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.

Oh Honey, Who Hurt You?

FOOD

Been nice being home for the past week! Eats have been pretty typical while home. Salads, stir fry, rice and veggies, oatmeal, soup, and smoothies.

My fav red Thai curry soup with white sweet potato

I also made three batches of homemade soymilk. One is a soy/oat/date blend which came out way thicker than I wanted. Will play with that and reduce the amount of oats next time. One super thick batch (double the soybeans) in order to make homemade yogurt (my first time making it from homemade milk), and a batch of normal everyday soymilk. Really happy all around.

A few meals out with my guy too. One was a Tex-Mex place we’ve liked, though it appears the quality (both of service and food) have been declining. Sad since they’ve only been open a year or so.

Fajita bowl with Impossible burger chopped into it

One of our fav brunch spots where I get the hummus lettuce wraps and sorbet mimosa!

And grilled cheese (vegan for me of course!) and fried pickles after a movie date.

FITNESS

A run and some kickboxing when I got home from Chicago. I’m banned from working out now until cleared by my doctor. More on that later.

LIFE

So I got home late Friday evening and immediately went to bed. The rest of the week has been pretty darned eventful.

A brunch date, a wine bar date, two movies, and lunch date were definitely the highlights. Included a total of three coffee shop stops as well as a wander through the Old Beach farmers market (very bougie). All packed into about 3 days!

We do love being regulars here. They know what we like. Saw us come in and the sommelier runs into the back to bring this out, having saved a bottle knowing we’d like it – and we did!

Charlie’s Angles and Joker were the movies. One was fun. One was disturbing. A coffee shop near me, one closer to his place, and one near the farmers market.

Between the rest rooms at our brunch spot

From Three Ships coffee spot

Monday night I met up with an old co-worker (he left the company 8 years ago!). He’s become involved in the start-up world and has recently joined our local angel investor group. I happen to know them, so it was fun to reconnect. We met for a glass of wine and just caught up and made some plans for future business collaboration. I’m going to be a guest on his podcast and he sent me a book, which is one of my favorite types of gifts!

Tuesday was not a fun day. So back in August I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my left cheek. Small, but had to come off. Good news is it’s not the super scary type of skin cancer (that’s melanoma). This one is usually caused by some bad sun exposure from sometimes decades earlier. But it has scared me into being more diligent about sun screen than I really ever have been (here’s your PSA kids – WEAR SUNSCREEN EVEN IF YOU DON’T BURN EASILY). Due to my crazy travel schedule, I really needed to wait until I knew I could arrange being home for a few weeks to heal. Hence the surgeries (yes two) on Tuesday. My girlfriend AJ picked me up and was my chauffeur and friend for the day. Step one was to the dermatology surgery office. That involved torture by Christmas music, needles to the face, discussions of temporary blindness, and the eventually excising of the cancer. Then they patched me up and sent me to the waiting room with AJ to kill an hour while they went to verify they got it all. They did, so then we had a few hours to kill before going to the facial plastic surgeon to sew me up and minimize scaring. That one was low-key horrific. Much more painful and invasive and numbed half my face – including my teeth! But, he was great and from my hometown of Milwaukee, which was fun, even though I really couldn’t speak once they got going (he had a resident).

I was offered stronger meds than Motrin and Tylenol, but I refused. Didn’t end up needing them anyway. Sore, but tolerable. Can’t really get it wet, can’t workout, etc.

The rule was to keep the bandage on 24-48 hours. I made it 24 hours and 30 minutes. I sleep on my stomach and the bandage started bunching. Drove me crazy!

By Thursday, I was totally stir crazy and needed to get out of the house. I was out of tofu, so I figured a quick trip to the grocery was needed. So here I am wandering around the store, and a woman comes up to me, puts her hand on my shoulder, and says “oh honey, who hurt you?”. UM… CANCER HURT ME. At first I was a little taken aback by someone approaching me like that (I have a black eye and stitches going down my cheek – so I did look a hot mess), but since it’s really restored my faith in humanity. She cared enough to make sure I was okay, and if I wasn’t – not sure what she’d have done – but it still warms my heart. We chuckled when I explained it to her.

