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Spinach, Bacon, and Egg Pasta Salad

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So…big news here. You are now reading a food blog written by a real, bonafide tooth fairy. That’s right, folks. I earned my wings. And boy are they sparkly!

Thursday night, we put the boys down to bed like usual. My husband handles the two older boys while I tend to the baby. Once everyone was tucked in, my husband headed out for band practice. I poured myself a glass of wine and settled onto the couch to watch the American Idol results show. The baby whimpered for a few minutes, as is his routine, then drifted off the sleep. The two older boys, who share a room, were up to mischief.

Some nights, the boys chat quietly before peacefully falling asleep. Some nights, antics involving a lot of mysterious banging and shouting ensue, before they crash into dreamland. Thursday was one of those nights. I’d already been in their room more than once to put the kibosh on the chaos (which was messing with my plan to relax on the couch with wine and Ryan Seacrest for the evening). So, when I heard the screaming again, I was not happy. I marched up the stairs and threw open the door, wearing my meanest Mommy face, to find the two boys excitedly jumping around, which left me feeling even less pleased.

But then, my first born…my sweet, little almost-five-year-old, says, “Today was the day!” as he held out his hand holding his first lost tooth. How had I not noticed the gaping hole in his mouth? The first tooth to come in was the first to come out. I remember when that tooth came in. When did he become such a kid??

Then

We hugged. We jumped around. We cheered. I told him how very proud I was of him and instructed him to stop growing up so fast. We took some photos and washed his mouth with salt water before climbing back into bed, with his tooth tucked securely under his pillow (in a little baggie to make it easier for the tooth fairy to find). I instructed the kids to go to sleep so that the tooth fairy could make her visit, then turned out the lights, leaving the boys snuggled in their beds, whispering about the tooth fairy. The last thing I heard, as I walked from their room, was my big kid telling his younger brother, “She’s very tiny.”

Now

I went downstairs and put on my wings. I placed three gold dollar coins into a baggie with a sprinkle of glitter for good fairy measure. There’s magic in this sort of stuff. And just before putting myself to bed, I snuck into my big kid’s room and swapped the tooth baggie for the baggie of gold coins and glitter. He’s been walking around with his goofy grin and baggie of treasure ever since.

Tonight, I’ll swap my fairy wings for bunny ears and a cotton tail. In the morning the boys will awake to a basket of candy and an egg hunt. We’ll be coloring eggs today. For the next few days, we’ll enjoy the colored hard-boiled eggs in deviled egg salad and this delicious pasta salad; another tasty option for using up all of those cooked eggs. I ate a ridiculous amount of this pasta salad this week. Seriously, I barely shared. A classic combination of spinach, bacon, and boiled eggs gets tossed together with al dente pasta and a sweet honey balsamic dressing…delicious!

Happy Easter folks!

Spinach, Bacon, and Egg Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups baby spinach leaves, chiffonade*

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*Click HERE for my chiffonade how-to photo guide.

Directions

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing, whisk (or shake) together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder until well blended.

Combine the pasta, dressing, red bell pepper, bacon, and spinach in a large container. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired.

Refrigerate until serving. Serve cold.

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St. Patty’s Day Round-up

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Parenthood has a way of constantly making you feel brand new. I mean, I’ve got three kids. We’ve been doing this whole parenting thing for almost five years now and in some ways, we feel like old hands at it. We know our kids and have a good enough understanding of child development to know what to anticipate as our children work through the daily challenges and joys of childhood. Our hearts pound with pride as they take those first steps, say that first sweet word, and cut that first little tooth. And we hold our breaths with anxiety when one of our little ones is not well. But, for the most part, we know what to expect and we know how to react.

And then something completely unexpected happens. Rationally, I know that parenthood is full of unexpected surprises, but sometimes they just sneak up on you. Like when I glanced over at my almost five-year-old and noticed that one of his bottom teeth was loose. And I panicked. Panicked as if blood were pouring from his ears. It’s just a loose tooth; a normal part of being a kid. But I never saw it coming. Not yet, at least.

So, I did what any mildly irrational parent would do and called the dentist to make an emergency appointment. Somebody do something! My kid has a slightly wiggly tooth! Of course, the trip to the dentist confirmed that it is totally normally for my little guy to have wiggly teeth. His adult teeth are just working their way up. Adult teeth??? But, he’s my baby! Guess it’s almost time for me to put on some tooth fairy wings.

And now we’re just waiting for that first tooth to come out. I stopped by the bank today and picked up a handful of gold dollar coins to leave under his pillow when the time comes. The tooth fairy always left me silver dollars, which I collected like treasure. But since the gold dollar coins are the best I can find, they’ll do the trick. In fact, I suspect the gold coins may be even more intriguing to my little men for their likeness to pirate treasure and a leprechaun’s pot of gold.

Speaking of leprechauns, we’re all very excited for St. Patty’s Day around here. My sister and brother-in-law will be visiting for the weekend and we’ll be spending the day with friends. To celebrate our bursting Irish spirit, I made a batch of my World’s Simplest Fudgey BrowniesThen, I spread a thick layer of dark chocolate frosting on top and decorated with a handful of Lucky Charms marshmallows. They definitely brought some smiles to my rowdy bunch of leprechauns, though I suspect they’ll be disappointed to discover the marshmallow shortage in their snack cereal.

If you’re looking for some other ideas for St. Patty’s Day fare, check out these previously posted Gourmand Mom recipes:

Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage

Grasshopper Pie

Irish Soda Bread

Reuben Quesadillas

Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls

Classic Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

Guinness-Braised Beef

Low-Carb Cottage Pie

Split Pea Soup with Ham

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The Gourmand Mom

Good food, seasoned with a dash of life

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