Trust Me – Life Changing Eggplant is a Thing

For someone that isn’t going anywhere, how the heck does a week go by without a post?!

FOOD

It’s interesting, I have always been a smoothie for breakfast kind of girl. Occasionally I’ll have one in the afternoon or evening, but usually – mornings.

However, since I started drinking greens every morning, I’ve been making smoothies more my dinner than anything. Strange musings, but whatever – it works 🙂

So my routine of late has been Athletic Greens about 4 hours after I wake up (I take thyroid meds and some minerals will interfere with it), then an hour later I’m pretty hungry and have a regular meal. And dinners are either food – if I’m hungry enough – or a smoothie if I’m not.

Eats this week included more no-knead bread, salads topped with Beyond Burgers, grilled goodness like asparagus and eggplant (more on that in a sec, but it was honestly the BEST eggplant ever, smoothies, snacks, and tacos!

This dough sat nearly 2 days, so it had that sourdough taste to it – yum!
About to hit the grill

Speaking of grilling vegetables….

I was sent an eggplant recipe by someone who knows what I like very well, and I’m telling you – it did NOT disappoint. I made it as written and it is literally the most delicious thing. I am sharing this recipe with you because I love you and everyone deserves deliciousness in their lives. I kid you not – this is life changing eggplant.

Served with jerk tofu and some pan fried tomatoes
I’m going to say it. Don’t care if I lose my hippie badge. By and large, I dislike flax crackers! I think Mary’s Gone Crackers are the only one’s I like. The cream cheeze was pretty decent though – new to me brand
First of the season! And R always gets the “tube”
Mac no cheese
Tofu & potato tacos
My fav kale salad with the garden kale!

And of course we had a birthday last weekend, and that meant homemade cake! And not because of quarantine – we always do homemade cake. This is vegan vanilla! And A wanted hot pot and boba tea for dinner, and that was achieved!

FITNESS

Last Saturday was my rest day – honestly I was just too sore to workout. But otherwise, still doing my 6x per week workouts.

Rowing, running, and yoga this past week. No biking. Was originally planning on that for Saturday, but just didn’t happen. I am excited though that I’m finally getting a hitch for my car and a bike rack! As of today, everything is ordered, and hopefully by next weekend, will be good to go! I have a tiny car and I can shove my bike in the back if all the seats are down, but it’s a pain in the butt and of course that means biking alone. I like that, but I think my youngest would enjoy the state park rides as much as I do.

One of my rows was a fun Head of the Charles Race set in Boston with a bunch of Olympians. It was actually really, really cool.

As much as I love rowing, I’ve been struggling getting what I feel is a tough enough workout. So – I was given 2 workouts to challenge myself because another person has done them and has found them challenging – he knows I’m struggling with that, so I totally love that he gave me these.

The first one was relatively short – 25 minutes in all – but were sprints. While it still wasn’t overly intense – that may have been because it was just 22 minutes. And really – burning 275 calories in 22 minutes isn’t bad at all.

The sticky note on the left was the workout – I struggle with keeping my spm down while also bringing my split down, so honestly – I just rowed hard.

Yesterday I went for a run – and honestly, it was an awesome run. Even though I got rained on. I’ve upped my mileage and just really enjoyed it.

Today was back on the rower though – for a workout called Genoa. It’s basically almost an hour of ass kicking. BUT – for the first time since I got it, I really got a hell of a sweat and burn. Comparable to a run of the same duration. And it was fan-freaking-tastic! Again I struggle with syncing up SPM and split, so my SPM is always really high – well over 30-35. But I can’t complain because the workout was what I’ve been looking for.

While not as fun as the guided workouts – I am grateful my rower can go on manual too! I popped on headphones and listened to an audiobook while I rowed away.

I’m still doing yoga every morning as well. And I need it!

Kuma loves yoga time too….

LIFE

Ah, life in quarantine. While routine, I am not finding it boring. I’m really busy and am not getting to all the things I wish I could.

Every morning starts the same. Get up, feed floofs, make coffee, take Kuma outside, then come in – 10 min of yoga, 10 of meditation, and then some brief targeted journaling (something I’ve gotten into the habit the past month or so via my yoga studio). Then it’s time to work!

Work has been keeping me very busy, as has school. If I get free time – which is rare – it’s time with the kids or reading or cleaning or something!

The weekend was really awesome. Plenty of time chilling and relaxing, and then working on my school stuff outside! Then, of course, celebrating A’s 25th birthday!

