Bean Town, Take 1

FOOD

Some very typical eats – smoothies and salads namely. I did try out a new protein powder. I really love the nutritional makeup of it, but am not in love with the taste compared to Vega or Garden of Life. So we’ll see if I ever get it again or try another flavor.

Tuesday night was the full blended family dinner fun out for Mexican. Many sangrias were had 🙂

For the rest of the week, I was in Boston, getting home late last night/early this morning. All I can say is thank goodness for Clif Bars since there really wasn’t anything I could eat on the first day. Once the coordinator of the meetings I was in learned I was vegan, she really went out of her way to help ensure there was something to eat for me (even soy milk for my coffee the second day we were there!).

Really tasty mushroom soup

Very typical in a plated meal – when handing out desserts, they don’t know what to give me, so I
get a bowl of fruit. Not complaining though, I love fruit and can do without the sugar of a
typical dessert anyway
Salad was fine. Black bean cakes were not. Certainly an A for effort, but mixed with spaghetti

Wednesday evening I met up with A & L for drinks at the top of the Prudential Tower at a place called Top of the Hub. We didn’t eat, but the drinks were amazing.

Dinner was as Kashmir – and Indian place that A and I actually went to almost a year ago the last time I was there. We ordered a bottle of wine, two orders of samosas, and 3 dishes to split. All vegan because they’re wonderful.

Also some other fun eats.

Discovered a sparkling sake called Mio, and I don’t know that my life will ever be the same

FITNESS

I got to one Regymen class, and it kicked my a$$. Focus was core, and I was sore for days!

Several other days I did Peloton streaming cycle workouts in my home gym.

LIFE

Tuesday evening was dinner with the 7 of us. BS helped me with my first ever basketball bracket! I have 3 total. One that is all him, one that is mostly him with a few changes (just couldn’t make WI lose – though I should have because they did!), and one that was actually a Wall Street Journal analytics one. I’m currently in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Though my 3rd is tied with my girlfriend A up in DC. My 1st place is my WSJ bracket, 2nd is the slightly modified one, and 3rd is BS’. Still a bit to go, but it’s been fun and minorly obsessive to check rankings after each game.

Most of the week was in Boston for my first trip there this spring. Two more to go. I left early Wednesday morning. Had a few afternoon meetings while I was there (one hanging in a Starbucks in Harvard Square), and then met with A & L (A and I went to grad school together. L is a professor in Boston). I hadn’t seen A since last summer, and L since a ski trip a little over a year ago, so it was awesome to catch up. Both are coming for a visit this summer, so that’ll be awesome.

Our view
Pick the waitress took. My guy said it was too dark, so A took a selfie and fixed it

Thursday and Friday were meetings, which were really engaging and productive. We had a dinner that Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. It’s always nice getting to know people you really only know via phone calls! Lots of non-work related interesting conversations, especially about food and travel.

I flew home yesterday.

Today I went to Whole Foods and then met my boyfriend and his oldest for lunch. This evening is taking my youngest and her bestie to a hockey game. It’s nice being busy. Not having school work to do won’t get to me 🙂 I have read quite a lot though, which I really enjoy.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…

Half Burnt Beats Fully Burnt

FOOD

I was on the road for a week, so not many homemade eats since my last post! I didn’t get pics of everything, but breakfasts were mostly oatmeal and fruit and sometimes toast. I managed a smoothie one day and I thought I was in heaven.

I was at the airport a bit early, so it was fruit, breakfast potatoes, and a mimosa!

Sunday afternoon/evening I went to Epcot (you know I can’t pass that up when in Florida!). Other than drinks, I got what I always do at the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco – falafel, hummus, lentils, olives, couscous, and tabbouleh. It’s their veg platter and it’s yummy.

And the rest while out of town…

Gardein Wings!

Erin McKenna’s fully vegan bakery!

Wine, Popcorn, and Twizzlers at the Orlando Magic game!

Then there’s this past weekend after getting home! Still didn’t cook because my best friend came in for the weekend. Didn’t get a pic of Friday night’s dinner. Mine was a mushroom risotto

AC and I LOVE Thai, and that was her 1 request – no good Thai in NOLA I guess

More gardein wings!
Vegan Bloody Mary at The Bee and Biscuit!

Last night’s very basic noodle and veggie dish

FITNESS

Hahaha. Does hiking all over Orlando and the convention center count? If not…well…then nothing!

I will say I was WAY over my step count, and averaged 5 -7 miles of walking per day.

Glad to be home, and when this stupid cold passes, excited to get back to Regymen and yoga!

LIFE

Well, I was in Orlando for the week for the HIMSS conference. Honestly, it was an excellent conference this year. I had 3 speaking engagements, tons of meetings, a lot of valuable sessions, plus our inaugural booth where we launched 3 products/services. To say it was busy is a major understatement.

Of course, there’s always a blend of a lot of work and quite a bit of play too. Vendors always want to treat you to fun evenings, and that certainly happened.

My quick recap –

Saturday was around the world in Epcot. Sunday was Universal City Walk and some mini golf.

Monday night was a women’s innovation dinner that was actually really great. Then met up with friends for drinks.

Tuesday was a show at a place called Mango’s. Lot’s of singing and dancing and it was a good time. My girlfriend KB lives in Orlando and she was my date! Hadn’t seen her in about 3 years, so it was a ton of fun.

Wednesday was light on the festivities. Went to happy hour to support a friend who is with a new company, but then left to head to Disney Springs and do some shopping and grab dinner. Needed a quiet night.

LOVED these – didn’t buy any – but loved them…

Thursday was the last night there, and we went to the Orlando Magic basketball game. That was a TON of fun and got to catch up with more friends I hadn’t seen in 2 years.

Friday’s flight wasn’t until 455pm, so there was plenty of time to relax at the pool. What I didn’t really pay attention to is the way the sun was falling on me. Only my right side. So – my right arm and leg got a bit of sunburn, while the rest of me didn’t! All is fine now – but I do have a few more freckles on that side of my body!

Friday I came home. My best friend AC arrived from New Orleans about 20 minutes before I landed. So I scooped her up and my guy met us for wine and dinner. My oldest had to work (she works nights), and was leaving right after work for DC and not returning until after AC had to go, so I was instructed by my daughter to bring her aunt AC to the hospital – with food 🙂

Saturday AC and I went to Thai for lunch, then I took her to BackBay Farmhouse brewery, where my guy met up with us for a few drinks and hanging out. Then it was back home and showered for the whole reason AC came this weekend – Kathleen Madigan comedy show. And it was HILARIOUS. After we stopped at Yard House for a drink and apps.

Sunday morning we were up early and to my fav brunch place – the Bee and Biscuit. Then it was off to the airport to drop her off, and me heading back home for a nap and then writing a paper.

Busy busy week! Unfortunately, I came down with a cold this weekend. Woke up Saturday with a sore throat and stuffy. Pushed through, but I think I just need some serious rest. And Sudafed 🙂

On a side note, I really really love sugar skulls. So while at Epcot I did pick up a new water bottle with them on it, and a thing for my desk. AC – who rides in the Mardi Gras parades – made me a purse with one on it – in purple – and it’s the absolute best!

Not as many fluff pics as normal…

So, it was a good week and a great weekend – but I’m happy to be home. Need a bit of recovery to feel 100%, but that’s okay too.

Water Thievery & Other Fun

FOOD

Good eats this week! Of course, I had a TON of leftover soup. My eldest and I really enjoy that one, so it went far with just the two of us eating it.

I made some awesome sweet potato and black bean lasagna-ladas and arroz non pollo one night too. Those leftovers didn’t last long!

Crissie’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Lasagna-Ladas

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes – steamed, baked, or otherwise cooked
  • 1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 8oz container of vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti since I had it on hand)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 diced jalapeño
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Corn tortillas (I used 6)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (or make your own)

Directions

  • I steamed the sweet potatoes in the pressure cooker (Ninja Foodi) and let them cool
  • Slide the sweet potatoes out of the skin and into the base of a food processor
  • Add all the spices, jalapeño, and vegan cream cheese and blend
  • Fold in the beans to make your filling mixture
  • Spray the bottom of a casserole dish. Put a layer of tortillas and top with the enchilada filling. Repeat with another layer
  • Pour the enchilada sauce over everything
  • Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven

Now, if you’re not lazy, you can do this the traditional way and soften each corn tortilla, fill with filling, and roll up and put in the casserole dish. But I always make them lasagna-style. Hence the name of the dish.

