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.

A Busy (and Tasty) Week, and a Sad Farewell

FOOD

Well, it was another week of typical eats, but with a few stand out meals out. There were tacos, potato tacos (where I put taco fillings on a baked spud), smoothies, salads, a deconstructed veggie burger, curries, stir-fries, tofu scramble, and this amazing quinoa/portobello/veggie dish!

FITNESS

What a chaotic week! Not one single yoga class fit my schedule. So – it was runs and home gym workouts!

LIFE

Last Friday we said our final farewell to Bumble. Such an amazing, quirky, and loving girl she was. A little over 18, she had a long life and brought a lot of joy to my family. We all miss her.

On Saturday I hosted a surprise bday party for a friend and her husband (who is one of my bowling buddies!). I made tons of tacos (hence all the taco leftovers), and the garage was converted into beer pong central. It was a fun time, and K really was surprised.

Also went to see Black Panther this week, which was just amazing. Beautiful visually, great story, well acted, but mainly I believe this movie will be historical for what it’s doing to lessen the “white washing” of Hollywood.

Did happy hour with a good friend of mine who is going through a divorce on what would have been her anniversary. We drank, hugged, and had a good time.

Spent a lovely day out and about yesterday in gorgeous weather with someone special. Shopped, walked, and stopped at a tavern to watch some sport fun. I’m just going to say – I don’t get curling! Also, UVA kicked butt against Pitt, so that’s awesome.

Today was another amazing day. 80 degrees! Called for a run and then fun at the beach with the two youngest and the pups. M brought his long board to skate down the boardwalk, while R and I walked along the beach with Kuma. Then we stopped for a bite before going home. Also did typical Sunday stuff like meal plan, make a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook.

Of course there was also normal life stuff, like studying and chilling with the family. This will be a crazy and intense week too. I need to work ahead a week for school since I’m out for a work conference, which means I’ll have no time at all next week. So yeah. There’s that!

Thriving on Chaos (as usual)

FOOD

What a chaotic few weeks! Getting back into the swing of school, work, family, social life balance seems to always lead to more meals out, which is never my first choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do love to go out to eat for sure – but I really prefer to make good and healthy meals for the kids and me.

Smoothies are still my favorite for breakfast, and lots of salads, soups, curries, and of course tacos for everything else!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and hot yoga and some workouts in the garage! We had more snow, so that meant a lot of indoor workouts – which are my least favorite.

Unfortunately, I got sick last Monday, and while I’m managing as long as I keep my fever down (been a huge pain to have a persistent fever), I’m still not up for runs. So, gentle yoga at home and daily meditation and it’s all helping.

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks, but that’s nothing new. On the home front, R has gotten really involved in her high school’s robotics club, and is there pretty much every night and Saturday. They have a big competition coming up, and she’s really loving it. Her mentor is a NASA engineer and she’s learning so much and loving every minute of it.

School is really intense, but that’s okay. I do really enjoy it though. I picked up this wonderful book called Deep Work by Cal Newport, and it’s really given me an edge I think on obtaining that hyper focus I need to do well in school and build this new program at work. He goes into detail in how our deeply connected world has led to a inability of people to “go deep” in concentration and therefore production of meaningful work. After all, how can I write publishable papers and build professional program frameworks if I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 50 times per day? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my social media, but it does provide a next-level distraction that I can do without). I have a long way to go before fully implementing all the techniques I’m learning, but it’s been really impactful so far. I first heard about it on the MentorBox podcast (I’m a MentorBox member), and was so intrigued, I picked up the audio book. I’m now thinking I need a print copy as well! I don’t do that for many books – usually the audio is fine – but this is one I feel I’d like to have for a quick review time and again. I plan to check it out at the library first to see if there’s anything in there I’m not getting from the audio book (like some physical examples he discusses). Anyway – if you have any interest in professional development and increasing productivity – especially as a knowledge-worker – I highly recommend it.

