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The Houseless Housewife

Story telling into my past with a delicious Spinach Artichoke Risotto recipe.

It’s taken me some time to get here and share these words with you, but a wise woman named Nicole Walters once said, “Share the scars, and not the scabs”. This statement deeply resonated, as both a person who has public presence but is simultaneously quite private, and who does not deem everything shareworthy. Especially when those things have left an unhealed wound. While I will always choose to keep many things private, I appreciate the opportunity to share a peek into a deeper level of my life, because you never know when someone is walking through the same storm and your words can make them feel less alone.

These scars came from the fall out of getting a divorce. Ugh, divorce. As a child of divorce, it was something I wanted to avoid at every cost. Those living a life as a divorcee, you know, there comes a point where there’s just no other choice, and the multitude of life changes that come with it are mind blowing. For me, the biggest of which is how I became a houseless housewife. This being even more ironic since my career revolves around finding houses for others. But before we jump into this, let’s go back a bit.

In front of a beautiful castle in Heidelberg Germany, there knelt my now ex-husband, asking me to marry him. We were at the ripe age of of 22 and on the cusp of graduating from the University of Florida. It felt like a fairy tale with the adventure to follow, as my ex was about to enter flight school with the Navy. As a girl who lived in the same small town on the east coast of Florida, the thought of being whisked across the country was too exciting to bear. Besides, my roommate and I had been planning our engagements and weddings for months, because we were adults and were completely ready for what married life entailed (Ehem).

Life went well for the first few years, and I found myself as a military wife, I was good at it. Moving our household and setting it up as a home (my record was 48 hours, by the way, I’m talking pictures on the wall y’all), volunteering with the spouse’s club, organizing events, attending all of the ceremonies, finding a new job or volunteer opportunity every 12 months (flight training moved us 3 times in 3 years, 2 of those being cross country), being independent when duty called, being stoic when things went wrong, and rediscovering my love of being a homemaker.

As a modern Millenial, society taught me that being a homemaker was not enough, it was really not even something you should want, but having grown up in a family who still prioritized learning to sew, cook, decorate a home, and do all the things that make a house a home, I didn’t agree. At least not deep down. When I saw these women I was surrounded with on the military base in Meridian, MS, they were strong and independent, but they also created these beautiful homes for their families. I realized, it was okay to embrace that part of myself and I became proficient in it. Meal plans, cleaning schedules, budgeting plans, dog grooming, and on and on. By the last years of our marriage, I actually started referring to myself as a “House Manager”, because truly that’s what you are.

After many hardships in my life and marriage, to include infertility, I was blessed with the most amazing gift life has to offer, my son! I made the choice to stay home with him and fully embrace being a stay at home mom and housewife. It worked for the traditional relationship between my ex and me; at least in a way that seemed to keep the ship afloat. However, many other parts of our relationship deteriorated and life dealt us more difficulties than we could endure. As I saw the inevitable approaching, I took a deep look into myself searching for what I could do to embrace the person I had become but support myself as a single woman. That’s when I had the idea of getting my Real Estate license which offered a flexible schedule- to continue being the mom I wanted to be, potential of high income, and allowed me to utilize the skills I had mastered being a housewife in the staging and selling of houses.

Today, I can say, as the scabs have healed, these decisions I made were the right ones. However, in order to get to the other side, I had to sacrifice something I held so dear, my house- not only the place I lived, but where I found purpose. The smartest decision was to sell this house and move in with my mom while I got my momentum in Real Estate. It was only going to be for 3 months, tops, but just as I was moving to Atlanta, along came a little thing called Covid. Causing delays in my licensing, ability to network within the community, and overall hardships for us all. While I had my son, my health, my family, and a roof over my head I was devastated by the loss of our home. All of my son’s and my belongings stuffed into a storage unit only a half a mile away from where I was living. Feeling like I was living a perpetual Christmas vacation at mom’s house. All this to say, I was incredibly grateful to my mom, and for having my mom, to provide this security for us, but it was still a great loss.

