Monday, July 18, 2022

Weekly Round Up: Empty Nest


A weekly round up: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  In this week's edition we had a mostly empty nest, I tried another Cheap Lazy Vegan recipe, and I'm mostly there on staying put in my job for now.

I'm telling you, you could not keep up with these stepkids of mine if you tried.  No sooner had they gotten back from Boy Scout camp than they were off again this week for a vacation with their mom.  They returned from their travels yesterday and will be able to kick back and relax for the final month of summer break.

Before they left they did repeats of their famous dinners for us.

Monday: stepson #1 made us tacos

Tuesday: stepson #2 made us another round of pasta carbonera

Wednesday: for our first empty nest day, I made us chicken bacon ranch burgers.  It was raining miserably so I cooked them up on the stovetop instead of on the grill.

Thursday: it wasn't raining and we found a couple of steaks hiding out in the freezer so hubs hit up the grill.

Friday: we went out on the town to the Lebanese restaurant.

Saturday: we took a day trip and ended up at a German Biergarten for a late lunch/early dinner.  Prost!

Sunday: the boys are back but had an event to go to so it was just my lonesome for dinner.  I whipped up the latest Cheap Lazy Vegan recipe that came on to my radar: vegan spinach pasta with creamy sauce.  I wasn't sure if this was something that I would like or not and:

  • Wow
  • The blog post with the recipe is a bit different than the Youtube video and I went with what I saw in the video since that's what caught my attention.  All that means is that I added mushrooms and omitted the nutritional yeast.
  • After a lifetime of trying to cook big meals in small pans, I finally got myself a snazzy 5.5 quart nonstick pan from Costco for a whopping $23.  This was the first thing that I used it for and I will never look back.
  • The only change that I will make the next time is to use less than a full can of chick peas since I feel like the ratio to the other ingredients is a bit high. 
  • Spoiler that my next ventures into the CLV world are likely to be the two other recipes in the same video.
  • Did I mention wow?


I've been mostly on the treadmill due to the heat BUT something new that I've started doing is ending all of my treadmill runs with a one mile outside "chaser".  These runs are pretty dreadful because I'm starting sweaty and drained but they're also beautifully short so I think there's something to them.


Oops I left out a family movie success out of last week's life is just so fascinating that I can't possibly recap it all every week.

Somehow The Untouchables came up in conversation.  Hubs sold it to me as "it's about an accountant" and the boys groaned but committed to at least watching the trailer and then agreed to at least try it with us.  It was a smash with the whole family.



I'm still working on The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling.  What I look for in a book is great characters that are believable as real people + stuff happens.  The main character hooked me in from the first page, but I struggled with the "stuff happens" part...a woman who's husband has been deported gets stressed out with her life and walks away from everything to go live in her late grandparents' trailer in a small town with her young daughter...and then nothing happens other than that she's living in a trailer park in a small town with her daughter.  For a while I struggled a bit but now it's got my attention again and I'm hooked.  And still nothing has happened other than she's living in a trailer park...if that isn't an endorsement for the book I don't know what is.


Yeah, you guys have seen this coming.  Each dismal interview that I went on made me appreciate my job a little more and last week's news brought back a purpose to my days and now I can appreciate having a "not that hard job where I get to learn stuff".  I have a plan for what I want to do in the job for the next year instead of the "it's another day that ends in y" situation that I had a few months ago.  There are some things about the company that I don't love, but no deal breakers right now.  It's not like I'm committing to anything - if I change my mind tomorrow I can get back on the hunt.  I'll keep my eye on the job postings and if something super fabulous pops up I'll go for it.

I'm still talking to ShowMe (the company that I wrote about last week that "showed me" the money) but the supervisor pretty much told me that the company is a dumpster fire in our interview, so I'm doing it mainly for entertainment purposes. 

I can't say this enough times: if there is something about your work life that just isn't doing it for you, I really recommend getting out there and interviewing.  It's gotten me out of some miserable work situations in the past, and somehow it's helped to make my current job better.