Work is getting more and more interesting as we progress through our restructuring and I work on building this new division. The good thing is I have very loose direction, so I get to build it the way I think it should be – rather than following a prescribed set of expectations. I’ve always enjoyed that freedom to be creative with my work, and to base my ideas off of research and best practice in varying industries. It’ll be slow going for awhile – which is fine – since we all still have “day jobs” until the restructure is done. But it’s still be fun to get into.

I was in Chicago this past week for a few days. Was supposed to be Wednesday – Sunday (today), but ended up coming home Friday due to expected inclement weather in Chicago. I was bummed because I was supposed to visit family Friday afternoon-Sunday morning. Fortunately, I know I’ll be back there in May at least, so will make an extended trip to visit family and friends back home.

Other than that, I’m enjoying time with my munchkins as well as an active social life. Excited that this will be a short week as I head out of town on a little get away with about 15 of my friends! I guess that means it’s time to get back to the books so I can get all my school work done before mini-vacay starts!

All told, I have an incredibly busy life, and I love it. I’ve always known I can’t sit still, and certainly couldn’t just do nothing all day. Some may say I take it to the other extreme – on the go constantly. And there may be some truth to that, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I do take “breaks” to slow down a little bit, but must admit, I love living in my world of barely controlled chaos!

A couple friends and I went to an 80’s event at a local bar. I certainly went all out in my outfit (leggings, tutu, side pony, lace gloves, etc). Sadly not all did. But that’s okay, it was a good time anyway!

Also did a day trip to Richmond for some serious fun, which included a couple Cideries and meeting up with friends. My favorite, shockingly, was a jalapeño lime cider at a place called Busky’s. SO good.

Too Much Time Off Leads to Excess Cooking & Working Out

FOOD

The past week and a half have been pretty yummy, I must say. I get so excited when I get a new cookbook, that I have a tendency to cook a ton from it. I’ve also been off work, so that means even more food to cook and recipes to create! I made some homemade hemp milk, spicy tofu and Brussel sprout soup, Christmas Pizzas, my typical daily salads, and cream of broccoli soup (it’s been COLD). Of course I also went out for Thai one day because…it’s what I do. The kids were all at something (2 at the movies and 1 at a party), so I had a lovely solo dinner at my fav Thai restaurant with my trashy book and some wine. Perfect!

I also decided to play with riced cauliflower. I know it’s quite popular and I’ve been meaning to, but I have a tendency to make other things with cauliflower when I buy it. Like Indian food! (Which is on deck for tomorrow!). But – I was shopping and came across frozen pre-riced cauliflower. I mean really – if they’re going to make it THAT easy for me, who am I to pass it up?

So this evening, in addition to the broccoli soup (which is really just broccoli, celery, garlic, onion powder, vegetable broth, and coconut milk), I decided I wanted a creamy and cheezy cauliflower rice dish. And oh man, it rocked. My eldest was dying over it. Comfort food at it’s best – but sneaky in it being a much healthier version.

Crissie’s Creamy Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 8 cups riced cauliflower. If you rice your own, be sure it’s the post-ricing measurements.
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti because it’s what I had, but I’ve had Daiya’s often too, and like it)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Directions

  • Put the rice, coconut milk, cream cheese, and garlic salt into a large sauté pan (if you don’t have one big enough, a wok or even stock pot will work)
  • Cook on medium heat until it’s all heated through, cauliflower has reached a firm tenderness (I realize that sounds weird. Look – you don’t want it mushy and you don’t want it crunchy. So whatever you want to call that in between state), and some of the liquid evaporates, leaving a creamy consistency. About 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Seriously – YUM.

I realize this picture sucks – the steam was hitting my camera and I was clearly too close. But it’s the only one I had before it got demolished.

FITNESS

Runs, yoga, and lifting in the home gym. Thank GOODNESS for the big space heater in the garage, because it’s been bloody freezing out. I turn it on before going out for my run so it’s fairly warm when I get back. By the time I grab some water, go to the bathroom, and head in there, it’s comfortable.

This is also my fav time of year to do hot yoga. I mean – all the time is great – but there’s something amazing about the hot and humid room when it’s cold out.