The birthday girl! (Top pic was me and her in 2012, rest are pretty recent)

The garden provided another MASSIVE kale bounty and enough spinach for a good sized salad.

I put a trellis up for the zucchini – the cage around it is just too small. I’m hoping it’ll help not crowd out the Japanese eggplant. This weekend – pending weather – will be all about weeding the two gardens!

I also have an insane cilantro plant. The past two times I tried, it never really took off – this year is quite successful. I’ve even given away a ton of it. The mint is also insane. Oddly, the basil is not as successful as usual and that is bothering me – big fan of basil and want enough to keep me swimming in pesto all summer!

Speaking of swimming – pool was opened on Wednesday! Still have some work to do on it, but as soon as it’s warm enough (crazy weather went from near 90 last week to a week in the 60’s), it’ll be good to go!

Otherwise – average week and silly floofs – who’s pics I will leave you with as usual!

I May Have Grown a Green Thumb!

FOOD

The biggest new thing to my eating is I’ve started drinking Athletic Greens every morning. Because I take a thyroid med, it’s usually late morning/early afternoon, but honestly – I love it. If you’ve read for any length of time, I’ve tried all kinds of green powders over the years and they are usually something to choke down. This is actually tasty – and I love the nutritional content for sure.

Other eats have been a curbside takeout salad from Moe’s, Beyond Brats with various veggies, takeout Ramen from my fav spot, and – my fav – THAI. For mom’s day, M got me Thai, and I made it last for several meals!

Steamed veggie rolls
Tom Kha Soup
I added more coconut milk and spices and tofu to make it last for 3 more meals!
With kale from my garden!
Fresh no-knead bread

FITNESS

I worked out every day since my last post. I’m aiming for 6 days per week, so that worked out well.

Rows every day but three – two were runs and one hour-long yoga class. I’m going to start alternating daily. Runs give me a harder workout, but I love the rower SO much. I do incorporate strength workouts on rowing days though.

I will say, my runs are much, much better. Pace is faster and I’m upping my mileage. I’m positive the cross training has everything to do with that.

This was one of my runs. If you don’t know about it – look it up. Tragic.
My typical rowing workout
And running as of late – lower burn than usual. Must be getting better 😉

I’ve also been doing yoga daily – even if it’s only 10 minutes in the morning. Though I did an hour class this week also. I often have company…

LIFE

Getting super excited about the garden! It’s looking awesome, and I harvested my first spinach and kale. And even more exciting – I grew the spinach from seeds! I’d never done that before. I always joked that I had the opposite of a green thumb, or I’d say “dead plants give rooms character”. Perhaps I’m a green thumb after all!

And Go arrived on Friday (3 days ahead of schedule), so R and I played. She destroyed me. Ugh. I have lots to learn!

So my days have gotten into a routine. I mentioned my yoga studio doing a lot – including daily live streaming of not only classes, but also immersion instruction. It has gotten me into a habit in the mornings of some brief yoga, meditation, and journaling. The reflection has been very good.

A coworker of mine posted this on IG, but it was directly related to something my yoga instructor said that I thought was pretty cool

Mother’s Day was nice and chill. I mostly wrote my school stuff All. Day. Long. But seriously – look at how these cabbages have grown! The eldest will be 25 in a few days, the middle 23 in a few weeks, and the “baby” going on 17!

Circa 2012
Now!

Speaking of writing….

How I started my Monday to kick this week off right!

My insomnia has gotten pretty crappy again. I’m trying to read before bed instead of watch things on my iPad. Not all nights are bad, but some have been pretty terrible. Hopefully that works out soon, because I am over it!

Got to Visit England…Virtually

FOOD

Had some fun with the farmer’s market haul. I spiralized the zucchini and tossed it with diced tomatoes, MorningStar Farms vegan chicken strips, and covered in spices and finished with a little red wine vinegar. It was a hit!

Still loving my chocolate mint smoothies too!

And of course yesterday was Cinco de Mayo! I made the Venezuelan Black beans that my kids and I just LOVE, and I made a new tofu recipe with fresh squeezed OJ, olive oil, and bunch of spices. It was SO good. And was my breakfast this morning too. And I made a cilantro lime rice with fresh cilantro from my garden. The pics of the beans and rice were blurry (from steam from my Ninja Foodi and rice cooker!).

Everyone just built bowls and ate with tortilla chips. Today there WOULD have been leftovers, but I ate all the leftover tofu for breakfast. Not sorry!

FITNESS

Well – I rowed every day since my last post! Which means Monday, yesterday, and today.

