About Me

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Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States
I am a late-30's busy career mom, attempting to find her inner athlete, be a vegan in a non-vegan household, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, knit, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

Monday, January 31, 2011

If I Work THIS Hard on a Day Off...

FOOD

Breakfast on Sunday was leftover tofu curry veggies.  Why?  Because I have a microwave :)  Lunch was some hors d'Ĺ“uvres  at a party I went to with S, and dinner was small Greek salad and eggplant from Spaghetti Eddie's.  It was pretty good, but the bowl they gave me could easily serve 4, so I have a ton of leftovers. 

In the midst of all this, I made some kale chips in my dehydrator (an awesome suggestion by JLGoesVegan).  I coated the kale leaves in olive oil and lemon juice, let sit for about 20 minutes, then sprinkled a ton of Vulcan Fire Salt on them from the gift pack from my Dad.  They were really good.  My daughter A loved them.  D tried them, made a face that resembles when a dog eats peanut butter, grimaced a bit, and declared a firm dislike of them.  He's not very adventurous though....so don't let it sway you from trying them.  They were nicely spicy and crisp.  I have found though, that if I don't eat them all right away (and even I couldn't nosh 3 lbs of kale chips), that I like them best if I reheat them in the toaster oven to regain the crispiness.

This morning I made a green juice for breakfast with 2 bananas, 1 orange, a handful of blueberries, a cup of water, and 2 handfuls of spinach.  It was a REALLY big juice (filled my 24 oz Tervis with a bit extra), and filled me up nicely.  Lunch was a Clif bar.  I know...I try to not do that.  I thought I was going to get out of a meeting at 11, and didn't until nearly 3.  If I didn't have Clif bars in my brief case for emergencies like this, I would have gotten very hungry (and cranky!).  Dinner was a salad and some homemade herbed pasta sauteed in olive oil and fresh garlic.  YUMMY.  Oh, and I made chocolate chip cookies too!


the dough as it was being rolled out with my Kitchen Aid

the dough as it's being cut into spaghetti!  This part was fun.

the pasta waiting to go into the boiling water (I love how it only needs to cook for about 3 minutes)

cooking pasta!

about to enjoy the fruits of my labor!

my very simple dinner salad
I'm getting excited about the different pasta I can make.  I can even make big batches, dry the noodles, and store them for future use.  I think this would be a pretty groovy gift idea.  I'd love to make some tomato basil pasta and then can homemade sauce and give that as a simple gift.  I think I may have to work on fun combinations of pastas, soups, sauces, and other things and start making gift packs!


FITNESS

Today was the Tri Club spin class.  We were hanging out in the Y lobby talking before the room opened up, and I asked everyone if they minded if I take pictures.  No one cared, so I snapped a few before the workout.

Today's class was meant to mimic the Smithfield course.  As it happens, the very first part of the course is a hill, so that was fun.  Ugh.  D's going to download the coarse map for me so I can ride it a few times before the actual race in April. 

Between the warm up, the ride, and the cool down and stretching, the class was an hour.  It was a good hour and I loved it, though I REALLY need to get padded shorts!

D's worried about the brakes on my new bike, and since I want to do the group ride Saturday morning, he wants to have that fixed before hand.  I also need to take the bike in for a fitting to make sure the seat, handle bars, etc are all set for me.  I slowly want to get clip shoes, pedals, and aero bars for it as well.

the spin bike.  Aka...torture device

the group getting their bikes set up and starting to warm up


LIFE

I went to a very interesting party yesterday.  My friend S took me to an Eco Maniac Party.  It's sort of like a Tupperware party, but with Eco friendly products.  It was nice, and I met several people (I only knew two people there, my friend and the hostess).  Not all their products were vegan though (like the soaps), but most were.  All were either locally produced or Fair Trade, which was neat too.  I always use my grocery bags when I shop - and I have about 15 of them so I certainly didn't need any of those - but I did pick up small mesh produce bags, which is nice.  I also picked up a re-usable snack bag for R's school snacks.  They're meant to replace the need for Ziploc's.  She loved it, so that makes me happy.  Little Earth Girl.

After the party, S and I grabbed dinner and she brought me home.  D and the kids and I watched an episode of Chuck, and then I just really wanted to go to bed.  I haven't slept well or much lately, and by 820, I was wiped!  D and I put R in bed, and then he watched an episode of Dr. Who with the kids while I went upstairs.  I watched an episode of NCIS:LA that I had recorded that was so old, it was advertising an upcoming Black Friday sale.  I fell asleep pretty quickly though, and I really needed it.

I was SUPPOSED to have off today.  The kids didn't have school, and I try to take off as many of those days as possible.  Yeah.  Not so much happening.  I'm in the middle of working with my customers to select a vendor for a new IT system.  The vendors had come down back in December, but because of the snow storm, not all the demos were done.  They all came back, and most of the sessions were scheduled today.  Since I head up the IT part, I couldn't very well NOT come, so I woke up at 545 this morning to get ready for work, thinking I'd be done by 11 and home by 1130 and still get to have half a day off.  Nope.  One of the vendors got stuck in Detroit and was very late (not at all their fault), so the whole day shifted.  Then I needed to talk to everyone and didn't end up leaving until 3.  Oh well, I guess I really didn't need a day off after all.

D has been growing a beard since about Christmas or so.  I will be honest.  I really don't like facial hair.  Maybe it's the old squid in me (Navy), but I like clean shaven and short hair.  BUT, I love D and he's adorable no matter what he does, and it's his face, so I really have no right to have a say in the matter.  However, I'm happy to say that tonight, he shaved it off!  He was tired of it, but wanted to be sure I had picture documentation of the only beard he's ever had. 

D trying to look pensive

the much more typical happy-go-lucky D

So that's pretty much it!  I have a really packed day tomorrow with meetings that start at 9 and don't stop until the end of the day.  I have to do one in my car as I drive between places.  I really hate doing that, but it is what it is.  I read somewhere several years ago that the human race will never realize it's evolutionary potential for one reason.  And that reason is meetings.  I fully get that now.  I spend more time in meetings than I do getting work done, and I end up bringing work home with me to be sure all my stuff gets done on time.  Oh well, I really can't complain.  I love what I do and where I do it, and that makes me very fortunate. 

