Elevator Hell and Other Shenanigans

FOOD

Lazy eats – that’s the theme so far this week.

Like these Instant Pot Brussels sprouts with a baker. Simple, healthy, tasty.

Smoothies and oatmeal a few days.

Gluten-free shell pasta with peas for breakfast one day.

My sister’s black bean soup recipe!

The Other C’s Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cans black beans (NOT drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can veggie broth
  • 1 jar chunky salsa
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Sauté the onion and cumin in the oil until the onion is soft
  • Purée 2 cans of the beans with can of broth
  • Add the puréed mixture to the onion, add salsa and 3rd can of beans
  • Add lime juice
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes

It’s really my favorite black bean soup recipe, and SO good. I did some slight modifications because I’m lazy. I also try to minimize oil whenever possible, so I actually sautéed the onion in just a little bit of broth, then added the cumin, 2 cans of beans, and the broth – took the immersion blender to it, and then added the rest per the directions.

And a Mexican birthday dinner out which was veggie fajitas for me.

I made a cake (A decorated it) and homemade peppermint ice cream too. Was a really fun time and yummy eats.

And tonight is crockpot red beans and rice!

FITNESS

Had a lot of good workouts this week.

A couple runs at the gym on the dreadmill. A combo of music and having the TV with subtitle on made it semi-bearable. But it’s better than running in the wet and cold, so I’ll take it.

Also got that swim workout in! Honestly, it was awesome. And honestly – was tough too! But – time in the hot tub then sauna after was heavenly.

Also did some weight training since I was there. Nothing crazy, but it’s a start. Took advantage of the ActivTrax program at the Y, which makes it relatively foolproof – which I definitely need when it comes to weights.

LIFE

A whole year down, baby! That’s right – the first year of my doctorate was wrapped when I submitted my last paper Tuesday night. And that was 3 whole days early! To say I’m proud is an understatement. Been a wild year for sure. But – love it. Love learning and being challenged.

Kuma keeping me company as I wrote my last paper!

One relatively horrifying thing happened this week though. I got stuck in a %#$%^#$ elevator!! I had just finished a late lunch and was heading to my car to head to my evening meeting. My car was on the 5th floor of the parking garage, and the elevator got stuck somewhere between 3 and 4. My cell had no service and my first several attempts to raise help via the elevator emergency call button was fruitless. I did eventually get through, but it took way too long. As a bit of background – I’m wicked claustrophobic. So I found myself sitting on the floor of an unmoving elevator crying. After a few, I realized I had my ipad too, and tried that. Sure enough – there was 1 bar, so I could text. I texted my oldest and my boyfriend. He offered to come out, but that wouldn’t do any good. Was still sweet though.

It included this FB post.

Which my best friend saw and immediately texted me. I love her.

I was eventually freed. And I won’t lie – I was a mess by the time they got to me. The building employee actually wanted me to come to the lobby to fill out an incident report. BY GETTING IN AN ELEVATOR. I ever so politely told him to get bent. Gave my name and number and took the stairs up to my car. Fun. Times.

Other fun this week was getting my downstairs bathroom done. When we ripped up the floors, we found water damage – which was beyond our abilities. So I hired a contractor who had to rip everything out and replace the subfloor. They’re in there as I write this finishing up, and I’m SO excited. It’s the last thing – other than grabbing those rugs I want.

Sure my neighbors loved my toilet on the front lawn

Of course there was coffee and Kuma and other shenanigans, like a holiday party at my friend’s M&R’s house last night! No pics of that though. Hmmm…

Braved the crazy storm because she REALLY had to go!

Major uptick is spam calls. This was a first tho.

Not bad! Will be 1-3 books higher by years end tho since school is done

VB has these huge snow globes all over Town Center and I love them
So this happened.

This is a new misspelling for me

Having a little dinner party this Saturday, which I’m looking forward to. Latin themed with tamales, empanadas, arepas, and other fun eats!

MY YEAR OF LESS

I’ll be honest, not sure I have much to report here. No real expenditures now that Christmas shopping is over. Did go out to eat and am going to the movies with my kids on Sunday (bought tix already). That’s about it.

Awesome Weekend and NO MORE CARPET

FOOD

All yummy on the food front! Managed only one smoothie since my last blog post! You know it’s getting chilly out when smoothie intake tanks.

