Have you ever had sprouts? You know, those green, stringy, crispy things that come on top of a sandwich… or the white, thin, birthday-candle-like things that come with your pad thai? Well, today I am going to teach you how to grow sprouts, right in you own kitchen. Continue reading How to Grow Sprouts→
These last few weeks have been oh-so-cold all across the country (even here in Texas). So, I figured it’s time to break out my recipe for warm, comforting bean soup. This humble bean soup is anything but boring. In this post, I include one recipe for vegans and another for bacon lovers. Both are hearty, filling and flavorful. And, because this soup is made in the slow cooker, this soup is super easy to make. Continue reading Slow Cooker Bean with Bacon Soup (plus a vegan option!)→
New Year’s Resolutions can be so complicated. Right now, we are in the midst of resolution overload. Ads on TV, on the web, on the radio, on your phone, and in the paper all have a resolution theme. How can you assess your wants and needs and set a vision for yourself when there are so many options out there? And, how do you stick with those resolutions throughout the year? Can you really achieve what you want in 2018?
Today, I’m going to show you eight steps that will help you achieve your New Year’s Resolution.
2. Choose SMART objectives. You have to start out with the right objectives within your resolution before you can actually be successful. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound. Check out my post on SMART goals to set the right objective for the year.
2. Establish a Compass Routine. Find that one routine that will set you up for the rest of the day/week/month. For me, a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to establish my schedule, meal plan, and clean for the week is my compass routine. For me, those two hours set the direction for the rest of the week.
3. Maximize your time. Sticking with your goals usually means that you have to get creative with your time. The more you are able to get the most out the time you have, the easier it will be to find time to exercise, plan meals, spend time with family, or be more mindful.
4. Find better balance with work. You have 168 hours in a week – how will you use that time? Take a look at your week and find a little more balance. And, sign up for my mailing list (in the top right corner of this page) to get my better balance calculator!
5. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness (even five minutes!) can help you achieve your goals. When you are present and enjoy the moment, you notice more about yourself and the world around you. Whether you have a resolution to be more mindful itself or whether you are trying to achieve a different resolution, practicing mindfulness will help you either way.
6. Adopt a Healthy Habit. Now is the perfect time to reset your lifestyle and think about healthy habits. But, where do you get started? Check out my post on how to adopt a healthy habit – it shows you five steps to get you going.
7. Journal. It might seem silly, but journalling about your progress, your challenges, or even the food you eat is another way to remind yourself about your resolution. There are so many ways to journal… explore these five different ways to keep a journal.
8. Be more grateful. Regardless of whether you are trying to change your lifestyle, your finances, or you attitude, being more grateful can help you achieve- yes acheieve – your goals. By focusing on the actions, things, and people in your life for which you are thankful, you put yourself in a headspace to reach your goals.
We decided to include the royal flock in our holiday card this year. It was pretty fun to try to get the chickens in our photo when all we had was a cell phone camera and a selfie stick. In this post, I’ll share some of our favorite photos from the experience. Continue reading A Holiday Chicken Photo Shoot→
Giving food is a great way to show you are thinking about friends, neighbors, coworkers and family. But, many food gifts are full of sugar, salt and saturated fat. In this post, I’m going to talk about two food items I made this year for friends that had less sugar, less saturated fat, less salt, more whole grains, and more veggies. Continue reading Healthy gifts for food lovers→
The difference between homegrown and store-bought eggs is amazing. This week, Antoinette layer her first egg! The yolk is such a deep yellow, and the taste is amazingly rich and flavorful. Here, see for yourself: Continue reading Homegrown vs. Store-Bought Eggs→
If you can believe it, November 12 was the final basil harvest of the season from my Texas garden. This was a great year for basil – the summer was hot, and the basil loved its place near the tomatoes and bell peppers (yep, companion planting does work!).
This harvest yielded about 20 cups of basil leaves. Isn’t it gorgeous? The smell in the kitchen was so fresh and liquorish-y. There’s nothing like fresh herbs.
Here’s how to maximize your basil harvest (or, anytime you have some extra basil on hand:
Here’s what you can do with a big basil harvest:
• You can make basil cubes, two ways. Chop up the basil and freeze the basil in water OR freeze the basil in olive oil.
