One of the little things I do for myself each day is brew a cup of team in the afternoon during class. There’s something wonderful about a warm cup of tea. It’s a pause in the never ending rush of the teaching day, eliciting a moment of reflection. It’s a quiet second, one where I look at my class working together, learning together. It’s a chance to stop to think about the beauty of it all, and the changes I can make to enhance their experience. Shifting my role from “sage” of the classroom to a thoughtful facilitator of learning has made a world of difference in how my day to day looks.
One of my favorite teas is one made from marshmallow root. It’s made by Traditional Medicinals, who, aside from making lovely teas, also include a quote at the tail end of the tea bag. If you follow me on social media, you know that I’m a big fan of quotes. The words of others are so powerful, launching a meaningful reflection and providing a different lens through which you can view life. This one caused me to pause in the midst of my whirlwind of an afternoon.
“The difference between a weed and a flower is a judgement” – Unknown
After I chuckled, I realized this fit perfectly with the positive mindset I’m constantly focusing my energy towards. It’s all about reframing. So often I get frustrated with things happening at home or school that really aren’t worth the effort. It’s easy to get caught up in your own agenda or schedule, viewing any deviation or obstruction as negative. Being a teacher is the epitome of this conundrum – you can plan your whole day down to the last minute, but the most powerful teaching moments come when a child knocks you off your intended path and you journey in this new direction together. Life often knocks you off your intended path too, which we often times view as a failure. Instead of feeling frustrated by the disruption of plans, I can embrace the spontaneity of life and make something beautiful out of it.
When I headed home that evening, I did not feel like cooking what I had on the menu. I wanted comfort; I wanted pasta. I’m not usually a pasta eater, except when it comes to times when I am lazy and tired, at which point I dig out the beef flavored Ramen buried in the back of my pantry. I know it’s terrible for me, but it feels so right. Today though, I decided to stick to a resolution to cook all of my own food. I remembered the lovely bag of fresh orecchiette pasta that was gifted to us, those cherry tomatoes and spinach in the fridge, the balsamic in the pantry. My mind started working.
Easy healthy vegan pasta recipes are great weeknight staples.
This is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Tomato, balsamic, wine, herbs, garlic… just pure deliciousness. Cooked down, they meld together into one beautiful, light sauce. You don’t normally think of pasta as being “healthy”, but that’s because that most times comes with the assumption of being smothered in cream and cheese. Not this dish! You can enjoy the delicious fresh pasta without all that added fat and calories. It’s highly recommended that you splurge a bit on the fresh pasta, not that boxed stuff. It’s only a few more dollars and totally worth it!
And, of course, if you have a little bit more time, you might try making your own. Check out my beet pasta & beet greens pesto for a how-to!
Orecchiette with Tomatoes & SpinachPrint Recipe
- 2 cups orecchiette pasta
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped spinach
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 4 sprigs thyme, bundled together with twine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese, if desired
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook at a high heat for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes to rotate the tomatoes.
When tomatoes begin to burst, Add diced garlic and pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add the vinegar, wine and thyme bundle and bring to a simmer. Simmer until liquid has reduced about half, about 15 - 20 minutes.
Once the liquid is reducing, bring a saucepan of water to a boil for the pasta. Once water is boiling, cook pasta according to package directions. When al dente, strain and return to pan. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil.
Remove thyme bundle and stir in spinach. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour tomato mixture on top of pasta and mix to combine. Serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese if desired.