No More Dread Pirate Cat!

FOOD

Weather is warming up, so I ditched the oatmeal and am back to my regular scheduled smoothies. Checking out a new protein powder this week – Garden of Life Raw Chocolate. I have to say, I’m a fan! Vega is still my all time fav, and I always have at least one of theirs on hand. Currently the vanilla protein + greens. Both are good though and keep me hella full (especially since I don’t actually like food in the mornings).

Monday was taco fun! I made some homemade pinto beans (recipe below), though I halved it to prevent leftovers. My kids SUCK at eating them. I also made this tofu recipe, with a few mods. I used agave instead of honey (you know, bee vomit. Some vegans choose to use honey – I don’t), and added 1 tbsp of olive oil to the sriracha/agave to coat the tofu. Then I air-fried for 20 minutes at 350, shaking after 10. Layered rice, beans, tofu, and veggies, using tortilla chips at scoops!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pinto beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I prefer any but green)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker (I use an IP or a Cuisinart electric PC that has a sauté feature – if yours doesn’t do this step on a stove top)
  • Sauté onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft
  • Add cumin, oregano, and stir
  • Add beans, add enough cold water just to cover
  • Add bay leaves
  • Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. I know it sounds like a long time (and it is), but the purpose is to make the beans fall apart so you get that refried bean consistency
  • Let the pressure release naturally
  • IF there is excess liquid, pour it off. You don’t want it soupy
  • Remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender or potato masher to purée the beans
  • Add the wine, vinegar, and salt and pepper (I usually use 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper)
  • Simmer 10-15 minutes

Also had several other yummy eats. Veggie burgers, silken tofu “eggless” salad, and a red Thai curry soup with veggies and tofu too.

Last night we went out to eat – it was Dining Out for Life in 60 cities across the country to raise money for local AIDS service organizations. Participating restaurants donated a minimum of 25% of their proceeds to LGBT Life Center here in our area. My delightful dish was a chimichuri salad with a Beyond Meat burger!

FITNESS

I actually made it to hot yoga this week!!! Woo me! And I’m fully sore too. Went to a vinyasa flow class and it fully kicked my butt. Love it.

Also several runs too. Been a stressful week, so that helps keep me sane.

LIFE

So our cat Ginny is a long haired sweetie pie. However, she had so many knots and mats that I started calling her the Dread Pirate Cat (get it – dreadlocks)? Anyway, Monday she had an appointment to get shaved. Now she looks like a lion, and it’s a little ridiculous, but I imagine she feels much better. And it turns out she really was just fluffy, and not fat!

The rest of the week was primarily work and school. It was definitely tough to focus this week – too much personal stuff going on. But, it’s not like I don’t get my stuff done, just been a little less enjoyable. Oh well.

Picked up the last of the plants for the garden! Cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash.

After working really hard for a long time, my eldest A learned on Tuesday that she got accepted to nursing school! Her cohort starts May 7th. Going to be a lot of work for her – she works full time too – but I know she can do it and I’m so incredibly proud.

Last night was definitely the best of the week. It was awesome to get out and about and de-stress with one of my favorite people. Honestly, it was a near perfect evening.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. It’s a friend’s bday costume party tomorrow night, and if I can get my papers finished, a theme park trip too!

Until then, other fun pics, including proof that Kuma hates mornings, just like the rest of us!

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!

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.

Beer, Trivia, and Legolas’ Awesome Cheekbones

FOOD

Part of the fun of bulk cooking on Sunday’s is it makes my weekday lunch life much easier.  The down side is it’s all the same, so taking pics is kind of redundant.

Nevertheless, soup and salads are pretty much always my favorite go-to lunches, and that was definitely this week.

pasta e fagioli soup
GF pasta salad with herbed tofu and veggies

Had my typical smoothies for breakfast most mornings, watermelon with my lunches (and R’s because it’s her fav too), and whipped up a batch of spicy tofu soup on a rainy Friday night.

R insists on being able to eat the watermelon “stick” in the middle
Moe’s Close Talker with tofu, black beans, brown rice, and all the veg and salsa that can fit
spicy tofu soup!
blueberry green smoothie

This morning breakfast was an old fav – gluten-free toast, sunflower seed butter, banana, and a little agave.  Perfect before I lace up for a wet run in a few!

FITNESS

Same as last time – hot yoga and runs!  I try to alter every other day, but that’s not always possible.  Either way, it’s about 6x per week, and that’s perfect.

As soon as I’m done here, I’ll be lacing up for a wet run.  Hoping the rain stays light – but if it doesn’t, I know my pace will kick up!

need to remember to use eye makeup remover BEFORE hot yoga! Still – not supposed to look cute when working out, right?

LIFE

Been another busy but fun-filled week.  Work seemed full of one crisis after another, but nothing that couldn’t be conquered.

