Author Archives: charity

  Tomato Soup & my new Ascent Vitamix

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So I guess we are back to cold weather at least for a few more weeks! I actually don’t mind, except for the fact that I have a handful of daffodils and tulips starting to bloom and I am concerned they may not pull though the snow. I love wearing cozy sweaters, tights and furry coats so a few more weeks of winter is a-okay with me.

Plus…cold weather means lots of yummy, healthy, homemade soups…and what could be more fun to make in my new Ascent Vitamix machine than a fresh tomato soup?

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I love how simple and how deliciously healthy this recipe is.

Ingredients :
• 2 – 16 ounce cans of tomatoes
• 1 – onion
• 6 – cloves of garlic
• 1 – tbsp good olive oil
• 1/2 – tbsp sea salt
• kale sprouts & fresh parmesan for garnish

IMG_8487This new machine is seriously over-the-top incredible. From the pre-programmed settings, to the new crystal clear container to the entire sleek design of the overall machine, I am loving it so much. With this new machine you can also add a family of various sized containers to make blending things like custom spice mixes or on-the-go smoothies more convenient and portable. Trust me, if you can get your hands on on of these new machines, you are going to really enjoy it.

IMG_8494For this recipe I sautéed the onion and garlic in the olive oil. For some Vitamix recipes you can cook everything directly in your machine but for this recipe but I like how rich the cooked onions and garlic make the tomatoes super rich and decadent.  From here I opened the tomatoes, tossed them in my machine with the salt and added the translucent onions and garlic. Press the soup button on the machine and then wait the to see the Vitamix magic unfold.

IMG_8516IMG_8510I love how this new model even ramps itself up and down depending on the recipe, it is seriously too smart for itself. You just assemble the ingredients, press the button and then clean off the counter as your Vitamix does the work. It will shut itself off and you will have that delicious end product ready to share with your family and friends…voila!

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IMG_8532I added a dash of parmesan cheese and a handful of kale sprouts then it was ready to serve. Healthy, creamy, simple-to-make, hot soup! The perfect meal on these cold (spring) winter days. I hope you enjoyed my recipe and I hope next time you have the opportunity to ask someone for a fancy kitchen gadget you choose the new Vitamix Ascent Series…I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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SPONSORED POST : Thank you to the team at Vitamix who invited me to try their new machine as part of the companies social outreach. Thanks for supporting this successful Cleveland business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  24 hours in Detroit!

IMG_2549Hello CLE! Hope you are having a great weekend. While it is sunny and very pretty outside, don’t let it fool you…it’s COLD!!! A few more weeks of winter and then Spring…hang in there.

I know so many of you have plans for a weather break from our winter, what are your spring break plans? A few months ago I was trying to rally a weekend trip with friends but it kept falling through from various reasons…what we did end up with is a 24-hour road trip to our sister city, DETROIT, Michigan…and I gotta say, I would highly recommend it. A few of you had messaged me to find out some details of the trip so I thought I would share the details.

IMG_2505IMG_2508We left late on a Thursday morning and headed through Toledo with a detour to the Libbey Glass factory outlet. This store was out of control amazing and SO affordable, you gotta check it out. I ended up buying MULTIPLE dozens of glassware for various cocktails, occasions and uses. It is seriously the perfect place to explore when looking for glassware for furnishing a new kitchen or for gift giving…we are talking incredible champagne stems at $1 pop! Crazy affordable and the selection was wonderful, worth the exit off the highway for sure.

IMG_2540IMG_2541IMG_2546From there we headed into Detroit to check into our hotel. We stayed at the newly designed Trumbull & Porter Hotel that was once an old Holiday Inn. The overall decor was California-chic, lots of grand open areas for conversations, tons of white and light topped with lots of local artwork sprinkled throughout. Our rooms were clean and almost utilitarian in feel. Simple beds, nice linens, rolling carts in the bathroom for all your stuff, I enjoyed the design. I will say, if you are headed there, just keep in mind it is in the “up and coming” part of the city and just to be aware of your surroundings…follow me?

