My Favorite Pesto

This week has been mega awesome. Two, yes TWO, of my best friends got engaged within three days of each other. HELLO bachelorette parties!

I grew up in a really cute little town where pHD’s are more common than high school diplomas, where we had a choice of three big beaches to sun ourselves on, and where there was one high school. This is where I became friends with 11 of the greatest girls I will ever know, and we’re still great friends today. Most of us live in Ottawa, and some of us are scattered around the world, but I know I could call any of them in a heart beat if I needed them.

One of the 11 ladies is already married, but now two more are on their way and I couldn’t be happier. Growing up is weird and exciting and scary – and in it all I know I will always have my girls. So what does this have to do with pesto? It’s easy and versatile and beautiful in it’s own way. It makes me think of travelling in Italy with two of my best friends, and packed lunches and hikes. I guess it makes me think of some of these 11 ladies and so I thought it would be a perfect recipe to represent the simpleness in life and celebrating friends. It’s truly magical.

To begin, add basil leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor.

Turn machine on, then drizzle in olive oil while it mixes. Continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed.

That’s all she wrote! Easy, right? Happy Friday!….and here are a few of the lovely ladies I talked about ;)

Pesto
Recipe taken from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
3/4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons pine Nuts
2 small cloves garlic, Peeled
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:
Add basil leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Turn machine on, then drizzle in olive oil while it mixes. Continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Strawberry Basil Mojitos and a Summer Bucket List!

Since summer is fast approaching, I thought I would kick it off with some booze. Strawberry and basil muddled together to make a fun drink for an afternoon or evening sip session. HELLO!

I listen to the Joy the Baker Podcast, and this week the ladies have assigned some fun homework. They want listeners to blog about what’s on their summer bucket list! Awesome! To contribute I have come up with five things that I want to do this summer:

1. Go strawberry picking and make jam with hand-picked strawberries. –> Done!
2. Make homemade dill pickles.
3. Go camping on a lake with my boy. –> Done!
4. Go to a drive-in movie theatre.
5. Cross two items off of my 30 things to do before 30 list (maybe learn to french braid my hair)!

I hope I can get these things done! And I can think of ways to make it happen with a drink….

To begin, make your strawberry syrup.

Then use the back of a spoon or a muddler to bruise the basil in the bottom of the glass.

Add the strawberry syrup and ice.

Add rum.

Top off the drink with sparkling water. Give it a taste here. If it’s not sweet enough you can either add more strawberry syrup or simply add some extra sugar to the drink. I did! Garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves and serve immediately.

Enjoy! And happy weekend. What’s on your summer bucket list?

Strawberry-Basil Mojitos
Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley
Makes enough for 2 drinks

Strawberry Syrup:
2 cup sliced strawberries
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp cold water

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the syrup through a strainer to remove the seeds (or not if you like them). Chill until ready to use.

For each Mojito:
2-3 fresh basil leaves
5 tbs strawberry syrup
Ice
1 1/2 oz. light rum
Sparkling water (enough to fill up whatever glass you’re using)
*optional: extra sugar to taste
Strawberry slices and basil leaves for garnish

Use the back of a spoon or a muddler to bruise the basil in the bottom of the glass. Add the strawberry syrup, ice, and rum, and top off the drink with sparkling water. Give it a taste here. If it’s not sweet enough you can either add more strawberry syrup or simply add some extra sugar to the drink. I sure did!

Garnish with strawberry slices and basil leaves and serve immediately.