Vegans make the best-o pesto

While “vegans make the best(o) pesto” may be a debatable statement, I’m so passionate about the batch of pesto that I just whipped up that I may have to declare the title of this post a fact.

If you can’t tell, this is a VERY serious post about pesto.

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Okay, maybe not super serious, but you get the point. When it comes to pesto, I mean business!

First things first, how are you guys? Is it nice summer weather where y’all live? I always think it’s so cool that blogging brings people from around the world together. Pretty neat!

So I feel like everyone has been really excited about zoodles and all those other veggie noodles lately, and I will be the first to say that I am NOT a fan of replacing my carbs with veggies.

(BTW, zoodle= zucchini noodle)

Yeah, it’s great for weight loss, but I like to cook for taste and not for health. (That being said, “good taste” to me does mean a lot of meals consisting of only vegetables because vegetables are the absolute greatest thing on this earth, I don’t want you guys to think me saying that I cook for taste means that I deep fry every meal.)

BUT! I was not a fan of replacing spaghetti with boiled zucchini.

So the “zoodle maker” I have isn’t actually called a zoodle maker, it’s called the Veggetti, as I’m sure many of you have seen on TV. My dad (hey dad!) bought it for me because he thought I’d like it, and boy does he know me well. There was a hefty month where I was obsessed with Veggetti-ing potatoes and making potato pancakes, YUM.

When I first got my Veggetti, I tried out the classic zoodles and marinara sauce, and it was just too watery and didn’t really work out too well. I was really turned off from the whole zoodle idea after my first try. I love my Veggetti for cucumber salads and stuff, but never really used it for an actual veggie pasta dish.

Yesterday, I was driving from my apartment to my parents’ house, and I realized that I was really in the mood for pesto but I wasn’t in the mood for a big ole bowl of pasta. Somehow I remembered that I had my Veggetti, and decided to give the whole zoodle idea another whirl.

Thank GOODNESS I had that random car thought because something about these zoodles goes better with this pesto than regular pasta would, and let me just make this clear, I am not someone who can eat raw plain veggies and be satisfied. I need my food to be filling, nutritious, and jam packed with flavor. So this whole zoodle preference is GROUND BREAKING. This is something special right here.

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I was at just the right place to make this recipe too, because my parents have an AMAZING garden. It’s such a treat to visit, especially because the only plants that my boyfriend Jon and I are able to grow in our tiny apartment is basil and mint, and even that is limited because of the amount of sunlight that (doesn’t) make its way into our apartment.

So this is just a single serve recipe for one zucchnini-zoodle serving size, so if you want to make more, just multiply the recipe by however many zucchinis you’re using.

Single serve recipes are the way to go for me, are any of you the same way? I don’t have a family yet, so besides me, the only other person I usually cook for is Jon, so I always like to do my recipes single serve style and double it if I’m cooking for him too.

ANYWHO, here’s what ya need for the pesto:

1/2 cup packed basil
1 peeled, crushed garlic clove
1 handful of nuts of your choice
1/4-1/8 C olive oil
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

Pretty much like all of my recipes, throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency!

As for making the zoodles themself, veggetti-up a zucchini, boil your zoodles for 3-ish minutes and you’re good to go.

Alright, so let’s talk nuts in this recipe. I didn’t have pine nuts (which I love) so I used half a handful of walnuts and half a handful of almonds. I also would highly recommend pecans, because adding pecans to any recipe is almost always a superb idea. The different types of nuts really give this pesto some depth. I recommend experimenting with some other different types of nuts! I wonder what pistachios would be like?

As for the oil, I’m not afraid of some good ole olive oil so I used 1/4 of a cup, but you can use 1/8 or whatever your pesto-loving-heart desires!

The nutritional yeast gives the pesto a nice cheesy flavor. I REALLY love using nutritional yeast, do you guys use it a lot in cooking? I pretty much swear by it.

Considering the lack of dairy parmesan cheese in this recipe, this pesto is sooo cheesy with all the nuts and nutritional yeast. You can’t really go wrong with a good cheesy pesto! (Actually, you can’t really go wrong with a good cheesy anything. If I were to ever go on a reality show like the Bachelor where they have your name in the corner of the screen then under it lists your profession, I’d like to believe that my profession would be listed as “professional cheese veganizer” because I love sneaking my vegan cheese tips into anything and everything that I make.)

Also, check out my baby Sammy! He really wanted some zoodles and pesto, which he obviously got after this photo was taken.

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I topped my pesto zoodles with some cherry tomatoes from the garden because who doesn’t love a fresh tomato?! WAY WAY WAY better than any store bought tomato I’ve ever had.

I would also just like to throw it out there that this recipe is SO easy to make. I can’t stress that enough. And the flavors are so complimentary and vibrant, so you’re not compromising flavor for time. This recipe is pretty much the total package.

Come to think of it, pesto is practically the greatest thing on this earth. Can we all just take a moment to give it up for pesto? 3 CHEERS FOR YOU, DEAR PESTO!

 

 

 

 

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Hey y’all!/10 Billion Lives Warped Tour hot gossip

HEY GUYS!

Okay so maybe there’s not too much hot gossip in this post, but one of my best friends Bianca has pretty much coined the term “hot gos (gossip) this summer, and it’s prettyyyyy fun to use. Try it out! (and of course think of Bianca when you do.)

Anyway!

How is summer treating all of you?! Getting tan? Enjoying some delish vegan meals? I wanna know all the deets.

I missed talking with you guys this past month so much! I originally had the intention of keeping up with my usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule (HA!) while I was on the road, but very quickly realized that there was barely even time for me to brush my hair, let alone craft out 3 blog posts per week.

