I didn’t want whatever strange demographic that actually reads my posts to think I’d disappeared. Let’s just say that I had a family emergency that when I feel up to writing about it, there will undoubtedly be several posts that dance around that topic if not completely become immersed in it… But I have certainly entered a new phase in life. I no longer have either of my biological parents existing on the same plane with me anymore. Like I mentioned above, I don’t even know how I’m feeling about it currently, much less what I really intend to do to jumpstart healing, if that is indeed, a thing.
A great deal of time has been spent attempting to “recharge my batteries.” Considering I no longer smoke cigarettes, taking ‘breaks’ has been a very grey area in life. I could go outside and stand around, stalling for five minutes (that’s what you do when you’re smoking, if you weren’t aware)… or I could use that five minutes to be productive, even if that means cleaning out junk emails, or finding Pinspiration. But while those are generally how I would “break,” I’ve found that those types of things aren’t really helping me find my way back to living differently/with the absence of Dad. In the hour or two that Sam spends napping away, I’ve been able to utilize those minutes to work on this blog, or care for seedlings, or do some crocheting, and now we have a kitten – so that’s kitty playtime, too… I know it seems a little silly to express how I spend hobby time or my extra time – but in the wake of the current situation, the “me” time is the only quiet time that I have to reacquaint myself with… myself. And I can’t stress to you how important a little bit of alone time is not just for your psyche, but for your body as well. Your mind and body are interlinked. Ask people who are depressed how they ache everywhere… Ask folks who become depressed after a debilitating accident. Fact is, if we don’t spend a little bit of time catering to ourselves, we become husks.
This week, the most productive thing I worked on was a recipe for a no-carb dinner. We’re kind of gravitating towards that to assist in the body part of body and mind in this house for right now. Sam wouldn’t touch the ‘pasta,’ but hoovered up the other part.
Low Carb Eggplant Parmagiana
1 Medium Spaghetti Squash (3 or so lbs)
2 Medium Eggplants
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large (28 or 32oz) can Tomato Puree
1 16oz can of diced Italian Style Tomatoes
1 small (6 oz) can Tomato Paste
Olive Oil (spray and regular liquid if possible)
Freshly Ground Pepper
Parmesan, Ground – Liberal amount (about 4 oz?)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. While oven warms, get out a saucepan for the red gravy. This is a throwtogether version that usually will taste homemade. You can even cook this a little longer, begin a couple hours before you begin if you’d like to let the flavors simmer for awhile. Put a splash of olive oil into the saucepan on a low to medium heat. Add the minced garlic and half the Italian seasoning. Let cook until garlic is golden brown. Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and paste. Mix gently, cover, and continue simmering, stirring occasionally.
When oven is ready, prep a baking sheet by either brushing or spraying olive oil. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. if you wish, brush this with oil as well – if not, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on inside of both halves. Put in oven and cook for 45min-1hr (ovens vary). You will know it’s done when the outside is slightly mushy (stick a fork into it) instead of the precooked hard as a rock. When the spaghetti squash is done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
We added about a pound of ground pork to the red gravy, which is completely optional. If you were to make it from frozen pork, I’d suggest beginning to fry the pork at this point, in a covered skillet. When the pork is finished frying. you can add the red gravy to the skillet and leave it on low. If pork is fresh, this step should take under 20 minutes.
Slice eggplant in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Set out on greased baking sheet, and brush tops with oil, and use salt and pepper to taste. Put in oven (still at 375) and after about 12 minutes, flip pieces over, brush tops again with oil and add salt/pepper, cook for another 12-15 minutes. When the eggplant has reached the desired consistency, remove from oven.
We used two separate pasta bowls: one for the spaghetti squash and one for the eggplant and gravy. Fork the spaghetti squash out after it has cooled (if you don’t let it cool down, it WILL burn your hand) and if you wish to add the two together I would advise possibly using a 9×13 baking dish– in the second pasta bowl, we layered with a layer of meat sauce, then eggplant, then more sauce, then a layer of the grated parmesan. We continued doing this until we ran out of eggplant. (I think there were three large layers) on the top layer, sprinkle the rest of the Italian seasoning over the final parmesan.
Our 2 year old son devoured the eggplant, but didn’t want to touch the spaghetti squash. It doesn’t really have the same flavor as pasta, but it has the same texture and works well with any sauces. Please, if you try it, let me know how it worked for you! It quickly became a family favorite with us.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to be more like myself the next time I post. Cheers.