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.

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)

 

 

 

Whiny (not Wine-Y) and Never Ever Camping

FOOD

Smoothies for breakfast have been extra refreshing in this week’s heat.  I made a monster one yesterday – enough for a filling breakfast and second breakfast in the office!

3 cups of coconut water, 2 oranges, 2 cups of frozen mixed fruit (strawberry, mango, banana), 1 scoop vanilla Vega powder, 2 cups of spinach and 1 cup kale

Today I made tofu eggless salad & veggie sammiches for lunch.  So simple – firm silken tofu (Mori Nu), vegan mayo (I use Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo), a squirt of yellow mustard, and about 1 tsp of agave.  I like to put pepper on mine after it’s on the bread (R doesn’t like the pepper).

on whole wheat bread topped with cucumbers, red onion, lettuce, and tomato slices

I whipped up a batch of stuffed bell peppers this afternoon too!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked per package instructions
  • 1 pouch of Beyond Meat beefless crumbles.  Could sub 2 cups of cooked lentils too
  • 3 bell peppers, tops removed and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced fine or minced
  • 1 jar marinara of choice
  • 3 tsp of spice blend of choice.  Excellent option would be an Italian blend.  I used something called Lake Shore Drive Seasoning from my Milwaukee hometown shop The Spice House
the tofu, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil are for another dish I made as a post-cooking topping

Directions

  • line a sauté pan with water
  • cook the onion and garlic on medium heat until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes
  • add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

  • Insert the rack in your pressure cooker.
  • Place the bell peppers in a oven safe dish
  • Stuff them!

  • Put about 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker, and place the dish inside.
  • Seal it up, and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.  Let pressure come down naturally.
dinner for 3, coming up!

I have a ton of fresh basil growing in my herb garden and came across this pesto recipe from Forks over Knives I really wanted to try.  My thought was to drizzle it on top of the peppers before serving, or possibly mix it into the stuffing.  So, I whipped it up (sans Pine Nuts since we don’t do nuts here right now), and while incredibly tasty, came out more the consistency of mayo than a traditional pesto.

So – while it didn’t find a home with the bell peppers, I can totally see this as a sammich spread or tossed with pasta.

M ended up going to a friends house to swim and R asked for the mushroom dish again tonight (the one I made Monday), so I scrapped the original plan of bell peppers for 3 and made R’s request and salads for our eats.

At least the peppers are made and now so are tomorrow’s lunches!

FITNESS

Swimming!  Seriously, with no AC, it’s pretty much the only thing I can handle.

Okay, I did go for a run on Tuesday.  R had to talk me out of jumping in the pool in my clothes.  I did manage to peel them off and put on a suit first, so I think I deserve bonus points there.

LIFE

The 4th of July holiday started like pretty much any other Tuesday off.  Woke up R, did her OIT dose, went for a run, then a quick pool dip, shower, and off for Williamsburg with my girls!

We were gone for a few hours, having a blast, when the dumb weather report got it right for once and it started to rain.  We decided to head home and catch fireworks a different night this summer.

As expected, no one called about my AC until Wednesday.  The soonest they can come is now tomorrow morning – so assuming it’s something that can even be fixed right away, we’ll be at 4 days with no AC.  I know I sound whiny but it suuuuuuucks.

I went to the office yesterday (blessedly cool air) and then to happy hour with co workers after.  It’s a place I’d only been to via boat before, so I actually didn’t really know where it was!  And while it was odd being there without MM and RM, the Orange Crushes were still fantastic.

Today I stayed home – hoping for an AC technician cancelation so I could be fit in (something the company thought possible).  That, and I felt guilty having the kids sweat it out in a hot house all alone.  Knowing R, she’d play video games all day or read and not hydrate.  It also sucks trying to get ready for work when it’s hot.  (I know, I’m getting whiny again).

Tangent time (but it’ll make sense).  I’ve never been camping.  Not really – I mean I slept in a tent in my backyard a few years ago and once in Vegas, but I’ve never been out in nature roughing it.  I WANT to find the idea appealing and be all one with nature and stuff, but deep down I know that my idea of roughing it is a hotel with no bar.  And no AC in the summer.  So – this week is as close to camping as I ever wanna get.  Worst vegan ever right?  I love nature – just don’t want it on me.

Peace kids!

Kuma looking very dramatic at her lack of cooling options.

 

 

Life Moving Foward (kale and sweaty runs help!)

FOOD

Simple eats for the week.  Leftover soup and kale salads I made on Sunday (lovely thing about kale – so hearty and holds up to dressings for days!).

Also had tofu/pineapple stir fry, smoothies, and salads.  Nothing overly taxing – I’m in a “I don’t feel like cooking” rut this week.

My best meal though, was made for me by my friend SC!  He came over, brought yummy wine and made this incredible cauliflower and potato Afghani dish (and left me TONS of leftovers, yay!!!)

FITNESS

Runs every day!  Some boxing too, and R and I have our first tennis lesson tomorrow at 7pm!  We are both totally excited.  I picked up some cheap starter equipment, and we’ve been goofing off in the driveway bouncing the balls on our rackets.

one of those runs that was just epically awesome. Felt great, went long, and sweated my butt off.
this was after a 2pm run yesterday. Which was just stupid to go out that time of day in heat & humidity like we have here.
decided to skip the potential heat stroke today and run at the gym. Hate feeling like a hamster on the dreadmill, but it’s better than my outdoor options.

While I’m a total noobs, R took some tennis at camp the past few years and was “instructing” me on some of the drills they did to learn control.  Basically bouncing the ball on the racket without letting it fall or get too high.  It was actually cute.

LIFE

Been a good week.  Kuma had a vet appointment and, other than being a bit pudgy, received an excellent bill of health.

everyone at our vet loves Kuma. I walk in, and they take her for visits with all the staff. I pretty much don’t see her the whole time. It’s cute – she has a fan club.

R had a therapist appointment which also went well.  I got a new drivers license since the name change is done, and otherwise, it was a regular week of work and life.

Thursday was a hot one, so it was totally pool time after work.

happy and beautiful evening!

Friday I went out with an old friend to catch up and have a few drinks.  Great night.

waterfront happy hour!

Saturday was SC coming over, eating yummy food, catching up, and introducing him to Orphan Black (my favorite show thanks to my sister!).

Today was an easy day.  Laundry, cleaning, gym, and TV.  I watched What the Health documentary on Netflix (has been on my to do list for awhile now).  I enjoyed it.  I watch a lot of vegan documentaries so the science parts weren’t new, but I did like the detailed information on the corruption of the food industry and government and how they misinform the public on what’s “healthy”.

Will keep you posted on our tennis adventure tomorrow!!!