The fabulous weather streak has been broken!

All day I’ve been dying to run in the beautiful sunshine, but alas, the 17-ish day streak of gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather had to end sometime. The winds and rain starting raging around 5:00 so, since I’m currently suffering from a minor case of new gym anxiety, I came home to cook a cozy supper after work.

Sooo, about this new gym anxiety… I joined a gym last week and have yet to go! 90% because it’s been too nice to exercise indoors, 10% because I hate being new to a gym. I hate not knowing where to go, trying to remember which machines are where, worrying that people are watching me, etc.

Then I smack myself in the forehead, and remind myself that everyone’s new to the gym at some point and, no matter what my paranoid self might tell me, NO ONE is watching. Most are too preoccupied with themselves to be noticing 99% of the people around them. Me included!

I’m hoping I can make my first visit this week. To be continued… Do you ever feel self conscious about going to the gym?

In delicious news – I thought I’d give risotto another chance for diner tonight!

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My last attempt at Butternut Squash Risotto went well, but I made it the cheaters’ way in the microwave. Tonight I took a baby step forward and made it on the stove top. I didn’t exactly stand and laboriously stir it for hours, but it was definitely a step in the right direction! You’ll see… ;)

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Back story – one of the perks at my last job was having my pick of a million free cookbooks that were always laying around. When you work for a large publishing company with a huge focus on food, there tends to be an abundance of them!

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I picked this baby up – Eating For Life – a couple months ago, not because of its focus on recipes for boosting immunity and preventing disease (?) but because they looked seriously delish.

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I flipped through it and the Spinach Risotto with Firecracker Shrimp immediately caught my eye. Yum, right?!

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Unlike traditional risotto recipes, this one didn’t have me adding ladles full of liquid to my rice, stirring and waiting until it was absorbed, rather, I simply cooked the rice with extra liquid and called it a day! Baby steps, people… :)

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Spinach Risotto with Firecracker Shrimp

Serves 2. Adapted from the Eating for Life cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup short grain brown rice (or any short grain white rice)

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1 handful torn baby spinach

salt & pepper

1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic

15-20 small-medium sized shrimp

red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat broth, wine and rice in a saucepan until boiling. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked but sauce is still creamy. Stir butter, parmesan cheese, spinach, salt & pepper into the rice, cover and keep warm.

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2. Heat EVOO in skillet over medium heat and sauté garlic, shrimp and red pepper flakes until shrimp are cooked (or heated through if using frozen :arrow: thawed shrimp like me!)

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3. Plate risotto then top with shrimp!

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That’s it! 3 steps! :D

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I HEART this rice – it is SO good! The parmesan cheese TOTALLY makes it. Chewy, thick and lusciously creamy. Goooood eats.

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I also adored the hint of wine flavor in there. I used Pinot Grigio (2 buck chuck, woot woot!) but Chardonnay would work really well too.

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Whatever you use, be sure to steal a sip for the chef. ;)

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I also toasted up a piece of Parmesan Garlic Bread under the broiler.

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Perfection!

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In other news, I had a working lunch this afternoon at a Chinese restaurant and, while it satisfied this insane Chinese food craving I’ve had lately, it left me parched! I’ve been chugging water all afternoon but this thirst won’t subside! Oh well…the Egg Drop Soup, Egg Roll and Chicken & Broccoli was sooooo worth it… ;)

Well my evening shall be dominated by the washing and folding of hundreds of loads of laundry. Glamorous, no? Oh and wish me luck – I give (ok, tag along on) my first museum tour tomorrow – eek! 8O / :mrgreen:

‘night!

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Do you ever use cookbooks? Have any favorites?

I usually use recipes I find online, but Giada di Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta cookbook is AWEsome!