Trust Me – Life Changing Eggplant is a Thing

For someone that isn’t going anywhere, how the heck does a week go by without a post?!

FOOD

It’s interesting, I have always been a smoothie for breakfast kind of girl. Occasionally I’ll have one in the afternoon or evening, but usually – mornings.

However, since I started drinking greens every morning, I’ve been making smoothies more my dinner than anything. Strange musings, but whatever – it works 🙂

So my routine of late has been Athletic Greens about 4 hours after I wake up (I take thyroid meds and some minerals will interfere with it), then an hour later I’m pretty hungry and have a regular meal. And dinners are either food – if I’m hungry enough – or a smoothie if I’m not.

Eats this week included more no-knead bread, salads topped with Beyond Burgers, grilled goodness like asparagus and eggplant (more on that in a sec, but it was honestly the BEST eggplant ever, smoothies, snacks, and tacos!

This dough sat nearly 2 days, so it had that sourdough taste to it – yum!
About to hit the grill

Speaking of grilling vegetables….

I was sent an eggplant recipe by someone who knows what I like very well, and I’m telling you – it did NOT disappoint. I made it as written and it is literally the most delicious thing. I am sharing this recipe with you because I love you and everyone deserves deliciousness in their lives. I kid you not – this is life changing eggplant.

Served with jerk tofu and some pan fried tomatoes
I’m going to say it. Don’t care if I lose my hippie badge. By and large, I dislike flax crackers! I think Mary’s Gone Crackers are the only one’s I like. The cream cheeze was pretty decent though – new to me brand
First of the season! And R always gets the “tube”
Mac no cheese
Tofu & potato tacos
My fav kale salad with the garden kale!

And of course we had a birthday last weekend, and that meant homemade cake! And not because of quarantine – we always do homemade cake. This is vegan vanilla! And A wanted hot pot and boba tea for dinner, and that was achieved!

FITNESS

Last Saturday was my rest day – honestly I was just too sore to workout. But otherwise, still doing my 6x per week workouts.

Rowing, running, and yoga this past week. No biking. Was originally planning on that for Saturday, but just didn’t happen. I am excited though that I’m finally getting a hitch for my car and a bike rack! As of today, everything is ordered, and hopefully by next weekend, will be good to go! I have a tiny car and I can shove my bike in the back if all the seats are down, but it’s a pain in the butt and of course that means biking alone. I like that, but I think my youngest would enjoy the state park rides as much as I do.

One of my rows was a fun Head of the Charles Race set in Boston with a bunch of Olympians. It was actually really, really cool.

As much as I love rowing, I’ve been struggling getting what I feel is a tough enough workout. So – I was given 2 workouts to challenge myself because another person has done them and has found them challenging – he knows I’m struggling with that, so I totally love that he gave me these.

The first one was relatively short – 25 minutes in all – but were sprints. While it still wasn’t overly intense – that may have been because it was just 22 minutes. And really – burning 275 calories in 22 minutes isn’t bad at all.

The sticky note on the left was the workout – I struggle with keeping my spm down while also bringing my split down, so honestly – I just rowed hard.

Yesterday I went for a run – and honestly, it was an awesome run. Even though I got rained on. I’ve upped my mileage and just really enjoyed it.

Today was back on the rower though – for a workout called Genoa. It’s basically almost an hour of ass kicking. BUT – for the first time since I got it, I really got a hell of a sweat and burn. Comparable to a run of the same duration. And it was fan-freaking-tastic! Again I struggle with syncing up SPM and split, so my SPM is always really high – well over 30-35. But I can’t complain because the workout was what I’ve been looking for.

While not as fun as the guided workouts – I am grateful my rower can go on manual too! I popped on headphones and listened to an audiobook while I rowed away.

I’m still doing yoga every morning as well. And I need it!

Kuma loves yoga time too….

LIFE

Ah, life in quarantine. While routine, I am not finding it boring. I’m really busy and am not getting to all the things I wish I could.

Every morning starts the same. Get up, feed floofs, make coffee, take Kuma outside, then come in – 10 min of yoga, 10 of meditation, and then some brief targeted journaling (something I’ve gotten into the habit the past month or so via my yoga studio). Then it’s time to work!

Work has been keeping me very busy, as has school. If I get free time – which is rare – it’s time with the kids or reading or cleaning or something!

The weekend was really awesome. Plenty of time chilling and relaxing, and then working on my school stuff outside! Then, of course, celebrating A’s 25th birthday!

