Let’s Talk CLE

If you follow my blog at all, you will know that I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. Born and raised in a suburb south of Cleveland, I called Cleveland home for 30+ years.

Whenever anyone says they are visiting Cleveland I rattle off a list of amazing places they can visit and places they can eat.

One of my favorites is the Metroparks, no matter the time of year, they are amazing.

I had the chance to bring two people with me to Cleveland recently on a visit to see family for the holidays. We only had a few hours to be tourists before family obligations, but Sam and I made the best of it.

Quick stops at:

Great Lakes Brewery for some wine, beer, mustard and BBQ sauce – I’m not sure how I feel about the wine, but the rest are delicious.

West Side Market Cafe for breakfast never disappoints anyone and you can day drink if you like!

West Side Market for delicious items for our holiday dinner.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream – didn’t stay, but we took some home!

And last, but not least, the Cleveland sign!

I can’t tell you how much I love this city and even though I work here a few days a week I don’t get to enjoy all it has to offer.

Be prepared for more tourist stops while I am in Cleveland the next few weeks, as I plan on bringing company up periodically to enjoy the sights and sounds of my hometown.

Until next time.

Weight Watchers Freestyle – Weeks One & Two

This is a new venture for me. I haven’t even dipped a toe into Weight Watchers for at least 10 years.

Now that I have a nifty smart phone, it makes the calculation way easier than a notebook and calculator.

Here are some facts of the last two weeks:

I can honestly say I haven’t been to the gym. I have not been very active due to the ridiculous cold outside. It’s not an excuse, it’s life and guess what I’m quite okay with being sedentary sometimes.

After a week I have noticed these things:

  • Less acne
  • Stomach not acting up (likely less garbage going in)
  • Better food buying habits
  • Cooking more at home vs eating out
  • Same headache pain, but a little decrease in number of days
  • Additional energy, although it may be out of boredom – not sure

I’ve been cooking more and paying attention to the Freestyle plan. There are over 200 foods that are “free” and if I plan right I am only using points on things like:

  • Cheese
  • Potatoes
  • Bread
  • Sour Cream
  • Sweets

For the first couple of weeks I went over my daily points. 23 points daily and 42 extra/week goes fast – it’s not as simple as you would think.

This + some fruit is a decent breakfast. Keeps me filled up for most of the morning. Something like this is about 5 points because I added cheese and some potatoes. The eggs and veggies were zero points as was the fruit.

For lunch I took some chicken breasts, threw them in the InstantPot earlier in the week, shredded them and made some curry chicken salad (minus the grapes). The 5 points came from some light mayo and the tortilla shell.

For dinner I used a few points for rice and the olive oil to sauté the brussel sprouts/mushrooms/onions. Salmon and veggies are free and that was a pretty well rounded dinner.

Overall, I am happy with Weight Watchers and the commercials that talk about how it is “a way of living” is true. I’m lowering carb and sugar intake, drinking more water and eliminating my bad eating out habits.


Folks, I have never considered myself a very active person. I’m more of a “if I am running, you better be as well, because something is wrong”.

I rejoined Planet Fitness and have been good about going 3-4 days/week, only eating out when absolutely necessary (Starbucks doesn’t count) and making sure I am walking Pippa more often.

This doesn’t mean I gave up all sugar or did some wild and crazy diet. It just means I have made some lifestyle changes.

When I tipped the scale at 215 about 6 weeks ago I almost lost my mind. I can’t remember the last time I was over 200 pounds. I am assuming the stress and massive travel I have been doing (and eating out) caused a majority of my weight gain.

I finally hit under 200 pounds again this week! I was making progress! Until I hit a brick wall!

A week ago today I fell, it isn’t an exciting story, so I’ll spare those details. Instead I’ll show you what it looked like after 8 hours.

Shockingly it wasn’t broken, but f**k it hurt. The emergency room looked at it and said mmmhmmm, it’s a hematoma and gave me a big ass boot to wear. I was less than thrilled.

Made it through last weekend, but now I am restless and even though my boot is gone, I still have a brace. No running, long walks, stairs and especially no driving because of torn tendons and ligaments under the swelling. That has also meant no gym for me.

I have been trying to eat right, but being immobile has equaled no major activity.

Tomorrow I am forcing myself to at least work on abs and arms at the gym, just so I do not lose the progress I have been making.

I need to drink more water and rally back. I’m just hoping that this week didn’t put my progress too far back.

Help me keep going. Motivate me. Kick my ass in gear. Help keep me accountable. I will do the same for you.