Did have lots of other fun stuff tho – and a mixture of eating in, eating out, and travel meals.

The fickn quesadilla from Hell’s Kitchen in Norfolk.
General Tso’s Tofu out w my guy

Whole wheat roti

One of foods I really liked growing up was egg salad. Thankfully, it’s easy to make a vegan version, and I literally seen dozens. My stand by is so simple, but I make it all the time. The firm silken tofu from Mori-Nu is perfect. I cube it, put it thru an egg slicer, and mix with vegan mayo and mustard. Sometimes I add things, like onion, celery, relish, etc, but not this time!

Also made a vegan mac that’s an oldie but goodie from the very first vegan blogger I ever followed – and have been lucky enough to meet several times now. Her food is amazing and very much in line with how I like to cook (low or no fat/oil).

This time of year I really go for the kale-based BAS (Big Ass Salad for new readers) always with a tahini dressing and loaded with whatever I have.

So simple! Equal parts water, lemon juice, tahini, and nutritional yeast. Plus salt.
Love my Tribest personal blender for dressings. My vitamix is just too big for that.

My guy spent the weekend and we had a couple really yummy meals. Friday night was Italian and listening to A tell funny work stories (she works in the emergency department).

Last night was him on the grill and me on the baked mac no cheese! So excited to finally have the Beyond Meat brats! Rounded out with salad and rosemary/garlic grilled potatoes, it was awesome.

Made the mac gluten free for my son’s gf who can’t have gluten

FITNESS

Embarrassing to say – not a whole lot! Had about 2 runs and some yoga at home. That’s it. The good news is that as of today, I officially have my garage back to normal – and that means the home gym!

LIFE

THE FLOORS ARE DONE! Finished them on the 10th, and the rest of the trim this past Friday. We all signed the back of the last board that went in. I do have to get a professional in to do the downstairs half bath, but otherwise, they are finished – and totally beautiful! The house is largely put back together – just a few things I need to pick up yet, but I seriously couldn’t be happier.

Veteran’s Day I went to lunch with my guy, one of my really good friends, her husband, their son, and his brother and his wife. All but two of us are either active duty or vets, so it was a free lunch and a chance to see J and K who moved to MD this past summer – so it was awesome they were in town.

I had a quick work trip in Chicago last week that went really well. It was ridiculously cold – but otherwise had a great time.

I always stay at the Palmer House when I’m in Chicago. They have this amazing old world apothecary called Merz’s that I just love. I definitely picked up a few things, including fun bath stuff for while I was there.

The conference was about consumerism – and this was probably one of my favorite sessions about DIY care.

I mentioned my guy spent the weekend. Friday after the trim was done and dinner eaten, we watched a movie. I had been wanting to see the new Blade Runner 2049 since it came out, and we were going to rent it. Did some reading and found we really should watch the original 1982 one. I had seen it once, but I think I was 17 or so and didn’t remember it. I’ll be honest – I REALLY wanted to love it. But it was just strange. We were both not thrilled, so decided to not watch the new one after all. I probably will someday – when I don’t have to pay for it 😏.

My great friend NS from Nairobi sent a care package to me of coffee! His friend is in Virginia Beach for a dental conference, and brought this for me. Definitely had the one on the right this morning! It was so good.

Saturday we did a bunch of errands – took carpet to the dump, got his tools back to his house, and returned all the extra boxes of wood I ended up not needing. Then it was dinner, and he and I and my son and his girlfriend went out. Starting at Birch, then Torch, a brief stop at Grain (was WAY too busy), and then ended at Hell’s Kitchen. And of course we used Lyft the entire night.

Today was naps, school work, and laundry and not much else ☺️.

All told, it was a really perfect weekend, and I am one lucky girl.

Good progress on the becoming a morning person thing. I finished the Miracle Morning and have been using it as a blueprint for my own mornings. So yay!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Other than home improvement stuff, this is going quite well. I’ve started Christmas shopping and have a very set budget for it – so here’s hoping I stick within it! I use the Christmas Club account through the credit union at work, so that makes a big difference. R, Kuma, and I are going to WI for the holidays, so there will be more expense than planned, but it’ll be fine.

