Why I Can’t Go To the Gym…


The fabulous weather streak has been broken! 8) –> :?

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!


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… ;)


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!


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?!


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… :)


Spinach Risotto with Firecracker Shrimp

Serves 2. Adapted from the Eating for Life cookbook.


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


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!


That’s it! 3 steps! :D


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


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.


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


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




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:



Do you ever use cookbooks? Have any favorites?

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

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  1. Lauren 10.12.2010

    I hate feeling like the newbie at the gym too! But don’t worry, you’ll get over that fear in no time. I suggest talking to a PT or someone who works there. Usually, the gym will offer a free session for first timers to get acquainted with all of the machines and find out more about the facility and what it has to offer.

  2. Exercise and Eat 10.12.2010

    I don’t use cookbooks – I should more, to try new things! Wine always helps with cooking though:)

  3. I LOVE joining new gyms. I love seeing what equipment they have and learning the drill. It can be fun! Don’t be nervous.

  4. lindsay 10.12.2010

    Walk around like you know what you’re doing – if you think you’re supposed to be there, others will too!

    I looooove Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It gives you the basic way to cook a recipe and then offers multiple ways to improvise or improve the basic recipe. It’s really more of teaching how to cook something as opposed to a collection of recipes.

  5. Um, OH YEAH, I get new gym anxiety! I’m in my first year of grad school in a new place and it took some serious courage to walk into a new rec center! So much so that I even wrote a post about it on my blog! LOL! http://bit.ly/aWm6QO Even now, a month and a half later, I still haven’t worked up the guts to totally explore the place! :) …not that that should scare you or anything… YOU CAN DO IT!!! :)

  6. I love cookbooks! I have a big stack checked out from the library now. I really like the Taste of Home cookbook because it’s real recipes from real people, not all unrealistic chef recipes.

  7. Liz @ Blog is the Black 10.12.2010

    I totally get new gym anxiety too! I’m more of an Internet recipe gal myself, but I have some great cookbooks as well!

  8. That newbie feeling is only doubled when you’re convinced you’re the fattest one there!! Love the risotto recipe :)

  9. Joy of Cooking….it’s wonderful! It’s so basic. It has directions on how to cook everything you should know how to cook but don’t. So many simple, basic recipes, as well as a good selection of gourmet and international flavors.

  10. I must have missed a post – did you change jobs?

  11. I think the chef had a bit more than a sip there, Kristin (ha)!
    I haven’t been to a gym in years simply because I hate the feeling of people watching me. I’m quite overweight, so for me it’s this even more intensified feeling. I know it shouldn’t matter, as you say, whether or not they’re looking, because I would be working towards health…but I can’t help it. We have a fitness center at my job now, so perhaps that will go away.
    As for recipes, I usually get ideas from other bloggers such as yourself. I am working my way through a Harry Potter cookbook for fun though (and for my blog). I’m going to be making something tomorrow for my second post, so it’s still quite new.

  12. Ms.S 10.12.2010

    Even after I’ve been part of a gym for a while, if I change up my routine (I really love classes, but can’t always make them) I am super-aware of everyone and think they’re all watching me.
    My three favorite cookbooks: America’s Test Kitchen (all of them are amazing, the one I own is their Family Cookbook), Whole Foods, and Moosewood Restaurant’s New Classics – the last two are particularly great for vegetarian and vegan cooking.

  13. Lisa 10.12.2010

    Haha! That is so funny about the gym because I am the EXACT same way! Especially when it comes to exploring a new part of the gym. I will sometimes lift weights in my boyfriend’s basement rather than go to the weight room because I get so intimidated by the crowd of people! It’s pathetic! But I just have to remind myself- everyone probably has the same anxieties running through their minds so in reality, everyone is much more focused on themselves than on me. That’s the story I’m going with anyway :)

  14. Allison @ thesundayflog 10.12.2010

    1) I have new gym anxiety so bad!!! I’m so glad I’m not alone! When I belonged to la fitness I could go to any location and never did because I hated being new! I felt like such a newbie for not knowing the area and the locker room etc!
    2) two buck chuck hollaaaa! You can’t sell alcohol in grocery store in pa so we drive to nj for it! Such a deal!

  15. I don’t find myself using cookbooks that often. I more often use the internet or my Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazines for inspiration.

