Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I will admit, since I haven't been working full time, I've been having some fun experimenting in the kitchen.
Call me old fashioned. Call me traditional. Call me whatever you want.
Maybe not "chef" quite yet...but I'm working on it!

Tonight Today I made ravioli. Homemade ravioli.

From scratch. Eeehhh! YAH!

Paul's grandparents gave me a pasta maker for Christmas, and I was have been waiting to use it. So today I finally pulled it out and found a recipe.

I've never used a pasta maker before. I've never even really seen one used. But I read as many blogs about them as I could. It wasn't that difficult actually. And quite fun. I'm telling ya, it's the simple pleasures in life that make it all worth it.

I found a couple of recipes for pasta on line. Have I mentioned I love reading food blogs. Cause I do.

Unfortunately, when baking, most chefs use weight for the measurements. For example, one recipe called for 1.5 pounds of flour. Well I don't have a food scale, so I had to find other recipes that used volume measurements - i.e. 3 cups of flour.

And then, the recipe that I found said something along the lines of mix all ingredients and knead "until it feels right". UGG! What does that mean!? I've never made pasta before so I didn't know what it's supposed to "feel like". Another blog then said to "knead till it's a little tacky but not sticking to your hands". Ok, well that makes a little more sense - I guess.

So this is what I ended up with. It was a little tacky. But didn't stick to my hands. Sounds about right.

Then came the fun part! Rolling it out. Divide the dough into portions "bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a baseball". Start on the highest/widest setting, and then roll through, decreasing the size each time. Not too hard to do. (the hard part was taking a picture while rolling out the dough!)

This is what I ended up with!

The filling I made up!
On my own!
I mentioned in a previous blog that I found a recipe for a roasted tomato basil pesto that was really good! I wanted to create a filling that would go along with the pesto. So I came up with a spinach, goat cheese, and walnut mixture. I put an egg in it as the binder, so I couldn't taste it before actually filling the pasta. I just prayed it turned out well.

Once the filling was mixed together, I placed a spoonful on the pasta, folded over the other side, and then cut them into squares.

I don't have a ravioli cutter, so I used fork to press the sides together.

They weren't all uniform in size, shape, or form. But honestly, I don't really care. I think they still looked good for a first-timer.

The pesto and the ravioli came together really well! Paul was impressed and excited that I had made it all from scratch.

 I do think next time I will roll out the dough one or two more settings. But the possibilities are endless.

 What will she think of next...

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trying new things

I could probably count on one hand the number of times I cooked pasta for Paul and me in the three years we lived in Charleston. I'm just not much of a pasta person. However, I found a new blog that I LOVE reading, and she had some really good and healthy looking pasta recipes. So I decided to try a couple of them. And lo and behold they were really good.

The blog is called "Oh She Glows" and the majority of the recipes are vegan, which I like. However, since I'm also cooking for a man who loves his meat, unless it's a meatless Monday, I add chicken on top for Paul.

The first recipe I tried was probably my favorite. It's a Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta. And it is amazing! It wasn't hard to make at all and the results were delicious. I blended roasted plum tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper together, and then poured it over whole wheat pasta. Easy, right?! I got a pasta roller maker thing for Christmas from Paul's grandparents, which I'm anxious to use, and I think I'm going to use it with this recipe. I want to make a homemade ravioli to go with this pesto - I was thinking a spinach, goat cheese, and walnut mixture would be perfect!

The second one I made last night. It's a Creamy Avocado Pasta. It was pretty good too! Like I mentioned before, we are really enjoying avocados, and this was a new way to use them. I blended avocado, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt together, and then poured it over the pasta - and then added chicken to Paul's, and Great Northern beans to mine.

The other day I also made homemade corn tortillas for the first time. I had found another new recipe which called for corn tortillas, but at the store all I could find were packs with like 30 or more in them, so I decided to get a bag of Masa Harina (corn flour) and make my own. Honestly, nothing could be simpler! Combine the Masa Harina with some water, knead for 3 minutes, roll into balls, then roll out with a rolling pin, and cook in a skillet for not even 30 seconds on each side. And they were good!! I made Black Bean Green Enchiladas with them. Another good recipe.

I enjoy trying new recipes. I would say 80% percent of the time they turn out good. But that's how I learn - by trying new things and experimenting. Some experiments are worth repeating. Some aren't.

God Bless!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cabin Weekend with friends

We are very fortunate to have made some wonderful new friends here in Birmingham. This past weekend we went to Brant and Brittany's hunting cabin with them, Kyle and Ashley, and Ellen. We had an amazing time. We were able to relax, cook and eat a lot of really good food, shoot some pistols, play games, and the boys even went hunting.

We left Friday evening after everyone was done with work, stopped at Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and then headed to the cabin.

