So What? I’m Still a Rock Star

Posted January 12, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life, Reviews

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Amy and I got a hall pass for the night.

We haven’t been out together without Monkeybutt in months.  It sucks to ask someone to babysit in the evenings.  Jane goes to bed at 6:30.  So, basically, we are asking someone to come over and sit in our house while the baby sleeps.  And we don’t even have cable.

But tonight, a friend launched his magazine The Local Dirt.  We decided to go out and support his endeavors to raise awareness about local and sustainable foods in the Tampa area.  Amy’s folks came over to sit in our house, not play with Jane and not watch cable.  And Amy and I headed out to party it up in Ybor City.

Okay, okay.  Partying it up for me means seeing a few old friends, drinking some icy ice water and taste testing the salsa from our friend’s new salsa company.  By the way, the Mango Habanero had a lovely smoky and spicy taste.  Definitely my favorite of his offerings.

Anyway, after the par-tay, I was starving.  Just like old times leaving Ybor, except I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t climbing into a cab, and I still remembered my home address.  But I was hungry, so we headed for the Taco Bus.  I am embarrassed to say that, after 8 years of living in Tampa, this was my first trip to the Taco Bus.  How could I have waited so long?!  It is a BUS, out of which they serve TACOS!  Brilliant!  And so very delicious.  They offer multiple vegetarian options… and they had vegan steak strips!  I ordered the tacos (flour) with vegan steak strips and all the taco veggies.  I got two.  I would happily have put back four; they were that good.  And the green salsa on the table, go for it!  It is hot, but so very tasty.

Thank goodness Amy and I got out tonight.  Turns out we both remember how to socialize a bit.  And we both still know how to scarf down food at the end of the night.  We are rock stars!   (Not really at all)



What Do I Spy Next to the Baby Cereal?

Posted January 11, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life, Reviews

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I am really into salsa right now.  For a while, hummus was my snack of choice; but, lately, I crave a good salsa while I am watching my daily dose of Netflix after Jane goes to bed (right now we are watching Damages–highly recommend).  What kind of salsa do I like, you ask?  Newman’s Own–either peach or pineapple.  The juxtaposition of the sweet with the hot pretty much rocks.  I enjoy my salsa so much, in fact, that I have been known to load the baby in the car and drive to Publix just to grab salsa for that night.  Yesterday, I did just that.

Last night, Amy fixed me a small bowl of salsa to go with my chips and brought it to me while I watched TV.  The bowl serves help me regulate my salsa intake, because I could likely demolish the entire jar without much fanfare.  I will definitely say that salsa was worth the drive to Publix.

Which is good, because the remaining 3/4 jar of salsa never made it into the fridge.  I found it in the pantry this morning, when I went to grab Jane’s cereal.  I take “refrigerate after opening” very seriously, so the salsa found its way to the garbage disposal.

Poor, poor little peaches that gave their all for that salsa…  And poor me, who suffered through hummus and pretzel chips tonight, all the while daydreaming about the salsa that met such a tragic end.  And poor Amy, who is going to have to hear about the premature salsa death for what very well may seem like forever.

(Psst:  Open salsa should go in the fridge.  Just sayin’.)


Ilene (get it?)

Posted January 10, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life

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I am lopsided.  Right now, my pelvis tilts slightly down to the right, making my left leg longer than my right.  This causes some serious issues when I run.  Simply put:  my knee hurts and my lower back pulls constantly.  I skipped my run today, for fear that I would cause damage right before the 25k this weekend.  (I should totally get a gold star for being responsible enough to skip a run.  Who is in charge of the gold stars, anyway?)

And, before you get all up on your high horse, you foes of running:  running doesn’t throw my back out.  It has always been weak and prone to aches, pains and compression.  But, now I have an 11 month old monkey clinging to me a large majority of the time.  Kind of throws a kink in my posture, you know?

I am really looking forward to the visit to the chiropractor tomorrow to sort all this out.  And that will give me two more short runs before my rest day on Saturday.

I am really excited about this 25k.  Running in the woods–and trying not to fall flat on my face–has a zen kind of quality.  And, trail races make me feel pretty badass.  Oh, AND I get to wear my red & yellow trail shoes!

Yep, I am definitely ready to get rid of this nagging pain so I can focus on the awesomeness of this Sunday’s Croom Zoom.


Since when is 11 months so grown up?

Posted January 9, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life

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This morning, I was washing my hands in the bathroom next to Jane’s room.  I had been in her room less that two minutes before, and she was playing with her toys contentedly.  I heard some rustling and looked up in time to see her round the corner, crawling at lightning speed, saying “Mama!Mama!Mama!”  She has said “Mama” before, but it was so clear that she was looking for me… that she wanted me.  I teared up for just a second before I rewarded her efforts by scooping her up, tickling her and hanging her upside down–all of her favorite things.  I love this kid.  Every day brings something new.  Heck, sometimes every hour brings something new.

