Warm inside: Christmas Cards and Italian Shrimp Orzo

I forgot to turn on my electric blanket last night and when I woke up this morning, I was cold. I glanced over at the space heater near the foot of my bed (which was also off at the time). The temperature read 52 degrees. I tried snuggling deeper into my bed, but I was still chilly. I managed to work up the courage to get out of bed and turn the blanket on, and to contemplate the day ahead. I finished addressing the last of my Christmas cards to send out in the mail today, and dragged my body out of bed to fix some oatmeal. I scrapped a thick layer of frost off my car and headed to work.

I checked the mailbox when I arrived home and I was a little disappointed not to see anything incoming to replace the outgoing letters I put in this morning. I opened our front door and breathed in a wonderful whiff of my dinner, set in the crock pot this morning. In addition to this welcoming aroma, my happiness increased when I spied two red envelopes on our coffee table with my name on their faces. I had received two Christmas cards from friends; one from California, and one from Germany. Ah, that warmed my heart and brought my grand total of Christmas cards received up to three for the year.

I read the notes my wonderful friends tucked inside their cards and proceeded to finish preparing, and eating, my dinner.

This recipe is adapted from an old Quick Cooking¬†publication from 2004 for “Italian Shrimp ‘n’ Pasta”. I’m trying not to eat a lot of meat, so I took out the recipe’s requirement for chicken thighs and added some mushrooms. I also improvised some spices and herbs.

For this dish, I put the following in my crock pot before leaving for work this morning:

1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 chopped celery ribs
Some chopped bell peppers
1 medium chopped onion
A handful of sliced mushrooms
A sprinkle of garlic salt
1 Tablespoon of sugar
A dash of salt
A sprinkle of Oregano, Basil, and Cayenne Pepper

After I came home, I cooked up some orzo and shrimp and tossed it in.

The cards had warmed my heart and this meal warmed the rest of me. A fun conversation with one of the card’s senders topped off my evening, and I’m going to call this a pretty awesome day, even if it is still below freezing outside.