Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1 Week Countdown!

We are only one week away from takeoff,
and absolutely can't believe it!

To help us prep, the city of Los Angeles has had quite the dreary, rainy weather. We appreciate it (as do the plants that produce food i love so much), but Adler is really pissed. She is a princess, and does not prefer using the bathroom on soggy ground. She has requested that i publicly request a little sunshine staying power for her.

So after months of preparation, i am fitting all the last minute to-dos into this week; and i am terrified that i'm going to miss something!

I have our packing list, have finalized our intinerary, have started to rain guard our shoes, hats, & coats, and of course, have started our list of who needs souvenirs!

Update on previous posts:

To save money, we cancelled our hotel room for Christmas Day, and are doing our London Walk Christmas Walk on Boxing Day instead. Once again, we are so thankful to have an amazing friend that is letting us stay at her flat!!! It has saved us SO much money, and made life exponentially easier!

For Christmas Day transportation (as you may remember ALL transportation is closed on Christmas Day, except National Express Coach and cab service), Nationa Express Coach tickets went on sale about a month ago, and I secured us two seats on board. That will take us as far as Victoria Coach Station, which will allow us to walk around the streets of London a bit before taking a cab (an extra-charged/expensive one) to our final destination. (Lesson learned, be extra careful of which day you arrive in London!) 

Another perk, that i will have to confirm once we arrive, the only left luggage service in town open on Christmas Day, is located inside Victoria Coach Station. This will let us store our bigger bags for a bit, while we walk around, and look for a place airing the Queen's Christmas message.

For phone use: AT&T changed their international plan in October, and now provide slightly better packages. We will have unlimited wi-fi and text messaging (from what i understand we will be able to text message for free with everyone in US --- i mean it will use your text messages, but we'll be fine), limited amount of data, and it will cost 50 cents a minute to talk (so don't plan on hearing our voices, unless we skype).

The hardest part still is leaving the adorable little one that is currently cuddled next to me. I wish we could have a chat with her and make her understand that we'll just be gone for a little bit, and we still love her very much!

So thankful that we have a safe place for her to stay, and a lot of fun stuff and fun people to distract us!

As a treat, to hold you over for photos to come, here is one of our favorites from my last trip to England.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What do vegetarians eat?

Ever since Jayson and I changed our eating habits, i have had a lot of people ask us what we eat.

We eat just about everything! Just not meat, and we limit our dairy (i also limit my egg intake, and we prefer to know where our eggs come from). We limit any soy intake (that is what is often put into vegetarians meals) because soy is not great for you, and especially not great for me, as it interacts with my medicine i take for my hypothyroid.

We still eat really well, and eat really delicious food!

So i wanted to share a little of some our delicious meals; this go round, they both happen to be vegan.

We have been using a program called GatheredTable that helps us plan our meals for the week. It does have recipes that it adds to your calendar for you, but i like to search the web for more vegan options. Then, it automatically will pop in recipes on your week's calendar, and you can play around with it... And maybe even replace a recipe with another one you've been craving.

This week, i wanted to make a couple of dishes that would make great leftovers. So i replaced a couple of recipes with ones i recently found on blogs. (And just to show how great these are, both of these are actually photos of the leftovers)

Mashed Chickpea Salad

This is a great alternative, if you want something that has the ease of a tuna or chicken salad. It is a chickpea/garbanzo bean and hummus base, so from there, even though it has you put in carrots and celery and scallions, you can really add whatever you want. 

On some of my leftovers, I added tomatoes and jalapeƱos.

Click here for the link to the original recipe on The Simple Veganista. 

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili

If any of you are like us, you're out squashed by this point of the year! We weren't sure if we could handle another recipe, but we still had a butternut squash sitting on our counter.

This is one of my favorite recipes I've ever made with or without meat. 

It is a perfect warm and cozy type of dish, with spices and the slightest bit of sweetness from the squash.

We didn't have any chipotle powder, so I just left it out, and it was fine. I bet it would be even more delicious with that extra smokey flavor. Also, it calls for 3 or 4 cups of butternut squash. Since we were a little tired of the squash flavor, i only used 3 cups, and I think it was perfect.

If you are tempted to add dairy to this (like my husband is prone to do), just use avocados instead! They add that creamy texture that you may feel you're missing. In this photo I also added green onions and jalapeƱos to the top, but you can also add tortilla chips or white or purple onions or anything else you would normally add to a chili!

Click here for the link to the original recipe also from The Simple Veganista. 

By the way, our biggest tip for making this one: peel the butternut squash before cutting. Those little buggers are hard to chop!

Since we only have a two person house, these both have lasted all week. In between, we've had a couple of other quick make meals; and of course, yesterday we had out Casa Vega happy hour meal of chips and salsa and a mexican pizza (without meat)!

If you do try either of these recipes, let me know! 

If not, at least rest assured that we are eating well. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Birthday Superhero!

So, i'm 30. Really.

And what else could i have possibly done to ring in my thirties than go to Disneyland, dress up as a Captain America Fan Girl, and run a 5K.

