Monthly Archives: May 2015

Everyone Should Pop Up for Dinner!

Okay, this post is going to be exclusively about dinner last night.  Yes, it was that epic that it gets a whole post on it’s own!

I met Fran Costigan (@goodcakesfran) on the plane last Thursday on the way to Austin.  Immediately, it felt like we’d known each other for years.  I love it when that happens!

Anyway, she invited me to a pop up dinner that was held last night by a group called Supper Friends here in Austin.  It’s a multi-course plated dinner that’s served in a lovely place called the Swoop House.  They have rotating guest chef’s, and in honor of our vegan bloggers conference, the dynamic brother duo of Chef Chad Sarno (@chadsarno) and Derek Sarno (@wickedhealthy) were the hosts of last night’s Supper Friends.

Fran, Colleen (co-founder of VegNews magazine), and I uber’d it over to Swoop House to begin our dining adventure.

First – the location.  It’s a house in an older neighborhood that has been repurposed to be a pop-up dining location.  The grounds were gorgeous, and the inside was adorable as well.

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As soon as we walked in, we were each given a glass of white sangria and the canapés were passed around.

these were amazing!  There was a slight kick of heat to the jam that made these delicious.

these were amazing! There was a slight kick of heat to the jam that made these delicious.

another amazing dish that, from what I hear, tasted just like lox - but made from carrots.  Genius.

another amazing dish that, from what I hear, tasted just like lox – but made from carrots. Genius.

this blintze was also divine.  And I have to say, incredibly cute in it's tininess.

this blintze was also divine. And I have to say, incredibly cute in it’s tininess.

After hors d’oeuvres were served, we were all invited to find our way to our assigned seats to begin the meal.

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my seat!

my seat!

the menu

the menu

I met this very lovely woman - Whitney - who works for Miyoko's Kitchen.  She's from the same hometown as D, so that was a fun conversation!

I met this very lovely woman – Whitney – who works for Miyoko’s Kitchen. She’s from the same hometown as D, so that was a fun conversation!

The first course came out, and it was simply amazing.  Called Golden Beets, it was beets three ways with a merlot gel, candied pecans, grapefruit, vegan cheese and horseradish.

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The second course came out, which was a Ricotta & Tomato dish paired with a 2012 Sangiovese wine from Italy.

Again, a totally perfect dish.  The tomato confit with leeks and the crispy bread was so luscious.  And the ricotta spread and the dehydrated tomato slice just made all this excellent.

Again, a totally perfect dish. The tomato confit with leeks and the crispy bread was so luscious. And the ricotta spread and the dehydrated tomato slice just made all this excellent.

The third course was called Wicked Nicoise.  I think this may have been the most talked about, because Chef’s Chad and Derek managed to make something that looked and tasted like a hardboiled egg – from tofu and potato!  The olive dirt on the bottom (which isn’t dirt, by the way!), green beans, and mustard seed vinaigrette made this so perfect.  It was paired with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

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The fourth course was my favorite!  A Spring Ravioli stuffed with spring peas fava beans, mint, and other herbs, with a sherry parmesan cream sauce.  It’s one of those dishes that feels creamy and indulgent – but not heavy.  Which was really the whole meal, now that I think about it!  It was paired with a 2012 Seven Hills Riesling.

I have to learn how to make this!

I have to learn how to make this!

The fifth course was a King Scalloped Mushroom.  It was served with asparagus, corona beans, and sorrel pesto.  It was paired with a very yummy 2012 Pinot Noir.

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The final dessert dish – called Drunk Fruit – was also completely life altering in it’s yumminess.  An amaretto gelato with berries, melon, fennel, white balsamic and pistachio.  Paired with a 2012 Moscato.

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So that was the food!  The company was also completely amazing, and I admit to feeling star struck more than a few times.  At my table, aside from Fran, Colleen, and Whitney, was Miyoko Schinner – who revolutionized vegan cheese.  Here’s a link to her three books if you’re interested.  I can tell you that I’ve EATEN her cheese all week, and you should be interested!  (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=mikoyo+schinner&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amikoyo+schinner).  She also started Miyoko’s Kitchen, a wonderful vegan business that is making and marketing vegan cheeses to establishments and groceries.  I’m hoping it’ll be at a Whole Foods near me very, very soon!

Oh, and there was Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost, Allison from Seed Food and Wine in Miami, Betsy from Delicious TV and Vegan Mash-Up.  I also got to talk to the lovely couple behind Olives for Dinner.

Of course, I had to get a picture with the Chef’s!  I tried to convince Chad to move to Virginia, but I don’t think he’s interested.  He has an culinary course that I just may have to take!

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watching them work with such focus was a great addition to the dining experience.

watching them work with such focus was a great addition to the dining experience.

After dinner, it was an Uber ride back to the hotel with Fran and Colleen, and a lovely feeling of having one of the most satisfying meals of my life.  So yea.  GREAT time!  This was my first pop-up dinner experience, but hopefully not my last!

Veganism, Activism, Food, and Having a Famous Daughter

FOOD

I believe I warned you all in my post yesterday.  I have food pics.  Lot’s of food pics.  Mainly because I’ve had lots of great food!

