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.

Can I Please Have the Only Non-Bourbon Drink in the Bourbon Bar?

FOOD

You can totally tell when school is back in session – my posts tend to drop to weekly! I’ll try to be better about that, but no promises.

Smoothies are making a stronger comeback this week. In the winter it’s not always my fav thing, but truthfully, I just feel better when I have them.

So I cheated one day. sue me.

Other homemade eats.

Noodles, chickpeas, and green beans tossed in a Red curry sauce (coconut milk, red curry powder

Actually R’s lunch – I’m allergic to apples. Tofu, apples, and a salad
Creamy mushroom/tofu stroganoff

Mojito beans!

And dining out.

Started with tofu harvest curry and brown rice on a lunch date with my guy.

Hummus & veggie plate at the winery Thursday night
A bottle of one of our fav cabs.

Steamed tofu roll
Pad Thai w tofu. Only “ok”. Not my fav Thai place and they’ve often screwed up my fav tofu

Potato & black bean wrap + fruit for brunch on Saturday. SO good.
Almond milk vanilla latte.

FITNESS

Two runs and a weight circuit at the Y.

LIFE

Definitely been a busy week. With school back in full swing, the days are once again flying by.

Luna has been having a grand ole time, and she and Kuma definitely get along very well. They’re both cute as can be.

Can’t see Luna, but she’s in her tunnel. They both tend to join me for my morning java!

Well…she like rice.

Thursday after work my guy and I went for wine and apps and then shopping.

Friday after work I went back to the mall to exchange something (got the wrong color) then stopped for Thai before heading over to my boyfriend’s house for the night. We watched Game Night, which was actually a lot of fun. Can’t really go wrong with Jason Bateman.

Saturday morning was a lazy one and we eventually headed out to brunch. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit, which neither of us had heard of, but had vegan brunch options so off we went. It was a bit of a hike from his place, but holy crap – it was awesome! Place was packed and there was an hour wait, but well worth it.

They have a ton of outside seating, an outdoor bar, fire pits, and handed out blankets and games. He and I sat under a blanket on a bench right in front of a fire pit sipping on our drinks! The restaurant itself is a big farm house and was ridiculously adorable. Really loved everything about it.

Very spicy and perfect vegan Bloody Mary

Then we were off to the Eastern Shore and Cape Charles. First stop was Buskey’s. Same cidery that we love in Richmond has a tasting room a bit closer to home. We sat and chatted with the woman working there. She happens to be a teacher in VB but also waitresses at a different restaurant when it’s open during the tourist season as well as Buskey’s. Does make me sad to think that so many of our teachers have to work multiple jobs.

Silly cider selfie

Then we walked the block or so over to the Cape Charles Distillery where we had a couple drinks, met another couple (she and I have the same first name), and spent some time talking to the (slightly odd) bartender. But overall, very fun and neat place.

The Resolution! The only non-bourbon drink on the menu. AC would be disappointed in me…
bourbon is her fav drink

We were going to hit up Bee and the Biscuit again this morning with our kids, but the weather was horrible and the rain would’ve negated the cool fire pits. So – we’ll try again next weekend!

Today was all school work, all day. That’s okay though. It topped off a really awesome week.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Umm. I shopped. Not crazy obsessively, but it seems like I ran out of a lot of personal products (makeup – even tho I don’t wear much – and skin care stuff) all at the same time. And a watch charger to leave at my boyfriend’s house.

I’m finding it really hard to get back to the groove of my rules. Going to reread the book that kicked all this off to begin with!

Home for the Holidays!

FOOD

Most of the time since the last post has been on the road and away from home, but not all!

PRT – or pre-road trip was all about cooking up what I already had in the house. I didn’t want to grocery shop when no one would be home.

One meal was a Gardein skillet thing. It wasn’t bad.

There was oatmeal and smoothies for breakfast. And since I had 2 blocks of tofu, pressed that and made jerk tofu, coconut rice, and tamari mushrooms.

Then it was road trip food, of which I’ve taken very little photographs. We packed a lot of snacks, so that was mostly what we ate. Also got a falafel at a rest stop in Chicago! That was fun.

