Spring Green Pasta Salad

I have been weary about the future.  There is much unknown and once again we find ourselves unsettled.  We are growing tired of a transient life.  We crave adventure but this does not feel like an adventure anymore.  Since we’ve been married we have been following a breadcrumb around the United States.  We are slaves to our incredible amount of school debt and so our simple, adventurous spirits submit to just about anything that will help pay off this debt.  In the beginning it felt positive for us.  Almost like training wheels to teach us how to steward what we have been given well.  Now it feels like a burden, keeping us from following our passions.  Debt has a way of destroying all spontaneity.  And yet being stuck now is the consequence of a once spontaneous decision.  I realize that this could in fact be a blessing in disguise, only  for us to understand years later.  In any case,  it doesn’t make this season any easier.  This crumb we are following leaves us unsatisfied, hoping and waiting for the next best thing.  We want to dig into our life, to feast, to flourish.  I know we can do this wherever we are, or so I am told, and so I tell other people, but it is much more challenging than I thought.  If I shared with people all the ideas and scenarios we have come up with they would not believe that all those ideas came out of the same two people.  It is quite humorous, and it used to be fun, but now it is just exhausting.  Our latest idea is to buy a bus, refinish the inside and call it home with hopes of feeling settled and with bigger hopes of saving money.  A bus might not seem rooted, in fact quite the contrary but something about having our own space and having it come with us wherever we go, just in case this transient life becomes a trend, seems grounding.  This bus idea is spontaneous, creative and feels like a way to bring a little more spunk to a place that sometimes feels lifeless.   It is actually looking more attractive by the hour.  I mean, I could design my dream kitchen, just a little bit smaller:)  In the midst of all this unknown, with a glad yet heavy heart, I have asked for change and I have asked for hope, but I’ve been unaware that change has already begun.

Last night Christopher was packing his bags for his bike commute to work.  He came in the kitchen to take off his winter goggles that protected him in the snow.  There was a shift in me, with the way he put to rest his snow goggles and took out his sun glasses.   The way he said he didn’t need them anymore sounded so thoughtful, so profound.  I then realized that he had embraced spring while I had hardly noticed it. It is so simple, and trivial, but in that moment something in me started to stir.  Yes, it is spring.  I have not even acknowledged this.  I have been walking outside more, eating differently and taking Octave to the park.  I even wore sandals last weekend, but I had not stopped to take all these changes in.

So, this morning I put on orange, opened the kitchen window and poured my coffee.  I let it soak in, all that good morning light.  Octave and I left for the store early.  It was a new day for her too because she got to walk down the aisles for first time ever! She felt so big and proud of herself.  She kept chuckling and looking back at me to make sure it was okay.  Soon she had confidence to touch everything she saw and soon was talking to people in the store.  Toddler talk that is:) Today was new for the both of us.

Sometimes I just have to acknowledge the most basic things in life before things can feel right.  Sometimes, it can be that simple. I embraced a new season and now I feel brighter and lighter. I feel a little more hopeful and new.  This heart is coming out of hibernation and ready to bare fruit here and now, even in WY, even if it all changes tomorrow.

I wanted to enjoy dinner together in a new setting too.  This is our first Wyoming spring and I have to say it is lovely.  Tonight we enjoyed this pasta with bruschetta on some homemade bread.  It is simple, light, tangy, fresh and full of vegetables.  The recipe was inspired by an orzo salad that I tried from 101 cookbooks.  This pasta tastes best when enjoyed al fresco, picnic style, with sparkling water, and barefoot, with your favorite people.  Happy spring friends!

Pasta Salad

(Serves 6)

10 oz Bow Tie Pasta

1 bunch asparagus trimmed and cut into thirds

3 cups spinach

1/2 cucumber peeled & cut into small cubes

1 avocado cut into small cubes

1 large handful of sprouts

1 cup feta cheese

1 cup chopped olives of choice

1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted

3 green onions thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped

1/4 cup basil roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

Fresh grated ginger to taste

1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger and salt.  Set aside. Wash all vegetables and herbs and cut them as noted above.  Bring a large pot of water with plenty of salt, to a boil.  Meanwhile steam asparagus for a few minutes or until tender and set aside. Cook pasta as instructed on package.  While waiting on the pasta, toast almonds on low to medium heat for a few minutes or until golden brown.  Set aside.  When pastas is cooked drain water and place in large serving bowl.  Immediately toss in spinach.  The heat from the pasta will be enough to soften the leaves.  Add asparagus, sprouts, cucumber, olives, avocado, feta, almonds, green onions, herbs and dressing.  Toss the salad well and let sit for a few minutes before serving.  Left overs taste great too!