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.

Can I Please Have the Only Non-Bourbon Drink in the Bourbon Bar?

FOOD

You can totally tell when school is back in session – my posts tend to drop to weekly! I’ll try to be better about that, but no promises.

Smoothies are making a stronger comeback this week. In the winter it’s not always my fav thing, but truthfully, I just feel better when I have them.

So I cheated one day. sue me.

Other homemade eats.

Noodles, chickpeas, and green beans tossed in a Red curry sauce (coconut milk, red curry powder

Actually R’s lunch – I’m allergic to apples. Tofu, apples, and a salad
Creamy mushroom/tofu stroganoff

Mojito beans!

And dining out.

Started with tofu harvest curry and brown rice on a lunch date with my guy.

Hummus & veggie plate at the winery Thursday night
A bottle of one of our fav cabs.

Steamed tofu roll
Pad Thai w tofu. Only “ok”. Not my fav Thai place and they’ve often screwed up my fav tofu

Potato & black bean wrap + fruit for brunch on Saturday. SO good.
Almond milk vanilla latte.

FITNESS

Two runs and a weight circuit at the Y.

LIFE

Definitely been a busy week. With school back in full swing, the days are once again flying by.

Luna has been having a grand ole time, and she and Kuma definitely get along very well. They’re both cute as can be.

Can’t see Luna, but she’s in her tunnel. They both tend to join me for my morning java!

Well…she like rice.

Thursday after work my guy and I went for wine and apps and then shopping.

Friday after work I went back to the mall to exchange something (got the wrong color) then stopped for Thai before heading over to my boyfriend’s house for the night. We watched Game Night, which was actually a lot of fun. Can’t really go wrong with Jason Bateman.

Saturday morning was a lazy one and we eventually headed out to brunch. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit, which neither of us had heard of, but had vegan brunch options so off we went. It was a bit of a hike from his place, but holy crap – it was awesome! Place was packed and there was an hour wait, but well worth it.

They have a ton of outside seating, an outdoor bar, fire pits, and handed out blankets and games. He and I sat under a blanket on a bench right in front of a fire pit sipping on our drinks! The restaurant itself is a big farm house and was ridiculously adorable. Really loved everything about it.

Very spicy and perfect vegan Bloody Mary

Then we were off to the Eastern Shore and Cape Charles. First stop was Buskey’s. Same cidery that we love in Richmond has a tasting room a bit closer to home. We sat and chatted with the woman working there. She happens to be a teacher in VB but also waitresses at a different restaurant when it’s open during the tourist season as well as Buskey’s. Does make me sad to think that so many of our teachers have to work multiple jobs.

Silly cider selfie

Then we walked the block or so over to the Cape Charles Distillery where we had a couple drinks, met another couple (she and I have the same first name), and spent some time talking to the (slightly odd) bartender. But overall, very fun and neat place.

The Resolution! The only non-bourbon drink on the menu. AC would be disappointed in me…
bourbon is her fav drink

We were going to hit up Bee and the Biscuit again this morning with our kids, but the weather was horrible and the rain would’ve negated the cool fire pits. So – we’ll try again next weekend!

Today was all school work, all day. That’s okay though. It topped off a really awesome week.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Umm. I shopped. Not crazy obsessively, but it seems like I ran out of a lot of personal products (makeup – even tho I don’t wear much – and skin care stuff) all at the same time. And a watch charger to leave at my boyfriend’s house.

I’m finding it really hard to get back to the groove of my rules. Going to reread the book that kicked all this off to begin with!

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.

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.

Taking Procrastination to a New Level (but still getting my stuff done!)

FOOD

Been a fun week in the kitchen. Breakfasts have been both smoothies and oatmeal most days, though I did have soup a few times too.

