Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's another year my husband is working the holidays at the fire station. We are lucky he doesn't have to work them every year, but it does happen. I admit it was hard to get used to, at first, and I felt very sorry for myself. But now it's just another day, and the kids and I go to other family for dinner, or to friends.

Still, it's another year I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and that always makes me a little sad. So instead of posting my holiday delicacies here, I thought I'd share with you some links to recipes I think look tasty.

 Eating Well has a whole vegetarian menu, and I think the Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach and Mushrooms looks delightful, don't you?

Or how about the Spinach tartlets?

Though I have to say, that this dish is probably what I'm going to make to share: Sweet potato, red onion and fontina tart. I love making dishes with this rustic feel to them, and the same idea can be used to make sweet tarts like pear or apple. You simply fold the edges of your pasty up and over to create it's own "dish" and bake on a cookie sheet.

Of course, mashed potatoes aren't so exciting without gravy, and Martha Stewart has a nice recipe here for it.

And then of course, Cooking Light has a whole vegetarian menu ready for you here.

So there you have it. Lots of options to choose from.

Happy Turkey Free Thanksgiving, friends!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

It's been a tough, but rewarding, week. I'm in the 2nd week (of 7 total) of our LILY study at UCSF, and truth be told, I'm exhausted. I love being a part of this work, but my body hurts from my 5 hours of driving per day and I can't seem to get enough sleep, no matter how hard I try.

For Halloween I was a real-life mommy zombie. No makeup required.  Finally, finally the weekend is here! I have big plans to stay in my bed as much as possible. But with three kids, it's not likely to happen. Still, I can dream, can't I. (Get it? Sleep humor...I'm extra hilarious when I can't think straight).

What started out as a last-minute quickie dinner "for-the-kids" ended up a full fledged family dinner because it was just so darn tasty. And quick! (Did I mention quick? Seriously!)

The trick is to use baby broccoli, if you can, instead of regular broccoli, because it is tender and has a much milder taste.

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
a handful and a half of finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped baby broccoli

Melt the butter in a hot stock pot. Stir in the flour and cook until mixed and lightly toasted, about a minute. Pour in the broth and water, salt and pepper and get it hot, but not boiling. Next add in the cheeses, a little at a time, stirring as you go. Continue to add and stir in the cheese and cook for 1-2 minutes, again, not boiling hot, but almost. Add in the broccoli, cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cilantro Chutney

My work with UCSF and our study on how yoga can improve female pelvic health is going amazingly well. But the drive is...exhausting. It's ironic that this journey to teach yoga is hell on my body. I spent most of the weekend a kind of tired, sleepy, deranged zombie mom. Thankfully my husband is extra nurturing at times like these, and even took the kids to the pool so I could catch a nap.

In anticipation of my busy week ahead, I spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking up various Indian dishes so I could make myself a little thali lunch each day. Thali is a meal made up of small portions of various dishes. I made potatoes in yogurt sauce, dal (spiced lentils), garbanzo beans with spinach and a tomato/spinach masala with paneer.

But by far the best thing I made today was this cilantro chutney. It's screamingly good and so so simple. You can use it as a salad dressing, or as a sauce for tacos or, like me, as a side to your Indian dishes.

1 head of cilantro
1/2 of an onion
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano chili
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and toast the seeds for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then combine the seeds, coconut oil and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Add water to get desired consistency. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and store up to 1 week.

Paneer: Homemade Indian Cheese

I have an ongoing obsession with palak paneer, which is spinach with Indian cheese. It's so good, and I have yet to make it myself yet, but I did manage to make paneer today, which was a baby step in the right direction.

I never knew how easy it is to make! And cheap: the whole batch cost me less than $4.00 to make.

FYI: you will need a cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer!


1/2 gallon of whole milk
4 tbsp lemon juice

And that's it! Seriously!

First bring your milk to boil over low, stirring occasionally and being careful not to scorch the milk.

When it begins to boil, add in your lemon juice, stirring constantly but gently, until the milk begins to seperate, like this:

Remove from heat and pour into a cheesecloth bag, over your strainer. You may have to do this in small rounds, instead of dumping the whole thing in at one time.

It will look like a crumbly sort of mound. Cover the top with cheesecloth, leave in the strainer over a pan, and place lots of heavy objects on top to flatten it out. My contraption looked like this:

Let sit for about 1.5 hours, then carefully remove from the cheesecloth. It might not be pretty, I'm working on that!

