Thanksgiving, Lazy Days, and Chess Wars

FOOD

The food highlight of the week has certainly been Thanksgiving. I made a Celebration Roast (I couldn’t find Tofurky anywhere this year, so when with the Field Roast brand – I didn’t like it nearly as much), green bean casserole with a homemade creamy mushroom soup, stuffing, mashers, mushroom gravy, tofu pot pie, fresh bread, cranberry/orange/cinnamon sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Other eats this week included smoothies, oatmeal, a bizarre meal with two of my kids, an Impossible Whopper, and plenty of leftovers.

I very much appreciate BK having these. But tbh, it just sits SO heavy. I think my stomach hurt until the next day…

Eggplant and as a side I picked asparagus. Not realizing it didn’t automatically come with pasta. I choose poorly – it was a strange combo of flavors that was not awesome

FITNESS

I was cleared on Monday at a post-op appt to work out again. I ran Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and just finished a cardio spin workout in my garage. Feels good to move.

LIFE

Well the week started with me getting my stitches removed. Doc came into my room 50 minutes after my appt time and asked how I was. “Annoyed” was my response. He was taken aback a bit, but just because he’s a doctor, doesn’t mean my time is less valuable. It really did screw up some of my schedule, but is what it is. But it is annoying. Anyway, stitches are out and the bruising is really fading. I have some gel I need to use for the next 3 months that will hopefully minimize scarring and help it heal normally. If not, then laser treatment, but so far I think it’s looking pretty good.

I worked from home and, admittedly, didn’t do a whole lot school wise. Guess I just needed a mental break.

Tuesday everyone played chess. M and I played an online Game Pigeon version. That evening, R played M and beat him. A played the winner (R) and beat her. Then A wanted to play M. While that happened the next day…this thread ensued first. This is how my children fight….

Wednesday R, M, and I went out for a very late lunch (around 230). After cleaning much of the day, really didn’t want to cook!

Thursday was Thanksgiving, so I spent the day cooking (R had done the cleaning the day before). It was my kids, a couple of M’s friends, my boyfriend, and his boys. It was a nice time – I do enjoy having a full house.

Friday was literally the laziest day I may have ever had. Ever. Kuma and I sat on the sofa and watched two episodes of Mandalorian. Then R and I (and a lazy Kuma) watched Finding Dory. I folded some wash, and then watched several NCIS episodes upstairs with Kuma and Luna. I can’t remember the last time I watched that much TV in a month, much less a day! It was kind of nice, though I did feel like a bum.

Yesterday and today the plans I had fell through, so it’s been fairly low key. Went to see Knives Out with two of the munchkins yesterday – it was SO good. Did a bit of school work and finished a really good audiobook. Today has so far been a workout and starting on school stuff. Imagine I’ll do my weekly meal plan, shop if I need to, and do some bulk cooking for the week.

Book I’m currently reading

Got this for my bday from my boyfriend. It’s cute – he said he liked to get silly things that make me think of him. And I do – every time I use this cup. It’s normally just black, until I pour tea or coffee into it and the album cover comes up. I love it.

Crissie the Dessert Fairy 🧚‍♀️

FOOD

It has been a really good week, and I was better than I have been in months on meal prep. Helps that I’m actually home and didn’t have classes, but still. Yay me.

Lots of smoothies.

I don’t use my Tribest personal blender often enough – but my Vitamix was dirty from making cake batter. I forget how good this little thing is – as long as I skip the greens

And I’m a huge fan of this quinoa bowl with a splash of coconut milk, blueberries, bananas, and sunflower seed butter.

Any longtime reader knows of my love of Ezekiel toast with sun butter and sliced bananas!

Since I had made a big batch of quinoa, I also had a black bean salad.

And some chickpea “fakin-tuna salad” wraps too.

Wednesday night my boyfriend and I and 3 of our kids went out to eat and I had pasta arrabbiata that I ate for dinner again later in the week.

