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Tag Archives: herbs

Pesto to the Rescue

Every summer, we grow our own vegetable garden, and along side the garden we grow herbs in pots.  And every year we have grand ideas of how we are going to use these herbs in all of the dishes that we make.

And every year we end up with several pots of herbs that we barely touch.

This summer we are on a mission to change that!

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What requires a whole bunch of herbs, but is still easy to make and doesn’t require cooking (It’s hot. Who wants to turn on an oven, or even a stove-top!)?

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Pesto, that’s what!

And since we’re really indecisive and couldn’t decide which herb we wanted to include, we threw a few different ones in and hoped for the best.

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Lemon Basil, African Blue Basil, Sage and Arugula.  You want flavour?  You got it!  Paired with some toasted walnuts, garlic and a little lemon juice to finish it off- you will want to spread this stuff on everything.  But be sure to make a double-batch, because we’ve got a delicious summer meal coming your way that features this magnificent spread, and you’re going to want to use every last drop! 😉

Don’t have lemon basil or African Blue basil?  No problem!  Regular basil works just fine.  Don’t have an herb garden?  We’re betting you have a neighbour or two who would be happy to share their bounty with you 🙂

So go ahead and use 10 minutes to make this- then go and enjoy that summer sun!

Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Time: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1/2 c.

Ingredients:

1/2 c walnuts, toasted
1/3 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. sage leaves
1/3 c. arugula
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Directions:

Put the walnuts, basil, sage, arugula, salt, garlic and lemon juice into a blender or food processor.  Blend on high until the mixture becomes mealy and starts to form a paste.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil.  If your pesto is still too thick after adding all of the olive oil, add the tablespoon of water.  Blend until the mixture is somewhat smooth. (it will still have some texture).  Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have an herb garden?  How do you use up all of your herbs?

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Guest Post: Herbal Teas

As you can probably tell by the extreme decrease in the frequency of our posts lately, we have been really busy! Between working and summer track, we are almost never home! We joke with people that we live out of our car, but to be perfectly honest, we’re not really kidding. Everywhere we go, we have a change of clothes, work clothes, running clothes, a million different pairs of shoes, lots of snacks, even over night stuff! We just never know where we’re going to be! 

Of course, we’d be lying if we said that it was all work and running keeping us away from the blog.  We’ve also been spending a lot of time having fun with friends, going to the beach, chilling on patios – you know, summer stuff. We haven’t been spending all that much time in the kitchen, really. Hence the lack of posts! So of course, we have happily been accepting guest posts. 🙂

Today’s post is from Elaine Rosales, who is currently researching herbs and their uses. Today, she’s here to talk about herbal teas. Take it away, Elaine!

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Have You Tried These Herbal Teas?

If you are looking for a calming and refreshing beverage that’s not only delicious but also soothing, then your best choice is tea. Next to water, tea is the most popular beverage on Earth. Health experts agree that drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking several glasses of water – maybe even better.

However, there is still a great deal of debate as to what tea is the most beneficial. Green tea and black tea, both from the Camellia sinensis plant, are the most recommended. However, there is growing research saying that herbal teas, such as ginger, jasmine, and tulsi tea, can also offer you immense benefits.

Herbal teas are a wonderful deviation from the usual Camellia sinensis teas you drink. Some have a mild floral flavor, like rose tea and lavender tea, while others are spicy and tangy, such as peppermint tea and licorice root tea.

There are also herbal teas that are native to certain places only, such saw palmetto tea. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), actually a palm rather than an herb, is found primarily in the southeast region of the United States. Florida Native American tribes, such as the Miccosukee and Seminole, considered it to be an important food source.

Saw palmetto tea is made from the saw palmetto berries, which are either dried or boiled to produce a soothing and unique-tasting tea.

You can buy herbal tea bags or loose leaf tins from supermarkets, but you should make them at home to fully appreciate them. Here are three easy herbal tea recipes you can try.

Soothing Ginger Tea

Ginger tea not only helps you detoxify, but also helps bolster your immune system. Here is a simple ginger tea recipe from The Healthy Advocate.

Ingredients:

  • Two tbsps. ginger, peeled and freshly grated
  • One cup of hot (almost boiling) water
  • One cup room temperature water
  • Almond milk or coconut milk (optional)
  • Stevia (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Pour hot water over the fresh ginger, and let it steep for 30 minutes. You can also steep it overnight for a stronger brew. Make sure the container is properly covered.
  2. Strain the ginger and add one cup of room temperature water. For a creamier brew, add coconut or almond milk. Sweeten with a small amount of stevia.

