comfort food · Dating · dinner · gluten free · healthy · Rice · vegetarian

Squash Risotto with a Side of Authenticity

Tonight was the first night of the last section of my yoga teacher training. This section is titled Intuition and Authenticity. It’s actually the first section of the training, but I missed it during the last round, because I decided to sign up for the training super late on a fucking whim. Sometimes I think all the best decisions are made on a whim. I remember the day I signed up for training. I was walking to work at 7:30 in the morning when I impulsively pulled out my phone and started emailing the studio owner (who is also one of my favorite humans). It just felt like something I absolutely had to do. I had to. Have you ever felt like that?

Anyway, here I am… almost done with training. Already teaching. And constantly preaching about authenticity and vulnerability. But I’m not always authentic or vulnerable. Why? Because it’s fucking scary. I thought I could handle being authentic while I navigate dating, but I fucking can’t. I keep telling my dates that I hate games, and that I wish people would be more upfront about their feelings/intentions/etc. But when it comes down to it, I don’t always do that.

I went on 6 dates over the course of 5 days recently (with 4 different people – yes, I am exhausted). I found myself being authentic about 75% of the time, depending on the date and how much I liked them. The other 25% of the time I spent trying to figure out what they wanted me to say. One of the guys was given the impression that I liked him a whole lot more than I did. That was totally my fault. I wanted to like him… but I just fucking didn’t. He was weird and talked over me a lot. But still, I should have been clearer about that in the moment, so I didn’t have to blindside him the next morning with a text message. Another guy I didn’t like because he was super rude to our server. I hate ghosting… I think it’s really fucking mean, and I say so on my Tinder profile. I gave this guy a few days of staying matched on Tinder before I simply unmatched him. That is basically ghosting. I’m not proud of myself, but I have to believe he would have contacted me at least once in those few days if he had been interested anyway. I won’t do it again… I promise. I just felt overwhelmed by all the matches. Ugh. I know… that’s not a real excuse. I’m honestly sorry I did it. One of the other ones is really interesting, but just too out there for me. I think we’ll probably be friends, though. I should probably tell him that… lest he get the wrong idea. And the last one…. well, he made it to 3 dates (with hopefully a 4th soon). This is where I’m struggling the most. I like him a lot. And suddenly I feel raw and vulnerable. Keep in mind… we met last week. There is almost nothing invested here. And maybe nothing will ever be invested here… that’s not the point. The point is that this is the first time I’m feeling like this in years. And this is the whole fucking point of dating, isn’t it? The feelings. They strike out of fucking nowhere, with the person you least expect… and then you’re left panicking about whether or not you’re enough. Fuck. And I’ve never tried to navigate feelings like this in an authentic way. It’s so fucking hard. It’s hard to stand in front of someone and say, “Hey, I like you… do you like me, too?” Because they might fucking say no. Or, as I told my friend Danielle after she said that you’re supposed to find someone you like, “But then they can CRUSH YOUR SOUL.”

I can be a little bit dramatic.

Anyway, the point of this story is not this guy in particular… it’s just interesting for me to rediscover what it’s like to really like someone, and figure out how to interact with them without losing myself in the process. And it’s fun to know I can feel like this again. I didn’t expect it, and yeah, it’s a little scary… but it’s also a fun period of growth.

I will leave you with 2 little nuggets of wisdom from one of my closest friends. She said the following inspiring statements:

“It will be uncomfortable to have feelings, let them happen anyway.”

“Be thankful you’ve found something that scares you, pushes you out of your comfort zone. Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, be glad you have the ability to feel like this. The alternative is a gray world of ‘meh.'”

I love that shit. A gray world of “meh.”


This is another one of those mail-order recipes. It’s from Blue Apron, and again, I only did it because they had a free week coupon. I was like, free food?! Fuck yeah! I’m going to type out the recipe that they gave me, and then tell you which ingredients/steps were a waste of fucking time at the end. Okay. Here goes…

Butternut Squash Risotto

3/4 cup carnaroli rice

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (unnecessary)

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (and cleaned of the innards)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chestnuts, peeled and roasted (completely unnecessary)

1 shallot, diced

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spread squash onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, moving things around to get everything coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 14-16 minutes, stirring halfway through, until browned and tender.

While the squash is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add shallots and celery, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cooking 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, cooking for another minute or so, stirring frequently. Add the rice and cook  2-3 mintues, stirring frequently until toasted and fragrant. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-22 minutes, stirring often. The rice will absorb most of the water, and will be al dente (slightly firm to the bite).

Once the risotto has cooked for about 15 minutes, in medium skillet, start sauteing the brussels sprouts in a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the chestnuts and half of the butter and cook for another 2ish minutes.

Once the rice is finished cooking, add the mascarpone cheese, squash, and remaining butter to the pot. Once combined, add a little more salt and pepper (to taste), and scoop into bowls. Top with the brussels sprouts and chestnuts, plus a sprinkling of parmesan. Or skip the brussels sprouts and chestnuts, and go for some mushrooms instead. I don’t think the toppings were necessary at all here… it was fucking awesome without them. Plus, who the fuck buys peeled chestnuts? If they hadn’t come in a neat little package with the rest of my ingredients,  I wouldn’t have even known where to purchase them.

When you’re done with all of that, eat your fancy risotto and promise yourself to never ghost someone ever again. Seriously. Don’t be a dick.

Serve with a glass of wine to help you unwind from your dating marathon. Then take a nap.

3 thoughts on “Squash Risotto with a Side of Authenticity

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