It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
It’s safe to say it’s just about Spring time here in the west. The birds are singing their songs, the days are stretching out before us with natural ease, and everything seems to be waking up from a long deep sleep. Everything seems (just a little) lighter, and anything that doesn’t feel light suddenly feels, well, heavy and burdensome. So I’m ready. So ready! Ready for flowers, and ready for outside time. Ready for lighter foods, and long walks in the sunshine. Aaaaaaah. Soon. Continue reading →
Love. What a wonderful word. When I was growing up, my mom used to tell me her only care was to bring up children that would love. A lovely goal. In the end I can say I think she did okay, and I can honestly say that above all, I believe that love is undoubtedly the one thing this world can always use more of. Continue reading →
Life really is a funny thing. As we move forward (which we inevitably have to), it is certainly impossible to know what might inspire us from day-to-day, week to week, and so on. It could be a conversation over lunch, or a person you haven’t seen for years that suddenly pops into your life. It could be a season, or the way you feel after spending quality time outdoors in the fresh air.
I know that for me, I am happiest and most inspired when I’ve got a full, balanced plate in front of me. Pardon the corny food metaphor, but it’s just so apt! Not too much, and not too little. Just the right amount. Having too much (of anything) can certainly cause a feeling of being bogged down. The goal (for me anyways) is always to find some sort of precarious balance and this week, I am finding much strength in looking at ways to further embrace the philosophy and idea behind this blog.
Less is always more (except when it isn’t). Simple & easy might rule around here for a while, as we kick off our next set of NSF cooking classes (pumped!) which are just around the corner. Stay tuned for an update on what we are doing next week as we finalize the recipes, write the ingredient lists, and round-up the best volunteers in the whole entire world (love you guys!).
Of course, we’ll also get to some really great recipes too. Lots of them, in fact! Starting with this amazing version of a popular favorite. Yes, broccoli pesto it is, and it is wonderful, especially when you see what it goes with!
Less oil-heavy sauces means fewer calories and fragmented foods. Less traditional pesto ingredients means more variety and fun ways to eat different things. Less calorie & dairy rich appetizers means lighter eats to snack on anytime, so good taste and light feelings come together.
More fiber filled broccoli means more chlorophyll and vitamins. More lemony, zesty flavor means more punchy bright taste. More pumpkin seeds & fresh herbs means more plant-based nutrition, so eating adventurously is just this good for you & healthy.
Start by putting up some water to boil in a small saucepan and steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender, but not mushy. Once cooked, remove the broccoli from the heat and set aside.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes until turning brown and fragrant. Prepare the lemon juice, lemon zest, & fresh herbs and set aside.
Once the seeds are toasted, remove from the oven and add them directly to the blender warm with all of the prepared ingredients. The mixture might need some agitation with a spatula to get going, but should get going to a nice bit of pureeing in little time. Blend on high until well mixed and bright green.
Serve within a day or two to ensure the best color from the broccoli and the best nutritional value. Broccoli pesto will keep in the fridge for several days and is delicious served with chickpea flat bread, or as a dip for crunchy crackers.
In my next post, I’ll share with you the latest version of chickpea flat bread that has won my heart for good.
Since our return from France in August (and the recipes I brought home from Provence), I’ve had the pleasure to try a many of these, and this one is so far my favorite! So stay tuned for an easy, filling, and nutritious version of what is fast becoming a popular food here at home (and for very good reason).
Stay tuned, you’ll want to make this one, I promise! Also do let me know if you’ve got any streamlining to do as a result of a (rather) full plate, and what is your first thing to let go!
What do you do when you feel bogged down by details?
Have you tried a broccoli pesto or chickpea flat bread yet?
Have a wonderful remainder to the week my friends and thank you as always for reading, for your kind comments, and your wonderful feedback on the recipes
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
~ Albert Camus
Holla bloggers! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Grateful as always to be here, I spent the weekend enjoying cooking at home and getting back into the groove in my kitchen. Yes, the dancing shoes were on and everything
Since utilizing fresh, accessible & affordable ingredients is fundamental to this blog, I am super excited to keep sharing more easy healthy recipes, and what fun it is to bounce off the energy and inspiration collected on my recent holiday.
This (new to me) gluten-free chickpea flat bread is as versatile as it is tasty, and when it comes to preparation, is almost criminally easy.
Paired with a topper like this Basil Pistou, it makes a perfect light lunch or side to a more substantial meal.
A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.
~ Sir Thomas Moore
Before we start, a few thoughts on food…
I’ve been teasing for quite a few posts about the foods we enjoyed while we were away. Of course I’d planned to write about this for weeks, and the truth when it comes right down to it is just this: the food we enjoyed there was dead simple.
