The overwhelming season and unmet life goals

December 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know I have been M.I.A. for quite some time. I made Thanksgiving dinner and took pictures after my 5K. I even cooked something else that week and took pictures.

But that was almost 4 weeks ago.

I don’t know what happened. Seasonal depression because of lack of sunlight? Endorphin withdrawal because I haven’t exercised (not one ounce) in three weeks?

I want to apologize. I should have been blogging and engaging into life. Yet, I chose to barely push through the days, lucky if I got fully ready for work on time. (I was almost late quite a few times.)

But I am coming back and will fight off this urge to watch Netflix all day long, cuddled on the couch.

The holidays. I have fond memories of this time of year, yet as each new holiday season comes, that “glad tidings” feeling slips further and further away. I buy Christmas books to read; I make sure I listen to Christmas music. I look up Christmas recipes. But as each year comes, it feels less and less like the holidays.

I might just be saying that because I work Christmas Day. I work hard in my profession, usually giving up parties and events, even holidays. But so far, I didn’t have to give up Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s …. until this year. I have been working so hard that by the time it reaches my weekend, I don’t want to leave the house. It’s too cold out and the Netflix entices me. I don’t want to make phone calls, or blog, or even bake!

But I am determined to push through this holiday and winter season and try my best to accomplish some goals.

Speaking of goals, I have been avoiding my iPod and the library-rented Italian CDs that I have for 2 weeks. Why? Because my cousin Rosita from Italy will be visiting around Christmas and I am ashamed to say I lost my Italian touch. But I am avoiding because of a lost dream.

I spent 4.5 glorious months in Milan and I really felt wonderful. I wished I was more fluent and I wanted to live in Italy forever. I didn’t have a plan for it, but I had so many amazing dreams before and during Italy. To possibly live in New York City or another metropolitan area. To use my Italian. To travel and smooze with top-notch people and “live the life,” as they say.

Well, that all changed the day I came home from Milan in May 2007. And last night, as I listened to Tiziano Ferro for the first time in possibly a year, my dreams came rushing back to me. What happened to my goals? Why am I not trying to live them out? How did I get so content in living a mundane life?

There had been a few reasons: battling my IBS, I needed whatever job available because of high student loan debt.

But that song got me thinking about what I want for my life and that maybe these changes weren’t so bad, they are just … different. And maybe I need to start taking life by the junk more often than it pushing me down under its foot.

That song got me back onto this blog, and we will see where it can lead.

What do you think about seasonal depression? Does it hit you or your loved ones hard? Or have you ever forgotten about a dream and buried it deep inside of you, and then facing it head on once you stopped avoiding it?


This vegan MoFo makes risotto

November 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Risotto, oh you are my favorite word. I mastered you as I lived in Italy, remembering where my great-grandfather came from. (He immigrated in early 1900s from Italy.)

I prefer the Milanese version, with its bright yellow saffron flower. It is rare to find this spice, and I don’t always have the chance to use it. I absolutely love-making this dish, despite it being time-consuming, because it’s hearty & can have anything added to it without destroying the integrity of its texture or its heritage. (As long as you don’t try to curry it.)

Unfortunately, despite the beautiful photo, it turned out bland for me this time. I think it was because I added the saffron right to the broth, and I am experimenting with a new vegan broth powder. But do not be afraid! Risotto is hard to screw up (as long as you remember to keep adding broth) and you can experiment with flavors. Batman (my boyfriend) added honey to his bowl, since I told him it was bland — and I LOVE bland foods, so if it’s bland, it’s REALLY bland! Well, the honey tasted fantastic! I wouldn’t recommend it for the whole pan, but add it to your individual bowl.


2 tbsp of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup of white wine

1 cup (up to 1 1/3 cup) of arborio rice

8 cups of broth

5 small sprigs of saffron

pepper to taste

vegan soy cheese, optional though traditional


  1. Boil water on medium-high heat, then add vegan broth powder. (Or heat up vegetable broth, or whatever way you make broth.) Turn off heat once boiled & incorporated.
  2. First heat a wide skillet with the olive oil on medium heat. Dice the onion and add to pan.
  3. Saute onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Then add garlic for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add arborio rice. Stir in pan until rice soaks up all the oily goodness.
  5. Add white wine. You may need to increase heat to medium-high to get the wine to burn off. Make sure it burns off.
  6. In the meantime, put saffron in a paper towel, folded up on a small pan on low heat. Heat for less than 5 minutes, remove and pound with large metal spoon. Open up to have saffron grounded, and then add to rice skillet. Stir.
  7. Add 2 ladles of broth. Stir.
  8. Keep an eye on the rice. If it starts looking dry on the top, add a ladle or two of broth, and stir. Toward the end, it gets hard to tell as the rice becomes creamy. This is when you might employ the taste test: The rice should be chewy with a bite, but not too hard you are munching on popcorn kernels or will break a tooth.
  9. Once the rice is done, add soy cheese if you like, to give it a creamier consistency. Also add pepper to taste.


On another note, I have been SUPER hungry! Now, I have been running a lot more than normal. I understand that. But this week I have been lacking on my cross training and I skipped the Couch to 5K 2- minute run today. Yet, I feel like I can eat the whole house, and all of its carbs. What is wrong? Plus, it doesn’t help that I feel like my jeans and work pants are tighter, especially in my thighs. Any advice?

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