Cauliflower and Eggplant Barley Risotto

Since making my very first risotto last week (and loving it!), I’ve wanted to give risotto a go again! 

I figured I would loosely follow last week’s recipe, but sub out some of the ingredients and include different veggies in the mix. 

Tonight I bring you cauliflower and eggplant barley risotto! 

Barley works so well in risotto and really adds texture and nuttiness to the dish. 

Pearled Barley

This dish came together pretty quickly. By the time I packed my lunch for tomorrow and unloaded the dishwasher, dinner was ready. 

Cauliflower and Eggplant Barley Risotto

Creamy 'n' Cheesy

 I served the risotto on a bed of steamed broccoli. 


Cauliflower and Eggplant Barley Risotto 

Ingredients (Makes two large servings) 

  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 oz. chopped cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted eggplant
  • 1/2 chopped large onion 
  • 1/2 c. cup pearled barley
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


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 cauliflower, eggplant 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. 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). Stir in cheese. 

Benefits of Running with Your Dog 

Today Melinda posted this adorable post about the benefits of running with your dog. 

Sadie and I may or may not have made a debut. 😀 

Thought of the Day 

I read a neat post by “Professor ToughLove” today and one of his main points really struck a cord with me, so I figured I would share it with you: 

“Your opinions are valuable, and it’s important that you have them, about all kinds of stuff. But having an opinion means being responsible for understanding it: where that opinion came from, what influenced it, and how much of it is based on what you yourself have learned about the world vs. what parents and pundits are shouting at you.”

Wedding Ring Effect

Wedding ring talk in un momento…


One of the best (and worst) parts about having people over is all the food that remains once the party is over. Of course I’m more than excited about the leftover goodies, but having lots of cookies, chips and dip around the house makes our apartment a very tempting place to live.

Today I brought a lot of the remaining goodies from our weekend BBQ into work for the freegans to enjoy.

I did not, however, relinquish certain dishes, such as the light Italian pasta salad (made with Mueller’s rotini twists) which I enjoyed for lunch today.

Light Italian Pasta Salad

Along with the pasta salad, I enjoyed tuna salad for a punch of protein.

Tuna Salad

My tuna salad contained:

  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 tbsp. light Miracle Whip
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped green pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes

The two salads complimented each other perfectly and I am satisfied but not overly stuffed… Just the way I like to feel after a yummy lunch.

Mid-Day Monday Meal

Now for the wedding ring talk…

Wedding Ring Effect

In an article I read on, the author discusses the “wedding ring effect,” which refers to the belief that married men who wear a wedding ring are more desirable to women.

The belief says that this effect occurs because:

  • A man who is married has already demonstrated the ability to commit to a long-term relationship
  • Another woman has found him desirable enough to make him her long-term mate, making him appear all the more desirable

To be honest, this makes me really sad. I hope that women (and men) can respect the sanctity of marriage and the relationship a married man has with his wife (and possibly his children) enough to lay off the lovin’ on those who are committed.

This got me thinking…

Two Questions:

1. Do you find men who are in a relationship more attractive?

2. If you are married or engaged, do you feel like men started treating you differently once you had a ring on your finger?

To be honest, I think a lot of men don’t even notice a ring on a woman’s finger.

This past weekend at Beer Fest, I was approached by a guy who romantically referred to me as “Yellow Dress” (How sweet! 😉 ) and struck up a conversation about his friend who was talking about “the girl in the yellow dress.” I was nice but told him that I was engaged and pointed to my ring. I don’t think he (or his friend, apparently) even realized I had a ring on my finger.

Me & Ryan (After all the Engagement Craziness On the Night of Our Engagement)

On the other hand, I have had a guy (who I honestly thought was really interested in Sadie!) stop mid-conversation and say, “Oh, you have a ring,” and move along his merry way. (Sadie gave this particular guy the bob-and-weave treatment and didn’t let him pet her… I think she knew his intentions and stayed loyal to her daddy).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the “wedding ring effect!” For some reason I find it so interesting because I’ve always been the kind of girl who immediately puts guys who are married (or even in a relationship) in an “off limits” category, though I can see how they might appear more attractive if a woman hears about how wonderful they are to their wife or girlfriend.

Feel free to weigh in! 😀

(I have to admit, while writing this post I’ve been singing “If you like it than you shoulda put a ring on it!” in my head over and over again.)


Do you take ’em?

I do!

Some readers have emailed me asking if I take any vitamins. I suuuure do.

Every day I take two vitamins.

Viactiv + L'il Critters

I take a Viactiv calcium chew and a L’il Critters Gummy Vites multivitamin. (Sometimes I pop a few of the L’il Critters. They’re like fruit snacks!)

I used to take a calcium supplement and a multivitamin that I would swallow, but for some reason I’d always forget. For me, when vitamins taste delicious, I’m excited to eat them and much more likely to remember to take them daily.

The calcium supplement is very important to me, as osteoporosis runs in my family. When I was an intern in college, the company I worked for had a free health screening for employees. What really scared me was learning that I already had osteopenia, a condition that is often a precursor to osteoporosis, characterized by low bone density. I eat a lot of yogurt and calcium-rich  foods, and strength train regularly, but clearly that is not enough for my body. I began taking a calcium supplement every day from then on.


After poppin’ my daily vitamins, I got to work in the kitchen.

First, I toasted a sweet wheat Alternative Bagel to serve as the base of my breakfast bagelwich.

These Alternative Bagels are the only lower-calorie bagel I’ve tried that actually resembles a bagel. Those bagel thins are decent, but a bagel they are not.

While my bagel was toasting, I prepped my chocolate PB2 to spread on the toasty bagel.

Chocolate PB2

Though it’s definitely not a substitute for the thick, creaminess of normal peanut butter, PB2 is pretty darn tasty in its own right.

For those of you who haven’t heard of PB2, it is a powdered peanut butter to which you add water to “bring it to life.” Eighty-five percent of the fat is removed from normal peanut butter to create PB2, which therefore reduces the calorie content to around 50 calories per two tablespoons (compared with approximately 180 calories per two tablespoons of normal peanut butter).

Creamy & Chocolatey

I like it a lot, but it is not as filling at normal peanut butter and the texture is a little different.

To complete my breakfast, I spread the chocolate PB2 on one half of my toasted bagel and topped the other half with frozen banana slices.

PB2-Topped Bagel

Open-Faced Bagelwich

PB 'n' B

Eat Up!



I suppose I should back up a bit to recap my morning workout…

Per the usual Monday workout, I hit zee gym for the 5:45 a.m. BodyPump class, which I followed up with 20 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical.

I spent the entire time on the elliptical reading all about the new Sex and the City movie in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. I can’t wait to see it!

Question of the Day

Of the Sex and the City girls, which character is most like you?

I’m definitely a Samantha. Kidding! (I bet my mom just had a heart attack.) I think I’m most like Charlotte. 😀