An Unexpected Surprise


I knew something was up the minute I pulled into the driveway this evening. Not only were the blinds up on the windows in the front of the house, but I could also see a lamp on and glowing cozily inside.

Hey wait a second, I thought… I closed those blinds before I left this morning and, furthermore, the light bulb in that lamp burnt out last night!

I opened the door to find…BEN! In the kitchen! Scrubbing the funk off our fridge shelves! And he had already vacuumed the whole house too! WHEE!


You see, he was supposed to be working late tonight but unexpectedly got off early, came home and cleaned the whole house with his free time. He even made the bed.

I love this man! :razz:

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Now he’s on the couch enjoying a much deserved episode of PTI. :)

PS we discovered an interesting parallel the other day. To him, "women" shows like The Bachelor, Real Housewives, etc just sound like females shrieking and yelling over one another. I’m not saying I disagree, however…I love them.

To me, an episode of PTI, or any of his other beloved sports shows, is the exact same way. I don’t hear words, I just hear men barking at each other in monotone voices – but he’d watch them 24/7.

At least we now know where the other is coming from when they say "Ummm, can you turn that DOWN?!" ;)

In other news, I made my long overdue triumphant return to the gym tonight! It was wracking my brain for an excuse not to go, but there were clearly none. After a lengthy Vegas induced hiatus, it was time to get back in the saddle, starting with a good treadmill sesh:

Time Speed Incline
0-2 4.0 1%
2-5 6.0 1%
5-20 6.5 1%
20-25 7.0 1%
25-30 6.5 1%
30-35 7.0 1%
35-38 6.0 1%
38-40 4.0 1%
Total: 4.2 miles  

Followed by 10 minutes on the stair stepper at 60 steps per minute. The whole thing was a little more brutal than I imagined it would be, but it had to be done!

Now, all day I had been planning on making a non-husband-friendly Trader Joe’s meal for dinner, knowing that Ben would eat something at work, and even though he came home early he insisted I still make it.

You guys, it was thebestTraderJoe’snightdinnerlI’vehadyet. YET! Frozen Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto!


Ooooooh I seriously loved this!


It was really weird the way I got it though. I only found one bag, which was out of place on top of the pile of asparagus risotto bags. Then I Googled it at home, to see what other people thought of it, and got NO RESULTS.


No results! Ok – two random calorie websites – but other than that, nada! Weird, right?


At any rate, I pressed on. The directions say to heat 1/2 cup water, then cut the top off the sauce pack and squeeze it in. 


Water: check. Sauce packet: ummm, we’re going to have a problem here.


It was frozen solid! How do you squeeze out frozen sauce?


I ended up tearing away the plastic and plopping the frozen sauce puck into the water.

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I couldn’t stay mad for long. As the sauce simmered and melted, a glorious, rich and velvety aroma filled the air!


It took less than four minutes for the frozen rice kernels to plump up and the butternut squash hunks to become tender.

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And it was so. so. SO good!


Sweet and creamy (which is why it was a husband un-friendly meal – Ben hates sweet dinners!) with a hint – a mere whisper – of heat. Probably from a little bit of pepper in the sauce. I would eat this 100 more times.


On the side I made a piece of Parmesan Garlic Bread. Just a slice of bread, smeared with a little butter and dusted with parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Broiled for a minute or two. The best!


I am telling you – I don’t know if this risotto was placed on top of the pile JUST for me – but I’m so glad I found it. Rummage around your Trader Joe’s to find it too!!


Well that’s two unexpected surprises for one night – a cleaning, home-early husband, and a delightfully yummy dinner. I don’t think I’ll press my luck, so I believe I’ll enjoy a little Easter candy and call it a night!

See ya’!


What’s the last unexpected surprise you gave or received?

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  1. Lauren 04.25.2011

    You know, I think I remember seeing this there last time and I DIND’T get it!!! Now I’m kicking myself. Oh why didn’t I get it, especially now to hear it might be a endangered product!

  2. Both were good surprises! ;)

  3. 1) I’m envious. It takes an act of Congress to get my husband to clean.

    2) I’m jealous. No Trader Joe’s here in Jacksonville! :(

  4. Kristin 04.25.2011

    I jut bought that!!!!! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Hannah 04.25.2011

    Your husband is soo cute! I hope I’m allowed to say that. I’m glad you had a yummy meal :)

  6. I really need to start trying more items from the freezer section of Trader Joe’s! This sounds amazing!

  7. Carri 04.25.2011

    Woah, lucky lady! Don’t you just love some surprises?!? Plus dinner looked amazing!

  8. BeccaV 04.25.2011

    My sister RAVES about the different frozen Trader Joe’s risottos! I wish we had a Trader Joes close to us :(

  9. So impressed by your industrious hubs!!

  10. JennyV 04.25.2011

    Whenever I encounter a frozen sauce package I either get a bowl of warm water and put it in — or run warm water over it to loosen the plastic. That risotto looks like one of my favorite meals I ordered out at Biaggi’s one night in the fall — pumpkin risotto and seared scallops… oh so good!

  11. Laura 04.25.2011

    I SO agree with you on the PTI thing! I refuse to waste my time watching that or any sports (unless it’s hawkeye football) yet I CANNOT miss an episode of any of the real housewives (except for atlanta). That’s so funny :)

  12. That does look like yummy risotto! TJ’s is the best. I had risotto last night too(!

  13. Emily 04.25.2011

    Ben is so sweet! That’s such a dinner I wouldn’t normally choose, but you’re making it look so good right now. And that bread!…..why does my garlic toast never turn out like that?!