I admit that the food gluttony didn’t start until later in the day yesterday than planned.  After my run, I grabbed a banana at the hotel, and had intentions of grabbing a light lunch in the University of Texas – Austin area (which is where I’m staying).  Long story, but that didn’t happen.

BUT…that’s not to say I starved all day.  In fact….this happened…

I hit up Whole Foods to grab a bite.  Sadly, the pho was flavorless (no pic), but this...this was brilliant.

I hit up Whole Foods to grab a bite. Sadly, the pho was flavorless (no pic), but this…this was brilliant.

there were several food trucks at the Vida Vegan Con Bazaar.  I didn't get anything, but I was tempted by the vegan corn dog!

there were several food trucks at the Vida Vegan Con Bazaar. I didn’t get anything, but I was tempted by the vegan corn dog!

Arlo's - which I also didn't partake of, but heard was awesome.

Arlo’s – which I also didn’t partake of, but heard was awesome.

yet another food truck that I didn't get anything from....but it sounded great.

yet another food truck that I didn’t get anything from….but it sounded great.

I DID, however, eat here!  The Vegan Nom is a very vegan-famous taco place here in Austin, and I just had to have one.  This is the Jalisco.  I could eat it every day!

I DID, however, eat here! The Vegan Nom is a very vegan-famous taco place here in Austin, and I just had to have one. This is the Jalisco. I could eat it every day!

And then there was today!  Both breakfast and lunch were buffets as the conference – but make no mistake.  I hear “buffet”, and I picture Golden Corral or some cafeteria type place.  These buffets were ridiculous.  And I mean that in the best possible way.

this was my plate - though I wish I had snapped a shot of the spread.  Breakfast taco with chorizo, tofu, black beans, and yummy toppings.  And potatoes and a slice of toast with Earth Balance coconut spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

this was my plate – though I wish I had snapped a shot of the spread. Breakfast taco with chorizo, tofu, black beans, and yummy toppings. And potatoes and a slice of toast with Earth Balance coconut spread and a slice of vegan cheese.

lunch was this crazy deconstructed bowl line - can't even describe all the ingredients, but mine had kale, spinach, brown rice, quinoa, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflowers, and a creamy ranch sauce.  my most epic BAS in a long time. I also double fisted the desserts.  Coconut panna cotta with toasted quinoa and spicy pineapple, and a blood orange tapioca with crispy ginger.  Freaking ridiculous.

lunch was this crazy deconstructed bowl line – can’t even describe all the ingredients, but mine had kale, spinach, brown rice, quinoa, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflowers, coconut bacon, and a creamy ranch sauce. my most epic BAS in a long time. I also double fisted the desserts. Coconut panna cotta with toasted quinoa and spicy pineapple, and a blood orange tapioca with crispy ginger. Freaking ridiculous.

I’m going to dedicate a separate post to dinner tonight since I’m going to a supper club hosted by Chef Chad Sarno and his brother.  Should be pretty freaking amazing.  Or freaking ridiculous, since that appears to be the word of the day.

FITNESS

After my run yesterday, I showered and cleaned up, and it was still too early for lunch.  So…I decided to go for a walk around the University and kill time.  Then I decided I wanted to walk to Whole Foods.

In the end, I walked 8 miles AFTER my morning run.  Yeah, no guilt in that last taco I ate 🙂

random sighting on my walk.

random sighting on my walk.

This morning when I woke up my hips and calf muscles were tight – I’m assuming from the hills!  I opted for a half hour of yoga in my hotel room before getting ready for the day.

LIFE

I learned that Whole Foods originated right here in Austin, TX, so I just HAD to go see the mother ship!  She was beautiful.

seriously, there were multiple restaurants and bar areas INSIDE.  I want one...

seriously, there were multiple restaurants and bar areas INSIDE. I want one…

Then it was off to the Marchesa Hall & Theater for the Vegan Bazaar.  It was open to the public, which was really awesome.  There were the food tucks, of course, but also vendors galore as well as tables for various animal activist groups.  It was awesome (aka, ridiculous).  I personally picked up a t-shirt from the Compassion Co, a tank from Herbivore Clothing, a mason jar smoothie thing from Meaningful Paws, some stickers and buttons (I LOVE buttons), and this gorgeous bag for my daughter A from Cykochik.

one of the vendor tables!

one of the vendor tables!

my new t's!

my new t’s and smoothie/juice jar!

bag for A!  It's called Love Bunnies.

bag for A! It’s called Love Bunnies.

There were also many great speakers and demos, including a great one from Fran Costigan that I really enjoyed.

As for today – today was the first full official day, and it was amazing (or ridiculous!).  Both yesterday and today, I got to connect with new and familiar faces alike.  I’m planning to do a recap post with links to all these great people, so I encourage you to check them out when I do.

the selfie I sent to D since I can't see him today.  Clearly excited, right?!

the selfie I sent to D since I can’t see him today. Clearly excited, right?!

the conference Swag Bag of Wonder!  Conferences where you get tons of free food and fun stuff is excellent.

the conference Swag Bag of Wonder! Conferences where you get tons of free food and fun stuff is excellent.

Breakfast was with Amey from Vegan Eats & Treats, and her wonderful mom!  Her mom and I had a long and delightful conversation about healthcare.  She’s been in women’s health her whole career, and is heavily involved in the Santa Cruz community.  She shared some amazing programs they have launched, and it was just an amazing time.

