Chicago’s Riverwalk

You knew I wouldn’t let my leftover French fries go to waste, right?  I used an ounce of chopped leftover fries as the base of my omelette.  I will tell you though, that this is best right out of the cast iron skillet, because the fries get nice and crunchy, but even reheated, this was tasty.  One egg, egg whites, deli ham, pepper jack cheese and spinach for 7 points, with strawberries and mango on the side.

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I’ve been really excited about walking around new places around my office.  The riverwalk was too far away from my old office to take advantage of.  Basically by the time I got there I would have had to turn around and go back.

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It was probably 74 degrees on my walk and so many people were out.  It’s a great place to take your lunch and just people watch.

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Not more than a month ago, Hannah showed me photo of an igloo – basically no matter the weather, hot, cold, rainy, you can rent this “bubble” and its temperature controlled with comfy furniture and you can drink wine and eat food in there.  Um, it isn’t cheap – a party of six costs $600 – which includes three glasses of wine per person and a charcuterie platter.  It also lights up at night.   Still pretty cool though!

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I meant to defrost some chicken to cook up before work yesterday, but I forgot.  I brought cucumber and hummus and friut, but just needed some protein.  During one of my walks the other day, I saw a sign for this place – The Halal Guys

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I figured I’d just pick up their chicken and make these cucumber hummus chicken bites.  They asked if I wanted their signature white sauce and hot sauce, so I figured why not?  First, I am not sure why the chicken is . . . grey.  Second, while tender, it had hardly any flavor.  And that hot sauce?!  Holy balls, my lips were burning after the first bite.  I tried to scrape it off with a knife, but the flavor still lingered.  I may have eaten half that plate, with an orange and a banana.  Lunch was lame – oh well – there are worse world problems!

The office is coming together, considering we’ve only been in the space three days.  I need to figure out where to put all the junk my bosses don’t want because right now my desk looks like junk yard.  I look at it and think “I’ve only been with this firm for just over five months, I can’t have accumlated this much shit!”

 Lori – you will be happy to know that the mini coffee station is right around the corner from my desk.  It has three different types of teas, coffees and hot chocolate.  It also has a mini fridge so I can keep my lunch in there too.  I like to think they made that area just for me. 😀

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I worked late because I was night secretary, so I didn’t even start making my dinner until 8 p.m.  

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 I got a bunch of Cabot Cheese loot in the mail.  I am loving these individually packaged cheese – each one is 3/4 of an ounce for 3 points.  Um, somehow if I eyeball an ounce of cheese off a block of cheese, it ends up being half the block 😛  I still had some of the prepackaged zoodles in the fridge, and ground beef so I had beef and zoodle tacos with the Cabot cheese.  I know I’ve talked about the ghee at Trader Joe’s before – it’s basically clarified butter, but 1/2 a teaspoon is only 1 point and adds so much flavor to these fried tacos.  I used Pam and that 1/2 teaspoon of ghee to fry these and they were super crunchy, and you get that buttery taste in every bite.

I am on the train early going to meet my sister for our weekly WI.  I missed last week due to the office move and Cooking Club.   I have no idea how much I weigh because neither of the scales in my house work.  I should just throw them out now that I think about it!  And the WW meeting is just  a short 3 minute walk to my office Open-mouthed smile

I’ll be happy to see my sister too – haven’t seen her all week!   Make it a great day!

Beer and a Burger

It was already a balmy 60 degrees when I left the house yesterday morning – love!  I think my ideal temps would be from 50-70 degrees, no humidity. That’s not too much to ask of Chicago, is it?!   I made a mason jar parfait for my train breakfast – one container Chobani (2), strawberries, bananas, a little drizzle of sugar free pancake syrup and 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds (1).

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I am loving our new work space.  What I am not loving is that the stuff my bosses don’t want in their offices has somehow piled up at my desk, and I am not a happy camper about that.  I still have four boxes of stuff I need to unpack, but now have no where to put it.  Hopefully I’ll have some down time today to find a spot to put their stuff.  My boss had a lunch meeting, but he was the only one getting food.  Normally hospitality takes care of food, but I told the woman who normally orders food not to worry about it (she’s still getting situated too, with new food options around our new office, etc.).   Hannah’s Bretzel is right around the corner, so I picked a sandwich up for my boss, and got a fruit bowl and a small container of almonds (4) for myself.

