Easy Tomato Basil Pasta

Everyone has their go-to easy foods they eat when they’re feeling too lazy or uncreative to make something else. I know a lot of people are big on cereal or sandwiches.. I’m not. I don’t eat cereal or lunchmeat if I can help it and I really never have bread in the house anyways. I’m weird, whatever. For me, it’s pasta. Over time the recipe I use evolves, and it’s always a little different based on what I have in the house– but this is my basic lazy-day 20 minute pasta.

With no further ado, the goods:
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Pasta, EVOO, romano cheese, tomato, basil, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. It sounds like a lot but this is stuff most people have lying around everyday anyways (except maybe the basil).

First, boil your pasta, drain it, and return it to the pan (I like to mix everything together in the hot pan so it stays hot and gets kind of melty). I use Barilla Plus because it’s a bit healthier than normal pasta and I think it tastes really good. This is 1/2 cup dry pasta. It might not seem like a lot, but to me pasta isn’t really about the pasta, its just a toppings delivery device.
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I like to add in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and spices next. I use just over 1/2 Tbspn of EVOO, a and a few dashes each of salt, italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Then I lay on fresh ground pepper pretty thick. I like to add this stuff first so it gets first crack at sticking to the pasta.
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Then throw in 1/4 cup of cheese. Romano is my favorite but you can use any italian cheese you have on hand. I’ve even been known to cut up string cheese and throw it in there if I didn’t have anything else.
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And last but certainly not least, 1 tomato diced and 8 basil leaves julienned. Have I mentioned I love fresh basil? Love love love.
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And there it is. Fresh, easy, healthy, and fast. My go-to lunch or dinner whenever I can’t think of anything else to make! Isn’t it pretty? And once you get everything in there it really bulks up to a hearty portion for lunch.
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Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry Barilla Plus Pasta
2/3 tbsn Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Romano or other italian cheese
1 tomato diced
8 leaves fresh basil
salt
pepper
italian seasoning
red pepper flakes

Nutrition:
This recipe makes 1 serving. There are about 415 calories and 14 grams of fat. 7 of the grams of fat are from the EVOO, though, and are “heart healthy.” To reduce the fat, reduce or eliminate the cheese (which accounts for 5 grams of fat).

Tagged!

The lovely, and ever-inspiring, Mrs. B tagged me and so, here I go!

The Rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention & add one more question of your own.

2. Tag eight other people. (yea ummm I don’t know 8 blog people who actually read my blog so I’m not going to tag anyone…. please leave me a comment if you decide to do this!)

What is your current obsession? Vacation! Headed to sunny Mexico in October and I’m already counting the days.

What are you wearing today? Was wearing grey dress pants and a pink silk shirt… now wearing pjs (love pjs!)

What’s for dinner? Oh boy… I got called out. Went to Champps tonight and had the mile high nachos. Sooo bad. But oooooh so good. Just kind of worth it ya know?

What’s the last thing you bought? Antibiotics, cranberry juice, and sunscreen. Yea I know how to live.

What are you listening to right now? Tivo’d CSI

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? A spa for a nice hour long massage.

Which language do you want to learn? Spanish. Might be necessary in another few years!

What do you love most about where you currently live? That it is walking distance to several friends houses.

What is your favorite color? Depends on the day. I’m partial to Blue, Green, and Purple though.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? Hmmmm other than pjs I guess? I guess my Eddie Bauer jeans. They were on clearance for $20 but they are so cute, fit perfectly, and make my butt look awesome.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? Put it towards a camera lens. Yep towards one. Damn expensive lenses.

What are you going to do after this? Try to figure out how the heck to get a photo website up and running.

Your favorite smell? Fresh Gardenias

Do you collect anything? No. Once upon a time I collected smashed pennies though. And trolls.

What makes you follow a blog? Proper grammar, frequent updating (I suck at that), some kind of humor.

Who do you admire? My parents for being happily married for 33 years. My grandparents for being married happily for almost 50 years before my grandpa passed. Obama for kicking serious ass and staying classy.

What’s one thing you dream of doing? Getting my nursing license and spending a year in Africa at a refugee camp (yea… I’ll probably just end up taking a few weeks vacation there)

What is your biggest regret? I don’t believe in regret really… I’ve made mistakes but if I didn’t make them who knows where I’d be right now.. and where I am right now is pretty okay!

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? When I lived at home we had a big covered porch, I loved to go lay on the porch swing and watch the storm. Here, I just like to nap.

Do you have a tattoo? No! I have wanted one since I was 16 but I am such a commitment phobe! I can never think of something I love enough to commit to. But– when I meet my goal weight I AM making a decision and getting one.

