An Unexpected Use

CaptureRemember the little under-the-desk cycle I talked about yesterday? Last night, I was watching an episode of My 600-lb Life. The lady the show was about was bed-ridden, and she was using one of these little cycles with her arms. Go figure! I tried it this morning and it works fabulously. It not only works the arms and shoulders, but the back and waist get a really good workout too. I’m not even a third of 600 pounds, but this is my new favorite overall body exerciser.

Today, I’m making one of my favorite recipes of rinsed, canned black beans, frozen corn, and Ro-tel tomatoes. It’s one of my favorites, and on the new Weight Watchers Freestyle plan it’s zero points. I can add a little boneless, skinless chicken breast, and it’s still zero points.


One of Those People

One of “Those People”

Every year, I complain about all “those people” who show up at the gym on January 2nd. You know the ones. They go every January and then stop. This year, I’m going to be one of those people who shows up at the gym on January 2nd. I don’t plan to stop. I plan to continue and be successful.

I’m going to start the new Weight Watchers Freestyle program on January 1st. I’m excited about the new zero-point items, such boneless, skinless chicken breast, corn, peas, and beans. This new plan seems so much more do-able. Here’s a video that explains the new Freestyle plan.

For the past three years, I’ve been working on my doctorate. I’ve been sedentary during that time, and the less I moved, the less I could move. I bought one of those little under-desk bicycles. They’re available on Amazon and cost around $39.99. My knees hurt when I use a treadmill or an elliptical, but I don’t have any pain after using this cycle.


It has been a miracle. My core and legs are stronger, and I can do much more than I have in a long time. I’ve been trying to use this to make 10,000 steps per day on my Fitbit.  To make the steps count on my Fitbit, I put my hand on my thigh and it jiggles my wrist and counts the steps.


The cycle has toned my abdomen significantly. Before using the cycle, I didn’t believe it would work, but it is an excellent form of exercise. It has increased my stamina significantly.

So, look out gym, here I come…on January 2nd…

BBQ Wings


These chicken wings are so easy and delicious. Off course, you can cut them so they look like the wings in restaurants, but this time I left them whole.


Chicken wings

1/2 cup flour

Olive oil – 1-2 tablespoons

Bottled BBQ sauce, or your favorite sauce


Wash wings. Pat dry with a paper towel.  Toss the wings in flour. Add olive oil and toss again.

Place wings on cooking sheet. I put parchment paper underneath so the pan is easier to clean.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over. Bake 20 more minutes. Brush with BBQ sauce and put back in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn wings and cook for 5 more minutes.

Enjoy alone or with your favorite dipping sauce. I use ranch.


Instant Pot Beef Stew


Originally, I made this beef stew in the crockpot, but now I’ve altered it just slightly for the Instant Pot.


1 lb stew beef

1/2 cup flour

1 package McCormick’s Beef Stew seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups beef broth (I use no salt added)

1 package baby carrots

6 potatoes, in medium-sized chunks

1 onion, in medium-sized chunks

Cheese for garnish (optional)


Toss stew beef in flour. Place in Instant Pot and saute in olive oil until brown. Add all other ingredients. Set the Instant Pot on 35 minutes manual setting. I top it with a little cheese, but that’s optional. Enjoy!

When Did Everything Become So Political?


I like keeping up with people on Facebook. Many of my Facebook friends I’ve known 52 + years – or for my entire life. For the past couple of years, all the political posts have been tiring. Today, when I started reading about the NFL players taking a knee in solidarity against our president…that was just the end for me. I need a Facebook break. Life used to be simpler when everything wasn’t so political.

People used to have interests that made them unique. Some liked to hike or cook or read or bike. Now it’s just memes about politics, disasters, doom and gloom. I’ve decided to hop off the politics train for a bit so I can regain a balanced perspective. Maybe I’ll blog instead. Or journal. Who knows.

I’ve discovered a different social media site called ResearchGate. It’s for researchers. I’ve uploaded my dissertation topic and started making some contacts. I’ve found people who are researching topics similar to mine, and it has given me insight into my own research.  I’m making good progress on my dissertation.  I plan to submit to QRM in early December.