That was early. The black eye and swelling got MUCH more impressive…

Since I couldn’t take a shower and get my face wet, it was definitely bath fun. I’m a huge fan of bath bombs, and my youngest bought me a ton of great spooky ones for my birthday! Luna really enjoys bath time too.

So – that was my week – plus quite a bit of time on my doctoral research stuff. Great times and not so great times, but in the end, I can’t complain. No more cancer. Fun with my love. Caught up at work. Research humming along. Seriously no complaints.

New throw blanket is VERY much Luna approved

She enjoys when I change the sheets. Even though she gets in the way

You Light Up My Life. And My Bedroom.

FOOD

Been a busy 10 days with a combo of home eats and travel eats.

First – I made a chipotle tex-mex risotto that was killer. Ate it for days!

My boy’s 22nd bday dinner was at his fav sushi/Japanese restaurant and I left SO stuffed. Edamame, cucumber salad, tofu, and sweet potato rolls. YUM.

I flew up to Chicago on Sunday and drove up to the Milwaukee area to see my mom and sister. My mom and I went to a lovely Italian place in Mequon. We shared some bruschetta and I had a simple spicy pasta dish.

Monday morning I had a tofu chilaquiles for breakfast that was amazing. At the conference they had fruit and chia pudding for snacks. Loved it.

Tuesday I had some coffee and a banana in my room for breakfast. I don’t recall lunch – probably a salad at the conference – and dinner I went for Italian again!

Of course there was a tofu green curry dish, and last night was also just a veggie salad on toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheese.

No pics, but this morning was a smoothie for breakfast, no lunch, and some creamy tofu-mushroom stroganoff for dinner.

FITNESS

LOTS of runs this past week. Sunday and Wednesday weather in Chicago was wet and cold, but Monday and Tuesday were beautiful. So Monday and Tuesday were runs outside and Wednesday morning was the gym treadmill.

Thursday I went for a run outside at home, which was wonderful – perfect weather.

Think I’m going to focus on yoga this coming week though. My lower back has been sore since late last week. I thought it was sleeping funny or maybe from kickboxing, but it’s a bit worse, so some good yoga is in order!

LIFE

Well – it’s been busy! Shocker, I know. R had her end of year orchestra banquet on Thursday, which was really lovely.

Friday was my fairly normal evening with my guy. Out for a bit and then stay at his place.

Saturday was M’s 22nd birthday! I made a cake as usual (lemon with vanilla “buttercream” frosting) and 14 of us went out for dinner! All you can eat sushi is just insane, but very tasty. Everyone had a great time. It included cake eaten with chopsticks.

Sunday I was up early and on a morning flight to Chicago. Picked up my mom, had lunch, took her home, then went to my sister’s for a bit, which is always awesome. My niece is heading to Germany this weekend for 3 weeks on a school trip – SO excited for her. 15 is a great age to start exploring the world. Well – any age really, but I’m still really stoked for her.

Traffic sucked SO badly heading back to Chicago. Oh well.

The conference was really great – especially the first day. That evening was a reception at the CEO’s house, which was very lovely. Not much food wise for me (though he’s a vegetarian – only vegan eat was a fresh spring roll).

I did watch the US Women’s World Cup opener against Thailand. I started to feel pretty badly for the Thai players. 13-0 is pretty humiliating.

I skipped the reindeer games Tuesday night. I like being around people – but I also really like being alone. After a couple days of intense interaction, I decided some me time was needed. It started with a much needed pedicure, then a rooftop bar and a book, then dinner, a walk through a park on the lake, and then bed.

