Wholly Homemade Ravioli Dinner!




I've been working on making more and more on my own lately. Not only is it cheaper, but it's healthier as well to skip out on things like preservatives and additives.

The notion struck me that ravioli couldn't possibly be that hard to make, so I gave it a go. All I can say is....I NEED a pasta roller! It really wasn't that difficult to make, but it was very hard to get it thin and even with tons of rolling by hand it's still not as thin as I'd have liked it to be.

The leftovers were better than the first day because I simmered them in the sauce I made and browned them a little too. Oh my goodness, yum!

When I get it in my head to do something like this the recipes I make up tend to be hodge podges of a variety of other recipes. But I did take notes this time. And notes on how I deviated from those notes!

The bread was a ciabatta I'd made earlier in the week I wanted to use up and the garlic spread on it was something I whipped up with butter, fresh minced garlic and a variety of spices. Just sliced the sucker thin, put the spread on it and let it toast in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.

The ravioli recipe is as follows:


Pasta:
4 eggs (beaten)
2 Tbs water
4 cup flour
1 tsp salt

Filling:
2 Chicken Breasts
1/2 - 2/3 bag fresh spinach
2/3  of a small brick Asiago Cheese (about a cup-ish)
1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
small splash of half and half (1-2 Tbs)


In a bowl, mix the eggs, water, 2 cups flour, and salt. Gradually mix in the remaining flour until smooth. Divide dough into 2 parts. Cover, and set aside in the refrigerator 30 minutes.Note: this is a very stiff dough! I had to work it for some while and knead it by hand for a bit before refrigerating it.

While you're dough is cooling cook chicken. When cooked, add spinach to wilt. Mix in food processor. Transfer to bowl, mix with other ingredients. Cool your filling enough so you can handle it!

When the dough is ready roll it out as thin as you can (or be brighter than me and use a pasta roller/press). Only roll out one portion at a time as it's prone to drying while you work if you take too long.

If you don't have a ravioli shaper and press you can simply cut squares.

I used about 1 tsp of filling per 1 ravioli.

Wet the edges of your ravioli before pressing it closed, this helps it stick. If using a press sometimes you may still need to take a fork to the edges to get them to seal better. If making without press lay one square atop the square holding your filling, crimp all four sides with fork!

Let dry for 10 minutes or so before cooking.

Boil slightly salted water gently. You don't want a rolling boil! Cook for 8-10 minutes each. If you'd rather cook these as I did the second day put them in a large pan with high edges and cover in the sauce recipe below. Simmer well for 10 minutes or so per side so they soak up lots of sauce and brown slightly on each side. Not traditional, but good!

I actually stole the cream sauce from a halibut lasagna recipe I adapted and may just have to share later. If you're boiling your pasta, simply coat with sauce before serving!


Cream Sauce: 
6 Tbs Butter
1/3 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chicken brother
1 cup half and half

Melt butter in pan. Add flour and salt. Stir til smooth and golden brown. Gradually add broth and cream and stir until thickened. 



And that my beauties, is all there is to it. It's time consuming to be sure, but it's really not difficult if you're feeling brave!

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Guess Who Was Featurd on "When Geeks Wed"!




I only recently discovered the blog When Geeks Wed. My own wedding was three years ago, but I thought hmmm what could it hurt to send some of our pictures and details their way?!

I'm rather thrilled that the writer of this blog thought my wedding was nerdy/geeky enough to be included on her site.

Here is the Link: Our Geeky Garden Wedding

If you are looking for inspiration for your own nontraditional wedding I highly recommend checking more of this site out. The author created it because of the lack of resources for that purpose in fact!

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Come To The Dark Side We Have...



Perhaps one of the all time favorite cookies I've made are my Star Wars oreos. I originally got the idea from a lovely woman making Yoda oreos (I'll include her recipe) and then took off from there. I've actually invested in even more Star Wars cookie cutters recently, but haven't put them to use just yet!

If you want to make these awesome cookies you'll need a set of these Cutters.

I use the following recipes:

Green Tea Yodas from JustJenn -

I love the flavor the matcha gives these.However, this recipe has been kind of temperamental for me. Sometimes they turn out great. Sometimes the dough is very stiff and crumbly. Do NOT use green tea powder you need to find Matcha powder. I was able to find it cheaper then I could online at a local Asian Market.

