For me, October has been a month of dancing, crying, hugging, reminiscing, laughing and recuperating. It has been a month of weddings.
Three, to be exact. Last weekend, my friends and I packed up an SUV and ventured on a road trip to Peoria for the most epic wedding of the century. Two of my friends from college, i.e. my most favorite couple ever, got married in our college town. Not only were we celebrating their marriage, but also a reunion to the place where we all spent four years of our lives together.
This weekend, I pulled off two weddings in one day. This consisted of tearing up in a small chapel during what I found to be the most heartwarming and personal ceremony I’ve witnessed to date, and then enjoying the most delicious wedding dinner I’ll ever taste. It included grass-fed filet mignon, salmon, spinach salad with strawberries and feta, roasted local vegetables, pumpkin spelt cake with marzipan frosting, homemade cookies (that I contributed to) and so much more. Best yet, I’ve never seen a couple so in love and ready for their journey down the road of marriage. They inspire me.
The third wedding, which I headed off to after the first delicious dinner, was a night of catching up with a whole other group of college friends, dancing, more eating and more digesting. My body couldn’t keep up with all the treats it was devouring!
I think the best part of these experiences was seeing how each couple made their day their own. Each wedding had its own personal touches in the midst of traditions. While some stayed very traditional, others strived for uniqueness and/or simplicity.
I love that. I love watching each couple embark on the next road in their lives, and I love seeing how they decide to portray the first day on this new journey.
Today, as I recovered from these social weekends by staying home and doing nothing past laundry and cooking, I’ve thought more about the idea of how each person can tweak age-old traditions to make them their own.
That’s what I did with spaghetti squash. Everyone eats spaghetti as a child and then continues to eat it through life. It’s one of those comfort meals you choose after a stressful day, for a large group of company or during a cold sprout of temperatures. There isn’t anything quite like the sound of slurping noodles.
While spaghetti squash isn’t as easy to slurp, I sometimes forget that I’m not eating the traditional staple in the American diet. That’s how much I’ve grown to love it. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I had the real thing. And I don’t miss it.
Truth is, whole grains are important in the diet, but noodles are a processed version of these whole grains. More importantly, we could all use more vegetables, and squash is a form of vegetable. By replacing the pasta with a vegetable, you can get more of what you need without the price of giving up what you love.
While I’ve supplied one version of spaghetti squash here that I love, you could easily make it with tomato sauce and meatballs too. You can tweak it to make it your own.
So that’s what I did today. Though I’m nowhere near creating my own traditional wedding day, with my own personal touches, for now, I can use this skill in other areas of my life.
Spinach & Mushroom Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup tempeh (optional for added protein)
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the spaghetti squash in half the long way. Scoop out all of the seeds and stringy insides. Place each half on a baking sheet, with the open end down. Cook for 30-50 minutes, depending on size of squash. The skin should be soft to the touch and easily pierced with a fork when done.
While the squash is cooking, fry the garlic, spinach, mushrooms and tempeh in a pan, using one tablespoon of olive oil, for about five minutes. Set aside.
When the squash is done, use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash out of the skin, until a very thin layer of skin is all that is left. Discard the skin. (Each half is about one serving.)
Place spaghetti squash on a plate. Add vegetable mixture, then parmesan cheese, and finish it off with the remaining oil and vinegar. Mix together and enjoy!