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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Allergies, Dinner Fun, and a Birthday Wish to a Beautiful Girl


Breakfast was coffee and a smoothie as predicted.  Soy milk, frozen banana, blueberries, strawberries, and chocolate Vega powder, and I was set for the morning. 

I made lentils this morning for a marinated lentil salad from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen so they could marinate all day while I was at work.  It's a super easy recipe, cooking lentils in veggie broth with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and then marinating them in olive oil, red wine vinegar, spices, and dijon mustard. 

Lunch was a mish mash of whatever I could get my hands on between meetings.  Not the best; bad lettuce salad, almost bad banana, crackers...things like that.  I should have packed a lunch, but I didn't and was left to piece together something less than thrilling or healthy.  Bad planning on my part.

Dinner, however, totally made up for that.  A friend of mine came over (she brought the wine, I cooked the food!).  I put the marinated lentils into lettuce cups (butter lettuce, radicchio, and Belgian endive) as well as making a big regular salad.  I also made eggplant gratin in a tomato-orange sauce (also from the above named Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook), lasagna, and homemade Italian bread.  Dinner was very yummy, and we had a good time sitting around and chatting.  I now have plenty of leftovers, and that's always a good thing!

onion, eggplant, carrot, orange, tomato, onion, garlic, and fresh basil

roasted eggplant slices

tomato orange sauce

eggplant gratin!  (before it was cooked)

bread dough rising

fresh Italian bread

the dinner spread

marinated lentil salad cups!

post-cooking eggplant gratin


my plate



Today was a really hectic and exhausting day.  It started at 125 am with a wicked allergy attack, where I wanted to claw my eyes out.  I tossed around for about an hour before I started checking my email.  Probably not the smartest thing, but I was going out of my mind.  It's hard to think rationally at that time of day...

Around 330am, I started thinking I needed to do something.  I couldn't take Benedryl, or I'd never wake up in the morning for work.  I didn't want to take Sudafed, or I'd be wide awake (though I already was wide awake, and if I had been thinking clearly, would have figured no allergies and awake was better than allergy attack and awake.  Alas....). 

By 430, I finally fell asleep..only to have my alarm go off 10 minutes early at 550am!  I was annoyed.  I stayed in bed for 10 more minutes (even tho I was up), and then got into the shower, cussing pretty much the entire time.

I walked into my 9am this morning and the first thing my boss says is "you better not be sick".  I assured her it was just allergy hell and other than being tired, I was fine.  I ran into one of my co-worker doctors, who proceeded to advise me on what to take (Claritin and to get a steroid nasal spray).  I haven't used my Neti pot in a while, and I know that would help too. 

After work, I went to the grocery and picked up the rest I needed for dinner, went home, and starting cooking.  AT came over around 530, and we ate, drank, and chatted until almost 9.  It was a great night.

D stopped at the home improvement store on the way home and picked up some sweet basil, Greek oregano, and stevia for one of my containers (which had been empty), so I can have an herb garden.  I'm very excited about that!

So while today started off rough, it ended well.  Most of my day was in meetings or conference calls, but I also got to have an amazing evening with a friend, good food, good wine, and a very relaxing evening.

I do want to mention in closing that today is my gorgeous nieces 7th birthday!  I can't believe how old she is or how big she's gotten.  I moved to VA 3 months before she was born, and while I love living here, I think the biggest regret I have is that my niece (and now 3 1/2 yr old nephew) live so far away.  My kids and I are photographs and stories my sister tells them.  My 7 year old doesn't get the chance to play with her cousin of virtually the same age.  My almost 16 year old doesn't get roped into babysitting ALL the kids so mom and dad and aunt and uncle can go out to dinner.  While I miss my whole family, that makes me the saddest.  So happy birthday beautiful little M.  I love you.  And I miss you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meetings, Swimming, and Sushi. Not Bad for a Tuesday


I have come to the conclusion that there are not four seasons in Virginia.  We have the time of year that requires a heater, and the time of year that requires an air conditioner.  The "times" of the year that fall in between can be counted in hours rather than months.  I love it here...but I'd like a stretch of a few weeks each year where I can just have the windows open and have it be comfortable.

Warmer weather requires different eating than hotter weather.  Hot days mean no oven.  I'm thinking this is the perfect time of year to keep working on incorporating more raw foods into my life.  Goodness knows I don't want to be in the kitchen with the oven on when it's 92 degrees outside and my AC is trying to be sure the temp inside the house is livable....