This afternoon, we were facing each other, playing with blocks on the living room floor.  Suddenly, she stood up (without holding on to anything at all!) and started dancing.  Then she sat back down.  WHAT?!?  The longest she has ever stood by herself was approximately 1.2 seconds.  And now she is dancing???  I guess one day she will just decide that she is going to walk…  I think that some day might be quickly approaching.

This evening, after we had come home from the YMCA, I was talking to my mom on the phone.  I looked over, and Jane was in the walk-in pantry, standing next to the shelves, trying to pull a banana off the bunch.  The kid not only told me she wanted a snack, she told me what she wanted for a snack.  Dang.

I think she might be trying to tell me she isn’t a baby anymore.  I won’t tell her she will always be MY baby (it drove me crazy  when I was a kid and my mom would say that to me)–but I’m not going to promise not to think it!  My sweet baby Jane…

I Had My Reasons

Posted January 8, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life

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I used to claim that I didn’t need to go to church.  God is everywhere, right?  And there exist a multitude of ways to connect with God.  Therefore, I have no need for church.  Or, at least, that is what I told myself.

But, truth be told, walking into my church renews me.  The music centers me, brings me to myself and to God.  I can’t always stay 100% in the moment.  Sometimes my mind wanders during the sermon.  Or I find myself off on a tangent, analyzing this or that.  But, when I force myself to focus, to listen, I know that God is there in that place.  And the collective experience of worship is what makes it holy.  We need each other, to love each other, to honor God in the way we treat each other.

I need church.  I am not my best self without it.  I remembered that today.


Orlando, do you like me the way I like you?

Posted January 7, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life, Reviews

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It seems as though I might be developing a crush on Orlando.  I find myself wooed by the vegan options and the adorable arts district.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located in Orlando’s Downtown Arts District.  I have mentioned Ethos before:  vegan comfort food.  Delicious.  I find myself almost overcome with excitement at being able to order anything in the whole restaurant without having to play 20 questions about the ingredients.  True, I always order the same thing (the What’s the Dilly, Philly?).  But I COULD order anything.  I am so enthused about this place that Amy bought me one of their shirts.  Now I can claim my veganism proudly, while advertising their rad restaurant.  Sweet.

After lunch, we trekked down to Artichoke Red Vegan Market.  The place is tiny, but they pack a lot in.  The have everything from fresh bread and some frozen meat substitute options to health & beauty type stuff and (this is the best part) candy!  Amy bought me a dark chocolate peanut butter cup.  I never really appreciated being able to walk into a store and just buy food that I wanted before I became a vegan.  But I appreciated the hell out of that vegan peanut butter cup.  And, just like Ethos, everything in the store is vegan.  No guesswork, no reading labels.  Just pick something up and enjoy it.

So, yeah, I am crushing pretty hard on Orlando and its vegan-friendly ways right now.  I have felt a little beat-up about the vegan thing lately, so I was pretty grateful for the reprieve today.  Cheers to the little things!

Cake Fail (x2)

Posted January 6, 2012 by Kendra Lee
Categories: Life, Reviews

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I am a failure at baking boxed cake mixes.  A total, utter and complete failure.

In my defense, being a vegan ups the ante on the boxed cake a bit.  But not as much as my two attempts would indicate.

Many boxed  cake mixes are vegan, comprised of a whole lot of impossible to pronounce ingredients, but not of milk or eggs or butter.  The two mixes I picked left it up to the baker to add the eggs and the oil or butter (or Earth’s Balance, in my case).  Doesn’t sound too difficult, right?  Right.

The first cake I tried on Christmas night, after everything had wound down; my parents, Amy and I were kicking around, and a quick cake and coffee treat seemed in order.  The chocolate cake mix called for 3 eggs.  I decided on applesauce as my egg substitute, and dumped 3/4 of a cup into the mix.  Fast forward through the cake’s allotted bake time–it is still like batter in the center.  I left it in until the edges teetered on the threshold of overdone.  The result?  Molten cake.  Not like the cute little molten cakes that are actually baked properly and then surprise the delighted diner with a warm chocolate filling.  Nope.  The whole dang cake was the consistency of pudding.  And we ate it anyway.  My dad kept saying, “Well, it doesn’t TASTE bad…”

I approached cake #2 with grim determination (the cake mixes had been by one get one at Publix).  I mentally sorted through my limited knowledge of baking.  None of the recipes that I had baked successfully had ever used over 1/3 cup of applesauce.  And, to make pancakes, I use one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of baking powder to sub for the egg.  So, since the cake called for 3 eggs, I used 1/4 cup of applesauce and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  Sounds like a plan, right?  I KNOW.

I can’t tell you exactly how the cake turned out, because the consistency depended on where the cake was cut.  Oh, wait… you are confused?  Me, too!  One corner was moist, but crumbly.  The other corner had a consistency like brownies.  The middle was sunken in a bit and almost molten (but not quite).  Totally edible.  But totally weird.

I give up.  I will make cakes from scratch (using a recipe, of course!).  And one day my daughter will say to me, “Why don’t you ever bake cakes out of the box like Nana does?”