Sweet Hibiscus Tea

Made from the blossoms of the hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa), hibiscus tea was the beverage of choice of the ancient Pharaohs in the ancient Nile Valley. This tea was also widely popular in various countries, such as China, Mexico, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Hibiscus tea is known for its unique and slightly sweet flavor, and is even used in various ceremonies.

Here is a simple hibiscus tea recipe from Stef of The Cupcake Project.

Ingredients:

  • Two cups dried hibiscus flowers, rinsed
  • Eight cups of water
  • Raw honey or stevia

Procedure:

  1. Put four cups of water, honey, and the hibiscus flower in a large saucepan. Put it over a stove on high heat.
  2. When the mixture boils, cover and lower the heat. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat. Use a colander to strain out the hibiscus flowers.
  4. For a warm tea, dilute the tea with a few cups of cold water. If you want an ice-cold drink, let the tea cool to room temperature first. Add ice and chill in the freezer for several minutes before serving.

Tea is a delightful and refreshing beverage that you will surely love. Opt for this healthy drink instead of sugar-loaded and processed sodas and fruit drinks.

About the Author

Elaine Rosales loves reading Mercola health articles. She is currently researching different types of herbs and their many uses. Her recent report is about the uses of organic saw palmetto – as a delicious tea and beyond. 

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What a great, informative post Elaine! We hope that those of you who haven’t tried herbal teas now will, and those that have will drink them more often! We know we will be. 🙂

And we promise that we will continue to be posting throughout the summer, however we can’t promise they’ll be any more frequent than they have been – we’re having way too much fun!

~twosaucysisters

Chocolate Lavender

Last Monday was the 3rd installment of Heather’s Meatless Monday round-up.  It was for the letter D and in this case, D stood for dark chocolate.

And we missed it.

How could we miss the week that was using chocolate as the main ingredient?!?

We knew we had to make up for it this week, so we called out to our facebook friends to give us a little inspiration as to what we should make.  After all, we knew we had to do something pretty spectacular to make up for missing dark chocolate week!

One very devoted follower found a recipe for a dark chocolate tart that looked incredible, and so we set to work make our own Saucy Sister (aka-healthy) version.  We decided while we were at it, we might as well make it with gluten-free and vegan options because nobody is going to want to be left out of this one!

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On top of that, the weather is warming up quickly over here (woohoo!) so we decided in the spirit of summer, we would make this a no-bake creation, becuase who really wants to turn on their oven when it’s hot outside?

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You also might notice the sprigs of lavender on the top- that is no accident!  You see, we are in the midst of preparing our vegetable garden for another season, and we have purchased a number of herbs to plant in pots on the back porch.  One that we are particularly excited about is our lavender plant, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fresh summer herbs into our dishes!

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So we give you a No-Bake Chocolate Lavender tart.  The perfect way to start off a summer of baking dessert-making.  And yes, we realize that we failed to follow the rules and make something from one of the participants last week.  Heather, we are very sorry, but we just had to share this recipe!  And I guess we sort of used Laura’s chocolate-avocado idea, didn’t we?  That must count for something, right?

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If you don’t have lavender, you can leave it out and just add a little more water or sweetener, but it really makes this unique, so we highly recommend trying to get your hands on some!

And of course, head over to visit Heather at Better with Veggies to see what everyone else made this week!

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 9-inch pie

Ingredients:

2 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/2 c. raw walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1 large avocado
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt (use dairy-free yogurt for vegan version)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c. hot water + 2 sprigs of lavender
dash of salt

Directions:

In a food processor, combine the oats and nuts and cocoa powder.  Blend for a couple of minutes until the oats and nuts are finely chopped.  Add the dates and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large pieces of dates left.  Add the water and maple syrup and pulse until the mixture comes together and sticks together when punched between the fingers.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with wax paper.  Dump the crust mixture into the plate and press firmly, making sure to press some of the mixture up the sides as well.  Set aside.

Place the lavender in the 1/4 c. of hot water and allow to steep for several minutes.

In your food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt and 2 tbsp of the lavender water.  The rest can either be discarded or kept used in something else.  Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth with a spatula.  Allow to set in the fridge for at least a couple hours before cutting.

Garnish with fresh sprigs of lavender if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had chocolate and lavender together?  What are some of your favourite chocolate desserts?  Are you planting a vegetable garden this year?