I do need to buy a bookshelf for my study. The one I had was broken, so this is a replacement. I also need to pick up a couple area rugs as well and I’d like a wingback chair and table for the sitting area in my study. I’m looking at Wayfair and Birch Lane and will see about Black Friday furniture sales. The rugs can wait – will be in the DC area in a couple weekends and will hit up IKEA since ours doesn’t open in Norfolk until Spring.

Crissie’s Mojo Reclamation Project!

FOOD

Been a fairly typical week or so of eats. Not as many smoothies – as the weather gets colder, I tend to lose my feel for them. Though if I feel I haven’t eaten balanced in a day, I’ll have one anyway.

BUT – I’m always down for soups and salads for any meal – including breakfast.

Slow cooker corn chowder! Ate this for days
Part of a Whole Foods soup and salad breakfast. This is their carrot ginger soup

My guy and I had Chinese takeout on my back porch
And he made tofu/potato tacos!

We went out to lunch, and I had the spicy eggplant – which was delicious

Tofu stir fry

Lentil snobby joe’s in the slow cooker

FITNESS

I’ll be honest, I had a couple runs and a couple weight lifting videos, but it felt more like I was going through the motions that really loving the workouts. They’re feeling stale and when that happens, I’m more likely to not workout, and that’s just not cool. Probably doesn’t help that my home gym has been largely covered in wood dust for a few months, though honestly, that’s just an excuse.

So what’s an uninspired girl to do to rediscover her mojo? Well, for me – I read. It can be blogs or magazine articles for inspiration (I mean, when someone with physical disabilities still gets off their ass to run, there is literally NO excuse for me to stay on the sofa when I’m fully abled). And I can say I just have no time – that I’m either working, studying, taking care of my family, and trying to have a social life. But again – that’s just excuses to justify being lazy.

But what I did dust off was an old book I read years ago that really inspired me in the first place. And it’s not a hippie self-help you-can-do-it kinda book (though there is nothing wrong with it). It’s a snarky, hilarious, and still manages to be inspiring book. So – here’s hoping it helps with my running mojo.

LIFE

Life trucks on as usual, and it’s mostly been awesome, though I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment. Something I was really hoping to have happen didn’t, and while it’s not entirely unexpected, it’s still a downer. So, time to dust off and figure what to d next I suppose.

Halloween came and went, and that’s my very favorite holiday. My neighborhood does a good job of making it fun, and seeing all the kids was adorable.

Got to spend some time with my guy, but never enough. That’s okay though, we manage and I’m grateful for all the time I DO get.

Last weekend and this coming weekend are all about finishing the floors! I’ll be so stoked to have them done, and they’re looking really, really gorgeous.

School is fine. Only one class this term (though it’s 6 credits vs the two 4 credit classes I’ve been taking). The workload is high, but not unmanageable, which is good.

This is a book written by one of my Darden MBA professors. Using it as a reference in a doctoral paper I wrote!
My guy’s son and I are wicked procrastinators, so couldn’t help sending him these

Kuma is as cute and odd as ever. I took her to run errands the other day, and we stopped at the vet so I could get a copy of her shot records – girl is in need of a spa day and the place I used to take her closed. It took us a half hour to get out of there because all the staff kept passing her around. What can I say – she’s a charmer!

On an early morning Kumaventure to get breakfast before floor fun started!
There was a spot of sunlight, but when it moved…she didn’t

On November 2nd, Starbucks was giving away their free reusable cup, and I was there early enough to get one! And I got another one too…oops. Impulse buy. Bad Crissie.

And of course yesterday meant voting! While it didn’t go all the way I wanted it to (hello Beto and Gillum and Abrams), all was not hopeless. Having so many women in congress is historic, and I hope that will bring something great to the legislative process. And Walker is out in my home state, and I am not sad to see his toxic ass go.