IMG_2521IMG_2510IMG_2517IMG_2516We were starved for lunch so we tracked down the ultimate diner, Rose’s Fine Food located on the East side of town. While it might look like a typical diner from the outside, the moment we stepped in the door we knew we were in for a dining treat. The smells of fine bakery and unique spices filled the space, it was a sensory explosion. The food? Incredible. I had a wonderful rice, kale, egg bowl with a piece of homemade toast, ricotta cheese and jam, so perfect together. Next time you head tot Detroit, you’ve got to make time to visit Rose’s…let’s just say Bon Appétit Magazine gave it a more than favorable review!

IMG_2527IMG_2526IMG_2531IMG_2533IMG_2534With full, happy belly’s we stumbled upon the historic Pewabic Pottery Studio & Museum just down the street. This place was like walking into  Detroit’s history of arts and culture providing an understanding of how this group of artisans impacted the cultural growth of the city. Pewabic was founded in 1903 and still today celebrates artists doing innovative work in the ceramics fields. Upstairs, there is a museum filled with bits and pieces of early works of pottery and architectural designs; while downstairs they had the studio for making pottery  and they also had a wonderful store showcasing many new and modern clay artists on the Detroit and Michigan scene. Let’s just say we couldn’t decide what treasures to bring home from there but one of us purchased a gorgeous hand thrown mug!

IMG_2553IMG_2556IMG_2558After that we were headed for a drink when we drove by John King Used and Rare Books Store…Michigan’s largest used and rare bookstore…so we made a U-turn and went to do some more exploring. Warning, this 4-floor warehouse is not for those with any allergies or issues with claustrophobia…enough said. For those of us who can handle it…this store is filled with rows and rows of one of a kind books, with everything from kids books from the 1930’s to music coffee table books from the 80’s and everything else you can imagine. This rare book store will make those of you who A) love to collect books (me) or B) love to actually read books, go crazy. We both picked up a books and I thought it was really sweet how they actually brushed the books off with a small broom/brush as you paid for them to rid them of the layer of old-book-dust. So, If you like books…you should check this place out.

IMG_2564IMG_2568IMG_2571Finally we ended up where we had planned to grab dinner and a drink, but first we had a few shops to explore. Have you ever heard of Will Leather Goods? It seriously might be one of the coolest, best-smelling leather stores I have ever been in. While this family owns store may be based out of Oregon, the owner was originally from Detroit and hence opened a gorgeous retail space in an old neighborhood grocery store. The best part? I loved the tee-pee in the center of the store and how you can make custom belts, while you wait. The staff was incredibly knowledgable about the store and the neighborhood and we really could have stayed all night just to chat…but we had to keep exploring.

IMG_2572IMG_2574IMG_2575Also located in the Midtown neighborhood is the most exquisite retail experience, Shinola Detroit.  This store not only offers luxury watches; it also sells sleek bicycles, leather and paper goods, as well as a coffee and flowers for their customers. They will monogram any purse, bag or book you buy while you wait and again, the staff was so chic and so helpful, such a wonderful shopping experience. BONUS…did you know they are going to open a Shinola at the new Shaker Heights, Van Aken District next summer? Get psyched!

IMG_2587IMG_2586Finally we landed at our dinner destination Selden Standard and enjoyed an incredible meal of all veggies prepared various ways. My favorite dish was a vegetable carpaccio..I plan to try and recreate the dish some summer when all the veggies are so readily available. We also had Manhattan-like drinks and after not really drinking much for a few weeks…they were incredible!

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We couldn’t leave Detroit without stopping into the authentic speak easy in Corktown, Sugar House. The space was awesome and the drink menu totally over-the-top. There were so many cocktail options we ended up just taking the recommendation of our bartender and we were super satisfied with his direction. I really enjoyed how they actually peeled an orange, then used pinking sheers on the rind to make a tiny bird on the side of my cocktail…it was all in the details. When you visit Detroit, make sure to plan to stop into Sugar House, it was awesome.

