Friday, May 27, 2011

Salmon Pesto Pasta

I don't think you can ever have enough pesto.  It is SO delicious.  And it makes EVERYTHING taste better, like turkey burgers and hamburgers and plain old pasta.  So, of course I was willing to try the Salmon Pesto Pasta recipe from Annie's Eats in the hopes that  it would make one of my arch-enemies, fish, taste better.  (Not only that, but my pesto recipe even makes another arch-enemy of mine, spinach, taste fantastic, too!)

It's pretty simple:

Step 1:  Make spinach basil pesto.  We usually always have some in the fridge already because we eat it probably once or twice a week!

Step 2:  Make some salmon.  You already know how good salmon is for you (omega-3s and all that).  Annie recommends broiling it for about 10 minutes after coating it with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  But maybe some of you like to put it on the grill or bake it.

Step 3:  Make some pasta. I used some bow-tie pasta because I thought it was cute, which would help the fish taste better.

Step 4:  Flake the salmon into little bits.  Stir in about 1/2 cup (or more!) of the pesto into the pasta as well as the salmon.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese if you like! (p.s. Annie first heats up 5 ounces of evaporated milk, then adds the pasta, and then the salmon and pesto.  I don't think it's really necessary but you can try it that way if you want!)

You can see from my picture that I didn't make very much salmon, so if you love salmon, you'll probably want to include more than I did.  And if you're like me and you don't like fish but you're trying to eat more of it because it's healthy, then I would definitely try this dish because the pesto covers up a lot of the fishy-taste.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Black and White Gallery Wall

I know this blog is called "Lady Kay's Kitchen," but since I can see this wall from the kitchen, I think this post is justified being here! ;)

Anyway, I have been wanting to put up some pictures since we moved into our house.  I used to just hang a few pictures up haphazardly on the wall wherever I felt like putting them, but then I started looking at house decorating blogs whenever we found out we'd be buying our own house.  I saw a lot of people putting up gallery walls.  The first time I saw them, I thought I would never want to make one because they all looked very cluttered!  Then, I starting seeing gallery walls with all black frames, or all white frames, which looked a little more unified.  I still wasn't sure about the whole gallery thing but then I saw this particular one on the blog Being Brook:

That's when I really, really, really wanted to make my own.  She had arranged her frames so carefully and everything looked very neat and organized with the black frames and the black-and-white photos.  And besides, we had a whole big blank wall right in our living room that we didn't know what to do with:

Do you see the wall just left of that art niche?  That is where I decided to put up a gallery of black and white photos.  We already happened to have a bunch of black frames, and I bought some more at Ross.  They have great prices on frames if you are willing to spend 5 years taking off the gummy residue left from the price stickers which are so thoughtfully stuck right on the glass.

I searched through all our pictures on the computer and made a folder of our favorites.  We already had a lot that were in black and white; any that were in color, I changed to b&w using (a free online photo editing program).

Here are some of my favorites:

We took this picture of the bridge over the Passagassawakeag River in Belfast, Maine.  How do you like that name for a river?  I guess we are immature but we shortened the name to Passagassa River and we laughed and laughed every time we walked over the bridge.  

This is from a botanical garden we went to on our honeymoon.  I love how we were able to capture the drops of water on the petals.

From the same garden.  This lamppost reminds me of Narnia.

These stepping stones are from the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.

Choosing the photos to put on the wall definitely took forever and a day!  I ordered the prints from, because they have great prices and fast shipping.

Next I laid out all the frames on the floor to figure out the arrangement, using the picture of the gallery wall I printed out from "Being Brook" as a guide.  

I took an idea from Young House Love and cut out pieces of paper the size of each frame.  I numbered each piece of paper and put a sticky note with the number on the corresponding frame.  Then, I taped all the pieces of paper on to the wall.  I measured to figure out where to put each nail and then nailed right through the paper.

Then, it was easy to just pull off the paper and hang the frame.  Here it is halfway finished:

And here it is, finished:

It took a lot of time and planning to make this gallery wall, but I think it's so worth it!  I just love how it turned out!  I was worried that having all black and white photos would end up too cold and stark, but it's not cold at all (rather elegant, actually), especially because we have a lot of other color in the room (such as blue couches).  It warms up the room a lot more than having a plain blank wall.
  What do you think?
  Do you have a gallery wall?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pesto Turkey Sliders

Are you ready for a brilliant dinner idea?
Pesto and feta-cheese turkey sliders!

These are so scrumptious, I can't even describe it.  Not to mention they are really little and CUTE which makes them even more addicting.  They are little tiny turkey-pesto-feta cheese burgers!  

