Tag Archives: Lake Bluff

My Noom Life

Twenty-seven days and counting until we head for Florida and Walt Disney World. As the days creep forward, I become more and more convinced that I have GOT to do something to prepare myself for all the walking at WDW. Even using an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV), I will still need to walk to and from bus stops, and to and from the EVC rental locations. So…I am spurred to make sure I am walking for 15-30 minutes straight each day until we vacay.

Also to that end, I joined Noom this week. Here’s part of what they say about themselves from their Facebook page:

We help people around the world enjoy healthier lives through better nutrition and exercise.
General Information
Noom Coach, Noom Health, Noom Walk, Noom CardioTrainer
It is a calorie based program broken into three categories: green foods, yellow foods and red foods. The categories are based on calorie density and/or highest concentrations of healthy nutrients. They are quick to explain that “red doesn’t mean bad and green doesn’t mean good. Red foods simply raise a red flag for foods that contain a lot of calories without filling you up.”
There is also an exercise portion of the program which I have been too sedentary to qualify for yet. But I am working (walking) toward qualifying.
Since my stroke a year ago last April I had lost 65+ pounds, but I have been stuck there, and had even gained 5+ pounds back. This is what prompted my choice to sign up for Noom. I really like that it is making me more aware of portion sizes, and of what I’m actually putting into my mouth. I’ve been on the program for a week now and have taken off five pounds. The absolute hardest part for me is weighing myself every day. Gosh! I hate that part! Hopefully, it is teaching me how our weight naturally fluctuates on a daily basis.
More on this as we go. Meet me at the Kingdom.
P.S. It is a glorious Fall day here in Lake Bluff today. Hooray!

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 Blessed Sabbath

Day 303 in my driving toward my destination of meeting Mickey at Magic Kingdom

Today I woke early and headed to St. James Lutheran Church to play the contemporary service.  It was transcendent!  The Holy Spirit was there in a very real way.  Listening to and singing with my daughter Emi, who lives in England, is always a blessing and today was no exception.  I am so grateful for that opportunity!

I knew we were eating out twice today, so my plan was to choose wisely.  We ate brunch at Maevery Public House in Lake Bluff.  I picked a Veggie Benny: 2 poached eggs, each on a half of an English muffin, with asparagus, broccoli, spinach and tomato with Lite Hollandaise Sauce.  It was so satisfying.

Now tonight, because it’s Emi’s last night here, she chose the Silo for dinner.  We are all having a side salad.  Mike, Emi, Jake and Eliza will have pizza for their entree.  I will have half of a spinach soufflé baked potato and save the rest for tomorrow.  It is simply a day of delightful worship, family, friends and fabulous food.

I am feeling very blessed and very sated.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

Sunday Shenanigans

Day 296 in my keeping busier than I used to so I am healthier when I meet up with Mickey in October

My plan today is to eat well, shop for groceries, get our guest room ready for my daughter’s visit, and visit with my son and daughter-in-love tonight.

  1. After sleeping in and showering up at the sauna, Mike (my squeeze) and I went to brunch at Maevery Public House in beautiful downtown Lake Bluff.  I ate there yesterday and was so taken with it that I had to get Mike there today.  He ordered the BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato sandwich) with potatoes fried in butter.  I ordered Croque Jasper (brioche with a lean sausage patty and a bit of cheese sauce).  We both had black coffee which was Douwe Egbert.  For those not familiar with Douwe Egbert: it is a Danish coffee, very full bodied and yet mellow.  It comes in somewhere between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donut coffee.  Maevery Public House is not inexpensive, but pamperingly delicious!)  Yes, I know I just made up a word, but it seems so apropo.  Now usually I make a habit of cutting my entree in half and bring half home for another day.  Today I ate the WHOLE thing.  I used the excuse that it won’t reheat well.  🙂  So I will not eat a full meal until dinner tonight.  If I get hungry, I have a piece of fruit or something else light.
  2. Our daughter Emi, who lives in Bristol, England, comes tomorrow!  She’ll be here for a week.  Woo hoo!!!  When she’s here, we end up eating out quite a bit so, we picked up just enough groceries so she (a vegetarian) will have some choices for lunches.  And also we got the groceries to have some friends (Yay, Ken and Chris Hall!) over for dinner on Tuesday evening.  On the menu for the evening: Cranberry-Pine Nut Quinoa, White Bean, Herb and Tomato Salad, fresh veggies and hummus, and fresh berries and whipped cream for dessert.
  3. Gotta change the bedding and straighten our guest room for Emi.  I’m so-o-o excited to see her and hug her and kiss her face!  She’ll sing with Damascus Road (the contemporary band at our church) next Sunday, and she’ll sing with Ken Hall and a friend at Cafe Pyrenees in Libertyville on Friday evening.  Mike may play some guitar there, too.
  4. Tonight Jake and Eliza come to dinner and to hang out.  We are having Apricot-Almond Chicken with last night’s leftover Chicken Rigatoni with Broccoli and Peppers as a side and a nice large spinach and Romaine salad.

