Maybe Not a Vanilla Girl

FOOD

Okay, okay, more pictures to summarize the past few days. Pretty simple though – smoothies, avo toast, salads, and noshing on fruit.

I did get to try out a new raw foods cafe on Monday with AZ. It's literally right across the street from my office, so that was cool. The fresh juice was fantastic, and the soup was only OK. AZ got the raw pizza and really enjoyed it, so I'm definitely going to try it again.

Perhaps the most creative I've gotten in the past few days has been with an avocado quinoa salad. It's not overly difficult, but was quite tasty.

Crissie's Spicy Avocado Qunioa Salad

Ingredients

*1 cup uncooked quinoa – rinsed and cooked per package directions (I used my rice cooker)

*1 avocado

*2 hot peppers (I had serrano's on hand, but any will do)

*1/2 bunch cilantro

*1 tbsp red wine vinegar

*1/4 red onion

*1 1/2 cups black beans (you can use one can or fresh – I used the leftover black beans from last Monday)

*1 tsp sea salt

*1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen – I used fresh roasted corn)

Directions

*cool the quinoa slightly (I just threw the bowl in the freezer while I made the sauce)

*put the avocado, onion, cilantro, & hot peppers into a food processor or blender. I used my vitamix. Add 1-2 tbsp of water if needed (will depend on the ripeness of your avocado)

*add the black beans, salt, and avocado sauce to the quinoa and mix well. I prefer to eat it cold, but can be eaten right away if you're desperate.

I put it atop a salad with some tomatoes and sprinkled just a hint of red wine vinegar on top. An awesome no oil added yummy dinner!

 

On a side note, I've always considered myself a vanilla girl. My fav ice cream has always been vanilla (except a period as a girl when I'd give just about anything for a scoop of Blue Moon). When given the choice, I usually choose simple fare. And then I discovered Salted Caramel Chocolate Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. I had it at VVC2013, and my Whole Foods has finally started carrying it. And then it got me thinking – I don't eat plain food. I'm a spice snob and love to make good and tasty and flavorful food. So it seems I am no longer just a vanilla girl after all.

FITNESS

Well, my youngest is REALLY getting into biking (I sense a triathlete in the making), so I've done some running while she bikes, and today we went on her longest ride yet. That child cranked out 8 miles like it was nothing.

D's also been going on rides with R from our house to the park, then hiking around the park trails. So he's working out too (which I love).

 

D and I have been talking, and the three of us may be signing up for an October Breast Cancer 10 miler. I think it would be cool. I went on a bike trip with my Dad as a kid (the great bike ride across WI), and when I told R about it this morning, she announced that we have to do it next summer. We shall see, but that would be awesome.

LIFE

Busy, busy, busy. I know that's nothing new, but sometimes it would be nice to not be so busy! It's not even work that has me feeling overwhelmed (though it's crazy right now between a ton of projects, hard looming deadlines, and it being budget season), but life outside of work has been nuts.

We're still dealing with maintenance issues at home. The AC broke again yesterday, but was fixed today. The tech thinks ants got in and disrupted the arc or something, so now we're going to get inspected and treated for ants. That treatment is tomorrow. New insulation is being put in under the house, and we're getting measured for that tomorrow, and the tree guy is taking his sweet-a$$ time getting the dead and fallen tree out of here! Last I heard he MIGHT be here Friday.

The good news is the fan under the house is just fine and is running again, so hopefully we won't have any more moisture build up problems.

We're also trying to nail down A to define what she needs before she leaves for college. In 2 weeks. Oh, and then there's dealing with the fact that my first born child is leaving home. In 2 weeks.

But enough complaining, things have been awesome too. I took today off to spend with R, and after our long trail ride, we are about to head to Busch Gardens for some fun and fireworks!

 

 

How About a Box of Fun?

We're going to have a little bit of a special addition of RunCrissieRun today. Not to fear, we'll be back to regularly scheduled programming soon enough.

I wanted to share some information about a company called Vegan Cuts. I'll be honest…I'd heard about it for a while now, but never really took the time to learn what it actually is. After going to Vida Vegan Con 2013, I got to meet people from Vegan Cuts, and see what their company is really about.

So here it is in a nut shell. There are two major categories of vegans out there. Dietary vegans – who's only concern regarding animals is about the food they put in their mouths, are where many of us start. Most vegans I know fall into the other catgory – as I do – and we are ethical vegans. This means that it's not enough that we keep animal products out of our bellies, but we keep them out of everything, including clothing, beauty products, household cleaner, and basically anything that involves our lives. This is called being an ethical vegan – I don't want to contribute to the suffering of any animal, so while a certain mascara, for example, may not have animal ingredients in it, the company may test on animals, and therefore I, as an ethical vegan, will not use it (even if it's free).

