Two Cute Birthday Party

Hello all- and hello April… HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

So, things have been crazy. We recently celebrated little miss Peach turning two.  We had a fun day at a local park and it worked out well. The weather was nice; it was perfect for the kiddos to run around the playground. My dear friend, Sarah, moved her work schedule around to help me prepare and set up for the party- while her husband helped mine by running errands for us.

The mini lalaLoves purple and elephants, really she loves colors and animals in general but those seem to be among her favorites. So I focused on those ideas when creating everything for the party.

The menu consisted of three different types of slider-style sandwiches compiled of hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced turkey, ham, or chicken with cheese. We also tackled cucumber cream cheese tea sandwiches, those came out great and were so refreshing.  I purchased individual bags of chips as well as a prepared veggie tray for convenience and made deviled eggs. For the sweets, mini gluten-free and peanut-free cupcakes with chocolate covered marshmallows. Now, while this may come as a surprise to you (as it did to many of my friends) I did not bake the cakes, instead I left the heavy lifting to Publix. The bakery at Publix never (and I mean NEVER) disappoints with taste. As for drinks we went with bottled water and juice pouches, this way no need for cups! I borrowed a gorgeous white cake stand and an assortment of platters.
As for the goodie bags, I purchased three-packs of small gift bags from the Dollar Tree and mixed between white and lavender. Using my Silhouette Cameo, I made white and purple elephant stickers from vinyl to give the bags a more themed look. Sarah and I stuffed the bags with elephant squeeze toys (that I ordered online from Oriental Trading), mini purple bubbles (also from Oriental Trading) and bags of animal crackers (from Target).

The remaining details consisted of items from Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby, which includes letter and number-shaped balloons in gold, table cloths, plates, napkins, etc.  I did grab a roll of craft paper from Dollar Tree that I used to cover the top of one of the picnic tables for the kids to color on (crayons provided) and some of the kids had fun. The guys kindly picked up a selection of flowers to put at each table in large (64 oz.) mason jars. I lalaLOVE fresh flowers, they add a really nice touch.

I still cannot believe that our girl is two, and I realize I may not get used to this feeling anytime soon. haha. Wine please.

Looking for some birthday party inspiration? Have any useful tips, tricks or ideas- share for all the mamas out there!

Salt Dough Heart Magnets for Valentine’s Day

Salt Dough Heart Magnets for Valentine’s Day

Well hello, February! Delayed, I know… I have had a few ideas for posts and have had a hard time nurturing just one idea -or- been doing mom stuff. So with yesterday being Valentine’s day we got busy this week.

February is a little hectic around here.  There is Valentine’s day, my birthday, little Peach’s birthday and my mother-in-law’s as well.  Lots of birthdays, throw in three close friends who have birthdays too. We don’t usually do anything too big for Valentine’s day, maybe a good homemade dinner or take out. With the mini approaching two and so interested in everything,  we did a fun holiday inspired craft.

After spending some time perusing Pinterest I decided on some salt dough magnets. Hearts are incorporated, because DEFINITELY necessary- for real dough. I found a simple recipe at Red Ted Art and cut it in half since I knew we wouldn’t need them as thick or too many. I also added some red glitter for extra fun and it did not end up everywhere so that is a WIN! I have had heart shaped cookie cutters for at least 8 years, if not longer, so we used those to make these meet our heart requirement. Little miss was happy to lend a hand in the mixing and cutting.

We ended up with six hearts, could have gotten at least two to three more from the dough. They baked at 215° fahrenheit for 3 hours then I shut the oven off and took them out after running a couple errands.  They were firm and cool at this point.  And just in case you’re wondering they do not shrink or puff up, they stay the same.  I had to phone a friend on this one, because I wanted to be prepared and didn’t see any detail about it from the original recipe.   Now we can paint these anyway we’d like, sign/date/title them and add our magnets to make them fridge worthy.

Salt Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water add gradually as you may need more or less to get the right consistency
  • glitter
  • cookie cutters
  • paint of markers for decorating

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together. Then add water starting with 1/4 cup, then add more gradually.  You likely will need a little extra water, but be careful not to make they dough too sticky.

  2. Roll dough into 1-2 mm thickness. If you make it too thin it will be more fragile. Cut the hearts out, or whichever shape you choose, rework and roll out dough to use up however much you need until you finish. 

  3. Bake at 215°F for 3-4 hours. I let mine cool in the over, but you can remove and allow to cool on the counter as well. 

