It’s finally here – kind of, I think – SPRING!!! In honor of this special first day of one of nature’s most delicate and welcomed seasons, here’s a recipe for Spring Green Risotto.  I love risotto, but it’s pretty heavy so I decided to add some healthy greens to fool my brain into thinking I was having a balanced meal.  I also used lemon juice and basil to lighten it up.  The main star of this dish that you don’t see very often is kale. Kale was one of the most popular leafy greens up until the Middle Ages.  It has been a pretty trendy vegetable as of late, mostly because of it’s superfood properties.  It is rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin K, and is thought to prevent cancer and lower cholesterol.  I used a large bag of curly kale that was pre-cut from Wegmans  (my favorite grocery store!!!) to make things easier. The flat kind would work as well for this recipe (and maybe even better).  I also used Wegman’s Arborio Rice and purchased a bag of frozen shrimp there for $10 or less.

I adopted this risotto recipe from a great book I purchased called The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. I also made lamb chops from this book. See Fairytale Slow-Cooker Lamb Shanks with White Beans. I still don’t really understand the whole slow cooker obsession and would rather use my dutch oven any day, but I admit it was a great tool to braise meats.  I was surprised there’s a slow cooker recipe for risotto, but beware that this is not necessarily a pot that you should leave alone all day.  It only takes about 2 hours total to make this – with about an hour in the slow cooker. I strongly recommend checking it and stirring the rice thoroughly so it cooks evenly.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a slow cooker, just toast the rice in a large heavy bottomed skillet and begin to add the broth in batches, continuously stirring until it is absorbed by the rice.

Wishing you a peaceful and healthy Happy Spring!

Fairytale Spring Green Risotto with Garlic Shrimp
(Serves 6-8)


For the risotto: 
1/2 stuck of butter or margarine
1 onion, chopped
3 cups Arborio rice
3 cups kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 tablespoon of olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag of peeled shrimp (tails on or off, it doesn’t matter)

Melt the butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden and soft for about ten minutes. Add the rice and stir, toasting for about 2 minutes.

Add the onion and rice to the slow cooker. Add the chicken broth. Cook for 40 minutes on high.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced garlic for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes until pink. Set aside and cover with foil.

Back to the crock-pot – stir the rice well and add the kale and cook for 30 more minutes, or until rice is tender. Add the parsley, basil, lemon juice and cheese. Serve in a bowl and top with garlic shrimp.

Important: do not leave this in the warm slow cooker for a long time or the rice will become sticky – see below. (I did this while I was eating my first serving and ruined the whole thing!)
Be careful not overcook the risotto! 
Enjoy! 🙂 
St. Patrick’s Day is on the way, and the color green seems to be EVERYWHERE, including in your glass – and I’m not talking about Shamrock Shakes or Midori Sours! The green drink trend has arrived and is here to stay, and for good reason – these beverages are tasty and good for you. 
A friend recently asked me for some recipes because even her nutritionist suggested that she start drinking green drinks. I have been a long time aficionado of the green smoothie. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about green drinks until I saw a photo collage in Us Weekly of beautiful and youthful celebrities all holding them and I thought – hmm, maybe I should try that! (And who can forget when Sheree tried to get Kim Zolciak to drink a kale shake on the Real Housewives of Atlanta?) 
I like to think my skin is going to glow like Reese Witherspoon’s or my hair is going to shine like Kim Kardashian’s when I am drinking my kale concoctions. Plus, green drinks are a wonderful way to incorporate vegetables into your diet. How else can you possible eat five servings a day? Or is it six now? I can’t keep up …
The first green drink recipe is from Daphne Oz, who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year. See Fairytale Feasts from Daphne Oz. She actually tweeted this recipe to me and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. 
I’ve also included a recipe from Jackie Warner, fitness trainer and Bravo reality television star. I love Jackie’s wholesome, non-judgmental approach to health and fitness. Reading her books doesn’t make me feel like someone is scolding me for being overweight or degrading me for not having the willpower to make the right decisions. The other green drink recipes are my own inventions that I made with things I had around the house. I promise, they’re all tasty.

Daphne Oz’s Fairytale Green Juice
(Serves 1-2)

1 handful of spinach
1 handful of kale
1 stalk celery
1 apple, cored and peeled
Juice of a half lemon
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Pulse until chopped and well blended. Serve.

Jackie Warner’s Pre-Workout Protein Shake
(Serves 1)

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate powder
1/4 cup dry oats
Water to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Add water until you reach your desired consistency.

Fairytale Frozen Spinach Protein Smoothie
(Serves 1-2)

2 handfuls of spinach
3/4 cup of almond milk
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein isolate powder (I like Precision from Vitamin World),
1 cup of ice (optional – but makes it cold and thicker)

Place the spinach, almond milk and protein powder in a blender and pulse until blended. Add the ice and pulse until smooth and blended. Serve.

Fairytale Spinach and Banana Smoothie
(Serves 1-2)

2 handfuls of spinach

3/4 cup of almond milk
1 medium banana
3/4 cup of non-fat Greek Yogurt (like Fage Total 0%)

Place the spinach, almond milk and banana pieces in a blender and pulse until well blended. Add the yogurt and blend. Serve immediately.