Found out I had poison ivy!  The prednisone has been fun (not), but I’m still grateful for it.

AM and I got together a few times this week.  One for drinks at the Young Veteran’s Brewery in Virginia Beach, and one at Benchtop Brewery for beer and trivia night.  One of those was supposed to be a run date, but hard to pass up beer and trivia 🙂

The H Hour Sour at Young Veterans was the bomb! Bought some to take home And since I’m a vet, I got a discount. How groovy is that? 
Benchtop build your own flight. I stuck with the second from the right – a beet based mildly sour beer called the Fall of Dimitri (or something like that).

trivia fun!

After yoga last night, it was dinner and then watching Lord of the Rings with R.  At one point she freaked out when I told her Orlando Bloom (Legolas) was not blonde.  Showed her a picture – she completely freaked out, and then proceeded to tell me that “at least he still has those amazing cheekbones”.  Seriously?  What the hell?!  #teamlegolas

movie partners

Other fun shots to wrap up with!

me and R
me and JG – one of the most amazing peaches ever!
R and I are hitting up the library a lot lately. Single mom finances 🙂 Enjoying it a lot though. I forgot how magical a library can be.
playtime with Kuma before work
M visited me during my coffee ritual yesterday. He works late and sleeps late, but had a 530 am road trip this morning to Canada with a bunch of his friends and he was trying to flip his sleep schedule
Kuma hates mornings. That’s my girl!
had to pick up java at 7-11 this morning

dogs and fire hydrants. It’s a thing.

The rest of today should be pretty groovy.  Meeting up for lunch at noon with a friend, and then having more friends over tonight for dinner.  It was supposed to be the “teach Crissie to grill” adventure from my friend’s hubby, but it’s pouring so we’re turning it into a taco party instead.  I mean seriously – you can’t trust someone who doesn’t like tacos….

 

Rituals

FOOD

Shockingly, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I normally do.  Nothing majorly out of the ordinary either though.  Daily green smoothies, and a variety of typical eats like soups and salads, and some fun things like tofu eggless salad and tofurky sammiches.

yummy fav – silken tofu, Just Mayo, mustard, and sweet relish. With gluten-free crackers, it’s awesome
R’s lunch, not mine (apple allergy), but veg sammie and apples

kale and beet salad
red lentil soup
Whole Foods salad bar

Today was bulk cooking fun!  Gluten-free pasta salad with tofu, pasta e fagioli soup from my fav Susan over at Fat Free Vegan!  She was the first vegan blogger I ever followed, and has always had a special place in my life.  I’ve met her a few times, and she’s as lovely as her blog.

I used pinto beans because it’s what I had – otherwise exactly as written
meals for the week! Pasta salad with gluten-free pasta, basil, and tofu – and then with a bunch of romaine thrown on it too. So – soup and salad for days!
about a third of the basil in my herb garden. Been busy whipping up salad dressings, pesto’s, and other eats with it.

 

FITNESS

Runs and yoga fill my days, and it makes me so happy!  I’ve kicked up both a lot, and it’s been very cathartic for many reasons.  I have a lot more time on my hands and seem to have plenty of energy as a result.

The best were a couple runs with AM, including one with a local running club today!  It was a gorgeous morning, stunning scenery, a good sized group, and yummy (sour) beer at the end.

perfect Sunday!

LIFE

Let’s see.  Been a great week with few complaints.  (and that one was tequila’s fault).

Work was fairly busy, but not horrible.  Had a few highlights though.

Thursday I went to the Hermitage Museum to enjoy the Art of Burning Man with a friend of mine, and also enjoy some local beer and music.  It was a gorgeous night at a really pretty venue.

they had about 7 sculptures from actual Burning Man festivals. Once it was dark, it was amazing!

KG!

pretty night on the river as the sun went down

Friday morning R had her last peanut-flour based updose in her OIT journey to food freedom!  She started this in January (right when I got back from India), and while it’s slow going, she’s been doing great.  Next updose, she moves to actual food!  This whole process will give her freedom from fear of food allergies for the rest of her life, and I am SO proud of her.

waiting to go in
ready to do this
absolutely hating the taste of peanut flour in warm applesauce

Friday night was out at one of my favorite places in the area.  It’s possible I had a little “too much fun”, but I think it’s allowed now and then.

I do want to talk a bit about rituals.  A few months ago, a good friend sent me a book (I Ching) and got me thinking about rituals in general.  I started realizing I have them in my own life, even though I may not realize it.  Let’s take my mornings, for example.  I’m pretty much a wing it and go with the flow kind of person, but I feel all out of whack when my mornings are disrupted.  I get up early, but it’s only so I can be alone with a cup of coffee and some quiet.  I don’t like music, conversation, or noise in general.  I ease into my day, and then I’m right as rain.  Waking up and instantly having to do something throws off my whole rhythm.  And while mornings aren’t my favorite, I do get up early just so I can have this ritual of quiet.  It’s me, a fluff or two, coffee, and reading the news (mostly) or just listening to the wind in the trees.  Texts and news are fine, but I really don’t like talking or music in that part of my life.  Didn’t really realize that before recently, but now that I have, I find it pretty sacred.

