2014/06/23

Boyhood

Knee abrasions sustained over three days.  Friday he fell off a skateboard and Saturday he tripped on the sidewalk walking to the street festival.  The freshest ones were from falling on the walk from the van to church.  Mr. Tough barely cried, though....

2014/06/02

Fresh Pasta

It's been a few years since I've made fresh pasta.  I used to make it regularly when we were first married - you know, when I had nothing but time - mostly ravioli with a cheese filling.  A-team likes taking the pasta machine out and cranking paper through it, so finally I decided it was time to show him what it's really used for...
I found this recipe online at The Cooking Channel.  I used half all purpose flour, half whole wheat flour. After scraping the remains of the dough off the counter, I decided to use a bowl next time!
After forming the pasta we cooked it in boiling water for about five minutes.
We ate it with homemade pasta sauce and pesto.

INGREDIENTS



  • cups flour
  • eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • DIRECTIONS

    Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides. 
    Break the eggs into the well. Add the salt, and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape. 
    With your hands or a bench scraper continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour. 
    Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
    Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the rollers of a pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface. 
    If using a pasta machine: Flatten 1 of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta. 
    With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine's rollers a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into 1/3, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting. 


  • Fresh pasta is superior in flavour and texture to the boxed kind, and it's actually really easy to make. (Plus, it's cheaper, bonus!)  

    Eleven Months

    Still no teeth...yet...
    She is a little chatterbox, and knows quite a few words.  She loves to sing and listen to people singing.
    She loves to imitate our actions, and now folds her hands to pray at mealtimes.
    Has a temper. ;)  

    2014/04/30

    Ten Months

    Our little Strawberry has already reached the ten month mark.  She loves to give hugs but also lets it be known when she doesn't want one from her brothers by protesting loudly.  She doesn't have teeth yet, but is enjoying a variety of "big people" food like oatmeal, bananas, cheese, bread, soups and casseroles.  Her first word is her brother's name - "Aaaashjou, aaaashjou," she calls him when she sees him.  Her second word is Daddy. :)  She enjoys imitating different sounds, and when she hears the word "bath" she grabs the front of her shirt and pulls, trying to get it off so she can take a bath!  She waves "hi" and claps.  She doesn't crawl, rather, she prefers to scoot around on her bum.
     Goofin' around with her brothers.
    Watching the birds...hooray, spring has finally arrived!

    Stitched

    "AHHH, THERE'S BLOOD!"  C-note came running into the house, wailing loudly, and indeed gushing blood.  He had fallen against the side of our house out front, which is finished with decorative stucco.  And, just for the uninformed, decorative stucco = sharp, stoney protrusions all over the wall.  I wonder how much worse it would have been had he not been wearing a winter hat!
    Thankfully it was March break so both of us were home at the time.  Three stitches later it was all over.  The nurses were very nice and held his hands while the doctor sewed him up.  I don't think they were very busy at the time. ;)
    Now it's just a wee scar, and he's got bragging rights as the first kid in the family with one.

    2014/03/14

    Chocolate Cake

    Fudgy, chocolatey, yummy cake!  A favorite here in the Harseverse for birthdays.

    Ingredients:


    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup cocoa
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt (reduce by half if using salted butter)
    2 eggs
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup strong black coffee
    1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions:


    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  (I use one 10-inch, one 9-inch, and one 6-inch pans, dividing the batter evenly between them to get the three-layer cakes pictured below.)
    1. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, melted butter and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
    1. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
    1. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
    1. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
    Now choose your frosting...  The vanilla compliments the chocolate cake quite nicely, kind of how the icing in an oreo just works with the cookie. But if you have a serious chocolate craving, stick with the chocolate frosting.  Both are delicious!


    Chocolate Frosting
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
    3 cups powdered (icing) sugar
    3 Tbsp milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    Combine all ingredients and mix with a hand or stand mixer.  Frost cooled cake.

    Vanilla Cream Frosting
    1-1/4 cups (300 mL) butter, softened
    6 cups (1.5 L) icing sugar
    3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
    2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
     
    In large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Beat in vanilla.  Frost cooled cake. 






















    2014/03/13

    Four

    A-team is four!  He's our goofball as you can tell by my attempt to get a "nice birthday picture" above.  He's always on the go and plays well by himself.  He also still likes playing with his mom too.  But it's usually fighting, and he always wins.  Unless we play cars.  But that usually gets violent too.  He's creative as well, but not really into drawing.  His play is creative.  Any object can be something, but then change into something else and the whole scenario changes as well.  He likes helping me in the kitchen and he'll help with other stuff like dusting and sweeping. "I'm making the house all shiny!"  We love his squeaky voice and silly walks.
    We celebrated the day with friends for dinner.  His birthday dinner choice we had eaten the night before, though, because just the thought of cooking pancakes for 10 people made me tired.  So we had slow cooker chili and challah! 

    2014/03/01

    Eight Months

    Miss S is two-thirds of a year old!  She loves to play peek-a-boo, and will put things (or her fists) on her forehead and peek out from underneath with a big grin.  She eats a bit of solid food now, and particularly likes banana chunks.  She's a cheerful baby who loves to babble and shriek and blow raspberries.  Her family gets to see that side of her - strangers, not so much.  I think to them she is serious.  If anyone tries to talk to her she'll just stare at them blankly.  And check to see that Mommy is still close by. 
    She doesn't like to be held by anyone but Mommy or Daddy.  Everyone else is too scary, apparently.  She knows the words kiss, (leans forward for one) bath, (evokes a huge grin) where are you? (during peekaboo) and Daddy.  She still dislikes tummy time.  It will be a while before she learns to crawl. ;)