Roasting veggies is great in the cold weather months because not only do they taste really good, your kitchen also gets nice and warm and cozy as the veggies are roasting! These Honey-Roasted Root Veggies have a slightly sweet taste from the honey and they roast up nice and tender. I based this on a recipe I found at MyRecipes, changing the amounts of some of the ingredients.Continue reading
I’ve grown basil every summer for many years–sometimes in a garden, but lately in a large pot, since I don’t have space for a garden right now. I love making homemade pesto with my basil! It’s really easy to make and there’s nothing like cutting fresh basil from your own garden or pot to make it. What probably takes the longest time in making this recipe is picking the basil leaves off the cut stems…but even that task is enjoyable because you get to sniff the wonderful aroma of fresh basil while you’re doing it! Here’s a simple recipe I use…it’s a good starting point, and you can adjust the amount of certain ingredients (like the garlic, for example) to suit your taste. You can use a food processor or blender–a food processor probably works best, but a blender will work, too.
BASIL PESTO by NancyC
Makes 2/3 to 3/4 cup
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves. packed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp. pine nuts (I often substitute pecans or walnuts, because they’re less expensive)
- Dash or two of salt, to taste (optional)
In a food processor or blender, add the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic; blend or process until smooth (the mixture is on the thick side, so if you’re using a blender, you may have to stop the blender and stir with a spoon to help it along). Add the Parmesan cheese and nuts (and salt, if desired) to the basil mixture, and blend well. Spoon it out of the blender or food processor into a small bowl (or covered container if you’re going to use it later).
I mostly eat pesto spread on a thick slice of crusty bread. It’s also really good on the Asiago cheese bagels you can buy at Panera Bread or Atlanta Bread Company. If you’re a sourdough bread fan like I am, it’s good on that too!
Do you grow your own basil too? What do you like to make with it?
This is a super-easy recipe I found a while back on the box of a Lipton® Onion Soup package. It’s so good! And I also like it because you don’t have to peel the potatoes–just leave those skins on and cut them into chunks! This is a very versatile side dish–you can serve these potatoes at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Many friends have asked me for this recipe over the years, and I posted it several years ago but didn’t have a very good photo of it– so this is a re-post of the recipe with a new photo. I also added suggestions on other ingredients you can add to these potatoes if you want.
ONION-ROASTED POTATOES adapted from Lipton®
Makes 4 servings
- 1 envelope onion soup mix
- 2 lbs. of potatoes (about 4 medium or 3 large), cut into large chunks
- Optional: 1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped green or red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup non-GMO canola or light olive oil
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Add all ingredients in a gallon-size plastic ziploc-type bag. Seal bag and shake until all the potato chunks are evenly coated with the oil/onion soup mixture. Then put potatoes in a 13 x 9″ baking or roasting pan and discard the bag. Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
FOR BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH: These potatoes are great served with a breakfast casserole and fruit salad for a filling breakfast or brunch. After roasting them, you could add 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh chives and/or mix in some crumbled bacon if you want to make the potatoes a little fancier.
FOR LUNCH AND DINNER: For lunch, these potatoes are great with just about any hot sandwich that you would serve french fries with–and they’re probably healthier than fries. It’s a great potato side dish for dinner, too. If you have cheese-lovers in your family, you could sprinkle some cheddar cheese on the potatoes after they’re done roasting, and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes, just to melt the cheese a little. Yum!
These potatoes get eaten up pretty quickly, so you may want to think about making a double batch in a larger baking pan if you’re cooking for more than 4 people.
Hope you enjoy them! Have you made roasted potatoes before?
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Have you ever made your own soap before? I really like the idea of using homemade soap with natural ingredients and have been interested in trying to make some myself. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to review the new book, The Best Natural Homemade Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps (Robert Rose, softcover).
