Month: January 2013

Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and Mushrooms

  Capers?  Butter?  Wine?  Sounds like a piccata to me, and I love chicken piccata!
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 Tbsp olive oil
 1 Tbsp butter
 1 (14 ounce) can marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved
 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
 1 cup dry white wine
 1 Tbsp capers
  Start by heating your oil and butter in a large skillet over med heat.  While you wait, season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken (about 5-7 mins per side) and set it aside.  
  Add your artichoke and mushrooms to the skillet and saute until the mushrooms brown and are tender.  Return the chicken to the skillet and add the reserved artichoke juices and your wine.  Turn your heat down to low and let everything simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked through (use a meat thermometer if you have any doubts!).  Add your capers and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.
  We served this on a bed of spinach to keep it nice and low carb, but I’m sure it would also be very good with pasta.  G wasn’t sure about the idea of artichokes, but was enthusiastic about his mushrooms as always.  This isn’t quite as rich as most of the piccatas I’m used to, but it also uses far less butter.  It has a wonderful tart flavor from the combination of the artichokes, wine and capers.  We’ll definitely be having this one again!
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A Blanket for G

  It’s finally done!  The blanket for G’s big boy bed that I’ve been working on since around Christmas finally came off the hook and went on his bed:
  He loooooves it.  Even dragged his daddy upstairs with iPad while he was FaceTiming with his grandparents to show it off.
  Have to say that I’m rather happy with how it turned out myself, but it’s always nice when the person it’s intended for is just as excited with the end product!
  I used this method for the blanket after letting G pick the color for the yarn.  I’m not quite brave enough that I let him pick ANY color, but I gave him 3 or 4 choices and the dark blue was what he picked.  Perfect, since that was what I really wanted in there anyhow.
  This blanket took 9 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun in Colonial.  You can see that I got a couple different dye lots…I did this on purpose, looking to have a varied selection of blues (like in the ocean!).  I do wish that I’d lopped up the skeins a bit more so that the stripe sizes would have been a little more varied, but, ah well.  The blanket will be under a comforter 90% of the time anyhow, so there’s only so worked up I can get about it.  The really light stripe at the head of the bed is a quarter or so of a skein I had left over from making the blanket for our bed in the master bedroom.  I believe it’s “Windsor”.
  One more project done in his room…only 30-so more to go…

Baked Eggs with Sweet Potato and Gorgonzola

  More eggs!  But this time it’s not actually a frittata.  We had this for dinner, but it would absolutely work for breakfast.  Or brunch.  Or really any time, so long as you’re not starving to death and can wait half an hour or so for it to cook.
  Here’s what we’re making:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
½ medium red onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
3-4 eggs
2 oz Gorgonzola cheese*
*BWHAHAHA.  You know I used like 8 oz.
  Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.  Toss your sweet potato, onion, olive oil and salt in a bowl until nicely mixed and pour into a baking dish.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until your sweet potatoes are soft.  I didn’t dice my potatoes quite as small as I was supposed to and so after 17 minutes they were still a tad crunchier than I wanted.  Next time I’ll know better.
  Remove your dish from the oven and crack eggs over top.  Cover with gorgonzola and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes (depending on how you want your eggs set).  Serve alone or with toast.
  Geeze this is good.  I’m not a huge fan of eggs (eaten on their own I can’t have more than one without my stomach getting upset), so next time I’d probably mix them in instead of cracking them on top…you know…so it’s more like a frittata (of course), but the flavors of the red onion, sweet potato and gorgonzola are just incredible together.  I used 5 eggs to make ours, and I’d say that next time I’d double the whole recipe, but as it was, if we hadn’t run out I would have eaten until I made myself sick it was so delicious.
  G didn’t eat a ton of this, but I’m pretty sure that was more toddler-belligerence than a dislike of the meal.  Just meant more for me and the Mr.

Lets Talk About Gestational Diabetes (Again). Why I Think My Low Carb Diet Ruined Everything.

  Well we’re back to this again.  I apologize to those of you who are sick of hearing about this…I’m honestly sick of talking about it…but I think it’s important that I share what I’m learning so that the information is out there for people who may be in a similar situation.