We enjoyed amazing produce, and super fresh bread & cheese. My husband barbecued & I made (and ate) salads galore.
There were a few key ingredients that were thoroughly enjoyed to the last drop, like a balsamic vinegar that tasted as sweet as could be, gorgeous raw walnut oil for our salad dressings, delicious mustard that was added to everything, and wonderful staples like fresh bocconcini, tomatoes, sublime melons, and that amazingly fresh bread.
The crazy thing was that in France, and most notably in the countryside, the fresh healthy stuff came wonderfully affordable compared to home.
Upon our return to the Canadian west coast, fresh on the memories of the market in Provence, a visit to our local farmers market revealed that prices are in some cases 5 times what they were in France (and I was informed that the market we visited was the ‘expensive’ one for tourists by a good French friend).
There, baguettes were at the most 1 dollar (85 euro cents). A giant ball of gorgeous fresh bocconcini cost all of $1.15, and a triangle of brie just a paltry $1.96 (precisely). Sweet ripe melons were sold at every market at a mind boggling 3/$5, and two entire days worth of fresh picked fruit and vegetables cost me all of $9 at a roadside stand.
Enjoying regional foods is beautiful no matter where you are, and treating to aged balsamic vinegar (at $15 a bottle), local walnut oil ($5 a bottle), and fresh pressed local olive oil ($6) was a dream, made that much more amazing by the accessibility and prices.
Here at home, the same balsamic once imported would cost $50. Needless to say, I’m back to adding sugar to my dressings, and they taste delicious too
My return has prompted many new (and renewed) thoughts & ideas about our food here at home and the dream of making delicious, healthy foods available to all.
It was inspiring to say the least, and also eye opening to see such stark differences between the different worlds. So I am back to cooking, and back to work on this project that is so dear to my heart.
I’m so excited to bring you all along, starting with these recipes!
No one has ever become poor by giving.
~ Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank
Less store bought breads and dips means more taste & freshness without the added cost & waste. Fewer ingredients means easy work of making delicious. Less cost to make healthy goodness means your money can go farther, and who wouldn’t take a bite of that idea?
More fresh garlic means more taste and added amazing health benefits. More grain free recipes at hand means more options for those who may be sensitive. More easy ways to impress your guests means more smiles at the table, after all, nothing brings a smile like the smile of another.
Chickpea Flat Bread:
(1) tbsp good olive oil for oiling the pan
(3) tbsp good olive oil for the recipe
(2.5) cups chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
(3.5) cups water
(1) tsp salt
(1-2) tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a square or round 8-9 inch cake pan with (1) tbsp of olive oil.
Next, measure the flour into a large bowl. Gradually add the water into the flour, whisking constantly to keep lumps from forming. Add the salt, chopped rosemary, and (3) tbsp olive oil and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden, about 40 minutes. When done, remove the bread from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the pan and cut into slices, or, bring the entire pan to the table or serving area and serve straight from there!
This recipe made a generous amount that lasted in our house all week. If you like, this recipe can easily be halved, in which case you could use a regular loaf pan to bake it in.
We ate this with the pistou in this post but also enjoyed it days later fried in salt & olive oil as delicious croutons for our weeknight salads.
Keep any leftovers in the fridge and use within 5-6 days.
Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.
I’d love to hear how this goes for those of you who are looking for easy & affordable gluten free recipes to try. It’s so easy and has a lovely digestibility, not to mention the unexpected gentle chickpea flavor. Yum.
Chickpea flour is very affordable and is available in Asian food stores (it is used in Indian recipes) as well as most health food stores.
The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.
~ Mark Twain
- Adapted from Ina Garten in the Barefoot Contessa
(2-4) large garlic cloves (depending on your fondness for garlic!)
(1/4) cup tomato paste
(24) fresh basil leaves (or about 1 packed cup of fresh basil)
(1/2) cup grated Parmesan cheese
(1) cup good olive oil
(1) tbsp lemon juice
(1/4) tsp salt
Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth and well incorporated.
Feel free to start and stop the blender to whirl the mixture with a spatula (always taking care to not do this while it is running, mindfulness with the blender can be a big challenge for me!).
Transfer to a sealed container or jar and keep in the fridge. By adding the lemon juice, this recipe should not discolor, but if you choose to you can cover the top of the pistou with a film of olive oil to keep it from drying out at the top while being stored. The original recipe called for all but the salt and lemon, but I couldn’t resist adding my favorite flavor boosters, and I do think it is more delicious for it.
Use this as a spread for bread, or for pasta, in a sandwich, or as a quick perk up for a bowl of hot soup.
