Healthy Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

This pregnancy has me craving cold dishes. I have probably made 5 different pasta salad variations in the past 3 weeks.  I just can’t get enough of them! Plus it’s a good way for me to get more raw vegetables in my diet, which I need even more since I’m, you know, growing another human being.

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A healthy pasta salad?

Take a look at those beautiful colors! Any dish with that many colors has got to be packed with tons of good stuff, right? And as long as you use whole grain pasta, there will be nothing bad about this salad.

Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

half a box of your choice of pasta salad noodles (I chose penne)

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped about 1/4 inches thick

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces 

1/2 to 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (your preference)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (took me 3 juicy limes)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another flavorless oil, like canola)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like things spicy)

generous amounts of salt and pepper for seasoning

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro to mix well. In a small bowl mix lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour vinaigrette over pasta and vegetables.

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It keeps pretty well overnight in the refrigerator, so you can make this dish ahead of time. It’s great for Saturday BBQ’s or potluck dinners at church. You can make it gluten-free, too, by replacing the noodles with gluten-free noodles, of course.

Meatless Monday: cauliflower pizza crust

I had a real hankering for pizza today, but I have this toddler that I have to care for. I can’t fill his little body with junk, so I decided to cut out the bad part with the highest calorie count and go for a healthier option!

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I went with this recipe from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body. The only thing I changed was the cooking time. I cooked the crust for 20 minutes because I wanted the edges to be nice and crispy and 15 minutes just didn’t do that for me. After I added the toppings, I cooked it for another 15 minutes. It was so delicious, and Milo loved every bite. He ate almost a whole personal pizza.

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She mentions this in her post, but don’t go into this expecting a normal pizza crust. The middle was softer and came apart easily, so it’s not something you can pick up and eat like normal pizza. It was delicious, though, and as long as Sam approves, I will use this recipe for my future pizzas.

A healthy side dish: roasted red potatoes

I must say…I have been eating very healthy since I’ve been here in Arizona.  Partly to get back to my pre-baby weight, which has been reached and even beyond that! And the other part, the big one, is that I want to be healthy.  The funny thing that I’ve found about eating healthy all of the time is that you come to despise the thought of unhealthy, processed foods.  Maybe it’s just me (and Debbie, my mother-in-law), but the thought of a big, greasy cheeseburger sided with greasy fries makes my stomach turn. All of that oil would just weigh me down and make my stomach hurt.

One of the sides that I have been making a lot lately is roasted red potatoes.

I love experimenting with different fresh herbs and spices. These were tossed in about 6 tlbs of olive oil, sea salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and a little bit of paprika. They turned out amazing, however I didn’t get a picture of them after they were cooked because we gobbled them up so fast!

Just pop them into a 425 degree F oven and roast for about 35 minutes. So yummy and a very healthy alternative to things like mashed potatoes (that would normally be loaded down with butter and sour cream) or french fries.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

3lbs red potatoes, quartered

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss potatoes. Once they are coated well with the mixture, spread the potatoes out on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 35 minutes.

Before I wrap this up, I’d like to take a trip to Cutesy-ville!

Six and a half month old Milo jumping in his Jumperoo! Love this sweet baby.

Poor Kitsune has really taken a back seat ever since Miles was born, but I still make time for snuggles with my fur-baby.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Whoo-hoo!