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 😉

It’s Party Season!

FOOD

Mostly simple meals, even when traveling the few days I had to this month. Salads, soups, smoothies, curries, and I’ve totally gotten on the ONO (overnight oats) bandwagon. Seriously – 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I like the So Delicious Original Coconut Milk), and a healthy amount of Penzy’s Apple Pie spice.

Stir Fried Mushrooms, BBQ Tofu, and Mashers

FITNESS

I finally built the Power Tower in the garage, so there’s a full fledged mini gym, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of it. FYI – pull ups suck.

Also hot yoga and runs as well, plus a lovely trail run.

And on that note, I signed up for a half marathon for later in the year. I got out of the race habit when I started grad school, and I’ve really missed it. It’ll be nice to have a race to train for again.

Also, downloaded a weather app called WTForcast. Love it. This was this evening’s weather as I prepped for a night run….

LIFE

Busy busy busy. But that’s nothing new, and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I was just home all day all the time. Yuck. I’d be bored senseless and probably become pretty damned boring myself!

Work has been really good. I’m liking my new role a lot – my focus is on building a new program and core competency in innovation, and I love having so much freedom to develop that framework myself. Fun stuff.

I had to do some traveling to attend a staff Christmas party out of town, but it was a nice trip. The party itself was nice, if not small. I also got to see one of my girlfriends who lives up there, so that’s always a bonus!

Last Monday was the UVA Darden School of Business Alumni holiday party for local alums. Three of us from my class went (the 4th was vacationing in Hawaii – the brat), as well as a couple people from work who went to Darden as well. It was a nice evening, and a great chance to network with local alumni.

R had her first high school orchestra concert this week! She plays bass and they all honestly put on an amazing performance.

On Friday R and I went to a pre screening of Jumanji. It was hilarious and we had a blast.

R and I hit up the salon yesterday. She got her hair cut and I got a pedi (sparkly red for the holidays!).

Then it was off to an ugly sweater party at one of my bowling team mates house. That was a ton of fun. My sweater was interactive. Basically a drinking game. The front is a target and people are given Velcro balls to throw at it. Funny enough, one of the other party goers had a similar sweater! All in all, fun stuff.

Otherwise, it’s been normal life stuff. Kids, fluffs, and friends!

Have a great week!!

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.

Guess I’m No Quitter After All

Okay guys, I really came close to quitting blogging.  Part of it was because I know how sparse my posts have been, and I also started to feel I lost my blogging mojo.  Since becoming single, I’ve spent so much of the past few months finding my “new normal”, that I just felt a little out of touch with how I’ve blogged in the past.  But today I realized I’m not actually done, so I guess I’m no quitter after all 🙂

FOOD

There’s literally no way possible for me to show you the eats of the past 6 weeks.  Actually, I probably could, but that would just be way too long!

It’s been pretty typical fare: smoothies, soups, curries, baked potatoes, and the like.  A lot of traveling too, so some more fun eats as well.

made some homemade soy yogurt! Love this stuff. I make it super tart so it can be used in place of things like sour cream too

nice krispies!

spicy tofu soup!

Of course I had a TON of meals on the road the past month.

my survival basket from Whole Foods in San Jose (wine, fruit, etc).
this, my friends, is called a Paffle. It’s two waffles, with tofu scramble in the middle! A bit challenging to eat, but so creative!
can’t go to Florida and NOT go to Epcot. Well, I guess maybe you can, but I know I can’t! It was the international food and wine fest, which was just perfect

I was in Tampa for my bday and the group I was with sent this to my room. Very sweet (even though I didn’t eat it, it’s the thought that counts!)
Dallas had the BEST Mexican and Tex-Mex fare ever.
ugly pic, but amazing fajitas!

oddly super-green curry. But yummy.
got to see my good friend JG in Dallas! Lovely evening with wine and Thai food!

typical hotel vegan food offerings….
so the conference in Dallas specifically asked for dietary needs. I said vegan. NOTHING they served was. So they went and got me two bananas one morning. Ugh.

FITNESS

As it happens, I tore my right quadricep in that soccer game in mid-September, so I was sidelined for weeks!  I was allowed to eventually do gentle yoga, but otherwise it was walks and upper body workouts only.

Just yesterday I finally felt fully ready to get back into some of my normal routine.  So – I went to Hot Yoga!  Hopefully this week there will be more of that, and some runs and boxing too.  Being still just never works well for me.

hot, sweaty, stinky (I imagine anyway), and incredibly happy!

 

LIFE

Well, let’s see.  Lots in the past 6 weeks of course.  I had trips to San Jose, Tampa (with a side trip to Orlando), Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Dallas.

me an my soon to be ex brother in law (but will ALWAYS be family) in San Jose!
hands down my fav theme park

Also, my youngest went to her first school dance!  Homecoming – and I wonder where my little girl has gone.

hair appt – where Raven the miracle worker actually tamed her crazy curls

And other fun stuff!

bought this at Epcot. Couldn’t help myself (Disney junkie that I am!). Micky heads with the epcot ball design
waiting for my flight home from Tampa
part of my 7 hr delay on my flight to Dallas
me and the oldest cabbage at Howl o Scream!
out with HT for wine flights, olives, and hummus
silly selfie out walking Kuma
me holding my baby boy (okay, JG and KG’s baby boy) and R’s 3rd bday party.
at our IT charity Nerd Golf event
all three in the same space without trying to eat each other. Clearly I’m cooking and they each think I have something they want
came home from some travels to find this on the fridge. Man, I love my kids…
carpooling with the eldest as her car was in the shop

Ginny wanting to come with me
with friends at Wine Fest!
and by FAR the best bday meme I got! This from OPR (who I also saw at Howl o Scream)

 

 

 

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…