Tag Archives: Lake Bluff Health and Fitness

Adventures in Cuisine

Meatless Monday ended up being Meatless Saturday, which was a blazing 90+ degrees with high humidity and ozone warnings. We had Chef Salads, and although our meal was meatless, I did include half a hard-boiled egg in each salad and a few cubes of cheddar cheese for protein. I had made Chunky Vegetable Chowder on Friday to have with our Friday Hammy Sammys, so we had the leftover chowder with our salad. Here’s the recipe. It makes a lovely summery, veggie soup.

Chunky Vegetable Chowder from Betty Crocker 30 Minute Meals for Diabetes

6 large servings 3 carbohydrate choices


  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  3. 1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  4. 8 medium green onions, sliced (½ cup)
  5. 3 cups water
  6. ¾ pound small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 ½ cups)
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  10. 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
  11. 2 cans (14.75 oz each) cream-style corn


  • In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onions; cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in water, potatoes, thyme and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until potatoes and tender.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients; cook about 1 minute or until hot (Do not boil, or it will curdle).

Seriously, get this cookbook, Betty Crocker 30 Minute Meals for Diabetes.  It is fabulous!!

In an effort to educate our palates and try some new things to keep some spice in our marriage 😉 Mike and I made a curry together for the first time ever. Yes, we cooked it together. I found a relatively easy recipe at verucaspice.com. Here’s the recipe…and, oh yeah, it was delicious!

Indian Chicken Curry by Nirali Patel at verucaspice.com

4 Servings


  1. 1 pound chicken breasts, cubed to bite size
  2. 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 1-8 oz can tomato puree
  4. ½ a red onion, fine chopped (1 cup)
  5. 1 heaping teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  6. 1 heaping teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  7. 1 Serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  10. 1 teaspoon ground garam masala
  11. ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. ½ teaspoon red chili powder to taste
  13. Juice of ½ a lime
  14. Salt and pepper to taste
  15. A little over 1 cup of water


  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and fry until they are golden for 6-7 minutes.
  • Add ginger and garlic and fry for 30 seconds, reducing heat to medium.
  • Add tomato puree and continue to cook for 6-7 minutes until a lot of the water has evaporated and oil starts to seep through the mixture.
  • Add spices (except garam masala). Fry spices in mixture for about 5 minutes.
  • Add cubed chicken and stir, coating all pieces.
  • Add the water and stir well. (Stir in the Serrano pepper here, if you choose to use it.)
  • Cook, partially covered for 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. You can uncover and let moisture cook out if you wish.
  • When at desired consistency, add garam masal, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

I know it looks complicated, but it really wasn’t. And it was so tasty, and not at all spicy hot. I don’t think I’ve ever had the spices turmeric or garam masala in my kitchen before.  Turneric is so pretty…and tasty.  We didn’t use the optional Serrano pepper, but we will try it next time. Mike likes spicy hot foods, and I’m willing to try it once anyway.

As for progress on the rest of my quest: Joan and I have now been to the Rec Center to walk for 4 days.

  • Day one-I walked 4 times around the track…thought I was gonna die!
  • Day two-I walked 5 times around the track…pretty sure I did die for a minute there. 🙂
  • Day three-I walked 4 times around the track and quit because it was 90+ degrees and humid out, and I was going grocery shopping from the Rec center. I was fairly OK after the Rec Center, and circling around a stroke after grocery shopping.  I will not push that hard on such a hot and humid day again!
  • Day four-I walked 7 times around the track. After six laps I felt really good so I thought, “What the heck; I’ll do one more lap.” Then after my seventh lap, my feet, knees and back were VERY unhappy.

Tomorrow will be Day 5 at the Rec Center. I plan to be in the moment (not just thinking about getting it over with), and I will listen to my body, stopping at the first sign of actual distress.  And hey, 13 laps is a mile, so I made it over a half mile yesterday. Woop!!

Thanks for reading, dear friends! God bless your day










A Miracle

Hello Dear Readers,

Welcome back! I want to share something that happened to me several years ago. On a spring day, I attended a half-day women’s retreat at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. If you’ve not been to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, it is a lush, green, stunningly beautiful place to walk and wander amid the scent of the flowers and plants surrounding you. I highly recommend it as a place of quiet meditation, or as a place to contemplate nature at its manicured finest!

Anyway…about a dozen women met there at 9:00 am. We chatted together for a bit then were sent off to write down our thoughts in several areas of the Gardens.  We met back at 10:00 am and then again at 11:00 am to share our thoughts. Then we met at noon in the cafeteria for lunch and wrap-up.

At one point in the morning, we were sent off to find a quiet place to to sit and pray and then to pick a question out of our retreat booklet to answer.  I chose: “What type of a plant are you.” I thought, “What is this Barbara Walters?” It was one of her favorite questions when interviewing celebrities. (Actually it was, “What kind of a tree are you?”) Here is what I wrote after my prayer time:

“In the precious garden where God’s human’s handiwork is seen, where do you see you? Are you the prairie grass standing tall, stretching up and up to praise God and feel the warmth of the Son? Do you bend gently with the wind in joy at your freedom? Do you bend sharply in the bluster of winter?”

“Who are you?”

“Are you the willow, long and slender, reaching up for the heavens, then dropping down to caress the waters of the earth? Do you dance and sway to nature’s music?”

“What, in nature, are you?”

“Are you the rose, vermillion in your beauty and splendor? Do you bloom under God’s watchful eye, pleasing those around you and hiding your prickles in shadows?”

“Me? I am the English Oak. Solid…sturdy…stocky. Yes, I bend with the wind, I, too, dance and sway for my creator. But my roots go down deep. My roots grow down, down, down into the solid packed earth, gripping rocks and soil to stay rooted. Rooted in God’s Word.”

“In God’s garden, there is room for all. Each of us on our own path, yet each of us is designed as part of one plan. Too small and busy are we to see the whole garden, but we can believe the One who holds the whole garden in his hands.”

That’s it, and believe it now more than ever. If we are just content to bloom where we are planted and then trust God for the rest, we live our lives in perfect peace. I am where I am because of God’s plan and my own choices.  And right here and right now God can use me for his purposes.  And wants to use me AND you, too.

And here’s the miracle: when we gathered back to share which question we had chosen the ladies read, one by one, the question they had chosen and their thoughts and meditations. When it came to my turn, I kept flipping back and forth to find the question that I had answered. (“What type of a plant are you?”) Hmmm…even though I had read and reread that  question many times in my meditation, it was nowhere to be found in the retreat booklet. God let me see the question that I needed to answer. I am still humbled and in awe of this simple gift God gave to me on that morning. God is good!

Blessings, my peeps.


PS: I rejoined the Rec Center and plan to meet my friend Joan there three days a week to walk.  I know I could step out my door and walk, but with the heat of summer and the poor walking condition that I am in, the Rec Center is a better option.  I can do a lap and then sit to recover, then walk another lap, sit to recover, etc… Also I have started planning better meals and cooking with purpose again. And on Saturday I will make my first Indian dish, “Indian Chicken Curry-Quick and Easy” recipe by Veruca Spice. Check out the website at http://www.verucaspice.com. Really good stuff for expanding the palate!

Walking the Walk

Day 188 in my walk towards my main mouse Mickey  (8 months and 1 day to go!)

If you been following my blog lately, then you know what a tough time I’ve had walking.  My toe is definitely on the mend, but it is happening slowly.  My plan for today was to research a reasonable walking plan, so I can get started again.  I am on vacation next week, (Woo Hoo!) which I think is a great time to get started.  I can go to the Lake Bluff Health and Fitness Club, or I can just walk out my front door and take a brisk walk.

My thanks go to the Mayo Clinic again for this do-able plan:

Week     Walking Schedule (time, # of days a week)      Weekly Total

1                15 minutes, 2 days                                                         30 minutes

2                15 minutes, 3 days                                                         45 minutes

3                20 minutes, 3 days                                                         60 minutes

4                 25 minutes, 3 days                                                        75 minutes

5 & 6        30 minutes, 3 days                                                        90 minutes

7 & 8        30 minutes, 4 days                                                      120 minutes

9 & 10     30 minutes, 5 days                                                      150 minutes

Looks pretty good, right?  So on Monday I will begin.  Although I may take my toe on a brief pre-walk this weekend to see how it does.

Wish me luck, my peeps.  Meet you at the Kingdom!


Digging Deep

Day 123 in my trek to the Kingdom that is Magic and my friend Mickey.

Today’s plan is to take good care of my self:

  1. I went to the doctor’s this morning and had some blood drawn.  I am doing my best to stay 2 steps ahead of diabetes.  I am prediabetic and controlling it well with diet and exercise.
  2. I had a salad and a piece of fruit for lunch today.
  3. We are eating dinner out tonight, and I will once again have a salad.
  4. I am planning to get up early tomorrow and head to Lake Bluff Health and Fitness to walk before work.

Christmas is just 2 weeks away, and I want to dig deep and be as good to my body as possible.  Maybe it will help me to make healthier choices on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, too.  Here’s hoping!

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: All prayers are being accepted for my brother Gary who is going through some major health issues right now.  Please lift him up in prayer with me.  God bless!


Just Another Manic Monday

Day 121 in my adventures in preparing to meet Mickey in October        (10 months and 5 days to go)

Ahhh…another Monday.  A new beginning, a chance to have an even better week.  So my plan for today was to get up early and go to Lake Bluff Health and Fitness to walk on my way to work.  I did it..again on a Monday…in icy cold drizzle under gray skies.  It does feel great to have my plan for the day accomplished early in the morning.  Tonight we will have a veggie filled, delicious dinner, and I will put this day to bed in a sugar-free, exercised, healthy day-way.