So good night, and I'll update soon!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Go Pack Go!!! :-)

Before I can write my regular blog, I must apologize to my father.  He called me on Monday leaving a less than happy voicemail at my failure to acknowledge in my last blog entry the Packer's win over Chicago on Sunday, ensuring their spot at this year's Superbowl.  So for my Dad (and all Wisconsinites (former, current, and future) and Packer fans everywhere) 


GO PACKERS!!!

FOOD

The biggest food news this week is that I now have a working microwave.  I ate leftovers.  It was glorious!  It was drama getting it installed, but in the end, all that matters is I have a microwave again.

The biggest highlights of my week were leftover Red Thai Curry Soup I made on Sunday (courtesy of my microwave - I ate it on Monday!), baked kale chips (no clue how I spent this long not ever having them), Tofu Green Curry (courtesy of a Thai restaurant), and two meals at Whole Foods consisting of a combination of amazing things on their buffet line.  I'm not itemizing my week because I frankly can't remember it all!  I really dislike it when I go several days between entries.  I feel incomplete somehow.


kale before they became chips.  Coated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

AFTER they were baked at 350 for 12 minutes.  Salted (after they bake).  Awesome.  My oldest eventually tried them and declared that "the strange green crunchy leaves are really good".

Fresh Thai tofu spring rolls

the buffet line at Whole Foods.  Really?  How many grocery stores have this?  And why isn't there on in my region??

from the cold buffet line.  Tabbouleh, dumplings, rice, and hearts of palm salad

from the hot buffet line.  Red curry tofu and Jamaican cabbage

This morning I had a dish of brown rice pasta and sauteed bell peppers, onions, and garlic.  For lunch I had a salad from the Cheesecake Factory Express at one of our malls.  It's one of my favorites; romaine lettuce, red onion, apple, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette over a big flat bread.  Once I eat enough of the salad part, I can curl it up into a taco/wrap thing. 



For dinner I made an entirely new creation.  It was a tofu and vegetable Thai curry with a Bangkok Thai Spice Blend that I picked up at Penzy's in Richmond yesterday.  It was really good, and super easy.

1 container extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Bangkok Thai Spice Blend
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1can light coconut milk
4 Roma tomatoes, diced

I coated the tofu cubes first in the lemon juice, and then in the spice blend.  I marinated that in the coconut milk for about 2 hours.  I poured it all into a sauce pan, added the veggies, brought to a boil, and then covered and simmered for about a half hour.  I served it over rice. 



FITNESS

I had some good workouts this week, but missed the Tri club.  Our coach was sick on Monday, so we didn't have spinning.  I wasn't able to go to Wednesday's group run or Friday's swim.  That is NOT to say I didn't work out though :)

Today was my favorite.  I did my longest swim ever!  1200 yards.  I found a site called Swim Plan, and they have free workouts.  Here's what I did:

Warm up:
*50 yd freestyle
*50 yd backstroke

Build Up (repeat 4 times):
*25 yd of alternating single arm strokes.  6 each side.  I'm really uncoordinated, so this one was hard for me.
*25 yd freestyle catch-up ( Freestyle drill where one arm catches up to the other between stokes. Both arms start stretched out. One arm completes full stoke (both arms return to a stretched out position) then the other arm completes a full stroke. Pull with one arm at a time and touch your hands between each alternating arm stroke). 

Core:
*12 x 25 yd freestyle
*12 x 50 yd freestyle with pull buoy.  I love these.  I find it easier than using my arms and legs at the same time!  See...uncoordinated...

Cool Down:
*8 x 25 any stroke (I did freestyle for all but 50, where I did backstroke)

I swam at a different Y than I normally do.  Usually I go to the one near my house, but today I went to the one downtown.  My eldest was volunteering at her school (new student auditions), so I went to the Y that was closest.  I have to say, it's in a pretty part of town.


the area of Norfolk where I was today.  It's very pretty, and I love the cobblestone street (though I HATE driving on it)

Norfolk has a whole bunch of Mermaid sculptures (all different) at various locations in the city.  I parked near this one.  I love them, and think it's neat that we have these. 



LIFE

By Monday evening, it had already felt like a long week.  Without going into a ton of detail, it was a really...really long week, though thankfully not all of it unpleasant. 

Did I mention I have a microwave now???  The appliance guy never did return any of D's phone calls.  He eventually texted him on Monday to say he'd be by "after 5pm" on Tuesday.  Oy.  We should have dumped him, but his price was good, so we gave him another chance.  He showed at 505pm on Tuesday and told us it would be about an hour.  After an hour or so, D hears "Oh, s**t" come from the kitchen.  After a bit longer, D learns that this guy broke the new microwave as he was installing it.  He had to leave, go to Lowe's, attempt to return a busted microwave, get a new one, and come back to put it in.  Sometime around 9pm, D called me to tell me we had finally - after nearly a month - gotten a new and functional microwave put in. 

Fast forward a few painful days.  Thursday night, it was time to go to Richmond with a friend for some much needed relaxation and girl time.  My friend's husband is from Richmond, and she went to grad school there and lived there for years.  She was a bit mortified that the only part of Richmond I'd ever experienced was either the airport or my pilgrimages to Whole Foods, so she vowed to take me and show me around.

Of course, we had to get there first.  Darla did well until we got close, and then she advised I get off the freeway before A thought I should.  We listened to Darla and ended up in a relatively scary part of town.  Darla was yelling, A and I were nervous, so we drove around to where A thought we should go.  It took us an additional 45 minutes or so, but we got there!  It was a very nice hotel, and almost as soon as we checked in, we left to grab a drink at the Capital Ale House.  After perusing an impressive selection of beer, she got some dark chocolate number, and I had a pale Belgian beer.  We eventually went to bed around 230am - which is impressive that we were still awake!

