Author Archives: lifewithlilred

About lifewithlilred

Just your average gal blogging an average blog!

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

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Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Hello! For the past few months Lil Red has spent a majority of her time indoors due to the coronavirus. When you have no access to the outside world, it is way harder than you can imagine to create daily content! Ever since lifewithlilred began over five years ago, I have always encouraged guest bloggers on my page – especially now!

This is why I am so grateful to my sweet friend, Alice, from Alice Rambles for reaching out to me with a tasty recipe for butternut squash risotto. This recipe combines a bunch of my favorite things and I am looking forward to trying it myself. After checking this post out, do be sure to give Alice’s page some love and if you are interested in guest posting on lifewithlilred, please email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com .

Now, let’s get to it:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Hi everyone, my name is Alice (from Alice Rambles). Sarah has very kindly offered to let me write a guest post for her blog, and I thought today I’d share one of my favourite easy recipes – butternut squash risotto!

In the UK, butternut squash are harvested throughout summer and autumn, so this dish not only uses fresh, seasonal vegetables, but it also reduces our food air miles which is always a great thing to consider. This recipe is also easy to adapt for vegetarian and vegan diets and serves four people.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 50g butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 300g arborio risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan alternative), finely grated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of sage (fresh or dried)

 

Equipment:

  • Large baking tray
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large wide saucepan or deep frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle

Method:

  • Heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 7. Mix your chopped squash with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage. Spread it over the baking tray and roast it for 30 mins, until it’s soft on the inside but slightly coloured on the outside. Mash half of the squash into a rough puree, and leave the other half whole.

  • Next, heat up your stock in the medium saucepan – bring it to the boil first, and then lower to a simmer. In the wide saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat, then add the onion and cook it slowly until it is soft, but not coloured.

  • Stir the rice into the buttery onions, and keep stirring until the rice is shiny and the grains are starting to become transparent.

  • Pour in the wine, stir it through and simmer until it has all evaporated. Turn the heat down to low, then start adding the stock (one ladle at a time) and stir continuously.

  • Keep going until you’ve used up all of the stock – at this point the risotto should be thick and creamy, with the rice still retaining a bit of bite to it.

  • Stir the squash puree through the risotto, then add the grated Parmesan.

  • Serve, and garnish with the remaining chunks of roasted squash.

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And there you have it, so simple! This recipe is great for when you fancy a nice warming meal and, of course, you can mix it up by adding your own herbs, spices, and flavours if you wish. If you’d like to see more of my posts then do check out my blog (Alice Rambles), and let me know if you give this recipe a try!

Thank you so much again to Alice for sharing her delicious recipe with all of us! What is your favorite kind of risotto? What is one of your favorite seasonal dishes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Birthday, Boyfriend!

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Happy Birthday, Boyfriend!

Hello! Today is a very special, happy, wonderful day because it is my boyfriend, Johnny’s, 31st birthday. And, in exactly one week it will be my 26th… Ahhh! Johnny and I have been together for almost a year and it has easily been the best almost year of my life. Before the quarantine began, we were constantly going on adventures and enjoying nights out when his band, The Outside Voices, would play.

Now, we are hunkered down in the apartment with binge watching marathons and video games for our entertainment. But, I wouldn’t want to be stuck at home with any other person. Johnny knows how to turn anything into a good time, even if it is the most boring day on the planet. And, that is because Johnny is a person who is just full of light and a little bit of mischief when he lovingly pokes fun at me!

I have been waiting for a relationship just like this for forever and I wish that we could celebrate Johnny’s big day in the manner that he deserves. Instead, I’ll be picking up a steak dinner for him at Outback and FINALLY give him the presents that I have been begging for him to open since they arrived in the mail.

Is it the most exciting birthday event ever? No. However, Johnny knows how to make anything he does for me special and exciting and if I can take a few notes from his book, I think his birthday celebration will be a hit.

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I love you, babe!

Happy Birthday! ❤

Fine Dining At Home: Soup & Sandwich Combo

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Fine Dining At Home: Soup & Sandwich Combo

Helloooo! One of my most favorite foods in the whole world is SOUP. I friggen LOVE it and find myself craving a huge bowl of French Onion even during the hot summer months. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Always. While in quarantine, I have become increasingly fond of the soup and sandwich combo for lunches at home on the weekend.

Although, nothing beats my mom’s homemade soups, I have had pretty good luck finding vegetarian friendly canned soup at the grocery store. Normally, I’ll heat up whichever soup I feel like on the stove top (I’m partial to Progresso’s Butternut Squash) and make a grilled cheese or bagel sandwich to go with it.

