“The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love for those you are cooking for.” – Sophia Lauren
It can be such a hard thing to know what to do when your friend is going through something difficult. There are so many different avenues to go down in regards to showing them love and support, while balancing on that thin line between giving just enough advice and overstepping your I’ve-been-there-before-and-know-EXACTLY-what-you-need-to-do boundaries. To encourage, but not push, them to make a change or walk away from something that they just may not be ready to walk away from, knowing that your words could likely be unappreciated or ignored… Or both. I was just in that very situation with one of my oldest, dearest, very best friends and she happened to be going through a much needed break up. She was coming to stay with me for the weekend and I knew – after days and nights and months of phone calls – that she needed an open ear, closed mouth and a shoulder to lean on… Along with a generous glass of wine.
Holly and I at one of my favorite wineries, Chamisal, in our hometown of San Luis Obispo
One of my favorite ways to show people how much I love them is by cooking them a good meal. Making someone I love delicious, healthy food and getting to watch them enjoy it brings me so much happiness. So when Holly told me she was coming to stay for a few days, my culinary wheels started spinning. I wanted to make her something comforting and warm and nourishing so that she could forget about all that she was going through, even if it was just for a few bites.
For anyone that has a sensitive stomach, you are likely all too familiar with how must of an affect stress can have on your digestive tract. Holly (along with myself) has a plethora of stomach issues. Last year, after many failed doctors visits and too many unnecessary procedures, she went to a naturopath and was diagnosed with a yeast allergy (yes, yeast) and was advised to follow the Candida diet. I thought no yeast was going to be easy – a no brainer – cut out the bread, the beer, what else could there be? I was so wrong. Do you have any idea how many food items contain yeast?! I didn’t, until I started doing some research with her, and it turns out it’s in almost everything. Holly ended up finding a food program called The Whole 30 which is essentially a 30 day, super clean eating program, and it worked wonders for her. I remember the first time I visited her while she was on the Whole 30 she wanted to cook together. I wasn’t excited. First off, I knew alcohol wasn’t a part of the program and I wasn’t down with that. Dinner without wine, to me, is like, well, dinner without dessert. It just doesn’t make sense. On top of that, I thought the food was going to be bland and uninteresting. Much to my surprise it actually turned out to be exactly the opposite! Thankfully, Holly was gracious enough to let me enjoy a glass of wine (she, in all of her self-control, stuck with water) and we ended up making the most delicious “nachos” with chips made out of sweet potatoes, of all things. I left the next morning feeling not only like the cleanest, healthiest, most pure person in the world (funny how one healthy meal can do that to a girl…) but also so inspired! While the dinner took quite a bit of prep work, it was delicious and filling and she was left with leftovers that would last her days.
While Holly doesn’t follow the Whole 30 as strictly these days, with all that she was going through I wanted to make her something that wouldn’t cause her anymore unnecessary pain. This recipe offers all the yumminess and comfort of fresh, home-made spaghetti, while being gluten-free and Whole 30 approved!
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH GROUND TURKEY AND VEGGIE TOMATO SAUCE This sauce is so good topped on a variety of things: sweet potato chips, cauliflower rice, zoodles, pasta (if you’re not doing gluten-free), you name it.
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves (I used closer to 7, but I’m a major garlic lover!), finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 serrano, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 package extra lean ground turkey
28 oz diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 spaghetti squash
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat over to 400.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with coconut oil (I use Trader Joes)
3. Cut spaghetti squash in half, length wise, and seed. Depending on the size of your squash, brush with 1-2 tbsp coconut oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
4. Bake, flesh side down for 40 minutes, or until flesh starts to brown and squash can be easily raked into “noodles” with a fork.
5. Using a fork, rake the squash into “noodles” until skin is bare. Transfer “noodles” to a large bowl and set aside.
6. While the squash is cooking, heat remaining 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large pan. Add onion, garlic, serrano (if using) and carrots and sautee for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini and sauté another 3 minutes, until just starting to soften.
7. Add turkey, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, ground coriander and paprika, salt and pepper. I usually go easy on the salt and pepper here, and add to taste once it’s finished cooking.
8. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and let simmer for 20 minutes plus (the longer you can let it cook, the better!).
To serve: place a large spoonful of “noodles” in a bowl, top with a generous helping of sauce and enjoy!
NOTES: For more information regarding the candida diet, including recipes, visit http://www.thecandidadiet.com