means to nap in front of the fire place!

and how to stretch out an nap on R's bed

and how to stretch out an nap on R’s bed

and how to nap with blankets pulled up to her head (she naps a lot!)

and how to nap with blankets pulled up to her head (she naps a lot!)

some chai tea

some chai tea

and me hanging by the fire

and me hanging by the fire

Then it was back to normal!  Work, school, and life!

Monday #morningpicture

Monday #morningpicture

Tuesday #morningpicture!

Tuesday #morningpicture!

GOAL CHECK-IN

  • all my grub has been healthy and balanced.  Woo hoo!
  • I snacked on some pretzels and hummus, but otherwise no gluten
  • haven’t gone out to eat the past few days (and not too often the past week, other than the vegan meet-up)
  • exercised twice since Sunday!
  • been planning meals and prepping in advance.  Soup, pre-shredded cabbage, diced up fruits and veggies, big pot of curry, etc.
  • no weekday wine.  Had two glasses on Sunday while cooking and playing Yahtzee.
  • have not meditated at all since moving
  • haven’t slowed down any – in fact, I think my pace has picked up.  Too much going on, and I’ve had no real down time in weeks.  It’s starting to show with hives coming back, so I need to work on that.

 

 

 

Moving and Not Moving

FOOD

Despite going from living at one house and trying to empty it of all food, and moving to the new house and the realization that I have no staples anymore, it’s still been a great food week.

My breakfasts have been green smoothies and then Irish oatmeal in the latter part of the morning.

my standard smoothie - water, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and greens.

my standard smoothie – water, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and greens.

I had this every morning on my way to work

I had this every morning on my way to work

Once I get to work, it’s been heating up and eating the Irish oats with blueberries.

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This morning, I used my new Instant Pot (click here to learn more!) to make Irish oats with blueberries, banana, vanilla and cinnamon.  Ate some today, and have enough leftovers for half the work week!

I love the Instant Pot.  This took me 10 minutes total.

I love the Instant Pot. This took me 10 minutes total.

Lunches have been soups and salads mostly.  Quick and easy and can keep them in my fridge at work.

a BAS topped with a black bean chipotle veggie burger

a BAS topped with a black bean chipotle veggie burger

Lentil soup from Whole Foods

Lentil soup from Whole Foods

a HH soup of white beans, kale, and quino

a HH soup of white beans, kale, and quino

chickpeas, carrots, onions, garlic, and kale in a red Thai curry broth over quinoa

chickpeas, carrots, onions, garlic, and kale in a red Thai curry broth over quinoa

Dinners have been simple too.  Dishes with tofu, beans, rice, and various veggie and salad portions as well.

mostly BAS's like this one with veggies, quinoa, and cubed tofu

mostly BAS’s like this one with veggies, quinoa, and cubed tofu

Last night was our vegan drinks meet up and I did have a slice of vegan pizza and some garlic knots.  It was tasty, but I didn’t go overboard, which was nice.

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FITNESS

This has definitely been lacking.  I think I posted about the flu going around, well that turned into my youngest getting pneumonia too.  I did yoga at home, but that was pretty much it.  Well, unless you count packing and hauling boxes all over.  Otherwise I wasn’t really moving while I was moving!

Yesterday was my first outdoor run in a few weeks.  It was ridiculously cold, but still felt good.  My hope today is to finally go for a run in my new neighborhood!  D has been scouting out some routes for me, which is incredibly cute.

LIFE

Well, it’s been busy, but very rewarding too.  The contractors finished the walls last Friday, and the movers brought our stuff on Sunday.  So, it’s officially been one week since we started staying in the new house!  There are still things to do – like curtains, lamps, and the electronic hook ups (D has some monstrous project being installed on Wednesday with a new TV, speakers (which will include recesessed ones in the ceiling), which will more or less complete things.  We also want to pick up bar stools and collect and hang art work, but all the big things are done.

a couple new paintings!  Yes, we're cat people.

a couple new paintings! Yes, we’re cat people.

Many of our neighbors have stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood, which has been incredibly nice.  I’ve never experienced this before, so I’m definitely digging on it.

Last night was Vegan Drinks at the new Cogan’s location in Norfolk.  We had a big crowd and it was a ton of fun.  Of course, had to snap a pic with NS and KP!

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In other news, my son won first place in a theater competition this past weekend!  It was for a 30 minute 2-person show, where it was mostly M performing a monologue to the audience.  It’s the first time his school has ever placed, much less won!  He goes to a regional competition to perform again in two weeks.  So proud of him!

M and his teacher (and the trophy!)

M and his teacher (and the trophy!)

R was finally well enough to go back to school this past week.  What a crazy time for her to be so sick and moving (no, we didn’t let her actually move anything).  I do have a collection of morning pictures to share though!

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And one where she kicked my butt at Yahtzee.  Twice.  Brat child.

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GOAL CHECK-IN

  • my goals for eating habits are going well.  Less processed foods and eating out, and more of eating balanced whole foods.  I can definitely feel a difference, though I haven’t weighed myself yet.
  • gluten – I haven’t been gluten-free, but I have been gluten-lite.  It’s harder than I thought while moving, but I’ve been able to stick to having gluten containing foods only 2-3 per week total.
  • meal planning – even though I haven’t done much grocery shopping, this is still going very well.  I plan everything for the next day based on what I have at home, and it’s been quite the key to eating well for me.
  • workouts – fail.  I mean really fail.  I’ve only run twice in two weeks and no hot yoga at all.
  • blog consistently – fail.  I haven’t blogged in two weeks!  It’s easy for me to say I’ve just been too busy with move and life and work, but still.  I could’ve found some time at least.  Same with the workouts.
  • wine habit – going great.  I recognized a couple weeks ago that it was a habit, and I needed to replace it with a healthy one.  So instead of grabbing a glass or two of wine every night, I’m drinking herbal tea.  I have a groovy new tea kettle, stocked up on lots of different teas, and every time I think I want a glass of wine, I drink tea.  I thought about just not having anything, but after reading the Power of Habit, realized it would be easier to just swap the habit.  So I still have a glass with me in the evenings, but it’s filled with something good for me.
  • reaching out when I need help.  I have also been doing this.  I have two other friends who happen to be working on ditching their nightly alcohol habits, and I wouldn’t have even known that if I hadn’t started talking to them about mine.

GIVEAWAY WINNER

A big congratulations to Andrea!  She’s the winner of the Best Green Smoothies on the Planet!  giveaway!!!