Tag Archives: Gluten Free Living

Managing A Few Days Without Total Chaos!

FOOD

It’s been all homemade eats the past few days since getting home from FL.

coconut water, chocolate Vega powder, mango, and banana smoothie!  Was my first of the week, and was out of decent greens

coconut water, chocolate Vega powder, mango, and banana smoothie! Was my first of the week, and was out of decent greens

that was rectified on Sunday when D went grocery shopping, so Monday's smoothie was vanilla Vega powder, 2 clementine's, water, and spinach.

that was rectified on Sunday when D went grocery shopping, so Monday’s smoothie was vanilla Vega powder, 2 clementine’s, water, and spinach.

I know the bottle says Shakeology, but I don’t use it.  Not that I don’t think it’s packed full of nutrients, but I had an allergic reaction to their vegan vanilla a few months ago.  So, I still to Vega most of the time and Sunwarrior on occasion too.  To be honest, I don’t use protein powders all the time, but when I’m making my smoothie as a meal replacement or I know it needs staying power (or when I know I’m a bit lacking in some vital nutrients), I’ll toss it in.  After a week of travel and mostly eating out, I tend to add them to my smoothies.

I also did a lot of batch prep on Sunday’s.  That included some of the Happy Herbivore meals and salads.  I have to admit, I’ve become addicted to the Fitpacker container system the past few weeks.  It makes storage a breeze and takes up less space.

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D grilled Saturday night, and I begged for a repeat of the awesome portabello burger I blogged about last time!  With some grilled squash and mushrooms and air fried french fries, it was a fun and tasty dinner (that I didn't have to cook!)

D grilled Saturday night, and I begged for a repeat of the awesome portabella burger I blogged about last time! With some grilled squash and mushrooms and air fried French fries, it was a fun and tasty dinner (that I didn’t have to cook!)

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part of Sunday's dinner was some zucchini and yellow squash noodles pan sauteed with garlic and Italian seasoning.

part of Sunday’s dinner was some zucchini and yellow squash noodles pan sautéed with garlic and Italian seasoning.

I also dig my baked spuds!  This is some maple baked beans with cruncy cabbage

I also dig my baked spuds! This is some maple baked beans with cruncy cabbage

oh look, another baker!  This one has steamed green beans mixed with hummus on top with some hot sauce.

oh look, another baker! This one has steamed green beans mixed with hummus on top with some hot sauce.

big bowl of yummy vegan Pho!

big bowl of yummy vegan Pho!

Monday's lunch - a BAS and some spicy mac made with quinioa gluten free noodles

Monday’s lunch – a BAS and some spicy mac made with quinoa gluten free noodles

hot and sour tofu soup with onion, bell peps, and green beans.

hot and sour tofu soup with onion, bell peps, and green beans.

and another baker, but just with cabbage and hot sauce this time

and another baker, but just with cabbage and hot sauce this time

this is HH's Bayou Bowl!  Brown rice topped with a cajun style lentil and veg.  And cabbage for crunch because that's my thing

this is HH’s Bayou Bowl! Brown rice topped with a Cajun style lentil and veg. And cabbage for crunch because that’s my thing

and tonight's dinner of spicy tofu tacos on corn tortillas with veggies on top

and tonight’s dinner of spicy tofu tacos on corn tortillas with veggies on top

FITNESS

Still doing the Beach Body on Demand workouts.  I honestly do like them because there’s variety (my Achilles heel in DVD based workouts).  I’m in my final 7 days of the 21 Day Fix program workouts and I admit to feeling pretty darn good.  And much stronger.  And possibly constantly sore 🙂

I’ve also joined a really active challenge group with a coach who totally understands vegan nutritional needs, so I’m pretty stoked there.  Plan to start the kick boxing program on Monday, which aligns with completing the current program.

Of course I have my 3x per week runs too!

this is me and my helper Ginny doing Yoga fix on Sunday.  I have to say that working out at home thrills her in very odd ways.  She loves to either work out with me or be near me when I do.

this is me and my helper Ginny doing Yoga fix on Sunday. I have to say that working out at home thrills her in very odd ways. She loves to either work out with me or be near me when I do.

Last night was Cardio Fix.  I’m trying to work out more in the mornings, but it just wasn’t happening on Monday.  I had to be at the office before 7am, and that would involve getting up around 430, and that’s just silly.  So, evening working it was.  By the way, I’m not sure why I’m smiling.  There’s this exercise in this video called Surrender’s, and I’m pretty sure they’re evil.

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Today was a 3-fer workout.  Upper Body Fix first, and because that was challenging by didn’t wipe me, I followed it with a 4 mile run.  Then this evening, R and I went on a bike ride when she got home from school.   3 laps through the neighborhood for a total of about 30 minutes.

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LIFE

Well, it’s been a nice few days!  I’ve only been home for a few, but they’ve been pretty chill.  For the first time since grad school started, it felt like a normal weekend!  Saturday M had some friends over (that we’ve known since they were young) and D grilled.  It was hanging out and being silly mostly.  I also did the week’s meal planning and D did the grocery shopping while I studied.

Sunday was laundry, cleaning, batch cooking, a school team meeting, studying, and watching a movie!  We watched Moana, and I loved it.

M’s car is screwed up, so we’re currently sharing my ride.  So he’s been taking me to work so he can go to school and then picking me up in the evening.  While it’s a bit of a challenge, it’s not the end of the world.  Not sure his car is worth fixing yet, so we’ll see.

It’s been really nice out (80 over the weekend, chilly yesterday, but 70’s today and 80’s tomorrow before winter comes back and we’re in the 50’s).  We’re definitely taking advantage of THAT!  Kuma has been hard to keep inside, and Bumble has been joining her in the yard too.  Ginny sticks to her window watching and is just happy the house is opened up!

So, hope you’re having a good week so far!

D making a goofy grill face.  Since it's technically still winter, it's dark by dinner so he wears the head lamp when grilling!

D making a goofy grill face. Since it’s technically still winter, it’s dark by dinner so he wears the head lamp when grilling!

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Monday morning picture!

Monday morning picture!

