Pesto

Let’s talk about pesto. Delicious. Versatile. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Bursting with flavor. Pretty much all things yummy.

But I feel like it gets a bad rap for being too expensive, ingredient exclusive and labor intensive to make. Orrr maybe I just gave it that rap 🤣

I remember making this with my aunt and cousins. It was a blast, but I remember literally plucking BUSHELS of basil, toasting bags upon bags of pine nuts, using gallons of olive oil and huge Costco containers of Parmesan. Then we would spend the entire evening whirring these ingredients up in a food processor. And I mean, we made quite a bit of pesto, but I remember being shocked at how countertops full of ingredients could be reduced to a few jars of <delicious> green paste.

It just seemed like making pesto, while a delicious and fun family project, would always be expensive and laborious.

And I’ve recently discovered that that isn’t always the case. I’ll admit that my summertime pesto always has basil because it’s so easy to grow, but my nuts and oils always vary to what I have on hand. Sometimes I even use avocados in place of some of the nuts/oils.

And my winter time pesto… I never know what’s gonna be in that. Sometimes it’s arugula. Sometimes it’s a mix of spinach and other herbaceous leafy greens. I’ve used kale.

And I think I’ve used every nut imaginable. The only ones I don’t recommend are peanuts and pecans… just too sweet and powerful, without being complimentary to the Parmesan and greens. I also highly recommend toasting. Adds an extra step, but really enhances the flavor. But if you’re in a pinch for time, not toasting them is still fine. Walnuts, macadamia, pine, Brazil and hazel- nuts all work well, in my opinion.

Anyhoo. I’m rambling. But I encourage you to play with pesto! It’s fun and Inthink you’d be surprised at the yummy combos you can make 🤗

Below is the recipe for the pictured pesto, and below are other yummy combos I’ve tried, with about the same ingredient ratios 🤗

Summer Basil Pesto

2c. Basil (packed)

2/3c toasted, then cooled walnuts

2/3c Parmesan cheese

1/2c EVOO

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Recipe:

Place basil on the bottom of a food processor/vitamix. Squeeze lemon over top. Add walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add oil until the mixture becomes pasty (you may have to play around with the amount of oil here).

Try not to eat it all with a spoon.

I love this on Pesto Zoodles. On crackers. With carrots. With pasta. In this pasta salad. With slices of tomato. Gosh just about anything I want to give a flavor boost really!

Here are some other combos I’ve really enjoyed:

Arugula-macadamia nuts-avocado

Basil-pine nuts-EVOO

Baby kale-walnut-EVOO

Parsely-pine nut-avocado oil

Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting

Say whaaaa?!… Does this actually taste good? Does this work? No way.

Allllla these thoughts definitely ran through my head when I tried this. But it works! It totally works! And its really really delicious. Super rich and chocolatey, depending on what kind of chocolate you use. I like to use my own, which can be found here, because its super dark and really melty. So it’s not hard to process into the sweet potato.

Here’s the recipe I like:

Flesh from 3 baked sweet potatoes, warm but not super hot

12 frozen squares or about 1 recipe of my 4 ingredient chocolate

That’s it. Just add you sweet potato flesh and chocolate to a food processor and blend until well incorporated. I usually mess with it by adding vanilla or cinnamon depending on my mood, but that’s it! That’s all you need. Isn’t it crazy?!

And not surprising, I eat this in a PLETHORA of ways. I love it as a cake middle, like I used here.

Or as a Strawberry dip… drool

Or a pretzel dip

Or a spoon dip…

Or a finger dip.

Gorgonzola Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole

THIS. This side blew.me.away. I couldn’t stop, it was so dang good. I adapted this from the 21 Day Keto Reset. I kept the same procedure, but omitted, subbed and swapped things like gorgonzola for gruyere (I don’t really like gruyere). And I took out the crushed pork rind topping because that sounded disgusting to me. But I definitely kept the same idea.