At this point, you can cube it up and store in the fridge for up to a week. Pan fry it and add to your favorite recipes! I added mine to a savory tomato and spinach masala.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tofu Cutlets, Cheesy Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It's fall and the supermarket is packed with pumpkins and gourds and Brussels sprouts. I didn't discover Brussels sprouts until I was into adulthood, and I've never had a bad one! But my husband is convinced he doesn't like them, so when I brought home a gorgeous stalk of them, he was not impressed. But it's not the first time I've changed his mind about food, so I charged on ahead anyway.

I set the kids to task on mashing up the cauliflower and shredding and mixing in the cheese, they had a blast doing it. But it gets cold fast, so wait until the end to do it and keep it covered until ready to serve.

First, start the sprouts:

Brussels Sprouts

2 cups whole brussels sprouts, outer leaves peeled and discarded
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 and oil a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix the sprouts, salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Cook for 45 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.

Then start the cauliflower:

Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup of butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher, mixing in the cheddar, butter and green onion as you go. Keep covered until ready to serve.

Tofu Cutlets

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp ranch dressing

Combine in a bowl  2 eggs and ranch dressing. In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning. Heat a few spoonfulls of oil in a large skillet. Coat the tofu with the eggs wash and then coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Cook until browned on both sides.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vegan Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

When pumpkins go on sale, I go a little crazy. You see, I can't buy just one. My head filled with the dreams of muffins, cakes, pies, enchiladas, soups, stews, curries...I just can't help but load the cart full of at least 4 or 5 sugar pumpkins. Some of it will end up in recipes right away, and some of it will end up in the freezer, but the first step is to roast the pumpkin.

First cut the stem off. This will allow you to slice the pumpkin in half much easier and without so much risk to life and limb. Pull the top off and set aside.

Then, using a large, sharp knife, cut down one side until you reach the bottom. It will probably not want to cut through the base, don't worry about that. Cut along the other side until you meet resistance.
Then, using your hands, pull the two sides apart. They should break right through that tricky bottom that wouldn't cut.
Scoop the seeds out and set aside for roasting later. (I am actually mildly allergic to pumpkin, when I touch the inside it makes my skin itchy and red, so Jordan is here to the rescue!)

 Place on an oiled cookie sheet, face down, and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until soft. Let cool.

  Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin, discarding the skin. From here you can puree it to be used in your recipe of choice.

For the soup, you will need:

2 cups of cooked black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 1/2 Tbsp of cumin
1 Tbsp of chili powder (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
about 3 cups of broth
half of one roasted sugar pie pumpkin

In a large stockpot, heat a few tablespoons of oil. Over medium/high heat saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add in the spices and cook, stirring, another minute or so, until fragrant.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine your cooked pumpkin flesh and the broth. Puree until smooth. Stir into the chili and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the spices as necessary. Serve hot.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Coconut Oil and Parsley

I've been hearing  a lot about coconut oil lately; its benefits for hair and skin, and for cooking. I love all things coconut (not that yucky imitation coconut flavor, but the real stuff). So I picked up a bottle this afternoon at my local market. I also picked up the first of autumn's pumpkin and squash bounty. You know it was only a matter of time before I put these two together, right?

But shortly afterwards, I was warned off of using it from my friend who used to live in Indonesia. I guess when coconut oil became a big fad, Indonesians began to cut down jungle to grow coconut trees, encroaching into Orangutan native habitat. Thankfully, I checked my bottle, and it seems mine came from the Phillipines. So dinner was on after all!

Spaghetti squash is so fun. I never get over the fact that it actually turns into little noodles when you dig into it. If I could, I would seriously consider replacing ALL of my pasta with this neat little vegetable.  Plus, the flavor of the coconut was so delicious, it really comes through as it cooks, without being sweet or overpowering.

1 medium spaghetti squash
4 tbsp coconut oil
3 cloves of galic, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Slice your spaghetti squash in half (this requires muscles and a very sharp knife!) then clean out the seeds. Place face down on a greased cookie sheet and cook at 375 for about 40 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil, garlic and ginger in a pan until fragrant. Remove from heat.

Using a fork, scrape the squash out and watch as it magically turns into noodles!!

Place your squash noodles into a large bowl, salt and pepper to taste, and pour the coconut oil/garlic mixture on top. Stir to coat. Top with parsely.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Orecchiete with Baby Broccoli and Lemon Garlic Sauce

Orecchiete is also known as "ear shaped" pasta, though my kids call them "suction cups" because of the way they stick to the bowl (isn't that the best thing you've ever heard?? Kids are so amazing, they really see things with new eyes).