There was one fun night at a restaurant in Youngstown, OH – which turns out to be where one of my coworkers is from! Salad and pasta primavera.

Oh, and my sister did homemade pizzas last night. Tried the So Delicious Mozzarella for the first time. It was good, though I think I still like Daiya better.

FITNESS

Nothing since I left on Friday – didn’t even pack workout clothes. Winter in Wisconsin – I’m not running outside!

But the few days before I went to the gym each day.

LIFE

So this holiday season is a bit unique. It’s my first one without all my kids with me since having them. My oldest is in Toronto celebrating with her soon to be husband’s family. My middle is in Albany meeting and celebrating with his girlfriend’s dad and family.

So, R and I came to my hometown in Wisconsin to spend the holiday with family. It started with a road trip Friday morning. An overnight in Ohio, and arrived late afternoon on Saturday.

Day 1 and all excited! Also, grandest Kumaventure yet!
The rest of the 2 days was largely R and Kuma sleeping

Elevators confused her…

Ah Chicago. Did not miss your traffic…

On Sunday was my big family party, which was awesome. First time all the cousins have been together in at least 10 years – mainly because I don’t often come home. My cousins all have kids now, and many are similar ages to R, so she had a totally great time – which made the whole trip worth it.

My cousin hosted the party at my sisters house. Fun tags on the wine!

R and her cousins goofing off in the game room

All the cousins’ kids! So fun to see them all together
My BIL wearing his white elephant gift – one I brought

The youngest cousin!
Me and most of my cousins. I really do miss them all.

Christmas Eve R and I and my niece and sister went to see Mary Poppins, which was really good. Then had pizzas.

Today is a quiet day. Will go over by my mom’s in a few hours, spend time there, then bring her back to my sisters for dinner and gift exchange. All told, a quite and nice trip home – though I miss my older two a lot and hope they’re having a great time.

Tomorrow we hit the road for our journey back to VA!

Last Thursday the kids and I actually exchanged our gifts. My youngest got me a Ninja Foodi! I’m SO excited. I used it that night to make the jerk tofu. Can’t wait to get home and play!

I’m also looking forward to NYE. That evening my boyfriend and his kids and me and mine are having our Christmas. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Otherwise – fun times!

End of day 1 travel selfie sent to my guy. Of course he had to send me one too!

Kuma and Jordy getting to know each other
Kuma, my sister, and I watching Bird Box on Netflix Saturday night.

Next 3 pics are a progression of my Aunt feeding Kuma….

My Year of Less

No comment 😏

Fiesta Time!

FOOD

Okay, it’s only been a few days, but one of those consisted of about 6 hours of cooking and I think I should get some type of award for that.

And the fact that I can write such a long sentence with very little punctuation and it’s still grammatically correct, but that’s a whole different story.

But, we shall go in order…

I had oatmeal Friday morning. No smoothie though (was out of a few ingredients).

I also started pre-cooking for the Saturday party by making my spicy green sauce and homemade seitan for the arroz non pollo.

Friday night a stop at one of our fav wine bars and then dinner out with my love having a strange lemon pasta thing that was odd, but tasty.

Saturday morning he, his young one, and I went to brunch. Portobello bagel with hummus, fruit, and a tropical mimosa followed.

Saturday we had a Latin dinner party! I made black bean and sweet potato tamales, 2 empanadas (one corn, one a TVP-based “beef” taco), cheezy arepas, slaw, and the arroz non pollo (a rice, veggie, tomato, and seitan dish). My guy made the plantains, which were killer.

Sunday naturally started off with a cleansing smoothie after the feasts of the night before. Lunch was leftovers. For dinner we went to cinema cafe. I had popcorn and fruit punch….

This morning I threw a batch of Spanish rice into the rice cooker while getting ready for work (ran out of the arroz non pollo). Threw a couple empanadas on it for my work lunch. Breakfast was a banana and coffee.

Dinner was mac no cheese!

FITNESS

Weather was odd, so I did get a run in, but also did some spinning on my bike in the garage. Never got to the gym…

LIFE

Probably one of the coolest things was having the downstairs powder room finished! They did an amazing job.

