Big Breakfast, a Birthday, and Back in the Swing of Things!

FOOD

I’m not usually one for big breakfasts – in fact a smoothie or oatmeal (or a smoothie AND oatmeal!) usually does it for me.  However, my daughter’s birthday was this past Sunday, so it was definitely a day for big breakfasts!

a breakfast casserole with tempeh, tofu, veggies, and all sorts of yumminess...
a breakfast casserole with tempeh, tofu, veggies, and all sorts of yumminess…
pancakes!
pancakes!
biscuits and gravy and roasted herbed potatoes!
biscuits and gravy and roasted herbed potatoes!

No one went hungry on Sunday!

Other eats of the week…

build a bowl leftovers at the office!
build a bowl leftovers at the office!
creamy dijon pasta from Everyday Happy Herbivore...still one of my go-to meals.
creamy dijon pasta from Everyday Happy Herbivore…still one of my go-to meals.
smoothie selfie from Tropical Smoothie.  Island Green Detox (though I hate that word)
smoothie selfie from Tropical Smoothie. Island Green Detox (though I hate that word)
smoothie at home!  Coconut milk, strawberries, banana, and spinach.  Simple and still a fav.
smoothie at home! Coconut milk, strawberries, banana, and spinach. Simple and still a fav.

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another bowl night.  This was just rice, mixed veggies, and sauteed tofu.
another bowl night. This was just rice, mixed veggies, and sauteed tofu.
LOVE appliances - especially when I forget to plan dinner.  This was black beans and rice.
LOVE appliances – especially when I forget to plan dinner. This was black beans and rice.
and can't forget the birthday cake!!!  Strawberry cake with vanilla frosting.
and can’t forget the birthday cake!!! Strawberry cake with vanilla frosting.
my one main meal away when I was in Lynchburg for work.  It was incredible!
my one main meal away when I was in Lynchburg for work. It was incredible!

Excited for tonight’s dinner – build a taco bar!  A friend and classmate is coming over with her husband and little one.  She lives halfway across the country, but is in town this week.  So excited!

FITNESS

RunCrissieRun is the name of the game!  Running most days, and the days I don’t I’m making use of those workout videos that collect dust.

I’ve also been trying to meditate daily, though I sometimes forget 🙂

LIFE

Most days are work, home, and school stuff.  Not always in that order!  Catching up after 3 weeks away is quite a lot of work!   Lots of early days and late nights and very little in the way of family time (with the exception of R’s birthday, of course!).

I did take her and a couple friends to the theme park where they barely agreed on a single ride (my daughter is a speed demon, the other two…not so much), but they had a great time anyway.

R and the girls!
R and the girls!
me chilling while they were on a ride
me chilling while they were on a ride
me studying while they were on a different ride...
me studying while they were on a different ride…

I was away for work for a couple of days as well, and will be for half of next week.  Though that is hopefully it until Brazil in December!

I leave you with miscellaneous pics before I hustle back to the kitchen to prepare for JG and her family!

school is in session, and morningpictures are back!!
school is in session, and morningpictures are back!!

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And morning java…mostly on weekends and the rare days I have enough leeway in my mornings to chill out

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And cats….

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Build a Bowl!

FOOD

Oh, it’s good to be home!  I’ve missed my kitchen and cooking food the way I know I like to eat it.  Don’t get me wrong – my eats were great in the 3 weeks I was away, but nothing beats cooking for myself!

Friday night I made a quick sweet potato and red lentil soup that was light yet filling, and with a surprising kick to it.  I ate leftovers for lunch on Saturday!

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my leftovers - often in a mason jar
my leftovers – often in a mason jar

Both Saturday and Sunday mornings were some variation of oatmeal.  On Saturday it was cinnamon and banana and on Sunday it was pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and banana.

banana and cinnamon
banana and cinnamon (and upside down!  Weird…)
pumpkin pie!
pumpkin pie!

Lunch on Sunday was red lentil dal.  It was supposed to be a red lentil soup – but I swear, it never turns out soupy enough.  And since I “thought” it would be a soup, I didn’t make rice.  So….I ended up eating my non-soup with saltines.  Still good though.

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I was up before everyone on Sunday, so I made a batch of pumpkin spice muffins.  I used this recipe – and it was amazing.  I subbed Ener-G for the eggs and used maple syrup instead of honey, but they’re moist and yummy – and incredibly easy.

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Clearly I want Fall to hurry up and get here!

