It’s Party Season!

FOOD

Mostly simple meals, even when traveling the few days I had to this month. Salads, soups, smoothies, curries, and I’ve totally gotten on the ONO (overnight oats) bandwagon. Seriously – 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I like the So Delicious Original Coconut Milk), and a healthy amount of Penzy’s Apple Pie spice.

Stir Fried Mushrooms, BBQ Tofu, and Mashers

FITNESS

I finally built the Power Tower in the garage, so there’s a full fledged mini gym, and I’ve definitely taken advantage of it. FYI – pull ups suck.

Also hot yoga and runs as well, plus a lovely trail run.

And on that note, I signed up for a half marathon for later in the year. I got out of the race habit when I started grad school, and I’ve really missed it. It’ll be nice to have a race to train for again.

Also, downloaded a weather app called WTForcast. Love it. This was this evening’s weather as I prepped for a night run….

LIFE

Busy busy busy. But that’s nothing new, and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I was just home all day all the time. Yuck. I’d be bored senseless and probably become pretty damned boring myself!

Work has been really good. I’m liking my new role a lot – my focus is on building a new program and core competency in innovation, and I love having so much freedom to develop that framework myself. Fun stuff.

I had to do some traveling to attend a staff Christmas party out of town, but it was a nice trip. The party itself was nice, if not small. I also got to see one of my girlfriends who lives up there, so that’s always a bonus!

Last Monday was the UVA Darden School of Business Alumni holiday party for local alums. Three of us from my class went (the 4th was vacationing in Hawaii – the brat), as well as a couple people from work who went to Darden as well. It was a nice evening, and a great chance to network with local alumni.

R had her first high school orchestra concert this week! She plays bass and they all honestly put on an amazing performance.

On Friday R and I went to a pre screening of Jumanji. It was hilarious and we had a blast.

R and I hit up the salon yesterday. She got her hair cut and I got a pedi (sparkly red for the holidays!).

Then it was off to an ugly sweater party at one of my bowling team mates house. That was a ton of fun. My sweater was interactive. Basically a drinking game. The front is a target and people are given Velcro balls to throw at it. Funny enough, one of the other party goers had a similar sweater! All in all, fun stuff.

Otherwise, it’s been normal life stuff. Kids, fluffs, and friends!

Have a great week!!

Thankful Living

How on earth have 3 weeks passed since my last post?! Yikes – apologies. Been working, playing, cooking, and working out as always. Won’t bore you with ALL the details, but focus on the past week and fun Thanksgiving stuff!

FOOD

Some highlights include an awesome Indian feast I made one night and then took for lunch with a friend in the office. Tofu pot pie, which is always a family favorite. I think A about lost it when she saw leftovers! It’s Fall, which means soup season! Creamy broccoli and my all time fav from Post Punk Kitchen – Red Curry w/ Rice and Kale! And of course smoothies, green curry, and plenty of baked potatoes!

But – on to the groovy eats this Thanksgiving weekend!

We had a house full for Thanksgiving this year! Of course the kids and me (M had to work until 5), my Son 2 (one of M’s besties), my friends MM and RM from Virginia Beach, and OR, GR, and ER from Richmond! It’s hard to fathom the amount of food we had laid out, but to give you an idea – Tofurky (of course), stuffing, maple roasted carrots, sweet cornbread, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, homemade wheat-rosemary bread, pumpkin pie, and OR made an amazing Russian eggplant dish (to which she has still not given me the recipe!) and a gorgeous spinach salad. Son 2 made cupcakes! It blows my mind that there were pretty much no leftovers!

A posing at the snack bar!  We always have snacks out for grazing before dinner in the evening.  Pretzels, gluten free crackers, 4 different hummus flavors, mixed olive, etc)

Here’s A posing at the snack bar (we always have snacks out for grazing before dinner in the evening).

A bunch of the dishes prepped and waiting for their rotation into the ovens.

My plate!

Friday night was dinner at MM and RM’s house where they made a fully vegan meal just for me! Chili, corn bread, a cream cheese dip, and wine! Seriously – I have the bestest friends in the whole world!

FITNESS

Lots of running and hot yoga! Even a hike on one lovely weekend. Started using Endomondo and so far I like it. Only thing I haven’t figured out (though I have emailed support in case it’s user error!) – is the audio coach doesn’t let you know when you hit the halfway mark so you can turn around and head back. I for one, am not always the most observant person, was not paying attention to how long I’d been out nor how far I’d gone. In the end – on my last run I went nearly an extra 3 mi! Not a big deal, but annoying when it comes to a training run.