Friday we did some touring in the daylight, saw some beautiful parts of town (the University area was particularly lovely), and did lots of shopping.   After Whole Foods, one of our first stops was a nice shopping center that has a Crate and Barrel.  I love that store, and we don't have one by us.  I was wandering around and looking at things, when A noticed a little kitchen tool I've been looking for for years!  It's a total throw back to 1970's Tupperware; it's a citrus peeler.  It's a long stick of plastic with a hook end - almost like a crochet hook - and it does an incredible job of peeling oranges.  We used to have one and would put it in the kids' lunches when they had oranges, and I'm pretty sure one of them accidentally threw it away.  I was so excited, I bought two (at only 75 cents each, I should have bought 5!).  We went to several other places and I picked up a few things.  One was a Fair Trade shop, and I bought something, but I can't say what it is yet because it's a gift and she reads this :)  My last stop before going home was REI.  I bought a cushy girly seat for my road bike.  No way I'm racing on what it has now.  I also picked up a commuter back pack for D.


a neat dress display made out of metal hangers.  It was in one of the shops we went into, and I had to take a picture of it.

I had a great time, and can't wait to go back and see more of my state's capitol.

Today I woke up insanely early (for a Saturday).  I was downstairs by 7am, drinking coffee, and finally catching up on my blog reading's (I was 115 behind!).  I was tagged in one to do a Fun Things Friday, and I feel horrible that I missed blogging the last two Friday's.  I promise, I will do it this coming week!!

I cleaned the kitchen, had two cups of espresso (yeah, I know.  That's a lot, even for me.  I was tired).  One was a nice vanilla blend.  Yum.  D woke up around 830 and made breakfast for he and the kids while I puttered around.  He took R to swim lessons, and then I took A downtown to her art school for her volunteering.

I haven't done a whole lot since other than cook and relax (and since cooking IS relaxing, it was a chill afternoon).  D ran errands, took A driving (she has her learners permit), and we all sat around and watched Chuck.  D rented The Social Network, and we just finished watching that.  I liked it very much, though it got a little long and drawn out at one point, but only a little.  It was an otherwise fascinating story - especially since I'm on Facebook all the time.

So now I'm finally caught up on blogging and can't wait to get back into my rhythm of regular updates.  Tomorrow I'm going to run and go to some Eco thing with S at her friend's place around 1.  I have no clue what to expect, but I imagine I'll have pictures!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Went To Prison This Weekend!

FOOD

It's certainly been a whirlwind week in many ways.  I haven't gotten to cook as much as I'd like to, and to be honest - I haven't been doing a good job of eating.  It's not the that food I am eating is bad; quite the contrary!  It's just not enough.  I've missed dinner more times this week than I'd like to admit.  To be frank - without the microwave and the ability to reheat (easily) all my leftovers, I'm finding I run out of time once I get home from work and make dinner for everyone else.  As usual, I get left with little or nothing to eat.  At least, nothing fun that makes eating worthwhile!

Wednesday morning I had fruit and the Healthy Choice soup for breakfast before my meetings.  I spent the late afternoon and early driving home from Morehead City.  There is nothing between there and here food-wise other than fast food.  I saw a Burger King, Bojangles, or Taco Bell all the time, but most of the subway's were closed down!  Finally D looked one up for me in Williamston, NC, so I stopped and grabbed a 6 inch veggie sub since I was really hungry. 

Since I ate lunch so late, I wasn't hungry for dinner.  I also didn't get home in a decent amount of time to make dinner, so we ordered some Applebee's curbside to go for D and the kids, and I skipped it.  I know, not good.

Thursday breakfast was coffee and a sunflower seed butter, banana, and Ezekiel bread sandwich.  Lunch was reheated deconstructed cabbage rolls that I made on Monday (thank goodness work has a functional microwave!).  Dinner was kind of fun.  D makes this noodle dish since well before we were married.  His Dad used to make it for him, and he's been making it for our family since we met (it's one of the ONLY things he makes).  It's very simple, but the kids always dig it.  It's spaghetti noodles, butter/margarine, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.  For years, it never had a name.  One day, we named them Daddy's Magic Noodles, and the name has stuck.  Of course, I haven't partaken of the magic noodles in several years.  I decided to make my own version!  I took brown rice rotini pasta, and boiled it with some peas and corn.  After it was cooked, I sauteed it in some Earth Balance margarine, and topped with pepper and vegan Parmesan flavored topping.  I'm sure it's tastes nothing like the Magic Noodles,  but it was still awesome.

Mommy's Magic Noodles!


Friday morning was really crazy and I had to be somewhere really early in the morning.  I didn't have time to make a breakfast, so aside from my coffee, I snarfed a banana on the way.  Lunch was a black bean and veggie wrap from Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  Dinner was skipped again, and I ended up going to S's house for a couple beers (and some pistachios).

Saturday morning was a vegan cheese toasty sandwich on Ezekiel bread on my way to knitting class.  Lunch was another pasta type dish ala Magic Noodles.  This time, I sauteed some onion and garlic, added a fresh diced Roma tomato, and added that and a small amount of olive oil to the brown rice pasta, peas, and corn, and topped with some of the vegan Parmesan topping.  Also very, very good and filling. 


Magic Noodles, Version 2

I decided Saturday afternoon that I wanted to bust out my juicer.  I haven't used it in many years, and really only used it a few times.  I bought it after D was discharged from the hospital the first time on a soft food diet.  I thought it would be awesome to make him some fresh juices.  Of course he hates anything resembling healthy food, so I used it for me a few times, and then packed it away.  Since getting my Vitamix several years ago now, I haven't seen much need for it.  However, recently I've noticed many blogs and articles about juicing and the difference between that and what I do with my vitamix, which uses the entire food put in the blender.  I made a carrot, spinach, and apple juice that was actually quite fabulous.  That was around 6 or 7, and I ended up skipping dinner.  I know.  3 times this week (so far).  I did finally get to have my friend L's homemade pepper vodka though!  I made bloody mary's with spicy low sodium V8.  It was all too spicy for D, which I thought was cute.  They were actually quite amazing!




Sunday morning I made a juice/smoothie in my Vitamix.  Blueberries, apple, strawberries, and flax seed.  Yum yum!




For lunch, I made a Thai red curry soup with rice, sweet potato, and kale.  I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of using green kale instead of purple because that's what I had.  Holy. Awesome.  Batman.  It was fantastic, and I even chopped up some cilantro for the garnish.  I was actually excited all day to get hungry again, just so I could eat some more. It was spicy and flavorful and just made me intensely happy.  I used the Red Curry powder from the spice kit from my dad.  I think it's about half gone now.  Good thing he sent me a catalog too, I'm going to have to buy some more before too long.   I'm taking some to a friend of mine tomorrow who asked for the recipe.



