Friday, August 27, 2010

Southwestern Inspired Pasta Salad

I have picky eaters. Big ol honkin picky eaters. I keep trying tho and they liked this one. As usual, the quantities are subject to your preferences and my lack of belief in measuring thingamabobs.
Southwestern Inspired Pasta Salad
(made enough for lunch & dinner for a hearty eating mama and two light eating girlies)

1/2 box Barilla Pipette pasta (or any other hollow pasta)
1-2 can of black beans
1/2c -1c salsa of your choice (I use Trader Joe's Salsa Autentica b/c my girls hate chunks. Sigh. I love chunks...)
Chili Powder (I use Penzys Chili Con Carne Seasoning - great flavor, no heat, since the salsa has heat)
Garlic Powder
Pinch of salt (I like flaked kosher or sea salt)\
1/2 to 2tbl honey
3 scallions chopped/diced (inc the green parts)
1-2c shredded cheese of your choice
*see below for add-ins

Put water on to boil for pasta and cook as directed. Prepare the rest while waiting for water to boil (yawn).

Strain black beans and rinse until water runs clear. Allow to drain.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except cheese. Start with small amounts of each (especially honey) and add more until taste is as desired. Stir in beans to coat.

When pasta is cooked (we like it al dente), strain well and return to pasta pot. Pour beans and sauce over pasta and blend well. Taste - add more of whatever is needed (too dry ... add more salsa, etc).

Serve hot or chilled, topped with shredded cheese.

*Do you have less picky eaters? Add in some of the following...
- diced bell peppers, any color
- diced red onions
- diced tomatoes
- corn

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Changes

At some point every parent makes changes in their life for the sake of their kids. Some are dramatic - choosing to live far away from family so they can have a house, quitting smoking to set a good example - and others are less so. Regardless how small, parents often make changes for their children that they would never do for anyone else.

For the last five years I've worn a headscarf daily (and nightly) ...

except for special occasions (see folks ... I do have hair)...

I've worn it in the hospital giving birth, in the hospital for medical testing, on the plane to and from Oregon with my two insane little children, down the Cape on the beach, swimming in the pool. I even repeatedly crossed a thirteen foot long bed of hot coals as part of a meditation evening wearing one.

I really can't stand having my hair in my face but more importantly, I need a reason to smile whenever possible. The bright batik head scarves I wear were produced by a woman in Vermont and women in Bali under fair-trade conditions. I have about twenty colors ranging from soft tree bark brown to vibrant oranges and greens. When I pass by a mirror and see my reflection, my spirits are uplifted and I can't help but smile at the way this one makes my eyes pop or that one matches my favorite skirt. They help me keep going in a body that wants to quit.

People ask me why I wear them. Women, why do you wear a bra? Because you put it on once for function and it stuck? Because you like how it changes your appearance? For comfort? Because you are used to looking a certain way? There ya go. I also really like that I save something I consider one of my most beautiful features for special occasions, that its my choice, that its special.

Sigh. I love these stinking things. And now I am conciously taking a break from them.

My littlest girl (on my back above) has gorgeous honey colored curls. Annnnnnnnnnnd she hates them. She sobbed at her last haircut, disappointed that the stylist hadn't made her hair straight like her big sister's hair: "Mommy I yook TEWIBBOO. I yook AWFOO!!". Big fat tears aaaaaall over the place. We've made a concious effort to cut her hair in a feminine style and avoid the poodle cut (I grew up with that disaster, thank you). You name it, we did it. Nada.

The other night while I was out with my girlfriends (after the sangria but before the margaritas) I realized with a shock that *I* may be giving her the impression that I dislike my curls. I actually love them and tell her that but do I SHOW her that? No. I cover them up every day and night, except for special occasions. Crap.

So. For my curly girl I am making a concerted effort to NOT wear my headscarfs as much as possible. I hate it. I'm cranky. I'm self concious on the inside but confident and loving my curls on the outside. I miss my colorful spots of happiness but as all parents know, it's worth it. For her.