Post hot yoga. Not cute, but a good workout shouldn’t be!

Runs on chilly days!

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy few weeks. Monday nights are bowling with friends. Tuesday is Cribbage Club at a local pub. The rest of the days are mostly at home but sometimes out with friends. Plus traveling.

Shots with the boys at bowling! MC was clearly feeling a bit rowdy!

Speaking of traveling – my sister and niece came to visit last weekend! It was my nieces first flight, so that made it extra special. They landed Friday afternoon, and we (me, my sister, niece, and R) went up to DC for the night. We had dinner downtown, then the girls hung out in the room while C and I went to the hotel bar and caught up a bit. Lot’s gone on in the last year since we’ve actually seen each other, so it was nice. The next day was monuments and a tour at the Capitol Building. C got to scratch a bucket list item off when we went to the Library of Congress – which was cool.

We drove home the next day, the girls played Xbox and C and I started a movie. The next day we all went to see Justice League, and then it was pretty much off to the airport. A whirlwind trip for sure, but an awesome one.

This was a short week with the holiday’s so that was nice. Really loved how much time I got to spend with family and friends. As tough as the last year has been, in some ways it’s also been an amazing one. Finishing grad school was certainly a highlight. While a shock, the divorce has been a positive thing for me too. I have a lot of really amazing friends, the best kids, a job I enjoy, plenty of extra curriculars, and no reason to not love my life every single day. So yeah – lots to be thankful for.

Someone didn’t make it up to bed last night. And I don’t mean Kuma!

Stopped by and saw M at work today before heading to watch the Chelsea match!

And some other miscellaneous shots of the past few weeks! Hope you all had an incredible Thanksgiving (for my US friends) and a great week for the rest of my friends around the world!

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.

Cocoon of Safety

FOOD

I seriously don’t think you want to see a month of eats, but it’s been pretty good stuff (of course).  Smoothies, salads, curries, and other various fun stuff.  Now that it’s back to school, add in things like homemade granola bars, cookies, etc – and it’s been a busy kitchen!

pumpkin spice cookies!

SOUP SEASON!!
first batch of homemade kombucha!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and yoga.  BUT…add in soccer too!

My neighbor invited me to play on a local soccer club team, and I jumped at the chance!  1 – it’s my favorite sport EVER.  2 – great way to meet new people (there are 7 teams in our club), and 3 – great exercise.

We had our first game last week Sunday.  I’m still sore….

LIFE

Well, it’s been a busy month!  R and I spent most of a week in DC!  We got to visit friends, play in the city, and mostly chill in the hotel room ordering room service!

R’s first Uber ride! On our way to W and A’s house for dinner!
dinner with friends!!

We had fun wandering around, hitting up some museums and a capitol tour that my friend J set up for us!  (he works on The Hill).

metro selfie
fell in love with Kramer Books
wandering around
being lazy and reading on this monster outdoor sofa

We both agreed that the Hill tour was the best!

I had a quick overnight trip to NYC for work.  The day I left, I went to a drag show called Drag Yourself to Brunch with my oldest A and my friend A!

I haven’t voluntarily watched scary movies for many years.  What’s funny, is I used to love them.  I think having kids made me get more easily spooked, but the point is, I’ve only watched a scary movie in the past 10 years or more if I lost a bet.  After a few that horrified me (hello Event Horizon), I just stopped betting.

Well, It just came out, and I read that book when I was 14.  While it scared the every living crap out of me, I still loved it.  So…I just HAD to go see the movie.

And anyone who knows anything realizes that the only way to see a scary movie is if you have a cocoon of safety.  Aka – a blanket that you can bury yourself in, never touch the floor, and pull it up so only your eyes are showing in the scary parts.  Nothing can hurt you if you have a cocoon of safety.

So yes.  At nearly 44 years old, I brought a blanket to the movie theater and survived It!

After the movie it was time to teach cribbage!  Of course the person I taught is freakishly competitive and this may come back to bite me someday, but I can take it.

