Brunch Shenanigans

FOOD

Lots of good eats this week!

My smoothies this week were the lazy kind I pick up at Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the way to work.

I actually made a real meal one morning though, and it was tasty. Tempeh and potato has with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Topped with tons of hot sauce!

Also an oldie, but goodie! Whole wheat toast with sunflower seed bread and sliced bananas.

Homemade soy yogurt snack.

BBQ tofu and cornbread!

Noodles with pasta and a simple coconut curry sauce.

And of course some tofu green curry on a lunch date with my boyfriend.

Soup for days (and days and days and…days). I made what is still my favorite soup ever. A double batch in the Ninja IQ yielded 26 cups! SO tasty!

I finally checked out Mesob’s Ethiopian in Virginia Beach. WOW. So good and I literally can’t wait to go back. I had the vegetarian plater (though everything is vegan), with Shiro Wot, cabbage and carrots, green beans and carrots, and the house salad with injera bread. I really wanted the Mesir Wot (I LOVE that dish), but they were upfront that it’d take 20 minutes to make that and I just didn’t have time. I have all the ingredients at home, so I should probably try my hand at making it.

Also had a Moe’s salad one day, and then out with my guy – first at one of our favorite wine bars and then dinner at One Fish Two Fish where I had a yummy rosemary gin martini and a delicious off menu vegan dish of spiralized veggies in a spicy tomato sauce.

Yesterday was a big family brunch event. Literally my boyfriend and I, all our kids, and my son’s girlfriend. It was a 2 hr wait, but that was fine. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit and the kids played Uno and we all sat around fire pits (all those over 21 had drinks – which was 5 and that was a HELL of a bar bill, but worth it). Then we went in and had yummy food.

Same wrap I got last time: black bean, potato, spinach, roasted corn, tomatoes. And a side of fruit

FITNESS

Went for 2 runs and then also checked out a new class called Regymen. It’s essentially the Y’s version of Orange Theory. I wore a heart rate monitor and cycled between 3 “stations”. One is treadmills, one is skiers and rowers, and one weights and bikes. There are display monitors around the room so you know what your heart rate is and in what zone you are. It also displays calories burned. In the end I torched 604 calories. Loved the workout. There was perhaps a period where I could’ve thrown up, but that’s ok. Worth it, and I’ll totally go back. Who doesn’t like a workout that makes you wanna cry?

Also did 2 yoga classes. One at the gym, one streaming at home.

LIFE

Pretty typical week. Work, school, family during the week, and fun (and school and cleaning and grocery shopping) on the weekend! I’ve meditated every day, usually in the morning, but if I’m too rushed (or didn’t wake up in my house), I do it later in the day.

On the work front, I hit my 15 year anniversary at my job. I got to pick from a catalog of gifts and got a 4 person tent. Will come in handy when R and I try our hand at camping in a few months! We had that one class at REI and there are a few more there and with a local hikers group I want to do first.

I stopped at a local wine spot while waiting for R to finish up at a school thing.

Not normally a white drinker, but I do love French wine and this was really tasty.

Yeah, I’m short. Feet didn’t touch the ground!

Brunch shenanigans! I LOVE what they do with the outside space to make the wait worth it. Tables, fire pits, a bar, blankets, and a room of games.

Smoke in their eyes made for a goofy shot- but all were warm

After brunch I went home for a bit, then over to my guys house for the night. We watched basketball and a show and had a pretty chill night. After the brunch fun, it was nice to just curl up on the sofa and chill.

And of course the fluffs.

About to get swallowed up by that bush

New morning coffee routine! These two hang out every morning

MY YEAR OF LESS

Ugh. I seriously have sucked paying attention. Which sucks, because I was doing SO well until the holidays. I do have a plan to get back on track – which is basically to reduce going out and only shop when I have a plan.

Can I Please Have the Only Non-Bourbon Drink in the Bourbon Bar?