That’s it for today, dear readers.  Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: All recipes mentioned are from Betty Crocker’s 30 Minute Meals for Diabetes.  Seriously, if you’re watching your sugar intake, then this is a GREAT cookbook to have.

Scrumptious Day

Day 295 in my eating my way to a healthier me to meet up with Mickey in October (4 months and 13 days to go)

My plan for today is to make the healthiest choices possible for my meals today.

  1. Breakfast:  We went out with our friends John and Joan Webster to celebrate Mike’s and my birthdays.  We’re a little behind; our birthdays are in November and December.  🙂  We went to a restaurant  called The Point Pancake House in Gurnee, IL.  I ordered a Multigrain Waffle with Yogurt and Strawberries.  The yogurt was plain, unsweetened.  (Ish, right?)  I can’t eat many strawberries because I have diverticulosis, so I ate a couple and gave the rest to Joan.  I asked for and was given sugar-free syrup. I ordered a side of bacon as a treat.  And I had a cup of coffee. I put some syrup on my plate and gently dipped a forkful of the waffle at a time.  It was so good!
  2. Lunch:  After writing out my bills for this pay period, I skipped to town (Lake Bluff) to mail them.  While there I decided to go to brunch at Maevery Public House.  Monday through Friday they are only open for dinner, but on Saturday and Sunday they are open from 10 to 3 for brunch.  I ordered an egg white frittata with locally grow seasonal vegetables and goat cheese.  The locally grown seasonal vegetables turned out to be clover. (Early Spring-sheesh!) This was unexpected to say the least.  It was served with tomatillo salsa.  I opened my small mind, and decided to give it a try.  OMGoodness!!!!  It was to die for and was complimented by a cup of black coffee and the cold water that they serve in a refillable bottle.  Mike and I will go there tomorrow after church, so he can see how wonderful this place its.  What a local gem!
  3. Dinner: Back to my favorite cookbook: Betty Crocker’s 30 Minute Meals for Diabetes.  On tonight’s menu: Chicken Rigatoni with Broccoli and Peppers.  We haven’t tried this one yet.
  1. Ingredients:
  2. 2  1/2 (does anyone know how to type this as a number on a MacBook Air?) cups uncooked rigatoni pasta
  3. 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  4. 1 medium red, orange or yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  5. 1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
  6. 1/2 cup reduced-fat Alfredo pasta sauce (from 10-oz jar)
  7. 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1oz), if desired
  1. Directions:
  2. Cook pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli and bell pepper for the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain; return to saucepan.
  3. Stir in chicken and Alfredo sauce.  Cook over low heat about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken and sauce are hot.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Betty Tip: Any tubular-shaped pasta (I’m using whole wheat elbow macaroni), such as penne or ziti, will work fine in this dish, and , to make it vegetarian, omit chicken and increase broccoli to 3 cups.

That’s my eating day today.  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.  🙂

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!

In the Sweet Spot

Day 97 in my exciting adventure toward my date with Mickey

My plan for today was to meet with my Health Coach, and I did.  My two goals for the next four weeks are:

  1. Try out walking at the Lake Bluff Health and Fitness Center sprung track.  It is right on my way home from work, so no excuses to not drop in there.  The sprung track will make walking easier on my sore joints.
  2. Research and adjust my holiday recipes, so they are more nutritious and not so filled with empty calories.

