Homemade Pesto Two Ways

Strolling through a farmers’ market is one of the most pleasurable fall activities, I think! One of the great things bout this time of year is the sheer abundance and variety of produce available. Today I’m sharing not one but two ways to transform bunches of fragrant basil into delicious pesto. (And these recipes are even budget-friendly!) Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts, but at well over $12 a container at the grocery store… my recipes use toasted almonds instead, and are every bit as delicious.

Use the same basic pesto recipe to create two variations: Zesty Lemon and Spicy Thai Chili | flourishandknot.com

First up we have a zesty lemon pesto, made with basil, almonds, and plenty of fresh lemon! The lemon adds a great acidity to the pesto.

A spin on traditional pesto: Zesty Lemon Pesto | flourishandknot.com

Zesty Lemon Pesto

1 packed cup of fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup of toasted almonds (skins on is a-ok!)

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 raw garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 350°, turning once until they are golden and aromatic.
  2. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients – except the salt and pepper – and blitz until the ingredients are minced very finely. Stop and scrape down the sides periodically.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blitz once more to incorporate the salt and pepper.

It is simple and quick to make, and will really add flavour to any pasta dish you’re making. You can toss your spaghetti in just a bit of love oil, sautéed garlic and this pesto for an instant meal. I also love it as part of a dip recipe!

Lemon + Basil + Toasted Almonds = Delicious zesty lemon pesto! | flourishandknot.com

The second version of this recipe is a spicy thai chili pesto. If you like a little heat in your food, this is for you! Of course you can put as much or as little chili as you like.
A simple recipe for Spicy Thai Chili Pesto - add a little zip to your pasta! | flourishandknot.com

Spicy Thai Chili Pesto

1 packed cup of fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup of toasted almonds

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 roasted garlic cloves

1 1/2 finely chopped red thai chilies (use 2 if you prefer more zip, and 1 if you prefer a milder spice)

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

  1. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 350°, turning once until they are golden and aromatic.
  2. Roast the garlic cloves in a dribble of olive oil on a baking sheet at 350° until they are golden.
  3. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients – except the salt and chilies – and blitz until the ingredients are minced very finely. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides periodically.
  4. Incorporate the chili peppers in increments until you are satisfied with the amount of spice. Add the salt, tasting frequently.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is next to impossible to ruin, and there are an infinite number of variations on it. The trick is to have a good balance of acid + herb + oil + seasoning, and the only way to achieve it is to do frequent taste-tests. Which is a real hardship, I know. #foodieproblems

I encourage you to try out different combinations of flavours to make this pesto “yours”. Here are some suggestions:

  • Lemon + Basil + Dill (I may have tried this one. And it may have been delicious!)
  • Chili + Sundried Tomato + Basil
  • Cilantro + Basil + Lemon
  • Basil + Roasted Garlic + Balsamic Vinegar

I stored my pesto in two-portion servings by first freezing it in an ice cube tray, and then popping the wrapped cubes into a ziplock bag. So simple and convenient!

Freeze pesto in an ice cube tray to create ready-made portions

I hope you are able to get out to your local farmers’ market to enjoy some bountiful fall produce. Fall is just the BEST! In case you need some more inspiration for what to do with your haul, here are my recipes for homemade tomato sauce and dill pickles.

It feels great to be back to blogging after my post-baby break. I’m looking forward to sharing a fall tablescape with you next week as part of a great blog hop. See you then!

Oh baby!

Announcing the arrival of the littlest (future) DIYer around… Katherine Maria! She arrived on her due date of July 25th (that’s my punctual little girl!) at 11:14 AM, and weighed 7 lbs. We couldn’t be happier – though I’ll admit that sleep is at a premium – and we’re all settling in beautifully.



I hope to have some photos for you of her in the clothes I sewed leading up to her birth, but for now I’m content with just spending time snuggling our little lady. It’s only been two weeks and already she doesn’t look like the same tiny baby we brought home! Ah! Time truly does fly!

Not sure when I’ll be back with a DIY post… Soon, I hope! Until then…

xoxo Sarah, Erick & Katherine


Check out all my baby-related posts!

