Small Batch Pesto!

This summer my love affair with basil has reached new heights! There are oh so many ways to use it but my favorite, by far is pesto! I grew basil from seed for my little balcony garden this summer. It’s only now getting hearty and full, so I’m grateful that the growing season in California is much longer than most places. I use my home grown basil here and there, but I’ve found basil at our local farmers market to be exceptional! Just $3 for a very large bunch and all my basil desires are satisfied.

Pesto is typically made with pine nuts, which are among the pricier nuts, but I’ve found using walnuts gives you the same texture and nutty flavor without breaking the bank. Not only can you use this herby, garlicky goodness as a kind of sauce for pasta, but I love to put it on pizza, mix it in with my scrambled eggs, spread it on burgers, and baked chicken, or even add a little oil and vinegar for salad dressing.

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In this dish I cooked brown rice pasta, topped with pesto, a poached egg, chopped fresh basil, salt, pepper & parmesan cheese. Yum!!

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Weekend Blog: The Little Things

I am in love with this season of slow, leisurely summer weekends. Where there is rarely a strict commitment and I have the freedom to drink regular coffee after 7pm, sleep in on Saturday, eat carbs and binge watch Netflix (don’t judge, you know you’ve done it too!). My weekends haven’t always been this free and easy, so while it lasts I am thoroughly enjoying myself!

On Saturday morning, a dear friend and I decided to go to the Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday. Local vendors sell a variety of things, from homemade bread, local honey, coffee, waffles, cold pressed juices and best of all, fresh, organic produce from local farms. I was able to come away with a wonderful haul of yellow peaches, green beans, thai basil,  yellow watermelon and cherry tomatoes! Yum!

Following our Farmers Market outing, we ventured to the public library. And what began as a simple endeavor to get library cards, turned into an all-out used book buying frenzy! Unbeknownst to me, there is a used book sale held every other first Saturday of the month, where all books are 50 cents, and children’s books are 5 for $1! My little book loving heart was on the verge of bursting as we combed through hundreds of books in search of treasures. My love of books and reading no doubt comes from my mom, who has been known to collect books new and old. The utter joy of finding an old classic or an intriguing story is matched only by the enjoyment of reading it, to find that most of the time the story is even better than it first appeared to be. And so the love of books continues! She has taught me that the best books are most often hidden (always beneath some sad looking book about blood sugar diets, hors d’overs made from canned food or chia pet care from the 1970’s), just waiting to be discovered by a true book lover. My favorites are the ones with a name in the cover or a hand written note in script that say something like “To Mary, from Father, with love. Christmas 1932”. So, after an hour or so of searching and unearthing, I was lugging two armfuls of books, which, to my delight, totaled only $5! Cue the hallelujah chorus!

Much was accomplished before noon on Saturday, and it struck me that each thing I found that brought me so much joy was so very small and insignificant in the big picture of life. I have often been surrounded by people who don’t appreciate the joy that can be found in the small, simple things, like a sweet juicy peach, a bunch of fresh basil, or beautiful old books for a few cents a piece. Yet, they are the things that bring me joy each time I encounter them.

I will leave you with a recipe for Banana Bread that I tested from an old  Fannie Farmer cookbook that was found hidden amongst all kinds of nonsense books at Goodwill! And I hope you will get to enjoy many future weekends as delightful as this weekend was for me!

Fresh Table ©Emeliabird 2016

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