I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To Good…

FOOD

Wednesday dinner was at my boyfriend’s house. He grilled me some delicious Beyond Meat brats! Ate mine with kraut and mustard and a side of potatoes and a salad.

Thursday we met up for lunch – Thai Green Tofu Curry which also became my dinner.

Friday I had lunch at PF Chang’s with IBM. I didn’t take a picture (that’d look strange), but had the steamed Buddha’s Feast, which is tofu, broccoli, asparagus, and carrots.

I haven’t been having breakfast lately. Sometimes a smoothie or some fruit if I’m hungry, but lately I really haven’t been overly hungry. I’m sure it’s just a phase 🤣

FITNESS

HIIT classes, which I totally love. They’ve added a kickboxing station, which is probably my very favorite intense exercise if I had to pick one.

Also did some spin at home. Still need yoga…

LIFE

Meetings on Wednesday and then over to the guys house for some chill time and dinner.

While in my office Wednesday, I get a text from R asking me a question. She’s a junior in HS and has an Econ class. Her teacher isn’t always right – or not right enough – in some of the things he says, so she often asks me as a sort of fact check. I mean come ON, he teaches the Laffer Curve like it’s a legit thing! Anyway….

I feel like I should take over the class sometimes…

So Thursday I did a thing…

To frame it a bit – I’ve always been interested in volunteering, and I have done some minor things here and there (like a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc), but nothing very specific. More the past few years, I’ve wanted to focus in my community. So, an opportunity came up and I accepted a nomination to sit on the Human Services Advisory Board in my city! The role of the board is to draft policies and programs that address the most vulnerable – children, those with special needs, and the aging populations – and then advice the city council.

So Thursday morning was my swearing in ceremony. I’m really excited to roll my sleeves up and get busy. Right now, it’s about familiarizing myself with the various laws and programs and doing the necessary training. Then diving into our next board meeting in early March. I sincerely hope that I can do good things for my community.

And to celebrate – I went to a movie! Saw Bad Boys For Life (loved it). Got there early and enjoyed an orange crush and some reading.

Then I went home and eventually took Kuma to get R from robotics.

Today was work and then cocktails with my guy before heading home.

And while earlier in the week was Oreogate. Mid week was Doritogate! Seriously – I got the monster Sam’s Club sized bags on Saturday. Wednesday – gone….no one has fessed up to it, though I’m pretty sure I know the culprit. And it isn’t the dog.

A Very Merry Time Indeed

FOOD

Friday I had a smoothie in my office for breakfast and a solo Thai lunch. Dinner was awesome though – the wine bar my guy and I go to now has a plant based menu section! Several months ago, the chef decided to be vegan for a month, just to see what it was like for me (which is epically cool). First, I hear he loves eating vegan – which is awesome. But even more so is the new menu, and I had the vegan po boy for dinner Saturday night (as did my meat eating friend I was there with), and it was delicious!

Other eats include brunch with my boyfriend, salads, beans and rice, and of course Christmas dinner of Tofurkey, mashers, corn, stuffing, mushroom gravy, and a bunch of other dishes I just didn’t get to.

FITNESS

Gym on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday for the HIIT class. And yesterday was my traditional Christmas run. I’ve done it 11 out of 12 years – missed last year because I was in WI and it was snowy and cold and ewww.

I rolled my ankle Saturday night – nothing fun, literally just stepping off a curb. But it was too sore on Sunday to do anything. It was swollen and I was worried I sprained it, but by Monday it was still sore, but I felt comfortable hitting the gym. I just modified any moves that required jumping. To be honest, it is still slightly sore, but it was fine for my run yesterday and I’m heading to the gym in a few where I expect it’ll be fine also.

LIFE

It was nice to be in the office on Friday and Monday. After work Friday, I went out with friends to celebrate the end of another term and that I am officially ABD! That means “all but dissertation”. Essentially, I’m done with classes and my focus shifts to research, analysis, publication, and graduation! My girlfriend I went out with is also in my program and knows just how hard I’ve worked to get to this point faster than anyone has before. So she and her husband treated me to a wonderful night of wine, food, and fun.

I was there about 30 min before S and A arrived. So Alex the bartender – who knows what we love to drink – kept giving me short pours of new things to try

This – was disgusting. Couldn’t even finish the sample, it was so bad.

A turmeric whiskey sour. Was quite good, though I let A finish it because I can’t really mix wine and booze

Saturday I spent the afternoon and night with my boyfriend. We ran some errands and then went to our fav Cape Charles’ spots for cider and cocktails (see now why I stumbled off the curb 🤦🏻‍♀️?).