Inching Along

I have been getting Facebook messages asking if I was going to blog again and how I was doing, in which case I thought maybe a post with pictures showing what’s been going on since August 14, 2017.

I took a quick trip to Chicago, came home and spent a short bit of time with these two lovelies after work one night. Then it was off to home with my daughter to get ready to send her off to college

After an extensive shopping spree and two car loads, we got her all settled in and I headed towards home.

I had spent most of my summer alone, as my girl was living life in Tennessee. While she was gone I realized I needed to start making some life choices.

After a “last meal” at my favorite place, Condado Taco, I started delving into the lovely world of meal prep. I was edging on a 4-5 day work trip and needed to make sure I wasn’t tempted to go out to eat.

On August 25, 2017, I hit my highest weight in years of 215 lbs. I was devastated and knew it was time to make changes. Meal prep, joining Planet Fitness and investing in an iWatch were all on the list of things to do.

Enjoyed a night out with some girlfriends and started back on the journey of deciding that I was worth it. That someone, somewhere would find me lovable, attractive and worthy of spending time with.

The following week was HELL at work, getting a grant submitted. I got home from that week and wanted nothing more than to sleep for days!

Spent Labor Day weekend visiting family, enjoying good ice cream from a local spot and baking some treats!

Loving on these four creatures as much as possible.

Had a few dates, been to the gym and have continued to cook, clean and declutter my home.

I have an outside cat (or three) who visit my porch frequently that I am feeding and I am set for a couple weeks of busy work and family/friend activities.

Things have really been uneventful, I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been pretty and I’ve been in pajamas.

Entering into sports season and that makes me happy, especially since that means post-season baseball, football, college football and hockey. I think basketball starts soon, but I’ll leave that to my mom.

Maybe this post will be my catalyst back into blogging and reviewing. Who knows, as I say that often.

Sending peace & love to you!

Seafood Miso Soup

As you know I have been using my Instant Pot a lot the last few weeks making different things. 

I love kitchen gadgets and this has to be one of the best ones that I have found (next to my VitaMix) for everyday use in the kitchen.

My daughter loves Miso and I do as well, but I don’t always have time to run to Trader Joe’s to pick up some. 

Lately I have been ordering from Door to Door Organics each week and this recipe was my starter inspiration for this dish.

I had to convert this from stovetop to Instant Pot, but after consulting my handbook, I knew I had a plan!

I added

  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend

To the existing recipe in order to make it a little heartier and give it some texture. 

Started with dissolving the Miso paste in the Instant Pot on sauté

Then I added veggies, seafood and tofu. Locked the lid and cooked on the soup setting for 5 minutes.

Once this was done,  I added my Soba Noodles and cooked for an additional 3 minutes. 

Vióla, you have my version of Miso Soup!

What have you made in your Instant Pot lately?

Instant Pot Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Last week while visiting my brother and his family, I made a pot of Broccoli & Cheese Soup on the stove. It was pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself, but it took about an hour to make and got three pans dirty. Honestly, that was way too much work for me and I would have rather spent time playing with my nephew.

While home yesterday I stared into the fridge looking for something to make that was going to be quick and easy. Fortunately at home I have an Instant Pot and I have a Pampered Chef’s Manual Food Processor so making this soup for a second time didn’t require a whole lot of effort and it still tasted pretty darn good.

My daughter took two bowls of it, I had two bowls of it and at the end of the day, we were both pretty happy with what was for dinner.

Broccoli & Cheese Soup.png


Black Beans & Rice (Instant Pot)

Recently I purchased an Instant Pot and have been scouring the internet for recipes to try that accommodate both myself and the vegetarian in my home.  I created a Pinterest board as well to try and put recipes in one place to try.

Last night I had the opportunity to make some dishes with my Instant Pot so that my daughter would be fed before I headed out to a hockey game.

I love Guy Fieri and Food Network – they make cooking so easy, so I hit them up for an idea for black beans in a pressure cooker and I found this:

So, I took the time to make some black beans and rice – I think it turned out great, but I did have to visit the little hispanic grocery store in town to get some epazote (Mexican oregano).

I did cook them all separate, however if you don’t care that your white rice turns black when cooking with beans, there are options for that and the Instant Pot website has some good options for a combined dish.

Since I am not a vegetarian, I like some chicken with my beans and rice.  Once I pulled the beans out, I put a few frozen chicken breasts into the Instant Pot, set it to 25 minutes and viola, shredded chicken to add.

I am still experimenting and I may even get up the nerve to make some yogurt this weekend (it looks complicated) and I will keep you updated with what I am making and tasting.

Share your favorites with me or head over to my Pinterest page and let me know what you have made!

Happy Cooking!