I've tried other variations of green tea cookies, but not found another that works yet. The thought of adding matcha to normal sugar cookies was a poor one. they wound up flat and crispy and yoda looked more like Jabba!


Chocolate Darth Vaders -

I was so excited to find this recipe. It's basic and it has never let me down! Recently I've started adding McCormick black food coloring to them as well so they're even darker. But the chocolate is dark enough to pull off the look (like the picture above).

I've also substituted mint extract in place of the vanilla, which folks seem to thoroughly enjoy! I plan on subbing coconut extract too eventually, but have not tested it yet.

The filling I use for these and the Stormtroopers is the same as that found in the yoda recipe. I found I enjoyed it so much I use it for all my sandwich cookies. A double batch will usually fill all three types of cookies easily.


Almond Storm Troopers -

The recipe for this is a basic one not online! Originally I used vanilla extract, but I like to achieve that almond flavor that a lot of sugar cookies have and the change has gone over well with those nomming them.

You will need:

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Make sure your butter is at room temperature for smooth mixing.

Mix your flour and salt together well and set it aside.

Beat your butter in a medium sized bowl until it's fluffy and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until it's incorporated and light and fluffy. Add the egg and extract and beat until they're well mixed in. Again...FLUFFY is the key. Don't forget to scrape the sides of your bowl frequently with a spatula.

Add the flour mixture in two or three portions, beating and incorporating it between additions so it's thoroughly blended. When your dough is well mixed and the flour has absorbed the moisture well your dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl a bit.

Turn the dough out onto your table, or what have you, and divide it into two portions. I find that if I'm using a stand mixer it's a more cohesive lump. If I use a hand mixer it's more crumbly and needs pressed together before divided.  Wrap each of your dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours (as long as 2 days).

When you're ready to make your cookies, pull out just one chunk of a dough at a time to work with. I let mine sit for a few minutes so it's a little more malleable. Roll it out fairly thin. Go to work with your cutters while your oven is preheating to 350°F!

Alright so here is where a few little tips I've come upon help me. First, no matter how well I grease my cookie sheets they hate me and love to stick so, these silicon baking mats have saved my cookie's lives! You could invest in parchment paper, but around here a roll costs at least $7 and when you can get something reusable for just a bit more? Well, that's a win for me.

The second tip, is before baking, and if filling more than one cookie sheet, put the waiting cookies in the fridge for 10 minutes. This helps them hold their shapes more. Something I never thought of!

When they're ready for baking pop them in for 10-15 minutes per batch.  I tend to go with the shorter baking time. Even if they're a bit soft you can let them cool until they're set enough to remove from the sheet and then they have a nice soft consistency that will last.

Ta-da!


I use that sugar cookie recipe for just about everything. I've put all kinds of food color and extracts in it and it never really lets me down. Oh though as another note! I almost always roll my sugar cookie dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap which I always have on hand. You could use wax paper, but if you're like me you have few other uses for it so bah! This keeps the sticky dough mess off of your counter top and insures a nice smooth rolling.

Enjoy your cookies! And may the Force be with you!


P.S. Don't forget the blue milk!



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Simple Definitions


Hate...

Noun, Attributive Noun, and Verb.

"Intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury." - Merriam Webster Dictionary.

To feel hostility or animosity toward.

To detest.

"The emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action." - The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

Such a mean little word.

It's been with us since before 900 AD.

It appears in many languages, in nearly the same form. Old Frisian, Old High German, Dutch, Old Saxon, Old Icelandic, Gothic, Old English, Old Norse.

There has certainly never seemed to be a shortage of it.

In truth it seems we have spread it out and carried it with us for centuries.

It's so easy to hold onto after all, and so easy to share.

With our family, with our neighbors, with total strangers even.

Maybe it's time to let it go.


Love...

Noun and Verb.

"Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another." - Merriam Webster Dictionary.

To feel compassion for.

Acceptance.

"To have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person)." - Dictionary.com.

This word has also been with us since before 900AD. In the same languages.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias go on for pages trying to define it.

It crosses cultural boundaries, religious significance, and has evolved to mean more than we can fathom.

It is still only four letters...

Why is it so much harder to hold onto, then?

Why is it so much harder to share?


Choice...

Noun and Adjective.

"The right, power, or opportunity to choose." - Dictionary.com

An option.

An act.

The origins of this word come around 1300. From Old French, Germanic, Gothic, and English.

Maybe it hasn't been with us as long.

Maybe we haven't realized it's true power.