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: Is anyone out there watching The Red Tent on Lifetime?  It was off to a great start last night, and tonight it wraps up.  Very interesting.  It’s on at 8:00 CST and 9:00 EST.  It’s worth the watch.  The two hour program called, Women of the Bible, was really good last night, too.  It was a nice break from all the Hallmark Christmas movies.  🙂

Doing the Hard Work

Day 114 as I walk toward Mickey at the Magic Kingdom (10 months and 12 days to go!)

Today’s plan was to get up early, head to the Lake Bluff Health and Fitness Club and walk before work this morning…and…mischief managed!  I did it…on a Monday…in single-digit wind chills.  That’s a bit of a miracle.  Hallelujah!  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13.  To God be the glory!

I step on the scale again on December 11.  I’m so curious to know how things went over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I did adjust the menu and some of the recipes to make them healthier.  Then Mike and I went to an Advent Dinner at church last night.  Again I chose carefully at the buffet table, and instead of loading up my plate with several of the scrumptious desserts on display, (like I have in years past) I only had a bit of Carol Bennett’s famous rice pudding with boysenberry sauce.  What a treat!  Carol, you never cease to amaze!

I like the way I feel.  I just feel better, healthier, more energetic.  Sore, too, from walking, but even that is a good sore.  It sure beats the soreness that was setting in from sitting too much!

Thank you so much, dear readers, for all your encouraging words.  I appreciate you more than you will ever know.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

A Wink from God as I Walk

Day 102 in my walk to the World that is Mickey’s

My plan for today was to get up early, go to the Lake Bluff Health and Fitness Club, walk and go to work.  And I did!  PTL!

God has a wonderful sense of humor though.  When I went and signed up at the club on Sunday, I walked in through the main entrance, ambled to the elevator which is right by that entrance, went upstairs, walked on the track and went home.  Slick as can be!

Today, my second time to go to the club, I get there and the main entrance is boarded up.  🙂  So I entered through the pool entrance, hiked all the way to the front desk, had my photo taken, received my membership card, limped to the elevator, went upstairs, walked on the track, limped back to the elevator, hiked all the way to the pool entrance/exit and then to my car.  And I did make it to work on time.  Whew!

It’s a good day here in the Bluff.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: Yesterday Mikey (my dear man) went and got himself signed up for a year of swimming at Lake Forest College.  (Happy birthday present, dear Mikey!) This morning he was up bright (a relative term in our household in the morning) and early and went off to swim.  Yay, Mikey!  Now we can both work on getting more fit.  🙂

Rethinking Things

Day 101 as I drift toward Disney

My initial plan for today was to go and walk after work.  Fate has conspired to make me rethink that.  My knee is aching like crazy today, and it is numbingly cold outside, which makes me want to be home by the fire.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 15 degrees warmer than today.  That sounds good.  So I am going to give my knee one more day to rest and plan to go back to the Health and Fitness Center tomorrow.

Today I will read up on WDW Magazine online and rekindle my personal fire for (1) our trip and (2) my journey to be healthier for said trip.  (Oh, and I’ll stay sugar-free, and I’ll eat healthy and nutritious meals today.)

Meet you at the Kingdom!


Getting Cardio-ic?

Day 99 in my walk to the World that is Walt Disney and my good friend Mickey.

My plan today was to walk…and I DID!!!!  I did it!  I went to the Lake Bluff Health and Fitness Center, and I signed up to walk for the next year.  I went with my dear friend, Joan.  She joined up a week or so ago.  It was great to have someone there to show me the ropes.  And it was great to have Joan there, period.

Thirteen laps is one mile…I didn’t make it.  I made eight laps before my knee started to protest.  I will rest up the knee tomorrow and then hit it again on Tuesday.  I feel energized so I came home and put together a sweet potato soup for our dinner.  Yum!

Mikey’s (my Honey) birthday is this Saturday.  My amazing man will be 62 years young.  His birthday gift this year is a one year membership at the pool at Lake Forest College.  I guess you could say I’m giving cardio to my pard-io.  🙂

Meet you at the Kingdom, Gentle Readers, and thank you so much for joining me on this fantastic voyage!

My Jam for the Journey

Day 98 in my musical march to Mickey

My plan for today was to get my i-pod shuffle re-synced and ready to use at the Health and Fitness club.  I chose the pop-iest of pop songs with a good dose of Christmas music for good measure.

  • Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
  • What a Glorious Night by Sidewalk Prophets (love, love, love this song)
  • Baby by Justin Bieber
  • The Bell That Wouldn’t Jingle by Tijuana Brass
  • Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer
  • Let It Snow by Gloria Estefan
  • American Dream by Rhythm and the Doghouse
  • Baby Face by Rhythm and the Doghouse
  • Baton Rouge by  Rhythm and the Doghouse

And more.  It was a fun task picking out light songs that make me want to move.   I boogied my way through the music, and I am now anticipating my first trip to the track.

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: Happy birthday, dear Julie, happy birthday to you!!