Wednesday, March 04, 2015

the good from the bad

I recently read an article about a 90 year old widow in China who had sadly lost all of her children and spouses and has lived on her own without any surviving family for the past 30 years. (read the article, here) While planning for her final days, she had a simple request when she was planning her funeral...for people to come to it.  This request was published in her local paper, and a heartwarming response ensued from readers, giving her a glimmer of happiness as they decided to spend some time with her now while she was alive, instead of waiting for her death.  .

It is a lesson I've tried to teach the kids as we go through life on dealing with the ups and downs of it. With trials and tribulations, the obstacles and disappointments that greet us only can make us stronger and help us strive for and appreciate, when the good times come.  Our son recently said that he noticed how light seems to glows brighter when it's dark, like it's showing you the path out of darkness, toward the light. Understanding this metaphor, a light seemed to really shine as he realized that sometimes he might not win a game (or a swim meet) but the lessons he learns when he doesn't win only makes winning later on, much sweeter.

It's a fine art to balance the emotions between the two and to remind ourselves that there are lessons in our mistakes.  Sometimes falling can only make you stronger, and that's where the "good" comes from the "bad".  

Bacon, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
(makes approximately 4 servings)

This pasta has elements that are both good and "bad" for you...I tried to reduce the amount of the "bad"  (bacon) by using organic, reduced fat bacon.  The spinach provides a good balance of nutrition, and makes this dish "good".

  • 1 cup low sodium, organic bacon, sliced (about 8 slices)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped and removing stems
  • 1 ½  cups 2% milk (or cream if you wish for a creamier sauce)
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • Pepper to taste (I don't add salt to this dish as most of it derives from the bacon and parmesan cheese, so I don't usually add to the sodium content).
  • 450g pasta (penne or linguine works nice here).
  • In a cast iron skillet, sautè the onion & bacon together until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked.  Drain the oil/fat. (no butter is necessary in this dish as the oil from the bacon, even when drained, is enough to coat the cast iron skillet to do the job!).
  • In the meantime, cook the pasta according to directions.
  • Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the garlic is browned.
  • Add the spinach, and sautè until the spinach is wilted.
  • Add the milk then top with parmesan and simmer, stirring until the sauce is thickened. 
  • Toss with cooked pasta.

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