After a year and 4 months, I had grown my Real Estate business to a place where I felt comfortable fleeing the nest and found the most perfect house for my son, my two dogs, and myself. I have since settled in and can take a sigh of relief that this housewife is no longer houseless. Well, and as we know, not a wife either, but let’s ignore that for the sake of alliteration. 🙂

In the prime of my housewife days, I never felt more like a lady of the house than when I would roast a chicken and cook up a delightful pan of risotto. So that’s what we’re making today, risotto! Though I’m putting a little spin on it to make it more of a one pan meal: spinach artichoke risotto.

First, I have to mention that you cannot use just any rice for this dish, arborio is your best bet, because it is an Italian short-grain rice and will build the creamy delicious texture you want from a risotto. Second, while I felt like an absolute pro the first time I tackled risotto, it turns out it’s really quite simple and turns out amazing, as long as you follow the instructions. This recipe is being modified from Rachael Ray’s recipe for lemon risotto on page 20 of her look + cook book.

Here we go! Gather all your ingredients…

Start out by dicing your onion, chopping your artichoke hearts, and shredding your cheese. Next, sauté your onion and cook until just translucent, be sure to do this in a large decently rimmed sauté pan, as you will be doing all of your cooking in this pan and need room for all of the liquid. Add in garlic and cook until just fragrant. Meanwhile, in a saucepot, heat chicken stock on warm, do not simmer or boil.

Next, toast the rice in the same skillet with the cooked onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in white wine and let cook out until the liquid has reduced by about half and all of the alcohol has cooked out. While the wine is optional I do recommend it because it adds a really amazing flavor. Now we’re cookin!

Okay, here’s where things get important, and time consuming, so make sure you have your glass of wine and the kids are all settled, because you are needed. You are going to start pouring ladles of the warm stock into the pan of rice and stirring constantly for a minute which builds up the starches in the rice and causes it to make the correct texture which is creamy and dreamy, and then let the liquid cook out for another 2-3 minutes before adding another ladle of stock and repeating the process until all stock has been used. This whole process should take about 20 minutes.

Pat yourself on the back, you’ve gotten through the toughest part of this recipe. All that’s left to do is add the mix ins. Risotto is one of those amazing versatile recipes where you can play with whatever flavors you like best. Mushroom, lemon, parmesan, are all amazing and the sky’s the limit. As I mentioned, this one is going to be Spinach Artichoke, mostly because it’s one of my favorite flavor profiles and also because it will bulk it up to be a one dish meal.

Melt the butter into the rice, season with salt & pepper and then add in fresh spinach until it wilts, next mix in the chopped artichoke hearts, and lastly, add in the asiago cheese until melted and everything is combined.

Oh. My. Goodness. Soooo tasty!

Spinach Artichoke Risotto

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium onion

  2. 2 cloves garlic

  3. 3 cups fresh spinach

  4. 4 oz artichoke hearts

  5. 6 oz asiago cheese

  6. 1 cup arborio rice

  7. 1/2 cup white wine

  8. 1 quart chicken stock

  9. 2 Tablespoons butter

  10. olive oil

  11. salt & pepper

Directions:

Start out by dicing your onion, chopping your artichoke hearts, and shredding your cheese. Set aside. Next, sauté your onion and cook until just translucent. Meanwhile, in a saucepot, heat chicken stock on warm, do not simmer or boil. Then, toast the rice in the same skillet with the cooked onion and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in white wine and let cook out until the liquid has reduced by about half and all of the alcohol has cooked out. You are going to start pouring ladles of the warm stock into the pan of rice and stirring constantly for a minute and then let the liquid cook out for another 2-3 minutes before adding another ladle of stock and repeating the process until all stock has been used. This whole process should take about 20 minutes. Melt the butter into the rice, season with salt & pepper and then add in fresh spinach until it wilts, next mix in the chopped artichoke hearts, and lastly, add in the asiago cheese until melted and everything is combined. Enjoy!

Voila, your a chef, or a rockin’ housewife. Either way, you’re eating good tonight!

As always, comment below and let me know you tried it and what flavor profile you chose! You can see quick cooking videos of this recipe and so many more on my Instagram Page “stacypatrick_thisrealtorcooks“, and tag me if you cooked up this, or one of my other, delicious recipe(s)!

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