My morning java rituals!

Made plans to head to DC twice in a few weeks!  One with a vacation with the cabbages, and one to see Depeche Mode!  I’m beyond excited.  Get to see lots of people I love, have fun, and even get some work done.  Awesome all around.

Now…if I could just get someone to deal with my yardwork, I’d be all set….

M eating my Twizzlers….
watching one of my two fav shows!
Ginny wearing one of my bras. Odd cat.
Ginny helping R read one of her books
Bumble occupying my fav porch spot
lady at Whole Foods violating the “service dogs only” rule
son and son2 heading to Sbux
Sunday morning cuddles with Kuma and the wee one

 

 

 

It’s Just BANANAS

FOOD

Ha, I bet by the title you thought I’d talk about all the bananas I’m eating, right?  NOPE!  More on that later.

But, the fun eats have been pretty standard.  Green smoothies, gluten-free pasta dishes, salads, tacos, and green curry (of course).

left over beans and rice with lettuce, hot sauce, and vegan queso

simple and quick – brown rice ramen noodles, chickpeas, green beans, pepper, and tamari
vegan pizza!
mmm. fav dish. Tofu green curry.
sour flight – not food, but let me tell you the beer second from the right tastes like ass.
nacho mac! brown rice pasta, black beans, corn, peas, salsa, and vegan queso
cheater smoothie (meaning I bought it)

I did a twist on my normal tofu/potato tacos and made them in the air fryer.  That was pretty fantastical.

Same marinade as always – beer, cumin, garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, olive oil, adobo sauce, and pressed and cubed tofu.  Marinated about 5 hours.  3 peeled potatoes, soaked in water for about 30 minutes.

Literally tossed it all in the air fryer, put on 370 for 15 minutes, checked, then did another 7.  Freaking perfect.  Taco Tuesday lives on.

mine in the form of a taco salad. Kids did the full deal with shells.

FITNESS

Running most days, and hot yoga on others.  And if I missed it, I felt I was suffering.

Honestly, lately all the workouts have been fairly intense and I’m loving it.  Kick my ass, wipe me out, and I’m happy.  Extra energy to burn 😉

LIFE

BANANAS!  It’s become my favorite word in the past couple weeks.  My kids pick on me for it, but it’s appropriate in almost every situation.  Observe:

“How’s your day been?”  Instead of saying “it’s been a crazy busy day full of meetings, deadlines, ridiculous customer expectations, and I haven’t had time for lunch” all you need to say is “it’s been BANANAS”.

Coworker or family member being a PITA (pain in the ass).  They’re acting bananas.

Cut off in traffic, but have kids in the car and you don’t want to cuss?  Scream “Are you totally BANANAS?!?!” instead.

There is literally no wrong way to use it.  Try it out and get back to me.

Well, it’s certainly not been dull!  I think I worried about how I’d fill my time after grad school and newly single life, but I’m telling you all now – I’m not bored at all!

Lots of time with friends, neighbors, involved in local activities, and suddenly finding myself on a bowling team AND a soccer team.  On top of fun with my kids whenever they let me, my life is full and awesome.

But to some recent specifics.  A fun weekend with friends that I mostly remember 😉 , birthday for my friend’s little monkey, a couple evenings out each week, and just having fun and winging it as I go.

can’t believe he’s 1!!!
big sis enjoying the cupcakes

Much of the home entertainment is provided by the Fluffballs, as these shots show.  Some just cute, some funny, but mostly they’re all so groovy in different ways.

please mom, can I come??
air mattress for your friends? Thought you just got me a new bed….
we can snuggle you on your “recovery” day
may not look it, but I’m totally comfy
honestly, they’re practically snuggling. The magic of an air mattress

she insists on taking a new toy outside every time she goes out
the toy carnage of Kuma
snuggly coffee buddy
dogs and fire hydrants are not just for cartoons
my kids were better about not leaving a mess…
took 4 years, but they actually played the other night. Or they came to some agreement and are shaking paws over it
morning snuggles with the wee one
laundry day!

 

Other fun random crap

me in the office yesterday replying to a friend taking the day off and drinking in the sun. I’d have flipped her off if I thought of it…
admittedly felt like this one day…
quiet breakfast
advice from my friend NS. Totally agree
me and the young cabbage taking a break while shopping
unamused by the early morning pic apparently
post girls fun. I spent a LOT of time on the sofa watching TV and cuddling with the fluffs