For me, becoming an ethical vegan was an evolution after starting as a dietary vegan. My friends going shopping with me would always wonder what the heck I was doing when I would check the ingredients on those cute pumps at the mall before trying them on or consiering buying them. Don't get me wrong – they're all used to it now – but shopping can be trickier than people realize (especially when locating companies that do and do not test on animals).

Enter Vegan Cuts (you had to know I'd get to the point soon). They provide a way to purchase ethically made/vegan products that go beyond food. Beauty products? Check. Clothes? Yup. Killer handbags? Oh yeah.

They also have this groovy little box program. You can sign up for a Vegan Snack Box or Beauty Box and get sample sizes of various products to try them out. Sort of like a test drive before buying that new car.

I was the lucky recipient of a vegan cuts box just a week ago. It had a mixture of food and non-food products, and was quite a fun little surprise to open. Sort of like a birthday present – you know you're getting something, but you have no idea what it is until you open that box!

My box had a bag of GF chips, chia seeds (which I LOVE making pudding with), lip balm, this killer cookie from Michy's, a snack bar, a package of superfood macro greens to put in a smoothie, dried fruit snacks, sweet chickpea snacks, vegan parmesan, and a sports drink powder to fuel my workouts.

 

This particular program is $19.95 per month, and you get 7-10 vegan products dropped right to your door. It's a neat way to try out new things and expand your vegan-purchasing options. If you're interested in checking it out, just click here!

Disclaimer – Vegan Cuts sent me this box on the house. That said, the freeness of it did not impact my review. I think it's a groovy program – like a book of the month club – but for fun vegan products.

 

Mayo With Law & Order Theme Music

FOOD

Today was fun with mayonnaise! No…not that nasty stuff made with raw eggs….but the groovy vegan kind. Nasoya has come out with some revamped vegan mayonnaise (and for those that were Miracle Whip kids like I was, they have a normal version too!).

They sent me two jars on the house to see if I could make anything fun…and I did. Here are two of their stories (insert Law and Order music here).

First up was a Tofu eggless salad. It’s sweet and spicy and mustardy. Here’s the recipe!

Crissie’s Sweet & Spicy Two Mustard Tofu Salad

Ingredients

*1/2 cup whipped Nayo Whipped

*2 tbsp dijon mustard

*2 tbsp yellow mustard

*1/2 tsp salt

*1 celery stalk – diced small

*2 green onions – chopped with about 1/2 of the green part

*1/4 cup blend of bread and butter pickles and pickled jalapenos (a sweet and spicy relish would work great if you can find one)

*12 ounces lite firm tofu (from the box on the shelf, not the produce section packed in water).

Directions

*Blend everything except the tofu in a dish.

*Chop the tofu into small pieces. This works awesome in a hardboiled egg slicer.

*Eat on anything you like. I used some gluten free bread, but see this as road trip food on crackers this coming week!

I wish I had some sprouts to put on top!  Some fresh ground pepper was nice though.

My second dish was a topping for some tempeh tacos. For this one, I used the regular Nayonaise (not the whipped) to create a topping for my dinner. Here’s the full recipe.

Crissie’s Tempeh and Potato Taco’s with Simple Spicy Aoili

Ingredients for Tacos

*8 ounces tempeh – cubed and preboiled for 20 minutes (allegedly helps with digestion)

*2 tsp chipotle chili powder

*1 tsp cumin

*1 tsp adobo seasoning

*1/2 tsp salt

*1/2 of a lite beer – I used Miller lite, but any beer will do

*3-4 dashes liquid smoke

*1/2 tsp agave nectar

*2 small potatoes – peeled, diced, and microwaved in saltwater for 4 minutes

Directions for Tacos

*Coat the tempeh cubes in the spices and let sit for a few minutes. Add the beer, liquid smoke, and agave. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

*After nuking the spuds (be sure they’re covered in salt water), run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

*Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high until well heated. Add the tempeh and potatoes and stir fry until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

*Eat however you love tacos! I put mine on some corn tortillas with a spicy cabbage blend and my Nayonaise Spicy Aoili!

Ingredients for Simple Spicy Aoli

*1/2 cup Nayonaise

*3 tbsp hot sauce of choice (I used siracha, but any fav hot sauce will do)

*juice of 1 lime

Directions for Simply Spicy Aoili

*blend all that stuff together! I used a small blender, but a wisk would work too.