The next morning was brunch at one of our 2 regular spots and then it was off to run errands on my way home.

Monday was in the office again, then the gym and more errands. I had to pick up some groceries and went to the store near my house. It was a madhouse, and the line looked more like a theme park rollercoaster line than a grocery store!

So Christmas. Normally one of my least favorite holidays – ever since I was a kid. This year was actually really nice. On Christmas Eve, the tradition in my family is to open pajamas and a game, and whoever wins the game gets to choose breakfast in the morning (which means I shop for what 5 people like for breakfast because you never know who the winner will be!).

My son in law spent it with us, and he ended up winning the game. I didn’t play because I was cooking – but it was fun to watch them.

Christmas morning was also nice. Coffee first, then gifts, breakfast, and my run. After cleaning up from breakfast, I put out appetizers and a Bloody Mary bar to snack on until dinner.

We spent the day at home. My boyfriend came over for a few hours and we did his gifts too. I got a Google WiFi mesh that he installed and it’s amazing!

I love maps and globes. Several weeks ago my youngest asked me where I’ve always wanted to go. Without hesitation – Morocco. She got me a framed 1800’s era map of Morocco – in French! I love love love it. I also got a book and a travel cord organizer from my sister, another framed print from my son, flavored vinegar and olive oil and a bottle of Bulleit from my daughter and son-in-law, and an Amazon gift card from my mom. Though honestly – it was less about the what (which was all lovely), and more about the who. I got to be with the people closest to me and have a great day.

What my travel cord “bag” looks like now – so what C got me really is perfect!

Only downside yesterday was the holiday light plan. We went to the Merry Mile, which is at the Virginia Beach oceanfront – you drive on the boardwalk of the beach and see the lights that are there, usually driving under them. It’s about 30 minutes away, and we wait in the long line of cars….to find out its cash only. THE WEBSITE DIDN’T SAY THAT. The kids didn’t want to hunt down an atm and then get back in line, so we went home instead.

Okay, Star Wars. To be honest, I have always been more of a Star Trek fan, but with the series concluding, I want to brush up on the series, so I’ve been working on watching them all in a lead up to going to see the finale on Saturday with my son, boyfriend, and his eldest. I never even saw them all, so it has been a fun education. Thus far, I have watched 5 of them.

And other miscellaneous shots of the week!

Beware Parallelogram Season

FOOD

It’s been a lazy week, to be honest. I had bulk cooked so much last weekend, that we ate a lot of leftovers.

Tuesday I made baked Mac no cheese, which is always a family fav.

Luna was a fan too

Also diced up the homemade andouille sausage and put it into lentil soup to make it even heartier.

Lunch one day MAY have been popcorn and a pina colada at the movies 🙂

And there was toast, and smoothies, and pasta, and soups, and salads.

Quinoa with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

Made a big batch of slow cooker minestrone with gluten free pasta

I used to love egg salad when I was a kid. I do love my tofu egg-less salad more tho! Especially topped on a BAS

I had one lunch date with the guy, but didn’t take a pic. We shared some edamame and I had tofu pad Thai. This was my fortune though!

FITNESS

A couple runs, weights in the garage, a spin class also in the garage, and I finally checked out the BodyPump class I’ve been meaning to try. I liked it – will let you know tomorrow how sore I may or may not be as a result!

LIFE

This has been much more low key than usual. And honestly, not sure how I feel about that.

I had the majority of last week off. I was supposed to go to DC for the DC United game with a girlfriend and a military vet related event, but life and Dorian got in the way, so I didn’t go. BUT, I kept the days off to focus on school stuff and general reading, so that was highly productive. I also went to the movies solo one day to see Angel Has Fallen. I love this series and enjoyed this most recent one too.

A gift from NS in Kenya! Adding it to my list of fun things to read

Back to school for the young one went off without a hitch. All going well so far, though it was only a 3 day week because schools were canceled in advance of Dorian on Friday.

Dorian wasn’t a major event. Some power flickers and unreliable internet, and some yard and pool clean up, but we were lucky. There was flooding and downed trees all over – just not in my neighborhood!

The weekend I stayed home and did housework and school work and grocery shopping and other fun prepping for the week.

I decided yesterday that I wanted to learn more to do with Alexa than play music, the news, and check the weather (oh, and how many days until Halloween!). So I started playing with Drop In, and my sister “called” on it! It was fun. R and I chatted with her and my niece and nephew. Totally cool. She and I also spent significant time sending each other Trump related memes this weekend. All told, good times.

