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Road Trip – Part 3

Day 3 of our little road trip began with me getting up at 7 for another trek on the treadmill.

I knew that I’d be spending some time in the car, so getting my legs moving, while I could, was paramount.

Once the Mr. woke up, we packed our things and prepared to load up the car.

I had to chuckle when I compared my pile . . .

With his . . .

To be fair, that red laundry bag should have sat between the stacks of bags since both of our clothes were in it.

As we headed out, sans kids (boo), the weather wasn’t looking that great.

I was reminded, once again, of God’s grace the day before when the weather had been spectacular for the game.

When we were planning this trip, we had decided not to go straight home.

Our next destination: Auburn!

Atlanta sits less than two hours east of the prettiest town known to man, so we couldn’t allow the opportunity to visit pass us by.

We made a pit stop at a Chick fil A to potty, and I was struck by this dispenser in the rest room:

Something to fight the chicken biscuit bad breath, I guess. I wouldn’t know since I’m a vegan.

Anyhoo, it didn’t seem long before we entered Auburn’s city limits, and things just felt so good.

We headed into town to grab some lunch.

One of the kids had told us about a place called Pieology, which has similar pizzas to Blaze. Coincidentally, there was one right across from Toomer Drugs. Here’s what we saw when we went in . . .

When I first saw the crust advertised, I was excited. Then, I asked the girl working behind the counter if it was vegan. She told me that it had dairy in it. Dang! Their gluten-free crust is also vegan, though, so I opted for that.

There was also this sign . . .

Y’all, the world is slowly becoming a vegan-friendly place, let me tell you!

For the record, I am a vegan who doesn’t necessarily miss the taste of meat. I’d never been a huge fan of ground beef, and sausage was okay, but hey, I was up for trying new things, so I ordered my pizza with half “meatball” and half “sausage.” They were out of the “chicken.”

See that cheese? That’s Daiya – one of my favorite vegan cheeses. The gal had been extremely helpful when preparing this. She had a lot of knowledge of the products I could eat since she has to watch her diet as well.

I must have been hungry because I ate the entire thing!

Fueled by the delicious food, we were read to shop!

Now, if you’ve never been in Auburn on game day, you wouldn’t be able to compare the shopping experience we had during our road trip with a game day foray. There were some people out and about, but we were actually able to maneuver inside the stores fairly easily. We found several things on sale, and I tried on a few items.

I also purchased a few things because, well, when you’re in Auburn, you must buy all the things.

It’s tradition.

The Mr. and I did discover, after a long, hot walk, that the University Bookstore (my personal favorite because of its size) wasn’t open. Dang! Classes don’t start for another month, so they had no need for such silliness quite yet.

The Mr. was not happy.

As I said, it was hot, and our walk had been a long one.

We made our way back across campus, and he reluctantly posed with me for a selfie in front of Samford Hall.

We headed back towards Toomer’s Corner because of this . . .

This place is known for the VERY best lemonade you will ever have.

In fact, ESPN Game Day once did a story about this very special corner of lemonade heaven. I kid you not!

Of course a photo was in order – just to prove that the above pictures aren’t Google images. Ha!

What you don’t see in the picture above are the bottles I bought for later.

They’re labeled as being good up to four days post-purchase. I’m here to tell you that they can last up to a week (I drank the one above yesterday).

Ahem.

We rode around town, enjoying the scenery, talking of how much things have changed since we lived there almost thirty years ago, and enjoying the foliage, which we don’t have much of anymore because of stupid Hurricane Michael.

Then, we hit the road – destination home.

This was the hardest part of our road trip – returning to what we knew would be a house with one member missing.

I immersed myself in my knitting as a distraction and reflected on the wonderful trip.

I was thankful for its timing.

No, it hadn’t been great for Gambit, bless his heart.

For us, though, it had been a welcome respite from the stress we’d been under caring for an ailing pupper. Oh, we had enjoyed taking care of him and would have done it for years just to keep him with us, but if you’ve ever cared for a sick person or animal, you know that it wears on you.

The time away with family – especially after pretty much staying local since last October – had been a blessing as well.

Except for our trip to see family during Christmas and a couple of shopping trips to Destin after Thanksgiving, we had not left town since the hurricane.

The change of scenery and routine had suited us well.

A huge thanks goes out to the Mr. and Rooster for planning this, our children who worked the trip into their schedules, and those who prayed for us while we were gone.

