Catch up…

Thanks everyone for your kind words of congratulations. 🙂

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted, I didn’t mean to leave you hanging. I’ve just been really busy…

**** Warning, this is going to be a looooong post. ****

Friday after we filled out paperwork, picked up the keys, and met the cable people at the apartment (my taste-tester took care of this part, I was taking pictures of the kitchen and watching Little-bit), we headed back to the hotel. My taste-tester went to work and I blogged. I started making a list of the things we would need for the apartment, like a new toaster, so that we could check out of the hotel on Saturday and stay at our new apartment without our furniture*. I spent some time on google maps making sure I knew how to get to those stores.

When my taste-tester returned from work I set out to the stores. I took all my new purchases to the empty apartment and headed back to the hotel. My new toaster, isn’t it cute? I thought the red would look nice against all that white…

We had California Pizza Kitchen to go for a fast dinner, and brought it back to the hotel. We then proceeded to crash for the night. Did you know that if you order the pizzas with the cold toppings to-go, you get the toppings in a separate container? I think we actually got more toppings this way. 😀 Half Vegetarian Greek/ Half Tostada on wheat crust…

I had an appointment with a dog trainer at 9 am Saturday morning (**I’ll explain in a bit). Little-bit and I returned to the hotel around 10:20 am (check out is at noon). While I was with the dog trainer, my taste-tester was packing up our stuff so that we could check out of the hotel. Amazingly we were able to check out at 11am… record time. 😉 (I had packed a bunch of stuff before I left that morning, too) We then spent the better part of the day setting up the apartment and doing laundry. It’s all becoming a blur now.

*As for our furniture… since we have all our stuff in a PODS container, moving both out of our old place and in to our new place is a bit tricky. The PODS container takes up a parking space, but needs three parking spaces to be put/removed from there. For our old apartment we scouted out three parking places when the container arrived, then parked our cars on either sided of it until it was picked up. The new apartment has limited parking and small parking spaces. The apartment office requested that we wait until the workweek (when the complex will be more accessible) to bring in the PODS container. So my taste-tester talked to his boss and we will have the PODS delivered this week, with my taste-tester possibly working half days those days.

**As for the dog trainer… I found a daycare that has dog trainers and a vet on site… I thought I’d get some help with Little-bit’s separation anxiety, because I am at my wit’s end trying to help him. I thought that maybe with all the changes we’ve been making to his routine, that maybe now would be the time to get in there and try something new to help him overcome his anxiety. I know all about irrational anxiety, so I know this won’t be easy. I had stopped by the daycare on Thursday, I think, and talked with the trainer. In my past life, I worked at a no-kill dog shelter, my boss was a dog trainer/ behavior modification specialist so I felt I could judge a good trainer from my past experiences. I was impressed by his knowledge and his gentleness and I could see he cared and wanted to help Little-bit overcome his fear (that the world will end if I’m not around). He requested that I come back on Saturday, see the vet and get Little-bit on Reconcile (puppy Prozac) and then start Little-bit on a behavior modification program. (It has been suggested by my previous vet that I may need to put him on anti-anxiety meds, two and a half years of not being able to leave the house without making special arrangements for Little-bit and the difficulties we faced tag-teaming him on the long drive across the country, convinced me that perhaps it was time to see if medication would help.) I will meet with the trainer once a week for 5 weeks, he will train me to make fake entrances and exits and he will train Little-bit to be ok when I’m not around. When I went in on Saturday morning, I felt at ease with both the trainer and the vet, this is huge for me and says a lot about these guys. I am usually very uncomfortable around men, especially in a room alone, I did not feel any wariness around these guys. I truly believe they want to help Little-bit, I do not feel like a number. My next appointment is Tuesday (tomorrow) morning, I’ll let you know how it goes.


I haven’t forgotten about the slide show [part one, part two], I’ll be posting again later today with more pictures from the trip.

In an effort to catch up on all that has happened in the very recent past, I will talk about some more recent stuff on this post and then continue the slide show in another post later today. mmmK?


