Nut-Free Pesto & Tomate et Pistou Salade

Nut-Free Pesto, pesto, salad, summer, tomato, garden, gardening, food, foodie


There are a plethora of summer pleasures just waiting in the garden during the summer time.  Sweet corn, tomatoes, heirloom melons and honey are just a few.  It’s also the perfect time to check on that herb garden your children planted on Mother’s Day.
Basil grows rampant if left unchecked and August sees the most blossoms on most varieties of the fragrant herb.  While tossing it in a Caprese salad is great, the real jewel of the herb garden bounty is pesto.  Pesto can be made quickly with only a few ingredients on hand.  It can be stored for weeks, frozen for months and plays well with the other kids of summer like cold pasta, grilled chicken, and yes, salads but I will get to that.
I nearly missed my chance at falling in love with pesto, that is.  Several trips to the emergency room, and we discovered early on that our son was allergic to peanuts.  While out with friends at dinner, he had a reaction after eating pesto.  I soon learned that pine nuts, a staple ingredient of pesto, are often roasted in peanut oil to preserve their freshness.  If the oil comprises less than 2% of the total product (in this case, pesto), the manufacturer does not have to include the peanut in the list of ingredients.
For nut allergy sufferers, that means one thing.  If you are buying store bought pesto, you might be taking your life in your hands.  There is a better, and dare I say, tastier way to enjoy the splendor of pesto and all of the applications and still, well, live and breathe.  Replace the pine nuts with parmesan.
Wait, my story gets better.

Pine nuts contribute several attributes to pesto.  They thicken, and they give the sauce a sharpness that the olive oil and basil are lacking.  Parmesan can easily stand in and fulfill both roles for thickener and sharpness and richness without sending anyone to the emergency room.  Parmesan, even high quality, is often a bit less expensive than pine nuts.  Here is the recipe for nut-free pesto.

Nut-Free Pesto
2 cups raw basil leaves, packed
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling into the food processor or blender
One clove of garlic (optional)
In a blender or food processor, add basil leaves and parmesan cheese.  Add 4 Tbs of olive oil and begin to blend by pulsing.  Add garlic if you like that flavor added to your pesto.  Add olive oil, a Tbs at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  Pesto freezes well up to 6 months.
And now, besides the obvious application to pasta and chicken, why go through the hassle of making pesto at home?  The answer is in the salad.  I recently made this salad for a group of die-hard burger and steak fans, and they have been singing its praises ever since.  Perfect for a dish to pass as it has no mayo to worry about in the summer heat.  It is fresh, gluten-free, local (hopefully from your garden or farmer’s market) and best of all, pretty good for you.
Tomate and Pistou (Pesto) Salad
Four enormous heirloom tomatoes, chopped
Three small courgettes, (zucchini) chopped
One cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
2 heaping Tbs. of pesto (see recipe above)
juice of half a lemon
One shallot peeled and diced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients together and chill one hour before serving.  Makes 8-10 servings as a side dish.
 Michele Roger is a Senior Food and Travel Writer for SEARCH magazine (  She writes the food blog, “Oui, Michele” at  When she isn’t writing or cooking, she is a harpist who teaches and performs in the Detroit area.

NeoCell Beauty Review & Giveaway

Neocell Review, giveaway, beauty, collagen, health, skin

I was given these products to try. All opinions are my own.  This blog post contains affiliate links. NeoCell

NeoCell is a known trusted company for beauty products. Most of their products work from the inside out. Last year I reviewed NeoCell Biotin Bursts they were super tasty and worked great. This year, I’m checking out NeoCell Derma Matrix Collagen Skin Complex and Beauty Infusion.


NeoCell Derma Matrix Collagen Skin Complex is simply amazing. Collagen powders are the new must have. I’ve honestly been using collagen in my coffee every morning for at least five months, so I don’t have a before and after to show you but I can tell you what it’s done for my body. My eyelashes have become so long from the collagen they now wing out when I apply mascara to them. I’m not sure if I see a skin improvement, but the only way to tell is taking pictures before you start using it which I highly recommend. I will be forty-one years old in a few weeks, and I do think the collagen helps. I also have degenerative arthritis in my neck. I’ve read spectacular things about what collagen can do for your joints.  

My new hairdo and wearing @goldentote! #hair #clothing #fashion #blogger #dress #style #summervacation #goldentote #hairdown

A photo posted by Crystal Wachoski (@myimperfectfamily) on

NeoCell Beauty Infusion is a beauty powerhouse. This drink mix has 6,000 mg of collagen, 50 MG of hyaluronic acid, 3,000 MCG of Biotin and so much more. I’m a huge fan of drink mixes, but I couldn’t get past the taste when just mixed with water. It had a weird aftertaste. I think this mix would taste better mixed in one of my protein shakes. What a fantastic combination combined with protein!

So, are you ready to look younger and battle the aging process? Which NeoCell product would you like to try?

Enter to win Beauty Infusion and Derma Matrix Collagen Skin Complex! This gift pack is almost $60 in products going to one lucky winner. You must live in the USA and respond within 24 hours. Ends 9/22/16. My Imperfect Family is not responsible for fulfilment of these products.

Beauty Infusion and Derma Matrix Collagen Skin Complex

Wahlburgers Detroit Michigan

WahlburgersDETROIT, Wahlburgers, Detroit, Michigan, Metro Detroit, things to do, events, Detroit, food, foodie


Wahlburgers recently opened in Detroit. I’ve been waiting for months, excited and impatient. Unfortunately, they forgot to leave My Imperfect Family on the guest list for the grand opening. Can you believe that? I’m just kidding; it would have been amazing, though. So, I grabbed some of my girlfriends and headed downtown to Greektown to check out Wahlburgers!


Do you like the short girl’s view of Wahlburgers? We arrived right at 11 AM. The doors open at 11 AM. There was a short line that already had formed. We waited in line just a few minutes before we were seated.


Being a blogger, as soon as I walked in, I was taking in the decor and the feel of the place. Wahlburgers also had bar seating. The building was two floors, and we sat upstairs. The vibe was very lively and down to earth. I got the feeling this place wanted you comfortable while you were having fun. 


I love trying new cocktails. This drink pictured above is the cherry Coke cocktail. It was superb. They also have frozen coffee cocktails. YUMMY! The drinks are a tad pricey.


My friends and I decided to try the appetizers. We went with the onion rings, fries, sweet potato tater tots and the regular tater tots. Each appetizer was about $3.50. Very nicely priced. I can’t eat onions, so I didn’t get to try the onion rings. I LOVED the sweet potato tater tots. They were so fresh and tasty.


You can visit Wahlburgers and not try a hamburger. Boy, I was glad that I did. I think it was the best hamburger that I’ve ever had. The meat was so tender and flavorful. I’m drooling just thinking about it. I think I will give Wahlburgers the award of best burger in Metro Detroit. You will have to try one yourself.

Would I recommend Wahlburgers? Yes, without a doubt. The best burger that I’ve ever had. Just make sure if you don’t like waiting in long lines to get there before opening. This place is definitely a gem in Detroit. I will be back!

Walhburgers located at 569 Monroe Ave, Detroit, Michigan

Blog Design by Natalie Made It | COPYRIGHT © 2015