This was crazy good. It was rich, cheesy, creamy, crunchy and fresh all at the same time. I think next time I’ll add cayenne. Cuz I like it 🔥

Recipe:

Ingredients:

4c broccoli florets

4c cauliflower florets

2tbsp grassfed butter

3/4c sour cream

3/4c crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1tbsp Dijon mustard

1tbsp dry thyme

1tsp kosher salt

1tsp cracked black pepper

1/2c grated parmesan

Directions: Preheat oven to 375

  1. Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into smaller, more bite size florets.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet and add broccoli and cauliflower. Let that sit for 2 minutes. Stir it up a bit and let the florets on the top grab some heat and butter from the bottom. Let it sit for 2 minutes again. Remove from heat.
  3. In another bowl, mix the sour cream, gorgonzola, salt and pepper.
  4. I just pour the cheese mixture into the veggies in the pan and stir it, but you could also add the veggies to the sauce if your bowl is big enough.
  5. Transfer the veggie mixture into a pyrex or casserole dish and sprinkle the parmesan on top.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the casserole is bubbly on the edges and the veggies are cooked to taste!

Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi*

Note- you can use any white fish really. I’ve had this with haddock, halibut, tilapia and even cod! A thicker fish definitely works better because the crust is pretty flavorul and substantial.

I adapted this from the 21 Day Keto Reset as well. They served it with a brown butter sauce in the book, but my familiy didn’t really dig that, so I usually have this with the Arugula Pesto Zoodles, found here.

Ok, here goes.

Ingredients:

3/4C Raw Macadamias

3Tbsp Coconut Flour

S&P to taste (about ½ tsp)

½tsp garlic powder

½ Cup Avocado Oil Mayo

4 Fish Filets (6-8 oz ea)

That’s it! That’s all you need. Seems complicated at first, but when you break it down, it’s suuuuuper doable. Anyoo, onto the directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a glass casserole dish and put the fish inside.
  2. Pulse the Macadamia nuts in a food processor until they’re crumbly, but not pasty. Add the coconut flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder and pulse until well mixed.
  3. Spread the mayo on the fish. Then take small handfulls of the nut crumble and coat the fish, gently press the crumble into the mayo. Bake for 25 minutes.

Cauliflower Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I know, with a title like that I betcha can’t hardly wait to race to the kitchen to make these 🤣. I promise, they’re really pretty yummy.

It’s like HaloTop Ice Cream. If you know you’re going to eat the whole pint, you go for the HaloTop. If you know you can stop yourself at 1 serving, you go for the Talenti. Or Haagen Daz (sp?) etc.

Some days, you just need 3 or 4 or 5 or 10 cookies. Then you make these 😉. And when in doubt, just add more chocolate chips!

Ok. Enough chatter. Here’s the recipe:

• 1/2 Head cauliflower, finely riced yourself, yields around 2-3 cups

• 2tbsp almond flour

• 1tbsp coconut flour

• 2 Pasture raised eggs, whisked

• 1tsp vanilla

• 1/3c sweetener of choice

• dash fine ground pink himalaya salt

• 1/2 c chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Combine Cauli, flours, eggs, sweetener and vanilla. I used a combo of honey and organic sugar so the mixture didn’t get too stickey or dry. If it is looking a little dry, add a splash of almond milk.

3. Add chocolate chips and mix gently until they are incorporated.

4. Roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet 1″ apart and press down gently to flatten the top a bit.

5. Bake for 30 minutes

6. Enjoy with a glass of milk of choice!

You can also enjoy this Savory Turmeric version here and make grilled cheese out of them 🤤🤤🤤

Keto Blueberry Rolls

These could easily be turned into muffins, but these bad boys hold their shape, so why dirty a pain-in-the-butt to wash muffin pan when an easy-to-clean sheet pan will do? I’m a big fan of Mom hacks. Nah, I’m just a big fan of keeping stuff simple. And, I know I’m partial, but I think they look just as good- no?

