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Today’s guest on THE HAPPY HOUR is Rachel McCoy. Rachel is a newer friend of mine within the past few years. She’s not only one of the most genuine and nicest people I know, but she’s also beautiful. She’s a wife, a past college athlete (Baylor Bears), a track coach, a lover of fitness and cooking, and is in the  midst of training for a mini sprint triathalon.

Rachel is married to Colt, who is a former Texas Longhorn and now plays in the NFL.  Rachel and Colt just moved to Washington for his job and so she’s learning all about a new city. We chat about her life as a wife to a NFL player, fitness, Washington DC facts, favorite tv shows, Olivia Pope, beach vacations, Texas stuff, and much more.

Rachel pic

Links from the show:

  • Four books I recommended to Rachel for her beach trip:
  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. Bread & Wine by Shaunna Niequist
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I told Rachel I read Bossypants by Tina Fey on the beach on vacation and here is proof:

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What’s better than a good book, a beach chair and the water in front of you?  Nothing! What would you recommend for her to read on her upcoming beach trip?

How to listen to the Happy Hour Podcast:

Listen to this podcast right here on this page, or subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher and have them delivered to you as soon as they are live. If you like the show, I’d love to hear from you. Comments here are awesome, ratings and reviews on iTunes & Stitcher are even better, since that helps others find the show.

If you have questions about what a podcast is, or why I wanted to make one, I answer all of those questions HERE.

Upcoming guests:  Ashley Benson, Janet Reeves, and Melanie Shankle

**If you are reading this via your email subscription you’ll need to head on over to my website to listen, or via iTunes stitcher.**

OH and because we mentioned her risotto, here’s the recipe:

Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto  

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 1/3 cups dry white wine

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons brown butter
(see below for recipe, ok to skip)

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: sage, parsley + rosemary

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine chopped sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and smoked paprika, tossing well to coat. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, tossing every 8-10 minutes. Remove and mash until pureed (or you could use a blender or food processor – I just used a potato masher), then set aside. (I usually make this earlier in the day so I’m not cooking one dish for hours! Sometimes I skip the sweet potato all together, still yummy)

[Note: while the potatoes are roasting you can do other things, like cook the bacon or chop the fresh herbs to get it out of the way.]

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add chicken or vegetable stock. Heat until hot. If it begins to boil, turn down so it is no longer boiling.

Heat a larger saucepan or even a dutch oven over medium heat. Add in remaining olive oil and butter (not the brown butter), then add shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft, then add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat slightly and add rice, stirring to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring 2-3 times until the rice is translucent and begins to toast. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in wine. Continue to stir as the rice absorbs the wine.

When most of it is absorbed, add in about 1/3 of the warm chicken/vegetable stock. Repeat the process, continuously stirring until the stock is absorbed, then add another 1/3. Repeat until all of the stock is used and absorbed and the rice is cooked, making sure to take a spoonful and taste test. The whole process will take about 20-25 minutes. If the rice is still too chewy and dense, heat a bit more liquid and add it again, stirring. The rule I go by is to add enough liquid just to cover the very top of the risotto.

Once the rice is cooked to your liking, reduce heat to low and stir in about 3/4 cup the sweet potato puree. Take a few minutes and really stir so it is well-absorbed. Stir in parmesan cheese and brown butter, mixing to combine. Taste and season additionally if desired, but remember that you are going to add bacon on top!

To serve, place the risotto in a bowl and top with some additional cheese, a sprinkling of herbs, the crumbled bacon and then more herbs and cheese if desired. Serve immediately!

Brown Butter

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and immediately begin whisking. Stir as it bubbles, and after 2-3 minutes or so you should see brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat immediately and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds or use. Use as desired!

**Serves: 4 — Cooking time: 1 hour**