“When you gonna love you as much as I do,” Tori Amos’s soft, smooth, soulful voice sings in my headphones as I sit, contemplating my column for this week. This is the music of my teenage years, the music of a period when things were changing so fast and furiously in my life. I clung to music like this to carry me through.
It’s also the music of my first concert with friends. And the music of road trips today.
Familiar melodies like this have a way of sparking something deep inside — memories, emotions, goals … so many things. It’s a nostalgia for the simplicity of earlier years, perhaps, in this case. But, as Tori sings, things change — and so they have.
More than that, it’s the message of this song, “Winter,” that tucks itself into the recesses of my mind. Winding its way through my thoughts, it speaks to me as much today as it did 20 years ago. The message is one of self-love, something that seems to fall by the wayside for me again and again. I focus so heavily on taking care of everyone around me — making sure they eat well, that we do all the things they wish or need to, that they are healthy and happy and rested — that I forget to care for myself too. But even the safety instructions on airplanes tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others.
And I need to. I need to help myself so that I can continue to help others too. And I need to help myself because I need it.
Maybe it’s making (and keeping) dates with myself to go to the gym. Maybe it’s adhering to a personal commitment to eat well. Maybe it’s writing every day, cooking more and saying yes to the invitations to cook with others that I so want to.
Whatever it is, I need it. You do too — for you.
Like this song, this pasta has notes of nostalgia. When I was a teenage vegetarian, my family began often eating meatless meals so we could eat together. And it was in those meals that my mom introduced me to the idea of adding beans — especially cannellini beans. Protein-filled, they transformed pasta dinners into something more hearty for us.
This one combines root vegetables — carrots, parsnips and shallots — with tomatoes and beans. They’re roasted, seasoned simply with salt and pepper, to create a delicate but filling dish perfect for lunches, dinners and so much more.
And it’s a relatively quick pantry meal, perfect for those days when you haven’t quite made it to the grocery store for weekly provisions yet.
- 2 carrots, peeled and small diced
- 2 parsnips, peeled and small diced
- 5-6 small shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 quart grape tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 15.5-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ pound gemelli pasta
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Arrange the carrots, parsnips, shallots and grape tomatoes on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the cannellini beans and stir. Spread into an even layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender.
- Cook gemelli pasta according to package directions, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- In a serving bowl. toss together the pasta and roasted vegetable mixture. Add the reserved water, a little at a time, to desired moistness.
- Taste and season, as needed, with salt and pepper.