The arroz non pollo is adapted from Viva Vegan – an amaaaaazing vegan Latin cookbook. And while I change mine up, it’s close enough that I won’t write that out.

I topped it with some tart homemade soy yogurt and a spicy green sauce. SO good.

Otherwise a lot of soups, salads, and other yummy stuff. Didn’t take a pic of last night’s salad (was meeting new people for the first time and didn’t feel like explaining why I was taking a picture!). But it was an arugula and crunchy potato salad with a maple vinaigrette – and was delicious.

Bakers, tamari mushrooms, and savory tofu cubes

Panera lunch date! Forgot how much I like Panera.

Sunflower seed butter and banana. Love this as a pre-workout meal in the mornings.

Tofu was pan fried and, when lightly browned, topped with sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and
tamari. Really loved how it came out.
Brunch with my boyfriend this morning on our way home. Tofu scramble w/vegan sausage!

Dinner tonight was yummy. Busted out Veganomicon and made lentil Snobby Joes and herbed potatoes. Served with salads. Hadn’t made the joes in a long time, but the kids were stoked they made an appearance. Always been a favorite.

FITNESS

Okay, lots of gym fun this week. I am absolutely loving Regymen – took 3 classes this week. 2 of them were the regular HIIT class, and one was a boxing version. I am sore everywhere, but in the best possible way.

You wear a MyZone heart rate monitor – which is accurate 99.4% to an EKG. There’s an associated app with it. The workout is geared towards keeping you in a specific heart rate zone – delineated by color. Typically, they want you to have a total of 15 minutes in the top two zones (yellow and red). Uh. I spend almost ALL my time in there. After class I actually asked the instructor if I should be worried. It indicated I was maxing out my HR at 98% or so for a ton of time, but felt I could go harder. She asked what other exercises I do – I said running and yoga. Apparently because I run I have a really strong heart, and my max HR is actually a lot higher than the typical calculation based on age. I was told to sleep in it one night so it learns my normal and resting heart rates to calibrate it. I like that it’s smart enough to do that.

But seriously ! 569 calories burned in a single 52 minute workout! That’s insane.

Me after a Thursday night Regymen Burn class.
This was Friday’s lunch time Regymen Box class.

LIFE

First – it was a crazy weather week. A couple days in the 20’s and 30’s. Followed by 50’s-70. And rain. Hence the gym and not running outside!

All told, a good and productive week. Got lots of school stuff done and work is really ramping up – and I’m SO glad. Reconnected with one of my start-up friends as we start to collaborate on professional and personal stuff. He owns a coffee shop in Norfolk, so we met there for our meeting (that’s the coffee and hummus picture above).

It was a crappy day, but still a pretty decent view and great location!

I worked from home on Monday, and was taunted by Kuma and Luna and their naps. And Luna constantly “sharing” my water…and each of those pictures is a separate incident of water “sharing”. Not just me taking a bunch at once.

Friday night my guy and I went out. Two different wine bars – not the one we normally go to – and to be honest, the wine was only mediocre. Company was fabulous, and his dinner was excellent, but I think we’ll stick to what we know we love.

We also decided an overnight trip to Richmond the next day would be a fantastic idea. And it was! I had a haircut appt at 1115, and after went to his house, left my car there, and we went to Richmond. Stopped first at his friends house for a couple beers and catching up. Then it was off to dinner where I actually met a couple people in his family 😳. It was actually really nice, and after we all went to Buskey’s to have cider and play board games. Then it was to the hotel and then home today. Honestly, was a fantastic weekend.

Today was writing a paper and some grocery shopping. Low key.

And – more fluff fun! I really can’t get over how much fun Luna and Kuma have together. Makes me really happy that they get along so well.