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Note to self:  buy fresh mint and put it on all your fresh fruit.  It was so good!!  I could eat a giant container of that fruit.

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My sister has been off the last two days, so I’ve gotten my walking shoes on.  Yesterday I walked to Millenium Park and Maggie Daley Park – such a pretty walk.  By the time I got back to my desk, I was already at 10,000 steps!  Right now I am in two fit bit challenges for the week, and it does push me to get more steps in every day.

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When I got home, the kadults found out that their house closing is being pushed back a week.  This is a sellers market, and the appraisal wasn’t going to get finished in time.  I know they are so anxious to move out, but this is just a small bump in the road.  Hannah is so cute, she went to Aldi yesterday and bought all the staples for her new kitchen – seasonings, flour, sugar, etc.  They both keep asking “what else do you think we need?”  I told them they should just wait to move in and then decided what’s necessary, instead of buying something you may not use (a crock pot!).  

And you know I have so much kitchen stuff, I told Hannah she could take anything she wanted.  Well, except the deep fryer.  She can’t have that.  Or my cast iron skillets.  She can’t have that either.  Kidding!  I plan on giving her a couple of my cast iron skillets, but I am serious about keeping the deep fryer.

They suggested we go out to eat, and even though I had stuff to make burgers at home, we went to our local restaurant and sat outside and had wonderful conversation.  As I sat there listening to them talk, I looked over at Hannah and thought “where did my little girl go?”  It seemed just like yesterday she was in 5th grade, with hair down to her butt and the tallest girl in the class (fast forward to freshman year of high school and she was one of the shortest!)

I am so very proud of them.  They asked if I would miss them and I will of course, but a parents job is to give your kids wings to let them fly, not keep a leash on them to keep them with you.  The circle of life!

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I love this place (Cary Ale House) because they have such interesting beers on tap.  That beer is a NW Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery out of Oregon.  So good!  That pour is worth every bit of the 6 smart points it cost me.

That burger is their signature Pub Burger.  It’s a 7 ounce angus beef burger, and I will always love a place that will cook a burger medium rare for me.  This burger is perfection – soft bun, good bun to patty ratio, perfectly seasoned – I just asked for it without the icky red onions.  That would have ruined it.  

I immediately cut it in half, and asked for a take out box.  I put the fries in the box with the second half of the burger and ate 1/2 of this burger.  It was delicious, and my guess is that half is 10 smart points.  

Because dinner was 16 points, I went over by 2 points for the day, no big. I still have 15 weekly points left for the week, and tomorrow is my WI day, so it’s all good.

Speaking of WI, I think my WW meeting is even closer to this new office – I’ll have to check that out.  Hopefully if my sister isn’t tooswamped today, she can go walking with me, athough I think we have rainy weather in the forecast coming up for the next several days – I think the next time I’ll see the sun is next Wednesday!

Question of the Day:  How do you like your burger?  I know a lot of people who like them well done – just curious!

Make it a great day!

Reverse Seared Cowboy Ribeye Steak

I got up early yesterday to make sure I had a decent breakfast to start my day off on the right foot.  Just a simple egg white omelette with ham, spinach and cheese (6) with fresh fruit.  I cooked the omelette while I was in the shower.  I just pour the ham and egg whites in a skillet with a lid, turn it on low, and by the time I get out of the shower (granted, I take quick showers on the weekdays) it’s done.  I love the bit of crunch in the fresh spinach on top.

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Today is our last full day in the office and the final stretch before the move.  It’s been nice that we have been able to wear jeans all week, and yesterday they had free pizza, but I said no thanks!  While I still had Roti on my bread, it was pouring down raining at lunch and I didn’t feel like getting wet, so went to another favorite – Pret salad and their tomato feta soup.  I am calling lunch 14 points, but that may be on the high side.

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While I love that salad, I normally chop it up when I get back to the office, but I had already packed up my cutting board, so it was kind of hard to eat.  And yes, I have a cutting board at work 😀

Since I am walking around my office so much, I decided not to take any insulin with lunch, but still my blood sugar tanked at 4:00 p.m.  I brought one of these Premier Protein bars to stock in my drawer.  While it is 8 smart points, it’s a giant bar.

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It tastes like a giant candy bar.  I was the night secretary last night so I didn’t get home until after 8, and didn’t eat dinner until 9:30.  I could see eating this as a quick breakfast on the go with some fresh fruit.