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The next morning we woke up pretty early and went back to Corktown to hang out a bit at Astro Coffee. Not only was my latte so picture perfect…I haven’t stopped thinking about my delicious egg sandwich with fresh herbs and a no-joke garlic aioli…nothing like garlic breathe to start the day. This coffee shop was filled with both hip artists as well as young families, it was a great place to feel like a Detroit local.

Then it was off to a “quick” IKEA trip about :30 west of the city and then we headed back home.

Detroit was the perfect 1-night getaway. A city of renewal and hope, filled with so many creative thinkers and entrepreneurs, a city who loves their food and has a keen eye for fashion. If you are craving a little get away but can’t pick up and fly far away, I promise a little overnight road trip will leave you feeling creatively recharged and refreshed.

Thanks Detroit, you surpassed my expectations, feel free to come visit Cleveland anytime…I’d be happy to share our hot spots!

  March is reading month & Girl Scout cookie season!

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Hey friends in CLE! How was your week? Can we just talk for a second about the crazy winds we had the other day? I honestly was concerned that we were all going to get swooped up and carried away…kinda Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but minus the twister. Sorry to hear some of you guys are still without power, I know how rough that can be and fingers crossed it comes back soon.

We lost power recently and one thing that did make the happening kinda fun was the ability to shut down our technology and go a bit “old school” back to books and board games for entertainment. Speaking of…did you know that March is National Reading Month? During these chilly, spring months there is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a good book (or magazine!,) a great blanket and a warm cup of coffee.

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With our little guy starting to finally sit still and appreciate some of the awesome books in his bookshelf I’m really enjoying sharing stories, discovering incredible illustrations and of course, snack time together. Some of our favorite books right now are Pool by Jihyeon Lee, Max the Brave by Ed Vere and This is New York by Miroslav Sasek. Am I missing any incredible early reader/toddler type of books, what are you guys reading with your little ones?

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Besides being National Reading Month…did you know that March is also a time to buy your Girl Scout Cookies for the year? This year actually marks the 100th year of the cookie sales supporting so many Girl Scout adventures both in our own communities and across the country. To find Girl Scout cookies in your neighborhood just visit their website, type in your zip code and you’ll see many options; there are a ton of cookie buying options for this weekend; so get out there, support and stock up on your cookies.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, stays warm and hopefully the power will come back on for those missing it. Happy reading, Thin Mints and Samoas for all!

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(Thanks K. Ardner for the great photos of my little reader.)

  Moving into March!

IMG_2191Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post.
Get serious about losing weight with Jenny Craig!

With all this change of weather coming through town I stand behind the March saying…“In like a lion and out like a lamb!” That 72 degree day really messed me up…not only did I want to pack away coats, tights and sweaters, my poor tulip and daffodil bulbs are already blooming (I planted at least a 100 when we moved in) and I wonder what will happen to them next? Anyone know how I can protect and save my pretty someday-flowers?

I love the beginning of a new Month. A time to set new goals, plan a few fun things with friends and check back in on those goals we set together at the beginning of this new year. I think overall I have been pretty mindful of taking care of my skin, changing into pjs, trying to get a tad more cardio each week…and let’s talk about my friend “JC” (her real name is Jenny Craig.)

IMG_2637(breakfast scramble with an orange & coffee was one of my favorite morning staples!)

So when JC approached me I was at first a bit hesitant about trying this wellness, weight loss program. The idea of only eating what they provided me for two months scared this chef home cook out of her mind. How will I only eat what they pack me? What will my family eat? How will I still maintain a bit of social-ness? Well, it’s been two months and almost 20lbs down (*Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. I received promotional consideration) and I can honestly say it was pretty simple, as a foodie it was yummy, I still managed to cook from time to time just in moderation, my family didn’t starve and honestly, I still managed to be social. I am very pleased.

They say anything big in life takes a village and while at first it was weird to sit down with a stranger and talk about my weight journey, this girl has heard it all. Amy was able to think about each week, identify those special occasions and treats and learn to navigate all those sticky areas that made loosing weight often difficult for me. We confided in each other about the darn baby-weight and how it actually does get harder to loose the pounds after the ripe age of 40…but it can be done. She was great, Thanks Amy!