When I’ve finished my dissertation, I want to write some articles for publication.  I’m making a list of potential topics that range from healthcare IT to artificial intelligence – of the robotics variety. I’ve been reading up on AI. How would you write code for that? Are decisions just If…ELSE statements? Maybe life is just a long sequence of If…ELSE statements. What if humans are nothing more than AI? What if free will is the ability to choose IF or ELSE? I know…I watch a lot of Ancient Aliens.  But…what if?


Instant Pot Pear Compote

I can’t even begin to tell you what a wonderful recipe this is. Since I’m on Weight Watchers, I wanted something that’s zero points. This recipe has no sugar or artificial sweetener, but it’s sweet and tastes exactly like pie filling. This recipe makes one quart. I’m going to put it on phyllo. One serving on phyllo is two Weight Watchers points. My daughter spread whipped cream cheese and pear compote onto a rice cake. She said it was delicious.



  • 6 Pears, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger


Just throw everything into the Instant Pot, and set on manual for 5 minutes. Natural release. Give it a stir and smash it up a bit until it’s the consistency you like.

Easy Instant Pot Meatballs and Elbows

I was feeling lazy, and hungry, this evening and not really wanting to cook. I just happened to have the perfect ingredients for a lazy dinner.



  • Turkey meatballs, 1 bag
  • 8 ounces whole wheat elbows – I used Silver Palate Low-Sodium Marinara
  • 25-ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 25 ounces chicken broth, no sodium added


Throw everything into the Instant Pot, put the lid on, seal, and set on 20 minutes manual setting.

Weight Watchers Points:

6 meatballs – 4

1/2 cup sauce – 3

1 cup pasta – 5

Salmon Avocado Power Salad

Recently, I read somewhere that you should eat the following five foods every day:

  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Dark leafy greens

With that thought in mind, I made this salad:


This salad is amazing.  I mashed up one large avocado, gave it a generous squirt of lemon juice, and a dash of sea salt, coarse black pepper, and Mrs. Dash Tomato, Basil and Garlic seasoning. Then, I added sliced grape tomatoes (about 10), a bit of chopped onion, and a small amount of shredded cabbage. I mixed in a 5 oz package of salmon. It was delicious and healthy, and it included four of the five foods we should eat every day, according to the unknown article I read.

The entire salad – which is a lot – is 11 Weight Watchers points if you eat it all.

Little Jars Hold Big Ideas

When I make steel-cut oats in the Instant Pot, I always end up throwing a lot away since I’m the only one eating it. I ordered these little 6 ounce jars from Amazon.


One cup of oats cooked with three cups of water fills four of these little jars. I ate the fourth one. Now I have breakfast to go.

This weekend, I’m going to make sugar-free pear compote in the Instant Pot. The only ingredients are pears, water, cinnamon and ginger. I can have this with the oats. One of these jars of oats is 3 Weight Watchers points, and 1/4 cup of the compote is 0 points.

I’m also going to make Instant Pot Yogurt this weekend. I’m going to use skim milk since my doctor told me only to have fat-free dairy for now.

Awaiting My DNA Results

Recently, I did the DNA test. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to work up enough spit to fill that little tube. The first half was easy, but then I had to wait about 15 minutes to work up the rest. Who knew?


I’ve always been interested in genealogy. It’s fascinating to see what kind of results I might get. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about people thinking they were one nationality and turning out to be something else entirely.

My two sisters are both Rh negative, and I’m not. I’ve heard that Rh negative blood types could be from an alien species. I’m not going to rule that out because I swear I’m the normal one…and both of them are freakishly smart.

My daughter is considering getting her DNA done as well. It would be interesting to learn more about her dad’s side of the family.

I mailed mine in last Tuesday, so I guess I still have awhile to wait. Some people get the results as early as three weeks, but says to allow 6-8 weeks, or even longer. I’m excited about it. I might not learn much new, but it will be fun anyway.