The birthday girl! (Top pic was me and her in 2012, rest are pretty recent)

The garden provided another MASSIVE kale bounty and enough spinach for a good sized salad.

I put a trellis up for the zucchini – the cage around it is just too small. I’m hoping it’ll help not crowd out the Japanese eggplant. This weekend – pending weather – will be all about weeding the two gardens!

I also have an insane cilantro plant. The past two times I tried, it never really took off – this year is quite successful. I’ve even given away a ton of it. The mint is also insane. Oddly, the basil is not as successful as usual and that is bothering me – big fan of basil and want enough to keep me swimming in pesto all summer!

Speaking of swimming – pool was opened on Wednesday! Still have some work to do on it, but as soon as it’s warm enough (crazy weather went from near 90 last week to a week in the 60’s), it’ll be good to go!

Otherwise – average week and silly floofs – who’s pics I will leave you with as usual!

I May Have Grown a Green Thumb!

FOOD

The biggest new thing to my eating is I’ve started drinking Athletic Greens every morning. Because I take a thyroid med, it’s usually late morning/early afternoon, but honestly – I love it. If you’ve read for any length of time, I’ve tried all kinds of green powders over the years and they are usually something to choke down. This is actually tasty – and I love the nutritional content for sure.

Other eats have been a curbside takeout salad from Moe’s, Beyond Brats with various veggies, takeout Ramen from my fav spot, and – my fav – THAI. For mom’s day, M got me Thai, and I made it last for several meals!

Steamed veggie rolls
Tom Kha Soup
I added more coconut milk and spices and tofu to make it last for 3 more meals!
With kale from my garden!
Fresh no-knead bread

FITNESS

I worked out every day since my last post. I’m aiming for 6 days per week, so that worked out well.

Rows every day but three – two were runs and one hour-long yoga class. I’m going to start alternating daily. Runs give me a harder workout, but I love the rower SO much. I do incorporate strength workouts on rowing days though.

I will say, my runs are much, much better. Pace is faster and I’m upping my mileage. I’m positive the cross training has everything to do with that.

This was one of my runs. If you don’t know about it – look it up. Tragic.
My typical rowing workout
And running as of late – lower burn than usual. Must be getting better 😉

I’ve also been doing yoga daily – even if it’s only 10 minutes in the morning. Though I did an hour class this week also. I often have company…

LIFE

Getting super excited about the garden! It’s looking awesome, and I harvested my first spinach and kale. And even more exciting – I grew the spinach from seeds! I’d never done that before. I always joked that I had the opposite of a green thumb, or I’d say “dead plants give rooms character”. Perhaps I’m a green thumb after all!

And Go arrived on Friday (3 days ahead of schedule), so R and I played. She destroyed me. Ugh. I have lots to learn!

So my days have gotten into a routine. I mentioned my yoga studio doing a lot – including daily live streaming of not only classes, but also immersion instruction. It has gotten me into a habit in the mornings of some brief yoga, meditation, and journaling. The reflection has been very good.

A coworker of mine posted this on IG, but it was directly related to something my yoga instructor said that I thought was pretty cool

Mother’s Day was nice and chill. I mostly wrote my school stuff All. Day. Long. But seriously – look at how these cabbages have grown! The eldest will be 25 in a few days, the middle 23 in a few weeks, and the “baby” going on 17!

Circa 2012
Now!

Speaking of writing….

How I started my Monday to kick this week off right!

My insomnia has gotten pretty crappy again. I’m trying to read before bed instead of watch things on my iPad. Not all nights are bad, but some have been pretty terrible. Hopefully that works out soon, because I am over it!

I Suck at Chess….for now…

FOOD

Saturday I made a vegan “butter chicken” with soy curls in my instant pot. Super simple recipe that never disappoints! Made enough for 3 meals, and I had some today for dinner.

Today I reheated the rest of the creamy Dijon “pasta” with shiritaki noodles.

Oh, and a yummy vanilla/mint smoothie with fresh mint from the garden!

Part of tonight’s dinner!

FITNESS

Saturday I did another rowing workout. It was good and challenging, and I’m still really, really enjoying my rower. I also love my stats (of course I previously revealed I am a data junkie). I was quite pleased with my first week of stats on my rower!

Today I went on a 17mi bike ride at False Cape State Part. I’m bummed that my heart rate monitor paused itself at the halfway point when I stopped for water. Thankfully I can extrapolate from there – so assuming I burned around 700 calories for that ride.

LIFE

It has been an excellent weekend. I didn’t sleep great, but I did sleep in (which is 730-8am).