Weekend Miscellany

Miscellany – yes, that’s a word.  I looked it up just to be sure.

Let’s talk about random things from the weekend.

Saturday

I got in my walk and did #somuchgood

Here’s the photo without the Charity Miles info . . . because Gambit is so cute.

I received a package in the mail . . .

Megan showed hers off during our meeting last Thursday, and I think two or three of us ordered one on the spot.  I’ll let you know how it works!  I’m hopeful because being able to stand in proximity to some of my more spirited students, as opposed to standing in front of the board, will take my classroom management skills up a few notches!

I spent most of the day reading and finished this book . . .

It was excellent!  I gave it four stars on Goodreads.  The author has another book coming out in January.  I’ll probably pre-order it.

Sunday

I slept in, opting to skip church because of the loud music and my head. The dogs were not amused because they were waiting for breakfast.

After they ate, I went for a walk.  Then, I did some laminating.

For some reason, I was really tired, so I slept for an hour.  Unfortunately, I woke up to find a migraine brewing.

I also had a craving for a cherry slushy, so I loaded up the boys and took them along for the ride.

Aren’t their faces priceless?

Despite taking a pain pill, which I had been able to avoid the past few days, the headache lingered.

I decided to do some baking.  I used the same recipe as last week, but this time, I topped them with chocolate frosting, a suggestion from the recipe writer (she kindly responded to the question I asked on her Instagram post).

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The frosting is amazing!  It tastes like the kind I’ve always bought at the store.

The Mr. had been at work all day, not his usual schedule but that’s how it goes.  When he got home, he saw that I wasn’t feeling well and kindly ate leftovers.  Bless him.

Meanwhile, I wound up a skein of yarn for a new project.

Weekends sure do fly by, even when you’re not doing a whole lot.

Weekending with Auburnchick

It’s Tuesday, and I’m only now getting around to posting about last weekend.

Yep, school prep is in high gear.

Sigh.

Let’s begin with Friday.  Gambit had an appointment for a bath, but I accidentally slept through it and had to reschedule.

Oops.

Although I didn’t have to go in to work, I was so overwhelmed with an already-growing to-do list, so I spent the day on that.

Lesson planning is extremely time consuming.  We don’t start school until the 15th, which means that we’ll only have a three-day week with the kids, but the planning is still intense even for that short amount of time.  There are so many routines and class norms, even at a high school level, that a teacher has to establish.

I’ve got two preps this year, which many teachers would trade their loads for but which is overwhelming for me.

I’ll be starting out by explaining to each group of students what their respective classes entail.

That’s my Smartboard file, which I create for each week as a visual for the kids and myself.

I worked all afternoon and was tired when I finished.  It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

Yeah, I think I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I really cannot remember.  That could have been the evening we went to Chili’s.  If we did, I changed clothes.  I promise.

On Saturday, I took Gambit to his appointment, which I’d smartly rescheduled for 11am – plenty of time for me to wake up.

He smelled amazing when I picked him up a couple of hours later.

How bad would it be to say that I don’t remember what I did the rest of the day?

Y’all, the struggle is REAL.  I know that I didn’t work because I forced myself not to.  I’m still recovering from my concussion, so I know that I can’t push myself too hard.

Oh, and how could I forget about the mail.  Look what I got . . .

I found the case on Amazon, but there was a card inside from fakemeats.com.  I think this was the actual seller.

And, wouldn’t you know it, but I found two or three recipes that include jackfruit in them in this cookbook, which I purchased around Christmas.

I’ll be sure to post the results of anything that I try.

Sunday, the Mr. had to go in to work.  I’d already elected to stay home from church because loud stuff still makes my head hurt.  He wound up needing to take my car since he couldn’t get into his work vehicle, which forced me to not run errands.

Darn.

I did get out and go for a walk, my first since June and really, my first workout of any kind since hitting my head.

I had signed up for the Half-Giant Half Marathon, a Hogwarts Running Club event.  Sunday’s walk was going to be the first leg of it since I knew I couldn’t make it the full distance.

It was a little later in the morning than I would have preferred, and it was hot as all get out.

I was careful, though.  Although I could hear my pace being announced through my ear buds every half mile, I tried not to let it stress me out.  Yes, I was going slow, but I knew that I needed to reacquaint myself to the whole move-your-body thing.

