Trials and Tribulations

FOOD

Honestly, not a whole lot to write home about the past two days. I had salads for lunch the past two days, but didn’t take pics. Yesterday’s was loaded with the Morningstar Farms fake chicken strips. Today’s was just veggies. No breakfast either day and no dinner yesterday. Boring, I know, but just haven’t had much appetite lately. I’m starting to wonder if it is stress related!

FITNESS

HIIT at my gym both yesterday and today. The class is called Zone4 – which is explained in the picture below. I do find myself in the 4th one more than any other, which I suppose is a good thing.

The workout varies each day, which is nice to alleviate boredom (this week ending is shown). Yesterday I burned 736 calories and today 610. Can’t complain about that!

LIFE

Well, it has only been two days, and a weekend at that. No plans other than focusing on my dissertation. I have a new academic advisor and finally got feedback from her late last week. Let’s just say she blew up more than I was anticipating – and I don’t necessarily agree with her on some of it, so now it’s about finding time to meet with her to review. Overall, I do appreciate what she has to say as it will make me a better writer and researcher – but she also seems to believe her volunteering at an AIDS facility in Chicago in the 1990’s gives her more insights into nonprofit healthcare than it actually does. Everything I’ve pushed back on so far she’s caved on. I don’t want to offend her (can’t afford to since she determines my readiness for IRB), but I’m getting frustrated with having to educate her. But on the flip side – I can assume other readers may not understand either, so I need to do a better job of being clear. With her, it’s a combination of lack of knowledge – which is fine – and bad/inaccurate/uninformed perspective – which isn’t. Alas, such are the trials and tribulations of a doctoral student 😉

So yesterday, I went to the gym, stopped at the library, made lunch, and spent the rest of the day reviewing her redlines on my writing and reconciling those I could. Then I had two vodka sodas and went to bed!

Today will be similar. Gym, lunch, and now that I’ve reconciled the redlines, doing actual research and writing. And laundry. And, I assume, some vodka sodas!

Hope your weekend was more fun than mine (though mine has been productive, and I can’t complain about that!). This coming week should be good – light on the meeting schedule and a quick overnight trip to DC for several meetings – including one with my academic advisor!

Horrible shot, I know, but the floofs were really enjoying the fireplace last night

Happy Tuesday & Bumblebee Butts

FOOD

The week is still young, but great eats so far!

Sunday started with a smoothie (shocker, I know).

Snack was gluten free crackers and hummus while I wrote and poured over my APA manual.

For lunch I made a maple tahini dressing from a new ebook that I could seriously eat with a spoon. Put it on a salad and that was amazing.

$20 as a downloadable PDF – and worth every penny

Dinner was a tofu taco bowl over lettuce, cabbage, and a bit of brown rice and hot sauce.

Monday was another smoothie with vanilla protein powder (from Garden of Life this time. It’s good enough, but I do like Vega better).

Lunch was the last of the chili leftovers with cauliflower rice.

For dinner I made the oil-free marinara from the same book as the tahini dressing, and put in Boca meatless crumbles and zoodles. Thing was – wasn’t hungry enough to eat it, so I actually packed it up to take to work for Tuesday.

Alas – I forgot my lunch AND my smoothie this morning. Just a brain fart moment – wasn’t rushing or anything.

Thankfully I keep some Vega protein drinks in my office for emergencies.

Lunch was tofu curry (another shocker I know).

And dinner was the one I made last night!

FITNESS

On Sunday I did kickboxing. I was feeling both feisty and a wee stressed, so this is always a go to option for that.

Monday the weather broke and it was a high of 81 – so it was a run after work. And it felt glorious.

Today was yard work and kickboxing again. Something cathartic about imagining you’re punching and kicking the crap out of something/one.

LIFE

All told, a good couple of days.

Saturday afternoon was very chill, and included some popcorn and reading out by the pool

Sunday’s focus was school, meal planning, grocery shopping, and housework.

The week’s meal plan

Monday and Today were work day, obviously. Evenings spent making dinner, working out, and school work mainly.

At work today one of my very fav execs gifted me with a book. I’m looking forward to reading it….when my term ends. He knows that it will be a couple weeks, but that’s okay.

Other miscellaneous pics since my last post!

Exploring the screened in porch aka catio!

Fav start to my morning – outside in beautiful weather with a cup of coffee and quiet.

Kuma’s Selective Stair Use Annoys Me

FOOD

Summer is seriously the best for fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, I adore winter squash and kale, etc, but bring on the fruit and summer squash and fresh tomatoes please!

Morning smoothies as always. Usually use water as the liquid base, maybe 1/2 a banana and berries and some green – spinach and kale mostly, but sometimes arugula for a spicy kick. Occasionally I’ll throw in a fresh herb like cilantro or mint.

Went to my boyfriend’s house for the 4th. I brought “dessert” 😉

He made a totally yummy smoked tofu plus vegan mashers and roasted corn.

Other random eats like toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheese and sliced tomatoes with fresh pepper!

I went to Keegan’s in Virginia Beach to watch the Brazil v. Belgium match yesterday. Their veggie stack is actually really awesome. As was the Tito’s & Soda!

And always tofu green curry.

FITNESS

Definitely still loving the at-home spin classes pretty much daily. I enjoy the Peloton instructors, but after yesterday’s class, still wanted to ride. So, I popped on a show from Hulu (Rizzoli and Isles), sprinted during the show and climbed with high resistance during the commercials. For once, I’m glad to have the bloody commercials! I was pretty dead though after yesterday’s 90 minutes!

Also went for a run, and probably will in a little bit since the weather has cooled off post all the overnight rains.

LIFE

The 4th was a lot of fun hanging out and my boyfriend’s house with his kids and two of mine (M had to work). A’s boyfriend is in town and he came too. The evening involved competitive pool basketball, drinks, eats, and the kids playing video games. It was a pretty perfect day.

My girls!

Now that we have no more cats, Kuma is allowed free run of the house. I had a gate blocking her from the upstairs, as that was cat safe-haven territory. Their litter boxes and food, etc was up there. This means Kuma can actually sleep with one of us. She’s a runt of a pup, so I bought some puppy stairs. Let’s just say the stair training is NOT going well….and I don’t get it. She does the stairs in the house fine. And the front and back porches. But not to the comfiness of my bed! Ugh.

And my summer break from classes is officially over. Back to the grind, and I’m pretty grateful for it. I don’t do boredom well, and the past 3 weeks I struggled a bit with what to do with myself!

Oh well. Tomorrow I leave for a couple days on the road for work. Should be back by late Tuesday night. Until then, typical miscellaneous pics!

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.