This dish is so light and fragrant, with lemon, herbs, and tender baby broccoli. We served it up with a platter of crudite (or fresh, raw vegetables) for a healthy, satisfying dinner.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
4 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of baby broccoli, roughly chopped
1 box of Orecchiete, or other small pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and the butter in a large skillet. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Next mix in the Italian seasoning, cook 1-2 minutes. Pour in the broth, lemon zest, and broccoli. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 or 6 minutes, until it simmers and the flavors begin to mix.

Ladle the hot pasta into bowls and top with the broccoli and sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and hot pepper flakes and perhaps a bit of Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.

Vietnamese Style Noodle Stir Fry

What an eventful week this was. First, I had my initial meeting with the University of San Francisco on the study I'm involved in, testing how yoga can improve female pelvic health. It's really exciting to be a part of this work and I am so grateful that my mentor Leslie Howard has brought me in to teach the study group. But driving from Monterey to San Francisco is a 2+ hour drive, (each way!)enough time to get bored with both NPR and music.  I'm thinking I need to invest in some books on tape. Got any good ideas?

Second this week, my eldest son got his report card and not liking what he saw, he threw it in the garbage. I am so disappointed. Not especially with the grades, but with his behavior. So we're spending a lot of time talking about satya and the way that being honest creates better relationships and better lives. It can be difficult to face the truth, but it is always a better choice than lying. I have seen this to be true in my own life, through all kinds of situations, and honestly believe that it is always worse when you lie.

 Part of the hard part as a parent (or a spouse, etc) is that you have to create a kind of trust when it comes to truth, an expectation that though you might be disappointed, the value in being told the truth is enough that you will be a reasonable person upon hearing it. Does that make sense? So I always tell my kids what my mama told me, "if you tell the truth, it might be bad. But if you get caught lying (and you will, eventually, be caught) it is going to be much, much worse."

Lastly this week, and most exciting, my husband finally broke ground in the backyard and started the long task of building my own little yoga shala. I am so, so, SO over-the-moon excited! A nice little place for myself, maybe some private lessons, which will double as a guest house for the many yogis and midwives that we have stay with us. (We seem to attract wandering vagabonds and adventure seekers, and love it).

This week's most popular dinner was Vietnamese style noodle stir fry. I don't actually know if this would be considered "Vietnamese" but it was the best approximation of a dish I order at our local Vietnamese restaurant.

I don't usually "shop" for stir fry ingredients,  opting instead for what's on hand, but I did go searching for some good noodles for this dish. I ended up choosing Chuka Soba noodles, and they were a big, big hit with the family.

1 package Chuka Soba noodles
1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 each red and orange bell pepper, chopped
Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
lime juice
5 tbsp unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup of napa cabbage, chopped roughly

Heat oil in a large wok and saute the tofu until browned. Add in the garlic and the ginger. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add in the bell pepper and peas. Cook another few minutes, until the bell pepper is just beginning to soften. Add in the soy sauce, lime juice and peanuts. Stir and cook until combined..

To cook the noodles, you simply boil them for three minutes then drain.

Serve the stir fry over the noodles, top with fresh napa cabbage and extra lime wedges for garnish.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How to Freeze Avocados

I am addicted to avocados. They are loaded in heart-healthy fats that help to lower cholesterol. They also boast loads of potassium (also heart healthy) high amounts of vitamin B, C, E, K, which are good for the blood (and again, the heart) and for immunity and they are packed with fiber and antioxidants, while being very low in yucky (unhealthy) saturated fat.

But with prices ranging from $1 to $2 a piece, I haven't splurged on these delicious little beauties in quite a while. This weekend though, they went on sale at our local grocer, 3 for $0.99. That's $0.33 each! So I woke up at the crack of dawn, ready to fight my way through hordes of shoppers for the love of avocados.

Gratefully the supermarket was pretty empty at 8 am on a Saturday, and I was able to get my hands on 18 of them, along with limes and fixin's for tacos later on today.

So what does one do with 18 avocados? Freeze them, of course. I love nothing better than fresh, chunky guacamole, but frozen avocados will do in a pinch, especially if it saves me a few dollars.

To start, cut your avocados in half, de-seed them and empty the flesh into a food processor.

The trick with freezing avocados is that you have to puree them with a bit of lime juice to keep them from turning brown. You'll need 1 tbsp of lime juice per avocado. We juice them the old fashioned way.

It takes two Garretts to juice them!
Puree the lime juice and your avocados until smooth. Then place them in baggies or containers by serving size. Leave room for the puree to expand as it freezes.