Thing is – I love smoothies. I love getting fruits and veggies (and often protein via some Vega or Garden of Life) first thing in the morning. But – when it’s cold, it’s less appealing. So by combining my smoothies with oatmeal, I’m finding that not only am I full for HOURS, I’m also more inclined to enjoy my smoothie since I also have a warm dish.

Speaking of soups….made three different ones this week! A broccoli “cheddar” that was amazing, a roasted mushroom that probably needed less onion (per my guy – he HATES onions) that I didn’t blend well enough, but for a non-onion hater, it was yummy, and a huge batch of lentil/veggie soup that we ate for days….and days and days.

Both the broccoli and mushroom soups came from his book:

The lentil was made up. It’s sort of a mix and match recipe…

  • 1 bag green lentils
  • 9 cups veggie broth
  • 3 tbs Tamari (gluten free soy sauce – could use soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
  • Veggies & spices of choice!
  • Slow cook on low 8 hours

I added corn, potatoes, onions, and carrots for veggies. And oregano and thyme for spices.

Hot soup and fresh bread ready when we all got home from work/school!

With a big dollop of Earth Balance

Added quinoa to the soup for breakfast yesterday

There was also a big kale salad. I LOVE a good kale salad, and it’s perfect to make in big batches because the heartiness of the kale means it keeps for several days without getting soggy. And since the death lettuce (aka, Romaine) is still out there, all the more reasons to stick to kale as my green of choice.

Kale, quinoa (I tend to make a big batch of some grain on Sunday’s to enjoy thru the week – this week it was quinoa), tomato, blueberries, cucumber, and onion. Topped with one of my fav tahini dressings from Oh She Glows. I often skip the oil and replace with water though.

So I got a Ninja Cooking System with Auto-IQ just over a year ago (right before Thanksgiving last year), and kind of forgot I had it. But, since having to move furniture around to get the floors done, I found it again in the bottom of the hutch. I realized I hardly use it, though it’s a really groovy thing. So I tried to use it for several things this week. I used it for the batch of quinoa (I typically do stovetop or in the rice cooker), but also played with the Auto-IQ for making the broccoli soup (came out perfectly!) and used it with the slow cooker feature for the lentil soup. Definitely going to keep that sucker out more often. It has 4 features – slow cooker, stove top, steamer, and baking. But also the IQ feature is cool. Been using the recipe book it comes with to get a better sense of how to use it for my needs, but it is fun.

R and I went for pizza one day between major errand running, and out for Thai once for dinner with my guy and his youngest.

Yes, I fall on the “pineapple belongs on pizza” camp. Come at me.

FITNESS

Runs and yoga. It’s been cold, and running in the cold (really, doing anything in the cold) isn’t something I dig. I’m thinking of adding in swimming a few days a week. I really, really miss swimming.

LIFE

Been a good week! Started off with grocery shopping – which is something I actually really enjoy.

Lot’s of school work and studying, which is nothing new, but still went well. My term ends next week Friday, and I’m trying to avoid the last minute push to get stuff done. I mean – I’m a master procrastinator, and certainly suffered from that this week, but I’m still ahead and determined to stay that way so I can enjoy the week and the break before my next term starts in January.

It was also the Feast of St. Nick’s! We celebrate by putting up our decorations on the night of the 5th, and everyone gets a small gift and treats on the morning of the 6th.

My oldest A loves to cook – especially bake – and has been looking for something to document her recipes.

R specifically asked for ear muffs.

And I got this for M! An old blogger friend has her own Etsy shop called Rap Mugs, and this was just perfect!

And of course Kuma got treats too!

The rest of the week was coffee, silly selfies between me, kids, and my guy, a fun (and cold) night out at a football game, getting the side table for the reading spot, and Kuma in her various forms of mostly being lazy.

Trying to get in by A and sleep…

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, November stats are in and they’re BAD. I got away from daily tracking, and it’s crazy how easy it is to spend a small fortune just going out to eat. Like $800 worth! Clearly blew it last month. This month may be tough due to holiday travels, but I seriously need to get my butt in gear. So I’m calling November a total fail….ugh.

