I may have mentioned this before on the blog, but I once went on a date with a man who referred to the fourth of July as the half-way point of summer. Um, ok. While I knew (or hoped) he wasn’t referring to the actual calendar, I thought the comment was quite pessimistic in nature. There were plenty of long days and weeks after the 4th to enjoy the many, many luxuries of summer, especially for us here in New England who savor the temporary rise in temperature.
And yet, that comment has stuck to me like glue for 30 years and I think about it almost every summer.
I have the good fortune of spending a part of my summer in a special place that my husband has been coming to since forever. While technology has caught up to this community as it seems to have almost everywhere these days, it is truly a place to disconnect from a regular routine and as I like to joke, chase a lot of balls (yellow and white). It is a place where the days are long, but the pace can be fast and since my time here is limited, I try to pack in as much as I can while I am here with my friends, an extended group that I love. While the 4th of July isn’t necessarily the half-way point, once it has gone by, I do hear the clock ticking and find myself trying to invite and accept every invitation to walk, play games or just enjoy a glass of wine and dinner with friends.
I actually feel that way about life lately. It’s so easy to say “no”, but it’s also incredibly uplifting to just say “yes”. And I was teasing my husband the other day who was invited to play tennis (and was hesitating), that we also needed to say a consistent yes to group exercise for as long as we possibly can so get out there and play!
Does anyone else feel that way about life? I do believe that finding ways to say “yes” more than “no” (at least for the right things) continues to open us up to experiences and interactions we might otherwise miss, and may come to cherish.
I am still a super homebody and relish my time alone as I am right now, writing. Time by myself is my nirvana that is true. But, my friendships are so important to me as I hope my friends know, and so I look forward to more of “yes” as the summer inevitably flies by.
Here’s a completely ridiculous thing I was thinking about the other day. The word “swipe”. It may have been the result of being told to “swipe up” or “swipe right” on Instagram. I was thinking that the word swipe has received a major vocabulary upgrade because in my day, the only way the word “swipe” entered the conversation was if you stole something or took a crack at someone. Right? So now, the word “swipe” will forever refer to the act of your finger allowing yourself access to more information than you ever knew you needed.
This is an example of the silly things that pop into my head on the regular and I just thought I’d share! Sigh…
I have heard from a lot of you that you made my White Bean Tabbouleh with Avocado Dressing with great results! Thank you so much for commenting or emailing to let me know. I also heard from a few of you that you are interested in more vegan recipes and so the one I am sharing today will fit that bill. And while it doesn’t qualify as a meal, I do think that when you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important to figure out how you are going to deliver flavor, texture and of course visual appeal to a meal. Having interesting dressings or sauces that add depth of flavor to whatever you are serving definitely helps.
I came across a recipe for a spicy hemp seed pesto on the Instagram of a woman I follow, Jillian Greaves from Prevention Pantry. It caught my eye because sadly, I am one of those people who gets on these little kicks (I’m going to eat more chia seeds, I’m going to add flax oil to my diet, I’m going to put hemp seeds on everything) and then forget these items are in my fridge. This can sometimes lead to duplicate bags of nutritious seeds and such that are begging to be used up.
Hemp seeds are part of the hemp plant which is a variety of the Cannabis species if you can believe it, but they do not have the same effects when consumed if you know what I mean. Anyway, hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds and from what I can glean from the packaging, have even more nutrition than just hemp seeds. This is the brand I used.
Jillian’s original recipe combined baby spinach with hemp hearts, garlic, lemon juice, some water and olive oil. I didn’t have any spinach the first time I made it so I used arugula and added a little more olive oil to the recipe. I also eliminated the addition of water because I didn’t want to dilute the flavor. It had such great flavor and the arugula gave it a nice peppery bite. The second time I made it, I combined spinach and arugula which was a really nice combination. This past time, I made it with just arugula again and next time, I will probably try all spinach. I can tell you it’s delicious either way. The consistency of her pesto was more like a loose sauce and mine is a little more like a traditional pesto which is how I’ve written the recipe. This may be because her cups of greens were less packed than mine. I also fine tuned the salt and pepper measurements for you. My husband and I have been eating it non stop and guests have really enjoyed it too.
The recipe yields 2 cups and you will want to serve it at room temperature to make sure you can taste all of the flavors.
Here’s why you need to whip up a batch. First, it goes with absolutely everything. We have served it alongside chicken, salmon and shrimp. I’ve tossed it with zucchini noodles. And, I used it as a base for a little naan pizza with just some fresh mozzarella on top. Delish. You could serve it with grilled tofu or even toss it with some canned white beans, two meat free options for protein. It can be a spread on a sandwich or you can add some additional extra virgin olive oil and use it as a dressing for a caprese salad.
Second and perhaps more importantly, hemp seeds are truly a nutritional power house, and depending on the brand you purchase can offer a lot of protein, fiber, minerals and Omega-3’s. They offer a nutty flavor which is really nice as well.
One important thing is to watch out for how much garlic you add. My recipe calls for two cloves, but that’s normal small sized cloves. If your garlic cloves are large, just use 1 maximum as you really want to taste the greens, the nutty hemp seeds and your best quality olive oil. My opinion on pesto is if you overdo it on the garlic, that’s all you taste! And use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find because it will make a big, big difference to the taste of your final product.
I hope you give this beautiful and healthy Hemp Seed Pesto a try and thanks to Jillian for the inspiration!
Until next time…