Our pregnancy announcement | Katherine’s Harry Potter-inspired nursery 5 Ways I’m Prepping for Baby | DIY Infinity Nursing Scarf | Jellyfish Tag Toy Tutorial

Bright, Global, Fresh Tablescape | Al Fresco Tablescape Hop

I’ve been looking forward to this post for a while now. Today, I am joining 23 other bloggers to share an outdoor tablescape with you. Outdoor entertaining is one of the great pleasures of summer, and we so enjoy eating on our deck as frequently as possible. Coming from the land of ice and snow (*har har* we don’t all actually live in igloos here in Canada), I think we appreciate the good weather even more! I created this tablescape to feature my DIY block-printed napkins, so I went with a bright, global, and fresh turquoise and orange palette.

Special thanks to Chloe from Celebrate & Decorate for hosting and organizing this hop! She’s done a great job getting us all ready for this event.

My tablescape is simple and fresh, with a preppy turquoise and orange palette. I made use of pieces I already had on hand, and you might recognize the cheerful charger plates from last year’s outdoor look.

Turquoise & Orange Outdoor Table | Al Fresco Tablescape Hop | Bright, Global, Fresh Tablescape | Flourishandknot.com

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DIY Block-Printed Napkins

If you’ve been reading Flourish & Knot for a while, you may remember that I’ve visited India twice as part of the James Connection. You can read about my experiences here and here. Since travelling in that part of the world, I’ve had a fascination with some of the traditional handicrafts of the area, including block printing. I recently purchased a gorgeous block-printed tablecloth and thought I’d try my hand at the technique!

On my first visit to India, I bought three block printing stamps at the Delhi airport (truly the best airport shopping, BTW) and they’ve pretty much been gathering dust ever since. I just hadn’t come up with the right project for them. Well, it was time. So I made some napkins! (‘Cause that’s also what you do when you’re 9 months pregnant and waiting impatiently for your baby to arrive.)

DIY block-printed napkins in blues and turquoise | flourishandknot.com

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Jellyfish Tag Toy | Handmade Baby Shower Gift

I am thrilled to be participating in this baby shower-themed blog hop, organized by Sydney of Tastefully Frugal. If you’re joining me here at Flourish & Knot for the first time: welcome! Each of us interpreted the theme in a slightly different way, so there is a real variety of inspiration for you. Inspired by the many beautiful handmade baby gifts I received at my own shower, I thought I’d make a tag toy.

4 Fantastic Easy & Fun Baby Shower Ideas | Baby Shower Blog Hop | flourishandknot.com

This toy would be a perfect addition to any baby shower gift; and as a future mom, I think that anything that doesn’t light up, flash, or make weird sounds is a welcome addition to playtime!😉How to make a jellyfish tag toy | Handmade baby shower gift | flourishandknot.comThe idea of these tag toys, is that they can be hooked onto a baby play gym or stroller, and provide some tactile play for baby. Bright colours make them attractive, and they can be washed!

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Waldorf-Inspired Chicken Salad

Something about chicken salad just says “summer”, right? Today I’m sharing a recipe that I created for a blogger exchange last summer with Home Crafts by Ali. I decided to put my own spin on a traditional Waldorf salad, to make the perfect summer sandwich! (And just in time for Canada Day tomorrow and the Fourth of July – now you know what to do with all that leftover BBQ chicken.)

A Waldorf-inspired chicken salad sandwich | by flourishandknot.com

Waldorf-Inspired Chicken Salad

This salad is simple and great for a summer get-together. The best part is that you can put a fresh spin on leftover chicken! Which makes it a whole new dish, right? ;-) I’ve suggested a preparation for the chicken, but any herb-based seasoning would pair well.

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DIY Infinity Scarf (+ Nursing Cover!)

I’ve been so busy sewing ALL THE BABY CLOTHES that I sort of forgot that I could use a few new things myself! Way back when, I saw a few infinity scarf/nursing cover patterns on Pinterest, and thought they’d be really useful once the baby arrived. So, I decided to take a short break from sewing for K and whipped up this DIY Infinity Nursing Scarf as a little pick-me-up.

How to sew a simple, DIY infinity nursing scarf/cover | beginner sewing project! | flourishandknot.com

My mom turned up with a remnant of this gorgeous, Monet-esque fabric the other day. It was just crying out for a special use!

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