And – I’ve decided that 2018 will be a run streak with a goal of 1000 miles. Wasn’t quite feeling the 2018 mi in 2018 challenge just yet, but I plan to beat 1000 easily. That’s less than 3 mi per day, and since I’m doing 1/2 marathon training the first half of the year and marathon training the second, I’m pretty confident that 3 mi per day average will be easy.

And just for fun, I picked up the massive calendar from ilovetorun.org! If you’re feeling particularly motivated (or crazy), pick one up too!

LIFE

Well, it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve been off since Christmas, and other than family time and solo time, I’ve also had some friend time (of course – love going out and about!). I will admit though, I’m going bonkers. I have no work to catch up on since pretty much everyone is off. The house is clean (a girl can only shampoo carpets so many times). I work out every day. I read. Watch some TV. And I’m going out of my mind with boredom. A couple days of chill are fine. But a whole week of it, and I feel like my brain is melting from misuse.

Oh well, I should enjoy it. Not only is it back to work on the 2nd (though I’m really stoked about a few interesting things going on for me), but since I tend to be a regular glutton for punishment, I am going back to school starting Jan 8th. Found a great doctorate program in strategy and innovation – so why the hell not, right? I realize I have an addiction problem to school. Those who know me well won’t be surprised at all. But I swear, this is the last time. Okay maybe not – I still have yoga teacher training planned someday. Anyway – the run streak is also so I make time for myself – something I tend to suck at when I have so much on my plate.

The week leading up to the holidays was full of work-related parties and those are always a good time. It’s nice to catch up with people outside of the office now and then.

Christmas itself was quiet. Most of my family is in Wisconsin, so it was really just me and the kids. M had to work on Christmas day, so we actually did the Christmas gift stuff around 2! Then it was homemade pizzas. We’re not the most traditional family – never really have been.

Probably the most exciting news is that my eldest made her first big girl purchase – a car! She’s excited and I am too.

As usual, leaving you with my life in pictures 🙂

Have a great rest of the year! We’ll chat soon 😉

Thankful Living

How on earth have 3 weeks passed since my last post?! Yikes – apologies. Been working, playing, cooking, and working out as always. Won’t bore you with ALL the details, but focus on the past week and fun Thanksgiving stuff!

FOOD

Some highlights include an awesome Indian feast I made one night and then took for lunch with a friend in the office. Tofu pot pie, which is always a family favorite. I think A about lost it when she saw leftovers! It’s Fall, which means soup season! Creamy broccoli and my all time fav from Post Punk Kitchen – Red Curry w/ Rice and Kale! And of course smoothies, green curry, and plenty of baked potatoes!

But – on to the groovy eats this Thanksgiving weekend!

We had a house full for Thanksgiving this year! Of course the kids and me (M had to work until 5), my Son 2 (one of M’s besties), my friends MM and RM from Virginia Beach, and OR, GR, and ER from Richmond! It’s hard to fathom the amount of food we had laid out, but to give you an idea – Tofurky (of course), stuffing, maple roasted carrots, sweet cornbread, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, homemade wheat-rosemary bread, pumpkin pie, and OR made an amazing Russian eggplant dish (to which she has still not given me the recipe!) and a gorgeous spinach salad. Son 2 made cupcakes! It blows my mind that there were pretty much no leftovers!

A posing at the snack bar!  We always have snacks out for grazing before dinner in the evening.  Pretzels, gluten free crackers, 4 different hummus flavors, mixed olive, etc)

Here’s A posing at the snack bar (we always have snacks out for grazing before dinner in the evening).

A bunch of the dishes prepped and waiting for their rotation into the ovens.

My plate!

Friday night was dinner at MM and RM’s house where they made a fully vegan meal just for me! Chili, corn bread, a cream cheese dip, and wine! Seriously – I have the bestest friends in the whole world!

