Date Night Idea | Homemade Ravioli

Work has been super crazy.  I have been on a project that has been eating into my evenings.  I have been going into work early and staying until 8 or 9 at night during the week.  I also have been putting in hours working weekends from home.  The husband has been taking care of everything in order to keep our household moving.  Thank goodness, because otherwise I don’t know how I would survive.

On top of long, stressful work weeks, we are also updating our downstairs half bath.  I am just so tired. I took Friday off from work in order to catch up on other items around the house….and to take time to relax.

We took some much needed downtime and knocked off one of my 17 by the end of 17 goals: make homemade pasta!  (You can read the entire list here.) We didn’t just make homemade pasta.  Noooo!  We made homemade ravioli.  It was a fun stay at home and relax date night.

BASIC PASTA RECIPE

We picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour made with durum wheat. We were able to find this at Whole Foods in the aisle with other types of flour.

We used the basic pasta recipe that was on the package

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs or 3 egg whites, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  • Combine Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour and salt.
  • Add beaten eggs or egg whites, water, and oil to flour and salt mixture.
  • Mix to make a stiff dough.

Our dough looked like this when we were done mixing:

Next you will want to knead the dough for 10 minutes until the dough is elastic.  Wrap dough in a towel or place in a plastic bag and let it rest for 20 minutes.

PRESSING THE PASTA

I have wanted to make my own homemade pasta for about a year.  It has been on my list, but we just never seemed to get around to it.  A number of months ago, the husband and I got motivated, but didn’t follow through.  During this time, we bought a pasta press.  The pasta press came in very handy.  I highly recommend you get one.  It can roll and cut your pasta to make it all the same height.  Also, it attaches to the table so it is sturdy to use. However, this can also be achieved by using a rolling pin.

Each section of dough had to go through the pasta press at least three times to get the desired thickness.  Each time you pass the dough through, you change the settings to allow for thinner, and thinner dough to pass through.  I can imagine this would have been a ton of fun to do with kids.  My husband is basically a child and he didn’t hurt himself once.

After we rolled the dough through the pasta press, we were able to get a couple of really long lengths of dough.  We used biscuit cutters to get cut the raviolis.  The biscuit cutter allowed us to get consistent shapes and was fast.

RAVIOLI FILLING

After the husband got the pasta press rolling, he was good on his own for a few minutes.  I consolidated our steps by starting the filling for the raviolis.

I chopped some fresh mushrooms.

I sauteed the mushrooms with a little butter and garlic.  The butter was so the mushrooms wouldn’t stick to the pan.  The garlic was to taste.

While the mushrooms were cooking, I chopped about a 1/2 cup of oregano, fresh from our garden.

Once the mushrooms were finished cooking, I added a cup of ricotta cheese, a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese (not shown), a table spoon of granulated garlic, the sauteed mushrooms, and 1/2 cup of chopped oregano to a large bowl.

I mixed the ingredients until combined. I wanted to be able to taste a little of each item with each bite.

I then spooned the mixture into my ravioli shells.

You want to be careful not to overfill the ravioli shells as you will need to press them closed.  There needs to be space around the outside so the pasta does not come apart during cooking.

Place an empty ravioli shell on top of the pasta and filling.  Press around the outside of the shell with your fingers or a fork.

COOKING YOUR RAVIOLI

We used a fork to close the edges of our ravioli’s.  Hence, the fork marks around the edge.  We didn’t have an issue with any of the shells opening during cooking.  My husband was certain we would lose at least one or two.  We didn’t lose any!

To cook, bring a large pot of water containing 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil to a boil.  (The olive oil keeps the pasta from sticking.)  Add pasta and cook until tender.  We cooked our pasta for about 5 minutes.

Serve pasta with your favorite sauce, pesto, or toss with olive oil or butter, pepper and Parmesan cheese.  I made an Alfredo sauce with spicy Italian sausage, more sauteed mushrooms, and a bunch of butter!  It was fabulous!

17 by the end of 17

When I was younger I had an ever growing list of goals and a timeline for which I planned to achieve them.  I wanted to get my bachelors degree in four years.  I wanted to have my MBA before I turned 26.  I wished to be married, own a house, and have a kid before I was 30.

As I got older, my goals changed.  I did get my bachelors degree in four years.  I got both my MBA and my Master’s in Accounting before I turned 26.  All the other stuff, not so on schedule.  I bought my own house before I turned 30, but it was mine.  I had not even yet met my now husband.  I was 33 when I got married.  I still don’t have kids.