With school being done until Jan 7th, I’ve been reading for fun. Always my paranormal fun stuff, but also been reading a lot of nonfiction. Currently loving Where Good Ideas Come From and re-reading The Lean Startup and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Also upped my meditation game in the mornings, which has been nice.

Friday night I spent at my guy’s house. Saturday we went to breakfast, toured a local island we like, and then hit up a tienda before he took me home so I could get cooking for the masses!

Saturday was the Latin Fiesta dinner party! All told, there were 13 of us. A combination of my friends, my kids and their friends, my boyfriend, and his son. The living room was a major video game battle zone while the “adults” hung out in the dining room drinking and talking.

Extra props to my friend MM who brought and made these yummy peppermint drinks! Whipped vodka, peppermint vodka, coconut cream, and grenadine. YUM.

Oh, and MM and his wife RM brought Kuma the BEST gift. It’s a bucket of popcorn with 3 popcorn balls that come out. She loves it. She pulls out the popcorn balls and drops them at my feet one by one. I throw them, then the bucket (which she whips back and forth to “kill” while bringing it back). Then I stuff the popcorn balls back into the bucket, and we do this until she tires out. It’s so much fun.

M gave snuggles AND snacks. Kuma is in love…

Sunday ended up being super chill. I admittedly got freakishly bored, but persevered. The evening ended with going to see Mortal Engines with my youngest, my middle, and his girlfriend. Oldest couldn’t come because she started her new job as an ED Tech! In less than a year she finishes nursing school – so excited for her to move into a clinical role.

Today Kuma didn’t want to get up (neither did I really), but eventually she did, and then it was a Monday at the office.

Tonight has been cooking, cleaning, blogging, and reading!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Seriously no updates. I’m feeling pretty self-conscious about that honestly. But that’s the point of blogging – to have a written account and accountability, and I have literally failed since November. Due to holiday’s, I’m not sure it was entirely avoidable, but I’m absolutely positive I could’ve done better. And I will….

Thankful for Everything Except the Ankle Injury

FOOD

Let’s get the non-Thanksgiving pics out of the way first!

On Wednesday, I had ramen and my very first bubble tea with my guy! Mine was coconut milk with Oreos.

Wednesday night was one of my fav chili recipes – Chili Con “Carne”. It’s from one of my older cookbooks – Vegan Lunch Box from 2008. I don’t dust it off very often, but I can’t seem to part with it either when I do my book donation purges every few years. This particular recipe is practically worth the price of admission, so I keep it around.

Today I had lunch with my guy and his youngest – a BAS (no Romaine, thank you!). Dinner was leftovers.

So what did we do for Thanksgiving? Other than have a really nice evening, there was ten tons of food too.

Breakfast was toast with sunflower seed butter. And a mimosa!

Will prep now – this was an Omni gathering. I only cooked vegan eats, though my guy made 3 dishes (1 vegan, 2 not) and my son’s girlfriend brought 3 dishes (2 vegan, 1 not).

On Wednesday I baked ten tons of cookies. Choc chip that actually weren’t that good (won’t use that recipe again) and my normal oatmeal raisin cookies that do rock.

On Thursday, the marathon began! But first – snacks. No meals other than the “big feast”, so snacks are put out for everyone to munch on, and get put up about 2 hrs before meal time.

Son 2 made me realize I forgot the dessert hummus this year!

Started with a pumpkin pie (which we still haven’t eaten!). Then green bean casserole, butternut squash au “gratin”, 2 tofurkey’s (one in a crock pot, one baked), sweet corn bread, sweet carrots, two gravies (one that came with the tofurkey’s and a homemade mushroom one) and stuffing with wild rice.

My guy made the mashers (vegan) and also made corn pudding and brought smoked turkey.

My son’s girlfriend made two types of croissant dishes – the dessert one was vegan – and a big batch of sangria!

And because I’m really paranoid about dishes coming out at the same time, I employ the sticky note method! R mocked me for it a little, but hey – it worked. Everything came out at the same time!

