Allergies or Cold? Ask Queen!

FOOD

Being home means kitchen fun! And being sick means soup…

I made a batch of vegan broccoli cheese soup and a loaded veggie one too. Soup for days!

I also made some soy yogurt, oatmeal, tofu stir fry, salads, blueberry sauce, tandoor tofu with curry veggies, green juice, and a spice cake!

Also made my first go at homemade vegan mayo. Seriously – not going back. SO simple and cheap. A jar costs about $7 at the grocery. This was about $1.50. I do prefer making as much from scratch as possible – I know what is in it, and what isn’t. No chemicals to keep things shelf stable, etc. That makes me happy – knowing that’s what I’m eating and how I feed those I love.

And one lunch out with my guy – pad Thai with tofu.

FITNESS

Well, I got home from Boston at the wee hours of Wednesday morning. By late afternoon, I was not feeling well. By Thursday, I was miserable. Friday definitely on the upswing, but still got exhausted easily. Saturday felt dang near normal, so went for a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing overly taxing, but still getting out and moving.

This morning, I felt great, and wildly stir crazy (which is normal for me), so I went hiking! I figured I wouldn’t push it too much. But….I may have gotten lost, so the hike itself was longer than planned, but still wonderful. All told, 5 beautiful miles!

LIFE

Well, already mentioned the being under the weather thing. As such, I worked from home and tried to relax as much as I am capable. Which meant sitting, reading, then puttering in the kitchen or trying to clean something. But mostly chilling out. Which, I admit, I suck at.

Friday afternoon I actually rented a movie! I watched the new Men in Black movie. It was fun enough.

Saturday I was definitely stir crazy. I ran a few errands, but mostly stayed home. I did get quite a bit of writing done, which made me happy. Both for my research as well as a LinkedIn article series I’m writing. This is the second one which I’ll publish Monday morning. Important to focus some energy on building my personal brand.

Unfortunately my boyfriend got sick this weekend, so we haven’t been able to see each other, but it is what it is. Will see him soon.

I head out in the morning for a 3 day trip that I’m actually really looking forward to. Not to say I don’t typically look forward to travels, but this one is different, and I think it’ll be great.

With that – time to get the laundry finished and pack!

Luna likes leftover Indian food!

I think they like me feeling poopy – they get to nap all day on my bed

My fortune from lunch with my guy. I like it. It is my plan, after all.

Learned about this from some colleagues in Boston last week. Perfect timing. Wonder if that’s why I was only sick 2 days instead of longer!
Only Queen can sum up ragweed allergy season!

Beware Parallelogram Season

FOOD

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

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

Luna was a fan too

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

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

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

Quinoa with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

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

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

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

FITNESS

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post haircut R!

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

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

Studying outside the day before Dorian visited

Post shower snuggles

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

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

Too Tired for the Complication of Oatmeal

FOOD

Been an awesome couple days, especially today with a lot of kitchen play time.

Saturday I had a strawberry-Vega vanilla smoothie for breakfast. I also made oatmeal. Alas, not paying close enough attention apparently, and I sprinkled cumin all over it instead of cinnamon. Guess I was still sleepy. Needless to say, I didn’t eat it.

I don’t recall if I had lunch (no pic, it didn’t happen, right?!).

Saturday night was a date night and we stopped at a yummy local Italian place and then for ice cream at a local spot that has coconut milk based chocolate ice cream!

Sunday brunch was a Beyond bowl (Beyond Meat sausage, potatoes, peppers, avocado, and black beans. And mimosas, of course.

I skipped the Avo (allergy) and the tortillas (unnecessary)

Sunday dinner I made a red Thai coconut curry tempeh bowl. Super simple and incredibly tasty. I’m a fan of steaming tempeh cubes for about 10 min before using in any recipe. Easier on the belly (so I read once, anyway).

This morning I tried the smoothie + oatmeal combo again. Successful this time by using Apple Pie spice….where the bottle doesn’t look anything like my cumin and cinnamon bottles!

I had leftover tempeh curry for lunch while I bulk cooked like crazy.

Tomorrow is my youngest’ s first day of school (junior in HS), so it’s back to making desserts again. Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I also made a batch of acorn squash Alfredo (this recipe, which I mostly follow and totally adore), a huge batch of lentil soup, pasta salad, my first go at vegan Andouille sausage, and tofu/potato tacos. No one shall starve in this house.

