Jambo Friends!!

FOOD

What a busy week! Mostly excellent on the food front too.

Of course smoothies, salads, and my sunbutter/banana sprouted grain toast. But I also had a vegan houseguest for the past 4 days, so that was fun too!

I made a big batch of rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers for the week.

Thursday I made red beans with vegan andouille sausage, rice, and corn bread. Forgot to snap a pic of it tho!

For a BBQ party on Friday I made a big batch of pasta salad and a southwestern spicy rice salad that both went over well.

Saturday morning NS (my friend and guest visiting all the way from Kenya!) and I went to Yorgo’s Bageldashery where I shared my fav quick vegan breakfast – the Peterman wrap – and some fresh juices.

Sunday morning a bunch of us grabbed brunch at Bay Local where we split a hummus appetizer and a hummus/veg lettuce wrap. He also had avocado toast – which I skipped due to the whole allergy crap.

Sunday night I made orange “chicken” with soy curls. It was amazing if I do say so myself.

Smoothies this morning, and then a last lunch outing before taking NS to the airport. We went to Orapax because they have a huge vegan menu. We got a pizza to split as an appetizer (it wasn’t awesome), the Athenian “chicken” wrap to split (which was very good), and the Mediterranean Beyond Meat burger (which was ok), rosemary fries, and Greek potatoes. Holy stuffed, Batman. The beyond meat burger was a request because it is not available in Kenya. Neither of us were thrilled with it, so at least he knows he’s not missing out!

FITNESS

Gentle yoga and that’s it. It seemed to be getting better, and then over the weekend it sucked. Ugh. I’m literally to the point where I’m just going to go for a run and if I make it without wanting to cry, I’m good.

LIFE

Well, the week started off really busy. I had to get all my work AND school work done by mid-day Thursday. That meant a few late nights and early mornings and zero free time, but it was worth it fully.

Thursday evening NS arrived! One of our good friends was retiring from the Navy after more than 24 years of service (plus his naval academy years) and the masses were gathering. NS came as a surprise – and it was priceless. He and I had been planning for several months, and it was just perfect.

Thursday evening was quiet at home. My boyfriend and BS came over (they met NS in Florida last year) and them, NS, and two of mine hung out for a bit. Not late since NS had just traveled for 30 odd hours to get here, but it was still awesome.

Friday was the retirement ceremony, a ship tour (which I skipped – been there, stationed on them!), then swimming and drinks at my house until going to MM (our naval retiree honoree) for the BBQ with 60+ people. We got home around midnight and crashed.

My girl touring the ship with my friends

Saturday was a beach day followed by a sunset dolphin watching cruise – and there were TONS of dolphins. No awesome shots because the ride wasn’t smooth, but it really was awesome. I skipped the after party (I was wiped), but NS got to hang a bit longer and just uber’d back to my house.

If you look really closely, you can see dolphins

Sunday was brunch with some of the crew and then NS and I went grocery shopping then back to my house where we watched two of my fav veggie documentaries. NS has been pretty much a lifelong vegetarian, but went vegan at the beginning of the year (and LOVES it). We did a lot of Amazon prime shopping for things he can’t easily get back home and just spent a lot of time talking about changing how he cooks, etc. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned after the long time I’ve been vegan.

Sunday night was just dinner with me, NS, and all 3 of my kids. It was a ton of fun and hilarious and I loved that NS could share what a typical crazy dinner in my house is like. Lots of stories, jokes, music, and laughter.

Today was low key. We had our coffee on the back porch and talked – like we had every morning he was here. It is my favorite part of the morning – just sitting outside early and drinking coffee. He brought me two bags of coffee from Kenya, so we definitely indulged in that (the “right” way in a French press and not the drip maker!).

Our friend BR came over with 3 of his kids to visit for a while. Then it was off to lunch and then the airport to say goodbye – for now. I’m really hoping to take R and go visit next spring. Will depend on a few things of course, but I really want to see Kenya.

So – this is why I’ve been a bit absent this last week. It’s been a very busy and wonderful time, and I cannot get over how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life.