I was reading a juicing book and came across one called Better Red Than Dead.  It's beets, sweet potato, and carrot.  Okay, I'm willing to try almost anything, so in the juicer it all went.  Eww is all I have to say.  I tried really hard to like it - even added some ice cubes wondering if it would be better cold.  It wasn't.  I very much want to like beets.  I don't.  They taste like dirt, so if you have a good beet recipe that doesn't taste like ground up Earth, send it on.  I'll try it.  Won't promise I'll like it, but I'll try it!


bad juice ingredients....

After that failure, I had to make a juice that was good.  So I made another apple and carrot juice, but with kale instead of spinach this time.  I know, shaking it up a bit!  This ended up being my dinner.  I know, 4th dinner this week I missed.  I swear, I just run out of time.  I spend so much time doing things I need to do, that I sometimes neglect myself.  What's sad, is I even soaked my chickpeas, intending to cook them up in the slow cooker, and either make a salad, some falafel, or anything yummy for me.  I didn't.  It's 915pm, and they just finished cooking.  Oh well, I'll use them tomorrow.

good juice ingredients!

yummy juice.  Slightly reddish from the beet leftovers in the juicer


FITNESS

Today I had a great run.  It took me forever to get out there, but it was wonderful.  I wanted to go around 11, but due to iPod issues, I went just before 430. 

I finished my audio book on my iPod when I was in NC earlier this week.  And you all know....I like to run to a book!  I knew which ones I wanted (The Mallorean series - which follows the Belgariad, which I just finished).  D started getting them for me, but it takes awhile to get them converted to the right format and put into iTunes.  There were many issues and corruptions and weird file names, so it took him most of the day to get it done.  It was cute though, because he spent ALL afternoon working on it.

It was a blessing in disguise though, because the battery on my Garmin was drained, and it gave me a chance to charge it up.

It was cold as snot out (to me), and I wore two pairs of pants, two shirts, a jacket, gloves, and a head band.  I warmed up enough after the first 5 minutes or so, and probably could have done without the jacket, but it wasn't too bad.

I went 4 miles in a loop around my neighborhood, and really enjoyed being outside for a while.

LIFE

Well it's been a busy one, that's for sure!  Thursday and Friday were both really long days at work and home.  I had a lot of catching up to do after spending 2 days either in NC or traveling to and from there.  Friday was a tense sort of day, and I was sad to miss my Tri club's group swim.  I just couldn't get there in time, and I know I could have used the workout.  Instead, I went to my friend's house for a couple of beers after dropping M off at the ice skating rink with a bunch of his friends.  He had a ride home with one of them, so I could chill for a few hours with S.

Saturday was also really busy.  I had the last day of my knitting 101 class, which was a lot of fun.  I started a new project from the class pamphlet.  It's a hat!  It's a simple pattern, and D wants me to make it for him.  Yeah!

I went grocery shopping and then to Target.  I wasn't home long before it was time to take off again on more adventures.

A has a photography project (she's in a special art high school), and the subject is Open Spaces and Desolate Places.  Of course, I was telling her that I drove through a ton of that earlier in the week, and I could take her for some pictures if she wanted.  We decided that a correctional facility in Elizabeth City would be the destination!  So after dropping M off at a friend's house for an over night birthday party, we stopped at a 7-11 for road trip food (chips and water), and headed down.  The goal was to get there as the light was fading.  It was absolutely hilarious.  We turned into the prison compound and starting freaking out a little bit.  A hadn't realized that I didn't actually CALL the prison to ask permission to come, so we kept thinking we'd get in trouble.  We stopped at one point so she could get some shots, and then decided to brave going closer.  We got pretty close to the fence with the layers of crazy barbed wire, and she got out of the van to take more shots.  Apparently she got a bit TOO close, because a prison guard started screaming that we had to leave.  At first I thought maybe she was waving, and almost waved back like a doofus, but we scampered out of there pretty quickly!

Not to far down the road, we saw what looked like an abandoned section of farm.  There was a lot of rusted old but big farm equipment, dilapidated trailers, and it looked like something out of a horror movie.  She took a ton of shots there, and we decided we'd had enough!  After getting home, we loaded up her pictures, and they were simply amazing.  She has quite a gift, and D announced (quite appropriately so), that he thought they are the best pictures she's ever done.  She's planning on entering her favorite 3 to a local gallery that's currently calling for amateur photographs to put on display.  Here's hoping! 

Of course I'm not going to post any of her pictures, but that doesn't mean I didn't get one or two myself!  So here's a prison shot.  I'm no where near as good as my daughter is, but I couldn't very well NOT take one!



We got home around 8ish, and D made pizza for them for dinner.  We intended to rent a movie (The Social Network), but you can't rent it online from Blockbuster or Netflix for live streaming yet.  We settled for starting to catch up on old episodes of 24 on Netflix.  We only ever watched the first season, and even though we loved it, we never stuck with it.

Today I did a lot of work, some cooking, and went to the library.

So now I need to tell you about my most recent microwave drama.  We FINALLY had plans to have our old microwave ripped out and a new one put in.  He was supposed to be at our house at 4pm on Friday.  He never showed.  He called at 9am Saturday to tell us he'd be out no later than noon (hence why I did ALL of the errand running yesterday...so D could direct the appliance guy).  He never showed and wouldn't answer any of my husband's calls or messages.  He finally calls back to say he was at another job longer than he'd thought, and he'd be by around 4ish.  4 comes and goes, and nothing!  Sometime that evening, he calls to say sorry, can't do Saturday, how about Sunday?  We're fine with that, and he promises to call at 9am.  Guess what?  No stinking appliance guy.  D tried calling multiple times with no luck and no returned calls.  Jerk.  I was SO excited to have a working microwave.  Guess who's going to get a new appliance guy next week????

Hopefully this week will be a bit more evened out.  I have off Friday, and a friend of mine and I are heading out of town on Thursday evening for a couple days of shopping and exploring in Richmond.  So now it's a count down to a 3 day weekend!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Darla Has a Twisted Sense of Humor

FOOD

It was nice having the day off with the kids yesterday, which meant time for cooking!  Crock pots and cookies, oh my! 