I came home Wednesday, but due to weather, my flight was delayed. Though I met a really amazing woman at the wine bar at O’Hare. Her flight to Denver was also delayed so we spent hours chatting.

It was very cute, but my guy actually stayed awake texting me the entire time (yay for free in-flight texting!). When I landed safely home, he signed off and went to bed. Well, as we usually do – when I got home I sent him a quick text to let him know I made it safely. Especially since I was going to sleep in the next day. He’d worry, and I’d hate that.

A couple minutes later, I get this…. 🤣🤣

Apparently my text lit up his phone – and his room. I mean, he was awake, but still. Freaking hilarious.

Thursday was a 1/2 day for me working from home. My original plan was to head to DC in the afternoon for an event today and then come home today. But I had too much to do, so I scrapped that plan and stayed home.

On the fun front – I’m done with school for another term! My research topic has been approved! So – I have a couple weeks off, but lots I plan to do in terms of my research and getting organized. I’m switching citation software (from Refworks to Endnote), and need to do some cleaning up of my citations. My next term’s focus is on the literature review (about 30 pages and a min of 85 sources – but I already have 60, so that’s a great start) and a course on research methodology as I put together my approach for IRB approval. Guess I actually need to do this now, huh? ☺️

Today R when to her HS graduation to cheer on some friends from robotics and orchestra who are graduating. She’s now officially a junior 😳

Otherwise today was some work related research on pricing models (I’m a fan of vested pricing model approach personally). Then it was grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work, cooking, and a little poolside reading.

And other random pics for your entertainment!

My chilling at Borjo’s coffee doing my pricing model research waiting on R while she was at graduation

Our fav wine bar has several of these horrible prints in full size. Cracked me up seeing a shop of them at O’Hare

This is me. I’m directionally challenged. Badly.

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.

Water Thievery & Other Fun

FOOD

Good eats this week! Of course, I had a TON of leftover soup. My eldest and I really enjoy that one, so it went far with just the two of us eating it.

I made some awesome sweet potato and black bean lasagna-ladas and arroz non pollo one night too. Those leftovers didn’t last long!

Crissie’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Lasagna-Ladas

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes – steamed, baked, or otherwise cooked
  • 1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 8oz container of vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti since I had it on hand)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 diced jalapeño
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Corn tortillas (I used 6)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (or make your own)

Directions

  • I steamed the sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker (Ninja Foodi) and let them cool
  • Slide the sweet potatoes out of the skin and into the base of a food processor
  • Add all the spices, jalapeño, and vegan cream cheese and blend
  • Fold in the beans to make your filling mixture
  • Spray the bottom of a casserole dish. Put a layer of tortillas and top with the enchilada filling. Repeat with another layer
  • Pour the enchilada sauce over everything
  • Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven

Now, if you’re not lazy, you can do this the traditional way and soften each corn tortilla, fill with filling, and roll up and put in the casserole dish. But I always make them lasagna-style. Hence the name of the dish.

The arroz non pollo is adapted from Viva Vegan – an amaaaaazing vegan Latin cookbook. And while I change mine up, it’s close enough that I won’t write that out.

I topped it with some tart homemade soy yogurt and a spicy green sauce. SO good.

Otherwise a lot of soups, salads, and other yummy stuff. Didn’t take a pic of last night’s salad (was meeting new people for the first time and didn’t feel like explaining why I was taking a picture!). But it was an arugula and crunchy potato salad with a maple vinaigrette – and was delicious.

Bakers, tamari mushrooms, and savory tofu cubes

Panera lunch date! Forgot how much I like Panera.

Sunflower seed butter and banana. Love this as a pre-workout meal in the mornings.

Tofu was pan fried and, when lightly browned, topped with sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and
tamari. Really loved how it came out.
Brunch with my boyfriend this morning on our way home. Tofu scramble w/vegan sausage!

Dinner tonight was yummy. Busted out Veganomicon and made lentil Snobby Joes and herbed potatoes. Served with salads. Hadn’t made the joes in a long time, but the kids were stoked they made an appearance. Always been a favorite.