FITNESS

Lots of running and hot yoga! Even a hike on one lovely weekend. Started using Endomondo and so far I like it. Only thing I haven’t figured out (though I have emailed support in case it’s user error!) – is the audio coach doesn’t let you know when you hit the halfway mark so you can turn around and head back. I for one, am not always the most observant person, was not paying attention to how long I’d been out nor how far I’d gone. In the end – on my last run I went nearly an extra 3 mi! Not a big deal, but annoying when it comes to a training run.

Post hot yoga. Not cute, but a good workout shouldn’t be!

Runs on chilly days!

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy few weeks. Monday nights are bowling with friends. Tuesday is Cribbage Club at a local pub. The rest of the days are mostly at home but sometimes out with friends. Plus traveling.

Shots with the boys at bowling! MC was clearly feeling a bit rowdy!

Speaking of traveling – my sister and niece came to visit last weekend! It was my nieces first flight, so that made it extra special. They landed Friday afternoon, and we (me, my sister, niece, and R) went up to DC for the night. We had dinner downtown, then the girls hung out in the room while C and I went to the hotel bar and caught up a bit. Lot’s gone on in the last year since we’ve actually seen each other, so it was nice. The next day was monuments and a tour at the Capitol Building. C got to scratch a bucket list item off when we went to the Library of Congress – which was cool.

We drove home the next day, the girls played Xbox and C and I started a movie. The next day we all went to see Justice League, and then it was pretty much off to the airport. A whirlwind trip for sure, but an awesome one.

This was a short week with the holiday’s so that was nice. Really loved how much time I got to spend with family and friends. As tough as the last year has been, in some ways it’s also been an amazing one. Finishing grad school was certainly a highlight. While a shock, the divorce has been a positive thing for me too. I have a lot of really amazing friends, the best kids, a job I enjoy, plenty of extra curriculars, and no reason to not love my life every single day. So yeah – lots to be thankful for.

Someone didn’t make it up to bed last night. And I don’t mean Kuma!

Stopped by and saw M at work today before heading to watch the Chelsea match!

And some other miscellaneous shots of the past few weeks! Hope you all had an incredible Thanksgiving (for my US friends) and a great week for the rest of my friends around the world!

Happy Halloween Week!

FOOD

Been fun being home for a solid week now – especially because I can spend so much time in the kitchen! Seriously – I feel sorry for people who don’t like to cook. The joy of creating something, and knowing exactly what’s in it – and then feeding people you love.

It also helps to have plenty of leftovers to take to the office to limit going out to eat all the time. Thrifty single-mom finances at work 🙂

Made a yummy roasted butternut squash and apple soup. So simple really – roast the squash, sauté some onion and garlic, peel and steam an apple (I have to peel it due to my allergy) – then toss is all in the blender with veggie broth and some GF flour. Soup for days!

This is probably my very favorite salad. Kale is so hearty, you can make this and it lasts for days. This one is kale, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, quinoa, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds tossed in a lemon-tahini dressing.

And when you have a lunch meeting at the office and offer to bring the grub – everyone eats like me!!

One of my favorite easy snacks. Herbed tofu and slices of tomato.

Of course it’s officially Fall, so that means ALL THE PUMPKIN THINGS. Simple but tasty pumpkin pie with silken tofu, brown sugar, pumpkin, and all the right spices.

And since I was gone for 5 days and my kids failed to eat the bananas (brat children), I had plenty to work with to make fun baked things. Enter – chocolate chip banana bread! I needed oat flour but didn’t have any – so I wizzed some oats in the Vitamix and made my own.