Yesterday I met up with SJ and her husband AJ at the Costco parking lot to lend some of my finance books and materials to help her in her current class. I had Kuma with me, which is always fun.

Honestly, all these are from my MBA – including the thin “cheat sheets” that I totally loved!

Then Kuma and I went to the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market where we got quite the haul of asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumber.

On our way home, we did stop at Mount Pleasant Farms near our house and got their “breakfast grab bag” which consisted of apples, oranges, onion, potato, blueberries, and a strawberry jalapeño jam!

One pooped pups!

I had some school related stuff to do (not the doctoral stuff – the Darden Lifelong Learner stuff where I’m doing a Design Thinking course), and some yoga stuff.

After that, I did my rowing workout, took a shower, and meditated. I was planning to make dinner, but my kids were up at odd hours (one had to work, one works nights, and the other…well she’s a teenager and sleeps all day), and they all ended up eating before I could cook!

I decided to chill up in my room, light some candles, and watch movies. I don’t do that very often, and it felt pretty indulgent! First I watched Extraction – the new Chris Hemsworth movie on Netflix. Not bad. A friend described it as “part video game, part Taken, part Golden Child” and he was not wrong! It was enjoyable enough, though not award worthy. Best line was “we were just attacked by the Goonies from hell”.

Then I finished Mortal Kombat that I had started the night before. And I’m not ashamed – still love it – though Liu Kang could’ve done without the 80’s mullet. Otherwise – still fun!

Today I went right to the park after I got up, got dressed, and had coffee. No pit stops either way, and got home right around noon. I will say, the park was packed. Generally okay as there’s plenty of space, but some folks were just plain rude – like on the path there’s clearly a demarcation of what side you should be on, but small groups ignoring that. I almost got bowled over by a large extended group biking together coming around a bend that were taking up the whole trail. One guy waived and said sorry, but seriously. I’m also glad I got there when I did because as I was leaving, there were not parking spots – and people were parking in all kinds of crazy spots. Saw the police as I was leaving ticketing dozens of vehicles. All told, still a great ride.

I got home, logged into school to see if I had any feedback from my advisor – none – so no school work today. Meditated, took a shower, then decided to go outside and read for a bit.

Really loved this grid. I’m big on Knowledge Compounds, but all are great lessons to take to heart

Then it was chess tourney time! M played R and won. Then M played A and lost. Then A beat me. Then I beat R. M couldn’t stick around because he’s leading a group online with Dungeons and Dragons and that started promptly at 6. R and I have decided we’ll play one match per day. Because neither of us wants to suck at chess forever….and one of us needs to be able to beat A!

She beat me in 4-6 moves. It was sad. I forget she was chess club queen back in the day

One of the most fun things was coming across pictures of my kids from 2010-2012! So adorable…

Old house – playing a video game.

All in all though – had a really great weekend. More fun than work, and just overall relaxing and awesome!

My Existential Question of the Week….Bangs…or No Bangs?

FOOD

It’s ridiculous, but I literally only have one meal shot between yesterday and today. I had a really big salad yesterday, but forgot to take a picture because I was in meetings while making and eating it, and then running out the door to get to corporate to see my boss.

Today though, I DO have a picture! I made a tofu based creamy Dijon sauce over shirataki noodles and green beans. The sauce is from here – though I have ALL of her books and have been making this particular recipe for years. I love it.

Well, this is food related – got a shipment from Thrive Market. I’ve been using them quite a bit for my healthy “hippy” food since quarantine. Today’s shipment included my “noodles”, coconut oil, dark chocolate, flax crackers, and dental floss!

FITNESS

My goal is to workout 6x per week. So yesterday – I took a rest day. Not because I wanted to, per se, but I had a wicked deadline for my doctorate and had no time.

Today, though, back on the rower! My burn was higher than it has been, so I’m happy about that. It’s about the equivalent of a 3 mile easy jog. To be fair, it was my 6th rowing workout, and I imagine there will be a progression as I get better in form and fitness. That said – wonderful class and I was quite happy. I wasn’t as spent as I would be on a hard run or HIIT workout – but still pleased and sweaty.

The HR on here is an estimate based on my age/height/weight. It’s an overestimate based on my actual HR monitor
This includes a 3 min warm up and 3 min cool down not accounted for in the previous image.
Proof I worked out a ton last month!

LIFE

Again, can’t complain. Yesterday was busy, but the highlight was actually meeting with my boss – in person (at a safe distance while we wore masks). It was a really good meeting – though they always are with him.

