Creating a successful road trip with a toddler is a little bit like recipe testing. You have to find the right combination of ingredients, then test each amount. Eventually, you realize that you only need a pinch of this, a handful of that, and to mix it all roughly with your hands. Rather than an exact recipe, it's similar to making dough. You have to know it and understand it by touch, feel, and sometimes sound. The first day of our road trip last summer, if it were to be compared to dough, didn't rise. Instead, we began the day with our dog bolting out the door of our mini van (I still can't believe we drive one of those- apparently she wanted nothing to do with it), and getting just barely hit by a car. Yep. A car actually hit her. Fortunately, it was early enough in the morning that there was little traffic and the cars that were on the road had plenty of time to slow down so she didn't get hurt. I'm just gonna throw this out there: worst start to a road trip ever.
The rest of the day was filled with lots of crying from our then 1 1/2 year old in the back seat. He didn't sleep one wink from 6am until 9pm. It was a long day and we were all pretty ragged by the end of it. Problem #1: we wanted to be the parents who didn't resort to TV shows to survive a road trip. I never had that growing up, why should Riley? But then I realized most of my road-tripping happened when I was old enough to entertain myself, chose to sleep in the car, and read books. This time, we allowed a little TV near the end of the day- Sesame Street, Land Before Time and Daniel Tiger - in the hopes that it would keep us all a bit more sane. That, combined with introducing new toys every couple of hours and pulling off of the interstate to get out and stretch our legs for a few minutes, gave us a 1,000% improved day of driving.
Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Right?
When it comes right down to it, anything that gets us from Colorado to Iowa en route to Minnesota for moments like this is completely worth it...
So, can we move on to this Kale & Parsley Pesto? OK. Let's do it.
I've been making kale pesto for a while now. I love it and so does the rest of my family, which makes me so happy. (Just one more way to make grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta a bit healthier- yes!) I've been testing recipes for kale pesto and this is my absolute favorite. I like to use pistachios, a healthy amount of lemon juice, and of course garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I don't add parmesan cheese, as many traditional pesto recipes do, but you certainly could if you wanted to.
The vibrant green color (that withstands time and heat without turning brown) and bright flavor are enough to keep you coming back for more. Every little bite helps when you're trying to work more greens into your diet and this pesto makes it infinitely easier to do just that.
Kale & Parsley Pesto
- 4 cups chopped kale leaves, washed & ribs removed
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley (a few tender stems are ok to include but remove any larger, tougher stems)
- 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon course salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Combine the pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well mixed and looks a little like wet sand.
- Add the kale and parsley to the processor bowl and pulse until just finely chopped, about ten 1 second pulses.
- With the processor running, slowly stream the olive oil into the processor, followed by the water.
- Taste the pesto and season with salt and pepper, pulsing a couple of times to combine.
- Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
If you want a thinner/thicker pesto, add a little more water (not too much...just a tablespoon at a time but no more than 2 or 3 total) and/or extra olive oil.