 

It’s Okay to be Obsessed with Cabbage

FOOD

I do have to say, it’s been non-stop eats of the whole non-processed variety!  Mostly gluten-free too (I have RA, and gluten makes it worse, so I try to avoid whenever possible).  I’m trying to be better about that!

Many of the dishes come from The Happy Herbivore, so I can’t take credit for the creation – just the eating!  As much as I like to design a great dish, I’m finding the demands on my time just don’t allow that as much as I’d like – and then I end up either skipping meals, or diving into wine, hummus, and crackers as an excuse for a meal.  So, largely letting someone else plan the dish, and all I have to do is cook and eat!

this is "chorizo" soup!  I made a huge batch on Sunday, and ate it 4 times through the week.  It's SO good.

this is “chorizo” soup! I made a huge batch on Sunday, and ate it 4 times through the week. It’s SO good.

Korean BBQ Lentils

Korean BBQ Lentils

Deep Dish Eggplant bake with tofu ricotta

Deep Dish Eggplant bake with tofu ricotta

a variation of a broccoli & hummus quesadilla.  Made the filling, but put it on a baked spud and topped with cabbage and hot sauce

a variation of a broccoli & hummus quesadilla. Made the filling, but put it on a baked spud and topped with cabbage and hot sauce

more soup, but loaded with cabbage.  Bit obsessed with that this week - digging the crunch

more soup, but loaded with cabbage. Bit obsessed with that this week – digging the crunch

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this is kale-fredo!  Made with quinoa noodles and thickened with chickpea flour to keep it gluten-free

this is kale-fredo! Made with quinoa noodles and thickened with chickpea flour to keep it gluten-free

Of course, still dig my smoothies!

I can't even recall what all was in this, but that it was super yummy and freakishly filling.

I can’t even recall what all was in this, but that it was super yummy and freakishly filling.

banana split!  I don't use protein powders often, but did yesterday.  Chocolate Vega powder, banana, strawberries, and spinach.

banana split! I don’t use protein powders often, but did yesterday. Chocolate Vega powder, banana, strawberries, and spinach.

And some quick miscellaneous eats too!

I keep a big bag of Bob's Red Mill rolled oats in my office for those days I'm REALLY rushed.  Tossed in some blueberries, and made breakfast at work.

I keep a big bag of Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats in my office for those days I’m REALLY rushed. Tossed in some blueberries, and made breakfast at work.

 

in a hurry due to exams and studying, so this is a simple baked potato topped with greens, hot sauce, and horseradish

in a hurry due to exams and studying, so this is a simple baked potato topped with greens, hot sauce, and horseradish

 

I discovered the joy of the "Steam" button on my Instant pot!  I actually had this unintentional mono-meal two days in a row!  I'm a sucker for a well done sweet potato and carrots :)

I discovered the joy of the “Steam” button on my Instant pot! I actually had this unintentional mono-meal two days in a row! I’m a sucker for a well done sweet potato and carrots 🙂

FITNESS

I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder, so I took it easy for a few days.  Once it felt mostly better, I added in some gentle yoga.  Eventually, it was back out for runs in the neighborhood!

LIFE

It’s been a pretty typical week, with an added level of stress due to exams.  I have one more that I hope to have mostly done today.  This one is a paper vs a sit-down timed exam.  But due Saturday, and I’d like to just get it over with!  That means Sunday marks the beginning of my last term before graduation in May!!!  And yes – I’m counting down the time.

Lot’s going on at work and on the professional front as well!

The weekend was really chill – mostly just me an R hanging out.  M worked and D was out having a spa evening on Friday, at a piano bar working on his book on Saturday, and doing all the grocery shopping and errand running on Sunday so I could focus on school stuff.

When R does her peanut flour dose, she has to be totally chill for 2 hours.  She can’t do anything that could elevate her heart rate because that can trigger a reaction.  Her chill of choice is to binge watch Hell’s Kitchen, so that’s what we do!  She totally loves Gordon Ramsey and her goal is to travel and eat at one of his restaurants.

I have the day off today because D has a colonoscopy this afternoon and I’m his designated driver.  Most readers know he has Crohn’s Disease, and this is just a check-up to see how he’s doing.  He has no symptoms of a flare or anything (which is fantastic), but it’s important to monitor every few years.

So, it’s time for me to get back to my paper before heading out to take D to his appointment!

Kuma keeping R company during a Hell's Kitchen episode

Kuma keeping R company during a Hell’s Kitchen episode

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the many naps of Kuma

the many naps of Kuma

Ginny demanding I take a break from my studies

Ginny demanding I take a break from my studies

Gin curled up on R's chair!  This is her special chair for her bass practice, but I think Ginny uses it more

Gin curled up on R’s chair! This is her special chair for her bass practice, but I think Ginny uses it more

bundled up for a cold morning walk!

bundled up for a cold morning walk!

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I got to do the #morningpicture today!!!  Of course that meant brining Kuma too :)

I got to do the #morningpicture today!!! Of course that meant brining Kuma too 🙂

 

Misadventures of a Delhi Market Trip

FOOD

I admit to not having many more food pics to share from India.  My second week there I got quite sick with “Delhi Belly”.  To be honest, it may be a very long time before I want to eat Indian food again!  More than a week later, and I’m still not 100%.  Since getting home it’s been super small meals – usually a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.  Haven’t been eating dinner.  Partly I think because my sleep is so off and I’m jet lagging hardcore.

there were a few days where I couldn't eat anything at all.  On the 4th day - I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

there were a few days where I couldn’t eat anything at all. On the 4th day – I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

I arrived home Sunday evening, and we were out of some of our basic groceries – and my creamy base for smoothies – bananas.  So on my way to work Monday morning, I picked up an acai green smoothie!

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After stopping at the market on my way home Monday, I was able to whip up my own smoothie this morning!  Orange, banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach.

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Lunch was a BAS (Big Ass Salad for newbies).  Taco style!  Romaine, iceberg, onion, cilantro, tofu, black beans, cucumber, and salsa.  Thank you Moe’s!!!