 One of the reasons I didn’t eat dinner until 9:30 was that I was bizzy in my kitchen!  I have cooking club tonight at Courtney’s house.  While it’s a Mexican themed night (#love) I was assigned an appetizer.  Since I work downtown I have to think a little outside the box and think what will transport well.  I think I came up with a winner – cucumber avocado chipotle bang bang shrimp bites.  Below is the bang bang shrimp I came up with made with Chobani and some other good stuff – you’ll have to wait for that recipe, but I couldn’t help putting some of the shrimp on top of my steak last night – you know, for quality control to make sure they were good.   I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I think every shrimp bite is only one smart point.  

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I am actually really proud of how I’ve improved my grilling skills . . . I think my twin sister may have grilled twice on her own? Maybe never?!  And I think my brother is more of a burgers and hot dog kind of griller.  My brothers friend John had a BBQ at his home where he had amazing beef tenderloin, baby back ribs, I don’t even know what else, and John told me that Charlie just ate a hot dog.  I don’t know how my brother and sister don’t have the love of beef as I do – well, Jenn likes beef, but only has steak a couple times a year.  What the what?!

My new favorite way of cooking steak on the grill is called reverse sear.  Some BBQ people feel that if you sear the meat first, it “seals in” the juices, but I feel the outside gets way too done before the inside is done.  While I love a rare steak, I am not looking for burnt and raw.

I bought this ribeye at Sam’s Club.  While $20 might seem like a lot, my thinking was that I would get at least 4 servings out of this 2.5 piece of meat.  Um, what I didn’t count on was Jacob eating the rest of it, including eating the meat off the bone.  It’s all good though – I think he’ll miss my grilling when the kadults move!

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I flipped open the grilling guide and I whole heartedly disagree with those cooking temps.  If I were to cook this meat to 145, with the residual cooking or “carryover” cooking, it would easily be medium or even medium well.

125 to me is rare, 130 is medium rare, 140 medium and well, any temp higher than that, don’t bother spending $20 on this cut of beef because you’ve just overcooked it in my opinion.

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Since this is Certified Angus beef, I usually only season with good salt and pepper.  

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Always let your meat come to room temperature before grilling.  For smaller steaks like a NY strip or filet, 30 minutes is plenty.  This bad boy took about 60 minutes to come to room temp.  When I lit the grill I salt and peppered the steak.  Again, there are a wide range of opinions on when to salt meat, or whether to salt at all.   For smaller steaks I salt just about 3 minutes before grilling or pan frying.  For bigger cuts, I give it 30 minutes.  For roasts?  I salt the night before, wrap in plastic wrap, and rinse and dry before grilling.

I thought I had taken a picture of my grill to show you indirect grilling, but I guess I didn’t.  Thanks google images for this photo.  However, I pointed the bone of my steak towards the coals, and as the bone heats up, the heat travels through the bone and helps cook the steak.

reverse sear

I was looking for an internal temperature of 105 before doing the final sear.  It only took about 2 minutes total, moving the beef around every 15 seconds or so, to get to an internal temperature of 115 – and once rested, got to a perfect 125.

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This is a picture of me searing the fat side, while it looks like my oven mitt is on fire, I was fine.

Reverse Seared Cowboy Ribeye

The next step is to let your beef rest.  For smaller steaks, 5-10 minutes is sufficient, but I let this rest 20 minutes before slicing.  

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I hope you get your grilling pants on this summer.  If you have any questions, you know where to find me. 😀

Check out my friend Louise’s cowboy ribeye that she did on the stove first to sear, then finished in a hot oven – looks delicious Louise!

I will not be going to WW today – I have to hit the ground running and am working through lunch so that I can leave at 4:30 to get to Cooking Club tonight.  Can’t wait to catch up with everyone!

Make it a great day!

The Best Beef Marinade Ever

Ah, what a great weekend!  The weather was perfect, and it was a great balance of productive and relaxing.

My friend Alison texted me that “if you are bored . . .” that they were just hanging out in their yard.  They have the cutest little girls, even if they are a bit fiesty with each other. 😀  They have a horse, dogs, and chickens!  I hung out for a couple hours, we got caught up and then it was time to go home and grill . . . in 60 degree weather!  Thanks for texting me Alison – it was great to see you 😀

alison's house

I haven’t done a full grocery shop this week, but I still have plenty of food to get me at least through Wednesday, so I am not too worried about it.  However, I did a $15 grocery shop to pick up this top round roast to grill.  I had a best beef marinade, but for some reason, the recipe is simply gone on that post – my friend Carrie (hey!) pointed it out, and I think it’s because I used an old recipe plug in that doesn’t exist anymore.

