The National Restaurant Association has it’s annual trade show in Chicago in a couple weeks.  It’s estimated that 70,000 people will be in attendance, during the four day event.  But here’s the kicker.  It’s not open to the public.  Several weeks ago I kept seeing ads on craigslist asking for help with particular booths, whether it was help setting up, manning the booth, or even doing some prep cooking.  I didn’t get a call back on any ad that I replied to.   Rat farts.

But then I thought, I wonder if I could attend as press?  I mean, I write about a lot of stuff on this blog – 80% of which is food related, so I sent out several emails and finally got the green light to register for the conference with a Press Pass!


I think it could be a great networking opportunity, plus it’s my goal to get my picture taken with Graham Elliot and Robert Irvine.  I plan on attending all day Sunday and Monday, and possibly Tuesday if I didn’t see everything I wanted.  How exciting!

Over the weekend I made a batch of Oh She Glows granola clusters.  I did adapt her recipe with what I had on hand.

  • 1 cup raw walnut halves I used 1 cup of mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan halves I used 1/4 cup pepita seeds and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup*  3 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tbsp gluten-free rolled oats 6 tablespoons regular oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2-3 tbsp Sucanat sugar* 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 275F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place walnuts and pecans into a large mixing bowl. Pour on brown rice syrup and stir very well until combined for about 60 seconds. Your goal is to have every nook and cranny covered in syrup. No pressure!

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, coconut, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour it onto the nuts and mix very well until combined. Some of the oat mixture won’t adhere to the nuts, but that’s ok because it adds character.

4. Spoon the entire mixture onto the baking sheet including any oats that didn’t stick. Spread into a single layer so they have room to get toasty. Garnish with fresh nutmeg. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 10-13 minutes (I baked for 23 mins total) and allow to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes.

5. Once cool, break apart clumps and store in glass jars or Tupperware containers. I expect these would stay good for at least a month.

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Love, love these clusters.  One ounce is 4 smart points, which is what I have in that parfait above.  Although, one note – do not try to bake this on foil.  I was out of parchment paper, and substituted foil and well, let’s just say it took a lot of curse words to get the granola off the foil, and you can even see some remnants of the foil on the granola in my parfait.  My friend Errign asked how many points in foil – and I told her – foil is free!

I had my annual eye doctor appointment yesterday morning.  Love having an appointment at 11:00 a.m. without having to take time off of work.  One thing that’s changed since last year?  Reading glasses.  Yep, I’ve had to put on reading glasses when I read in bed before going to sleep.  She then asked me if I was interested in trying multifocal contact lenses.


She said that it will not only help with reading, but my night vision will improve as well with these.   She gave me a sample to try and I wore them all day yesterday and I loved them!  Of course, they cost $20 more a box, but I think it will be worth it.  And I love that they are daily lenses – I love putting on a fresh pair of contacts every morning.

I decided not to grocery shop this week and to use what food we have in the house.  I may not make it the whole week, but I am going to give it the old college try.  I used some of the grilled chicken to make a BBQ chicken pita pizza for lunch.  Holy balls was this delicious!  The secret?  The Stubbs Texas Sriracha Anytime Sauce


I bought four bottles of this on the discount rack at Jewel for only .82 cents each.  I used one of my pitas from the freezer that I defrosted in the microwave (2) and topped it with 4 ounces of grilled chicken (3) and 1/2 an ounce of Cabot cheese hot habanero cheese (2).  On the side I had leftover green beans that I drizzled with a bit of walnut pear balsamic glaze (1).  A delicious 8 point lunch! 

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Dinner again was leftovers to the rescue.  This time I had baked potatoes to use up.  Not going to lie, my first thought was to make loaded baked potato skins for dinner!  But that would have required the deep fryer and copious amounts of cheese, so I went with homemade gnocchi.  Except I didn’t have any ricotta cheese, so I substituted cottage cheese.  I watched this video from Gordon Ramsey on how to make them.

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I ended up using 16 ounces of potato, 3 ounces of cottage cheese, 4 ounces of flour, 1 egg, salt and dried parsley.  The only thing I wasn’t exactly sure about the amount was the potato – because he used two potatoes and so did I, but maybe his potato filling was only 10 ounces?   I originally thought that would be enough dough for 4 servings, but I ended up with 60 gnocchi, and switched it to 6 servings at 10 gnocchi each for 5 smart points.


Once your salted water comes to a low boil, cook the gnocchi – you’ll know they are done when they float to the top. 


For my plate, I sauteed one small zucchini, then added in the gnocchi and three meatballs I made earlier in the day and cooked for a couple minutes, then finished the gnocchi off with about 1/2 cup homemade pasta sauce, and a few pinches of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.  Dinner came in at 11 smart points.


These were good, but not knock my socks off great.  The texture was really light, and fluffy, but there was no texture to the dish, which I was missing.  Instagram friends suggested toasted pine nuts, or maybe Parmesan crisps, or even fresher veggies?  I will make this again, but maybe reduce the amount of potato to 12 ounces and see if the texture is better.  Still not a bad dish for using leftovers!

Thanks for everyone’s comments on my post yesterday.  I think Hannah and I are in a good place after our long talk, and I hope she now realizes that if she has something to say, just say it.  I love her so.

I was supposed to take my Mom flower shopping today as a belated Mother’s day gift, but it’s crappy weather today, so we postponed.  Hannah is off both work and school today, so not sure what our plans are for the day.  I love that I have the opportunity to spend so much time with her – one of the best things of my “semi-retirement.”

Hope you have a great day!