I had a similar conversation with Jessica from Sprouts & Chocolate.  Totally delightful.

These conversations were revolutionary to me.  In vegan circles there is certainly a LOT of conversations about health.  Typically those I’ve heard or been involved with are related to personal health.  My personal passion (other than veganism of course!) is in global health – and I loved finding and talking to so many people who were interested or engaged in the state of healthcare affairs in their communities – who are interested in making a difference on the policy side as much as within their own lives.

I took a break and sat outside to type out some of my session notes!

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In order to not write a total novel, I will recap the sessions in future posts after I’ve had a chance to distill some of the messages and what they mean to me – and not just ramble on and on.

So summarize this post, it’s been another remarkable, enlightening, and inspiring day at Vida Vegan Con Austin!

And of course on the home front…pictures!

All weekend long, I’ve had people come up to me and tell me how much they love the morning pictures – how it’s the first thing they see in the morning.  Amey told her mom how much R smiles now that she has braces and how adorable they are.  How the love they have just shines through each picture.  I told R today that she’s famous, and that everyone looks forward to her and her dad’s pics every day.  Then I told D that I needed a morning pic, even though it was a weekend.  I didn’t want to fend off a mob of people looking for one!

So, here’s today’s morningpic!  Right after R woke up.

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And a selfie of D in the pool!

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And my first harvest!  A radish – that grew this big from a seed 6 weeks ago!  Caterpillars have decimated the leaves, so D pulled one.  Said it was spicy and awesome!  Can’t wait to get home and eat these bad boys.

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Pinch Me. I’m in Vegan Heaven!

FOOD

Okay, I will start off by saying I’m at a vegan bloggers conference, so buckle up for a couple of days of me drooling over all the vegan eats that other people make!

Until then, here’s some highlights from my week!

my son had a Memorial Day pool party, so it was typically picnic fare.  Veggie burger and a cold spicy rice salad for me!

my son had a Memorial Day pool party, so it was typically picnic fare. Veggie burger and a cold spicy rice salad for me!

I absolutely love watermelon and this time of year makes me so happy :)

I absolutely love watermelon and this time of year makes me so happy 🙂

more watermelon snacks!

more watermelon snacks!

Wednesday was a two Tofurky Kielbasa kinda night.  I was so stuffed, but it was great.

Wednesday was a two Tofurky Kielbasa kinda night. I was so stuffed, but it was great.

On my way to the airport yesterday, I stopped at Tropical Smoothie Café for a breakfast smoothie.  Pomegranate plunge + greens is my current obsession.

Not long after arriving in Austin, it was off to the Vida Vegan Con meet up at Buzz Kill!  I had a chicken salad wrap (vegan, of course), very berry lemonade (it claims there was vodka in it, but I’m not so sure!), cookies and cream coconut ice cream, and a beer.

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FITNESS

The only day this week I’ve missed a run was yesterday, and that was due to travels.

I mostly run in my neighborhood, but actually went to Oak Grove Park on Wednesday.  I was going for a longer run in the heat of the day, so I really wanted the shade I can find there.  It was a nice change of pace.

I have to say, I’m loving the new house and pool.  Nothing like jumping in and floating about after a sweaty run!

Today I ran near my hotel in Austin, TX.  The weather is similar to VA, so the hot and muggy doesn’t bother me, but holy crap, the hills!!!  I’m so not used to them, and my pace suffered.  I’m sure my legs will be angry too.  I may end up on the hotel treadmill tomorrow!

post Texas run!

post Texas run!

Other than that, I’ve done a few bodyweight workouts from my Microsoft band.  Squats, crunches, things like that.

LIFE

On the work front, it’s been a short week.  Monday was a holiday, and I am on a mini vacation Thursday and Friday!  So no complaints there.

had a late conf call with someone on the west coast - I was already home for the evening, so this was my "office" - the outdoor screened in deck!

had a late conf call with someone on the west coast – I was already home for the evening, so this was my “office” – the outdoor screened in deck!

M had a gaggle of people over on Monday to swim and hang out, and R had a couple friend over as well to swim and play video games.  A went out with friends, so all told, very nice Memorial Day.

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We’ve all gone swimming most days – especially R.  D got home from work on Tuesday and found her like this…

Then it was off t0 the third and final Vida Vegan Con – vegan bloggers conference – in Austin, Texas.  It’s only been one day, and already it’s been so memorable.

I had just boarded my flight from Atlanta to Austin when Fran Costigan (http://www.francostigan.com/) tweeted to see what other VVC people were on board!  I replied I was, and we met up at baggage claim and shared a cap to our hotel.

About a half hour later, I went up to her room, and her room mate is none other than Terry Hope Romero (http://veganlatina.com/)!  I have so many of her books, and she’s like this vegan punk rock cookbook goddess.  And she hugged me.  I tried very hard not to geek out (but failed).

Fran and I cabbed it to the pre-conference meet up, where I got to see and meet SO many people – new friends and old, it’s impossible to list them all.  But here are a few 🙂

JL from JL Goes Vegan 

Demetrius – vegan extraordinaire and producer of the amazing film Vegucated

Dan – one half of the blogging duo The Gay Vegans, who I just couldn’t stop hugging.

