Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; Disqus_Import has a deprecated constructor in /var/www/wp-content/plugins/disqus-comments-importer/disqus-importer.php on line 36
Pre-Game Meal: Pasta and Simple Red Sauce | Nicki Woo - the Home Guru

Pre-Game Meal: Pasta and Simple Red Sauce

Today is Bella’s 9th Birthday.

And truth be told she’s a real sore loser.

That’s one of my favorite parts about her.
She has heart.
She plays HARD.
She works HARD.
No need to yell at her.
She’s already screaming at herself (or her teammate in her head).

But jeez Louise.
Sometimes I can’t stand the moping.

“Bella,” I say.
“Do you love softball?”
“Yes,” she says. “You know I do.”
“Then stop with all the moping.” I say.
“It’s just that. . .” And “It’s just that. . . .” she murmurs, pouting and kicking the dirt.

“I know. First place is better that second. But second place is great too. If you tried your hardest. . . .”

Eyes wide, she looks up.
Lips pursed.
Clearly pissed off.

“Look Bells. Your body is this vessel that carries all your energy. Good or Bad. And when you are in a good mood, excited, fierce, and ready to play ball, that vessel lights up like the sun. All bright yellow and glowing. The rays of light shoot out from you onto all your teammates. They feel the sun you have created shining on their faces, and they have no other choice but to glow too. To shine. And then y’all all play better. It’s true. Not my law. It’s the law of the universe.

But. . .when you get down, all droopy and sad, your shoulders slump, and everyone in the world can tell you’re mad because a ball got dropped or a throw wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. And when you don’t just shake it off. . . . .your light turns blue. Then gray. And then a fog cloud seeps from your every orifice and creeps onto the field and covers the eyes and the spirits of all your teammates . . . . and all they can see is darkness. Heaviness. They don’t even realize it. Because its a heavy haze. And it dulls everything and everyone around it. And guess what. Their level of play. . .down the tubes.

Bella. Be the yellow light.
The sun.
Shine bright.
It matters.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

When I speak like that, I’m not sure if she understands what I’m trying to say.


On your ninth birthday I just want to say.. . . . .
I love you.
You are perfect.
If I were a kid I’d want to be your very best friend . . . . .forever.
I thank God everyday that I get to be your Mommy.
You are exceptional.
You are strong.
You are the joy of my life.

Thank you for being my girl. You rock my world.

Mommy – XOXO

Pasta with Red Sauce
Adapted from Extra Virgin

As I’m sure you surmised by this point. Bella plays A LOT of sports. And totes digs a homemade meal. Totes needs lots of carbs, veg, and energy food. I like to make this on Thursdays or Fridays before Softball Tournaments, to help get her through the lot of high paced games she’s up against. It’s a super fast cook, she loves it, and it’s great for storing up energy for the next day of intense play.


2 TB olive oil
1/2 red or yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
Dash of red pepper flakes
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 TB sugar
2 handfuls fresh basil, chopped**
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
Parmesan Cheese, grated

*PS – In some of the pics there is ground turkey. I add that sometimes for added protein. It’s yummy with, or without. If I don’t add turkey I use the Barilla high protein pasta. If you decide to use ground turkey as well, simple add it to the skillet after the onions have turned soft. Brown the ground meat, and then continue as directed:)

**PSS- The pics also don’t show the parmesan or the basil. I added it. I just forgot to take the pic. Be sure you add it too! It will make all the difference!


1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes longer.

2. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar and dash of salt and pepper . Cover partially and cook on low for 30 minutes. Add 1/2 of the basil and re-season with salt and pepper if necessary.

3. While the sauce is cooking, prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain.

4. Once the sauce is done cooking, add drained pasta, toss, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with remaining basil, drizzle a little more olive oil on top and serve.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email