Busy Busy Busy!!!

I have been admonished, so here I am with a long overdue blog post.

FOOD

Fairly typical eats the past couple weeks. One cool thing I was introduced to by my boyfriend’s mom is a local produce delivery service. They grow everything hydroponically and deliver every Friday. Due to travels it took me a couple weeks to finally order, but it was amazing! I got bibb, Romaine, and red leaf lettuces, arugula, wasabi sprouts, pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and a huge back of juicing greens. It was an excellent haul. You just leave a cooler on your porch and come home to it filled with goodies!

I certainly used it all up too! Juicing, of course, and lots of salads. I took the bib, romaine, and wasabi sprouts to my guys house one night where he grilled and made everything else, I made the salad, and the 3 of us (BS – my admonisher) watched the season premier of Game of Thrones!

The next morning we went out to breakfast at a new place in VB. It’s a chain I’ve been to in the DC area, but it just opened a location here. It’s called First Watch, and to be honest, it wasn’t as wonderful as I had hoped. Wasn’t terrible, but not a spot we’d probably frequent too often. That said, I had the coconut chia pudding with granola and fruit and a side of multi-grain toast. It was good, but also the only thing on the menu for breakfast I could eat. Though the fresh juice (beet, orange, and turmeric) was awesome.

Other miscellaneous eats…

My girlfriend H made this slow cooker vegan chili with Daiya shreds for R and I when we spent
the night at their place
Mish mash meal of quinoa, Morningstar Farms chick’n strips, cabbage, and BBQ sauce

Simple coleslaw from the 1st China Study cookbook
Slaw on a baker with those Morningstar farms strips again

Vegan fried rice with tofu at Fat Dragon in Richmond!
No Bull burger at a tap house outside Richmond
My relatively boring mono-meal of steamed sweet potato and carrots

Homemade hummus from the Forks Over Knives cookbook

Monday night I went to an event with my girlfriend LC. I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of us – but I DID get a pic of the food, so that’s what matters! It was held at a local place called Taste, and it was a food demo and dinner event called Vegan Food for Non-Vegans. L eats a lot of veg based meals, and knew I’d love it, so we went. Food was amazing. Wine was eh. I had to skip the first course due to that damned avocado allergy, but I couldn’t finish all I had anyway, so no loss there.

FITNESS

It’s funny how I went months without running, and lately it’s been the only workout! But I’ve gotten a bunch in since my last post, which is nice.

LIFE

It’s been ridiculously busy the past couple weeks. I know that’s a common theme, but still. Yikes.

On the school front, I’m now officially done with all didactic work. That ended with my last term. Starting with this term, it’s all about the research. First – this 10 weeks is about getting approval to even pursue my topic – which has been much more challenging than I would have thought. In a good way – and it’s really forcing me to narrow things down and consider what I would find valuable with a more critical eye, but it’s freaking exhausting. But also exciting. And hive & insomnia inducing (not an exaggeration), but also rewarding.

My son M went to a GoT watch party dressed as Jon Snow. It was awesome.

My youngest flew to CA so visit her Dad for spring break week. Her flight was out of Richmond, so after school that last day, we drove up and spent the night at a friend’s house. Unfortunately, her little one was really sick – so much so that they needed to take him to the ER. R and I stayed and hung out with their other son D, and while I missed seeing H, I’m glad we could be there to make it at least a bit easier for them to take care of J.

This only R’s second flight (since she was 2 anyway), and the first time not flying with an adult. We did the unaccompanied minor thing with Delta, and it was a great experience. They take her safety very seriously, which I appreciate. All went off without a hitch!

I had all these plans for spring break. I was going to take most of the week off, do all the yard work, prep the garden, and study. Let’s just say that life got in the way of most of those goals, and study was the only thing I planned that I actually did! It was still a good week though.

Friday we went to Richmond to spend the night. R was flying home the next evening, and my guy and I love spending time up there – especially in the Scott’s Addition area that has our fav cidery and Chinese restaurant.

Our first stop was Fat Dragon. And then we went to Blue Bee Cider. We went a year or so ago, and weren’t fans. But people he and I know or meet keep saying how much they love it, so figured we’d go see if our first impression was wrong. It wasn’t. There wasn’t a single cider we really liked. At best, 1-2 were “ok”. The rest were just not our style. Should always trust my cider instincts!

