Summer Bliss

Ooooh summer! My most favourite time of year (I'm sure you've already realized from my choice of travel destinations). I love everything about it - the sun, the heat, open lakes, fresh garden fruits/veggies, sandals, flowers, green grass, minimal brightly coloured clothing...and yes, even rainy grey days - in fact, I like to dance around in warm rain.

As I write this post, I'm sitting on my dock in complete awe and gratitude as I look around. The lake is brilliantly blue, the trees, all different shades of green, dance in the breeze, and the sun smiles at me with it's light and warmth. To top it off, I'll take a break to do some yoga down here, and then maybe dip into the lake for a swim. This is my paradise - I love it!
I've been a busy gal lately, hence the nonexistence. In addition to my usual work, I recently taught a few raw food classes, have been working on a very special project, and have started my
annual job cooking (yes, cooking)at a summer camp for teen girls. As a result, I only have a few new recipes to share with you - in my past few days off, I've been inspired by my garden to create some yummies.

So far North here, we have a really short and limited growing season, yet there is still plenty of abundance.
I've never been much of a gardener (I'd love to learn more about it though), but a few years ago I started a small outdoor herb garden which I absolutely adore. I'm always
excited to see new growth and how the herbs are doing. I think this has been the best year yet! I've got parsley, basil, chocolate mint, mint, chives, lemon balm, and lavender...and they're all flourishing! Yippee!!
In the mood for a simple, cooling, and tasty salad, I decided to make a parsley pesto dressing with all the fresh basil. It's basically a thinner pesto using walnuts instead of pinenuts, more olive oil, and the addition of parsley. I mixed it with chopped cucumber, red pepper, and tomato.

Parsley Pesto Dressing
2 cups packed basil
2/3 cup packed parsley
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2-3 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Mix all ingredients in a blender, leaving some texture, or if desired, until smooth.
Use as a salad dressing or dip for crackers/veggies.
Flowers are another big summer treat for me - I love all the colours and shapes. Lupins are one of my faves in the wild category - the purples and pinks line our road, and fill a section of our yard. To me, they have heaps of character!
Here are a few other flowers growing in our gardens.
For the first time ever, I've tried lemon balm in a recipe. This tangy refreshing ice cream is packed with the lemony tasting, soft, fuzzy green herb. Lemon balm, part of the mint family, has been used throughout the ages to reduce anxiety, stress, pain, and indigestion. So I say, eat up!
Lemon Balm Berry Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup water
1 cup packed lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup agave
1/3 cup lemon juice
2-3 drops lemon essential oil*

If you'd like little green specs, blend all but the lemon balm until smooth and creamy. Add the balm and blend quickly. Otherwise, blend all ingredients until smooth.
Chill and process through an ice cream machine.
*Substitute lemon zest to taste.

I hope you're enjoying the summer too! What recipes do you make using fresh herbs?
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15 Comments
  1. July 13, 2009 at 07:36
    Reply

    Your post is so gorgeous it just made my day! I too love summer, even the summer rains. Unfortunately we don't get any rain here in Saudi Arabia so I have to use my imagination! Thank you for sharing the gorgeous photos of those flowers, so happy and sunny. I just made a yummy raw pesto, it is such a great summertime food. LOVE that ice cream! Gorgeous!

  2. July 13, 2009 at 13:45
    Reply

    summer bliss indeed. your ice cream looks so pretty and yummy too! <br /><br />Michal

  3. July 13, 2009 at 15:40
    Reply

    Beautiful post! I feel so happy now, your blog is like instant prozac! Haha!<br /><br />My garden is flourishing. We have already harvested zucchini and cucumbers. I have basil, stevia, and chocolate mint planted. I love throwing the mint into my smoothies, so refreshing! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  4. July 14, 2009 at 00:08
    Reply

    V. Vegan - thanks for your message! So cool that you live in Saudi Arabia - some amazing things must grow over there. Is there a big raw community? <br /><br />Thanks Michal!<br /><br />Lauren - where do you live? Cukes and zucchini already - must be nice. We're so behind up here, but the strawberries and raspberries should be ready too!

  5. July 14, 2009 at 04:59
    Reply

    Yum! Sounds like you are having a fabulous summer! Yoga by the lake? Wonderful:)

  6. July 14, 2009 at 12:17
    Reply

    I so love the sound of your *dressing creation yum(And your dessert aint bad either:)!<br /><br />Lovely post:)<br /><br />Leaving you to enjoy the rest of summer:)<br /><br />Brain-enchancing omega 3 too:)<br /><br />xoxoxoxo

  7. July 15, 2009 at 01:56
    Reply

    Helloooo my lovely friend! Love summer too! Love your garden and yummy treats. Gotta try the dressing!

  8. July 15, 2009 at 06:48
    Reply

    I love fresh summer flavours, scents and the joy of growing your own herbs. Thanks for sharing!<br /><br />Casey

  9. July 16, 2009 at 19:41
    Reply

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I simply love the Parsley Pesto Dressing. <br />Can't wait to try it!!!

  10. July 19, 2009 at 21:47
    Reply

    Hi!<br />I absolutely LOVE your blog. It's so inspirational and I'm really looking forward to trying some of your recipes. <br />I'm just transitioning onto a raw food diet - it's such an exciting time! <br />I've just started my own blog about "going raw". If you have any advice about the raw lifestyle then i'd love to hear from you!<br />Hugs from the UK :-) <br />Emma x x x

  11. July 23, 2009 at 05:33
    Reply

    Wow...that lemon balm berry ice cream looks and sounds delicious! I've just started learning about more herbs and wondered what lemon balm could be used for. <br />Thanks for the recipe! And I hope you enjoy the rest of summer!

  12. July 30, 2009 at 23:04
    Reply

    I looove all of your pics... all of your desserts looks just ahhh!! mouth watering!! I am definitly buying your book tomorrow! I'm vegan and quite interested in going raw :) Thank God i knew you, he listened my prayers, for now I shall live on cakes, pies, chocolate, ice cream and cookies! haha! xD<br />Here in México summer is too hot :( (i love rain, tho) so winter is my favourite :P<br />Greetings and THANK YOU!

  13. September 29, 2009 at 07:28
    Reply

    Nice post. I love all your posts! They're awesome.

  14. January 23, 2011 at 03:46
    Reply

    Such a pretty recipe! And blog, too! <br /><br />What are lemon balm leaves???

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