Yesterday was a mini spa day for me and the wee one. She got a haircut, and I got a facial. Fun stuff.

Post haircut R!

We have a family group chat with me and my kids and my guy and BS. Silly stuff ensues. This was my recent contribution.

This week should be busy, but not horrible. It’s the last week of the term, so I have ten tons of writing to do. But can’t complain. I’m getting closer and closer to being done!

Studying outside the day before Dorian visited

Post shower snuggles

My cousin in Scotland posted. Love it.
Too early in the morning for her to get up

Sent this to the eldest last night during her ED shift. She claims she will actually say this…

Brunch Shenanigans

FOOD

Lots of good eats this week!

My smoothies this week were the lazy kind I pick up at Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the way to work.

I actually made a real meal one morning though, and it was tasty. Tempeh and potato has with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Topped with tons of hot sauce!

Also an oldie, but goodie! Whole wheat toast with sunflower seed bread and sliced bananas.

Homemade soy yogurt snack.

BBQ tofu and cornbread!

Noodles with pasta and a simple coconut curry sauce.

And of course some tofu green curry on a lunch date with my boyfriend.

Soup for days (and days and days and…days). I made what is still my favorite soup ever. A double batch in the Ninja IQ yielded 26 cups! SO tasty!

I finally checked out Mesob’s Ethiopian in Virginia Beach. WOW. So good and I literally can’t wait to go back. I had the vegetarian plater (though everything is vegan), with Shiro Wot, cabbage and carrots, green beans and carrots, and the house salad with injera bread. I really wanted the Mesir Wot (I LOVE that dish), but they were upfront that it’d take 20 minutes to make that and I just didn’t have time. I have all the ingredients at home, so I should probably try my hand at making it.

Also had a Moe’s salad one day, and then out with my guy – first at one of our favorite wine bars and then dinner at One Fish Two Fish where I had a yummy rosemary gin martini and a delicious off menu vegan dish of spiralized veggies in a spicy tomato sauce.

Yesterday was a big family brunch event. Literally my boyfriend and I, all our kids, and my son’s girlfriend. It was a 2 hr wait, but that was fine. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit and the kids played Uno and we all sat around fire pits (all those over 21 had drinks – which was 5 and that was a HELL of a bar bill, but worth it). Then we went in and had yummy food.

Same wrap I got last time: black bean, potato, spinach, roasted corn, tomatoes. And a side of fruit

FITNESS

Went for 2 runs and then also checked out a new class called Regymen. It’s essentially the Y’s version of Orange Theory. I wore a heart rate monitor and cycled between 3 “stations”. One is treadmills, one is skiers and rowers, and one weights and bikes. There are display monitors around the room so you know what your heart rate is and in what zone you are. It also displays calories burned. In the end I torched 604 calories. Loved the workout. There was perhaps a period where I could’ve thrown up, but that’s ok. Worth it, and I’ll totally go back. Who doesn’t like a workout that makes you wanna cry?

Also did 2 yoga classes. One at the gym, one streaming at home.

LIFE

Pretty typical week. Work, school, family during the week, and fun (and school and cleaning and grocery shopping) on the weekend! I’ve meditated every day, usually in the morning, but if I’m too rushed (or didn’t wake up in my house), I do it later in the day.

On the work front, I hit my 15 year anniversary at my job. I got to pick from a catalog of gifts and got a 4 person tent. Will come in handy when R and I try our hand at camping in a few months! We had that one class at REI and there are a few more there and with a local hikers group I want to do first.

I stopped at a local wine spot while waiting for R to finish up at a school thing.

Not normally a white drinker, but I do love French wine and this was really tasty.

Yeah, I’m short. Feet didn’t touch the ground!

Brunch shenanigans! I LOVE what they do with the outside space to make the wait worth it. Tables, fire pits, a bar, blankets, and a room of games.

Smoke in their eyes made for a goofy shot- but all were warm

After brunch I went home for a bit, then over to my guys house for the night. We watched basketball and a show and had a pretty chill night. After the brunch fun, it was nice to just curl up on the sofa and chill.

And of course the fluffs.

About to get swallowed up by that bush

New morning coffee routine! These two hang out every morning

MY YEAR OF LESS

Ugh. I seriously have sucked paying attention. Which sucks, because I was doing SO well until the holidays. I do have a plan to get back on track – which is basically to reduce going out and only shop when I have a plan.

Swinging in the Rain (and a stir fry recipe!)

