Thursday, September 06, 2012

The beginning of the school year and a layered pasta salad

Yesterday marked the first day that I haven't been either in school or teaching since my brief stint of teacherly unemployment in 2007. That's right, since I've been in kindergarten, I can count three Tuesdays after Labour Day when I haven't been part of the education system (2003 - working at Louise's Belgian Chocolates; 2008 - waiting on the supply teaching list to get hired; 2012 - mat leave). Honestly, it leaves me feeling kind of at a loss.

I know there are lots of people who would kill to have a year off, but I'm a little sad not to be in the classroom. Interacting with more than a hundred people a day makes me happy. It keeps me entertained and I laugh a lot.

When I started teaching junior high school, I thought: there's a reason no one wants to teach this age group.

And then I realized that 12-15 year olds, especially when in their own school, are pretty much the perfect combination of children and adults. They're learning sarcasm, but they still believe in magic in the world. It's all kinds of lovely.

So, being at home with a baby... well... this is out of my comfort zone. Teenagers, I get. Babies... not so much.

Of course, when they're adorable as Audrey is, it's hard not to spend time laughing and smiling at her. Especially when she makes faces like this:

The many stretches (or fist pumps or YMCA renditions) of Ms. Audrey
So, the plan is to take some time to focus, not only on the wee one who just passed out in her swing, but also to refocus on healthy eating and exercise. So, on that note, I present a clean eating pasta salad:


Not the best picture in the world, but the container isn't perfectly clear, and frankly I don't have time to style my food. =P

The colours are very pretty though:


 Balsamic Tuna Pasta Salad

(from Clean Eating, Aug/Sept 2012)

serves 4 - 2 dinners & 2 lunches


1 cup brown rice pasta fusilli/rotini
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp water
¼ cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
¼-½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 6oz cans water packed tuna, drained
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful cremini mushrooms, sliced
mixed salad greens
2 oz grated light mozzarella cheese


1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in another small pot, heat vinegars with basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir in sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and set aside. Once slightly cooled, whisk in olive oil.

3. To assemble in layers, put a quarter of the dressing in the bottom of a 2 cup container. Layer in a half can of tuna, followed by pasta, mushrooms, tomatoes. Fill the rest of the container with salad greens and top with cheese. It's important that the salad greens don't touch the dressing; if they do, they'll get soggy. You can make this up to a day in advance.
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