The Thing That's Made Me Wildly Happy this Summer

I'm not going on vacation this year.  Hubs used up all of his PTO for the big scouting trip and I just didn't feel like going somewhere on my own or using up vacation time to staycate.

What I've been doing instead is taking weekend day trips.  I've become a local tourist.  I had a list of things that sounded interesting to do within a few hours of home that I'd been meaning to check out if I ever found the time and this is the summer where I've found the time.  When I started I had doubts - I have perfectly good parks with lakes in my town, do I really need to drive an hour away to see another park with a lake?  But everything that I've gone to see has been oh so good and I've uncovered a lot of history close by that I had no idea existed.  So my list has gotten much longer and I can't wait to see what I'll find next;-)  The hubs has started coming along on my adventures and the kids are showing interest as well so maybe now that they're home we'll get in some local family adventures.

Your Turn: cooked anything good lately?  Ever had a not-so-great job that got better?  What's your favorite local tourist thing to do?


  1. What a fabulous idea with the treadmill-running-outside combo! Yes, it might feel sticky and uncomfortable at first but I think it's very badass. Does "chaser" mean that you give it an extra push on the pace, too?
    Great advice on interviewing. I once had the idea of setting up my own little accounting company - until I interviewed a few people who ran their own company and I realized that the job I had at the time was so much more comfortable!
    Love the idea of local holidays!! My favourite is hiking in the mountains. :-)

    1. Ha "chaser" just means that I gave it a fun name. My pace goal is to try not to fall over since my legs feel like noodles at that point. Once we get rid of our killer summer heat I'll see if I can step up the pace.

  2. I just looked at that recipe - hummus! Interesting! I would have never thought to put hummus into pasta. Well, you have raved about it so I guess I'll have to try it!

    1. Nicole, I don't like to pressure people into doing things but I think you have to try the pasta! I had exactly the same thoughts that hummus and pasta sound "interesting" but it looked good on the video so I felt that I needed to at least try it IRL. And IMO it's a wow so I'm glad that I did.

  3. Two weeks ago I went to the nearest "big city" where I grew up and I met my mom there and we did all the touristy things we rarely/never did when we lived there. It was so much fun!

    Our town has an incredibly popular dinner theater that people come to from all over and I've never been there. Maybe someday.

    1. Your pictures were beautiful. Dinner theater sounds fun. Yesterday I made a physical list of places nearby that I want to go and was surprised to see how long my list was. I've got it split up between outdoor and indoor stuff - outdoor stuff for this summer & fall and then indoor stuff for winter. I'll be busy for a while!

  4. Like I've said, I think those 1-miler grand finales are a neat way to mix up your routine...and they're short! Your vegan spinach pasta looks SO delish!!!

    1. For sure! Right now they are challenging because it's so hot, but once it starts cooling down & we lose the early sunlight I think I'll appreciate them even more for the chance to be outside.

  5. Oooh I love the idea of becoming a tourist in your own area! That sounds so fun! Definitely something I will suggest to my family. And yay for a WOW of a pasta!

    1. Up until I few weeks ago I thought that I lived in a boring place. I had no idea what was just a few hours away from me. I really hope that the boys will be interested in tagging along since these trips will cut into their computer time and sometimes required them to get up before noon on weekends.

  6. I often end my treadmill runs with a mile or two outside! It's such a great idea! And regarding your work situation- I couldn't agree more. If you aren't happy, and there are other jobs out there- then definitely be interviewing. The food looks amazing as always!

  7. Loving the recipes, as you know! I am not much of a pasta person but do like what she shares/sends out.
    And, yay that the stepkids contributed dinners again before they decamped to vacation with their mom. :)
    I'm glad to hear that Current Job is at least satisfactory for now - sometimes the grass really isn't greener. (I learned that the hard way several years ago... with a much-regretted career move.)