the unexplainable joy of homemade pasta

I can’t begin to describe the feeling in my belly when I ate this pasta for the first time. I’m not talking about the lightness of the fresh pasta or the taste of olive oil. It is the joy that I am referring to. I couldn’t stop saying “i’m so happy”, between bite after bite of what can only be described as bliss in the form of a noodle. If you think i’m exaggerating, try it yourself.

I have mentioned before that we bought our pasta machine in the fall, and haven’t gotten around to using it yet. After making bread for the first time it only seemed fitting to continue on the homemade road and make our own pasta. Our good friend Lana who is a huge fresh pasta lover came over to help us make it. We decided to try two different gluten free recipes that she found, using millet flour in one and quinoa flour in the other. We made this is with caution knowing it might not be what we were expecting, but in the end we proved ourselves quite wrong. Both recipes were beyond delicious and it was hard to stop eating even after our plates were cleaned. You would have had no idea that they were gluten free either. Contributing to the taste was the sense of accomplishment that comes from making pasta yourself for the very first time.

I was so in love with this pasta that I couldn’t wait to make it again. I made it the next day in perfect timing for our friends Justin, Jaimie and baby Layla to arrive home after 3 weeks in Cape Breton. They wouldn’t want to be cooking that night so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at the pasta again and so this time I went it alone. It only took me 1.5 hours to make two recipes from scratch into beautiful thin noodles. I will most definitely be making this again and probably often.

The recipes we used were a gluten free millet pasta which you can find here: http://realsustenance.com/recipes/gluten-free-millet-pasta/ and a gluten free quinoa pasta that you can find here: http://www.grain-free-gluten-free.com/quinoa-pasta.html

As a dressing we used extra virgin olive oil and pecorino cheese, combined with pesto, mushrooms and onions. I have to say though, I would even eat this pasta with olive oil alone.

If you’ve ever been curious about making your own pasta, just try it. It seems like such a simple thing but it was an amazing experience. It is really fun to make with friends, and I hope we can do so with our compadres soon!

– Jenna

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january bread

The first two loaves of bread we made got gobbled up before I could photograph them, but I did manage to get some pictures of this third and delicious loaf. My favourite way to enjoy it – covered in olive oil. I am so excited about the many more to come!

My first post about making this bread and the link to the recipe: http://mycomadre.ca/happy-2011/

– Jenna

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winter soup

bluebirdbaby is a blog I read regularly, Erin is the author and a few days ago I was reading through her blog when I came accross a soup recipe but didn’t think too much more about it at the time. However, only a couple of days later Sal came down with a pretty bad cold and this soup emidiatly came to mind. I went out to the market, collected the ingredients we were missing and surprisingly it was a very quick soup to whip up and delishious too. This is definately becoming a winter staple in our home, thank you Erin! Bellow is the soup recipe from Erin’s blog which again can be found here .

Nourshing Soup for Winter Days ::

  • 10-12 cps broth (we used chicken)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 medium leek, sliced and chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced (yes…one WHOLE head. it’s good for ya!)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced and halved
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed (we used 4)
  • 1.5 cup peas
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 lb ground chicken, cooked (we used some grilled chicken from the night before)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. I think butter makes everything taste better, so I heated a half stick of butter in the bottom of a soup pot. When that is hot, add leeks. Cook until tender.
  2. Add minced garlic to leeks and stir. Do not let brown.
  3. Add broth, bay leaf, carrots and potatoes. Let boil, then simmer until all are tender.
  4. While the soup is cooking, cook the chicken in a frying pan. (We already had grilled chicken from the night before and so simply used that).
  5. When the veggies in the soup are tender, add chicken, peas, white beans, and thyme.
  6. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
  7. Serve with fresh bread.

Enjoy!

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happy 2011!

The beginning of the year usually looks the same for Tristan and I. We go for breakfast or to a coffee shop and list off the things we want to do in the new year. Normally this is business related. This year, for some reason we didn’t end up at any coffee shop or breakfast restaurant. We watered our friends plants and came back home to our still decorated apartment for the rest of the evening. Instead we knit, read, napped and cooked together.