  4. Finish off however you like, decorate with marker or paint and seal will some Mod Podge. 

Recipe Notes

Adapted from: Red Ted Art

What I love about this is you can let your imagination run wild, there are sooo many options.  You could cut a smaller heart out in the middle as an easy change up from this.  Obviously there are tons of cookie cutter designs out there, and then painting them is another level or custimization. The mini had a blast helping paint these, it did get a little messy though, as to be expected. 

You can add a stamped design before baking and then color it in to showcase the different levels of dough. It was easy and fun plus not too much of a mess (aside from painting with a toddler of course). If you check out Maggie at Red Ted Art you’ll also find some ideas of how to use salt dough and many other great ideas!

Please share how yours turn out or any ideas you may have so others can enjoy as well. Let’s stick together mamas, this way we might keep our sanity while raising these little ones!

 

Mom Guilt- Let’s face it

Mom Guilt- Let’s face it

 

I met a few new moms this past weekend. It wasn’t long before #momguilt was mentioned. A question posed at me was, do you get mom guilt too?

YES. And yes, I am a stay at home mom. It’s a mama thing, y’all! There will always be someone thinking you aren’t doing it right, or that you must have it easy.  I am truly blessed to stay at home, and so happy too.  I remember when I first became a stay at home mom after our Precious Peach arrived; I was just so overjoyed, I couldn’t believe it to be true. And here I am, almost TWO years later {gasp}.

Anywayyyy. With a growing life (and you growing as well as an individual and new mama) things are always changing, whether you stay at home or go to work. And it is HARD, but oh so important. Let me say that one more time, being a mom is IMPORTANT. It is work and it matters, so remember that- put it on a sticky note, write it on your mirror.  As I tell you to remember, I also need to do so too.  Why? I often forget the importance of my job between all the picking up and cooking, while drowning in laundry.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in daily tasks, so much to the point you might forget how important it all is and start to feel bad. Once, I start to feel bad about one thing, that leads to others.  I’ll feel bad {often} that I do not provide any income for our family, or I am not doing enough to make our budget work better. Do I take the mini to the park enough, or read enough, etc?  A rabbit hole of guilt.

Then there are days when I’m like YES, I am doing this right, this is meaningful. I teach her a lot, look at all she has learned. Wait, am I teaching her enough? Is she exposed to a variety of activities throughout the day/week that stimulate her little brain? And just like that, here we go again- mom guilt strikes again. Bring me all the wine, maybe coffee too. Mom guilt is like a bomb, and you must decide which wire to cut. BUT what if the wires aren’t universal, oh gosh!!!!

 

thinking mama howthismamadoes.com

 

Where does mom guilt come from?

BabyCenter compares mom guilt to PMS.  I can totally see this. We all get it- moms that work and moms that stay home, cook verse order take out, etc. But ultimately it is the feeling of shame and then letting it take over. We compare ourselves to others, or set unrealistic expectations. Don’t get me wrong, expectations can certainly be good; however, if we really don’t know any better we may have set them incorrectly and if so must learn and adjust rather than feel guilty. Mamas, we are all different, just because we may admire another or appreciate a motherly path does not mean it will work for us.  Mamahood is not a one size fits all.  Not to mention, the difference between each child as well! More wine, please.

How to conquer mom guilt: 

If only I had more money, resources, etc. Does that matter? Of course more money or resources could be helpful but mom guilt shows no pity and it runs deep!

Support Newtwork:

Let’s be real, we can be a MAJOR support network for one another, mamas. It is so important to have someone or a group to be able to ask questions/have conversations with.  Talking to another mom that gets it, helps me calm down- every single time. My little Dare Devil climbed out of her crib at 16 months. She was fine and recovered within minutes, me I was a mess for most of the day.  I even talked to TWO close friends that have two or more kids, so you know- they have more experience. These ladies really helped me chill out. I am also so grateful for my Mama Tribe at church and our bible study group, I know these ladies will drop what they’re doing to help, listen and/or pray for me and my family.  All of your friends do not need to be moms, and just because you know a mom doesn’t mean you’ll become friends but you do need at least one mom friend.

Show yourself grace:

Accept it and learn from it.  Realize that guilt shows you care and are aware; now that you know, you can reflect and make whatever changes may need to be made.  Maybe you don’t have to change what you’re doing but stop comparing yourself to some other moms, remember we are not all in the same boat just because we have had babies. As mothers, we must find peace in the fact that we were created for this, there is great value in motherhood.