Brit – goofball vegan from Seattle (that peer pressured me into eating ice cream.  Really, it was her fault).

Chad Sarno – famous vegan chef…bought me a beer and I was again having one of those “pinch me” moments.

Dianne and Jenna from New Jersey (http://www.diannewenz.com and http://good-good-things.com).

Not to mention a whole ton of other people, and despite the storms and dreary weather when I arrived, it ended up being a wonderfully sunny and hot evening.

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So yeah – now it’s day 2 of 4, and I can’t wait for all the fun this afternoon and evening will bring!

Of course I cannot sign off without the latest #morningpictures.  It was cute how many people last night commented on them 🙂

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Travels, a Disturbing Trend with Pillows, and a Kid Who Can’t Differentiate Foods…

FOOD

Okay, so I went out of town for a few days, and had some great food!  I also had lunch with a friend before I went, some simple eats and drinks, and a happy hour with D!  I also went to an International Food & Wine Fest, and while the vegan eats were plentiful, the ones I had were awesome!

smoothie time!

smoothie time!

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baked potato taco!

baked potato taco!

kung pao tofu

kung pao tofu

tofu and veggie curry

tofu and veggie curry

fried mushrooms out at happy hour with D on Wednesday!

fried mushrooms out at happy hour with D on Wednesday!

tofu lettuce wraps - part of the awesome lunch I split with SC at PF Chang's....

tofu lettuce wraps – part of the awesome lunch I split with SC at PF Chang’s….

Tom Kha soup

Tom Kha soup

red curry

red curry

tomato brushetta up in Charlottesville at my hotel...really a cold gazpacho on french bread slices.  REALLY tasty...

tomato brushetta up in Charlottesville at my hotel…really a cold gazpacho on french bread slices. REALLY tasty…

tofu lettuce wraps today

tofu lettuce wraps today

hummus, olive tapenade, and pita

hummus, olive tapenade, and pita

FITNESS

I really have been all about the runs lately.  Maybe it’s the traveling or the crazy life hours, but all I’ve really wanted to do is run.

Yesterday was one of those days where I figured I should run…but didn’t really want to.  Belly ache and tired from traveling, I laced up anyway and took off.  SO glad I did…by the time I got home I felt great.  That’s what I love about running…you lace up and head out on a rough day only committing to a nice walk….and end up having a great run.

LIFE

The past few days have been awesome.  Work was great, but so were other things.  Hopefully I’ll have more to write about that in the coming weeks, but I will say that the couple of days I spent out of town were wonderful.

Otherwise, I had my morning java on the back deck, got my morning pictures from D, had a great time in Charlottesville (seriously, they have a thing called Friday’s After Five where the whole community comes out to eat, drink, and listen to music!), snuggled with the fluff-balls, and hit up a food and wine fest with D.

java!

java!

happy hour with D on Wednesday.  I think he was trying to lick my face....

happy hour with D on Wednesday. I think he was trying to lick my face….

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more back deck java!

more back deck java!

an annoying trend I've noticed in hotels where they pile up mini-pillows....

an annoying trend I’ve noticed in hotels where they pile up mini-pillows….

went to see Tomorrowland and got my trade-able Disney Pin!

went to see Tomorrowland and got my trade-able Disney Pin!

this view never gets old.  It's my mornings, and I love it.

this view never gets old. It’s my mornings, and I love it.

Fun stuff from Charlottesville….

I didn't stop, but this sounded fantastic

I didn’t stop, but this sounded fantastic

they have a community chalkboard.  Everyone should have a community chalkboard.

they have a community chalkboard. Everyone should have a community chalkboard.

Wine and chocolate.  Cool.

Wine and chocolate. Cool.

Fridays' After Five!

Fridays’ After Five!

more Charlottesville fun

more Charlottesville fun

Food and Wine (and beer and champagne) fest fun!

me and D walking in....

me and D walking in….

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second selfie!

second selfie!

final selfie!!

final selfie!!

they had a Scotch tasting.  I didn't partake because I don't like it, but thought it was cool anyway.

they had a Scotch tasting. I didn’t partake because I don’t like it, but thought it was cool anyway.

I want to have this Irish fairy...

I want to have this Irish fairy…

Oh, and one silly story about R.  She’s 11 – going to be 12 at the end of summer.  She wanted to feed herself breakfast and went to make waffles in the toaster.  She proceeds to come up to my room to inform D and me there’s only one waffle left and it’s sitting in the toaster oven. Okay, someone else ate the waffles, so I go downstairs.

And find a veggie burger patty in my toaster oven.  Seriously.  My kid doesn’t know the difference between waffles and veggie burgers.  I’m clearly not raising a kid who can fend for herself….

Other pics!

another morning pic!

another morning pic!

me and Bumble snuggled up this morning

me and Bumble snuggled up this morning

Ginny invading our territory, and Bumble not completely freaking out (she did not long after)....

Ginny invading our territory, and Bumble not completely freaking out (she did not long after)….

Really, who wouldn’t love the week I’ve had??