FOOD

You can totally tell when school is back in session – my posts tend to drop to weekly! I’ll try to be better about that, but no promises.

Smoothies are making a stronger comeback this week. In the winter it’s not always my fav thing, but truthfully, I just feel better when I have them.

So I cheated one day. sue me.

Other homemade eats.

Noodles, chickpeas, and green beans tossed in a Red curry sauce (coconut milk, red curry powder

Actually R’s lunch – I’m allergic to apples. Tofu, apples, and a salad
Creamy mushroom/tofu stroganoff

Mojito beans!

And dining out.

Started with tofu harvest curry and brown rice on a lunch date with my guy.

Hummus & veggie plate at the winery Thursday night
A bottle of one of our fav cabs.

Steamed tofu roll
Pad Thai w tofu. Only “ok”. Not my fav Thai place and they’ve often screwed up my fav tofu

Potato & black bean wrap + fruit for brunch on Saturday. SO good.
Almond milk vanilla latte.

FITNESS

Two runs and a weight circuit at the Y.

LIFE

Definitely been a busy week. With school back in full swing, the days are once again flying by.

Luna has been having a grand ole time, and she and Kuma definitely get along very well. They’re both cute as can be.

Can’t see Luna, but she’s in her tunnel. They both tend to join me for my morning java!

Well…she like rice.

Thursday after work my guy and I went for wine and apps and then shopping.

Friday after work I went back to the mall to exchange something (got the wrong color) then stopped for Thai before heading over to my boyfriend’s house for the night. We watched Game Night, which was actually a lot of fun. Can’t really go wrong with Jason Bateman.

Saturday morning was a lazy one and we eventually headed out to brunch. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit, which neither of us had heard of, but had vegan brunch options so off we went. It was a bit of a hike from his place, but holy crap – it was awesome! Place was packed and there was an hour wait, but well worth it.

They have a ton of outside seating, an outdoor bar, fire pits, and handed out blankets and games. He and I sat under a blanket on a bench right in front of a fire pit sipping on our drinks! The restaurant itself is a big farm house and was ridiculously adorable. Really loved everything about it.

Very spicy and perfect vegan Bloody Mary

Then we were off to the Eastern Shore and Cape Charles. First stop was Buskey’s. Same cidery that we love in Richmond has a tasting room a bit closer to home. We sat and chatted with the woman working there. She happens to be a teacher in VB but also waitresses at a different restaurant when it’s open during the tourist season as well as Buskey’s. Does make me sad to think that so many of our teachers have to work multiple jobs.

Silly cider selfie

Then we walked the block or so over to the Cape Charles Distillery where we had a couple drinks, met another couple (she and I have the same first name), and spent some time talking to the (slightly odd) bartender. But overall, very fun and neat place.

The Resolution! The only non-bourbon drink on the menu. AC would be disappointed in me…
bourbon is her fav drink

We were going to hit up Bee and the Biscuit again this morning with our kids, but the weather was horrible and the rain would’ve negated the cool fire pits. So – we’ll try again next weekend!

Today was all school work, all day. That’s okay though. It topped off a really awesome week.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Umm. I shopped. Not crazy obsessively, but it seems like I ran out of a lot of personal products (makeup – even tho I don’t wear much – and skin care stuff) all at the same time. And a watch charger to leave at my boyfriend’s house.

I’m finding it really hard to get back to the groove of my rules. Going to reread the book that kicked all this off to begin with!

Happy Happy 2019!

FOOD

New Year’s Eve meals were pretty spartan. I had a big bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and pumpkin pie spice for breakfast.

I munched on some pretzels and black bean hummus, and then later in the evening some tortilla chips and salsa. Just wasn’t very hungry yesterday.

This morning started with a yummy green smoothie. Water, banana, mandarin orange, frozen mangos and pineapples, and spinach. Really, really good.

Lunch I munched on some Wildwood baked teriyaki tofu. No pic of that because I literally just ate the block of it.