Breakfast was pancakes (which will always be R's default breakfast request).  She doesn't like to eat foods she's unfamiliar with.  I sometimes wish she would be more adventurous, but then I remember that it is this reluctance to try new food that has probably saved her life.  With her nut allergy being so severe, if she was more open to "lunch swapping" at school or eating random things when not at home under my watchful eye, I shudder to think what could have happened.

Lunch was leftover butternut squash soup with some spicy black eyed peas added to it to make it more robust and filling.  It worked, and it was a fun flavor combination with the natural sweetness of the soup with the squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and the siracha-spiced garlicky black eyed peas.  I'll have to do that again.

For dinner, I made a crock pot deconstructed cabbage roll dish.  I loved cabbage rolls when I was a kid.  My mom didn't make them ever, but I remember having them at buffets and maybe even hot lunch at school.  So I decided to make my own version.  However, I'm inherently lazy, so the idea of steaming a head of cabbage just to have leaves that are easy to roll is not a thrilling concept.  Instead, I threw all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooked it on low for 7 hours.  I chopped up an entire green cabbage, 12 ounces of chopped up tempeh, a diced onion, a can of diced tomatoes with their juices, minced garlic, 2 cups of cooked barley, dill weed, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of sugar.  This is based on a recipe for the Vegetarian Slow Cooker book that I love so much.  And it was fabulous!


Before turning the crock pot on

DINNER!!!  Very tasty, and very filling

Between all this, I ate a piece of the blueberry cake-ish thing I made the other day, and also made a batch of cookies from the vegan cookie book my parents got me for Christmas.  There's a chapter in the book on cookies that mimic and veganize mass produced cookies.  I made the recipe for Vanilla Wafers, and it was a HUGE hit.  The entire family loved them.  They're crispy and chewy at the same time, and have a great flavor.  So between those, the blueberry cake thingy, and a batch of brownies D made on Sunday, my kitchen is overflowing with desserts!  I guess there are worse things....


Blueberry fun.  It's a bit gooey, but tastes like a coffee shop muffin.

The cookies before they hit the oven.  One thing I've noticed with this cookbook, is all the cookies are cooked on parchment paper.  Certainly makes clean up easier!

My very own awesome vanilla wafers!

This morning was a very busy morning, so I ended up eating a Clif bar after we dropped R off at at school.  Lunch was some popcorn while on the road.  Dinner was a mish mash of things I picked up at the grocery here in Morehead (business trip).  I grabbed a microwaveable Healthy Choice soup (that I haven't actually eaten...but it's there if I get hungry!) and a vegan sushi wrap (that I DID eat because I love those) with avocado, cucumber, lettuce, and carrot in a rice paper wrap.



even has a cute little plate!

I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  I went to the hotel website last night to see if the rooms came with a refrigerator and microwave.  I really wanted to pack some of the leftovers of my cabbage stuff to make sure I'd have good food.  The hotel room description did not mention anything, so I didn't pack anything.  I was saddened a bit to find that my room has both!  Alas...at least I have a place to put my breakfast fruit and water bottles for tomorrow.

FITNESS

I am whole again!  I have a training calendar taped to my fridge for me to check off my workouts!  I spent a portion of Monday reading about Triathlon training, and came up with the attached 11 week training plan to get me through Smithfield.  Woo hoo!  It's not just a nebulous goal now.  I now have direction on how to get there.

Smithfield Triathlon Training Schedule!

After dropping R off at school and picking up my rental car, I went to the Y to do a swim workout before hitting the road.  I do have to say that I am absolutely loving the swimming - more than anything else (even the running).  It's funny because I can't listen to my audio books or anything else, but I feel such peace in the water.  I've missed that, and am regretful that I didn't keep up with swimming after I got out of the Navy.  Alas, at least it's a passion rediscovered, right?

For the last week and a half, I've had swim workouts printed out and in a baggie to keep at the edge of the pool to keep me on track with my workout.  I was mortified today to find it missing from my swim bag this morning.  I had to wing it, and ended up doing 900 yds, and I'm pretty sure I was close to my intended workout.  I did 200 yds of warm ups, 150 yds pull, 150 yds kick board, 3 x 50 yds of sprints, another 150 yds of pull, and 100 yds of a cool down.  It's my longest swim yet, and it felt great.  It's weird, though, to not be all sweaty and nasty after.  Almost feels like I'm cheating!  I sat in the hot tub for a few before jumping in the shower. 

LIFE

Most of Monday was spent cooking and puttering about the house.  I cleaned the floors, did the dishes, some laundry, some research, got some work done, and basically stayed in my jammies!  The kids played a lot, ran around, and drove me crazy.  All told, a good Monday.

I spent a few minutes packing an overnight bag before bed on to get ready for a brief work trip.  I also packed my swim bag, so all I had to do was get up, get the family ready to go, and head out.  D and I took R to school together, and then he took me to the car rental place (work pays for a car for this - can't fly to where I'm going and get there any faster, so I have the option of taking my own car or letting them spring for one.  Seems a no brainer to me!). 

Today was spent traveling to Morehead City, NC.  I have meetings down here all day on Wednesday, so I took the drive down after my swim this morning. 

Darla said it would take 5 hours to get here.  If she had her way, it would have taken twice that!  For my newer readers....Darla is my GPS unit.  I finally got one about a year ago when I got lost getting to a rental house in Nags Head for a girls weekend.  S was yelling at me for not having one, and actually bought me one that was on sale at BJ's wholesale club.  Anyway, the first time I used her (she has a female voice), she was telling me to get over to the right to prepare to turn right.  She kept repeating herself because I wasn't getting over (traffic was brutal), and I blurted out "Shut Up Darla!".  So she's been Darla ever since.  I take her with me when I travel, and everyone calls her Darla.  Even my Dad when we were in Chicago...it was hilarious to hear him say "sush...stop talking, I'm trying to hear what Darla's saying".

Anyway, Darla has a sick sense of humor.  She always gets me to where I need to be, but she often takes me in the most round about ways possible.  Today was no exception.  Most of the drive I was on Hwy 17.  Each time there was a Hwy 17 Business Route in every little side town I was in, she made me get off the highway, then gave me conflicting directions until I was lost (always in the least happy parts of the town I was driving through), and she basically made me crazy.  I finally caught on to her game after the third time she did it to me.  Eventually after I ignored her enough, she'd get with the program.  It ended up taking me 4 hours to get here instead of 5, so that was a bonus.  And just goes to show again how much she likes to torment me.