Then when ready to use, remove from the freezer and thaw.For a quick guacamole, I mix it up with a tablespoon or so of premade salsa, salt, pepper and cumin powder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spicy Seasoned Edamame Pods

My kids first tried edamame cooked in the pod at a local sushi restaurant. I could go into how that was our first trip out to dinner after the birth of our third son, how Kelly, at 3 months old was furiously grabbing at everything he could get and screaming the whole time, how Cole was literally licking the window (why, I'm still not sure). I could do that.  But what I prefer to remember was the moment that my husband did the most romantic thing: he asked the waitress to box our food to-go and we ate our dinner at home. Yes, that is romance to a new mom, let me tell you!

I usually make these up in two batches, one for the kids without the spiciness, and the spicy-hot one for us.

I start with organic, pre-cooked, refrigerated edamame pods (only because Costco sells them in a huge container for only $3.00, and with a family of five that is quite the steal) but you can start with fresh or frozen ones too, just steam them up before beginning the first step of this recipe.

toasted sesame oil
about 3 cups of edamame in the pods
spicy sauce of your choice (Sriracha, or Chalula, etc)
red pepper flakes
Braggs Aminos/Soy Sauce or sea salt

Heat a 1 or 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil over medium heat in a skillet.

Add in the edamame and toss to coat, tossing frequently with tongs so they don't scorch.

Once they are heated through (it only takes a couple minutes) stir in a dash or two of red pepper flakes. Then turn off the heat and drizzle with a few teaspoons of spicy sauce of your choice. The pan will still be hot, so toss quickly to coat. Salt to taste.

 The fibrous outer shell is not edible, so use your hands (it's messy, have a napkin!) and pop the shells open and squeeze the seeds directly into your mouth.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Open Faced Avocado Melts

The lady at Trader Joe's who samples cheeses could be my most favoritest person ever. Somehow she not only manages to convince my husband to buy delicious artisan cheeses, but advises him on how to use them. Which makes me about as excited as children on rollerskates.

Take for instance this little beauty, a combination of delicious ingredients, brought to you by none other than my husband, via the sweet little genius at TJ's.

We used a rustic olive baguette and a dijon cheese, but any cheese will work and you can add dijon mustard right on top.


1 baguette, cut into slices
sliced tomato
sliced avocado
cheese of your choice
dijon mustard
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Brush your bread slices with olive oil and vinegar, then top with spinach, tomato and avocado. Top the whole thing off with dijon mustard and finally sliced cheese. Broil until melty and slightly browned on top and eat with a knife and a fork.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Farmer's Market Bowls

For a week this summer we had the honor of hosting my niece, who visited all the way from Los Angeles. Since we decided it would be best if we met halfway to pick her up, we also scoured the internets for a delicious place to stop and grab a bite. We found a place that offered "Farmer's Market" bowls that were a variety of organic, locally grown mixed veggies.

My niece overlooking Fisherman's Wharf

It was good. But it was essentially steamed veggies and a bit of mashed potato. I really liked the presentation of it, but it was lacking something and after a few weeks, I finally figured out what it was: sauce. So here's my tastier, upgraded version of the Farmer's Market bowl.

You'll need, for each person:

1 beet, washed and ends cut off
1 large red potato, washed
1 small bunch (about 3 stalks) of baby broccoli

1 batch of tahini sauce.

Steam the beet(s) and the potato(es) in seperate containers for about 40 minutes, or until soft when pricked with a fork.

Place the broccoli into one of the steaming pans (on top of which ever vegetable is already in there) cover and cook about 2 more minutes.

Remove the beet(s) from the pan with tongs and run under cold water. The skin should slip off easily. Place back in the hot water while you deal with your potatoes.

Mash the potato with a teaspoon of butter, until soft and mixed. (I like to leave the skin on potatoes, but that's a personal decision).

Then place the potatoes, the beets and the broccoli in a bowl and top with tahini. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Breakfast Burritos

It's Sunday morning, which means my house is a wreck, we're all up way too early and the stove has been utilized twice already. The kids are loud and wrestling and my husband is drawing up a space game on the chalkboard table. Sunday morning anarchy. All in all, a normal morning around here.

So after breakfast I'll sneak away to some quiet corner of the house (is there such a thing?) and maybe continue reading the book I've been working through this month:

I've read a lot of versions of the Yoga Sutras, and each has their worth in the author's contribution. But this version is straightforward and simple, and I am enjoying the practical use of the sutras and the Swami's simple explanations. Particularly relevent for me is sutra 1.33, in which we are asked to "cultivate friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked."

