Friday, May 12, 2017

recipe: Herby Spring Pasta Salad

Last Spring I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, in full nesting mode with plenty of time for meal planning and experimenting in the kitchen. I made pancake breakfasts on the weekend, baked scones and muffins and cakes for my baby shower (or just because) and experimented with plenty of fun Spring Salad recipes. I read that eating dates can help speed up labour (who knows..?) and so I made stuffed date appetizers and baked oatmeal date bars and chopped them into salads. I heard it was a good idea to stock your kitchen full of meals & snacks before baby arrives and so I made my favorite granola, hamburger patties to freeze and jar after jar of pesto. I convinced my husband to go with me to the grocery store to stock up on essentials for the postpartum period and just for our house in general. Because who wants to go buy toilet paper with a newborn right? 

In general I would say that all these little preparations were my way of dealing with the anxiety I felt over giving birth and how unprepaired I really was. There are only so many birthing classes and breathing exercises and books you can read before you're left admitting to yourself that you don't actually have any idea just how exactly this baby is going to come out.

Waldi planned to take a full week off of work and school and other outside responsibilities when our baby came and he (bless him) assured me that we would be okay. He'd cook and clean and help me take care of our new arrival and we'd be just fine.

And then Caleb was born. And we were of course completely bowled over by the love and responsibility that he brought with him. I remember bringing C back home on the morning after his birth, my body completely wrecked and broken from what it had endured- what it had acomplished. I remember looking at Waldi and realizing that this was it- we were parents now for the rest of our lives, whether we knew what to do with that or not. 

Needless to say, the newborn phase was all consuming. We embraced our new routine of feeding, changing and sleeping all wrapped into a three-hour cycle that repeated itself around the clock. I couldn't sit up properly that entire week (or really for many weeks after that...ouch) and moved basically from the bed to the couch and then back to the bed again. Caleb depended on us and I depended on Waldi and we all depended on the generous help of our midwife and on takeout- because there was no cooking happening during those first few days.

It took us awhile to get into a new family rhythm but we eventually got there. And as part of that we of course started cooking again. Now, when I think about last summer I remember sneaking welsh cakes from the freezer in the middle of the night and the fresh fruit and lovely meals my visiting aunts brought us that first week. But I also remember grilling in the evenings on the patio. I remember making fresh salads and walking to the bakery for buns to make sandwiches for lunch everyday with my mom, and even (eventually..) eating all that pesto.

Pasta in general was a great meal for us those early days- simple, quick and delicious. And what's even easier is a pasta salad, made ahead of time and served cold if you'd like. This spring I don't quite have the time to experiment in the kitchen that I did last year but I'm somewhere in the middle of the two extremes that marked my third and fourth trimesters- a happy place to be. Pasta salad is a staple around here (we do live in Germany after all...) and this version is light and fresh and perfect for both early postpartum days and for spring. As always, the amounts are a little loose- feel free to play around with it until you get a mix that suits you!

Herby Spring Pasta Salad

you will need:
one package of noodles (I used Fusili but any short noodle works)
soft goat cheese
green asparagus (we grilled ours but panfried is also fine)
toasted pinenuts
chopped sundried tomatoes
fresh basil, oregano & thyme

olive oil
white wine vinegar
fresh lemon juice
red pepper flakes
1tsp sugar

Cook your noodles as per package instructions and set aside to cool. Toss all your ingredients in a large bowl and combine with the past. Chop up your herbs (I used scissors for this- so easy!) and add them in. Shake up your dressing ingredients until well blended and pour over the salad.


also if you stuck with me and read through that incredibly long and rambling post THANK you! Sometimes it just does a world of good to get things typed out. 

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