  I am, at this point, 98% sure I’ve been misdiagnosed.
  There are quite a few reasons, but the biggest one is this:
  …I never got that instruction.  And as we’ve discussed earlier, I do not take in 150 g of carbs a day regularly.
  So wait a minute…if I don’t have gestational diabetes, what’s going on?  Why was I getting some high blood sugar readings?
  Here’s where it gets complicated.
  …if this isn’t something you find interesting, skip this post.  The important stuff is the information above.  If you’re pregnant and eat a low carb diet you need to know that you need to “carb up” before the glucose tolerance test, or you will get a false positive.  If you’ve already been there, taken that test and feel like you’re in the same boat I am…or if you just find all of this interesting, read on.  It’s about to get weird.
  I’m going to do my best to explain what I’ve learned in layman’s terms.  I’ve said it in the past, but I want to say it again: I am not a doctor.  I may be misunderstanding some of this information and as such I may misrepresent exactly how things work, but I’ve done my best to read as much as possible while only looking at information that is coming from reputable sources, and have been balancing that against my personal results using my home glucose monitor.
  My understanding is that, to ridiculously simplify it, diabetes is a disease that occurs when the cells in your body become saturated with sugar.  Insulin tells your cells that they need to store sugars from your blood so that in the future, if you are in need of energy/sugar, it can be released and used.  When your cells are already filled to the brim with sugar however, they stop listening to your insulin, because, “hey Joe, we ‘aven’t anywhere to PUT any more sugar!”, and that tissue becomes what is called “insulin resistant”.  The more insulin resistant tissue you have in your body the higher your blood sugar levels become.
  In pregnancy, your body naturally becomes slightly insulin resistant.  Bodies are, in general, rather clever creatures when we let them be.  They’re very good at recognizing their priorities and making sure those are taken care of.  Think of your body as being a bit like a medieval kingdom.  Your brain is the most important resource your body has, so it’s royalty.  Gets the best cuts of meat, even when everybody else is starving.  Muscles and other flesh tissues are more like the serfs in this analogy.  Crops are good and there’s plenty of food to go around?  They may eat nearly as well as the king…but as soon as things get scarce, poor old bicep cell gets gruel and nothing better.  That’s your body normally.  Get pregnant and that growing baby even trumps your brain.  (Which is probably a big part of why I fainted).
  So, normal, non-pregnant body with “normal” (over 150g a day, but not excessive) carbs:  King Brain eats carbs/sugars, peasant muscles eat carbs/sugars, everybody is more or less happy.  Maybe a little chubby if the number of carbs is on the high end, but not diabetic.
  Normal, pregnant body with “normal” (over 150 g a day, but not excessive) carbs: King Brain shares a feast of carbs/sugars with Emperor Fetus.  Peasant muscles still eat carbs/sugars, but somewhat less than normal (depending on how MANY more carbs than 150 g you take in) since they’re sending a portion of their “crop” to the castle to celebrate their distinguished guest, Emperor Fetus (the mild insulin resistance that appears in every pregnancy).  Everybody is more or less happy.
  Diabetic, pregnant or non-pregnant body with excessive carbs: King Brain eats carbs/sugars, Emperor Fetus (if he’s in town) eats carbs/sugars, peasant muscles eat carbs/sugars…there are a ton of sugars left that nobody needs/wants (diabetic insulin resistance) and there are sugar beets rotting in the streets (your blood stream).  NOT everybody is happy.
  Normal, non-pregnant body with low carbs: King Brain eats carbs/sugars, peasant muscles eat very few sugars/carbs, learn that fat is DELICIOUS and eat that instead (this is mild insulin resistance of another kind).  So long as you are either losing weight (which means that your cells have some extra sugar stored that they can use in a pinch) or eating enough carbs that you avoid King Brain getting hungry (hypoglycemia), everybody is happy.  Including your waistline.
  Normal, pregnant body with low carbs (this is me): King Brain and Emperor Fetus share their carb/sugar feast.  If there aren’t enough carbs around to make a decent feast, King Brain sends out an edict that peasant muscles must send in any extra carbs/sugars they have stored and ARE NOT ALLOWED to eat any new carbs/sugars they see and must make do on fats alone (more serious insulin resistance, from the combined pregnancy insulin resistance and resistance from a low carb diet).  Peasant muscles totally give up on the idea of seeing carbs/sugars again for a while (they aren’t allowed to eat them anyhow) and come up with awesome recipes for fats.  You’re unlikely to put on excess weight.  If you don’t eat a high enough level of carbs to make an impressive enough feast, King Brain hands over his share to Emperor Fetus and goes to bed (you faint).  However, so long as you keep your carb level in a healthy range (for your body), everyone is happy.
   …until you take the glucose tolerance test.
  So what happens then?  If you’re healthy on a low carb diet and don’t have gestational diabetes, why do you fail the glucose tolerance test?
  Remember how in the analogy the peasant muscles have come to the conclusion they may as well toss out their recipes for eating carbs and have developed a fondness for eating fats?  The glucose tolerance test is about to throw a monkey wrench in the works.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, your body/kingdom has HUGE amounts of carbs/sugars…Emperor Fetus is impressed, King Brain eats til he’s more than full and temporarily rescinds the restriction against the peasants having carbs/sugars.  Problem is, not everybody gets the message…so some of the peasants still think they’re not allowed to eat the carbs that are now overflowing the land…and those who DO get the message, well, they may remember that, back in the day, Grandma used to make this incredible carb pie, but the recipe is lost, none of them have ever made it…and so they understandably do a shoddy job of it.  They mostly keep eating fats and the sugars get left in the streets/blood.
  If you get the instructions to “carb up” in advance, basically it gives your “peasants” a chance to dig out their old recipes and start practicing them so when the flood of carb-crop comes rushing in, they remember what to do with it.
