M's Rotini Brushetta with Mushrooms & Roasted Veggies

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Miss M is my carbohydrate girl. I swear she could live off bread, pasta, and sugar alone. One of our favorite things to eat together is a nice crusty loaf of french bread with a plate of quality extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly cracked pepper for dipping. Yum. In an effort to turn the flavors of our favorite Italian snack into a more well balanced meal, I created this for her.

Side Story:
Sweet's came home from his Rockies adventure today! There's my handsome mountain man, below on the left. I hadn't seen him for 5 days so we met for a rather large and late lunch at our favorite Indian joint, followed by a Chai Latte and much catching up. We were super excited to learn that there were quite a few Vegan options to choose from where we went.

Eating out was really my biggest hang up when trying to decide whether or not to commit to a Season of Vegan. It 's one of our favorite things to do together, and unfortunately our town of Lincoln Nebraska, located smack dab in the middle of corn and beef land, doesn't exactly cater to this sort lifestyle.

Sweet's said that in Denver, where he just returned from vacation, almost every restaurant he ate at had Vegan options listed on the menu.... ahhhh, wishful thinking. No worries here though, we're just going to have to get used to looking at menus in a whole different way. Overall though, I am LOVING our new way of eating. I'm 9 days in so far and these are the things that I am noticing:

* more energy *my skin has cleared significantly *my pants are lose *all cravings have disappeared *digestion is working better *my taste & smell is more sensitive *my winter blues brain fog has lifted * having SO much fun cooking new things with Miss M and Sweets!

Totally worth a few restaurant inconveniences!

Anyhoo... I was going somewhere with this story (i think). oh yeah....

Late lunch = belly still full of curry and chai at supper time, so I didn't partake in this meal.  I instead joined M at the dinner table for a cup of coffee and chit-chat while she ate her Brushetta Rotini.

For Rotini Brushetta with Mushrooms you will need:

~ Saute' 1/2 C finely diced sweet onion and 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender. Add 1/2 lb sliced baby bellas and cook until liquids begin releasing. 

~ Add 1 large can of plum tomatoes, a bay leaf, a palmful of dried oregano, 2 palmfuls of dried basil, 1/2 T balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp brown sugar, and S&P to taste. 

~ Cook over medium heat until tomatoes begin breaking easily with your spoon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over whole wheat rotini.

I made up some roasted asparagus and cauliflower to go with this (M's favorite veggies) If you've never roasted veggies before, I highly recommend! It brings out so much flavor and sweetness in the veggies. 
I almost always roast at 400 degrees in the oven, and it couldn't be simpler. Drizzle some olive oil over the veggies, S&P generously, and in this case I sprinkled some basil over the top as well. I roasted the cauliflower for 20 minutes than added the asparagus for the last 10 minutes (M likes her asparagus to be slightly crispy still) 

For more ideas on what to do with roasted vegetables, check out my recipes for a Roasted Veggie Wrap (my first ever Earthfood Experiment!), roasted veggie lasagna, or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (you'll have to forgive my photography skills on these... I'm still not great, but getting better I hope!)

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