Friday I had popcorn and dole whip – I know – not the healthiest, but I was at a theme park…

Saturday my guy and I went out and we shared a hummus platter and then I got a vegan chicken parm. Not the greatest presentation, but it was yummy – though the veggie side looked like a sad afterthought. Definitely more than I could eat, so took the leftovers back to his place for lunch the next day…which I forgot about 🤦🏻‍♀️

This morning we went out for breakfast. I had the tofu scramble, vegan sausages, dry toast, and grits. Ate about 1/2 again, but it was tasty. Their Bloody Mary, on the other hand, was NOT tasty. Tomato juice and sake. Eww….

FITNESS

Yoga, and not every day either. It’s killing me how badly I want to go for a run. Ugh. Stupid back.

LIFE

Overall, quite an excellent week. Tuesday I had my doctor’s appt for my back. Basically – she thinks the muscles have just seized up so badly, nothing is helping (ie – Motrin), and it is not resolving on its own. She put me on prednisone and flexeril. Though I have not taken the latter because it makes me loopy and I have no time for that. However, after being admonished yesterday by the guy, I guess I’ll take it maybe around bedtime. Though I don’t like the idea of being out of it then either – what if something happens and I’m too loopy to deal with it? Ugh. Stupid back.

Wednesday morning I had my labs drawn (figure I may as well get all my normal yearly labs done). Let’s just say when I got to the office the admin had to get me the first aid kit since I was still bleeding. Nothing the phlebotomist did wrong, I tend to have a low platelet count for some reason.

Thursday was the 4th of July, and the guy and his youngest came over for some grilling and pool time. It was really nice. They left early though, and I was in bed by 930!

Friday I stopped at my guys house in the morning briefly for another cake delivery (apparently the youngest didn’t get enough the last time – or maybe any, I’m not sure if the other 2 ate it all or not!). I’m starting to feel like the dessert fairy, though that’s okay. They’re worth it.

My coursework opened, and I got that organized. It’s going to be a busy term, but I’m looking forward to it. Last term before it’s strictly just research & writing until graduation.

In the afternoon around 3, R and I went to Busch Gardens to have fun and watch fireworks. Apparently the 2 days of only taking half of my meds didn’t work as well as I had thought they were. A few hours in and I was starting to hurt. Pushed through, but perhaps it was a bit premature to hike around for hours and ride rollercoasters! But the fireworks were beautiful and the company wonderful and made it all worthwhile.

Funny though, we got home late – around 1130 – and I notice the bathroom door in my bedroom is closed. Odd. I open it…to find this….M apparently was having fun home alone 🙂

Saturday morning was a nail appointment and then a couples massage, dinner, and then an afternoon of drinks and walking around and ogling at sailboats. Quite the awesome day.

This morning we woke early and went to breakfast. Then I studied a bit until the match started. It was tense, but awesome to see the US take another World Cup! Then it was time to go, hit up the store, and grab my eldest from the airport!

Sent this to my sister – who is a law librarian. 🤣🤣

AC Off, Soup ON!

FOOD

Okay, I’m a big believer in soups whenever the heck you want soup. Doesn’t matter about the weather, but there IS something fun about fall soup season kicking in.

I was going to whip up a butternut squash/apple soup for dinner tonight but the darn thing was bad. But, I did have an acorn squash, so whipped up something fun with that.

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Place squash cut side down in oven-safe dish with about 1 inch of water
  • Place remaining veggies and garlic in a different oven-safe dish. Coat with olive oil and maple syrup
  • Roast everything in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool.
  • Put all the veggies (scoop out the squash, silly), the broth, coconut milk, and broth in a large sauce pan. Blend with immersion blender. If you don’t have one, blend in batches in your blender. But really – for $25, if you’re a soup junkie like me, just get the immersion blender!

Also – will say I went a little sweet with this. I think it’d be yummy with curry in place of the nutmeg and cinnamon too.