I am happy with how everything has turned out.  I have no regrets.

As I have gotten older, I just don’t have goals like I used to.  It isn’t that I lack ambition.  It is that I have achieved all the major goals I had when I was young.  Now my focus is more on not getting a cold when others are sick with the flu and getting the laundry done before Friday.  Life is different. Not boring or less important.  Just different.

17 BY THE END OF 17

One of my favorite bloggers posted her 40 by 40 goals.  It is 40 goals she hoped to achieve before she turns 40 in a couple of years.  I have not quite thought that far ahead.  I do have a few current goals. Here is a list of 17 things I wish to accomplish before the end of 2017:

  1. Finish my bathroom makeover.  
  2. Paint the second half of the french doors to my office.  This is so incredibly overdue.  Yes, only one side of those doors are painted.  And it has been that way for more than a year. If you look really close in this photo, you can see that the door is barely primed. That isn’t a reflection or the light.  The door is mostly beige.  
  3. Finish painting the other doors in our house.  I started a few months ago with a little help from the husband.  We lost steam after about 3 weeks.  It is a ton of work to paint ALL the doors in your house.  Count them.  There are just so many.  We have 6 remaining, not including the french doors in item #2.
  4. Paint the blank canvas in my dining room.  There is just so much painting to do!
  5. Buy a record player.
  6. Buy a vintage record.
  7. Clean out the linen closet in the bathroom.
  8. Paint the front door black. It is currently red and needs a makeover!
  9. Make my own pasta from scratch.
  10. Paint Christmas ornaments.
  11. Make handmade Christmas cards.
  12. Learn to make pumpkin bisque soup.
  13. Donate the books I am finished reading.
  14. Establish a reading nook for my Saturday morning reading sessions.
  15. Learn how to make my husbands fabulous fried chicken.  It is really good!  I deserve to know how he does it.
  16. Sew something.  I really enjoyed making my fall pillow. (You can read about it here.) I would really like to sew something else!
  17. Pick out photos for the blank wall in my living room. We put up these three frames with the plan to fill them.  It is going on two weeks and I haven’t even picked out the pictures.

What is something you hope to achieve before the end of the year?

One Room Challenge | Week 2 Half Bath Makeover

Welcome to week 2 of the fall 2017 One Room Challenge!  Over the next four weeks I will transform my downstairs half bathroom from a brown disaster to a room that is light and bright.

WEEK ONE RECAP

Last week I shared the details of my very ugly downstairs half bath and the full design plan.  You can read the entire week one post here.

THE PROJECT PLAN

I will finish this project over the course of the next five weeks. This week I am starting with all of the trim in the room, including the window.  I chose to start with the trim because of the amount of brown paint currently on the trim.  I have a steady hand so it is easy for me to cut in when painting a room.  The crown molding in the room isn’t very thick.  Therefore, I am likely to get a considerable amount of the white trim paint on the wall while trying to cover up all of the brown spillover.  Working in this order will allow me to slop on the white trim paint without worrying about the walls.

The project plan by week is as follows:

  • Week two – sand, prime, and paint trim and window
  • Week three – prime and paint walls
  • Week four – sand, prime, and paint cabinet
  • Week five – remove existing toilet and add a new toilet
  • Week six – sew new curtain and add decorative elements to the space

WEEK TWO | GETTING STARTED

Our bathroom is dark from a brown paint that just is not right for the space.  Also, it includes wall paper that has been partially removed/repaired and then painted over.  This is a product of the previous owners.  This was by no means my doing.  The goal of this project is to make the room bearable.  I intend to complete an entire overhaul at a later date.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to make it what I really want.  That will just have to come later.  Here is a look at the space that I am starting with:

PROJECT TOOLS

On the plan for this week is to sand, prime, and paint all trim in the room.  In order to make this happen, I needed a few great tools.

I am a huge fan of sanding blocks.  We have an electric sander, but it doesn’t get into the grooves of moldings very well.  I have learned from the previous rooms that we have painted that using sanding blocks is the way to go.  Our room is on the smaller side, but I still recommend picking up a few.  The first sanding block is rougher; I picked up the roughest that was available.  This gets the job done that much faster and with less effort.

I also picked up a fine sanding block.  This one is 220 grit.  This is a finishing block.  I will get to that one in a few minutes.