This is the cabin! It was rustic and wonderful all at the same time. I got up early Saturday morning to watch the sun rise and take some pictures.

I also made this fire! My Daddy taught me well. 

Ellen made an amazing breakfast Saturday morning. Baked blueberry french toast, and sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast casserole. 

Nothing like hunting cabin decorations - deer heads and a turkey watching over us all the time. 

This is the view from the front porch. There's a lake and a lot of fields. 

This tree was growing up out of the lake. Isn't it neat looking. 

Vance made a new buddy too! Brant and Brittany brought their new dog Cooper, a boxer, with them. And Vance and Cooper ran and played non-stop. 

Even when Vance had to be put in his crate, Cooper stayed close by. 

Friend's for life. 

Saturday afternoon we got to shoot a pistol. Brant made some targets for up, which we hung up in a tree, and then shot at. Here's Paul, set and ready. 

And here I am! This was the second time I shot a pistol - the first was freshman year in college when I went with my roommate to her family's farm and her Dad taught us how to shoot. I honestly don't like guns that much, and I'm kinda scared around them, but there is a little rush shooting one. And I did pretty well! I hit the target every time. 

We played teams. This was out target after we finished. We actually won! 

Ellen, Me, and Ashley - Charlie's Angels style. 

Paul, Brant, and Kyle - James Bond style. 

The boys got to go hunting Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning.
 Paul, Kyle, and Brant - all dressed and ready to go hunting. They didn't shoot anything, but they had fun. 

This game was on the center table in the living room. It's kind of like the golf tee game at Cracker Barrel, you jump over one marble at a time and try to get down to only one marble. I was able to get down to two after many attempts. I had to take a picture to prove it.

Vance was so worn out! He and Cooper played and ran all weekend. He had an absolute ball. But he was so tired on the way home, and fell asleep in the backseat with me. 

We had a great time. It was fun to be able to get away for a weekend and just relax. We are so blessed to have made such wonderful friends.

God Bless

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Patience is a virtue.

And a God given gift. Some of us have it. Some of us just don't.

I think I am one of those fortunate ones that does have it.

I work with preschoolers and younger for a profession. Patience is a requirement. Just ask the 10 screaming kids why.

There have been many times in my life when I've had to wait patiently on the Lord for answers to prayers. He has a perfect plan and a perfect time for everything and it may not align with my timing, but I know to wait for Him. Right now, for example. I'm waiting for a big answer to prayer. It's not easy to wait, but I find rest and peace in waiting for Him, knowing that His will is greater and better than mine.

Patience is also found in growing an avocado tree. At least one that produces fruit. This is my new project. Growing a fruitful avocado tree. Paul and I have recently discovered avocados and how AMAZING they are! We've been putting them on many dishes for dinner....so yummy! To grow the plant part takes a matter of months. Not much patience there, most plants take that long. The fruit, on the other hand, can take between 5-15 years to produce. YEARS. This will be a life-long project. But one I'm looking forward to!

Take an avocado seed, pierce it with a few toothpicks and suspend it over water. Not much to it so far.

We'll see how this goes. Call me in 10 years and maybe I'll have an avocado for you.

God Bless

Monday, January 2, 2012

A family that runs together...

...stays together! Or at least that's what I'm saying! :)

If we can survive running in the cold, with a cold, then we can do anything together!

Paul and I have decided to start running three days a week together, with Vance of course!

Today was Day 1. We did pretty good...starting off slow and steady, but did well.

Vance was the most excited to go! He somehow knows when I put on my running clothes! He gets all excited and starts jumping around and won't leave me alone. He doesn't want us to forget him.

Here he is saying "enough pictures already, let's go!"

God Bless!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe it's 2012! Last year went by so fast, and the past 6 months have absolutely flown by! Our time here in Birmingham is already half over! In 6 more months, we will be moving (again), Paul will hopefully be starting a new job with a practice, and I will be...well, I don't know quite yet what I will be doing, but I know the Lord will guide me.
Last night we just stayed in to ring in the new year. Unfortunately, we are both starting to feel sick - Paul with a sore throat and me with a head cold, so we weren't really up for going out. We stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some of their prepared meals from the salad bar and the hot meal bar.

I got an "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" salad - and I mean it had everything in it!! I love salad bars!

 Paul got a New York Strip (which he grilled here), some mac-n-cheese, creamed spinach and wheat rolls. 

And Vance got a pig ear - but he was more interested in our plates. He did get a bite of steak to celebrate the new year, though!

We watched the Auburn-Virginia bowl game, and then Carson Daly's New Year Celebration in New York. Someday, I would actually like to go to New York for New Years Eve! I think it's one of those things I would like to do just to say that I've done it. Maybe some day I will!

Happy New Years!

God Bless