June 25, 2014
When you think of summer herbs, what comes to mind? For me, fresh basil pesto is right on the top of the list. Basil is probably my all time favorite herb, and after growing my own in our garden, it became clear to me that fresh picked basil is the only way to go. I have had an overabundance of basil in my garden lately; it’s been a pleasant “problem” to have! I try to use as much of it as possible in my daily dishes, but a few leaves here and there just won’t cut it when my plants are producing like they are!

fresh basil pesto

So…the other day I found myself walking in from the garden carrying a large bowl completely filled to the brim with basil leaves. It seemed like the best option would be to make some fresh basil pesto! The process is simple, as well as the components. But I was missing one of the classic pesto ingredients: pine nuts. Crud. That always seems to happen to me – I get the brilliant idea to create something, and I’m missing one crucial ingredient.
Not to be deterred, I turned to the Internet to search out a recipe for pesto without pine nuts. Surely there had to be a recipe idea out there! Sure enough, I found my recipe inspiration from Skinnytaste with her skinny basil pesto. I made a few tweaks as I went through the process of creating my own version, and was extremely pleased with the results!

fresh basil pesto to freeze

What rocked my socks off even more was that I had extra pesto…quite a lot extra…than I needed on that particular day. Ice cube trays to the rescue! I simply spooned the leftover basil pesto into the wells of the tray, covered it, and popped it in the freezer. Now when I need a bit of fresh pesto, I pop out a cube or two to throw into a dish or to simply defrost and add olive oil for some bread dipping goodness!

fresh basil pesto

If there is one thing I absolutely love, it is a hunk of crusty, warm baguette dipped in pesto with olive oil. When we go out to dinner and a warm loaf of bread with olive oil and pesto are placed at the table, I could pretty much satisfy my hunger by noshing on that alone. Normally, I don’t allow bread in my house…because if left to my own devices, I will devour it without hesitation. But for special occasions…or a weekend of relaxation….I can make an exception. Just pour me a glass of wine alongside this platter and I’m a happy camper.

How about you – are you also a fan of fresh basil pesto?

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 6 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add basil leaves (stems removed), garlic, grated parmesan, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until finely minced (about 20 pulses).
  2. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the processor as you continue to pulse the mixture until all is incorporated. If the pesto is still a bit dry in texture, continue drizzling olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Spoon olive oil into a shallow dish or plate and drizzle with herbed olive oil. Dip slices of crusty baguette into the mixture; enjoy!

Notes

Adapted from Skinnytaste

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June 20, 2014

The season of summer entertaining is officially upon us – are you prepared? There is something about summer that immediately makes me want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the company of others. It just seems like the right season to do so! When it comes to entertaining, I do like to keep things simple. You could drive yourself crazy trying to put together an elaborate table, a plethora of items to eat, and the perfect cocktail or drink to accompany it all. I admit: I’ve done it myself a few times. However, I think keeping it simple is pretty much what summer entertaining should be about. Feel free to be laid back – it’s summer! Kick your feet up and enjoy yourself instead of adding the stress of creating the ultimate in perfection.

summer entertaining with Marshalls

So, for my summer entertaining table, I whip out a few essentials. From….you guessed it…Marshalls. The store is always packed with awesome entertaining goods; they aren’t just awesome for clothing and shoes, y’all!!! I find SO many amazing home items at my local Marshalls, and pictured today are just a few of my new favorites.

summer entertaining with Marshalls

If you’re going to be serving food and drink outdoors, I highly recommend obtaining a set of pretty plastic glasses. These goblets are great for water, tea, juice, etc. I also have a set of wine glasses so I don’t have to stress out about broken glass during my get-togethers! The sealed glass bottle is a fantastic option if you’re worried about bugs or other items making their way into your drinks; just pop the top and pour when a refill is necessary.

summer entertaining with Marshalls

When you’re serving food, it is always nice to have a few large plates or trays to display everything nicely. One of my favorite items to serve during my summer entertaining sessions is a platter of charcuterie, cheese, and bread/spreads. Can you go wrong? I don’t think so. I love this textured white platter I scored, and my new wooden tray is quickly becoming a favorite – the handles on the sides make it a cinch to transport whatever I’m serving to and from the kitchen.

summer entertaining with Marshalls

Other items I love to seek out at Marshalls? Their gourmet food options! From sauces to spreads, to marinades and seasonings, you can find some amazing deals and tasty finds. This olive bruschetta is quickly being devoured in my home. I’ve been spooning it onto crackers and rounds of baguette, but I’ve also found myself adding a spoonful on top of my salads. I bet it would make a KILLER muffuletta sandwich. I think I just had my next idea for lunch….

summer entertaining with Marshalls

As for how to set the table – I keep that simple as well! This tablecloth is actually one from our wedding; I kept a few on hand afterward. It washes easily, so it makes it a cinch to throw on the table, and I don’t get too upset if a little spill happens. As for a simple centerpiece – baby’s breath is where it’s at for me! It is affordable and easy to find at your local grocery store. All you have to do is cut the pouf and add it to a vase with a bit of water on the bottom. This mercury glass vase is also from my wedding…but we found them at Marshalls when we were obtaining all of our centerpieces!

summer entertaining with Marshalls

And on a random side note: how about that nail polish? You better believe I picked up this Essie polish (in Sunday Funday) when I spotted it on the shelf at Marshalls! It’s the perfect summer color, don’t you think?

How do YOU like to entertain during the summer months?

 

 

Disclosure: I have received free products or value from Marshalls or The TJX Companies, Inc. 
in connection with my affiliation with Marshalls Project FAB.

June 17, 2014

Hey everyone!

You won’t find me over here today…I’m guest posting over on American Family Insurance’s Dream Protectors blog! Click over to see a favorite pizza of mine..and also to get my tips on how to make pizza into a healthy meal.

 

AmFam

Have a great day!

June 13, 2014

Happy Friday everyone!

As you have probably noticed over the past two years, I’ve been a member of the Sunday Supper Movement. Today, you can find me over on the Sunday Supper site with a bit of an interview! Click here to head on over and check it out…will you?

Sunday Supper Super Star

Also, you may have noticed a few changes going on around these parts – I’m in the process of making things a little prettier on the blog, and this is a start!

 Have a wonderful weekend everyone!