As such, I didn't spend much time in the kitchen today.  Never mind that I was just too busy...it was also just too hot!

Breakfast was cereal and vanilla soy milk and coffee.  Unoriginal to be sure, but seemed to do the job just fine.  I also made an apple/carrot/orange juice (still haven't gone shopping), and had that on the way into work this morning.

Lunch was reheated dinner from yesterday; brown veggie rice with tomato veggie soup and fresh cilantro!  I also had about a quarter of a cup of a raw spicy seed mix I picked up at Heritage a few weeks ago.  I can't believe it took me so long to open the package.  The stuff is awesome.

I munched on half of a Clif bar about a half hour before my workout.  My bananas have turned, or I'd have had those.  They are heading into the freezer before bed tonight, and will likely make their way into a smoothie in the morning.  With the increase in warm weather also seems to come the increase in morning smoothies.  It's a little like having ice cream for breakfast!

Dinner was at Haru Sushi with AT.  I had a bowl of miso soup (the best in town), and a some cucumber and avocado rolls.  And some Cabernet.  Yummy dinner and great company.  Can't beat it.


Today ended up just being a swim day instead of swim and run.  AC couldn't make it for our run this evening at 5, so I just did the scheduled swim.

I got ahold of a friend of mine who I did the Tri with, AT, and we made plans to hit the pool after work.  I had my swimplan workout, and we more or less stuck to it.  I'm not sure exactly how far we swam, but we'd do 100 yds...chat for a minute...do 50...chat...repeat for about 40 minutes.  We probably should have done more swimming and less talking (who knew swimming could be a social sport??), but we haven't seen each other in a few weeks, and it was more fun catching up.

With the hot season seeming to be in full swing, I really need to do something about this morning workout thing.  I've been wanting to do it, but just haven't figured it out (nor really wanted to give up my 6am wake time for anything earlier unless under severe circumstances).  I've decided that I should start setting my alarm for 10 minutes early every 5-6 days or so, until I can get up early enough to workout.  Yeah.  We'll see how that goes.  It's that or go back to working out at 10pm once summer is in full swing.


Only two meetings today, so bonus for me!  One of them was almost 3 hrs long though, so that ate up a ton of my day, but I still have the happy post-vacation thing going on, so I can't complain.  The afternoon meeting was a wee more stressful, but not because of anyone I work with.  We're just at a frustrating point in our project, and have more than a few roadblocks.  This is where "bitchy-Crissie" has a tendency to show herself.

After work, swimming, and dinner, it was time to come home, hang out, and do some cleaning.  I got my room, the kitchen, and the dining room floors cleaned, which is a huge accomplishment on a weeknight.  I'm prepping the house for the house cleaners!  I know...needs to be relatively clean and organized before I'll have strangers in it. 

D had his tests today, and he's feeling pretty icky.  We expected that since the barium has to find it's way OUT of his system too.  He had to drink the nasty stuff, and then have Xrays taken of his digestive system every 30 minutes until the barium was through.  We obviously don't know the results yet, but the radiologist mentioned that he was "having a hard time" getting the barium to D's lower intestine.  Not sure if that means a fistula or what, but hopefully we'll find out soon.

So I'm off to go get work and school lunches for tomorrow ready and then comfort D, who's stretched out on the bed watching TV and feeling miserable.  Hopefully this will all "pass" by morning since he has to go to work.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Driving to Run Feels Dumb


Today has been a good food day.  I ate well, and definitely feel great.  I've nearly purged myself from the on-the-road eating from vacation, and feel back to normal again!

Breakfast was Kashi whole grain cereal with lots of cinnamon and some vanilla soy milk.  I forgot to take a picture :(  Of course I had my standard cup of black coffee as well.

Speaking of coffee - a friend of mine posted on facebook today that coffee drinkers should beware - prices are going to go up.  Makes me glad I gave up my snobby coffee bean habit for Foldgers!

For lunch I made the same wrap I did the other day - hummus, cabbage, onion, cucumber, and this time I added some sweet pickle relish too for something different. 

Snack was some celery and hummus.  It's funny - when R and I were on our FL trip, I had picked up some pre-cut celery to munch on in the van.  She had gone into the cooler to grab some water and look for other snacks when she asked if I wanted "those green stick things" to eat.

