Revolution Roadblock #1: Time

by Maile on August 23, 2010

I think I’ve established the fact that this revolution has to start in our very own homes, right dead-center in our kitchens. It’s not the responsibility of the big wigs and the mega-stores; they aren’t the ones shoveling this garbage into our mouths and the mouths of those we love. Folks, we’re grown ups and it’s about time we start taking responsibility for our actions instead of expecting everyone else to take care of our problems for us.

And that’s the crux of this food revolution. We need to figure out the root of the problem and fix it so that we can make permanent, healthy changes in our lives. I don’t believe that we all just love to ingest loads of chemicals and preservatives in everything we consume. I think, deep down, we want to serve our families “real food”, but somehow we keep falling short. And I’m going to tell you right now the first reason that we resort to this food pollution:

Time.

We simply don’t have enough of it. So when the kids are whining or your stomach is growling, you just grab for the easiest option. But it doesn’t have to be food laced with hydrogenated oils and dyes. There are other options, and today I give you one of our family’s favorites. But first, a story.

Every Monday afternoon, my kids and I take about a 15 minute ride to a local dairy where we get our milk. I’m telling you right now, if you can get your sweet little hands on some local milk, you are in for a treat you won’t easily give up. This milk tastes superb, and it comes in glass bottles, which makes me feel like Donna Reed and a hippie tree-hugger all at the same time (and I really kind of like the feeling).

Anyway, we always tend to make our little trek right before dinnertime, since that’s when my youngest tends to get up from his nap, which means that we get home just about the time the kids’ bellies need filling (unless, of course, I cave and we eat ice cream cones at the dairy and consider dinner done—this happens about 50% of the time; please don’t judge me.)

Two weeks ago, I walked through the front door with the first scenario (hungry bellies) on the horizon. I had mere minutes before the natives would turn to cannibalism so I had to act fast. My life line came in the form of a quickly blitzed pesto, prepped while the pasta was boiling on the stove. No lie: this meal was on the table in 10 minutes flat, and I simply couldn’t keep their plates filled, they were eating it so fast.

Frozen pizzas and ready-made dinners do not need to be our heroes in these types of situations. I think we just need a better call list when these scenarios present themselves.

Mai’s Pesto

2 cups fresh basil (You need a lot of basil for this dish. When you are measuring for this, make sure you pack in the basil.)

¼ c. walnuts, toasted (Now the traditional version of pesto is made with pinenuts and they can certainly be substituted here. My kids aren’t huge fans of meat so I like to pack in as much protein as I can when I can and I’ve just happened to have walnuts in my pantry the last couple times I’ve made this.)

2 garlic cloves

1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (Okay, a confession. Last time I made this I didn’t freshly grate the cheese. Yes, I used pre-grated (no, not the stuff in the green bottle—need I remind you, that isn’t even cheese). I’m not ashamed to admit this because sometimes we just can’t do everything perfect. Did the pesto turn out just fine? Absolutely. Would it have been better with freshly grated cheese? Absolutely. I leave the choice up to you.)

1 tsp. salt

¼c. to ½ c. olive oil (You’ll have to eyeball this one. You want the pesto to have a thin enough texture to coat your pasta noodles, but you definitely don’t want it to be too oily.)
1 lb. pasta, cooked according to package directions (if you’re short on time, angel hair pasta is always a quick one. If you’ve got a few more minutes to spare, try a whole wheat penne pasta.)

Whiz the first 4 ingredients in your food processor (blender will work, too) until everything is finely chopped. Toss in the salt (check afterwards, you may want more), then add the olive oil. Give it another whiz and add more oil if needed.

Simply toss your pasta with the pesto, sprinkle a little extra parm on top, and dinner’s on the table. You could even add some fresh tomatoes to the party, for added fun.

Per the suggestion of my wonderful friend Maria, I would love all of you to share the worst ingredient lists you’ve found this week. The item may or may not be from your pantry (and you are not required to disclose if it is). So excited to see what you all come up with!!!

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