Garlic Basil Pesto - My Favorite Recipe!

I absolutely LOVE Pesto in the spring and summer, and use it in a variety of ways - some that I just invent as ComposeI go. This is my very favorite Pesto recipe. I try to make lots of pesto in the summer, when fresh basil is plentiful. I usually make a mess of the kitchen when I make it, but I make enough to last a good while. I freeze it in small portions, as I will explain at the end of this.

Garlic Basil Pesto Recipe
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh Basil Leaves - (mmm, I Love the smell of them!)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 3 to 6 cloves of peeled garlic 
  • 1/4 cup raw, organic sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of honey, or what suits your taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor with a metal blade, chop the basil leaves. Add the cheese, garlic, sunflower seeds and lemon juice and blend again. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and honey and process 'til well mixed. You may have to stop and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula a time or two to get it to blend really well.
Okay, some footnotes:
The "real recipe" calls for pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds, but I think  pine nuts are just too darned expensive, so I sub in the sunflower seeds. You could very well try it with walnuts, as well.
As far as the number of garlic cloves, again go by your taste, but the more your palate can take, the better, as far as health benefits go.(Check out my site on "The Health Benefits of Garlic". My favorite recipe for Roasted Garlic is posted there, as well as an easy recipe for a Healthy Garlic and Onion Pasta Sauce.)
But back to the subject at hand....the Pesto.
I put honey in my Pesto as it seems to cut the strong taste of the garlic, allowing me to add more cloves, and it does sweeten the flavor a bit. You will have to adjust this according to what tastes good to you.
As for freezing the Pesto, I am single, and don't very often cook for anyone else. I found some disposable 2 oz. plastic souffle cups with lids. I portion out the Pesto in those and toss them in the freezer, and thaw out one at a time - a little Pesto goes a long way.

I got a kick out of this. I call these souffle cups, Amazon calls them jello shot cups! I am either behind the times, or maybe just plain boring - or quite possibly both. Would've never thought to search for them as "jello shot cups".
And I've digressed again...

I use my pesto with whole wheat pasta and veggies, spread it on a whole wheat tortilla when I make a veggie wrap, and I smear it on my Thomas Light Whole Wheat, or Multi-Grain English muffins. Sometimes I put some goat cheese on the English muffin as well (okay, sounds weird - but is pretty darn tasty!)
Finished Pesto,  ready for the freezer!

How do you use and eat your Pesto? I'd love to get some more ideas. Weird combinations welcome!

Healthy Oatmeal Recipe for Breakfast

I think everyone knows that a healthy breakfast is an important part of your day, and your lifestyle.  The question is, "How many of us actually practice that, to the point that it's a habit?'
A good breakfast before work will keep you going and satisfied til lunch, and hopefully keep you from craving those sweet donuts and danishes that do bad things to your health, not to mention your weight. Now, I must admit, I was blessed with "skinny genes" (please don't hold that against me and click to another site!) so I've never had much of a weight problem, though my metabolism has definitely slowed, and I can't eat the same items and quantities that I used to eat.

This breakfast is probably not particularly low-cal, but I can assure you it gives you a good filling start to your day, so if you screw up or cheat later, you've already put some good things in your body. it's got a little bit of all the goodies in terms of antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Let's not use that as an excuse to cheat, ok?)

So hear it is:

Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Oatmeal Recipe

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of raisins
  • 1 rounded tablespoon of dried cranberries
  • 1 medium strawberry
  • small handful of blueberries - 16 or so
  • heaping tbsp. of flax seeds
  • heaping tbsp of sunflower seeds
  • 8 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of flax oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
 Combine oatmeal, water, raisins and cranberries. Cook on the stove according to the directions on the oatmeal container, or in the microwave - in which case you may have to experiment on the time and power level. (You will most likely find that about 70% power for around 3 minutes will work best - depends on the microwave.)
While it's cooking, combine flax seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds in a coffee grinder, and blend.
When oatmeal  is cooked, add the grinder's contents, olive oil, flax oil, blueberries, and strawberry (cut it up).
If the blueberries and strawberry were frozen (as mine often are, put oatmeal back in the microwave for another 20 seconds, to reheat.)
I know this seems like a lot of work and a lot of "stuff" but once you get a system down, it goes very quickly.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

This is the great little coffee grinder I use for grinding the seeds.  It tackles the almonds with no effort, and grinds up the flax seeds in spite of how tiny they are. I've used it daily for a couple years and it never skips a beat. It's a little power house! Keep in mind that flax seeds have a hard outer shell, so unless they are ground, the omega-3 goodies can't get out - the seeds will go right through you!

Why I am Starting This Health Blog

When I was 15 years old, and my brother was 10, we lost our mother to a 2 year battle with breast cancer. While many of the details were kept sheltered from us, I remember multiple surgeries, in addition to radiation and cancer treatments. I know that my mother suffered greatly during that losing battle. I also remember my father saying afterward that statistics at the time (30+ years ago) showed that had she opted top receive no treatment whatsoever, her lifespan may have been 5 years - not 2 years. Granted, treatments have no doubt come a long way since, but my thought is, "Who wants to get cancer (or any other disease or sickness) in the first place?"

I should mention that, in the years since, my father has devoted much time and energy into researching alternatives to traditional cancer treatment. I have learned a great deal about healthy eating from him. His website devoted to this issue is

Over the years, I have decided to make my lifestyle one in which I can avoid as many health problems as possible, for as long as possible. And I must admit that vanity comes into play here as well. Not only do I want to feel good, but I want to look good (somehow that desire especially kicks in when you hit the 40-year mark).

So on a lighter note, after all that, I want to have fun in life, and on this blog, while sharing some of the things I've learned over the years that others may want to take advantage of as well.