15 Minute Spinach Basil Pesto.

When it comes to recipes, I am usually quite adamant in following the instructions meticulously. My mother is the complete opposite. Once she is in the kitchen she dominates it. She’s always inventing new things, making up her own recipes, or building off those of others. I don’t know when was the last time she followed a recipe. I, on the other hand, am constantly depending on the creativity of others.
Except for pesto. 
Last week we celebrated mom’s birthday in, what’s becoming our birthday tradition, a cooking Sunday. Her birthday had already passed a few weeks before, but we decided to celebrate just the four of us now that we’re back. So the four of us gathered in the kitchen to cook a pasta dish. Usually this involves using our imagination (them), or something off of Pinterest (me). I chose pesto.
I can’t remember what recipe I used, nor can I find it in my browser history. All I remember doing is glancing at the ingredients, closing the tab, and deciding I could figure it out on my own. 
It was a hit. 
Even The Kid liked it. Which was an enormous “yes” for me because that Kid is sooooo picky.
And you guys asked for it on Instagram, so I decided to try to recreate the recipe and share. It’s one of those, though, that will hopefully inspire your creativity with its basic directions.

Ingredients
Fresh spinach 
Fresh basil or basil flakes (I used flakes)
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Lemon
Directions

1) The spinach determines the amount of pesto you will have. You can always adjust the seasoning and other ingredients, but your base will be the spinach so wash an appropriate amount. Remember that, as with most leafy greens, spinach has that notorious habit of going from a whole lot to a whole little once you do anything with it. 
2) Fill food processor with spinach and drizzle with olive oil. Blend until there is room for some more spinach. Add spinach, basil, garlic and olive oil. I used one clove of garlic for the amount of basil I was making. 
3) Blend until the cloves have well incorporated into the mixture. Add lemon juice, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil. I used half a lemon, and a spoonful of pine nuts. The nuts make the pesto creamier, so adjust accordingly. Blend until smooth.
4) Voila! Now mix it with pasta, use it as a bruschetta topping, or spread it over your pizza. Enjoy! 
P.S. I know there is salt in the photo, but it really isn’t necessary. Add if you would like, but it is delicious without. And healthier too. 
What do you like with pesto? 
Or is ‘what don’t you like’ a better question?

Upside Down Peach Cake + Secrets.


I’ve taken to visiting our neighbor, Mr. Williams*, on Saturday afternoons. While he says he is content in spending his days with the company of his dog, the weekly visit from his son and occasional phone call from the other, I get the feeling he enjoys our visits as much as I do. He likes to tell me stories about his years in the army, anecdotes about his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to beam with pride while talking about his brilliant dog, who is usually eyeing me from her spot on the couch next to him, and to tell me about how ‘the Lord has been good’ to him. 

When our visits first began, I thought it would do us both some good to have regular visits. I yearned to hear stories and listen to his advice. And for him, I thought a distraction from his daily routine might be nice. I can’t say I didn’t know I would be changed during our visits. Yet I didn’t expect it to be in the form of spiritual encouragement. 

It feeds my soul to hear his testimony and encourages me in my own journey. Every once in a while he’ll tell me to keep on in my faith. “Keep the faith, lassie,” he’ll tell me. “Don’t forsake the good Lord, because He won’t forget you.” 

Yesterday after our visit he ambled over to his freezer and pulled out package after package of frozen fruit plates. A local program brings him food every week. Every week they bring seven plates with three slices of peach and half of a pear. 

“I can’t eat all of these,” he says. “They’re good for making upside down cakes and things.” He put about eight plates in a bag and swore me to secrecy. I am not allowed to tell anyone that he is giving me fruit plates. 

But here I am telling you. But it’s okay. Wanna know why? Because today I’m sending the fruit right back. Not all of it at once, but cake by cake. I’ve decided there’s a good reason he’s sent fruit. He needs to eat it. So, I took his suggestion and made upside down peach cake. 

I haven’t told him it’s vegan. He’d probably give me an exasperated speech about how underweight I am (I am perfectly on weight, thank you very much) and it’s certainly due to the silliness of not eating any meat or dairy. So this post is full of secrets. You don’t tell anyone that he is giving away fruit plates, nor that the cake I made is vegan. Deal? I’m trusting you, Internet!

 *names changed to protect the innocent

Upside Down Peach Cake – Vegan

adapted to vegan from | Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, melted, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk + 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp ground oatmeal
  • Directions

    1. Drain peaches, reserving 2 tablespoons juice. Pat peaches dry. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and reserved peach juice. Spread into a 9-in. round baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cut peach slices in half lengthwise; arrange in a single layer over brown sugar mixture.
    1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and remaining butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Spoon over peaches. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings

Hummus in 3 Easy Steps: A Recipe.

