Gorgeous Day

Happy Monday! We are having one day of gorgeous weather here before winter returns.
Welcome to the week of crazy and Tofurky! Tofurky everywhere! By that I mean there is one Tofurky, and I will be the only one eating it at our table.

Greg and I are getting ready to travel to my mom's house. We are leaving in just a couple days, so I'm in crazy mode right now. It's about a 9-10 hour drive in regular traffic.

We spent the weekend watching movies and getting everything ready.

We went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1, and it was as good as I thought it would be. I'm not great at remembering details (even though I read all the books twice), but I think it follows the book closely. I won't say too much for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I felt very much the same as I did after reading the book after seeing it. I'm so nervous about watching the next movie after seeing this one.

My only complaint would be needs more Haymitch.
We made vegan roasted red pepper mac and cheese for dinner with some broccoli and garlic bread. It's going up there as one of my favorite vegan mac and cheese recipes - so delicious. Recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen.
Then, I made some chocolate chip cookie bars.. can you believe these have no flour??
They are made with chickpeas instead of flour. Greg refused to eat them, because obviously chickpea cookies are inedible to males. I couldn't taste the chickpeas at all; they taste like peanut buttery cookie bars to me. Recipe from Tone It Up.

Finally, we watched Undefeated on Netflix. I wanted to see it because I know Greg's into sports movies and I had seen it recommended on Helene's blog.

I'm not really a sports movie kind of girl, but I was moved by this documentary. It's about the relationship between a coach and a high school football team of inner city kids, what he teaches them, and the kinds of opportunities that they have to work for. This showed me growing up in a different way and how a team can be everything in someone's life, making the difference between whether they succeed or not. I'd recommend it; it shows sports differently and the positive impact they have.
Have you seen Mockingjay? How did you feel about it?
Any good documentaries on Netflix you've seen?
Where are you going for Thanksgiving?

Favorite Vegan Meals

It is no secret that I am a vegan superhero. I am lying about one part of that. Unless veganism is a superpower.

I have only been so since March (I decided to go 100% vegan almost at the same time we got married), so I am not quite learned in the ways of the long-time veggie folk yet. Maybe I can go into why I became vegan one day, but I don't want to be that ranty person. I don't mind when people ask me about it. I try to answer as honestly as possible at family gatherings and when friends are very confused about what's the matter with me. The answer: plenty of things, but my food choices are doing okay.

Luckily, my husband is willing to try lots of kitchen experiments. I don't know what I would do if he wasn't accepting, since he is still an omnivore. A few of our experiments have gone terribly awry, but we have had lots of tasty, tasty success.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites. You do not have to be vegan to enjoy any of them - I think they are quite delicious, whether you eat just veggies or otherwise. Vegetarianism is my preferred route, of course, but the choice is always up to you. Do what you want.

1. General Tso's Tofu
This is probably my favorite tofu recipe, and definitely in my top favorite vegan recipes. If you are not familiar with the taste of tofu, it's a good starting place. It was the first recipe I made with tofu, and the texture felt weird at first, but the more I ate it, the more I craved it.

The General Tso sauce in this recipe is so good, sometimes I just make it and douse fried rice and veggies with it. Recipe found here.

2. Simple Vegan Pizza
If you are not vegan, you could always top this with regular parmesan cheese if you're not ready for the vegan cheese experience. This homemade cheese tastes a lot better to me than the store-bought vegan cheeses. I loved it just how it was, and it's super easy to make. Recipe found here.

3. 10-Spice Vegetable Soup
It's basically been cold everywhere, lately, so unless you are living in a nice tropical country (I know some of you are!!), you may be covered in blankets and drinking and eating lots of warm things. I was craving something to warm my stomach, so I made this 10-spice soup.

The flavor was spot on. I made mine with sweet potatoes, and I think next time I would try regular potatoes to make it a little more hearty. It pairs really nice with a chunk of bread and butter / oregano. It also made a TON of soup, so I have lots of leftovers that I froze and have been taking to work. Recipe found here.

