A Trip into Boston, a Fare-thee-Well, and Inspiration Strikes Again!

The passage of this week was a teensy bit strange. I took Wednesday off, and day off in the middle of the week tends to mess with the flow. I actually went into Boston all by myself (like a big girl!). For an inexplicable reason, lo these past two decades, I completely infantilized myself by refusing to pay any attention to my surroundings when I've accompanied those who know it. But I was able to navigate my way - and it was a gorgeous day for a walk in the city!

Also, Friday was the last day at work for someone whom I've come to regard fondly. I did a stellar job of keeping the little surprises his co-workers planned secret. Like the card that was brought down to me. I sent out an e-mail to the building letting people know I had it and they could stop by to sign at their leisure. I expanded the list to display each individual name and thought I deleted his name. Nope. Within roughly two minutes of it going out, the person who brought the card to me told me his name was still on the list. Then he HE replied to the e-mail: "Good riddance. That guy is worthless!" On my break I stopped by his desk to gab, and since he mentioned the other day he knew he was being taken out for lunch, I asked what he was going to get for lunch at Longhorns. "We're going to Longhorns??" Doh!

Thankfully he and his family live in my town and we exchanged e-mail addresses ages ago. He's funny and LOVES my food. He loves food in general - he was on my short list of people I notify whence there are leftovers from lunches before they're carted off to the main area to be devoured by the rest of the employees. I asked what I could make for him for his last day and he requested a chocolate chip cheesecake with a side of meatballs. Happy to oblige! Meatballs are a dinner favorite around here and I have a new recipe that includes turkey sausage with the turkey burger, so the amount of meatballs is doubled. I whipped up some marinara sauce and meatballs Thursday night and set some aside for him. My plan was to do the cheesecake in the morning, but I forgot to set my alarm and ran out of time. So he had to settle for cinnamon-and-chocolate-chip sour cream bunt cake. I was profusely apologetic that I didn't bring the cheesecake; he said, "Why are you apologizing? You didn't have to do anything." True, but when I say I'm going to do something and don't follow through, it leaves an icky taste. He loved the cake and told me to stop apologizing. I apologized for apologizing.

Saturday was a glorious revelation in doing a whole lot of nothing. But not COMPLETELY nothing. I was up a wee bit late Friday night, partying like it was 1999... That is, getting caught up on some DVR'd shows and the summer finale of Real Time with Bill Maher. (I know how to live it up!) But I was tired in the morning. After awakening and do my best impression of a vegetable for an hour so so, I plodded downstairs to clean the kitchen (the pots and pans from the marvelous creation I'll share still needed to be washed). I also had to get breakfast going - bacon breakfast sandwiches for Ben and Isaac - I had a ham and Dijon. Two hours, and one pound of cooked bacon later (I found that I'd rather cook the entire pound of bacon at once and save the cooked pieces for later - it's quite the time saver!) I curled up on the couch and started nodding off. I then trudged back to bed to read. Just before I lost consciousness Isaac came in to tell me that Shiloh peed in the potty! On Monday she got out of her bath to poo in the potty! Baby steps....

I jerked awake to the dulcet sounds of Shiloh scream-whining. I glanced at the clock - 12:30. I popped out of bed wide away and totally refreshed! Why do children abhor naps so???  I had to rock Shiloh for a few minutes to calm her down so she'd take her nap. Then I made tuna melts and helped Isaac make cookies. (He's had his screen time taken away for the weekend and is VERY interested helping in kitchen). I assisted him only a little in making the batter, but after scooping out a dozen-and-a-half of cookie dough balls onto the cookie sheets, Isaac asked that I take over.

Today has been just another of domesticity... Cleaning, cooking, yada yada yada.... But NEXT weekend we're going to visit my family in Upstate NY. Family reunion time and I can't wait. Missed out on it last year, but at least we're going to visit for two of the seven days everyone's going to be there. Haven't seen my sister since Easter nearly two years ago, and it's been roughly seven years since I've seen my brother and his family. One thing my family has mastered is the art of celebration - can't wait!

Two weekends in a row with Inspiration's Wand tapping my noggin - do a see a pattern emerging? I certainly hope so! Friday night Ben suggested he could grill some shrimp and I make something to go with it. It seemed kind of ridiculous to fire up the grill for some measly little shrimp and I said I'd think of something to do with it. I scoured Food Network website and my cookbooks and found the mainly pasta dishes not what I was in the mood for. Then it hit me - risotto! Risotto should be its own food group. It's magnanimously versatile and I have yet to come across a variation that I don't like. My little spin elicited a request for seconds from Isaac. Next time I'm going to ensure I have some fresh flat-leaf parsley on hand, maybe try adding some pancetta as well! Hmmm....



3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 1/2 c arborio rice
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c dry white wine
1 box of low sodium chicken broth
3 medium lemons
Zest of two lemons
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 c mascarpone
2 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 c parmigiano reggiano
Salt and pepper, to taste


Empty the broth into a pot, along with the juice of two of the lemons. Set the burner to low to warm it.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan. Cook until they're pink, about two minutes a side. Remove to a cutting board. Add the last tablespoon of butter, the garlic and onions. Stand there and revel in that glorious scent only produced by onions and garlic sizzling away in butter. When the onions turn translucent, add the arborio rice and stir to coat. After about two minutes, add the white wine and pour some for yourself. Squeeze the last lemon over the rice, then sip your wine. When the liquid is mostly evaporated, time to start ladling in the broth/lemon juice combo. Add a ladle or two at a time, wait for it to be absorbed, then repeat. Sip your wine. The whole process will take about twenty-five minutes. 

Cut the shrimps in half. Scoop the 1/3 c mascarpone in to a bowl. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir. When the rice is tender, add the seasoned mascarpone, peas and shrimp, followed by the parmigiano reggiano. Sample a bite, season with salt and pepper as needed. Mmmmmm!


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