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July 2014, Page 2

gluten-free pasta recipe – rotini with asparagus, salmon, and cherry tomatoes

more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon to provide gluten-free options to everyday products.  barilla is one of those.  to celebrate their gluten-free and higher-fiber options, they also partnered with allrecipes to create a series of delicious new recipes.  this rotini with asparagus, salmon, and cherry tomatoes is one of those options.


gluten free salmon pasta title


it’s really nice to have a “mainstream” gluten-free option for times when we don’t have access to our favorite natural foods store.  i am also glad to have transitional options for those of us who are more resistant to going full-scale into a new eating lifestyle.


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i loved finding this recipe – it is full of flavors i normally enjoy, but combined in new, original ways.  it also was relatively fuss-free, which is important for me when i spend too much time playing with my camera days get hairy and  i’m in a dinner rush.


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a couple notes i want to be sure to add for you:

be sure to follow cooking times.  this pasta is finicky in texture and although you won’t find it to be similar to a traditional pasta, it can quickly become grainy if cooked too long, or remain crunchy if not cooked long enough.


make extra salmon.  it’s yummy and it makes the dish even more hearty.  we doubled the recipe but almost tripled the salmon for our hungry, busy crew.


watch out with that fresh tarragon!  i quickly realized i’m not a super-fan of it; it’s got a very strong, distinct licorice-y flavor.  too much can be a bad thing, i my humble opinion.  a pinch is perfection with the other flavors in this dish!

gluten-free pasta – rotini with asparagus, salmon, and cherry tomatoes


  • 1 (14.5 ounce) box Barilla Gluten-Free Rotini
  • 8 ounces skinless salmon fillet, diced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound asparagus, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. In a large skillet, saute salmon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for 2 minutes and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add scallions and cherry tomatoes, sauté 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook rotini according to package directions.
  6. During last 2 minutes of cook time, add asparagus.
  7. Drain and immediately add to sauce.
  8. Add tarragon, mix well.
  9. Add salmon and toss gently. May be served warm or cold as a salad.


whatcha think?  is this a dish you’ll make at home?


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i am an allrecipes allstar ambassador.  i was provided coupons for the product reviewed here.  i am not compensated for my work with and all opinions are my own.  you can find the original post here.



sometimes i’m afraid of my kids. {parenting teens}

sometimes, i’ll admit, i’m a little afraid of my children.


whew.  i said it.


although i’m gut-level honest when i say that i 100% believe they belong to their Creator and they’re His to do with as He wishes, i also have to say that lots of times, i feel the responsibility completely lies on my (and, yes, my husband’s) shoulders.  i start to panic inside that if i get it wrong, they’ll fall apart and it’ll be all. my. fault.  no pressure.


i want them to be not just good people, but successful.  sometimes i really want that to be by the world’s standards.  because, yeah, to some extent, their success reflects on me.  (i will have devoted decades of my life, after is all said and done, won’t i, to their upbringing and education?  i do hold some responsibility.)  and deep down in my heart of hearts, i want them to be happy.  carefree, and smiley, and self-fulfilled, in the sense that they’re not looking to others to continually affirm or fulfill them.  (happy isn’t bad – it just can’t become an elusive idol that thrives on self-gratification at the cost of calling.)  and happy, in my mama-mind, means that they like me.  because again, it comes back to me.


sure, i’ll pooh-pooh modern child-rearing patterns that focus on providing every little whim of a desire to kids, on spending all your efforts becoming best friends with them instead of allowing them the gift of having a close confidant who is also their first, most loving authority.  but deep inside, i want them to like me.  a lot.  and sometimes, that desire for my own affirmation makes me hesitant to give them what they really need: strong, consistent, yes, steeped-in-love, but fearless and no-holds-barred discipline.  and if i do something they don’t like, they might not like me.  horror.


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recently we’ve had a character struggle with one of our older children.  he’s an awesome kid, and people compliment him often on his kindness, his politeness, his maturity, his self-discipline.  he has all those things, in spades even, compared to lots of kids.  but he also struggles with some heart issues that we don’t want to let go unnoticed.  in his quest for independence, he may work to manipulate a situation to get his way.  when he’s pressed, like a cat caught in a corner, he may lash out ugly, disrespect spewing from him.  and he doesn’t admit to it easily, making him unteachable in the moment.


i too, often behave the same way, fighting for my own wants and working life to get what i think i deserve from it.  and i’m an actor, so i can do that while looking good on the outside to the untrained eye.  so he comes by it honestly.  but i can’t dismiss my responsibility to call it out in him, to challenge him higher by recognizing and dying to it.  and worse, (and yes, i have!) i can’t shirk my call to confront him because i’m a scared little girl inside, not wanting my kid to be mad at me, just like i didn’t want the cool girls to not like me way back in junior high.  or more to the point, not wanting him to feel about me, the way i once felt about a parent who treated me unjustly.


so yes, i have to question myself.  i have to dig deep and be sure that i’m not calling out in him a behavior that’s just inconvenient or might “look bad to the neighbors.”  i have to seek unity with my partner in parenting and not react with emotion to an ugly seeming-attack on me, hurting my feelings and my pride as a parent.  but when the rubber meets the road and truth needs to be spoken in love and faithfulness, i’ve gotta “woman up.”  i have to work in team with the dad of these arrows we’re sharpening to pierce the heart of their world with love and passion and justice and right-ness, and stand up for them, even when it means doing the scary, the hard thing.


do you have teens?  i’d love to hear what you’re learning in the trenches…


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raw dark chocolate peppermint tart {copycat Hail Merry tarts)

the day i wandered into the desserts case in whole foods and saw the Hail Merry Tarts, i melted a little.  raw dessert that’s so thick and gooey and cold and all deep, dark, rich, deliciousness – all clean ingredients and made just for me to indulge, maybe one. bite. at. a. time. over a couple days?  and, yes.


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BUT.  it’s a little pricey.  (with good reason – it’s full of real food, as so little is these days.  did i mention that?)  still, i of course thought, what if i could create this myself and share with my family?  one bite at a time, of course.  because, yum.  did i mention the deep, dark, rich part?


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so i set out to create my own version – copycat hail merry tarts.  and voila – a ridiculous raw dark chocolate peppermint tart.  oh, my.

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indulge.  in a good way.  make these, ok?  come back and say thanks, if you like.  give me a little digital hug.  because, well, yum.


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raw dark chocolate peppermint tart {copycat Hail Merry tarts)


  • Tart Crust:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Peppermint Dark Chocolate Filling:
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1-1/3 cup cocoal (or raw cacao) powder
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, plus fresh mint for garnish


  1. For Crust:
  2. Use a pastry cutter (or food processor) to combine ingredients.
  3. Divide mixture evenly into four parts and press into [individual tart pans
  4. |].
  5. Chill in freezer or refrigerator while filling is prepared.
  6. For Filling:
  7. Combine ingredients in the bowl of a large stand mixer and blend until combined.
  8. Pour into chilled crusts and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight before serving.
  9. Store uneaten tarts in refrigerator up to 3 days.


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comments?  thoughts?  please share below!


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