What are your favorite books? A Midsummer Nights Dream (if plays count). The Giver. 1984. Also– I love trashy murder mysteries (especially Iris Johansen)

Are you left handed, right handed, ambidextrous, or a little of both? Right.

Are you a big fan of memes? Sure.

What’s your biggest fear? Death in general for me or anyone I love. (Specifically: Cancer)

What is your dream job? Self-employed photographer

Who is your celebrity crush? Jake Gyllenhaal

Garden’s Growin’

So how is my garden you ask? (or didn’t… but whatever). Really well! I tried my hand at gardening last year for the first time and ummm apparently if you plant veggies in pots and then completely ignore them for 3 months, they just die? Live and learn.

This year I was dedicated. I planted the tomatoes in the actual ground, and I’ve even been watering!

Okay so it may not look like much… A plum tomato, big boy tomato, and yellow tomato plant here…
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Another little plum over here…
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And my basil and peas in the containers
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I tried cilantro and peppers as well… but they died 😦

But look at how pretty my basil is!! I see pesto in my future (as soon as I get around to buying a food processor, that is):
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And so many tomatoes on the way… get red (and yellow) soon please!
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Just today I got this from my peas and I’m not at all ashamed to say, they never made it to the fridge. A quick rinse and they became a pre-dinner snack. Snap peas are by far my favorite vegetable. Unless tomatoes are a vegetable, then I might have to reconsider… but I never know… tomatoes- veg or fruit??
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Stew likes my garden too. We’ve only had one “incident” on the tomato plants, quickly remedied by hose, and I’d say that’s pretty damn good for our first year gardening together.
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Father’s Day

I’m really no good at the sentimental stuff so I usually just avoid it… but I have a little time so I thought I’d check in and post about this weekend.

I went home for Father’s Day and had a really great weekend. My dad has a lot of hobbies, but he pretty much buys what he needs so I can never think of a good gift. Instead, I often just plan a dad/daughter date. I only see my parents maybe 5-10 times/year now and usually when I go home I spend most of my time with my mom. It’s not really planned that way but its just the way it works out because my dad is always so busy and my mom really likes shopping. So, the one or two times per year that I get to hang with my dad alone are really fun.

I hesitate to say I’m a “daddy’s girl” because I get along great with my mom and talk to her every day… but I am definitely a chip off the ol’ block, as they say. My dad and I have very similar personalities: logical, rational, and stubborn. I remember one time when (for some reason I cant remember) we began talking about how much the window in the car was cracked. I said two inches, he said one. He got out his ruler (he carries it everywhere) and measured. My mom and B were in the backseat groaning– but we had to know who was right (it was him). He taught me how to use a compass, how to canoe, how to take and develop photos. He also taught me what it means to be a good husband and father. He is responsible for the high standards I hold for the men in my life. He’s also the one I call still when I have a question about taxes, cars, home repair, or tattoos.

So, this weekend I went home to wish him a happy father’s day. We took his motorcycle out to some art galleries and had dinner at his favorite bar. We then rode over to a blues/art/wine tasting festival. We sampled LOTS of wines, bought a few bottles, and listened to some great music. It was a really fun night, almost perfect weather, and a great time to be out on the bike.

My parents also told me this weekend that they’ll be moving to my city in a few years when the housing market turns around enough to make a profit on their house. With my brother and I here and settled, they think it’s time to move. That’s a huge thing from them because they were both born and raised less than 10 miles from where they currently live. All of our family is up in that area still, and they don’t know anyone here but us. But– I’m excited about it. By the time they move here I’ll most likely be married and in a house, and probably thinking about having a kid. Having my parents in town makes me about 10x as likely to want to start a family of my own. I grew up 3 houses away from my grandparents, so I can count on one hand the number of times my parents left us with a non-family babysitter. I always wondered what I would do if I had kids here? Who would watch them when I needed a break? Would I EVER get a break? with my parents near-by and my mom desperate for grandkids, I don’t think that a weekly date night would be nearly so hard to maintain.

So, that was my weekend. Fun, busy, and lots of time out in the sun.

You know what sucks?

Sitting in the ER waiting to be seen for a UTI.

Granted, this is not life threatening. I get that there is 1 doctor and there is a trauma and an arrest and other patients and I just have a little ol’ non-life-threatening infection. But as non-life-threatening stuff goes? UTI is the WORST.

But I must say— hospitals with wireless? +10

Hospitals with lounge chairs in the rooms they put you in? +10

Getting me into said little room in 5 minutes? + 40,000 (lets just hope that I’m not back here for 8 hours like last time I was in this very ER with an ex bf who thought he had mono… sigh.)

