My mom and I have the same start to our phone conversation nearly every time one of us calls. Mom gets on the phone and asks how I’m doing and I say, “Great.” Then she says, “You’re always great. You’re never in a bad mood!” I think my mom is genuinely mystified how her kid grew up with such a positive outlook. I don’t even question it, I just embrace this part of me.
Escaping the negative can be a full time job. Bad stuff happens! We’re human and incredibly sensitive beings that are easily effected by the circumstances around us. Staying awake to the good stuff just ameliorates those circumstances. My friend Lula hash tagged #stayawaketothemagic when she posted this photo from her India trip. I return to India in less than a month and I am so excited. Staying awake to the magic in India is easy. Magical sights, sounds, and smells are all around you and trucks full of balloons or big colorful balls are commonplace sightings.
One of my tricks to keeping my positive vibe is capturing images that will undoubtedly bring a smile to my face. In staying awake to the magic, I feel like these images find me! I keep these pictures in my phone and occasionally scroll through when I am having a frustrated or down moment. They are sweet little reminders that I can improve my situation by choosing a happier thought and replace the negative pictures in my mind.
I had a conversation the other day with an acquaintance about making the world a better place. I told her we must pay attention to the things we have control over like choosing positive thoughts. I gave an example of making a grocery list. We’re making pasta sauce so we put tomatoes on our list. We get to the grocery store and start choosing tomatoes. How can we make the best sauce possible? We choose the beautiful tomatoes, the ripe ones, the reddest ones, the healthy ones. We don’t choose rotten tomatoes. At no time will any recipe ever be enhanced by using rotten tomatoes, right? So why would we ever choose a rotten thought? No situation in our lives will ever benefit from choosing negative thoughts. So I choose the good ones! I make my world a better place one good thought at a time. Ameliorate.
I stay awake to the culinary magic too! This recipe calls for those big, beautiful, healthy, and ripe tomatoes. I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it’s truly my favorite pasta sauce to make. It is silky and rich, the noodles are coated in fresh tomato flavor, and it calls for one pot! Thank you Martha Stewart. This will change the way you cook pasta, my friends.
- 12 oz. dried spaghetti
- 12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 3 sprigs basil, plus more torn ones for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive lil, plus more for serving
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Combine the pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly been absorbed, about 9 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil. Serve with olive oil and Parmesan.