And this was not my only soup either! I whipped up the Spicy Potato Kale soup from Awesome Vegan Soups, using hot peppers from our garden of course.

Speaking of hot peppers, we’ve had so many from the garden, had to do something with them. My guy suggested pickling. Brilliant! Used this recipe. Minus the bell peppers, with a blend of jalapeño and hot cherry peppers, and 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 bragg’s apple cider vinegar.

Other eats I made include this applesauce cake, tahini/maple/balsamic dressing, vegan sushi bowls (which I shared w my guy’s youngest), creamy mushroom stroganoff, salads, and smoothies.

Seasoned sushi rice, spicy cucumbers, edamame, tofu, and shaved carrot

Eats out include salads, Thai, various portabello mushroom dishes, olives, and pasta.

One of the portabello dishes. It has a LOT going on, but was tasty!

Olives and Wine!!!

Out with friends – portabello dish #2 from Whiskey Kitchen

Also had a few harvests. Not much as the season is winding down. We pulled the tomato plants. BUT – today I spotted a cucumber. The FIRST of the season! The cuc and squash plants all died in late spring. But, they found their way back! Also, A had decided to try her hand at sweet potatoes. After vines going crazy, we pulled them – and had a pretty surprising harvest. SO tasty.

FITNESS

Been a busy and good week. Alternating runs, yoga, and kickboxing. Been taking advantage of the beach body streaming workouts now that I’m not going to drop in yoga classes or kickboxing classes anymore!

LIFE

Busy, but fun week! Started with…FIGHTER JETS! My friend D – whom I mentioned in my last post – is part of a charity group called Warrior Team – seriously check the link because what they do is pretty cool! We got to see their pilots flying Russian jets dog fighting while my friend MC’d the whole thing. After we (me, my youngest R, my guy, and his youngest) went to go meet them. D gave us a tour and history lesson of all the planes on the tarmac, down to which battles they fought in (like WWII), etc. It was fascinating and made the whole air show that much cooler.

After, we dropped the kids, got cleaned up, and then met D, one of his pilot buds, and good friends MM and RM for dinner and drinks. Very fun night.

Grad school buds and friends for life.

Since I have no school until the 8th, I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading! Taking FULL advantage of the library and my Kindle Unlimited subscription!

So while I was reading, caught Kuma hopping around the yard. Clearly stalking something – assuming a cricket or grasshopper or frog. You know. Something that’s actually smaller than her!

If you must know, it’s the Rylee Adamson series from Shannon Mayer. quick and fun reads and right up my alley when I’m between classes and research

Tuesday after work I met up with a friend for happy hour. It rained off and on that day, and on my way to my car after work, slipped on the wooden bridge. Argh. Wasn’t wearing heels, nor running, or anything! Busted knee and wounded pride. Both are healing nicely.

My guy and I hit up the Oceanfront one evening for a drink and a stroll. Tourists are gone, so it was quiet. Watched some surfers and then went home.

Thursday night was wine class! We had a lot of fun – there was a pretty big crowd. We sampled 8-9 wines or so. After we went to a late dinner and then home.

Tonight was quiet – cut the grass, clean the kitchen kinda quiet. But – the biggest thing of the day is I TURNED OFF MY AIR CONDITIONER! I officially declare summer over. Let the breezes blow the fresh air through my house!

Tomorrow will be fun though – making a monster Indian Feast + Game Night for all my kids, a few friends, my guy, and his youngest. Will be cooking ALL day. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Kuma clearly digging for something!

And while I don’t often get political on here (I leave that for Twitter, and boy oh boy have I lately!). – this week has made me CRAZY.

MY YEAR OF LESS

So I really did have to switch to the $200 limit this month. I thought 4x per month of going out would be logical. Once per week with my guy and that’s it! But life is quite different. Taking my daughter to her appointment with no choice but to stop for lunch, or work related networking outings, etc. As of today – 9/28 – I’m at $198.72 in “going out”. Though I went out 8 times.

