Try to imagine your perfect day. Of course there’s a different “perfect” day depending on the circumstances; whether it is a weekend or a Wednesday, summer or winter. If it is a weekend, my perfect day simply must involve friends. But if it is a weekday, I am just as content with only me, the kitties, and Dave.
A perfect summer Wednesday would involve a late morning run on a not-too-hot day. I would make myself an ice-cold berry smoothie with spinach for breakfast, shower, and put on clothes that I think I feel I look quite pretty in. Then I’d go grocery shopping, nice and slow, taking time to meander through all the aisles and imagine how many dinner parties I might host had I the money.
I’d take myself out to lunch at a coffee shop, and I’d drink in a book next to my iced tea, until I felt small and wonderful at the same time. I’d come back and make a nice dinner for myself and Dave and we’d watch some funny show together that we’d miss most of from talking, and I would cuddle with the kitties while I ate a cup of frozen yogurt on the couch.
Of course, we can’t always have the luxury of days off. But when it nears winter, we must snatch at what little daylight we have and make the most of it. So yesterday I planned a perfect afternoon. When I got home from work, I put on yoga pants, my ‘I ❤ Warrior’s hoodie, a hat, and my tennis shoes, and I strapped my iPhone to my arm for a run. I also put on my sister Moriah’s gauntlets that I promise I will deliver to her on Thanksgiving.
Now, my perfect day doesn’t have to involve exercise. Believe me, I am just as lazy as the next person. I can plop myself down in front of the TV for four hours and quash any restlessness I might have with a bowl of pretzels. But most days, I feel more alive after I exercise, especially if it involves being outside, so it is usually part of my perfect day.
I ran a slow 11/2 miles on 15 minutes, then walked another half mile home.
After I finished and let myself get cold again, I made a Rosemary Mint bubble bath, poured myself a glass of wedding wine, and grabbed the cookbook my friends Dan and Em gave me for my birthday, Smitten Kitchen. I lost myself in the water, the warmth, and the wine. Oh, and the food. Oh man, that food.
After my bath, I put Norah Jones on my Pandora radio, washed dishes, and brainstormed what I could make for dinner. There was no food in the house, only ingredients to make food, so in an attempt to use some frozen mussels and the spinach noodles I bought at the Asian Market, I decided on pasta.
And because I don’t like dishes, I decided on:
One-Pan Pasta with Mussels
- 12 oz pasta (I used the 11.2 oz of spinach noodles, but spaghetti or linguine would work well)
- 4 1/2 cups of water
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 3 tbsp pesto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp capers
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 1/2 cups of water
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- 1 lb of cooked mussels
Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, pesto, and olive oil in a large skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes, until water is absorbed.
Stir in kalamata olives and capers. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook mussels. I bought a box of frozen mussels in tomato garlic sauce, which required only five minutes in a covered pot heating up on the stove.
If you have fresh mussels, by all means use them. But I love that we can keep frozen mussels on hand. And I was really impressed with this brand.
I topped my pasta with the mussels and shredded Parmesan, and it was awesome. I had always thought one-pot spaghetti could be construed as somewhat lazy, but the texture of the noodles was so creamy from not having been drained. I’m definitely going to make this again.
After dinner, I sat on the couch with my book, my wine, my cat Athena, and a piece of chocolate Dave brought home for me.
It was a pretty perfect evening.
Recipe inspired by: One-Pan Pasta