Chatting a bunch with my sister. We were talking about our hair and how quarantine and lack of haircuts is affecting us. I have long hair, but bangs that require maintenance. And NOT something I will trim myself (rule 1 – NEVER CUT YOUR OWN CURLY LOCKS). C (yes, our names start with the same letter) has a bob haircut that goes above her shoulders. It has gotten longer – more than it has in many years. My bangs are a joke and I’m pinning them back. We sent each other selfies. I’m not posting hers because I didn’t ask permission, but here’s mine..

Bangs….or no bangs….? This is my existential question of the week….

The rest of Thursday was spent on my doctoral writing. I had a ton to do, so that’s what I did!

Today was busy, but good. I slept really poorly last night, which was the only bad part. Work was good, and then I got my row on around 415 or so. I got Italian takeout for dinner for the kids, and then spent the rest of the evening either reading or on zoom with some girlfriends for a happy hour! I will say – I think I see many of my girls more during quarantine via Zoom parties than I do in real life! Anyone else seeing that??

One of the best parts though was picking up my favorite coffee – called The Guardian – from my local veteran owned coffee shop, Pale Horse. Espresso, oat milk, and sugar free vanilla and caramel syrups. Nectar of the Gods…

New Quarantine Obsessions?

FOOD

So I haven’t really taken many pics of eats this week. But it’s been typical – salads, stir fries, and I had a Beyond Burger one day and a Beyond Brat today! I made a huge batch of cole slaw (vinegar based, no sugar), and munched on that too.

Really love the tofu-eggless salad in lieu of a dressing

FITNESS

Well, it hasn’t been varied! I’ve used the rower every day.

I gave up on that intro series. I hate to say it, but it was just too easy, and I missed the feeling of being utterly spent at the end. So…I jumped to a different series called Shred and Burn.

Day 1 was still a bit easy. Day 2 a little harder. Day 3- today – was tough. I was bummed that my HR monitor stopped capturing it a minute in so I’m not sure my actual burn – but I tend to be almost double the “estimates” from my Apple Watch or other height/weight based guesstimates.

I admit, I’m pretty addicted to the data, and having inaccurate information really gets on my nerves. But for today, have to go based on how I felt – which was pretty dang drained. So – good stuff.

Day 1
Day 2
After day 2
Day 3. And I’m throwing the BS flag down on 295 calories burned. HA. More like 500 since I felt about as spent as I do on a good run

Also need to shout out the iFit coaches. I’ve had 2 so far – and I love them. This guy (name is Gideon Akande) is literally the best. Encouraging and funny and knows when to push. I’m hoping they’re all like this! I’m looking forward to paddling through Ireland one of these days (virtually – outdoor paddles is an option – and someday maybe for real!).

I did get some new kicks! I read that running shoes aren’t great for rowing – too much cushion. So I got a pair of Inov8’s – used to wear them back in the CrossFit days. Minimalist shoes (vegan of course), and I love them! Also – like I need a reason to buy new shoes.

LIFE

All in all, been a good week so far. On the school front, have made a TON of progress. Lots to go, but still really pleased with the pace and the progress.

Work has been good also. Working on some new prototypes for domestic manufacturing of PPE’s. Plus several other projects, but I’m definitely being kept busy. I really, really hope that we, as in industry (healthcare) take this as an opportunity to reimagine how we operate going forward. I will be honest – the darling of MBA supply chain logistics – just in time inventory – has literally killed us. As is being a net importer. Don’t get me wrong – I am NOT a populist by any stretch of the imagination. But we must be more thoughtful in what we do and not just be driven by finances. Do I need the next iPhone? No – keep that in China. Do I need isolation gowns, N95 masks, and gloves to keep our staff and patients safe? Hell yes. Make them here as well as anywhere we normally go. But in this crisis, we couldn’t source anything – so we’re re-using, sanitizing, and doing things we never would’ve conceived of before. Lecture over. But it’s important.

On the garden front, I am LOVING how it’s going. The cilantro is growing great – not something I’ve always done well. Used it to make a copycat cilantro rice for taco Tuesday yesterday. But honestly, the lettuce and spinach are growing nicely as are all the herbs. In the main garden, the cucs still suck and I think I’m going to dig it up so it stops sucking nutrients. Zucchini is sprouting like crazy, as is the cherry tomato plants, and kale. The rest are all doing great too.

Look at that cilantro!!!

I wish I had a picture from this evening’s Zoom meeting. It was at 5, and around 515, Luna started pacing in front of me. On camera. She does this when she feels I should stop what I’m doing and feed her – even though her dinner time is 630. She spent an hour walking back and forth and cracking everyone up.

