Music City Fun!

FOOD

Smoothies when I was home, of course. Also ate that cucumber salad from the shredded cucs from the weekend before. It had some serious kick to it with the red pepper flakes marinating in the salad overnight.

My guy and his oldest came over for lasagna night! Tofu ricotta, fresh garden basil and oregano, and fresh garden tomatoes. I wanted to make a bechamel sauce (rather than use fake cheese), but my Nutritional Yeast shipment hadn’t arrived and I used the last of it for the ricotta. So I did use a little Daiya mozz shreds in the end. Totally yummy. Served with a build-your-own salad bar (we all like different toppings) and a loaf of fresh bread (I love making homemade bread – house always smells so yummy!).

Then it was off to Nashville! Thursday A and I went to a veg place called Wild Cow. It was SO good. We had the vegan spinach/artichoke dip, and I had a tempeh Ruben with mashed sweet potatoes.

Friday afternoon was Thai! According to A, New Orleans is lacking in the Thai food department, so that was definitely on the agenda.

Friday we stopped for a drink before meeting up with A’s high school friends for dinner, where I had a really yummy veggie fajita.

Saturday we went for drinks and dinner with her brother before heading to the concert. I had a raw squash salad that was amazing. Watermelon sorbet too – which was only ok.

This morning we went to First Watch for breakfast where I had their Powerbowl – coconut milk chia seed pudding topped with fresh berries, blackberry preserves, and granola with a side of artisan toast.

FITNESS

Early in the week was runs and spins. None since I got to Nashville – except a ton of dancing at the show!

LIFE

Quite a busy week! My guy and his son, me and R and Kuma hit up Home Depot Tuesday evening to pick up tools for the upcoming flooring project. Then it was dinner for 6 at my house! Lots of fun and the kids all watched a movie too.

Wednesday was a ton of meetings and then a late wine meeting with a venture capitalist who’s backing a software company I’m looking at. Then it was home to pack.

Thursday I had an early flight to Nashville. I landed around 10 and headed to a Starbucks to await A, who was driving up from NOLA. Was perfect because I got all my school stuff done.

We went to her brothers, went to grab food, and then had a chill night of hanging out and catching up over a bottle of wine for us and some bourbon for JJ!

Friday was relatively low key too. I was up several hours early, so did more school stuff. Then A and I went for coffee and pedicures. She showed me around parts of Nashville – which is a beautiful city.

Dinner was with a group of A’s friends from High School. One I had met before in Virginia Beach. All really sweet ladies, and then we went back to H’s house to hangout for a bit.

Saturday was literally a day of drinking and music and it was amazing. We stopped at one quick place (where I had a cider and a sour beer) before going to the really famous area where all the music stuff is. We spent the afternoon at a place called Tootsie’s drinking beer and listening to bands. People can just walk in and play and it was so cool. I really loved this 15 year old girl who got up and sang House of the Rising Sun. Made me totally miss my Dad – he’d have loved it.

Also got a wicked cool rendition of The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

And then – off to the main event! The entire reason we came here – other than to see each other of course. Sleigh Bells, the Pixies, and Weezer show! It was totally amazing. We had pit tickets so we were right up at the stage. It was just shy of 4 hours of music and dancing.

We crashed hard when we got back and today has been low key. Breakfast and will be leaving for the airport soon to come home! I miss my kids and my pups and my guy and I’m ready to sleep in my bed! Will be sad to say goodbye to A since I don’t know when I’ll see her again, but all told, this was an amazing trip!

Concert and a Kitchen Marathon

FOOD

Well hell, where to start??

Sunday was an epic kitchen day. It started with my normal routine of meal planning, which includes generating a grocery list, shopping, and then coming home to prep. I do want to interject here for a second that I spent a grand total of $45 on groceries for my family of 4 for an entire week! $38 at Lidl (that place is amazing!) and $7 at Harris Teeter for the two things Lidl didn’t carry. Anyhoo, I share because it’s pretty damned cool.

So I sometimes do a “little” batch cooking or prep on Sunday’s. Usually in the form of prepping fruits and veggies to make them easy to grab and eat, or maybe a soup, a salad dressing, and occasionally a dessert (I dislike baking, so it’s rare. Besides, I have a daughter who loves to bake, so why take that pleasure from her?!?).

I had a 6-pack of bell peppers from the week before and some leftover quinoa too, so I figured that was perfect to make some stuffed bell peppers in the slow cooker!

It was a simple dish – stir fry onions, garlic, and the diced bell pepper caps, Beyond Meat crumbles, tomato sauce, quinoa, red wine, and fresh basil and oregano from the garden. Slow cook on low for 4 hours, and there are 6 meals!

Then, using a Happy Herbivore recipe, made a quinoa, kale, and cucumber salad with a tahini-mint dressing. Kale and mint from our garden, the cuc was a gift from another garden. 2 more meals for the week!

