Okay so these last few weeks have been crazy insane for me. I have had like zero free time and any few moments I have had to catch my breath, were spent feeling basically zombified It's funny when one area of your life becomes stressful, piece by piece things start to feel overwhelming.The majority of my pressures were coming from work but it's funny how stress can trickle into other areas of your life if you let it. Yadayadayada.....insert sad face here. Seriously though I was stressed. Which got me thinking how do people shake their stress? People de-stress in many different ways, some meditate, some do yoga, some run or jog or walk, others use music, or funny movies/shows. Some use sports, some shop, some drink, some of the real brave just work their way through it. I eat. I use food. I don't binge or over eat but I focus on my food. Also I should note during these trying times I rely heavily on home cooked food, not any old food will do. I decide what I want and then I think about it all day. I really focus on every aspect of the meal. It distracts my mind and fuels my soul. Generally I think about meals that take time to make, things that I can smell cooking for hours, but I don't discriminate any home cooked meal suits me just fine in these trying times. If you know me, then you know my weakness is P-A-S-T-A. Always has been and always will be. Even as a child. For our birthdays my mom would always ask me and siblings what we wanted for dinner as our special birthday dinner...(did your family do this too?) 9/10 times I would say spaghetti and it had to be with her homemade meat sauce. When my siblings birthdays would come around I would always try and coax them into answering the same, although they never did. As I got older I learned to make my own sauce and I learned to make it how I liked it, after many failed attempts I will add. Ryan was forced to eat many plates of pasta where the sauce was basically just water all over the plate, sauces where it tasted like a fresh tomato which sounds like it would be good but truuuuuuuuustttt me it isn't and then sauces that in fact I think left us with heartburn. Coming from an Italian family this must have been so hard for him, he was a trooper! Time and patience though paid off because after time I have mastered what is a great sauce to us. Ryan has mastered a sauce all of his own as well and nothing beats it. I guess our inspiration came from his Nonna and her homemade sauce. Very simple, smooth, homemade pasta sauce. Then when we want we can spice it up, add meats to it, add veggies to it, keep it simple, do as we please with it. My love doesn't stop there though, oh no, it grows. I don't have to have a tomato based sauce for me to shove my face full of pasta. Any simple olive oil pasta will do for me. Boil some of your favorite pasta, my favorite is penne but rigatoni is good as well. A trick I often use is I add a splash of olive oil to the water once it starts to boil instead of salt. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan or skillet, add whatever veggies you have on hand, some of my favorites are red onions, mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, asparagus, broccoli and whatever else I have on hand. Usually I will season them with some pepper, basil and light garlic. Once the pasta is ready(I like mine al dente) drain it and add to the pan with the oil and veggies, mix well. Sometimes at this point I will add some spinach and green olives if I have them. Another thing to note is sometimes I will add some Italian sausage, homemade is best made, or any other meat I have like chicken etc or just have salmon on the side and sometimes I just keep it vegan. Viola, a simple homemade pasta that fuels the soul!!! Pasta will cheer me up anytime I am down, it will make me excited and giddy when I am happy, its my perfect go to on a rainy day. I simply could never live without it. Naturally during times of stress this is my main meal but even as much as I love it I cant eat it everyday. Well maybe I could but being an adult and all I have never tried. So some other home cooked meals that bring me peace are cabbage rolls, cabbage rolls are actually new to me. My moms family is European and cabbage rolls were a part of every holiday we had, I however, hated them! I couldn't stand cooked cabbage, I did like it raw but not cooked, then the idea of meat inside this cooked cabbage made me want to VOM. When I met Ryan he had casually mentioned to me once that one of his favorite things to eat was cabbage rolls. I played it off all cool like, but on the inside I was shaking. Oh no, what am I going to do, what if he wants me to make them, what if he wants me to eat them, what if his family makes them for me, oh I don't want to be rude. You know all the typical things that run through my neurotic mind. Not too long after I told him I really didn't like cabbage rolls because I didn't like the taste of cooked cabbage. So his mom had made them for his birthday and she so sweetly made me some of the mix and left it on the side....I still wasn't sold! Then one day when I was working an extremely long shift at work I called Ryan to see what he was up too, "making cabbage rolls" he so casually said, like this is totally natural and someone who has never made them before just all of a sudden decides to make them everyday. I told myself I would try them because I knew it was no easy task to make them. Guys, I am not kidding, best cabbage rolls in the world. He took pieces of his grandmas recipe and pieces of his moms and made his own super creation and I ate so many that night. It was a whole new world to me. The secret to his was how he boiled that cabbage, it was the perfect length of time to take away that cooked cabbage taste. My life has never been the same, we have since developed our own secret system to making them but its a combined team effort between the two of us and this just makes them all the more tasty to me. Few things bring me more comfort then a lazy Sunday and making cabbage rolls together. So all in all I would say food got me through these last few weeks. Not take out, not junk, not fast food, but homemade, soul food! Trying times will come and go in our lives and we can let it get the best of us or we can plow through it like the brave little soldiers we are, either way the sun will always shine again, and things will always get better. But when it feels like it wont, we can EAT! I love food and food loves me....what food fuels your soul??