Strawberries For Days

FOOD

On Saturday morning, A and I went strawberry picking.  And pretty much everything has revolved around it since!

the strawberry haul!  And a spicy/sweet jam from the farm too.

the strawberry haul! And a spicy/sweet jam from the farm too.

strawberry balsamic vinaigrette!

strawberry balsamic vinaigrette!

really yummy salad dressing.  Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

really yummy salad dressing. Olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

one of the most amazing snacks ever.  Mix cream cheese with spicy jam/jelly, and dip in pretzels.  Holy cow.  Been a long time fav of D and me.

one of the most amazing snacks ever. Mix cream cheese with spicy jam/jelly, and dip in pretzels. Holy cow. Been a long time fav of D and me.

of course ya gotta make some home made strawberry shortcake!

of course ya gotta make some home made strawberry shortcake!

this freaked D out....just the act f cooking strawberries

this freaked D out….just the act of cooking strawberries

but it made a yummy strawberry syrup for pancakes!  It's fairly thick, so good for toast too.

but it made a yummy strawberry syrup for pancakes! It’s fairly thick, so good for toast too.

speaking of pancakes....perhaps I tried to make too big a batch in that pitcher (it was A's birthday breakfast!)

speaking of pancakes….perhaps I tried to make too big a batch in that pitcher (it was A’s birthday breakfast!)

breakfast stuff

breakfast stuff

in non strawberry related news, made a new mac no cheese dish from a new cookbook.  Made with sweet potato!

in non strawberry related news, made a new mac no cheese dish from a new cookbook. Made with sweet potato!

A's birthday dinner on Sunday!  Tofurky, grilled veggies, and the strawberry shortcake.

A’s birthday dinner on Sunday! Tofurky, grilled veggies, and the strawberry shortcake.

not food, but a totally refreshing pitcher to keep outside on a hot day!  1 lemon and 2 limes sliced in a half gallon pitcher of ice water.  Refilled 4 times, but never had to switch out the fruit - it kept on flavoring the water.

not food, but a totally refreshing pitcher to keep outside on a hot day! 1 lemon and 2 limes sliced in a half gallon pitcher of ice water. Refilled 4 times, but never had to switch out the fruit – it kept on flavoring the water.

I did have one food fail, though I take no immediate blame 🙂  I wanted a fresh loaf of bread, and it came out hard as a rock.  I think my bread machine may be dying.  It’s old though, so maybe it’s a natural death.  The last several loaves I’ve made in it weren’t great – but if I use the Kitchen Aid and bake it in the oven, no problem.

FITNESS

This is my favorite time of year to run.  I know it’s hot, but considering how much I hate being cold, it really doesn’t bother me.  It is getting to the point where I’ll have to be better about wearing water belts though!

Sunday’s run in particular had me very hot and sweaty!  It got up to almost 90, but it was still only in the high 70’s/low 80’s when I went.  There was a light breeze, so it was actually very enjoyable.

I find that it’s when I STOP running that I become a sweat bomb.  Or perhaps that’s just when I notice it.

That’s when the pool comes in totally handy though 🙂

Other than that, it’s been mostly body weight workouts.

LIFE

I had one of those perfect weekends.  The one’s where the weather is perfect, the company is amazing, there’s things to do (but not TOO much), and things are just glorious.  It was the first really hot weekend, the first weekend our pool was open, and I seriously can’t complain.

Friday night, D and I went out.  We don’t go out all that often (honestly, we can have fun in a paper bag, so we’ve never needed “date nights” or things like that), so it was really nice.  We went to an Italian place, had a couple drinks and appetizers, and just hung out.  Talked about life, the future, politics, sports (I know…baseball was on and he loves baseball), and nothing in particular.

hanging out Friday night at Carrabbas!

hanging out Friday night at Carrabbas!

Saturday was all about food!  It started with A and I going strawberry picking, then she went to spend the day with her boyfriend, and I hit up the farmer’s market circuit…then came home, popped in headphones, and made stuff!

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A in the strawberry field.  Or is it a patch??

A in the strawberry field. Or is it a patch??

so many strawberries!

so many strawberries!

R had a couple friends over to swim and play video games, and then just as they left, M had friends over to do the same!

tweens in the pool

tweens in the pool

Yesterday was A’s 20th birthday!  So crazy that my little girl is 20.  After birthday breakfast, it was time for some pool fun.  Then she was off with one of her oldest friends for an afternoon of antique shops (yes, they love antiquing), and then home for her requested dinner and presents.  She got a new stereo with a turn table – so excited.  Some records too (Beatle’s Yellow Submarine, Pink Floyd – that was D, and The Clash – that was me!).

We received a package this weekend (coffee order), and each time I walked past it, one of the cats was in it.

Ginny got there first...

Ginny got there first…

but as soon as she left, Bumble jumped in.

but as soon as she left, Bumble jumped in.

While she was gone, I pretty much spent the entire day outside either in a lounge chair reading, or in a pool floatie listening to my iPod audio book.  As soon as D got back from running errands, he popped in the pool with a book and floated around too!

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Today was business as usual, though perhaps a bit pink.  See, for all my outdoor glory, I forgot to wear sunscreen.  I’m crispy.  Even the insides of my ears are burned!

It probably was comical that I had picked out an outfit for today with a pink top.  It was almost like wearing camouflage!

