sketchy bananas, coming to a cereal bowl near you

Steel cut oats with blueberries and bananas

I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.

I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.

TA DA!

I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.

Death to the mousie!!!

I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.

There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

For realz yo, like a motherfucker

I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.

But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.

So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.

Lancelot and I at my birthday dinner

This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.

a bit of an update

I got my first shot. Lancelot is still a goober, albeit my very favorite goober.

The shot was fine, no issues at all. I actually woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I have in a while. So yay. The shot didn’t hurt or cause me any more trouble than any other vaccine I’ve ever had. It was less painful than the MMR, if anyone has an adult memory of getting that one. My only side effect was a slightly sore arm.

Eric has been particularly photogenic lately

I’m doing pretty well with life in general right now. I did a lot of food prep stuff this weekend that I think will be helpful and I have a plan of attack for getting the house in shape for next weekend. For the first time since Lancelot and I have lived here together we are having friends over, in the house, for a meal and a concert.

I am damn near beside myself with excitement.

Everyone in attendance will either be fully vaccinated or have their first shot, with the exception of L. These are also friends of ours that are just as careful about COVID safety precautions as we are. And that will start the week of celebrations. There will be dinner with my mom and stepdad, dinner out with L at our favorite restaurant, museums, I’m assuming Thai food, and my birthday is in there. I need this vacation so damn bad.

Dog Blossom is pooped too

The healthy eating/exercise/Noom stuff is going well. I’ve lost a total of 22.5lbs and now that I’m starting to feel better it’s time to get back to exercising. My goal (once again) is to hit 5000+ steps every day and to drink at least nine 8oz glasses of water every day. It’s just now coming up on 2pm and I already have almost 2200 steps so I consider that good. Thirty minutes on the treadmill will help quite a bit.

The food prep I did was mostly getting together more of the smoothie packs, partly because I had fresh spinach to use and partly because that was a big time saver. This time I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt and only 2.75oz. I also prepped four snack bowls with a hard boiled egg and two clementines and five “salad starters.”

I have these divided container things so I put fresh spinach in the biggest part and then chopped up a cucumber and divided that among the containers and used the smallest spot for shredded carrots. At lunch I dumped all of that into a big bowl and added a hard boiled egg, 1/4C roasted pumpkin seeds (also pre-measured), and my salad dressing (if you guess pre-measured you’d be right).

Having all of that measured ahead of time made my lunch preparation time today almost negligible. It was nice to have a little extra time during my break to do other things. Like laundry.

Mama, laundry is evil

briefly

I can’t remember exactly when or why Lancelot and I started doing the Lego Mini-figures together, but we have for as long as I can remember. We haven’t picked any up for awhile but last weekend at Target I grabbed two packages on impulse in the check out aisle. (it worked!) I don’t recall ever getting the exact same figure at the same time, but we did. And it had the ability to be either male or female, so we did one of each. Now we’ll really fly together forever.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am an iced coffee junkie, and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to create the Perfect Iced Coffee. (caps for emphasis and utterly important, I assure you) I’ve done all kinds of variations, everything from mixing in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup to using hot cocoa powder and doing cold brew coffee or whole milk – seriously, you name it. But I think I might have finally figured it out, thanks to doing the Noom thing.

I’ve realized that regular dairy milk has more calories that I’m comfortable allotting in my daily budget, so I’ve primarily switched to unsweetened coconut milk. I will occasionally use unsweetened almond milk in smoothies, but I can’t drink that stuff straight. Yuck.

Anyway, the coconut milk has the right texture, just a little coconut flavor, and way fewer calories. So I’ve been using the following procedure…

  • Brew a 12C pot of coffee; lately it’s been a light roast Toasted Coconut flavor from Target
  • All that to cool and then pour into a pitcher with 1/2C Splenda
  • Chill in the fridge until ready

I do this at least once a week, sometimes twice. When I’m ready to make my drink it goes something like this…

  • 1 1/2C unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2C cold coffee
  • 2Tbsp half & half
  • Pour over ice in a large insulated cup

That’s it. Super simple, very yummy, and a whole 90 calories for a little more than 3C of coffee nirvana. Ain’t gonna get that at the coffee shop, especially for the price. It’s waaaaaaaay cheaper to make at home.

