Homemade Kale Pesto

Pesto | The Casual Classic

I am ALWAYS snapchatting about this or putting it on my Insta-stories, but I have yet to post the recipe, and I feel like I've been cheating you guys. It's such a simple recipe, and it's a delicious addition to pretty much any meal. My favorite way to eat it is mixed with quinoa and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Top it with an egg to make a "quinoa bowl", and you're set to go. I'm not sure why that's the best route, but it's just SO DARN delicious prepared that way. Pesto is also great mixed in with pasta, on top of toast or in sandwiches, and scrambled in eggs. Another one of my favorite ways to eat it is in a sandwich with egg, bacon, and avocado. Talk about a yummy breakfast. 

This recipe can be vegan if you'd like, as I usually make it without the cheese and use nutritional yeast instead. You can use either - it pretty much tastes the same. Also, the recipe below, like usual, is just my guesstimations - I'm one to just throw things in a food processor and continually taste and add to it until it tastes good. You may need a bit more olive oil, or may need extra cheese/nutritional yeast, depending on how strong you like your pesto to be. Don't be afraid to play around with this a bit - it's pretty hard to screw up (unless you add too much salt, so be careful with that one). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed (I have used 3 different types of kale and they all work!)
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4-1 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for vegan, or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process until completely mixed/chopped up. Start with the smaller amount of olive oil, and continue to add it while the processor is running until the pesto is a smooth consistency, without being too runny. 
  2. Like I said above, you can add more of any of the ingredients, like cheese/nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, etc. depending on what you like and how you want your pesto to taste. Make it what you want!

A few of my favorite pesto recipes:

Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Raise your hand if you're in favor of chewy cookies vs. crunchy cookies! Good. Because I found the recipe for the PERFECTLY chewy, delicious, sweet yet salty, paleo chocolate chip cookie. And I'm even going to claim that these are better than the original flour, butter, crisco, filled chocolate chip cookies that your grandma made. Yea, they're THAT good.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

My pictures aren't all that great because I made these at night and took the photos immediately since I was so excited, but trust me, they taste 100 times better than they look. Plus, I have to add of course, that they're grain free, refined sugar free, gluten free, paleo, and all that jazz. I just cannot get over how good they tasted either - blew me away!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you can see, it's been a while since I've baked cookies, and I forgot the whole "make sure you leave space between each blob you place on the tray", but even though I pretty much baked one large cookie, they still tasted just as delicious.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

And guys, these are simple to make. I promise. You will need to have a good amount of almond butter, paleo flours (I ALWAYS have coconut and almond flours in my pantry) and of course chocolate chips on hand, but those are things you should be keeping in your pantry anyway! I mean, who can live without almond butter and chocolate chips!? I chose this dark chocolate option from my favorite Thrive Market, but you can grab any brand you'd like. I actually get ALL my baking ingredients from Thrive, but I provided some other great alternatives from Amazon below too, especially if you've got that Amazon prime membership like I do.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir all the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda & salt) together in a medium bowl.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer in a larger bowl, beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar for about 1 minute. If you don't have an electric mixer, you could use your hands, but it needs to be mixed very well.
  4. Add the almond butter and vanilla extract to the wet ingredients, and mix until well combined. Add the egg and beat for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is mixed well and forms a dough like texture. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls and place on the baking sheet. Press down slightly with your hand. You can also add more chocolate chips to the tops of the balls.
  7. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned and the surface no longer appears wet.
  8. Let cool completely before storing!

Blackberry Cheesecake with Gluten-free Crust

Gluten Free Cheesecake | Casual Classic

I've been on a sweets kick lately. I feel like all the blog posts I have lined up are for cookies, cakes, sweet treats, etc. I mean, that's not the worst thing in the world though, is it? I guess I'll try to sneak something a little different in there to mix it up though maybe.

Today's recipe is a new one for me. I'm the kind of person that likes to stick to things that involve chocolate, but for some reason, cheesecake was calling my name (that and I had fresh blackberries in my fridge that had to be used up). It's a pretty simple and quick recipe too, and deliciously rich so it'll make enough to last you weeks. I froze half of mine to save for later which worked out nicely.

Gluten Free Cheesecake | Casual Classic

You can use any fruit you'd like but this recipe does work best with berries - raspberries or blueberries would be a great substitute, and the lemon in this cheesecake gives it the perfect tart kick that cuts the sweetness a bit. I did sneak in a few superfoods, like chia seeds, gelatin, coconut oil, and of course the lemon juice I just mentioned, so you can't feel too guilty snacking on this delicious treat. Recipe below!

Gluten Free Cheesecake | The Casual Classic

Ingredients:

Crust

Filling

  • 2 8 oz containers of organic cream cheese
  • 6 oz fresh blackberries (or other type of berries)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons, juiced)
  • 1 tbsp gelatin powder

Directions:

  1. Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the oats in the food process and process until finely chopped up. Add remaining crust ingredients and process until well mixed.
  3. Press the crust down into the pan firmly until well packed. It's easiest to use your fingers to make sure it's even across the entire pan.
  4. Once the crust is removed from the food processor, add the blackberries and process until pureed.
  5. Place the gelatin and lemon juice in a sauce pan and heat over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until well dissolved and the mixture is warm (do not let it boil!). 
  6. In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese and honey together. I used a hand mixer, which is kind of required, since this mixture is so thick.
  7. Add the lemon juice/gelatin mixture to the cream cheese and mix well. Lastly, fold in the pureed blackberries to create a marble like effect.
  8. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and place in the fridge to let it firm up. You can also place in the freezer for about an hour to make this happen quicker.

*adapted from EatGoodForLife

As always, you can find most of these ingredients on Thrive Market, which is where I usually order them, since you get such a huge discount. Would love to hear feedback about how this turned out in the comments below! xoxo