But shouldn't we be making better use of it?

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Make Room!

I live in a one bedroom apartment. The bedroom is attached to a walk in closet and bathroom, and the living room is also my kitchen, divided by a small bar like table. There is a tiny quasi-hallway that leads into this main space. In short...it is a small place. I also love to cook...a lot. These two facts combined lead to a problem....room. I keep accumulating all these lovely new cookie cutters and candy molds, and other gadgets and have absolutely no where to put them! So I got creative.

Photo by seller, not I!
When I bought my computer desk it came with a pitiful little shelf. This thing has sat in my hallway for years holding a few knick knacks. Recently we inherited a better shelf to put winter clothing on and thus my pitiful little shelf had no purpose!

Enter a can of paint and my new favorite things ever. Cloth bins. I'm not kidding, these things are great! You can find them in all manner of colors, they're washable, collapsible and my favorite part...affordable.  You can get a set of two on Amazon for just under $10!


So for about $40 dollars (bins, paint and cheap brushes) I now have a kitchen shelf. It's not high class, or high quality. But it definitely suits my purposes. As you may note, I have a thing for red and chickens and roosters in my kitchen. True story.

Glory to making room!

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Tie-dyed Cake


So, for reasons I wont' get into right at this moment I can't have chocolate anymore. I absolutely mourn the loss of dark chocolate cake I used to make. Anyway, I've been looking for something to make up for this tragic loss. With some perusing I came across the following white cake recipe: Heavenly White Cake

I cannot resist dying white things (ask my poor papillon mix)! So I split the dough into six parts. I then splattered them at random into cake pans and swirled a knife for the tie-dye effect. It's fairly simple to do. After you've dispersed your dough drag a butter knife in circles from the center going outward. Then drag the knife in lines from edge to center like a spider web. They baked up fairly well as you can see.
I whipped up a simple cream cheese icing to top it with. But considering how epic the cake inside was I needed to make the top pretty too! My hubby was enamored with the tie-dye effect I did on it.

All I used was liquid food coloring, a small paintbrush and a knife. I retrospect it would have been easier to "paint" on once the icing was set. My method worked the dye into the frosting.

I started with a purple dot in the center, swirled in. And then made circles with the brush and more drops of dye going from the center outward. After that I did pretty much the same thing I had with the dough, but a few more times making it a little messier.

The moment of truth was cutting into it after dinner! Look at those colors!

The only thing I would change about the recipe in the future is that it calls for almond extract...I'd leave it out. It's delish, don't get me wrong! But it reminds me of eating a sugar cookie turned into a cake. Or vaguely of a poppy seed muffin.







Hubby couldn't stop commenting on how with each bite his brain thought he was eating play dough. Haha! 







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Here We Go....

Don't people usually start these things with some kind of generic "About Me"? I suppose it's not my place to disappoint then, eh?

Hello. You can call me Telly. I'm a 27 years old female. I look whiter than freaking Wonder Bread, but I'm a real mutt. Mostly German, English and Native American, but there's also some Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch and possibly a little Russian in here too. I've got plenty of quirks, but who doesn't? I'm a poet, I write children's stories. I love pictures, and books, and art in general. I'm a little bit of a gamer. Oh, and I'm definitely a geek. I'm a little bit o.c.d., and probably have some a.d.d. I don't think I could live without music. Sometimes I write like I'm 100 years old, and sometimes I sound like a little 1337 speaking idiot. Everything seems to depend on my mood. I've been called over emotional, and crazy...I'm ok with that.

Above all else, I'm real. I don't like fake people. Which these days, seem to be a great deal of the populace. Also, apparently I was born with this compulsion to share who and what I am. Some of my family members think I over share. That could very well be the case. But there's something freeing to me in just being yourself...unrepentant and out there. That said there's a large chunk of people that won't know I write this blog. At least...not yet.

Because you see I'm looking for a place I really can express everything. So expect to see random photos, culinary experiments, and probably some of my poetry if I decide I'm not too paranoid about it getting ripped off. As well as long rants or thoughts I have at ungodly hours of the night.

Thank you for dropping in and viewing my hodge-podge of a life!

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Welcome to my little corner of the crazy. I can't promise I will always have something intelligent to say. Or that my wit will always leave you laughing. But I can say this much...what you see is what you get. I am me...and I'm going to endeavor to share that uncensored. So, pull up a seat. Enjoy yourself and if I perhaps entertain you feel free to...

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