First, I made Honey Wheat Sandwich Buns from Annie's Eats, except I made them smaller.  Other than that, I made no changes.
Ready for baking

Ready for a burger
You can definitely use store-bought sandwich rolls, but making these sliders with homemade buns made them exponentially delicious.

Next I followed this recipe from to make pesto turkey burgers, except I made the burgers tiny.

It's really easy:

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons pesto
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Just mix all that up and form into small patties.  Cook on the grill about 5 minutes each side.

Split the honey-wheat-sandwich-buns in half and place each half face-down on the grill for a few moments, and then fill each one with a pesto-turkey-burger. 

These were so tasty that we didn't even need ketchup!  Of course, you can add toppings like onions, lettuce, or tomatoes... but I think they are perfect without anything added.  I have had turkey burgers before and I wasn't impressed, but adding the pesto and the feta cheese (and making them small and cute, of course) is what makes these phenomenal. 

This post is liked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Bites

If you like LaraBars, you'll love these!  I picked up a LaraBar on that disastrous shopping trip and noticed that it only had 5 ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, unsweetened cocoa, and coconuts.  As I read the ingredient list and thought, Why am I spending $1-something on this one bar when it looks like I could easily make this at home? as well as What do dates look like and where would I find them in this store?, I glanced down and happened to notice a bulk bin labeled, "Dates."  

Then I faltered in my decision to make these homemade LaraBars, because those dates looked to me like cockroaches.  Anyhow I gulped and bought some, anyway.

When we got home, I googled "homemade LaraBars" and found this page: Fudge Babies.  I changed that recipe just a little bit by adding walnuts and rolling the "babies" in coconut as the final step.

-1 cup chopped walnuts and/or almonds (I used about 1/2 and 1/2)
-1 1/3 cup pitted dates
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
-Shredded coconut to taste

The most difficult step is taking the pits out of the dates.

After that, just put everything into a food processor and process away.

It may seem a little too dry, but it's actually just right for forming into balls and then rolling in coconut.

You really won't believe how delicious they are even without any sugar!

They are full of nutrition, too: omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts, heart-disease-lowering power in the almonds, and antioxidants in the cocoa.

Tempting + healthy = perfect :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread

 Do you make a grocery list before you go shopping?  I always do.  But I got home from a week-long trip not long ago, and although I had left enough meals for my hubs for the time I was gone, of course there was no food left at the end of the week.  So we had to make a late-night grocery store run without a list. Ack!  When my husband goes shopping, he goes around the store, finds what he likes, and then buys a TON.  For example, 5 pounds of peanuts.  (?!)  And so many bananas that we couldn't possibly eat them all before half of them went bad.  You don't even want to know how much we (he) spent grocery shopping that night, yet, the next day I realized we had nothing for dinner!  Unless we wanted to eat several pounds of oatmeal, peanuts, or bananas. So of course I had to go grocery shopping again, this time with a list after I'd planned out our dinners.  Oh well.  

So anyways, you know what to do when you see a bunch of bad bananas on your counter, right?

That's right, make banana bread!  With nuts, of course. Because banana bread without nuts is lacking a lot of goodness.

I tried out TWO recipes (because we had a LOT of bad bananas...).  I added one cup of chopped walnuts to both.

The first one is from Carrie Vitt's blog, Deliciously Organic.  I just love her site.  Her photographs are amazing and her recipes are, too.  Plus, all her recipes use unprocessed ingredients.

Her banana bread recipes uses:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular wheat flour)
1 cup whole cane sugar or sucanat
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla exract

(Bake at 3:50 for 50-55 min.)

The second recipe is from 100 Days of Real Food.  I just found this blog recently; it's about  a family who made a pledge to eat only real food for 100 days, and it worked out so well that they have continued eating that way.

Their recipe calls for:

2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 teapsoon vanilla
(Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes).

You can see that both recipes are very similar.  The main difference is that the first recipe uses 1 cup of sugar, while the second uses only 1/4 cup honey. 

The first recipe (with sugar) is on the left; the second (with honey) is on the right.
My husband and I taste-tested both loaves.  It did take a few bites and some thinking to figure out which one we liked better!

The second recipe, which uses just 1/4 cup of honey, relies on the sweetness of the banana.  It wasn't bad at all, in fact, it was quite acceptable and we definitely will enjoy eating it.  The first recipe, though, is more like a dessert bread, the kind you have to stop yourself from gobbling up!  The second recipe is more like just bread, not very sweet but definitely a yummy snack.

So if you are trying to make something that is more like a treat, I would use the first recipe.  If you are trying to cut down on sugar, I would use the second.

Here's what happens if you make both loaves and leave them out: