Fresh Basil Pasta Salad

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Afternoon!  The Husband and I are running around like little maniacs, trying to get errands done and see patients at the clinic.  And I’m squeezing in some writing in between.  Whew!


Sesame-seed coated cashews as a snack:


Straight outta the bag.


And lunch was this amazing Fresh Basil Pasta Salad.  Super simple, but a nice change from marinara sauce.




  • 1 serving whole wheat pasta, prepared according to package directions (I used a GF kind – not a whole wheat kind – that wasn’t that great)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil, chopped
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans
  • Balsamic reduction


Balsamic reduction is so yummy and very easy to make – just pour about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette into a small pot, bring to a rolling boil, and cook until most of the liquid steams off.  Keep an eye on it!  Once the balsamic is reduced to a syrup, it’s ready.


I intended to add some artichokes to the pasta, but we could NOT get this jar open.


The Husband tried, I tried, Nicole tried (she had stopped by to pick something up)… and NO ONE could open the jar!  We put it in hot water, tapped the top, banged the bottom – no avail.

IMG_6024 IMG_6027

I know people are going to ask so – yes. I wrote the same dress on Tuesday.  Call me gross and disgusting, but I believe in re-wearing work clothes if they aren’t actually dirty.  And workout clothes… even if they are dirty.  But that’s another story.  I promise I never actually smell.



  • Elizabeth June 23, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Try sticking a butter knife up in the seal to break it. Be careful though!!!

    • Kristie June 23, 2011, 3:49 pm

      That’s what I always do too! 🙂

      • Baking 'n' Books June 23, 2011, 4:00 pm

        Triple that recommendation!! I do it all along the seal and there’s never ANY problem opening it. It takes the “suction” out of the seal..

        that and banging it against the counter while hitting the bottom like a baby…(except you wouldn’t bang a baby against a counter of course…y’know what i’m getting at…)

  • Cindy Robinson June 23, 2011, 1:47 pm

    Ha Ha, I would have never noticed the outfit. Heck, I can’t even remember what I wore yesterday, much less anyone else 🙂 That is crazy you couldn’t get that jar open! I’ve never had that happen! Maybe you can return it..”Umm hi…we could not get this open, may we exchange it?” Have a great day.

  • Emily June 23, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Did you try putting a piece of rubber between your hand and the jar? I find that using a rubber kitchen glove to open the jar does the trick every time!

  • Katie June 23, 2011, 1:51 pm

    I use spoons to pop the seal. Just use it like a wedge under the lid, press up, and you’ll hear the pop! No chance of cutting yuorself either, so it’s worth a shot.

    • Elizabeth June 23, 2011, 1:58 pm

      Listen to Katie not me! haha.

  • Kristin @ Wounded Fawn June 23, 2011, 1:52 pm

    Absolutely! Rewear work clothes! Imagine all of the wasted water from washing everything just after one wear? I mean if you are sweating and stinking up your dress that’s one thing but from home to work and work to home definitely calls for multiple wears. I do this especially with jeans! I rewear workout clothes too btw, you are not alone!

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 23, 2011, 1:55 pm

    you guys are too funny! I always whack the edge of a jar metal top against the counter to pop the seal. works every time

    Don’t worry about rewearing clothes, it’s very green of you! 🙂

  • Leanne (Bride to Mrs,) June 23, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Don’t sweat it (I guess literally 😉 ) about re-wearing gym clothes & regular clothes if they aren’t dirty. No big deal 😀

    I’ve never tried balsamic reduction but it looks tasty!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) June 23, 2011, 2:00 pm

    I wear the same clothes all the time- no shame!!

    Let me at the jar… I love a good challenge 🙂

  • Angela @ Pinching and Packing June 23, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I probably wear each of my dresses 3 times before I wash them as long as I don’t sweat or anything! Don’t even ask me how long I’ll wear my jeans without washing them :0)

  • jen @ taste life June 23, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Haha, I never in a million years would have noticed you were wearing the same dress! And, FYI, I’m wearing the same button up shirt (over a tee) that I wore on Tuesday.

  • Freya June 23, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Have you ever tried stabbing a whole in the lid of a tough jar? That always seems to work for me 🙂

  • Alyse June 23, 2011, 2:13 pm

    If you poke a hole in the lid of the jar with a knife, it’ll come right open.

    • ashley@cookingforjohn June 23, 2011, 9:10 pm

      i was going to comment with that tip too alyse! i learned that from working in a restaurant, those giant jars of pickles and cherries are tough to open!

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 23, 2011, 2:18 pm

    LOL my friend has this trick of tapping the bottom of the jar on a hard surface, then tapping the side of the jar twice and it somehow ALWAYS works. It’s a miracle. And I totally rewear clothes. As long as they don’t smell, don’t have stains and I haven’t sweat in them (this doesn’t apply to workout clothes) then it’s clear for wearing!

  • susan June 23, 2011, 2:20 pm

    I also re-wear work clothes if I don’t think I’ve sweat too much. It’s easier in winter than summer. But I don’t do it the same week. 🙂 But I work in an office where someone would probably notice.

  • Elizabeth June 23, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Most gluten-free pastas are kind of gross, and they’re really easy to overcook (which makes them gummy). Also, they definitely merit a cold water rinse after cooking (to minimize gumminess). The Ancient Harvest quinoa ones are my favorite; De Boles rice pastas are gross (sorry, but the lasagne noodles are either crunchy or just smush). Bionaturae also makes great g-free and regular pastas.

    • Christine June 23, 2011, 9:14 pm

      Tinkyada brand is really good in my opinion. I agree about the De Boles – not good at all.

      • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:19 am

        Tinkyada was the kind I tried but I guess I just overcooked it 🙁

        • Christine June 24, 2011, 10:46 am

          Yes – that would make it pretty gross. Maybe give it another shot and cook less. I do a taste test on one of the noodles as it gets close to make sure I like it and rinsing it with cool water will keep it from cooking more once it’s out of the boiling water. Their lasagna noodles hold up really well in casseroles.

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic June 23, 2011, 2:23 pm

    haha, I love the trying-to-open-the-jar faces! Sorry you couldn’t get it open! I have one of those old lady jar-opener thingies (it’s basically like a no-slip rubbery thing) and it really works!

  • Allie Q (Fit Geek) June 23, 2011, 2:24 pm

    I was my jeans like once a month, if even. And workout clothes definitely get re-worn without a wash if I didn’t sweat that much.

  • Melissa June 23, 2011, 2:24 pm

    Take a key can opener under the lid of the cap, it will break the air seal and then pop open.

    • RebekahK June 24, 2011, 10:42 am

      I am all about can openers to open jars! I use my regular opener and get it under the edge of the lid and push it down just like you were going to open a can and you will feel the lid pop, then you can open it.

  • The Teenage Taste June 23, 2011, 2:25 pm

    Seems like we were on the same brain-wave today. I made a pasta salad with basil pesto today too! 🙂

  • Beth @ 990 Square June 23, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I always rewear work clothes, especially dry clean only pants!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 23, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Haha no worries on the dress – I do the same! And about the jar.. that is so frustrating! I’ve done the tapping thing on a jar of roasted red peppers, only I tapped a little too hard and actually cracked the jar.. big mess – but at least I could eat my peppers!

  • Kelly June 23, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Eeeew. You wear the same clothes more than once? And 2x in 2x days? You’re the grossest girl I know!! Ha. KIDDING. Seriously. I wear things until they’re walking on their own at least. And you know what really sets my world off kilter? When I have on a clean shirt and I spill something on it…then it has to be washed after only one wear. Major bummer. All the boys (okay, and men) around me wear things only once and it drives me nuts. Underwear is the only exception.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 23, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I get SO frustrated when I can’t open a can or jar! I bet you broke the no swear words challenge trying to open that thing!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 23, 2011, 2:45 pm

    Heh. I wear work out clothes multiple times, ONLY if it isn’t too gross. But yes, I re-wear jeans and other work clothes too! heh.

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy June 23, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I am wearing the same pants today that I wore Monday! I do that often. I rotate between three pairs or so and wash in between! If I run just the top of the jar under hot water, it will usually pop open … eventually!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 23, 2011, 2:47 pm

    To open a jar, find a little gap between the threading on the jar and the crimp of the lid. Slip a metal spoon into the spot (concave side up) and press down in the handle to break the air seal and normalize the pressure to atmospheric. Then unscrew.

    (Things you figure out as a perpetually single woman)

  • Nathalie June 23, 2011, 2:52 pm

    Try punching a small hole in the lid. I struggled to open an impossible jar literally only a few hours ago and the hole punching did the trick. Opened up easy peasy.
    So cute re the dress…I would never have noticed. And I am so with you on that…gee, who has the time to wash everything after one outing all.the.time??!!

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:19 am

      I will def hole punch. Hopefully this will work!

  • Chelsey (Cookteen) June 23, 2011, 2:53 pm

    take a can opener and use the little hook part to pop the lid…it works everytime! (well, if the lid isn’t too thick…)

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans June 23, 2011, 2:57 pm

    We lived in Sweden when I was younger and they rewear outfits ALL the time. Like, the same thing three days in a row. If it’s not dirty, it doesn’t matter!

  • katie @ KatieDid June 23, 2011, 2:59 pm

    whole wheat pasta that’s GF?? Lol oxymoron!

    • Amber K June 24, 2011, 12:27 pm

      lol, I was thinking the same thing. Whole-GRAIN pasta maybe 😉

  • Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews June 23, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Those cashews look delicious!

  • Erin @ Naturally Addicted June 23, 2011, 3:17 pm

    O I hate it when that happens!! I need to find one of those rubber things… maybe that would help! That pasta does look delicious though! yum!

  • val @ Balanncing Val June 23, 2011, 3:22 pm

    A GF whole wheat pasta?

    Im not sure how thats possible.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 23, 2011, 3:25 pm

    You could stab the top of the jar with a very large knife to pop the seal. I wouldn’t recommend it as it could be dangerous but it works 🙂

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots June 23, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I always re-wear my work outfits. Annnnddd I re-wore a workout outfit this morning after reading your post. I hate always having to wash my workout clothes!

  • hippierunner June 23, 2011, 3:31 pm

    That’s awesome that you rewear clothes and tell people about it! So good for the environment! 🙂

  • Amy June 23, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I always rewear my clothes until they are visibly dirty, have stretched out, or start to offend my delicate sense of smell 🙂 Saves water, and makes my clothes last longer. I never ever wash jeans unless I absolutely have to- it causes wearing and fading, and I like my jeans to last a good long time!

  • Nikki T June 23, 2011, 3:50 pm

    You are definately not the only one to re-wear work clothes…or workout clothes…!

  • Belle June 23, 2011, 3:57 pm

    I grew up with one of these jar openers and have never looked back:

    Well worth the money.

  • Sam June 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

    Mmm this salad look sgreat, keeping this recipe for when my cherry tomato plants start giving us foood! Balsamic reduction sounds awesome. And I re – wear workout clothes too…shh don’t tell 😉

  • Winnie June 23, 2011, 3:59 pm

    Wrap a rubber band around the circumference of the lid to create friction – that always works 🙂

  • Sana June 23, 2011, 4:00 pm

    I totally wear the same dresses over again! No need to wash something unless it smells bad!

  • Julie June 23, 2011, 4:06 pm

    This is my favorite GF pasta. It says “not mushy” on the label and it isn’t!

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:18 am

      That was the kind! I guess I overcooked it.

  • Rachel June 23, 2011, 4:08 pm

    I hate when I can’t get jars open!!!! For the past year I’ve been living by myself, and every once in a while I can’t get a jar open and there’s no one to help! I’ve had nights when I’ve said “well I was going to have chips and salsa with dinner but I guess I’ll have something else.”

  • Rene June 23, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Try quinoa pasta – supergrain pasta in a blue box. It is gluten free and tastes just like regular pasta!!!

  • Kellie June 23, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Unless I’ve been somewhere smelly or really dirtied them, I wear my jeans multiple, multiple times before I was them.. I usually wash dresses right away. I re-wear my gym bottoms about 3x but never re-wear my top… but I will re-wear my bra.. oxymoron?..

  • Dana June 23, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Do you have a bottle opener with a pointy edge? You can pop the top with it by sticking the pointy part under the edge of the lid.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 23, 2011, 4:29 pm

    I rewear my clothes ALL The time and 95% of the pics on my blog…I swear I’m wearing the same thing.

    What can I say, I have a few things I wear to death, love em, and that’s that 🙂

  • Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health June 23, 2011, 4:40 pm

    Haha I love your honesty! :). Your words of encouragement on your blog about loving yourself has definitely resonated with me! I wrote a post today thanking the parts of my body that I don’t always like :).

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:18 am

      Thank you so much Lindsay 🙂 I really wish you the best. I liked your blog post!

  • Melanie @ Trial By Trail June 23, 2011, 4:58 pm

    I love that top/dress! Where’d you get it?

  • Kelly June 23, 2011, 5:24 pm

    It has to be said that I owe my love of cashews to you. 🙂

  • Lauren @ Team Giles June 23, 2011, 5:26 pm

    Just so you know…. you have beautiful skin. You glow! 🙂

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:18 am

      Thank you so much Lauren 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 23, 2011, 5:44 pm

    I rewear clothes and workout clothes too. If it’s not dirty or smelly, then why not? Otherwise I’d be spending all my free time doing laundry! 😛

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 23, 2011, 5:57 pm

    ugh there is nothing more frustrating than a jar that wont open!!!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 23, 2011, 5:57 pm

    ugh there is nothing more frustrating than a jar that wont open!!!

  • Molly @ RDexposed June 23, 2011, 5:58 pm

    I’ve just recently discoverd the amazing-ness of balsamic reduction-yum!!

  • Meg June 23, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Try a corn-based pasta, such as Mrs. Leeper’s! I think it has the best texture/flavor as far as gluten-free pastas go. I also like quinoa pastas, but my non-gluten-free family/friends say it tastes weird.

  • Karen @ The Tamale Girl June 23, 2011, 6:22 pm

    For balsamic reduction, I think you mean to simmer balsamic vinegar, not vinaigrette 🙂 Looks delicious!

  • Jen June 23, 2011, 6:28 pm

    If you don’t have a rubber grippy thing to put between your hand and a jar lid, you can also put a wide rubber band (or a few thin ones) around the perimeter of the lid and that will give you some extra grip! With all these jar opening tips, I sense we will be seeing those artichokes in a post soon, lol.

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:16 am

      You are so smart! Will try that later.

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble June 23, 2011, 6:48 pm

    When I worked in a restaurant we would whack jars on the edge/lip with a chopping knife to break the seal.

    Your pasta looks light and refreshing. My favorite GF pasta so far has been Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Rotini and it’s a great price too! I’ve had a lot of hit or miss trials with different gluten-free products so I finally added a GF page to share my product reviews. Feel free to check it out as it continue’s to grow.

  • Baking 'n' Books June 23, 2011, 6:55 pm

    P.S Your short bangs are so cute!! I want that!

  • Meaghan (My Spoonful Of Inspiration) June 23, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Your pasta looks great! 🙂

    I say- there is nothing wrong with re-wearing clothes that aren’t dirty!

  • faith June 23, 2011, 7:41 pm

    My husband and I also have a clinic and I only have about 5 work outfits that I rotate through. Sometimes I worry that the patients will catch on one of these days!