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FITNESS

I went for a run before work this morning.  Actually – my sleep is all jacked up, so I was awake at 3:30am.  After spending 45 min trying to fall back asleep, I gave up and threw on my running clothes.  I put on a pot of java and took off.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after not running for a few weeks and not eating much, but it was honestly fantastic.  Not sure I can make this early morning thing a habit, but I dug it this morning.

LIFE

Other than getting sick as crazy, the rest of the week was good.  We have great speakers and classes as always, but mostly it was just amazing to be with my classmates.  We don’t physically see each other except during these residencies, and I truly dig them all.

The last day, however, saw some Delhi misadventures that are funny to think about now.  It goes like this…

6 people set off to walk to a market.  Success!  Those same 6 break up into 2 Uber’s to find their way to an Old Delhi Spice Market.  This is where our heroes take an interesting turn….

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

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In Uber 1 (my uber), driver turns the wrong way down an alley.  We’re blocked in (people and cows on all sides!) and some start banging on the car.  The driver gets out, and my anxiety level starts to notch up just a bit!  Eventually, he comes back, everyone rallies around to clear the way so our driver can back out of the alley.

We get close (ish) to the market (none of us in the car actually know where we are), and traffic is so crappy he kicks us out and tells us to walk.  We have a vague idea of direction (actually, BF seemed to have an innate sense of how to get there), and off we go.  We find it, and the “spice market” is actually blocks and blocks of small shops selling tubs/bins of spices, beans, and pastas.  Lot’s of street food vendors too, and it was fun to watch.

We actually manage to find our other 3 friends (thank goodness for WhatsApp and Google Maps!) and start walking together.  We got to stop and watch a shopkeeper toss bananas in the air just to be swooped up and eaten by the baboons!

We decide that it’s time to head back.  Based on craptastic traffic and our hotel checkout time – we needed to go.  Finding a way out (i.e. – cab, etc.) started to prove impossible.  So…NS (who speaks Hindi, thank goodness!) negotiates with a gentleman to carry the 6 of us in his electric scooter/cart thing.  We are quite the spectacle as we’re all piled in something made for 4, and start bouncing down the street.  About 6 blocks later – the front tire pops, and we’re on foot once more.

After a few blocks, NS negotiates with 2 tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) drivers to ferry us back to the hotel.  We’re back in groups of three, and I think our drivers believed they were in some kind of Nascar/Death Race/Bumper Car mash-up.   When not stuck in traffic, we’re literally flying down the roads.  Keep in mind that there are very few traffic lights or signs, and it’s a “first come gets the right of way” type of environment.  And lanes are optional.

Anyway…as we’re entering a round about, JC starts yelling at me “DON’T LOOK LEFT, DON’T LOOK LEFT, HOLY S&^$”.  Of course I’m sitting on the far left and anything coming at us (which was everything from busses, trucks, cars, rickshaws, and cows) would smash right into me.  Our little rickshaw would be toast!

As we were stuck in traffic, all manner of people walked up to ask for money.  One was a particularly tenacious and hilarious little girl who kept trying to reach into JC’s inner coat pocket.

We make it back to the hotel, and EA, JC, and I immediately burst into cheers and applause.  The driver seemed both surprised and pleased.  I guess he’s not usually celebrated for getting his passengers to their destination alive…

My flight left that night.  15 hours from Delhi to Jersey.  7 hour layover there.  Then home – just to be diverted during our decent due to a disabled plane on the ground blocking the runway.  We went to Richmond, refueled, then headed home.  Finally.

I was back to work immediately the next morning, and I admit that I’m struggling with jet lag for the first time.  I’m falling asleep between 5-8, and up around 3-4.  Then feel like a zombie (other than the whole brain eating thing) by 1.  Alas, it can’t last forever!

So, just a few other miscellaneous pictures before I try to stay awake another few hours before going to bed!

one of the days I couldn't get out of bed and sent D a "feel sorry for me" selfie

one of the days I couldn’t get out of bed and sent D a “feel sorry for me” selfie

watched several movies that day.  This popped up after every commercial.  It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

watched several movies that day. This popped up after every commercial. It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

last day of class!

last day of class!

hell no.  My cats love me.

hell no. My cats love me.

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scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

in the Delhi airport

in the Delhi airport

in the Jersey airport

in the Jersey airport

missed these two so much

missed these two so much

 

Settling In Before Taking Off Again!

FOOD

I’ve been home a little over a week, and I’m (as usual), so happy to be back in my kitchen.

Smoothies are the breakfast of champions!  Well, maybe that was Wheaties.  But it should be smoothies 🙂

it's a green smoothie, but blueberries win every time!

it’s a green smoothie, but blueberries win every time!

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not the only green smoothie lover in the house!  R loves hers with apple, dates, and cinnamon for an "Apple Jack" smoothie

not the only green smoothie lover in the house! R loves hers with apple, dates, and cinnamon for an “Apple Jack” smoothie

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The weather is starting to get all fall-ish, so I’ve made some warmer meals, like soups, chili, and (gluten free) pasta dishes.

still hands down my fav soup.  Post Punk Kitchen's Red Curry Soup.  Sweet potato, kale, and rice...what's not to love?

still hands down my fav soup. Post Punk Kitchen’s Red Curry Soup. Sweet potato, kale, and rice…what’s not to love?

black bean and sweet potato chili!  Leftovers for days (and days and days)

black bean and sweet potato chili! Leftovers for days (and days and days)

with sweet maple cornbread

with sweet maple cornbread

butternut squash and fresh sage pasta!  Recipe from Zsu Dever's Vegan Bowls.  Made with chickpea gluten free pasta

butternut squash and fresh sage pasta! Recipe from Zsu Dever’s Vegan Bowls. Made with chickpea gluten free pasta

Other miscellaneous eats.

beets cooked in orange juice

beets cooked in orange juice

on a salad with a yummy maple tahini dressing

on a salad with a yummy maple tahini dressing

taco salad!  Spicy tofu and topped with a vegan queso as a dressing

taco salad! Spicy tofu and topped with a vegan queso as a dressing

grilled lime and sriarcha tofu with BBQ sauce "dressing" and grilled corn!

grilled lime and Siracha tofu with BBQ sauce “dressing” and grilled corn!

leftover tofu as a wrap...

leftover tofu as a wrap…

and as a salad with garlic, lemon, tahini dressing

and as a salad with garlic, lemon, tahini dressing

a sad and icky plate of veg sushi that I just couldn't choke down.  Sad because it was from my fav sushi place.

a sad and icky plate of veg sushi that I just couldn’t choke down. Sad because it was from my fav sushi place.

