Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August Cookbook of the Month: Family Approved Gluten Free Recipes by Pam Jordan


Family Approved Gluten Free Recipes
by Pam Jordan

This Gluten Free cookbook contains simple recipes your family will love. The book highlights breakfast, appetizer, main dishes, side dishes, slow cooker and dessert recipes. This cookbook contains over 50 timesaving recipes that kids of all ages will love. Pam Jordan is a working mom to three young kids and a Gluten Free blogger. Only meals that were eaten by her picky eaters are in the book! Recipes include apple pie, onion rings, greek yogurt pancakes, slow cooker lasagna, shepherd's pie, cheesecake, meatloaf, cake balls, baked ziti, pumpkin whoopie pies, and strawberry cake. The recipes take help from store bought Gluten Free product and every day items found in your pantry.



PURCHASE

I'm looking forward to trying out this cookbook for the month of August because it is geared for families, with family approved recipes from a fellow gluten free blogger. She has young kids like I do, and if she can get her kids to eat these recipes, then I'm excited to see how my kids respond to them.

I'll keep you posted throughout the month, and post a full review at the end of August. Happy eating!

Wordless Wenesday

Summer is half over. Try to enjoy landscapes like these before it gets too cold!
 
 
 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July Cookbook Review: The Everything Gluten Free College Cookbook

The Everything Gluten-Free College Cookbookby

  
Food that fits your life! Worried about living gluten-fee while you're away at college? Of course, most dining halls have gluten-free options, but sometimes the best way to be sure a dish is truly gluten-free--and delicious--is to cook it yourself. With "The Everything Gluten-Free College Cookbook," you can easily create your favorite dishes or try something new, like: Banana chocolate chip scones Cinnamon raisin french toast Cheesiest macaroni and cheese Curried chicken salad Mexican quesadillas Chewy granola bars Microwave shrimp scampi Ginger-orange chicken breast Molten lava dark chocolate cake Soft gingersnap cookies. Even if you're an inexperienced cook, you can master any one of these 300 easy recipes. From hearty, healthy breakfasts and crowd-pleasing snacks to healthy ideas for the midnight munchies, you'll find everything you need to satisfy your cravings and fit your dietary needs!

Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
 
Review
 
I was very surprised by the range of recipes in this book.  I had visions of the typical college cookbook with 20 different ways to make pizza and burgers, but was happy to see that the author did not talk down to college students or assume that they wouldn't be interested in healthier recipes, or even recipes that might take a little more effort to make from time to time.
 
I tried out the Savory Sausage and Rice, the Breakfast Salad, Mini Quiches, Spring Roll Salad, Pineapple Coconut Smoothie, Three Bean Cassoulet, Citrus Steamed Carrots.
 
This cookbook has more categories than many cookbooks I've used before, including study snacks, microwave meals, special occasions, breakfast, lunch, mains, desserts, and vegetarian options to name a few. Though there aren't photos (at least not in the ebook edition I have), the instructions are clear and the ingredients are easy to find. Every recipe I tried turned out well, and there are so many I've bookmarked to try in the future I would say that this book is definitely a keeper.
 
I enjoyed the range of recipes available, and I honestly think that this would make a great cookbook for anyone to have around, not just a college student. There are recipes that serve one, perfect for a single person living alone, and recipe for a crowd, but many recipes can be adapted to suit however many people need to be fed. All the recipes easily served my family.
 
Verdict: This cookbook is worth the money. The recipes range from simple to moderate in terms of level of difficulty, but there are enough variations here to please almost any eater, and the instructions are pretty simple to follow.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to School with Oliver's Labels & A Giveaway!

 

I've talked about Oliver's Labels on the blog before because I think they're one of the best label companies out there when it comes to allergy and food awareness labels, particularly for kids and teens. I first used their items when my son was starting daycare and we needed to label his clothing for the first time. Shortly after that, my son got sick and we realized that he couldn't eat gluten or dairy, and we needed to upgrade his stickers for all his food containers. Oliver's Labels had the best selection of allergy labels, including specific ones that say No Gluten and No Dairy. It's been over two years, and those labels are still as good as new, even though his clothes have been handed down to his little brother.