And while I’m done Christmas shopping – I went over budget there too.

Comfort vs Survival

FOOD

Fairly typical eats. A couple smoothies and oatmeal largely in the mornings – especially cold ones.

Minor explosion in the microwave. Oops.

A few outings for Thai, Indian, and a veggie burger.

Vegan burger at Yard House – out with R before an event

Ezekiel bread, sunflower seed butter, banana, and agave

On Thursday a couple friends came over (long overdue hanging out), and I made a build your own taco bar with tofu/potato tacos, Venezuelan black beans, and a totally yummy slaw. The slaw was freaking amazing – A and I kept picking at it while waiting for people, and she eventually just ate a big bowl full.

Ate mine as a bowl topped with Daiya shreds, hot sauce, and pickled jalapeños

FITNESS

Went for 3 runs last week and did yoga twice. Ankle feels totally fine and my calf was mostly good too, yay!

Now, must avoid any other dumb injuries…..

LIFE

Speaking of injuries, R started physical therapy for her wrist this week. She hurt it about 6 weeks ago. No break, but the doc was calling it a sprain/soft tissue damage and she was in a splint for a month. She has to do her exercises at least 5 days per week, and she’ll go to physical therapy weekly for the next 6. Overall though, she’s healing nicely. Was worried for a bit there that she’d need a cast.

On Tuesday, R and I went to an Camping Basics class at REI! It was really interesting, and we learned a great deal. For example, the differences between men’s and women’s sleeping bags are both in where the zipper is, and in what the number ratings actually mean.

For example – I’m eyeing this beauty right here.

See the 20? That means it will be comfortable for me to sleep in when the weather is as cold as 20 degrees.

Now see this one? Same manufacturer. Same numeric rating.

The difference? This means that a man can survive in weather as cold as 20 degrees. He will NOT be comfortable. He simply won’t die.

Our camping instructor was very specific that we understand this. And then complained at how dumb it is to have a difference at all. Men would like to be comfortable too. And women care about not dying. So yes – the numbers on a sleeping bag are about comfort vs survival.

Wednesday I focused on getting the majority of my school work done. Everything was read and 2 papers written. I spent a bit of that time at Starbuck’s with R as she did school stuff too.

Thursday was my friends A and D and his wife P over for dinner, drinks, and laughs.

Friday was running around like crazy, and then Saturday morning it was off to Alexandria for a holiday celebration with my guy and my grad school friends. Our hostess A was perfect as always, and the event was a ton of fun. We did a white elephant gift exchange.

We stopped in Richmond on the way up for a store I wanted to hit up for one of our gifts, then got to Alexandria, stopped for a drink or two (I had a sangria + margarita that was pretty tasty!). Then to the hotel for a while, then dinner and off to the party!

Today was up early to hit the road. I spent some time suffering for the amount of fun I managed the night before (ugh), but after a nap and some caffeine and food, I felt fine enough to get the rest of my school work done.

Me just getting comfy on the drive home

So all told, awesome festive weekend full of friends, fun, and the best boyfriend/babysitter a girl could have 😂.

Okay, so this is a screen shot of part of a book I’m reading – all still part of the becoming a morning person gig (which honestly is going pretty well). It talks about people who are overwhelmed so they hate mornings, and then people who are underwhelmed. This really spoke to me and think that’s largely been me. Kind of goes back to a previous post about not having that 5 year plan worked out. Thankfully it’s coming together a little bit at a time.

MY YEAR OF LESS

I don’t have my November stats yet (Quicken doesn’t post pending charges, so it’ll be a few days), so that report will come in the next post.

I have all my Christmas shopping done with the exception of my guy’s youngest, but I know what I’m getting – just need to coordinate getting it.

I also paid off two credit cards at the end of the month, which is cool, and added several hundred to the emergency fund. All told – good progress!