There were 9 of us in all. Me and my three kids, my guy and his two, my son’s girlfriend, and his best friend – who’ve I called Son 2 for years. And we had MORE than enough food.

And by the end of the night, my heart and belly were very full! And how could it not be? I was surrounded by many of the people I love most in the world, so yeah – it was a perfect day.

FITNESS

So, inspired by the run that didn’t suck on Monday, I wanted to run on Wednesday too. BUT, it was too cold for me (31 degrees), so this happened…

And I typically hate dreadmills, but I really wanted to run, so here I found myself. I was 19 minutes in, and my right calf cramped so badly I actually had to stop. That sucked. But I hopped on a recumbent bike for 20 so I still got a workout in. The upright spin bike put too much pressure on my calf, but was fine on the recumbent. Guess that’s one benefit of going to the gym…

Yesterday before cooking I did a walk/run – only about 20 minutes because I didn’t want to press my luck. Was fine though.

Today I went for a hike! REI has their #OptOutside campaign again this year, and I do like the idea and there just so happened to be a meetup group going to First Landing State Park for a 3 mile trail hike that sounded perfect. So, I signed R and I up, and my guy had thought to go too – though that fell through. And frankly, at 7am, R didn’t want to go anymore either (freakishly cold, and she hadn’t had a great night’s sleep), so decided to go anyway! There were 6 of us (though 21 originally committed), and while it was wicked cold, after a half mile or so, was warmed up enough to really enjoy it. Everyone was chatty, so the time really flew.

After, I met up with my guy and his son for lunch, and then went home. I took off my shoes and sat by the fire before going over to my desk to get studying. My ankle started to feel a little sore, and after 20-30 minutes, was agonizing. Now, I did trip during my hike over a root – didn’t fall, but it was less than graceful. But I felt fine all the rest of the hike and after, so I can’t be sure that was it, but I have no other explanation.

So RICE it is! Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevate. It’s largely feeling better, just can’t rotate it without pain. For awhile there, it wasn’t weight bearing at all. Ugh – finally get my running mojo back and I get this. ARGH.

LIFE

Can’t complain! (Other than the ankle drama).

Wednesday was some work and errand running. Including finishing grocery shopping. Behold – my list…

My accent chair arrived, and I’m fairly pleased. Kids love it. It’s not a long term chair, but definitely wanted something in the study other than the desk and the book shelves. It’s a place to read, etc. Need to pick up a side table, hopefully this weekend.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and a really wonderful day. My oldest works night, and was working, but came home, slept until 2, and then got up to spend the day with everyone before going back to work. My guy came over fairly early (his boys started their day with the other side of the family and then came over by my place). We took a run to Starbucks to get java and see M, who had to work. We spent the rest of the afternoon cooking together, which was a lot of fun, while the kids all watched the Lego movie. Watching them watch it and laugh and sing was really fun. Good thing I have a HUGE sofa – all of them sprawled out on it.

Then it was dinner and everyone in food comas. Let’s just say that things were much more tame after the eating ended. Then it was cleaning and dishes for me while everyone just relaxed and slowly dispersed.

Kids in food comas

And today was up early, hike, lunch, and school work. One of the contractors came to assess my half bath, and I should have that estimate tomorrow. The guy my coworker hooked me up with was a no-reply and no-show, so that sucks. Still have two tho, so hopefully those will balance out.

All told, awesome couple days!

And Kuma!

They were both cold!

Kuma snuggling the cooler my guy brought over on thanksgiving…

MY YEAR OF LESS

Not a lot of updates on here. I picked up things needed for the big feast of family. Got A’s Christmas gift, and had lunch out twice.

Meaty Bananas & Cranberry Juice that’s NOT for Vodka

FOOD

Not a lot of kitchen inspiration this week. Leftovers, popcorn, soup, and a few outings in the last couple days.

The best meal was Thursday night though. It was an early birthday outing with my guy, where we went to a local winery we like and split a bottle of our fav easy drinking cab, and then went out for Italian. We had a marinated mushroom appetizer that I think was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had.

