I am a very lucky girl. For so many reasons. First and foremost, I am lucky because I am healthy. We always take our health for granted, which is not a good thing. When we stop for a minute and listen to what's going on in the world and what's happening with others, we realize how importand health is. It is the foundation of a good life. I've been blessed by this and I am lucky that my family and all those who I love are also blessed with good health. Sure, we have ailments and the odd health emergency, but all in all, we can't complain. I was recently touched by the story of Britanny Maynard. Read about her here. How do you handle the news that you will die at such a young age? This woman shows remarkable strength and character. My heart aches for her and her family, specially her husband. How do you say goodbye to the person you love after such a short time together? I cannot even fathom how I would deal with this. But I do know that we are given the strength we need to handle what comes our way and I do believe that we are all equipped to handle each situation that we are faced with. I like to think of myself as a "cup half full" person and live each and everyday of my life with a basic goal. To be happy. TODAY. To smile. TODAY. To spread positive thoughts. TODAY. To be kind to all I meet. TODAY. To appreciate everything, big and small. TODAY. To live IN THE MOMENT. And to be grateful. EVERDAY.
A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving here with the family. It was a smaller than usual group, with some family members away on holiday and others away at university, not able to make the trip home. But we gathered as a family, to give thanks for all we have, and to spend time together...laughing and being silly. Here are all the kids at the table, ready to dig in to their turkey feast.
My sister, Telly cooked everything! We had turkey, mashed pototoes, corn, yorkshire pudding, stuffing, sweet potatoes, carrots, beans....so much!!
We have been experimenting and cooking a lot at home lately. I watched a short video about food and how different we eat now, as opposed to years ago. In this day and age, people spend less and less time in the kitchen cooking food. Instead, they do instant meals, order fast food or buy frozen entrees and microwave them. I have to admit, we are guilty of all of the above.....but we have made a concerted effort latley to cook together and enjoy the process. Alyssa usually looks for healthy recipes and we shop for the ingredients together, then we cook together. Trevor is a better cook than I am.....and he takes time teaching Alyssa about ingredients and kitchen tools.....and he is so much better at it than me! For example, he taught Alyssa the correct way to trim asparagus spears. Trim asparagus spears!!! Who knew there was a right way to do this. I basically just took a knife and chopped off the bottoms. Simple. But apparantly wrong. Did you know that the woody root end of the asparagus will break off easily if you just bend the spear? Simply take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend until it breaks. The asparagus automatically breaks just where the woody part ends and the fresh, juicy asparagus begins. So you don't need to worry about breaking off too much or too little. Ha! Who knew? (apparently not me).
This past weekend we cooked spaghetti squash with a pesto garlic sauce. See that garlic? Doesn't that just look yummy? We roasted it first -- it's easy to roast garlic, just chop off the top, leaving the head intact. Rub a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to the exposed top and bake till soft.
We did the same to the spaghetti squash -- simply cut it in half, seeded it and then rubbed olive oil, salt and pepper to the cut side and then baked it face down in the oven till it was soft (about 35 minutes). To create the "spaghetti" just take a fork and run it through the center of the baked squash and it comes off in little strands.
We made a pesto sauce with the roasted garlic and we made enough of it so we could marinade the chicken in it too before barbecuing. A bit of brocolli for a second veggie and there you have it...a healthy, delicious dinner. The recipe is below.
Spaghetti Squah with Parsley and Pecan Pesto:
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 small heads garlic, plus 1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces pecans, toasted (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 bunch parsley, with stems, plus 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rub the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet. Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, exposing the cloves but leaving the heads intact. Set the heads on a large piece of foil, drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil to make a pouch and place on the baking sheet with the squash. Bake until the squash is tender and the garlic soft and roasted, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
When the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, press out the cloves and add them to a food processor along with the minced garlic, toasted pecans, 1/2 bunch parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until the ingredients are pulverized. With the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the Asiago and lemon juice and pulse until just combined.
Shred the squash into a bowl using a fork and toss with 1/2 cup of the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Store any remaining pesto in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
The spaghetti squash was so tasty -- the garlic gave it a nice flavour and the lemon juice mellowed it out to just the right amount of "bite"!
I finally found some time to play a little bit with some of my new craft supplies, specifically my chevron punch. I love this cool little punch. I used it to create a trellis in the card below.
I also used the Petite Petals stamp set. The flowers are coloured in using the Stampin' Write markers. I love the colours here -- I used Pool Party, Soft Saffron and Tangelo Twist. I will be teaching this card in a class I have scheduled for Saturday, November 8 from 10 - noon. If you live in Metro Vancouver and would like to join the class, email me and I will send you the info. My contact info is on the right margin above - just click on the EMAIL ME link and send me a message.
Have a great rest of the week. Be happy and be kind.