Posted in daily, Entertaining

Entertaining: Birthday Game Night, Italian Style

So someone around here is celebrating a birthday this week.

Spoiler alert: It’s me.

Tomorrow I turn 40 years old. How in the crap is that even possible? It feels like just yesterday I was in middle school, high school, graduating from college, buying my house. Even though I am 40, I don’t feel like I’ve aged much. Sure, I definitely look older than I did when I moved to the Lehigh Valley, but I feel as if I’m still figuring things out. I see friends my age and people I attended high school with on Facebook talking about their kids going to middle school or high school, and most days I don’t even feel responsible enough to have two cats. Adult Level: I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.

Looking back on my life, there are many things I’ve missed the boat on: a “normal” college experience, finding my life’s true calling, a rewarding and fulfilling career, marriage, kids…you get the picture. I don’t really feel like my life is missing anything, but to know that I’m sort of at my midway point and haven’t accomplished as much as many of my peers, I feel…I suppose inadequate is one way to put it? Only sometimes. Other times I’m damn proud of the things I’ve done and who I am.

But I’m not trying to live my life in comparison to others. I’m not that insane. And when the hell did this post get so deep?

Right. Anyway, birthday! We celebrated Friday night with food, beverages, and our usual game of Cards Against Humanity.

Because we’re terrible people. 

Since a couple of my friends were scheduled to run in a marathon this weekend I figured they would want to carb-load to prepare (or whatever it is those runner types do), and I was in the mood for Italian, so pasta was the perfect choice. I made this recipe for a penne with vodka sauce that I saw on Barefoot Contessa a couple weeks back. I have my own version of penne with vodka, but the way this sauce was made intrigued me – cook the onions and garlic, add one cup of vodka (dang, Ina) and cook down, add crushed tomatoes, then roast the sauce in the oven for 90 minutes before adding the cream and pasta. It was pretty damn tasty, but I honestly don’t know if the additional roasting time made that much difference in the end.

I wouldn’t not make it again, I just don’t know if I would go to all that trouble every time I want penne with vodka sauce.

In addition to the mountain of pasta I made (because of course I doubled that recipe, because my mother and her mother and her mother’s mother would disown me if I didn’t cook for double the amount of people I was hosting), I served a simple garlic bread (roast a whole head of garlic in the oven, blend with softened butter, add parmesan cheese/salt/pepper, spread on bread, bake until crispy)…

and a caprese salad with store made pesto instead of the normal fresh basil. Seriously, if you don’t have a ton of homegrown basil at your disposal, get the pesto from the Mediterranean bar at Wegmans. It’s totally banging.

A squeeze of bottled balsamic vinegar glaze makes it perfect.

To finish off the meal I baked an Italian cream cake and I’d go into detail but this beauty totally deserves a post of its own.

Perhaps tomorrow. Look at that, it’s my birthday, and you’re getting the gifts!


Hi, I'm Jenn and welcome to my half-assed food blog. Here I share some recipes, lots of drinks, and talk about feeding my friends. Hope you enjoy.

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