Otherwise, today was a pretty good day too.  After work and school, M had a bunch of friends over to swim and watch TV.  A’s boyfriend came over for a bit too, and everyone had a relaxing evening.  Everyone except R, who isn’t feeling well.  She has a low grade fever, and I’m worried she’s catching the same allergy-induced sinus garbage I had two weeks ago.  I hope not – and that it was just too much sun and not enough hydration – but we shall see in the next day or so.

Until then, morningpictures!

Friday!

Today!

today :)

Friday

My Kid is Part Penguin

FOOD

Okay, two weeks of eats.  I seriously can’t believe it’s been two weeks!  Needless to say…tons of good meals!

this dish was called am fog from this yummy place called Clementine's in Harrisonburg.  It represented the farm these mushrooms were grown on the mountain across the way.  On a risotto with asparagus, and I was in heaven!

this dish was called am fog from this yummy place called Clementine’s in Harrisonburg. It represented the farm these mushrooms were grown on the mountain across the way. On a risotto with asparagus, and I was in heaven!

vegan breakfast wrap from Yorgo's Bageldashery in Norfolk.  One of my very fav places.

vegan breakfast wrap from Yorgo’s Bageldashery in Norfolk. One of my very fav places.

Last Friday I made mushroom ragout with polenta and tofu.  This ragout dish is one of my favorites – takes about 2 1/2 hours, but is so worth it.

ragout ingredients.  Mushroom, carrots, bell peppers, celery.  So simple.

ragout ingredients. Mushroom, carrots, bell peppers, celery. So simple.

cook until juices run clear, add about 1 1/2 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

cook until juices run clear, add about 1 1/2 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

also made stuffed mushroom caps.  Vegan cream cheese, garlic, spices, and breadcrumbs.

also made stuffed mushroom caps. Vegan cream cheese, garlic, spices, and breadcrumbs.

pan cooking some seasoned tofu cutlets.

pan cooking some seasoned tofu cutlets.

not a great pic by any means, but it was still very good.

not a great pic by any means, but it was still very good.

so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!

so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!

my mother's day breakfast!  D is so cute...he doesn't know how to feed me (he tries, he really does), so he woke up early and drove out to Yorgo's for to buy breakfast!  And that's love right there, because we live a good 20-25 minutes away :)

my mother’s day breakfast! D is so cute…he doesn’t know how to feed me (he tries, he really does), so he woke up early and drove out to Yorgo’s for to buy breakfast! And that’s love right there, because we live a good 20-25 minutes away 🙂

Typical daily drinks.  Green juices and smoothies!

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Monday I decided to make Indian food.  Started the naan dough before work, and even got to use up some of my homemade soy yogurt.

using the mortar and pestle that D got for me at the Luray caverns last year.

using the mortar and pestle that D got for me at the Luray caverns last year.

homemade yogurt!  I let it incubate a long time because I love my yogurt tangy.  Perfect for curries.

homemade yogurt! I let it incubate a long time because I love my yogurt tangy. Perfect for curries.

homemade garlic naan.  Made 15 pieces.  I ate one, and there were none left after dinner.

homemade garlic naan. Made 15 pieces. I ate one, and there were none left after dinner.

dinner!  Herbed basmati rice, adzuki beans, potato curry, and cauliflower.

dinner! Herbed basmati rice, adzuki beans, potato curry, and cauliflower.

Makes this bowl of oatmeal seem boring….

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Tonight was dinner on the grill.  Eggplant, red onion, and bell pepper rings tossed in olive oil and then grilled – and then tossed again in hot sauce, tamari, and rice vinegar.  Served on a lavash with lettuce leaves, Dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar.  Oh, and a side of grilled asparagus.  SO GOOD.

before the grill....

before the grill….

after (they shrink so much!).

after (they shrink so much!).

tonight's eats

tonight’s eats

Other miscellaneous foods from the past two weeks….

another grill night - veggie burgers and mixed veggies (potatoes and broccoli I think).

another grill night – veggie burgers and mixed veggies (potatoes and broccoli I think).

you know I need at least one tofu green curry....

you know I need at least one tofu green curry….this was my Mother’s Day dinner (after drying off from Ana)

another great breakfast from Yorgo's!  I love having meetings down there in the morning.  Tofu, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on an everything bagel.

another great breakfast from Yorgo’s! I love having meetings down there in the morning. Tofu “egg”, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on an everything bagel.

linguine with tons of fresh garlic, olive oil, and mixed veggies.

linguine with tons of fresh garlic, olive oil, and mixed veggies.

don't judge.  Realized I was out of hot dog buns after the Tofurky kielbasa was cooking.  So I cut it and stacked in on a hamburger bun!

don’t judge. Realized I was out of hot dog buns after the Tofurky kielbasa was cooking. So I cut it and stacked in on a hamburger bun!

tofu teriyaki

tofu teriyaki

edamame

edamame

 

FITNESS

Quite literally, the only workouts the past two weeks have been runs.  It’s all I’ve had time for.  Luckily, I’m pretty much okay with that!

LIFE

You know, I think time is a tricky thing.  It goes by so quickly when you’re not paying attention!  Two weeks is a long time between posts, and I’m sorry.  Between D working nights, me getting a ridiculous sinus/ear infection (completely lost my hearing in my left ear for almost 2 days – freaked me right the heck out), a last minute work trip, and regular life….it’s remarkable how fast the time flies.

