Slow Down Sweet Pea
Almost 5 years ago my life was rocked when I lost my daddy and my best friend unexpectedly died. My body and mind felt plagued with grief and confusion. During the first year I was functioning in autopilot, just going and doing the things that had to be done. After that, both my immune system and tender heart said, "No More!" I must deal with the physical pain, loss and grief. Being worn beyond what I had ever experienced before, it felt like the repair took 3 years. Healing came from prayer, rest and lots of writing.
I began to dream again. Feeling refreshed, I started to make plans; giving each day a real go. I took pleasure in my journey of rebuilding myself and finding peace in my new normal. Life was reshaping itself; I had learned from my past and I was enjoying my present, while making plans for my future.
After we went on our annual trip to Mexico this Spring, I came home with a little more than I left with - I picked up a parasite. No sweat, all I needed to do was take the right medicine and homeopathy to beat it. Out of nowhere, I started to feel flu like symptoms. I thought I had been bitten by a spider while doing a yard project with my neighbors. By the initial appearance of the mark on my neck, it seemed like a typical garden spider bite. Quickly, I switch gears and focused on the new creature that had left it's mark on me. I started a great anti-venom, slowly things did get a little bit better, but when I finish the anti-venom things got worse. I showed my son's doctor what I thought was a spider bite and she predicted that it was actually a tick. She worked with my doctor to get me started on Lyme meds and get all the blood test ran. It came back with acute Lyme. Rats, this is not what I wanted nor what I expected.
Summer is in full swing, most days I have flu like symptoms with pain and aching that is hard to explain. I am taking the proper regime of both Lyme medicine and homeopathy to support my body. Feeling tired and unwell, I knew I had to change my pace. Being there for my kids is so important during the summer because the school year tends to be overly busy with school work and sports but, I needed to take care of myself and attend to my needs too.
While praying, writing and creating new recipes this message was made clear. I needed to slow down and let God take the lead on my current circumstances. I am His daughter, His sweet pea, the one He created and He wants to take care of me. Although I no longer have my earthly father, my Heavenly Father has come alongside me during all of these moments and filled my heart with his presence - a father and friend. He did not come and take my pain away, but His courageous spirit and strength has eased the days filled with aching pain and long nights where I can't sleep. When things seem beyond; beyond what I think I can handle, I pray and rest (seriously I have napped everyday this week and last). I pray for myself and others - being a warrior through prayer and thanksgiving gives me a new energy and relief. Through prayer, I feel a sense of peace and my heart is lifted - my perspective is altered.
The idea I am introducing is Sweet Pea Pesto. This recipe has a bold distinct character that is refreshing. It is just the right balance, much like God's love- strong and sweet at the same time. I am taking one of my every day family recipes and adding in sweet garden peas. I love to take advantage of the warm summer weather, which provides growth in the garden, hence fresh peas and abundance of herbs. The basil and garlic give it an intense freshness - then you add in the sweet peas and pine nuts which creates a creamy/smooth texture to taste. The Parmesan cheese and the olive oil finish the recipe off with classic Italian flavors.
Just like this recipe has different attributes, so does life. Circumstances change, your journey looks the same or maybe different than you anticipated. Regardless, staying steadfast in prayer, letting go of fear and having hope for each day is the way I want to live my life. Go out to your garden or to the farmers market and get the ingredients for this recipe - make it for your family with love. Keep it simple and keep it fresh – Life and cooking will continue to surprise you.
With Love! Heather
In my state of wonder, I began to ponder what is the difference between the three kinds of peas I eat? I know how I like to eat them and use them in recipes, but what makes them different? The 3 Pea groups are: Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Garden Peas. You can see that they have slight differences, so here is the 411.
Snap Peas are also known as Sugar Snap Peas and they are a treat to eat (they are pictured in the bowl above). Snap Peas are a cross between Snow Pea and Garden Pea. This crunchy sweet veggie can be snapped up in a couple bites, pod and all. Snap Peas may be eaten raw or cooked. They are great additions for school lunches, salads and stir fry. They are also the perfect pea to scoop yummy dip's like hummus and homemade ranch.