So today I figured I’d let you guys know what touring with FARM with the 10 Billion Lives Tour on Warped Tour was like, and then next post I do we’ll start back up again with amazing vegan food finds, beauty products, and all the rest of that good stuff!

So…

I know I’m 23 and thought I got over that whole Warped Tour scene in high school, but I gotta say, I’m now a lover of the whole Warped Tour experience again! It was SO fun to get to see old bands that I used to LOVE (The Maine, We the Kings, Less than Jake holla holla!)

So basically, the deal with the 10 Billion Lives Tour is this. We lived in and worked out of a truck (pictured below) that had 8 screens on the sides of it.

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We all had signs that said “Get paid a dollar, watch a 4 minute video,” and would engage with people to see if they wanted to watch the video. The video discusses our food choices regarding animal agriculture, and while it’s pretty graphic and hard to watch (as is the animal agriculture industry) it is also super educational and something that everyone should watch once in their life. After the viewers watched the video, they’d come to one of us tour operators to get their dollar, and we’d discuss what they saw in the video.

A lot of times people said that they felt really sad after watching the video, understandably so, but we did get some people who would watch and claim that they didn’t care in the least bit. It was these people that really challenged me and helped me work on my conversations with non-vegans regarding veganism. Whether someone said that they were going to go vegan that minute, or that they didn’t care about animals and claimed to be a carnivore, (scientifically incorrect! But you knew that already 😉 ) I was still grateful for all of the conversations that I had.

I really do feel like we made a solid amount of vegans though! So many people were super receptive of the information we presented them with, and it was so amazing to watch people drop their guards and decide to change their way of life.

One thing I learned was to NOT stereotype people by their looks. So many times, a viewer would approach me to get their dollar and I’d assume that they’d be super effected by the video and swear that they’d wanna go vegan, and instead they would try to fight me on the matter because they worked on a dairy farm or something along those terms. On the flip side of that, so many people who didn’t look like they’d have a care in the world about animals would say that they wanted to go vegan.

I was also shocked by the number of older viewers (50’s and up) who said they wanted to change their diets. I think that’s really amazing, cause so many adults that I have met use the excuse that they’ve lived their whole lives eating meat and aren’t going to change now. If we all don’t change a little bit, then life would be suuuuuper boring, so I really appreciated the older viewers who were also really interested in veganism.

Anywho, here are some cute viewers watching the video!

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So the people that I worked with were amazing. Including me, there was 4 of us tour operators, who lived together in the back of the truck. We also had 2 drivers who would drive us while we slept, and sleep during the day while we worked. Everyone I worked with was so lovely to get to know, and I wish I had more time with them!

Here’s all of us, plus our training boss, John, on our first day! Try to find me! (Hint: I’ve got the crazy shorts on!)

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So lemme tell y’all, I ate better than I ever have in my life while on this tour. FARM is super serious about keeping their activists healthy and energetic, so we were able to buy all the avocados, nutritious (and expensive!) nuts and grains, and all that other good stuff that when I’m shopping on my own, usually skimp on because I’m only 23 and not sitting on a pile of gold (YET!) We had a food budget obviously, but a very generous one at that.

And for lunch every day, volunteers would bring us food from a local restaurant. This was one of the things I was most excited for on my trip. During the interview process, I was told that they always made sure to get us the best vegan food in the area, and they were NOT kidding. If the whole vegan outreach aspect wasn’t enough, getting to eat my way, vegan style, throughout the states was everything I could ever ask for.

One of the first places that we ate at was Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX. I got a cookies and cream milkshake and a “Big Kahuna” burger, which had chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapenos, red onions, vegan cheese, and guacamole. The experience was LIFE. CHANGING.

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I didn’t take many other food pics, because I was always scarfing my food down too quickly to even think about taking a picture. Plus, I kind of semi-ditched my phone for the month which was really nice. But just imagine a month filled with the best vegan food possible, and that’s what the deal was.

I also realized that I LOVE the band State Champs, any of you guys know them? They’re great. I also got to see The Maine a bunch, which was funny because 9 years ago my high school self would have DIED.

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I would have to say that my favorite city that we visited was St Petersburg, FL. It was gorgeous and the venue that we were at was right on the bay. Plus, I got to see a baby hammerhead shark!

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Later that night, my friends and I went swimming in the bay (mildly scary because of the shark, extremely gross because it was low tide and the seaweed was going BUCKWILD) but we got to see a bunch more aquatic life when we went for our swim! We saw a HUGE crab, a bunch of hermit crabs, and even a conch. What can I say, vegans love some good aquatic life!

So I have a million and a half more things that I would like to share, but I don’t wanna bore y’all!

To fill you in though, I start my new job soon! Have I told you guys about it? I’m heartbroken because I had to leave my chocolatier position at the AMAZING Lagusta’s Luscious, but I recently accepted a job at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary as a Communications Associate! I am BEYOND excited to start! Do any of you guys have animal rights related jobs? Fill me in if you do, I’d love to hear about them!

Which leads me to my next point. I used to stick to a strict schedule of posting on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s, and it’s time that schedule gets a little revision! At my chocolatier position, I was working 5 days a week and sometimes struggling to generate good content for this blog. I sometimes felt like I was posting just because I had to post, and not because the post was jam packed with amazing vegan tips that I was dying to share with you all. That is NOT how any form of generating content should be, so I’m now changing my schedule to Monday’s and Thursday’s, since I will also be full time at my new position. Quality over quantity, ya know? Plus, who wants to read a boring blog post? Literally no one.

ANYWHO, I can’t wait to dive back into sharing some easy and breezy vegan tips that I’ve come across lately!

Can’t wait to start talking to you guys on a regular basis again ❤