Sharing 13 Facts and Tidbits {and an Italian Pasta Salad Recipe!}

Italian Pasta Salad with Asparagus



I know I have some new readers out there, so today I decided to share 13 facts and tidbits about myself so that you can get to know the “voice” behind the blog posts and recipes.  When you’re done reading, I’d love if you left a comment sharing one thing about yourself!  It’s always fun to find out who’s out there, and I love connecting with you all.


And if you’re just here for the recipe and not the fun facts, that’s OK!  Feel free to scroll down and you’ll find an AMAZING recipe for Italian Pasta Salad.  I added a spring spin to it by including chopped asparagus.  Additionally, it’s made with Banza chickpea pasta.  You can use regular pasta or any other version of pasta that you want.  What I loooove about Banza chickpea pasta is that it’s high in protein and fiber, in addition to several other nutrients that you may not necessarily get from regular pasta (especially if it’s white refined pasta).  It’s also gluten-free, so a great option for anyone who isn’t able to eat gluten.


13 Facts and Tidbits About Me! 

I was born & raised in Minnesota – I grew up in Cottage Grove, MN and now live in St. Paul.  However, I went to college and completed my dietetic internship in Wisconsin, where I lived for 5 years.  Although there are some things I don’t love about the Midwest (i.e. snow in April), I can’t imagine living anywhere else!


I’m engaged to the man (Joe) I have been dating since I was 15 years old!  Yes, we have been together for almost 12 years, and within those 12 years we made it through 5 years long distance while going to separate colleges in different states!  Our wedding is in October and we couldn’t be more excited to finally make it official.


I didn’t play sports as a child or teenager – I just had no interest in them.  For this reason, I am not the most athletic person in the world, but I LOVE being active!  I workout on the regular doing things that I enjoy, which includes a variety of different activities from Daily Burn workout videos, to running, to doing yoga, to lifting free weights, to walking my dog.


Speaking of my dog – Joe and I have a corgi named Winston.  He’s almost 4 and is the cutest, cuddliest, best little pup I could ever ask for!


I have two siblings: one brother who is 3 years younger than me, and a half-sister who is 9 years older than me.


I was extremely shy when I was a child.  Like, to the point that I wouldn’t talk to ANYONE except for my parents until age 8.  My doctors & teachers actually thought I was mute.  I grew out of it at some point, thank goodness, but I still have lots of introverted qualities that will always be a part of me!


I really didn’t have a huge interest in cooking until I was in my dietetic internship.  Living in a new city and knowing close to no one is what influenced me to pick up a new hobby, which ended up being cooking.  I purchased Diane Sanfillipo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and fell in love with the kitchen.  Ever since then, I’ve loved experimenting with trying new recipes and even coming up with my own (obviously).


I am a worrier and naturally a pretty anxious person, which are struggles I’m constantly working on managing.


In case you haven’t already figured this out, I am a Registered Dietitian!  I currently work full-time for a non-profit meal delivery program called Open Arms of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where I plan menus and provide medical nutrition therapy to individuals living with chronic illnesses.  I’ve been there for a little over 2 years now.  Before I worked there, I worked for a corporate wellness company and a pharmaceutical company where I gained experience with health coaching & clinical nutrition.


My family has a cabin up in Grand Rapids, a town in northern Minnesota.  Although I’m not able to get up there nearly enough, that place holds so many wonderful memories & is my favorite place in the world!


I LOVE TO READ!  Mostly fiction books, but I also like to nerd out and read informative nutrition books as well as self-improvement books.  Currently reading: In a Cottage in a Wood (a creepy mystery).


My favorite thing to do in the Twin Cities is explore the foodie scene – I love trying new restaurants!  I also looooove hanging out with friends in cozy coffee shops and brewery hopping.


My favorite healthy foods (at the moment) include roasted vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes are my go-tos), guacamole, fried eggs and cashews.  My favorite “non-healthy” food is HANDS-DOWN ice cream.


Now let’s make some pasta salad! 


Italian Pasta Salad with Asparagus

  • 2½ cups pasta, dry (I used Banza chickpea pasta, but you can use whatever kind you would like!)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped (about 2½ cups)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (melted) or olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Black pepper and salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 1 can sliced black olives (I used the 3.8 oz one from Trader Joe's)
  • Drizzle with olive oil

  1. Start by cooking your pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the asparagus. You'll use a medium pan to cook it along with the melted butter.
  3. After 1-2 minutes of cooking the asparagus, add the minced garlic, halved grape tomatoes, black pepper and salt to the pan. Cook until the asparagus is tender. Make sure to stir the mixture every couple of minutes.
  4. When your veggies and pasta are done, mix them together in a medium bowl. Allow the salad to cool.
  5. Once cooled, add the black olives and feta cheese to the mixture.
  6. Drizzle your desired amount of olive oil over the salad, and mix well again.
  7. Enjoy!




St Paul Minnesota Registered Dietitian




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