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Spaghetti alla Carbonara {and thoughts on gratitude}

March 12, 2015

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One of my new years resolutions for 2015 was to start each and every day off by writing down 10 things that I’m thankful for.  Not only something or someone I’m thankful for, but also (and most importantly) why I’m thankful.   It’s pretty easy to say  “I’m thankful for my health”…  but writing “I’m thankful for my mental, physical and emotional health because they collectively allow me to experience and enjoy life to the fullest” packs a much bigger punch.


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Not wanting to write the same things over and over, I try to keep my lists as varied as possible. And as much as I have to be grateful for, it’s not always easy coming up with 10 new things each morning.  Especially before coffee.   While some mornings I have to give serious time and thought to what I eventually scribble down, this week I’ve had so much to be thankful for that it’s been more difficult narrowing the list to 10 things I’m grateful for than it has been to come up with them.


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I’ve always enjoyed a naturally positive disposition, but I’ve noticed that the little things (and even some of the big things) that would normally bring me down are now things that I’m able to brush aside with [relative] ease.  The gratitude notebook doesn’t magically eliminate all negative feelings, but it definitely helps in keeping them to a minimum.  Life is too beautiful and full of opportunity to be tainted with chronic anger, sadness, resentment and bitterness. While these are all natural feelings that none of us are immune to, we should never allow them dominate over happiness, gratitude and love. I emphasize the word allow, because we are absolutely in control of our mindset (and subsequently our feelings).


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Unfortunately, this magical control over happiness doesn’t extend past ourselves.  We can (and absolutely should) do things that result in happiness of loved ones and strangers alike, but we can never actually control how they feel. And as someone whose greatest personal joy is bringing joy to others, this is a tough pill for me to swallow sometimes.  It’s in those moments when leafing through my gratitude journal has the greatest impact in reminding me how fortunate and blessed that I am.


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Whether by keeping a gratitude journal or finding a different way to count your blessings, regularly (and sincerely), practicing gratitude will absolutely make you happier, and will never, ever make things worse. Kind of like this heaping bowl of spaghetti carbonara….



1 pound spaghetti (fresh or boxed)

4 strips bacon

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 large handful of flat leaf parsley

1 tsp red chili flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp fresh sea salt (preferably Maldon)



Cook bacon as desired, reserving drippings for later use.  Once cooled, chop the bacon into thin slices and set aside

Add salt to a large pot of water over medium to high heat.  When water reaches a rolling boil, add pasta, cooking until “al dente” according to box instructions. For fresh pasta, it usually takes approximately 8 minutes but varies based on thickness of the noodle.  Be sure to keep a close eye on it and check for consistency

Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water to be used in the sauce if desired

Heat 2 tbsp. of bacon renderings in a large skillet over a medium flame.  Add garlic and sauté for just less than a minute to soften.  Quickly and carefully, add the hot, drained pasta and toss until thoroughly coated in bacon fat and garlic.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Beat the 2 eggs then stir in the cheese, and pour mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly to thicken the eggs (eggs should not scramble).

Add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time as desired for consistency

Mix in the bacon, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper and salt (if needed)

Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately



One Comment leave one →
  1. Carol permalink
    March 12, 2015 9:14 am

    Whitney, what a well-written blog today!! So inspirational and it helped start my day off in a happy mood, I am looking forward to trying this easy recipe, once I am fully recovered from surgery. Thanks for the inspiration :).

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