And I needed to make some homemade yogurt. 15 hrs in the incubator because I love it tart, and then overnight in the fridge. I will say, I’m not sure I’m going to love this batch. Harris Teeter only had their brand of soy milk, and I usually use Westsoy or Eden. But I figured it’s got to be basically the same. When it finished this morning, it looked fairly separated, so my guess is it’s NOT the same. I’ll check it in the morning – see if it’s at least good for cooking with if not eating

The basil was really going wild so I made a batch of low-oil vegan and nut-free pesto. I used This recipe. Skipped the sunflower seeds, and just rolled with the rest. Made two jars, one of which I gave to my guy.

I was gifted several cucumbers, so I busted out the Salad Shooter and shredded them up. They’re in a rice vinegar, crushed red pepper, and raw sugar marinade.

And of course I needed a dressing! The herb garden is exploding, so I wanted to make something fun. I made this creamy herb dressing, but subbed a homemade tofu sour cream. Seriously, it’s amazing.

And then – the beets. One of my favs – OJ, raw sugar, cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard in the Instant Pot.

And finally, I baked a cake. An orange/blueberry/lemon bundt cake.

So yeah. Yesterday was busy! While I was cooking, my lunch was herbed tofu on toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheeze and freshly picked tomato from the garden!

Today – a smoothie, falafel wrap, lemon sorbet, and one of the bell peppers. And a slice of cake 🙂

FITNESS

Nothing Saturday – was running around like crazy after getting home from New York. Sunday I went for a run and this morning I did spinning.

LIFE

Saturday I got home, unpacked, showered, and got a quick manicure before heading out. A bunch of us went to see Dave Matthew’s. 14 of us with lawn seats. Can’t complain – it was free and honestly a good show. Thing is…I’m a rebel. My guy and I got separated from the group as we left the limo bus and got to the entrance. And as we were walking, noticed that the back row of covered seats was empty. So – when no one was looking, we hopped the rail and got to enjoy the show in seats – and out of the rain! Not everyone was thrilled, but alas.

After the show it was a limo back to Town Center and a quick drink before Ubering home.

Sunday was the cooking marathon, laundry, and studying.

Today was work and then I bought my new floors! If all goes well, they should be installed the weekend of Aug 3rd. DEATH TO CARPET.

All in all, a great weekend!

And Kuma – who is still not on board with this whole #becomingamorningperson thing. And because I forgot my journal when I went to NY – even though I stuck with the 530 am wake-up time – I decided to not fast-forward in the journal, so technically, Hell Week isn’t over yet. Soon. But not yet.

She can’t even….

Tomato-Gate (and some really Kinky Boots)

FOOD

I was home for the first part of the week, and did get to make a few dishes. My favorite was a quinoa salad with Beyond Meat chickn, fresh mint, and tomatoes from our garden!

And speaking of tomatoes….

We have several tomato plants from cherries to normal sized ones. They’re ripening quickly, and A picks them every day when she gets home from classes.

Well, on Sunday I was busy cleaning and studying, and cooking, and decided that the fresh tomatoes were a perfect snack. So I took the jar of cherry tomatoes out by the pool and ate them while I studied. A was displeased and our own little Tomato-Gate ensued.

I also had smoothies, green curry (shocker), salads, veggie dumplings, and a few other awesome eats.

FITNESS

Well, I got two runs in this week and some yoga at home. But, I made the mistake of doing a workout video – which was awesome. Until the next day where I could barely walk, and forget sitting and standing! Felt like I did 1000 squats!

Then I hit the road and have walked around Manhattan. Heading home today and looking forward to more runs and spin!

LIFE

Well, week one of #becomingamorningperson is done. It was largely ok. The past two days in NYC meant about 4-5 hrs of sleep each night so I’m exhausted, but otherwise it’s going fine. I am getting a lot more done in the mornings, and I can’t complain about that. It’s still not fun, but I don’t play snooze tag and do get rolling at 530 when my alarm goes off.

Kuma, however, is still not a fan.

Tuesday night went to dinner again with my guys family. Everyone but A because she was sleeping before working nights.

Wednesday was out on the water and having apps and cocktails at Waterside with friends. J is moving to MD in a couple weeks, so this was our last evening out. It was a perfect night too.

Then Thursday it was off to NYC. I arrived around 6pm and then met my friend for a late dinner and wine.

Friday was a day full of meetings – though very interesting. I went back to my room, got all my school work for the week done, and then met up with N for a cocktail and then to see Kinky Boots on Broadway! It was by far my favorite. I love the movie, and was so excited when the show came out. We stopped for a quick drink after the show, and then back to the hotel!

For now, I’m getting ready to board my flight home! Then it’s seeing the kids and then off to a concert!

