Spinach Basil Pesto, anyone?

Hey friends!

So last night I decided it was time for a show down with my basil plant.

009

It was just begging to be eaten. Not in the “a leaf here, a leaf there” sort of way I’d been eating it, though.

007

No, it told me it was ready to be plucked clean. So that’s what I did. Enter your basic pesto… with a twist!

Spinach Basil Pesto

035

Ingredients:

  • 1 C fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 C spinach

The spinach was a last minute addition. I was feeling creative 🙂

Instructions:

Toss it all into a food processor and give it a whirl!

027 028 030

————————————————->

034

Ahhhh, I love food processors. 🙂

Enjoy! I sautéed some veggies in it…

039

..and had them with cannellini beans over spaghetti squash, which I cooked in the microwave.

I just cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, placed half of it inside facing down on the plate, and microwaved on high for 8 minutes. Done and done!

021

024 026

Voila!

041

The pesto was really yummy. However, I decided spaghetti squash is just not my favorite, at least when it’s substituted for pasta.

I just like pasta better! I think I’d like spaghetti squash much better as a side dish as opposed to the main course 🙂 I’ll do some experimenting with the leftovers!

What do you think of spaghetti squash? If you like it, what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Stay tuned… I made something else very creative in the kitchen last night that I think ya’ll will LOVE!

Pumpkin Bean Dip-licious

Happy Friday!! So first up on the list of awesome appetizers from last night was this random concoction that I dreamed up:

Pumpkin Bean Dip!

058

This was a huge success! I was thinking of making hummus (which I am still going to do later just for myself), but decided that was too boring for the party and I wanted to make something more interesting. I wasn’t sure how it would come out and was basically just throwing half my fridge into the food processor 😉

041

Here’s what I ended up with, and it tasted SO GOOD!! Def making this for parties in the future. (and/or at all times to eat with a spoon)

Ingredients:

  • 1 C (overflowing) canned pumpkin
  • 1 C black beans (rinsed)
  • 1/2 C cannellini beans (rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (this totally made the dip!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions:

Toss it all into a food processor and go for it! Easy peasy 🙂

I just bought my food processor/blender combo on Overstock.com earlier this summer and it was the best purchase ever. Cheap, too, since it was refurbished! It’s a Cuisinart BFP-703CHFR Food Processor/Blender and I got it for $70 in case you’re curious 🙂

Here’s before…

052

And after!

053

Tasted it immediately, obviously. Ended up adding a more black beans (I first started with only 1/2 C)… it’s all about experimenting, friends!

YUMMY!!!

054

Keep refrigerated until ready to par-tay, then serve with blue corn tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, veggies, or whatever you like!

057

Up next on the menu? Another pumpkin-related goodie, of course! And one non-pumpkin treat (gasp!!). Stay tuned 🙂

Funny story from last night: so there were about 15 of us, and we destroyed all the appetizers as well as 6+ bottles of wine. So at one point I had like 10 girls in my room all trying on a zillion jeans, and my friend Sarah was like “Oooo I love these ones!” I look over and I’m like… “Wait… those are MY jeans that I was wearing tonight!!!” Lol! Mayhem 🙂 Everyone is already asking me to have another one of these parties… I’m thinking late January/early February 🙂 So fun!

Off to run a bunch of errands and then gear up for a Halloween party tonight! Have a good one 🙂

Blogger Secret Ingredient Contest: Pancake Mix!

Good morning all!

So last night I had some free time and decided to do a little experimenting in the kitchen because the lovely Caitlin is hosting week 52 of the Blogger Secret Ingredient Contest. Basically, each week a new blogger hosts, and picks a special ingredient. Anyone can enter a recipe, but they have to use the ingredient in a creative way. So this week’s secret ingredient was… <drum roll>… pancake mix!

First things first:

 036

Cooking is way better with wine 🙂 And music. Which was also involved 😉

So… wanna know what I made??

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

……………………………………… FALAFEL!!!

055

Creative, right?!? I hope so, anyway 🙂

The star ingredient:

037038

Secret Ingredient Falafel

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C whole grain pancake mix
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley (lightly packed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Instructions:

First, preheat oven to 400.  Then toss all the ingredients into a food processor! It should look like this:

  039

040

Whirl it around in the food processor until it’s pretty much evenly mixed.

044

Form patties into flattened balls (it should make about 5 to 6) and place on a cooking sheet. Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes.

045

Once I put the falafel in the oven, I was still feeling creative, so on a whim I decided to whip up a yogurt/cucumber sauce similar to those I always love at falafel shops.

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz container non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice from 1 whole lemon
  • 1/3 of a cucumber, sliced

Once again, I popped it all in the food processor….

047

…gave it a whirl, and voila! Amazing sauce. Mmmm this came out SO good!!

 049

A tip for the lemons when you’re done with them – put them down the disposal… it makes it smell really nice 🙂

So by this point, my falafel was done!!!

051

I enjoyed two of them for dinner on top of a brown rice wrap (from Trader Joes.. these would also be awesome in a pita if I hadn’t just had one for lunch!). I drizzled drowned them in cucumber sauce, added some fresh cucumber, tomatoes, and spinach, and I was ready to rock!

054 

….Except that once I added the spinach and actually tried to roll it up, my wrap was TOTALLY exploding and about to be a HUGE mess.

056

Good thing I’m a genius 🙂 Tin foil saves the day!!

057

So excited to have more falafel today for lunch… I’m thinking on top of a big salad with my cucumber sauce 🙂 I can’t wait to see what everyone else whipped up for the secret ingredient contest!

Hope you’re having a nice day so far! Mine has been productive… knocked out a couple hours of Organic chem homework, did some laundry, made some calls, etc. This afternoon I have do some editing work for my job, and we get our second exams back in chem class… eeek!

Now I’m heading off to my favorite class at the gym – PiYo – which is a pilates/yoga mix. I LOVE pilates and while I like yoga, I don’t like doing a full hour of it, so this is perfect for me 🙂 The instructor is great, too. Doesn’t that make all the difference?

Have a good one! 🙂