Happy Summer Everyone!!!!
Welcome to the first posting for Exponential Wellness. With this blog, I hope to entertain and educate you (just a bit), and leave you with something useful you can take away. I focus on food and wellness, because that is what I am most passionate about, but every once in a while other things may slip in here. It is my hope that these posts will be helpful and inspiring… please leave your comments so that I can get your feedback!!!
This is my favorite time of year- everything is so green and lush, the fireflies are out lighting up the nights, and gardens are flourishing with abundance!
Living in North Carolina inspired me to garden. I am not sure exactly why here, and not in California, which is where I lived my whole life before moving here. There is something about this place. I love that there is such a strong farm-to-fork movement here. I have met so many people who garden and grow their own veggies, including several of my friends, which is how I learned to grow plants from seeds.
This year I went a little crazy with my garden. I planted the seeds back in March, and I quickly became overwhelmed because nearly ALL of them sprouted into seedlings! I couldn’t believe it! I had twelve cucumber seedlings, twenty-four tomato seedlings, twelve eggplant seedlings, six basils, and dozens of sunflowers, zinnias, and marigolds… After giving many of them away to friends and co-workers, things became more manageable. I eventually got around to transplanting all of them- it only took about six weeks…
Oh, did I mention the fact that I don’t have a yard? We live in an apartment with a nice big sun deck, so I have a container garden! This year I also experimented with growing things that don’t typically do well in the summer here in North Carolina due to the heat. I planted celery, cilantro, mesclun lettuces, and arugula, and decided to keep them indoors to see how they would do. Our place gets a lot of light and the temperature is always nice and warm, so I think I will be able to grow these year round. So far they are looking really good- all except the lettuces- I think next time I shouldn’t transplant them- I should just put the seeds in the containers in which they will stay the entire span of their lives. Seedlings can often be damaged when you transplant them into larger pots, or into the ground, and apparently, that is what happened to the mesclun greens.
Here are pictures of my baby seedlings…
And here is how my garden looks now!
Today I harvested some of the basil- I harvested a huge amount a week ago, but it had already filled back out, and so I needed to harvest more of it to keep it regenerating, and to keep it from bolting (that is when an herb or vegetable plant starts to flower and then turns to seed. Once an herb has bolted, the flavor of the leaves change, and it will stop producing fresh green leaves. This commonly happens to the cool weather plants like cilantro and lettuces, which is why I kept them inside. It eventually happens to basil too, even though basil does well with the warmth and sunshine, it eventually bolts too, but you can prolong it if keep it watered and keep picking the leaves to keep it fresh!
In honor of my basil harvest, I decided to make a batch of delicious dairy-free pesto. Being that I am dairy-free, gluten-free, and have a garlic allergy, I have had to be a little creative in making pesto. But my love for basil, and for all things Italian, superseded any culinary norms… I was determined to find a way to make a pesto I could enjoy!
Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
5-6 scallions chopped (white and light green parts only)
3 Tablespoons walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups of basil leaves
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
pepper to taste
Place the oil, scallions, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and basil leaves in a high speed blender in the order listed. Blend on low at first, then move to medium speed. Blend for 30-45 seconds, or until smooth. You may need to use a tamper to help push down the basil leaves.
And voila’! Here is a yummy pesto that will be different from what you have had before, but I hope you will like it just the same. Of course, for those who have no problems with garlic, you can use 3 cloves of garlic in place of the scallions. This is a great, dairy-free version that should satisfy your pesto needs without making you feel like you compromised your body’s needs.
Today I ate it with brown rice angel hair pasta (cappellini), but I often use it as a spread or sauce on most anything.
I will look forward to your comments! Hope you have a wonderful week full of love, adventure, and delicious, nourishing food!