FOOD

A few highlights from my week (and a recipe if you keep going!).

roasted asparagus with sea salt and lemon.  Simple, but amazing.
roasted asparagus with sea salt and lemon. Simple, but amazing.
on of my very favorite soups - ginger carrot.
on of my very favorite soups – ginger carrot.
I normally prefer to make my own juices, but its been so hectic lately, that this was better than no juice at all!
I normally prefer to make my own juices, but its been so hectic lately, that this was better than no juice at all!

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my go-to lately (mainly because I have only frozen berries left!). 1 cup vanilla coconut milk, 4 cups kale, 1 banana, 1/2 c frozen mixed berries, 2 tbsp brown rice protein powder, 1 tbsp cocoa nibs, and a splash of vanilla.
my go-to lately (mainly because I have only frozen berries left!). 1 cup vanilla coconut milk, 4 cups kale, 1 banana, 1/2 c frozen mixed berries, 2 tbsp brown rice protein powder, 1 tbsp cocoa nibs, and a splash of vanilla.
simple and clean.  Quinoa, pinto beans, corn, green beans, and a bit of hot sauce.
simple and clean. Quinoa, pinto beans, corn, green beans, and a bit of hot sauce.
Tofurky kielbasa with mustard and sauerkraut.
Tofurky kielbasa with mustard and sauerkraut.

AC and I went out to dinner at a restaurant in Norfolk called Supper Southern Morsels and it was totally amazing.  I had a salad and a Gardein Jambalaya that was ridiculous.  It’s a cute place, and I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm out since they have rooftop dining!

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we ended up at Bardo's after dinner for dessert and a drink. No vegan desserts, but spring rolls worked nicely!
we ended up at Bardo’s after dinner for dessert and a drink. No vegan desserts, but spring rolls worked nicely!

I had a great tofu scramble burrito at Harrison’s Cafe too!

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Friday night it was just me and R (D was at M’s rehearsal to take pictures of everything and head shots of the actors), so after doing some summer clothes shopping, we stopped at Moe’s to bring home for dinner.

life is too short to skip the shell!
life is too short to skip the shell!

But onto the fun stuff!  I finally went grocery shopping today and whipped up this stir fry for dinner tonight.  D and I have both had a craving for it, and this time, I actually wrote down what I did!  Feel free to mix up the veggies used – that’s the nice thing about stir fry!

Crissie’s Sweet & Sour Tofu Stir-Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large can of cubed pineapple in juice (keep the juice)
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into large wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large squares
  • 1 small can diced water chestnuts
  • 1 small can bamboo shoots
  • 1 can bean sprouts (or use fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp mirin (or regular white vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • In a very large pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add tofu, and stir until starting to brown on all sides.
  • Add garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add red onion and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Sprinkle a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I did about 3 shakes since my young one doesn’t like super spicy.
  • Meanwhile, pour the pineapple juice into a measuring cup.  Add enough water or veggie broth to make 1 1/2 cups.  Add in the ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch.  Mix well and set aside.
  • Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and pineapple.  Stir well.
  • Add the liquid and bring the heat to high until it starts to boil.  Once it boils, turn down to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  • Add bean sprouts and heat through.
  • Salt and extra soy sauce at the table for everyone to adjust to taste.

We ate ours over brown rice, and it was awesome.  This made about 8 servings.

everything ready to go!
everything ready to go!
the dinner table (complete with chop sticks for everyone!)
the dinner table (complete with chop sticks for everyone!)
a close up of the finished dish.
a close up of the finished dish.

It was a huge hit, and definitely something that will go in the regular rotation.

FITNESS

Today was the first day in weeks that I’ve been able to hit the gym.  I’ve gotten in runs and some body weight workouts at home, but I did miss my gym.

Today I went and spent 75 minutes doing cardio. My gym has a cinema room, and today’s feature was Avatar!  I love that movie.  Anyway, I hopped on the elliptical and watched the last half hour of the movie.

Then it was into the main room for 45 minutes on the treadmill.  I normally really hate treadmills (that whole “I feel like a hamster” thing), but I’m not dealing well with the cold.  So, 45 minutes of running in place it was!

I have to say I love my new Microsoft Band.  It not only keeps constant track of my heart rate, but I can also download workouts to it.  Every time I need to do the next exercise (or bump up the speed or incline), it vibrates on my wrist and displays the next activity.  Oh, and it also does texts, emails, sleep tracker, weather, and any number of other things.  Yeah, it was worth the wait.

LIFE

It is SO nice to be back home.  Traveling is fun, and I do enjoy it, but lately its been a bit too much.  When my young one goes to the nurses office complaining of a stomach ache – and then tells the nurse that she misses her mom – I know that enough is enough, and I’m glad the crazy work travels are over for now.

