Favorite Food Season + Family, Friends, and Fun!

FOOD

It’s been a fun little bit since getting home (and before hitting the road again!).

I love spring/summer when it comes to produce. Time to bust out ALL the zoodles, salads, and other fun eats. And yes – I bought that salad thingy to see if it’s really as cool as it looked. Eh. I prefer my veggies more evenly diced. Did great for the lettuce though. Will keep trying it out! Haven’t done it for fruit yet.

Also went to a local food and wine fest with my guy, which was a total blast!

Also lots of grilling and other amazing eats (like a vegan butter chicken made with soy curls and served on cauliflower rice!).

And on the road eats…

FITNESS

A few runs but the best was going to yoga with my guy. He had never been before and really enjoyed it, which makes me totally happy.

Also stopped by the Peloton showroom, so that’ll be happening soon too!

LIFE

Busy, but what else is new? I happen to love being busy. Not that I can’t slow down now and again, but there’s so much cool stuff in life, may as well do as much as possible!

The second term for my doctorate is winding down. We’ll have a couple week break before ramping up again. It’s mostly reading and writing, but also doing research on potential topics for my research project/dissertation. I have two topics I’m interested in at the moment, so that’s good. A month ago I was at a complete loss!

The pool has been opened and even got in one day of swimming between the rains and travels! But it is also the season where I try to have my morning java outside on the porch as much as possible!

Spent a night in DC, which was a ton of fun (though it always is) and got to see several of my local friends to celebrate me being in town as well as a friend’s birthday AND his wedding anniversary!

And of course miscellaneous pics of family, fluffs, and life!

Peanuts Suck Less Than They Used To

FOOD

It’s been a mixed bag of at-home meals and dining out. Nothing really new there to be honest. Did have one quick trip to Dallas, which is always yummy 🙂

Smoothies always rule!

As the weather warms up (and it’s FINALLY warming up!), plenty of salads! (Pay no heed to the butter – it wasn’t mine! )

Last time I was in Dallas (last October) we went to a restaurant called Mesa Mayo. OMG. The food was amaze balls, but so were the margaritas. I fell in love with the Serrano Berry. My travel partner in crime loved the avocado one, but since I’m allergic to avocados, I could not partake. However, being in Dallas earlier this week, I sure as HELL went and got my Serrano Berry! And studied at the same time 🙂

Last night I went out to dinner with my girl JG from grad school! She took me to a place called True Kitchen. She picked it due to the great selection of vegan eats for me. I had an amazing cucumber Tom Collins, a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sammich, kale salad, and sweet potato hash. And we shared a hummus plate. SO GOOD.

I also tried Poke for the first time at a place called Low Key Poke. And while I was recently told it was a Hawaiian tuna dish, this place described themselves to me as “Chipotle for sushi”! So, I had the green tea rice, tofu with a soy and sriracha sauce, and tons of veggies. It was really yummy and spicy!

Other misc eats!

Like this awesome seitan gyro wrap! Recipe is from Zsu Dever’s book Vegan Bowls. Only I made it as a wrap instead. Kids love it, and it’s supper tasty. Enough for leftovers for the oldest cabbage to take to work.

FITNESS

The hellacious coughing finally stopped around Sunday/Monday. Until then, it was just the walking, yoga, and some strength training – as long as it didn’t set off coughing fits.

Otherwise I ran in the hotel gym. Felt good to run – and even though I hate the dreadmill, I hate not running for 2 weeks even more!

LIFE

Been a very busy and awesome week. Last Wednesday my kids booked me for a massage in a salt room at a local place called Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa in Virginia Beach. It was incredible. 60 minute massage and they give you an extra 30 in the room to do whatever you want – nap, meditate, etc. I mostly just laid there enjoying the peace, but had to get pics too! My sinuses were a mess, but being in that room helped so much. I picked eucalyptus as my aromatherapy addition just for that reason too. And of course it’s a tea spa, so I had tea too! Licorice – and it was killer. I don’t like black licorice, but they gave me a sample and I was hooked. So tasty!

I had some dryer issues (basically, had to hire a chimney sweep to clean out the ducts. Who knew?). So while I had to wait a week for them to come, I did have to hit up the laundry mat one time. It actually ended up being kinda cool. Aside from not being cheap ($2.50 per wash!), they had WiFi, and I was able to get 4 loads of laundry done in an hour, study, and do a webex. That, my friends, is multi-tasking!

Thursday I had a happy hour/dinner with a colleague from IBM. Of course I had to take her down to the Oceanfront of beautiful Virginia Beach! She’s from Pennsylvania and had never been down this way before. It did start to rain just as we were leaving.