I am finding I’m not getting the same calorie burn as I do when I run. That could be from a number of things. I’m a beginning and doing more beginner workouts (to be sure I do the form correctly and avoid injuries), and I’m not a beginner exerciser.

Could be I’m not putting in the same level of effort that I could.

Today, I ended up doing two workouts. The first was the Shred and Burn series workout #8, which was right about a half hour. I still had way too much energy, so I went ahead and did another workout – this one was cool – was 43 minutes of a row on the Thames in England. Between the two, that was about 70 minutes of rowing.

I still love the rower, but until the difficulty amps up, I’m going to sprinkle in other workouts too, like running (of course), cycling, yoga, TRX, etc. Today I did a core and lower body workout too.

I suppose this isn’t awful for a half hour, but I’m so used to a higher burn with running
This is part of a 21 around the world workout series that I’m really excited to experience. Looking forward to rowing in England someday in person!
Much more steady state

On a different topic, I happened to notice someone on NextDoor post asking if there were rowing or crew workouts (on the water) for adults locally. What great timing! Turns out there is, and when the COVID dust settles, I’ll go through the training and get to row on open water!

LIFE

Happy Hump Day!

It’s been a pretty typical quarantine work. Lot’s of work and virtual meetings, working out, school, reading, and some chess too!

R and I played. Ended in a stalemate.

She also announced she thinks we should play Go, so I had to order that too….

My yoga studio has been doing a lot on interactive content for us – and not just classes. A lot on meditation, life planning, etc. It’s been really impactful for me. Just writing down what I want out of life in various categories (health, family, relationships, career, etc) has been pretty eye opening and I’m looking forward to exploring these things further.

So I must say quarantine has been an interesting and positive experience. Work is going great, and I work from home so much, that this was not a difficult pivot.

Health wise, I’ve paid much more focus to being healthy physically and mentally. I’ve massively upped my meditation and workout games as well as dialing in what I eat. I’ve fully cut out sugar, which is crazy to even think of months ago, but is something I’m majorly committed to now.

Part of this yoga immersion is focusing on things that are important, and I’m making a point to reach out to friends more than I had before – those that don’t live close by and I had no reason NOT to reach out to before. Making those connections – fostering those friendships – is something I’m realizing I neglected, and am focused on.

And that, my friends, has been my week so far! I’m very fortunate in many ways, and am ultimately trying not to take any of it for granted.

I Suck at Chess….for now…

FOOD

Saturday I made a vegan “butter chicken” with soy curls in my instant pot. Super simple recipe that never disappoints! Made enough for 3 meals, and I had some today for dinner.

Today I reheated the rest of the creamy Dijon “pasta” with shiritaki noodles.

Oh, and a yummy vanilla/mint smoothie with fresh mint from the garden!

Part of tonight’s dinner!

FITNESS

Saturday I did another rowing workout. It was good and challenging, and I’m still really, really enjoying my rower. I also love my stats (of course I previously revealed I am a data junkie). I was quite pleased with my first week of stats on my rower!

Today I went on a 17mi bike ride at False Cape State Part. I’m bummed that my heart rate monitor paused itself at the halfway point when I stopped for water. Thankfully I can extrapolate from there – so assuming I burned around 700 calories for that ride.

LIFE

It has been an excellent weekend. I didn’t sleep great, but I did sleep in (which is 730-8am).

Yesterday I met up with SJ and her husband AJ at the Costco parking lot to lend some of my finance books and materials to help her in her current class. I had Kuma with me, which is always fun.

Honestly, all these are from my MBA – including the thin “cheat sheets” that I totally loved!

Then Kuma and I went to the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market where we got quite the haul of asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumber.

On our way home, we did stop at Mount Pleasant Farms near our house and got their “breakfast grab bag” which consisted of apples, oranges, onion, potato, blueberries, and a strawberry jalapeño jam!

One pooped pups!

I had some school related stuff to do (not the doctoral stuff – the Darden Lifelong Learner stuff where I’m doing a Design Thinking course), and some yoga stuff.

After that, I did my rowing workout, took a shower, and meditated. I was planning to make dinner, but my kids were up at odd hours (one had to work, one works nights, and the other…well she’s a teenager and sleeps all day), and they all ended up eating before I could cook!

I decided to chill up in my room, light some candles, and watch movies. I don’t do that very often, and it felt pretty indulgent! First I watched Extraction – the new Chris Hemsworth movie on Netflix. Not bad. A friend described it as “part video game, part Taken, part Golden Child” and he was not wrong! It was enjoyable enough, though not award worthy. Best line was “we were just attacked by the Goonies from hell”.

