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.

Hey, What Are You Doing Down There?

FOOD

I was home for two days before another trip to Chicago. But honestly, it’s the last planned trip for months, which is nice. I enjoy traveling, but miss being home where all the people I love are.

Eats at home included smoothies, salads, a silken tofu-based Alfredo with peas, sunflower seed buttered Ezekiel toast with bananas, and a tofu stir fry.

While in Chicago, had some yummy Mexican food with the crew I was with and then a solo adventure at The Franklin Room, which I’ve been to before and enjoy.

Breakfasts were typical travel fare – bagels, oatmeal, and fruit primarily.

After I landed I had lunch with my boyfriend, and I had the red curry Thai bowl with hot peppers. Very yummy dish.

My guy and I are regulars at a particular spot on Virginia Beach. The menu is pretty decent, though not very robust on the vegan front. Well our bartender happens to mention that to the chef – who decides to basically go vegan – especially while eating out – to better understand the challenges. First of all, how cool is that?!? Anyway, it’s been 2 months now and apparently he’s loving it. He made me a vegan po boy that was amazing. So stoked to see what else he comes up with! After, we went for ice cream!

This morning was a fav – sunflower seed butter, Ezekiel toast and bananas!

FITNESS

Like I mentioned in my last post – just yoga. It’s mostly been fine, though my back is still bothering me. I have a Dr. appt on Tuesday, though I think I’ll end up going to a chiropractor. It’s strange because sometimes it is really painful, and sometimes it barely registers. Frustrating though because I want to run and kickbox and do other fun stuff.

But Luna enjoys it 😊🐱

LIFE

Another whirlwind week. Last weekend was pretty chill. Cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and packing.

Monday I went to work for half the day and then went home to finish packing and head to the airport. Flight was delayed a few hours though, which sucked. But it did give me time to figure out the Harry Potter Wizards Unite game. Which I have to say I’m having fun with!

The flight itself was fine once we finally took off (and that was after an hour sitting on the tarmac). Free wine though, so bonus! At one point I opened my window and saw another jet flying to my left and going under us. And for some reason, all I could think is “hey, what are you doing down there?”. It was pretty though.

Landed in Chicago where we taxied in circles for an hour trying to find a gate to park at. All told it was a pain in the but and freakishly late by the time I got to my hotel. Oh well, can’t control weather (Chicago had some wicked storms) and I got there safely.

The meetings I was there for all went really well and I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making. We had beautiful weather and I got to walk in the city quite a bit. After meetings ended on Wednesday I walked over to another firm I work with and spent some time there before heading to The Franklin Room.

My guy and I are not-so-low-key obsessed with boats at the moment. Sail boats honestly, but took this anyway because she’s pretty

I flew home on Thursday, had lunch with my boyfriend, and then went home. Went to bed really early (slept like poo for several days – my hotel had the worst pillows!). Work yesterday, then to the bar for the game and dinner. Looking forward to several weeks at home!

School kicks in again at the end of next week, and I’m looking forward to it. Especially since I got some new statistical software!

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.

Kuma’s Selective Stair Use Annoys Me

FOOD

Summer is seriously the best for fresh food. Don’t get me wrong, I adore winter squash and kale, etc, but bring on the fruit and summer squash and fresh tomatoes please!

Morning smoothies as always. Usually use water as the liquid base, maybe 1/2 a banana and berries and some green – spinach and kale mostly, but sometimes arugula for a spicy kick. Occasionally I’ll throw in a fresh herb like cilantro or mint.

Went to my boyfriend’s house for the 4th. I brought “dessert” 😉

He made a totally yummy smoked tofu plus vegan mashers and roasted corn.

Other random eats like toasted Ezekiel bread with Daiya cream cheese and sliced tomatoes with fresh pepper!

I went to Keegan’s in Virginia Beach to watch the Brazil v. Belgium match yesterday. Their veggie stack is actually really awesome. As was the Tito’s & Soda!

