sausage and tomato zucchini pesto pasta with laura
I met Laura a little over 4 years ago, through church, and when my busy schedule lets me go to Yoga, I catch her there too because she’s the instructor. In addition she's also a personal trainer, a doula-in training, a wife and mother of 2 children, dog mom and chicken mom, plus a budding gardner. Laura’s been a faithful friend, always good at asking the right kind of questions, and opening her home to those who need it.
I popped by one evening after work to see her new garden, with her first pepper crop and overgrown rosemary. Her husband Drew splashed with the kiddos in their inflatable pool. Her kids, Laney and Oliver took turns with their favorite pastime, feeding the chickens and holding them.
I'm posting this a little late. Summer is technically over although here in Texas, although our Fall honestly doesn't start until October most years. So on a nice Texas summer evening, when it’s too hot to do a ton of cooking in the kitchen, and with the busyness of life, Laura’s always on the lookout for something fresh, healthy, and simple to make for her and her family’s dinner. They tend to eat paleo style and she has some favorite books/blogs that are common recipe builders for her.
Considering how healthy she lives now, I was surprised to learn of the food she ate growing up.
Subway and Jamba Juice. My mom made hamburger helper and dad grilled. I didn’t learn to cook when I was a kid. College was more like chicken breasts, a box of couscous, frozen broccoli, and a bottle of wine. A lot of frozen yogurt. Diet coke. That was my college-girl diet. NOT good. I did not eat real food until I got married to Drew. And then when we got really into cross fit and paleo, that’s when I really started cooking more.
I’ve always been active. I started to dance seriously when I was 10, and probably started yoga around the same age. Actually kind of late for dance, but that’s when I got serious with it. I loved the mind-body connection, and control. Which is why I studied sports-psych. I’ve always been health conscious, but I didn’t really enjoy food until adulthood. It was more about food as punishment, and food as fuel, but now it’s about food as nourishment and celebration. I struggled with anorexia when I was dancing. Then when I started to eat real food and take care of myself, it really helped so much more. Eating real food settled my hormones, lots of things got better for me when I ate better.
Watched a lot of Cooking Network when Laney was an infant. Barefoot Contessa, she totally made it feel like cooking was approachable. That was huge for me. She was relaxed, everything was simple. Back to Basics. She really taught me a lot about cooking.
Favorite thing to cook? It changes. I currently like making waffles for the kids. We got this teeny waffle maker. It’s teal. It’s just fun. I like a good stir fry, because it’s fast and tasty. I’ll either pre-make rice or make cauliflower rice. Frozen veggies are a time savor. #momlife You could do a rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies and rice. It’s fast and easy. Cooking right now is all about assembling ingredients as simply as possible. I’ll cook a lot at the beginning of the week and assemble throughout the days. Curries are nice. A can of salmon, a can of coconut milk and curry paste, some veggies that were already cooked. Add a little tumeric, ginger and curry at the end for more flavor. There ya go.
Melissa of Well Fed is my number one influencer. I feel like she is great at prepping for the week and batch cooking ideas and lots of ideas that you can switch up the protein or switch up the vegetable and it’s easy. Her oven fried salmon cakes are delicious. The kids love them,you can make a double batch, they’re so easy. It’s got almond flour and sweet potato in it. Delicious. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pho recipe is so simple and good. Fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, and chicken, and rice noodles. It’s so simple and so good. Drew love’s it. Sometimes meals are more interesting, but a lot of times it’s rotisserie chicken, frozen broccoli, and mashed sweet potato. Kids are nourished. Everyone’s happy.
Best meal ever? That’s so hard. Right after we got married Drew and I went to this little place in Washington, so a good atmosphere plus good food, got eggs benedict there and loved it. I love Mud Hen at the farmer’s market in Dallas. It’s so good. I got some kind of eggs benedict there too, it’s all farm to table. So yummy. I guess I love eggs benedict?
Any excuse I have to hang out at the Lotts, a little farm oasis in the middle of the city, and run around with the chickens and the kiddos, I’m always excited about. Their days days are full of activities like visiting the library, walking their sweet dog Honey, taking care of their home, play dates and lots of reading and pretending. A child’s dream life. An adult's dream.
SUMMER “PASTA” WITH SAUSAGE - Adapted from Prep Dish
1-2 packages sausage (chef's choice)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3-4 zucchini, spiralized
Heat 1-2tsp oil (avocado or coconut) in a large sauce pan on medium. Slice and heat your sausage over medium in a pan. Set aside. Add a little more oil as needed to the pan. You can either roast your tomatoes ahead of time in the oven or sauce them real quick in the pan after removing the sausage. Set aside. Add zucchini noodles, and cook 2-3 minutes.
Combine veggie & sausage mixture and sauté until heated through, 5-6 minutes.
Lemon Basil Sauce: In blender blend: ¼c olive oil + 1 clove garlic + large handful fresh basil + juice of 1 lemon (~2T) + S&P.
Toss pasta w/ roasted/sautéed tomatoes + lemon basil sauce + optional top with feta and pine nuts
HEALTHY BUTTER PECAN ICE CREAM - From the Wellness Mama
1 can of BPA free coconut milk (or two cups fresh raw milk or coconut milk)
1 stick (1/2 cup) grassfed butter
2-3 tablespoons real vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt
4 raw egg yolks from trusted source pastured hens (optional but really improves texture)
1/4 cup each of maple syrup or honey (or both, to taste)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans
Place all ingredients except pecans in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Best if butter is softened but not melted.
Pour in to ice cream maker or small tin can for that method.
Turn on ice cream maker and follow user instructions or roll/shake the can for 20+ minutes until done. Freeze ahead of time....