Dinner tho – busted out the Foodi again! I used the pressure cooker to make a lemon risotto and then the broil function to roast some carrots. If you’ve ever made risotto – it’s a total labor of love. Typically it takes me about 40 minutes on the stove – and you have to constantly interact with it by adding small amounts of broth at a time and stirring until absorbed. For this, it was literally garlic, 5 cups of veggie broth, 2 cups of Arborio rice, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and a little salt. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes, natural pressure release for 10, then quick release. I added about 1 tbsp of Earth Balance into it to make it a little creamier.

I also made a loaf of fresh French bread, some brownies, and started a batch of soy yogurt.

FITNESS

Does housekeeping count? If so, that was NYE!

Today though, I was that girl who went to the gym on New Year’s Day. Did a weight circuit for 45 minutes and then came home. No run today – my legs were jelly!

LIFE

Sunday night my son’s girlfriend came over for dinner, games, and to bring us our gifts (so sweet). For me – she got me this mug which is utterly perfect! Think it’ll become my work mug 😂

She also got me 3 Himalayan salt shot glasses. Where she, M, and A promptly did Tequila shots while I watched. Tequila and I aren’t on speaking terms…

Well, I didn’t have quite the NYE I planned, but it was all good. Originally my boyfriend and his kids were coming over to finally exchange our Christmas gifts, have dinner, and maybe watch a movie. Then I was going back with them to spend the night there. Alas, sidelined by illness. Just hope he feels better soon!

I did go over with their gifts and a cake. I got some wonderful gifts including slippers I really wanted from my guy and a sugar skull ornament from his youngest! I know it’s an ornament, but it’ll stay out all the time.

I don’t like shoes on in my house, so my guy leaves his crocs here and I have new slippers!

Then I took the gifts they got my kids back to my house. Not quite the exchange we planned, but getting all 7 of us together at one time is quite the challenge. R got a camp chair she’s been wanting since we took that camping 101 class. She’s barely left it since 🙂

Otherwise it was a quiet night. I was actually asleep by 11!

This morning I woke to almost 70 degrees! And that meant having my morning java outside!

I spent the day organizing, taking down the holiday decorations, cleaning, and cooking. I also finished Infinity War on Netflix that I started last night.

I’m not the biggest resolution kind of person, though I do love the idea of fresh starts/clean slates, etc. For me it’s more about being a positive influence, helpful when I can, caring, thoughtful, etc, but this year I’m adding working towards a start up idea I have and see where that may take me.

As for 2018, all told it wasn’t bad at all. Lot’s of life changes, but it’s amazing how things turn out even better than expected or could ever hope for. I’m happy, healthy, and loved. What more can a girl want?

Hope your 2019 is everything you want it to be and more!

Otherwise, miscellaneous pics! Luna has been coming out and about even more the last day. It’s warm, so doors and windows are open and she’s chilling in them often. Demands head scratches and is really a mild mannered sweetie. Very grateful to have her in our family.

Trying to convince that this toy is NOT for her….

New wine glasses! And a bottle my guy left here after our last dinner party

United by a 63 degree evening!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Something dawned on me yesterday as I ran out to the store for the 4th time. By suspending the shopping/money spending rules for the holidays, I found myself justifying continuing to buy stuff and go out. Saying it was all “holiday” related. It’s like I tossed my rules right out the window. Thankfully the holidays are over and this is the beginning of a new month.

So $ spent today – nada. Hope future posts keep saying that!

Home Sweet Home

FOOD

I didn’t snap a pic of it, but my Christmas dinner made by my BIL was Tofurkey sausage, baked potato, sweet potato, and corn. It was very filling and yummy and I couldn’t finish my plate!

Thursday I had lunch with my boyfriend – Thai of course!

Dinner was veggie burgers. Nothing fancy.

Friday morning was a smoothie, lunch was a slow cooker sweet potato, white bean, and kale soup, and dinner was R and I out with my guy and his son at Yard House where I had the gardein orange “chicken”.