I had another snack after my workout - a fresh juice of apple, orange, and carrot.  Time to go produce shopping....

Dinner was a brown rice and veggie combo served on top of some homemade tomato and veggie soup.  Oh - and with some fresh cilantro to serve it with FROM MY CONTAINER GARDEN!!!!  Woo hoo!

For the rice dish, it was simply adding some peas and chopped orange bell pepper to some toasted brown rice while it was cooking.  The soup was tomatoes, onion, peppers, celery, and garlic simmered in a veggie broth with spices, simmered, added soy milk that had been mixed with a bit of flour, simmered, then lemon juice and some sweetener.  Top with fresh cilantro, and serve!  I certainly made enough to last a few meals, which is always good.  Of course I had a glass of red wine with it too!

My sprouts are also done.  I started them on Thursday, and they were in the sun today.  Yeah - something else to put on my wraps, in my salads, and anywhere else I can think of!


Today I did some running hill repeats.  The workout was to run a mile to warm up, run up and down a hill 5 times, and then run another mile.  Okay, cool.  Only problem, NO HILLS.  I live in an area that literally has almost no hills at all.  I know of two - one in Virginia Beach that is near the shop where I trained for the Shamrock last year (Final Kick Sports), and one in Norfolk.  So what did I do?  Drove 17 miles from work to Virginia Beach to run up their hill.  The crappy part is the hill is almost a half a mile up, so my hill repeats turned into one heck of a bigger workout than I anticipated - and it was really warm out.  I felt kind of like a moron driving somewhere just to find a hill to run up.  As much as I don't like the dreadmill - I may have to use it more often to simulate the hills that just don't exist here.

I also did a very short series of exercises when I got home - chair lifts, dead lifts, hip adductions and abductions.  Nothing big, but I have to start getting into the habit of some type of strength training. 

Tomorrow I'm swimming and, if it's not raining, running with my friend AC after work.  I hope it's not raining!


Today was life back to routine, and it ended up being a good day.  I still have the post vacation feel-good vibes going on, and even a day back at the office didn't ruin that!

I originally had a day jam packed with meetings, but by a happy twist of fate, three of them were canceled!  I ended up having several hours to play catch up, and while I'm not totally there, I feel good about what I was able to accomplish. 

I even got to spend a good 20 minutes doing my weekly plan (it's a Franklin Covey thing), and have at least one goal in each category for the week.  It's actually something I've tried to do for several years now (not always successfully), but the objective is to take on one big goal per week for each role you have.  So for work - my goal is to clean up emails.  As a mom, it's to schedule the eye dr and dentist appts for the kids, as an athlete, to get my 6 days of scheduled workouts completed (on time - and to schedule them if needed).  Things like that.

I went from 950 unread emails to just under 200!  Granted - it was mostly deleting garbage emails, but still.  It felt good to watch the number go down!  My team brought me up to speed on the past two weeks, and feel like things are moving along well.  So yeah for that!  They're an awesome bunch, which is the only reason I really was "off" when I was on vacation.

I only have meetings in the first half of the day tomorrow, so I get to have a good 4 hrs of office blocked time to keep working towards getting all caught up.

On an unrelated note - I picked up a Groupon that I'm totally excited about!  I paid $50 for 3 hrs of housekeeping, so Spring Cleaning...here (someone else) comes!  I'm totally excited, and that's another goal of mine for this week to get it scheduled.  D and I have decided to finally bite the bullet and get regular housekeeping services.  It's pretty much the only thing we argue about, and it gets to be so overwhelming sometimes, that it's just not worth the stress.  Granted - we've been talking about this for 2 years, but now that I have that Groupon and really am going to have someone come in, I think it's more likely to become a regularly scheduled activity.

D has a big series of radiology tests tomorrow that will take pretty much all day.  It's not because of a current flare up or anything, so that's good.  It's been 3 years since he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, so his doctor ordered this small bowel series to see how his insides are doing.  It's a highly unpleasant test (drinking barium, and spending 5 hrs or so in a radiology room getting xrays taken), and extremely boring.  One good thing - he's taking my Kindle and will finally start catching up on the book series we've been reading (I've read all 5, he's read one).  It's one of my typical vampire, werewolf, farie books.  Nice twist though - the main character is a Native American coyote shapeshifter who happens to be a mechanic and gets into all sorts of trouble.  Fun and quick reads with absolutely no basis at all in reality.  Just what I love!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lazy Days are Gone Again (big sigh...)