Since my passion is cooking, then it’s safe to say that grocery stores are my muse. While in the DC area, Whole Foods became my favorite store. Conventional grocery stores didn’t carry most of the new vegan stuff I wanted to try, nor did they have the quality of produce I was looking for. Produce being my main ingredient, it was important to me to have quality produce. Harris Teeter carried a few things I wanted like sliced bread, pickles, olives, and a few odds and ends. Trader Joe’s was located in the opposite direction of Whole Foods and I just never really clicked there, sure they had a few items of interest, but I think it is like comparing Pepsi to Coke. They are similar but different. Once you find a brand you like, you tend to prefer it. The brands sold at WF are not usually sold at TJs… so I usually just went to WF. Besides, I didn’t have a lot of time to run around town when I went to the store, I had a husband trying to deal with an anxious puppy who was waiting for me to hurry back home. Two hours seemed to be the maximum amount of time I could leave before Little-bit detonated and made my taste-tester’s life miserable, and those two hours weren’t a walk in the park either as I’ve been told.

Anyway, since coming to San Diego I’ve been able to visit a few grocery stores, with my guys (my taste-tester and Little-bit) waiting for me in the car. First and foremost was, of course, Whole Foods. It was a much bigger store than my old one, it had THREE isles for beauty products. I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the whole store. I had decided, while in the hotel (w/ kitchenette), to make a soup from scratch, we were both tired of road food. The produce looked amazing, the deli too. I was unable to find my ‘je ne sais quoi’, better than bouillon vegetable soup base, this bummed me out a bit. (They had better than bouillon, just not in vegetable flavor.) I settled for a boxed broth. I bought produce, bread, and some spices to make the soup (pictures below). Overall, I liked the store. My taste-tester and I swapped places, because I wanted him to see this store. He returned excitedly asking if I had seen all the vegan selections in the deli area. Umm, maybe I hadn’t… “go look!” We swapped again, this time I bought a soup and a sandwich, we were hungry now, right? 😉

homemade soup ingredients… I did not add any water, and I did not drain the beans (b/c it has seaweed in it instead of salt), I used a handful of carrots and everything you see pictured including salt and pepper… I ended up not putting the spinach in the soup, I decided to leave it for a salad (hey, I still haven’t eaten that spinach yet, hope it’s still good… dinner tonight?)…

split pea soup and mother earth sandwich… the soup was vegan, not sure if the sandwich was vegan or not – the hummus was lighter in color than I’m use to (did it have mayo in it?)… both were delicious…

homemade soup… this made enough for three dinners (6 servings) and a lunch (2 smaller servings)…

oh, yea, that fresh baked multi-grain seedy bread was good…

I’ve been to that WF three times now, the second visit we went just for lunch… I bought a tortilla soup (vegan) and an al fresco avocado sandwich – this had Parmesan cheese in it… we were too hungry for a picture, sorry… we really liked the sandwich, the soup was ok, we liked the split pea, from the previous visit, better.

My third trip to WF was once we got into the apartment, I bought more produce and stuff, can’t recall what exactly. I do remember finding out that the juice I normally get, Apple and Eve was not at this WF, nor was my non-dairy soy milk, Omega-3 Silk. They did sell Silk creamer, and some thin cartons of something labeled Silk… but not my usual Silk. Hmm…

Never fear… San Diego actually has a few competitors to WF besides TJs… at the hotel we had already scoped out a store called Sprouts Farmer’s Market… imagine the produce department taking over your grocery store… yep, the whole store seemed like it was the produce department, there were a few isles of canned and boxed things, but the main focus of this store is produce. Nice. My taste-tester was sent for Silk and water after work one day, and found our usual Silk. So I knew I could always find it there if necessary.