Back to business this week, but with an incredibly happy heart.

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. 🤣🤣

A Slave to the Data

FOOD

This morning started with a green smoothie. Spinach, banana, blueberries, cilantro, and Vega vanilla protein powder. While the Ripple is okay – I picked it up because I really like it’s nutritional profile – it’s not the tastiest protein out there. The couple extra calories on Vega is worth it.

A couple hours later it was another breakfast salad! This one had Morning Star vegan chicken strips in it since I didn’t have any pressed tofu. It’s good and super easy. Way easier than Beyond Meat’s version. Lighter too, which I tend to prefer.

My afternoon was a lunch date that included edamame and a totally yummy mandarin salad. It was huge though – only ate about 1/3 of it.

The goofball decided to stick his finger in the picture.

But dinner friends. Dinner was an adventure! During Amazon Prime days last summer I got a wicked sale on a KitchenAid attachment that turned veggies into strips of pasta! It looked freakishly complicated, so I just never used it. But tonight I was motivated, so I busted it out. It actually wasn’t complicated at all, and now I’m annoyed with myself I haven’t been doing this for the past 8 months that I’ve had it!

Crissie’s Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini – peeled and made into sheets of pasta (you can use thin rounds in that’s what you have available)
  • Any other veggies you have and want to use. I tossed in thinly sliced red onion and kale
  • 1 jar your fav marinara or batch of one homemade
  • 1 pkg of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (or meatless crumbles of choice)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Directions

  • Cook the Beyond Meat per package instructions.
  • Stir in the marinara and quinoa
  • Layer, starting with veggies, top with marinara mixture, repeat until it’s all gone!
  • Bake covered for 30 min in a 400 degree oven

It was really good and made 4 servings.

FITNESS

So I did go for that run last night. Wasn’t the greatest, but I managed.

Decided on another run today. This one was awesome and is the type of run that reminds me why I like it to begin with. I don’t know I’ll be back on running like I have in the past, but it’s definitely in the rotation – especially now that it’s getting nicer.

Okay, so people who know me, know I like data. Which is funny because I hate math, but I digress. Data tells a story. And if you don’t have the data, it didn’t happen.

SO – imagine my horror when I realized at 10am that I hadn’t inputted my passcode on my Apple Watch and had not gotten credit for anything I did from 530am until 10! So my hours standing will be off. My total calories burned for the day. I keep trying to think it’s no big deal. But I’m seriously a slave to the data and get all flummoxed when I don’t have it!

LIFE

Well it’s only been a day 😉

Last night’s web development class was really interesting. The focus was on defining the user profile, or persona while designing the app. It seems so common sense, but the way it was laid out was really awesome. We focused on the elevator pitch, user experience, app features, and context. Hard to believe that next week we start coding! Yikes – I haven’t coded in a long, long time…

MAD = Mobile App Design

Now, I don’t know that I’ll ever be good enough to really build commercial apps, but since I am involved in the whole start up world, I want to have at least a position of knowledge when working with app developers – so I know what’s realistic, etc.

My youngest wants to build an app related to her robotics scouting component, so I think that’ll be my class project!

Today ended up being a bit different than planned. The course I was supposed to teach got moved to the fall term. He realized he gave me zero time – even though I was mostly ready and could wing it, I did appreciate it.

That meant a work from home day, which was productive. At one point I hear Kuma zooming around. As she is wont to do. I don’t really pay much attention since I’m at my desk. I decided to look up – and she her tearing through the downstairs with some toilet paper in her mouth. I’ve been picking up bits all day….

Otherwise it was meetings, lunch, and kitchen fun.

And….bike shopping!

My eldest is excited by the nicer weather and mentioned a week or so ago about wanting to bike more. Thing is, her bike was stolen back in college and has really just been borrowing everyone else’s. And while her bday isn’t until May, I asked her if she would like a new bike (she did!), so we grabbed Kuma and went bike shopping! We’re fortunate to have a great local bike shop literally blocks from our house.