One thing that always brighten’s my day is D’s morning picture with R.  He takes them every day – and I do post them most days on Instagram.  When I travel, they’re even more important to me.  Love seeing these every day!

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she's loving her Lifeguard hoodie from San Diego!
she’s loving her Lifeguard hoodie from San Diego!

I’ve been sad that the weather got cold here again.  It’s crazy – normally by this time we’re in full blown allergy hell (not that I miss that) and it’s consistently warm.  Having weather in the 40’s the past few days has really sucked.

One evening this week, R and I went for a walk to a local park and hung out.  It was fun.  We chatted, hung out on the swings, and then commented on all the front doors on the houses we walked past on the way home.  Long story, but I’ve noticed that there’s a high propensity of red doors in Virginia, and we were sort of counting.  And that led to commentary on if we thought someone’s door matched their house well or not.  Still, it was fun.

wee one on the swing
wee one on the swing
swing selfie!
swing selfie!  In the rain, no less!

Last night I went out with AC.  I swear, I think it’s been going on 2 months since I’ve seen her.  We had dinner, caught up, and started plotting our next girls trip to somewhere warm and fun.

Today was sleeping WAY in (like, until 11.  Which is something I never do, so that was exciting).  Then it was meal planning, the gym, grocery shopping, errand running, and the cooking!  Now it’s time to chill, read, and get ready for the week ahead.

Cheers!

 

Board Game Victory! Savoring It While I Can….

FOOD

I honestly can’t recall everything I ate this week, but it’s been pretty typical fare.  Here’s what I have pics of!

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I made black bean and sweet potato chili with corn bread for our bloody mary and board game lunch!
I made black bean and sweet potato chili (in the pressure cooker!) with corn bread for our bloody Mary and board game lunch!
the beginning of the Bloody Mary Bar!  Most of the condiments weren't out yet.
the beginning of the Bloody Mary Bar! Most of the condiments weren’t out yet.

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tofu green curry.  It was only OK.  Not from one of my two usual places.
tofu green curry. It was only OK. Not from one of my two usual places.
veggie pizza
veggie pizza
veggie pho.  Also only "ok".
veggie pho. Also only “ok”.
caramel apple bars.  Smelled wonderful, but couldn't try them because of the apple allergy.  I did, however, have some of the leftover caramel!
caramel apple bars. Smelled wonderful, but couldn’t try them because of the apple allergy. I did, however, have some of the leftover caramel!
snow day breakfast of oats with banana, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.
snow day breakfast of oats with banana, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup.

FITNESS

It was so nice to get back to the gym after the thaw.  I did two new classes and really enjoyed them both.

BodyPump is a barbell class that combines weight training and some cardio.  It was really awesome, and I love that they have this class really early in the morning most days.

Mixxedfit is the other one.  Best way to describe it is a hip hop dance class on boot camp steroids.  They make a point of not liking to be compared to the “other” dance class….which I assume means Zumba.  I suppose it could mean Jazzercise, but I’m not sure that’s actually a thing anymore!  Anyway…big movements, intense on the cardio side, and incorporates non-dance moves like squats.  Overall, it was fun and so challenging I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish it.  I’m sure I also looked completely ridiculous.

Otherwise I did runs and circuits.

LIFE

This past week has been a bit difficult and I’m frankly incredibly exhausted.  Hopefully things will even out soon.

On Sunday KP and NS came over for Bloody Mary’s, board games, and girl time.  We mostly just sat at the kitchen table and talked and drank our Bloody Mary’s and mimosas and ate lunch.  We did play two games though.  One is called the table cube which isn’t actually a game per se, but a deck of cards with questions that encourages conversation.  I do have to say that we got the card no vegan wants to get (and all 3 of us are)….which animal would you leave off the ark?!  It was actually kind of funny.  Ticks and mosquitos were chosen!

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We also played Sorry and R joined us for that.  For once, I actually won.  I don’t win games often!  I think I grounded R a few times for bumping me off the board (or showing KP and NS how they could bump me off).  It didn’t work though.  She called my bluff.

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It snowed again last night, so we’re all home today, even D.  I went up to A’s school yesterday to bring her home for a long weekend.  She was already planning on coming home, but we were worried with the impending storm, that we wouldn’t be able to.  Problem solved!

Hope you’re all staying dry and warm, wherever you are!

Bumble and Ginny sharing some sunshine!  They're definitely hanging out more, which is cool to see.
Bumble and Ginny sharing some sunshine! They’re definitely hanging out more, which is cool to see.

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a girl and her kitty!
a girl and her kitty!