Then I finished Mortal Kombat that I had started the night before. And I’m not ashamed – still love it – though Liu Kang could’ve done without the 80’s mullet. Otherwise – still fun!

Today I went right to the park after I got up, got dressed, and had coffee. No pit stops either way, and got home right around noon. I will say, the park was packed. Generally okay as there’s plenty of space, but some folks were just plain rude – like on the path there’s clearly a demarcation of what side you should be on, but small groups ignoring that. I almost got bowled over by a large extended group biking together coming around a bend that were taking up the whole trail. One guy waived and said sorry, but seriously. I’m also glad I got there when I did because as I was leaving, there were not parking spots – and people were parking in all kinds of crazy spots. Saw the police as I was leaving ticketing dozens of vehicles. All told, still a great ride.

I got home, logged into school to see if I had any feedback from my advisor – none – so no school work today. Meditated, took a shower, then decided to go outside and read for a bit.

Really loved this grid. I’m big on Knowledge Compounds, but all are great lessons to take to heart

Then it was chess tourney time! M played R and won. Then M played A and lost. Then A beat me. Then I beat R. M couldn’t stick around because he’s leading a group online with Dungeons and Dragons and that started promptly at 6. R and I have decided we’ll play one match per day. Because neither of us wants to suck at chess forever….and one of us needs to be able to beat A!

She beat me in 4-6 moves. It was sad. I forget she was chess club queen back in the day

One of the most fun things was coming across pictures of my kids from 2010-2012! So adorable…

Old house – playing a video game.

All in all though – had a really great weekend. More fun than work, and just overall relaxing and awesome!

My Existential Question of the Week….Bangs…or No Bangs?

FOOD

It’s ridiculous, but I literally only have one meal shot between yesterday and today. I had a really big salad yesterday, but forgot to take a picture because I was in meetings while making and eating it, and then running out the door to get to corporate to see my boss.

Today though, I DO have a picture! I made a tofu based creamy Dijon sauce over shirataki noodles and green beans. The sauce is from here – though I have ALL of her books and have been making this particular recipe for years. I love it.

Well, this is food related – got a shipment from Thrive Market. I’ve been using them quite a bit for my healthy “hippy” food since quarantine. Today’s shipment included my “noodles”, coconut oil, dark chocolate, flax crackers, and dental floss!

FITNESS

My goal is to workout 6x per week. So yesterday – I took a rest day. Not because I wanted to, per se, but I had a wicked deadline for my doctorate and had no time.

Today, though, back on the rower! My burn was higher than it has been, so I’m happy about that. It’s about the equivalent of a 3 mile easy jog. To be fair, it was my 6th rowing workout, and I imagine there will be a progression as I get better in form and fitness. That said – wonderful class and I was quite happy. I wasn’t as spent as I would be on a hard run or HIIT workout – but still pleased and sweaty.

The HR on here is an estimate based on my age/height/weight. It’s an overestimate based on my actual HR monitor
This includes a 3 min warm up and 3 min cool down not accounted for in the previous image.
Proof I worked out a ton last month!

LIFE

Again, can’t complain. Yesterday was busy, but the highlight was actually meeting with my boss – in person (at a safe distance while we wore masks). It was a really good meeting – though they always are with him.

Chatting a bunch with my sister. We were talking about our hair and how quarantine and lack of haircuts is affecting us. I have long hair, but bangs that require maintenance. And NOT something I will trim myself (rule 1 – NEVER CUT YOUR OWN CURLY LOCKS). C (yes, our names start with the same letter) has a bob haircut that goes above her shoulders. It has gotten longer – more than it has in many years. My bangs are a joke and I’m pinning them back. We sent each other selfies. I’m not posting hers because I didn’t ask permission, but here’s mine..

Bangs….or no bangs….? This is my existential question of the week….

The rest of Thursday was spent on my doctoral writing. I had a ton to do, so that’s what I did!

Today was busy, but good. I slept really poorly last night, which was the only bad part. Work was good, and then I got my row on around 415 or so. I got Italian takeout for dinner for the kids, and then spent the rest of the evening either reading or on zoom with some girlfriends for a happy hour! I will say – I think I see many of my girls more during quarantine via Zoom parties than I do in real life! Anyone else seeing that??

One of the best parts though was picking up my favorite coffee – called The Guardian – from my local veteran owned coffee shop, Pale Horse. Espresso, oat milk, and sugar free vanilla and caramel syrups. Nectar of the Gods…