Pumpkin Seed Pesto Recalled?! DIY Pesto Coming Up!

FSNBOkay, so I know for sure I am a total food weirdo. Generally speaking when I share these recalls and food safety warnings, I am a little grossed out. I am a bit of a weenie on matters of… well… how do I categorize this? Most things to do with the body except when it relates to someone that I love. So I share these things with a shiver. I don’t really want to be thinking about spoiled whatever – especially when it’s stuff I don’t eat and don’t get me started on chicken. But THIS recall. This one only made me go hunh… really…. oh boy!

So here’s the important info. The pesto in questione (yes, I misspelled it so it would almost rhyme, humor me) is a Williams Sonoma product. Details here. While i can assure you I won’t be eating any Williams’ Sonoma Pumpkin Seed Pesto, I can PROMISE you I will be making my own. Oh yes, I will. And I’ll tell you all about it. AND it won’t have botulism.

If you now find yourself in the strange position of craving pesto, despite whatever image the words Clostridium botulinum put in your head, you should TOTALLY check out some of our super duper dairy free homemade botulism free pestos.

How about some creamy walnut pesto?

or welcome home pesto?

or sunflower lemon pesto?

All delicious. All dairy and botulism free. Eat well, be well friends!

Creamy Walnut Pesto (DF, GF)

One great thing about the first frost of the season for a gardener – it makes it easier to decide what you will be eating for the next few days!  Our first frost came a little early and a little hard this year for Middle Tennessee.  Usually we flirt ever so gently with 32 degrees 10 – 15 times before it really dips down, so unfortunately despite the frost warnings I did not cut the swiss chard (which made it all the way through last year’s very mild winter), but I did retrieve a few straggling tomatoes, a mess of green peppers that will never turn yellow or red, a big bunch of parsley and some basil.  All this cutting diminished supper prep time so it had to be something fast.

Both of my boys love pesto, and it can be fast, so the basil was chosen to be the first thing to complete it’s early demise.  And it did go out with a bang! Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash with Sunflower Lemon Pesto (DF / GF)

Walkin’ that line between summer and fall
Feelin’ like maybe I can have it all…

And I can!  Well, I can have fresh squash and basil anyway!  Speaking of pairing foods in a speed dating type situation…. (we talked about that in our last post and are dreaming up a fun contest around that theme)…..

Spaghetti Squash says, “I’m new around here, what do you plants do for fun?”
Basil: “I just turn all my faces up and keep reaching for the sky!”

Reaching for the sky IS fun and even on a cloudy day, there is tons of room up there for dreams and hope and autumn leaves twirling their way to a moment’s repose on the ground.  Reaching for the sky turns my eyes into and onto larger ideas, beliefs and a faith that I am part of the seasonal change that defies all of the little problems that cloud my vision of the beautiful, expansive sky.

So you’re probably thinking “This must be an easy recipe if she has time for all this ruminating on the sky!” 🙂

It is indeed an easy recipe and another one that modifies a recipe we’ve posted earlier.  This time I was getting jiggy with the dilly sunflower cheese Little Sis introduced us to after a bear visited their suburban backyard. Continue reading

Throw Some Sauce on What You’ve Got

It’s all in the sauce Sister!  I mean where would pasta, rice, noodles and life be without it?  Having sauce on hand is a great tool when you need a quick meal.

Here are 2 that I have come to depend on.

Pesto is not just to zip up some pasta!  Not if you add nuts and veggies to the mix.  That, my friends is a zipped up meal that takes very little time.  Pesto is not cheap, but be aware that you don’t need nearly as much pesto for a pound of pasta as you would tomato sauce.  Pesto packs a punch!  You only need about 4 – 6 ounces of pesto to a pound of pasta, and although that’s likely to cost you about $4-6, … it is still cheaper than eating out – and better for you, and you might even have some leftovers.  And it’s quick!  Did I mention quick?  Back to the quick part, which is a BIG factor in the choice to eat out, isn’t it?

(Before the quick part – if you have some fresh basil, you can make a batch of pesto and freeze it.  Even better you can make Little Sis’ Sunflower seed pesto which is cheaper than using pine nuts and parmesan – and is totally plant-based and even is she wasn’t my sister, I’d tell you it is truly yummy.)

So cook your pound of pasta (preferably whole wheat, but maybe that’s a baby step you will take a little further down the road)

When it’s done – drain, add your pesto and then add or offer the following:

We don’t eat at the windowsill, but there is nice light there!

a choice of nuts: I recommend walnuts or cashews… but hey – you can add whatever you want 😉

a choice of vegetable: (fresh or frozen that you’ve heated up): I recommend frozen green beans or peas since we’re talking speed, but if you want to add sauteed peppers or greens, or zucchini… you can add whatever you, or your peeps want!

If you don’t add to the whole mix then everyone can choose what and how much they want.  My son doesn’t like the walnuts in the pasta but he eats them on the side which works for me.

So if you use frozen veggies like I did on this particularly crowded evening full of schoolwork, TaeKwonDo and baseball, this takes about as long as it takes to cook the pasta.  It made me happy, and when Momma is happy, everybody is happy!

And now for the second sauce…and last recipe that I will share from Meals That Heal Inflammation, because certainly this wonderful book should be purchased!! (Actually, the book is FULL of very interesting information about food and inflammation with recipes at the end.  I highly recommend it.)

This is a Pad Thai sauce that uses almonds instead of peanut, and got my son to eat raw zucchini.

Wait – did you miss that?  This sauce gets my son to eat raw zucchini. This boy does not like zuchhini, but he digs the sauce Baby!