And always tofu green curry.

FITNESS

Definitely still loving the at-home spin classes pretty much daily. I enjoy the Peloton instructors, but after yesterday’s class, still wanted to ride. So, I popped on a show from Hulu (Rizzoli and Isles), sprinted during the show and climbed with high resistance during the commercials. For once, I’m glad to have the bloody commercials! I was pretty dead though after yesterday’s 90 minutes!

Also went for a run, and probably will in a little bit since the weather has cooled off post all the overnight rains.

LIFE

The 4th was a lot of fun hanging out and my boyfriend’s house with his kids and two of mine (M had to work). A’s boyfriend is in town and he came too. The evening involved competitive pool basketball, drinks, eats, and the kids playing video games. It was a pretty perfect day.

My girls!

Now that we have no more cats, Kuma is allowed free run of the house. I had a gate blocking her from the upstairs, as that was cat safe-haven territory. Their litter boxes and food, etc was up there. This means Kuma can actually sleep with one of us. She’s a runt of a pup, so I bought some puppy stairs. Let’s just say the stair training is NOT going well….and I don’t get it. She does the stairs in the house fine. And the front and back porches. But not to the comfiness of my bed! Ugh.

And my summer break from classes is officially over. Back to the grind, and I’m pretty grateful for it. I don’t do boredom well, and the past 3 weeks I struggled a bit with what to do with myself!

Oh well. Tomorrow I leave for a couple days on the road for work. Should be back by late Tuesday night. Until then, typical miscellaneous pics!

Good Times but with a Tearful Goodbye

First of all, Happy 4th of July to my friends in the USA! Today, on our 242nd Birthday, I’d like to remember the dreams our forefathers had for this country, and while I do not feel our current political climate is at all honoring that vision, I have to believe in the strength and heart of the American people, and in the end, we will exceed that vision of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL who come to our shores.

FOOD

Hot summer days are definitely here to stay! That means morning smoothies and fruit-based deliciousness.

I found myself mostly alone this past 10 days or so. R was in Orlando with her bestie’s family, A works nights, and M mostly works evenings, so my meals were super simple for the most part.

Did have dinner one night at my guys house, but forgot to snap pics. Salad, pasta, and cupcakes!

FITNESS

More Peloton spin fun and runs!

LIFE

Been mostly a good week and a half. R had a blast in Orlando, for which I’m so happy and grateful to her friend’s family for taking her!

Got to have a fun evening out with another couple who were visiting the area.

I took R and her bestie to their first big outdoor show! R had gone to see 21 Pilots with my ex-husband and the other kids about 5-6 years ago. This was her first big stadium show, and Imagine Dragon’s did NOT disappoint! It was N’s very first concert ever. The girls had a blast, and it was so much fun to be there with them.

It’s that time of year again where java is best enjoyed outdoors in the morning!

And A’s garden harvest is starting to produce some yummy eats too.

Other random pics.

But there was certainly heartbreak this past week as well. Our beloved Ginny succumbed to her feline leukemia. We were so fortunate to share her life for 5 years, and saying goodbye, frankly, sucked. I’m not sure Kuma knows what to do being the only fluff left. In time, we’ll rescue another kitty or two, but for now, we’re just focusing on celebrating Gin. Here are a few of the last pics I took of her. Sweet dreams Ginnykins

Birthday Bash Weekend and Other Fun!

FOOD

Summer is definitely in full swing, which means lots of smoothies, fresh fruit, raw veggies, salads, and lighter eats. Also some curry (naturally) and my sweet and sour tofu stir fry (recipe below)!

Shockingly, I don’t have nearly as many pics as usual! I’m especially sad I don’t have any from the party I hosted Friday night for my friend’s annual bday bash weekend! My guy’s son made the main dish, and I made a bunch of salad sides. Guess I was too busy playing host to remember the pics!