When I visited Sprouts, after my taste-tester said I ‘had’ to see it, I bought some bananas and some Ezekiel Bread. I’ve read many good reviews about Ezekiel bread, but was never able to find it before. It was good, but I’m not sure I’m going to flip for it though. We have found that we prefer the fresh baked stuff from the bakery better. Don’t get me wrong, it has great stats and it’s ‘sprouted’, but for us, we’ll be taking fresh baked, thanks…

Oh, in case you didn’t know, I LOVE waffles… most of the hotels we were staying at had ‘make-it-yourself’ waffles (not vegan)… there are benefits to getting breakfast for two and taking it back to your room to eat… like being able to add bananas… YUM… (Friday morning’s breakfast – the last hotel breakfast we consumed)…

Another WF competitor around here is a store called Jimbo’s Naturally… imagine a smaller WF. Jimbo’s had my je ne sais quoi AND my preferred flavor of Silk, woohoo! Nice.

There are more brands of grocery stores that I have yet to explore; Ralph’s, Vons, and Fresh & Easy… they may be more in the conventional grocery store category, but like I said before, I did go to Harris Teeter occasionally for a few not WF specific items.

It’ll take some time, but I’ll soon have the stores figured out so that I don’t have to go to everyone of them all of the time.


Have I bored you yet? Sorry this is so long and wordy… I have been doing a ‘day in the life’ for my dog trainer for the last few days, so I am still in that mode, I think.


This past weekend was my taste-tester’s birthday. Yea! Even though I do have an oven, I do not have my dishes yet (just my camping gear). So during my third visit to WF I picked up some birthday food. A flavor of coconut milk (vegan) ice cream we hadn’t tried yet, vegan cookies, and vegan muffins… all were very good, especially the ice cream and the cookies 😉 …

Yesterday we decided to get out and see this town a bit more… well, as much as you can when you have to tag-team the dog in the car. That’s when I went to Jimbos, I also checked out a store called Pet People. Next we went to Petsmart and DSW. Little-bit and I went exploring the isles of Petsmart while my taste-tester went in search of some new work shoes. Then we went to a different Whole Foods, this one is more downtown and urban than the previous one we visited. I was intimidated by the urban-ness at first, but once inside my ‘favorite store’, I felt right at home. Here I found a vegan chocolate cake (made by the same company as the vegan cookies)… yum… (toot toot, my magic chocolate cake is better, but this will do when you cannot make your own 😉 )…

Some chips that I’ve read good reviews about on other blogs… Food Should Taste Good… the Jalapeno chips are really good (and spicy) – like having your salsa baked into the tortilla chip… the sweet potato are also very good, they are lightly sweet and taste very much like a sweet potato even though they are a corn chip with sweet potato baked in…

At some point with all this grocery store exploration I bought the ingredients to make pasta with olives on the side (one of my taste-tester’s fav. meals)… Happy Birthday, Honey… yum…

*side note: You may have notice that not all the food pictured is vegan. While on our trip we decided that getting vegan would probably be hard to do, especially in the mid-west, so we ordered items off the menu that resembled our food requirements as close as we could without ruffling any feathers. As long as it was vegetarian, and it sounded like it would taste good, we went ahead and ordered it. That said, we definitely felt the difference and were eager to get back to my cooking, which is vegan.

Until next time…
~nic

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4 thoughts on “Catch up…

  1. Wow, lots going on over on your end!

    I love Sprouts and miss it dearly. I am still waiting for us to go a WF here but thank God we have TJ’s. Your waffles look amazing and I never knew that about CPK (Ok I need to stop with the abbreviations!)

    I can’t wait to watch your slide show, my internet is being all funky like tonight so I will try when it decides to be normal again.

    • simplyshaka – Yeah, I had never heard of Sprouts until we went looking for groceries stores here, it’s pretty neat to have the store dedicated to produce. 🙂

      When the cashier showed me my pizza at CPK and it was just beans on one side and cheese on the other, I’m sure my face showed my confusion. She quickly said that the toppings were on the side. I was dubious to say the least… but once I took a look and saw the toppings looked like little salads… all was right with the world. 😉

  2. Pingback: Shopping Excursion… « The Auspicious Squirrel

  3. Pingback: Cleanup Night… « The Auspicious Squirrel

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