I had originally told the Mr. that I would only walk a mile.

He should have known that I wouldn’t stick to that.

Truth be told, I should have only gone two miles.  I wasn’t feeling very good when I got home – probably the result of the heat and my head hurting.

It felt good, though, to get out.

You can only put Baby in the corner for so long.

I spent the rest of the day, after I showered, in my pajamas while I binged on my new favorite Amazon Prime show, Bosch, and finished up a knitting project (pictures to be posted eventually).

Pecan Energy Bars – Take 2

Do you remember when I posted about the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars I made a week ago?

I’d been a little disappointed at the texture.

They were too similar to Detoxinista’s Peanut Butter Larabars, which I like but didn’t want to duplicate.  The only crunch in the first batch came from the chia seeds, so the word “crunch” is really a stretch.  I guess you could say that they were more like fig bars.

Because the flavor had been really good, I wanted to give these another shot, so that’s what I did yesterday.

I’ll admit that I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to using the new Vitamix I purchased in April or May.  I’m finding that I under-blend some things and over-blend others.  There’s definitely an art to it.

With that in mind, I pulsed the dates to prevent the mixture from becoming pasty.

I was also careful after I added the rest of the ingredients.  I wanted these to feel more like store-bought.

Here’s what they looked like before I put them in the oven.

I didn’t cook them any longer than the recipe stated and let them cool almost completely before giving in to my excitement to try them.  I wonder if cooking them for an extra five minutes would make them a little harder.  I may have to experiment.

As you can see, the texture is a lot chunkier than my first attempt.

Biting into my sample bar was more satisfying as well; the crunch I’d been aiming for was there!  Yay!

I’m extremely happy with these.  I think this recipe will be a staple in my house; the bars will be perfect for snacking on in the middle of a day of teaching and will do much to ward off feelings of “hanger.”  My students will be grateful.

Much like anything I do in my life, I’m learning that I’m going to have a lot of fails before I figure things out.

I may be a slow learner, but I NEVER give up.

Weekending With Auburnchick

Y’all, this head thing is putting a crimp in my style as far as weekend fun goes.

Because I’m still having headaches, I’m being forced to lay low, which means NO beach, NO pool, and NOTHING that’s too loud.  When you live fifteen minutes from the beach, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

True to form, I’m making the most of my downtime.

Friday, I found myself without a headache; however, the trade off was that I’d gotten NO sleep the night before.

Nada.

None.

Bet that you can’t tell from the selfie, below.  I’m a girl who pulls up her big girl pants and does life anyway.

Thursday night, I’d taken one of my new pain pills – the one with codeine (to help me sleep) – but it also had caffeine in it (to ward off the headache).  Guess which ingredient my body took to like a flea on a dog?

Yep.

I was super relaxed, though, so at least I wasn’t exactly suffering all night.

It was strange, though, because I wasn’t really tired when I got up.  I took the dogs for a ride to get them out since I can’t walk them right now.

At first, they were suspicious, but when I didn’t make the usual turn for Petsmart, they relaxed.

Gambit’s face though 😀

I was down for the count by 2pm, though, and slept a hefty two and a half hours – in bed.  The dogs were more than happy to oblige me.

I felt a little better when I got up, so I got busy in the kitchen, preparing a few things I’d been wanting to try.

First up was 5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding, a recipe by Minimalist Baker.

I had prepared the pudding the day before and had it chilling in the refrigerator for twenty four hours, as directed.  It was time to put the finishing touches on it.

First of all, I learned that waxed paper is the best way to go as opposed to using saran wrap when trying to prevent a film from forming on the top of puddings and custards.  I’ll remember that for next time.

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I’d gone back and forth about the topping.  Although chocolate ganache strongly appealed to me, I wanted to try something new, so I pulled out the can of coconut cream I’d put in the refrigerator a few days before and got to work on a whipped topping (the recipe is linked in with the recipe above).

I’d purchased several cans of this at Trader Joe’s over Christmas break because we don’t have this store, and I had read that to successfully make whipped cream, you have to buy cans that don’t have guar gum, which is used as a stabilizer and prevents cream from being whipped up.

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I’ve tried, in the past, to make this and never gotten it right.  I guess Friday was the day!

It was light and tasty.  Yum!

I added it to my pudding.

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I showed restraint by putting it in the fridge because y’all, I hadn’t eaten dinner yet!