Acorn squash alfredo with quinoa gf noodles and peas
Mashed chickpeas, vital wheat gluten, and tons of spices later = vegan andouille sausage magic!

Tofu/potato tacos

FITNESS

Runs pretty much every day. And some yoga as well. And a spin class in my garage.

I was stupid sore on Saturday and part of Sunday from the HIIT/TRX workout on Friday. In a good way though, so I can’t complain.

LIFE

Friday was a pretty low key day. Slept until 8 (bed at 130am, so it’s understandable). Went to the gym and worked and studied most of the day before meeting up with my boyfriend for a quick happy hour.

Saturday was a run and then studying until going over to my guys house where he was working on stuff and watching football and I was studying. Then we went out for a bit, came home, watched a couple episodes of The Boys and went to bed.

Sunday was brunch, then home to clean, run, and study some more.

Today I went for a run and grocery shopping. This was fun. I went to Lidl, which is still my fav place to shop. $43 for a week’s worth of groceries for a family of 4. A couple blocks away, there’s a bakery outlet. I’ve meant to stop for ages, but finally did today. OMG. So excited. It said TastyKake, which is the biggest reason why I never went, but it also said Nature’s Own, which my kids like their whole wheat bread. Figured there was no down side to checking it out. SO glad I did. They have Dave’s Killer Bread there! If you’re a clean eating hippie, you know what that is, but if not, here’s the thing – all organic, sprouted grain, non-GMO, high fiber breads with no artificial silliness, like high fructose corn syrup (which I’m nearly violently against). I vacillate between that brand and Ezekiel. I walked out with 4 loaves of bread and a thing of English muffins for $6. I’d pay more than double that at Wegman’s or Kroger. So – not going to drive past the bakery outlet just because I think it’s just junk inside!

The rest of the day was really just me, my headphones, and audiobook, and bulk cooking. Maybe a bit of studying too, but not a lot.

This coming week I’m mostly off. I work tomorrow and part of Wednesday, but off the rest of the time. Lots to do!

My sunshine puppy

Running is Back on the Menu!

FOOD

Well, it’s been 2 weeks since the last post (sorry about that – the drama kept on coming, but has hopefully stopped now). Fairly typical eats. Soups, salads, smoothies, curries, rice dishes, etc. Haven’t gone out much, which isn’t a bad thing, though had an awesome breakfast with my guy yesterday! Essentially a deconstructed salad with hummus. And strawberry mimosas!

Tofu/potato tacos for family Taco Tuesday!
Also made some homemade beans and cilantro slaw

Mexican restaurant near us had a great vegan selection. My guy and his oldest and me and my youngest went there. I could do without the slab of vegan cheese, but otherwise awesome.

Not pretty, but a simple tofu and rice curry dish I made in my rice cooker
Note the colorful lid from Amazon prime day!
Zoodles and Boca crumbles with extra veggies and marinara

Simple tofu Alfredo for a quick meal

Savory smoothie!

FITNESS

Running is back on the menu! And yoga too, of course.

LIFE

Let’s see, it has been a busy two weeks. Both work and school have been busy, though I can’t complain about either. It’s also been nice being home the entire month (save one night).

I had a quick overnight in Williamsburg for work. I would’ve come home, but it involved a work dinner and drinks the night before an all-day meeting being held up there, and I wasn’t going to drive the 45-60 minutes home. I didn’t get pics of the meal (my boss was there), but it was SO good. I split a main dish of roasted veggies with someone else (she’s a vegetarian), and we each got salads as well. It was SO good. Lentils and veggies tossed in a lemon champagne dressing. YUM.

Of course since I was up there, did a quick lap at Busch Gardens. It was HOT, but still fun.

Hot day. Fluffy hair.

Then it was back home and normal stuff. My youngest had a really rough day, so ended up skipping my typically Friday night fun with my boyfriend and watched Lord of the Rings with R instead. Poor bunny fell asleep halfway through.

Otherwise, typical week. Lots of studying, work, and spending as much time as possible with people I love!

Another book from my mentor! I have the audio also and really love it. Anyone working in a co-innovation space should read this!