Mother’s day was nice – though we should have checked the weather for that whole “tropical storm” thing.  Alas, we went to the theme park anyway, managed to get one roller coaster down – before the sky opened up and the storms hit!  Seriously though, it was still a great time.

me and D when the kids went for round 2 on the Griffon

me and D when the kids went for round 2 on the Griffon

all of us drenched.  Cracks me up how unamused A is, and that R's nose is flaring so much.  They're clearly annoyed at the rain.

all of us drenched. Cracks me up how unamused A is, and that R’s nose is flaring so much. They’re clearly annoyed at the rain and even more annoyed that we stopped for a selfie.

Miscellaneous pics…

hello mountains!!  One of the things I love about Virginia.  We have it all - beaches, mountains, forests, cities, swamps (okay, I don't like swamps, but we have them), and everything in between.

hello mountains!! One of the things I love about Virginia. We have it all – beaches, mountains, forests, cities, swamps (okay, I don’t like swamps, but we have them), and everything in between.

rub da belly!!!

rub da belly!!!

no words other than Ginny doesn't look so much like a kitty anymore

no words other than Ginny doesn’t look so much like a kitty anymore

the girls in the front window when I left yesterday

the girls in the front window when I left yesterday

Love 80's music.  Okay...not music like Whitney Houston or Tiffany...but fun stuff, like Roxy Music.

Love 80’s music. Okay…not music like Whitney Houston or Tiffany…but fun stuff, like Roxy Music.

still my favorite room in the house!

still my favorite room in the house!

Probably the most fun thing is the pool was opened on Monday.  It was supposed to be last Friday, but the pool people had a truck breakdown, and we didn’t get done.

So Monday it was this green jello-looking thing, and by today, my family (NOT me), actually went in.

me Tuesday evening lying in one of the lounge chairs and reading.  It was almost 90 and perfect.

me Tuesday evening lying in one of the lounge chairs and reading. It was almost 90 and perfect.

yesterday R spent over an hour cleaning the pool.  Kid is desperate to get it ready.

yesterday R spent over an hour cleaning the pool. Kid is desperate to get it ready.

D, M, and A all jumped in this evening wearing their clothes.  Keep in mind it was in the 60's.

D, M, and A all jumped in this evening wearing their clothes. Keep in mind it was in the 60’s.

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this is me....on the chair with a hot cup of tea and a blanket.  While they swam.

this is me….on the chair with a hot cup of tea, new cookbook, and a blanket. While they swam.

she couldn't wait anymore.....

she couldn’t wait anymore…..

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I want you all to keep in mind that our pool is not heated.  And that water was in the pool ALL WINTER LONG.  And R swam for about 20 minutes before I made her get out for fear of hypothermia…..

She is clearly part penguin.

And finally, the morning pictures!

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okay, this was today's, and it's freaking me out how grown up R looks....

okay, this was today’s, and it’s freaking me out how grown up R looks….

 

Forgetting Not Everyone Eats Like Me

FOOD

Okay, so while people I meet don’t always eat like me (and I get that), it’s definitely worth trying.  I eat really good food (and mostly REAL food, not processed crap).  And if you ever meet me, you’ll know I’m not a starving vegan!

Before I get to the week’s food, the reason for my title has to do with a little neighborhood girl.  Incredibly sweet kid who’s a friend to my youngest, but I was reminded the hard way last night that most kids don’t eat like mine.  (new neighborhood, and new great friends – but most of the friends my kids’ have had since they were little eat here often).  I was not prepared.

Mine eat a lot of fresh fruits,veggies, and smoothies – and yes, we have some junk too (I mean really…who doesn’t love a bag of tortilla chips and spicy salsa?!?!), but I’m not used to kids who refuse food.  R had a friend come over last night, and I realized quickly when she wouldn’t eat dinner, that this little girl isn’t used to food like we eat it.

And no, I didn’t try to serve her crazy grub.  It was a typical dinner in my house – salad (with tons of do-it-yourself toppings and dressings, because we all have different tastes), maple roasted sweet potatoes, soup, and Tofurky.  Okay, I realize most kids may not grow up with tofu as a staple, but it is really yummy.  So I felt horrible when she wouldn’t even try anything – and asked for mac and cheese or chips.

simple salad with romaine, scallions, tomato, cucumber, and red bell pepper.   All other toppings were served ala carte.

simple salad with romaine, scallions, tomato, cucumber, and red bell pepper. All other toppings were served ala carte.  See those red onions in the top….pickled with lime juice.  Mainly just for me….

our fav sweet potatoes - roasted with olive oil and pure maple syrup.  SO GOOD.

our fav sweet potatoes – roasted with olive oil and pure maple syrup. SO GOOD.

for the more adult palate (this was mostly for me, A, and her friend M...who I've known since she was little and grew up eating in my house!)

soup for the more adult palate (this was mostly for me, A, and her friend M…who I’ve known since she was little and who grew up eating in my house!).

sliced Tofurky.  My omni family is always thrilled for this....which is why I thought it would be OK for a new young one.

sliced Tofurky. My omni family is always thrilled for this….which is why I thought it would be OK for a new young one.

We accommodated her, but it was strange.  Even my food allergy little one was trying to convince her to try things.  Alas.  Wasn’t going to happen.