The next dish I prepared was really a “recipe.”  I’ll admit that I cheated a little.

I wanted to warm up the jackfruit I’d purchased earlier in the week.

I’ve been very intrigued by this newly-popular food item, and although I’ve found it sold in cans online, I haven’t been able to locate it in my local stores.

Prep was fairly easy, except for the pulling-apart thing (akin to pulling apart pork when making barbecue).

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Although it’s a fruit, the texture is similar to pork.  I think it would be a great food for people who are making the transition to becoming vegetarians.

I added 1/8 of a cup to each slice of pizza I had leftover from the day before.

It was delicious!  I wound up ordering a pack of six cans of jackfruit (from Amazon) so I can make stuff like this from scratch and eliminate some of the unhealthy ingredients that’s in prepackaged food.  Oh yeah, and don’t be judging me, because I know the pizza wasn’t healthy either.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, so cut me some slack.  🙂

Because of my nap, I wasn’t tired that night.  Gambit was not impressed.

I slept in rather late on Saturday and quickly got dressed.  Chicky was on her way for a very brief stop enroute to see her guy.  She needed to drop a few things off.

I got to see her fur baby, Cali, who is always excited to visit us.  She’s never forgotten us after the summer that she and Chicky spent here when Chicky was still in college.

We put her in the backyard because we didn’t want to risk a less-than-friendly reception by our dogs.

Ahem.

We sent Chicky on her way with my rice cooker, a couple of homemade energy bars, and a bowl of peanut butter pudding (just so you know that I’m not a complete pig).

After she left, I made lunch for the Mr. – chicken fingers – his favorite.

Thank goodness for being a blogger who takes a lot of pictures because my memory is giving me tiny fits right now.  I blocked a project I’d finished in the wee hours of the morning.  I’ll have photos of that soon.

I didn’t go to bed too late, if you consider midnight acceptable.  It is still summer, after all.

I skipped church on Sunday because I was worried that the loud music would make my headache worse.  Although the headaches are less intense, they are constantly present, brewing beneath the surface.  I did get up, showered, dressed in street clothes, and adorned with makeup.

Go me.

Good thing too, because the Mr. called and asked if I wanted to go to Newk’s with some of our friends from church.  He picked me up, and we had a lovely time with two other couples.

Then, it was home again for the day where I rested, knit a LOT on a new project, listened to RHAP’s Big Brother updates (don’t be judging), and binged on Bosch, my latest Amazon Prime go-to show.

The Mr. and I watched the latest episode of Sharp Objects.  What a dark show; it’s so depressing!

While we watched, the Mr. tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore Pele as he ate a leftover hamburger patty.

Although I’m spending a lot of time at home these days, it’s been good for me and the dogs.

They love that they’re getting extra treats and lots of time in the yard.

We are getting so much quality time together, which is difficult during the school year.

Did you do anything exciting?  Can I live vicariously through you for a little while?  🙂

Cooking All the Things

My summertime running around has been curtailed a bit thanks to a headache that continues to simmer because of my recent run-in with a wall.

That hasn’t diminished my efforts in the kitchen, though.  I’ve been busy trying new recipes and experimenting a little.

Saturday, I found a very, very ripe banana on the kitchen counter.  Coincidentally, I had an email waiting for me.  In it was a recipe for Vegan Banana Pancakes, from LovingitVegan.

They didn’t require many ingredients and were really easy to mix up.  I’ve tried a few vegan pancake recipes in the past and have had issues with them getting fluffy.  This recipe worked well, though.

Later that day, I pulled out something I’d ordered a couple of weeks before . . .

That is the Snack Bar Maker Set, by Pampered Chef.  Someone in the Detoxinista Facebook group had posted a photo of hers, along with bars she’d made in them.  I knew I had to have this.

I love that it’s silicone and can be used in the oven.  I also really like the cover.  It came with a spatula too!

I’d had my eye on the Superfood Pecan Energy Bars that A Couple Cooks, which they had recently posted.

Mine don’t look like theirs, of course, but I think I know why.  I believe that I over-blended the mixture.  The next time I make these, I’ll use my Vitamix to blend up the dates and pecans before hand-mixing the rest of the ingredients.

They look a little like Larabars, don’t they?  The consistency isn’t crunchy, like I’d anticipated, but the taste is wonderful!  There is a tiny bit of a crunch because of the chia seeds, but I’m really looking for more of a granola bar type of crunch.  I found a recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars on the Pampered Chef website.  The Big Man’s World also has a lot of recipes for granola bars.