Meet Evangeline….(the bike)

The day has ended with a walk for the little bear and a nice evening with my kids.

I realize I’ve become my father in this regard…but I admit I miss him and his ridiculously long stories
Another beautiful day = sunshine fluffs!

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…

Brunch Shenanigans

FOOD

Lots of good eats this week!

My smoothies this week were the lazy kind I pick up at Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the way to work.

I actually made a real meal one morning though, and it was tasty. Tempeh and potato has with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Topped with tons of hot sauce!

Also an oldie, but goodie! Whole wheat toast with sunflower seed bread and sliced bananas.

Homemade soy yogurt snack.

BBQ tofu and cornbread!

Noodles with pasta and a simple coconut curry sauce.

And of course some tofu green curry on a lunch date with my boyfriend.

Soup for days (and days and days and…days). I made what is still my favorite soup ever. A double batch in the Ninja IQ yielded 26 cups! SO tasty!

I finally checked out Mesob’s Ethiopian in Virginia Beach. WOW. So good and I literally can’t wait to go back. I had the vegetarian plater (though everything is vegan), with Shiro Wot, cabbage and carrots, green beans and carrots, and the house salad with injera bread. I really wanted the Mesir Wot (I LOVE that dish), but they were upfront that it’d take 20 minutes to make that and I just didn’t have time. I have all the ingredients at home, so I should probably try my hand at making it.

Also had a Moe’s salad one day, and then out with my guy – first at one of our favorite wine bars and then dinner at One Fish Two Fish where I had a yummy rosemary gin martini and a delicious off menu vegan dish of spiralized veggies in a spicy tomato sauce.

Yesterday was a big family brunch event. Literally my boyfriend and I, all our kids, and my son’s girlfriend. It was a 2 hr wait, but that was fine. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit and the kids played Uno and we all sat around fire pits (all those over 21 had drinks – which was 5 and that was a HELL of a bar bill, but worth it). Then we went in and had yummy food.

Same wrap I got last time: black bean, potato, spinach, roasted corn, tomatoes. And a side of fruit

FITNESS

Went for 2 runs and then also checked out a new class called Regymen. It’s essentially the Y’s version of Orange Theory. I wore a heart rate monitor and cycled between 3 “stations”. One is treadmills, one is skiers and rowers, and one weights and bikes. There are display monitors around the room so you know what your heart rate is and in what zone you are. It also displays calories burned. In the end I torched 604 calories. Loved the workout. There was perhaps a period where I could’ve thrown up, but that’s ok. Worth it, and I’ll totally go back. Who doesn’t like a workout that makes you wanna cry?

Also did 2 yoga classes. One at the gym, one streaming at home.

LIFE

Pretty typical week. Work, school, family during the week, and fun (and school and cleaning and grocery shopping) on the weekend! I’ve meditated every day, usually in the morning, but if I’m too rushed (or didn’t wake up in my house), I do it later in the day.

On the work front, I hit my 15 year anniversary at my job. I got to pick from a catalog of gifts and got a 4 person tent. Will come in handy when R and I try our hand at camping in a few months! We had that one class at REI and there are a few more there and with a local hikers group I want to do first.

I stopped at a local wine spot while waiting for R to finish up at a school thing.

Not normally a white drinker, but I do love French wine and this was really tasty.

Yeah, I’m short. Feet didn’t touch the ground!

Brunch shenanigans! I LOVE what they do with the outside space to make the wait worth it. Tables, fire pits, a bar, blankets, and a room of games.

Smoke in their eyes made for a goofy shot- but all were warm

After brunch I went home for a bit, then over to my guys house for the night. We watched basketball and a show and had a pretty chill night. After the brunch fun, it was nice to just curl up on the sofa and chill.

And of course the fluffs.

About to get swallowed up by that bush

New morning coffee routine! These two hang out every morning

MY YEAR OF LESS

Ugh. I seriously have sucked paying attention. Which sucks, because I was doing SO well until the holidays. I do have a plan to get back on track – which is basically to reduce going out and only shop when I have a plan.

Boredom Be Gone!

