More Conversion Stories


From basil…

…to pesto


Pesto Recipe

4 -5 garlic cloves

3 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup Parmesan cheese *

1/2 cup pine nuts * (when pine nuts cost the equivalent of gold nuggets, I use 1/3 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil *


Mince garlic in food processor.

Add basil and process.

Add cheese, nuts and salt.

Add olive oil in a stream.


I used to freeze basil in ice cube trays. Now I prefer snack-sized ziplock bags. A friend freezes hers in baby food jars. Unless you have a reason to use this all today, you must freeze pesto. You can keep it in the fridge in a container with a layer of olive oil on top. Air is the bad boyfriend to charming Pesto; she turns dark and ugly after long embraces with that bad boy.

Add pesto to pasta for a perfect side.

Add pesto to pizza sauce for a perfect sauce.

Add pesto to poultry for a savory main course.

Spread on crackers with sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese.

(From Sheri’s comment, below: Add a dab of pesto to soup to make it amazing.)

Or just Google pesto recipes.


[Side bar: I learned the first year of marriage to always have the ingredients of a quick meal handy. Something easy to put together if you had unexpected guests for dinner. Back in the day, I shudder to say, tuna casserole was my go to dish. Maybe that’s why friends often had “other plans.” Pesto and pasta is an elegant dish to make on the spot.]

 * I buy these at Costco or Trader Joe’s. I store the Parm in the freezer, pine nuts in the fridge.


::     ::    ::



from oats (and friends and relations)…


 …to granola


Granola Recipe

12 cups rolled oats (whole or quick, your preference)

1 cup each, your choice:

Wheat Germ

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Walnuts, chopped

Cashews, chopped

Sliced Almonds

(other grains per your taste. See note on fruit below.)



1 1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cup honey

a glug of milk

a glug of vanilla


Microwave oil/honey mixture for three minutes.

Give it a swirl, and pour it over the oats.

Mix well. Then mix it again. And again.


Turn out onto Jelly-roll pan (a cookie sheet with lip) or onto Silpat. I line cookie sheets with parchment paper, but that is optional.

Bake in oven until deeply tanned, stirring every 15 minutes.


I buy oats in 25 pound bags; I get nuts at Costco or Trader Joe’s.

I just found a 2 pound bag of sliced almonds at Costco. Nice!

Opt: add dried fruit (raisins, Craisins, dried blueberries) AFTER baking. Trust me—after.

Opt: reduce oil and honey to 1 cup each. Just keep the proportion 1:1.


My greatest challenge with granola is baking it to perfection.

My original recipe said Bake 275° for 30 minutes. Eating raw oats does things to you.

Depending on my schedule and my patience, I’ll either bake it at 350° with a close eye or I’ll bake it at 250° until I can smell it, then start stirring in 15 minute intervals. The edges cook faster than the middle, so mix the granola around the cookie sheet. What I’ve found is that you wait and wait and wait…and when it turns perfect you have a 5 minute window. Then it burns. I’m pretty much an expert in how to burn granola. Step 1: Check your Facebook…

 Sheri, in the comments section, makes granola in the crockpot.


Of course!

That’s how I’m making it from now on.



6 thoughts on “More Conversion Stories

  1. Thanks for sharing some of your conversion stories to inspire me to convert as well.  I’ve found that doing my granola in the crockpot has eliminated my burning experiences.  I just dump everything in and try to remember to stir it once and a while.  On the pesto side, I’ve found out (by a friends recommendation) that a dab or so of pesto to a bland soup converts it my being blaaaaaaah to WOW this is amazing!  I’ll have to try pesto added to poultry soon.Blessings!

  2. @Sheri – Well, now. I’ve never heard/thought/considered the crock pot, and it makes perfect sense. Thank you.  Did I tell you thank you? I’m going to edit the post and add this. And—really—thank you very much.And the pesto-in-the-soup trick does work. I can testify. Especially a minestrone type soup. I have a hearty hamburger soup that an addition of pesto elevates. Really, basil is amazing. I don’t think I can grow enough of it. I add it to sandwiches in place of lettuce and my husband raves. Basil salad dressing is fabulous. I add it to egg dishes like a fritatta, roasted vegetables…it’s a glorious time when fresh basil is a few steps away.

  3. Granola in the crock pot…happy thought, indeed.  Planning to do that next chance I get.Pesto.  Must make pesto.  Can anyone else admit to hyperventilating when purchasing pine nuts at Costco.  I steady my breathing, close my eyes and throw them in the cart.  Wow..they are pricey.  Love your conversion stories, Carol,DI

  4. I made roasted red pepper pesto for my vegan daughter-in-law’s birthday.  It was yummy! We just tossed it with pasta.I love the croc-pot idea. We are stuck in a fall heat wave here in VA…still in the 80s.  I’m having a hard time getting in gear for fall! Gotta make plans or I’ll be sorry!  Why am I so reactionary to my surroundings – the weather, what’s going on, etc.?  I guess that is what makes me human, and a woman!

  5. Thank you for the pesto recipe!  I love pesto, but I’ve never made it.  I add 2 tablespoons of pesto to plain Greek yogurt and eat it over fresh tomatoes in the summer.  It’s my favorite lunch!

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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