My son starts kindergarten in September, and he's going to be bringing his own lunch to school. We've been working hard to make sure that he knows not to accept food from other kids, but it's important that his teacher and other staff members also know that he's gluten free, so that he's not accidentally given food that contains ingredients that will make him sick.  When he goes on field trips or if there's a supply teacher in, any new staff he comes in contact with also needs to know that he's gluten and dairy free. That's where the labels come in handy, as a visual reminder of his food restrictions.


My son will be wearing a uniform, with shirts and sweaters that look identical to everyone else's. He's going to need labels for everything from his shirts, to jackets, to back pack, lunch bag, shoes, pencil cases...you get the idea. Oliver's Labels has specific labels for clothing, shoes, water bottles, etc., that are guaranteed to stay put even after repeated trips through the washing machine or dishwasher. The original labels are microwaveable, fridge, and freezer safe on top of everything else.  And it's all available in a convenient Back to School pack that's customizable and includes everything you need for back to school.  The best part, they look good, they're affordable, and they have clothing labels don't have to be ironed on.

I don't iron.

The school package offers 95 labels, distributed among clothing labels, shoe labels, mini labels, original labels, original labels and bag tags. They're also customizable, so the package can be mixed and matched to suit anyone's individual needs.  The labels include a free Found-It code, that helps lost items get returned to their rightful owners.
 
Since there are 40 designs to choose from, I chose Superheroes for the shoe tags, transportation for the mini tags, sports for the clothing labels, and No Gluten for the rest.  I chose designs that are age appropriate for my little guy, but they have over 40 designs to choose from, ranging from preschool to teenage appropriate styles, and even sophisticated adult designs.



My son was so excited to get "stickers" with his name on them, we've already labelled everything for school.


Want to win your very own school package for your child?  Giveaway is open to readers in Canada and the United States. Participants are only eligible to win once, which means that if you win on my blog, you are not eligible to win on another blog participating in this campaign. Enter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


I was provided a complimentary school package by the company in return for an honest product review. I have not been otherwise compensated for this post.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

The menu plan is up a day early today, because I have a few things scheduled for tomorrow and I want to make sure this gets posted in a timely manner. This weekend is a "clean out the cupboards" menu plan, where I used mainly items I already had on hand.






Monday: Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, using the Heinz spaghetti my friend brought from England. Review will go up this week.

















Tuesday: Crustless quiche with bacon, peppers and goat's cheese cheddar

















Wednesday: Beef & Black Bean Chili with Tortilla Chips  








Thursday: Tuna & Rice Casserole with GF Corn Flakes















Friday: Baked Tacos 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gluten Free Buzz (8)

Welcome to the last July edition of Gluten Free Buzz for the year! The summer is passing by so quickly, but as always, there are several new headlines related to Celiac and Gluten Free Living. Here's what's new:

Oscar Mayer is listening to consumer feedback and making their entire line of Selects gluten free. Read more at PRWeb

Healio reports that antibiotic use has been linked to Celiac Disease.

Health Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet, via St. Albert Leader.

Celiac.com reports that Gluten Sensitivity in Autism is different than in Celiac Disease.

New Jersey Ballparks are leading the way in introducing a wider variety of food options, including gluten free ones, to patrons. Via USA Today

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Product Review: Sherni's Authentic Curry Sauces

A few months ago I went to a gluten free event and met the owners of the business. They were cooking up butter chicken and vegetable curry right there in the vendor hall, and my husband and I couldn't resist. We tried the butter chicken but purchased a vegetable curry for lunch and it was incredible.  The sauce was rich and flavourful without being overpowering. 

Sherni's sauces are made in Canada, gluten free, dairy free, all natural with no preservatives, and suitable for vegans.  Currently the company offers Vegetable Curry, Meat Curry, Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala, and Chicken Curry sauces. The sauces were created by a chef with years of training in kitchens around the world, and the goal was to provide delicious sauces for home cooks, especially those who are new to Indian cooking.  The sauces are so good that in 2012, they won the International Food of the Year Award at the Toronto International Centre Food Show.

I bought the vegetable curry sauce and tried it out at home, and the flavour was as good as I remembered it from the show.  These are high quality sauces with great flavour. I highly recommend them. 