Most of my food adventures have been making juices.  I've been making at least 2 per day all week long, and totally loving the creations.  Most have been fruit juices, there's been one all-veggie juice, and a few have been fruit/veg blends.  Here are a couple samplings...

old faithful from the Vitamix...spicy garden tomato whole food juice!  Tomato, spinach, carrot, onion, bell pepper, habanero hot sauce, ice, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.  Think uber- bloody mary mix without the vodka (though that could be a fun addition as well).

pineapple, pear, and lime through the juicer

cantaloupe, apple, mint

There have been a few more too, like apple/orange/carrot, apple/watermelon/mint (digging the mint thing), spinach/blueberry/apple/orange/mango.

Lunch one day was a simple wrap with hummus, cabbage, onion, and cucumber.  This is another dish that I have a tendency to make and load up with whatever I have on hand.

I've had a few other things too.  I made a tofu dish for dinner on Thursday night that was pretty good.

Tofu Stir Fry

1 brick tofu, pressed and cubed (I love my Tofu Xpress for this....)
1 head broccoli, cut into flowerettes
1/2 red onion, cut into large pieces
8 ish small red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
5-6 dashes liquid smoke

I toss all the ingredients in a bowl and let it marinate for a few hours.  Heat up a large wok-sized pan (or a veggie grill basket if doing on the grill).  Saute until the tofu starts turning golden brown.  I usually cover for 5-6 minutes to steam the veggies also.

It's a very simple stand-by recipe that can lend itself to the addition of many different veggies.  I've made it with zucchini, cauliflower, even okra.  The marinade changes - from red wine vinegar to balsamic, or the addition of something spicy.

served over brown basmati rice

For lunch on Friday, I met up with a good friend for Thai.  We were actually planning on going to Quenna's raw vegan restaurant (I've been craving it lately), but when we got there, we found that they were closed for spring break week.  Bummer. We went down the street to a Thai place in Ward's Corner area of town.  It was okay.  Not the best Thai though, and that was disappointing.  They fried the tofu in their fresh and steamed spring rolls - which decreased the health factor and frankly - changed the flavor to one I didn't really like.  The green curry was nicely spicy, but otherwise only so-so.  What mattered most was the company, and L and I got to catch up after not seeing each other for a few weeks.

R really wanted pancakes for breakfast, so I made her some special ones....

...she was thrilled.  I know...totally cheesy that I have a pancake/egg mold in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head.  What can I say.  I love Disney.

Breakfast today was the same as Friday - a savory miso-quinoa-cauliflower dish.  Nothing complicated - just replaced the 2 cups of water with 2 cups of miso soup, 1 cup of rinsed quinoa, and a cup or two of frozen cauliflower.  Very filling and was a pre-workout meal twice - and both times gave great energy.

not pretty, but very tasty

Lunch today was a salad at Busch gardens, and dinner a bean and veggie burrito with vegan sour cream and hot sauce!


I went on several runs this week, including this morning, but the highlight was the swim on Friday morning.  I printed out a 1200yd swim workout from Swim Plan and hit the pool.  The whole thing felt great, and I've missed the water a lot. 

I also bought a new bike helmet.  The night before the Tri earlier in the month, I found a pretty large crack on the front of my helmet.  I put my race sticker over it (bad, I know - but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been allowed to race).  Now that I have a new (and pretty groovy) helmet, I can finally hit the road again!

I'm pretty set on a Tri up in Richmond in July called Pink Power.  It's a women's only Tri, and from what I've heard, it's a lot of fun.  It's also really hilly....but I think I'll survive.


This week was mostly about catching up.  At home, with friends, some work, and making the most of my time off.

I had lunch with a friend, goofed off with the kids, a girls night out on Friday (that ended with one spending the night - which was fun to have a girl's pajama evening - while D slept on the pull out sofa!), a n 80's themed bachelorette party on Saturday night, and a family Easter Busch Garden's trip today!

I feel energized and ready to get back to work.  I will leave you all with some pictures from the week!

My container plants have really grown a ton since I planted them a couple weeks ago.  I'm excited that this may actually work!

D and R watching a 3D movie the other day....Journey to the Center of the Earth

bachelorette party!!

soaking wet after a water ride at Busch Gardens