Everything else this week has been groceries ($32).

I should have been taking advantage of the school break to work on purging – but I haven’t. I see that as some rainy weekend ahead!

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….

Spin, Spin, Baby!

FOOD

I’ve actually been home for well over a week straight! And – no trips until a short one in July, so it’s been pretty nice.

Before I got home though, I did get to see a girlfriend in DC and meet for breakfast at an all vegan joint called Fare Well. Had these awesome tofu chilaquiles that I think I could eat every single day!

Other eats on the road. Tofu dishes, fajitas, eggplant, and other yummy stuff.

Home eats!

Fitness

Okay, so for this, I’m totally stoked. I have been obsessed with getting a Peloton bike for months now. For those not familiar, its a spin bike with a built in big screen and, with a peloton subscription, you can take on demand or live spin classes.

On the road trip, we stopped at Tyson’s Corner where they have a Peloton showroom. LOVE. Also was lucky to try it out at the Westin when I was in Chicago, so I knew I loved it.

Well, I literally had it ordered and in my cart and ready to buy it, but just felt too selfish spending $3k for the bike, delivery, set up, and shoes. The subscription is $12.99 per month and not included. Even though all the kids want to use it, I just couldn’t stomach that price.

So what does my guy do? He does maybe 10 minutes of research and finds a “Peloton hack”. Grand total? $350 + subscription! http://www.sippingandshopping.org/my-peloton-bike-alternative/

So I purchased a Sunny spin bike. Don’t need spin shoes since the pedals are clip ins on one side and cages on the other (I have road racing shoes, and just need to change out the clip types).

I got an iPad mount so I can put my screen up. And a Wahoo cadence sensor. Voila! I can do everything a Peloton can do, without the sick price tag.

And I’ve been using the heck out of it! My bum is sore, but that’ll fade in a few weeks.

It’s the perfect addition to the home gym we’ve been building since last fall. Oh, and while the bike wasn’t 100% put together, R (my 14 yo) built it in less than an hour. Just as functional and sturdy as the Peloton bike.

So while I still love to run, I’m excited to spin, spin, baby!

LIFE

Really can’t complain. Picked up a summer cold that had a lingering cough for over a week, but other than that, felt fine.

While out of town, turns out one of my good friends was in Baltimore (he lives in Portland), so we got together for dinner one night, which was awesome!

M turned 21 on the 8th! So right at midnight, had to take him out for his first legal bday shots! My friend B was sending shot ideas. After the four horseman, M quit it on the shots and had a beer before going home.

Big dinner party and then pool party on his bday proper. The next day, he and his girlfriend went to Toronto for the week. They had a blast.

My friends who live in NOLA came to stay for a few days. Well, A didn’t – she had to work, but J and the kids were here, and stayed with me for two days. It’s always nice to see them.

I had a ton of pool drama. First company I hired to come open it and get it ready just sucked beyond reason. After a month of them continuing to muck it up, I hired a different company, and the difference has been incredible! They also spent over an hour teaching me everything I needed to know to do all this myself too. Needless to say, with the weather as hot as it’s been, the pool is definitely getting used!

This past Friday was the last day of the second term of my doctoral program! My last deliverable with a huge paper, but once it was knocked out, I hit the pool with my Kindle Oasis (waterproof) and read all afternoon. I have off until July 9th, which worries me that I’ll get bored, but that’s okay. The mental break is nice.

And A finished up her first term in nursing school and killed it! She was struggling with the schedule change – working full time nights and school full time days. Made a comment about needing an eye mask or something. Got her these – she’s been sleeping great since between the eyemask and ear plugs!

And this tee for R…if you knew her, it describes her perfectly.