Dinner last night was my favorite.  Like most families, we have our stand by meals (like Taco Tuesdays, anything Italian, soup & sammich night, etc), so I sometimes struggle coming up with something completely new.  Perhaps I was feeling more creative coming home after several weeks, but I put on the meal plan that Sunday night would be Build-a-Bowl night.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to make, but knew it would involve a buffet-style dinner where everyone could build the meal they wanted.  Sort of like how we do tacos, but with an Asian flair.

It was a raging hit!  Here’s what I did…

  • Put a big pot of rice in the rice cooker – this was one of the “bases”
  • made a homemade Asian-style broth and then simmered rice noodles in it – this was the other “base”  (broth recipe below)
  • peeled, diced, and roasted 2 sweet potatoes
  • steamed 1 bunch of asparagus
  • cubed and pan sauteed 1 block of pressed tofu.  Sauteed in a small amount of coconut oil until they began to brown, sprinkled with garlic salt, and then soy sauce – let the soy boil off and done!
  • 1/4 head of shredded napa cabbage (kept raw for a crunch)
  • 1 can bean sprouts, heated
  • 1 bowl of steamed carrot slices
  • 1 bowl of steamed broccoli slaw (would have used regular broccoli, but my youngest has braces and she can’t eat an actual stalk right now!)
  • put out jars of soy sauce, ginger miso, BBQ sauce, sriracha, Korean BBQ sauce – in case anyone wanted additional flavor

Crissie’s Asian-ish Broth

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, large dice
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 8 cups veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 chopped green onions

Directions

  • heat the chili oil over medium heat in a large stock pot (you can use any oil – I considered using sesame, but was afraid it would over power the dish.  The chili oil gave it a little bit of heat)
  • saute the onion, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger for a few minutes – until the onion starts to brown.
  • Add the broth, soy sauce, hoisin, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for about a half hour
  • at this point, I strained out some of the onion chunks, the cinnamon, and the cloves, then added the green onions.
  • About 10 minutes before dinner, I turned the heat back up to medium and added the rice noodles

Everyone was given a bowl and went to town – with pleas that we do this again!

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bad pic, but this was my bowl.  M had taken most of the broth, so I had a little bit, some noodles AND rice, plus all the tofu and veggies toppings!
bad pic, but this was my bowl. M had taken most of the broth, so I had a little bit, some noodles AND rice, plus all the tofu and veggies toppings!

I have a big bowl of leftovers to take to work tomorrow!

FITNESS

After lots of hemming and hawing – I went ahead and canceled all my gym memberships.  It’s not like I go anyway, so it was just burning $210 a month, which is ridiculous.  If I have a burning desire to be in a gym environment, my office has one (I just have to find it!).

Since my favorite activity is running anyway, this will work out fine.  As such, every day since I’ve been home has been a run day!  Yesterday’s was especially good, as the weather was cool (80), cloudy, and a bit wet and misty.

LIFE

It’s been a really nice weekend, and I really am happy to be home.  All of my kids are home this weekend – so it really feels normal!

Saturday was cleaning day, and we all spent about half the day scrubbing, changing sheets, doing wash, etc.

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Ginny – either wanted to help clean or wanted us to stop….can’t really tell what her intentions were! Could be she just wanted to sit in a bucket.

Between cleaning and running, I’ve been working, cooking, but mostly studying.

Today will be more or less business as usual, except M goes back to the dorms and I have a learning team meeting at 6 pm (that’s my study group for school).  I’ll also be making sure everyone is ready to go back to normal routines tomorrow!  R goes back to middle school, A is in school and now working 2 jobs, M is back to university, D is back on day shift (he spent a week on night’s for a go-live), and I go back to the office!

Going to relish my morning java a bit longer before life gets hectic again…

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Getting Back to “Normal”

FOOD

One more week of mostly dining out, since I was traveling.  I got home yesterday though, and have already made my meal plan for the week, went grocery shopping, and finally had a much-missed green smoothie!

this was probably one of the better quick meals I had at the hotel.  A big spinach salad with oranges, cranberries, and brown rice in a red wine vinaigrette
this was probably one of the better quick meals I had at the hotel. A big spinach salad with oranges, cranberries, and brown rice in a red wine vinaigrette
another hotel meal!  Hummus and veggies, wine, and a case to study...
another hotel meal! Hummus and veggies, wine, and work!

When I travel for work and go to events or dinners thrown by others (usually vendors), I certainly have no say in where we go.  Vendors, being who they are, aim to impress, so it’s always expensive steak or seafood restaurants.