  14. dmcgirl 04.25.2011

    You are a lucky duck!!! Wow, what a guy! Make sure you share some easter candy with him!

  15. Ooh I will have to give this a try next time I see it! Your husband is a keeper, or I need to sign up for husband/boyfriend training classes from you. =)

  16. Cindy 04.25.2011

    The last surprise I gave was when I made meat sauce for my husband. He loves my meat sauce and it never fails to make him happy when that’s what’s for dinner.

    The last surprise I was given was front-of-house seats to see Rush on their Time Machine tour. My husband wins big points for that hook up. It was the best surprise ever! What an awesome show!

  17. presley 04.25.2011

    You think if I leave this page up my fiance will get the message? hmm…

  18. Ashley 04.25.2011

    WOW! Definitely need to start trying Trader Joe’s frozen meals. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Morgan 04.25.2011

    OMG, that meal looks amaaaazing. I’m gonna have to swing by TJ’s this week and look for it. And to have your hubs come home early and clean? Equally amazing.

  20. Afton 04.25.2011

    I’m 90% sure your TJs is my TJs, so it looks like you got the last bag. ;) I’ll keep an eye out for more though, and will be sure to leave a bag for you if I find it. :)

    Maybe it’s not supposed to be in the freezer? (Because of the squeezable sauce.)

  21. sbhays 04.25.2011

    I just tried the butternut squash risotto a week or two ago, but I got it because I thought you had tried and it and given it a 10!! Maybe I was just psychic =) I had the same issue with the frozen packet, but once cut, it came out very easy.

  22. Lindsey 04.25.2011

    That supper looks so good! I wish we had a TJ’s where I live!
    The last unexpected surprise I got was my Mother in Law bringing me flowers to my office last week :)

  23. Yay for hubby!

    Mine would love that risotto and I’ve never seen it at TJ’s! I will hunt tomorrow night. Once I taught the hubby how to make roasted butternut squash, we had it on a weekly basis this past winter. He just couldn’t get enough.

  24. ashley 04.26.2011

    My husband bought me a shirt a couple of weeks ago, which was a total surprise and I love it! Also my mom sends packages to me with my favorite magazines, The Des Moines Register, recipes, and goodies from home. I usually get about one a month, so it’s not a TOTAL surprise, but I love when I have a package waiting at the mail room! :)
    P.S. I have never had risotto because I do not like rice or products that remind me of rice….but my resolve is starting to fade- your pics look yummy!

  25. Rachel 04.26.2011

    Can I borrow Ben for a couple days? My husband’s more likely to make a mess than clean one up! But I think I’ll keep him anyway…A couple weeks ago, when I hadn’t been feeling well, he & my son went out to run some errands. They came home with a big bouquet of pretty spring flowers for me. :)

  26. Amy 04.26.2011

    Hey! I’m thinking of applying for a job in Council Bluffs and was wondering if you had any opinions on the area. I’m a Florida girl and your IA winters scare me. Thanks for any advice. :) Amy

  27. Carrie 04.26.2011

    Clearly, Ben’s mom raised him well. I can’t blame my husband for lessons his mother didn’t teach him as a child but it sure is frustrating!!!! Good for you!!!!

  28. Hope 04.26.2011

    So cute of your hubby to clean everything! I love when guys do that unexpectedly! :) OMG..butternut squash risotto!!!! I was just at Trader Joe’s over the weekend. Now I need to get back there and buy this asap! It looks incredible! :)

    The last unexpected suprise I recieved was a proposal from my boyfriend of 5 and a half years! :) Best surprise ever :)

  29. Kristen Waby 04.26.2011

    I can’t believe he cleaned like that! You are a very lucky woman :)

  30. Emily 04.26.2011

    I went for a walk at the beach over Easter weekend and found $20! Finally, a monetary reward for all my sweating. haha.

  31. AJ 04.26.2011

    Actually, the last surprise I gave someone was cleaning my boyfriend’s house! I went to his house while he was working and cleaned the whole thing. Ok, I did it mostly for ME, I will admit it. It was gross in there. It already needs to be cleaned again, too….

    • AJ 04.26.2011

      The last surprised I RECEIVED was flowers last week. I was EXTREMELY sad and disappointed about not getting a job offer at a place I applied. It was down to me and one other candidate, and the other person got the job. My boyfriend knew I was upset, so he sent me some flowers.

  32. what a sweet husband. I love it when mine unexpectedly does household chores. It’s the best!

    The last unexpected gift I received was a book my husband ordered me. Oh, and the surprise anniversary trip to Colorado in March. I’m spoiled!

  33. I love how you embrace frozen meals. Sometimes that’s what a busy girl has to do! Good work gettin back in the saddle on the ol’ treadmill today. Looks like a good run. Last unexpected surprise? Well, I don’t have a significant other BUT my good friends Indian wedding in Texas this weekend was an unexpected surprise. It was SO INCREDIBLE. I had no idea what was in store and I couldn’t have had a better time :-)

  34. Cass 04.26.2011

    i saw that last time i was there, but didnt get it. i wasnt sure how i’d like it, but now i may have ti try it if i can find a bag!!

  35. Monica 04.30.2011

    Haha, I just said out loud, what is PTI? And my husband blurted it out within seconds. How do guys just know this kind of stuff?

    Those are wonderful surprises! Especially the clean house by the hubby!

  36. […] might be on par with TJ’s Butternut Squash Risotto in the taste department too! Crazy! TJ’s also sells shredded BBQ Beef & Chicken, but I […]

  37. Lindsay 10.16.2014

    I’m making this for dinner tonight with rotisserie chicken pieces mixed in. I’m excited now! Thanks for your review!

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