Monthly Archives: October 2011

how to make a very pretty fall dinner

I am an EatingWell junkie.  I subscribe to the magazine and I use the website obsessively.  It makes me feel pleasantly psychotic to have all that exact serving size and calorie information available.  Otherwise, I pass snarky judgments on recipes.  ie “You have 2 sticks of butter.  I think you might be fattening.  But also chicken breasts!  So probably you’re just awesome.”
See, I don’t really like figuring out how many calories are in things.  Just tell me, please.

Anyway, blah blah blah.  This is a calorie appropriate dinner, typical of Chez Maggie:  it’s from EatingWell, it’s about 500 calories and it has bacon.

Katie asked for it, so here it is, recipes for the pretty dinner.

Butternut Squash Risotto
you need: 
3 cups of butternut squash chunks (2 cups big and haphazard and 1 cup nicely diced)
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of Arborio rice
5 oz of bacon, cooked and crumbled (and save the fat!)
2 Tbs chopped parsley

you do:
-optional extra credit – start by simmering away the squashy gut stuff in your broth for maximum squash flavor.  strain that stuff out before starting to ladle the broth into your rice.
-put the 2 cups of big-chunked squash with 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan (big enough for all this squash, water and later, the broth).  bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes.  use an immersion blender to blend this up into a baby food type puree.  (or use a food processor)
-take 1/4 cup of this puree out of the pan and set aside.  then dump the broth in and put this over low heat.
-use another pot for the risotto making and start by heating up a bit of olive oil (maybe a bit of butter if you’re feeling crazy).  add the rice and cook it, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
-add in the 1 cup of nicely diced raw squash bits, 2 1/2 cups of the puree/broth mixture and 1/8 tsp of salt.
-do the risotto thing:  stir until the liquid’s nearly gone, add more liquid.  repeat until the rice is cooked and you have that risotto-goo texture.  never stop stirring!  should take about a half an hour.
-if you actually want this to taste yummy and not just like plain butternut squash, i would add in about a cup of grated parmesan cheese once it’s all cooked up.  this is not a part of the EatingWell recipe, but would be my recommendation.
-plate it up and top with bacon bits and parsley.
without the cheese addition, this will make 4 servings of 447 calories each.  i was quite happy to have less than 1/4th of what we made for dinner and used the leftovers to make baked risotto cakes for later lunches. 

For maximum prettiness, serve with a spinach salad.
you need:
baby spinach
thinly sliced brown mushrooms
thinly sliced red onion
bacon crumbles (share some from your risotto ingredients)
Andie’s Maple Bacon vinaigrette*

*This wonderful dressing will last for lots more salad than just this dinner, so you’ll have more for another meal.


Filed under Foodery

weekend in pictures








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wear your pyjamas to work day

There was some epic pooped-out-ness yesterday.

Then, I managed to stay up until after midnight watching Sister Wives, because I’m still on west coast time.  And then in a fit of good intention, I got up at 6:30 to go to the pilates mat class offered by the gym.

Suffice it to say, I’m a little tired.  Which is the perfect time to talk about wearing pyjamas and pretending they’re clothes.

This little nightie has mushrooms on it!

The hemline is long enough (just barely above the knee) to be unscandalous.  Paired with a belt, long cardigan and a chunky, wooden necklace, and I think it totally works.



Filed under Maggie's closet

when you’re in new york

aren’t you supposed to feel brand new?

inspiring you and stuff?

cause you know…

And as much as a part of me wants to go spin around in a circle in Times Square, instead I crawled back to my hotel room, fell into the very nice white sheets, and put on Grey’s Anatomy.  Then I  took out my travel funnel and proceeded to pour the entire contents of my snack bar into my gullet.  You think I kid.  But seriously.  The only thing that’s left over there is some pretzels.

i’m here working in a trade show booth, telling people about my company’s wares and what’s new in the print-on-demand photo book world.  it’s great and fun and different, but it’s SO different from sitting on my rumpshaker and not-talking except for the telepathic communications i have with my computer, that i am rendered flopsome.

tomorrow then.  it’s new york.  there’s nothing i can’t do.    may the gods of rally find me after a 2nd day of trade show flooring…


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little facts


1. There is a 50 pound rope in my dining room right now.  Sometimes I wonder how men and women are really supposed to coexist.

2.  I would rather have potato chips over chocolate any day.

3.  My feet have dreadful callouses.  I generally wear pretty sensible shoes, so I have no idea why they’re like this.  I got a pat down at the airport once and the TSA lady touched the bottom of my feet through my socks and then asked all accusatorially “What you got in there?”  Because I was embarrassed, I said “Oh, those are just my cloven hooves!”  She gets this kinda scary, aggressive tone, “Excuse me?”
“Right.  Sorry.  I have really gross callouses.”

Thanks again, to Rebecca!  She is a face-washing hater; a girl after my own heart.


Filed under Little Facts, Tidbit

fat tuesday

Well.  Shrug.

I won’t be quitting my day job to become a weight loss blogger today.

But I got on the scale this morning as planned, so I might as well just tell you.