 

perhaps this is the moment for which you were created esther 4:14 howthismamadoes.com

 

Think Positive:

Let it go- sing the song if that helps, too. Pray and give it to God. Then focus on positive things.  We have much to be thankful for, it is just sometimes difficult to remember when we are consumed with negative thoughts and emotions. Anxiety can prey on us, but when we set our sights on what is good we can overcome weakness.

Now with many things in life, this is all much easier said than done. We are not perfect, nor were we meant to be, we must TRULY absorb that knowledge and be okay living that way. But hey, I’m just a mama living day by day. Have any useful tricks up your sleeve that help combat mom guilt? Remember the whole support network thing? Sharing is caring, ladies. Less judging, more understanding and helping!

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year y’all!

I’m slightly delayed on “starting” my New Year.  My husband took some extended time off for Christmas & New Year’s, and it was really nice. Between the two holidays, we traveled to see my mom in North Carolina. It was a new experience as a family of three as well as our first time up there since they moved. We had a nice time visiting and were blessed to see some beautiful views on our way out of town.

So, it was back to the hustle this past week. Honestly though, it was a little bit of a rough start. Trying to get into a groove has been tough. Around Thanksgiving I became consumed with preparing for Christmas. Then after, I feel burnt out just in time to clean it all up and try for a fresh start. And while trying to set goals and get a good schedule going, I am also starting to plan a birthday party for our soon-to-be two-year-old! How is this happening already?

With this New Year, it is clear we need to refresh our home, and declutter. We, like many, have a spare room that is mostly a storage space. I have a desk filled with paper work, my craft stuff and other miscellaneous items; there is also a full size bed and baby items we are keeping or only use sometimes. This room has been worked on a many times, but never quite reached its full potential. It has been my goal for since last week to get it closer to a guest/craft room. Next housekeeping goal: toys and outgrown clothes.

And YES, we have watched a couple episodes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, not entirely into it but I do like her folding techniques! Definitely worth a watch, y’all!

Do you agree it’s time for some cleaning up to start this new year off fresh? I am also excited, because I finally bought new sheets for our bed and am looking forward to a new design. What are some new things your are working on, mama? Let me know, I’d LalaLOVE to hear about it all!

Christmas Gift Ideas that are STILL an Option and EASY!

Christmas Gift Ideas that are STILL an Option and EASY!

Why hello, four days until Christmas! Or as parts of our family would say, three days and a wake-up.  Anyone still struggling with gifts? Well that was me, but now I’m all set, minus a quick errand.  This is the last “regular” day before Christmas.  Y’all know this weekend is going to be complete HAVOK and even though Monday is a business day, it’s partial in a lot of eyes (half days, the day off completely or even a day requested off, but there is mail everybody).

So I have some ideas for you, since there is STILL the option to order online, you’ll probably just be paying a little extra. A lot of stores offer order online- pickup in store and I also LaLaLaLOVE that.  I actually pickup in store often at Target.  I mean, come on, Target has nearly everything you could want or need.  Old Navy has this option too, so if clothes are on your radar they have what you want.

I ordered this photo puzzle from Personalization Mall for some family members:

If you’re an Amazon Prime Member like us (or check out the free trial) then there are LOTS of options left from there. Any ladies that like Alex and Ani bracelets? Then check out Amazon’s selection- still an option to get some of these by Monday! I love these bracelets personally, but for other too because there are so many options. One for your sister, mother, daughter, aunt, godmother, monogrammed, birthstones, etc.
Have a craft-lover on your list? Well PERRRFECT. Michael’s does buy online pick up in store. Amazon also has A LOT of craft materials. So stay home, or go to that party/get-together instead and have Amazon deliver it for you.  I have ordered materials for my silhouette on here many times as have some of my friends. Here is a link for tons of Silhouette related products and materials 🙂

How about an Oil Diffuser, that was actually on my wish list. Amazon has tons of those too! We have family that uses a couple throughout their house, and I lalalaLOVE it.  I also went to the Spa at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando and they had them which was AMAZING. I have purchased essential oils on amazon in the past as well, they have quite the selection.

Is there someone you like A LOT? Maybe they are a gadget person, or an Apple fan? How about the new Apple Watch or even a previous model? I realize this is not in everyones budget of course, but Best Buy does do same day pickup, so it will depend what you’re looking for and what your store has in stock.

Ok, who doesn’t love jammies or cozy blankets? Haven’t met anyone. I’m sure they exist, but we’re not focusing on them. Old Navy and Target have a lot to choose from for those snugglers in your life, and HEY- same day pickup!

