Many of my favorite hosting memories are the low-key, unplanned ones. Like the times when we have friends over to workout and they end up staying for a long chat over post-workout smoothies. Or the nights when I end up making more food than Brett and I could ever eat by ourselves and a hungry friend happens to be near by to help us eat it all. Or the afternoons when a friend has some free time and can come enjoy a warm drink and some good conversation on the couch.
I’ve always wanted my house to be a place where people know they can just “stop in” and we’ll be happy to see them. I want our house to be a safe place where people feel like their can be their true selves, quirks and all. It especially makes my heart so happy to have people into my house for a meal. There’s something about spending time with other people over a meal that really allows you to get to know them. You’re not staring at a screen. You’re not cramming in a few words during a work break. You’re not as distracted as you would be if you were eating at a restaurant. You just get to spend some uninterrupted time conversing, usually after a long day, and enjoying some delicious (and if you’re in my house, plant-based) food together.
When it comes to meal-time conversations, I’ve always been the “question asker.” I’ve never enjoyed being in the spot light and I love getting to know people and hear their stories. When you combine both of those traits, you get a girl that may ask you questions like, “Are you more like your Mom or your Dad and why?” “What were you like when you were a kid?” “What do you enjoy doing during your free time?” I just love how we’re all created differently. We can learn so much for other people, their interests and personalities. How fun!
This seemingly random train of thought really does have an origin. I was thinking about all of these things, because we happened to have a random dinner guest the night I prepared this Simple Marinara Sauce. I had just enough to serve Brett and I and our guest and our friend kept raving about this sauce. It’s so simple to make, but that doesn’t mean it lacks favor. Quite the opposite! Fresh tomatoes gives this Simple Marinara Sauce a sweet tanginess and tomato paste and spices add richness and depth of flavor. I put this sauce over some zucchini noodles and the guys had it with spaghetti. For an even heartier meal, add in some sautéed mushrooms and shredded carrot for a meatless-ragu-type sauce or use it as the sauce in some homemade lasagna.
Let me know if you give this recipe a go! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag #theconscientiouseater so I can see what you come up with!
- ⅔ red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 large tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- Pepper and salt to taste
- Saute the onion and garlic in water until the onion is soft.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and bay leaf and allow everything to simmer until the fresh tomatoes cook down and the sauce thickens.
- Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve over warm pasta or zucchini noodles.