Monday, September 2, 2013

Vegan Pesto

My daughter's cross country season started this past Saturday.  Her training has been going really well this summer so we were all very optimistic.  In practice, she has managed to take about 4 minutes off her best time from last year.

Then we got to the meet.  It rained off and on all morning (even though it wasn't predicted) which made a terrible course even worse.  The school is under construction and at one point right at  the beginning and end of the race, there was an absolute mud pit.  I can't believe they didn't either re-route the race or at least put straw or something down.  You sunk straight into it.  I realize this is cross country and it gets muddy but this was ridiculous.  The meet was at my husband's old school and he was throwing a fit.

The aborted warm up

Before the races, everyone started their warm ups and as quickly as they could moved away from the course.  Shoes were at best weighted down with mud and at worst stuck in the mud completely.  One of her teammates actually lost a shoe and had to go back for it during her race.  So obviously all this slowed them down.  Still I thought Kayleigh's stride looked really good  each time she went past me and her times seemed strong.  I wanted to make sure I caught her final sprint so when she got to the 3K mark, I headed to the finish line.  As soon a she turned and started her final sprint, I noticed that she was crying.  By the time she finished and got over to me, she was basically hysterical.  Her time was 26:21 (which is her new PR, by the way) but she had it in her head she was going to get under 24 minutes.  I kept telling her that on that mess of a course, that was a really good time but it didn't make her feel any better.  About a minute later, here came a teammate, crying as well!  I guess it shows that they were really trying but I wish they could have been happier with their runs.  They have new coaches this year and they did a great job trying to perk them up after the race.

Kayleigh after about 1 mile

Unfortunately, most of the team is now sick from hanging out in the rain for a few hours.  And their second meet is tomorrow.  Thank goodness today is Labor Day because Kayleigh has basically slept the whole day.  I'm not sure how she will make it through school and then a meet tomorrow.  Those are long days when you feel well.  I wish her season could have started off better.

A sad and muddy team

About a week ago, she asked for pasta tonight to get ready for her race so, even though she didn't really feel like eating, I went ahead and made pasta.  Jacqueline over at posted a pizza recipe with pesto which has had me dreaming of pesto for a day now!  So I headed into the backyard for a big bunch of basil and made some to go with the pasta tonight.   I love adding pesto to just about everything.  At the end of the summer, I usually cut all the remaining basil and freeze as much pesto as I can to get me through the winter since everything is the store contains cheese.


3 cups basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor.  Pulse until everything is finely chopped.  With the processor running, drizzle in the oil until the desired consistency is reached.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


During the winter, roasted vegetable and hummus pitas are a staple in our house.  It is pretty easy since you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the vegetables to roast so there is plenty of time to make hummus from scratch.

Before roasting

Last week we had a luncheon at work.  I came home with the leftover raw veggie platter that had cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.  I was also given the leftover, store-bought hummus.  I added onion,  potato and garlic to the vegetables, sprinkled them with oil, salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon.  They roasted at 450 degrees for about an hour.  Since we were given hummus, we used that.  Both Bill and Kayleigh took one bite and said that they liked my hummus better.  While I'm happy for the compliment, free hummus is free hummus and I'm not letting it go to waste!  I'll make plenty of the homemade kind this winter.
After roasting

Since it seems to be so popular, though, I thought I'd post the recipe.  The store bought is much thinner than this recipe and that seemed to be the main complaint.  Plus, it doesn't have that touch of honey.  If you don't eat honey (I know that is a hot topic!), agave nectar can be used.  I've used it in the past with good results.

The container that caused disappointment!


1/4 cup tahini (see note below if you want to use sesame seeds instead)
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons honey (or agave, or leave it out if you don't want the touch of sweetness)
Paprika and olive oil as garnish

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until everything is combined and just slightly chunky.

Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and paprika.

Makes 2 cups.

NOTE:  I used to be very much against buying tahini because I only used it in hummus and we didn't make it very often.  Once we started eating more hummus and finding new things to put tahini in, I started buying it.  Before that, I used 1/2 cup sesame seeds and 4 tablespoons olive oil.  I would toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until toasted, stirring constantly.  Then I'd put them in the food processor with the oil and pulsed until the seeds were coarsely chopped.  I added the rest of the ingredients and pureed further.  Sometimes I still do this because it is a little bit different and nice for a change.