Spin, Spin, Baby!

FOOD

I’ve actually been home for well over a week straight! And – no trips until a short one in July, so it’s been pretty nice.

Before I got home though, I did get to see a girlfriend in DC and meet for breakfast at an all vegan joint called Fare Well. Had these awesome tofu chilaquiles that I think I could eat every single day!

Other eats on the road. Tofu dishes, fajitas, eggplant, and other yummy stuff.

Home eats!

Fitness

Okay, so for this, I’m totally stoked. I have been obsessed with getting a Peloton bike for months now. For those not familiar, its a spin bike with a built in big screen and, with a peloton subscription, you can take on demand or live spin classes.

On the road trip, we stopped at Tyson’s Corner where they have a Peloton showroom. LOVE. Also was lucky to try it out at the Westin when I was in Chicago, so I knew I loved it.

Well, I literally had it ordered and in my cart and ready to buy it, but just felt too selfish spending $3k for the bike, delivery, set up, and shoes. The subscription is $12.99 per month and not included. Even though all the kids want to use it, I just couldn’t stomach that price.

So what does my guy do? He does maybe 10 minutes of research and finds a “Peloton hack”. Grand total? $350 + subscription! http://www.sippingandshopping.org/my-peloton-bike-alternative/

So I purchased a Sunny spin bike. Don’t need spin shoes since the pedals are clip ins on one side and cages on the other (I have road racing shoes, and just need to change out the clip types).

I got an iPad mount so I can put my screen up. And a Wahoo cadence sensor. Voila! I can do everything a Peloton can do, without the sick price tag.

And I’ve been using the heck out of it! My bum is sore, but that’ll fade in a few weeks.

It’s the perfect addition to the home gym we’ve been building since last fall. Oh, and while the bike wasn’t 100% put together, R (my 14 yo) built it in less than an hour. Just as functional and sturdy as the Peloton bike.

So while I still love to run, I’m excited to spin, spin, baby!

LIFE

Really can’t complain. Picked up a summer cold that had a lingering cough for over a week, but other than that, felt fine.

While out of town, turns out one of my good friends was in Baltimore (he lives in Portland), so we got together for dinner one night, which was awesome!

M turned 21 on the 8th! So right at midnight, had to take him out for his first legal bday shots! My friend B was sending shot ideas. After the four horseman, M quit it on the shots and had a beer before going home.

Big dinner party and then pool party on his bday proper. The next day, he and his girlfriend went to Toronto for the week. They had a blast.

My friends who live in NOLA came to stay for a few days. Well, A didn’t – she had to work, but J and the kids were here, and stayed with me for two days. It’s always nice to see them.

I had a ton of pool drama. First company I hired to come open it and get it ready just sucked beyond reason. After a month of them continuing to muck it up, I hired a different company, and the difference has been incredible! They also spent over an hour teaching me everything I needed to know to do all this myself too. Needless to say, with the weather as hot as it’s been, the pool is definitely getting used!

This past Friday was the last day of the second term of my doctoral program! My last deliverable with a huge paper, but once it was knocked out, I hit the pool with my Kindle Oasis (waterproof) and read all afternoon. I have off until July 9th, which worries me that I’ll get bored, but that’s okay. The mental break is nice.

And A finished up her first term in nursing school and killed it! She was struggling with the schedule change – working full time nights and school full time days. Made a comment about needing an eye mask or something. Got her these – she’s been sleeping great since between the eyemask and ear plugs!

And this tee for R…if you knew her, it describes her perfectly.

Other events included going shopping for new floors for my house, going to see the Incredibles 2 last night (better than the first!), plus plenty of miscellaneous fun and fluffs! Plus a few shots from the MGM casino in Maryland.

Favorite Food Season + Family, Friends, and Fun!

FOOD

It’s been a fun little bit since getting home (and before hitting the road again!).

I love spring/summer when it comes to produce. Time to bust out ALL the zoodles, salads, and other fun eats. And yes – I bought that salad thingy to see if it’s really as cool as it looked. Eh. I prefer my veggies more evenly diced. Did great for the lettuce though. Will keep trying it out! Haven’t done it for fruit yet.

Also went to a local food and wine fest with my guy, which was a total blast!

Also lots of grilling and other amazing eats (like a vegan butter chicken made with soy curls and served on cauliflower rice!).

And on the road eats…

FITNESS

A few runs but the best was going to yoga with my guy. He had never been before and really enjoyed it, which makes me totally happy.

Also stopped by the Peloton showroom, so that’ll be happening soon too!

LIFE

Busy, but what else is new? I happen to love being busy. Not that I can’t slow down now and again, but there’s so much cool stuff in life, may as well do as much as possible!

The second term for my doctorate is winding down. We’ll have a couple week break before ramping up again. It’s mostly reading and writing, but also doing research on potential topics for my research project/dissertation. I have two topics I’m interested in at the moment, so that’s good. A month ago I was at a complete loss!

The pool has been opened and even got in one day of swimming between the rains and travels! But it is also the season where I try to have my morning java outside on the porch as much as possible!