So here’s my take on Nayonaise. They were at the Vida Vegan Con Conference last month, and that was the first I saw of their revamped product. I will say, I like it. I grew up a Miracle Whip kid, and this is the first vegan company that I’ve found that has tried to replicate Miracle Whip over regular mayo. Don’t get me wrong…after I grew up and before I was vegan, I became a mayo eater becaues my husband is….but I missed Miracle Whip. It’s fun to have it back…in a cruelty free sense.

If you make these recipes, please let me know. Next time you’re in the market for some vegan mayo, try out Nasoya.

FITNESS

I was up earlier than everyone today and plugged in a workout DVD and then did a short yoga sequence to work out my kinks. Nothing major, but still got my blood pumping.  I wanted to run, but it was windy and I don’t want to push my luck!  Tomorrow though, I’m hoping too (if the planned storms hold off).

LIFE

First of all a big ‘ol HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dad’s out there! Of course the two most important to me are D and my Dad!

We had a low-key day. We went to the outdoor pool at the Y and goofed off and then came home and relaxed. Right now, all five of us are sitting outside chilling by the fire light. M is playing his guitar, D is catching up on Twitter, A is lying on the deck reading, R is playing with fireflies, and I’m blogging. Good times.

Naysoya sent me their products on the house. That said, I’m giving my honest opinion about their two products.

Time Flies and The Dinner That Wasn’t

FOOD

It’s been a fairly typical food scene around here the last two days, with the exception of dinners.

Dinner yesterday didn’t happen, and I ended up going to bed with a wicked headache.   Dinner today was supposed to be grilled fun – tofu, broccoli, and a salad…but my kids decided to sprout social lives, so it ended up being a quesadilla, baked spud, and a sunflower butter/banana sammich.  I feel a bit cheated!

Juice ingredients!  Romaine, apple, lemon, cuc, ginger.
Juice ingredients! Romaine, apple, lemon, cuc, ginger.
green juice for breakfast Thursday morning
green juice for breakfast Thursday morning
watermelon snack because...well because I had it and I love watermelon.
watermelon snack because…well because I had it and I love watermelon.
mac n peas for lunch!  Quinoa shell noodles with Teeze (GF, vegan, nut free).
mac n peas for lunch! Quinoa shell noodles with Teeze (GF, vegan, nut free).
breakfast this morning.  Because I really, really love watermelon. To which my sister commented that it's really just water and she'd still be hungry!
breakfast this morning. Because I really, really love watermelon. To which my sister commented that it’s really just water and she’d still be hungry!
quick snack when I got home tonight and realized I wasn't having grilled tofu for dinner!  Corn tortillas with a little Daiya.
quick snack when I got home tonight and realized I wasn’t having grilled tofu for dinner! Corn tortillas with a little Daiya.
a GF flatbread topped with sunflower butter and sliced bananas.  Not a glorious and creative dinner, but it'll do on a Friday night.
a GF flatbread topped with sunflower butter and sliced bananas. Not a glorious and creative dinner, but it’ll do on a Friday night.

FITNESS

Yesterday I didn’t work out.  Way to busy, and didn’t get the chance after work – and frankly, after all the travel drama and little sleep, I sure as heck wasn’t going to get up early!

Today though, I was sure to pack a gym bag before leaving the house.  An after work jaunt to the gym was in order, and I did some HIIT on the elliptical and some full-body weight training.  One of these days I want to like going to the gym.  I dislike workout DVD’s though, and I’m back to pouting about just wanting to run and not being able to.  Driving to and from the gym and parking takes time I don’t have to waste if I could just lace up and walk out my front door.  So here I am, feeling whiny again, sorry.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll finally get the spiders off my bike and go for a ride.

LIFE

Last night my son had a play.  It was called Time Flies, and it’s about 2 mayflies who meet, flirt heavily (that was hard to watch as his mom while one may fly grabbed his butt), and then learn by watching a TV special that mayflies only live 24 hours.  It was pretty hilarious and he’s up for an award for his performance!

IMG_4331 (Small) IMG_4342 (Small) IMG_4348 (Small) IMG_4358 (Small)

The night went much later than planned, so we didn’t get home until late.