FITNESS

Okay, lots of gym fun this week. I am absolutely loving Regymen – took 3 classes this week. 2 of them were the regular HIIT class, and one was a boxing version. I am sore everywhere, but in the best possible way.

You wear a MyZone heart rate monitor – which is accurate 99.4% to an EKG. There’s an associated app with it. The workout is geared towards keeping you in a specific heart rate zone – delineated by color. Typically, they want you to have a total of 15 minutes in the top two zones (yellow and red). Uh. I spend almost ALL my time in there. After class I actually asked the instructor if I should be worried. It indicated I was maxing out my HR at 98% or so for a ton of time, but felt I could go harder. She asked what other exercises I do – I said running and yoga. Apparently because I run I have a really strong heart, and my max HR is actually a lot higher than the typical calculation based on age. I was told to sleep in it one night so it learns my normal and resting heart rates to calibrate it. I like that it’s smart enough to do that.

But seriously ! 569 calories burned in a single 52 minute workout! That’s insane.

Me after a Thursday night Regymen Burn class.
This was Friday’s lunch time Regymen Box class.

LIFE

First – it was a crazy weather week. A couple days in the 20’s and 30’s. Followed by 50’s-70. And rain. Hence the gym and not running outside!

All told, a good and productive week. Got lots of school stuff done and work is really ramping up – and I’m SO glad. Reconnected with one of my start-up friends as we start to collaborate on professional and personal stuff. He owns a coffee shop in Norfolk, so we met there for our meeting (that’s the coffee and hummus picture above).

It was a crappy day, but still a pretty decent view and great location!

I worked from home on Monday, and was taunted by Kuma and Luna and their naps. And Luna constantly “sharing” my water…and each of those pictures is a separate incident of water “sharing”. Not just me taking a bunch at once.

Friday night my guy and I went out. Two different wine bars – not the one we normally go to – and to be honest, the wine was only mediocre. Company was fabulous, and his dinner was excellent, but I think we’ll stick to what we know we love.

We also decided an overnight trip to Richmond the next day would be a fantastic idea. And it was! I had a haircut appt at 1115, and after went to his house, left my car there, and we went to Richmond. Stopped first at his friends house for a couple beers and catching up. Then it was off to dinner where I actually met a couple people in his family 😳. It was actually really nice, and after we all went to Buskey’s to have cider and play board games. Then it was to the hotel and then home today. Honestly, was a fantastic weekend.

Today was writing a paper and some grocery shopping. Low key.

And – more fluff fun! I really can’t get over how much fun Luna and Kuma have together. Makes me really happy that they get along so well.

Took it too late, but Luna was grooming Kuma and it was so stinking sweet!

AC Off, Soup ON!

FOOD

Okay, I’m a big believer in soups whenever the heck you want soup. Doesn’t matter about the weather, but there IS something fun about fall soup season kicking in.

I was going to whip up a butternut squash/apple soup for dinner tonight but the darn thing was bad. But, I did have an acorn squash, so whipped up something fun with that.

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed into large chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Place squash cut side down in oven-safe dish with about 1 inch of water
  • Place remaining veggies and garlic in a different oven-safe dish. Coat with olive oil and maple syrup
  • Roast everything in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool.
  • Put all the veggies (scoop out the squash, silly), the broth, coconut milk, and broth in a large sauce pan. Blend with immersion blender. If you don’t have one, blend in batches in your blender. But really – for $25, if you’re a soup junkie like me, just get the immersion blender!

Also – will say I went a little sweet with this. I think it’d be yummy with curry in place of the nutmeg and cinnamon too.

And this was not my only soup either! I whipped up the Spicy Potato Kale soup from Awesome Vegan Soups, using hot peppers from our garden of course.