I am a huge fan of Everything bagels and recently went with the following for an easy and filling lunch:

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The Amy’s Southwestern Vegetable was definitely not as good as their Black Bean soup but it was alright. Although, I can’t say I would want to get it again. Meanwhile, on my sandwiches, I love to have a leafy green on it like spinach, lettuce, or sprouts. Then, to break up the dryness of the bagel, I apply hummus and a spicy mustard for that extra special little kick. 😉

We are in a very weird time right now and, purchasing food that you can stretch out will really help you limit your visits to the grocery store. The beauty of the bagel sandwich? You could get yourself the ingredients for about ten bucks and it would provide you with lunches for an entire week!

I have grown very fond of packing myself a bagel sandwich for my longer days at work and it always nips the hunger pains right in the bud. It has been a solid month since I have gone grocery shopping for myself and my boyfriend so, hopefully, this fondness will continue as I eat my way through this bag of bagels. 😅

What is your favorite kind of soup? What is a food that you can eat any time no matter the weather? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

The Hidden Dangers Of The Daily Commute

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The Hidden Dangers Of The Daily Commute

Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the economy, many of us used to travel to work. (Do you remember those days?) But even back then, the subject of the commute was a thorny one. Employers expected you to spend large parts of your day sitting on buses and trains to get to the office. And they didn’t usually pay for it (even if it was a necessary cost of the job).

The commute, though, could be more dangerous to you than you think. It’s not just a matter of getting to and from work and the time you lose. It could also be taking its toll on your health.

It Is Hazardous:

Getting on the train to go to work seems like a perfectly normal and safe thing to do. After all, workers have been alighting at railway stations ever since the Victoria era. Trains, though, are hazardous. Accidents are waiting to happen around every corner.

Research suggests, for instance, that the average worker faces risks around 32 times every week when they use trains to get to work. Being packed into a tin can with dozens of other people and having to navigate the step down to the platform is dangerous. The chances of a slip or fall are high, especially when workers are in a rush and their minds on other things. Data from the UK suggest that 1.7 million people have to take time off work every year because of injuries they sustain while commuting.

The risks are even higher than that, though, in some cases. One of the worst New York city derailments of all time, with more than 200 people sustaining injuries, occurred in Union Square in 1991, proving that accidents can still happen on the railway.

It Could Damage Your Body Clock:

Evolution designed humans to wake up with the rising sun and go to bed soon after it sets. Modern working lives, however, disrupt this natural process. We’re no longer in a routine. Instead, we organize our lives around our shift patterns – and they’re not always healthy.

The commute may actually make things worse. When you get on a brightly-lit train or bus in the morning or evening, you send signals to your body that it is day time, and you should wake up. Suddenly, your body releases a flood of hormones designed to perk you up and give you a buzz. When this happens in the morning, it is healthy. But when it occurs at night, it is anything but. You wind up fizzing all evening, and when you hit the sack, you can’t sleep.

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Pixabay Image

It Could Affect Your Cardiovascular System:

Finally, commuting to work could harm your cardiovascular system. The combination of sitting still for a long time with the added stress of being around so many people can lead to increases in blood pressure. When your body goes through this daily, it can lead to conditions like hypertension, which are risk factors in more severe diseases. Standing up more on transport may help.

Stay aware during your commutes to work and keep yourself and those around you safe.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Fine Dining At Home: So Much Spaghetti Edition

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Fine Dining At Home: So Much Spaghetti Edition

Hello! My method of grocery shopping has always been to just do one big monthly haul and be set for the next four to five weeks. This technique has proved especially beneficial while in quarantine because it minimized the amount of times that Johnny and I have been in a grocery store exponentially. But, once we get to the point of needing another trip to the store, it is super slim pickings in our kitchen. And, in those trying times of feeling like I have “nothing” to eat at home, I say a special little thank you to the spaghetti and noodle family.

Johnny and I will make a pot of spaghetti with garlic bread once or twice a month. It is never not delicious and it also gives us a lot of leftovers, which is always nice. And, it’s also nice to share a bottle of wine with your Italian dinner! My pantry has a ton of spaghetti staples to help complete the meal and I love trying out different sauces when I go to the store. We currently are working with the following in our pantry:

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Spaghetti has been a Mushenheim family go to meal for as long as I can remember and it has forever been one of my favorites. I never say no to Alfredo, pesto, or tomato sauces and tend to have at least one of each kind at the ready in my cabinets. There is nothing better than plain old spaghetti with sauce but the best part of the noodle family is all of the delicious pasta salads that you can make!