On Monday, I tried a new recipe, which I saw posted on Instagram.  Dang, that social media and the pressure it brings.

Speaking of social media . . .

Here’s the Healthy Flourless Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Cake – another recipe by The Big Man’s World, which he posted on Instagram (the recipe is on his website too).

I love this one!  The cake is a great texture, and it rose beautifully.  It’s also very moist!  The cinnamon flavor is subtle but still discernible.  Now the icing – well, it’s meh.  I tried his cream cheese option, but it didn’t turn out like I expected.

I made his Paleo version for the Mr. and adapted it for the Mr.’s SCD diet.

I should have left well alone.  The cake looked and smelled delicious, but I worried that the Mr. would want frosting, so I did some experimenting and created my “own” recipe from a combination of a couple of others I found online.

I used dairy-free butter, honey, vanilla, peanut butter, and cinnamon.

It looked pretty, and while the Mr. liked the cake itself, he was not as keen on the frosting.  He said it didn’t have enough flavor.

I really need to stick with coloring inside the lines.

After I’d finished making the desserts, it was time to think about my dinner.  Before heading to the grocery store yesterday morning, I’d flipped through my Instant Pot recipe book and found a recipe for Lentil-Spinach Curry.

The list of ingredients was short (always a win), and I put it together very quickly.  It was ready in about 40 minutes when I factor in sauteeing the vegetables and the actual cook time.

The only thing I had to add after-the-fact was salt and pepper, which the recipe surprisingly didn’t require.

It was delicious, and I ate a bowl of leftover curry for lunch today.  Yum!

A Productive Monday

I can’t say that I’ve been super productive this summer.

I finally caved and turned off my alarm clock, except for World Cup game days and Sundays.

During the school year, I’ve already worked out, showered, and prepared my lunch by 7:15am.

This past weekend, I decided that I was going to have to regain some control.  After all, living like I’m retired is all fun and games until August rolls around.

So, I said that I’d get up at 7.

I lied.  To the universe, that is.

Ha!

But seriously, after rolling out of bed around 9:45 and making my peanut butter banana shake, I headed out.

My first stop was the school.  I wanted to make sure that the schedule I’ve been told was mine is, still in fact, the schedule I’m set with.  Lesson plans are begging to be written so that I won’t find myself scrambling a few days before we open the doors to the new school year.

Alas, all of the administrators were in a meeting.  Nobody could tell me when my building’s floors will be waxed, so putting my classroom back together is still on the back burner.

Monday wasn’t looking like it was going to be very productive.

I managed to run to the grocery store and pick up a few items for dinner.

After an hour long workout (Day 75 of 80 Day Obsession, y’all), I was ready to sit down.

Only I didn’t because I had decided to be productive.

I spent the next four or five hours in the kitchen, with a brief break to fix the noise in my car (see yesterday’s post).

First, I made a bunch of boiled eggs for the Mr.  I use my Instant Pot for these because they come out perfectly each time.  He eats two of these every day for breakfast.

There were dishes from Sunday that needed to be washed.  It wound up taking a little longer because dirty dishes are like rabbits; they multiply!

After peeling the eggs, I prepped the veggies for the Mr.’s dinner so I’d be ready to throw everything onto the stove when he got home.

Go me!

Then, I baked a batch of chocolate chip muffins for myself.

Don’t judge.  The Mr. still had some of his cake leftover.

I figured to strike while the oven was hot . . . kill two birds with one stone . . . and prepped a new-to-me dish.

A week or two ago, I’d seen a recipe posted by the Minimalist Baker on her Instagram account.  It intrigued me because I had most of the ingredients already, and it seemed pretty easy to prepare.

For the first time ever, I roasted a cauliflower, adding the sauce as directed in her step-by-step instructions.

Look how pretty it turned out.

My Instant Pot got a workout today!  I pulled it out for the second time and prepared quinoa.

Then, for the first time ever, I made the Chimichurri sauce that is mentioned in the cauliflower recipe.

Y’all, this stuff, which I’ve never eaten before, is AMAZING!  It really boosted the rest of my dinner, which was fabulous.

You know, after all of that work, I think I’m going to take it a little easy today.  I’m pretty sure I expended enough energy for a couple of days.

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