Monday, May 21, 2012

Basil Cashew Cheese: Easy and Delicious

My basil has been thriving and growing at quite a quick pace, so this Saturday I was able to have my first harvest. I ended up with at least two cups worth of leaves and since I refuse to let any of my favorite herb go to waste I got to cooking. Although, to be fair, the following recipe involves no heat and comes together very easily.

Ingredients Needed:
-1.5 cups of raw cashews, soaked for four hours
-1 tsp fresh pressed or grated garlic
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-salt and pepper as desired
-3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

(Original recipe source)

Once cashews are soaked and ready you drain them and throw them into a food processor, processing until they are ground up relatively well. At that point, add the other ingredients and process again until smooth. Next, line a small bowl or container with plastic wrap and fill your mold, first adding crushed pepper into the bowl if desired. Wrap the remaining areas of cheese so that it is fully covered and place in fridge to set and for the flavors to mingle. When you are ready to enjoy, remove the plastic wrap and place on a platter to be enjoyed with crackers, bread, fruit, or whatever your heart desires. I think this would taste wonderful spread on a piece of crusty bread and topped with the thinest slices of sweet apple.

I had this at a party nearly two years ago and am happy to say that now that I have made it for myself that I will be making it many more times. This would be perfect to put out at a dinner party or bring to a summer potluck. 

Oh, and the rest of our basil? It was whirled up with some olive oil and tossed with pasta for Saturday night's dinner. Topped with diced organic tomatoes it was a perfect light and simple warm-weather meal.

Do you have any favorite uses for basil? I am looking forward to a summer of basil-filled creations. Basil mint lemonade is on my radar, but I am sure to have plenty to go around.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Hand-knits for Nugget

Now, I am no expert knitter, only learning the basics around a year ago, but when I found out we had our own little bean on the way I had to break out the needles and remind myself just how to cast-on. I have been taking it stitch by stitch since then.

Prior to finding out our little one is a girl I started with a neutral brown yarn to create the tiniest of hats. Using a simple pattern from Ballee on Ravelry I cast on and created the simple cap below. I should also note that I am pretty tight with my stitches so cast on a few more than advised and adjusted as needed, those adjustments seemed to work out well and I think this should do the trick for keeping her noggin warm.

The above cap was finished just in time to find out we were having a girl and with that knowledge I journeyed to the craft store and found some new colors to work with, resulting in the little purple and teal cap below. This time I followed the pattern a bit more closely while still adjusting for my tight knitting style. 

These types of projects are rewarding with their quick results and a good way to dip my toes back into the knitting world, but now I am on the hunt for a simple baby blanket for our girl. That project will be much more labor intensive with thousands more stitches being required, but I look forward to getting started. Now it is just about finding the right pattern and acquiring the needed yarn. Luckily I have a willing helper to roll my yarn into balls if needed. Yep, definitely a keeper.


In Addition: Please excuse the clutter around the blog for the next few days. Now that I finally have more time I am trying to make the place feel more like home and for some reason my post are not cooperating with back-dating. 

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Friday, May 11, 2012


Reading: So many things. Now that schoolwork is complete I can finally eat up all of the books I have been wanting to read. Right now my stack includes The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, and The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson. Also, I just finished All New People by Anne Lamott yesterday and it left a good feeling in my soul. I love the way that woman writes.

Watching: Not a lot. I am a fan of Grey's Anatomy and that is the only show E and I regularly keep up on. Other than that we have been watching random episodes of silly teen dramas (my favorite kind!) online or on netflix on the nights we feel like lounging. For instance, Make It or Break It, Switched at Birth, Gossip Girl, Teen Mom and so on. I spend enough time in my head so sometimes I just need to zone out with a mindless episode of silliness.

Thinking About: So many things for this one too. Finances have been on my mind quite a bit, but I know we will figure it all out. Gardening has also been occupying my mind space in a wonderful way. Beyond that one of the largest things on my mind is tackling our birth plan and care provider situation now that my schooling and internship are behind me and I can really dig into everything.