Today was all meetings, all day.  I do feel like a lot was accomplished regarding one of my projects, so I certainly am not complaining about meeting hell or anything 😉

My oldest child was called and offered a shift at work tonight, and my son was invited to an overnight bowling party-thing, so we ended up not doing the dinner we had planned.  We did all sit outside and goof off for a while (basketball, soccer, beer…well…beer for just D and I…but still).  I’ve been rejoicing in the ridiculously hot weather and spending as much time as possible sitting on the deck under the big umbrella.

my view from my chair
my view from my chair

Tomorrow I have two things planned, though one may not happen.  My daughter and I (the oldest daughter) signed up for a Chesapeake Clean the Bay Day – which is a VA and MD-wide effort to clean up the waterways.  I signed us up online and the local coordinator was supposed to email me with details on where to go (I have no idea where I’d been “assigned”, other than my city), so unless it comes by the morning, I may not be volunteering after all.  Which has me really bummed out…getting more involved in things that are important to me; animal rights, social justice issues, and environmental initiatives, is something that I took home with me from VVC (Vida Vegan Con in case you didn’t know).  I won’t let this keep me from becoming involved in (or starting) activism in my area, but it still bugs me.

Tomorrow evening I’m going to our Vegan Dinner Social and Pleasure Club meet-up group!  We’re doing a Wine and Cheeze Garden party.  Since most vegan cheezes are nut based, I’m bringing a fruit plate, flax crackers, and possibly a sunflower seed spread.

Sunday, if the weather holds, D and I are going golfing.  Real golfing – not lessons or driving range.  I’m hopeful that we go.

Until then, random pics of Sammie the happy pooch and Bumble, the Ruler of the House.

she may be Ruler of the House, but she's scared to death of the great outdoors.  Too fraidy-cat to leave the deck.
she may be Ruler of the House, but she’s scared to death of the great outdoors. Too fraidy-cat to leave the deck.
my sleepyheads
my sleepyheads

 

Spiders Keep Me From Working Out

FOOD

This morning was a total smoothie on the run. Normally I use my Vitamix to make really big smoothies that get me through a full morning, but today I was running a bit late (jet lag sucks) and used my travel blender. It blends right into a to-go cup, and is just faster. It also doesn't make as much, but it was better than nothing!

Of course I had to use my VVC mug for java this morning too!

 

Lunch was a salad from the Whole Foods bar. I had meetings out in Virginia Beach all morning, so it was perfect to swing by, grab a salad, and head back to my office. I loved how colorful it was!

 

Dinner was Indian food! I haven't done an Indian meal in a while, and have been wanting to. I only did 3 dishes this time (usually I do 5). Homemade garlic naan (not pictured since I didn't eat it – would have screwed up the whole gluten thing), red lentil dhal, and brown basmati rice.

Yesterday, I made a few flavored waters. R helped me pick mint from my herb garden, and we made mint water. I also sliced up half an English cucumber for some cucumber water. Both were very tasty.
 

FITNESS

Today was beautiful. 85 degrees, sunny, and very low humidity. I really, really wanted to go for a long bike ride. Unfortunately, my bikes are in the garage (the road bike and the hybrid), and I know we have spiders in the garage, and D wasn't home to “check” my bikes for the beasts, so I was too chicken to ride. I did yoga instead. Don't judge.

I also started aching to run. Since I was diagnosed and stopped running as my primary form of exercise and stress relief, I've been trying to stay positive. Lots of yoga, spin classes, Zumba, and checking out various classes has kept me busy….but it was a day like today that made me pissed off again that I can't run. I'm hoping that if I'm symptom free by the end of summer that I can start again. I know that means starting from scratch, but right now I don't really care. I just want to lace up and go!

LIFE

Today was a rough day. I think I finally got used to the west coast time zone just in time for me to get home and need to get to work in the morning. Even my boss remarked that I looked tired in our morning meeting. Then she laughed her a$$ off when I relayed my travel hell. Yes, Albuquerque…we will meet again…only this time under MY terms….

Other than being ridiculously tired, it was a good day. I mostly caught up on what I missed while off, and my youngest has officially changed swim teams. It's a longer drive to practices, but a more disciplined team. I think she'll get much more out of it.

In the mean time, here are a couple random pictures of the day….

I collect buttons from places I travel, and D has taken to picking them up for me as well. My RunCrissieRun tote is getting pretty loaded after this last week! I have tons of new buttons to show off. Always a conversation starter when you're walking around with a Tofurky pin on your bag with the picture of a pig….

 

My fluffy Bumble getting comfy on the chair (okay, so she's more plump than fluffy, but that's okay…).

 

Today's morning picture! D still takes one of he and R when taking her to school every morning, but I haven't posted one in awhile….

 

A picture of a book cover I saw in Powell's books in Portland. Makes me secretly wonder if Bumble has been trying to kill me for the past 12 years…

 

Bum holding my hand last night because she's clearly happy I'm home…

 

I'm using a new blogging app on my iPad, so if this post looks totally jacked, I apologize!