FITNESS

Runs and rides!  More runs than rides though!

Two of my runs in the last week have found me in the middle of unexpected rain storms.  And when I mean unexpected, read it as “Crissie didn’t check the weather”.

Friday!

Friday!

Sunday...

Sunday…

Saturday (pre-ride).  It didn't rain :)

Saturday (pre-ride). It didn’t rain 🙂

LIFE

I’ve been home a little over a week now, and it’s been glorious!  Busy – but in a really good way.  Catching up at work, getting back in the groove of things, and then having a major project many years in the making go live!

The fluffy family members have been awesome, as usual.  Except for the afternoon Kuma decided to steal my highlighter and sticky notes while studying!

puppy kisses!

puppy kisses!

had just put all her toys in her basket, and about 2 seconds later, she starts taking them back off again!

had just put all her toys in her basket, and about 2 seconds later, she starts taking them back off again!

first grooming appt!  Came home with a cute Halloween bandana

first grooming appt! Came home with a cute Halloween bandana

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Bumble doing what cats do best...

Bumble doing what cats do best…

Ginny loves shoes.  Mostly recently worn and slightly smelly ones

Ginny loves shoes. Mostly recently worn and slightly smelly ones

guess who just walked in the door?  (hint, size 14's...)

guess who just walked in the door? (hint, size 14’s…)

I was cooking.  They both clearly thought I had something they wanted.  Until they realized it was kale...

I was cooking. They both clearly thought I had something they wanted. Until they realized it was kale…

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getting ready for the best holiday!

getting ready for the best holiday!

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Speaking of studying…

for anyone who wants to really understand merger and acquisitions!

for anyone who wants to really understand mergers and acquisitions!  Or for anyone hoping to pass an upcoming finance exam 🙂

Friday night my eldest and her boyfriend came over for dinner and Rock Band!

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And of course, morning pictures!

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And “others”

me and D while the kids were karaoke-ing!

me and D while the kids were karaoke-ing!

getting ready for Halloween!

getting ready for Halloween!

Friday D and I have a charity golf event, and then I’m traveling for 5 days to support that project I mentioned.  Of course there’s the whole hurricane Matthew thing brewing, which thankfully appears to be turning east of Virginia Beach, but we’ll still get rains and winds.  After last months flooding, that means our region is still in danger of falling trees and flooding – so here’s hoping everyone in Matthew’s path stays safe and dry.  Oh, and this Friday also begins our 2 week exam period.  It’s going to be a chaotic couple of weeks!  But what’s new, right??  🙂

I Drank the Kool Aid (oh, and a recipe too!)

FOOD

I have to say, the Instant Pot is pretty cool.  I’ve seen several bloggers write about it, and after several months, decided I needed to have one.  It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and dutch oven all in one.  I’ve used it at least 4 times since I got it this weekend.  Aside from the week’s worth of steel oats I made, I used it to make basmati rice (in about 4 minutes!), stew, a pot of beans, and a new dish too (keep reading for recipe)!  It’s official.  I’ve drunk the pressure cooker kool aid.

Sunday night I made tofurky, roasted carrots, basmati rice, and mushroom gravy.

I love that the family gets so excited for Tofurky night!  It was so good, and there were no leftovers!

I love that the family gets so excited for Tofurky night! It was so good, and there were no leftovers!

Monday and Tuesday were nearly identical green smoothies for breakfast (though they’re purple!).

water, pineapple, orange, banana, spinach, and frozen berry blend.

water, pineapple, orange, banana, spinach, and frozen berry blend.

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Monday afternoon was broccoli soup, and dinner was a veggie burger on corn tortillas with ketchup, mustard, and cabbage.

3 mason jars (2 cups each) of creamy broccoli soup.

3 mason jars (2 cups each) of creamy broccoli soup.

I love the cabbage for crunch. Yummy and quick meal.

I love the cabbage for crunch. Yummy and quick meal.

Lunch today was leftover soup, and dinner was fun in the Instant Pot!  You can use a regular pressure cooker too.

all my ingredients, ready to go!

all my ingredients, ready to go!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Lentils, Rice, & Cauliflower Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger root (I use the jarred ginger rather than mincing fresh root – reduce to 1/4 tsp if you use ground)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used hot curry)
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  •  1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water or veggie broth (I used Better than Bullion veggie base)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • use the saute feature of your electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot (for a stove top pressure cooker, use medium heat) and cook the onion and garlic in a little bit of broth or water until translucent.
  • add ginger, cumin, curry powder, and mustard seed.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  • add lentils, rice, and water or broth and close the cooker.
  • Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.  Quick release.
  • Add cauliflower, remaining 1/2 cup of water, and salt.  No need to stir.
  • Close the cooker and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Let it naturally release.
  • Stir and eat!
topped with cabbage for crunch!  A one pot meal that's filling and healthy.

topped with cabbage for crunch! A one pot meal that’s filling and healthy.

FITNESS

Sunday I went for a run in my new neighborhood!  I did a nice 4 miler that included a loop around a local park.  It was really nice.

Today I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill and checked out a new piece of equipment – a cross trainer.

LIFE

It’s been a really good couple of days.  Sunday was tea, organizing the new house, chilling by the fire, grocery shopping, booking the spring break trip for me, R, M and one of M’s best friends (D has a big project and can’t take off, so M’s friend is coming instead) and Yahtzee!  R and I had a rematch and she won.  Then we all played, and M won.  I came in dead last.

D getting quite serious about his scores

D getting quite serious about his scores

Ginny showing us all what it means to nap in front of the fire place!