Yummy zucchini ribbons and pasta with olive oil, garlic, and bread crumbs

On Friday (my actual birthday) we went out for Indian. Went to a different place than last weekend – one where we know it’s always good. And it was. I had to Goan Vegetable Curry.

FITNESS

No runs this week, but definitely yoga and weight lifting.

LIFE

Overall, the past several days have been pretty amazing. Lots of school stuff, but that’s nothing new nor unwelcome.

Thursday I had a really important thing happening all day, and after, went to my guys house so we could jet to our romantic evening out. And it really was awesome.

While we were out, A sent me a text asking if we had any bananas, and if she could please have one. Thought it was an incredibly strange question since no one needs permission to eat food in my house (especially healthy food!). Turns out that, as part of her nursing school instruction, she needed to practice injections on the banana. Huh. Okay…

Well, then she asked if she could have the cranberry juice. And I assumed – since I came across all the vodka on the counter the day before – that she was going for a vodka cran before going to sleep…

Yesterday was my birthday, and I’m pretty sure it’s the best one yet! I took off work and spent the entire morning and then lunch with my guy. Then I went to see M at his Starbucks, and then it was off for spooky Howl O Scream fun! It was supposed to me, my girls (M couldn’t get anyone to take his shift 😒), my guy, and his youngest. Shortly after lunch though, my guy got really sick, so he stayed home. But, the rest of us went as planned and had a total blast.

Traffic sucked on the way, but the ride ended up being hilarious. A and I were telling crazy stories about patients we’ve encountered and everyone was cracking up. We then started talking about bananas and A asking me if she could have one of the bananas. I proceeded to tell the kids that I thought it was funny, and then she asked for cranberry juice, presumably to pair with vodka. A started laughing and said that no, the Cranberry juice was actually what she needed to inject INTO the banana in order to determine if she was doing a good job. And that it was important that the banana be really meaty. It probably didn’t help that she had only 2 hours of sleep in about 36, hadn’t eaten, and everything ended up being hilarious. There were many jokes about meaty bananas the rest of the night….

We walked around the park until full dark set in and we could start with the really spooky stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell really spooky characters that they weren’t allowed to kill be because it was my birthday. One particularly funny/spooky guy commented how cool it was that my birthday would also be my death day…

A posted this on FB. She’s so cute!
Creepy jester DJ spinning some jams

So my guy’s son had never been to Howl O Scream before, but for me and the girls, this is totally our jam. The more spook, the better! Nothing like getting scared out of your mind, chased with chainsaws, and just generally laughing and screaming so much your throat started to hurt. At least that’s MY idea of a fun night 🙂

So yeah. Half a day with my guy, half with my kids (except M), and dozens of messages from friends and family all over the world. Other than M and my guy not being able to come with us for spooky fun, overall the entire day was totally perfect.

Couple other pics

Bday present from my guy. Heart = Melted 😍
Woke this morning to this awesome gift from my sister!
Meet Beverly. She’s been hanging out with us all week. She’s very friendly, actually, and R is really digging her.
My car on the left, A’s on the right. Mama bear and baby bear!

MY YEAR OF LESS

So I will admit I spent a bit more this week than I’m proud of and I do need to refocus on my challenge. I bought a new coffee pot. I had a Ninja Coffee Bar and I noticed some green mold growing in the reservoir, despite cleaning it regularly. So I contacted Ninja, and after some back and forth, said they’d give me a discount on a new one. Well – I did some googling and saw quite a few people comment on the green mold, so I knew I didn’t want another one nor one with a reservoir quite like that. But, most of the time, only a single cup is consumed per day (unless M or A want some, and then it’s a pot), but I refuse to get a Kuerig. Despite the intense wastefulness of those K Cups, I find the coffee pretty crappy. So the hunt began for a coffee maker that can do a pot, or a single cup, and not be those K cup things. Thankfully, Cuisinart pulled through. Could I have just used my French press forevermore? Yes – and it wouldn’t have cost me anything. But – I spent the money and replaced my coffee pot.

My youngest did get me an Amazon gift card – mainly because she doesn’t like that I can’t buy myself books on my shopping ban. I’m pretty excited!