This post is about spicy tomato and herb sauce and self-love. It’s related, I swear.
My soul sister and I were talking today about what it means to love yourself. She asked me how the hell we are supposed to “love” ourselves, as if there is a switch hidden somewhere deep within that we are supposed to flick on. I made a “pfff” sound with my lips and said, “girl, I don’t even know but apparently that’s my number one priority these days.”
So we sat in her spacious office and looked at each, almost on the verge of tears, as we realized we didn’t know where the fuck to begin. (You see, this is why I called her my “soul sister” in the beginning of the post; we go from zero-to-soul in a matter of seconds).
Then, as if a little buoy deep in my brain were spotted, bobbing up and down in my more horrific memories from this year, I remembered an article I read talking about this very task. So many of us get caught up on “loving ourselves” as if we could feel the emotion in every moment when in fact, we must first love ourselves in every action, as in a verb form.
Be loving toward ourselves. Show ourselves love. Treat ourselves with love.
I remember liking the article because it felt like something I could actually do. I cannot promise to like who I am (even though I do recognize I have some pretty spectacular qualities) but I CAN promise to practice love toward myself.
Now, how am I practicing self-love? I’m making every moment of my day the most special moment I can. I don’t just wake up in the morning; I spend time indulging in some stretches, sipping my coffee slowly at the kitchen table, wearing a face mask and carefully picking an outfit that makes me feel damn hot. I make every meal a special one; carefully planned based on what will feed my body, feed my creativity, and obviously taste good. I spend more time doing things that are just good for me, body, mind and soul.
You know what else this includes? Amazing meals made from scratch, carefully, slowly, beautifully. This is one such meal. It wasn’t meant to be a recipe here but as I was making it I was just so excited at how beautiful everything was. I ran to grab my camera and just began snapping pics out of sheer joy in the moment. And just like that, a beautiful, romantic meal was born.
for the sauce:
- 4-5 tomatos, de-seeded and chopped
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 3 T tomato paste
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T dried basil, oregano and rosemary
- 1/2 – 1 t chili flakes, depending on your love of spicy-ness (I LOVE it)
- sea salt and pepper as desired
- 1-2 T vegetable stock, as needed (water works as well)
- 1 cup of your favorite pasta
- Drizzle the olive oil in your skillet. I love my cast iron skillet. Heat on medium heat.
- Chop 3 cloves of garlic and add to skillet. Add the remaining whole garlic cloves. Sauté for a couple minutes.
- Add the herbs, chili flakes, and salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.
- Add the chopped tomatos and cook down until they are soft and the water has cooked off, about 10 minutes. It is important not to include the seeds; I remove the seeds by cutting the tomatos in half and using a spoon to scoop out the insides.
- Begin boiling your water.
- Next add the red bell pepper and stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes until they soften.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. You can add more depending on how saucey you want your sauce.
- Let cook for 5-10 minutes like this. This is where I added the vegetable stock to prevent the sauce from drying out. I then let it cook for another 10 minutes while the pasta cooked.
- Add your dry pasta to the boiled water and cook according to instructions (usually 5-7 minutes).
- Add the spinach to the sauce and stir. It should wilt down in about 5 minutes.
- Drain your pasta and immediately add to the sauce. Mix well and let everything cook together for a couple minutes.
- Dump into your dish(es) and eat!
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