Other events included going shopping for new floors for my house, going to see the Incredibles 2 last night (better than the first!), plus plenty of miscellaneous fun and fluffs! Plus a few shots from the MGM casino in Maryland.

Cocoon of Safety

FOOD

I seriously don’t think you want to see a month of eats, but it’s been pretty good stuff (of course).  Smoothies, salads, curries, and other various fun stuff.  Now that it’s back to school, add in things like homemade granola bars, cookies, etc – and it’s been a busy kitchen!

pumpkin spice cookies!

SOUP SEASON!!
first batch of homemade kombucha!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and yoga.  BUT…add in soccer too!

My neighbor invited me to play on a local soccer club team, and I jumped at the chance!  1 – it’s my favorite sport EVER.  2 – great way to meet new people (there are 7 teams in our club), and 3 – great exercise.

We had our first game last week Sunday.  I’m still sore….

LIFE

Well, it’s been a busy month!  R and I spent most of a week in DC!  We got to visit friends, play in the city, and mostly chill in the hotel room ordering room service!

R’s first Uber ride! On our way to W and A’s house for dinner!
dinner with friends!!

We had fun wandering around, hitting up some museums and a capitol tour that my friend J set up for us!  (he works on The Hill).

metro selfie
fell in love with Kramer Books
wandering around
being lazy and reading on this monster outdoor sofa

We both agreed that the Hill tour was the best!

I had a quick overnight trip to NYC for work.  The day I left, I went to a drag show called Drag Yourself to Brunch with my oldest A and my friend A!

I haven’t voluntarily watched scary movies for many years.  What’s funny, is I used to love them.  I think having kids made me get more easily spooked, but the point is, I’ve only watched a scary movie in the past 10 years or more if I lost a bet.  After a few that horrified me (hello Event Horizon), I just stopped betting.

Well, It just came out, and I read that book when I was 14.  While it scared the every living crap out of me, I still loved it.  So…I just HAD to go see the movie.

And anyone who knows anything realizes that the only way to see a scary movie is if you have a cocoon of safety.  Aka – a blanket that you can bury yourself in, never touch the floor, and pull it up so only your eyes are showing in the scary parts.  Nothing can hurt you if you have a cocoon of safety.

So yes.  At nearly 44 years old, I brought a blanket to the movie theater and survived It!

After the movie it was time to teach cribbage!  Of course the person I taught is freakishly competitive and this may come back to bite me someday, but I can take it.

Oh – I saw Depeche Mode!!!!  A quick trip BACK to DC (and a totally awesome one at that – spent a ton of time in bed!).  I’d seen them twice before, but not since 1991.  I’ve been a huge fan since I was 13 or so, and about lost it when I found they were coming close by.  I met a woman from Germany there who’d seen them 33 times!  I felt a bit like a poser fan, but got over it quickly.  The show was awesome and they performed as well as they did 20+ years ago.

On Sunday it was the inaugural gathering of a local Chelsea FC fan club!!  We got together at Keagan’s Irish Pub in Virginia Beach, watched Chelsea win, had some drinks, and the fun of enjoying my fav sport with other people who love it to!

R turned 14 this week!!  We hung out, watched a movie, had dinner (tofu pineapple stir-fry), had cake, and opened presents!

I refer to my kids as cabbages (comes from a French term of endearment).  Anyway, A decorated her cake 🙂

they didn’t want to make more dirty dishes, so they ate cake with their chopsticks from dinner. Gangsta style.

Random other fun things…

I had just put all her toys away
looking at bread recipes and Ginny wanted to help
dinner out shenanigan’s by cabbages 2 & 3
back deck reads
Bumble waiting semi-patiently to place her order
Ginny “helping” on laundry day
What Kuma thinks of mornings. That’s my girl
Hanging with JG!
get away from my drawer

me and AJ being goofy

Okay, off to get this weekend rolling!  So wild and crazy, that I’m in my jammies at 630 on a Friday night!  I know – I need to pace myself…