So I had to go back to the drawing board.

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Serves n/a

The Best Beef Marinade Ever

1 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

11 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon used coffee grounds*
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Whisk everything together and pour marinade over roast in a ziploc bag. Its great at 6 hours, but best overnight. Discard any remaining marinade.
  2. For the used coffee grounds, I just open a used k-cup and use that - I think it helps tenderize the meat, but who knows?


Rummy was wondering where her plate was!  This top round roast is $3.49 a pound, works great on the grill low and slow.  This is also a great cut for beef stew braised in the oven.  It took 60 minutes to cook that roast.  If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you need to invest in one, you’ll never overcook meat again.  You also need to learn the temperature of the type of cook you want:

  • 125 rare (pull at 115)
  • 135 medium  rare (pull at 125)
  • 145 medium (pull at 135)
  • 150 medium well (pull at 140)
  • 160 well done (don’t bother cooking beef to this temperature because you’ve just ruined it) 😛

The biggest mistake people make in grilling is pulling off meat at 125 because they want rare beef, but don’t take into consideration the residual heat that will rise an additional 10 degrees when you let the meat rest.  Second mistake:  cutting a roast too soon – I let my roast rest a minimum of 30 minutes, but 60 minutes is even better.  It lets all the juices redistribute in the roast and when you cut the meat, you’ll get all the juice in your meat, not your cutting board.

The best part is that I have beef all week for leftover dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  #winning

Sunday afternoon I headed to Oak Park to meet my sister for my Mom’s spring concert.

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Always a great show – got to see my friend Laura and her Mom (hey Laura!)  

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The first picture was backlit, then we turned around and took more – and sadly there wasn’t a picture of all three of us that one of us didn’t have our eyes closed – sorry I cropped you out Jenn, but Mom will probably want to frame this one since I am her favorite.

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After the concert, my Mom and I went out to dinner.   I have my friend Jacky to thank for posting about this restaurant – Autre Monde.  It was my third time eating there, and it’s always spectacular.

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They first brought us this homemade bread with leek butter.  Holy balls was this delicious – I even ate some of the leeks which were very mild to my surprise.  Then they brought us a relish tray, like a traditional supper club.  

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We decided to split several things instead of each getting an entree.  We started out with shrimp cocktail with the best cocktail sauce I’ve ever had – very horseradishy, which I loved.

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Next up?  Lobster mac n cheese, which everyone talks about how seafood and cheese should not be paired together but this was delicious.

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I think my Mom and I will almost order fried green tomatoes if they are on the menu.  However, neither of us had ever seen this presentation before, with crab louie salad on top.  I loved the crunch of the watermelon radishes, the tender hard boiled eggs, and the sauce on top was surprisingly light.

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And because we needed a vegetable, we ordered creamed spinach.  That was one of Tony’s favorite sides if we ever went to a steak house, until he developed a dairy intolerance, and if he ate this would literally have to get to a bathroom in less than 60 seconds 😛 

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It was a fun weekend, and so happy to be able to spend time with my Momma at dinner.  Love you Momma!


I talked about my new journal that I got from Weight Watchers on Friday’s post.  I was able to swing by my local meeting Saturday morning because I wanted to pick up one for my sister to give to her yesterday, and then give one away on the blog today.  Just for fun, to enter the giveaway, let me know if you like creamed spinach or if you think it looks like baby barf. Open-mouthed smile  You can leave your answer in the comments below.

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I’ll pick a winner on tomorrow’s blog.  I love how you can customize it with all the stickers.  But pretty sure I’ll need to get more stickers at Hobby Lobby – Hannah can spend three hours in there no problem.  Good luck and make it a great day! 

Flat Iron Steak with Quick Pan Sauce

It’s cruel that Mother Nature can give us temps in the 60s in February, and then hit us with rain/possible snow/30mph winds when it’s almost Easter.  The kadults had work early yesterday morning, so when they leave, the dogs come into my room and snuggle for another hour with me until I have to get up.  Let me tell you, its hard to get up when you have the dogs to keep you warm! 