  So what if you’re in my boat, and your dumb ol’ peasants left the sugars in the streets so it looks like you’re diabetic?  Well, here’s what’s happened in my case:
  The last time I talked about this I said I was mostly going to go back to my regular diet and calling it good.  I sort of lied.
  Not really…not really, really, but a little bit.
  About the same time those posts were being published I had several appointments.  Everything I wrote about those appointments was true…I did get told my levels were perfectly healthy and I wasn’t high risk, ect, ect, ect…but I also heard “ooh, there are a couple of scores that are close to the cut off numbers.  Not many…and that’s okay, it’s not a problem…but *hiss*”.  
  So, in my head, I’m now thinking “ok, so now not only am I not allowed to go over those numbers, if I don’t want to be given a hard time, I can’t even get close to them”.  Over-achiever Erin, activate.
  If you’ve never monitored your blood sugar you probably don’t have any clue of how difficult it is to predict how your body will respond to a meal.  I talked about it a little bit in my post on what I’m eating, but there are HUGE amounts of information you need to determine if a food is going to spike your blood sugars or not.  Glycemic load, glycemic index, slow carb vs fast carb, ect.
  I did lots and lots of research on how to eat for diabetes, but basically, it was a lot easier to just eat even lower carb than usual than to try and figure it all out.  I thought that it was a less stressful approach, since I didn’t have to worry about the scores if I wasn’t taking in the carbs.
  Wrong.
  You see, one of the scores I had to record was my fasting blood sugar levels.  With my usual diet, my body/kingdom was getting enough carbs/sugars that my “peasants” didn’t really see carbs often enough that they did a great job with them, but King Brain hadn’t put out an edict entirely banning them from using them yet.  That changed as I started eating fewer and fewer carbs to make certain I didn’t have to “worry” about my meal scores.
  Stupid me, following the idea that I might have gestational diabetes, I went and upped my insulin resistance by eating too few carbs.  My “peasants” left every tiny bit of sugar in the streets for King Brain and Emperor Fetus and so, even though I was essentially not eating any sugar or carbs, my fasting blood sugar levels were slowly climbing.
  On the 14th of this month I had my (now) bi-monthly appointment with my doctor and went over my blood sugar numbers with her.  She was happy enough with them that she authorized my going down from four tests to only testing twice a day: my fasting score and either my lunch or dinner score.  For the next 3 days I didn’t change anything, continued to eat extremely low carb and my fasting blood sugar numbers continued their slow rise.
  Honestly, I got a little angry.
  I started researching new terms.  Things like “can a low carb diet make diabetes worse?”, which is when I started coming across the information above.  Information that told me that, whoops, I almost certainly don’t have gestational diabetes, I just screwed up the test by not eating enough carbs before it…and was sending my body into a state of insulin resistant panic because I was starving it of carbohydrates.
  *Sigh*
  So, I decided to try an experiment.  (I know, *gasp!* when I’m pregnant?!?  How irresponsible, right?  But at this point the medical community has messed with my diet 10 ways til Tuesday, I can’t feel that bad doing a little of it myself)  For the next week, I slowly added carbs back into my diet.  It wasn’t nearly as scary now, because I could do it at meals I wasn’t required to report, take the blood test and see what was going on without worrying about the possibility of getting chastised if I got “too close” to my cut off numbers.
  The more my carb intake headed back towards my original diet the lower my fasting blood sugars dropped.
  So now here’s where things stand: I’m taking my blood sugar levels twice a day.  My diet is more or less back to what it was prior to this whole mess.  I’m eating a purposely low carb diet for the meal I have to test, because, well, I don’t want to have to stress about it AND I’ve found some crazy delicious low carb recipes, but I am continuing to very slowly increase my carb intake.  My fasting
blood sugars are consistently in a healthy range (not too close to the high end or the low end…don’t want to faint again either!) and, because my body is calming down about thinking it’s going into starvation mode, even my meal blood sugar scores are dropping.
  Before I discovered this further information, I wrote a letter to the head offices of the group that runs all of the staff I’ve been dealing with expressing my concerns about how my case has been handled.  I now honestly feel that most of the staff has been unable to help me simply due to ignorance of the impact of a low carb diet on the glucose tolerance test, but entirely aside from that there are policies and procedures that need to be reassessed within the office in regards to unusual cases.  Ignorance is bad, but rudeness, dismissiveness and a general attitude of “I know better than you, so shut up” towards patients is utterly unacceptable.  I was contacted by the company’s VP of Human Resources the other night and she assures me that she and the office manager of the branch of the practice I’m a patient in will be taking a hard look at things that can be improved.
  I have printed out the information I’ve found regarding necessary preparations for the glucose tolerance test and will be taking it with me to my next appointment to give to my doctor.
  I’m tired.  Tired of dealing with this.  Tired of things not adding up.  Tired of talking about it.  Really tired of researching it and tired of thinking about it.  On top of being tired from being 34 weeks pregnant and carrying the weight of a whole second person with me all day.
  I hope to God this can be the end of it.
  I hope that my talking about all of this here can save at least one other woman in my situation from all the stress and aggravation I’ve been through.
  …at least I’ve gotten some good recipes out of the bargain, right?
  You guys know by now that if anything more comes up I’ll be telling you about it.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.  Obviously, I can’t give you medical advice, but I can, and happily will tell you what has happened with me.
  Saying to yourself “Whoa, I’m new here.  What’s the start of the story?”? Click through and read.