Ginny showing us all what it means to nap in front of the fire place!

and how to stretch out an nap on R's bed

and how to stretch out an nap on R’s bed

and how to nap with blankets pulled up to her head (she naps a lot!)

and how to nap with blankets pulled up to her head (she naps a lot!)

some chai tea

some chai tea

and me hanging by the fire

and me hanging by the fire

Then it was back to normal!  Work, school, and life!

Monday #morningpicture

Monday #morningpicture

Tuesday #morningpicture!

Tuesday #morningpicture!

GOAL CHECK-IN

  • all my grub has been healthy and balanced.  Woo hoo!
  • I snacked on some pretzels and hummus, but otherwise no gluten
  • haven’t gone out to eat the past few days (and not too often the past week, other than the vegan meet-up)
  • exercised twice since Sunday!
  • been planning meals and prepping in advance.  Soup, pre-shredded cabbage, diced up fruits and veggies, big pot of curry, etc.
  • no weekday wine.  Had two glasses on Sunday while cooking and playing Yahtzee.
  • have not meditated at all since moving
  • haven’t slowed down any – in fact, I think my pace has picked up.  Too much going on, and I’ve had no real down time in weeks.  It’s starting to show with hives coming back, so I need to work on that.

 

 

 

Would You Like a New House With That Flu?

FOOD

So my goal in the next week and a half is to buy no groceries if at all possible and eat what I have in the house.  I have a tendency to over-shop and then forget I have six bags of lentils, eight bags of rice, etc.  You get the point.  So it should be no problem whipping up some awesome healthy eats without spending a dime on groceries.

Why, do you ask, am I doing this?  Two reasons.  I have too much food lying around – more than my family will ever eat if I don’t stop grocery shopping.

Also – I don’t want to move it all to the new house.  Oh wait, what did I say there?  WE BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE.  More on that below 😉

So my eats this week have been oatmeal for breakfast (out of the old fashioned oats, and this week I’ll tackle the Irish oats!  Saving the best for last!).  Smoothies of course.  Lentils soups (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had 6 bags).

blueberry and banana oats.

blueberry and banana oats

lentil soup for days!  Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it's been so cold, that soup is perfect.

lentil soup for days! Been nice though because I can put almost anything in it, and it’s been so cold, that soup is perfect.

FITNESS

Since my last real post, I’ve gone on a few runs and did yoga at home.

However, I’ve been doing a lot of moving – packing boxes, loading them into my minivan, and taking them to the new house or the storage unit and unloading them from the van.  So in essence…I’m doing weight lifting!  I can feel it in my arms to be sure 🙂

LIFE

D and I closed on a new house this past Monday.  I am a highly superstitious person, and don’t like to talk about some things until it’s a “done deal”, which is why I haven’t posted about it before now.  D and I actually decided last spring that we wanted to buy a new house.  We’ve decided to stay in VA for at least another 7-10 years (so R can finish school) before we even think of leaving, so we decided now was a good time to buy that dream home with a pool.

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We wanted to wait until after summer to start looking because we had too much going on (I was in go-live hell, my parent’s came to visit, lots of work travel), so we looked a bit online, but started working with a relator in late September.  And we found our dream home in late October, made an offer, and there ya go.  We all agreed (sellers and us) to put off closing until after the holidays were over, but now it’s done, and it’s our house!  Oh, and it’s only a mile and a half from where we live now.  Same school district, which was important.

vegan foodie packing....

vegan foodie packing….

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here.  She's been having way too much fun in this...

left the room for a minute to get the packing tape and found Ginny up here. She’s been having way too much fun in this…

new house = new dishes!  HF helped me pick out the perfect ones.  Here's the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

new house = new dishes! HF helped me pick out the perfect ones. Here’s the first batch running through my new dishwasher!

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The only thing that isn’t perfect about the house is the wallpaper.  Kitchen, dining room, eat-in kitchen, and all 3 bathrooms are wall paper.  We have a contractor starting on Monday to get rid of it all and paint most of the house.  Then, it’ll be really perfect.  Death to wallpaper!  Oh, we’ll have before and after pics to share because I don’t think anyone will believe me about how crazy it is until it’s gone….

I’m also having a custom wall mountable wine rack made out of a wine barrel!  So excited.  Spice snobbery can be proudly displayed on my kitchen wall!  And it’s an up cycled Napa valley wine barrel.  See.  Dream home 🙂

Anyway, the hope is we’ll start living in the home around the very end of this month.  So I do apologize for the lack of posts this week, it’s been a bit hectic around here!

In other news, I’ve been sick and so has the young one, so that’s put some damper on the week.  We both appear to be on the upswing though, so that’s good news.

Monday's morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Monday’s morning picture where R still felt good (though I was home sick).

Wednesday's morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday’s morning picture where R and I were pathetically snuggled in bed as D was getting ready for work.

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding.  Proud IT mama right here!

Wednesday afternoon, R decided to work on her Python coding. Proud IT mama right here!

just because she's ridiculously cute

just because she’s ridiculously cute

they're starting to finally get along!  Sleep on the same bed - just not too close.  Even playing somewhat together.  They've graduated to frenemies.  Only took a year and a half...

they’re starting to finally get along! Sleep on the same bed – just not too close. Even playing somewhat together. They’ve graduated to frenemies. Only took a year and a half…

poor sicko hasn't slept well most this week.  Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap.  Worked wonders.  And this is today's morning picture :(

poor sicko hasn’t slept well most this week. Face mask kept the sun out of her eyes so she could nap. Worked wonders. And this is today’s morning picture 😦

So thanks for your patience, and more to come.  Also, if you haven’t already, please enter my giveaway – you have nothing to lose and perhaps a new smoothie book to gain!  Here’s the link, and thanks for playing 😉

 

Candles & Cats Don’t Mix

FOOD

I start every morning with a cup of black coffee. And despite many people's claims that to truly get healthy one must kick the habit…not going to happen. One cup of coffee isn't going to suck my body into acidic hell. So it stays. And that will make me and everyone around me (especially in the morning!) very happy!

That said….

Breakfast yesterday was a green smoothie, lunch was a quick spicy tofu soup, I had a post-run snack of a baked potato with refried pinto beans and hot sauce, and dinner was a soup and salad.

my standard recipe of onion, garlic, tomatoes, and sriracha. This version was also cabbage and asparagus.