My Easy Vegetable Curry

Ingredients
1 head broccoli, washed and cut in florets
1 head cauliflower, washed and cut in florets
1 onion, sliced in strips
1/2 pack paneer cheese, cut in cubes (optional)
1/2- 3/4 jar Sherni's vegetable curry sauce
2-3 tablespoons water

Instructions

1- In a large frying pan, dry cook the broccoli, cauliflower and onion over medium heat until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2- Add the cooking sauce, paneer, and water and stir to combine. 

3- Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cover. Cook until vegetables are cooked through but not soggy.  Serve immediately. 

I have no idea how authentic this recipe is (My guess? Not very) but it is delicious. Paneer is an Indian cheese that can be found in most large grocery stores or in a store like Walmart. It doesn't really melt, so it keeps its shape even under high heat. It has a really mild flavour and takes on the flavours around it. I also used it in kebabs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

We Have a Winner of the Everything Gluten Free College Cookbook!

I'm very excited to announce that Paige H. is the lucky winner of the Everything Gluten Free College Cookbook! 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered.  If you didn't win, consider picking it up anyway. This is a great cookbook.  My review will be posted at the end of the month, but I was impressed at the range of recipes provided.

Keep reading, because I have more great giveaways in store, coming soon!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan









Monday: Sausage & Rice Casserole 












Tuesday: Gluten & Dairy Free "Cream" of Zucchini Soup (RECIPE) & Salad


















Wednesday: Gluten Free Pesto Pasta (PESTO RECIPE)
















Thursday: Mexican Inspired Lasagna 














Friday: Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spring Roll Salad

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Product Review: GoGo Quinoa's Quinoa Crunchies

Yesterday I was at Bulk Barn scoping out the gluten free section to see if there was anything new on offer, when these babies caught my eye.  I don't buy excess amounts of gluten free packaged goods, but since I do like to try new things and offer suggestions to readers of the blog, I picked up a pack. The cheap price also caught my eye- they were priced at around $3.  That's fantastic for a gluten free product.

I've been noticing GoGo Quinoa products around a lot more lately. Previously I've tried their pasta, but then last week my neighbour bought my son a bag of their chocolate chip cookies.  I wasn't sure that my son would like a chocolate chip cookie made out of quinoa, but the speed at which that bag was eaten proved me wrong!  So when I saw the Crunchies, I couldn't resist. 

The Original flavour have three ingredients: White Rice Flour, Quinoa Flour, and Cane Sugar. They are organic, vegan, gluten and dairy free. For roughly a quarter of the bag, there are only 100 calories and 0.2 grams of fat.  They're still a treat, but if you're going to snack, these are a pretty good choice.  They have a satisfying crunch, and are sweet but not too sweet. 

Best of all, my gluten free 4 year old liked them as well, which is the most important part, since he's the one who must eat gluten free. A serving size for him is far smaller than a quarter of the bag.

If you're looking for a portable snack that's reasonably priced and free from ingredients you don't recognize and can't pronounce but that doesn't taste suspiciously like cardboard, these are a good option. 

I found this product at Bulk Barn, but I know they're available in other stores too. If you can't find GoGo Quinoa products where you shop, they offer free flat rate shipping within Canada and to the US. 

Photo Source

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gluten Free Buzz (8)

Hello my gluten free readers! Summer is in full swing, and where I am, it's hot, hot, hot.  But not too hot to seek out the newest headlines in the world of gluten free this week! 

Betty Crocker is expanding their gluten free options. I wonder if they'll be available in Canada? Stockhouse has all the details.

Gluten Free & Sugar Free are London's Fastest Growing Food Trends. A good thing?  London Loves Business reports on it.

RD Mag discusses how new technologies and ingredient are providing better options for gluten free eating.

Market Watch tells all about Chex's new gluten free Vanilla cereal.

A cool infographic on the availability of gluten free food in various cities of the United States, via Policymic.

I hope you're enjoying the heat. Or at least staying cool and safe.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?

Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?
by Katie Chalmers

What is Celiac disease? . . . . What is gluten? . . . Which foods are gluten-free?. . . Is it contagious? . . . Do I need to take medicine for it? Katie Chalmers, author of the unique, new children's book, titled, Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? creatively answers these and many more questions, using positive dialogue and captivating illustrations. This book is endorsed by the top experts in the fields of Celiac disease research and awareness, including Dr. Fasano, Dr. Green, Dr. Guandalini, Alice Bast, Elaine Monarch and more. This book leaves readers feeling reassured, confident...and even lucky to have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, because they are now on the path to better health. What makes this book unique? (1) Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? focuses on everything a child can continue to enjoy in his or her life, rather than list all the things they can no longer have, or talk about embarrassing symptoms. (2) It uses creative, easy-to-understand analogies about nature and playground equipment to explain Celiac, and has an easy-to-follow, positive dialogue between parent & child. (3) It not only helps children understand Celiac, it helps all of the people in the lives of a Celiac to understand it more clearly and to see the sunny side of gluten-free. (4) It directs people to tried and tested gluten-free foods saving them time, money and waste in the process, which is an important issue with so many products to choose from. (5) Its original style: a combination of colorful illustrations and photography. This book leaves children feeling empowered and optimistic about their healthy future. Start your child's gluten-free journey on a positive note, and keep it positive...for life!
Description Source

PURCHASE (US)


I have to admit, this is the first book about Celiac Disease that I've gotten for my son.  I have several books that I've purchased for myself, from medical books to cookbooks, but for some reason it just didn't occur to me to get one for my son. Maybe it's because he was only 18 months old when he went gluten free, so he has just sort of grown up with this being his normal.  The problem is, now that he's four, he's beginning to realize that his normal isn't everyone else's normal, and he has questions. He's a pretty confident kid, but I can see anxiety creep in sometimes when he's invited to a party, or when we go out to eat. I get questions like "Mommy, will I be able to eat the cake at the party?" or "Will there be any food at the restaurant for me?"  Although he's still too young to really, truly grasp what Celiac disease is and all of what going gluten free entails, he is aware that he has food restrictions, and knows that he gets really sick when he eats something he isn't supposed to eat. That's where this book comes in.

When I first saw that the main character of the book was a girl I was worried that my son might not identify as much, but turns out I was wrong. I presented the book in the package it came mailed it, telling him the gluten free fairy had sent him a surprise. Don't laugh, it worked. He was so excited to get something special just because he was gluten free that he didn't care what was on the cover!

The book walks a child very clearly through what it means to have Celiac disease, and why it's important to be completely gluten free. It also helps give children some pointers for handling outings and other events, all in a positive manner. I would say that the language is probably geared to kids aged 6 and up, but my son had no trouble following along. I was surprised at how much he already knew, and that he was adding suggestions along the way.

This book is a great way to help children understand Celiac disease and helping them see their diagnosis in a positive light. It would also be a great tool for helping siblings or other children who aren't gluten free understand what's happening, and to learn that they can't catch Celiac disease. This book has a special place on my son's bookcase, and he asks me when the gluten free fairy is going to send him more special things because he's gluten free.  I may have created a monster!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: The Irish Tea Room in Niagara on the Lake, Canada

My husband and I went to Niagara on the Lake for our wedding anniversary.  He surprised me with the trip, and had picked out a lunch place for us to try, partly because it specializes in gluten free offerings, and partly because he wanted to give Irish cuisine a try.  My mom has Irish in her background, and there are some family recipes that have been handed down that we still eat, but there aren't many Irish restaurants around where we live.
 
The Tea Room is located at the back of an Irish store that sells clothing and other memorabilia.  It has tables inside, as well as an outside patio.  Take-out is also available.  The place was pretty busy the day we were there, but we were seated quickly and our meals didn't take long to arrive.
 
 
 
The Irish Tea Room is not a strictly gluten free eatery, but they take the issue very seriously.  The following is directly from their website regarding gluten free items: 
 
"In The Irish Tea Room we are very strict about the preparation and storage of our gluten free dishes.  In the kitchen we have separate equipment (including a separate oven) for use in cooking gluten free dishes only, which are stored in their own separate containers and cupboards.
Out front in the Tea Room, all of the display cabinets contain gluten free items only to avoid the chance of any cross contamination."
 