4. Crispy Breaded Tofu and Fluffy White Dinner Rolls
When in doubt, make chicken nuggets. At least, these taste like a yummy version of chicken nuggets to me. I also don't make dinner rolls often, because I have a problem with freshly made bread. I want to eat them all. I love the smell, I love the soft doughy center, I love everything. Bread recipe here and breaded tofu recipe here.

5. Veggie Burrito with Guacamole
My ultimate lazy girl's recipe. I pop a frozen Trader Joe's bag of rice in the microwave, open a can of black beans, salsa, and mash an avocado with some lemon juice and sea salt - annnd burrito! I could probably eat just a bowlful of smashed avocado, but I don't know if that's nutritionally sound, so I add a few things.

6. Chocolate Chip Cookies
And finally, the most important part of your vegan meal, the chocolate chip cookies. This one is awesome, because it uses coconut oil and makes chewy, fluffy, deliiicioous cookies! I use half coconut oil and half vegetable oil, which leaves no coconut taste for me, but if you don't mind a slight coconut to your cookie, use full coconut oil like it calls for. Recipe found here.

There are a lot more recipes I want to try, and I am always looking for new recipe books. My favorite so far is the Oh She Glows Cookbook - I can cook lots of stuff out of there and repeat recipes.

Are there any veggie recipes you've tried? Any favorites I should try or recipes I should stay away from?

Things I Do When My Husband's Not Home

Get ready, this is about to get very scandalous. Greg was helping a friend move back, and I was forced to entertain myself. There are some things I do when my husband's not home that I just don't do otherwise.

1. Wear a new dress.
Because the best time to wear a new dress is when no one except that guy selling me my tacos is going to see it. That will be explained in the next one.
Just kidding, I was too excited not to wear my new dress and was going to wear it at home or anywhere.
It was purchased from Sandy a la Mode at her shop my closet. Made by Everly.

2. Order tacos.
If you do this, make sure you order enough that it looks like it may feed a family of roughly 12 people. Although, really, that guy probably knows it's just you and your cats tonight.

I also took no pictures, because when there's a plate of tacos in front of you, you don't ask questions or leave evidence.
3. Browse Amazon.
And then come to the amazing realization that I need a teeth whitening kit. And Amazon wants me to try ANOTHER free trial of Prime AND is giving me a $7.00 off coupon?? How could I say no?
Anyone tried these? I'm going to try every other day, since I heard they can make your teeth sensitive.

4. Bake cookies.
Then pretend to be a rogue and decide I don't need timers. And promptly forget when I stuck them in the oven and be forced to check them every 2 minutes.
Peanut butter cookies made from this recipe. They were chewy and delicious.

5. Watch Outlander.
What am I, obsessed? Reading the books and watching the show. I have no words, but it's really good so far. And if you are into Highlanders and/or historical dramas at all, you should check it out. And not Sean Connery, although he is a fantastic Highlander in his own right.

Luna fell asleep beside me wrapped up in the heating pad.
I also did some productive things, like clean the bathroom and do the dishes. I made a trip to Old Navy, but quickly decided online shopping would be easier, with more discounts, and no walking behind people who walk really, really slow.

Holiday traffic and shopping is beginning!! I took my happy tacos home and watched some TV in a warm house.

What do you do when/if you have a day by yourself?

Friday Favorites: Hark the Winter Winds

How is your winter weather faring? It was so nice outside the other day, and now we have snow flurries!!

Favorite Cats:
It is not just me, even the cats are cold. They snuggled together in the warmest room in the house. I've been waking up to lots of kitty cuddles next to me.
Favorite Household Item:
This is more like on my wishlist, because I have had crazy cramps all day and the heating pad is my best friend. But wouldn't a heated blanket be even better??? Greg suggested it, but I actually argued that I would probably never get up if I had it. I would crawl inside it and wrap up like a caterpillar.

Favorite Book:
I am reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to love it as much as number one, but Outlander is one of my favorites. If you are looking for some characters you can stick with and some historical (but fun & serious all at the same time) romance, I would suggest it.
Favorite Purchase:
I'm sensing a theme here of warm things & things to do while staying warm... My other jacket got eaten by the washer, so I bought a real winter jacket. So far, I approve very much. It even has little sleeves inside the arms so that the cold air doesn't get inside.
Favorite TV Show:
This season is already finished?? I feel like I need a Who rewatch, after I finish all the Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Did you watch the last episode? I have feelings but not as many as with the Amy/Rory episodes. Maybe it will get there. Is it just me or are there way more explosions this season?