I want this

Luna’s pre-bed game of “murder my toes”

As seen in the spa bathroom

Late lunch with R after she had her first massage!

Heat Domes Can Go Back to the Hell From Whence They Came

FOOD

Been a really busy week, and I don’t have a ton of food pics. Sunbutter toast, tofu green curry (been weeks since I’ve had any!), and pasta.

Ikea veggie balls!

Made a simple red curry sauce and tossed with whole wheat pasta and peas

For what I don’t have pics of – also orange “chicken” leftovers, smoothies, salads, tofu spicy soup, and a Beyond Meat burger without a bun (wasn’t confident the buns were vegan, so skipped it).

Most of the week, it’s just been me an R. M is out visiting his Dad and going to Comic Con (how cool is thatt?!) and A is in school and working nights. I try to leave leftovers for her, but she also stress cooks bento boxes, so most of her meals were already made. So meals have been quick and easy.

FITNESS

I WENT FOR A RUN AND DIDN’T CRY. Starting to get really pissed about this whole back thing. This past week has been pretty bad, so I was avoiding all activity – even yoga. But I got stir crazy – I don’t sit still well, and I finally figured that maybe inactivity is making my back worse (it will make the RA worse), so I figured an easy pace and a short distance wouldn’t kill me. I mean, other than being in the whole “heat dome” (yes, that’s what the weather peeps are calling it) and temps reaching 115 with the heat index, I went out early enough that, while hot an soupy, was a normal kind of hot and soupy and not the deadly version hitting later in the day.

Taken yesterday, but this has been the status quo for DAYS….
Not cute – but you probably shouldn’t be when working out. And DANG I have a lot of freckles….

LIFE

Not going to lie kids, this week has been a mixed bag, but a lot on the sucky side.

First the good news – I was off Monday because NS was still here! That meant a 4 day weekend. Also, work was really good this week. And R is going to do an intro to yoga course, which I think is great because she’s fairly stressed and I am a big believer in the power of yoga in general – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I’m hoping it has the same profound impact on her that it has had on me these past 20 years. Oh, and R and I went to see Spider-Man yesterday!

I didn’t break the bank on Prime days! Literally all I got were some fun colored mason jar lids, a new charging block for travel, and a skin care set from a new vegan line launched by Amazon. Just so happens I ran out of my moisturizer, so it was good timing to try something new. All told, spent about $50.

Bad news – some drama (and I HATE drama) that ended up sucking the time and energy out of several days. As such, I lost those days I would’ve spent on school stuff. Don’t regret it because family is always more important. But – ended up behind on school – which I really hate. Mostly self paced for research (aside from a quant/qual research course), so I’m behind the schedule I set for myself, but I still get twitchy when that happens. This led to several late nights and most of Saturday to just catch up. But that also means this coming week I need to double up on my research.

In the midst of the drama, did try to take time for fun. Including taking R out for froyo. Skinny Dip – a chain near us – always has vegan options too. Hello strawberry!

Clearly I was saying something funny….as usual… 🤣

Today was probably the best day of the week – got to spend it with my guy. Our lunch adventure was…not awesome…but not a total loss either. Went to a new spot that stepped into a wine bar that just closed (decent food there, but their people didn’t know wine, so not shocked it closed). I don’t think the new gig is long for this world either. Service sucked royally, drinks weren’t great, and our sides sucked. The mains were good though, so there’s hope. I hope it’s just newness issues needing to work themselves out, but it seems like a family run place where no one has actually worked in the food industry before. I wish them well, but with all the really good places in Virginia Beach, there’s no reason to go back…

I’m looking forward to this week. I always enjoy the fresh start feeling of a new week. While my back still twinges, running didn’t kill me, so that’s something to look forward to. Still won’t overdue it, but it’s better than nothing. I’m excited to really focus on my research, which I’ll have time to do. I have some good stuff cooking at work.

Tomorrow I have happy hour plans with a girlfriend. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday fun at my house with me, my guy, and ALL of our kids (it’s rare we get the full crew), Wednesday night I have class, Thursday no plans (aka – STUDY), and Friday is my night with my boyfriend. All told, life is pretty awesome.

Kuma had her check up. Needs to lose about 2 lbs (she’s down 2 from last year, woo!), but otherwise perfect in every way

My boyfriend gave this to A…who’s husband is Canadian….
He made some edits when he saw it! Though he did find it funny.

