Friday, December 9, 2011


It's a gorgeous and sunny day here in New England.  Sort of cold.  But very sunny.  I got up early, ate breakfast, went for a walk and then had a much needed massage.  You see, I generally have horrible posture.  Add a growing belly and ___ lbs to the mix and my back is killing me.  Not my lower back.  My middle back.  Just tight and achey and miserable.  So I found a massage therapist who will work on me in my current almost-7-months-pregnant state.  And she did a great job.  If you are looking for a great massage and you live in Boston, do yourself a favor and see Anna at Manna Massage in Cleveland Circle.  She's a miracle worker.  My back feels like a million bucks.  Now if I can just remember to sit up straight.  And to stretch.

Ya.  Right.  Like that's going to happen.

So I have really been trying to make more meat-free dinners since watching Forks Over Knives last weekend.  We've done pretty good so far.  Last night I made a delicious baked barley risotto with butternut squash that was easy and filling and free of meat!  Here's the recipe:

Baked Barley Risotto w/ Butternut Squash (serves 4 - recipe from Real Simple):
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley (I found mine at Whole Foods in the bulk section)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I didn't have any so I used marsala cooking wine)
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 oz)
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400F.  Heat oil in a large, oven-safe saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the squash, onion, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 4-6 minutes.  Add the barley to the vegetables and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil; cover pot and transfer to oven.  Bake until barley is tender, about 35-40 minutes.  When done, stir in the spinach, Parmesan, and butter.  Serve with additional Parmesan.  Share, if you must.

It was really delicious.  Rich and creamy, just like a risotto should be.  And full of healthy grains and vegetables.  I will definitely make this dish again.

To go in the completely opposite direction of made-from-scratch, homemade meals, we had Jell-O Instant Pudding for dessert.  I bet it's been years since you've had or even thought about that powdery packaged goodness, right?  Well I was in CVS the other day and squealed with excitement when I saw it's trademark package and all for the bargain price of $1.57.  And nothing seems to have changed in the 20 years since I've had it!  Still takes 2 cups of milk.  Still have to whisk for 2 minutes.  Still has to set in the fridge for at least 5 minutes (that step always killed me as a kid).  Still totally delicious.  And I'm sure there isn't one natural ingredient in the entire thing (besides the milk) but hey, it's a low-calorie dessert.

Until I added the chopped-up Heath Bar on top.  Whoooooops.

Be honest.  When was the last time you had Jell-O Instant Pudding?  Please don't tell me you've never had it!  It was a staple of our diet growing up.  And who can forget the Jell-O commercials from the 80's with Bill Cosby?  "Jell-O pudding.  You can't be a kid without it."


  1. ooooh, I'm bookmarking this recipe. Thank you. I keep meaning to watch Forks over knives but I'm just not ready...I know that I will have to make some big changes or small ones really but I need to do it. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Miss your blog Briana...I've been so bad at blogs lately. But yours...I miss a lot. Hope to catch up soon! Post some pics of that cute belly...or have you??

  2. ooooh, yummy! that looks delicious!

  3. ohhhh great recipe!! thanks for posting:) glad i found your lovely blog - follow each other?
    xo ellie

  4. That barley risotto looks delicious! I bought some barley about ago for a beef and barley stew and it's just been hanging out in my cupboard all by it's lonesome ever since - what a great way to use finish it off!

    Your pudding made me laugh - because I just bough tapioca pudding cups for the first time in years and years at the store last weekend. As for the Heath bar on top... I like your style! :)

  5. I used to get a box of vanilla pudding and open it and eat it, yes, just the powder in small doses. I'd fold the paper inside back over and leave it in a drawer in my room. I'd probably go through a box in a week or so. Thus started my sugar addiction!


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