Allergic to cold-weather dating

Let me just be blunt – I HATE cold weather! I don’t care if it’s cold and rainy, cold and clear, cold and windy; the operative word in all of those descriptors is “cold” and that word and I do not get along. This is one of the (many) reasons I live in Austin. We think 65 degrees is cold. So, wouldn’t you know it, a massive Arctic front pushed through yesterday, the second one in as many weeks.

I was trudging through the wind to my car last night, thinking how nice it would be to go home, and snuggle up under the covers with someone and fall asleep wrapped in some nice, warm arms, when it suddenly dawned on me – I have never dated anyone (successfully) through the winter. I’ve been married during the winter, but we all know how that turned out, and I can tell you, there was a definite “chill” in our relationship during those months, and it was all me. I just do not find anything romantic in cold weather. My hands and feet get freezing cold no matter what, so snuggling isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. My nose gets red and runny from the temperature and wind, so I look like I have a perpetual cold – totally sexy, right? I’m much more interested in dressing for warmth, and I hate running outside, so my body is not in the greatest shape during these months. Also, I can never think of anything fun to do when the weather is this horrid – go for a walk? No. Go to a museum? That would mean walking to and from my car (so really, go anywhere is out). Stay inside by the fire? Fires make messes and are dangerous. I do like to cook when it’s cold out, but, again, that necessitates going to the store for ingredients and that means going outside.

But, back to my relationships… Tripp and I started slowing down right around mid-October. Ex and I would always slow down for winter and pick up again when it warmed up. Most of the rest of my relationships have begun in the spring or summer, and were over well before the first frost. Even Jay – I joked with him that I liked him because he kept his AC so low in the summer, but that once it got cold outside, I wouldn’t need him anymore. One week before the first Arctic front, he was kicked to the curb. And, interestingly enough, the holidays don’t play into these dating trends. I’m a great gift-giver and I’m pretty good with receiving gifts as well, so I’ve never had an issue there. I don’t stress over meeting parents or introducing guys to my parental units. It’s SOLELY AND COMPLETELY the temperature!

Ugh. I’ve never looked forward to spring more.

– Finch

Add a little Spring to your January

Pictures?? What? Are you reading the right blog? Yes, indeed, there are pictures attached to this story. Look how pretty! As stated before, when the dark days of January start to weigh on me, I need light, lemony, happy recipes. I can think of nothing simpler than a risotto with some lovely spring veggies to brighten my day. This comes together so quickly, and it is infinite in what you can add to it.

Risotto Primavera

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This was the wine that I was going to use in the risotto, but there was only enough for one glass, so I drank it instead.

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This is the wine I ended up using in the recipe. A little sweet, but I love Rieslings! Use about 1/4 cup.

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My ingredients, excepting the Parmesan cheese and the vegetable broth.

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My appetizer, as I was chopping and getting everything ready. Goes great with white wine!!

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The shallots in the olive oil.

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Now with a little bit of broth and the wine.

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The chopped up asparagus and sugar snap peas, with the cheese in the background.

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I also forgot to photograph the lemons once they were all zested and juiced. They looked more than a little beat up after they added their awesomeness to the rice!

Recipe –

1 1/4 cup of Arborio rice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
About 3 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth too – I just liked the veggie taste)
About 1/4 cup of white wine
1 large shallot, chopped
About 1/3 lb of asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (only until you get to the woody bits)
About 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, chopped into 1/3 inch pieces (or smaller if you get carried away)
1 lemon, juice and zest
About 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat up vegetable broth, either in a pot or on the stove. Have it simmering by the time you pour the wine into the rice.
Heat up olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add chopped shallot.
Allow shallots to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Add Arborio rice to onions and olive oil. Stir to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes.
Add wine to rice. Stir until just soaked into the rice.
Add about 3/4 cup of broth. Stir constantly until the rice has absorbed the broth. Repeat with the remaining broth.
With the last bit of broth, add asparagus, sugar snap peas, lemon zest and lemon juice to rice. Keep stirring!
When the last of the broth is absorbed, add about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, and stir through. Serve immediately.

This makes about 2 or 3 servings, depending on how hungry you are, and how much you indulged in the chips while you were prepping.

– Finch

Tis the season

I always read so many stories in November and December about people becoming depressed during the holidays. It’s actually January that I dread. The buildup from Christmas parties and seasonal gatherings has passed, I’m ridiculously broke, whether from present buying, or traveling, or tons of hostess gifts. I’ve probably gained a pound or two (or five), and it’s ALWAYS dark and cold (even in Austin). I long for the sunny hot days of summer, which bring me down even further. This has been a pattern in my life for the past nine years (and yes, I am aware that I have SAD) so when I feel it begin to start, I try to combat it naturally, because I freaking hate how I feel on anti-depressants.

Exercise

I usually walk/jog with B 3.5 miles per day, but the dark, cold days make me want to stay inside, which makes me more susceptible to sad feelings. Also, every MLK day, I get hit with Cedar fever, just like clock work, so I can’t really go outside for long periods of time. Hurray for the treadmill! I don’t like the workout I get on it as much as I do the workouts I get outside, but hey, something is better than nothing, right? Also, this is when I usually start in on my yoga and pilates. I figure it’s a good time to try and sculpt my bathing suit body. As Elle said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” And I will admit, being happy makes me less likely to kill people, husband or not.

Diet
I don’t use that word as “I’m going on a diet;” I mean it strictly as “what I eat.” Because everything is so dark and glum, and we go through a week of freezing, followed by three days of 70s, followed by a week of freezing, my diet can look a little glum as well. I’m talking fast food, massive amounts of bread and potatoes, and soda (which I had cut out back in September). So I try to do little things to perk my meals up. I add lemon in every place that I can think of. Lemon just has that light, happy zing that I need. My favorite recipe is this – Pasta Carbonara with Lemon and Leeks. It is so freaking simple, incredibly satisfying, and very uplifting. I also eat oatmeal – it satisfies the stew-like thickness that I crave, and the sweet, but without all of the sugar (I eat sugar-free varieties). Fun flavored herbal teas make drinking warm things more enjoyable.

Meditation/Personal Time
I really am not very good at meditation, but I do try every now and then, and I do set aside pampering time for myself. I am, as most of us are, my own worst critic, and I am constantly trying to be easier on myself. It helps to have dinner/drinks with J – she is really good at talking me down when I’m nutso. Also, I recognize that I am human, and that sometimes, I need to cut myself some slack. So my stomach is not perfectly flat. I am not a supermodel, I don’t get paid to look like a twig. I’ll be honest – writing this blog helps. It’s cathartic, and it is insanely embarrassing to write things down that I was so upset over and seeing how idiotic it seemed. But hindsight it 20/20, and I try to remember that.

– Finch