Oh – I saw Depeche Mode!!!!  A quick trip BACK to DC (and a totally awesome one at that – spent a ton of time in bed!).  I’d seen them twice before, but not since 1991.  I’ve been a huge fan since I was 13 or so, and about lost it when I found they were coming close by.  I met a woman from Germany there who’d seen them 33 times!  I felt a bit like a poser fan, but got over it quickly.  The show was awesome and they performed as well as they did 20+ years ago.

On Sunday it was the inaugural gathering of a local Chelsea FC fan club!!  We got together at Keagan’s Irish Pub in Virginia Beach, watched Chelsea win, had some drinks, and the fun of enjoying my fav sport with other people who love it to!

R turned 14 this week!!  We hung out, watched a movie, had dinner (tofu pineapple stir-fry), had cake, and opened presents!

I refer to my kids as cabbages (comes from a French term of endearment).  Anyway, A decorated her cake 🙂

they didn’t want to make more dirty dishes, so they ate cake with their chopsticks from dinner. Gangsta style.

Random other fun things…

I had just put all her toys away
looking at bread recipes and Ginny wanted to help
dinner out shenanigan’s by cabbages 2 & 3
back deck reads
Bumble waiting semi-patiently to place her order
Ginny “helping” on laundry day
What Kuma thinks of mornings. That’s my girl
Hanging with JG!
get away from my drawer

me and AJ being goofy

Okay, off to get this weekend rolling!  So wild and crazy, that I’m in my jammies at 630 on a Friday night!  I know – I need to pace myself…

 

 

Beer, Trivia, and Legolas’ Awesome Cheekbones

FOOD

Part of the fun of bulk cooking on Sunday’s is it makes my weekday lunch life much easier.  The down side is it’s all the same, so taking pics is kind of redundant.

Nevertheless, soup and salads are pretty much always my favorite go-to lunches, and that was definitely this week.

pasta e fagioli soup
GF pasta salad with herbed tofu and veggies

Had my typical smoothies for breakfast most mornings, watermelon with my lunches (and R’s because it’s her fav too), and whipped up a batch of spicy tofu soup on a rainy Friday night.

R insists on being able to eat the watermelon “stick” in the middle
Moe’s Close Talker with tofu, black beans, brown rice, and all the veg and salsa that can fit
spicy tofu soup!
blueberry green smoothie

This morning breakfast was an old fav – gluten-free toast, sunflower seed butter, banana, and a little agave.  Perfect before I lace up for a wet run in a few!

FITNESS

Same as last time – hot yoga and runs!  I try to alter every other day, but that’s not always possible.  Either way, it’s about 6x per week, and that’s perfect.

As soon as I’m done here, I’ll be lacing up for a wet run.  Hoping the rain stays light – but if it doesn’t, I know my pace will kick up!

need to remember to use eye makeup remover BEFORE hot yoga! Still – not supposed to look cute when working out, right?

LIFE

Been another busy but fun-filled week.  Work seemed full of one crisis after another, but nothing that couldn’t be conquered.

Found out I had poison ivy!  The prednisone has been fun (not), but I’m still grateful for it.

AM and I got together a few times this week.  One for drinks at the Young Veteran’s Brewery in Virginia Beach, and one at Benchtop Brewery for beer and trivia night.  One of those was supposed to be a run date, but hard to pass up beer and trivia 🙂

The H Hour Sour at Young Veterans was the bomb! Bought some to take home And since I’m a vet, I got a discount. How groovy is that? 
Benchtop build your own flight. I stuck with the second from the right – a beet based mildly sour beer called the Fall of Dimitri (or something like that).

trivia fun!

After yoga last night, it was dinner and then watching Lord of the Rings with R.  At one point she freaked out when I told her Orlando Bloom (Legolas) was not blonde.  Showed her a picture – she completely freaked out, and then proceeded to tell me that “at least he still has those amazing cheekbones”.  Seriously?  What the hell?!  #teamlegolas

movie partners

Other fun shots to wrap up with!

me and R
me and JG – one of the most amazing peaches ever!
R and I are hitting up the library a lot lately. Single mom finances 🙂 Enjoying it a lot though. I forgot how magical a library can be.
playtime with Kuma before work
M visited me during my coffee ritual yesterday. He works late and sleeps late, but had a 530 am road trip this morning to Canada with a bunch of his friends and he was trying to flip his sleep schedule
Kuma hates mornings. That’s my girl!
had to pick up java at 7-11 this morning

dogs and fire hydrants. It’s a thing.