First off, let me say, it was AMAZING! I definitely encourage any and everyone to sign up for a Disneyland run! Though, be warned, you have to sign up 9 months in advance and IMMEDIATELY. Our race was sold out within 45 minutes.

Below, i'll walk you through a little of the experience (So this will be a long post, BUT with lots of pictures!... please excuse poor quality, these are all of the iphone variety, and i'm pretty sure my lens was dirty)

Our race was on November 15th, so we had to arrive to pick up our race packets on my birthday, November 14th.

What i love about Disneyland is how great they are at signage, and how easily you can find what you need. When there wasn't a sign telling us where to go there was an actual human being!

We found our way down to the lower level, picked up our race bibs, had a little photo shoot in front of a step and repeat, and  headed upstairs to the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo.

After picking up our race shirts and gEAR bag (a clear bag that you could use to check your belongings on race day), we explored the floor, and made our way over to the Disney exclusive merchandise line.

There wasn't a lot for the 5Kers (what do they not take us seriously? ;) ), but we found a shirt for me and a glass
for Jayson.

The Expo was neat, but unless you were a serious runner, it was just a bunch of shiny pretty things that you didn't need.

I did love the extra spots they had for photo ops though!

To continue my birthday celebration, i had my birthday Mike Cake Pop, then we headed into Disneyland to get my birthday button and ride the Jingle Cruise, which we have somehow missed the last 3 years that we've been passholders.

After stopping by our hotel (Hotel Indigo, which is really nice, if you're interested. Here is their TripAdvisor link: click here ), we went to dinner inside
California Adventure.

The "living room" of our hotel room

Jayson picked Wine Country Trattoria because, though i'm not a huge fan of Italian food, it was one of the only options that had multiple Vegetarian options. I love Disney, but their parks really fall short on Vegetarian food options, and completely fail when it comes to Vegan choices. It's definitely something they could and should work on.

Sassy Jayson

I asked Jayson if there was anything in my teeth and i got this photo.

Me looking really drunk off my first drink... Well i look drunk or sassy.

And of course, the beautiful birthday dessert they provide.

But can i just say... i love Disneyland at Christmas time.

Now for the race!

So not the greatest, but i only got about an hour and a half to two hours of sleep before we woke up at 3:30 am to prepare for the race, BUT the excitement of it all kept me going!

We had a great warm up walking from our hotel to the starting line, and it was fantastic to already see so many people dressed up!

They had a small stage and a big screen set up at the start line to entertain us before the start. We were told that Hydra stole some sort of serum, and we were racing to get it back... of course we were.

For Disney's 5Ks, they have 5,000 runners (10,000 for 10k), and we were placed in Corral B... well, Jayson was Corral A, but he very kindly decided to run with me.

We started about 8 minutes after the first runner, so all of our times are about 8 minutes less than what the mile markers show.

Not sure if any of you have ever run in a giant race like this, but for the first few minutes you are basically forced to walk while everyone starts out the gate. Even with that, and a pause for a couple of photo ops, we ran a 12 minute mile for the first mile.

The first half of the race goes through California Adventure (first taking you through the backstage area), and it's so fun to not only be in a near empty park, but also to be able to RUN through the streets!

(We stopped for a picture in front of the castle, but the iphone version did not turn out)

There were several character photo ops along the way (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Mickey & Minnie), but we bypassed those to stay on the race. When we came to Thor about a mile and 3/4 in, we decided to stop.

Don't get me wrong, it is FANTASTIC that we have that photo, BUT that was a TERRIBLE idea. We stopped for 14 minutes in the middle of a run, and our muscles definitely didn't appreciate getting cold and then being forced to run again.

If we do one of these again, we probably won't stop for any of these character meet & greets.

But Mr. Thor was fantastic, and the guy even had
Chris Hemsworth's accent (specifically, his voice sounded like Chris Hemsworth!)

Did i mention that Thor's hammer was also running in the race?

We were forced to walk a little more for the rest of the race, due to our muscles tightening up from the cold stop.

Our second mile total, once you took out the 14 minute photo stop, ended up being about 16 minutes. Part of me is disappointed that we stopped for so many photos, only because i wanted to see how fast i could run the 5k, but the other part of me realizes... Hey, it's Disneyland!
Stop and enjoy the happy!

We ran through New Orleans, and out through the backstage area to Downtown Disney.

Not sure why, but this guy ran for a long time with his daughter bouncing on his shoulder.

Realizing that the race was almost over, we actually slowed down even more to enjoy the last of it. Our last mile was about 15 minutes.

What i also loved about the run was having so many people and Disney employees on the track cheering us on! It really made you feel like you should keep running. They didn't come out to see you walk after all!

It took us almost exactly an hour to go through the parks, and I don't think we planned on any less time. This was a fun run, and wasn't timed. No pressure, it was just to explore the Disney/Marvel-ishness of everything!

We got our medals and a handy dandy treat box, banana, water, and powerade!

I love the look this lady is giving Jayson.

All and all, I absolutely loved the experience, and am so thankful that's how I spent my 30th. I even told Jayson that I think we should probably do more 5Ks and 10Ks. :)