More Utilitarian Wrap-McCall’s M6408 (Version 2)

  I love the wrap I made for the holidays.  It’s flattering, it’s comfortable, I can tie it a bunch of ways, and it’s a good fit with the rest of my wardrobe (not always the case when I make something, since as everybody knows, when you try something on, it can look utterly different on you than it does on a mannequin/model).

  Thing is, not every day calls for sparkles… and some days are too cold for 3/4 sleeves.  …and even if neither of these things were the case (I don’t actually believe there’s a day that doesn’t call for sparkle), I’d occasionally need to wash it, so really, I had to have another one.

Woo, check me out, I CAN smile.
It only took 50 shots to get one I didn’t look completely insane…

  I used the same pattern (McCall’s M6408), same size (XS) and all, just went with the full length sleeve option this time.  I think I might like this version even better!  
  I have the sneaking suspicion that this is going to become one of those patterns that I make five thousand of in different colors.  You’ve been warned.
  Right now I’m mostly tying this in the back.  At 34 weeks now, 2.0 has gotten so ridiculously active (and so big) that my stomach never seems to stop moving and I’m rather sore.  Ratcheting down a waist tie on a tender belly just seems needless at this point.  …actually the ties are just hanging loose in this picture.  I’d untied them when I sat down on the couch for lunch so I didn’t have a knot in the middle of my back and completely forgot to re-tie them when I started taking pictures.  Whoops.
  I have to reiterate just how fast and easy this pattern is.  Part of the reason that I’m probably going to wind up with 3 billion of them is that, even being the size of a tank and moving super slowly, I can get one of these cut out and sewn in the space of G’s nap + the time it takes for my Mr. to put him to bed at night.  I love projects I can finish in a day, it’s almost as good for instant-gratification as buying something at the store, but way more satisfying in the long run.
  Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions if you try out this pattern.  I’ve done it twice now and am seriously considering another version in the next few days.

