Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spinach Pesto

 Everyone needs a good quick pesto sauce recipe! Trust me on this one, it's yummy. 
There is a secret ingredient that you might never guess. Go ahead, read on and tell me if you guessed it! Dare ya ;)
I'm keeping this short and sweet today, enjoy!!!

As you can see I buy my spinach in bulk. Costco has yummy spinach, and LOTS OF IT, for cheap. I'll get that and make 4-5 batches at once. This is my favorite go-to sauce, for loads of options. It's especially good on those days spent at the pool, where we run home just in time to get dinner on the table as Mr. Chef walks in. It's like I had been slaving for hours over a fresh hot cooked meal :)

 To start, let's make one thing VERY clear...this is easy peasy.  
 Blend all the above ingredients, minus olive oil, together in your blender or food processor until creamy. Slowly add oil, while blending. 
Pour into ice cube trays or tupperware for storage. 

For some reason pesto will discolor after you freeze it. I don't honestly know why. To avoid it, simply pour a very thin layer of oil on top of the pesto in the container. 

This freezes really well or goes great on sandwiches, pizza, wraps, pasta...the options are endless! Maybe i'll do a pesto week next week and give lots of ideas for how to use your pesto? Anyone interested?

5 C loosely packed, fresh spinach
1/4 C Lemon juice
1-2 tsp grapefruit zest (any citrus will do but the grapefruit adds a really fun zing)
1/2 C pine nuts, toasted
1/3 C Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about a full tsp of salt and 1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper)

Toast pine nuts in oven or toaster oven. spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast at 250 degrees for 5-8 minutes, just long enough to enhance the flavor. When you open the oven door, you should be able to smell them. 
Place spinach (no need to de-stem but make sure it's washed well), lemon juice, pine nuts and grapefruit zest into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. While still blending slowly add oil until well mixed. I usually prefer Olive Oil, however, this past time I made this I ran out of Olive Oil so I substituted Canola Oil. Whatever vegetable oil you have should work just fine. My personal preference is Olive. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use with your favorite recipe.

Optional use: Pour prepared pesto into ice cube trays or tupperware. Cover with a very thin layer of oil to preserve the bright green color while frozen. Freeze immediately.

PS - Did you guess the secret ingredient? Who would have thought, grapefruit pesto!?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Candy go-carts

This post is a little different. We are still making stuff in the kitchen, well actually the park, but it's still food. So, today is for the kiddos!

So -- today's post is a quick and fun idea when you are looking for a different day with the kids, or adults, or whoever. (we all got in on this action, maybe the adults more than the kids in some instances)

My little girl just turned three and was sure that ONLY a Fix it Felix party would do. Not Wreck it Ralph or Sugar Rush, Fix it Felix, complete with the building cake from the movie. Somehow I pulled it off and it was a blast and she was in heaven. But one of the most fun parts of the whole thing was making our own go carts. If you have a winco around you go hit them up for their bulk candy and go crazy!!!

Here is the birthday girls cart:

 We had a HUGE array of candies, cookies and crackers to use. Make sure that you get lots of round candies for different wheels and steering wheels. We also found that toothpicks were extremely handy!

And here are some other masterpieces...Aren't they beautiful!?


There are so many fun things you can do with this! Go grab candy of your choice, a few toothpicks, some awesome icing and go go-cart crazy!!!

Recipe for Royal Icing:
(recipe from Food Network)

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)


In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.