There is something about birthdays; isn't there? For some people it feels like one's personal Holiday, for others it is more like a reminder of getting older. Personally, for me, birthdays used to be a great day where it was all about chocolate cake and gifts. In the last ten years or so, birthdays became more of a nostalgic Holiday where, like in New Year's, it was more a time for self-reflection and new resolutions. Last week was my 34th birthday.
Around three years ago I went on a streak of bad luck on my birthday. On my 31st birthday, I went to the salon, got my hair and my nails done, and we were ready to try out a new restaurant in Chicago. I had everything ready, a new outfit, reservations and a sitter; we were ready to party. Well, that day, the sitter never showed up. As you can imagine, I was sad, emotional and on top of it all, pregnant with Joaquin. I needed a chocolate pick me up and Enrico immediately called my sister and brother in-law to bring the restaurant experience over to our place. That night, thanks to the CEO Deliveries, we were able to order out from Osteria Via Stato and I even got to eat an ice cream chocolate cake from the Dairy Queen. Birthday resolution for my 31st year of life: To have two or more sitters on my contact list.
On my 32nd birthday, I was already the mother of two beautiful children. On that day, I was ready to wake up my inner diva, who had been dormant for a while after my last pregnancy. That week I went out to shop for a fabulous dress and new boots. Thanks to places like Forever 21 and their fancier line, Twelve, I was able to find a beautiful dress for less than $50.00. I was happy, feeling sexy, young and ready to party. Instead of planning a birthday extravaganza, I told my friends that I wanted to go bar hoping around the Southport area. First, we were going to have dinner at Tango Sur, our favorite Argetinian restaurant in Chicago, and afterwards we were going to hit the trendiest bars in the Northside of Chicago. I was ecstatic. The day before my birthday, Lucia and Joaquin both got the stomach flu. Please, please, please, don't let it happen to me, was my one and only birthday wish that year; but of course, I got a severe stomach flu and I was forced to stay in bed. Birthday resolution for my 32nd year of life: Don't wait for a special occasion to have a good time with friends and hubby; get a sitter at least every three weeks to enjoy some adult time.
On my 33rd birthday, I was now forced to be a suburban person. I was depressed and missing all things Chicago. I didn't feel like celebrating and all I wanted to do was crawl back to bed and stay under the covers. I didn't want to think too much about my birthday, I just wanted it to end and get it over with. To my surprise, my wonderful husband invited our new Indy friends for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Obviously, I had no choice but to get out of bed, dress up and look presentable for our guests. That night we enjoyed a great home cooked dinner, chocolate cheesecake and a ton of red wine. I didn't want to accept it, but I actually had a really nice time. Birthday resolution for my 33rd year of life: Embrace change and make the best out your new suburban life.
As I mentioned before, last week was my 34th birthday and I was lucky to have family in town for a few days. The week before my birthday we got to celebrate Thanksgiving together and, the day of my birthday, I was so happy to have had such a wonderful family time, that I didn't really feel the need of going out to celebrate. I spent the day at home with Enrico, Rosi and the kids, ordered pizza, had a glass of wine and ate some cake. It was just perfect. That same week, I decided to have a small group of people over to celebrate a happy birthday so I went overboard with appetizers and food. I decided that this birthday was going to be all about thanking my friends; so I treated everyone with great food, music and sangria. It was the best of times. Birthday resolution for my 34th year of life: Spend more quality time with family and good friends that feel like family.
For today's recipe an easy and delicious tortellini and pesto salad; great for entertaining and definitely a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!
-2 packages of fresh tricolor tortellini
-8 oz. of your favorite pesto sauce (i.e.Buitoni Pesto with Basil)
-4 oz. toasted pine nuts
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
-Fresh basil leaves (for decoration)
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and shock them in a quick ice bath and drain again. Add pesto sauce. In a small skillet, toast pine nuts until golden (about two minutes on medium high; stirring constantly). Add pine nuts to pasta salad and toss in the cherry tomatoes. Decorate with fresh basil leaves. Place salad in a bed of spinach leaves. Serve cold. Buen provecho!