I also whipped up a batch of Cajun blackened tofu – of which R snatched more than half to eat. I also made a pot of caulipots (mashed potatoes and cauliflower together), and some homemade BBQ sauce. Totally fantastic lunch, if I do say so myself! (And look – I just did). One of many smoothies I had this week. Of course, I usually have one per day. Nothing better than starting your day with pretty much your entire fruit and veggie needs!I’m a big fan of meals that start with a baked potato. This one – with a yummy mushroom gravy and a side of sriracha tofu.Lunch today was actually quite the disappointment. The cocktail was awesome though, so that’s redeemable. The salad had to be made twice (yeah, vegan means hold the feta!), the Gardein was super chewy and kinda icky, and the waiter lied about the first dressing he brought. Long story – the dressing that salad came with had honey – so I asked for the other dressing (a Dijon balsamic). He brought the wrong one – I sent it back – he came back with the right one, claiming it was the first one (HELLO, it was a different color and flavor!). I can handle mistakes – not everyone really understands the difference between vegetarian and vegan – but to lie about it? Ugh. And finally, dinner tonight! Remember about being a fan of baked potatoes as a base for a meal? Seriously – totally under appreciated.The two kids who are home (one is at a conference) had the top version. Baked spud – but in the air fryer! Hello – life freaking changing – topped with refried beans, vegan cheddar cheese shreds, and sautéed mushrooms (in broth with liquid smoke, maple syrup, and soy sauce).The one on the bottom – mine – had the refried beans and vegan cheese, but no ‘shrooms – instead I had lettuce and a spicy coconut yogurt topping.But back to this air fried baked potato. Not going to tell you how to do it – because I learned it in JL Field’s book today! If you have or want an air fryer – you legit need this. The Vegan Air Fryer is so worth it.

FITNESS

I canceled the gym membership we rarely use (I really just like running and yoga anyway), but have been slowly building a home gym in the garage. Pretty new to weight training – to be honest, I think it’s SOOOOO boring – but I also know how important it is. I’m not getting any younger ;). Not that I’ll ever feel my age!

As much as I hate mornings, I’m trying to adjust to workouts before work vs after as I increase my social calendar activities! No more school and recent single life, means more time for friends and fun. That means it gets in the way of my normal evening workouts.

So 2-3x per week of weight training, and runs and yoga the other days. Runs are more like jogs (except today – had a bit of extra energy to burn) as my right quad keeps healing.

Not the cutest, but it’s functional. In the box is a power tower that I’m waiting for my son to put together (ahem – if you’re reading this M….please put this together!).

LIFE

The week started out with a Witch’s Tea with my eldest, her best friend (my D3 – aka, third daughter) and her mom at a Victorian museum in Norfolk. It was a lot of fun, the tea was yummy, and since the snacks weren’t vegan, A actually packed a picnic basket for me! She made a totally yummy pinwheel wrap of spicy hummus, tofu, cucumber, and tomato.

Monday night is bowling night, and of course my team dressed up. I kept up with the witch theme, and we had a total blast!

Of course the next day was Halloween! It is my absolute favorite holiday (followed by St. Patrick’s day!). I naturally wore a costume to the office. Which included a big meeting (about 40 people or so) at our largest hospital – to which I was the ONLY one in costume (they were all in suits). It was totally worth it though.

The rest of the week was pretty chill. Work, family, friends, a movie, brunch, furniture shopping, and sweet fluff balls. Can’t complain about life at all!

My now 14 yo daughter found this in her room this week – from a mommy and me trip we took to Florida when she was 8.

R had a scary allergy attack – covered in hives from her ears to her waist – and what made her better (besides a high dose of Benadryl) was a Kuma bear, blankets, tortilla chips, and movies! And at night, a snuggly Bumble while she’s trying to read in bed.To be honest – I don’t actually think her hives were related to her peanut OIT therapy. When I’m freakishly stressed, I get hives. She’s had a rough week, and I think that’s what it was. Her hives weren’t on her face or throat, nor did she struggle to breath – all things one would expect from a food allergy reaction. Regardless, we’ve moved back to evening doses for a week or two just to be sure.

Just some fun fluffs.

Today was literally the only day I had time to sit out on the back deck and enjoy my java in peace (in my Depeche Mode mug from the concert!).

And I’ve decided to end my Saturday with a bit of a Harry Potter movie marathon! And if you notice the title of the first one – you know it’s the British set. There are a few more scenes in these, and it’s the original Philosopher’s stone vs the American Sorcerer’s Stone. Getting the first 3 in before bed, and then try to get as many as possible tomorrow before heading out boating with friends! 80 degree weather in November? Hell yeah.