Tomato Pasta
With all the brilliant tomatoes I saw at my local farmers market I began to hunt for a new recipe.  I came across this fast & fresh recipe by Francis Lam (Amazing Photography by Max Kelly).

This recipe is perfect for picky's bright, colorful, and it has pasta in it :)  Tomatoes are naturally sweet and packed with nutrients.  If you have a really picky eater, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds on the inside.  That will make the texture less "slimy".  Don't forget to let your happy helpers help you make it :)

Summer Tomato Pasta

Serves  2-4, depending on how much you like the sound of slurping

The tomatoes, of course, are the point of this dish. If you have seriously sweet, ripe, juicy tomatoes, smelling as good as girls before the prom, they’re going to do all the work for you. But if your tomatoes aren’t fantastic, well, to be honest, I’d suggest finding a different recipe for dinner.

2 ½ pounds of the ripest tomatoes you can find (a mix of varieties is really nice)

2 handfuls of tender young arugula or flavorful greens of your choice (about 2 loose cups, but whatever)

Scant ¼ cup shaved red onion or shallot, as thin as you can cut it

1 pound spaghetti or linguine

Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Red wine vinegar, to taste (optional)

Parmigiano cheese, to taste

  1. Cut the tomatoes into ½-inch pieces or so, and place, with all their juices, in a large bowl. (Big enough to fit everything in the recipe, plus with lots of room to stir.) Season them generously with salt and pepper, and a millionaire’s splash or two of the nicest olive oil you have. Stir together, and give it a taste. If everything is sweet and lovely but could use just a little more brightness, splash in a little vinegar, too.

2. Bring a gallon of water to a boil, and add enough salt so that it tastes almost like the sea. Add the pasta and stir.

3.  While the pasta is cooking, lay the greens on top of the tomatoes, and then the onion or shallot slices. Try to arrange them so that they’re in one even layer, so that when you pile the pasta on, the heat will take the raw edge off the onion, and gently wilt the greens underneath. Ingenious, no?

4.  When the pasta is cooked to a perfect al dente, drain it and dump it in the bowl. Now wait! Don’t touch it for two minutes. While you’re waiting, you can grate on the cheese, or, if you really want to get sexy, shave it on in long, thin ribbons that will melt into chewy strands. After two minutes, get in there and give it all a serious stir; the starch from the pasta actually helps to emulsify the oil into the tomato juices, creating a sauce. Taste it, adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, olive oil, or vinegar, and serve right away. You’ve waited long enough!

If you would like to view the whole article and recipe here is the link:
Coloring on Counter
There is a childrens song that goes "I'm a happy helper, show me what to do...I'm a happy helper, I like helping you!"

Your kids want nothing more than your attention
, positive or negative it really does not matter to them.  If you've ever tried to cook dinner while one child was screaming, and the other clung to your leg this is why they are behaving this way.  As they see it, their job is to get you to stop doing what you are doing and pay attention to them. 

The good news is there is a way to make everyone happy!  Pull up a stool, chair, whatever and let them be involved in the process.  Let them stir, peel, smell, taste, watch.  Let them set the table, figure out how many forks, spoons, napkins they need to put out.  Let them plate the food. 

If you are wondering about the photo, sometimes my 2 year old is not interested in helping right away.  To keep her included, I let her color on the counter (I'm right next to her chopping veggies, just in case you were concerned :) ). It only lasts for a few minutes then she is sampling the food and helping to stir! 

It's important for so many reasons to include your children in the cooking process.  The first is that children are more apt to eat healthier options if they feel like they are part of the meal.  The second, is it makes them feel special because you are including them in a "grown-up" activity.  The third, is you will all feel closer to each other as a family.  Families that cook and eat together, stay together. 

Try it tonight!

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