Homemade Pasta

My user is “Curltastic & Hungry” for a reason; I have wild curly locks and I really like food. I’m probably categorized as a picky eater, but I’ve learned over the years that picky isn’t always bad. As my father would say, “I picked your Mother didn’t I? I think I’m doing well!” For now, I’m fine with ignoring sushi and spicy foods.

Growing up my FAVORITE meal was homemade pasta made by my Italian grandmother. Some of our best days were the days where we would go over to Mommom’s house and make pounds and pounds of pasta. Evening would be marked with a celebration of family as we enjoyed the fruits of our labor. As the years have gone we all get older, busier, and medical issues got in the way.

Making pasta is probably one of the most time consuming and labor intensive meals I make. This is why it’s so special. We don’t make it for anyone. It’s a meal made with love and shared with the ones we love most. This past weekend, Tim had Jack in Central PA where they helped build a greenhouse and spent time with his parents. Baby free, I made plans with Mommom to make pasta!

Thank you Mommom for your time and love!

It’s important to remember three things when making pasta.

  1. It’s VERY messy. So lay a sheet on your kitchen floor, and keep the windows closed/fans off so flour doesn’t spread everywhere.
  2. KEEP YOUR DOUGH COVERED AT ALL TIMES. There is nothing worse than a pasta ball dried out from the air. You’ll waste so much time just picking off the crusty outside.
  3. Start with a large clean area and lay out all of your tools before you begin.

 

Tools you’ll need:

Ingredients:

Yields one lb of dough

  • 3 cups of Flour (Plus a lot of extra for kneading)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • Water as needed

 

Making Pasta!

Step 1:Add together ingredients in food processor. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl to avoid egg shell mishaps. Turn on full speed until dough like constancy begins to form. If the dough is not forming slowly add small amounts of water while pulsing the mixer. Dough should be moist, not sticky. If sticky consistency, separate the large chunk of dough into 3 and add flour, then pulse in the mixer.

Step 2: Once the dough is moist, remove from the food processor and place on a floured wooden cutting board. Kneed dough with flour removing signs of a sticky consistency. Form dough into a round ball and place on tray. IMMEDIATELY cover with a dry kitchen towel to keep moisture in. Repeat process until you’ve completed the amount of dough you desire to make (I usually do this 3 times).

Step 3: Connect your dough roller. Not the roller with the grooves for cutting.

Step 4: Cut off a piece of dough about 1/2 inch thick and feed through the rolling attachment.

REMEMBER to cover the remaining dough!!

The first time through will produce a jagged piece, but fold over into 3’s and feed through sending the edges through first each time (See video below). If the dough is too long to feed through this way, cut in half.Flour dough before each run though the dough roller.

 

Step 5: Once the dough has a smooth constancy, flour it a final time and place on floured counter-top. Cover the dough with a dishtowel to keep from drying out. Repeat until one a pound is completed. If you make more than one pound you risk your rolled out dough drying and breaking as your feed through the pasta cutter. 

Step 6: Cutting your dough.

There are many ways you can cut your rolled out dough pieces. Long wide strips are best for casseroles. If you decide to make raviolis you’ll want to cut squares out from the dough. For thick pasta I like cutting into 1/4 inch strips.

If you decide to use the cutting attachment, remember to flour the dough before you run it through the cutting tool. Always, always run your finder under the roller or cutter to ensure no pieces of dough are remaining. This will cause your rollers to get clogged. After cutting your pasta coat in flour and set aside onto clean tray. No flour is too much! Use your wax paper to separate individual layers of pasta. Do not over stack or your pasta will be crushed and get stuck together.

 

Step 7: Storage

Place cut pasta in the freezer for 1-3 hours and then separate into freezer bags and return to the freezer. Pasta can be cooked immediately – see cooking pasta section below.

Cooking Your Pasta

In a large pot bring water with 1 table spoon of extra virgin olive oil to a boil. Place pasta into the boiling water CONSTANTLY stirring to avoid the pasta clumping together. Cook pasta until Al dente (typically takes me 10 minutes for spaghetti noodles). Strain and immediately rinse with water to remove all leftover flour.

Add sauce and serve! Enjoy!

How do You Save Money?

I’m looking for ways to save money as a young family. There always seems to be a new cost creeping up on me. With a new baby on the way, we will be looking at more diapers and wipes! With this pregnancy my nesting phase isn’t focused so much on getting the nursery ready (because, it already is) but on how we can afford what’s coming.