On Friday, R had a really big appointment. For those long-time readers, I’ve chronicled the last 16 months of her working on something called OIT – Oral ImmunoTherapy – which is a protocol to help build immunity to food allergies. R has a life threatening allergy to peanuts, and additional allergies to several tree nuts. Well, after 16 months, it was time for her food challenge! She had been eating 3 peanut M&M’s for the past 7 months. The food challenge basically goes like this – eat 5 grams of peanut butter, wait a half hour, eat 10 grams, wait another half hour, eat 15 grams. If all goes well, that’s a pass, and she’s safe to eat peanut stuff freely. Though to maintain immunity, she would have to eat something with peanuts everyday.

First of all – R HATES the taste of peanuts. Watching her every day eat her dose, it looks like she’s being tortured. She opted for peanut butter and saltine crackers.

Well, about 8 minutes into her first dose, she started to have a reaction. Sore throat and some itchiness. When it didn’t resolve (it can often be caused by anxiety), and she was monitored the entire time – her breathing and vitals, etc – they gave her prednisone and Benadryl to resolve her symptoms. We hung out another hour and change and then went home.

So – she didn’t pass the food challenge. And as discouraging as that is, it’s still incredible progress! That dose just 18 months ago could’ve been deadly. So, we have a choice to make. Keep doing the dose, slightly higher (at 4 peanut M&M’s) and then try the challenge again in 4-6 months, or just stay at the 4 peanut M&M’s indefinitely. At this point, she’s cleared to fly in terms of peanut exposure – what she’s eating daily is way more than any accidental exposure she’d face – and leave it at that. If she has no desire to free eat peanuts and peanut containing foods, then mission accomplished. We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, and technically we have 4-6 months before we need to. So for now, peanuts still suck – but they suck less than they used to.

Before we left the hospital, she did have her blood drawn to retest her for treenuts. Sometimes they can be outgrown, and her severity to treenuts was MUCH less than peanuts. So if she’s clear there, she’s clear to fly! That was her big goal. And especially now with her Dad living on the other coast, it really is important so she can visit him.

Saturday was a really fun day. R had an adjudicated orchestra competition up in Williamsburg. After their performance (which include schools all over VA and NC), all the kids went to Busch Gardens for the day! They played amazingly well and won first place for High School orchestra! In between activities, I parked myself and studied. And had a cider too…

After getting home Friday eve, it was a quick shower and then going out with my guy. I was leaving the next day and wouldn’t see him for a bit. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Norfolk then for drinks. Good times and then back home!

Sunday was coffee on the back deck, packing, studying, chilling with the kids (ones who were awake anyway!), and then eventually heading to the airport for a late afternoon flight. It was direct, so I got into Dallas at a pretty reasonable time.

Then it was work and then spending time with JG! We went to the movies – of which I entirely blame her for picking something shitty! We saw I Feel Pretty. Apparently she didn’t look at IMDB ratings. I did. I had low expectations. She was sadly more disappointed I think!

Then there’s random pics of the fluffs. Like Kuma who really just wants to sleep. All the time. And Ginny who can get comfortable in what looks like uncomfortable positions.

I also had a little extra time yesterday, so got a mani and pedi and went from reds/burgundies, to pinks! Ready for summer! Helps that on Monday the pool was opened and will be swim ready early next week! Perfect timing as the weather really heats up.

Shenanigans, Horses, and Awesome Friends

FOOD

Been a combo of quick eats and meals out and some travel.

Smoothies of course, and seem to be vacillating from chocolate to vanilla depending on my mood!

Also whipped up a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins with some overly ripe bananas.

Simple pasta dish with Beyond Meat crumbles and marinara. Fast and always a quick crowd pleaser.

Salads! Again lazy by topping it with a Boca vegan burger, but whatever. Don’t judge. It was balanced 🙂

Tofu green curry (duh)

Vegan enchiladas (another dining out for life meal event).

Cauliflower steak.

And this, my friends, is a paffle! A spot in Charlottesville that makes sammiches out of puff pastry-turned-waffle. Mine is a gf vegan one stuffed with tofu scramble!

Lunch in Richmond with H – these delightful things called “garden balls” and a rice noodle and tofu sesame dish too.

FITNESS

Runs and strength training workouts!

LIFE

Well, been great and busy! Last weekend was theme park fun! The week was crazy – couple nights out and then a weekend away for my grad school reunion weekend. I’m telling you, nothing like hanging out with 20+ of your friends! Many came from out of state just to be here.

We arrived Friday morning, had sessions and catching up with friends and professors, then a cocktail reception and a class party at a local brewery.

