Arugula Pesto

Pesto is such a versatile sauce.  You can pretty much make it with most greens and herbs.  You can substitute different nuts to alter the flavor, and you can use it in so many ways.  Add it to pasta, use it as a spread on a sandwich, as a pizza sauce, or top a grilled meat or seafood with it.

ARUGULA PESTO

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Arugula, packed
  • 1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan – Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 Medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Directions

All above ingredients needs to be combined.

When using the vitamin to make pesto, you simple add all ingredients in the order listed.  Turn on the vitamin and slowly increase up to variable 6 or 7.  Careful not to over process as a nice pesto takes on a slightly bumpy consistency and it is easy to over process and end up with a puree.  Though great tasting not a true pesto.

If using a food processor, you want to add all ingredients except the olive oil.  Combine and then slowly add the oil to mix in.

 

 

 

 

Homemade Cherry Sauce

Well I just keep playing around with the cherries.  I think I am doing this partly because I stocked up and as it seems Little Miss Mixture has been into other fruits this week.  I am not complaining, but remember I had three bags of cherries.  One of our staple breakfast items is a homemade yogurt parfait.  These parfaits are often as simple as yogurt in a bowl topped with a couple strawberry slices and granola.  Other times as they are more like this. Using a homemade fruit sauce, some fresh fruit, and granola nicely layered for all of us to enjoy.  This was our breakfast on the 4th of July.  It consisted of plain greek yogurt, layered with strawberry sauce, blueberries, and granola.  It was a perfectly balanced red, white, and blue meal. IMG_3312   I am the early riser in the house.  Well actually the earliest riser is the dog, who seems to have taken a liking to the six o’clock hour.  Regardless once I am up I am up, so it is just easier to oblige the dog and let her out to play than to listen to her whine.  Besides I have always enjoyed the quiet of the house as a way to start my day – coffee in hand of course.  Since it is summer this is when most of my best writing takes place as it is almost like I have the house to myself. I find I ponder things to make during this time as well, especially on the weekends when I am waiting on others to wake for breakfast.  This past Friday morning Little Miss Mixture was catching up on some much needed sleep and I had several hours to myself.  So, I began to create something with the cherries.  I was not sure when I started what I would use it for, but it occurred to me they would make a great sauce. I saw this recipe and thought about making it.  Until I realized I was missing enough almond butter or sun butter and I make enough things with peanut butter.  I have also wanted to try making an ice cream such as this or this as both sound really good. So being who I am I started tossing things together and came up with this. DSC_0362 Homemade Cherry Sauce/ Topping

1 1/2 Cup Cherries

1/3 cup Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp. Water

Please note the measurements are estimates and could be altered to fit personal flavor. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add all ingredients.  Stir and using a spoon cut the fruit (cherries) in to pieces so as to release the juice in the saucepan. Continue cooking until a rapid boil.  Lower temperature slightly and continue to boil at a slow rate, stirring frequently until the fruit (cherries) and sauce combine and the sauce thickens. * This is the basic recipe I use for making any fruit sauce.  It is simple and uses natural ingredients. Homemade Fruit Sauce has a number of uses such as in a yogurt parfait, in a milkshake, atop a bowl of ice cream, atop pancakes or waffles, or as part of a recipe such as this. IMG_3420IMG_3262DSC_0360

my GO TO Balsamic Vinaigrette

 

my GO TO Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
6 Tbsp Olive oil
4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
1/2 Small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions
Whisk together all ingredients. Set aside until ready to use or refrigerate for later use. Ran be stored for up to one week in refrigerator

 

Printable recipe

Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter

As a family that eats a lot of mixture, obviously we like nuts and as much as I like them plain or tossed into a mixture, I enjoy them roasted, toasted, and flavored as well. Recently I was intrigued by an item at Costco – Coconut Cashews.

Of course I could have purchased them, but I was already purchasing two giant sized containers of cashews, regular and unsalted so why purchase a third container.  I figured I could make my own.  Well I have not yet perfected the recipe for Coconut Cashews as I have made two attempts but each time it has resulted in a great flavor, but the coconut just will not stick.

I have enjoyed my toasted coconut and cashews in yogurt and by the handful, but I am still working on the perfect recipe for coconut cashews.  I have found some recipes online, but I like more natural ingredients when I flavor nuts so I will continue my efforts toward the perfect recipe.

In the meantime I am going to share our new obsession from one of our failed attempts.  What do you do with a cup of toasted cashews and coconut but make it into homemade nut butter.  I am typically not a fan of different nut butters that I have purchased, but this homemade version is quite tasty.  I might have found a new obsession.

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Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter

1 cup unsalted or raw cashews or cashew pieces

2 tsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp honey

3 oz. unsweetened grated coconut

2 tsp honey – reserved

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Mix all ingredients together and ensuring the cashews are coated. Spread onto a prepared pan or foiled line baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the coconut is lightly browned.  Allow to cool.

Once cool scrape all the coconut and cashews into your food processor.  Add the reserved 2 tsp honey and puree.  Nuts break down in different stages so the process takes a few minutes and may require scraping the sides of the food processor to ensure everything is pureed.

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Store in airtight container. Enjoy as a spread on fruit, bread, or mixed into some yogurt or a smoothie.

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Presto and you have Pesto

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Pesto is one of those sauces that has such versatility.  It is super easy to make and almost completely foolproof.  Once you get the hang of making pesto there are endless possibilities.  The hardest part of making pesto is cleaning the equipment, or at least until last year when it got a whole lot easier.

I love kitchen gadgets and I have had a lot over the years and will attest some are completely worth it, others are a waste, and others though necessary are a pain.  The food processor is one of those.  I have it because I need it though I cringe at times when I have to use it due to how cumbersome it is to clean.  There are so many parts and amazingly what I need to use it for knows exactly how to stick to evey little hole and crevice.

So how did it get easier?

You guessed it that amazing machine that many of us have invested in or wish we could have if it were on the NYSE, the vitamix can make a beautiful pesto.  The even more beautiful part it is one piece of equipment and easy to clean.

Classic Pesto

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

3 medium garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cups fresh basil leaves

All above ingredients needs to be combined.  When using the vitamin to make pesto, you simple add all ingredients in the order listed.  Turn on the vitamin and slowly increase up to variable 6 or 7.  Careful not to over process as a nice pesto takes on a slightly bumpy consistency and it is easy to over process and end up with a puree.  Though great tasting not a true pesto.

If using a food processor, you want to add all ingredients except the olive oil.  Combine and then slowly add the oil to mix in.

Pesto   This link will allow you to print the recipe for Classic Pesto

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Note:  The pictured pesto is a variation of this classic pesto recipe.  I used 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, 1/2 cup baby spinach for a milder and slightly more nutritious pesto.

Now you have a beautiful pesto sauce that can be used in a variety of ways – garnish meat, tossed with pasta, spread as a condiment, or as we used it last week the base to a pizza.

Be sure to check out how to use this fresh pesto to create a fabulous Shrimp Pesto Pizza

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