When I woke up new years morning I thought to myself, I want to do all of the things today that I want to do in the new year. That list included knitting, sewing, weaving, cooking, yoga and reading all while spending quality time with my husband. Photography is a no brainer for us so it doesn’t get put on the must do list, it gets done list or no list. So anyhow, I clearly didn’t finish this entire list of to do’s, but that is okay. We did enough of them that I feel good about how we rung in the new year. And there is plenty of time left in January. Including today!

Today we continued on that list. I’ve been knitting, Tristan has been sewing, and in between it all we have started our first loaf of bread in our new bread machine. We got the bread machine in the fall eager as anything to bake with it but haven’t touched it. (That or the pasta machine we bought around the same time) Finally today we decided it was a good time to give it a whirl and it’s bouncing around in the kitchen now as I write. It’s dark already so i’ll have to make another one some morning so I can photograph it.

What I can show you is the recipe! For Tristan’s birthday my parents bought him Tartine Bread, a book we can’t wait to experiment more with. But there are no machine recipes in there so we were searching around google aimlessly until I remembered that there was a WHO Bread Machine recipe over on the Soulemama blog, one which April introduced me too and we both love. Since we have been stocking up on bread ingredients for months now we luckily had everything in the cupboard and so WHO Bread it is! If you’d like it please head over to this link to see Amanda’s tutorial. She also has a recipe for the same bread without the bread machine, here.

What is really fun for us is that we also had an excuse to use the anniversary present that our wonderful friends Justin Jaimie and baby Layla gave to us… a big beautiful blank hardcover notebook to keep recipes in! So Soulemama, thanks for our first bread of the year, and the first recipe in our book!

Happy new year everyone! I hope you can start it off doing the things you love!
– Jenna

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fun with gingerbread

On the Sunday before Christmas we had some friends over to our home to build gingerbread houses. Owen was so happy to have all his little friends over and was having a great time showing off all his toys. In the end there was quite a bit of icing and candy scadered all around the house but all that matters is that we all had a great time. However, I do think next year we will make gingerbread men instead and simply decorate them, as this is probably something more toddler friendly and also something you can actually eat in the end. Whereas the houses don’t usually get eaten which seems pretty wasteful.

After all our friends had gone home my parents arrived and on Tuesday afternoon my sister, neice and nephew arrived who had been vacationing in Las Vegas and so on Christmas eve we got to making some holiday cookies. We made both gingerbread and sugar cookies, we even made a few that had a mixture of a little of each and they were actually my favorite. Owen’s favotite was the gingerbread dough so I had to hide that from him so that he wouldn’t eat it all. Then for breakfast on Christmas morning he ate two whole gingerbread cookies. Impressive considering he doesn’t care much for sweets. More to come later about Christmas day! How did you and your family spend time preparing for Christmas?

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just a glimpse

A few things I wanted to share until I have more time to write about them: My first sewn bunny!

My mother in law’s stuffed squash from our families vegetarian thanksgiving…

and the chai tea she had steeping all afternoon along with it.

The wedding season is winding down for us so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the office. There is a lot more to share very soon, including more about these 3 pictures!   – Jenna

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fall baking

Come this time of year I just can’t wait to start baking all sorts of delicious fall goodies, especially those made with pumpkin. So yesterday we gathered all of our ingrediants and got to baking some pumpkin bread and pumpkin apple muffins.

I used the same recipe for both the bread and the muffins, only I added apples to the muffins. So be aware that this recipe yeilds three loaf pans of bread or one loaf of bread and 24 muffins.

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar or 1 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans. But if you want to make the pumpkin apple muffins as well only get one loaf pan ready and save the rest of the batter for the muffins!

    2.In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

    3.Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    **For the pumpkin apple muffins simply add two small apples, peeled and cubed. Pore batter into greased muffin trays and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

    Enjoy!


