Easy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

Rocco has a new dog door and he knows how to use it!

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A MAJOR thank you goes out to my mom & dad for doing this project! We had to order a whole new door so that Rocco could have a dog door and my dad did the whole install. We will just save the old door in case we ever sell our house. It’s been quite the project for sure and obviously isn’t finished yet. We still need to paint it and hang the blinds up.
It took Rocco all of about 1 minute to learn how to use it. He is so smart. It’s a heavy dog door but he can open it with ease. 5 minutes after the door was up he was coming and going like no big deal.

Here are some pictures of him lounging. This is what he does best!

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It looks like he’s smiling in this one:

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Oh and on a totally unrelated note, I went rock climbing outside on real rocks last week for the first time ever! This is not a picture of me, but it’s the route I climbed.

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I have never had any desire to rock climb because it looks, well, scary! I was so slow but I actually really liked it!
Here are a couple other photos from the climbing spot in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

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This is the reason I love living in Salt Lake.

And now on to the recipe! I have more basil than I know what to do with in my garden so I’m trying to think up more uses for it. I have about 10 batches of regular pesto stored in my freezer already. This is a really easy, simple recipe for Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and I think it complies with just about every specialty diet out there. Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo (I think). It’s perfect on vegetables or protein or pasta or bread or as a dip. I’ll be honest, I was eating spoonfuls of it when I made it. It has a really mild flavor but you could easily punch it up by adding garlic, crushed red pepper or any other spices you like.

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (vegan, gluten free, dairy, paleo)
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (NOT the kind packed in oil), softened
1 cup/handful basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water (more if using for pasta sauce)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste (my tomatoes were already quite salty so I did not add any salt)
-options: garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, more water or oil

First, soak the sun dried tomatoes in a bowl of water for at least 5 minutes but I like to soak mine overnight or for several hours. When they are soft, remove them from the water and place them in the food processor. Toast the almonds by placing them on a baking sheet and broiling them in the oven for a few minutes until they look browned but not burned. Add the almonds and the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

That’s it for now, have a great week!

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VEGGIE CHIPS!

Last night I had a dream that I met Huey Lewis from Huey Lewis and the News and he told me I needed to get a facial.

What does that mean?! I don’t even know what Huey Lewis looks like and I certainly don’t know why he thought it was appropriate to comment on my skin!

At any rate, I’m probably going to take his advice and get a facial. I’m sure I really do need one.

Things have been so hectic lately I haven’t found time to post any stories or recipes. Of course, in our free time my husband and I have been binge watching Breaking Bad-which we just finished!- and then moved on to binge watching Game of Thrones – we only have 2 episodes left!

What show should we get wrapped up in next? Oh the choices!!

Rocco continues to be amazing. I still can’t believe this little 5 month old puppy is completely potty trained and has been for quite a while now! We can even leave him home alone un-crated and he doesn’t get into trouble! It’s crazy. We are getting him a dog door so he will be able to come and go as he pleases! We ended up having to get a new back door and we are still waiting to for that door to come in. I can’t wait.

Here are some Rocco highlights! Follow him on Instagram for more-his username is rocco_the_minpin

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Rocco plays a little game with his tennis balls under this couch. It’s called-I get my ball stuck and then you guys get it out for me. It’s not my most favorite game. Mainly because he ripped a hole in the lining under the couch and now the balls get stuck in there. We just retrieved FOUR tennis balls from inside the couch.
This photo was taken the other night. My hubby was looking for the missing tennis ball with a flashlight and Rocco thinks they are being so manly together doing man things. I love how Rocco has a tennis ball IN his mouth but is intensely looking for more.

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Our “no dogs on the furniture” rule didn’t last very long. Here he is sitting next to my husband. I love my new “It’s five o’clock somewhere” pillow. Indeed. It’s from Nordstrom. They have such cute home decor.

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Rocco adores my husband, obviously. That doesn’t even look comfortable!

And now onto a fun recipe we can’t get enough of. Zucchini chips! I make these a couple nights a week and the husband and I inhale them and then feel proud of ourselves for eating vegetables.

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Veggie Chips
Zucchini (or any vegetable really. We LOVE doing this with potatoes!)
olive or coconut oil
salt
nutritional yeast or other seasonings

Slice zucchini using a mandolin on the thinnest setting. Lay paper towels out on the counter and then spread the zucchini out on the paper towels and sprinkle with salt (not too much or they will taste too salty). Let them sit like that for about 15 minutes. This will draw water out of the zucchini which will yield a nice, crunchy chip!
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400˚ F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the parchment paper with olive oil or coconut oil.
After the 15 minutes are up take another paper towel and place it over the zucchini and mop up all the excess moisture.
Line the zucchini up on the lined baking sheet so they are touching but not overlapping. Lightly brush them with more olive or coconut oil. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or experiment with other seasonings. We LOVE nutritional yeast on these though!
Bake at 400˚ for 12-20 minutes or until browned but not burned. My oven takes about 20 minutes on the first batch and then only 12 minutes on the second so just keep a close eye on them.

Enjoy!
Laura