Taking It Slow

23 Sep

I hate transitions. I’ve never been very good at them. I cried every year on the first day of school (until I started studying nutrition) because I didn’t want to leave summer vacation behind. I’ve always loved school, but making that transition in my daily routine was (is) tough. I hated leaving for summer camp just as much as I hated coming home from summer camp. I am a creature of habit and routine. I like the comfortable and familiar. But change is a necessary and constant part of life. Growth cannot occur without change and new beginnings only happen when you step out into the unknown. So how do I deal with change? I take it slow and steady of course. I find a way to embrace the future while still lingering a little in the past.

The perfect transition from summer to fall–

Whole Wheat Pasta and Spaghetti Squash

with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes and Chickpeas


– 4 servings of whole wheat angel hair pasta prepared according to package directions

– 1/2 spaghetti squash

– about 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade pesto (**recipe below)

– 1 cup diced heirloom tomato

– 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

– broccoli florets

– extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

– salt and pepper

How To:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Slice spaghetti squash in half longways and place one half face-down in a casserole dish. Fill casserole dish with a tiny bit of water to create steaming in the oven.

– Place squash in preheated oven for about 35 min. or until inside flesh is tender.

– Meanwhile, spread tomatoes and chickpeas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased). Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Set aside.

– When squash is tender, remove from the oven and let rest for 20 min.

– Pop the tomatoes and chickpeas into the 400 degree oven for 20 min. After 15 min, of cooking, toss broccoli florets with tomatoes and chickpeas and cook the remaining 5 min.

– Gently scrape the flesh of the squash with a fork. It will separate into pasta-like strands. Mix the strands with the whole wheat pasta. Add veggie/bean mixture and toss with pesto.

– Enjoy the delicious combination of summery garden tomatoes and fall spaghetti squash. Mmm… maybe I don’t mind transitions so much after all.

Homemade Pesto Blueprint

Pesto is a delicious, creamy sauce traditionally made from nuts, greens, cheese, olive oil, and garlic.

– 1/2 cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds)

– 3 cups greens (basil, spinach, arugula, romaine)

– 1/4 grated hard cheese (parmesan, romano, or nutritional yeast for a dairy-free pesto)

– 1-2 cloves of garlic

– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

– 1/4 cup water

– salt and pepper to taste

How To:

– Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor until combined

– Continuing to pulse, slowly drizzle in olive oil and water until a saucy consistency is reached

– Add salt and pepper to taste

– Freeze any remaining pesto in ice cube trays

Not only does this meal represent a wonderful progression between seasons, it also represents one of my favorite ways to lighten up comfort foods– add more veggies! Adding veggies is an easy way to lighten up any meal, but it works especially well with pasta. A big bowl of pasta is like being wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket. But calories can add up quickly with pasta and it is a food that is notoriously  over-portioned (1 portion size is 1 cup cooked). By mixing in the pasta-like spaghetti squash, you instantly cut calories. Not to mention, the squash strands soak up the sauce beautifully and impart a subtle sweetness into the dish. I am working on a whole post dedicated to healthifying comfort foods.

Happy Harvest Moon!

Thanks for reading 🙂


3 Responses to “Taking It Slow”

  1. emily September 26, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    transitions are hard for me, too. i love routines, and it is super hard to change them. i like your way of dealing with change. 🙂 squash is a great transitional eat.


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