About the drive, I do have to say it was very sad.  There isn't an interstate that connects the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Virginia Beach area of VA where I live and Morehead City.  I had to take local roads and highways all the way down, and it took me through some very dreary places.  Most of what I drove through seemed to me to be the poorest areas I have ever seen, and it made my heart break.  It probably didn't help that the sky was gray and threatening rain the entire time. 

However, I do have to say that Morehead City is kind of pretty.  My hotel is nice and sits on the water, and while it's a lot of strip malls where I am, it doesn't seem even remotely as rural as what I drove through all day.  Just down the street is the UNC Marine Sciences center, and I bet that in the summer, the beaches here are hopping.  I hope that if I need to come down here again (which I'm pretty positive I will), that it will be in nicer weather!


My view.  See what I mean about a dreary day?  Imagine what it would look like on a warm and sunny day?

So here I am, in my hotel room, and what I should be doing is getting ready for my meetings tomorrow.  So that's what I'm going to do!  Good night!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last Week You Won the Battle, But This Week, I Won the War. Homemade Pasta...YOU ARE MINE!!!

FOOD

Not a lot of excitement on the food front for the most part.  I'm feeling less than inspired due to the lack of microwave-ness still.  I usually make big batches of awesome food, and then eat them throughout the week so I know I always have a healthy and balanced vegan meal, especially with life being so hectic lately.  Without the microwave though, it's not so easy to do.  Not everything heats well in a pan on the stove top, and it take a half hour to "reheat" something in the convection oven.  So right now, I'm pouting a bit about food.  Harrumph.

Breakfast Saturday was a cup of plain espresso, a single toasted slice of Ezekiel bread topped with 1/2 tbsp of sunflower seed butter and sliced banana.  I know.  3 days running now, but it's good and filling and I get great energy from it.

I was out and about at lunch, so I had a veggie delight on whole wheat sub from Subway.  Dinner was cool though - D was in the mood for Indian food, so he went and picked up take out for us.  I had vegetable samosa and a vegetable curry dish in coconut sauce.  It was very tasty, and of course that means I didn't have to cook!

Breakfast on Sunday was coffee and leftover Indian food.  I reheated it in the convection for 30 minutes, covered with tin foil.  It came out well, so I can't complain too much.  Though if I had a microwave, it would have been done in about 2 minutes!

Lunch/dinner was a salad I made at the salad bar at Farm Fresh.  Romaine lettuce, red onion, cauliflower, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.  Since I didn't eat breakfast until 1130, and ate my salad at 5, it was a blended meal.  I didn't eat anything else, though I did have a glass of Italian white wine.

For dinner...I FINALLY successfully made homemade pasta!  The pasta itself was lemon oregano - and actually pretty simple to make.  I think the key was using Semolina flour (which I picked up earlier this week at the grocery), and not trying to use regular white flour.  The dough recipe was simple and was just the flour, lemon juice, egg replacement, oregano, and a very small bit of water.  I started it in the kitchen aid, but then finished it by hand kneading.  It worked out pretty well!  I used the roller attachments on my Kitchen Aid to knead and flatten the dough, and then the spaghetti cutter to cut it.  It didn't completely cut though - more like perforated it and I had to pull each strand apart.  That was a pain, so I'll have to figure that one out going forward.  I will say though, that my Italian husband LOVED the pasta, and said it was so very much better than anything we buy in a box from the store.  So yeah!  I melted some margarine in a pot, stirred in the pasta, and added a ton of garlic and Italian season (from the spice house kit from my dad).  I didn't eat any because I used non-vegan margarine.  I would have set some aside for me, but there wasn't enough to go around, and since I had the big salad, I gave the pasta to D and the kids. 


the dough as it was resting on the counter

rolled out in small batches

after going through the cutter attachment (disregard the mess!)

awesome cooked fresh pasta!

FITNESS

R has swim lessons on Saturday's at 1030.  I thought it would be perfect!  Take her to lessons, and while she's doing that, I an be in the lane next to her doing my swim workout.  So I typed up the swim workout we did in Tri club Friday (see picture on yesterday's blog), printed it, and put it in my baggie for pool side reference.  This distance is more than twice what I had been doing all week, but I obviously knew I could do it from Friday's club.

So off we went to the Y.  She swam with her group, and I did my workout.  At one point, I got to talking to the two women in the lane next to me - and it turns out they're both in the Tri club too, just with the morning group.  It was really neat to talk to them (both Tri veterans), and we spent about 10 minutes chatting about it and them answering many of my questions. 

While the conversation was very nice (I'm very new to the social aspect of working out), I wasn't getting my workout finished, and R's lesson was coming to an end.  So...I had 8 lengths left for my workout, and my little fishy grabbed her swim fins and swam next to me the entire time.  So I really have to say I loved the workout.  I pushed myself harder than I thought I could go, I focused a LOT on my form and did the bilateral breathing, I got to meet and talk to women who are in the same club I am and get some advice and camaraderie, and I got to workout some with my youngest daughter.  All in all, great time.  Of course, R and I hit the hot tub for 10 minutes before getting in the shower.  As we walked from the swim lanes to the hot tub, I saw my friend H in the "play" pool with her littlest son (about a year and a half now), and another girl I used to work with with her littlest son (about the same age) and husband.  It was a nice Saturday at the Y.

I contemplated also going for a run - I really need and want to - but life sort of got in the way, and I decided to be content with a hard swim workout.

Today was a 2 hr Detox Yoga workshop in Virginia Beach.  I'm not sure what "detox" it was doing, but it was one heck of a workout!  My hips and hamstrings have been really tight from all the swimming, and the first 15-20 minutes of yoga were really tough as those stretched out.  We did a lot of compression poses, twists, and core work, and while I normally do hot yoga, this wasn't even heated and I think I sweat more than I normally do.  I'm really glad I did this though, and I left feeling at once energized, but also totally chilled out and relaxed.  That's a fun combination that I highly recommend!

