Monthly Archives: September 2014

Pesto Three Ways

Being out of work and on strike has made me lazy. The old saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” is so true. When I’m busy and occupied, I get so much done. My time management is stellar. My motivation is high. My thought processes are quick and flowing and connective. Slumping around home all summer, worrying about no income, angry at the premier and the Minister of Education, stressed out about the future (not to mention dealing with an onslaught of peri-menopause symptoms right in the heat of the summer) is simply not conducive to organization and accomplishment. I had so much time on my hands. I could have done so much. Like post on this blog. The one thing I did keep up over the summer was recipe discovery, menu planning and cooking explorations. “Tom” was treated to new dishes almost every day and I took lots of pictures of the meals I was churning out. I could easily have blogged every week if not more. Instead, I filed the pictures, took notes, made lists of things to blog about, read other food blogs, developed my Pinterest account, and thought about posting. There was a flurry of activity on this blog in June, just when the strike was beginning, and I posted 3 times in nine days! Wow! Sadly, this blog-happy period was followed by inactivity – posting only once in July, twice in August and once in September.

My biggest regret about my lack of summer blogging was that I didn’t share some wonderful dishes made for summer eating and made with fresh garden ingredients. Like these pestos I’m going to share today. They really should have been out there for y’all to read at the height of herb garden season. Oh well, summer is not officially over for another five days, and the weather still allows for bare legs, flip flops and tank tops (except for today when it was cool and rainy!), so I think I can get away with posting, today, some summer sunshine recipes.


These pesto recipes are all made with avocado instead of oil and have no cheese in them. The fresh sharpness of the herbs is mellowed nicely by the avocado.

1. Basil Avacado Pesto


1 1/2 avacados

1 bunch of basil

1/3 bunch parsley

1/4 cup veg broth

2 tsps white wine vinegar

1-2 tsps lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsps. pine nuts

Throw everything in a food processor or blender and blend until everything is incorporated, chopped up and mixed together. You will need to scrape down the sides a time or two while processing. Taste and adjust for flavour by adding more lemon juice and/or salt. We tossed this pesto with some butternut squash stuffed agnolotti pasta. I apologize for the photos! It really did taste better than it looks! Actually, it was delicious!



2. Cilantro Pesto

(adapted from The Garden Grazer)

1 avocado

1 bunch cilantro

1/4 cup veg broth

3 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

juice from 1 lime

2 tsps. white wine vinegar

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

Blend everything together in a food processor or blender until well combined and has the consistency of pesto. I just realized that I don’t have a picture of this pesto! Oops! Well, we tossed the pesto with assorted pastas and it was delicious every time.

3. Dill Pesto

(adapted from With Food + Love)

Okay, I do have pictures of this one!



1 avocado

1 big bunch dill

1/3 bunch parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice

3 tbsps. pumpkin seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process, scraping down the sides a few times, until smoothish. We ate this pesto with gnocchi. Yum!




A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

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The Most Amazing Smoothie!

After years of having, basically, the same smoothie every morning, I’ve really broken out of my smoothie rut this year. With the help of sessions with Feed Life and Jiivala and information from the blog Nutrition Stripped, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of greens, assorted seeds, super foods and antioxidants. Spinach is my favourite leafy green to put in my smoothie because it doesn’t have a flavour when it’s all blended up. Some nutrition experts recommend changing up your greens as sticking to one kind can cause a build up of toxins (alkaloid buildup) in your body. So, I try to rotate my leaves – baby kale is pretty good, fresh Romaine lettuce is good, arugula is interesting. I’ve even thrown leftover salad into the blender! (Tastes pretty good as long as there are no green onions in the salad)! A new addition to my smoothies is turmeric which has anti-inflammatory effects. Cayenne, also new, stimulates circulation and boosts the immune system. I throw some ginger in for it’s anti-inflammatory contribution and because it is good for the digestion. Lemons in a smoothie give a vitamin C boost and they are antibacterial and immune boosting.

So, here’s what I’ve been blending up recently:


Nestled in my basil patch!

(I’ve been dying to post this picture! Look at all the fancy labels I made!)

What we’ve got here is …

a big handful of spinach

3 leaves of Romaine lettuce, chopped up a bit

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 small English cucumbers, chopped

2 kinds of fruit (In this picture, it’s mango and apple, but try blueberries, peach, strawberries, whatever you like. Hold off on the banana though unless you’re going to drink it all right away. Banana in a smoothie, left to sit for a bit takes on a flavour I’m not partial too.)

1 tbsp. chia seeds (or ground flax seeds or hemp hearts)

1 slice of lemon, peel and all

thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped up

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp cayenne


Put all the ingredients in a blender. (I use an immersion blender with a tall narrow container as pictured in the photo). Pour water in until the ingredients are covered. Blend until smooth. In a high powered blender you can get really smooth. With my immersion blender, it gets pretty smooth, but there is still a bit of texture. This makes two servings. One for you and one for a friend. Or one for you now and another for you later!

Here’s what my amazing smoothie looks like after blending:


Beautiful green smoothie sitting in my herb garden!

The taste is eye opening and energizing and delicious. I really like the hit of ginger and cayenne. I’ve tried this smoothie out on a few people and it’s been well received by most. My six year old niece hates it, doesn’t even like the smell! “Tom” is not into it either. But two family members and two friends have given it one, if not two, thumbs up.

Here’s the same smoothie, but with blueberries. I think it has a deep purple colour, but “Tom” says it looks like sludge!


Blueberry smoothie in a blueberry bush!

And here’s the same smoothie made with strawberries and beet leaves. I call it Ruby Beauty!


Snuggled in amongst the leaves and petals of a red geranium!

Try it. Let me know what you think.

A note about the font: This post was written in large, black, bold font for easier access by people with vision impairments.

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sophie harris

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