We have been painting all of our moldings white.  They were cream when we moved in.  Slowly but surely, the cream is disappearing. We have been using Valspar’s Ultra 4000 semi-gloss interior paint in color High Hide White.  We had most of a can left over from another room. This was a major win because that means we didn’t have to spend $30 on paint for trim.

When it comes to getting a smooth finish, use a good brush.  I only buy Purdy brushes.  The one shown is my current favorite.  It is 2 inch angled brush.  It has quite a bit of paint on the handle.  This just shows you how much it is loved. Invest in a good brush and you will have fewer issues with rough finishes and bristles will fall out less often. If you take good care of cleaning your brushes between uses, they will last you a life time. It makes them well worth the $12 price tag.

The last tool that I use is my Lilly Pulitzer Bluetooth speaker.  I blast my Churches Pandora station and just let go mentally.  Painting is very meditative for me, however, music just makes it that much more relaxing.

THE PROCESS

This week was all about painting the trim and the window in the half bathroom.  I sanded, cleaned, painted, sanded, cleaned, and painted some more.

Step 1: Sand all trim and the window.

Step 2: Clean all the debris from sanding. Use soap and water.  Real cleaning.  Not the faux stuff my husband tries to get away with.

Step 3: Paint trim.  I am not a big fan of taping because I have a steady hand.  If you are new at painting or feel more confident with tape, by all means tape first.

Step 4: Allow paint to dry for at least an hour, if not longer.  Lightly sand any brush marks with a light grit sandpaper or sanding block.  A light grit is 220 or greater.

Step 5: Clean all the debris from sanding.

Step 6: Paint a second coat.  Repeat steps 4 and 5, if necessary.

The previous owners left a considerable amount of paint on the window hardware.  I removed the hardware to make it easier to paint the window.  I put a small amount of Goof Off in a painters tray. I then used a small paint brush to brush on small amounts, allowing it to work its magic.  After a few minutes, I was able to wipe the surface clean. The process looked a little like this:

THE RESULTS

Although I spent the entire weekend in my tiny bathroom, the photos make it look as though nothing has changed.  I blame the terrible reflection from the brown paint still on the walls.

A few of thee door.  You can see where I was testing the wall color next to the trim. That is a glimpse of what the wall will look like next week.  I am so incredibly excited.  Just that one section is making the room look so much better.

Here is a view of the window.  This is a shot in the day light.  It was not quite finished at the time, but I was afraid this might be my last good shot before the sun went down.  This thing took me forever to paint, mostly because of the continuous rework.  The previous owners had so much paint on the window. As I was getting the paint off the glass and off of the glider between the top and bottom glass, it was striping the paint from other aspects of the frame.  I would sand, repaint, sand, repaint, etc.  It is going to be amazing when it is completely finished.  I am going to be amazing when I can stop messing up what I have already painted!

Here is a shot of the crown molding….and a lovely shot of the wall paper edge.  You can see that there is wall paper under that ugly brown paint.

Here is a shot of the base board. You can see from this shot that the wall paper was mostly removed, but not completely.  It almost gives the wall a stuccoed look.  Almost.

I’m so excited for this process and hope that you’ll check in every Wednesday for the latest updates!

Fall Comfort Food | Homemade Apple Crisp

My husband and I have a number of fall traditions.  Two of our October traditions are to watch The Great Pumpkin and the other is to make a homemade apple crisp.  We created our first apple crisp a few years ago, just after we got married.  We created it from scratch without a real recipe.  We were feeling creative so we just threw a few things together that we knew would taste good.  Our version is a little more cake-like and not very cobbler-ish.  It is yummy and I recommend you give it a try!

HOMEMADE APPLE CRISP

For the crumb topping:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened and diced into small chunks
For the Apple filling:
  • 3-4 large apples peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For serving (optional)
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

THE PROCESS

Step 1: Peel 3 to 4 large apples.  Preheat your oven to 375.

Step 2: Cut apples into thin slices.

Step 3: Mix ingredients for the apple filling in a large mixing bowl.  Fold in apples and place in a baking dish.

Step 4: Mix ingredients for the crumble.  I recommend putting flour on your hands to keep the ingredients from sticking to your fingers.

Step 5: Sprinkle crumbles on top of the apple filling.  Don’t mix it into the filling, just leave it on top.  If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.

Step 6: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Unless you are serving ill-mannered family, then serve it whenever you want.