It’s Not Easy Being Green February 22, 2007


It’s not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold…
or something much more colorful like that.

It’s been a bit since I’ve been back at the blog. Work has been a little stressful. Boys have me feeling a bit more blue than green. I’ve spent more than one night hunkered down playing dominoes and having more wine and crackers than real food.

It’s not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ord’nary things.
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
or stars in the sky.

What I’m saying is…I haven’t been cooking. I haven’t had much inspiration – until tonight. We here in Atlanta finally are able to reap the benefits of Trader Joe’s. I happened into one after my AM run on Saturday and was in love instantly. Not only is the wine inexpensive and plentiful….but there was an abundance of interesting fresh and frozen products exclusive to Trader Joe’s. My most exciting purchase was a bag of flash frozen veggies called "Organic Greens with Envy" – a delicious blend of spinach, edamame, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus tips.

But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain,
or tall like a tree.

This is a great product to have on hand in the freezer. It made getting inspired for a healthy and simple pasta dish quite easy. I stir fried the veggies in a teensy bit of EVOO, minced garlic and red chili flakes. Once my pasta was done (I always use Dreamfields pasta at home for simple stuff like this), I tossed the warmed vegetables together with a tablespoon of prepared pesto. I topped the dish with some chopped green onions and shavings of Parmesan (i added the Parmesan after i took the photo of it – oops!). This dish was so tasty that I’m making a "recipe" out of it so you can make it from scratch – out of desire or lack of a Trader Joe’s – and be green, too.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.

Easy Green Pasta – makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 3/4 pound dried penne pasta
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled and blanched
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, cut into smallish pieces and blanched
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into smallish pieces and blanched
  • 2 cups asparagus tips and stalks, cut into smallish pieces and blanched
  • 4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • chopped green onions and Parmesan (optional as garnish)

– Prepare pasta according to directions. While your pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a medium skillet. Once hot, add garlic for 1 minute and then add spinach to wilt down. Once spinach is halfway cooked, add remaining blanched vegetables and red chili flakes. Sautee until veggie mixture is heated through.

– Drain pasta thoroughly and return to original pot. Pour vegetable mixture into pot with pasta and stir until totally mixed through. Add pesto and stir until the pasta and veggies are completely coated.

– Dish into servings and top with chopped green onions and fresh grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.


peabody Feb 23, 2007 02:02 am

Boys can make you feel blue…but if you make this for them maybe they wont be so stinky. :)

janelle Feb 23, 2007 04:02 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Trader Joes. Seriously, the place is a life changer. They have great choices and their selection is ever-evolving. Fabulous prices, sizes, ideas… I am in love! Congrats!
I regularly sautee edamame (among other things) from there:
Staying with the green!

kelly Feb 23, 2007 05:02 pm

Im from the atlanta area too, and I love having Trader joes! Do you get dreamfields at TJ’s? I have never looked for it there before.

Merisi Feb 24, 2007 12:02 am

Trader Joe’s! My favorite store back home in Washington, DC (well, “mine” is located in Bethesda, MD, at the DC border, though). Your pasta dish reads and looks very tempting. Have you ever tried the Italian kind of broccoli, “rapini”, with oriecchette (Trader Joe’s sells them), garlic, hot pepper flakes and hard salted ricotta cheese grated over it?

Susan from Food "Blogga" Feb 24, 2007 02:02 pm

I go to Trader Joe’s waaay too often! It’s such a great store. Your dish just looks like spring.

Terry B Feb 28, 2007 03:02 pm

Isn’t Trader Joe’s fabulous?
Regarding olive oil, I try to keep the extra virgin for salad dressings and such and just use regular olive oil for cooking. Not only does it have a higher smoke point, but its taste is a little more neutral, letting the food flavors come through more.

joey Mar 2, 2007 02:03 am

That pasta looks delicious! I am notorious for my unhealthy eating habits but I love pastas that have veggies…this looks great :) Wish I had those little veggies packs here…

Chris Mar 2, 2007 08:03 pm

I am new to your blog and wanted to say hello, since I live (near) Atlanta as well. Originally from Boston I have been craving TJs for years and years. How excited was I when they finally opened here!?!?!
Your green penne looks dee-lish! This is a must try -but maybe with whole wheat pasta?

seo services May 14, 2010 01:05 am

This article simply ROCKS ! That was a great read for me. keep it up with all the good work..