Primal Philly Cheesesteak- or “Who Needs A Bun Anyhow?”

  I’ve never been a big fan of sandwiches.  Too much bread for my taste with most of them, and with hot sandwiches like a Philly Cheesesteak, it gets all soggy.  Gross.
  Ok, so I’m a little picky about my grains.  Mr. says my grain preferences are the most high maintenance thing about me.  I still haven’t decided if that’s a slam or a compliment.
  Either way, this is exactly how I think a Philly Cheesesteak should be.  Forget the bread.  This is freaking incredible.
1 lb. skirt steak, sliced thinly*
2 green peppers, sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
~4 oz. cheese, shredded or sliced**
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp hot sauce
*We used a combination of sirloin and round steak since we had them.  Flank steak would also work.
**We used a combination of Provolone, American and Colby Jack to get good melting and traditional Philly Cheesesteak flavor.  Also, I’m sure we used more than 4 oz.
  Start by sauteing your steak in an oven proof pan with your butter melted in it and with your Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce mixed in.  Cook until your beef is really well browned and then add your vegetables.  Cook until your peppers and onions are nice and soft and mushrooms are done.  Heat up your broiler while you wait.
  Once your vegetables are cooked, top the whole thing with cheese and place it under the broiler.  Leave it there until all of your cheese is melted, and, if you like it that way, begins to brown.  Now try and share with your family.  I had thirds!
  I know I keep saying this about the low carb/paleo recipes, but this is going to be on our menu a ton.  I’m certainly not going to say I’m happy about the whole gestational diabetes debacle, but it’s absolutely led me to a whole slew of incredible dinner ideas!

A New Nursing Cover

  So, I know, I usually do more crafty or useful tip type things on Tuesdays…but the way my nesting has been manifesting, I’ve been doing nothing but sewing.  Ok, that’s not true…but the crafty stuff I’ve been doing is either secret (shhhh) or is taking forever (like the blanket I’m working on for G’s big boy bed).

  I don’t want you guys to be reading pregnancy sewing posts when I’m 3 months postpartum, so I’ve gotta start sticking some of my sewing in on other days!
  Back last spring, when my neighbor had just had a baby, I walked you guys through how to make your own nursing cover.  I had mentioned then that the one I had used with G was a smidge toasty, so I knew that before 2.0 showed up, I needed to get around to making another one.
  Having dealt with the heat-trap that is polyester I decided to go just about as lightweight as possible with seersucker.  It’s lightweight, has the classic stripe instead of some loud, notice-me pattern and, bonus, with all the natural crinkle in the fabric, it’s tough to wrinkle!
  I used the exact same process.  I’ve been sorta spacey lately and so I figured, why re-invent the wheel?  The only difference is that for mine I started with a longer piece of fabric than the 3/4 yard I suggested in the tutorial.  I have an extra 3-4″ in my torso, so I sit a little taller than most people…that means I need a longer cover to keep covered.  …oh, if only those 3-4 inches were in my legs instead!  Ah well.
  Our list of things to get done before the baby shows up keeps getting shorter by the day and I’m starting to get antsy.  6 weeks til he’s due and I can’t wait.  G’s little brother best not decide to make a late entrance, or I’m liable to go bonkers!

