What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
- Kissing NH goodbye and heading south to ring in the New Year with my awesome boyfriend
- Not feeling ill (no repeats of last year!)
- Dreaming of all the gifted goodies I had to bring back to Boston prematurely, but excited that they will be there for me to play with/cook on/read when I return to my home base
- Gearing up for another year of adventures, good cooking, laughter, and fun
What about you? And have you thought of some 2012 resolutions yet? More on that later this week…
Oh hey girl – have you seen Ryan Gosling all over the net lately? From election campaigns to NPR to standing up for rescue animals, this dude is HOT (in all possible ways). Here’s my roundup of the best the internet has to offer when it comes to this smokin’ hot star (and if someone can explain the point of all this along the way, your analysis would be much appreciated!):
Campaign style (warning: some non-PG phrases in here!):
Did I miss any? What do you think of this weird trend?
Bonus: music Wednesday! Another classic song to get you in the holiday spirit. The countdown to Christmas is ON!
Since I made this risotto a few weeks ago, I’ve been planning to try another batch to see if its deliciousness was a fluke or if making risotto really can be that easy and amazing. The answer: YES IT CAN!
I made this tasty risotto the other night using Archer Farms four cheese risotto mix. While the risotto was cooking, I cooked up some chopped onions and thawed frozen cauliflower with some garlic, oregano, and rosemary. When the risotto had about 8 minutes left, I tossed in the veggie mixture, and finished with 1 tsp butter and 2 tbsp grated parmesan. The result was perfecto (and I didn’t even burn my mouth on it!!)! I have a few packets left (yes, I stocked up the last time I went to Target), and I’m already thinking about what I can throw into the pot next.
What’s your favorite risotto? Have you tried any like mine here and here?
To celebrate the holiday season – and to pay homage to the musician, from my hometown (where I will be returning for the holidays!) – I bring you “The House on Christmas Street.” It makes the house across the street from me look tame by comparison!
Not pictured: brownies that are cooling in the kitchen, the roommate who will watch very silly Christmas movies with me, and the cute boyfriend who came to cheer on us Jingle Bell Runners.
After finishing the Jingle Bell Run 5k.
Our neighbor's amazing light display. Holiday cheer huzzah!
Delicious risotto for dinner - recipe to come!
Cool: A new State Department initiative to support women in public service.
Cooler: The fact that Mount Holyoke College is part of this new program, and is going to serve as a world leader getting women involved in – and recognized for – public service.
Coolest: The fact that my dear friend Priti Rao is one of their success stories already!
Go Priti, go Mount Holyoke, go women kicking butt and making the world a better place, one public service position at a time! Check out the Women in Public Service Project to see what great things they have in store for the future.
You read that right. Last week, I took my nerdiness to a whole new level when I willingly joined my friend Jessica for a lecture about whale poop.
Yes, it’s a thing. It’s orange, it floats, and it stinks to high heaven (when it comes from a right back whale). And it’s freaking amazing.
I never thought I could sit for an hour to hear someone talk about poop, but the scientist who spoke to us (Dr. Kathleen Hunt) was incredible. Here’s a strong, smart woman, leading the way in scientific discoveries via POOP. Can it get any better than that? Here’s a crash course on why whale poop is so fabulous:
- Mammal poop carries a ton of hormone information, and can tell scientists all about estrogen, testosterone, an animal’s reproductive status, and their stress levels.
- Poop is a much better indicator of stress levels than blood samples, because taking blood always stresses animals out (how could it not?) while poop gives you an indicator of how what an animal’s hormone levels were like 1-2 days earlier. This rocked my world. Because of this, poop is better than blood.
- Another earth-shaker – blood tests aren’t even an option for whales, since no great whales live in captivity (and you can’t trap a live whale for tests). This is obviously true, but still crazy to think about.
- The whale poop we talked about (from the right back whale) is actually collected by going near where the whale surfaced and scooping it up with a net. Dogs can help with the search, as they can smell the foul stuff a nautical mile away.
- Some animals are always a little bit high-strung (just like people!). More on this later…
- Not all stress is bad. Mating is stressful, and being pregnant is stressful on your body, but you can adapt to those and other natural stress. It’s the unexplained stress that you have to be careful about.
Holy cookbook, Batman – I just had some of the best (and easiest to make) risotto of my life and it came from Target.
I picked up a pack of Archer Farms Wild Mushroom risotto at our local Target solely because it was $1.79. I was skeptical of the instructions on the back, which skipped the steps one usually sees in risotto (warming up the risotto, adding water gradually and letting it absorb, etc.) and instead involved just boiling water, adding the risotto and seasoning packet, and stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Impossibly simple, right? I started sautéing the risotto while I considered the recipe on the box. About 2 minutes in, I decided that it was worth seeing if this crazy recipe worked – AND IT DID. Here’s what I ended up with:
- Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
- Add risotto and seasoning packet to the boiling water and cook for 17-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sauté 3 cloves of chopped garlic. When lightly cooked, dd to the pot.
- Sauté 1 onion, chopped into small pieces. When tender, add to the pot.
- Risotto done yet? Cool! Mine needed another 1/2 a cup of water and enough time for it to be almost entirely absorbed.
- Add 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tsp butter to the finished product – stir well.
That’s it! Katie agrees – utterly delicious. Just try not to burn your mouth on the first bite like I just did and you’ll probably enjoy it even more!
I have no idea what was in that seasoning packet so I’m not sure exactly how I would replicate this without the mix, but this approach definitely takes less time and resulted in one amazing dish.
Are you a fan of risotto too? Check out my other recipe – goat cheese risotto with squash!
Follow up question: after seeing such a great depiction of people in love, does it really matter who is behind the camera? To me, this love is a million times more legitimate than Britney Spears’s 55-hour marriage, Kim Kardashian’s 72 day sham, and Larry King’s 8 weddings. Can you honestly tell me that those people are more deserving of whatever holy, government honor that marriage implies than are the people in this Australian ad for marriage equality?
Here’s hoping that by the time I have kids, they won’t have to grow up watching their friends and loves ones being discriminated against because of whose hand they choose to hold at the end of the day.