Luckily, with baby #2 being a boy (!), we are able to save a lot of money on clothes. Despite Gideon due 2 seasons after Jack was born the clothing needs will be different. I think I can get away with what we have. I’m hoping this means only a few minor purchases of long-sleeve onsies. I make it a point to never buy new baby clothes since they grow so quickly. I know I can do more.

My main concerns for saving money are related to food, clothing, and diapering these littles of mine. BRING ON the tips and comments with how you’ve saved money as a family.

Here are a few key questions I have:

  • What do you do to save on food costs?
  • Do you grow certain foods in the summer to save for the winter?
  • How do you budget in the occasional date night dinner or family fun outing?
  • Where do you shop/how do you shop to save money on clothes?
  • What is the right price for diapers?
  • Do you use reusable diapers? How?

A Completed Project: Barn

This week we FINALLY have a completed barn! A 7 month planning project and an additional 5 weeks of labor, we are excited to have a completed masterpiece! It wasn’t hard to know that we needed a barn when we bought the house. Our poor greenhouse spent most of it’s summer covering the tractors, tools, and other items that needed storm protection. So, while the completion of the Barn delayed our planting season, it expedited house projects that probably wouldn’t have been completed.

The structure design of the Barn was all Tim. There are two side barn doors and a garage door in the front. He added two additional people doors for easy access and chose the spot to place the barn. I’m impressed by my husband’s planning abilities. #winner

The colors he kindly left to me. I chose not to go with the same colors as our house, because… I don’t like the color of our house. I like bold colors on the exteriors of homes and calm colors on the inside. I chose the barn colors based on my imaginary and free update I would do on the outside of our house; Navy blue siding and a gray roof. We aren’t rich so while my dream home will have black accented windows and cedar shutters, the barn people doors are white, windows have white trim, and the big garage door is white. Over all, the barn looks stunning and provides us with the much needed work space we didn’t have.

My next project will be to plan the landscaping around the barn. Perennials for the busy family are a must, and we’re thinking about planting more blackberry bushes. I’ll always plant annual flowers in the spring, but for now, we’ll go for function over beauty. Any good suggestions for North East plants?

A clean greenhouse!

 

Blackberry Cobbler – Backyard Surprise!

We bought our house in November of 2016, so this is the first summer we are experiencing in our new home and it’s amazing! I’m amazed at how much land we get to explore and the surprises we’re finding along the way. Despite the multitude of hours we have put into the making of our home, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

One of my favorite things about our property are the HUGE blackberry bushes right behind our tiny, old shed. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks walking out every morning and evening watching them grow. This week our blackberries are edible!! Jack and I take morning walks to the bushes and he eats the delicious bursts of gold I pick with great enthusiasm.

Since I am a foodie and I really like summer cobblers, I decided that these blackberries would make as many cobblers as possible. Here is the delicious bourbon cobbler we’ve topped our vanilla ice cream with for the last week…

 

Filling:

1/4 cup of Brown Sugar

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 tbsp of Lemon Juice

3 tbsp of bourbon – I used “Big Ass” Bourbon

Crust:

1/2 cup of butter (one stick)

1 1/4 cup Flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

cinnamon (no more than 2 tsp)

Directions: 

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Add filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside for 15-30 minutes to marinate with bourbon.

In a medium mixing bowl mix brown sugar and soft butter using hands (wash your hands!). Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the mixture and mix with clean hands.

Grease a 9×9 glass dish (or similar size) and pour in the blackberry filling. Crumble the crust with your hands over the blackberries and pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a crisp and golden brown.

Allow cobbler to cool for 10 minutes before serving over or under vanilla ice cream! Store in the fridge if leftovers accidentally happen.

Enjoy!

Slow progress is better than no progress!

The last few weeks have been filled with small house projects (to be announced soon) and a timeline on the building of our barn – which was not dependent on us. Triumphantly – we finally have a structure that greatly resembles a beautiful barn and will soon begin the last fixes needed to have a functioning greenhouse! Yay!


We would love to be moving faster than we are, but these things take time. We’re SO ready to begin planting. I will have more updates soon!

What was the longest part of your process when getting ready to have a functioning greenhouse?

 

 

Small Farm [Slow] Progress

Oregon: Desert to Ocean

Who knew Oregon was 1/2 desert and 1/2 lush mountainous land?! We recently traveled to the west coast for my brother-in-law’s wedding and decided to make a week long trip out of it. Here are a few of my favorite things we did and photos!

P.S. This was probably less than 10% of Oregon. There were so many other places we wanted to go but didn’t get the time.

