This past weekend we dropped our oldest son off at college where he will be a freshman. I never thought it would be as hard as it was. A few days before we left, a friend called and asked if I was sad, and I replied, “not really.” Well, I was dead wrong. I think between the jet-lag from our recent vacation, unpacking everything from that trip, and then packing up my son for college, I just didn’t have time to really think about what was to come.
Although I had counted down the days while we were on vacation, knowing that our time was short together as a family, I thought I had prepared myself for cutting the apron strings. Boy, was I wrong. The tears started flowing at dinner the night before the move-in to his dorm. Then more tears came in the car ride home, lying in bed that evening, and into the next day. It was so bad that when I bumped into a friend at the supermarket the following day, and she asked how everything had gone, my eyes watered up again.
Most moms that have had their kids go off to college know what I’m talking about. Have any of you had to go through this separation? A number of my friends reached out to me this week just to let me know that they knew exactly how I felt. I will be doing the same for friends who are dropping their kids off this coming weekend.
Although I am sad that our family dynamics will be forever changed, I am excited for my son who is entering a whole new phase in his young adult life. These next four years will be “the best years of his life,” as my husband always says…tons of freedom, loads of fun, no real responsibilities (other than going to class and keeping those grades up!). It will be a time to discover his interests and passions, grow and mature into a responsible young adult, and make long lasting friendships. Although my husband and I are only a text, email or phone call away, he will be making daily choices, good and bad, and learning from them.
Meanwhile, I have told my other three boys that we are in lock-down mode. No one else is allowed to leave home…especially after living 18 years with me. The older boys were quick to respond, “Oh, so I guess grades don’t matter anymore then, right? And who cares what classes we take or about studying.” Okay, maybe they can go away to college, but it must be nearby, not on the other side of the country.
Today, I am sharing my oldest son’s favorite pasta sauce recipe, endearingly called Tomato Paste Pasta. I made this a lot over the past month or so before he left for college so he could get his fill. I came across this recipe years ago when I was trying out kid-friendly pasta sauce recipes. This easy pasta recipe has stuck around for a long time. Over the years, I’ve added more tomato paste and a lot more garlic to the recipe, but the simplicity of this dish remains. In fact, when we travel, I often tuck a can of tomato paste, a box of pasta, a small bottle of olive oil and a bulb of garlic in my suitcase so that we don’t have to go shopping for our first meal upon landing at our destination.
So simple, just 4 ingredients – olive oil, tomato pasta, garlic, and pasta. Garnished with a little fresh basil, this easy pasta dish is a bowl of comfort.
|With just 4 ingredients, this is often our first meal on vacation.|
I know what I’ll be making when my son comes home next time. When I asked what he would miss most about home, he did say, “your cooking.” Awe…tears are coming again.
This recipe was submitted to August’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free Roundup, hosted by the lovely Shirley. Please take a moment to see what everyone else cooked up for the roundup.
Easy Tomato Paste Pasta Sauce
- 16 ounces gluten-free pasta or whole grain pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- fresh basil, cut into chiffonade (fancy for very thin strips)
- Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil and tomato paste over medium heat for one minute.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and cook 4-5 minutes to caramelize tomato paste and deepen the flavors. Do not burn.
- Add garlic and cook another minute until lightly browned.
- Add 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid to tomato paste sauce and stir well. Add a little more pasta cooking liquid if a thinner sauce is desired.
- Toss pasta with tomato sauce.
- Garnish with basil chiffonade.
- Serve immediately.