President's Day Weekend: SF and Spinach Almond Pesto Pasta!

It’s amazing what a little rain can do. Being stuck inside also means I get a lot of stuff done. I was done making my lunches for the entire week before 1pm! Almost finish reading The Hobbit which I thought I’d never do, I swear it might have taken me longer to read it than for the filmmakers to film the darn thing.

It’s an odd day today; it actually feels like winter again. Heavy rains and even hail at one point, but I suppose a little rain is harmless, this winter is a bit dry compared to past winters and scary as it sounds spring is around the corner and soon enough it’ll be summer again… though I love warm weather, I despise the heat. As I always say, when its cold, you can put on the layers and curl up in a blanket but it doesn’t work the other way around. If it’s too hot, you can only shed so much before you need to stay in the privacy of your own home and even then it might not be enough.

Luckily, most of this long weekend was dry and sunny, enough so that my friends and I could venture into San Francisco once more. I love visiting the city when I’m not behind the wheel. I’ll be GPS any day! As a belated birthday event, I’ve requested a visit to the Walt Disney Museum located at the Presidio in San Francisco and ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. Okay ice cream was a request from the driver but after all that ice cream talk, I wanted some too. Some of my other friends were concerned it might be too cold for ice cream but we lucked out yet again for SF, it was a beautiful sunny day. By the time we did get ice cream though, I’d have to admit, it was a bit chilly but after driving thru SF (4 miles took almost 30 minutes!) and waiting in line for about 15 minutes, we were getting ice cream even if we were in the middle of a snow storm! It was worth every traffic light, every crazy angry driver, every honk, and every second in line! A happy belated birthday indeed! 

The museum was mainly about the life of Walt Disney who is such an amazing accomplished person. Going through his life, you’ll come to find, like everyone else, his life was not short of hardships and failures but one thing that differed was his will to dream and to make those dreams come true. He was daring and never gave up. Reading about his accomplishments makes me feel a little unaccomplished. By the time he was 16 (15 in reality) he was brave enough to volunteer to be a member of the Red Cross for the military. When he returned at the age of 20, he was able to get a job doing what he loved and was getting paid $50 a month. That may not sound like a lot but to put things into perspective, an entire meal back in those days only cost about 0.20-0.30 cents! I looked at a menu from then and couldn’t help but laugh because for a meal now, we’d need to move that decimal a couple of places back. His life is inspiring and proves that dreams do come true but not without hard work. So bottom line, dream big and don’t give up.

So a couple of weeks ago while I was at work comparing lunches with my manager, a small discussion of pesto came about and ever since then, I’ve been meaning to try something. Normally pesto is fresh basil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil which is great but I wanted to have something that was slightly healthier than the normal version of pesto so I came up with my own version. 

The spinach has returned! It’s been a while since one of my recipes included spinach and plus I needed to find a way to use up my spinach. Sandwiches weren’t cutting it for me anymore. I didn’t have pine nuts handy at home and so instead of pine nuts I decided to use almonds instead. Again being naturally lazy when given the opportunity, I will always choose the lazy method. Instead of digging out a food processor to make my spinach pesto, I decided a blender was enough…not quite. I couldn’t get the pesto to the consistency that I want it to be, so that is why I decided to add a little bit of milk. It didn’t make much difference in flavor, just made it creamier if anything. Overall a success, tastes just like any old pesto sauce I’ve ever had and it has slightly more nutrients with the spinach and milk instead of just oil. 

Makes approximately 2-3 servings
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2-3 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 cup of milk (low fat okay)
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 2 handfuls of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 7 oz of penne pasta (approx ½ box)
  • Garlic salt (for taste)
  • Ground pepper (for taste)
  1. Cook pasta via instructions on packaging, once cooked, set aside
  2. In a food processor (for better results) or blender (sufficient) blend/process together spinach, basil, cheese, almond, milk, olive oil until it reaches a thick paste like consistency.
  3. Mix in with cooked pasta along with cream and serve.