Separate oven, separate containers, dishes, cupboards & display case. Most restaurants don't take this kind of care when offering gluten free options.  Our server was very knowledgeable, and was able to answer all of our questions.  The menu clearly marks all gluten free items, and the entire front display case of pastries & desserts was gluten free.
 
 
 
My husband ordered the not-gluten free Guinness Pie.  Each entrée comes with two salads of your choice.
 
 
 
  I ordered the gluten free Boxty, which is a crepe stuffed with curry chicken. I ordered a mixed bean salad and a beet salad as the sides, and the whole meal was divine.  So good that I am going to try and recreate it. 
 
 
 
 
Service was friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed.  There was a large selection of gluten free desserts, so we had to try them.  My husband ordered the cheesecake, and I ordered the Banoffee pie.  Banoffee pie is a banana and toffee pie with whipped cream and chocolate. Ridiculous in the best way possible.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Before leaving, we picked up a gluten free scone mix to take home with us.  When I try it, I'll let you know how it tastes.  I'm also dying to try a recipe found on their website for a Cranberry Almond, which is white chocolate and cranberries mixed with GF cornflakes. Looks and sounds divine.
 
I have to say, everything from the atmosphere to the service to the food was fantastic at the Irish Tea Room.  The food was reasonably priced, and the small but diverse menu had offerings sure to please most eaters, from gluten free to vegetarian.  The dishes are traditional Irish fare, which to me means good old fashioned comfort food.  Highly recommended.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan




Monday: Oven Roasted Chicken Legs, Roast Potatoes & Green Beans Sautéed in Olive Oil with Garlic












Tuesday: Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese










Wednesday: Red Lentil Soup












Thursday: Braised Tofu & Mushrooms with Green Beans
 





Friday: Fast Fry Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms and Green Peas

Anniversary Weekend

This weekend my husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  As an anniversary gift, he took me (without the children) to Niagara on the Lake for the weekend.  We stayed at White Oaks resort, a lovely resort and spa that has fantastic amenities and beautiful grounds with a chef's garden.


The grounds at White Oaks




Although we tried not to fit too much into our weekend, we still managed to check out many of the local attractions.  We had lunch in an Irish Tea Room that specializes in gluten free offerings.  This restaurant is worth a visit, so a full review will be posted this week.

Gluten Free Banoffee Pie


Later, we toured a local winery, Château des Charmes, and took part in a wine tasting. 

The Estate

The vineyard


We had dinner at La Cachette,  the restaurant at Strewn Winery, on their outside patio, watching the fireflies twinkle. 



The next morning we were treated to breakfast in White Oak's award winning restaurant, and then we took a drive along the Niagara Parkway, checking out fruit stands, wineries, and the fantastic view of the river. 

The view of the river, and the United States to the right

This weekend was a fantastic way to reconnect and celebrate seven years of marriage.  The weather was gorgeous, and the scenery was even more beautiful.  I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful anniversary gift!

One of my favourite wedding pics, relaxed and happy!

 



I realize that the menu plan did not get posted, so I'll do that today.  I'll also be reviewing some of the places we checked out, so look for those posts to go up this week.  I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Blogging schedule is back to normal this week!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review: Gluten Away Dining Cards

I ordered a sample pack of these cards from Taylor at Gluten Away, to see if I thought they could be useful for my son.  I've mentioned it here before, but I don't want my son to miss out on anything just because he can't have gluten.  I want us to go to restaurants and other places as a family, and I try to find a balance between protecting him myself, and teaching him to advocate for himself.  He's only four, but he's going to start kindergarten in September, and he needs to be able to at least articulate what he can't eat, or even touch.

That's where these cards will come in as a teaching tool, and a way for him to voice his needs clearly.  There are a few versions available, but I ordered the multiple allergy ones because in addition to gluten, my son can't eat dairy.  Also, sadly, I find that people take his food issues more seriously when they think he's allergic to something than when we try to explain otherwise. 