When I have fresh veggies at home, I love to chop up a selection of colored bell peppers, zucchini, onions, and garlic to saute over the pasta. Then, I add fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar for a tasty summer salad that I enjoy throughout the year. 😉 Don’t forget the garlic bread, bread sticks, focaccia bread, or baguettes. And only the finest Barefoot Peach Fruitscato wine (which is my obsession right now) for a delicious, easy meal.

What are some of your favorite simple dinners to make? Which meals can you make stretch for infinite leftovers? (Mine is baked ziti!) I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Ways Of Keeping Your Home Consistently Pristine

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5 Ways Of Keeping Your Home Consistently Pristine

Having the most beautiful home is what we’d all like, right? We know that perfection doesn’t exist, but we’d like to be able to say we hang our hats in a very pretty little abode. While we can’t just snap our fingers and magic up a clean and pristine home, we can put in the work and make things as close as possible. If you’re a homeowner or if you’ve rented a place before, then you’ll know all about how it’s a job that requires constant effort with a watchful eye. These kinds of domestic chores can be very tedious and frustrating if you don’t have the right mindset or ideas going into them. Here are a few ways that can help make (and keep) your home in pristine condition:

Create A Plan Of Action:

Everything flows smoother when there’s a plan of working around the house involved. If you can figure out a little timetable of events, then you’ll be able to keep things in order a lot smoother. When your ideas are just kind of stored in your head, it’s easier to put them to the back of your mind and procrastinate. It’s also easier to confuse yourself when the thoughts are tucked firmly in your brain. If you write them out, then they become real, easier, and more motivating.

Have The Appropriate Services Completed:

You won’t be able to handle everything, of course. There will be certain tasks that you just can’t do as you aren’t trained in them. That’s where handy people come to the rescue. The likes of window fitters/cleaners, renovators, carpet fitters, and all others you can think of should be considered from time to time. The interior and exterior of your home need to have that touch of expertise every now and again!

Create Rules Around The House:

Whether you have a family, housemates, or you’re by yourself; it’s good to set rules to follow. They don’t need to be completely strict and rigid, but they should be adhered to. Not taking drinks to certain rooms and leaving your shoes in the porch area could be a good couple of ideas here. If you stick to what you set, then you’ll probably have a lot more joy in terms of what we’re trying to get at here. That systematic approach could save you a lot of hassle.

Be Proactive And Take Preventive Measures:

Stop issues happening at the source. For instance, stop bugs and other pests by using things like bug spray and a moth catcher trap that eliminates them quickly. Think about buying low-maintenance furniture and items so that you’re not constantly working away trying to fix/clean them. Prevention is a lot better than the cure.

Be Careful!

Last but by no means least, simply be careful with what you’re doing around the house. This obviously goes without saying, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said from time to time! Again, it’s another case of preventing something and stopping it from happening entirely!

Finish up your spring cleaning with the tips above and keep your home sparkling by maintaining it!

Bath & Body Works Online Haul

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Bath & Body Works Online Haul

Hi! During the coronavirus pandemic, the foaming hand soap from Bath & Body Works has been a godsend. They leave my hands feeling so clean without being stripped of moisture in any way. And, when you’re washing your hands way more frequently than usual, you have no idea how nice it is to have a soap that won’t turn your hands into bright red lobster claws!

I began purchasing B&BW soaps when I moved into my apartment last year and have not looked back since. My boyfriend, Johnny, loves them too and I love being in charge of which scents we pick out! Like all of these ones, when we had to restock online:

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Which Scents?

  • Sunwashed Citrus
  • Peach Bellini
  • Shell Yeah (Peach Passionfruit)
  • Stay Pawsitive (Iced Vanilla Cookie)
  • Pineapple Mango
  • Pomegranate Lemonade

Bath & Body Works was running a six for twenty-four dollar promotion on their hand soaps and you just can’t beat that. Of course, shopping online for scents is hard so I just went with what sounded good to me. I had to grab another Peach Bellini because it’s my favorite but I decided to get all new scents for the other five choices.

I absolutely love the adorable marketing on the Shell Yeah and Stay Pawsitive bottles and they both smell awesome. The Iced Vanilla Cookie one smells so much like the real thing that you just want to eat it, lol. I also am a huge fan of tropical/citrus scents, as is my boyfriend, so the Pineapple Mango and Sunwashed Citrus were easy choices to make.

The only scent that I am not thrilled with is the Pomegranate Lemonade. The lemonade part isn’t noticeable and the pomegranate portion is so overpowering and it just smells… Not great. Very old lady-ish, actually, so I definitely won’t be getting it again. But, five out of six ain’t bad and having clean, smooth hands makes one disappointment one hundred and fifty percent worth it!

What is your favorite Bath & Body Works scent? How do you keep your hands from drying out after a lot of washes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah