Birthday Picnic + A Pesto Inspired Recipe

On Friday my dear friend Carly flew in from Utah for a quick visit before a week in Chicago. Carly and her husband lived in our apartment complex the year after we got married and we were fast friends (to the point that the four of us went rarely a day without a visit even if just to say goodnight). One of the hardest things to leave behind when we moved to Cincy were these dear friends (whom we affectionately term our “married roommates”) and so when Car mentioned she might be in Chicago for a week for school, I jumped on it. We only had a few short days together, one of which was her birthday! Sunday after church we cooked up a little pesto inspired pasta and headed outside for the perfect fall picnic. You know those moments you wish you could stretch into hours? This picnic would be one of them: good food, fantastic company, and incredible crisp fall weather.
Ryan, thanks for letting us steal your wife on her birthday. We love her to pieces.

^^birthday banner from Minted

^^picnics call for chevron straws (from Wishy Washi – I bought them local but you can order online)
^^direct sunlight may not make for the best pictures, but we took the cream and butter out of our favorite pesto recipe and it was still delicious 🙂

^^the birthday girl very happy with her strawberry lime lemonade and chevron straw

^^yellow bow flats are the thing to wear to birthday picnics  (shoes here – loving these)


^^the decor might not have been elaborate, but these sugar cookies were perfection – i’ll share a recipe with a few tweaks I made soon

^^ love her, just love her

Pesto Inspired Pasta Recipe




What You’ll Need:

  • 1 box whole wheat pasta
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 10 basil leaves, fresh and finely chopped (1 small package)
  • 1/3 C walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 C fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 C olive oil (or to taste, feel free to add more or less as you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What You’ll Do:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box, strain, and place in bowl.
  2. Add olive oil and parmesan cheese and toss well.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, finely chopped basil leaves and walnuts.
  4. Toss well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm.


Simple, light, and delicious. If I’d had onions or fresh garlic I would have sauteed and added them to the mix. If you try this, feel free to experiment with quantities. I love adding chopped nuts to pasta so I’d add a little more walnuts and I’m always down for extra cheese 🙂


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  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun! That recipe looks amazing. It very well could be what I make for dinner tonight. =]

  2. This was simply AWESOME, what a sweet friend you are! I wanna barrow/steal the adorable yellow shoes)

  3. I am so happy you guys got to spend the weekend together! You both make me happy!

  4. the birthday party looked amazing, you should post the strawberry lime lemonade recipe! the chevron straws were a great touch! I need to find some!