Holy moly, how is it already halfway through the month of May?
I feel like I blinked and missed half a month.
And….I kind of did. Our little baby boy was born on Monday, May 4, so things have been a bit of a blur since then! He’s doing great – sleeping fairly well during the night – and is super cuddly, which we love.
So now, even more than ever, simple meals are taking over! But not just simple. Healthy.
I’ve got to keep up my energy for when he’s awake and I’m awake and eat more whole foods, whole grains, and high fiber items that keep me going! Lots of oatmeal, lots of pasta with veggies, lots of salads. It’s a good combo so far, and this pasta salad might be one of my favorite new dishes that we’ve had lately.
I love a good pasta salad, but I tend to make the same ones over and over. This one, however, is definitely different than my normal mix. It’s full of great spring and summer veggies, but with a little twist in flavor.
This time of year, asparagus is super sweet, so I balanced that out with some peppery radishes and a chili-lime seasoning to brighten everything up and add a little kick. If you want even more kick, feel free to add a few dashes of hot sauce.
Nick and I have tried a lot of pastas over the years, and I think we’ve pretty much settled on Dreamfields as our favorite. It cooks up perfectly tender each time, plus it’s higher in fiber and protein than your typical pasta, meaning it’s even more filling and it makes it easy to eat a little bit better without making major changes. You can make all your favorite pasta dishes using Dreamfields, they’ll be delicious – as always – and you’ll end up with a little boost in your dish. Easy!
Now….what pasta dish should we make next? Easy is best! I’ll take all the suggestions I can get!
Chili-lime Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad
This isn't your typical pasta salad. There is no bottled dressing or veggie spirals or sliced olives. This pasta salad is exactly what you need this spring, to celebrate the return of asparagus! The sweetness of the asparagus and corn is balanced out with some lime zest, lime juice, and a little chili powder for some kick. Feel free to toss in any other veggies you have on hand, too! Any kind of bean would be great, or you could add meat to the pasta salad to make it a one-bowl meal.
- 8 oz. Dreamfields Rotini
- 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernals
- 4 tsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp fresh lime zest
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup sliced radishes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions; drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place asparagus and corn on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tsp of the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Roast the vegetables 12-15 minutes or until tender.
- Toss the pasta with the remaining olive oil. Gently toss pasta with the tomatoes, green onions, and radishes. Stir in the corn and asparagus.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 290 calories; 10 g protein; 54 g carbohydrates; 6 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 190 mg sodium; 8 g total dietary fiber.
I’m part of the Dreamfields DreamTeam and was compensated for this post. All recipes and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!
Things have been crazy this month!!
– We had to pay in taxes this year (boo). That was unexpected and not fun.
– Little mini muffin baby is due in just a few days!
– I got an awesome surprise card and gift from some incredible blogger friends last week that completely made my day.
– I submitted the draft for my cookbook in mid-April, and am SO excited to start seeing everything come together.
Plus, I can’t wait to share all these recipes with you!
There’s a good mix of sweet and savory recipes, all using coffee as an ingredient – in every. single. recipe. So, get ready to be caffeinated this fall! I’ll keep you guys updated as I get news along the way.
Life has been good lately! Busy, but good.
This little mini muffin baby will be here THIS WEEK, which just sounds crazy to me. I don’t feel like it’s already time – everything has flown by! Everyone told me that the last month or so would seem like it was going by really slowly, but I haven’t felt that way at all. This entire time, everything has seemed to moved at warp speed. I’ve been trying my best to really enjoy every minute of it and soak it in – not letting myself get stressed out or too worried about anything.
I think having the cookbook deadline just a few weeks before this baby is coming was a good thing for me because it kept me busy and kept me from getting too worked up about all things baby.
So now, we’re just waiting! My feet had turned into Shrek feet (seriously), thanks to some super fun swelling, so I’m officially done at my full time job as of this past week until near the end of summer.
I’ve got some great recipes coming up soon, and can’t wait to update you guys on things as everything changes for us in the next week or so!
It’s time for round 2 of Cooking 101! First, we covered pizza – a life necessity, I think.
For round 2, I couldn’t think of anything better than homemade biscuits!
I want these Cooking 101 posts to be helpful (for you and for me!). When I first stepped into the kitchen, there was SO much I didn’t know. And I am still a complete novice some days, but I’ve definitely learned some things over the years.
But I don’t want to just be giving out tips and tricks – I want you to share yours, too! Maybe your approach for a certain dish or food is the complete opposite of how I work. Tell me about it! Anything that helps in the kitchen is always good to know, especially if it saves time and the amount of dirty dishes.