Thankfully Buskey’s is just around the corner and that very much IS our jam. Had a great time too.

And tomorrow is back to the regular routine of school and work. And that’s okay!

Making sprouts! They’re almost ready too!!
R at her Dad’s, about to go surfing

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.

See Ya Later, Alligator

FOOD


The past few days have been great on the food front. It's been nice being off, and the daily juicing has felt very luxurious! It's also something I hope to do more of in the new year.

a juice of Romaine, spinach, chard, kale, beet, and pineapple. And totally amazing! The book is interesting too 😉
Romaine, Swiss chard, cucumber, lemon, and ginger green juice.
a busy Sunday cookday! Polenta with a mushroom ragout (took 2 hours, but OH so worth it!), another pumpkin pie, mustard salad dressing, roasted beets, and a BAS of epic yumminess

 

baked veg risotto (which was a minor fail…had to drain off excess liquid), and topped with green beans. Not fancy, but still hit the spot.
green smoothie at the hospital waiting room with D (he was there for a procedure). Water, pineapple, banana, mixed frozen fruit, and mixed greens!
post yoga BAS from the Whole Foods salad bar
Moe's burrito with tofu, rice, beans, and veggies. On the road (and no, I wasn't driving….I was parked and snarfing my dinner!)
today's dual drinks! On the right was my juice of the day – romaine, kale, spinach, pineapple, cucumber, and beet. On the left, a late morning smoothie of water, banana, frozen blueberries, and mixed greens. Funny to me how they look almost identical (I can honestly only tell the difference because of the straws….)
NYE dinner at Mannino's and it was amazing! All vegan – zucchini appetizer (best I've ever had), pasta with EVOO, fresh garlic, and parsley, and the second best brussel sprouts I've ever had (still like mine the most!)

 

FITNESS

The past couple days – since my last post – have been one run and two yoga sessions.

I hurt my foot the other morning. It was dumb – it was 4am and Bumble was scratching at a box in my room leftover from Christmas. She was keeping me up, and I was ushering her out of the room and tripped. I twisted my left foot and scraped my right shin. Really stupid, and it hurt for two bloody days.

Oh, and my golf adventure on Saturday left me hurting by Sunday. How crazy is that?? Part of my lower back and neck were so sore. I seriously need to practice…

However, a hot yoga class on Monday eve definitely hit the spot! It felt so good and my back and neck stopped hurting.

Yesterday was raining mostly during the day, and since we hiked around the theme park in the evening (and I was letting my foot rest), I stayed in.

Today it was feeling good, so I went for a 3 miler through the neighborhood. Felt good to end 2014 with a quick run!

LIFE

It's hard to believe what's been jammed into the past three days!

Christmas clean up doesn't take me long. I'll be honest – not my favorite holiday – and once it's past (like, the 26th), I start to remove all traces. So yes, decorations are packed up and the tree is down. And if I hear one more Christmas song now that the holiday is over, I'll probably scream (I can only handle Christmas music on Christmas Day….and then only in small doses). Some day I'll get to the psycological root of my dislike of Christmas (may have something to do with watching Holiday movies in July during my youth), but for now, I'll just cope.

D was playing with his new lighting equipment and captured a couple fun pics! I love M in his Chelsea gear!

Yesterday we finally hit up Christmas Town. We go every year, but couldn't make it before the actual holiday. Between D's flare-up, A's work schedule, and the rain – last night was really the only day we could make it. It was cold, but still fun.

And today is New Year's Eve! D and I went out to dinner – alone – and had an amazing time. We went to a local Italian place in Portsmouth and had not only great food, but a fun time together (and chatting about scary movies with the staff!).

And now, 2014 is almost over (only 30 min left on the East Coast), and in reflection….I'm glad to see it go. It wasn't a “bad” year, but one that was more hectic than I want my life to ultimately be. There were some great moments to be sure, but I felt like much of my life was living me rather than my living my own life. Most of that was due to a crazy work schedule, but ultimately, all of it was my own doing. I have a tendency to take on too much, convince myself I thrive on chaos, and rarely take a breather. In the end, I spent 3/4ths of the year covered in hives and running from place to place. 2015, I hope, will be much different. But for now, I will take these lessons learned and combine them with some new plans and outlooks for 2015!