Spent a night in DC, which was a ton of fun (though it always is) and got to see several of my local friends to celebrate me being in town as well as a friend’s birthday AND his wedding anniversary!

And of course miscellaneous pics of family, fluffs, and life!

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

FOOD

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

FITNESS

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GET ME OUTTA HERE (aka – Cabin Fever Stinks)

FOOD

Well, this week has been a fun little challenge of “can’t go outside, so whip up fun stuff with what you have in the house!”. Thankfully, I always have tons of different veggies, rice, tofu, beans, not to mention what’s in the big chest freezer in the garage, and about a billion spices. No one will go hungry nor get bored just because we’re snowed in. We might get majorly stir crazy…but no one will starve!

Despite it being insanely cold, I still do my morning smoothies. Had a vanilla mint theme going on most of this week. Vanilla Vega powder, Ripple Pea Milk (my new total favorite thing), spinach, peppermint extract, and ice.

I’ve also made a ton of different ramen-esque dishes too. Also went out to lunch (before snowmageddon hit) for a yummy vegan ramen too!I decided to try a different method for making my soy yogurt. For years I’ve used the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. And it still works great. But it makes 7 small jars. Which is fine, but I use it in cooking so much, that it’s sort of a pain to measure out. Yes…first world problem. But see, I have an Instant Pot – have had it for a bit now – and it has this lovely yogurt function. Was high time to try it out. And it did NOT disappoint! Oh…and I also discovered this yumminess called Noatmeal! It’s a grain-free oatmeal dish made with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and coconut. I added a ton of cinnamon. Yum! Works as an ONO (overnight oat) dish too.I made several batches of my tofu eggless salad. My fav way of eating it is on a big bed of greens. This was my lunch most days.Also whipped up a few tofu curry dishes. My fav one was a red coconut curry with tofu, cabbage, onions, and riced cauliflower.For snacks – kale chips! One of the things I love for my air fryer. I used to dehydrate them (LOVE my dehydrator), but I tend to like instant gratification, so 5 min in the air fryer for crispy chips is the bomb.And of course we did a big comfort food night. BBQ tofu, sweet cornbread, mashers, and soy/garlic mushrooms. All told, a week of most excellent eats!

FITNESS

Well if you haven’t figured it out – we got snow. And not just a little bit – but a boat load of it. Over 5 days ago. And the roads still aren’t passible. Runs have been out – which sucks. But, thank goodness for the home gym! Weights and kickboxing and yoga for the week. All good, but I’m itching to run outside. Hell – I’d even take a dreadmill right now if I could just get out of my driveway.

LIFE

Despite the intense cabin fever the past 5 days, it’s been a good week or so. The night before snowzilla visited us, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine at a local spot downtown. We had yummy wine, mixed drinks, tapas, but mostly, just great company.I got my hair done about a week or so ago too. I get a lot of blonde in my hair in the summer, but my normal color is auburn. So my hair was really looking two-toned and making me nuts. So, enter my stylist (who I love), and we decided just to make me a redhead! It’s kind of fun, though is taking some getting used to.I have literally been in the house since Wednesday afternoon of LAST week. That’s right. I managed to be at work (in the office) ONE DAY since the holidays ended. Why? Snow. I mean, I grew up in Wisconsin, so I find this slightly embarrassing, that a foot of snow in SE Virginia shuts us down for a solid week! And honestly, if the temps stay at 20-something, we just may be stranded indefinitely. Fortunately, it’ll be 70 by Friday and Mother Nature will thaw us out. But seriously. It’s ridiculous. Schools are canceled, and pretty much everyone works from home if they can (thankfully I can). And even when you shovel your own drive, the city doesn’t plow anything but main arteries, so I can’t even get out of my neighborhood. You thought I was going bonkers in my last post. It’s been the better part of 2+ weeks now! ARGH. And on top of it, I just bought a new car and I really wanna drive it ;)So, I’ve spent a lot of time chilling by the fireplace. Often with the Kuma bear. On a fun note, my doctoral program started! Technically today was the first day, but all the materials were released on Friday – so I got a TON done over the weekend. Guess being snowed in = forced study time. It’s all good though. I do love learning. I have my desk set up with multiple devices so I can easily read and take notes and do research seamlessly. I also finally set up the Echo Dot I won back in October at a meeting in Tampa. It’s pretty groovy. She plays classical while I study, and Depeche Mode radio while I cook. She tells me dumb jokes and is overall pretty entertaining.So that’s about it. The black bean and sweet potato enchiladas are about to come out of the oven, then it’ll be grub time and then back to studying!Hope everyone else out there isn’t held captive in their home (even though it’s warm, clean, with plenty of food). A girl needs to get out once in awhile!

Thankful Living

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

FOOD

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

But – on to the groovy eats this Thanksgiving weekend!

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

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

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

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

My plate!

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

FITNESS

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

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

Runs on chilly days!

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Halloween Week!

FOOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FITNESS

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

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

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

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just some fun fluffs.

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

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