Anticipating: Graduation! I graduated from high school nine years ago and traveled down some windy roads along the way, yet tomorrow I will dress up in the funniest type of gown and finally receive my Bachelor's degree. Even sooner than that I am anticipating picking my love up from the airport tonight. I am so excited to shower that fella with love.

Listening To: The Mountain Goats. I have also been listening to quite a bit of The Lumineers lately. I love me some folky just-right tunes.

Eating: Everything I can get my paws on. That is not quite true, but I have been feeling awfully hungry. This time of year I always want a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, so I am looking forward to filling my belly with plenty of that goodness, but this afternoon I settled for a single bowl of strawberries and half of a Builder's bar. Not exactly the protein+fruit combo I was hoping for, but it should hold me over until supper.

Working On: A plan. Now that everything is suddenly coming to an end I will have a lot of unstructured time to work with and I want to take advantage of this time and not let it get me feeling down-in-the-dumps. There are plenty of wedding details, house projects, and Nugget Girl projects to work on, so I see some self-imposed deadlines and structure on the horizon. Trust me, it is for my own good.

Wishing: For everyone to chill out, stop judging, and to realize that love is more important than materials any day of the week.


P.S. Linking up with Danielle for this weekly reflection.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Were The Tests Right?

Well, the time is here my friends. Below you will see the special messages we sent our family and a few closest friends to announce the big Nugget news.

Can you believe that each and every one of those sex tests were correct? I mean, I wouldn't recommend anyone counting on their silliness to give them an answer, but it was definitely fun to do and funny to know they are all pointing in the right direction.

Anyway, we are so very excited to know and to be preparing to welcome our own little lady into our lives. I can't wait to be an in-person mama to my own little girl. I can't wait to meet her. I can't wait to see what kind of personality she will have. I can't wait to see E as a father. I can't wait to smell her and to take her in. I am so happy with this time in our lives and so glad to have her as a part of it.

We love her so much already and are doing our best to get things ready for her arrival. Picking up little clothes, preparing our home, and keeping our hearts full of love. 

Oh how happy I am to finally be able to say "her" and "she" rather than filling that place with anonymity. Things are certainly feeling more real. 


p.s. Our idea for the announcements was found on Homegrown Spud. They were a lot of fun to make and to share with our family and friends. I highly recommend trying it out! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sex Tests

I never got around to doing all of the sex predictors prior to finding out if Nugget was a boy or girl, but I have the time now, so I wanted to share the results today before sharing our ultrasound results later this week. Let's see which ones are right and which ones are wrong!

First up is the Baking Soda Sex Test:

With this test you put a spoonful of baking soda in the bottom of a glass and add urine. If it fizzles like soda you are said to be having a boy. No fizzle means girl. My cup just sat flat with no fizzles even after some stirring, so this test says: GIRL

Next is the Chinese Calendar Sex Predictor :

This test is based off of your age when you conceive and also the month of conception. I found this particular test on, plugged in my numbers and the results say: GIRL

Third is the Red Cabbage Sex Test:

This test requires cutting up two cups of red cabbage and boiling it in two cups of water. Bring it all to a boil, simmer 10-15 minutes and strain, reserving the liquid. You will have a beautiful dark purple water. Once cooled mix equal parts water and urine. If the color is pink or red you are said to be carrying a boy and if it is purple you are said to be carrying a girl. My results were definitely purple so that means: GIRL

And lastly is the Heart Rate Wives Tale:

The heart rate wives tale says that if your little one's heart trate is below 140 you are having a boy and if it is above 140 you are having a girl. Thursday is the first time we were actually given a heart rate and this one is close with Nugget giving us a 141, but in the end it says: GIRL


I honestly cannot believe all of these tests had the same results. You all know the only feeling I had was boy and many of you and others I talked to have predicted the same, so it's funny to see all of these screaming girl.

Regardless, these were a lot of fun to do, urine and all! Make sure to check back (maybe as soon as tomorrow...have to make sure everyone has received their surprises in the mail) and I will announce if these predictions ring true or if they are oh so terribly off.