Speaking of hot peppers, we’ve had so many from the garden, had to do something with them. My guy suggested pickling. Brilliant! Used this recipe. Minus the bell peppers, with a blend of jalapeño and hot cherry peppers, and 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 bragg’s apple cider vinegar.

Other eats I made include this applesauce cake, tahini/maple/balsamic dressing, vegan sushi bowls (which I shared w my guy’s youngest), creamy mushroom stroganoff, salads, and smoothies.

Seasoned sushi rice, spicy cucumbers, edamame, tofu, and shaved carrot

Eats out include salads, Thai, various portabello mushroom dishes, olives, and pasta.

One of the portabello dishes. It has a LOT going on, but was tasty!

Olives and Wine!!!

Out with friends – portabello dish #2 from Whiskey Kitchen

Also had a few harvests. Not much as the season is winding down. We pulled the tomato plants. BUT – today I spotted a cucumber. The FIRST of the season! The cuc and squash plants all died in late spring. But, they found their way back! Also, A had decided to try her hand at sweet potatoes. After vines going crazy, we pulled them – and had a pretty surprising harvest. SO tasty.

FITNESS

Been a busy and good week. Alternating runs, yoga, and kickboxing. Been taking advantage of the beach body streaming workouts now that I’m not going to drop in yoga classes or kickboxing classes anymore!

LIFE

Busy, but fun week! Started with…FIGHTER JETS! My friend D – whom I mentioned in my last post – is part of a charity group called Warrior Team – seriously check the link because what they do is pretty cool! We got to see their pilots flying Russian jets dog fighting while my friend MC’d the whole thing. After we (me, my youngest R, my guy, and his youngest) went to go meet them. D gave us a tour and history lesson of all the planes on the tarmac, down to which battles they fought in (like WWII), etc. It was fascinating and made the whole air show that much cooler.

After, we dropped the kids, got cleaned up, and then met D, one of his pilot buds, and good friends MM and RM for dinner and drinks. Very fun night.

Grad school buds and friends for life.

Since I have no school until the 8th, I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading! Taking FULL advantage of the library and my Kindle Unlimited subscription!

So while I was reading, caught Kuma hopping around the yard. Clearly stalking something – assuming a cricket or grasshopper or frog. You know. Something that’s actually smaller than her!

If you must know, it’s the Rylee Adamson series from Shannon Mayer. quick and fun reads and right up my alley when I’m between classes and research

Tuesday after work I met up with a friend for happy hour. It rained off and on that day, and on my way to my car after work, slipped on the wooden bridge. Argh. Wasn’t wearing heels, nor running, or anything! Busted knee and wounded pride. Both are healing nicely.

My guy and I hit up the Oceanfront one evening for a drink and a stroll. Tourists are gone, so it was quiet. Watched some surfers and then went home.

Thursday night was wine class! We had a lot of fun – there was a pretty big crowd. We sampled 8-9 wines or so. After we went to a late dinner and then home.

Tonight was quiet – cut the grass, clean the kitchen kinda quiet. But – the biggest thing of the day is I TURNED OFF MY AIR CONDITIONER! I officially declare summer over. Let the breezes blow the fresh air through my house!

Tomorrow will be fun though – making a monster Indian Feast + Game Night for all my kids, a few friends, my guy, and his youngest. Will be cooking ALL day. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Kuma clearly digging for something!

And while I don’t often get political on here (I leave that for Twitter, and boy oh boy have I lately!). – this week has made me CRAZY.

MY YEAR OF LESS

So I really did have to switch to the $200 limit this month. I thought 4x per month of going out would be logical. Once per week with my guy and that’s it! But life is quite different. Taking my daughter to her appointment with no choice but to stop for lunch, or work related networking outings, etc. As of today – 9/28 – I’m at $198.72 in “going out”. Though I went out 8 times.

Everything else this week has been groceries ($32).

I should have been taking advantage of the school break to work on purging – but I haven’t. I see that as some rainy weekend ahead!