It was not awesome.  Nor was it terrible.  I lost the mass of a small rodent from my person!
And considering that there was some girl-date drinking (1/2 a bottle of wine and a champagne cocktail), some birthday boy drinking (2 paulaners) and then some more birthday boy drinking last night (2 glasses of rosé), I’m not disappointed at all really.

October 4:  193.0
October 11:  189.6
October 18:  191.4
October 25:  190.8  =  – 0.6 pounds this week

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birthday boy

it’s my cute boy’s birthday today* and i love him to pieces.

i am so very lucky that the universe saw fit to bring forth this lovely, wonderful guy who likes to dance in the kitchen, is constantly dreaming up new inventions, and lets me put my feet on him when we watch tv on the couch.

*technically, it was yesterday, but i was having a diabolical hissy fit with iphoto and my camera and failed to get a picture up yesterday.

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the weirdest thing

I did the weirdest thing yesterday.

I got into a big plastic box that had about 10 inches of super salty water in it and no light whatsoever, lay down in the dark and then did nothing.  For an hour.

The David got these Groupons about a million years ago and they were about to expire, so I put my no-nonsense scheduler hat on and booked us appointments to go float in a sensory deprivation tank.  Oh, the things we do for love.

So, here’s what happened:

1.  You get there and you learn stuff:

  •  the tanks are supersaturated with Epsom salts (more salt than water in the solution)
  • one hour of floating in the tank can be the equivalent of 4 hours of sleep
  • soaking in the salts relieves the body of pains and injury and can enhance athletic performance
  • you could dream with your eyes open and have lucid dreaming
2.  You shower.  Put in earplugs.  Get in the tank naked.  Close the door.
3.  Lie back and float there.  The water will come up past your ears, but not really much further than your hairline, so is not close to your eyes.
4.  Contemplate the darkness.  Try not to think thoughts.  Sleep.  Wonder if you are asleep right now.
5.  Decide that you did just hear the lady knocking on the tank, letting you know that your time was up.  Maybe it wasn’t a knocking.  Get out anyway.
6.  Immediately get crusty in salty stuff.
7.  Shower again.
What I thought?
I must have fallen asleep, because it felt like it was much shorter than an hour.  And when the lady knocked on my tank, I was very confused.  She’d said that she would come knock again in 5 minutes, but the thought of waiting there in the dark for another knock to come was too much for me.  Happily, it WAS time for me to get out and she had knocked, so I didn’t go a little wonky in there.
I did not dream.
Being floaty and weightless made me feel like I had a beautiful body.
I didn’t feel like I’d had a 4 hour nap afterwards, but I also wasn’t feeling stoned or groggy, which she’d said could happen.  I do feel pretty sparky today.  More so than usual?  Who knows.  Whatever.  I take the sparky as it comes.
I had lots of salt in my ears that I didn’t manage to clean when I had showered afterwards.  I did not like that.
Would I do it again?
Not sure at this point.  I do feel like maybe I’m better rested today.  But for $90 an hour, that should probably be more than a maybe feeling.  Perhaps I need to try it again to prove or disprove that inclination.  I dunno.
Also, I once read this novel about a little girl who’s kept in a sensory deprivation tank by her science experimenting daddy and she develops crazy powers.  I am not sure if this tidbit is a pro or a con.


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Filed under Photography, these are the days of my lives, weekend in pictures

Penny Lane. Er. Jane.

I have a new niece!

Penelope Jane came to hang out with us last week, on Tuesday, October 11.

Penny Jane 9 lbs 5 oz 20 inches

That’s a baby alright!

She lives in Boston, so I won’t be meeting her in person for a really long time.  That’s ok, though.  She can use some percolating time to get more interesting first.

Since the time that The David and I met and started dating, we’ve gone from 0 nieces and nephews… to 5.
That’s 5 babies in 3 years and 4 months.  His sister has had 2 girls and one of my brothers has begat 2 boys and this latest girl, Penny.

The David and I aren’t married, so even though his two nieces came before her, technically Penny is my first niece.  She’s the first girl baby in my family.

I was thinking about “real” nieces and psuedo-we’re-not-married nieces.  They feel mostly the same to me.  Maybe a little different.
Do they start feeling more equal when you’re properly married?  People are always saying that even though things are really the same on the surface, that it all feels different once you’re married.  Maybe this is like that?

And then I was remembering being a kid with an assortment of aunt and uncle flavored relatives.  Some of them were married in to being a relative of mine, but for the most part, those unions all took place before i was born.  There wasn’t really a difference between Aunt Maureen and Uncle Roger to me.

And now, for the grown-up me, there’s also this element of feeling like I have to make an effort with the pseudo-in-laws.  I care about whether or not they like me.  So I want to treat the little English nieces like real nieces.  Especially since if it were up to The David, he’d forget their birthdays, that they should get Christmas presents from their uncle in America, possibly even their names…

(Speaking of birthdays and Christmas presents… like I said, there are now 5.  5 little kids under the age of 3.  What do you buy these people for gifts?  Because Maggie does not know.)

Anyway.  There’s a new Hannon.  And she could go through the green glass door twice.  Just like me.

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Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans, Special happy things