Lately mother and I have been brainstorming about different things for me to take to school. I need to take a lunch, snack, dinner (some days all of the above) four days of the week, so we try to keep it interesting. 
This week I had a craving for hummus. Mom cooked some chickpeas and put some aside for me to later experiment with and find a recipe and consistency I liked. 
Usually when we make hummus we blend it in the blender and need to keep adding water for it to blend properly, but then the consistency becomes more of a dip than a spread.
This time I experimented using the blender without adding so much water, but it didn’t work.
I tried the food processor. Still no luck.
I resorted to mashing the chickpeas with a fork, and voilà! 
Perfect for topping crackers, spreading on a sandwich or adding to a veggie wrap!
I’m glad to share with you this three step hummus recipe! Enjoy and tell me what you think!


Ingredients
2 cups chick peas canned or cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 fresh garlic clove 
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Sun-dried tomatoes to taste
Directions
1. Drain the chickpeas, but reserve some of the water.

2. Either blend all of the ingredients in a blender, or in a medium bowl mix ingredients with a fork. Add water until you have reached the desired consistency.
(This step really depends on the consistency you want the hummus to have. I opted for a very thick and dry hummus so I mashed the chickpeas with a fork and added a few Tbsp. of water. If you blend it in a blender you will most likely have to add more water.)
3. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with crackers, fresh veggies or use as spread in a sandwich or veggie wrap!

Enjoy!

Patê de Grão de Bico em 3 Passos: Receita.

Este mês voltei estudar o que quer dizer que estou na escola 4 dias por semana. Tem dias que levo almoço, lanche da tarde ou janta e outros dias vou da escola direto pro trabalho e preciso levar os três!

Ultimamente mamãe e eu estamos experimentando coisas diferentes para eu levar como lanche para variar. Agora que estou tentando tirar produtos lácteos da minha alimentação precisamos ser mais criativas ainda!

Essa semana me deu vontade de comer hummus, então mamãe cozinhou grão de bico e separou um pouco para mim inventar uma receita.

Geralmente quando fazemos hummus fica muito mole ou aguado por termos que adicionar água para o liqüidificador conseguir bater. Dessa vez eu quis tentar achar um jeito de deixar o hummus um pouco mais seco com consistência de patê.

Experimentei batendo no liqüidificador sem por muita água mas não deu certo.
Tentei no processador de alimentos e também não funcionou.

Ai tentei simplesmente amassar o grão de bico com um garfo e voilà! Achei a consistencia que queria. Ficou perfeito para passar por cima de bolachas salgadas, wraps, e até mesmo como um elemento especial no sanduíche de sempre!

Estou feliz em poder compartilhar essa receita com vocês. É muito simples mas também muito gostosa.

Experimentem e me digam o que acharam!

Ingredientes
2 xícaras grão de bico enlatado ou cozido
2 colheres de sopa azeite de oliva
2 colheres de sopa suco de limão
1 dente de alho fresco ralado ou picadinho
Pimenta Cayenne a gosto
Sal a gosto
Tomate seco ao gosto
Modo de Fazer
1. Escorrer a água do grão de bico reservando a água em um copo separado.

2. Ou bate todos os ingredientes no liqüidificador ou em uma bacia amasse o grão de bico com um garfo e misture os ingredientes. Adicione a água do grão de bico até chegar a consistência desejada. (Se bater no liqüidificador você vai precisar usar mais água e o hummus ficara com consistência parecida de molho. Eu quis que ficasse mais como um patê então amassei com o garfo e adicionei algumas colheradas de água.)
3. Transfira o hummus para um prato para servir com bolachas salgadas, vegetais ou torrada. O restante pode guardar na geladeira para usar como patê em wraps e sanduíches!

Aproveitem! 😀

5 Step Vegan Banana Bread: A Recipe.

Summer is winding down and school is just around the corner. For me the subtle chill in the breeze means that hectic is on its way. While I love autumn, I feel as if I’m never really ready to bid summer adieu. Not that it cares, anyways. Soon it’ll be off to galavant in areas below the equator, and leave us here with memories of sunnier days and lots and lots of pumpkin and spices. 
Summer also leaves behind lots of overripe bananas. And we all know what to do with overripe bananas, right? BANANA BREAD! 
So today I’m sharing mom’s recipe for 5 step vegan banana bread. I hope you enjoy! I promise you won’t miss the eggs or dairy! 

5 Step Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp flaxseed processed in a food processor
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped walmnuts
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease bread pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. 
3. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl. 
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour into bread pan and bake for approximate 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of the cake comes out clean.
Enjoy! 
What’s something you’re dreading to leave behind with summer, but looking forward to fall?