Hi friends! How are you doing?
I didn’t mean to take an absence from the blog yesterday, but that’s just how life worked out. Things have been extra crazy around here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling the pressure of getting everything on the to-do list done and ready before Christmas this Friday.
Holy smokes, where did this year go… right?
Since I never got around to a sharing a weekend recap yesterday and my thoughts are clearly all over the place today, I thought it would be a good excuse to dive into a catch up post. No structure per se, just a chance to highlight some things that we haven’t talked about.
Here we go!
• Chef Scott for the win
I know I’ve mentioned how nice it is to have Scott home and helping with meals around here lately. And, it should be noted that when I say meals, I don’t just mean throwing something in the microwave and calling it dinner. Scott is a “go big or go home” type of cook. He loves trying new recipes and putting gourmet food on the table when he’s in charge of dinner, and I’ve never been one to complain.
The lighting of this photo is horrible, but it was taken in the two seconds I had to capture his last meal over the weekend. After a failed attempt to go to the Red Wings game Friday night (thanks to snow, unsalted roads, and traffic from multiple accidents), Scott and our friend, Liam, came home to join me and the fur kids Friday night.
Scott had previously picked up the ingredients to make this butternut squash risotto recipe he found in our local city magazine, and he now had the night free to make it for us. It’s straight from Joe Bologna, owner of Bologna Via Cucina in Downtown Rochester. Yum!
Risotto with Roasted Delicata Squash
(recipe taken from DowntownRochesterMI.com)
4 cups delicata squash (seeded, and cubed, peeling optional)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots
3/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 oz. pomegranate seeds (optional)
2 oz. toasted pecans (optional)
6 parmesan crisps (optional) – Scott made his own!
Toss squash with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Pour into baking pan. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, turning squash every 10 minutes, or until the squash starts to brown and caramelize.
In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock to a simmer; cover and set aside to keep warm. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots. Sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.
Mix in sage and thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add wine; stir, reduce. Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, every 2-3 minutes.
Continue adding 1 cup of broth at a time until rice is tender and creamy. Remember to stir frequently, about 20 minutes. Add parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in squash. Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute.
Transfer risotto to serving bowl. Optional: garnish with pecans, pomegranate seeds and parmesan crisps.
It took Scott about 45 minutes to prepare, including 30 minutes to cook, and made about 4-6 servings. We enjoyed a now popular dish in our household on the side, a navel orange salad.
Navel orange, cilantro, kalmata olives, and onion drizzled in picholine extra virgin olive oil.
The risotto was absolutely dreamy, and I can’t wait for another plate of the orange salad soon. (<- so easy!)
• return to the gym
Since my membership at the barre studio ended a couple of weeks ago, I have been back to strength training at the gym as much as I can. Right now, that’s only about three times a week.
Since my wonderful broken toe is still healing, I have spent a lot of my cardio sessions on the stationary bike. Most of my workouts have involved 45 minute strength training circuits followed by 20-30 minutes on the bike. It’s been a good balance!
• family “run”
In related news, I attempted my first “run” with Scott and Roadie last week. I quote run because my efforts can’t be classified as anything other than a jog at best. I felt like a turtle barely crawling through peanut butter, but hey, I got out there.
Eventually, I told Scott to go on without us, and I turned to finish a short two mile loop around the neighborhood. It looks like my journey to a good run will be slow and steady.
• Comfort and Joy Christmas concert in Kalamazoo
Our family friends invited us to see a special performance from their good friend, Jim Brickman on Sunday!
Our friend, Nichole, picked us up around lunchtime, and we made the two and a half hour drive over to Kalamazoo together. The concert took place in the beautiful Kalamazoo State Theater, which is a venue I had never visited before. It was gorgeous!
It was great to be able to take a break and simply enjoy both classic and new Christmas music. I just love this time of year!
After the show, we were able to meet the artists, and they were all so sweet and welcoming.
Thank you for taking us, Karen, Randy, Nichole, and Nic!
• Fazoli’s fix
We had plans to go out to dinner after the concert, and ended up driving around Battle Creek on the way home to Rochester Hills. Not everyone will be able to understand my excitement here, but we practically stopped in our tracks and made an immediate u-turn as soon as we passed a Fazoli’s on the way to dinner. Have you ever been to one?
It’s Italian – fast – and is known for their endless (delicious) breadsticks. We used to have one right across the street of my high school (oh… I could eat there every day back then!), and Scott and I were pretty upset when the location near us in Orlando closed down. Since moving up to Michigan, we have only passed a location two times. It’s a rare occurrence!
It’s hard for me to stray from the classic spaghetti and meat sauce dinner, so that’s what I had to order. We all enjoyed our favorites from the restaurant, and we chatted away the next hour or so before heading back home. It was a great time!
• dancing again, and a busy week ahead
The majority of my time this week (and why it’s been hard for me to check in on the blog) has been due to the upcoming Christmas services at our church! My friend Alex and I are dancing together in the services, and we’ve had plenty of rehearsals leading up to it to keep us busy. We had our first dress rehearsal last night, and I didn’t get home until after midnight.
We have another long rehearsal tonight, and I’m fortunate that I have been able to get my classes covered as well as move my 1-on-1 appointments around this week. That on top of getting ready for Christmas has left me with little free time, my friends. I promise that I haven’t forgotten about you!
I am planning on checking back in regularly throughout the rest of the week.
Thank you so much for reading. <3
Anddd I think we are all caught up.
I’ve got several errands to run today before rehearsal starts this afternoon, so I better get going.
I hope you are having a great week so far, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Questions of the Day
• Is there a restaurant or chain you miss that either closed down or you moved away from?
• Did you are or are you planning on attending any holiday shows this year?
As silly as it sounds, Scott and I miss Publix subs more than anything. Yes, that’s a sub made in the deli section of a grocery store. Any Floridian will understand!