“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.” – Susanna Clarke
I think it is safe to say that winter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is over. Today, on the 1st of June, it feels like we have been given a fresh start. To celebrate I broke open a fresh journal – clean pages – just like today’s freshly washed sky. Last week – Mike, Phoebe, and I enjoyed the blissful weather. The freshly minted leaves startled our senses, so green and new that they jolted us awake. As we hiked, the air itself appeared green. Vibrations of chartreuse permeated our vision like a green haze. It made our hearts soar and we were thankful.
Yesterday I started my container garden and decided that instead of buying ornamental fillers (vines and greenery) for my flower boxes, I will use edible plants. I planted cilantro, parsley, dill, and basil. Instead of using morning glories as climbers, I planted peas and beans. I cannot wait to watch them progress over the summer. Our perennial herbs planted outside (chives, sage, oregano, thyme, mint, and lavender) are starting to flourish with the warm temperatures. I earned 5 Activity Points Plus hauling planters from the basement and did lots of squats weeding.
The school year is rushing to a close and I have six more days with my students before summer break is here. My goal for the summer is to share a minimum of two blog posts a week. My journal is quickly filling up with potential ideas and recipes. Though, I have been busy, I have continued to eat healthy and my favorite lunch or dinner for the past couple weeks has been vegetable filled pasta salad. I have been tracking Points Plus on weekends and sticking with the Simply Filling Technique on weekends. This way of eating, partnered with increased activity, has helped me lose 5 pounds in the last three weeks.
The salad that I am sharing today consists of 100% Power Foods. I am trying to reduce my intake of sugary fruit and am trying to incorporate more vegetables (I do eat fruit and am currently eating berries, green apples, and grapefruit – with small amounts of other fruit in my green smoothies).
A couple weeks ago, the topic in the Weight Watchers weekly handout was fiber. One of the high fiber foods that was mentioned was artichokes. I love artichoke hearts in salad and on pizza so I decided to incorporate some into my lunch for the week.
VEGETABLE FILLED PASTA SALAD WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS, CAPERS, & DILL
- 4 cups of cooked whole wheat penne pasta (approximately 1/2 box of 13.25 ounce pasta)
- 1 – 14 ounce can of artichoke hearts
- 1 pint of halved grape tomatoes
- 1 chopped yellow bell pepper
- 3 cups of asparagus (I was going to use broccoli but our neighbor brought over wild asparagus that he picked)
- 3 peeled and chopped carrots
- 4 ribs of chopped celery
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 3.5 ounces of capers (drained)
- Fresh chopped dill to taste (I used one small clamshell that I purchased in the produce section)
- 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 juiced lemon and zest ~ if you use fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (spicy brown mustard also works well)
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I am going to add 2 teaspoons of oil to each serving for portion control)
Chop all the ingredients and mix in large bowl. This salad makes approximately 12 cups. My husband and I will eat it all week. If you want a smaller portion you could reduce all the ingredients.
This salad would make a fantastic addition to a cook out or gathering. It takes better the longer it sits and will stay fresh for over a week (7-10 days).
Printable Recipe: VEGETABLE FILLED PASTA SALAD WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS
If you like this salad you may want to check out my other salad recipes.
If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Thank you for joining me in the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. Together we can thrive and embrace a healthy lifestyle. I look forward to sharing more recipes with you this summer.