  16. Manon 10.12.2010

    I LOVE cookbooks! I will actually sit and read them for hours….my latest find at Discount Books was Rocco Dispirito’s “Flavor”….I’m thinking I’m going to have to cook my way through it, Julie & Julia style!

  17. I have new gym anxiety too! I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I really dread going, but once I’m there, I realize there was no reason to be anxious!

  18. VCK 10.12.2010

    What kind of job did you have at the publishing company?

  19. My co-worker and I were just talking about using/not using cookbooks today. She uses them all the time and I mostly have an idea for what I’d like to make and then just dive right in. Thankfully, most things turn out tasting pretty good, although there have been a few doozies! :)

  20. Lindsey 10.12.2010

    I found your website a couple weeks ago and am very much addicted!! :) I love your recipes, and have recently been looking through your trips and restaurant posts. I am curious how you normally find your restaurants to eat at? My husband & I are from NW Iowa and are visiting Seattle soon. Curious if you find and map out your restaurants ahead of time, or just wing it and find a local spot whereever you happen to be at meal time.

  21. dmcgirl 10.12.2010

    Going to a new gym is almost worse than starting a new job. Why is that? It’s awful. See if you can go with a friend – bring one who can try out the gym with you for the first few times. That will make it easier.
    Good luck! In no time at all you won’t be a newbie anymore!

  22. oh yum! This looks delish!

    And I know what you mean about gym anxiety – but I find that the hardest part is getting there that first time. After that – I realise that I had nothing to be worried about!

  23. Well aren’t you the little Julia Child there, drinking vino while you’re cooking! =)

  24. Do I ever use cookbooks!? Awww, isn’t that sad that you even have to ask? My bookshelf is full of beautiful recipe books, yet I will admit they rarely get used – hello, blogs/Internet.

    Are you going to Foodbuzz Fest? =]

  25. I’ve tried checking out cookbooks at my library, but I much rather use the internet to look up recipes.

  26. Stephanie 10.13.2010

    Love The Roasted Vegetable by Andrea Chesman. Love it. Everything I’ve made from that thing has been A.MAZ.ING.

    I avoid the gym. I’d rather be outside! I know, I know, I should be doing some weight-lifting, but I really dislike it. I do some pilates at home.

  27. Dream Mom 10.13.2010

    The new gym anxiety is the worst! Be sure to ask for help though…everyone loves helping someone new at the gym!

    I find most of my recipes online, on the Food Network or in the beauty shop when I read a real “magazine”, lol. The main one I use is the “Good Housekeeping Cookbook”. It has standard information that I use it for; the rest I get online.

  28. For some reason, I ONLY like cookbooks with lots of pictures :) No picture = a very hesitant chef. I need to have an end goal visual in mind.

    I’m the same way about a new gym…but we have a HUGE new one going up by us that I cannot wait to join when it finally gets finished in the spring!

  29. Beth @ bethcooks 10.13.2010

    I am a cookbook freak. I have 75 of them (!!) and I’m only 31. I cannot even imagine how many I will accumulate before I die. It’s a sickness!

  30. Emily 10.13.2010

    I love looking through cookbooks, but I find that I cook out of my “Cooking Light” magazines more than anything. Oh, and things I find on your blog. =)

  31. Risotto is EASY! I have a 3 year old and a 10 month old so you can bet I don’t stand over it stirring the entire time! I just give it a stir when it looks like too much rice is sticking out above the liquid and let it go. It’s simple, I promise.

    That said, your dish looks really delicious!

  32. Melissa 10.13.2010

    i am exactly the same. New gyms make me nervous! I have been at the Y since like middle school! But when overseas I had to join new gyms a few different times and I was always insanely nervous! Good luck.

  33. Jenna 10.13.2010

    Good luck on the tour today lady! What a fabulous new gig you have. :)

  34. S. 10.13.2010

    I too have experienced new gym anxiety. Usually I just try to do a machine or two that i feel comfortable with, and then it slowly fades away the more I go. Good luck!

  35. kate 10.13.2010

    It sucks being new but everyone was there at some point. Plus youre supposed to do something every day that scares you!