Breakfast today was a green juice (used up the last of my kale and cucumber!), morning snack was a green smoothie (and used the last of the pineapple), lunch was spicy hummus and gluten-free seed crackers (not pleased with this choice…truth be told…but found myself hungry after yoga, really sweaty, and no easy meal in site), a PM snack of Allegro hot chocolate in unsweetened coconut milk, and dinner was a butternut squash and black bean soup served over quinoa.

I've been loving making juices almost every day the past two weeks. I hope to get these in at least 3 days per week once I go back to work. It's also a great way to use up produce that's not going to last much longer!
threw in a scoop of Vega Vanilla Smoothie powder for some extra staying power
holy crap, this was good. Whole family loved it. D and M each had two servings.

FITNESS

Yesterday – shortly after writing my “come clean” post – I went for a run. I am on W2D2 (week 2, day 2) of the 10K app, and the run was just under 2.5 miles. I will be honest – it's a bit frustrating. The app includes walk breaks – and the goal is to build up the endurance – and I really just want to blow through them sometimes, especially when I'm feeling strong, but I also know that overduing it is dumb.

Today I went to a hot yoga class, and I have a new favorite instructor! I took his class earlier in the week, and he's just awesome. Great instruction, walks through the class to be sure everyone is in the right alignment, and has a great and playful energy. I have a feeling I'll be specifically seeking out his classes in the future.

LIFE

The past two days have been blissfully simple. Today was my last day off, and this time away from work has been quite lovely. We're gearing up for a busy year, so I'm glad to come into it after a week and a half off!

D is feeling great and is allowed to have fiber again. No raw broccoli or anything, but he's back to his green smoothies, is putting weight back on, and looks awesome. Kids have mostly been big lumps and enjoying their vacations too!

In this morning's meditation session, Ginny joined me…like she always does. This time, she decided to check out my candle a little too closely and ended up with a singed whisker! She was fine, but the room smelled awful, so I cut my meditation short (only 4 minutes in!).

I have a confession to make. I totally love the Biggest Loser. While I disagree with some of what they do (losing 15 lbs in a week…no matter how big you are…can't possibly be good for the long term), I do still find the show fun and inspiring. I can relate to people who want to change their lives, regain their health, and need help doing it. Thing is, I haven't watched it much the past few years and completely forgot about it. Until this week. And in between reading, cleaning, relaxing, and hanging out with my family….I've been binge watching the heck out of Season 16 on Hulu.

my Biggest Loser companion…though she clearly fails to see the value of the show!

 

GOAL CHECK IN

I know it's only been two days, but here's how I stand with it:

  • 100% gluten free
  • worked out both days
  • no wine
  • the crackers today – while GF, were still a processed food. I was really disappointed in that. I haven't bulk cooked, and when I got home from yoga, the kids were in the kitchen making lunches for themselves (tofurky sammiches!), and so I didn't have the room to make something. Truth is…I could have picked something better. Even a banana to get me through a half hour until I could reclaim the kitchen.
  • meditated yesterday for 8 minutes and today for 4. Yesterday's was bad…mind kept wandering…but that's part of the process. Today was great until the smell…
  • my goal is to be around 1200 calories per day. Nailed it today….was under yesterday (which is NOT good). I think it was partially because I slept in yesterday and also went to bed fairly early last night, so there really weren't enough hours in the day. And while I've been tracking my calories for years…there's a shift when I'm not drinking any!

 

 

Welcome to the Yum Universe!! (Review, Recipe, & Giveaway!)

Okay, so first of all – I'm interrupting regularly scheduled programming to do a special report on an incredible book (and giveaway!).

I was graciously gifted with a copy of YumUniverse by Heather Crosby (of yumuniverse.com) to review. I am happy to be a stop on the Blog Tour along with some other amazing bloggers!

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I would definitely say I'm a connoisseur and collector of vegan books (both cookbooks and awesome informational books like The China Study and Mad Cowboy), and it's a rare thing to find a book that really is both.

One of the things I really liked about this particular book is the three distinct sections.

Section 1 – Why

As in, why eat plants? Heather begins with her journey to YumUniverse, but rounds out this section by having us look at at the food industry, clever advertising, and the Standard American Diet (S.A.D…which is just sad…) and it's affect on obesity and health. My favorite line, on page 28, states “the Standard American Diet is composed of 25% animal products, 62% processed foods, and only 5% of calories from fruits and vegetables.”. Wow. We eat more food that come in a bag or box from a factory than we do natural foods that grow in the Earth. And she presents all of this information in a non-judgmental way.

This section also talks nutrition – because lets face it, the first thing EVERYONE asks when you say you've gone vegan is “where do you get your protein” (insert annoyed eye roll here). Really…everyone becomes a nutritionist when you start to do something that might go against the grain, yet most people know very little about what nutrients are important and in what percentages. But Heather provides great info on fiber, protein, Vitamin D, Calcium, probiotics, oils, soy, and others so you can know what you're eating is meeting all the requirements your body has.

Section 2 – How

Here, we're advised to make this a workbook and not a cookbook. Dog ear the pages (she even suggests some to do that to!), load it with sticky notes (my personal favorite method), write on it, spill on it, and use it as a guide. She answers questions like – how do I start? How do I handle eating out? How do I set up my kitchen and what tools should I have? It's the practical stuff no one really tells you as you start to ditch the boxes of crap and bust out the kale!

Section 3 – Eats!

And this is where I stop babbling and start cooking. I made many, many things from this book, and loved them all. I also did what Heather suggested in section 2, and made these my own and changed things up when I needed to. As a nut-free family, that's something I'm always going to do, and I knew that by the time I got to this section I had the author's “permission” to switch things up. So with that, here's what I made, here's a recipe I made…and how I modified it.

Butternut Squash Soup - WEB

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

4+ Servings

Nothing says, “Fall is here!” like a creamy bowl of Butternut Squash Soup with Granny Smith apple.