On the way home, D asked me to stop at the grocery and pick up more chocolate chips so he could make cookies again (did I mention his strange cookie making adventures at 9pm last Thursday....where he actually used my Kitchen Aid independently of any help from me???).  He ended up making brownies instead, but I think his new found Betty Crockerness is really adorable.

LIFE

Insomnia reared it's ugly head again Friday night.  I slept like poo and was up by 5am with no hope of falling back asleep.  I had some coffee and read for a while, and decided to go to the earliest weight watcher's meeting, which was at 830am.  D woke up just before I left, so that was nice. 

I'm 2 more lbs down, and reached my first goal of 5%.  Woo hoo!  I do have to say that this program isn't even remotely difficult, but for me, I like the accountability piece of weighing in and being officially tracked.  It's not easy to fool yourself about what you're eating when it's starting you in the face like that!  I'm sure all the workouts have helped too.  I'm in a good groove, and am very happy about it!

I got home by 930, and seriously thought for 15 seconds of skipping my swim and just watching R, but I knew I'd just feel better if I did it.  And I did, and I'm glad.

After we were all showered up and dressed (R even used the hair dryer by herself for the first time), we went to the library.  I had an audio book to return that I needed to discuss with the librarians (last CD was missing and two of the CD's had big holes in them that prevented the ability to actually listen).  They were very nice about it.  R and I then spent some time in the Children's section so she could get some chapter books.  She picked out 4 Magic Treehouse books and 1 Captian Underpants book.  I used the card catalog to see if they had any Triathlon books, but they didn't.  I did get an audio book series - The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  I read it about 15 years ago and just loved it.  It had easily become my favorite book, but of course there's little now that I remember about it.  I also have a 10 hr drive coming up Tuesday and Wednesday (5 hrs each way), and a good audio book is the only way I'll survive that!

After the library, we stopped at Subway and then the store to pick up some pants for R.  She has really long legs, even though she's fairly short (like me - the short part, not the long legs part...she gets that from D, who's tall).  But she's also really skinny, so it's tough finding pants for her that fit the length of her legs, but still stay put around her waist.  We managed to find some, and after grabbing those and a couple other things we needed, we headed home.

I'm still not feeling too well, and my sinuses and throat haven't stopped hurting.  Ears a little too, but not nearly as bad as it was.  I decided around 2pm to take a nap.  My husaband was very excited because I never take naps (he's a big fan of them).  I kinda stink at sleeping, and when I nap, the insomnia at night is even worse.  Alas, I really was exhausted having been up since 5 and sleeping like crap all night, and with not feeling well, I figured a nap was a good idea.  So I napped until 4.  This is the biggest reason I didn't go for a run - I slept through too much of my afternoon!  Not long after I woke up (D had fallen asleep on the couch!), he went to the grocery and then to the Indian place for take out.

I spent much of the evening after dinner lying in bed and reading my Kindle.  D watched old Dr. Who episodes with the kids, and I enjoyed some quiet time with a good book, a box of kleenex, and cough drops.  By the way...the kleenex was for sinus overload, not because I was reading a sappy book!

I fell asleep around 1030, and I slept great.  I woke close to 9am to my dog making annoyed noises downstairs because she hadn't yet been fed.  D got up to take care of her and to start a pot of java, and I grabbed my kindle and finished the book I was reading, Black Wings.  I really enjoyed the book, and now D's reading it. 

When I wasn't at yoga today, I was either cleaning or working.  After dinner we all watched the series premier of The Cape, which is about a superhero and some super villians.  It was fun, and I think we all liked it.

I have off tomorrow (MLK day, and the kids have off).  I swear, I really do want to get a run in.  I just want to do it before mid afternoon because I have cycling tomorrow at 720pm.  So hopefully I'll get to sleep in just a bit, and then have a fun day with the kids!  And who knows...maybe I'll make more pasta!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Can't Remember What MY Shower Looks Like

FOOD

When I decide I like something, I swear, I have to eat it for a couple days.  Thursday's breakfast was the same as Wednesday.  A cup-ish of coffee, and the sunflower butter with banana on spelt cakes.  It's really filling and tasty - as long as you don't want something hot. 

For lunch I wasn't quite so good.  I had a baked potato with some Tofutti "Better Than Sour Cream" and some of the blueberry crumble thing I made the other day (which is awesome, by the way).  I took the recipe for the blueberry cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking, but used a can of blueberry pie filling instead of fresh or frozen blueberries.  I know that decreased it's health quotient, but it was still fabulous.

I really didn't eat dinner.  I started to make it, but didn't actually finish in time to eat at a reasonable hour.  I blame my constantly cooking more than one meal to satisfy my family.  Ugh.  I actually made a roasted butternut squash soup, but didn't actually eat it.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash - cut in half and seeded
5 ish cloves of garlic
1 onion - peeled and cut into quarters
3 carrots - peeled and cut into big chunks
4 cups veggie broth - I used 4 cups of water and 4 tsp of veggie bullion
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

I put the butternut squash face down in a casserole dish.  I added the garlic, onion, and carrot, and 2 cups of veggie broth.  Roast for 2 hrs at 350.

After it comes out and cools a bit, I put the veggies and the rest of the ingredients into my Vitamix (though any blender will probably do), and blended until creamy.  Put into a sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes to marry the spices.


The veggies after roasting
Friday morning breakfast was a twist on the past two days.  I toasted two slices of the Ezekiel bread (I only like it toasted - it's a VERY dense bread).  I put 1 tbsp of sunflower seed butter (yes...I measured) on one slice, sliced up half a banana (ate the other half), and made a breakfast sandwich!




The finished meal



Lunch was a smoothie with mango, banana, strawberries, and orange, and a half a sandwich on whole grain bread with hummus, roasted bell peppers, vegan pesto, onion, sliced tomato,and spinach.  I didn't take a picture...sorry.  By the time I thought of it, it was gone.

For dinner, I finally ate the soup I made on Thursday!  I boiled up 2 ounces of Quinoa pasta to add some fiber and to make it more substantial.  It was good, though it needed a bit more salt in the end.