Welcome to Hell Week

FOOD

I finally got a curry this week! Whew. I had lunch plans that fell through, so off I went to one of my fav Thai restaurants to eat and read.

There have also been smoothies (of course), cream cheeze/tomato/sprouted bread (toasted) half sammiches – with fresh from the garden tomatoes!, and veggie pho too.

One night R and I went out with my boyfriend and his kids. Mexican. YUM.

I also grilled one night and made my favorite spicy tofu soup. This one is tofu, onion, canned tomatoes, garlic, sriracha, cauliflower rice, and green beans – all simmered in vegetable broth.

Also was looking for something a bit different, and whipped up a chickn salad using Beyond Meat fake chicken strips, onion, celery, and Dijon mustard – served on half a pita with more fresh sliced tomatoes. Think I’ll be making this one again!

But. There’s more. Oh yes. TACO FEST. My guy and I went – and we were hungry. I’m happy to say there was a decent enough selection of vegan options that I was happy. Sad to say that I couldn’t eat more than 3, though I tried.

There was an Asian inspired tofu taco with sesame sauce. Indian inspired tacos with cauliflower and chickpeas, and a nacho dish with lentils and tons of toppings, including vegan cheese and a spicy cream sauce. And of course margaritas!

All in all, we had a nice time. Down side was they sold too many tickets and lines were crazy deep – like 60+ people per food truck! And only one place for margaritas. While it was open 1-7, we left around 230 or so – when it got stupid busy. We were full anyway, so who cares. Headed across the street to Grain for a drink, and then back to my house. Beer flight for me, cider for him.

FITNESS

So remember how I recently lamented that I lost my running mojo? Well – perhaps just giving voice to it changed the game. Or maybe it was getting new kicks this week (way overdue – was getting blisters from my last pair!).

Anywho…had several runs the past few days as well as a spin session (during the finale of Rizzoli and Isles), and made use of the home gym weight equipment too.

LIFE

So, I’ve decided to work on becoming a morning person. To orient you to my feelings about mornings – I hate them. I think that people who get up at 5 or 530 are nuts, and that the only good reason to be up at that hour is if you’d been up all night. Anything before 630, and I just may get a little violent.

And you know what – this has worked for me for 44 years. When I worked nights at the hospital – it was perfect! Off work at 7, at the third shifter happy hour by 730, and bed by 10! When I was married, I would just run and stuff in the evenings. Easy peasy, and mornings could remain the domain of the insane.

Then I started seeing my guy. And he’s a very early morning person. And we certainly don’t live together or anything, but we have our fair share of overnights, and while I’d be happy to stay snuggled in bed until 830, he just can’t. And to be fair, my evenings have become busier with going out and studying, and so I figure now is a good time to join the ranks of the deranged and become a morning person. Theoretically, I like the idea of getting my workout done, being caught up on work and school stuff, etc.

So. Here I go. First, I did some research in how one decides to become a morning person. Turns out – there’s a LOT of info on it. After reading a lot, I actually decided on a journal/workbook thingy called The Morning Sidekick. It’s a 66 day program geared towards making you want to get your ass out of bed at a ridiculous hour.

It’s broken into three phases. Phase 1. Hell week. The journal says the first two days are the hardest, so I started it Friday night/Saturday morning so I could have the two craptastic days on the weekend. And you know what? They WERE craptastic. But I dragged my ass out of bed anyway. I suck at sleeping, so trying to force myself to fall asleep by 10 is comical. So, for instance, last night I finally fell asleep around 1230. Got up at 530 anyway. Coffee, then 2 workouts, shower, laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and started school. All before 830. It was WILD. I’m not in love with it yet, but will keep giving it a try!

Kuma, on the other hand, clearly didn’t sign up for this whole “morning thing”. And this was her – and she didn’t move until I was back from my run around 7.

Other fun things this week include getting all my school stuff done more than a day early so I could start working ahead. Morning fun has nothing to do with it – was just the first week of this term and it was a bit light.

I picked out my new floors! Stopping tomorrow after work to place the order for delivery. The floor laying party is scheduled for the weekend of Aug 4th. I’m SO excited!

Also took R to see Jurassic World today. We both really enjoyed it.

The garden is doing great! A is super proud of it. It’s also helping keep her sane between working full time and full time nursing school. And I like eating everything! I swear, even though we’re growing ten tons of tomatoes, they rarely last with me around.

Other than that, chilling out, cooking, cleaning, and spending time with the ones I love!

Yeah, Yeah, and the Horse You Came In On

FOOD

Before you freak out…allow me…I HAVE NOT HAD TOFU GREEN CURRY SINCE MY LAST POST! I know. Shocking and slightly disappointing. I promise to rectify that soon….

To be fair, I was gone for almost 3 days. Left Sunday afternoon and got back last night.

