Asparagus Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Working part-time and being a mother full-time, there are just some nights when I’ve got to cook something fast.  Before I knew better, those nights usually consisted of something frozen with a long list of not-meant-to-be understood ingredients.  Thinking shifted and a new arsenal of quick food has emerged.  Thankfully, my 4 year-old is a huge asparagus fan and the goat cheese, olive oil, lemon and pasta water come together to make what passes of as a rich, creamy and cheesy sauce.  Perfect.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta (not changed much from the recipe at smitten kitchen)

Printable Recipe


1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)


1.  Add pasta to well-salted water and boil until just shy of done – 3 minutes less than the package directions.

2. Rinse and chop the asparagus.  Pick one spear and bend the end until it breaks.  Chop all the stalks to this point, then chop the remaining stalks into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Toss them into the pot with the pasta and cook for 3 minutes.

3.  Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving one cup of pasta water.

4.  In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and goat cheese (crumbled up).  Add the hot pasta and asparagus and part of the pasta water.  Toss to combine.  Add more pasta water if needed. Season with salt, pepper and added lemon juice for more of a kick.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Some days are just exceptionally wonderful.  They begin with your child sleeping until 10:00 then waking up and proclaiming, “I want to make blueberry muffins for breakfast.”  So, we printed our recipe, tossed out some ingredients and dove right in.  I’m sure you don’t want need me to say how easy and healthful it is to make your own muffins and how many bad, bad things are in box muffin mix.  I mean, you may as well have a candy bar for breakfast.  Moving on.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (from


1 2/3 cups quick-cooking oats
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
2 33/100 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


(Preheat your oven to 400)

We started with the part where Carter hides in his room with the door closed while I process the oatmeal into a fine meal.  He can’t. stand. the sound of the food processor.  Once the unpleasantness is over, he pops right back in.

Measure out and mix together the dry ingredients: oats, 2 flours, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar.

Then the wet ingredients are mixed in a seperate bowl: buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and lemon zest.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and then stir, stir, stir the wet stuff in.

Last comes the much anticipated blueberries.  This recipe came with a great little trick: toss the frozen blueberries with some flour to keep them from coloring the batter all blue.  It worked like a charm.

Pour them in your own Lightning McQueen baking cups and sprinkle a little sugar over the top.  Put them in your 400 degree oven and wait 20 minutes and then you get to do this:

Yu-um-y.  They are pretty fantastic.  Because of the ultra-hearty ingredients, 2 of these will do you for about 4 hours.  Seriously.

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

I am a self-proclaimed crazy person when it comes to what I put into my and my family’s bodies.  I enjoy reading about the good and not-so-good in the food world right now.  As a total side note, I do not like the things that I’m reading about artificial colorings, high fructose corn syrup and certain preservatives.  Though I’ve been in different places on the healthy eating spectrum, I do my best to keep us in the “Good For You” corner.  To me, food should resemble what it looked like when it was harvested and not have been messed around with too much before I eat it.  I prefer to be able to pronounce and understand the ingredients on the side of a box or bag.  That’s just me.  *stepping down from soap box now*

I really enjoy finding something that I love and trying to duplicate it at home in a less-processed way.  And, Carter is always a great help in the kitchen.

Last night my husband decided to go a little crazy making home fries, and I needed something special to pull out of my hat to keep Carter away from the mandolin slicer and the hot oil.  My solution: Homemade Goldfish Crackers, shaped like flowers for Spring.  Let me just say that I should have tripled the batch because I wanted to eat them all myself as soon as they cooled.

Homemade Goldfish Crackers (originally posted at Smitten Kitchen)


Yield: About 100 1 1/4 inch goldfish

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon table salt


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, run until the dough forms a ball.

If the dough feels warm or too soft for rolling, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. This also makes it easier to transfer shapes once they are rolled out.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. Form shapes with a cookie cutter, dipping it in flour from time to time to ensure a clean cut. Gently transfer crackers to an ungreased (though mine were parchment-lined, because they are in despicable shape) cookie sheet with a 1/2 inch between them.

Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are barely browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

His anticipation was so cute!  I think he may have watched them cook for the entire 12 minutes.

They were oh so yummy!  I’ve got to find one of those mini goldfish cutters for the next time…and there will be a next time.

Enjoy and thanks for your comments!