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Fall Pasta Salad
& struggling to adjust
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It’s been a week since I’ve been back from my trip but the adjustment has been tough on so many levels. I’m barely adjusted to the time change (we kept going to bed SO late), we got some sort of cold when we got back, and because of all these factors causing me to feel out of sorts, I’ve fallen so behind on my work schedule. Which in turn is affecting my mood and how I’m feeling about everything.
I’m not usually a huge fan of Thanksgiving, but I am particularly looking forward to spending time with my family on the holidays and getting out of this slumpy feeling. One positive is that I finally sat down and started working on the second draft of my novel, which felt really nice. I’ve been reading more lately too, which always makes me feel good, and I’ve also been trying to start dinner earlier so I can take my time to enjoy cooking slowly rather than cooking for work or for convenience.
I find that small, little habit changes actually do in fact help lead to better mood overall. I feel lucky that I know what works for me, and although it’s hard to be patient and wait for them to work, action always feels motivating.
THINGS I’M LOVING
Cocokind sent me their new retinol, and I’ve had a chance to try it out over the past couple of weeks! They market it as a beginner retinol, and I completely agree! It felt very gentle and easy on my skin and didn’t dry it out at all. Retinol is great for acne as well as fine lines and signs of aging, and if you’re nervous about where to start, this product is a great option! I’ve been working my way up gradually from .1% retinol to 1%, and my next step will be tretinoin. Right now, the stronger retinol I’m using is the Skinceuticals 1%.
I am going to be fully honest and admit that I bought these Mini Ice Cube Tray so I could make cute aesthetic matcha videos lolol. But I mean, come on!! It’s fun to make fun drinks, and mini ice cubes are just so cute!!
I’m excited wider leg backs are trending because I find them to be the most comfortable! These Wide Leg Mango Jeans are extra wide-legged AND they happen to be midrise, which I’m realizing actually fits on the body very comfortably. I’m sorry but you will not catch me in lowrise jeans ever again. I’ll keep that to my middle school days, thank you very much.
It breaks my heart a little bit that people abandon pasta salads in the fall and winter. Yes, a cold pasta salad just screams summer season, but it doesn’t HAVE to. Fall produce is amazing, and we should be incorporating it into dishes that go beyond just the holiday season.
This fall pasta salad is made with chickpea pasta, which helps to add protein and make it more of a full meal. It has roasted squash and Brussels sprouts, crispy sage, red onion, and golden raisins, and then everything is topped off with some tangy goat cheese.
If you’re not using a protein pasta, there’s so much you could add to this: chicken, bacon, chickpeas, white beans, etc.
I envision this as a dish you prep and bring to work or school — a way to keep things fresh in the fall/winter!
Fall Pasta Salad
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1 small/medium butternut squash
½ lb Brussels sprouts (about 2 cups)
¼ cup sage leaves
8 oz pasta (I used Banza rotini)
3/4 cup shaved red onion
⅓ cup golden raisins
3 oz goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel the butternut squash, and scoop out the flesh and seeds. Dice the butternut squash, add to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and a salt of pepper.
2. Trim the stems off the Brussels sprouts and either halve or quarter them depending on how large they are. Add to a separate parchment-lined baking sheet, and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt.
3. Add both the squash and Brussels sprouts to to the oven. Bake for squash for 25-30 minutes until soft, and bake the Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes or until they get crispy, but not burnt.
4. While the veggies are baking, prepare your pasta according to package. Set aside to cool.
5. In a medium pan, heat up 1 tsp olive oil on medium heat, add the sage, and coat it in the oil with a spatula. Cook untouched 3-5 minutes until sage becomes crispy. Immediately remoeve from pan and transfer to a plate.
6. Prepare the dressing by whisking ingredients together in a small bowl.
7. When the vegetables are ready, you can either let cool or use warm if you don’t mind a warm pasta salad. Add pasta, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, red onion, and golden raisins to a large bowl. Lightly crumble the crispy sage, and add to bowl. Add the dressing, and toss until evenly coated. Finish off with the goat cheese, season with a little black pepper, and serve room temperature or chilled!
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