Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Lentils, Garlic, and Thyme

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


"I thought it strange how it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old."- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar 

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about happiness and what it means to be happy.  I think it's easy to associate happiness with attaining certain materialistic items or life goals.  This is something I struggle with, especially lately.  Although I generally consider myself a happy person, these last six months have been particularly taxing on me, and for no reason other than the fact that I over analyze every situation in my life.  Which can get to be a bit draining.

I've been having thoughts like When I finish re-landscaping the front lawn, I'll be happy// When I get a Master's degree, I'll be happy// When I have a baby, I'll be happy// When I finish renovating the house, I'll be happy// When Dayv and I go on vacation, I'll be happy.  And although accomplishments give me a sense of fulfillment and content, it is fleeting.

Last night, when I was getting ready for bed, I thought to myself What will make you happy?  After thinking about it for a while, I realized that happiness is not something that is attained and kept forever.  It is something that needs to be nurtured and continually worked on.  This was an important realization for me, and one that gave me a sense of relief and content.  I felt better, knowing that I am constantly working on my "happiness", even if it is fleeting.  Because, when you think about it, isn't life just a series of fleeting moments?  If that's true, then I'd rather spend my time working on making the little pieces of my life happy, rather than the daunting task of making my entire life existence happy.  Because I just don't think that's possible.

Things that bring me happiness: my quiet morning routine// walking Mina//  eating dinner with Dayv every night// family dinner nights with my parents and brother// musicals and concerts// hosting parties// spending time with my best friends// movie nights with Dayv// learning new skills// repainting and refinishing every aspect of my home// 

Another thing that brings me happiness is walking into Trader Joes and seeing spaghetti squash front and center.  And then making a simple, but flavorful and delicious meal with it.  This dish is happiness. 


Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Lentils, Garlic, and Thyme
serves four
1 large spaghetti squash
1 c dried green lentils (or brown or beluga)
4 c water
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
a healthy dose of umeboshi plum vinegar

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and poke several times with a sharp knife.  Fill a casserole dish with a 1/2" of water.  Place squash cut side down in dish.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife.  Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to scoop out the squash tendrils.

While the squash is cooking, bring water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add lentils, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, and strain lentils.

Using the same pot over medium heat, saute garlic and thyme in olive oil until lightly golden.  Add lentils, and continue to saute for about 3-5 minutes (or until everything is evenly mixed).

To plate: Place desired amount of spaghetti squash on a plate, add the lentil mixture, and top with a few shakes of umeboshi plum vinegar.  Enjoy!

******

PS- Did you know that the amazing Cara from Fork and Beans has a Halloween E-Book for sale?  Not only is it super creative (as usual), but all of the recipes are gluten-free and vegan!  Go get yourself a copy here for only $7!

16 comments:

  1. I love this post. I think we can all relate to getting sucked into the mentality of "when I have or do x thing, I'll be so much happier." And sometimes it is true, but you are right that it doesn't result in this new constant state of happiness. For me, I've been working on not putting so much pressure on things to bring me happiness, but rather seeing them as pieces to a bigger picture, and it does all add up. It also takes some time to learn what things/changes will actually make you happier after the newness wears off.

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  2. I've been on the same kind of road as you this year--but I think you're surged ahead in your thinking about it! Pass me some of that internal realization, please? :)

    The spaghetti squash looks awesome too. I need to get my mitts on one at the farmers market this weekend!!

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  3. Oh my gosh, I can soo relate to your thoughts on happiness! I can't remember if I've mentioned Danielle LaPorte to you or not, but I think you'd love her and her Desire Map book. Her whole focus is on creating the feelings we want to feel in our lives, instead of trying to pursue goals that might or might not help us to feel the way we want to. Deep. (I blogged about her awhile back too: http://www.insonnetskitchen.com/the-desire-map-abundance/)

    Love the spaghetti squash too!

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  4. That looks like one amazing meal. This is so true. I got very depressed after moving to Seattle. I had a fabulous job, had gotten married and bought a place too. It was as if pretty much everything in my life goals was done. Then there was a shake up and now there are no plans whatsoever and I like it this way. Just small plans and goals. I do wonder how all the people around just look happy whenever we meet them, but thats a small part of their life that we see.

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  5. Sometimes I think that we put too much pressure on ourselves to be over the moon every second of every day and then when we aren't, we think there's something wrong with us or lacking in our lives. I definitely think that it's okay to just BE sometimes.

    But spaghetti squash - definitely makes me happy too and I will be trying this out on Sunday, probably with an entire squash to myself LOL.

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  6. This dish is so Fall, it is going on the menu!

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  7. It's a good idea to stop and think about all the little things in life that you make you happy...helps you realize how lucky you are to have those things, even though they may not seem that huge on their own...I haven't made spaghetti squash in so long, I'll have to change that! I've never thought to pair it with lentils!

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  8. I hear you Caitlin. Happiness comes in small doses, but more often than we realise. The key is to recognise those moments as they happen and appreciate the little things in life.

    I've been looking for spaghetti squash here in Australia for years – still haven't found it, but when I do, that will be one special moment of happiness for me!

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  9. This sounds very wise!
    I usually make a difference between joy and happiness, joy being the fleeting moments and happiness when you look back at the general scheme (and so happiness is something you cannot acknowledge in the now). So, I try to concentrate on the fleeting moments (without denying the negative ones) and try to remember I will look back at it all and feel happy about it!

    And Sylvia Path again, I loved the book, I'll even do a post about it (when I'm ready to talk about this)

    Thanks for the Forks and Beans E-Book news too! So exciting!

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    Replies
    1. And sauteed lentils with garlic? Sounds so French :)
      The last spaghetti squash I ate did not yield spaghetti :( I think it was, for some reason, too watery.

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  10. Spaghetti squash (and a great new recipe) make me happy too! Love that it is squash season!

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  11. I think when you focus on goals as a means to happiness, you're never happy because there's always another goal to attain. It's just never-ending. I have to work on that too. I think my nature is to be negative and always seeking something, which probably isn't healthy. But a big bowl of spaghetti squash--I would definitely be satisfied with that!

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  12. I totally understand where you're coming from. I forget that there's so much happiness everywhere if I just remember to see it. Also- spaghetti squash always makes me really happy too and your recipe looks so good! I never would've thought to cook it with lentils but it looks fantastic! :-)

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  13. This is such a lovely post! I often find myself "chasing" happiness as well. I'm actively trying to find happiness all around me no matter what I am doing. I have a Yogi tea bag quote taped near my workstation that reminds me "The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment".

    Also, I have just recently discovered the awesomeness of spaghetti squash myself. It is sooo delicious and easy to make. This looks really great!

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  14. I truly believe you are not alone, I have gotten loads better about over analyzing my life and thinking I needed to be in a certain place in my life at an exact time or else I have failed, once I learned to let go of these high expectations and timelines I had for myself I was a lot less stressed and happier- Life happens and unfolds for each of us in a different way. I love looking at the list of what makes you happy :)

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