Again, I’m not a strict keto eater, but I’m excited at the prospect of finally learning how to cook with coconut flour! I adapted these from ketoconnects recipe for their rolls. So here goes:

Ingredients:

1/2c coconut flour

2tbsp psyllium husk powder

1/2tsp aluminum free baking powder

1/4 tsp fine ground pink himalaya sea salt

2 packets or 2tsp stevia

3/4c Water

4 eggs

4tbsp grassfed butter or coconut oil, melted

1/4c Wymans frozen blueberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lay a Silpat mat on a baking sheet

2. Mix all dry ingredients (first 5 listed)

3. Gently blend or mix water and eggs

4. Add butter while mixing/blending

5. Pour wet into dry and mix gently until incorporated.

6. Fold in blueberries

7. Form into rolls and bake at 350 for 25-30min- please don’t mind my dirty silpat mat 😬

Top with butter and enjoy!

Went ahead and made mini muffin versions for the heck of it… What can I say- I was curious 🤷🏻‍♀️

Super Easy Keto Crepes

Ok. So I am not a strict keto eater. Far from it in fact. I did dabble with it a bit and I liked a lot of aspects of it, to be honest, but I cannot commit fully to that lifestyle with my family without going insane. Thats just me. I know plenty of people do it, but not this mama. I felt like I had to try it though. I mean, if I’m going to speak intelligently about something, I should probably have tried it first…

That being said, there were a lot of things I loved about it. I felt like it really helped my relationship with healthy FATS. And, cooking this way taught me a lot of cool ways to use coconut flour.

One of them was in this easy keto tortilla recipe I found on wayyum.com and I tweaked them a bit to turn them into these really yummy, hearty, filling crepes. I flipping love crepes. Sometimes you just need to fill a yummy eggy wrap with some berries or Nutella, you feel me?

Anyhoo, this is what I did:

Recipe:

Ingredients:

– 1/2c coconut flour (I used Bob’s Redmill)

– 6 pasture raised eggs (I used Nellies)

– 1+1/4c almond milk

– 1/2tsp vanilla

– 1 stevia packet

– dash fine ground pink himalaya salt

Directions:

1. Whisk or blend wet ingredients on low until eggs and milk are homogenous.

2. Add vanilla and stevia and mix again

3. Pour wet into dry and mix well- you will have a very runny batter, but that’s how you want it. It will spread in the pan and cook up like a crepe!… here’s a link to the IG video I did to show what it should look like: Keto Crepe Video

4. Heat an 8″ skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking oil of choice (I used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray)

5. Pour 1/4 cup-fulls onto your pan and swirl it until it coats the bottom

6. Cover with a lid and cook for about 2 minutes

7. Remove lid, flip, and cook covered for another 1-2 minutes

8. Repeat 12 times or until batter is gone!

9. Fill with berries, Nutella, whip cream, jam etc.

You’ll need a little syrup drizzle, let’s be honest…

And honestly, sometimes I prefer the stack!

Brown Butter Chocolate Cake

Need I say more? The brown butter takes this to the next nutty, salty level. If it sounds yummy, i promise, it tastes even better!

I used my 2 ingredient chocolate sweet tater frosting in the middle. I also went with a simple sugar toasted coconut top in lieu of frosting, but you could easily put more frosting on top! Your cake, your choice! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?!

Ok. Here’s what you need:

6tbsp grass fed butter (i used kerrygold)

1+3/4c white whole wheat flour (i used King Arthur organic)

1/2c cacao powder (unsweetened!)

1/2c packed dark brown sugar

1+3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1tsp kosher or pink himalaya sea salt

1/2c+1tbsp organic granulated sugar

1+3/4c whole buttermilk

2lg eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

2tbsp coconut oil

1/2c unswt coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Spray 2, 9” pans

3. The Brown Butter: Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan and leave it there until butter turns foamy and starts to sizzle and pop a bit. That’s the moisture escaping! Give the pan a few good swirls then let it rest. Once the butter looks brownish and you can see little crispy bits on the bottom, remove the pan from heat and let it cool. You could remove the crispy bits if you want, but i like to leave ‘em in there.