This one might be tough for my vegan readers as the cheese really does carry it, but with all the genius for substitutions out there among all of you, nothing would surprise me at all
A quick bit of reading on the difference between pistou & pesto yielded some history on the origins of both (both have been around for centuries), and from what I read the basic difference between the two seems to be the absence of nuts in a pistou.
Great news for those sensitive to nuts, or anyone looking to add easy variety to their repertoire.
In my next post, I’ll share the pasta salad I made with this pistou. Garlicky and delicious, it was a perfect combo with these amazingly ripe local tomatoes
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I hope all of you are basking in the glory of September, whether it is Spring or Fall where you are.
Stay tuned for more recipes and some Not So Fast news coming up! We are hard at work this fall and hope to have some fun to share with you all very soon!
Have you ever tried working with chickpea flour?
Got a favorite pesto or pistou?
I’ve seen a few great posts out there in the blog world using chickpea flour, feel free to share your faves in the comments – I’d love to know if you’ve got a goodie!
The sun came out yesterday, and it seems, decided to stay for a while (the forecast is clear for at least another day).
Insert multiple smiley face emoticons here!!
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
- Helen Keller
It’s safe to say it’s been a (very) welcome change and the views of the twinkling snow capped mountains are particularly breathtaking. Yesterday was the day that I just knew spring had come knocking here in these parts:
the larks have come singing
the daylight has come to linger for a (just a little) while longer
I nearly injured myself in my hustle to peel my boots and thick tights off to get outside.
Craving the fresh air and the outdoors after work, I hurled myself outside to enjoy the remaining glorious daylight, the bustle of activity around the park, and the smiles and quips of the many who were of the same mind as me.
Oh happy day, the larks were still singing too!
Of course in my excitement, I under-dressed as it was still finger-numbingly cold (a total newbie move). But I didn’t care.
You cannot dream yourself into character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.
~ Henry D. Thoreau
What a perfect start to the week, and the perfect time to write another post about one of my all time favorite green vegetables.
Are you with me?
Yup, it’s KALE again! I just can’t get enough of this stuff these days – evidence on this blog is here and here.
Here it is, the most perfect pesto with a twist! This recipe can be made with or without the cheese (and I assure you) is stunning either way. It’s almost entirely raw too.
Less store bought processed foods is always a good thing. Less processed salt and cheese is too. Less emphasis on oil and basil means more room for other greens, nuts, and your pure, unadulterated love.
More satisfying richness from real foods means less craving for it in less pure foods. More fresh kale, parsley, and fresh herbs means more rich green nutrition (that you can grow yourself!). More lemon will have you smiling, and more (killer) flavor will go an awful long way.
Killer Kale Pesto:
(1) cup pecan halves, raw
(1/4) cup pumpkin seeds, freshly toasted
(3/4) cup olive oil
(1) cup green curly kale, chopped
(1/2) cup fresh basil
(1/4) cup fresh parsley
(1) clove organic garlic
(1) tbsp salt
(5) tbsp fresh lemon juice
(5) tbsp good quality grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the pumpkin seeds on a flat tray and pop into the oven while it heats (my trick with dry roasting nuts – I put them in while the oven gradually reaches temperature, this keeps them roasting evenly and prevents that dreaded over roasting – ooooops!). Toast until fragrant and turning golden, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients and add to the blender, starting with the pecans first. Once toasted, add the seeds right away to the blender while still warm – the heat from the warm seeds will assist in better blending and the result will be a much smoother blending process and slightly more delicious pesto.
Blend on high and move around with a spatula to get it going*. Blend all until you reach a thick well blended consistency and there are no bits of kale left.
*Of course you can also use a food processor for this, but alas, I do not use one!
Voila! Scrape with a spatula into a clean jar. This will keep refrigerated for a while in the fridge (at least a week or more). You can also freeze in small containers!
This seriously delicious pesto adds an exquisite touch to a boring old piece of toast, a flavorful topping for a cracker, and an even more delicious component to a polenta appetizer or pizza (like I made tonight with broccoli – double green hit – super yum!).
I’ll share a few of my thoughts on polenta (and how to make a number of delicious dishes with it) in a later post, but for now, join me in an ode to freshness in the form of sunshine, fresh greens, fresh air, fresh inspiration, fresh finds, and best of all fresh ideas!
There may not (really) be anything new under the sun, but what old gem doesn’t benefit from a little freshening up from time to time?
How do you stay fresh?
Do you love kale as much as I do?
Oh, please do tell.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself
~ Zen Proverb
Welcome to all the new readers this week and and a huge, giant thanks to all the wonderful people I have met along the way so far! I really, truly enjoy all of your comments, and appreciate every single one!
This week I’ve got a yummy raw energy cookie to share, oil-free granola, and some other delicious bits and pieces..
I hope you are all starting a truly fabulous week..!
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.