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It was rainy, cold, windy and just all around icky.  So I made a plate of sunshine!  Open-mouthed smile

Hard boiled egg with 1/3 of a mini container of guacamole (3), reduced fat swiss lorraine (2) deli ham (2) two baby clementines, strawberries and blueberries.  

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I managed to sneak out for a walk at lunch, even though it was gross outside.  Gotta get those fitbit steps in!  I decided to accesorize my lunch and happened to walk by Native Foods.  I always think of my blog friends Kris and Aimee when I go here.  I ordered the lemon grass broccoli to go, although I really wanted to order the buffalo chicken.  But, being a lower carb day, I stuck with the broccoli and what I brought from home.

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I don’t remember the menu saying that the broccoli was spicy, but it was and it was delicious!  I had a ham/cheese/low carb wrap roll up cut into pieces and topped with 1/3 cup of the mini guacamile cup, with strawberries and blueberries.

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Wednesdays I work as the night secretary, but only needed to stay until 6:00.  When I got home the first thing I did was pull out my steak to get it to room temp.  Do you guys ever buy flat iron steak?  My local grocery store routinely sells this for $3.49 a pound.  I get two steaks for that price, which is 4  four ounce servings, or only .87 cents a serving.  Who says you can’t afford to eat steak at that price?  I can buy a cup of Starbuck’s coffee for more than that!  Depending on where you live, the meat can also be labeled top blade steak, or top blade filet.  It has a nice bit of marbeling, which is why it’s 5 points for a 3 ounce portion – totally worth it – fat is flavor 😀

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I tried to make a horseradish mustard pan sauce to go with this dinner, but it tasted like ass, I was getting hangry, when Hannah suggested a simple beef broth pan sauce.  That worked!

I chopped up some asparagus and sliced mushrooms and sauteed that in the pan for about 5-7 minutes with a bit of coconut spray, then set that to the side.  Then I got my cast iron pan really hot, and seared the steak for 2 1/2 minutes a side, then set that aside.  In the pan I added 1/2 a cup of beef broth that I stirred in a teaspoon of corn starch, salt, pepper and dried parsley and cooked that for a couple minutes until the sauce thickened, then added 1 teaspoon of heavy cream to the pan and mixed that together.  Then I poured the sauce over the beef and veggies.  

Dinner came in at 6 points – 5 for the beef and 1 for the pan sauce.

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It wasn’t until I finished entereing my dinner last night in WW that I realized with the three meals I ate, I was only at 20 points for the day.  Protein just keeps me fuller longer, so I don’t even think about snacking in between meals.  Today is a higher carb day, so I brought some of my steel cut oat waffles for breakfast, and think I will make chicken tacos for dinner tonight with some cilantro lime rice.

Calorie wise I was around 1100 calories for the day, and 107 grams of carbs.  Today I’ll be closer to 1500 calories and 175 carbs.  

I am on my way to WW to weigh in.  I ditched weighing in at home so I never know how the weigh in is going to be.  My totally deluxe scale is now weighing in stones, not pounds, and I can put a 5 pound bag of flour on the scale and it will read anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds.  😛

Since we started out with Roman, let’s end with Roman – totally Momma dog!  He loves him Momma so – if he could be inside her shirt he probably would love it.

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Thanks for all your comments about Hannah and Jacob’s new adventure!  I hope to reply to those comments on the train ride to work this morning. 

I didn’t realize I hadn’t downloaded Timehop on my iPhone 7 yet, and did a side by side comparison of me from a year ago yesterday on the left, to two days ago on the right.  I can definitely tell my face is a bit thinner from last year.  I was probably 178 on the left, and at my last WI I was 162.something.

PicMonkey Collage - side by side

Make it a great day!

Have you tried Beef Shank?

Since I didn’t meal plan this week, I needed to accessorize my breakfast by picking up a cup of steel cut oats at Pret in my building.  It’s only 4 points per their website, and so creamy.  Although paying $3 for that cup of oats when I can buy a whole container of dried oats, well, I need to get back to meal prep!  I brought the fruit from home and added the Caramel and Coffee granola from Trader Joe’s – I puffy heart this granola, but it’s addicting.  I found myself snacking on it later in the afternoon just because the package was in my desk drawer.  Breakfast comes in at 5 smart points.

I signed up to be the night secretary at my office.  It’s actually a great idea, because it keeps down overtime for support staff.  If I can’t finish work that has a priority, I’ll sign my attorney up for night secretary and then leave on time.  Well, that hasn’t happened quite yet for me, but in a perfect world it works.  I don’t mind because it’s automatically two hours of overtime a week, and because I can work for any attorney, it can be any type of work – estate planning, medical malpractice, etc.  