INGREDIENTS

1 butternut squash about 8″ long

1 teaspoon sea salt + a pinch

Pinch of black pepper

¼ cup cashews, soaked

6 sage leaves

3 cups veggie stock

1 tablespoon coconut oil*

1 shallot, diced

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced

STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Slice squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush open faces of butternut squash with coconut oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place squash face down in a baking dish and roast for 45 – 60 minutes or until soft.
  3. In the blender, blend together cashews, sage, and stock until smooth. Leave in the blender and set aside.
  4. Heat a large stockpot to medium, add oil, shallot, and Granny Smith apple, and saute for 5 – 7 minutes. Then add to the blender mixture.
  5. Once squash is cooked, scoop out the flesh. Add it to the blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  6. Pour blender contents into stockpot, heat to medium, and season with remaining salt and additional pepper to taste. Serve warm.

psst!

Add chopped kale, cooked quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat for texture.

You can also roast your squash diced in cubes, or steam it (saves about 20 minutes but you won’t get the roasted flavor).

Try equal amounts of sweet potato, Hubbard squash, or acorn squash instead of butternut squash.

Use this soup as a decadent sauce over gluten-free noodles, veggie noodles, cooked quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat.

My modifications:

I skipped the cashews entirely. I thought about using soaked pumpkin seeds or a mixture of cornstarch in water, but decided to just try it without – and you know what – it was great. Plenty creamy, and didn't seem to miss the nuts. Also, I didn't have sage leaves, so I just sprinkled it with pumpkin pie spice, and it was divine.

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In addition to this recipe, I made socca with Herbs Du Provence, a black bean soup, crispy chickpeas, and traditional cole slaw. And I have a ton of other sticky notes to run through in the near future!

pressure cooking the black beans for the soup!

pressure cooking the black beans for the soup!

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Interview

I also asked Heather a couple of quick questions! Here are her replies!

This book is so much more than a cookbook. It's also a research book, nutritional guideline, and workbook to transform one's life easily into a plant-based one. What was your motivation for taking such a holistic approach to this book?

It was important to me to create a comprehensive book that had everything in one place. There are many reasons WHY we want to consider eating more plant-based foods (I detail them in section 1), and there are delicious recipes to EAT (150+ in section 3), but the heart of the journey, the HOW (section 2), is what people really need to make a sustainable lifestyle change. How to shop, how to plan, how to prep the kitchen, how to deal with social situations, how to sprout, how to bake, etc.—the list goes on. YumUniverse is not only recipe inspiration, but it’s the know-how, tips and tools you need to transition, change habits and/or fine-tune, whether you’re a newbie to this approach or a seasoned veteran.

What advice or substitutions would you suggest for your readers who are, due to allergies, forced to be nut-free?

In the book and, with each recipe, I provide adaptation suggestions to help folks adjust for their particular dietary needs. In general, when cashews are called for soaked and blended into a recipe, macadamia nuts (sweet or savory recipes) and/or sunflower seeds (sweet or savory recipes), even plain hummus (savory recipes), can often be used as substitutions. When nuts are called for to add crunch or texture to a recipe, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, kale chips, pumpkin seeds, etc. can be used.

When we have an allergy to a food, take off the “deprivation” lens. Approach diet with a curiosity and excitement about what we can eat. I never really experienced the variety, flavor, and possibilities of food until I had “limitations” to navigate. Get creative, break some rules. Discover.

Giveaway!

This is the part you've been waiting for right?? Have I convinced you yet how much you want this book? Even as a vegan for many years (my 7 year veganversary is TODAY), it's amazing to find a book that is so inspiring and refreshing, and not just for the dishes (and many of them are nothing like I've seen before), but the informational content is well. It's a good read all around.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that all the recipes are not only vegan, but gluten-free and soy-free as well.

So what do you have to lose? NOTHING. So please leave a comment below about why you'd like to be in the running for this book, and I will do a drawing on December 12th! Which should mean…you get this in your stocking this year!!

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Food, Pets, and Theme Parks. My Fav Kind of Week

FOOD

Well, a full week home and I’m back to my obsession with Indian flavors.  And tacos.  Next step?  Blending those obsessions…curry tacos?  Yeah…I’m down for that.  Stay tuned.

I made a big batch of a ginger/carrot soup on Sunday and had that for most lunches this week, along with granola bar leftovers, and fruits and veggies and salads.  Thai too during a working lunch that made me grateful to have a co-worker who also loves Thai food.  And perhaps it’s because I really want Fall to hurry up and get here, lots of oatmeal….which is weird because I don’t typically love oatmeal.

AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.

AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.

oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!

oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!

a very bad picture of a very good soup....

a very bad picture of a very good soup….

my spices came!  More Indian flavors....and a super spicy Sriracha powder!

my spices came! More Indian flavors….and a super spicy Sriracha powder!

just because it smelled SO good....dried Arbol peppers, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!

just because it smelled SO good….dried Arbol peppers, cinnamon stick, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!

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final dinner!  A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.

final dinner! A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.

FITNESS

Yoga…running…the usual.  Despite the hectic week, I did get in a few good workouts.  Two longer runs and two hot yoga classes and one yogaglo class here at home.  In my travels earlier this month, I had the opportunity to introduce two people to yogaglo.com, and hopefully have some new converts!  Seriously, for the price of a single drop-in class, you have unlimited classes for a month.  That’s just cool.

I’m still fretting for my lack of daily data though.  I admit, that when I got my first FitBit (the Force….of which I was one of the lucky ones who got skin burns from wearing it….and then the One, which was nice and tiny…but now somewhere lost in Charlottesville), I became addicted even more so than normal to my physical activity.  How many steps did I accomplish?  How do I rate among my friends who have them?  And if I’m lacking, how many more walks around the block before I’m back in the lead?

On top of this, my GPS sports watch sucks.  I have the Nike+ and while I loved it at first (it’s not bulky on my little wrists), Nike has totally stopped supporting it.  The bloody thing takes forever to connect to satellites before I start running (often leaving me pacing in my drive for a good 10 minutes), and the website…once a fun and interactive game…is now basic and rarely works.  I’ve been asking around on Facebook, and I think it’s time I switch back to a Garmin.