The evening ended with a working happy hour, so that’s never a bad thing 🙂

So on the whole “becoming a morning person” thing, I clearly fell off THAT wagon! But, I’m back on it and it’s going pretty well. In my Morning Sidekick Journal (that I’ve ignored for a while now), there was a recommendation for a book called the Miracle Morning. I have Kindle Unlimited for Amazon, and it was on there – including the audio book, so there was no reason to not get it. I started listening to it weeks ago, but stopped. Mainly it was about an accident that almost killed him and his perseverance, blah blah blah. BUT – the other day I put it back on, and once it got into the science of why mornings are amazing, it started to peak my interest. I’m still not done with it, but it certainly inspired me enough to give it another go. One thing I did was move my phone/apple watch docking station to my dresser and not on my bed. So, I have to get up to turn it off, and since I’m up – well. I’m up! Don’t get TOO excited – it’s only been 2 days – but I’m appreciating the tips, tricks, and guidance of the book, so hopefully this can become a good habit.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Okay, pretty much fell off this too! While I haven’t gone on some crazy shopping spree or anything, I haven’t really been tracking either. I know I’ve gone out to eat/drink more than the monthly $200 allotment, for example. I haven’t tabulated my October spend yet, though between a weekend away and birthday fun, I know it’ll not be what I was hoping for. I’m sure all is not lost (I did stick to most of the plan), but certainly need to be more accountable to my goals. Guess I have a lot of mojo to reclaim, huh? That’s cool though. I know I can.

Death to Carpet!!

FOOD

Damn, a week and a half flies by! Especially when you have about 5 days without a kitchen!

But oh no, there was no starving. There was lots and lots (and lots) of curry!

We also held our typical Taco Tuesday! My guy and his two sons came over, and it was all about the tacos and a movie! I used our garden tomatoes and jalapenos, cilantro, and a salsa spice blend from Penzy’s for some homemade onion-free salsa (my guy hates onions), and also whipped up Terry Hope Romero’s Green Aji Sauce – which is probably one of my favorite condiments ever.

Otherwise it was salads, pizza, subway, and Moe’s.

FITNESS

A couple runs, some yoga, and a whole hell of a lot of home improvement fun. I’m assuming ripping up flooring and staples for days counts. According to my Apple Watch it sure the hell did!

LIFE

All about dem floors! I mean, other life related things happened (work, school, some community networking), but really….FLOORS.

So a bit of a background. I hate carpet. Always have. Having pretty horrific seasonal allergies and just the fact that it’s ugly, I’ve always preferred not having carpet (except maybe bedrooms).

My ex and I bought our house in Jan 2015, and the entire upstairs is carpet (one big one, as it happens), and the downstairs living room, formal dining room, and study all had carpet. Tan in one room, and blue (yes…pale blue) in the other two. I’ve always despised it. But – he liked carpet, and since we put a ton of money into ripping off hideous wallpaper and painting the house, it wasn’t a battle I was going to fight.

But then divorce happened, I kept the house, and I CAN DO WHAT I WANT. Step one was landscaping (I hated the rocks and now the rocks are buh bye). Now…FLOORS!

Phase 1 was this past long weekend where my guy and his youngest son, me and my youngest daughter did the lion’s share of the work. My good bud M came by for quite a few hours on Saturday to lend his much-needed expertise. Even A got on her hands and knees to rip up staples in the kitchen before going to sleep before working nights.

10-15 hour days, and we managed to get half the downstairs finished, and you know what – it was hell, it was hard, but it’s freaking beautiful! There was some pretty severe water damage by my back door, and that took a full day to repair. And the ripping up of the linoleum (kitchen, eat-in kitchen) took a ton of time. There were literally staples every 1/2-2 inches spaced out over it – which took a long time to rip up. I think whomever put these floors in when the house was built in 2008 were paid by the staple. Ugh.

On a less than fun note I did have a severe allergic reaction. Most likely the wood underlayment was primed with a latex-based primer before the linoleum was put down – and I’m freakishly allergic to latex. So…the sheets of hives all over my torso were just a blast, let me tell ya. It also took me 2 days to clean all that damned dust up. But you know what? Worth it!

And of course Kuma was our foreman and mascot, keeping us on track and motivated!

So behold…FLOORS!!!

Before/During…

Half the house now….

There was severe exhaustion….

Well, with Kuma, she’s always tired…but I did catch the wee one passed out on her bedroom floor one night. Poor kid hadn’t even made it to her bed!

And as inviting as the pool looked, there was just no time!

But – I couldn’t be happier with how it looks. There were a lot of curve balls with oddly shaped areas that needed to have the boards cut to, plus the water damage, so the thought is, other than the bathroom, the rest of the downstairs should be a bit better. That’s our theory anyway!

Phase 2 will commence later in the month. Heading out on vacation on Friday and then R is going to visit her dad in CA. Figure another 4 days of work and the whole project will be done and I can have a death to carpet dinner party!

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….