So I staggered my lunch and didn’t eat until nearly 2:30.  Um, pretty sure I could eat this bowl every day.  Roti is across the street from my office, and it’s kind of like a Meditteranean version of Chipotle. You pick your protein (chicken roti, chicken kabab, steak, salmon or falafel) then have that over seasoned rice, in a wrap, or in a salad.  I got the chicken roti salad.

I love websites that have the nutrional label builder.  After I got back to my office I put in my eats and this whole salad comes in at 16 points.  I am not sure why it’s so high, but I have hummus, Israeli couscous, and roasted red pepper sauce for the dressing.  And I have no idea what they do to their pickles, but they are amazing.

I forgot to tell the kadults that I was working late, so thought I’d send them a snap chat filter pic to tell them not to expect me until 9.   Shelley, hopefully this one doesn’t freak you out 😀

Since I didn’t get home until 9, I decided to do a low carb dinner.  Over the weekend I picked up beef shank:

If you haven’t tried beef shank, try it out!  Only $2.49 a pound, which is super economical.  Normally I would braise it low and slow in the oven, and serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta.  But I decided to make a quick beef shank, mushroom and zucchini stir fry.  There is a fine line – for this cut of meat you have to cook it either fast and furious, or low and slow.

Do you see that silver skin around the beef?  You need to trim that off, like you would on baby back ribs.  I sliced it super thin, seasoned it with Hardcore Carnivore and literally cooked the beef a total of about a minute because it was so thin.

I have to thank my sister Jenn for giving me a light box for my (our) birthday.  It came in the mail last night and Hannah set it up for me.

Here are some pics she took:

I had to laugh at this picture because I didn’t see it until I downloaded it – Hannah has an OBSESSION with any cleaning product that has Gain scent.  

We had an old t.v. that we weren’t using and gave to Jacob’s grandparents, so this dusty table will be my new photo studio.  All the pictures above were taken with my iPhone 7, and this one was with my DSLR.

And in case you were wondering, Hannah was the one that added the green onions on top – that girl loves her onions!  I really have no idea how she spit out of me.
I’m on my way to WW now to weigh in before work.  I think I’ll be able to go to the meeting at lunch, but just in case thought I’d get it out of the way.  I am sure it’s a gain, but it’s all good.  April is around the corner, warmer days and hopefully work calms down a bit and I can refocus.  Still trying to figure out my workout schedule that makes sense.  Next week I am going to try working out before work – we’ll see how that goes.

Another overcast and rainy day in Chicago, but at least its 40 degrees, so I’ll take it.  Make it a great day!

Celery Root Puree with Tahini and Lemon

It was a long week at work  last week.  I was pretty spent by Friday night.  The dogs and I snuggled and somehow I stayed up late watching Girls until 1:30 a.m.!  I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late.  I usually like to go to bed the same time on Friday and Saturday as I do the during the work week.

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Our record temps of 82 on Friday?  I enjoyed for all of about 5 minutes of it.  I worked through lunch, and thought that even though it was a bit misty out, I thought I could maybe grill when I got home?  When I left the office at 5:15 it was 78 degrees.  By the time I got off the train an hour later – 47 degrees –gah!

So Saturday was a great day to take it easy – it was rainy and cold.  I don ‘t know what it is about rainy and cold, but it makes me want to hang out at our local library.

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Have you read any of Ruth Reichl’s books?  She used to be the Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine, and this book talks about how she recovered after the magazine shuttered basically without much warning.  She thought her publication would be impervious to reduced subscriptions because it had been around for so long.  But like most of us who find solace in the kitchen, that’s exactly what she did.  Anxious to start reading this one.

If you have Netflix, there is a series called Chef’s Table, and that’s where I first heard of Magnus Nilsson.  I haven’t flipped through this cookbook yet, but just the shear size of it, I am hoping it will be a lot of story telling as well as recipes.  It doesn’t really matter though because I always read cookbooks like fiction book anyway. 😀

I started with NOPI though – I think what drew me to the cookbook was the gold leaf pages.  I was not familiar with this restaurant, not suprisingly because it’s in London.  But Chef Scully has some amazing recipes, and within the first two pages I saw his recipe for a celery root puree with tahini and lemon.  It sounded amazing.

