Giving Risotto a Go

Whenever I see some form of risotto on the menu at a restaurant my eyes light up.

I’m not quite sure why I’ve never attempted to make my own, but tonight seemed like a good night to give it a go.

*Fantastic Recipe Alert!*

I followed a recipe for shrimp and zucchini barley risotto that I printed off a while ago but never got around to making.

That seems to happen to me a lot. I always flag recipes and forget about ’em a day later!

Tonight I was committed to making the risotto and purchased all the necessary ingredients at the grocery store with Ryan after work.

I was immediately intrigued by this particular risotto recipe because it called for barley rather than rice. I have never been much of a rice girl but I adore the nuttiness of barley.

The risotto came together pretty quickly and smelled heavenly.

Once it was ready, I served the risotto in a bowl on a bed of steamed broccoli.


My Bowl

My Bowl



Both Ryan and I gave this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up.

I actually omitted the butter from the recipe and it still turned out savory, creamy and rich.

I will definitely be making this one again!


Dessert was oh-so-simple.

Coconut + Dark Chocolate Square

I enjoyed a coconut square, dipped in dark chocolate that Ryan brought back for me from his hiking trip.

It was sweet, sticky and the perfect conclusion to a yummy dinner.

Now we’re off to go pick up our save the dates from the printer! I can’t wait to see ’em! 😀

Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto

Ingredients (Makes four 1-cup servings)

  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup lightly pearled barley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add barley; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes). Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese, butter, and pepper.

Nutritional Information: Calories 387, Fat 9g, Protein 26g, Carbs 52g, Fiber 10g, Cholesterol 97mg, Iron 3mg, Sodium 653mg, Calcium 200mg

Click here for seven healthy risotto recipes from, including the recipe detailed above.

Sugar Stacks

It’s no secret that I have one heck of a big sweet tooth.

I Love Cupcakes!

Though I love the sweetness of sugary foods, I do not like how they can leave me feeling lethargic, tired and even sick to my stomach if I indulge too much.

Over the weekend I saw a really neat post on that directed readers to a website called, that visually shows viewers just how many lil’ sugar cubes are in various food items.

(Picture from

Visually seeing just how much sugar is in some of your favorite foods can really make you think twice before reaching for a second cookie.

Would you actually sit down and eat 4.5 sugar cubes? No! But when the sugar is hidden in a cookie, it’s easily to put that thought out of your mind.


When I made my lunch for today, I kept the sugar content low and natural and derived my sweetness from fresh strawberries.

Fresh Strawberries

I made myself a peanut butter and strawberry sandwich on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

Creamy PB

PB & S Sandwich

On the side I enjoyed several sliced strawberries and a cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt, sweetened with a couple drops of honey.

Monday Lunch

Cuisinart Sale

As some of you may know, I love the website Rue La La and use it often to get great deals on designer clothes (Especially jeans – I love William Rast and Ernest Sewn).

The site features daily sales that begin at 11 a.m. and today’s sale seemed blog-appropriate since it featured lots of kitchenware from Cuisinart. It’s an “invite only” web site, but you may click here to enter the boutique and shop around. (Warning: You may become addicted.)

Georgia Glazed Pecans

My fiancè knows me so well.

He brought be back a lil’ present from his hiking trip and of course it was food-related.

When he was driving through Georgia, he picked up a pack of Georgia glazed pecans. Pecans are my favorite nut and when they’re coated in sugar or cinnamon or anything sweet, they’re all the more delicious.

Naturally I incorporated my present into my morning breakfast.

Pecans + Waffle

I surrounded a toasted Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain whole wheat waffle with the glazed pecans and topped it with a mixture of ricotta cheese, honey and cinnamon before dusting the plate with nutmeg.

Close Up

Monday Morning Breakfast

On the side I nibbled on a small handful of Planters nuts, seeds and raisins trail mix that was leftover from Ryan’s hiking trip this weekend.

Trail Mix

I forgot how yummy sunflower seeds are. When I was younger, I used to love sucking on the salty shells of sunflower seeds before breaking them open.


Today’s workout felt awesome.

It’s weird how two days off from the gym can rejuvenate me significantly more than a single day off sometimes. Other times two days off can put me into lazy-girl mode and make my workout totally drag when I get back in the gym.

Fortunately today the two days off left me feeling well rested and ready for a good workout.

I started my workout with a BodyPump class and finished it up with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical with two issues of OK! magazine.

I never struggle to read a magazine while using the elliptical but I cannot read anything when I’m on the treadmill… even if I am walking!

Do you read magazines or books while working out?

I read if I am doing a cardio machine like the elliptical or arc trainer since I am more stable and not bouncing around like I do on the treadmill. I usually save magazines for easier cardio sessions, like those I do after weights. If I’m setting out to get an awesome workout, I leave the magazines at home.