pesto for lunch

i have a little tin can sitting on my windowsill; pretty little sprouts of green are just peeking through to soak in the sunshine.  while i was washing dishes tonight, i glanced at those little leaves and my mind filled with a summer gone by.

i have a friend who grows an amazing garden (actually i have quite a few friends with fabulous gardens- why isn’t their ability rubbing off on me?)  he can grow anything well; and he is generous (the best gardeners always are).  one summer his abundant garden produced a plethora of basil.  green basil, and purple basil, all kinds of basil in excess.  his wife (one of my besties) came to my house arms laden with bags full of basil, and we made pesto.  we made pesto all summer; we ate pesto on freshly baked crusty white bread.  she sat at my kitchen counter, and we talked life and kids and cooking and preserving and we ate pesto.  it is a memory of summer and friendship and real food, made fresh and made well.  it is a memory of smells and tastes and grit on my hands from basil pulled freshly from the ground.  it is a memory of joy.

so tonight when i peered into that little tin can and spied those green basil sprouts i was full of joy; because food is an essential part of our lives.  it is memory; it is nourishment; it is giving and sharing and enjoying goodness together.

i miss my friends whom now live to far away to partake in pesto making and eating.  but basil in my garden and in my kitchen this summer will make them feel closer.  and i will gather new friends, while i think about my old friends.  we will eat pesto for lunch, and we will make new memories.

jen’s pesto

a few handfuls of basil

bunches of freshly minced garlic

a handful of almonds

a couple good pours of extra virgin olive oil

a few shakes of parmesan cheese

put it all in a food processor and process til its pasty; put a couple spoonfuls on a plate with another pour of olive oil.  dip some warm crusty bread in there and scoop up a good amount— enjoy!

 

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our new food adventure

our family has decided to change our eating habits.  praying that we might see some changes in our physical and emotional health.  we’ve cut refined sugar, dairy, and most gluten, along with all processed foods.  i’ve always made most of our food from scratch, but “made from scratch” is taking on a new meaning for me.

 

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we appreciate the food we eat all the more when we actually have to work for it.  milling our own flour, gathering fresh eggs, and enjoying fresh pork from our summer pigs has deepened our joy in the food set before us.

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it also makes me look forward to growing, and harvesting, and preparing.  my thoughts have been drifting towards planting veggies, foraging for wild berries, and expanding our little flock of chickens.  i want to grow in myself and my family a deeper appreciation for the food that nourishes our bodies.

our new food adventure is taking some getting used to; our palates have grown accustomed to artificial sweetness.  but as we experiment and eat more real, good food we are seeing changes; and they are good.

 

here’s a quick and easy recipe for you:

 

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Happy Morning Muffins

1 medium well ripened banana ( i wait for mine to turn dark then freeze them to pull out for recipes and smoothies)

1/2 cup of your favorite nut butter (we’ve been using peanut and almond)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

2-3 pitted dates

1/4 cup cocoa powder

throw all those ingredients into your blender and whip em up real good!  then scoop into some greased mini muffin tins and bake 8-10 minutes at 350.  you won’t believe how fluffy these flourless muffins are!  we like to eat them with raspberries or strawberries and maybe a little coconut cream.  these muffins make for a happy morning in my house.

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what we’re making this week

i haven’t told you about what i’m up to in the creativity department in a while; i figured it was about time.

actually first i want to share a recipe with you; a recipe i have been using a lot lately.  ginger cookies, or molasses cookies whatever you want to call them… they may be the greatest cold weather cookie in existence!  now i am a chocolate kinda girl, so normally i would choose chocolate chip over every other kind of cookie; but these cookies are something special.  i’m talking melt in your mouth, make you feel all warm and cozy, eat six before you realize it, perfectly pretty and round, kind of cookie.  a dear friend of mine shared this recipe with me a few years ago; i don’t know it’s original source (mrs. judy, if you are reading this and know where the recipe came from please share).  i have no pictures of these delectable cookies to because, quite frankly, they get eaten too fast.

ginger molasses cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 1/2 sticks butter softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 + molasses (i never measure this really and i think i use more like 1/3 a cup)

~ 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling the dough~

preheat your oven to 350; sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl.  beat butter and sugar for about 2 minutes; add egg and molasses and beat some more.  gradually add flour until combined.  scoop teaspoon size clumps and roll them into a ball then roll in sugar.  place on ungreased baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes.  you don’t want these to get over done so keep on eye on them.

if its snowing outside you should definitely be making these cookies for an afternoon snack!

