Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Red Pepper and TomatoI have a news flash for you…life with a one year old is pretty freaking chaotic. Pick me up, put me down, catch me, chase me up the stairs, read me a book, let’s play picnic, BANANA! Put that on a loop and repeat at 90 second intervals throughout the day.  This can’t possibly continue indefinitely, can it?  Because just typing that sentence makes me feel manic AND exhausted.

In my house there are two barometers that show the current level of crazy.  The toys scattered around every inch of floor space don’t count because that’s just a given.  No, I’m talking about the dining room table and the refrigerator.

When the surface of the table is no longer visible because of the mail, receipts, grocery bags, boxes and cans of food that didn’t get put away, daily reports from daycare, lunch bags, the Sunday Post, and god only knows what else, it makes me twitchy.  The longer the mess sits around, the more anxious I get, until finally I go through it grumbling and cursing the whole time about people not cleaning up after themselves.  Naturally then, the majority of the crap on the table turns out to be mine.  So I could save myself a whole lot of time and aggravation by either not letting the table deteriorate into a DEFCON 1 situation or by choosing to ignore it.

Likewise, peeking into the fridge will give you a pretty accurate assessment of my mental state even if I’m faking it with the dining room table organization.  Is the fridge relatively clean?  Then all is well…or as well as it can be.  Is the fridge disorganized and maybe a wee bit crowded? This tells you that I am being hijacked by my toddler to entertain her.  This may or may not include viewing episodes of Peppa Pig and hosting spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen . Does my fridge have an unidentified funk that haunts your senses?  Then simply close the door and run because the person having a nuclear meltdown in the corner is not my child, it is me.  Little Miss won’t take a nap and refuses to drink milk from anything but a bottle, she insists on watering the tables with the contents of her sippy cups, there is cat litter scattered all over the floor along with cheerios and bits of half chewed chicken, I have three or four sewing projects in various stages of completion, the dirty laundry is multiplying exponentially, and there is a knob of ginger on my counter that I have so utterly neglected that it actually sprouted.

By the time things actually start to smell, pretending not to notice….the chaos or the funk…is no longer an option.  That’s where I was last night.  So while The Mistah was on duty with bath night (also known as I will scream at you until you take me out of this damn tub), I emptied the fridge shelf by shelf, sniffed out the offenders (yeah, I’m looking at you cauliflower and ignored cup of milk), tossed a few other things that were about to take a turn for the stinky, wiped everything down, and restored order in my Frigidaire.  And damn if it didn’t feel so good when I was done that I kept going with the clean and tackled my stovetop.  For someone who hasn’t been doing a whole lot in the kitchen, I sure managed to make one hell of a mess of my stove.

Along with the physical clutter that I cleared out, I also gave myself a bit of mental breathing room.  And I have to say that felt pretty good too.  I know it will get better and that eventually Miss Libby won’t need constant supervision. Which means that my days of manic exhaustion are numbered.

Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

BAH Note:  I wanted a bigger batch of this sauce so that I could put some up in the freezer for those DEFCON 1 days.  Since I didn’t bother to write down a single note on how much tomato or peppers I used, I’m going to use the quantity from Alexandra’s post as a starting point.  You can bend and twist this to your liking.

PS…I discovered that this also makes the base for a pretty rocking red pepper tomato soup.  So you do what you like.

  • 2 cups red bell peppers, chopped (about 2 peppers)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • basil (optional)

Place the peppers, tomato, salt, pepper, and water in a pot.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  If the tomatoes want to stick to the pan during cooking, add a bit more water to the pot.

The sauce is done when the tomatoes and peppers are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the basil (if using) and process till smooth.

Return the sauce to the pot and add the butter and olive oil. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as desired.   Serve with your pasta of choice, or if the day has been really bad, enjoy a nice tomato sauce sandwich.

{printable recipe}

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7 Responses to Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

  1. Ha! That first paragraph is a pretty accurate description of my life these days. My dining room table is currently piled with the bags from my Target trip yesterday (still unpacked, I haven’t had a chance) and let’s not talk about last week’s leftovers that are probably turning green in the fridge. :)

    Thanks for sharing this recipe… I am totally craving some tomato soup, and I think you are right that this will be the perfect base. I think it will make the menu early next week since I’ll be prepping for hosting Thanksgiving and I need something easy that can be made in advance (i.e. after Maddie is sleeping… ahhhh).

    • Wendi says:

      Jen, I keep telling myself that we’ll get through this. It doesn’t help that Miss Libby is launching into nuclear meltdowns on a daily basis (oh hello 16 month old emotions). But then there are moments like this morning when she was dancing in her highchair at breakfast and giving all the Elmo’s in her story book kisses….and those are just killer.

  2. Adri says:

    Oh, but I hear you about a table covered with papers – we always joke about “the archeological dig” that is our dining room table. This sauce sounds wonderful!

    • Wendi says:

      So the leaning tower of crap on the dining room table isn’t just me? But can you tell me, does it ever go away?

      I’ve got some of this sauce in my freezer. I think it’s time to let it work some magical deliciousness on my dinner soon.

  3. Jenna says:

    I hear you!! On the love of banana . . . on the pouring out of the contents of the sippy cup . . . yep. I hear that 12-18 months is the hardest, and that by the time they’re 2 years old it actually gets easier. Hang in there! =) Love your humor.

    • Wendi says:

      It is shameful that it’s taken me three weeks to respond. But I figure you can relate…being that you’re in the thick of things with Alice too. Where did our wee babes go?

      ________________________________

  4. I was thinking about you and wondering how you and your family were doing. Happy to see Libby’s gorgeous smiling face! I see motherhood agrees with you and that makes me happy! The craziness gets better and then it gets worse and so one – so enjoy each and every precious moment :)

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