Spinach Pasta–First Attempt Success!

Can you believe I’ve had a manual pasta maker for 3 1/2 years and never used it? I can! This is because I have one memory of making homemade pasta, and while it was a wonderful memory because of who I share it with, it’s also a memory involving a lot of rolling, hand cutting the noodles, and more work than I usually would go to for something that takes 14 minutes to cook and even less time to eat. While I don’t necessarily subscribed to the “I won’t make something that takes more time to cook than to eat” train of thought, my memory told me that homemade pasta, while far superior to store bought in taste and content, was not worth the massive effort.

No longer do I think this. Of course, the past maker helped alter my thinking. And memory. 😛

Today’s goal was spinach pasta, as I have a rather large bag of it starting to wither away in my fridge. For the last few days I’ve been throwing a handful of spinach into anything and everything (except tea, because there are Lines and Limits, you know). Pasta was on the menu for today, so I figured why not just jump in neck deep and try a green variety first?

I sat down to sort the spinach (with help from LK and Pokado, both of whom were all too eager to snitch the green stuff…do I have the only toddlers in the world who love raw spinach?). Then came the cooking and processing, which was easy. Then came the dough, and 5 minutes into that I briefly considered giving it up because that stuff was HARD and stiff and my wrists were popping like kettle corn. I knead bread twice a week so I know the muscles are in shape, but this was almost unmanageable!

Enter improvisation, which I generally try to avoid on my first time out with this kind of recipe. By the time I was done “tweaking” the ratio of wet and dry, the dough was better. After letting it rest for half an hour it was easy to work with and feed into the pasta maker.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up! These were sooooo good, and I’m looking forward playing with the pasta maker much, much more.

Dried and ready for storing:

Cooked. tossed with homemade alfredo, and ready for eating!:

Valentine’s Day Tea

Today I hosted a Valentine’s Day Tea!

Tea–as in the event of sitting down with other people and drinking hot beverages with a finger food or two–is a nigh weekly thing with the local family. Occasionally we spruce it up a little, especially for birthdays or other special occasions. Like today!

I invested a little time in decorating…

(You will have to excuse the dirty window and the shocking lack of snow. February? Really??)

(Okay, a lot of time considering I was also kid chasing two toddlers, mothering a 4 month old, and trying to work through seven loads of laundry.)

…went for some fancier delicacies…

And you know, it was lovely. In the last year especially I’ve made a point of trying to slow down a little and not get so caught up in details that I fail to enjoy the fruit of the work. It’s not easy, but I’m learning, and I’m relishing* the process.

Tea Lineup:
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Mascarpone Cheese Brownies
– Egg Salad Sandwiches (provided by the lovely TW)
Cheese & Onion Bannock (also provided by TW)
– Tetley Tea for the adults
– Camomile Tea for the wee folk

*As an afterthought, relishing is a strange word. I realize it’s quite different from the green condiment, but I can’t shake the mental image. It’s like it throws a hotdog into an otherwise very mannerly post (manners and tea, to me, are like this) and starts suggesting we roast the brownies over a bonfire or something.

Maybe I shouldn’t analyze language so much. Or maybe I should simply give this tired brain some REST before I start dissecting Pratchett. 😛

Homemade Pizza

Friday night is pizza night in our house. The type of pizza varies a bit depending on the ingredients we have on hand, and this one proved to be one of the recent favorites.

Before going into the oven:

Upon coming out:

Spinach, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella cheese over a stuffed (with more cheese) whole wheat crust. To those who are curious, I do make my own pizza sauce and crust. This is one of the few meals where there are (sadly) no leftovers, and once we get another growth spurt from one of my children, I will have to start making two!

Birthday Cake!

I look for excuses to get practice in cake decorating, as I am in need of much of it. Practice, I mean. Not cake. 😛

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.
I made this for my SIL, and she liked it!