Otherwise – random pics of the past couple days!

Coffee this morning while out with Kuma
Because they’re the cutest besties ever
Actually, I’ve only had wine twice in the past almost 2 months. But it’s still funny
Worked outside all afternoon today – was so beautiful out
Blue jay came for a visit!

Okay – so – gotta know if you have any new habits/obsessions/etc that have developed since quarantine?

For me – I’ve been not-so-low-key into makeup and skincare YouTube videos. It’s literally what I watch before I fall asleep (still struggling finding a series to keep my interest). As a result – I’m actually wearing makeup, and establishing a skin care routine! So I’m 46, and my entire lifelong philosophy can be summarized as this….”I wash my face in the shower, I use the same lotion on my face that I use everywhere else”. And honestly – I’ve never had issues. I’m fortunate to have always had clear skin, I am aging well and don’t have blemishes and tons of wrinkles, etc. So I’ve always taken it for granted. The skin cancer got me to change my lotion to one with SPF, but I’ve really otherwise ignored everything. I can report I’m actually washing my face 2x per day and using various lotions and serums. It’s wild and I don’t even recognize myself anymore 🤣.

As for new habits, they’re all healthy ones. I have become quite obsessed with my health. I’ve cut out sugar and feel amazing – it’s been almost 2 months. I’ve also been 100% gluten free – I had been “gluten-lite” for years for the RA, but decided it was time to go all in. Being home and making my meals, it’s easy. It’s traveling – being a gluten free vegan can be tough in some situations. I’m also working out and meditating daily. Basically just making myself a priority and I have never felt better – physically and mentally. I hate the reason for it (COVID), but am grateful to have found this focus.

So yes – my new quarantine obsession is apparently feeling healthy, pretty, and pampered. Okay, I can live with that!

Row, Row, Row (your imaginary boat)

FOOD

I made smoothies both yesterday and today. They look the same, but today’s was better. Coconut milk, chocolate Garden of Life protein powder, and fresh mint from the garden. Really yummy!

I made a simple tofu stir fry, ate the last of the tofu curry with cauliflower rice, made a salad, and then made a great dinner tonight with a Beyond Meat Brat, spiralized zucchini, cherry tomatoes, some spices, and finished off with red wine vinegar.

FITNESS

So totally exciting news! I GOT A ROWER. I’ve wanted one for quite some time and the person I mentioned that we swap our workout heart rates from our app – he works out on one.

I got the NordicTrack RW900. Think Peloton, but with a rower. It came on Friday while I was on my way out, but my youngest put it together for me so I could use it yesterday!

It comes with a year if iFit family, so me and all the kids have our own profiles. I’m doing the intro series to be sure I get my form down and not get injured, but I cannot express how excited I am!

I put it in my room. My study already has my spin bike, and I didn’t want to clutter that room up!

Yesterday’s class was really about form and drills to get the form down. I’m doing the 4 week intro series. I’ll admit, today I felt I could’ve gone much harder, but I also don’t want to do too much, too soon or sacrifice form and get injured. So – I did the class (which included getting off the rower halfway through to do some core work and squats). And then I went for a run!

This was actually my row. My HR monitor doesn’t have an “other” setting – and really only has runs and cycles. So every workout for the most part says running…only thing I dislike about the Wahoo HR monitor
This one really WAS a run!

My yoga studio did a 5 day yoga immersion last week that I did all of the classes for. It was less about the physical activity of yoga, and more on the mental. Really good and glad I did it.

LIFE

It’s really been a great weekend.

Friday I went to a socially distant happy hour with friends. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday was playing with the rower and then doing school work mostly, and some cooking. Though at 2 I had a FaceTime date with my friend G in New York. She had spent the day in the garden and we spent just over an hour catching up.

Today was really busy. I mentioned in my last post about wanting to get back to my typical organization, so that’s how I started my day. That’s how I’m used to starting my Sundays, so it felt good to get back to it. I prepped my calendar for the week, made my goals, and did my bullet journal for today. Then it was time to meditate.

Then I spent a few hours reviewing the CARES and PREP acts as well as FDA guidance on PPE’s (personal protective equipment) to develop some guidelines for us. I ended up with more questions than answers, but that’s okay.

After that, I started laundry and then worked out. Shower, school, dinner, and then sat outside reading for about an hour.

I like going into this week feeling more organized with a set of goals each day. It certainly makes me make better use of my time!