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    BC Apples

    As soon as I heard about April’s apple picking trip I was inspired to do the same. I had been so looking forward to cooking with pumpkins that I forgot about apples! The perfect opportunity came on our way back home from a recent wedding in Kelowna. We were traveling with our friends Andrea and Lana (it was Andrea’s brothers wedding) and I begged them to go apple picking. They weren’t hard to convince, except that on the day we drove home it was pretty rainy and none of us were really feeling up to it. We decided we’d wait and try and find a place on the island and carry on to a wine tasting instead (priorities). But on our way to Quails Gate, we found a fruit stand at the side of the road selling freshly picked apples! I was beyond ecstatic.

    True we didn’t get to pick the apples ourselves, but there were no kids with us so I didn’t feel that bad. I was/am just so excited to bake and cook with them and finding them at the side of the road was clearly more exciting than in the store.

    In the end each couple chose a box of royal gala’s, my favourite kind. In case you’re worried, we still made it to the winery safe and sound. Tristan took these photos of myself and the apples. – Jenna

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    3 6 9 almond butter!

    I’ve been making Almond butter pretty consistently since the spring when I learnt how to make it. But I was using canola oil, and I’ve been wanting to get away from it. So as I was about to make my recent batch of almond butter, I was pondering what I could use and remembered that I had recently bought a vegetarian 3 6 9 oil because we obviously aren’t getting it from fish. April, Owen, Tristan and I are all vegetarian. The oil is made up of nut and seed oils so I guessed that those flavours would go well with almonds and I was right! I’m so happy about it, and love that it is another way for us to get our 3 6 9’s!

    This recipe is perfect for the fall! Every time I make it the smells remind me of thanksgiving. Sometimes I want to roast almonds now just for the smell!

    To make a jar of this almond butter:

    Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, and on a cookie tray (or any pan) lay 3 cups of raw almonds out so that they roast evenly.
    Roast the almonds in the oven and every 10 minutes take the tray out and move the almonds around to also help with even roasting.
    You can roast them for either 20-30 minutes. Obviously the less you roast them the better they are for you, so I usually go with about 20. Both are delicious.
    Remove the almonds from the oven and let them cool. You’ll hear them snap crackle and pop as their skins dry!
    Place the almonds in your blender, and add 1/4 cup of 3 6 9 oil, (or canola oil as most recipes call for) and 1/4 a teaspoon of sea salt.
    Blend the ingredients all together, and add oil if needed. Add it slowly though, because you won’t need a ton more!

    Store in the fridge. I’m not sure what most recipes recommend for keep time, but ours lasts about 3 weeks!

    Ok now go make this because it’s SO good. And if your vegetarian, it’s another great way to get nuts and the omegas into your body while avoiding peanuts! – Jenna

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    fall apples

    A few weeks ago the family decided to go apple picking, to say the very least it was a total blast!  I just love fall and everything about this day conveyed fall to me. The brisk cool air, the falling and turning of leaves on trees, and of course harvesting apples! Once back at home we ate most of the apples but I had enough left to make some apple crisp. Since then however my parents in law have have given me about 20 lbs of apples from their backyard apple tree. I was thrilled as I was a bit sad I had not gotten the chance to do much baking with the one’s we had picked. And boy oh boy did I ever get the chance now! Let me tell you, pealing 20 lbs of apples with a toddler at your side is quite the job.

    With my first batch of pealed apples I decided to make some apple butter, apple sauce and more apple crisp. Bellow are the recipes I used for the apple crisp and apples butter. I’m not too sure how healthy these recipes are for you since there is quite a bit of sugar in them but they sure are delicious!

    Apple Crisp Recipe

    • 6 apples
    • 3/4 cup oats
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

    Peel and slice apples. Arrange in buttered 8 inch pan. Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Spread over apples. Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes.

    Apple Butter Recipe

    • 5 lbs. apples
    • 2 cups apple juice
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    Peel, slice and core apples. Add apple juice and cook slowly until apples are soft. Once soft using a hand mixer mash em all up. Add sugar and spices and mix well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring often, until mixture sheets from spoon. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Seal immediately. Yields approximately 3 pints.

    Enjoy!


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