It's so easy to practice yoga when the conditions are right, when you are surrounded by pleasant things and pleasant people, but it is much harder to practice our peacefulness when we are conflicted, bothered and uncomfortable. I wrote more on this topic here.

In all honesty this is a topic I struggle with. It's hard not to be jealous of people who have what you want for yourself, or to be kind to people who are not nice to you, or to disregard the people who do not like you. It's a heavy practice. And I often use cooking as my tool to move out of my "headspace." Cooking is simple: start with these ingredients, add a few more, watch it cook, smell, taste, enjoy, share. It's not the eating that I enjoy, but rather the process of creating. We all have practices and tools that we use to find a quiet place inside. I'm always interested in learning how other people find their calm.

Meanwhile, during Sunday morning anarchy, I made breakfast burritos. And by the time it was done, I felt more awake and alert,  like I could tackle twenty wrestling toddlers and laugh right along with them instead of being morning-mommy-grumpy-pants.

Serves 4
4 baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 red potatoes, sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
2 green onions, chopped
3 eggs, whisked to combine
salt and pepper
tortillas, warmed

In a large pan, heat some olive oil. Add in the potatoes and cover. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and set aside, add in the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add  in the onion and cook another few minutes, until soft. Next add the tomatoes and green onions, cook 1 minute. Pour in the egg and scramble.

Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve in warm tortillas with your favorite salsa.

Friday, July 27, 2012

We're in Vegetarian Times!

You all might remember a recipe I posted a while back called Butternut Squash Pizza.  But you probably did not know that I entered that recipe into a reader contest over at Vegetarian Times...and you know what? I won first place! Isn't that cool??! Check me out in this month's publication!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Lentil and Barley Soup with Homemade Gluten-Free "Meatballs"

Inspired by my recent realization that masa is the key ingredient for a nice, dense veggie "meat." These meatballs are gluten-free and stand up to soup and sauces without falling apart.

This is really two recipes in one blog post. The meatballs are time intensive when it comes to length of cooking, so make them ahead of time. The can also be frozen.

Meatball Ingredients:

4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery powder
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup masa flour
3/4 cup of finely chopped nuts of your choice
2 cups of vegetable broth

Combine all of the ingredients, except the broth, in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to thicken. Then form into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They should be browned and firm.

Then place the meatballs in a casserole dish and pour two cups of vegetable broth over them. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

At this point you can freeze them or throw them into your favorite sauce or soup recipe.

For our lentil soup:
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp each cumin and chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 boxes (8 cups) of vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes, or about 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of lentils
1 cup of barley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Saute the onion and celery until soft. Add in the garlic and the spices and cook until fragrant. Next add in the broth, carrot, lentils, barley, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the lentils and barley are soft, about 30 minutes, adjusting the liquid as necessary if it becomes too thick. Remove about 4 cups of soup and blend in a blender until smooth. Pour back into the stockpot.

Place the meatballs in the soup and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes if fresh, about 10 minutes if frozen.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pasta Primavera

This time of year in Monterey is hard. While our neighbors just across the bay in Santa Cruz are enjoying sunshine and the warmth of summer, Monterey is steeped in fog, overcast skies and blustery wind. Instead of feeling motivated to hit the beach, we're stuck inside with sweatshirts and warm socks.

Still, a gloomy day is always good for settling myself into the kitchen, and I've been there a lot lately. Yesterday I made some homemade chapati , into which I mixed some cumin seeds prior to rolling out (highly recommend!) and chana masala and finished reading one of the many books I am reading this summer (pictured below).

Today called for something that reminds me of the bounty of spring and summer. Pasta Primavera.
And let it be known, dear reader, that this dish is where Cole, (you'll remember him as my pickiest eater) declared that tomatoes just might be alright afterall.

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed into 1 inch pieces
2 green onions, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5  cups of low-salt vegetable broth
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
1 package of spaghetti noodles
1 cup of chopped fresh spinach
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes, to garnish
pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat a few spoonfulls of olive oil. Saute the asparagus for 1 minute. Add in the garlic, green onion and Italian seasoning, cook another 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes, cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and place the vegetables in a large bowl, set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet you used to cook the veggies,  heat the broth to simmering. Add in the butter, salt and pepper . Whisk to combine and let simmer for 3 or 4 minutes.

Into a large serving dish pour your drained, cooked, hot noodles. Pour the vegetables on top, followed by the Parmesan and spinach. Finally pour in the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using.

Serves 5.