There are soooo many great gifts out there that you can totally make yourself too. We usually make at least one gift for Christmas, if not more.  It’s such a great way to really give someone something special. I’ve made mugs, ornaments, plaques, monogrammed vases, etc.

Wanted to get these ideas out sooner, but you know how life goes.  I hope you still find it helpful and get to finish up your shopping! We have something going on each night through Christmas so we will definitely not have much time to do anymore shopping. Enjoy the rest of Christmas time, the events, the giving, the true meaning- JESUS.  It is a time to be grateful and spend time with those we love most, even during the craziness that goes along with it.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

*I have not been paid in anyway to share any of my ideas here, maybe next year- Mama can always use a couple bucks. This post as with all my posts are based COMPLETELY on my own opinions and ideas. You are free to shop wherever you like.

Christmas Sugar Cookies- Get the Recipe

Christmas Sugar Cookies- Get the Recipe

Hey y’all! Christmas is only a week away, and that means cookies are a MUST.  I’ve already made a few batches over the last couple of weeks.  My mother-in-law and I made a couple new recipes together recently too, even little A “helped.”  The recipe I will be sharing though, I have been baking up this cookie for the last SEVEN years.  That may not seem like a very long time, but it’s getting close to a decade. Oh gosh, let’s forget I said that…. Anyway, this recipe never fails, and NEVER disappoints.

I love to gift these to friends, family and neighbors- or bring them to a get-together.  I lalaLOVE to grab some festive tins from the Dollar Tree every year. Cookies are always welcomed and especially Christmas cookies. I baked a batch for one of my husband’s clients too, and they were almost gone before he left their office.

Don’t hit me, buuuut these are even tasty without frosting, especially when they’re still warm. Yum.

Sooo, with one full weekend left before Christmas be sure to bake a batch -or two- to bring wherever you’re headed. An ugly sweater party? YES.  Church? YES. An evening stroll looking at lights or caroling… you know it- YES, take the cookies. Or you could eat them all, have at ya. ‘Tis the season for Jesus and eating.

Tried-and-True Christmas Sugar Cookies

Cook Time 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Butter unsalted, softened
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Then add eggs and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add sour cream.

  2. Combine salt, baking soda and flour.  Then add to mixture a bit at a time (this helps it mix as well as keeps flour from flying everywhere). 

  3. Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min or until ready to use. 

  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°. 

  5. Roll out dough, not too thin though, try to get it about 1/4 of an inch or so. Cut out your angels, stars, bells, trees, snowflakes, snowmen, gingerbread men, etc... 

  6. Place on baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and bake for 7-8 minutes.  You do not want to bake for much longer or they will lose their fluffiness. 

Recipe Notes

You can cut this batch in half and it will work just fine. I have done that many times.  I often will make all the dough and bake half or so of it and save the rest for the next week.  

You can take the dough after it is cut and re-roll it, but only 2-3 times before the texture starts to change.

 

While cookies are cooling make the frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Cream butter in a stand mixer. Add sugar and vanilla mixing until crumbly.  Pour in milk a little at a time until it reaches desired consistency.

  2. If you'd like your frosting a special color feel free to do so. 

Recipe Notes

If it gets too runny just add more sugar until it thickens up. 

Frost away! I usually use a butter knife or an icing knife.  I did dip some of them this last time and that was pretty easy and looked great. You can also pipe your icing if you prefer.  There is no wrong way to ice a cookie. Make sure you sprinkle your favorite sprinkles before the icing sets. I lalalaLOVE to use a variety of sprinkles, so fun.

 

Ok y’all. Hopefully you have everything you need to go from here.  I hope you enjoy these yummies and there definitely is plenty for sharing (if you so choose).  Merry Christmas!

Let me know how they turn out for you!

Christmas Labels {Free Download}

Christmas Labels {Free Download}

It’s almost Christmas already! Ahhh, how?  No matter how much I try, it always seems to sneak on up on me! Are you with me? “Next year I’ll be more prepared” I say, and well it doesn’t really happen that way.  I feel as though this year, I may be the most behind I’ve been in a while.  Usually by now, I have 80-90% of my shopping done and even mostly wrapped.  It’s really because I enjoy placing the gifts under the tree, which pushes me to shop and wrap earlier, haha.

There is always one or two who are hard to shop for, or you’re waiting for the sale or a paycheck to come in. Y’all who have your budget set and put aside for Christmas presents, you rock.  Owning our own business (more so my husband’s business lol) can definitely have perks but it does make planning a little more difficult, maybe next year we will be better (haha).

