I’m such a sucker for any kind of place where high-quality food is the focus. Farmers’ markets. Gourmet food shops. Italian markets. Bakeries. I love it all. It’s no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen, and finding new foods and ingredients gives me inspiration to try new recipes… plus I just love eating food, obviously.
A few weeks ago, I was walking to a Starbucks to work for awhile before meeting a friend for dinner, when I passed by a spice shop. I’ve seen it before when it was closed for the day, but this time it was open.
Naturally, I walked in the shop and moseyed around smelling and tasting things. I wound up leaving with some goodies – all that were new to me, with the exception of local cinnamon infused honey (I pretty much buy that whenever I see it!).
For San Diego area locals, the shop is called Savory Spice in Encinitas, and it’s super fun to pop into if you’re a spice nut like I am!
One new-to-me thing that I bought was pistachio extract. I’m a fan of pistachios, but for some reason they’re a forgotten nut to me sometimes. I’m constantly all about peanut butter, almonds + almond butter, cashews + cashew butter… but pistachios seem to fall by the wayside. Then I make something with them and am reminded that I dig em.
Hi friends! Today we’re talking about nuts and balls! 😉
Everyone has their go-to favorite foods that they’re constantly eating, and for me, one of those categories is nuts + nut butters. I usually eat a serving of one on the daily. Healthy fats like nuts keep my belly happy & satisfied.
Almond butter and peanut butter are my all-time favorites, and I was pretty into cashews & cashew butter for awhile there. Somehow I tend to forget that I like pistachios too.
Recently I was about to whip up a batch of energy balls, and instead of using my go-to nuts of choice, I decided to switch it up and break open a bag of pistachios.
Sunday night has come so quickly! My weekend was filled with things like running errands, hiking, cleaning and Apple tech support. My Mac was acting crazy the past couple of weeks, and since I rely on it for so much – including my full-time job, blogging, freelance writing work, plus all of the typical social media and Internet browsing nonsense – I was having a bit of a heart attack that my computer would conk out and I’d lose all of my files. I was debating whether or not to get another Mac or go with a cheaper option, but in the end, off to the Apple store I went to get a new MacBook. I’m an Apple brat now and I suppose there’s no turning back. 😉
There was something very anticlimactic about getting a new computer that looked exactly like my old computer, but hopefully this one will be speedy and reliable for at least the next couple of years. Last week I was going a little nuts working on both my old and new computers since I didn’t have all of my files transferred to the new Mac yet, so over the weekend I spent some time working to get that done. Problem solved now!
Last night was a low-key Saturday for my hubby and me. It included Monopoly game night….
…and this delicious dinner:
I saw this recipe in the March issue of Clean Eating magazine and immediately ripped the article out to try it. While the original recipe calls for zucchini ”pasta”, I don’t have the necessary spiral slicer to make zucchini strands (though I might need to get one!), so I decided to try using a different kind of pasta that I had never cooked with before:
Brown rice pasta. As if you can’t tell by my endless pasta recipes on the blog, I’m very gluten friendly. I have no problem putting down a bowl of regular delicious pasta! However, 1.) I like to experiment with different foods, and 2.) during our healthy dining experience at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill a couple of months ago, my hubby said that he really liked their brown rice pasta bolognese dish. And so, I chose brown rice pasta for this dish.
The other main yummy elements to this recipe are:
Mini heirloom tomatoes. I love heirlooms and pretty much find anything mini to be enticing, so nabbing these at Trader Joe’s was a no brainer.
Minced garlic from Gilroy Farms. Gilroy, the town next to where I’m living, is known as the garlic capital of the world. I kept seeing their jars of minced garlic at the market and finally decided to grab one.
No matter what kind of pesto you’re making, it needs fresh basil. I cut some from my little baby herb garden, which I actually just planted a couple of days ago and was a little sad to cut off half of the plant already! Other things I’m growing are strawberries, mint, green pepper and tomatoes. So fun!
I LOVED this pistachio pesto. I definitely plan to make it again, and will probably play around with what I pair it with. To make it, I just followed the recipe and combined pistachios, garlic, basil, avocado, olive, lemon juice, water and salt in my food processor:
My verdict on the brown rice pasta? I liked it…. but not quite as much as regular pasta. It had a bit of a different texture than regular pasta. If I had a gluten allergy or was just trying to reduce the amount of gluten I eat, I definitely would keep it in my cabinet for when a pasta craving strikes.
12 oz brown rice pasta (regular angel hair pasta works too!)
1 cup cherry tomatoes/mini heirloom tomatoes, cut into fourths
2 cups spring greens
½ cup raw shelled pistachios
½ TSP minced garlic
¼ TSP sea salt, plus more for seasoning to taste before serving
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 oz avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1½ TSP fresh lemon juice
Cook the pasta according to directions.
Meanwhile, to prepare the pesto: process pistachios, garlic and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add the basil, avocado, oil, and lemon juice and process until well combined. Add 2 TBSP water and pulse to combine. Add another 2 TBSP water and process until well combined again.
Once pasta is drained, return back to pot. Add the pesto, tomatoes, and spring greens, and toss to combine well. Add additional sea salt to taste.
This Friday night in my household is totally relaxed. I am still under the weather with an upper respiratory thing, and my hubby had a tooth pulled earlier today, so we both felt like being couch potatoes. Our evening has consisted of me making us a dinner of homemade tomato soup, getting some fro yo, and now we’re currently watching a college football game. Even Harley’s joining in on the laziness and has been snoozing. Between a workout first thing this AM, work, a long walk with Harley, and physical therapy while feeling crappy, I think I’ve earned some chill time tonight! 😉
Before officially moving forward from the holidays, I want to share one final dessert I made during Christmastime – chocolate bark with pistachios and dried cranberries:
I found the recipe on the Eating Well website, and the process of making these treats went something like this:
Next time I make these, I’m definitely going to use regular dark chocolate instead of bittersweet. It’s a personal preference, but I like dark chocolate the best. The recipe is below!