Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Sadly, my basill is finished for the season. If I had been better about watering it during this drought, it would have lasted longer. I still have a few cubes of pesto that I've frozen, but I'll be needing to buy some basil to make enough to keep us going during the fall, winter, and spring. It's so convenient to dip into the bag of frozen pesto cubes and toss one into a pot of sauce or over some cooked chicken. It defrosts quickly and can be used as a panini spread or a pizza topping. My recipe is simple (see sidebar) and if you have a bumper crop of basil, make some and freeze in ice cube trays as I've explained. Don't believe those recipe that tell you you can substitute parsley or spinach and used dried basil. They taste terrible!

Last night was a burger, corn on the cob night, so I quickly threw together a pesto pasta salad.

1 lb. mini fusilli (DeCecco makes 3 varieties of mini pasta, great for cold salads)
3 cubes of frozen pesto
olive oil
grated cheese
toasted pine nuts (about 1/3 cup)

Cook the pasta according to taste. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and drain well. Toss in pesto cubes, drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Toss well. Add pine nuts and mix. Best served room temperature. Leftovers can be resurrected with the addition of more olive oil.

In my profile I mention that Larry and I live in a log home with our 2 cats. Molly is almost 5 years old. She's pleasingly plump, though the vet says she's fine at 16 pounds. She really doesn't overeat since I measure out their dry food twice a day. She's big-boned! Pittypat is just 1. She's more slender, like Blueberry (sadly, our 19 year old cat had to be euthanized last year). Molly and Pitty are inseparable though from their daily and nightly wrestling matches, you'd think they were bitter enemies. Molly is always looking to play, even though she's older, but Pitty is just too fast. We should have named her Road Runner. Her best tricks include playing leap frog--hey, why go around Molly when you can leap over her--and racing around the hardwood floors and coming to a screeching halt--witness the teeny little clawmarks all over our living room and dining room.

One of the beauties of living in a log home in the woods is the constant feeling that I'm on vacation. This early morning light is the scene I view through our living room window every day. We've only covered our bathrooms and bedroom with window coverings so we can take advantage of the daily show. Right now 3 fawns and 2 does eat at our salad bar each day (A.K.A. our landscaping). They are joined by a dozen and a half wild turkey who love to roll and scratch in the leaves and on our lawn (Larry is not as happy about this; he's constantly raking the leaves off our long driveway and we now have to plant a raised bed around the trees since they've rubbed off all the grass). Last year we had 3 red fox living in a hollowed out stump in the ravine to the side of our living room. Our hawks have just build a third nest, this one right in front of the house in an old oak tree.

So, when I'm not cooking or baking or quilting or reading or playing Scrabble online, I love to sit and watch the show outside my window. I'm waxing eloquent today because it's the First
Day of school and I'm here instead of in front of the school welcoming the children back from summer vacation. Yes, I do miss seeing the fresh faces of the kindergartners and the mommies and daddies busy snapping pictures. I miss the excitement of a new school year and catching up with my staff--who's pregnant (ouch! another sub needed), who's bought a new house, who is having husband/wife/children issues at home. But, when all is said and done, it's awfully nice to recite the Pledge alone in my living room and sip my second cup of coffee.


  1. Arlene, your Pesto Salad looks great. l love that stuff. I really enjoy hearing about your precious kittys and how wonderful it is to live in your log cabin home. What a site it must be to watch the deers feed right out your window. Almost heaven. Enjoy your time off

  2. How lovely is that? A cabin in the woods. It's like you're living a beautiful fantasy. A princess. I am so jealous!
    I love pasta, I think if you add pasta or pasta salad to anything (like your burger) it makes it into a real meal. Thanks for the great post.

  3. OMG a simple bowl of pasta with some pesto stirred in is my favorite meal on earth! I made a huge batch of pesto earlier this year. It's been in the fridge, and it's still delicious! Even better now that the garlic flavor has had plenty of time to mellow... :)

  4. Oh I've got the white one now too. It was my mom's and we've had it for over 10 years. I've used it more in the last year than she EVER did. Lol... but the poor thing is struggling and I don't know where to take it to have it fixed. So, I figured I just buy one for myself. That way I'll have my own when I move out! :)

  5. My dad used to always use the ice cube tray trick for freezing pesto! I love it! This pasta salad looks delish!

  6. Great post! The salad looks wonderful1 And your home sounds lovely, crazy cats, wildlife and all.

  7. Thanks for reminding me it is time to freeze the pesto. I am also recently retired from education and I know the feeling about missing the first day of school. I miss the little darlings, but I do love this new life I have!

  8. I never get tired of pesto and your salad sounds so tasty. The area you live in looks so peaceful and filled with beauty.

  9. Pesto is one flavor that I never cared for. Alas.
    Love the photo of your cats. I was never a cat person, but a stray "adopted" us, and we fell in love with him. When we went on vacation, Tricia came to make sure he had food and water. She saw him the day we left, but he hadn't touched his food nor made any appearance after that until we got back home. We were afraid he had taken off. He was soooo skinny when he first came here, but now he is "fattened up".
    L/H, Peg

  10. Hello Arlene. Thank you for coming by my site. I know I already said this, but I am so jealous of where you live. You are a princess. And you are so sweet.

  11. Yum! that looks so good! I really like pesto but its been awhile since I've eaten it. This is something I'm going to have to try.

    You're kitties are so cute! I especially like the calico. I have a calico too. Cats are such nice pets, arent' they?!

    I know how you feel about the first day of school. I use to teach and now that I have the baby I'm a SAHM. I miss it sometimes, especially the students and they're goofiness. But you're right that at the end of the day it is nice to be at home relaxing!

  12. Arlene, pesto is one of my favourites, and your pasta salad looks brilliant.

    You have a lovely home! Living the way you do is something that would never work for many Malaysians. 'Work' is only available in the city and commuting is an alien concept. This leaves many of us living in those expensive little boxes marketing people call condos.

  13. I am loving the pic of the pasta salad! Your little kitties are just adorable and what a treat to live where you do in a log cabin. I bet the views are gorgeous.


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