Here's how the cards work: They're meant for restaurants, but they could be used anywhere food is going to be served.  You fill out your name and table number, and place a checkmark beside the food restrictions you have.  The server takes the card as a reference and a reminder when handling your food.  It can't guarantee that the food will actually be free from your restrictions, but it can help to minimize the risk. 

These cards are so easy to use even a four year old can use them (I'm serious.  Mine can.)  My son knows how to write his name, and he has learned to recognize the words gluten free and dairy free, so he can find them on the card and place a check mark (or something kind of like a check mark) beside them.  I love this, because he gets to have some control over things, and the card ensures that the message is communicated in a straightforward way. 



These are great for individuals, but would even be perfect for restaurants to have on hand for their servers and kitchen staff to use.  Might make dining out safer for a lot of people.

To order your own cards, or to see all the card options available, visit www.glutenawayshop.com

To read more product reviews, visit my Product Reviews page.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gluten Free Buzz (7)

As always, there is a lot of news on the gluten free front! Here's a round-up of some of this week's biggest headlines.

Tim Horton's has introduced a certified gluten free macaroon.  Learn more on their WEBSITE.

This weekend is the Gluten Free & Celiac Awareness night with the New York Yankees.  The New York Yankees are holding an event at Yankee Stadium July 12, and then July 13 is the Celebrate Celiac Event.  Gluten Free Calendar has all the details.

I'm a bit behind on this, but am so excited to learn about it.  The Kicking4Celiac charity has begun funding scholarships to students with Celiac Disease.  Click HERE to learn about this most recent recipients, and more about the program.

A Summer Camp for children with Celiac Disease? Love this. Camp Silly Yak.

Did you know that in Canada there is a Gluten Free Certification Program companies can participate in to ensure that their products receive the coveted certified rating and be certain that their products are safe for those with Celiac Disease?  The Canadian Celiac Association has all the details.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

How To Freeze Herbs

This isn't a new idea, but it's one that I've been using for years to freeze my herbs and have a supply for the winter that is almost as good as fresh.  I do hang some herbs to dry in the cellar, crumbling them into jars to use throughout the year, but the majority I freeze.  I like fresh herbs much better than I like dried ones, and if they're frozen correctly they maintain much of the same colour and texture of fresh herbs. 

Herbs are not expensive to buy, but the cost adds up.  I use basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, cilantro and marjoram on a regular basis.  Buying a fresh bunch of each of those every week can get expensive.  Instead, I grow herbs in the summer, cutting them as they grow, and freezing them for use in the winter.  The more you prune herbs the more they grow, so I can get a great supply stocked up by the time late fall rolls around and they stop growing.  This is also a good idea to do when local herbs are in season and are inexpensive, if you don't grow your own.

Here's how I do it:




1- Cut the leaves off mature herbs, about half and inch down the stem.  Wash leaves thoroughly and trim off any hard stems or any leaves that don't look good.  Cover with paper towels to dry, if desired.









2- Chop leaves finely, or place in a mini food processor, processing until they are as fine as you want them.  I usually do a few batches differently.  Some I just roughly chop, others I process finely, the better to make a pesto.  Some herbs, like basil, oxidize and turn black when cut with a metal knife.  It doesn't affect the quality of the product.

3- Scoop leaves into an ice cube tray, pressing down to compress.  Pour either olive oil or water to cover herbs.  It doesn't matter which you use, the herbs will freeze just the same. Olive oil will turn white after freezing, but will regain its regular colour upon defrosting.  Place in freezer. 










4- When herbs are frozen, pop out of tray and place in freezer bags.  Label with type of herb and date frozen.  To use, remove desired number of cubes from the bag and add directly to recipe while it's cooking. 












Added Tip: My Aunt goes the extra step and makes a complete pesto before freezing.  She mixes the herbs with the oil, cheese and pine nuts, seasoning the batch to her liking, and then freezes it in cubes.  She then pops out about 2-3 cubes when she needs a pesto. 

Freezing herbs is a very simple way to keep a little bit of the freshness of summer on hand year round, especially if you cook with herbs a lot, like I do.  It doesn't matter how pretty the cubes look, because they're going to break down in the recipe anyway.  If you have a few ice cube trays on hand it only takes a few minutes to get several bunches of herbs ready to freeze.