Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto

One of the things I hope this blog proves is just because you have a certain dietary restriction/need/preference doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or some of your favorite things.  There is usually always a way to meet your cravings based on your food needs.  Now, that being said, that doesn’t mean I’m magic and can fix all your dietary woes with a healthy substitution.  Some things just cannot be recreated and more often than not it’s better that we can’t turn all junk food into healthy food.  Who wants to eat a healthy Twinkie anyway?  Or a real one for that matter….

I digress.  Today’s recipe was created because of two things.  1.  While I love fat, it’s super easy to go overboard with it especially when it comes to liquid oil like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil.  Unless you’re measuring everything out, oil can add up pretty quick.  I started to realize I was buying big jugs of olive oil more and more frequently and running out of them fast.  Which leads me to my second reason… 2. I was out of olive oil and I wanted pesto.Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

I want to stress I don’t think good fats are bad.  In fact, they’re awesome and I try to get them in at every meal.  But too much of a good thing can be bad and when you use an entire 1.5-liter bottle of olive oil in less than a week and a half, you might need to evaluate your food situation.  I’ll still use olive oil to make my spinach pesto, broccoli rabe pesto, and all other delicious things that require olive oil but it’s nice to have an option that is oil-free and just as delicious.

I used this last night on Adam’s fish and he deemed it “pretty tasty”, which is husband speak for good.  It has a nice light flavor from the cilantro and even though there is no oil, it’s still creamy.  You can use any green herb or vegetable you would like, I just happened to have a bunch of cilantro I needed to use so that’s what I went with.  This would also be great on pasta or zoodles or panini’s or chicken/pork or crackers or your finger….

Oil-Free Cilantro Lime PestoOil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • juice of 1 to 2 limes, depending on how lime-y you want it
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (or freshly grated parmesan if you do cheese)
  1. To toast almonds: Add almonds to a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan back and forth every so often and dry toast the almonds until golden brown.  Let them cool while you get everything else together.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender or food processor, starting with the garlic, then cilantro, then seasonings, and finally lime juice.  Pulse a few times then add the cooled slivered almonds.
  3. Blend until you have a relatively smooth and creamy sauce.  If it’s a little too thick you can add more lime juice or water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin it out.  Taste and adjust the salt then store in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week. Oil-Free Cilantro Lime Pesto | Life Healthfully Lived

 

DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink

DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully LivedI would say that sport’s drinks like Gatorade, Propel, and Powerade are some of the most controversial products when it comes to hydration.  You have the people who are firmly in the water-is-the-only-hydration-you-need camp and then you have others who are firmly in the you-need-to-replenish-your-electrolytes-after-activity camp.  Then you have those in the murky middle ground who believe sometimes you need sports drinks and sometimes you don’t.  It can be very confusing.

I am somewhere in the murky middle ground.  It all depends on the activity you’ve been doing and how long you’ve been active for.  The vast majority of us don’t do enough work or exercise that will require anything other than water to rehydrate.  There is no need for a Gatorade after a 20-minute workout or to hand out sports drinks after a kids soccer game.  There are a few instances where you do need to replenish your electrolyte levels with something other than just water.

People who run/train for marathons, triathlons, Ironman competitions, or any other grueling endurance sport are probably going to need something more than just water.  That is because they are asking their bodies to work at full capacity for a long period of time.  Anything more than a 90-minute workout session is going to probably warrant a little extra attention to your hydration levels.DIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully Lived

Now, here is my other sticking point:  I think that commercially sold sports drinks are NOT the way to replenish your fluids and electrolytes.  They’re full of sugar and other ingredients that actually make you thirstier than you were before.  How else would they sell their product?  If one drink made rehydrated you, you wouldn’t need another.  Plus you’re getting way more calories than you need from a drink.

Lucky for you, it’s easy to make your own sports drink that will rehydrate you as well as replenish your electrolyte levels without the calories, sugar, or any other possible weird ingredients.  You can make these in advance of a tough workout or activity and have them ready to go when you’re done.  You can play with the levels of citrus and natural sweetener to suit your tastes.