Linking up with Amanda today of Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites.

Are you warm where you are, or does it feel like winter there, too?

November Goals

1. Make plans for how to survive Thanksgiving vegan-style.

We are traveling to South Carolina, so I'm going to have to pack anything I need to take with me. Maybe I should get my hands on a Tofurky?

2. Read more books.

I am reading the second book in the Outlander series, but I have been seriously slacking on how much I've been reading.

3. Keep up workouts during the fall and winter.

I have a habit of hibernating during the cooler months, but I'd like to keep up some form of routine. I have a hard time motivating myself to run outside when it's cold. What do you do during the winter? I've been checking out a ton of videos, lately. Do you have a favorite YouTube fitness channel?

4. Save money.

Greg and I are trying to make a big purchase for our home for Christmas, so it is very important that I save money right now! I did just spend quite a bit on my new phone upgrade, but I plan on trading it in and getting some money back. I also bought myself a winter coat, because my Target one got ripped in the washer and I figured it was time for me to invest in a decent winter jacket. I am trying to cut back this season on the frivolous spending.

5. Sell things on Ebay.

To go along with my previous goal, I'd like to earn some money back from the things that are sitting around my house. I set up two things for sale that we've never used. Have you ever used Ebay to sell stuff? How did it go - any tips for selling?

What are your goals this month?

Watkins Glen in NY

When we heard about there being a park that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, naturally, we had to go there. So, we took a trip to NY.

Every other house we passed on the way there had at least one cow and/or horse in the yard. It was magical. Not like the majestic cyborg (beautiful, but HUGE) horses that clop through Philadelphia, with a carriage of people in tow. Although, I was wondering if they were cold, because it had snowed the day before, and I was freezing!
Greg made fun of me, because I only brought one coat. Luckily, he thought to bring an extra coat, a hat, and a pair of gloves. It makes me seriously reconsider the ratio of practical thinking in this relationship.

We stopped at the Glen Mountain Market Bakery and Deli before our hike, because we were voracious by that point, and they actually had a ton of vegan options. I got Jackson's Revenge, a tofu concoction with sprouts & spicy mustard. Pretty delicious, although I always prefer fries over chips.
Then we went straight to Watkins Glen State Park. So, when they said that it looks like the setting in Lord of the Rings, they were not lying. I felt like I stepped right into Rivendell, and freaking Legolas was going to pop out and declaim, "Something draws near, I can feel it."
Clearly, Gollum lives in a cavern here somewhere.

Then, we had to walk up a massive hill, and I just wanted to crawl up like a baby bear.
It was impressive. The gorge has been eroded away to where it is now over a period of 12,000 years.
You get to walk all over and up close. There's even a spot where you can walk behind a waterfall. The elevation goes up to 1010 feet, so from the bottom to the top of the gorge is quite tall.
We found a spooky building, so, of course Greg asked me to stand in it and create a photo of unimaginable horror. Frightening, no?
The trails were well-made compared to other trails we've seen. They have workers whose job it is to hang from the rock walls and break off frozen rocks that are hanging over trails, after the cold seasons.
We had fun..lots and lots of fun.
Then we finally drug our tired selves back, first to Philly, where we tore through our food so fast that I didn't take any pictures. I got a vegan fried chicken po boy and it tasted like and was the best thing ever. Then we came back home, where we will hopefully sleep sound after a busy day.

Are there any other magical places I should check out?

Friday Favorites: Cat Swagger

Despite finding a spider in my shower this morning (HELLLOOO not the best surprise first thing in the morning), it has been a decent week and I can't wait for the weekend to begin. I had to work all last weekend, so it will be the first day off in a while.

Favorite Purchase:
Top: Urban Outfitters (old) (similar) // Cardigan: Converse One Star (old) (similar) // Jeggings: Hue // Booties: Target (similar) // Scarf: Old Navy // Bracelet: Target

I finally bought the Hue jeggings I had been looking at for a couple weeks, after my Old Navy ones starting wearing out (why does Old Navy stretch denim always stretch out after a few wears?).

