Monday, September 10, 2012

Pasta Salad with Bacon, Melon, and Feta

Phew! I thought this back to school thing was supposed to give me more time for myself but for one reason or another I am still running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Fortunately it's all good stuff, visits from friends, school planning, parties, and I recently embarked on my next fitness adventure, Insanity: The Asylum. After doing regular Insanity workouts for over a year, I thought I was ready for the next challenge. At this point my heart, lungs, lats and quadriceps are much less certain. But as long as they keep making mint chocolate chip ice cream, Shaun T remains a requisite part of my day. Here's a self portrait after my first ever Insanity workout. I don't blame you if "stunning" isn't the first word that comes to mind.
Speaking of good hearts and yummy food, have you checked out Eat Your Heart Out lately? My pal, Stephie, is always cooking up something delicious and I'm especially excited about her new Back to Basics series, which is a great starting point for kids or anyone else who's just getting their bearings in the kitchen. As if that wasn't enough to get you over there, she recently nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, Stephie! As part of the award, I am supposed to tell you 7 tidbits about myself, then pass the award to 15 more bloggers. So here we go...
7 Tidbits from Kid Cultivation

1. You might have figured this out already, but I love Insanity. I don't love The Asylum yet, but I'm tripping and stumbling my way through it and hope to be fit and coordinated enough to be there one day.
2. I am the baby in a family of 5 girls. Some say my parents must have kept trying for a boy. I say they stopped when they finally achieved perfection.
3. I ran the Chicago marathon in 2002. It was awesome.
4. I eat almost everything but there are a few random foods I simply cannot tolerate. These include: yellow mustard (stoneground, whole grain, and Dijon are fine!), orange soda, Goldfish or other cheddar flavored crackers, and bratwurst.
5. September is my favorite month.
6. My bladder is the size of a pea.
7. Every time I throw a penny in a fountain I wish that Roo's food allergies and Eosinophilic Esophagitis would go away.

And 15 amazing food-focused blogs you should definitely come to know:

1. spabettie
2. Katie's Cucina
3. What Megan's Making
4. Damn Delicious
5. Great Secret of Life
6. Family Fresh Cooking
7. A Taste of Madness
8. Home is Where the Cookies Are
9. The Spanish Wok
10. Culinary Travels
11. Cooking With My Kid
12. Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons
13. Food Allergy Mama
14. The Allergic Kid
15. Funky Food - Feeding Kids Allergic to Food

For those of you nominated, here's the deal. Feel free to do the following, but I have to be honest. I won't be mad at you if you don't :-)
  1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. Post the award image to your page.
  3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers.
  5. Post the rules in your blog post.
And last but certainly not least, who wants bacon?! Mufasa made his signature ribs last weekend and has promised to do a guest post soon with the details. While he was manning the grill, I made this kid-friendly, easy, pasta salad on the side.

Pasta Salad with Melon, Bacon, and Feta
adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2012

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled
1 pound penne, rotini, or other short pasta
1 medium cantaloupe, cubed
1 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped, divided
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
Kosher salt
Black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Set aside.
2. Combine 2 slices of the bacon, pasta, melon, half the mint, and scallions in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with remaining bacon, mint, and feta cheese.

Since my kids tend to be purists, I served the feta cheese on the side for them, but really the whole salad could be easily deconstructed for Littles. Separate and serve pasta, bacon, cantaloupe, cheese and you've got a sweet toddler meal!


  1. I'm noticing a no-orange-foods trend here...

    And your second thing? As the only child, I also like to say my parents hit perfection on the first try and stopped. ;-)

  2. Thank you so much for nominating me amongst your chosen 15.

  3. Wow, I am honored, thank you for the nomination!

    Now this is a pasta salad that I would definitely want. I can't believe I have never made pasta salad before! Boo me.