Home eats included grilled tofu (marinated in 50/50 lime juice and maple syrup with a big dollop of sweet chili sauce), corn, and broccoli.

I also made buffalo cauliflower. Simply – air fried cauliflower tossed in a vegan buffalo sauce. It was only ok. If I had whipped up a good batter first, then it’d been stellar. But I was feeling lazy.

So I’ve blogged before about my very favorite cidery – Buskey’s in Richmond. Well – they opened on on the Eastern Shore in Cape Charles! So – since it was on our drive to Baltimore, totally had to stop. Joy of all joys, they have a new flavor – watermelon rosemary and it was freaking divine!

We rolled into Baltimore close to 9pm, and since it was a Sunday, not much was opened. We were staying near Little Italy, so grabbed some eats – which turned out to be awesome – at a place called Amicci’s.

The next morning was a veggie sammich, hash browns, and fruit. Hate to say – got sick after. Not sure if it was intense lack of sleep, me not used to having much other than a smoothie in the morning, or something else – but it did not stay down long. Was fine shortly after, but still. Ugh.

Monday night I went to a baseball game – and they had vegan hot dogs and dumplings! I was so excited…

Before heading home after the conference stopped at a place called Honeygrow. Think Chipotle, but with a Noodles and Company flair. I had rice noodles with tofu, veggies, and a sweet soy sauce. Really yummy.

FITNESS

Well, my 90 minute spin-a-thon, while awesome, meant I wasn’t getting on that bike again for a couple days.

Enter kickboxing. Always a fav!

LIFE

Well, it was off to another conference the early part of this week. Only 2 1/2 days though. It was pretty good. It’s a young conference, so it’ll build with time I think. The most interesting was a session regarding the opioid epidemic that included healthcare leaders, but also DEA and other law enforcement. I see a real opportunity for data sharing where technology can be a real asset to combat this horrifying plague. Will explore more in the coming weeks!

While in Baltimore, we went to a baseball game. Yankees v Orioles. One of my good friends is a lifelong Yankees fan, but I was really hoping for the home team. They got slaughtered. It was a double header, and while the Orioles won the first one, they got hammered the second. It was kinda sad.

On a fun note, I haven’t been to a professional game since I was a little girl growing up in Milwaukee!

After, our host took us out and about, and a night of dancing, singing, and drinking followed. It was a blast, actually.

The only other highlight was narrowing down the few flooring for my house between 2 options. My guy is going to do some research to see if there’s a clear reason to pick one over the other. Otherwise – the weekend of August 4th means new floors in my house!! SO excited!

Kuma’s Selective Stair Use Annoys Me

FOOD

Summer is seriously the best for fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, I adore winter squash and kale, etc, but bring on the fruit and summer squash and fresh tomatoes please!

Morning smoothies as always. Usually use water as the liquid base, maybe 1/2 a banana and berries and some green – spinach and kale mostly, but sometimes arugula for a spicy kick. Occasionally I’ll throw in a fresh herb like cilantro or mint.

Went to my boyfriend’s house for the 4th. I brought “dessert” 😉

He made a totally yummy smoked tofu plus vegan mashers and roasted corn.

Other random eats like toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheese and sliced tomatoes with fresh pepper!

I went to Keegan’s in Virginia Beach to watch the Brazil v. Belgium match yesterday. Their veggie stack is actually really awesome. As was the Tito’s & Soda!

And always tofu green curry.

FITNESS

Definitely still loving the at-home spin classes pretty much daily. I enjoy the Peloton instructors, but after yesterday’s class, still wanted to ride. So, I popped on a show from Hulu (Rizzoli and Isles), sprinted during the show and climbed with high resistance during the commercials. For once, I’m glad to have the bloody commercials! I was pretty dead though after yesterday’s 90 minutes!

Also went for a run, and probably will in a little bit since the weather has cooled off post all the overnight rains.

LIFE

The 4th was a lot of fun hanging out and my boyfriend’s house with his kids and two of mine (M had to work). A’s boyfriend is in town and he came too. The evening involved competitive pool basketball, drinks, eats, and the kids playing video games. It was a pretty perfect day.

My girls!

Now that we have no more cats, Kuma is allowed free run of the house. I had a gate blocking her from the upstairs, as that was cat safe-haven territory. Their litter boxes and food, etc was up there. This means Kuma can actually sleep with one of us. She’s a runt of a pup, so I bought some puppy stairs. Let’s just say the stair training is NOT going well….and I don’t get it. She does the stairs in the house fine. And the front and back porches. But not to the comfiness of my bed! Ugh.

And my summer break from classes is officially over. Back to the grind, and I’m pretty grateful for it. I don’t do boredom well, and the past 3 weeks I struggled a bit with what to do with myself!

Oh well. Tomorrow I leave for a couple days on the road for work. Should be back by late Tuesday night. Until then, typical miscellaneous pics!