Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pound Purries and Homemade Pesto

THREE DAYS UNTIL THE SPARTAN RACE!

Our team, the Mud Angels, made our team t-shirts last week. We'll be blingin in the mud.

Daisy, photo ninja of the year.

Last year, I had nightmares about the race. This year, no nightmares, but I'm just praying that I don't get injured! That course is extreme and now that Reebok has bought out the Spartan, I'm nervous to see if there are any "new" (and overly extreme) obstacles. I've been sticking to my clean eating and had not a drop of booze in two weeks. We'll see if it makes a difference.

I'm a week late to announce this, but we have a new kitteh! His name is Remington Thugnacious. Which is fitting given the meaning of "thugnacious" and also the fact that he is a total bada** sweetheart.




Rems is three years old and we got him at the Humane Society of Central Illinois. I would say that we "saved" him but this place is really well-kept, clean, stocked with volunteers, and adequately funded. But I still like to think of him as our very own Pound Purry (anyone remember these!?). After having dogs for five years, I'm re-learning the quirks of cats.

On the way home. Rems LOVES him some Wesley. I think his previous owner was male.

Remi is kind of a hermit by day and a total party animal at night. Seems like Wes is going to have a new late-night gaming partner.

Also, Rems hates collars.

This is a "Calming Kitty" collar the vet put on Remi. I left for two hours and came home to find it laying in shreds under the bed. Remi said, "EFF YO COLLAR!"

And being transported to the vet.

Even trying to get Remi to the vet was like a scene from Jurassic Park. He was trying to velociraptor his way out of the cardboard crate. Nobody puts Remi in a corner. Or a box.

He's adjusting to our pups pretty well. After a few whaps to the face, our dogs know better to leave Remi the eff alone. Most of the time, they just stare at each other. Though, last night I caught Rems and Daisy having a late-night "chase me" disco party. Cray cat.

Anywhoorah...

Given the abundance of the basil in my herb garden and the fact that it was about to go bad, I decided to harvest all of it to make some homemade pesto!

Is pesto healthy?

Yes and no.

Yes, because it's loaded with 15% of your daily vitamin A and six grams of protein. And most of the fat is unsaturated (olive oil and pinenuts) so it's good for your heart. The basil itself if high in phytochemical nutrients, which act like antioxidants. Pesto has minimal ingredients, so it will fit into a "clean eating" diet well.

No, because it's calorie dense (Parmesan cheese and pine nuts are not exactly low-fat).

Overall, a little goes a long way and it's better than other sauces (vodka and alfredo), but stick to about a heaping tablespoon per serving. If you want to cut the fat even more, just half the cheese.

Here's the recipe. Please note that you can half all of it. I used 6 cups of basil leaves because I had that much. I mean, I went all Fern Gully on my basil and chopped the basil forest down to the ground. So, if you are buying basil, just half the recipe. Basil = mega$$$$ in grocery stores!



Homemade Pesto
6 cups packed fresh basil leaves
8 cloves garlic
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Rinse and dry basil well.

2. Toast the pine nuts by placing in dry non-stick pan on med-high heat. Cook, stirring continuously to prevent burning, until light brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.

3. Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste.

4. Toss with pasta or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When storing, top with a little extra olive oil to keep it fresh and from turning brown.



WEEKLY MUST WATCH: The Crash Reel


The Crash Reel on HBO. Directed by Lucy Walker, it's a documentary about Kevin Pearce, a pro-snowboarder, whose skill rivaled Shaun White. Pearce was a rising star and on his way to the 2009 Olympics when he was injured with a Traumatic Brain Injury (just days before the Olympics). The documentary chronicles his life and recovery, and issues a cautionary tale about brain injury in extreme sports. It's a breathtaking, heartbreaking and inspiring narrative. I thought it would just be a sports movie, but it's much much more than that--it's a movie about life. Check it out!




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