The second day was at the Foxfield horse races, which was amazing. We had a private chalet, food, open bar, etc. Then all of us went to dinner on the downtown mall. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone – but thankfully we do a good job of keeping in touch and getting together regularly when we can.

Sunday, after wrapping up, went to Richmond to have lunch with my girlfriend H, then home! I was supposed to go see Infinity War with the kids (bought tix way early), but wasn’t feeling too hot and had school stuff to wrap up, so they went, had a blast, and I’ll hopefully go in the next week or so.

And of course, fun pics of fluffy ones!

Ginny just happy I brought my suitcase home for her!

Kuma getting yet MORE toys

Guess I’m No Quitter After All

Okay guys, I really came close to quitting blogging.  Part of it was because I know how sparse my posts have been, and I also started to feel I lost my blogging mojo.  Since becoming single, I’ve spent so much of the past few months finding my “new normal”, that I just felt a little out of touch with how I’ve blogged in the past.  But today I realized I’m not actually done, so I guess I’m no quitter after all 🙂

FOOD

There’s literally no way possible for me to show you the eats of the past 6 weeks.  Actually, I probably could, but that would just be way too long!

It’s been pretty typical fare: smoothies, soups, curries, baked potatoes, and the like.  A lot of traveling too, so some more fun eats as well.

made some homemade soy yogurt! Love this stuff. I make it super tart so it can be used in place of things like sour cream too

nice krispies!

spicy tofu soup!

Of course I had a TON of meals on the road the past month.

my survival basket from Whole Foods in San Jose (wine, fruit, etc).
this, my friends, is called a Paffle. It’s two waffles, with tofu scramble in the middle! A bit challenging to eat, but so creative!
can’t go to Florida and NOT go to Epcot. Well, I guess maybe you can, but I know I can’t! It was the international food and wine fest, which was just perfect

I was in Tampa for my bday and the group I was with sent this to my room. Very sweet (even though I didn’t eat it, it’s the thought that counts!)
Dallas had the BEST Mexican and Tex-Mex fare ever.
ugly pic, but amazing fajitas!

oddly super-green curry. But yummy.
got to see my good friend JG in Dallas! Lovely evening with wine and Thai food!

typical hotel vegan food offerings….
so the conference in Dallas specifically asked for dietary needs. I said vegan. NOTHING they served was. So they went and got me two bananas one morning. Ugh.

FITNESS

As it happens, I tore my right quadricep in that soccer game in mid-September, so I was sidelined for weeks!  I was allowed to eventually do gentle yoga, but otherwise it was walks and upper body workouts only.

Just yesterday I finally felt fully ready to get back into some of my normal routine.  So – I went to Hot Yoga!  Hopefully this week there will be more of that, and some runs and boxing too.  Being still just never works well for me.

hot, sweaty, stinky (I imagine anyway), and incredibly happy!

 

LIFE

Well, let’s see.  Lots in the past 6 weeks of course.  I had trips to San Jose, Tampa (with a side trip to Orlando), Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Dallas.

me an my soon to be ex brother in law (but will ALWAYS be family) in San Jose!
hands down my fav theme park

Also, my youngest went to her first school dance!  Homecoming – and I wonder where my little girl has gone.

hair appt – where Raven the miracle worker actually tamed her crazy curls

And other fun stuff!

bought this at Epcot. Couldn’t help myself (Disney junkie that I am!). Micky heads with the epcot ball design
waiting for my flight home from Tampa
part of my 7 hr delay on my flight to Dallas
me and the oldest cabbage at Howl o Scream!
out with HT for wine flights, olives, and hummus
silly selfie out walking Kuma
me holding my baby boy (okay, JG and KG’s baby boy) and R’s 3rd bday party.
at our IT charity Nerd Golf event
all three in the same space without trying to eat each other. Clearly I’m cooking and they each think I have something they want
came home from some travels to find this on the fridge. Man, I love my kids…
carpooling with the eldest as her car was in the shop

Ginny wanting to come with me
with friends at Wine Fest!
and by FAR the best bday meme I got! This from OPR (who I also saw at Howl o Scream)

 

 

 

Whiny (not Wine-Y) and Never Ever Camping

FOOD

Smoothies for breakfast have been extra refreshing in this week’s heat.  I made a monster one yesterday – enough for a filling breakfast and second breakfast in the office!

3 cups of coconut water, 2 oranges, 2 cups of frozen mixed fruit (strawberry, mango, banana), 1 scoop vanilla Vega powder, 2 cups of spinach and 1 cup kale

Today I made tofu eggless salad & veggie sammiches for lunch.  So simple – firm silken tofu (Mori Nu), vegan mayo (I use Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo), a squirt of yellow mustard, and about 1 tsp of agave.  I like to put pepper on mine after it’s on the bread (R doesn’t like the pepper).

on whole wheat bread topped with cucumbers, red onion, lettuce, and tomato slices

I whipped up a batch of stuffed bell peppers this afternoon too!