Crissie’s Sweet & Sour Tofu Stir-Fry

Ingredients

• 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 1 large can of cubed pineapple in juice (keep the juice)

• 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into florets

• 1/2 red onion, cut into large wedges

• 1 red bell pepper, cut into large squares

• 1 small can diced water chestnuts

• 1 small can bamboo shoots

• 1 can bean sprouts (or use fresh)

• 2 cloves garlic

• 1/4 tsp ground ginger

• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

• 3 tbsp mirin (or regular white vinegar)

• 2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari

• 3 tbsp corn starch

• red pepper flakes

• salt to taste

Directions

• In a very large pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

• Add tofu, and stir until starting to brown on all sides.

• Add garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

• Add red onion and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes.

• Sprinkle a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I did about 3 shakes since my young one doesn’t like super spicy.

• Meanwhile, pour the pineapple juice into a measuring cup.  Add enough water or veggie broth to make 1 1/2 cups.  Add in the ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch.  Mix well and set aside.

• Add the broccoli and cook for 4 minutes.

• Add water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and pineapple.  Stir well.

• Add the liquid and bring the heat to high until it starts to boil.  Once it boils, turn down to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes, until sauce thickens.

• Add bean sprouts and heat through.

• Salt and extra soy sauce at the table for everyone to adjust to taste.

FITNESS

It has been all about the home gym! Spin and weights mostly. Some yoga too.

Honestly, I’m in a running rut. I just don’t feel like going – so I haven’t. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the excitement of the bike, but I noticed that the last half dozen runs or so I forced myself to do, and that’s not typical. I usually NEED to run. Oh well, not analyzing it too much. I still get great workouts in, just different I guess.

LIFE

Life has been pretty awesome. Always ups and downs, but that’s normal. It’s been a whole week off from classes, and I’m almost a little bored! My guy says I need a hobby. I don’t know if I have enough time and energy to give any hobby justice.

R is in Florida for the week with her best friend’s family. St. Augustine, Disney, and Resort fun for 9 whole days! They are having a blast! I miss her like crazy, but we chat and I know she’s having a wonderful time.

The landscaping adventures have been going well. All the rocks are gone and now it’s tackling the weeds and getting the sprinkler system fixed. Overall though, the yard is light years better than it ever was.

Also had the house and back deck pressure washed too. It all looks so pretty!

And R and I gutted the shed. It was the only thing I hadn’t done since the divorce. It was so disorganized and full of crap, it was fun to clean it out. I have SO much space (and two leaf blowers!).

I bought a new door for the screened in porch – one with a doggie door! The previous door had a torn screen from when Kuma was stranded outside during a storm and needed to get into shelter. Since Ginny is feline leukemia positive and can’t ever be outdoors, the screened in porch was her sanctuary. My guy came by to hang it up, and it’s totally perfect. And once again, I have a happy fluff!

This weekend was the second annual beach and birthday bash! My good friend M’s birthday was Wednesday, and he and I co-host a weekend of parties, friends, boats, and beaches! Friday night is at my house – this year was a BBQ bash and pool party. Saturday we occupied two boats and spent the day on the water enjoying a perfect day. Last night was a taco bar at M & R’s house, and today was brunch at a waterfront restaurant (which I didn’t make this year). Our out of town friends are split between mine and M’s houses as many travel quite a ways to get here. In all, I think there were about 20 people, and it was an amazing time.

Ginny cuddled in my guys lap for about an hour Friday night. I think it was her way of thanking him for giving her a catio space again!

One of my guests was a puppy! Jackson is a Shiba/Shepherd mix and totally sweet. He and Kuma got along just fine.

Today I had to stop at my guys house to return a cooler, then went grocery shopping. Been a day of meal prep, laundry, and putting the house back together post-party and guests! All told – a pretty perfect weekend!

Otherwise it’s been a ton of pool fun, java on the back deck, fluffs, and fun!