Bend, Oregon

The main purpose of our trip was to witness the marriage of my beautiful (now) sister-in-law and brother-in-law. A lot of the places we visited were based on their wedding events, which was completely fine with us because we were introduced to amazing sights.

  1. Smith Rock

The wedding place and a spectacular place to hike, bike, and sight see. I didn’t climb the Rock because a steep hike for a pregnant woman isn’t advised. Tim climbed and said it was one of the best climbs he’s ever done!

https://www.smithrock.com/


2.  Main Town – shopping

Check out all of the adorable shops on the main drag. It’s pricy in Bend, so budget well for shopping.

3. McMenamins Old St. Francis School

If you’re looking for great food and endless hings to do, McMenamin’s is a place you’ll want to visit. Every McMenamin’s in the state of Oregon is a restore piece of history. In Bend, it’s the old St. Francis private school and has been refurbished very tastefully. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Greek Pool, but I can assure you, the next time we visit Bend it will be at the top of our list.

https://www.mcmenamins.com/old-st-francis-school

4. Pilot Butte

Or, as my husband would like to say, “Pilot Butt”… You can drive to the top or hike to the top of this extinct volcano. On a clear day you’ll see the most spectacular mountain views. It won’t take a long time if you drive, but it’s worth it for the view.

http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=33


5. Deschutes River – Parks

Deschutes River cuts right through the center of Bend. The river has a spectacular flow coming from the melting snow caps in the summer, and is the main source of water for the surrounding areas. Crisp, cold water. It’s fantastic. Try some sun crisping, visiting any one of the many parks along the river, or some local and affordable water activities.

Seaside, Oregon

After visiting with family and wedding festivities in Bend, we traveled to Seaside to try and catch a sunset on the west coast. This has been a long time bucket list item of mine. Surprisingly – We caught an amazing sunset and I’ve got another checkmark on my bucket list (flying first class, travel by train cross country, and hopping on the next flight out, remain on the list – for now.).



I won’t go into specifics of Seaside, their season doesn’t technically start until mid-June so it was a quiet town while we were there. The Seaside Aquarium, shopping, and restaurants are great places to spend some time. My favorite part of the two days was going to the community sports area where they had an indoor, heated pool. During their open swim time, the large pool accommodated the older kids with a slide, rope, and the freedom to jump in as much as they wanted. The smaller and pleasantly warmer pool, accommodated parents with 4 feet deep water and a calm environment for smaller children.

Jack’s first pool experience was a success and we haven’t been able to keep him out of a pool since. 

Portland, Oregon

Finally, we ended up in Portland again. We arrived early enough to see the Portland Zoo. A great place to take the kids. Our favorite part of Portland were the food trucks! Visit 9th and Washington. There you’ll find over 15 different food trucks lined up for the lunch rush.

The city is one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (with the exception of Horgen, Switzerland) and is known for it’s amazing restaurants. I’m fairly certain anywhere you go in Portland will be wonderful.


Now – Back to every day life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seed Ordering

So, we are a little behind on our order of seeds, but they are on their way! We placed our order of seeds from Johnny’s Seeds with their 20% deal. Lots of herbs, veggies, and flowers are coming our way!

Here is what we bought:

HERBS

Genovese Compact Basil Seeds 

…because, I’ll be making A LOT of pesto.

Link here

 

Staro Chive Seed

Link here

Common Mint Seed

One word… MOJITO (for when I’m not pregnant)

Link here

Summer Organic Thyme Seed

Link here

German Winter Thyme Seed

Link here

Giant of Italy Parsley Seed

Link here

Rosemary Seed

Link here

FLOWERS

Sun Ball Organic Craspedia Seed

I will be using the flowers to dry and making wreaths to sell. Dried flowers can hold their color and last for a long time. It’s a great way to hold the beauty of summer all year long.

Link here

Carmine Gomphrena Seed

Link here

Johnny’s Sublime Formula Mix Larkspur Seed

Link here

Apricot/Peach Mix Strawflower Seed

Link here

 

Veggies and Fruit

 

Diablo (F1) Brussels Sprout Seed

Link here

Juliet (F1) Tomato Seed

Link here

Supersweet 100 (F1) Tomato Seed

Link here

Emperor (F1) Spinach Seed

Link here

Penelope Pea Seed

Link here

Sugarsnax 54 Pelleted (F1) Carrot Seed

Link here

Athena (F1) Melon Seed, Arugula Micro Green Seed

Link here

 

Seeds were ordered on Thursday last week and just arrived today, Monday!