Thursday, September 21, 2017

Basil Pesto

After scanning through too many cookbooks for school lunch ideas, I came across a lot of recipes calling for pesto. For cold lunch, pesto pasta is a great option. Of course, all of the prepackaged pesto have some sort of cow cheese, something that Brek tries to avoid.

I decided that it was time to learn how to make my own pesto. After reviewing recipes after recipes, pesto is nothing more than basil leaves and oil with added nuts and cheese. With my homemade pesto, I just skip the cheese and use whatever nuts I have at the time. I have to admit that I prefer almonds over other nuts.

The possibility of using basil pesto is endless. I added it to pasta for my kids' cold lunch. It's a great flavor bomb in stir-fried noodles (Italian style), soup, or pasta sauce.

Be sure to add lemon juice so the pesto will stay brightly green. Feel free to sub other nuts or skip the nuts. Sub other oil too. Because all of the ingredients aren't cooked, use organic ingredients if possible. And save the basil stems (in the freezer) to add to pasta sauce to up the flavor.

Basil Pesto
makes about 1 cup

2 large garlic cloves (peeled)
4 cups fresh basil leaves (washed, dried, and stemmed)
1/2 cup (2 oz.) sliver almonds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sunflower oil
zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. In a food processor, add garlic cloves and pulse about 10 times until the garlic is coarsely chopped.
  2. Add basil leaves, almonds, and salt.
  3. Pulse until the thick green sauce is formed.
  4. Add oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. Pulse a few times to combine.
  6. Transfer to an air tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  
Allergy Info: My basil pesto is free from dairy, egg, corn, legumes (peanuts and soy), wheat, and fish. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

Now that Hurricane Harvey has downgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey, I was just thinking earlier that I should just blog about this experience because, in a way, it's kinda funny.  

Tornado warnings. I slept through the first night when Harvey made landfall in my area. The next morning I saw too many warnings on my phone which I left it in my office. Then my husband said, "My phone kept beeping last night." We had no idea. And more warnings that day and that night. Yes, I had my phone with me the next night.

Eating off whatever that was in the fridge and freezer... just in case of power outage. No foods should go to waste. I have to say, we've saved a lot of money in the last 4 days.
Just wanted to eat carbs... chips, pita crackers, ice cream. My kids too. Wonder if it was stress eating.
Kids could still play with their friends... online. Thank you for no power outage. Then I heard my teen told his little brother that they needed to get up and do jumping jacks, saying "We can't sit around too long."
Heard my teen continually telling his friends, "The world is coming to an end." Then his little brother said, "I'm scared." And the first time he told his friend this, his little brother decided to take his iPad into the shelter and stayed there. His mommy was checking the radar and tornado warning status. Then his daddy said, "Camden, why are you sitting in the bathroom?" Bet you never said that to your kids.
As soon as the rainwater was halfway up the driveway, we did what was called "haul ass!!!" We didn't expect flooding. But we prepared for the floods within 2 hours. Talk about teamwork!!! (But I found my purse on the floor near the front door the next morning. How that get there?)
My mom messaged me via LINE app that there was a flood in Thailand a few weeks ago and now it was our turn. The world was coming to an end, and she didn't understand any of it. (Hmm... sounds familiar...)
Current situation? It's Monday, August 28th, 4:00pm.
The street in front of my house is still flooded... a tiny river. Wonder if I can make hefty profit for my house now that it is a waterfront property.
See the pic... my neighbors took advantage of the new river.
Still rainy and very windy and feeling like it's Autumn. So cool outside. I kinda want to put up Fall decorations. Just last week, I was telling my friend who lives on the east coast that I wish I have Fall temperature sooner. But in Texas, Fall temp is around November. See, my wish came true. Camden was super happy when he felt the cool breeze.
You know that song "It starts to feel a lot like Christmas." Well, it starts to feel a lot like Autumn. (sigh) I need to have something pumpkinee which mean... more carbs? Hmm... pumpkin scones for dinner?
Update: As of Tuesday, August 29th, 2pm, streets are all dried up. Sunny a bit too. Feeling the Autumn wind.
We enjoyed pumpkin scones, boiled eggs, and chocolate milk with mini marshmallows for dinner last night, taking in our waterfront view. My teen also spotted our outdoor pet bunny. I noticed that he ate a slice of bread I left out for him. And our outdoor pet dove enjoyed leftover for breakfast.

From this experience, I would say my family and I tried to keep our sense of humor. But it is still stressful to watch the devastations on the news. So I am sending kick ass energy to all people who are still under a lot of stress.

Update: As of Wednesday, August 30th, 2pm, streets outside my neighborhood were now passable. I was able to take my kids out and volunteered for pet rescue. Brek, Camden, and their friend, Winnie, organized and bagged blankets, cleaned dog crates, unloaded donations out of the cars. Camden and Winnie wished he was able to walk one of the dogs. When I asked, the dogs were being dropped off to take to the center or foster care. Those poor dogs looked so scared. Over all, my kids felt good that they did something great for community.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fruit Jam

Do I really need to blog about fruit jam? Seriously though. What's to talk about? Well, for one thing, what comes in a jar is not always just fruits. So here I go again. Talking about citric acid in the added pre-packaged food. What to do? Make my own, of course.

My dad luvs jams, especially blueberries. When he visited two years ago, he asked me to teach him how to make it. You know, the only ingredients in the jam should just be fruits and sugar. That's it. Just simmer the fruits of choice until they cook down. Then into the blender. Then let the fruit jam becomes nice and cold in the fridge (unless you like it warm). And there you have it... fruit jam.

Some recipes may ask for sliced apples as pectin. From my experience, fruits jams don't need anything. Once the sugar is cooked down, it will firm up enough to spread. So skip the apples. Something less to worry about, right?

Fruit Jam
make as much as you like

1 - 2 cups fruits of choice (berries, peaches)
1/4 cups granulated sugar (more or less to taste, you decide)
  1. Wash fruits or berries. Take out stones and roughly chop if needed.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot, add the fruits of choice with sugar.
  3. Simmer until fruits are cooked down, about 15 minutes or more.
  4. Set aside to cool down.
  5. Add the fruits into the blender and blend until no chucks are visible.
  6. Transfer the fruits into a mason jar.
  7. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or add pretty label if it is for gifting. Remember to add expiration date too. Enjoy!!!
Allergy Info: This fruit jam is free from dairy, egg, corn, legumes (peanuts and soy), wheat, nuts, and fish. If possible, use organic berries and fruits.