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August 4, 2008

The First Day of Kindergarten and Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Well today is the day...Alexis starts Kindergarten! It's hard for be to believe that it's actually time for her to start school. It seems like just yesterday she was my little glow worm wrapped up tightly in her little blanket looking at me for the first time as if to say "Hey, I know you!" Oh how time flies! Where have the last five years gone? Some days it seems as if it was just yesterday that she was born....Others? Well if you're a mom or dad you know exactly what I'm talking about here! ;oP

As I mentioned to you before we have decided to home school Alexis. I've known since the day she was born, and in all honesty actually well before that, that this is what we were going to do. So as you are reading this little missive we are in her school room working on her lessons. We've done lessons on and off since she was three, but this is her first official day of school. Thirty years ago I started Kindergarten and today it is time for my precious little girl to do the same! Sniff! ;oP

One thing I always thought was odd about the schools in Maryland since we moved here is how late they start their fall term. In fact the first official day of school for those in the Maryland school system is not for several weeks and then is immediately followed by the Labor Day holiday a few days later. Having taught preschool for several years I can readily tell you that that is a recipe for disaster. You get the kids there, get them somewhat into a schedule an then boom...Holiday! And holidays lead to having to go to all that trouble to get them back on schedule when they return and trust me it takes several days to do that because as you parents well know kids are easily distracted. You need a little more time to firmly the establish the schedule before you go giving them a holiday to rile them up! So I decided to start a few weeks early. One of the joys of home schooling! Plus that means we get to end earlier too so that's a good thing as well! ;oP

Anyway....Where should we be?? Oh yes...Now let's get to the real reason that you all are here...The food! ;oP

As I've mentioned in the past Alexis and Jamison love spaghetti. I don't think I can stress this love enough to you...Seriously they would eat it every night if I let them and truth be told I'm spaghettied out! It was never one of my favorites to begin with, but given the number of times I've eaten it, first with Jamison, and now with both of them, I'm really not a fan anymore. Don't get me wrong...I love pasta. In fact many times when they want spaghetti I'll play around with some vegetables and things of that nature to see what kind of topper I can come up with, but I'm definitely over just your run of the mill spaghetti.

So what do you do when you're over regular spaghetti? The other night when Jamison and Alexis wanted just that I decided it was high time to put some of the fresh veggies I have on hand from the garden to good use and whip up a delicious pasta salad! It's the perfect way to put to use all those fresh, yummy veggies!

Sometimes pasta salad can be heavy and a lot of times it is made with a mayonnaise base, but I have to say when it comes to pasta salad I'm more of an oil and vinegar sort of girl. I also like to use whole wheat pastas instead of the run of the mill white pasta. These substitutions give you a dish that is much healthier and actually all of the ingredients in this salad except for the goat cheese are Weight Watchers Core ingredients. What's not to like about that?

Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta Salad

What You'll Need:
1 - 11 ounce box of whole wheat bow tie pasta
1 small red onion, chopped
1 banana pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (Note: I used an orange tomato, but any tomato will work.)
1 cup of peas (Note: Fresh or frozen will work.)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
Celtic sea salt

Cook bow tie pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. (Note: If you want to do a fast cool you can rinse the pasta under cold running water until it is cool.) Set aside.

In a very large bowl toss together vegetables until well mixed. Add bow ties and toss again to completely incorporate. Set aside.

In a canning jar or a bowl mix together olive oil, vinegar, oregano, thyme and ground pepper until well mixed. (Note: If you do this in a canning jar it is easier. You just dump everything into the jar, give it a shake and voilà...You're done!) Pour mixture over the veggie/pasta mixture and toss to coat.

Sprinkle the top of the salad with crumbled goat cheese and Celtic sea salt. Serve immediately.

Notes: Any vegetable you like will work fine. You can also play around with the herbs. I use dried basil sometimes too. You want to eat this salad within a day or so since the vinegar content can make things turn to mush if you don't.

Posted by Dianne at August 4, 2008 7:48 AM

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Comments

It is wierd how they go back the week before Labor Day now. When I was growing up in Baltimore Co & City we didn't go back until after Labor Day, whenever that was.

Posted by: rachel at August 4, 2008 10:33 AM

One of our neighbors mentioned that. In Tennessee we usually started in early to mid August. They start earlier now I believe.

Posted by: Dianne at August 4, 2008 11:51 AM

This pasta salad looks great! Hope school goes well. I'm a first year teacher in SC and students start August 19.

Posted by: Erin at August 4, 2008 12:03 PM

School here in Portugal doesn't even start until September. I can't imagine what it would be like to keep kids in a classroom in the August heat; they're generally troublesome enough by June.

Salad looks great!

Posted by: Ana at August 4, 2008 4:29 PM

School here in Virginia starts the day after Labor Day. By that time we are all ready for it to start! Your pasta salad looks great. I would love to make that sometime since my son and I are also big pasta lovers.

Posted by: Debbie at August 4, 2008 7:12 PM

It is fun to see when school starts around the world.

Here in Maryland the majority of the schools are air conditioned in one way or another. That was the case in Tennessee too when I was growing up.

Posted by: Dianne at August 4, 2008 7:14 PM

I'm glad the first day went well. I know what you mean about the time flying by. Brianna starts kindergarten this year, too. We're one of the places where school starts the last week in August. When I was growing up, we always started the Wednesday after Labor Day. The biggest challenge for me is going to be getting Brianna to school in one place and Gillian to daycare in another. We'll figure it out; we always do...

Posted by: Di at August 4, 2008 11:56 PM

Oh that does sound like an adventure...Hopefully the two places aren't that far away from each other!

Posted by: Dianne at August 5, 2008 12:50 PM

This pasta salad looks wonderful! My kids love pasta, too - and they really love pasta salads (yay!). I'm bookmarking this to make one day.

Congratulations on starting school. I'm homeschooling my oldest daughter and we've started reading lessons. I'll be starting math and handwriting in September. I'm looking forward to it. I hope it goes well for you!

Posted by: Gina at August 5, 2008 2:16 PM

Pasta salad is one of my all time favorites!

Home schooling is fun so far. Alexis seems to be enjoying it too. We started basic Spanish and science today. We're also working on handwriting, basic math, basic history, basic reading, etc.

Posted by: Dianne at August 5, 2008 7:39 PM

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