Spinach, Feta and Mushroom Frittata

  Gotta say, I am not hating consciously eating low carb.  We already did it for the most part, but now that I’m going out and specifically looking for lower carb recipes?  Wow do I love a lot of them.  And hey, you can’t beat a good frittata.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
4 eggs
1 c milk
2 oz feta cheese*
1/2 c mozzarella, shredded
*We used more like 4 oz
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  We’re gonna do this a lot quicker than the hour the original recipe talks about!
  Instead of throwing everything into a pie pan and baking it forever, we’re going to use the same basic method we use for the pizza frittata.  We’ll set the bottom by cooking on the stove top and then bake it.  This makes for a more firm crust and cuts the cook time substantially.  That means we need to be cooking in an oven safe skillet.
  Start by sauteing your mushrooms and garlic.  You want your mushrooms to start releasing their juices and then let them evaporate (5-7 minutes).  Mix in all the rest of the ingredients and cook on the stove top until the edges start to firm up (around 3 minutes).
  By now your oven should be preheated.  Bake the whole shebang for around 20 minutes (long enough for everything to firm up) and serve warm!
  Another favorite!  G went bonkers for this, including throwing a mini tantrum the next day when he thought I was suggesting that I’d be having some of the leftovers for lunch and he wouldn’t.  This is the first time I’ve put feta in a frittata and I’m glad I did.  The combination is just wonderful.  It’s vegetarian, low carb and everybody loves it.  Good enough to get in steady rotation for me!

An Absolutely Necessary Bag (or Not)

  I’m fairly certain that this pallet just screamsI’m here to have a baby boy!“, don’t you?

  No?  Okay, well how about “I’m about to be outnumbered, 3 to 1 by boys!”?
  I may, in fact, have gone a little more ballerina than I usually would have in reaction to the impeding maleness in my house.  Ah well.
  As I mentioned in last week’s post, I got a little ridiculous with this project.  I started with the basic idea of the fold over clutches that have been all over Pinterest the last few months and worked from there.
  I used a pulled apart wool skirt I had gotten from the Salvation Army for the fabric of the big bag, so I was a little limited in how large I could make it.  I had used part of the fabric, way back when, before I started this blog, to make one of these hats for G when he was 8 months old.  The pink lining was something a friend had given to me and might be vintage.  I have way too much fabric.  I can’t keep track of what’s what anymore.
  The bag would have been simple if I hadn’t gotten kind of crazy with the lining.  It’s essentially the same bag as the makeup bags, but with a handle sewn into the side seam.  That lining though…  I decided I didn’t want any of the “wrong sides” to show inside the bag and that I wanted a pocket sewn into the lining, so the order of operations for putting it together got a little complicated.
  I didn’t want a sewn outline of the internal pocket in the lining, so first the zipper had to go into the lining, then one half of the pocket lining and the other half separately so I didn’t sew shut the zipper (there are no “ugly” edges on the inside of the lining pocket either).  Once those were both attached around the zipper I had to connect them to each other.  Then the lining had to be sewn around the main zipper of the bag before the bag sides themselves could be sewn up.  Then the external bag sides (including the handle), followed by the lining sides turned inside out, and finally, the bottom of the lining, finishing off the small hole I used to turn the whole thing right side out through by hand.
  The spacial relations portion of my brain definitely got a work out with this project.
  The other cosmetics bag is the same as the first, just a different set of fabrics.  My contact solution, glasses and toothbrush are now happily snuggled away in their own pouch, separate from my mascara and chapstick.
  So now I have a brand new set of bags and I’m all packed for the hospital.  Time for me to find another overly complicated, time consuming project to keep my nesting instincts in check!

Parsnip Soup with Pesto

  Oh this one is breaking my heart.  It turned out so beautiful and had so much potential…and it just tasted…okay.  I guess that fish chowder with a pint of cream and beef and mushroom stew are hard acts to follow.
Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
2 lbs parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups vegetable stock
  Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  Coat your parsnips with about 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper*.  Place them on a baking sheet and bake for around 22-25 minutes.
  Meanwhile, pulse your walnuts in a food processor with your herbs until they’re very finely chopped.  Add in your remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, your lemon juice and salt and pepper* to taste and pulse to combine and create pesto.
  Remove your parsnips from the oven and allow to cool slightly before placing in a blender.  Blend with your stock until smooth.  Pour into a soup pan and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper as needed* and ladle into bowls, topped with a dollup of pesto to serve.
*Go really light on the salt…that’s 3 different places they’ve told you to add it and part of the problem with our flavor was that it was bordering on too salty.
  Like I said, I understand that those last two recipes are tough acts to follow…they were pretty insanely good, but this one just had issues.  We’ll probably try making it again and make a few tweaks.  For one, way less salt.  We all ate it, but I don’t think any of us were terribly enthusiastic about it.  Ah well.