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there’s happy valentines creative mess going on in my house.  getting denim cuffs and clothespins put together for my instashop’s valentines package sale has me in happy heart mode.  notice the valentines decorations that are hanging in my house (top pics) are blue.  all the red, pink, and purple is heading out the door and through the mail to friends and gracious customers.  the boys complain just because it’s out on the table… “mom why’s all this pink stuff in our house…”  ahhh boys.

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i’ve been playing around with making prints on pic monkey.  it’s pretty easy to use, and it’s free.  of course you can pay to get betterfeatures, but you don’t have to.  i’m super excited about these little prints that i made for the red valentines packages.

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i usually only share what i’ve been making, but this week the hubs brought this home.  i know right, it’s amazing!  he is a builder so he’s always making things (like houses and barns), but this is incredible (well houses and barns are incredible too, but they aren’t sitting in my living room) .  i’m so proud, and full of ideas for more furniture.  hmmm….. a new kitchen table might be in my future.

the boys and i have also started on some simple woodworking project for school as part of my “let’s make something in the garage b/c it’s snowing outside campaign”.  i will post pictures when we get a little further along in the process- who wants to look at piles of sanded wood?

that’s about it: cookies, valentines, and furniture- that’s what we’re making ’round here.  and now i’m off to make some potato soup and homemade rolls for dinner.

coffee cozies anyone?

it snowed all weekend here; like cold, windy, yucky snow not pretty, fluffy, floating snowflakes.  so we stayed inside, and i did a lot of perusing because i’ve got gift cards.  and gift cards make me happy and oh so conflicted- what to i get with this card.  boots, books, art, craft supplies… the possibilities are endless and excruciating.  this weekend i was looking at coffee cozies.

coffee cozies.  i know, i know i’m not a coffee drinker so technically i do not deserve to own one.  they are so cute, and i have become a tea drinker; especially during these cold and snowy weekends when i can sip tea and shop online.  the hubs looked over my shoulder yesterday and said… “really that seems unnecessary”.  ha- he totally doesn’t get it.  i take a pint size mason jar out of the cabinet, fill it with water and then pop it in the microwave for a minute and a half.  (i know using a tea kettle would be so much better and quaint, but i’ve got the need for speed.) while the water heats i get out my mug and drop in a tea bag- chai tea if your wondering.  than i have to remove said mason jar from the microwave; it is hot!  seriously, i can handle hot.  i’ve been known to pull a sheet of cookies out of the oven with no mitt- ok that’s a slight exaggeration.  but that mason jar is hotter than i want to touch, so i’ve got to grab a dish towel to wrap around it.  i then pour the hot water from the hot mason jar into my mug usually spilling some and getting my dish towel all wet.  i let my tea steep for a few minutes, anyone know the preferred time for tea steeping?  i add my new fave homemade creamer, and sit down to enjoy my cup of tea.

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so you can see my dilemma, can’t you.  if i had a coffee cozy to wrap around that mason jar; i would not burn my fingertips or spill water all over my dish towels, and i could enjoy the cuteness.  hmm maybe it’s the cuteness i’m really after.

now dilemma number two: purchase or make; and with so many options to purchase how could i possibly choose?  i found some cute ones made by nataliecreates and a bunch on etsy.    what do you think?  any profound thoughts on coffee cozies?  have you bought one?  have you made one? do you want to make one for me?  or do you really just feel like you wasted 5 minutes reading this post?

in other thoughts- cookies go well with hot tea and snowy days.  and i had a special little man help me make chocolate chip this weekend.  i ate way too many.

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just in case you want my recipe for creamer.

homemade vanilla creamer

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup milk (the fattier the better)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pour them all into a mason jar and shake it like you mean it.  i’m telling you this stuff is good and easy and versatile and cheap.  the excellent qualities of this creamer are too many to list.