Great weekend & Babies

I’m hesitant to call anything perfect, but I had the best non-vacation weekend I’ve had in a really long time. Started off a bit hectic as Friday at work was cr-azy coupled with my trying to get B’s sister to the airport on time. Then my friend S called to tell me he got lost on the way to my place and would be about 2 hours late (despite the fact that he’s driven here about 15 times and it is less than 5 turns… but whatever). Usually I’d be annoyed but I was actually really happy that I had time to go home and clean up a little and get a shower before the festivities began.

When S finally got here we headed out for dinner with my jogging buddy, A. Red Robin– mmmm. I would LOVE for S and A to hook up. Two of my best friends in the world and they are so perfect for each other. Too bad A has a bf! After dinner we went to a going away party that one of my law school friends was having and then met some people at a local bar.

Now I’m not a bar person, at all. But this bar was actually really fun. Super cheap drinks, no obnoxious loud music, and plenty of places to sit. We headed back to A’s house (conveniently located 4 blocks from mine… I love living near friends!) for some drinking games, guitar playing, and passing out on couches.

All Saturday morning S and I basically napped and after he left I got ready for my “date” with B. We’ve both spent way too much money lately so I made pasta and we watched Back to the Future. My idea of a perfect night! Sunday morning we headed out to jog and I actually outran Stew… pretty cool that I have more stamina than my dog now– not that it’s entirely fair because his legs are only like 4 inches long but whatever.

In entirely unrelated news, I’m feeling somewhat surrounded by babies lately! I feel like half the blogs I read people recently had babies and I got an email today that one of my friends is pregnant. I’m not exactly a kid person… in fact I won’t even hold babies when other people have them. Generally I find them too sticky and loud and I never ever wanted my own.

Then came B who wanted 2 kids, a girl and a boy. Over the course of our relationship I’d subtlely point out all the awesome things about NOT having kids and he’d point out the things he liked about the idea. And somewhere along the line, we convinced each other! Well, kind of. He’s leaning towards a “no” on the kids issue and I’m leaning towards a “yes.” Apparently we just can’t get it right. But, something tells me that when the time comes we’ll find some sort of medium (can you “kind of” have a kid? no? well I guess we’re just screwed then). This convo happened last night (we know how to do pillow talk, clearly):

B: *says something anti baby*
L: what if I want a baby some day?
B: But—- they’re loud! And we couldn’t go on vacation anymore! and we wouldn’t be US anymore!
L: Oh I’m going on vacation. I have parents to dump the kids with. Plus, you’re probably going to die first and I want someone to keep me company
B: I am NOT going to die first. And even if I did, by the time we’re old they’ll have robots that you can buy that will keep you company so you won’t be lonely.
L: Not really the same thing. I’ll be one of those sad old ladies who talks to store clerks too long because I’m desperate for some human interaction
B: Oh by that time there won’t be store clerks. It’ll be machines.
L: See?? I can’t even get a frickin cashier to talk to, I’ll need a kid.
B: Fiiiiiiiiiiiine. Maybe 1. Maybe.
L: **the look**
B: Okay 1.
L: 1?? Only children are WEIRD. 2?
B: 1!
L: **the look**
B: *heavy sigh* Fine. 2. Maybe. But then I’m getting snipped no arguments.
L: No arguments.

He should really know by now that he’s not going to win these discussions….

And to wrap up this totally random post: I ran 21 min 33 seconds last night, woohoo!

Progress

So, I haven’t exactly been racing along the weight loss path. In a bit over 5 months I’ve lost a little more than 15 pounds. Good, but not great. Surprisingly, I’ve not yet given up. Usually I lose 10 pounds, get bored, and quit. This is the first time in years I’ve actually stayed on the (semi)healthy bandwagon for more than a couple of months.

Most exciting thing though: today I jogged 20 minutes! Without stopping! On April 1 I started this c25k jogging program and was really not sure I was going to make it through. I’m still not done yet– the ultimate goal is to run 30 minutes without stopping–but I’m doing better than I expected. I never thought that I would be able to just jog. And chat. And then keep jogging… for 20 whole minutes.

Every time I go out, I try to add 1 or 2 minutes to my time. If I keep this up, in just 2-3 weeks I should be jogging for 30 minutes straight! I think this is so exciting because I have always kind of sucked at health goals. School goals, career goals, cleaning goals, even personal goals– I kind of rock those. Health goals, not so much. I am not sure I have ever even really tried to meet one other than losing weight. So when I reach this, it’ll be pretty big. Stay tuned for celebration party invitations!