You can play with the levels of citrus and natural sweetener to suit your tastes and if you don’t want or can’t find coconut water, regular water works just as well.  And yes, I know there is salt in here and you’re going to tell me that is ridiculous because we all know that salt makes you thirstier.  Yes, BUT, you also need the proper amount of sodium levels in your body to rehydrate and absorb minerals like potassium.  If you’ve been sweating like crazy, then you have been losing a lot of sodium as well and need to replenish those stores.  So don’t skip the salt (and make sure you use sea salt NOT regular table salt), it won’t make you thirstier and you won’t be choking down a salty drink.

Sports DrinkDIY Wednesday: Sports Drink | Life Healthfully Lived

  • 1 cup coconut water or regular water (make sure it’s just plain coconut water, no added sugars)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (less or more to suit your taste)
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Put everything into a blender and blend for a few seconds.  Taste and adjust things as needed.

Keep this drink stored in the fridge up to 2 days before you need it.  You can also double or triple this recipe to make sure that you have enough on hand for when it’s needed.

 

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil

We’reDIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived about to get fancy people.  Today you are going to learn just how easy it is to make flavored and infused olive oils.  If you have never tried an infused olive oil, then you and your food are in for quite the treat.

I have had a variety of infused oils before, but I have never bought my own.  They were either gifts or I was using someone else’s when cooking at their house.  The reason I never bought my own?  They are expensive!  A good infused oil can be $15 to $20 a bottle and sometimes even more.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious and add a ton of flavor to a dish, but I’m not spending $20 on a bottle of fancy oil.  Sorry, I’m just not that girl.

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

Then I learned just how simple it is to make your own fancy oil.  For some reason, I thought it was this complicated and mysterious process to infuse olive oil.  It really isn’t.  It’s as simple as choosing the flavors you want, heating those flavors with some olive oil, cooling/straining, and then using your infused oil in all the foods.

The options are endless when it comes to infused oil.  You can do fruit/citrus, garlic, onions, herbs, or even flowers.  It’s all up to you.  A few pointers before we get started:

  • Use decent olive oil.  It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but better oil will result in better flavor
  • For herbs, try to use fresh instead of dried.  Both will work, but fresh will leave a more powerful and fresher flavor. Also, blending the herbs with the oil will have a more intense flavor
  • For spices, buy whole and either leave them that way or ground them at home.  Store-bought ground spices just don’t have the same freshness as whole and home-ground
  • For aromatics like garlic or onion, you can leave them in the oil instead of straining them out.  This will keep infusing the oil with their flavor and make them stronger
  • Infused oils HAVE to be stored in the fridge.  Because the oil has been heated it will spoil faster if left out on the counter.  Just pull the oil out of the fridge a few minutes before you use it.

Once you start infusing your olive oil, you’ll want to try all the different kind of flavors.  Infused oils are great for adding another layer of flavor to dishes, work really well in salad dressings, and are great for dipping bread into.  They also make really pretty and thoughtful gifts.  So let’s get to the infusing!

Infused Olive Oil

DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

Garlic-Cilantro-Lime Oil

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed and stems removed
  • 6 cloves garlic, washed and rinsed (you don’t want dirt in your oil)
  • 4 strips of lime peels, use a vegetable peeler to remove even strips
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  1. If you want you can roast the garlic cloves at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.  It isn’t necessary, but gives the oil a nice rich garlic flavor
  2. While garlic is roasting, wash and remove the stems from your cilantro.  Blend the one cup of olive oil with the cilantro and pour into a medium saucepan.

    DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

    Blended oil and cilantro with garlic, lime, and red pepper flakes

  3. Add in the roasted (or not) garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime peels.  Heat over medium-low heat until the oil is lightly bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Once the oil is cool, use a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth to strain your oil into a glass container.  You can add back in the garlic if you would like to have a more powerful flavor.
  5. Seal tightly and store in the fridge.  The infused oil will keep for up to a month

It might seem like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy.  You can keep it simple and just infuse your oil with one thing like garlic or basil or red pepper or you can get more creative and create blends like star anise, lemongrass, and orange or oregano, basil, and thyme.  Plain old olive oil just isn’t going to cut it anymore once you start infusing it with awesome flavors. DIY Wednesday: Infused Olive Oil | Life Healthfully Lived

What blend would you make for your oil?