Sunday, August 2, 2009

learning to un-plan

IMG_3986 Last night was a wonderful example of good things that can happen when I don’t plan all the time!  Chris invited his dad and step mom over for dinner last night.  We were going to try to make some seared tuna that his step mom had given to us, but it wasn’t even close to being defrosted since we took it out of the freezer too late.  Ok, move to plan B. . . 

I made some lemony tofu pesto pasta the night before on Friday thinking I was going to take it over to a friend’s house for a little pot luck.  Chris ended up getting home pretty late from a meeting, and their house was all the way across town, so I decided to skip it to be able to wake for the gym the next morning (I hadn’t made it to the gym all week so I was getting a little antsy and felt the need). 

So . . . I thought I’ll just heat up that pesto pasta and pair it with some balsamic marinated chicken for tonight!  ‘That will work, but I don’t really have any other stuff, what if they won’t like it that much?  It has tomatoes in it and Chris’ dad hates tomatoes.’  Then Chris invited two other friends to come over last minute.  ‘Wait!  I haven’t planned for this, I need to have things all situated, more appetizers, need to clean, do wash, aaaaahhh!’  This was my inner self talking and feeling a bit out of the comfort zone lol  But I humbly agreed and hoped we would have enough food and the day old pasta would be ‘good’ enough for my guests.  I want them to really enjoy my food and come back! 

Turns out the dinner party went pretty darn well!  I mean the pasta wasn’t perfect, got a little cold and was slightly not as bright green as the day before, but it tasted pretty darn good.  That’s all that mostly matters, right?  Chris BBQ’d the chicken and it was a little chewy, but it was still pretty tasty.  I had other munchies like cheese and crackers, along with pretzels and nuts, but I think people secretly wanted to have a little more food.  I should have made something like a salad, but we ended up making smores and having some vanilla ice cream with a drizzling of cabernet (you have to try this!), so that worked out.  Who doesn’t like a little dessert?  Sorry no picture :(

We ended up going through 4 bottles of wine!!  And everything’s better with a little wine, right?  lol  We also played a fun game of Cranium into the night.  I love this game, but I am terrible at it lol

Overall success!  Should I have worried so much about not having everything perfectly mapped out?  No, it’s really not that big of a deal, but you know that is something that I’m working on and when something like this happens on a whim it moves me forward in the right direction :)  It’s weird because sometimes I will just do things spontaneously that I normally wouldn’t and it’s really cool, but other times I think about it too much and that’s when I get into a funk.  I say just go for it, whatever it may be!

Home Goods is the best for fun, cheap serving bowls and all kinds of other stuff for the home . . .


So here is the recipe for lemony tofu pesto pasta.  It’s a great dish for at least 6 people as a side.  And hey, it’s even not bad the next day!  It won’t be as bright green, but it’s pretty darn tasty in my opinion :)


This time around, in addition to the version above . . .

  • I used two lemons because the ones I had were pretty small
  • added 1/2 an avocado to the sauce to make it extra luscious. 
  • cubed some fontina cheese to add in at the end to get slightly melt-y
  • instead of home made linguini, I used boxed farfalle pasta, and you can use any kind you like really 
  • I had about 1/2 cup of pesto leftover to use in other things like sandwiches, yum!


For the chicken I used a really simple, but flavorful balsamic marinade that gets really sweet and slightly tangy.  In a bag, along with about 1.25 pounds of chicken breasts, you add:

  • balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and that’s it! 
  • You can also reserve the marinade, reduce it down slowly and baste the chicken with it and serve it on the side as a drizzle sauce. 

So I say let’s not plan for once, just go out there and do anything spontaneous!  Who’s with me?

What have you done today that was spontaneous and fun?



allijag said...

omg that pasta looks amazing! my tummy is growling as i type!

Anonymous said...

That pasta looks delicous!

And--I LOVE Cranium!

Gina said...

Isn't is great how sometimes not planning works better than planning!!?? I've noticed that before. Your dinner sounds like it went just fine, and who doesn't like bbq chicken?! I'll have to give the cabernet/ice cream a try. I've seen people do Guinness and ice cream (GROSS), but never wine! It sounds yummy.

Today I spontaneously went shoe shopping with Nick, in the middle of my day. He was shocked when he asked me to come and I said, "ok!".

Emily said...

Your pasta looks great! The photo is so pretty.

I'm glad you were able to pull off a great dinner, even if it was unplanned (I'm really bad about being spontaneous, too).

Chow and Chatter said...

looks great I am just like you and would have panicked inside also lol

kristen :) said...

Thanks you guys! Just love getting your comments :)

Gina - I like wine and ice cream much better than beer and ice cream for some reason :) Get any good shoes??

Astra Libris said...

Hooray for spontaneous successes! :-) Hooray for YOU for riding the waive of spontaneity so beautifully! You are an inspiration, truly! I am so grateful to you for writing about your experiences balancing planning and spontaneity...

Your tofu pesto sounds every bit as heavenly as your pesto that we love love love in your gorgeous stuffed peppers! The other day I fixed some of the quinoa stuffing again to serve as a quinoa salad - so yum! You rock, girl! :-)

Astra Libris said...

P.S. Oh yes, and I baked muffins spontaneously today! :-) Hooray! :-)

Peanut Butter Swirl said...

your so quick on your feet to come up with a delicious combination!!

What kind of bow tie pasta did you use? It looks fab!

Gina said...

Kristen, in order to get a picture up with your title you just go to "customize" and click on your title where is says "edit". Then it allows you to upload any picture you would like. You may have to crop your picture to make it smaller because at first the picture will be reallllly big! I had to play around a while with the sizes. Good luck, let me know if you have any questions!

Tiffany! Van said...

Aw man, your post made me realize that I have not done anything spontaneous and fun lately! Don't you always end up having the best time with unplanned events? Haha, I am in such a rut. I am lucky enough to be going to Seattle, Washington in a few days though.

That pasta looks so good! The last time I ate pasta was in February for Valentines =(

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty-shaped pasta! And it's GREEN! I love it already! cAn't wait to TASTE it though!

kristen :) said...

Astra Libris - loved your spontaneous muffins!

Peanut Butter Swirl - thanks, I used farfalle from TJ's :)

Thanks Gina, I'll give it a try

Tiffany! Van - sure hope you have fun in Washington! yay!

burpandslurp - thanks, coming from the master culinary mixologist I'm honored girl!

Thinspired said...

Wow, what a beautiful dish! It looks like it took lots of planning ;) I think I need to learn to un-plan sometimes, too! It looks like it has some positive consequences ;)

Michal said...

Your lemony tofu pasta looks dee-lish! What have i done today that spontaneous? Well nothing so far because its only 10:30. Actually i havent had any real fun in a while... tonight im going to a swim party though so i hope thats fun :) Ill try to be more spontaneous