Saturday was an oatmeal and banana breakfast, and lunch was busting out the Ninja Foodi for a brown rice with roasted sweet potato and tofu meal. SO good. Plus a BAS (big ass salad). I made a vegan ranch dressing for the salad and for dipping veggies.

Dinner Saturday was out with my guy at the Grilled Cheese Bistro in Norfolk. I had a vegan caprese sammich that was epically delicious. I couldn’t finish it – but I really wanted to! Before dinner, we stopped for drinks at one of our fav eclectic spots downtown.

This morning was a breakfast salad at Whole Foods and then leftover soup for lunch. Snacked on some veggies with dip too.

FITNESS

Friday I did a YouTube spin class in my garage followed by some yoga.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did the weight circuit and then ran 3 miles.

Also – today marked a 14 day streak for daily meditation. I’m using Headspace and love it.

LIFE

Okay, Christmas evening was spent at my sisters with my mom as well. We exchanged gifts and had dinner. After taking my mom back to her place, I walked Kuma and then R and I packed since we were hitting the road early the next morning.

My seester made me vegan cookies!
Little bear and mini moose!
Christmas afternoon cocktails with my sister
My parents look so young!!!
My mom holding me as a baby

Gift from my sister. So funny (and it shouldn’t be – it’s actually tragic)
Jordy getting jealous of my sister snuggling Kuma

Silly text with my guy about Kuma hogging the bed

And indeed, on Wednesday we were on the road by 540am. A quick stop at Starbucks, and we ended up pushing straight through to home with brief stops for gas and to walk Kuma. Traffic was strange – part of I-80 was shut down due to a major accident, so we were routed into Michigan for a bit. All was fine until we got near DC, which sucked royally. We should’ve gotten home by 930, but it was almost 1130 by the time we rolled in. But – felt great to get home.

Kid slept the better part of the 16 hr drive.

Thursday early my guy came over. Excellent timing as he helped save Kuma’s life! She had gotten into some chocolate my son left on his floor (ugh), and thankfully my boyfriend knew how to make Kuma vomit! Hydrogen peroxide on a pancake. Worked like a charm too – poor bear. Once we knew she was fine, we had some wonderful quality time together.

Thursday afternoon R and I went to the SPCA where we promptly fell in love with a 1 year old cat named Mena! She was very outgoing and demanding face scratches. We knew she was meant for us. We filled out the application and went home. Sure enough, the next morning we got the call that we were approved! They had to validate I owned my home and that Kuma was up to date on her immunizations. So – off we went! We’ve renamed her Luna (a name my boyfriend picked out and R and I thought was perfect). Her and Kuma’s meeting was relatively uneventful. I think Kuma is happy to have a kitty again. She’s missed Ginny and Bumble.

Saturday was grocery shopping and errand running, and then an evening and overnight with my guy. We were originally planning to go to Christmastown in Williamsburg, but decided to stay close to home. By the end of the night, we had gone to 3 bars and 1 restaurant. Heard some local music, and then went back to his place. Awesome night all around.

One of our stops was at Grain. I wanted to see the life sized ginger bread house in the Hilton Main where Grain (it’s a rooftop bar) is. And we’ve always enjoyed going there for drinks.

This morning we went out for coffee, and then he headed home while I went to Whole Foods. Went home, ran out again for some errands, and have mostly been just relaxing (aka – bored out of my mind!).

All my kids are now home! M got home from NY yesterday, and A got home from Toronto today! Nice to have them all home again.

And Luna is having fun exploring! The first day she spent much of it under my bed. But she’s been going around a lot, but mostly seems to stay upstairs.

Her food and liter box are in the laundry room, which I separate with a baby gate to keep Kuma out

So it’s been a week of home sweet home for sure! Going back to my old “home” to visit family for the holidays. Then the joy of coming back home to Virginia, which is very much our home now. To bringing Luna to her new forever home. All sweet indeed.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, still nothing great to report. Haven’t been overly contentious of spending, and that’s not good – that’s backtracking to old habits.