The book starts off by sharing some interesting history about soap making. In ancient times, soap mainly consisted of a mixture of boiled fat and ashes. The first people to make olive oil soap were the Syrians, several thousand years ago in the city of Aleppo. “The women of Aleppo realized that by adding ground bay leaves to soap, skin infections were reduced considerably; the leaves from the bay plant possess an extraordinary natural antiseptic.” And other soap-making discoveries continued over the centuries.
This book also includes preparation tips and utensil and ingredient guides so you have everything you need to make your own olive oil-based soap. The step-by-step instructions seem easy to follow and include information on therapeutic qualities of the natural soap additives in each particular recipe–additives like essential oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, kaolin clay, seaweed, and goat’s milk. Some of the 40 different soap recipes include Kiwi Soap, Lavender Soap, Marigold Soap, Seaweed Soap, Green Tea Soap, Chocolate Soap, Coconut Soap, Cinnamon Soap, Rosemary Soap…and many more great-sounding versions!
I was going to try making the basic Olive Oil Soap recipe. The ingredients are simple and basic enough–mineral water, lye (caustic soda), and extra virgin olive oil. However, I wasn’t able to find lye in any stores near me, so I guess I’ll have to order some from a soap-making supplier (there’s a list at the back of the book). In the meantime, I have permission from the publisher to share the recipe with you! Note: You’ll need safety goggles, a large saucepan, and a kitchen thermometer to make this soap.
OLIVE OIL SOAP from The Best Natural Homemade Soaps
- 7.5 oz. mineral water
- 3 oz. lye (caustic soda)
- 1.5 lbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Scent (optional), store-bought or homemade
- Wearing gloves and goggles, pour mineral water into a large saucepan. Add lye slowly, stirring gently until it is dissolved.
- Using a thermometer, monitor the temperature of the lye mixture until it is between 120˚F and 140˚F.
- Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat olive oil to between 120˚F and 140˚F.
- Remove olive oil from heat. Add lye mixture to olive oil, stirring slowly and trying not to splash.
- Stir occasionally, every 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens and congeals (it will have a texture similar to that of light mayonnaise).
- Stir in scent (if using). Stir for 1 minute with a spoon (or with a whisk, taking care not to create foam).
- Pour into a greased or paper-lined soap mold. Gently tap mold to remove any air bubbles.
- Cover with a blanket or towel and let stand for 2 days. Uncover and let stand for an additional day if the mold is very large.
- Turn soap out of mold. Wait another day, then cut into bars as desired.
- Dry bars for 1 month, turning occasionally to ensure they are drying uniformly.
Soap recipe from The Best Homemade Natural Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps by Mar Gomez, 2014 © http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.
This sounds like a great soap for your skin! Homemade soap is a great DIY gift idea, too! Do you use or have you made any olive oil-based soap, or any other kinds of soap?
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It’s been awhile since I tried a new hummus flavor. I’ve made quite a few different kinds of hummus already–like Avocado Hummus, Lemon Artichoke Hummus, Black Olive Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, Pumpkin Hummus, and good old regular Hummus! Roasted Red Pepper Hummus was next on my list. It was worth trying–the roasted red peppers, blended with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and other spices give this hummus a nice flavor and a creamy consistency that’s great for spreading on pita bread or other breads (I also like it on sourdough) and also for using as a dip with veggies, tortilla chips, or crackers. If you’re a hummus fan like I am, you just may want to try this out!
ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS by NancyC
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 3/4 cup roasted red bell pepper pieces from a jar, drained
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil (start with 2 and add 1 more if consistency is too thick)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1 to 2 Tablespoons additional finely chopped roasted red bell pepper from jar, for garnish
In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients and mix until everything is well blended.
Spoon hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with chopped roasted red bell pepper if desired. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, fresh veggies, or warmed or toasted pita bread. Note: the garlic and pepper flavor get a little stronger the day after this hummus is made.
I’m glad hummus is healthy, because it’s one of my favorite things to eat or snack on. What’s your favorite healthy snack or dip?