The Snow Pea also know as the Chinese pea is generally served in stir fry & other ethnic dishes like curries. These peas are fairly thin and long. It is said that they are harvested prematurely, hence the tiny pea inside the pod. Remove the stringy edge and add them to hot ramen, toast them with almonds or enjoy them raw. They are pictured in the small garden box above.
The common Garden Pea also known as a Sweet Pea or an English Pea is taken from the hearty shell and can be eaten raw or cooked. The Sweet Pea pod is smaller than the English Pea pod (see above), but they produce the same delicious tasting peas. Unlike the Sugar Snap Peas, the pods of the Sweet/English Pea are not eaten.
You want to pick Sweet Peas before they get too big - so they don't become overly starchy. You simply harvest, remove the pea from the pod and lightly boil them until tender (try to prevent over boiling - peas will get mushy and pasty). Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and bam! This is the pea that I am featuring in today's recipe.
Now that you got peas 101 under your belt, let's begin. The first thing you need to do is source your ingredients: basil, garden sweet peas, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and garlic. The first time I made this recipe I sourced my ingredients from Jen's garden and a farm stand. The second go around, I bought all my ingredients from Trader Joe's using their Sweet English peas and organic basil that are found in the fresh vegetable section. The third time, I went hunting for fresh English Peas and found them at the Yakima Fruit Market, along with gorgeous bulbs of garlic. Each time I made this recipe I got "Two Thumbs Up," so the ingrediants were received well.
I usually buy several bunches of sweet basil, I put it into a cup of room temperature water - Jen recommends spritzing it with water if starts looking dull. Basil is aromatic and bold in color and taste, it is the perfect addition to a salad or main dish. There are many varieties of basil; each presents a slightly different form and flavor. This culinary herb is used in an abundance of dishes, it is known to be the King of Herbs! I bought this beautiful basil from Maltby Farm Fresh Produce, this farm market had a large variety of fruit and vegetables, along with other little items that could come in handy for dinner (like artesian bread, dressings and drinks). We also picked up some red juicy strawberries - délicieux!! If you live near by or you are in the area close to Maltby, WA - stop and take a look for yourself.
Now – you need to have a food processor. I made a double recipe with my Vitamix, but it comes out thick and the pine nuts don't purée well. My children really love the smooth texture, therefore I use my Cuisinart food processor to make my pesto "Silky" and "Divine," (divine is a fancy word for being extremely good - this is a shout out to all the Fancy Nancy's!)
Seriously, all you have to do is clean and measure the ingredients and add them to the food processor. The kitchen tool does all the work. OK, OK - you have to lightly boil and cool the peas before you add them to the food processor - but that is not too hard.
Sweet Pea Pesto
Makes approximately 1 cup of pesto
Takes under 30 minutes
Requires a food processor
- 1 heaping cup of sweet basil leaves
- 1/2 cup of shelled Sweet Peas or English Peas
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 3+ cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
1. Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil on your stove top, add 1 cup of peas to pot.
2. Allow the peas to stay in the boiling water until they are tender (don't over cook it will make the peas starchy). Strain and place the peas in a bowl to cool. Give them a crack of kosher salt.
3. While the peas are cooling, prep and measure the basil, pine nuts, cheese and garlic. Place these ingredients into the Cuisinart - food processor.
4. When the peas are cooled add them to the food processor as well.
5. Give your food processor several long pulses to begin breaking down the ingredients. Add half of the olive oil and continue with more long pulses.
6. Add the remaining olive oil and press low/go on the food processor until your pesto is silky. It won't take long.
7. Remove the pesto from the food processor. Eat or refrigerate until serving.
Sweet Pea Pesto can be used as a dip for vegetables, a spread for bread/crackers or as a thicker base for pasta dish - I have tried it all. Explore using pesto on pizza, grilled sandwiches or to make a Caprese baked chicken - try what feels natural for the ingredient.
Use leftovers on a savory breakfast bagel - yummers! You could add a fried egg too.
P.S. God may not remove the mountain, but he will make a safe way for me to cross the terrain. All I need is faith for the next step on my trail. He told me, " I got this Heather Joy!" I will trust and believe - because His Love is Loyal.