So, let’s talk biscuits.
Biscuits are a way of life in this family. I’m not joking.
Once I felt comfortable in the kitchen, I started getting up early any time we were at Nick’s parents so I could be in the kitchen when my father in law, Bob, was making breakfast. Most of the time, it rotates between biscuits (with jam or gravy), pancakes, dutch baby pancakes, or omelets. And Bob doesn’t measure anything – for any of these breakfast foods. I still can’t do that with pancakes, but I’m finally to the point where I can make biscuits by feel and each batch gets better and better!
The most important things when making biscuits:
- Don’t overwork the dough. Mix everything just enough that it all comes together, pat or roll it out, and cut. No kneading, no crushing the dough together – this will make them tough and heavy. We want light and fluffy!
- When cutting out your biscuits, if you’re using a biscuit/cookie cutter, do NOT twist it in the dough. Just drop it straight down and bring it straight back up. You want your biscuits to bake up tall, and twisting the cutter can sometimes seal the edges, meaning they won’t rise as much.
- Cold butter, if using butter. Cold buttermilk or cream, depending on what you’re using. Cold eggs, if using eggs. Always, always, always cold.
The hardest thing for me to get used to is how sticky and un-ready biscuit dough looks before patting it out to cut. It really does seem like you need to add more flour or knead it quite a bit, but the less you mess with the dough, the better they’ll be.
This is how dough should look when you’re ready to pat/roll it out and cut into biscuits. I always use a pastry cloth, but you can do this on any floured surface (counter, cutting board, etc).
If you make your own homemade biscuits, what’s your favorite recipe? If you haven’t tried making biscuits from scratch yet….what are you waiting for?!
Here’s some of our favorite biscuit recipes:
Let’s talk smoothies.
To be honest, I didn’t used to drink them very often. I had a hard time finding combinations that I liked, and I almost always want a hot breakfast, not cold.
But a few years ago, I finally started figuring out mixes that we really liked, and now we make smoothies year round – even in the winter! On cold mornings, I just pair a smoothie with something else hot like eggs or toast or oatmeal.
One of our all time favorite smoothie mixes? It’s a little sweet, a little tropical, and pretty green. Also a great way to get in some fruits + veggies with breakfast!
There’s a frozen fruit mix we’ve found that we LOVE – it’s a mix of frozen peaches, pineapple, mango, and strawberries, and that’s what we use in our smoothies almost 100% of the time.
But the other secret? I buy a big bag of spinach + baby kale mix and throw it in the freezer, too. Once the greens have frozen, I crush them up in the freezer bag and then we’ve got greens ready to go. So easy! And this is one way that Nick is okay with some kale in the smoothies. Whenever I’ve tried using kale (even baby kale) raw/straight from the fridge, the flavor is MUCH stronger than when we freeze it beforehand.
Plus, once the greens are frozen, I don’t have to worry about them going bad before we have the chance to use them, so it’s saving us money and waste, too!
Stonyfield and Hamilton Beach recently paired up together for bloggers to test out this little single serve blender, and I had the chance to try it out.
I normally make smoothies in a much larger blender, so this one was nice because it helped me keep my portions just right. I could have this on my own in the morning, or Nick and I can easily share a smoothie from this little blender, too.
I really like that it takes up so little space on the counter AND that the blender container also serves as a to-go container for busy mornings. I’ve only used it a few times so far, but I’m really liking it!
And Hamilton Beach and Stonyfield want to share this little blender with one of you, too!
Want to win your own single serve blender and some Stonyfield coupons to try out your favorite smoothie recipe?
– Tell me your favorite smoothie mix
Want extra entries?
– Tweet about the giveaway and tag @HamiltonBeach @Stonyfield and @branappetit
– Tell me the first smoothie you would whip up if you win!
My favorite green smoothie
Still on the fence about adding greens to your smoothie? This is the perfect mix to start out with. There's enough fruit to cover up any flavor from the greens, but enough greens that you get a good mix of fruit AND veggies in your morning drink!
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup Stonyfield Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
- 1 cup frozen spinach/baby kale mix
- heaping 1/2 cup frozen fruit mix (pineapple, peach, mango, strawberry)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Pour the water into the blender. Add in the yogurt, frozen greens, frozen fruit, and orange juice.
- Pulse the mixture a few times until the fruit starts to break up. Blend until all the greens and fruit are broken down and the mixture is smooth, adding a little more water or juice if needed.
*Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. Prize is provided by Stonyfield and Hamilton Beach. As part of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, I had the opportunity to try out and review this blender from Hamilton Beach and received yogurt coupons, as well. All opinions and recipes are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!