This morning, she did eat the pancakes and watermelon I served.  But not the smoothie (coconut water, apple, banana, and strawberry – seriously tasty).  I’m sorry, but smoothies are the most brilliant thing ever as a parent.  I usually put kale or spinach in it, and my kids leave for school with most of their fruit and veggie servings in for the day.  Seriously, no down side there.

who wouldn't love to drink this??

who wouldn’t love to drink this??

first watermelon of the season!!!

first watermelon of the season!!!

Okay, on to pictures of some of the week’s other eats!

coconut water, pineapple, banana, grapefruit,  and spinach.

coconut water, pineapple, banana, grapefruit, and spinach.

made more than I anticipated!

made more than I anticipated!

mostly the same smoothie (I have to finish up those grapefruit!), but added some kale and Vega powder.

mostly the same smoothie (I have to finish up those grapefruit!), but added some kale and Vega powder.

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decided to do a full day of smoothies.  Blueberry and coconut, two of pineapple/kale/ginger, and a savory one of bok choy, cucumber, jalapeno, miso, and tahini.  I felt so good by the end of this day!  (Thursday).

decided to do a full day of smoothies. Blueberry and coconut, two of pineapple/kale/ginger, and a savory one of bok choy, cucumber, jalapeno, miso, and tahini. I felt so good by the end of this day! (Thursday).

a flatbread wrap with a hummus base and tons of veggies, like sliced cuc, red pepper, and spinach.

a flat-bread wrap with a hummus base and tons of veggies, like sliced cuc, red pepper, and spinach.

spicy tofu soup!  One of my fav quick meals.  We had some nasty chilly and wet weather this week, so it was perfect.

spicy tofu soup! One of my fav quick meals. We had some nasty chilly and wet weather this week, so it was perfect.

meal out.  Not the best, but an eggplant and fresh tomato sauce over pasta.

dining meal out. Not the best nutritionally, but an eggplant and fresh tomato sauce over pasta.  It was tasty 🙂

This afternoon I made some snack bars.  They’re sweet and yummy and full of great energy.

after mixed up and chilled.

after mixed up and chilled.

bars of snacks ready for the week!

bars of snacks ready for the week!

wrapped individually and ready to take on the road (I'm on a work trip this week) and in lunches for the young ones.

wrapped individually and ready to take on the road (I’m on a work trip this week) and in lunches for the young ones.

FITNESS

This week has honestly been crazy.

Exams, D working nights, the kids having friends over like it’s a revolving door, work, and nearing the end of the school year….it was amazing I did anything at all!

The best was today though.  I went for a run this morning through the neighborhood.  The sky’s dried up and it was this great in-between temperature.  A t-shirt was enough, but I never overheated.  I know those days are dwindling as summer gets here (and that is NOT a complaint….I love summer), but it’ll be one of the last weekends where I can run at 10am and it not be too hot and humid.

LIFE

It’s been a good, if not hectic week.  Nothing new there!

With D on nights, it’s been a bit crazy.  He does so much (especially in the mornings), that I found I had to rearrange my early meetings to accommodate.  As a result, I even had a #morningpicture with me in it!  My oldest, A, took R to school on Friday, but was having none of the daily selfie tradition.

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okay, this was taken right before R’s orchestra concert this week. It was SO good.

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okay, so this isn't a morningpicuture...it was taken before D went to work tonight...but it's still so bloody cute.

okay, so this isn’t a morningpicuture…it was taken before D went to work tonight…but it’s still so bloody cute.

My son is about to graduate from high school in a few weeks.  He’s been very active in drama (and if you read previous posts, he’s quite amazing…and that’s NOT just mamma’s pride talking), and this weekend is his last high school performance.  He was in the Addams’s Family musical as the straight laced dad of the normal boy that falls in love with Wednesday.  The entire cast has done a great job, and even though he plans to be an English teacher (and we all know how often we change majors, so we’ll see how that plays out), I still hope he plans to stay active in theater in college.  He’s really good!

S and R at the show last night!

S and R at the show last night!

standing in line to get an autograph from Lurch.  Seriously, he was hilarious.

standing in line to get an autograph from Lurch. Seriously, he was hilarious.

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pics with Lurch!

pics with Lurch!

autographs from Fester

autographs from Fester.  He was ridiculously good.  I love that I’ve known most of these kids for years.

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getting Lucas' dad's pic (aka Mal Beineke...aka my son M!)

getting Lucas’ dad’s autograph (aka Mal Beineke…aka my son M!)

a proud sister on the far right with M!

a proud sister on the far right with M!

So yeah.  That’s been my week.  I leave you with miscellaneous pics….

what, you're reading???  Seriously, just snuggle me instead....

what, you’re reading??? Seriously, just snuggle me instead….she started out ON the book…

Ginny is the most non-catlike cat ever.  She loves to lie upside down.  We call it her flop.  Ginny flops....

Ginny is the most non-catlike cat ever. She loves to lie upside down. We call it her flop. Ginny flops….

oh what, the cabinet is open?!  Clearly that's meant for me...

oh what, the cabinet is open?! Clearly that’s meant for me to explore…

snugly baby.

snugly baby.

last, but not least....my oldest with her (recent) boyfriend J.  Nice kid.  Time will tell...

last, but not least….my oldest with her (recent) boyfriend J. Nice kid. Time will tell…