Raw Pad Thai Sauce (Meals that Heal Inflammation, p. 306.)
2 Tbsp. (30ml) tahini
2 Tbsp. (30ml) almond butter (use peanut butter if you don’t have almond)
1 Tbsp. (15ml) lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp (30ml) wheat-free tamari (I used Bragg’s liquid aminos – you could also use soy sauce, maybe a little less though and taste)
1 Tbsp (15ml) raw honey (I used un-raw? honey)
1/4 tsp. (1ml) garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) ginger root, grated

Difficult instructions: Mix all that there stuff together.  I do it in a 4 cup measuring cup with a fork.

I usually double or triple this recipe.  It is quite thick but it thins out when you put it over raw vegetables or raw vegetable and rice or raw vegetables and noodles.  I used my mandoline to make long thin noodles out of zucchini which could also just be cut.  I also used grated carrot and red cabbage (very fast and easy in a food processor if you have one).  You could also use green onion, cauliflower or broccoli, bean sprouts, peppers or romaine.  Adding rice or noodles beefs it up a little. And of course you could add some leftover chopped meat if you like.  Whatever you have is the key because one evening when you get home, you’ve got what you’ve got, and the choice is throw some sauce on what you’ve got or go out to eat.

Throw some sauce on what you’ve got
To make what you’ve got hot-ter
It’s meant to be, just mix and see
A smiling son or daughter

Sauce on hand at your command
For a bowl full of vitality
Be sauce-y sisters be sauce-y
Go sauce-y brothers – Go Sauce-y!

Sorry.  I need my 11 year old looking over my shoulder to edit my silliness, but he’s cleaning the guinea pig cage, so you’re stuck with my extra sauce 🙂

PS – here are a few other sauces to try:
Easiest/Fastest tomato sauce ever
Fabu Asian Peanut Sauce
Basil Avocado Cream
This is a fast mac & cheese sauce that can be frozen and used on other things… or for fast mac & cheese!

Please share links to your favorite go to sauces that will keep in the frig or freezer for nights when you’ve just to throw some sauce on what you’ve got!

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I Love Lucy or Vacation Eating

Sheeeeee’s baaaaaaaaaack. Hey friends. As you might have guessed, I have been enjoying a bit of a hiatus. Big Sis graciously covered my fanny online as I took some time with our super parents in a super retreat. We are the lucky beneficiaries of an annual trip in the summer (Big Sis first, we second) that never fails to restore some well-being and hope for humanity (no, really), but I have to confess that it doesn’t typically do a lot for my healthy habits. I had great hopes for maintaining my course on this trip (as I managed to at the beach, where I had Big Sis to help me avoid the ice cream), but I’m afraid this time, I was pretty much like Lucy on the chocolate line. If you are unfamiliar with Lucy on the chocolate line, you may be very young, and I suppose we’ll have to forgive you for that. Regardless of the reason for your unfamiliarity, I would encourage you to check out the fabulous Ms. Ball (in the chocolate and two other food-related scenes) here. The picture above says it all, though. Cheeks full, and a determination to look as though nothing is wrong…. I just couldn’t stop myself.

Now look, don’t get me wrong, regardless of what your internal or external rules are about food, I think it’s pretty reasonable to willfully ignore them now and again. It’s not a point I want to argue – I am just not willing to be that rigid or hold myself to that high a standard. I don’t need to be disappointed in myself that often. With that said, on our trip some sort of switch flipped and it seems that after the first transgression, despite feeling bloated, overly-full, greasy, and a little nauseous, I just couldn’t stop. And so I arrive home feeling spiritually, mentally, and familially refreshed, and further affirmed that for me, there are some kinds of food I really just can’t do, and if I DO choose to eat them, I should do it when I’m with Big Sis so we can be sure it won’t happen the next day too. 😉

On our road back to normal digestion this morning, I chose to give my daughter a soft landing with pancakes.  The kids enjoyed their little fluffy vegan breakfast friends with a little syrup on the first, and then jam on those that followed.  Mommy and Daddy enjoyed pancakes with fresh Western New York blueberries with some date cream spread on top.  And after I had the first two and I felt satisfied?  I stopped.  So there.  And for dinner tonight?  Homemade pasta with both red sauce and vegan pesto options….  that’s what I call getting back to normal in style.  Many kudos for my wonderful husband’s consistently awesome homemade pasta, and many thanks to fabulous sister-in-law and family for giving us an excuse to do it up with multiple options.  Vegan pesto was enjoyed by all but the youngest in the crowd (my wonderful but picky daughter and my wonderful but picky niece).  So here you are, the cheapest pesto I’ve ever made.  All the yum and none of the pricey ingredients. 🙂

Welcome Home Vegan Pesto

  • Double batch sunflower cheez spread (omit the dill)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 6 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1 t  salt
  • 6 Tbs olive oil

Follow the recipe  for the sunflower cheez spread (to which I am now hopelessly and willfully addicted, by the way), omitting the dill (unless of course you like dill in your pesto), and adding a large clove of garlic.  Process the cheez until it is as smooth as your patience will allow.  Add the basil, additional salt and the olive oil and process again until ingredients are incorporated.  The pesto will not be as green as traditional pesto, but like traditional pesto, it WILL oxidize, so the color will go from green to brown when left uncovered or as time passes.  Stir for better color.  This recipe makes A LOT of pesto.  Cut it to your satisfaction, freeze some, OR play all week with new combinations based on your fan-flippin-tastic vegan pesto.  I’m betting you can guess which option I’m choosing. Delish.