Took it too late, but Luna was grooming Kuma and it was so stinking sweet!

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.

Boredom Be Gone!

FOOD

I honestly have very little to say here! It’s been a week of fend for yourself kind of meals, including leftovers. That means soups, sammiches, beans and rice, and pasta dishes.

Had a 10am meeting in Norfolk, so stopped at Yorgos for one of my fav bfasts!

Gf shells, peas, chickpeas tossed in Earth Balance and pepper

I did make tempeh and cauliflower buffalo bites in the foodie tho, using the air crisp function! Served with the last of the vegan ranch I made last week.

FITNESS

A couple runs and some bedroom yoga.

Started getting sick on Friday, so the weekend was not an overly active one.

LIFE

Vacation is over! Both work and school started back up, and I for one am not sad about that. No more boredom! I was getting very stir crazy. Went back to work last Wednesday, and classes started on Friday. Well, technically it was today, but the materials were available on Friday, so that meant I started then too.

I didn’t do a 530 wake up most days when I was on vacation. I was usually up by 6 most days, and 7-730 on the days I wasn’t feeling well. Figure sleep is more important for healing than anything.

Wednesday I went to Back Bay Farmhouse Brewery with my girlfriend LC. Was awesome to catch up, and the beers were pretty yummy. Much better than the ciders – only other time I was there was with my guy, and neither of us liked the ciders. Glad to know their beer is better. It’s a really cute place too. One of the beers I had was figs grown on their property that was then soaked in barley wine and then brewed into beer. Fun!

I was a little early, so was working until LC got there.

Friday night was supposed to be a fun night out with my guy and staying there. I tried, I really did. But I couldn’t be in denial anymore when I realized I actually felt like hell. Sore throat, body aches, ear ache, and fever. So – I went home and pouted.

Saturday one of my girlfriends was supposed to come over, but I had to cancel. Both me and R were sick.

Sunday I was actually feeling pretty well. Woke with a minor sore throat, but my appetite started coming back. So, it was off to Richmond with my boyfriend. One of my really awesome friends NS (from Nairobi) has gone vegan for 2019! Something I want to send him I can either order and pay insane shipping fees, or go to Richmond and buy it. Plus, we really love Richmond, so that was an easy choice.

We stopped first in Cary Town for spices and coffee, then to the store for NS’s surprise (he reads this, so I can’t tell you what it is….yet!). We then went to Buskey’s, which never ever is a bad idea. Had a totally amazing time (as always) and then went home. Stopped at Subway on the way, and I stayed at his place for the night. Good times.

FYI, Tart Cherry, Earl Grey Lemon Ginger, Blue Hedgehog, Heritage Blend, and (not shown but they had in the back so we got it anyway) jalapeño lime and grape expectations are all amazing.

On the Luna front, she’s assimilating quite nicely. She and Kuma actually get along great. They tend to sleep near each other and play often. Luna chases Kuma just as much as Kumabear chases Luna. It’s really fun and sweet and they’re both just so silly.

Ah yes. Can’t leave paper towels where kitties can get to them…
My bed. Kuma next to me, Luna on the pillow. At one point I woke and Luna had her paw on
On A’s bed as she studied

After R took a bath with a lavender bath bomb and lavender bubble bath….Luna apparently liked it so much (after the water evaporated) that she rolled around in it!

I LOVE my spice rack. Custom built from upcycled wine barrels. Excited that my boyfriend is making one too! Not from wine barrels, but I can’t wait to see it. It’ll be beautiful. And everyone who loves to cook should have a bitchin spice rack!

I was out of popcorn. Don’t judge.

My boyfriend bought R a camp chair she wanted. Let’s just say she’s not waiting until camping
season to use it…

At Starbucks doing some reading before classes started. And documenting in my Commonplace Book

MY YEAR OF LESS

Happy for the start of the year. Decided this week to cook from food I already had in the house. I always have a TON – beans, rice, veggies, and fruits are always in supply. I picked up a few fresh veggies and fruits, but otherwise have been making meals with what I have on hand.

I bought the gift for NS, a replacement spiralizer for me, and yesterday out in Richmond. Also some pet supplies for Luna.