Crissie’s Pressure Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked per package instructions
  • 1 pouch of Beyond Meat beefless crumbles.  Could sub 2 cups of cooked lentils too
  • 3 bell peppers, tops removed and diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced fine or minced
  • 1 jar marinara of choice
  • 3 tsp of spice blend of choice.  Excellent option would be an Italian blend.  I used something called Lake Shore Drive Seasoning from my Milwaukee hometown shop The Spice House
the tofu, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil are for another dish I made as a post-cooking topping

Directions

  • line a sauté pan with water
  • cook the onion and garlic on medium heat until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes
  • add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.

  • Insert the rack in your pressure cooker.
  • Place the bell peppers in a oven safe dish
  • Stuff them!

  • Put about 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker, and place the dish inside.
  • Seal it up, and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.  Let pressure come down naturally.
dinner for 3, coming up!

I have a ton of fresh basil growing in my herb garden and came across this pesto recipe from Forks over Knives I really wanted to try.  My thought was to drizzle it on top of the peppers before serving, or possibly mix it into the stuffing.  So, I whipped it up (sans Pine Nuts since we don’t do nuts here right now), and while incredibly tasty, came out more the consistency of mayo than a traditional pesto.

So – while it didn’t find a home with the bell peppers, I can totally see this as a sammich spread or tossed with pasta.

M ended up going to a friends house to swim and R asked for the mushroom dish again tonight (the one I made Monday), so I scrapped the original plan of bell peppers for 3 and made R’s request and salads for our eats.

At least the peppers are made and now so are tomorrow’s lunches!

FITNESS

Swimming!  Seriously, with no AC, it’s pretty much the only thing I can handle.

Okay, I did go for a run on Tuesday.  R had to talk me out of jumping in the pool in my clothes.  I did manage to peel them off and put on a suit first, so I think I deserve bonus points there.

LIFE

The 4th of July holiday started like pretty much any other Tuesday off.  Woke up R, did her OIT dose, went for a run, then a quick pool dip, shower, and off for Williamsburg with my girls!

We were gone for a few hours, having a blast, when the dumb weather report got it right for once and it started to rain.  We decided to head home and catch fireworks a different night this summer.

As expected, no one called about my AC until Wednesday.  The soonest they can come is now tomorrow morning – so assuming it’s something that can even be fixed right away, we’ll be at 4 days with no AC.  I know I sound whiny but it suuuuuuucks.

I went to the office yesterday (blessedly cool air) and then to happy hour with co workers after.  It’s a place I’d only been to via boat before, so I actually didn’t really know where it was!  And while it was odd being there without MM and RM, the Orange Crushes were still fantastic.

Today I stayed home – hoping for an AC technician cancelation so I could be fit in (something the company thought possible).  That, and I felt guilty having the kids sweat it out in a hot house all alone.  Knowing R, she’d play video games all day or read and not hydrate.  It also sucks trying to get ready for work when it’s hot.  (I know, I’m getting whiny again).

Tangent time (but it’ll make sense).  I’ve never been camping.  Not really – I mean I slept in a tent in my backyard a few years ago and once in Vegas, but I’ve never been out in nature roughing it.  I WANT to find the idea appealing and be all one with nature and stuff, but deep down I know that my idea of roughing it is a hotel with no bar.  And no AC in the summer.  So – this week is as close to camping as I ever wanna get.  Worst vegan ever right?  I love nature – just don’t want it on me.

Peace kids!

Kuma looking very dramatic at her lack of cooling options.

 

 

The Happiest Place on Earth is Home!

FOOD

Still mostly eating in vs going out to eat (with the exception of the last week where I was traveling).  I’ve been largely batch cooking on the weekends and eating leftovers through the week.

I’m still doing a lot of the Happy Herbivore meals, but have had a few fun ones thrown in.  Like this one!

Crissie’s Kitchen Sink Red Thai Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 packaged extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 4 carrots, diced large
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 1/2 onion, diced large
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. red Thai curry powder or paste (brand of your choosing, I order from The Spice House)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger root

Directions

  • Line a large skillet with a small amount of water and heat on medium high
  • add onion, garlic, and ginger.  Sautee for 3-4 minutes, until soft
  • add carrots and bell pepper.  Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring often
  • Add can of coconut milk + 1/2 can of water, tofu, and broccoli, and peas
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes

Serve over rice, quinoa, or any other grain of choice (or plain, like I had it!  More soup than stir fry).