FOOD

I honestly have very little to say here! It’s been a week of fend for yourself kind of meals, including leftovers. That means soups, sammiches, beans and rice, and pasta dishes.

Had a 10am meeting in Norfolk, so stopped at Yorgos for one of my fav bfasts!

Gf shells, peas, chickpeas tossed in Earth Balance and pepper

I did make tempeh and cauliflower buffalo bites in the foodie tho, using the air crisp function! Served with the last of the vegan ranch I made last week.

FITNESS

A couple runs and some bedroom yoga.

Started getting sick on Friday, so the weekend was not an overly active one.

LIFE

Vacation is over! Both work and school started back up, and I for one am not sad about that. No more boredom! I was getting very stir crazy. Went back to work last Wednesday, and classes started on Friday. Well, technically it was today, but the materials were available on Friday, so that meant I started then too.

I didn’t do a 530 wake up most days when I was on vacation. I was usually up by 6 most days, and 7-730 on the days I wasn’t feeling well. Figure sleep is more important for healing than anything.

Wednesday I went to Back Bay Farmhouse Brewery with my girlfriend LC. Was awesome to catch up, and the beers were pretty yummy. Much better than the ciders – only other time I was there was with my guy, and neither of us liked the ciders. Glad to know their beer is better. It’s a really cute place too. One of the beers I had was figs grown on their property that was then soaked in barley wine and then brewed into beer. Fun!

I was a little early, so was working until LC got there.

Friday night was supposed to be a fun night out with my guy and staying there. I tried, I really did. But I couldn’t be in denial anymore when I realized I actually felt like hell. Sore throat, body aches, ear ache, and fever. So – I went home and pouted.

Saturday one of my girlfriends was supposed to come over, but I had to cancel. Both me and R were sick.

Sunday I was actually feeling pretty well. Woke with a minor sore throat, but my appetite started coming back. So, it was off to Richmond with my boyfriend. One of my really awesome friends NS (from Nairobi) has gone vegan for 2019! Something I want to send him I can either order and pay insane shipping fees, or go to Richmond and buy it. Plus, we really love Richmond, so that was an easy choice.

We stopped first in Cary Town for spices and coffee, then to the store for NS’s surprise (he reads this, so I can’t tell you what it is….yet!). We then went to Buskey’s, which never ever is a bad idea. Had a totally amazing time (as always) and then went home. Stopped at Subway on the way, and I stayed at his place for the night. Good times.

FYI, Tart Cherry, Earl Grey Lemon Ginger, Blue Hedgehog, Heritage Blend, and (not shown but they had in the back so we got it anyway) jalapeño lime and grape expectations are all amazing.

On the Luna front, she’s assimilating quite nicely. She and Kuma actually get along great. They tend to sleep near each other and play often. Luna chases Kuma just as much as Kumabear chases Luna. It’s really fun and sweet and they’re both just so silly.

Ah yes. Can’t leave paper towels where kitties can get to them…
My bed. Kuma next to me, Luna on the pillow. At one point I woke and Luna had her paw on
On A’s bed as she studied

After R took a bath with a lavender bath bomb and lavender bubble bath….Luna apparently liked it so much (after the water evaporated) that she rolled around in it!

I LOVE my spice rack. Custom built from upcycled wine barrels. Excited that my boyfriend is making one too! Not from wine barrels, but I can’t wait to see it. It’ll be beautiful. And everyone who loves to cook should have a bitchin spice rack!

I was out of popcorn. Don’t judge.

My boyfriend bought R a camp chair she wanted. Let’s just say she’s not waiting until camping
season to use it…

At Starbucks doing some reading before classes started. And documenting in my Commonplace Book

MY YEAR OF LESS

Happy for the start of the year. Decided this week to cook from food I already had in the house. I always have a TON – beans, rice, veggies, and fruits are always in supply. I picked up a few fresh veggies and fruits, but otherwise have been making meals with what I have on hand.

I bought the gift for NS, a replacement spiralizer for me, and yesterday out in Richmond. Also some pet supplies for Luna.