just a smidgen

Spaghetti Squash and Random Acts of Kindness

“Ahhh… ” he murmured and then there was a sagacious pause, you know… the kind where one waits with bated breath, eagerly anticipating the proclamation of good fortune and a long life of utter bliss…

Then my psychic choked, stifled a laugh and said, “You like to… um, drive?!!”

Well, this was certainly not the profound sort of information I was expecting, after dutifully shuffling and selecting 24 auspicious Tarot Cards! It was also humiliatingly clear that even the psychic thought I… er, it was odd! Indignantly I waited for him to enlighten me further… but apparently it wasn’t in the cards. I had expected something, perhaps, with a little more… depth and substance? Perhaps the letter “L” was stamped on my forehead? Could it have been “N” for naive, perhaps “S” for sucker?

Looking back in that old rear-view mirror of life, though, I did have to admit that I do, in fact, love to drive! Not in the “Oh, I love how my car handles!” sort of way, but in the “Now… I get to drive by myself… anywhere I want, blast CBC tunes and actually think!” sort of way. And…  I get a lot of constructive thinking done, driving around Cowtown, thanks to the never-ending construction.

The Major and Minor scales get dutifully recited and then… list upon list of random “stuff” blurs past the side windows of my mind:

  • Darn.. I forgot to register my son for university! (Yes, I do realize that this is his responsibility, but in my defense… would it ever get done?)
  • Need to get the kids to write their Christmas wish lists, asap!
  • I loved that broccoli with pasta recipe, I wonder what I could add to that for supper tonight?
  • Debussy’s “Reverie”?? Why haven’t I heard that piece before, that’s borderline embarrassing… I’ve got to remember to download it.
  • Oh, my god, that sky is just so incredible, look at the pattern in the clouds, doesn’t anyone else see that? Dang, I forget to bring my camera with me!
  • Snow tires to be done Friday, doctor on Friday as well, need to book the plumber in for repairs… must remember extra Cello practice on Thursday and Friday.. why, oh, why can’t my fingers move faster on that slur?
  • I still haven’t thanked Rhoda Kirwin at “Cooking, Baking and Making” properly for nominating me for the Liebster Award (for “up and coming” blogs)… is it too embarrassingly late to thank her now, after so many days, um, weeks have gone past? It definitely was such a lovely Act of Kindness to do so… She’s also a foodie, an Irish lass (like me!) and has awesome posts like her “Puffle Cake”!
  • I’ve got to call Janet, it’s time to catch up with Sharon, I promised Jane and Marty a dinner party… who have I forgotten?
  • I wonder if Dave’s mom wants bagels from the market this weekend?
  • What day is Dave flying out?
  • I’ve got to find time to bake Bliss Bars for Sue’s Christmas party…
  • I get to see Twilight with Katie tonight!!! Yay!!! (I know, but I liked the books, what can I say? A girl doesn’t always have to read Dostoevsky?)
and on it goes…

then I move on to the more general, observation side of things, like…

  • Mr. Christie, you might make good cookies, but your soda crackers have definitely shrunk and still cost the same… you’re not foolin’ anyone!
  • I wonder what the best sort of resin for my bow would be and would my cello make a different sound if I switched? Would I play any faster?

Finally, what I really, really wanted to know was.. “Who the hell invented compound time?!” 

Yup… some people text and drive.

Not me, I just think and driveI don’t think I can be arrested for that??

It seems when things get crazy (and they almost always are) the random acts of kindness from strangers and friends impacts me the most. I’ve recently reconnected with one such friend, Shauna (who serendipitously lives near another friend in Palm Springs).  Even after she moved to Vancouver I’d receive pretty notes and cards in the mail. Shauna was always a friend I could count on, the kind that stays with you through thick and thin… I was sad that we’d lost touch… and delighted to reconnect, hopefully we’ll meet again in person soon.

Did I mention that Shauna has always been an amazing cook (like so many of my friends)? She once taught a “much younger version of me” how to make this Spaghetti Squash dish and it has been a staple in my kitchen for years. I know you’ll love it too… It will remind you of a spaghetti dish… sweet strands of spaghetti squash mingle and rub shoulders with tomato sauce, zucchini, onion, garlic, peppers… and, of course, oregano and cheeses. It’s a great “spaghetti” for those who need to eat gluten-free or are counting their carbs! Now I will do a random act of kindness and gift the recipe forward to… all of you♥

 

“It’s Spaghetti” Spaghetti Squash

It's Spaghetti! Spaghetti Squash
 
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, diced,
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 sweet onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • sea salt
  • coarse ground pepper
  • 1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
  • (or homemade if you are lucky)
  • 200 gm (or more) mozzarella, grated
  • 100 gm (or more) cheddar cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Using a heavy, sharp knife, carefully cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise through the center to create to long “boats” of squash. This is the most difficult part of the recipe, the knife can “stick”, so wiggle to remove.
  3. Using a metal spoon, scrape out seeds and discard. Place half of the squash face down in an 8×8 glass baking dish. Fill with water about 1/4 “ deep.
  4. Cover with wax paper and microwave on high for about 4 minutes, rotate and cook on high for another 4 minutes. Turn and cook again for 4 more minutes (a total of 12 minutes) until squash is soft and pulp is darker in color and cooked through. Repeat with the other half of the squash.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, pepper, onion, and seasonings. Stir and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and softened.
  6. Pour in the spaghetti sauce and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  7. Remove the spaghetti squash halves. Allow them to cool until you can handle them or use oven mitts. Scrape out the pulp of the squash using a fork. It will come out in strands… just like spaghetti! Leave just enough of the squash intact so that the shell halves will hold their shape. Place the shells in a large baking dish.
  8. Add the strands of spaghetti squash to the vegetable mixture and stir to blend.
  9. Using a large spoon, fill each of the squash shell halves with the vegetable/squash mixture.
  10. Sprinkle to cover the top liberally with mozzarella and top with cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake at 350°F for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and melted and mixture is bubbly and heated through.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Using a heavy, sharp knife, carefully cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise through the center to create to long “boats” of squash. This is the most difficult part of the recipe, the knife can “stick”, so wiggle to remove.

Using a metal spoon, scrape out seeds and discard. Place half of the squash face down in an 8×8 glass baking dish. Fill with water about 1/4 “ deep.
Cover with wax paper and microwave on high for about 4 minutes, rotate and cook on high for another 4 minutes. Turn and cook again for 4 more minutes (a total of 12 minutes) until squash is soft and pulp is darker in color and cooked through. Repeat with the other half of the squash.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, pepper, onion, and seasonings. Stir and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and softened.

Pour in the spaghetti sauce and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Remove the spaghetti squash halves. Allow them to cool until you can handle them or use oven mitts. Scrape out the pulp of the squash using a fork. It will come out in strands… just like spaghetti! Leave just enough of the squash intact so that the shell halves will hold their shape. Place the shells in a large baking dish.

Add the strands of spaghetti squash to the vegetable mixture and stir to blend.

Using a large spoon, fill each of the squash shell halves with the vegetable/squash mixture.

Sprinkle to cover the top liberally with mozzarella and top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350°F for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and melted and mixture is bubbly and heated through.

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