• You can do something slightly more complicated but only requires five ingredients. You can make a dairy-free pesto!
How to make basil cubes
For basil ice, you need the following equipment:
• Food processor (or a good, sharp knife)
• Two ice cube trays
• One measuring cup
And, it only requires three ingredients:
1. Basil (of course)
2. 1/2 cup water
3. 1/2 cup olive oil
Here’s how to do it:
• Chop your basil in the food processor (or with your knife).
• Spoon a teaspoon of chopped basil into each ice cube well.
• Fill your measuring cup with water.
• For the first ice cube tray, pour water over the basil in each ice cube well, making sure the basil is submerged.
• Then, empty your measuring cup and fill it with ½ cup of olive oil.
• For the second ice cube tray, fill each well with oil, again ensuring that the basil is covered by the oil.
• Pop trays in the freezer until hardened.
These can be stored over the winter and used in sauces, soups, or even in omelets! Just pop a cube out of your tray and its ready to use. I add the water-based basil in stews and steamed veggies. The olive oil basil cubes I melt as a base for eggs, marinara sauce, or even as a dip for crusty, whole grain bread.
How to make dairy-free pesto
Why dairy-free pesto? It’s delicious, for one. And, it is creamy with an amazing depth of flavor, even without the cheese. It’s helpful to have a dairy-free pesto on hand in case you (or anyone you know) is sensitive to dairy. You can first mix this dairy-free pesto sauce with pasta, rice, or any other grain. Then, if you’d like to add Parmesan to your dish, you can sprinkle your meal with the cheese after you’ve served the dairy sensitive folks. Also, if you are vegan or have vegan friends, this recipe is perfect!
For the dairy-free pesto, you need the following equipment:
• Food processor
• Hand juicer
• Two measuring cups
And, it only requires five ingredients:
• 5 cups of washed basil leaves
• 1 cup olive oil
• Lemon zest from ½ lemon
• Lemon juice from ½ lemon
• ½ cup pine nuts
Here’s how to do it:
• Lightly toast your pine nuts at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-7 minutes. You’ll know when the nuts are done when they have turned a very light golden color.
• While the nuts are toasting, zest your lemon and set aside.
• Next, juice the lemon into a measuring cup.
• Then, add ½ cup of olive oil into your other measuring cup.
• By this time, the pine nuts should be toasted. Take them out and set aside to cool.
• Put half your basil (about 2½ cups) in the bottom of the food processor, and add your lemon zest on top.
• Begin pulsing your basil, and add lemon juice while the leaves are being chopped.
• Add ¼ cup of pine nuts to your mix.
• Add ½ cup olive oil.
• Next, add the rest of your basil (by now, there should be room in the processor).
• Finish by adding the rest of your pine nuts and olive oil.
• Then, taste your pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste, as you like (I don’t salt mine at all, actually).
Troubleshooting tip: Pesto should be a spreadable consistency and have a balance of flavor with the tang from the lemon, the creaminess from the nuts and olive oil, and fresh flavor from the basil. If the pesto is too thick, add oil or lemon juice. If it’s too watery, add pine nuts and basil leaves. If it tastes like it has too much lemon, add some basil leaves and olive oil. If it’s too creamy, add a bit more lemon juice. And, if it’s not fresh enough, add more leaves. Pesto is an art rather than a science. Play with the ratio of ingredients to fit your taste.
I store my pesto in a quart size freezer bag. This way, when I want to make pesto pasta, a pesto rice casserole, or if I want to have a pesto dip for bread, I can simply break off a bit of the pesto in the bag and save the rest. The good news is that a little pesto goes a long way – it is so flavorful and rich!
…and an observation (just for fun). I’ve found that lemon juice really brightens the color and flavor of pesto. You can see the differences in the batches when lemon wasn’t used as much. Just look at the difference in the color!
How do you like to use basil in your cooking? Let me know in the comments.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, ‘tis the season for feeling grateful. When the days feel shorter, and the holiday craze hasn’t quite set in (yet), you may feel as though you have a bit more time for reflection. This is a great time to practice gratitude. Continue reading How to practice gratitude in five steps→