LIFE

It’s more or less been a good week.   Busy, yes, and glad to be back in the office, but also stressful for the early morning and long nights.  Also someone I care about suffered a medical emergency yesterday, and that’s been a concern for sure.  Not for me, but for her and her family.

AC and I were originally planning to hit up a hot yoga class together on Tuesday, but ended up going for tacos and drinks (beer for me, bourbon for her!).

I took R to Busch Garden’s last night for a kick off to the holiday weekend!  Just the two of us, and we did two loops through the park, rode a ton of rides, and enjoyed an incredibly beautiful evening.

in line for our first coaster of the evening!

in line for our first coaster of the evening!

looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still....born in Milwaukee...Haley in her veins....I'm in trouble)

looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still….born in Milwaukee…Haley in her veins….I’m in trouble)

Today I woke up early, did some reading, watched a movie, and finished up all the massive amounts of laundry a big family piles up during a week….most of this before the rest of my family stirred!

Ginny interrupting my reading.  Nothing new.

Ginny interrupting my reading. Nothing new.

Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.

Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.

Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D's dresser.  I just couldn't NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek...

Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D’s dresser. I just couldn’t NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek…

Tonight my son is having a LAN party (Local Area Network…an IT-geeky way of saying everyone brings their own computer, we hook them up to our network, and they play games like crazy all night long and eat junk food).

D is out at the Oceanfront taking sunset and star pics, and R and I are relaxing and having a quiet evening!

So yeah.  Really nice to be home, be with my family and friends, eat good food, and sleep in my own bed!

 

I’m Too Old to go to Camp, But Not Too Old for a Casino!

FOOD

Well, for the most part, food has been great.  It’s always a challenge when traveling, but I try to make due the best I can.

can't go wrong with fresh green juice!

can’t go wrong with fresh green juice!

There’s always my favorite of turning everything into a taco….

from Tortilla West

from Tortilla West

homemade refried beans and citrus tofu

homemade refried beans and citrus tofu

spicy mango and tofu tacos!

spicy mango and tofu tacos!

Soups and salads are always make a happy meal…

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And of course when getting a great meal when dining out (as D and I did on Friday), can’t help but take pics 🙂  Mad props to Burton’s Grill in Virginia Beach for really going above and beyond to make me something vegan and delicious.

mixed vegetable risotto - vegan of course

mixed vegetable risotto – vegan of course

lovely roasted beet salad with caramelized onions and a light dressing

lovely roasted beet salad with caramelized onions and a light dressing

FITNESS

For the past few weeks, most of my fitness has been running.  Some at-home yoga via YogaGlo, but my schedule has been too chaotic to get to classes.

Hopefully that will change somewhat soon, at least a little bit.  I do miss the classes.

LIFE

Well, it’s been busy, but also wonderful.  The chaos of the past few months is still there, but not nearly as overwhelmingly so.

M is still working as a Junior Counselor at an away camp, and loving it.  It’s weird not having him around  – he’s been gone for just over a month, and has another two weeks left.  We did get to see him twice though, because R was a first-time camper this past week!

So we dropped R off on Sunday of last week, and then D and I took a couple of days to go away together.  Without children.  For the first time in 12 years.  It was only for two days, but since it’s not something we’ve ever had before, it was like a honeymoon!

We had an absolutely amazing time in Dover, Delaware at the Dover Downs Casino.  D tried his hand at Craps, but it was too confusing.  I played some Blackjack, but we both ended up spending the weekend playing a came called Spanish 21.  Similar to blackjack, but there are non 10 cards in the deck, and there are a few different rules – but it was a blast and we did well.  By the end of our mini-vacation, we had doubled our money!  Now I really want to learn how to play poker….

getting to the casino!

selfie at the casino!

night 1 winnings :)

night 1 winnings 🙂

Yesterday we went to pick R up from camp.  She had a blast and very much wants to go back next year, this time for two weeks.  She earned her levels in several areas (swimming, of course), but the biggest surprise was rifflery.  I’m not a fan of guns and won’t allow them in my house, but she apparently is quite a natural.  She shot a spoon 4 times in a row!  Crazy.  There’s a total of 18 activities at the camp (things like sailing, alpine tower, drama, arts & crafts, archery, rifflery, etc).  I will say  having a son who has gone three years in a row and now my youngest – camp (at least this one) is a life changing and very positive experience.  I wish I were young enough to go here!  And I’m so glad my kids get to be a part of it.

Of course we got to see M again, and that was awesome.  So many people came up to us to tell us how amazing M is (like we don’t already know!), and I can’t express how proud I am of him.  He’s already said he wants to work there every summer for as long as he’s able (aka – until he graduates from college).

A had a girlfriend from university take the train down for a few days, so they were incredibly busy.  They spent most of their time at the beach or watching movies.  And now A is gearing up to start her new job this week!

So this weekend is mainly about relaxing, cleaning up the house, doing laundry, shopping, bulk cooking for the week, and working out.  It’s nice to have a day that’s totally normal 🙂

Until then…some camp pics!

our last #morningpicture for the week as she's being dropped off at camp

our last #morningpicture for the week as she’s being dropped off at camp

our first #morningpicture that was taken as soon as we saw her on pick-up day!

our first #morningpicture that was taken as soon as we saw her on pick-up day!

M is the junior counselor in the middle.  This is his cabin from last week

M is the junior counselor on the left. This is his cabin from last week

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R is in the purple shirt - clearly excited as they made a volcano on the beach

R is in the purple shirt – clearly excited as they made a volcano on the beach

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pool time.  R in the middle in the black suit

pool time. R in the middle in the black suit

goofy girl in the hat!

goofy girl in the hat!

foam sword fight.  M is in blue

foam sword fight. M is in blue

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M leading his activity - which is drama

M leading his activity – which is drama

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R in purple in the front with her friend F!

R in purple in the front with her friend F!

M doing some crazy dance

M doing some crazy dance

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M dressed up as two-faced for their production of batman!

M dressed up as two-faced for their production of batman!

Ginny clearly missed R when she was away!

Ginny clearly missed R when she was away!