  36. Traci 10.13.2010

    I must confess, I’m the 1% that’s watching everyone else at the gym…I get kind of bored so that’s where my eyes avert to – funny thing though, I stay away from the machines because I too am afraid someone’s watching…

    Totally off topic – I miss your morning posts :( Maybe you could take a few pics and blog about them at night? Those pictures inspire me to eat better all day long…

  37. MOM 10.13.2010

    I am a cookbook hoarder and at last count I had over 150 cookbooks! I have refused to buy anymore until I try one recipe out of each:) My ‘gym’ is only outside on morning walks right now:)

  38. AJ 10.13.2010

    I don’t think people really look at other people at the gym. I try not to people watch at the gym, because nobody wants to be watched as they sweat and whatnot. I don’t think you probably have anything to worry about!

  39. Sarah 10.13.2010

    I love going to the gym. All the equipment and classes and options of workouts that I can’t do at home. I like to people watch too so I do check out other people but not in a critical way. Just observe.
    As for cookbooks, I use a lot of Pampered Chef ones. They’re “It’s Good For You” one has some really great healthy recipes. But otherwise, I mostly just make it up as I go along.

  40. Amy @QuickFit 10.13.2010

    Dont worry about being new at the gym. If you need help ask the staff. I am sure they would love to help you and it is a great way to meet some of the staff. I work at a gym and I love meeting new people and usually it is the people who ask for some help!

    As for cook books, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jamie Olivers new one.. Food Revolution. It is great and the recipes are super easy and soooo yummy. It is a great one too if you have a family because it is all about eating real food and not processed food.

    Love your blog and Congrats on the new job! :)

  41. jen 10.13.2010

    I’m sort of surprised that you’re nervous about the gym, I mean, you are a rockstar! ;) But yes, I have new gym anxiety too. I don’t belong to one now, but I have a 3 month pass to use this winter, and I’m already nervous about it!

  42. Jenn 10.13.2010

    I love finding recipes online (Foodgawker is amazing for that) and in magazines, but I have a few cookbooks. I’m currently cooking may through America’s Test Kitchen’s “Cooking for Two”. Highly recommended!! Really anything ATK, though. :)

  43. Terin 10.13.2010

    I hate joining new gyms! I actually hate the gym in general, not fun for me. I prefer workout classes and walking outside. I feel too much like a gerbil on a treadmill and hate doing the weight machines. I also feel like everyone is watching me!

    I get most of my recipes from kraft maganzines, cooking light magazines, this blog, and different websites. I tend to follow a recipe pretty closely the first time I make it, but then improvise the longer I have been making it.

  44. mina 10.13.2010

    That shrimp looks amazingly delicious. I just bought some last night, so I might have to try this recipe. I don’t think I’m a fan of risotto though. Since I’ve discovered food blogs, I rarely use cook books anymore, but the Williams Sonoma ones used to be my fave.

    Good luck at the gym, I’m always self conscious about it too.

  45. Maranda 10.13.2010

    That risotto looks delicious! I will have to try that next week. I love cookbooks but never know which ones to buy.

    I also get new gym anxiety. I’ve gotten it so badly in the past that I wasted 2 years worth of membership (2 different gyms several years apart). Get over that fear girl! You are going to need that gym once winter really hits!

  46. Tracey 10.13.2010

    I love making rissotto. It’s so good and the flavor possibilities are endless!
    The only cookbook I have used is the one my mom put together for me a couple Christmas ago. It’s a book of that shows how to make all the food she made for me while I was growing up. Love it!

  47. I love cookbooks! I am a huge fan of Heidi Swanson, Alice Waters, Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller. The Canyon Ranch cookbooks are also fantastic and health-conscious!


  48. Becca 10.13.2010

    I love cookbooks but have found that lately, I’ve been perusing many a website online for my meal ideas! It’s fabulous, really. Who doesn’t love a virtual (free) database of recipe after recipe goodness? That said, there’s something about turning the pages of a cookbook, feeling each page against your hand. Sort of like reading an actual book — I just can’t get into the whole eReader thing yet!

  49. I love risotto and hate having to stir stir stir alll night! I’m definitely going to try this out.

  50. Ashlee 10.13.2010

    I get very nervous joining new gyms. I feel as if I am in the way and people look at me funny. But needless to say I keep going and I keep trying and well you can say now I have friends at the gym and love going. Check out my weight loss journey.. http://ashandlewplus2.com/weight-loss-journey/

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