Too hot to do much than sleep. Oh wait…that’s their favorite pastime anyway, and we have AC…

Jambo Friends!!

FOOD

What a busy week! Mostly excellent on the food front too.

Of course smoothies, salads, and my sunbutter/banana sprouted grain toast. But I also had a vegan houseguest for the past 4 days, so that was fun too!

I made a big batch of rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers for the week.

Thursday I made red beans with vegan andouille sausage, rice, and corn bread. Forgot to snap a pic of it tho!

For a BBQ party on Friday I made a big batch of pasta salad and a southwestern spicy rice salad that both went over well.

Saturday morning NS (my friend and guest visiting all the way from Kenya!) and I went to Yorgo’s Bageldashery where I shared my fav quick vegan breakfast – the Peterman wrap – and some fresh juices.

Sunday morning a bunch of us grabbed brunch at Bay Local where we split a hummus appetizer and a hummus/veg lettuce wrap. He also had avocado toast – which I skipped due to the whole allergy crap.

Sunday night I made orange “chicken” with soy curls. It was amazing if I do say so myself.

Smoothies this morning, and then a last lunch outing before taking NS to the airport. We went to Orapax because they have a huge vegan menu. We got a pizza to split as an appetizer (it wasn’t awesome), the Athenian “chicken” wrap to split (which was very good), and the Mediterranean Beyond Meat burger (which was ok), rosemary fries, and Greek potatoes. Holy stuffed, Batman. The beyond meat burger was a request because it is not available in Kenya. Neither of us were thrilled with it, so at least he knows he’s not missing out!

FITNESS

Gentle yoga and that’s it. It seemed to be getting better, and then over the weekend it sucked. Ugh. I’m literally to the point where I’m just going to go for a run and if I make it without wanting to cry, I’m good.

LIFE

Well, the week started off really busy. I had to get all my work AND school work done by mid-day Thursday. That meant a few late nights and early mornings and zero free time, but it was worth it fully.

Thursday evening NS arrived! One of our good friends was retiring from the Navy after more than 24 years of service (plus his naval academy years) and the masses were gathering. NS came as a surprise – and it was priceless. He and I had been planning for several months, and it was just perfect.

Thursday evening was quiet at home. My boyfriend and BS came over (they met NS in Florida last year) and them, NS, and two of mine hung out for a bit. Not late since NS had just traveled for 30 odd hours to get here, but it was still awesome.

Friday was the retirement ceremony, a ship tour (which I skipped – been there, stationed on them!), then swimming and drinks at my house until going to MM (our naval retiree honoree) for the BBQ with 60+ people. We got home around midnight and crashed.

My girl touring the ship with my friends

Saturday was a beach day followed by a sunset dolphin watching cruise – and there were TONS of dolphins. No awesome shots because the ride wasn’t smooth, but it really was awesome. I skipped the after party (I was wiped), but NS got to hang a bit longer and just uber’d back to my house.

If you look really closely, you can see dolphins

Sunday was brunch with some of the crew and then NS and I went grocery shopping then back to my house where we watched two of my fav veggie documentaries. NS has been pretty much a lifelong vegetarian, but went vegan at the beginning of the year (and LOVES it). We did a lot of Amazon prime shopping for things he can’t easily get back home and just spent a lot of time talking about changing how he cooks, etc. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned after the long time I’ve been vegan.

Sunday night was just dinner with me, NS, and all 3 of my kids. It was a ton of fun and hilarious and I loved that NS could share what a typical crazy dinner in my house is like. Lots of stories, jokes, music, and laughter.

Today was low key. We had our coffee on the back porch and talked – like we had every morning he was here. It is my favorite part of the morning – just sitting outside early and drinking coffee. He brought me two bags of coffee from Kenya, so we definitely indulged in that (the “right” way in a French press and not the drip maker!).

Our friend BR came over with 3 of his kids to visit for a while. Then it was off to lunch and then the airport to say goodbye – for now. I’m really hoping to take R and go visit next spring. Will depend on a few things of course, but I really want to see Kenya.

So – this is why I’ve been a bit absent this last week. It’s been a very busy and wonderful time, and I cannot get over how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life.

Back to business this week, but with an incredibly happy heart.