Then Kathy posted about these and they seemed a million times better. So far, so good, after one wear. They are definitely more legging than the Old Navy brand, so I'm crossing my fingers for them. They fit really well.

You can see the texture a little better here. I promise they are blue.
Favorite Workout:
I did yoga today, and it felt great. When it first started, I thought it might be a little slow, but it flew by and I was burning during most of it.
Some of you may be more experienced, but my legs were shaking like a leaf when I tried some of the moves. It felt soo good, which is weird.

Favorite App:
I just downloaded Run Sackboy, Run a couple days ago and want to play it all day. The graphics are adorable.

I actually have Little Big Planet, but my Playstation collects dust. I'm much more likely to play a game on my phone than use any type of console, because I can play this anytime.

He's so cute, and you can earn points for even cuter costumes, like a unicorn.
Cat Pose:
Boba in his swagger pose. He hangs out like this all the time, and he's just asking for me to grab his toes.
Favorite TV Show:
Gilmore Girls, because there is nothing like rewatching their mother/daughterness. It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

Linking up with Amanda at Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!!

Night of the Living Bugs

If you want to see me turn into a 5-year old and start freaking out, no matter the setting, all you have to do is bring me near an insect.

I have been known to have minor outbursts near them. I'd rather see a snake in my yard than come across a furry, gargantuan spider.
They have taken over my car.
Once, I was dropping the mail off at one of those blue bins in our neighborhood, and as soon as I rolled down the window, a spider crawled in.

I took no time at all to crawl across to the passenger seat and leave through the nearest exit, leaving the spider to do what he would with my car. I managed to get him out from the outside.
Crickets are scary, really.
I came home one night, only to find a cricket waiting on my front step. I took a step backward, he took a hop forward. I started running backwards, he started hopping after me.

Greg heard my screams from inside and thought I was being murdered. He found me outside, scared, staring down the cricket, saying, "He's blocking my path."
Bees are friends, unless you make them angry.
I have never been stung by a bee *knock on wood,* so everytime I see one I get super nervous. We went zip lining this year, and afterward we were standing in a group when this bee started hovering nearby.

My first mistake was to separate myself from the group, because that bee looked at me and got pissed. Like I just crossed the line. One more thing to his shitty bee day, and he had had enough.

He started chasing me, and everytime I thought he was gone, I would hear that angry buzzing come back. I ran in circles, screaming, naturally, because I am nothing if not graceful.
Everyone else was laughing, telling me to stand still and he would leave me alone. This is not a T-rex, people.

He doesn't stop seeing me if I stop moving. Finally, the whole group got there and we were able to leave, with me running ahead.

Do you have any bug horror stories?

New Hair Color

I hope you had a great weekend. I had to work all weekend at drill, boooooo. But, Thursday, I treated myself to a haircut and color since I only go a couple times a year (with good reason, holy dye cost, Batman..)
I showed my stylist a bunch of super ombred out pictures, but she knows better and gave me a much more subtle chestnut with lots of variation...so far, I like it, although it took a while to grow on me.

I'm still holding onto my dreams of Rachel McAdams blonde (I've pinned it three times without realizing it) and Ariel red.

Friday, I shopped around in Nordstrom with a mission in mind to try on the Hue jeggings. I found them and I'm still thinking about them, but didn't buy anything, and took an OOTD picture in their dressing room, anyway.
Top: Francesca's (similar or similar) // Sweater: J. Crew Factory // Jeggings: Uniqlo // Boots: Steve Madden

I wouldn't buy these boots, now, being vegan and all, but I bought them at least 4 years ago, and they are still going strong *knock on wood.* I always get comments on them and their distressed look. The distress is very, very real. They have been through snow, etc, but some Dr. Martens shoe balsam does wonders.

And, what is going on in your dressing rooms, Nordstrom?
Seriously, what is happening? There's a bulge...

My phone should get here in a couple days!! I'm so excited! I've had my Iphone for two years, now, and I still love it, except that the battery has been depleting like lightning, lately. Not cool if I get stranded with no phone.

How was your weekend?
Do you have a favorite jegging brand/style?