The rest of today should be pretty groovy.  Meeting up for lunch at noon with a friend, and then having more friends over tonight for dinner.  It was supposed to be the “teach Crissie to grill” adventure from my friend’s hubby, but it’s pouring so we’re turning it into a taco party instead.  I mean seriously – you can’t trust someone who doesn’t like tacos….

 

Rituals

FOOD

Shockingly, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I normally do.  Nothing majorly out of the ordinary either though.  Daily green smoothies, and a variety of typical eats like soups and salads, and some fun things like tofu eggless salad and tofurky sammiches.

yummy fav – silken tofu, Just Mayo, mustard, and sweet relish. With gluten-free crackers, it’s awesome
R’s lunch, not mine (apple allergy), but veg sammie and apples

kale and beet salad
red lentil soup
Whole Foods salad bar

Today was bulk cooking fun!  Gluten-free pasta salad with tofu, pasta e fagioli soup from my fav Susan over at Fat Free Vegan!  She was the first vegan blogger I ever followed, and has always had a special place in my life.  I’ve met her a few times, and she’s as lovely as her blog.

I used pinto beans because it’s what I had – otherwise exactly as written
meals for the week! Pasta salad with gluten-free pasta, basil, and tofu – and then with a bunch of romaine thrown on it too. So – soup and salad for days!
about a third of the basil in my herb garden. Been busy whipping up salad dressings, pesto’s, and other eats with it.

 

FITNESS

Runs and yoga fill my days, and it makes me so happy!  I’ve kicked up both a lot, and it’s been very cathartic for many reasons.  I have a lot more time on my hands and seem to have plenty of energy as a result.

The best were a couple runs with AM, including one with a local running club today!  It was a gorgeous morning, stunning scenery, a good sized group, and yummy (sour) beer at the end.

perfect Sunday!

LIFE

Let’s see.  Been a great week with few complaints.  (and that one was tequila’s fault).

Work was fairly busy, but not horrible.  Had a few highlights though.

Thursday I went to the Hermitage Museum to enjoy the Art of Burning Man with a friend of mine, and also enjoy some local beer and music.  It was a gorgeous night at a really pretty venue.

they had about 7 sculptures from actual Burning Man festivals. Once it was dark, it was amazing!

KG!

pretty night on the river as the sun went down

Friday morning R had her last peanut-flour based updose in her OIT journey to food freedom!  She started this in January (right when I got back from India), and while it’s slow going, she’s been doing great.  Next updose, she moves to actual food!  This whole process will give her freedom from fear of food allergies for the rest of her life, and I am SO proud of her.

waiting to go in
ready to do this
absolutely hating the taste of peanut flour in warm applesauce

Friday night was out at one of my favorite places in the area.  It’s possible I had a little “too much fun”, but I think it’s allowed now and then.

I do want to talk a bit about rituals.  A few months ago, a good friend sent me a book (I Ching) and got me thinking about rituals in general.  I started realizing I have them in my own life, even though I may not realize it.  Let’s take my mornings, for example.  I’m pretty much a wing it and go with the flow kind of person, but I feel all out of whack when my mornings are disrupted.  I get up early, but it’s only so I can be alone with a cup of coffee and some quiet.  I don’t like music, conversation, or noise in general.  I ease into my day, and then I’m right as rain.  Waking up and instantly having to do something throws off my whole rhythm.  And while mornings aren’t my favorite, I do get up early just so I can have this ritual of quiet.  It’s me, a fluff or two, coffee, and reading the news (mostly) or just listening to the wind in the trees.  Texts and news are fine, but I really don’t like talking or music in that part of my life.  Didn’t really realize that before recently, but now that I have, I find it pretty sacred.

My morning java rituals!

Made plans to head to DC twice in a few weeks!  One with a vacation with the cabbages, and one to see Depeche Mode!  I’m beyond excited.  Get to see lots of people I love, have fun, and even get some work done.  Awesome all around.

Now…if I could just get someone to deal with my yardwork, I’d be all set….

M eating my Twizzlers….
watching one of my two fav shows!
Ginny wearing one of my bras. Odd cat.
Ginny helping R read one of her books
Bumble occupying my fav porch spot
lady at Whole Foods violating the “service dogs only” rule
son and son2 heading to Sbux
Sunday morning cuddles with Kuma and the wee one