I will be sharing some Christmas gift inspiration off my own list for y’all too, so you can stroll on over to that post when it’s available and check out some ideas if you’re still needing some presents. Some of the ideas are custom so you’ll have to jump right on those. I’ll also be sharing my (and everyone else’s) absolute favorite sugar cookies for some baking inspo.

Christmas cards were always something we would talk about doing, and then drop the ball on.  Once we came to our first Christmas with little A, it was a priority. So last year we had Christmas cards made, and this year as well.  I’ve been wanting to make a personalized label or sticker to add to gifts or Christmas cards this year. I LaLaLove adding special touches to things and even more so around Christmas. So, obviously I made some and you’ll be able to grab those today. You can upload to a template for precut labels, or upload into software for silhouette, cricut or other similar system. If you use sticker paper you can just trace the outer edge and use print and cut settings to get the finished product.

Please note, if you are using the basic Silhouette Studio software you will only be able to use the PNG. While learning new thing with my Silhouette or whenever I need a refresher I check out YouTube.  This was very useful the first time I wanted to print and cut https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzAUkiJJq0M. 

I hope y’all enjoy these and get to reuse them for the years to come!  Merry Christmas to y’all too!

Get Swampy Shirts

Get Swampy Shirts

In case you’re wondering, I am not a Gators fan by choice exactly.  I am a Gator’s fan by association.  I am a wife and best friend; therefore, through the power of love and supporting my husband I root for the Gators. Of course I have a choice to reject his team, but that is not how I roll.Now that we’re all clear on that we can move on.

Well, we went to the Missouri game recently at the Swamp.  A couple we are really close friends with went with us, one of them (Sarah) being a Gators fan and the other was for the opponent.  Clearly, Sarah and I had to have cool matching shirts.  I played around with a few different ideas and designs before deciding on “Get Swampy.” Cause yea, obviously, they play at the swamp.

The game didn’t end the way we (3/4 of the group) would have preferred, but at least one person was happy- I supposed. Either way, it was a day away spent with good friends and we had fun.

ANYWAYYYY, on to other things…. There aren’t many games left for the regular College Football season, but you KNOW rivalry weekend is rapidly approaching.  If you GOTTA have a cool shirt then look no further. And because I like to share with my friends, the file is free to download! I got the blue glitter HTV from Hobby Lobby, it’s by Paper Studio. As for the orange glitter it’s from Siser; I ordered off Amazon. We picked up basic white shirts from Target. I love these shirts from A New Day, they’re not a standard t-shirt plus so soft, cute and simple. I have four of these, and counting…

Now, you’ll download the file and upload it into Silhouette Studio. Then trace the design, mirror it and cut. I cut each color separately, but I know some prefer to place the amount of color they need in the proper area on their matt and do one cut round.  Then you will follow the instructions to apply it to the material based on the vinyl brand.

 

Here is the list to make your life a whole-lot easier:

I use a standard iron and a towel in place of an ironing board. I use parchment paper to create an extra layer of protection when applying heat transfer, especially if layering or doing colors in steps. When washing a handmade item, take care.  Turn item inside out and either wash on gentle or hand washable cycle in cold water.  Air dry to preserve the vinyl longer.

I hope you enjoy your new handmade Get Swampy shirt to wear the rest of the season and many more to come. I would love to hear how it turns out!

DIY Fall Wreath

DIY Fall Wreath

Hey y’all, I am SOOOO excited to share my FALL wreath creation.  This is my second go at this. I picked up a few supplies from the Dollar Tree.  The wreath structure I originally had was a whicker-type and small, only option at the location by my house. I had to cover it and it just didn’t look right to me.  So I made a special trip to Hobby Lobby (always special & any excuse to go there, I’ll take it) to grab a grapevine wreath, which is really what I wanted all along.

I LaLaLaLOVE the partially exposed look of this wreath, it has such a simplistic, rustic look and requires less supplies. It also didn’t take too much time, easily less than 30 minutes. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to make it to Hobby Lobby.

I was so happy to hang my wreath this past weekend (a bit behind, remember I kept missing out on getting to Hobby Lobby, not like it’s far lol). I LaLaLOVE Fall, even though Florida seems to miss the memo on that. With that said, this Saturday was the coolest day of the season and really felt like Fall was starting to make an appearance- finally.  I really enjoy opening the windows and letting that Autumn scent in the air circulate through the house.