  • Lauren June 23, 2011, 8:06 pm

    What is the difference if you wore a uniform to work? There is none! I think people just get hung up on appearance with nice work clothes.

  • Ali @ Ali Runs June 23, 2011, 8:24 pm

    Haha- I would have never noticed you were wearing the same dress. Shows how observant I am 😉

  • Lauri ( June 23, 2011, 8:29 pm

    Your salad looks SO fresh & Yummy!! I think I’m gonna go pick some basil & tomatoes from my little garden and make a similar dish for dinner tonight! Thanks for the inspiration!

    And I totally re-wear clothes that aren’t really dirty 🙂

  • Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness) June 23, 2011, 8:47 pm

    Ahh, wish I was there! Getting jars opened is totally my thing! I have never failed at opening a jar, haha. Ever. I become completely competitive and will not fail! 🙂

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) June 23, 2011, 9:32 pm

    Haha dude, I ALWAYS re-wear gym clothes, and work clothes to be honest (just the bottoms only though- i.e. skirts!). I feel like they don’t get that dirty.. haha i’m questioning why I’m writing this online now. 😉

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 23, 2011, 9:36 pm

    I would have never noticed you were wearing the same dress. But I do it all the time too!

  • BroccoliHut June 23, 2011, 9:49 pm

    Are those the honey sesame cashews from Trader Joe’s?? I am mildly addicted to those things!

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:15 am

      YES I CANNOT STOP EATING THEM. So delicious.

  • Mary June 23, 2011, 10:02 pm

    I agree with rewearing clothes. Overwashing wears them out to fast, and they are rarely ever dirty with a single wearing.

  • Katie - Life Discombobulated June 23, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I love the dress! Where did you get it?

    And I would like you to know that, because of you, I have been inspired to start re-wearing my workout clothes! lol In fact, I am going on vacation next week and have vowed to only bring TWO running outfits!

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:15 am

      It’s from Old Navy 🙂

  • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs June 24, 2011, 12:10 am

    I’d flip the jar over and soak it in hot water for a bit and then try!! And try quinoa pasta, it’s gluten free and pretty delicious!

  • Khushboo June 24, 2011, 12:39 am

    Hahah if you’re gross, so am I then! I hate throwing my clothes for wash after one wear- 2 or 3 at least otherwise the quality of the material keeps detoriating! As for jeans, you don’t even wanna know ;)!

    Did u eat the pasta cold?

    • Caitlin June 24, 2011, 10:15 am

      yup! it was chilled

  • Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl June 24, 2011, 12:41 am

    I {frequently} re-use workout clothes…. It’s only a matter of time till my boyfriend says something!!

  • Amber K June 24, 2011, 12:28 pm

    I would never have noticed that was the same dress! But I rewear stuff all the time. While I just can’t rewear gym clothes (I feel soo gross every time I try) I rewear stuff I didn’t sweat in all the time.

  • Mandy June 24, 2011, 4:17 pm

    Those cashews and salad both look great!

    I often wear the same pair of jeans a couple of days in a row. They are so much more comfy on the second day. I do the same with my work out clothes. I throw them in the laundry every other day.

  • Julia @ Brides Up North June 27, 2011, 8:24 am

    Just pierce the top of the jar quickly with a sharp knife. It will open!

  • Julia @ Brides Up North June 27, 2011, 8:24 am

    Just pierce the top of the jar quickly with a sharp knife. It will open!

  • Cristina @ Girl Meets Pink June 27, 2011, 6:54 pm

    Those nuts look really good! They remind me of the honey coated with something, um.. seeds? from Starbucks. The mix I’m thinking of has dried cranberries mixed in. I think it would be really easy to replicate it at home for a lot cheaper.

  • Christina June 28, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Sure fire way to get that jar open is to take a butter knife and wiggle it into a thumb size groove that’s on the lid. You’ll see where the lid grooves in, almost like where it tightens around the jar. All of a sudden you’ll hear it pop open as if you twisted it! Works every time 🙂

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