Spinach Basil Pesto

I like pesto. But since becoming pregnant, it has become something I could do without. Until I came across a recipe for Spinach Basil Pesto from Two Peas and Their Pod. Since I haven’t had it in months, I wanted to give this recipe a try and see how I would feel about it. And I thought this was another great opportunity to use fresh basil from my herb garden. This recipe is incredibly easy and quick to make. And it is nut free which is a bonus if this is an allergy you need to worry about.

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You put all ingredients in a food processor and blend. That’s it!

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And yes, I did enjoy it very much!  How can you not?  Just look at that amazing color!  I think I am past the I hate pesto because of pregnancy phase.

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What’s great about pesto is you can use it in so many different ways.  The night I made it, the pesto was put on pasta with grilled chicken and some grated parmesan cheese.  A delicious and easy meal for a summer night.

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More recently, Matt and I enjoyed the pesto on homemade paninis, which we have quite often.

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Ciabatta bread, pesto, mozzarella cheese, and tomato grilled to deliciousness.

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I hope you give this recipe a try.  I am glad I did!

 

Salted Caramel Sauce

One of the things I love about baking is how an ingredient can turn into a completely different ingredient.  For example, I am amazed at how quickly sugar can become caramel.  It’s crazy!  I made a salted caramel sauce with the purpose of making this amazing Snickers Cake by the Brown Eyed Baker.

Making caramel can be a bit scary.  Although the recipe is simple, the process happens very quickly and can go wrong just as fast.  This of course happened to me.  The first time I tried making it, it reached the desired temperature way too fast and I burned it.  The second time I made sure I kept the fire on the stove much lower and it turned out to be a success!

All you do is cook the sugar so it will melt down and keep whisking as this happens.

                              sugar before melting     sugar melting 2

                              sugar melting 3     sugar melting 4

At this point you just keep whisking until all the clumps of sugar are gone.  (For my first attempt, this is where it turned bad.  You can see in the picture below how dark the sugar became.  It shouldn’t be this dark.  At this moment I wasn’t sure if it was burnt so I kept going.)

caramel cookingOnce it reaches 350 degrees, CAREFULLY add all of the butter and stir until it is melted.  It bubbles and splashes…a lot.

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Slowly add the heavy cream and stir again.  Still be careful!  Once that is done, take it off the heat and let it cool.

caramel take 1            caramel take 2

The caramel on the left is the first batch I made.  Way too dark.  And it definitely had a burnt taste.  The one on the right is much better!

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Like I said, it was my intention to use this caramel sauce for a cake.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to make it.  However, it did make it onto my ice cream…numerous times!

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