At one such event this week (at a place called Rare Steakhouse no less – I shuddered at the name!), D had arranged for a meal for me.  Overall, it was pretty good, though a grain or starch would have been nice.

cold asparagus soup.  Other than being a bit salty, it was yummy.
cold asparagus soup. Other than being a bit salty, it was yummy.
bad picture of stir fried veggies - mushrooms, pearl onions (which were amazing), green beans, broccoli.
bad picture of stir fried veggies – mushrooms, pearl onions (which were amazing), green beans, broccoli, and bell peps.

I also spent some time with family (sister, her kids, and my parents), and had a couple meals out.

a surprisingly amazing grilled veggie pita.
a surprisingly amazing grilled veggie pita.
simple pasta and veggie dish in a garlic-olive oil base
simple pasta and veggie dish in a garlic-olive oil base

I did sneak out to The Green Owl – a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Madison!  It was pretty good – not blown away (the corn bread was dry and crunchy) – but it felt good to be in a veg place.

tempeh gumbo with cornbread.
tempeh gumbo with cornbread.

At the software venue itself, they take great pains to accommodate all dietary preferences and allergies – which I much appreciate.

quick box vegan lunch - spicy slaw and a mango wrap
quick box vegan lunch – spicy slaw and a mango wrap

The best though??  A green smoothie in my kitchen while wearing pajamas!

vanilla coconut milk, spinach, banana, and frozen pineapple.  Simple and perfect.
vanilla coconut milk, spinach, banana, and frozen pineapple. Simple and perfect.

FITNESS

Only real workout of note was a very hot run today.  It was in the low 90’s and I was a drippy mess, but it was just nice to run through my neighborhood and then collapse on the living room floor in the AC!

LIFE

The past few weeks have been a ridiculous amount of chaos.  Those who know me know that I thrive on that, but even I like some peace and quiet now and then!  So for me, it’s getting back to “normal”…(aka, controlled chaos).

After getting back from my residency, I was heading out a day later.  Honestly, I don’t know how my consultant friends do it!  Traveling is fun, don’t get me wrong, but it gets old living out of a suitcase!

While at the conference I not only did the normal conference stuff, but (mostly) caught up on work and spent every free minute studying.  Not complaining though, it was a good groove.  Even my flights were spent in intellectual pursuits versus my typically vampire trashy novel reads (though I’m missing those!).

I will say that Epic (the software vendor whose conference I was at) really does a great job.  Their work environment is one of the most creative I’ve ever seen, and they take corporate social responsibility very seriously – which I love.  The facilities are green and off-grid, they bolster the local economy (18,000 attendees at this conference and they insist we stay, travel, and dine locally to put our money into the local businesses), and they prove to me that a company can be wildly successful while maintaining ethics.  Love it.

They’re fun too….

healthcare electronic medical record jokes are everywhere.  As a James Bond junkie, this is one of my favorites...
healthcare electronic medical record jokes are everywhere. As a James Bond junkie, this is one of my favorites…this was from the 2007 conference (hence 007), and the entire theme was spy movies

This year’s theme was “the Classics” and everything was done as if it were an old TV show.  Think I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, etc.  The owner gave her address as Lucille Ball.  It was awesome.

The Executive Address - never boring as most of it is a bunch of skits put on by the employees - always in character - to show what new functionality is coming out.  Also a time to celebrate all the great achievements healthcare organizations have realized due to their software.
The Executive Address – never boring as most of it is a bunch of skits put on by the employees – always in character – to show what new functionality is coming out. Also a time to celebrate all the great achievements healthcare organizations have realized due to their software.

Spent some free time on the “back lawn” catching up on work while they set up for lunch.  Picnic blankets, live music (which are Epic employees showing off their non-software talent), tents, and tables.

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One of the cardiology-specific sessions I went to

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And finally for conference updates….nothing like taking a cornhole/bean bag toss break!

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Overall though, while it was enjoyable, all I really wanted to do was come home.  I worked from home today, picked M up from school for the weekend (yay!), and have worked on getting everything in order here at home.

D has been on nights all week, so he’s finally back to days, we’re ALL home, and I plan to enjoy every last second of it (while studying the entire time, of course).

I leave you with a few last shots…

my life now....
my life now….
java in my bathrobe on the back porch while reading the news and enjoying the peace
java in my bathrobe on the back porch while reading the news and enjoying the peace
and being incredibly annoyed at this display in WI...seriously people?  Summer isn't even over yet and I have two holidays BEFORE I need to worry about Christmas!
and being incredibly annoyed at this display in WI…seriously people? Summer isn’t even over yet and I have two holidays BEFORE I need to worry about Christmas!