 

So Happy New Year my friends!

 

 

Cleanse with Crissie in 2014 (or aka…let’s kill Billy)

FOOD

The best thing about the past 5 days is that I can actually taste food again! I'm not sick anymore (FINALLY), so food once again tastes good!

I made a marinated lentil salad during the holiday, and took it to work on Thursday as a lettuce wrap with a side of strawberries and cherry tomatoes. YUM.

I've also had less than stellar Pho, a bean and corn stew, and whole wheat penne with balsamic veggies.

I also made a totally killer Shamrock Shake-ish green smoothie! It's actually from the Dr. Fuhrman website, and it fully rocked. Coconut milk, spinach, mint, vanilla, banana….all yummy stuff.

Last night was tapas fun that culumnated in a ridiculously rich (too rich) coconut chocolate creme pie thingy.

But, if I need to stop teasing you all with my title, 2014 is going to be the year of the food cleanse. I will fully disclose here that my reasonings are actually not for vanity. They're to put an end to the hive nightmare of the past year (I hope). So…starting with tomorrow's post, the food sections of my blog will focus on the cleanse du jour.

For my first one of 2014, I'm going with Dr. Fuhrman! I've blogged about him before, and he's written a ton of really great books (Eat for Life, Eat for Health, The End of Diabetes, Super Immunity….the list goes on). Anyway, he advocates a vegan diet that is high in nutrient density, and between his books and his website, he has some prescriptive eating plans, of which I'm going to follow a 21-day version beginning tomorrow. I will track my progress as a whole, with the goal of concluding it hive-free. If I do – yay! I've found my “magic bullet”. If not….I will move onto another eating program with the goal of ending hive-free (or at the very least, hive-light!).

FITNESS

So I tried going for a run, and despite my feeling mostly human again, my lungs disagreed. I ended up doing a power-walk workout with some yoga after. Not bad, but I do hope this respiratory nonsense departs soon…..

LIFE

Well, the first week of 2014 is pretty much in the bag! All in all, it was a very good week. I went back to work on Thursday (like most of the world), the younger kids went back to school (A is still on holiday until next week), and R's swim team even ramped back up again.

Yesterday AC and JC had their annual post-Holiday party, which is always a good time. D and I went, and HF was there! She's one of my travel buddies (Vegas and Seattle), and while she doesn't live in our area, actually traveled here primarily for the party! D finally got to meet her, which made me happy too.

Today AC, HF, and I met down at the Oceanfront for a long lunch. Afterwards, it was off to do my regular weekend grocery shopping and food prep.

Okay, so to explain Billy. My chronic hives have finally been given a name! Dermographism. LC mentioned that it's not a very good name and I need to call them something else. Billy is the first thing that came to mind, so now when I talk about my hives, I call them Billy. Strange, maybe, but it's less of a mouthful than dermographism!

In 2010, a great documentary was made called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It's about a guy named Joe from Australia who is overweight and has chronic urticaria (aka…Billy), and decides to go on a 60 day juice fast/cleanse in an attempt to rid himself of all the excess weight, hives, and the meds he has had to take to keep the hives under control (I admit…I've thus far mostly refused to do that). Anyway, that's where the concept of the year of cleanses has come in. I'm not willing to do such a long juice fast, but I am willing to do a series of whole foods based cleanses if it means killing Billy. If, by the end of the year, I haven't been successful, then I will do a juice fast (15 days or so) to see if that works. I hope it won't come to that, but I'm starting to get fairly desparate. Some days are ok (like today….not one errant wheal on my body), and some I want to cry as I lie in bed covered in ice packs trying to make them go away. It sucks that my Dr isn't sure why I have them, has no real way to treat them, and is telling me they may last the rest of my life. Like hell….I'll find a way to kick Billy out of my life one way or another!

All my babbling aside, most days are pretty good. Some are worse than others, and while I was sick, it was pretty bad. I'm assuming the compromised immune system was a beacon for Billy to come out and play, but being sick for over a week also left me with a lot of time to sit and think and read. Now I'm on a mission – hives aren't something I should just live with for no reason, and I imagine I can beat them with a good clean diet, just like I have other ailments. So stay tuned….this should be an interesting ride!!!