 

Don’t Travel With Me If You Like Getting Places On Time

FOOD

Oh, where do I begin? I was in the vegan mecca of Portland, OR, and truth be told, I didn’t actually eat that much! Kinda bummed about that actually. I still haven’t tried Veggie Grill, Voodoo Donuts, or Prasad. To be honest, I’ve gotten so into this higher raw and healthy way of eating the last few months (and more specifically the last month…read why here…), that I get full so quickly I can’t overindulge too easily.

My one caveat to that was the soy-free/gluten-free brownie from Sweat Pea Bakery. I seriously need the recipe!

So now I’m home and happy to be in my kitchen. I seriously need to go grocery shopping, but I made due. Breakfast was a savory smoothie, aka blended salad. I love these.

tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and kale
tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and kale

Lunch took a little more thought (but not much), and I totally loved the result. Below, is the recipe.

Crissie’s Southwestern Quinoa-Guacamole Salad

Ingredients

*1 cup quinoa
*2 cups water
*1 tub guacamole (I used Whole Food’s Traditional, but feel free to use any you have lying in your fridge, or make your own).
*1 juiced lime
*1 splash (about 1 tbsp.) red wine vinegar
*1 can salt-free black beans, rinsed and drained
*1 jalapeño, diced

(if I would have had them, extra cilantro, red onion, and corn would have been great)

Directions

*cook the quinoa according to package directions. I just threw it into a rice cooker on the white rice setting.
*mix in the rest of the ingredients

I served mine on a bed of arugula, which gave it a nice peppery flavor.

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Dinner was a ridiculously last-minute thing.  I thought I was too tired to be hungry, but decided at nearly 8pm that I wasn’t.  I boiled up some quinoa shell noodles and topped with nacho flavored Teese!  Yummy comfort food!

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FITNESS

While I was gone, I did a lot of hiking around town (not real hiking, but really lots of walking) and two yoga classes. One was a Bikram class at a local studio and one was an online class in my hotel room.

I will say, I’m not loving the Bikram style. I don’t like that it’s always the exact same 26 postures done in exactly the same order. I have issues with lack of variety. And there’s no down dog, and that makes me sad.

At home today, I hit up a hot yoga class at the studio I go to about 1/2 the time. It wasn’t the best class ever, but it was what I needed, so that’s a plus.

LIFE

Well this past weekend was really, really awesome. I was at the Vida Vegan Con bloggers conference in Portland (as if you didn’t already guess that). It’s hard to describe what it was like. For me, it was a chance to be around 350 other vegan bloggers (which is just awesome), sample food I wouldn’t normally get a chance to, hike around a neat (if not wet and a little cold) city, and go to…get this….a VEGAN MINI MALL! Yep…you heard that right…I went to a freaking mini mall of all vegan things. I bought t-shirts, a brownie, and almost got a new tattoo….(almost).

More than the food, I really enjoyed the conference sessions. I’ll be posting much more in the future of how they impacted me and what I learned, but as of right now, it seems pretty darned profound.

Oh, and at the Galarama to raise funds for Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, I WON THE TOFURKY LUNCHBOX.  I was starting to hover near the end of the auction to intimidate people to not outbid me.

003 (Small)

As awesome as my adventures were, I was more than ready to come home. Too bad I screwed that up!

So my flight left Sunday afternoon. I was at the airport MORE than ready enough (I never got off East Coast time while I was there, so waking between 4-5 am was normal).

I may (or may not) have been at a little Mexican restaurant at the airport. I may (or may not) have been having a glass or two of wine. I most definitely WAS on the phone with my Dad (fun conversation about my trip, Marriage Equality, legalization of marijuana, and Reagan as president). As it happens, I was convinced my flight was at 250 pm. I hung up with Dad around 2 to head to my gate….and missed my plane. My flight was actually at 205, and because I was chatting up my Dad, I missed the dozen or so overhead announcements looking for me. Joy.

I got there and SAW them close the airplane door. They asked me if I was Christine, and looked me in the eye when they closed it. And told me I couldn’t get on. So…of my luggage went to VA and I went to find a place to stay by the hotel. And to look forward to wearing the same clothes for at least 2 days….

Anyway, I did eventually make it home (a day or so late), and I got to see New Mexico (don’t ask, but it seems beautiful). I missed one more day of work than planned, and….I’m tired.

Signing off as a girl who’s just incredibly happy to finally be home (and to take a shower and change my clothes…..)