Fiesta Time!

FOOD

Okay, it’s only been a few days, but one of those consisted of about 6 hours of cooking and I think I should get some type of award for that.

And the fact that I can write such a long sentence with very little punctuation and it’s still grammatically correct, but that’s a whole different story.

But, we shall go in order…

I had oatmeal Friday morning. No smoothie though (was out of a few ingredients).

I also started pre-cooking for the Saturday party by making my spicy green sauce and homemade seitan for the arroz non pollo.

Friday night a stop at one of our fav wine bars and then dinner out with my love having a strange lemon pasta thing that was odd, but tasty.

Saturday morning he, his young one, and I went to brunch. Portobello bagel with hummus, fruit, and a tropical mimosa followed.

Saturday we had a Latin dinner party! I made black bean and sweet potato tamales, 2 empanadas (one corn, one a TVP-based “beef” taco), cheezy arepas, slaw, and the arroz non pollo (a rice, veggie, tomato, and seitan dish). My guy made the plantains, which were killer.

Sunday naturally started off with a cleansing smoothie after the feasts of the night before. Lunch was leftovers. For dinner we went to cinema cafe. I had popcorn and fruit punch….

This morning I threw a batch of Spanish rice into the rice cooker while getting ready for work (ran out of the arroz non pollo). Threw a couple empanadas on it for my work lunch. Breakfast was a banana and coffee.

Dinner was mac no cheese!

FITNESS

Weather was odd, so I did get a run in, but also did some spinning on my bike in the garage. Never got to the gym…

LIFE

Probably one of the coolest things was having the downstairs powder room finished! They did an amazing job.

With school being done until Jan 7th, I’ve been reading for fun. Always my paranormal fun stuff, but also been reading a lot of nonfiction. Currently loving Where Good Ideas Come From and re-reading The Lean Startup and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Also upped my meditation game in the mornings, which has been nice.

Friday night I spent at my guy’s house. Saturday we went to breakfast, toured a local island we like, and then hit up a tienda before he took me home so I could get cooking for the masses!

Saturday was the Latin Fiesta dinner party! All told, there were 13 of us. A combination of my friends, my kids and their friends, my boyfriend, and his son. The living room was a major video game battle zone while the “adults” hung out in the dining room drinking and talking.

Extra props to my friend MM who brought and made these yummy peppermint drinks! Whipped vodka, peppermint vodka, coconut cream, and grenadine. YUM.

Oh, and MM and his wife RM brought Kuma the BEST gift. It’s a bucket of popcorn with 3 popcorn balls that come out. She loves it. She pulls out the popcorn balls and drops them at my feet one by one. I throw them, then the bucket (which she whips back and forth to “kill” while bringing it back). Then I stuff the popcorn balls back into the bucket, and we do this until she tires out. It’s so much fun.

M gave snuggles AND snacks. Kuma is in love…

Sunday ended up being super chill. I admittedly got freakishly bored, but persevered. The evening ended with going to see Mortal Engines with my youngest, my middle, and his girlfriend. Oldest couldn’t come because she started her new job as an ED Tech! In less than a year she finishes nursing school – so excited for her to move into a clinical role.

Today Kuma didn’t want to get up (neither did I really), but eventually she did, and then it was a Monday at the office.

Tonight has been cooking, cleaning, blogging, and reading!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Seriously no updates. I’m feeling pretty self-conscious about that honestly. But that’s the point of blogging – to have a written account and accountability, and I have literally failed since November. Due to holiday’s, I’m not sure it was entirely avoidable, but I’m absolutely positive I could’ve done better. And I will….

Elevator Hell and Other Shenanigans

FOOD

Lazy eats – that’s the theme so far this week.

Like these Instant Pot Brussels sprouts with a baker. Simple, healthy, tasty.