If you are not familiar with celery root, while it has a hint of celery taste, it’s a root vegetable like a potato or turnip.  While the skin may seem really thick, you can easily peel it with a vegetable peeler.  My store sells them for about $1.69 a pound – mine cost about $2 and was 1.2 pounds after peeling.

Serves 3/4 cup

Celery Root Puree with Tahini and Lemon

Adapted from Chef Scully of NOPI - I did leave out the heavy cream at the end to make it more WW point friendly, feel free to add some if you like!

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 1.2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a skillet with a lid, heat the grapeseed oil. Add the diced celery root and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the celery root starts to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the chicken broth, stir and then place a lid on the pan, turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the celery root is fork tender.
  2. Place that mixture into a blender, add the remaining ingredients, and puree. You can also use a stick blender if you have it. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Recipe Type: Side Dish


If you are new to celery root, you may want to add some potato to help with the texture. However, don't put the potato in the blender otherwise the mixture will get gummy.

Do the same recipe above, but at the end, add cooked potato to the mixture, and use a potato masher to mash together.



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I don’t really have a recipe for my pot roast, because I’ve been making it so long.  I bought a 2 pound chuck roast, seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared on both sides in my cast iron skillet.  I added . . . SLICED ONION!  I know, I can hardly believe it.  If Tony were alive he’d be yelling from the kitchen, what smells like ass?!  I took the pot roast out, put carrots and onions in the bottom of the pan, added 1/2 cup red wine, 2 cups beef stock, garlic, put the meat back in, put a lid on it, and baked it at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Once it was done, I picked out the beef and carrots, then added the onion gravy to a blender, added 1 teaspoon corn starch, blended that, added it back in the pan and brought it to a boil until thickened.  I put the celery root into the WW recipe builder, and each serving came in at 2 smart points.

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Perfect chilly night dinner!

Sunday was my last and final hoorah for my birthday was lunch with my Mom AND my twin sister.  Regular readers will remember that my Mom only spent our birthday with me last week, only proving once again that I am her favorite. Open-mouthed smile

Whenever I go to Oak Park, while I know there are a bazillion places to eat, and new places that pop up, I love going back to The Little Gem Café.   Their burgers are one of the best I’ve ever had.

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Once we heard $5 brunch drinks we all got one – my Mom got a memosa, Jenn got a beer and I got a bloody Mary – I blame my friend Jacky for that one because she posted a picture of her bloody mary on her vacation in New Orleans that looked amazing.  Definitely on my bucket list to visit some day!

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Love, love a place that does a burger medium rare like that – so fricken good!  I ate 3/4 of the burger, about 1/4 of the fries and my blood mary – my guestimate was that lunch set me back about 800 calories.

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And I always have to do a funny pic, which is what we call the “Classic Biz!” picture – ha!  You’re welcome Open-mouthed smile

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It was such a fun lunch!  It was relaxing, and nice to catch up without any interruptions.  We went to Trader Joe’s, then to a local thrift store.  Do you any of you guys remember Feeding Five blog?  She’s a Mom from California who I now follow on Instagram, but she loves thrifting just as much as I do.  Well, I had to send her this text.  I picked up a pair of these Merrell shoes for $10.   Um, they retail for $110!

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I love that I can wear comfortable shoes to work with all the walking around I do at work.  I think each day last week, even on the days that I didn’t get a walk in at lunch, I still got 10k steps.

I actually never ate dinner last night because I was so not hungry.  I prepped for my lunch today and ate a few bits of chips and salsa, but that’s all I was hungry for.

I was at 37 smart points for the day, but just for the heck of it, put in my food into myfitnesspal to see where I was calorie wise:  1219 calories, 102 carbs, 55 fat, 52 protein and 15.5 saturated fat.  I am sure it bumped up the points because of the higher fat day, but interesting to see I only ate around 1200 calories for that amount of points.

This is going to be another busy week at work, so I am gearing up for it.   I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to get a gym workout in, I may have to do it before work.  Or go straight to my office gym right after work.  It’s just hard because I am on the go from the second I take off my coat, I kind of look forward to the hour train ride home just so I can sit down for a solid hour! 

 Happy birthday to Jacob!!  He’s now 25 too – Hannah likes to rub it in that her fiance is a younger man – by all of 20 days.  Hope you have a wonderful day – we are going out for sushi for dinner tonight to celebrate.  

Make it a great day!