FITNESS

It came!!  My official USA Triathlon membership card came in the mail last night!  So what did I do first thing this morning???  I signed up for my first Triathlon.  The Smithfield Triathlon on April 2nd will be my first foray into the multi-sport world.  I originally wasn't going to do this one.  It seems to be so soon!  I was planning on doing the Breezy Point Triathlon in June as my first.  However, when I was running on Wednesday with J, he said that Smithfield is the perfect first timers Tri because the swim isn't open water...it's in a pool.  Since I'm not sure when we'll swim in the bay, I liked the idea (since open water swimming still freaks me out some).  So there it is.  10 weeks.  Holy.  Poo.


D asked me if I was nervous now that I am committed (even more than I was committed before...because now I have a date to circle on my calendar).  I will admit that I am.  I'm not as worried about the actual sports.  This is a Sprint Tri.  The lengths of the events aren't bad.  300 m swim.  Already doing that and more.  Not fast yet...but I can do it no problem.  The bike is a 10 miles.  I can knock that out.  I need to cycle some outside of the spin classes when the weather warms up, but 10 miles won't kill me.  Then it's a 5K.  I KNOW I can do that!  So what's making me nervous???  I have NO clue how to transition from one event to the next.  The swim is first...so does that mean I have to bike and run in a bathing suit?  Where do I find my bike?  Is there a changing area and a locker room?  Do they have suits that are appropriate for all 3 events so I don't have to change clothes?  Sorry - I need a pretty industrial-strength running bra, and the thought of running in wet clothes is just nasty.  So there.  That's what has me the most nervous.  Secondary to that?  I have this vision that everyone else will be an elite athlete, and here I am....a slightly chubby late 30's mom who will look like an idiot out there.  I'm slowly getting over that, but it's still in the back of my mind.  I'm hoping that training over the next 10 weeks will help with some of these fears.

Aside from my total excitement/fear of committing to my first race, I have to day...everything hurts. My shoulders, my hips, and my hamstrings are killing me. Who the heck knew that swimming - a non-weight bearing and no impact exercise - could kick your tush the way it does?!?! It wasn't from the run on Wednesday because running 3 miles doesn't hurt me anymore. It wasn't from the cycling on Monday, because other than my butt, nothing else hurt. It HAS to be from the swimming (I've done 3 swims between Sun-Wed), but holy cow....who knew??? I mean really...I'm swimming for what...12 minutes. Maybe?

Oh well.  That's what I did today!  Today was the Tri club's swim, so I was on time (just before 630), and swam like crazy over the next 45 minutes (30 of which were pretty much actively spend swimming...I'm gonna hurt tomorrow!).  W put us through quite the workout, and in addition to the workout pictured below, he threw in 100 yds of kick board swimming just for fun.  Sadist.  A couple of the members of our group are also swim instructors.  One was giving us pointers today on our form.  I don't look straight down when I swim, which means I'm swimming at an angle in the water (instead of like a plank) and am inefficient.  My kicks don't flutter enough, so I'm inefficient in the way that my legs drag in the water.  And I have to learn to breath bilaterally - which means stroke 3, breath on the left, stroke 3, breath on the right.  I have only ever breathed on my left before, so practicing on my right meant several gulps of water.  I will say though, that the more I focused on form, the less I noticed the exhaustion.  I suppose that's a plus. 


All told, I spent about 30 minutes swimming (I didn't always remember to start my watch, so it's just an estimate).  I sat in the hot tub for 10 minutes trying to relax my crazy-sore muscles.  Tomorrow, I plan to repeat this workout.  R has swim lessons at 1030, which is a half hour.  If I do this workout while she's in lessons, we'll both finish at the same time!  Then we can goof off and chill in the hot tub a bit.




I'm in C.  W/u is warm up. RI is Rest Interval. Pull means no kicking - just arms.  Fast means sprint.  Ha.  C/D is cool down.  Plus he added 100 yds of kick board. 850 yds.  Crazy!

I just need to mention one more thing.  I haven't used the shower at my house in over a week!  I have spent more time at the gym, that ALL of my showers in the past week have been there.  I'm not sure if I should be proud of that...or worried.



LIFE

Thursday was another 7am meeting day.  I hate those.  Just putting that out there.  It was a good meeting though, and no major issues or blow ups incurred.  Most of the day was spent in meetings, but none were bad.  Can't complain, and much got done.

R still wasn't quite 100%, so she skipped gymnastics.  I thought about going for a run, but since Thursday is supposed to be my rest day, I decided that I liked the idea of rest more than I liked the idea of running in the cold.  I'm a wuss, I know.  I grew up in WI, but the thought of cold just makes me cringe.  Several years ago D, the kids, and I went home for Christmas.  We drove, spent several days in WI, then went to IA to visit D's family.  I was in the garage helping load up the van after visiting with my family and just as we were getting ready for the 3 hr drive to D's family.  Apparently I was making quite an ugly face while standing outside.  My Dad looks at me, points, and says "you made that face you're entire childhood.  You were never meant for cold weather."  Ain't that the honest truth.  I HATE cold....

Today I was planning on running before work, but I started working instead (in my home office) and ran out of time to run, shower, and get to where I needed to be on time.  Bad me.

My morning meeting was pretty good.  We're deciding on whether to go forward with a feasibility study on migrating nuclear cardiac images to permanent storage.  More than you wanted to know, but there it is.

The rest of the day was pretty calm, and ended with a meeting on hardware for one of our newest hospitals.  I have some work to do there.

Life has been pretty good.  Can't complain.  I guess I could if I tried real hard, but no sense in that.  I have a couple trips coming up in the next month, and D has one too.  At the end of the month, I'm taking a trip to Richmond with my friend A.  Her husband is from there, and she lived there for a few years too.  I've only been there to shop at Whole Foods, and REI, and once last summer to go to the Richmond Vegetarian Festival.  She's going to show me "real Richmond", and I anticipate some fun stories and pictures to share.  Next week I'm going to Morehead City, NC for a work trip.  Just an overnighter, but it'll be 5 hr drive each way.  I need to get to the library and rent some audio books!  In early Feb, D is going to San Francisco to visit his brother for several days (for his bday), and a couple days after he gets back, I'm going to Nag's Head, NC for a girls weekend to celebrate S's bday.  So lots of fun coming!

For now, I promised D I'd watch a movie with him before going to bed, so off we go.  I have an early day tomorrow, and need to rest before doing that bloody swim.  Again.