4. Mix next 6 ingredients (dry) together until well incorporated

5. Mix next 3 ingredients (wet) until you can’t see the egg any more (good rule of thumb for the wet ingredients)

6. Add wet to dry, ya brown butter and coconut oil.

7. Pour batter into 2 pans (it will not full the pans). Sprinkle the top one with coconut flakes and sprinkle with 1tbsp sugar.

8. Bake at 350 for 35 min

Allow cake to cool. Spread the top of the bottom cake with the 2 ingredient frosting, then add the coconut topped cake to that! Phew! That was a mouthful. Now go take a mouthful of that cake you’re now dying to bake!!

Easiest Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting You’ll Ever Makek

Say whaaaa?! So easy, but so tasty. Not super redeeming, but hey, there still decently healthy and we’re all in a pinch sometimes-right?!

I’m about to blow your mind with these. Or at least I think I am. Again, this recipe came about pretty randomly after me tinkering around in the kitchen for hours, but it was fun. And the kids and I ate them ALL. I’m starting to notice an “we ate the whole batch” theme to this blog. Oh well. Not too upset about it.

These are so easy, I had to put fancy papers on there, just so that it looked like they were harder… cheating, I know. But we’re all in a pinch sometimes right?!

And this chocolate frosting made out of sweet taters is a game changer. You would NOT KNOW if I brought these to a party unless I told you. I promise.

For this, all you need is:

1 box spice cake mix

1 can canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!!!!!)

1 c milk of choice

1 large sweet potato, preferably freshly baked, but definitely warm

1/2 c chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix the first 3 ingredients until it resembles muffin batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for about 30 minutes or so.

While those are baking, whip out the ol’ food processor. Put the sweet tater in that and pulse. Add your chocolate chips process it (is that the right verb for that?!?!…) until the mixture resembles frosting. Feel free to adjust your sweet potato/chocolate ratio to accommodate your palate/flavor profile. I use bittersweet chocolate because I love a not-to-sweet, rich chocolate frosting, but I use milk chocolate chips for the kiddos. Allow it to cool a bit before spooning it into a piping/plastic bag.

By now your muffins should be done! Go ahead and try one to see if you like the consistency. Sometimes they’re still a little gooey in the middle and need a few more minutes.

Let the muffins cool completely. Frost and enjoy! You could even have these for breakfast and not really be cheating!

Lemongrass Chicken Bone Broth Soup

This recipe came about randomly, as most of mine tend to do, but it was unreal.

The Lemongrass combo realllllly took it to the next salty savory tangy level. AND the broth was packed with anti-inflammatory goodness like collagen since I just used my leftover home-made bone broth as the base. I know I use turmeric in the recipe for that, but it still worked really well with this soup.

Ingredients:

2 stalks of lemongrass (only the white and yellow parts, smashed. Or lemongrass paste to taste)

1 onion, chopped

1, 1″ piece of ginger minced or about 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 the chicken on an organic rotisserie chicken

6 cups bone broth, made from the rotisserie chicken bones

4 carrots, cut into coins

4 stalks celery, chopped

Corn from 1 corn on the cob

I started by sautéing the first 3 ingredients together in a little grassed butter until the smell really came through, about 2 minutes. Then I added the fish sauce, stirred for about 10 seconds. Then I added the chicken and bone broth and let that come to a quick boil. I reduced that to a simmer and added the rest of my ingredients and let the whole pot simmer for about 4 hours. Thats it! You could totally let it simmer for less time, but when I’m making soup, I tend to knock it out earlier in the day because soup is just one of those things that can’t really simmer for TOO long, ya know?!

Pair this with a delicious panini or grilled sandwich and BAM. You’ve got a pretty nutrition packed, family friendly, belly filling, crud fight, crowd pleasing supper!