Good morning all!

Happy Wednesday! How’s your week going? Just in case you didn’t catch Monday’s post, I’m giving away a copy of As Good As Gold by Kathryn Bertine, which is quite possibly the most motivating and captivating book I’ve read this year. The giveaway is open until this Thursday night (September 13th) at midnight EST, so be sure to get your entries in!

Now over to some fabulous new things, starting with my healthy Recipe of the Week… and I promise, it’s not salmon this time!!

1. Recipe of the Week: This summer I’ve incorporated more fresh herbs into my meals than ever before – everything from omelettes and dips to salads to smoothies – and I’m still going strong. It’s amazing how much flavour they add! My favourites are mint, dill, and of course….

Basil Leaves

Basil!!

I discovered a little while ago that I could get an enormous bag of the fresh leaves at Sobeys for the same price (about 1.50) as a much smaller bag at other grocery stores. I’d been craving a pesto to punch up the flavour of my dinners, so I bought one of said enormous bags of basil and got to work.

Basil Leaves

You’re in for a real treat this week, because not only are you getting a super-easy recipe for Power Pesto, but I’ve also got a delicious application for you, Zucchini ‘Pasta’ in Pesto Sauce. Before we get to that, a few words about the pesto. Why is it called Power Pesto you may wonder? Because it’s made with hemp seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and walnuts. Not only are these ingredients tasty when mixed together, but they’re also crammed with heaps of anti-inflammatory nutrients and healthy fats, which are great for heart health, skin radiance, and overall well-being.

Walnuts in white bowl

Walnuts in white bowl

Although pesto is a fairly high-fat condiment and therefore very calorie-dense, it’s a good idea to use it in moderation. However, a little goes a long way, so you don’t need more than a teaspoon or two to get some crazy good flavour happening.

Pesto in a food processor

Did I mention that this recipe is ridiculously easy? After a quick whizz (and occasional scraping down) of the food processor, you’ll have this:

Power Pesto

And what can you do with it? Pesto is SO versatile – you can add it to soups, pasta sauces, and salad dressings, or use it as a rub on chicken or fish. Ever since I decided to store my spiralizer in the kitchen rather than in its box on a shelf in my dining room, I’ve been using it daily. One of my staple lunches is spiralized zucchini noodles with a few other salad mix-ins and balsamic vinegar. When this pesto was born, the balsamic was out and pesto was in.

Zucchini 'Pasta' in Pesto Sauce

Zucchini 'Pasta' in Pesto Sauce

I thinned it out a bit with some plain yogurt and a little white wine vinegar, and it coated the ‘pasta’ beautifully. If you’re looking for a light, low-cal but high-flavour lunch, this one’s for you!

Zucchini 'Pasta' in Pesto Sauce

2. Lavender. The more I read food blogs, the more it seems that using lavender in the kitchen is a fairly common thing to do. I was talking to my mum about this last time I went to visit her, and coincidentally, she had just been on a trip where she visited a lavender farm in the Okanagan. Even better, she brought back some dried lavender which meant I didn’t even have to hunt it down and buy it myself. Thanks Mum!!

Dried lavender

After a bit of reading, I learned that lavender can be used just like other herbs to flavour food. Dried or fresh flowers can be added to salads, thrown into bread dough, cake batter, and puddings. The trick though, is to not over-do it or else you’ll have a meal that tastes super bitter. I was a little worried that whatever I made would end up tasting like it was doused in perfume, so I went very light on the lavender for my first trial.

Dried lavender flowers

Since salmon never fails me, that’s what I made. I broiled a salmon fillet on high for about 5 minutes while I made a white balsamic reduction on the stove in a small pan. (Really, it wasn’t that fancy – just 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp of whole wheat pastry flour to thicken things up a bit, and just over 1/8 tsp dried lavender flowers.) I let this heat for about 3 minutes on high until it began to thicken, then added the salmon to the pan so that I could coat it in reduction and let it soak up the sauce.

Lavender and balsamic glazed salmon

The lavender definitely gave the balsamic a bit of a floral taste, one that I can’t decide if I liked or not. It seemed to pair well with the sweetness of the white balsamic, which seemed to get even sweeter as it was heated. While I’m still not sure I liked the floral notes of the lavender, this trial did make me realize that white balsamic reduction on its own is really, really good. Since salmon is a stronger, heavier fish than white varieties like cod and tilapia, it paired amazingly well with such a light glaze. Major foodgasms indeed, and a repeat for sure!

Lavender and balsamic glazed salmon

Now I want to know…

  • Did you try anything new yesterday?
  • Are you a big pesto fan? What’s your favourite way to use it?