Friendly little facts that are making my life exciting:

  • I always weigh myself before I talk to Alex, my heath coach.  And…tan-ta-ta-a-da…I made my 30 pounds this morning!!!  So exciting! I’m very happy about that.
  • OMGosh…Starbuck’s has a Skinny Peppermint Mocha.  I got one yesterday with decaf.  It might be my favorite treat EVER!
  • Jake & Emi (our kid)s, Eliza and James (their spouses), Mike (my amazing husband) and I are booked into Old Key West for our vacation in October.  I have our 5-day Park Hopper passes in hand.  And they are all connected up on “My Disney Experience.”

So right now, gentle readers, life is very good at the Jarvi household. Meet you the Kingdom!

BTW: Shout out to Chris, my wonderful work partner.  (Prayers coming your way, my friend! )  She fell and broke her wrist yesterday.  If you have a sec, offer up a quick prayer for her today.  Thanks, all y’all!



Warming Up Inside and Out

Day 87 in my migration to the Magic Kingdom and Mickey

My plan for today is to cook.  I have a simple dinner planned for Mike and I tonight.  Nibbles and bits and plenty of fresh veggies.

Then after dinner I plan to make a lovely Wild Rice and Veggie Chowder for tomorrow night’s dinner.  The Spice Merchant, a new shop in downtown Lake Bluff, has soup packets ready to go.  Here are the ingredients for the soup: wild rice, parboiled brown rice, potato flakes, peas, carrots, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, onions, celery, Savoy cabbage, garlic, chives, tarragon, parsley and chervil.  Sounds good, right?  And soups are just so much better when they’ve had a day to sit, don’t you think?

Mike has friends who are pheasant hunters, but they don’t like to eat the meat.  Luckily, we do like to eat the meat.  Mike cooked up several birds last night in the oven.  I will take what I need to supplement the soup, then we will use the rest of the meat for pot pies.

In the pot pies, we use little salt and just some chicken or vegetable broth for moisture rather than gravy.  Onions, potatoes, peas and carrots in a whole wheat crust.  Mmmm, mmmm, good.

Comfort food (soup and pot pie) just sounds so good as the weather turns cooler and the nights get longer.

Meet you at the Kingdom!




Ode to the Pumpkin Spice Latte on Halloween

Day 83 in my destiny to dance with Mickey

“O Pumpkin Spice Latte, I love you.  I do.  When October winds blow, my mind turns to you.  When I’m freezing my patootie off, you warm me right through.  O Pumpkin Spice Latte, I love you.  I do.

O Pumpkin Spice Latte, I love you.  I do.  You’re a cinnamony, gingery pumpkin delight, with just enough sugar to give me a fright.  Today I savor you without any fear, then leave you behind until Thanksgiving is here.

O Pumpkin Spice Latte, I love you I do.  And to your sweet taste I will always be true.  I can’t drink too many, my blood sugar is the cue, but Pumpkin Spice Latte, I love you.  I do.”

Ahhh…I am enjoying my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year.  (I ordered a venti decaf skim Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whip.  Yum!   Starbucks could make a fortune if they would just create a “Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte.”  Their “Skinny” drinks are made with skim milk and sugar-free syrups.  I have tried Skinny Vanilla Lattes, Skinny Hazelnut Lattes, Skinny Caramel Lattes and my personal favorite Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes.  They are delicious!  Come on, geniuses, invent!!!  How hard can it be to take the sugar out???

Anyway my plan for today is to savor my drink and pick up a cupcake for Mike and I for our Halloween treat tonight.  And I really do want to get out there and take that walk on the wild side.  It is freezing here in Lake Bluff with gale force winds, but no snow accumulation yet.  PTL!  Pray I don’t blow away, or become the victim of a “Widow Maker.”

Happy Halloween, dear readers!  Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: Mike worked at a sawmill for a bit when he was working his way through college.  They called very windy days Widow Makers, because in the woods limbs could snap off at any time and come crashing down on the workers, thus making their wives widows.  How’s that for a macabre Halloweeny thought?  🙂