I used up all the veggies I had lying around (I was heading out on a week-long trip, so that was important), and the fun thing with curries, is you can use whatever you have.  Cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, corn, etc.  Doesn’t matter – it’s all yummy!

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I ate leftovers over quinoa I had batched cooked over the weekend

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Some other homemade eats

D is the total grill master!  He marinated portabellos and pineapple  in dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, grilled them, and used a hot pepper jelly as a spread on a burger bun.  OH MY GOSH.  So tasty!  And a side of grilled veggies.
D is the total grill master! He marinated portabellos and pineapple in dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, grilled them, and used a hot pepper jelly as a spread on a burger bun. OH MY GOSH. So tasty! And a side of grilled veggies.

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Tofurky night!
Tofurky night!

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batch cooking chowder
batch cooking chowder

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And my awesome eats from Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Orlando, Epcot, and Florida in general!

a cup of chikun noodle soup and sheep's pie!
a cup of chikun noodle soup and sheep’s pie!
potato broccoli soup
potato broccoli soup
BBQ Chikun Empanadas
BBQ Chikun Empanadas

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from a little place near my hotel where I'd stop for some fresh juice.  This was my favorite
from a little place near my hotel where I’d stop for some fresh juice. This was my favorite
smoothie selfie at Downtown Disney!
smoothie selfie at Downtown Disney!
of course I had to stop for tofu green curry at least once!  Wasn't as good as my place at home :)
of course I had to stop for tofu green curry at least once! Wasn’t as good as my place at home 🙂

FITNESS

Well, after finally reading about it for months, I broke down and bought Beach Body on Demand.  It’s honestly been awesome.  I’m working out every day either in my bedroom or my hotel.  Plus runs of course!

after a nice run outside in FL one morning
after a nice run outside in FL one morning

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after a long bike ride last weekend before I left - me and the wee one enjoying a gorgeous day
after a long bike ride last weekend before I left – me and the wee one enjoying a gorgeous day
looking sweaty and unamused.  5am is EARLY for exercise
looking sweaty and unamused. 5am is EARLY for exercise
lame attempt at a smile
lame attempt at a smile

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LIFE

Been a busy, but great two weeks.  New (and final) term for grad school started!  Lot’s of focus on entrepreneurial  processes, and it’s been really interesting so far.  As much an art as a business science.

R had her second peanut flour updose!  She’s now at 6% of 1 peanut.  Words cannot express how proud I am of her for doing this.  Her bravery shocks me – she knows how life threatening her peanut allergy is, yet this treatment protocol, if successful, will forever alter her life and take away that fear.  The process is a bit anxiety producing though.

before and during her does
before and during her does
and after as she has to wait 1-2 hours to monitor
and after as she has to wait 1-2 hours to monitor

I went to a conference for work in Orlando.  It was a really good show, but my favorite is always the volunteer work with military veterans who have recently or are soon to be transitioning.  It’s less about healthcare IT specifically and more about the culture shock.  For those in a long time, it’s learning to STOP using some language and terminology that doesn’t translate into the corporate world and to understand leadership nuance differences (such as people don’t do what you tell them just because you tell them!).  Nothing like that existed when I transitioned out of the Navy, so I love doing this for others.

I also took a side trip to Epcot and had a great time.  And while it was a great trip, the happiest place on earth is really just being back home!

they legit had a DJ!
they legit had a DJ!
how well they know us!
how well they know us!

Other than that, it’s been pretty typical.  Family, work, school, rinse, repeat.

And some extra pics of stuff, morning pictures, and fluffy buddies!

Ginny wrapped up in her toy
Ginny wrapped up in her toy
Bumble wrapped up in her blankets
Bumble wrapped up in her blankets
Kuma deciding Bumble's idea of hiding in blankets is brilliant
Kuma deciding Bumble’s idea of hiding in blankets is brilliant

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she just misses my suitcase...
she just misses my suitcase…

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I'm fairly obsessed with palm trees
I’m fairly obsessed with palm trees
Kuma put her toy against D's foot to use as a pillow
Kuma put her toy against D’s foot to use as a pillow
pure genius
pure genius
after a wet night out in Orlando
after a wet night out in Orlando
when you go to a Disney theme park by yourself and they're very curious as to why....they made me this button!
when you go to a Disney theme park by yourself and they’re very curious as to why….they made me this button!
what it looks like to hit up a theme park by yourself!  Glorious.
what it looks like to hit up a theme park by yourself! Glorious.

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cold morning walk
cold morning walk

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Have a great weekend!!