So… how did I make this?  Here’s the how-to y’all:

Supplies to gather:

  • Grapevine Wreath 14″– Hobby Lobby (Michael’s also carries)
  • Monogram Letter– mine was from Hobby Lobby (since I was already there 🙂 but you can find them at Michael’s and Wal Mart too).
  • Sunflowers- one set (bunch) from Dollar Tree
  • Fall Leaves- cut from one garland purchased at Dollar Tree
  • Paint (I used an antique white I already had) for your letter & a brush (if you don’t have a brush on hand you can use a cheap makeup sponge)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Juke rope, twine or ribbon to hang wreath with

Now, get to your designated crafting area and plug that glue gun in to get heating. You will want to make your wreath based on where you will hang it from, so find a good strong twig or two that will be centered enough to tie your twine to. Then you can turn it around and begin designing. If your wreath hanger has a big enough hook you may be able to skip this step.

I cut each sunflower, so that they are all separate. Trim them for what works with your wreath, then bend and push through the vines or glue if need be. It’s easiest to use the wire stem to help the flower stay put. Next, cut however many leaves and glue in place. Lastly, hot glue the letter in desired location. And BOOM, just like that you’re ready to hang your wreath!

Feel free to mimic this one, mirror it or use it for inspiration. Some other ideas to add or change yours up: different flowers, burlap, add a bow, small pumpkins or gourds. You could even go a little scary or more Halloween themed.  I love Fall as a whole, and I LaLaLOVE that I can put up my Autumn decor and it works before Halloween through Thanksgiving; therefore, making this wreath perfect from beginning to end.  Be sure to share any other ideas or ways to add a special touch. I’d also LaLaLOVE to see how yours turns out, please share!

Pesto, Por Favore.

Pesto, Por Favore.

We recently purchased a basil plant. It’s something I have thought about and wanted to do for some time.  They’re not pricey, especially if you compare it to what fresh basil costs at the grocery store for a handful of leaves. I guess the idea of keeping a plant alive wasn’t something I was too eager for; however, I had read they help repel mosquitos (our state bird).  Plus, I LaLaLaLOVE basil, the way it smells and tastes as well as its vibrant color.

My husband graciously planted the basil outside our front door.  With all the rain we had been getting I barely had to water it except a few occasions.  I will, of course, need to get into a watering routine as our rainy season slows down. This thing has grown and looks great with very little effort on my part. Maybe every 7-10 days or so I’ll do a small harvest.  This last harvest I knew I wanted to make some pesto to go with macaroni. My mini loves to try new foods (LaLaLaLOVE that about her) and loves macaroni too, so I was excited to give her a new flavor combination to try out.

My pesto recipe is EXTREMELY simple. Fresh basil, freshly grated parmesan, freshly minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper (to taste).  THAT’S IT, y’all!  Yes, I am Italian, and yes I say y’all. I don’t bother with pine nuts, nothing against them- well besides their price, but it’s mainly because I do not believe pesto needs pine nuts.

So anyway, I throw those into my CuisineArt food processor and let it do its thing.  I add more olive oil as it blends. Then, grab a mason jar of an appropriate size to store the pesto.  I top it with additional olive oil to help preserve it just a bit; however, the shelf life isn’t long. One-two weeks is about how much time you have, so use that good stuff up.  Pair it with macaroni, use it in place of marinara on your homemade pizza, top your chicken with it, DIP BREAD IN IT, and so on.

Now that I have a basil plant, I can make pesto whenever I want. You know I always have garlic, olive oil and parmesan around here, and if you didn’t know now you do.

Notes: The consistency is entirely up to you, I like mine a little a tad runny- but keep in mind that if you will be refrigerating you’ll be adding more olive oil. If you are buying the prepackaged basil from the store that often comes in a small plastic container you will want to use it all.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 3-4 handfuls Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese Freshly Grated
  • 2 plus tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and let it do it's magic.

  2.  Add some more olive oil to help blend as needed or to reach desired consistency.

  3. Serve with prepared dish, or store in a jar or container for later use.  Additional olive oil poured over pesto will help protect it for saving. Fresh Pesto will not survive for long, so use up within 1-2 weeks. 

Recipe Notes

Please note, this is a guideline for pesto.  I do not believe there is a perfect breakdown, as it depends on tastes and preferences. Either way you will adjust everything based on how much basil you use and what consistency you like. 

Feel free to add more garlic and/or parmesan, those are incredible ingredients.  Add pine nuts if desired, or get creative with other ideas such as sundried tomatoes, roasted red papers or additional fresh herbs.

Either way, I'd LaLaLaLOVE to hear how it went, and ENJOY!