Smoothies and oatmeal a few days.

Gluten-free shell pasta with peas for breakfast one day.

My sister’s black bean soup recipe!

The Other C’s Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 cans black beans (NOT drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can veggie broth
  • 1 jar chunky salsa
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Sauté the onion and cumin in the oil until the onion is soft
  • Purée 2 cans of the beans with can of broth
  • Add the puréed mixture to the onion, add salsa and 3rd can of beans
  • Add lime juice
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes

It’s really my favorite black bean soup recipe, and SO good. I did some slight modifications because I’m lazy. I also try to minimize oil whenever possible, so I actually sautéed the onion in just a little bit of broth, then added the cumin, 2 cans of beans, and the broth – took the immersion blender to it, and then added the rest per the directions.

And a Mexican birthday dinner out which was veggie fajitas for me.

I made a cake (A decorated it) and homemade peppermint ice cream too. Was a really fun time and yummy eats.

And tonight is crockpot red beans and rice!

FITNESS

Had a lot of good workouts this week.

A couple runs at the gym on the dreadmill. A combo of music and having the TV with subtitle on made it semi-bearable. But it’s better than running in the wet and cold, so I’ll take it.

Also got that swim workout in! Honestly, it was awesome. And honestly – was tough too! But – time in the hot tub then sauna after was heavenly.

Also did some weight training since I was there. Nothing crazy, but it’s a start. Took advantage of the ActivTrax program at the Y, which makes it relatively foolproof – which I definitely need when it comes to weights.

LIFE

A whole year down, baby! That’s right – the first year of my doctorate was wrapped when I submitted my last paper Tuesday night. And that was 3 whole days early! To say I’m proud is an understatement. Been a wild year for sure. But – love it. Love learning and being challenged.

Kuma keeping me company as I wrote my last paper!

One relatively horrifying thing happened this week though. I got stuck in a %#$%^#$ elevator!! I had just finished a late lunch and was heading to my car to head to my evening meeting. My car was on the 5th floor of the parking garage, and the elevator got stuck somewhere between 3 and 4. My cell had no service and my first several attempts to raise help via the elevator emergency call button was fruitless. I did eventually get through, but it took way too long. As a bit of background – I’m wicked claustrophobic. So I found myself sitting on the floor of an unmoving elevator crying. After a few, I realized I had my ipad too, and tried that. Sure enough – there was 1 bar, so I could text. I texted my oldest and my boyfriend. He offered to come out, but that wouldn’t do any good. Was still sweet though.

It included this FB post.

Which my best friend saw and immediately texted me. I love her.

I was eventually freed. And I won’t lie – I was a mess by the time they got to me. The building employee actually wanted me to come to the lobby to fill out an incident report. BY GETTING IN AN ELEVATOR. I ever so politely told him to get bent. Gave my name and number and took the stairs up to my car. Fun. Times.

Other fun this week was getting my downstairs bathroom done. When we ripped up the floors, we found water damage – which was beyond our abilities. So I hired a contractor who had to rip everything out and replace the subfloor. They’re in there as I write this finishing up, and I’m SO excited. It’s the last thing – other than grabbing those rugs I want.

Sure my neighbors loved my toilet on the front lawn

Of course there was coffee and Kuma and other shenanigans, like a holiday party at my friend’s M&R’s house last night! No pics of that though. Hmmm…

Braved the crazy storm because she REALLY had to go!

Major uptick is spam calls. This was a first tho.

Not bad! Will be 1-3 books higher by years end tho since school is done

VB has these huge snow globes all over Town Center and I love them
So this happened.

This is a new misspelling for me

Having a little dinner party this Saturday, which I’m looking forward to. Latin themed with tamales, empanadas, arepas, and other fun eats!

MY YEAR OF LESS

I’ll be honest, not sure I have much to report here. No real expenditures now that Christmas shopping is over. Did go out to eat and am going to the movies with my kids on Sunday (bought tix already). That’s about it.