IMG_2656(Healthy cheese curls & a club soda spritzer were there perfect afternoon snack!)

Back to the food…just a couple of “high-fives” to a few of the menu items…Chicken Street Taco’s you were pretty darn good and if I added a touch of salsa you almost passed for a trendy taco restaurant lunch. Chocolate Lava Cake, you made those days when you didn’t think you could stay with it really worth it, so decadent. Lasagna and Ravioli, you did a great job being there for this Italian lady who loves her carbs and pasta…but in smaller portions than my grandmother would often serve. Have everything pre-portioned and in a daily menu form made this really easy for me. I didn’t have to think about what the day had in store but rather, just pack up the various elements and follow along and I started to se a change.

They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit and this 60 day experience has really drilled down a few important ways for me to approach eating moving forward. WATER…OMG, we must drink a lot of water. Moderation, you can eat what everyone else is having within moderation and planning. You can have a treat now and then…just plan for it and then enjoy it. Vegetables are great…the more vegetables…the A) better you feel and B) the less you are going to eat junk. Serious habits have been formed, with JC you seriously always have someone there to cheer you on, motivate you & keep you on track!

So while I was hesitant at first, it ended up to be a great experience. My clothes fit better and I’m excited for spring fashions…so what’s not to love about that? Thanks “JC” you were a pretty good gal pal to hang out with these last two months! Peace.

Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. I received promotional consideration. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

  7 Weeks to Bliss CLE Edition + 10% off registration

rockbliss_1Hey friends! How has your 2017 been so far? I know earlier this year we talked about some of my own personal goals and believe it or not, I am still working towards them every day. I gotta say, I manage to get out of my yoga clothes and into real pajamas 2 or 3 days a week…baby steps I tell you.

Rock_Bliss3A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an evening with my friends from Groundswell and the dazzling duo from Rock Your Bliss during an evening yoga & soul practice at the 78th Street Galleries. I had met Jacki from Rock Your Bliss a few years ago and through the power of social media and she and I have remained in touch. When she and her business partner Mary Beth founded Rock Your Bliss, I knew I wanted to jump on board and follow their practice to a more blissful experience…enter 7 Weeks to Bliss CLE Edition.

Rock Your Bliss is a yoga-inspired coaching movement for the mind and body. Their signature blisscrafting program, Seven Weeks to Bliss, was created as a way for others to experience some of Mary Beth and Jacki’s favorite tools, insights and inspiration from their own life practices and learnings in addition to serving as a platform to support one another. This Spring, in order to create an even greater sense of community + connection, they will be offering a special {CLE} edition of  Seven Weeks to Bliss.

RockBliss_2During the 7 weeks, GroundSwell Collective will provide you with an additional program bonus, a weekly opportunity to connect with local bliss crafters as we deepen our experience. From sweat sessions (spinning, yoga & more!) to coffee talk and everything in between, this program looks to be an incredible way to connect with other Clevelanders who are passionate about new ways to connect and find bliss in the everyday.

So what’s exactly included in the program?
• Weekly, local meet ups’ with some of CLE’s best wellness & yoga enthusiasts
• A digital bliss workbook with weekly fun-work to cultivate and craft your bliss.
• Weekly Rock Your Bliss videos in your inbox to share each week’s content.
• A private Facebook accountability group for resource sharing, community building and connection.
• Weekly recorded conference calls on Monday evenings with Jacki & MaryBeth LIVE to go through the material…but not to worry if Mondays don’t work, you can always listen on your own time.
• A 1 month access code to Mary Beth’s yoga classes on YogisAnonymous.com.
• A new set of tools and perspectives to rock your bliss, your way.

Wanna join me? Register for 7 Weeks of Bliss CLE style, here on their eventbrite page. Make sure to enter code “IHEARTCLE’ for 10% off your registration fee as a little way for us to make our social space and ourselves a bit brighter and lighter….full of bliss!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Jacki, Mary Beth and the team at Groundswell for inviting me to be part of their program as part of the programs social outreach. Thanks for supporting this group of talented women, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!