One last picture for today. This is a shawl that I made last year but haven’t worn yet. I really am trying to wear my pretty stuff because who the hell knows when the opportunity is going to legit present itself. Anyway, I can’t remember the pattern or if I was even using a pattern, but the colors are just so amazing. And since the weather here today is so utterly cold that the power utilities are doing mandatory, scheduled, rolling blackouts it seems appropriate to wear something bright. Fake it ’til you make it darling.

under pressure

I’m feeling a whole lot of ^ right now. The whole plague thing is wearing on me. My skin splitting is wearing on me. Trying to fit in my exercise time is wearing on me. Not being able to knit or crochet or really do anything creative is wearing on me. Work is crazy busy and that’s wearing on me. The dog really likes to bark and that’s wearing on me.

Basically, I’m just fucking grumpy today.

But this too shall pass, and I know that. Yesterday was challenging because my hips were too sore to get on the treadmill, my day was full of meetings so everything was kind of “off,” and I just plain didn’t feel that great. Blech.

The best thing about having a challenging day is that you can go to bed and wake up the next morning to a brand new day and a chance for a new beginning

I spent some time talking to Lancelot this morning and that helped a ton. I’ve decided that I need to shake some things up a bit. I’m going to aim for 6 days a week / 30 minutes a day of exercise; half will be treadmill and the other half will be things like cardio/calisthenics that can be done in the living room. He installed some fitness apps on the Firestick thingy for me the other day, now I just need to convince Dog Blossom that she does not need to help.

I’m not entirely sure what to do about my skin, and that might be the single most frustrating thing. My skin is always dry and I know that doesn’t help, neither does the cold winter air. Constant washing is part of the problem, but it’s also incredibly necessary. So right now I have four bandaids on three different fingers, and that makes doing many things difficult.

For example, since the fingers in question are my thumb, index, and middle fingers on my dominant hand it requires an act of Congress to do fuck near anything on my phone. It also makes knitting or crocheting out of the question. Forget trying to open bottles. Fortunately I’ve found good bandaids that are waterproof and actually shaped to fit over finger tips so I can put them on (with a little Neosporin) in the morning and they stay on all day. But this is a pain in my ass.

It’s hard to stay grumpy when there’s a cute tiny kitty sleeping in his chair

To get myself out of this funky little mood, here are some things that are going well right now…

Thanks to a tip from a fellow Noomer I’m meeting and exceeding my water goal for the day. Plain water bubbled with the Soda Stream with some chunks of citrus is actually tasty.

Banana Oatmeal “muffins” that Lancelot and I baked over the weekend. Just oatmeal, bananas, and vanilla extra are all that’s needed. (I put in a few blueberries this time but they aren’t crucial) So good.

I have been walking consistently and I’m really proud of that. Yesterday was a tiny speed bump, not a dead end.

Prepping snack bowls on Sunday means I don’t have to fuck with it during the week!

I might not be ready to make all of the changes I know need to be made, but I am starting to identify them and by doing that, I can start to make a plan. Few things make me happier than a good plan. Well, except this…

an update in photos

This was the unofficial start of our staycation. Lancelot got me that gorgeous necklace, handmade by a friend of ours, and a yarn bowl that reads “I knit because murder is wrong.”

We got to spend a total of almost five uninterrupted days together and it was heavenly. And that was good because now he’s going to be working overtime, and that is not so heavenly. But I’ll be working extra as well, so I suppose it all balances out.

The one museum here in town is having a Jim Henson exhibit right now so I got to “hug” Bert and Ernie. We went on Wednesday at 10am and damn near had the place to ourselves. The exhibit was amazing and damn near made me cry. I grew up with these guys.

We knew that we wanted needed to really make the most of our time off so we tried to have a good balance of doing things that were safe and staying home like slugs. It worked pretty well.

Our big gift to each other this year is art for the house. We have an amazing local art gallery so we went there and got this amazing painting as well as another, much smaller, piece. This is in our living room and makes me feel like I’m outside in a flower garden.
Pippy spent lots of time snuggled up with her daddy. And Thanos.
Eric was actually a little bit playful.
Garth spent a lot of time napping in the sun and recovering from the trauma of having eye drops twice a day for a week. (he’s doing so much better now)
This might be my favorite thing though, custom knitting needles that L got for me. The translation from Gaelic is “Erin’s knitting needle.” How fucking cool is that?

At any rate, I’m really glad we had the time off that we did. L is being told that he’ll be doing overtime the next two weeks and with the way my workload is starting to look I’ll be surprised if I don’t end up working over the holiday break. Fortunately I’m making good progress on the last knit holiday gift and will hopefully get it done in time. Of course I left the most complicated/involved project for last, like a moron…